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Posts Tagged ‘Brexit’

The question is not who will lead the Conservative Party, but whether it will survive

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Brexit could prove to be an extinction event for the party that has dominated British politics for much of the past century-and-a-half

There are few things that Britain’s Conservatives relish more than a leadership election. For candidates, it is a chance to talk about their favourite subject—themselves. For mps and party members, it is an opportunity to trade their votes for favours or flattery. But the brighter Tories recognise that this is a leadership election with a difference: this time they are dancing on the edge of a volcano. The natural party of government for much of the past century-and-a-half could face catastrophe, in the form of an internal split or a wipeout in the next election.

The party’s recent electoral performance has been disastrous. It saw its vote-share crumble to 9% in the European election last month and then came third in the Peterborough by-election. It is polling below 20%. Any honeymoon the next party leader enjoys is sure to be brief, for the Conservatives run a minority government that is trying to push through a complicated and controversial divorce bill in the face of profound divisions in their own ranks, not to mention the country, and mounting impatience in Brussels. The next prime minister could face a vote of no confidence within a month and a general election within a year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tory candidates are misleading people about a no-deal Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist

Hardliners say it would be fine, moderates say it could be stopped. Both may be in for a nasty surprise

Fully ten leadership candidates faced a first ballot of Conservative mps as we went to press. In hopes of being one of the final two to go through to a vote by party members, they are vying to promise the most extravagant tax and spending plans. But the immediate challenge for the winner, who will take office in late July, will be Brexit, which is due to happen three months later. And here the promises vary from instant renegotiation of Britain’s exit deal to withdrawing with no deal at all.

The timing is tight. Parliament is likely to go into recess just after the new prime minister is installed, and the European Union will go on holiday. mps come back in September, but for less than two weeks before their party conferences. Brussels will be preoccupied with getting a new commission approved by the European Parliament by November 1st. A summit of eu leaders on October 17th-18th will come just a fortnight before the Brexit deadline. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson threatens to hold back Brexit ‘divorce’ payment to force a deal

Posted by hkarner - 10. Juni 2019

Date: 09-06-2019
Source: The Guardian

Pledge comes as James Brokenshire backs former foreign secretary, while Ruth Davidson endorses Sajid Javid

Boris Johnson claims only he, as Tory leader, could defeat both Labour and the Brexit party.

Boris Johnson has vowed to withhold Britain’s £39bn Brexit “divorce” payment until the EU agrees better terms for the UK to leave.

Withholding the cash, scrapping the Northern Ireland backstop, guaranteeing the rights of all EU citizens in Britain while stepping up preparations for a No Deal “disruption” in the wake of no deal are among measures the government would carry out if he was elected leader of the Conservative party, he said.

Failure to deliver Brexit, with or without a deal, by the October 31 deadline threatened the Tory party’s very survival, he warned. He said he thought it “extraordinary” the UK agreed to write the so-called divorce cheque before having the final deal signed.

“I think our friends and partners need to understand that the money is going to be retained until such time as we have greater clarity about the way forward,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper. The money, he said, was a “great solvent and a great lubricant” in getting a good deal.

Johnson is an early favourite to win the Conservative Party leadership race. An opinion poll of grass roots party members by the ConservativeHome website on Saturday put Johnson in the clear lead at 43 per cent with Michael Gove second on 12 per cent. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can the West Still Govern?

Posted by hkarner - 7. Juni 2019

Date: 06-06-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Daniel Henninger

Trumpian nationalism may be on the rise, but most democracies are in gridlock.

Following European election wins by nationalist and populist parties in Italy, France and Britain, former White House strategist Steve Bannon says European integration is „dead in its tracks.“

Donald Trump, the best golfer ever to set up shop in the Oval Office, announced in London this week that because of departing Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts, the Brexit deal is “teed up.” Teed up? With this remark, Mr. Trump gives new meaning to “mulligan,” golf’s infamous do-over for a failed shot. Britain’s politicians are at least 40 shots over par on Brexit, having shanked, hooked or topped every ball they’ve tried to hit.

In truth, there’s nothing funny about the British elites’ hapless efforts to make good on voters’ decision in 2016 to separate the United Kingdom from the European Union. The referendum was a classic expression of democratic will: Brexit won narrowly (with 51.9%), but in a democracy that still counts as a victory. More troubling is the possibility that the great and the good of Britain’s elected political leadership will simply fail to execute the referendum’s mandate, raising the possibility that the very idea of governance is approaching a dead end in one of the world’s oldest democracies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Britain’s constitutional time-bomb

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: The Economist

Brexit is already a political crisis. Sooner or later it will become a constitutional crisis, too

Britons pride themselves on their “unwritten” constitution. America, France and Germany need rules to be set down in black and white. In the Mother of Parliaments democracy has blossomed for over 300 years without coups, revolution or civil war, Irish independence aside. Its politics are governed by an evolving set of traditions, conventions and laws under a sovereign Parliament. Thanks to its stability, Britain convinced the world that its style of government was built on solid foundations laid down over centuries of commonsense adaptation.

That view is out of date. The remorseless logic of Brexit has shoved a stick of constitutional dynamite beneath the United Kingdom—and, given the difficulty of constitutional reform in a country at loggerheads, there is little that can be done to defuse it. The chances are high that Britons will soon discover that the constitution they counted on to be adaptable and robust can in fact amplify chaos, division and the threat to the union. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jeremy Corbyn is increasingly isolated in his own party

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The leader of the Labour Party is in his weakest position yet

H.l. mencken is said to have defined a politician as “an animal that can sit on the fence and yet keep both ears on the ground”. By that definition Jeremy Corbyn is failing in his vocation. The European elections bulldozed Mr Corbyn’s fence by giving the Labour Party just 14% of the vote in the country as a whole and 9% in its former stronghold of Scotland. They unleashed a furious debate that was ostensibly about the party’s stance on Europe in particular but also about Mr Corbyn’s leadership in general.

Senior figures such as Tom Watson, the deputy leader, and Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, were quick to blame Labour’s dismal performance on its refusal to offer wholehearted support for holding a second referendum and staying in the European Union. Others, particularly from the party’s working-class wing, were equally quick to push back. Gloria De Piero, mp for Ashfield, urged her colleagues not to let a single issue—Brexit—“wreck” the party. Len McCluskey, head of the Unite trade union, accused supporters of a second referendum of trying to launch a coup against the leader. Mr Corbyn did his best to rebuild his fence and climb back on it. He promised that “we are ready to support a public vote on any deal”. But he stopped short of offering Remainers what they want: unconditional backing for a second referendum whether or not there is an eu deal on the table, and a firm commitment to turning Labour into a Remain party. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Tories After Theresa May

Posted by hkarner - 26. Mai 2019

Date: 25-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

The next Prime Minister needs to deliver on Brexit, deal or no deal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May tears up as she makes a statement in Downing Street, May 24.

Prime Minister Theresa May finally gave up her dogged hold on power, announcing Friday that she’ll leave 10 Downing Street on June 7 after failing to deliver Britain’s departure from the European Union. Mrs. May never got much help from other Tories, but her failure means the next party leader will inherit an even tougher job than she did.

“It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” said Mrs. May, who famously declared “Brexit means Brexit” after she became the compromise choice of Tories when David Cameron resigned. Yet she never really believed it or at least never articulated a vision of a post-EU future for her great nation.

Instead she led from behind as a broker between Brussels and factions of the Conservative Party. In 2017 she called a snap election without a message other than attacking Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the Tories lost their outright majority. Mrs. May spent her three years as PM making complicated political calculations to appease different groups—from Remainers to the pro-Brexit European Research Group—and ended up pleasing no one. Her pitch this week for a potential second Brexit referendum brought about a deserved end.

The question is whether her successor can unite the Tories enough to make a successful Brexit or watch their party divide and fall. The rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, predicted to win this week’s European Parliament elections, shows the biggest danger would be to give up on Brexit. A Conservative crackup could bring to power Mr. Corbyn, whose agenda of nationalization and confiscatory taxation could set back the British economy for a generation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Choosing Boris Johnson as prime minister would be a dangerous gamble

Posted by hkarner - 25. Mai 2019

Date: 22-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Before making their bet, Conservatives should ask themselves three big questions

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY has a long history of making big bets on mavericks whenever it thinks that its back is against the wall. Before they won the party leadership, three of the greatest Tory prime ministers were cordially loathed by their party. Margaret Thatcher was regarded as a polarising ideologue who lacked the ability to connect with voters or command Parliament. Winston Churchill was a boozy bloviator and serial bungler, launching the Dardanelles campaign and clinging to the gold standard. Benjamin Disraeli was a flashy outsider who had no achievements to his name other than undermining Robert Peel over the Corn Laws. The Tories punted on all three and won big.

It looks as if the party is about to gamble again on Boris Johnson. The former foreign secretary is the overwhelming favourite among party members, who elect the leader. His only obstacle is persuading enough of his fellow Conservative MPs to put him on the shortlist of two. So far they have been sceptical. The charge sheet against Mr Johnson is a long one: a chaotic private life, a habit of bending facts, a lack of focus and discipline and being what Sir Max Hastings, a former editor of the Conservative house journal, the Daily Telegraph, calls a “gold-plated egomaniac”.

But the party is in a full-blown panic. It is likely to come a poor fourth in this week’s European election, thanks to the rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the implosion of Theresa May’s premiership. If the split on the right continues, it will put Labour’s far-left Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street. What’s more, for all Mr Johnson’s faults he is a genuine political star, one of a handful of politicians who is known internationally by his first name (if not always for the right reasons). Because of his leading role in Brexit he no longer has the ability to reach out to the cosmopolitan liberals who gave him two terms as mayor of London. But he nevertheless has a rare ability to light up a room. Mrs May was a grand immiserator who made everybody around her feel rotten. Mr Johnson is a booming cheerleader who makes people feel good about themselves. Who better to reclaim wavering Tories from Mr Farage’s Brexit army? And who better to lead the charge against Mr Corbyn’s Leninist-Lennonist troops?

More thoughtful Conservatives wonder if Mr Johnson might be the ideal vehicle for absorbing and civilising the populist furies that threaten to take the country to a dark place. The Tories have an admirable record of co-opting social movements that destroyed similar parties in other countries, such as the clamour for democracy in the late 19th century and the creation of a welfare state after the second world war. Mr Johnson may represent a chance to do the same with populism. He insists that Brexit is at its heart a liberal rather than a populist project, which will open Britain to the world rather than keeping it imprisoned in fortress Europe. He enthusiastically supports a credo issued by the newly formed One Nation Group of 60 moderate Tory MPs. So it is easy to see why Tories are contemplating taking a punt. Surely a flash of genius is better than mediocrity, even if it is part of a combustible mixture? And surely the fact that three big bets in the past paid off handsomely suggests that it is worth making another one? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Britain’s Conservative Collapse

Posted by hkarner - 23. Mai 2019

Date: 22-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Voters seem ready to crush the Tories for their bungling over Brexit.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage addresses a European Parliament election campaign rally in London, May 21.

British voters head to the polls Thursday for a European Parliament election they weren’t supposed to vote in, and the biggest loser is likely to be the ruling Conservative Party. Ignoring Brexit for a moment—yes, it’s possible—the most consequential development in Europe the last two years is the collapse of the Tories as a governing party.

Polls suggest the Conservatives are on track to finish fourth with less than 15% of the vote. The big winner is likely to be the Brexit Party founded by Nigel Farage, which has soared to more than 30% in the polls since it was formed in January. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party probably will waddle in an anemic second.

European Parliament elections traditionally are a poor bellwether for national politics. In 2014 the Tories under David Cameron finished a close third behind Mr. Farage’s U.K. Independence Party and Labour before winning a majority in 2015’s national election. But the Tories are much further behind this time. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Austria and the Plot Against Europe

Posted by hkarner - 21. Mai 2019

Date: 20-05-2019
Source: by Charles Tannock

Charles Tannock is a member of the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament. He is British citizen and member of the conservative party.

The collapse of Austria’s government has revealed how extensive Russian manipulation of Europe’s politics has become. The question every European democrat of the left, right, and center must now ask is whether the true scope and scale of the political, moral, and material corruption of Europe’s far-right parties has been exposed in time.

LONDON – Across Europe, the looming European Parliament elections have long been viewed as the biggest showdown yet between populism and Europe’s established democratic parties. The collapse of Austria’s government has now revealed just how high the stakes are. The question every European democrat of the left, right, and center must now ask themselves is whether the true scope and scale of the political, moral, and material corruption of Europe’s far-right parties, as revealed in Austria, have been discovered in time.

Austria has been ruled since 2017 by a coalition government comprising the Austrian Peoples’ Party (dubbed the Sebastian Kurz list, after the party leader and current chancellor) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ), founded by ex-SS officers in the 1950s. The release of a video by two of Germany’s leading news outlets, Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung, has ruptured the coalition, and a new election has been called for this September. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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