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Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Uncool Britannia?

Posted by hkarner - 22. November 2017

Date: 21-11-2017
Source: The Economist

How Britain will appear to its friends?

Clothing, shoes and sunglasses can be cool; songs, plays, films and meals sometimes qualify too, as can people’s attitudes. But what about countries? Britain, 20 years ago, was labelled “Cool Britannia”. In the run-up to Brexit, will 2018 turn out to be the year it is widely viewed as Uncool Britannia?

Cool Britannia was always something of a marketing gimmick, one that Tony Blair’s slick spin-doctors were naturally happy to cultivate. But it did capture a period of increased pride in British culture and leadership in the late 1990s. The expression echoed “Rule, Britannia”, a patriotic song. Politics, music, fashion, the arts, food, football: people in Britain, and abroad, seemed to feel that things in the country were going refreshingly well.

This came as a striking contrast with the painful 1970s (when Britain was often seen as the “sick man of Europe”) and the rowdy 1980s (when Margaret Thatcher always seemed happy to pick a fight, however necessary this might be in order to recover from that sickness). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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British politics is being profoundly reshaped by populism

Posted by hkarner - 18. November 2017

Date: 16-11-2017
Source: The Economist

Britain ought to have been immune to populism. Instead it is becoming an unlikely victim

BRITAIN should have been better placed than any other country to fight off the populist fever that is spreading around the world. The House of Commons is one of the oldest representative institutions on Earth. The country’s last violent revolution was in the middle of the 17th century. With politicians as different as Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher denouncing them as “a device for dictators and demagogues”, Britain avoided nationwide referendums until 1975 and has only used them three times. The British erect statues to statesmen and women in Parliament rather than to “the people”.

Yet British politics is currently being reshaped by populism. The essence of populism is the belief that society can be divided into two antagonistic classes—the people and the powerful. The people are presumed to have a single will. The powerful are presumed to be devious and corrupt: determined to feather their own nests and adept at using intermediary institutions (courts, media companies, political parties) to frustrate the people. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexit Poses Risk to U.K.’s Existing Economic Order

Posted by hkarner - 10. Oktober 2017

Date: 09-10-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Simon Nixon

At last week’s Conservative Party conference, there was growing concern at where the process is heading

British Prime Minister Theresa May

The British people didn’t vote for a revolution. They simply voted to leave the European Union. But senior figures across the political spectrum believe that a revolution is what Britain is getting.

Contrary to what Brexiters said during last year’s referendum—and continued to insist until recently—Britain’s departure from the EU is going to be anything but easy. It is increasingly clear that Brexit was an act of violence against the existing economic order.

There is scarcely a corner of the U.K. economy that is unaffected by the decision to reverse 43 years of European integration. At last week’s conference of the ruling Conservative Party, there was growing concern at where this process is heading and how it might end.

What makes Brexit so destabilizing is that it shares two features common to revolutions. First, it has created a parallel legitimacy, pitching the supposed “will of the people” expressed in the referendum against the traditional sovereignty of Parliament, thereby constraining the ability of elected representatives to exercise their own judgment.

Second, it has created a power vacuum. Brexiters campaigned under the slogan “Take Back Control,” but they never agreed who should take control of the powers currently held by Brussels. They shook the economic order but without a coherent plan as to what to put in its place. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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All about Boris: Is Boris Johnson really unsackable?

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2017

Date: 05-10-2017
Source: The Economist
One of the great puzzles of politics is how the foreign secretary keeps his job

BORIS JOHNSON is a serial problem for the Conservative Party’s high command. He is always plotting behind the scenes to get the top job. He has been flagrantly disloyal on the most divisive issue facing the government. Days before Theresa May delivered a speech in Florence laying out the government’s considered position on Brexit, he published an article laying down “red lines” for Britain to keep within during its negotiation. He is also gaffe-prone. The day before Mrs May’s big speech to the party conference he joked, to nervous laughter from his fellow Tories, that Sirte, in northern Libya, could become “the next Dubai” if they could “clear the dead bodies away”.

So why doesn’t the prime minister sack him? One reason, as with almost everything in British politics, lies in Brexit. Sacking a man whose allies call him the “godfather of Brexit” might upset the delicate balance of forces in the cabinet. Another reason is Mr Johnson’s popularity in his party. A YouGov poll found that he is favourite among party members to be the next leader. The Daily Telegraph, a Tory-leaning newspaper, splashed his conference speech on its cover with the headline, “The roaring lion”. Mr Johnson knows how to cheer up the Conservative troops at a time when it is all too easy to give in to despair. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Britain Lost Its Cool

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2017

Mark Leonard is Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

In the past 20 years, the UK and Germany have switched positions, with the latter now representing openness while the former has come to embody backward-looking nationalism. But there is no reason to believe that the two countries won’t swap places again.

BERLIN – The recent meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May in the Estonian capital of Tallinn was a portrait in contrasts. Merkel has pursued openness and internationalism, and leads a country with a world-beating industrial base and strong trade ties. May talks more about the past than the future, and has disparaged “citizens of the world” while claiming to defend her country’s confused national identity.  Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Theresa May v Britain’s managers

Posted by hkarner - 2. September 2017

Date: 31-08-2017
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The country’s problem is not that it has too many fat cats but that it has too few good bosses

IN HER barnstorming speech to announce her candidacy for the leadership of the Conservative Party, delivered in Birmingham on July 11th 2016, Theresa May promised nothing less than to fix capitalism. The gap between workers’ and bosses’ pay was “irrational, unhealthy and growing”, she said. Managers were rigging the system so that they were unaccountable to all but themselves and their doppelgängers. British productivity was dismal. Mrs May said she had heard, in the Brexit vote, a cry for reform. She invoked a long line of Tory leaders, from Robert Peel to Margaret Thatcher, who had taken on the powerful in the name of the people, and suggested that she was considering radical measures, from putting workers on boards to tightening takeover rules.

Thirteen tumultuous months later Mrs May has finally got around to addressing Britain’s “irrational” and “unhealthy” pay gap. Listed companies will publish the ratio of bosses’ pay to average workers’ pay, the government declares. Remuneration committees will consider the wages of ordinary workers when they set executives’ salaries. Companies will have to nominate a director for the workforce or create an employees’ advisory council. Firms that suffer a shareholder rebellion of more than 20% when setting executives’ pay will have their names entered in a shaming public register. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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U.K. Government Overhauls Corporate Governance as Country Prepares to Leave EU

Posted by hkarner - 31. August 2017

Date: 30-08-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Guidelines aim strengthening the country’s reputation as a leader in corporate governance

U.K. Business Secretary Greg Clark said reforms will ensure the country’s  largest companies are more transparent and accountable to their employees and shareholders.

The U.K. government Tuesday launched guidelines on executive pay and worker representation aimed at strengthening the country’s reputation as a leader in corporate governance as it moves to leave the European Union.

Around 900 listed companies for the first time have to publish annual pay ratios between chief executive and their average U.K. worker, according to a set of reforms published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Britain is slowly moving towards accepting harsh truths about Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 19. August 2017

Date: 17-08-2017
Source: The Economist

In this week’s papers on customs arrangements and Ireland, Theresa May’s government begins to accept some inconvenient truths

FOR months, as the clock has ticked towards a two-year deadline for Britain to leave the European Union in March 2019, Theresa May’s government has been criticised for being ill-prepared, divided and unrealistic in its approach to Brexit. And rightly so. However, this week it took a belated step towards reality in the first two of a series of Brexit papers, on future customs arrangements and on Northern Ireland. It accepted explicitly, for the first time, that a temporary transition, or interim period, will be necessary to avert a damaging cliff-edge exit in March 2019, and that in this interim period Britain should be in a customs union with the EU.

That is a big step forward. It is all the more surprising, because it came just days after Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Liam Fox, the trade secretary, promised in a newspaper article that, even in an interim period, Britain would be out of the EU’s single market and customs union. The official Brexit paper acknowledges that this may happen eventually, and offers ideas for a new customs regime that, although burdensome and quite possibly impractical, at least tries to minimise the costs to traders (see article). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Nearly three-quarters of Britons think their country is on the wrong track.

Posted by hkarner - 18. August 2017

Date: 17-08-2017
Source: The Economist
Subject: Britons mellow on migration

Health, terrorism and poverty replace migration as the public’s main worries

A year after they plumped for Brexit and two months after they voted to take away the government’s majority, nearly three-quarters of Britons think their country is on the wrong track. That is the most in nearly five years, and the eighth-highest of 26 countries surveyed by Ipsos, a polling firm.

Health care and terrorism are Britons’ main worries, along with poverty. Concern over immigration—the biggest beef of 2016, and a powerful driver of the vote to “take back control” from the EU—has halved.

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Britain’s Road to Perdition

Posted by hkarner - 16. August 2017

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