Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

The A… has Landed!

Posted by hkarner - 4. Juni 2019

Date: 03-06-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Trump Criticizes London Mayor Sadiq Khan as He Arrives in U.K.

President opens a four-day swing through Britain and France; his visit is likely to feature mostly festivities and commemorations, and little deal-making

LONDON—President Trump courted controversy before he arrived in Britain for a three-day state visit, reopening a long-running feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan by calling him a “stone-cold loser.”

Hours before he touched down in the U.K. on Monday morning, Mr. Trump launched a Twitter spat with the popular mayor—who had previously criticized the state visit—saying that Mr. Khan has “done a terrible job” as London’s mayor and mocking the mayor’s diminutive stature. Mr. Khan responded with a video where he stated: “President Trump, if you’re watching this, your values and what you stand for are the complete opposite of London’s values and the values of this country.” 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That view is out of date.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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Can think-tanks survive a post-fact world?

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: The Economist

The brainy, technocratic, urbane elites need to rejuvenate their mission or accept their demise

A HUNDRED years ago this week, diplomats and academics from the British and American delegations at the Versailles peace conference at the end of the first world war met for a dinner at the Hotel Majestic in Paris, a short stroll from the Arc de Triomphe. Their aim was to work out how to continue their fruitful co-operation beyond the peace talks and promote internationalist values in their countries.

Their initial idea for a single Anglo-American institute to fuse a weakened Britain and an ascendant America was not realised. But the dinner on May 30th 1919 gave rise to two institutions that have shaped public outlook and public policy on foreign affairs ever since: the Royal Institute for International Affairs (known as Chatham House, after the building in which it resides), set up in London in 1920, and the Council on Foreign Relations, founded the following year in New York. They have served as templates for numerous other think-tanks around the world.

Yet as the two organisations prepare to celebrate their centenaries, the festivities are tinged with anxiety. For how can institutions founded to pursue non-partisan, evidence-based research, carried out by experts, survive in an era when facts do not seem to matter quite so much?

After all, people have had “enough of experts”, in the words of Michael Gove, a senior Tory politician in Britain. President Donald Trump positively boasts of trusting his gut “more than anybody else’s brain”. Many of the West’s elected leaders have explicitly rejected the entire rationale for the sort of serious-mined wonkery that used to earn think-tanks influence, status and, most importantly, donors. 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: A lack of leadership is not the country’s only difficulty

Posted by hkarner - 5. Mai 2019

Date: 05-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot
Subject: Britain’s followership problem

Back in 1997 Warren Bennis, a management guru, invited this columnist, who then had the onerous job of reporting on California, to a soirée in his house on Santa Monica beach to discuss the evergreen topic of leadership. A junior guru presented a paper on how today’s leaders needed all sorts of touchy-feely qualities such as empathy. Yours truly annoyed everyone by arguing that Margaret Thatcher had been a pretty good leader without knowingly engaging in empathy. Then Peter Drucker, speaking in a heavy Viennese accent and dressed in a three-piece suit, threw his own hand-grenade. “I don’t know why people are so fixated on the subject of leadership,” he said, or words to that effect. “What we really need to think about is followership.”

It is worth remembering Drucker’s words whenever people talk about Britain’s crisis of leadership. There is no doubt that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are singularly unimpressive figures. But Parliament also contains a fair number of people with sparkling cvs, such as Rory Stewart, or remarkable life stories, such as Angela Rayner. Regardless of their abilities, political leaders have to perform before an increasingly hostile audience which routinely questions their motives and trashes their achievements. Followers are a tougher crowd than they used to be. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexit Agonistes

Posted by hkarner - 13. April 2019

Date: 12-04-2019
Source: YaleGlobal by Jolyon Howorth

With Brexit, the United Kingdom’s notions of global stature with its leaders calling the shots on trade or regulations are in question. “In joining the European Union, the United Kingdom was a supplicant, twice vetoed by France’s General Charles de Gaulle,” observes author Jolyon Howorth, visiting professor with Harvard Kennedy School. “In leaving, the UK again becomes supplicant.” UK Prime Minister Theresa May had to plead for an extension after Brexit plans failed to capture a parliamentary majority. The European Union complied, setting a new deadline with the condition that the United Kingdom “refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives.” Europeans, weary of the battle, are inclined to cut loose a country regularly agitating to get its own way or leave. To ease polarization, the United Kingdom must determine its identity and capabilities, Howorth concludes, and when ready, try rejoining the European Union again as constructive partner. – YaleGlobal

EU members are ready to set the United Kingdom free, setting a deadline for Brexit with an expectation of no disruptions

Rebuffed supplicant: European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker works out a Brexit extension with UK Prime Minister Theresa May; early on, French President Charles de Gaulle twice vetoed British entry into the European Community, suggesting the nation was fundamentally not ready Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Britain is dangerously fertile ground for the far right

Posted by hkarner - 12. April 2019

Date: 11-04-2019
Source: The Economist

The failure of far-right parties has made the country complacent about the threat it faces

In the upstairs room of the Friar Penketh pub in Warrington on July 1st 2017, Jack Renshaw outlined his plan to murder an mp with a 19-inch machete. The then 22-year-old told the gathered members of National Action, a banned far-right group, that he had slaughtered a pig in preparation for killing Rosie Cooper, the mp for West Lancashire. After that he would murder a policewoman, dc Victoria Henderson, as part of a campaign of “white jihad”, he explained.

The far right is on the march. One way it manifests itself is through violence. Mr Renshaw’s foiled plot, which can be reported in full following the end of a trial earlier this month, would have meant the second murder of an mp in barely a year. Jo Cox, another Labour mp, was killed in 2016 by Thomas Mair, a far-right terrorist who gave his name as “death to traitors, freedom for Britain” when he appeared in the dock. Darren Osborne, who drove a van into worshippers outside a mosque in 2017, killing one person, had hoped to kill Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, too. Death threats are now common for mps. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexit Sweat and Tears

Posted by hkarner - 29. Januar 2019

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

For years after World War II, Britons were aware of the palpable shift in the country’s fortunes. But there was a deep aversion to accepting the UK’s diminished status, and the failure – beginning with Winston Churchill – of successive generations of politicians to address it is what has led to the current impasse.

LONDON – I recently saw an American play in London called “Sweat,” written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Lynn Nottage. It was performed previously on and off Broadway and was described by the Wall Street Journal as a play that helped to explain Donald Trump’s election as president.

Nottage had spent some time talking to the residents of a poor city in Pennsylvania which was losing jobs and its modest prosperity because of the contraction of the steel industry. Competition from cheaper manufacturers and lower-paid workers around the world had devastated an already-weak economy and provoked conflict between friends, relatives, and races.

Economically marginalized workers were also feeling culturally beleaguered. The world in which they had grown up – its values and fixed identity – was, it seemed to them, being systematically trashed. They turned – not necessarily in the expectation of answers – to a billionaire outsider who, unlike the political elites, had not yet let them down and appeared to share their contempt for the establishment. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The debate over a second Brexit referendum

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Date: 18-01-2019
Source: The Economist

How Britain embraced referendums, the tool of dictators and demagogues

We can go from “the people’s vote” to “a people’s veto,” says Robert Saunders of Queen Mary University of London

With the possible exceptions of race, sex and Theresa May’s dancing, no subject has inspired more hysteria in British politics than the referendum.

In 1945 Clement Attlee denounced it as “alien to all our traditions” and an “instrument of Nazism”. Harold Wilson, the prime minister who would hold Britain’s first national referendum in 1975, had previously dismissed the idea as “contrary to our traditions” and “not a way in which we can do business”, scoffing that a referendum would probably abolish the income tax. His Conservative opponent, Margaret Thatcher, called the referendum “a device of dictators and demagogues” that would be dangerous to minorities and destructive of parliamentary sovereignty. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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