Artist: Kane Brown
Song (title and link): Heaven
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I have kept my personal opinion away from this, but looking at the legislation, I can see there is some changes needed beyond simply adding amendments to it, and since we have defeated the only proposed amendments, it has become a debate on whether we keep the law as it is or scrap it and try again.
This needs rewritten and it needs to be rewritten quickly. The problems do lie with the national institutions and their definitions of marriage and civil partnership and whether it is Europe's place to make other nations reflect marital status across borders. In essence, unless we are willing to legislate for civil unions and marriages to have the same definitions across Europe, which I am not in favour of, it cannot stand.
On behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, I vote AGAINTST this legislation.
Sir Edward Mountain
Councillor for the United Kingdom of Great Britain
Speaker of the European Council
February 17 2018
Inquista Taking A Risk With Country Newbie at EuroVoice
Article by Susan Banks
Kane Brown Performing Live in Saint Dominico
SAINT DOMINICO - It has been almost a year since the last EuroVoice competition which took place in Dikaíoma, Derecta. Isleym gave an absolutely unforgettable performance that evening, capturing first place with 64 points. Isleym secured Icholasen's first-ever win at Europe's favourite music competition, paving the way for Eurovoice XXXII's hosting in Saint Regina. Inquistans are eagerly looking for an improvement from the last music competition in Derecta, where Inquista's Birdy tied for second place with 57 points. Birdy also previously competed in Eurovoice XIII: Ruhr Park.
Inquista, it seems, hopes to re-capture the magic of The Band Perry, the country-pop group that secured Inquista's run-away victory in Eurovoice XXV: Zadar. Country music has always been a risky choice at EuroVoice contests, with a historic tendency to under-perform, despite the relative popularity of the genre in Saint Dominico itself. The Band Perry's ability to break the mold of mainstream EuroVoice tastes has laid the groundwork for relative country newcomer and upstart, Kane Brown, who has been confirmed as Inquista's artist that will perform in Icholasen.
Kane Brown, who had his start in recording novice rap tracks in the underprivileged Far End of south Saint Dominico, transitioned to a music country career when he released his debut EP Closer in 2015. Brown released his eponymous debut album Kane Brown in December 2016, and has made considerable waves in the country music scene. Inquista's country scene has traditionally been associated affluent Inquistans, but Brown's music has overcome all societal divides to produce passionate and heart-wrenching love songs that all Inquistans have come to enjoy.
The Inquistan Broadcasting Corporation, which organizes and runs Inqusita's participation in the EuroVoice song competitions, has confimed that Kane Brown will perform a new song for the competition, one which has not been included in his debut album. Singles from Brown's debut album include Thunder in the Rain and What Ifs. Clips of those songs can be found below.
Good luck to Kane Brown and to all the performers of EuroVoice XXXII: Saint Regina.
As always, get involved in the conversation and use the hashtags #CityNews and #EuroVoice
Please also tweet us directly at @NewsFromTheCity
RB: With Inquistan elections already only a week away, we sit down with Councillor Edward Firoux to discuss the quiet and sleepy election season, his election campaign and his message to voters, as well as politics... and love, of the new European Commission. I'm Rosemary Barker and this is Inquista Today.
Edward Firoux Discusses Love and Politics in the EU and at Home
RB: Inquistans will be heading to polls in less than a week, and while this election season has been all but mum, and the outcome already widely regarded as predetermined, nobody is perhaps as willing to challenge the status quo as Councillor Edward Firoux. Councillor Firoux, whose seat will also be up for re-election next week, has a lot to say about the Christian League's chances, his vision for the Europe Union, and his hope in the new European Commission.
RB: Councillor Firoux is not only Inquista's Councillor to the European Union, but is also currently serving as the Deputy Speaker of the European Council, and the Treasurer of the European Progressive Alliance. Councillor, thank you all for joining me here today.
EF: Thanks Rosie, there's no other place I'd rather be. Please just call me Firoux. I prefer the mononym. You know, like, the Firoux.
RB: Like Adele?
EF: Exactly. I'm basically Adele. The Adele of the European Council.
RB: Let's dive in right in there. The European Council. You've got a new job there, no? You worked hard to bring about the position of a deputy speaker, which is a position you now have. Tell me about it, and tell me why you didn't run for the primary speaker position itself - a position, by the accounts of many experts, you were touted to pursue.
EF: For sure. The European Council can be quite unwieldy, which will come to a shock to absolutely no one who remembers the debate between Lei Feng, the Trade Secretary of Xeng, and Elizabeth Hale, the Speaker of the Duxburian Union's Sovereign Assembly-
RB: -A debate which you recorded, edited and put online.
EF: I mean, who wouldn't?
RB: True, but were the air horn and shooting noises edited for the background necessary?
EF: I always deliver quality content, both in terms of legislation and in online videos. But like I was saying, the Council can be quite unwieldy, and there is little structure and formality within the European Council, so our behavior as politicians is only limited to how we decide to conduct ourselves as individuals. It is my opinion that a legislature should stand to be an example of a peaceful place where opinions and ideas can be exchanged respectfully and peacefully. Having only one speaker oversee this conduct was definitely a point of weakness, in addition to the fact that the speaker was the only person responsible for moving along legislation, timetables and voting motions. When there are speakers who barely showed up the Council, like He Who Should Not Be Named Oliver, it was quite troublesome. We needed an additional someone who could fill in for a speaker who has gone missing in action.
RB; But again, why did you feel like you were positioned to be Deputy Speaker instead of Speaker?
EF: Until recently, I've more or less been the most consistent dissenting voice in the Council. Angleter, the United Kingdom and the Duxburian Union do tend to agree on most things, while I'm not at all ashamed to be the progressive firebrand that I am. I'm like the liberal eagle that comes down flying for their wigs, you know? So I don't picture myself as the one who should be first to intervene in Council business. I do like to get messy myself. So even though I get to be one of the, you know, prefects of the European Council School, I don't have all the duties of a head boy. I'm like the second-in-command prefect that sells weed on the down low.
RB: We've all seen you debate the legalization of cannabis quite passionately, so we know where you stand there. But let's go to Inquista now. Elections are next week Friday. As per rules passed by Archbishop Craticus four years ago, he mandated that Inquista's seat to the European Council be democratically elected. How do you feel about your election chances, and the chances of your party as a whole?
EF: I feel like I have done my very best to serve Inquistan interests in the European Council. I have certainly been a stalwart in defending Inquista's economic interests, and have staunchly promoted Inquistan freedoms and values. I also believe I have brought balance to our Archbishop's foreign policy, which does not at all align with mine. The Archbishop aims to isolate Inquista, while I have kept Archbishop Kligneberg's ideals of international cooperation close to mind. I also feel that I am effective leader within the European Union, and have been a key part in shaping it and its institutions as a whole. I believe I have played a vital part role in keeping Inquista's integrity in the world stage intact, and have indeed advanced it to levels never seen before. As for the party, I believe the Christian League is very focused, and we have presented an alternative to the current Church leadership, which is quite frankly out of touch with the Inquistan people, and whose influence in the Church has been quite negative, in my opinion.
RB: How can you say that the Christian League offers an alternative when several members of the party defected to join the incumbent Black Swan Movement?
EF: That's precisely why the Christian League is the best alternative. The Archbishop and the current Church leadership do nothing but play political games and use incentives to disorientate and disparage parties. The Christian League hasn't wavered. Our caucus in the Council of Bishops has remained intact, and those who have left our caucus represent the exact political hollowness that make up the Black Swan Movement and the other parties. They're both parties of political defectors and opportunists, and the Christian League won't be afraid to take them to battle. Like I said, we're very focused this election.
RB: I would grill you more on what the Christian League is focused on specifically, but I want to ask you about your message vis-a-vis Europe, while you are here.
EF: For sure.
RB: If re-elected, what would you like to achieve in the European Council?
EF: So much! I've been a massive reformer since the moment I stepped into the European Council 5 years ago, and I feel like there is so much untapped potential in the Union. The European Union is moving in a very positive and hopeful direction. I like a lot of what I am seeing. I not only want to continue this spirit of reform, but I really want to place Inquista in the centre of it. There are a lot of outdated pieces of legislation that require rewriting or repealing, and there are many gaps that are currently missing. We need to sort out new environmental measures for the Union, as climate change continues to be a topic that is sidelined. We need to enshrine and protect the freedom of refugees, which has been a sore but woefully avoided topic. We need to expand our Universal Declaration of Human rights to better include all marginalized groups. Our Court of Justice needs some tweaking. Inquista needs to be at the table for these reforms. The Black Swan Movement will not represent Inquistan interests at these discussions, and they would sooner see us withdraw from the European Union altogether than cooperate with it.
RB: Well, the election for the Euorpean Council will be a tight one. You and Aiden Flemming will be re-matching once again. You mention the European Council, but what are your opinions of the current European Commission?
EF: (laughs) I love it. Is that a surprise? I have so much faith in and support for Gisela and the other Commissioners. I cant think of anyone better suited for Foreign Affairs than Commissioner Drake, who has already done so much for region's defenses, and I feel strongly that he will revive the diplomatic capabilities of the region, and even expand our capabilities to areas which we have not explored before. Commissioner Chelsea Clinton-Mezvinsky is also an absolute delight. I'm a good friend of her mother, and I feel like our values and visions strongly align.
RB: I feel like you skipped over Premier Stuart very quickly on purpose.
EF: Oh man, she's great. What more needs to be said? Despite that we often went back and forth in the European Council, we actually agree in a lot of areas. Gisela's mantra has always been that she wants an EU that 'does less, more effectively' - which is naturally appealing to me both personally, and as an Inquistan. But the question between us has always been 'but less of what'? We always have the same goal in mind, but often take two totally approaches in achieving it. I really like the plan she has set out in her mandate, and I hope to support her in accomplishing that mandate within the appropriate capacity of the European Council.
RB: So you still call our Premier Commissioner 'Gisela'?
EF: You better believe it. Just because she's got some fancy new title doesn't mean I'm not going to call her Gisela. You better also believe that my email signature hasn't been updated at all, and it doesn't even list that I am Deputy Speaker of the Council. But, of course, literally the day after the Commission elections, Gisela got her brand new title in her email signature - 'Premier Commissioner'. Our IT department in Europolis needs reforming too.
RB: With you now busy campaigning in Inqusita, while still working diligently in the Council as well, and Gisela now working as Premier Commissioner, do you two manage to find time for each other anymore?
EF: Do we have time? It's a question if she has time. She's ghosted me since Valentine's Day. I offered to take her to an advanced screening of Black Panther on Valentine's Day, but she was not impressed with my proposition at all. She thinks super hero movies are garbage and that I was not being thoughtful. She's more of a classic romance kinda gal. I was like, Black Panther has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, we have to see it. Gisela then swiftly reminded me that the Fast 7 was also acclaimed on Rotten Tomatoes but that doesn't mean she wants to see that either. I think she then proceeded to block me. I definitely haven't heard from her since.
RB: Well, Councillor Firoux, we are glad that we have heard from you. You will never be ghosted here. Thank you for providing such insight today, and thank for joining us this evening. I also want to thank you all at home for joining us in our conversations tonight. I am Rosemary Barker, and this has been Inquista Today. Good night.
Councillor Gibbon, you have somehow managed to squeeze in the the terms "EU-imposed legal cannabis", "EU-imposed nuclear disarmament" and "EU-imposed abolition of the death penalty" in your maiden speech. If I had any doubt that you would not live up to your past Angleteric colleagues, it would of all been evaporated in that one single breath. Keep it up Councillor, you're doing great.
It will come as no surprise that I advocate for the equal integrity of all individuals, and as such, I share the sentiment that gay rights are human rights, and that any law that prohibits equal marriage is inherently discriminatory. With that said, that's not what this legislation was designed to address, nor was that the intent of this debate. Councillor Gibbon is correct in summing this legislation up as a cross-border issue. The legislation at hand possess considerable ambiguities that have long required readdress. For the sake of stability, I would rather see it rewritten than repealed. Despite the ambiguities of the legislation, I would find repealing it altogether more troubling, as it would put many marriages - whether they be between men and women, men and men, women and women, and others - at risk. I am confident we can put a good rewrite together.
I do appreciate this discussion on equal marriage, and while I don't believe this is the current place to be discussing it, I believe it should be discussed at least somewhere. I would welcome a constitutional amendment that would equalize marriage across the European Union, but I don't want to derail this discussion any further, and I encourage my colleagues to debate the merit and spirit of the current bill at hand.
With that all done and said, on behalf of the Microstate of Inquista, I vote AGAINST Councillor Granger's amendment.
Deputy Speaker and Councillor of Inquista
Even though the period of debate has started, I will allow it to continue a further 24 hours.
Debate on this legislation begins NOW and ends at 15:30 GMT on 17th February;
Amendments (if applicable) would be voted on from then to 15:30 GMT on 18th February;
And voting on the final form would begin then and end at 15:30 GMT on 19th January.
Sir Edward Mountain
Speaker of the European Council
LONDON --- Emily Thornberry has taken hold of the centre wing of the Social Democrat and Labour Party and pushed Sir Keir Starmer into a leadership contest. The SDLP are behind the Liberals by nearly 10 points right now, which would take them into unseen depths of wilderness since the last long period of Liberal Prime Ministers Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major. Guaranteed 7 years in power, Theresa May and her Government have capitalised on their lead by pivoting towards the centre, offering some programmes that would appeal to SDLP voters. The British Infrastructure Investment Fund and the UK Business Capital Fund are both institutions that were created by Theresa May to promote infrastructure projects like the National Broadband Network, which was completed at the end of 2017 and the Oxbridge Tech Corridor, promised in the Autumn Budget last November.
These programmes took a lot of the punch out of Sir Keir Starmer and the SDLP Opposition, and the "right wing" of the SDLP finally had enough. Emily Thornberry, the deputy leader of the SDLP, was reported as cornering Starmer and displayed dissatisfaction with him as a leader. The party, also deeply fractured, has much to do to capture back key seats in Scotland and the north of England as they have "failed to stand up for the common man".
The vote is incoming today, but it is likely that Tom Watson will become Acting Leader of the SDLP and the two will face off in a heated leadership contest.
Mr. Adam Afriyie (Liberal and Unionist Party)(Windsor)
Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her engagements for Wednesday, 7 February 2018.
The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - Liberal and Unionist Party)(Maidenhead)
This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others; in addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.
Mr. Adam Afriyie
Will the Prime Minister join me and my colleagues in the House in welcoming the new European Commission, headed by Angleter's Gisela Stuart, and hoping that they begin a trend that reverses the slide the region has taken in terms of engagement with the member nations?
The Prime Minister
I do join my honourable friend in wishing the best of luck to Commissioners Stuart, Clinton-Mezvinsky and Drake. We also share the same hope that the European Commission can move our region forward and that a strong Europe in the world benefits not only the European Council and European Government, but each member state as well including our United Kingdom.
Ms. Alison Thewliss (Scottish National Party)(Glasgow Central)
The Prime Minister fought the election on seeking a mandate to stop a Scottish referendum, yet the UK Government has not received a majority share of seats in Scotland, and the SNP is the largest party representing Scottish seats to this House. Will the Prime Minister then allow a referendum to take place seeing as her Government does not have a majority of the seats in Scotland?
The Prime Minister
I respect the will of the Scottish people in electing their representatives, though I will say....if the honourable Lady would listen to the answer to her question. I will say that this election was not held only in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom. The Liberal and Unionist Party are on this side of the House. The Social Democrats, the SNP are on that side of the House. We won, they lost. It's as simple as that. In our manifesto we said that we would not advocate for a divisive referendum in Scotland that would break up our precious union. We are one United Kingdom, and as the Prime Minister of His Majesty's Government, I will keep the union together.
Mr. Stephen Lloyd (Progressive Reformists)(Eastbourne)
Rail travel from my constituency of Eastbourne to the rest of the south and to London is crucial not only for the economic benefit of the area but acts as a crucial artery for the whole of the south of England. Why has the Government, then, allowed for rail times to get so bad that many of my constituents have complained of being nearly 45 minutes late to work and have had to leave as early as 5:00 in the morning just to make it to work late?
The Prime Minister
I have taken this issue up with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Government views this as a serious issue. As a Crown Corporation, National Rail and its subsidiary services are sworn to provide an excellent service to the public and we will ensure that the public gets its investment back in a quality service. The Reformists seem to think that they have a monopoly on transforming public services, but I'd like to ask them....when were they last in Government? The country knows the answer and the honourable Gentleman would know as well.
Sir Keir Starmer (Social Democrat and Labour Party)(Holborn & St. Pancras)
The economic statistics are out and yet again this Government has failed to provide for working class and the poor in this country. Britain is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, yet we also have some of the poorest. The middle of our economy earns £53,000, but the poorest 10% on average earn £13,600 on average, compared to the top 10% earning nearly £160,000. Is this what the Prime Minister had in mind when she was elected and said she stood on the side of working people?
The Prime Minister
The Right Honourable Leader of the Opposition brings up the economic numbers. Did he bring up the numbers that said that Britain had another year of 3% growth in our economy, higher than expected GDP growth for advanced economies by 1%? Did he bring up reports that say this average income is the highest it has ever been for the British people in the history of this country, and that they are able to keep more of what they earn thanks to historically low taxes? Of course he didn't, because the Social Democrat and Labour Party want you to think one thing only: why don't I have what they have? The politics of envy and class warfare are alive and strong, and this side of the House will promote unity and self-determination.
Sir Keir Starmer
Self-determination, like the kind she has given to Scotland on its independence referendum. You can tell whenever the Prime Minister doesn't like a question, because she backs away. She can't hurry up fast enough to get out of that last question. I will ask it again...is the top 10% earning over eleven times more than the bottom 10% what the Prime Minister had in mind when she said she was on the side of working people?
The Prime Minister
I said I was on the side of working people and that the Liberals are on the side of working people, and I stand by it. Let's look at the Social Democrat's record when they ran the economy. Wages were at their lowest since the 1930's, the economy was slowing down every year until finally it ground to a halt. The value of the pound dropped until we took power, services were a mess, the NHS was underfunded and slow. We have delivered high quality services, increased the amount of money everyone made on average and cut taxes so that people can keep what they earn. I'd rather have this Government's record than the shambles of the party opposite.
Sir Keir Starmer
Oh, but wait...whose party thought it would be better to spend more money on submarines than students? Whose party decided it would be better to line the pockets of millionaires than to make sure the lines outside of food banks have gone down? If she doesn't want to believe me, she can read the ONS paper herself. Since she doesn't seem like answering the question, let's try another one. People in northwest England, Ireland and Scotland are still waiting disaster relief from the winter storms that we have had at the end of 2017. That was November and December. We're already nearing the middle of February. How many more months do these families need to wait?
The Prime Minister
We are coordinating our efforts to make sure relief funds and supplies make it to the areas affected. I will say that I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will not make a political event out of this. Families who are in need and require help should not be pawns for politicians to use in order to make points about wider society, accurate or not.
Sir Keir Starmer
It's not political posturing if we have already been months into extenuating circumstances in winter in the coldest region of the United Kingdom and people are still waiting for relief in rural and harder to reach areas and Government funds that were promised to people have not been received. That is holding Government to account, and this Prime Minister does not like it when I do my job as the Leader of the Opposition. So we've got a vague answer guaranteeing nothing for these families, many of whom are displaced and working for peanuts. Let's turn to the NHS. Has the Prime Minister seen what has been written about the NHS?
The Prime Minister
Is this what Prime Minister's Questions is coming to now? The Leader of the Opposition has become the mouthpiece for the Guardian, the Independent, and a whole slew of left-wing media bias. Is this truly the best of what the Social Democrats have to offer? If it is, I wonder what new lows the Opposition will stoop to to try and get out of this mess.
Sir Keir Starmer
The Government is in a shambles on the trains, it's in a shambles on trying to get relief to the thousands of storm victims, and it's in a shambles on the NHS as well. A new study commissioned by the NHS has shown that the Government has failed on all targets, and that there is a further £3 billion black hole. We have proposed in our manifesto a popular measure, a 5% tax that specifically goes to the regional NHS trusts and plugs up the £3 billion that we are missing in the budget there. But, of course, the Prime Minister shot that down and derided it. Now the Secretary of State for Health and the leader of the NHS Trusts says that we must consider a separate tax to cover the NHS budget. Will she listen to the experts, or will she force working families to pay the price with their health as well?
The Prime Minister
Of course I will listen to the experts, but let's see who were the ones who ruined the NHS in the first place. When we came to power in 2015, we inherited a mess of a budget with deficits everywhere, but the same NHS Trusts wrote that "the previous Government had spent the NHS into the ground, overpromising and under-delivering on a wide array of services and supplies. It is only under the current Government that we have started to see improvement across all four nations in their NHS services and supplies". Let's ask...who was the previous Government. I'll give the Leader of the Opposition a hint, look behind you!
Sir Keir Starmer
She fails to tackle the real issues, she fails to care about working people, and she will fail the British people if this Government is allowed to go unchecked. I asked my questions, I did my job, I asked her what she was going to do about real problems confronting people, and all she could give us was a couple of talking points. When will the Prime Minister buckle down and get to work?
The Prime Minister
I am not going to be lectured by a man who has done nothing close to his job. He is supposed to scrutinise the Government, yet all I see is him reciting lines his mates at the Guardian have prepared for him already. In a world where alternative facts reigns supreme, the Leader of the Opposition is the King of the Alternative Fact. I answered his questions, and the proof is in the pudding. Wages, up. Employment, up. Security, the highest it has ever been. Taxes, the lowest they have ever been. Prosperity, the highest it has ever been in our country's history. Britain is not only succeeding, but she is thriving and is an example of what smart economic policies coupled with public spending prudence can do for a country. We are going to keep getting on with the job of Government while he can continue to fail at the job of leading a credible Opposition.
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