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Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Cummings is now a laughing stock. Alas, so is Britain

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2020

Date: 31‑05‑2020

Source: The Guardian by William Keegan

The guru of Brexit and the 2019 election has been exposed. But the economic and social damage is well and truly done

Dominic Cummings: digging himself deeper.

My father, who was of Irish extraction but hailed from County Durham, used to say: never kick a man when he is down. After the shambles of Mr Dominic Cummings’s recent excursion to Durham, one might be tempted to make an exception to the rule. But there is no need. The prime minister’s once‑valued adviser has been kicking himself – but not in the colloquial sense of expressing regret for his actions.

Deeper and deeper he dug himself in, as one terminological inexactitude led to another, and the rule‑breaker failed lamentably to justify breaking government lockdown instructions for which he was at least in part responsible.

Now, I have never, to my knowledge, met Mr Cummings. But what amazes me, and almost everyone I know, is how this first‑class clown could have acquired a reputation for having anything resembling a brain. His snivelling appearance before the media in the garden of No 10 was a classic of its kind.

The eye test has made him an international laughing stock; and, while we are on the subject of sight, his supposed foresight in forecasting the outbreak of the plague must be making George Orwell laugh in his grave. In 1984, Big Brother’s team made forecasts once they knew the result. Cummings appears to have tried the same but was found out. The guru can, it seems, be sensationally incompetent. If only he had manifested such incompetence during the referendum campaign and the 2019 general election. In those days he was, alas, far more successful in distorting the truth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Britain Bigger Than Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 27. Mai 2020

American rubbish! (hfk)

Date: 27‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Reviving the U.K. economy is now Boris Johnson’s challenge.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson .

Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels have resumed, and rarely has that issue been less important. What matters now is how both sides plan to recover from the coronavirus recession.

The biggest opportunity is Britain’s. The EU looks set to spend years mired in impossible arguments over how to pay for the pandemic’s costs, especially in nations with weaker fiscs. Brussels plods onward with its project of expanding Europe’s bureaucracy and regulatory micromanagement, Germany was slipping toward a recession even before the virus, and Emmanuel Macron’s reforms are stalled in France.

Alone among Europe’s large economies, Britain entered the pandemic crisis in good health with improving confidence and a government, under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, capable of governing. Mr. Johnson’s challenge now, far more than Brexit, is to leverage those advantages into a strong recovery.

Britain chose early in the pandemic to subsidize 80% of wages for furloughed workers, up to £2,500 ($3,000) a month. That has kept workers more closely attached to their employers, but at a stupendous taxpayer cost. The issue now is whether those businesses will survive. Data this week showed joblessness and social‑welfare claims skyrocketing in April. Reopening the economy—most of it, and quickly—has to be the priority or nothing that comes after will alleviate the mounting damage.

One immediate challenge will be fiscal policy and especially taxation. Early rounds of coronavirus spending pushed government borrowing to 2.8% of GDP in the financial year that ended in March, and government debt is now 98% of GDP as revenues fall and pandemic spending rises. Mandarins in the Treasury say higher personal or corporate tax rates will be necessary alongside government spending freezes.

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Britain’s government says it is “following the science”. Which science?

Posted by hkarner - 10. Mai 2020

Date: 07‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

Scientists deal in uncertainty, politicians prefer not to.

Amid the pandemic, the two are not mixing well

Watching the great and good trip up is a popular British spectator sport, and the lockdown offers a variety of banana skins which may bring eminent people down. First to tumble was Catherine Calderwood, who resigned as Scotland’s chief medical officer after twice breaking restrictions to visit her second home. This week it was the turn of Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist whose bleak modelling spurred on Britain’s lockdown. He will no longer advise the government after flouting the rules by having his lover visit. The newspaper headlines were merciless.

“Prof Lockdown broke lockdown to get his trousers down,” read the Sun’s splash. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Coronavirus: Johnson faces lockdown dilemma as scientists warn over grim data

Posted by hkarner - 27. April 2020

Date: 26‑04‑2020

Source: The Guardian

Prime minister returns to work on Monday to cabinet at odds over easing social distancing

The number of new cases of Covid‑19 being diagnosed is still much too high to allow any easing of the lockdown soon, leading scientists have warned, as the virus death toll in UK hospitals passed 20,000 on Saturday.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, described the figure as a “terrible milestone” and a “deeply tragic and moving moment”. She said it showed the need for the British public to “stay strong” and remain at home for the foreseeable future.

A further 813 deaths were reported in hospitals, taking the UK total to 20,319. This figure does not include deaths from Covid‑19 in care homes, hospices and in the community.

As ministers came under increasing pressure to ease the lockdown from the business community and Tory MPs concerned at the plight of small firms in their own constituencies, scientists said the drop in new coronavirus cases being reported daily was disappointingly slow.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Sage group of Covid‑19 experts, said if the lockdown was eased now, the newly enhanced testing and contact tracing system being put in place would be swamped.

“The strategy behind plans to lift the lockdown is based on the idea [that] you could then control the epidemic by testing people for infections before tracing their contacts,” Edmunds said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson is the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time

Posted by hkarner - 21. April 2020

Date: 21‑04‑2020

Source: The Guardian by Polly Toynbee

The Sunday Times revelations confirm all our worst fears: the prime minister’s handling of coronavirus has been shockingly complacent

‘No one forget his cheery 3 March boast that he was still shaking hands with virus‑sufferers. Nor that he was at Twickenham for a rugby match on 7 March.’

Everything unravels with almost indecent speed. After a brush with death, the prime minister is still recovering at Chequers when one of his many supportive newspapers drops a grenade straight down his Elizabethan chimney. No period of grace and convalescence: the Sunday Times didn’t even wait for him to stumble back to Downing Street before firing off its devastating attack on his cavalier incompetence over the coronavirus outbreak.

What makes the insiders’ account so devastating is that it chimes with everything everyone already knows about Boris Johnson’s character. An unnamed “senior adviser” to Downing Street “broke ranks” to say: “What you learn about Boris was he didn’t chair any meetings. He liked his country breaks. He didn’t work weekends. It was like working for an old‑fashioned chief executive in a local authority 20 years ago. There was a real sense that he didn’t do urgent crisis planning. It was exactly like people feared he would be.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The British state has long been unfit for purpose. Now everyone can see that

Posted by hkarner - 16. April 2020

Date: 16‑04‑2020

Source: The Guardian Anthony Seldon

The coronavirus crisis shows it is time to ditch No 10’s power‑hoarding, prioritise wellbeing and focus on the future

‘Ministerial leadership has been generally not good enough for many years.’ Boris Johnson’s reshuffled cabinet meeting in February.

Covid‑19, for all its tragic health and economic impacts, will affect many areas of British life that are ripe for change. Pandemics, along with wars and economic depressions, have been the status quo’s greatest disruptors in history.

British government has long been unfit for purpose, as it was in 1939. The second world war created modern British government, which galvanised the massive economic and societal change to propel the country to victory, and then drove through, under Clement Attlee, the most profound postwar social revolution that the country has seen.

The handling of the coronavirus has been far from all bad. The response of the Treasury and HMRC in devising the recovery package so quickly was a highlight. So too has the palpable reliance on medics and scientists at the daily No 10 press conferences.

 A committee of inquiry into how we’ve dealt with the outbreak is nevertheless likely to focus on three signal failings. Government, as most elsewhere, was insufficiently prepared, despite repeated warnings of a pandemic. Had the government planned ahead, it would have known better what decisions to take, and would not have made up so much policy on the wing. It would have built up stocks for testing, had enough personal protective equipment in warehouses, and ensured it had sufficient ventilators. It would have been able to press a button on a playlist to tell it exactly what to do with businesses, schools, universities, transport, food and social care. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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After coronavirus, Boris Johnson’s Tories will be a very different party

Posted by hkarner - 16. April 2020

Date: 16‑04‑2020

Source: The Guardian Martin Kettle

A brand built around Brexit and the anger of the left‑behind is becoming much less relevant in the shadow of pandemic

‘The idea that Britain should be a Brexit buccaneer, throwing itself into the arms of Donald Trump, seems even more irresponsible.’

It is only four months since Boris Johnson led the Conservative party to a historic victory. His 80‑seat majority seemed to recast the electoral landscape for a generation. It also marked another milestone in Brexit’s transformation of the Conservative party from the party of business to the party of the flag. Today, that seems like another world.

Everything has been upended by Covid‑19. The business of government is wholly taken up with protecting public health, keeping the economy on life support and, in Johnson’s own case, his personal survival. Today the national lockdown is expected to be extended into May.

It seems likely that the Britain which eventually emerges from the coronavirus crisis will be a country of a significantly different temper from the Britain that went into it. Nobody can be certain about the degree of change. The possibility that the economy may shrink by a third, with millions of job losses, is a reality check about a more enduringly difficult new normal. The post‑pandemic Conservative party must adapt too. But in what ways? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson’s illness has darkened Britain’s mood

Posted by hkarner - 12. April 2020

Date: 09‑04‑2020

Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The illness of a man who once divided the nation has united it

Boris johnson has always believed that history was not made just by vast impersonal forces but by great men and women who change its course through their sheer talent and willpower. His admiration for Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher springs from this worldview; so did h

Just as Mr Johnson was fulfilling his ambition, with a recently acquired 87‑seat majority in Parliament and grand plans to build a new one‑nation Conservatism that might yet win him membership of the great‑men club, the vast impersonal forces hit back. On March 27th Mr Johnson revealed that he had covid‑19. On April 6th he went into intensive care. The government is in the hands of his cabinet and the first secretary of state, Dominic Raab. Mr Johnson’s Brexit plans have been sidelined in order to fight a rearguard action against a disease that is locking down the country and tanking the economy. The prime minister who wanted to be defined by Brexit will be defined by covid‑19.

Mr Johnson’s condition is all the more shocking because he is normally such a force of nature. He has been blessed (or cursed) with Falstaffian appetites: witness his two marriages and a third in the offing; his five acknowledged children and another on the way; his string of mistresses; his enthusiasm for food, wine and, of course, cake; the mound of books and articles that he has produced while also pursuing his political career; and his extraordinary ability to light up a room. He has also been an omnipresent figure in British public life for several decades: editor of the Spectator, star columnist on the Daily Telegraph, mayor of London, principal Brexiteer, foreign secretary and tormentor‑in‑chief of his predecessor, Theresa May, until he finally got the job he always wanted. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Labour may be about to embrace the Anglosphere’s first post‑populist

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2020

Date: 01‑03‑2020

Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Subject: Keir Starmer, a serious Labour man

Jeremy corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party in 2015 was an early warning that the populist virus was spreading to the Anglo‑Saxon world. The next few years saw Donald Trump win the White House, Britain vote to leave the eu, and, after three years of gridlock, Boris Johnson take over the Conservative Party on a promise of getting Brexit done “do or die”. Could Mr Corbyn’s retirement from the leadership on April 4th bring about another big change in politics?

The populist fires are burning brighter than ever in the United States, where Democratic activists love Bernie Sanders for the same reasons that Corbynistas loved Mr Corbyn, and with the same disregard for their hero’s electability. But the fires seem to be dying down in Britain. The latest YouGov/Sky poll of Labour Party members shows Sir Keir Starmer, a former barrister and director of public prosecutions, beating Rebecca Long‑Bailey, a left‑winger who is his principal rival for the leadership, by 53% to 31% of first‑preference votes.

Sir Keir is the polar opposite of the charismatic populists who bestride much of the world. People who know him agree on two basic facts. The first is that he is a thoroughly decent human being—a family man with none of the hauteur that can afflict prominent politicians. The second is that he’s very serious. The most common words used to describe him are competent, credible, diligent, cautious and even boring. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson will find there is a price to pay for No 10’s power grab

Posted by hkarner - 18. Februar 2020

Date: 17‑02‑2020

Source: the Observer

Previous experiments with control‑freak premierships have not turned out well

Boris Johnson has spent his career disguising cunning plans as unintended blunders and dressing up stupid errors as machiavellian strokes. So there has been much understandable confusion about whether the defenestration of Sajid Javid was by accident or by design. In the immediate aftermath of his resignation, Number 10 didn’t much object to suggestions that the prime minister engineered the chancellor’s removal by ambushing him with a demand to sack all his special advisers, a demand that the prime minister knew the other man could never accept. This version of events appalled a lot of Tory MPs and generated much finger‑pointing at Dominic Cummings, who I won’t call the prime minister’s Rasputin because he likes the label too much.

It then suited some of Mr Johnson’s friends to spin that it was not a cunning plan at all, but an innocent cockup. Not: ha, we screwed Javid. But: oops, we lost Saj. On this account, the chancellor reacted with more hostility than anticipated when, towards the end of their conversation on the morning of reshuffle day, Mr Johnson asked him to dispense with his closest aides. The prime minister, so this story goes, was genuinely surprised and sad to lose his services. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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