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Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

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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The great rescrambling of Britain’s parties

Posted by hkarner - 18. Januar 2019

Date: 17-01-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The country may be headed for a repeat of the 1850s

PEOPLE HAVE been talking about the collapse of the British party system for decades. Now it may actually be under way. The government has lost its authority. Parties are dissolving into factions. Factions are forming left-right alliances. Backbenchers are seizing the limelight while frontbenchers are hiding in the bushes.

Theresa May’s historic defeat on January 15th showed how far the disintegration on the right has gone. Just 40 Tories who are not on the government payroll voted in favour of the deal; 118 Tories voted against it. Now the focus is shifting to the left. Having lost the vote of no confidence in the government—and hence his chance of engineering a general election anytime soon—Jeremy Corbyn will face mounting pressure to call for a second referendum. This will expose deep divisions within his party: between Remain-supporting middle-classes and the Leave-supporting workers; between Labour’s high command and the bulk of its activists; and between Mr Corbyn, who dislikes the idea of another vote, and his chancellor, John McDonnell, who is more open to it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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2018’s Biggest Loser Was the Liberal International Order

Posted by hkarner - 2. Januar 2019

Date: 31-12-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Walter Russell Mead
Subject:The runners-up are China, the U.K., France’s Macron and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed.

It’s been a year of tumult and chaos in world politics. In Japan, a national poll selected the kanji character sai, meaning disaster, as best reflecting the national mood. Perhaps 2019 will bring better news. In the meantime, here are the states, individuals, institutions and ideas that were 2018’s biggest losers. Next week: the winners.

• China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In 2018 Beijing began to learn how hard it is to build an international system. The BRI isn’t only a massive infrastructure project intended to build an integrated commercial area centered on China; it is an attempt to translate China’s economic might into geopolitical power. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The elite that failed

Posted by hkarner - 23. Dezember 2018

Date: 18-12-2018
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Britain’s political crisis exposes the inadequacy of its leaders

In the past year the British body politic has endured an astonishing list of maladies. The cabinet has lost a foreign secretary and two Brexit secretaries, not to mention lots of lesser fry. Parliament has voted to hold the government in contempt. The Conservative Party has held a vote of no confidence in the prime minister and left her badly wounded. And it is going to get worse. There is no parliamentary majority for any Brexit deal, and no way out of the impasse that won’t break promises—and possibly heads.

There are two popular explanations for this mayhem. One is that Europe was always destined to tear Britain apart, since too many Britons loathe the evolution of the common market into a European Union. A second is that Brexit has provided a catalyst for a long-simmering civil war between successful Britain (which is metropolitan and liberal) and left-behind Britain (which is provincial and conservative). Both explanations have merit. But there is also a third: that the country’s model of leadership is disintegrating. Britain is governed by a self-involved clique that rewards group membership above competence and self-confidence above expertise. This chumocracy has finally met its Waterloo. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Our end-of-year awards celebrate the worst in politics

Posted by hkarner - 9. Dezember 2018

Date: 06-12-2018
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

And the winner is…

One of the highlights of any political journalist’s year is the Spectator dinner. Politicians and hacks drink fine champagne, eat good food and exchange juicy gossip, while the magazine’s editor hands out awards to Members of Parliament. But this year’s dinner, held on November 28th, had a surreal air. It was as if the Russian political class was toasting its brilliance in 1917 or the German one celebrating its triumphs in 1932.

The awards are supposed to recognise the best of the British parliamentary system. That system is convulsed by its worst crisis in the democratic era, as politicians fall over each other to make fools of themselves and ancient traditions crumble. Everywhere you look you can see politics at its worst: conspiracy, back-stabbing, grandstanding and chaos. So, in tune with the spirit of the times, we present an alternative set of awards.

Starting with the minor gongs, let’s honour the seat-blocker of the year. The one thing that the Conservative Party has going for it is a rising generation of talented mps, but their progress into government is being stymied by ministers who should never have been promoted. Liam Fox, the trade secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, are strong candidates for this award, but nobody can hold a candle to the transport secretary, Chris “Failing” Grayling, whose combination of incompetence and unpopularity put him several lengths ahead of the rest. Not only did Mr Grayling mess up the introduction of a new train timetable so badly that whole sections of the railway system seized up, but he tried to palm the blame off on everybody but himself. This week a parliamentary committee produced a report on his performance so withering that, in normal times, he would have had to resign. But Mr Grayling had taken the precaution of being the first cabinet minister in David Cameron’s government to back Brexit, thus making himself unsackable. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The NHS genomic service could transform medicine

Posted by hkarner - 29. September 2018

Date: 28-09-2018
Source: The Economist

Its size, universal coverage and lifelong health records make it uniquely valuable for research

FORTY per cent of the babies born in Britain in the week starting on March 3rd 1946 became the first subjects in a project that eventually achieved global scientific renown (and inspired its share of laboratory envy). Along with children from three younger generations, 58,000 in total, those babies have been followed by researchers throughout their lives. Troves of data on everything from child development to ageing have helped to shape health care in Britain and beyond.

Now the National Health Service is launching another big-data programme that could be just as transformative. From October, NHS England will begin to routinely carry out a standard set of genomic tests for some cancers and rare diseases, filling in the patchy use of such tests today. Crucially, for patients who consent, the data from these tests will be held at a national research centre along with their health records. The NHS’s size, universal coverage and cradle-to-grave health records promise to make the database uniquely useful. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Labour’s creep towards a second referendum creates more uncertainty

Posted by hkarner - 29. September 2018

Date: 27-09-2018
Source: The Economist

The party backs a motion that leaves all options on the table

THE most striking mood-swing at this year’s Labour conference was the growing hostility to Brexit. In place of previous ambivalence, badges screaming “Bollox to Brexit” were everywhere. Fringe meetings were thick with members denouncing a Tory Brexit designed to benefit corporate interests at the expense of workers. And when Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, declared that parliamentary deadlock might justify a people’s vote, adding that nobody could say that Remain would not be an option, he received one of the conference’s biggest standing ovations.

Sir Keir claims that the party is united on Brexit, but it is not. A long and much-contested motion, passed at the conference, leaves all options open, including another vote. For all Labour’s pretence at being constructive this week, Sir Keir’s six tests mean that the party is all but certain to oppose any deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels. The party leadership is more Eurosceptic than the membership. It is also more dubious about the idea of a second referendum. Some big trade unions, as well as quite a few Labour MPs, are unhappy being seen to challenge the democratic decision of June 2016. Although polls show rising support for a fresh vote on a Brexit deal (see chart), party leaders fret that calling for it to include a Remain option could drive Leave voters in Labour seats into the Tories’ arms. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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