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Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Britain and Italy are now the terrible twins of Europe

Posted by hkarner - 23. August 2019

Date: 22-08-2019
Source: The Guardian by Martin Kettle

Poles apart for decades, the similarities are now uncanny as populist governments produce ever more extreme policies

Politically, Britain is becoming more like Italy.’

For most of the time since 1945, the politics and government of Britain and Italy have seemed like polar opposites. True, both were important European powers. True too, each had a place among the world’s major economies. Even now, Britain and Italy will be among the select group of economically powerful nations whose leaders will gather in the Second Empire splendour of Biarritz’s Hotel du Palais this weekend for the latest G7 summit.

In the past, that was where the similarities began to ebb away. In politics, Britain was famously stable while Italy was infamously not. British governments were domestically strong, while Italian governments were weak and short-lived. In Britain, leftwing politics was rooted in industrial unionism, while Italy possessed the largest, most modern-minded and most alluring communist party in the west. When Britain looked in the mirror it saw the embodiment of probity and practicality, while Italy was all too often synonymous with crime and corruption. While Britain maintained its autonomy by refusing to join the eurozone, Italy enthusiastically embraced its upper mid-table place in the EU and its membership of the single currency was shamelessly engineered.

Today, the political comparison is marked not by divergence but by an increasing convergence. Politically, Britain is becoming more like Italy. Like Italy, Britain is an increasingly hard to govern country that makes less and less effort to address its underlying economic, social and political problems. Instead, like Italy, Britain appears to be drifting steadily to the right under skilful populist leaders whom the political institutions are proving unable to control. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is Britain Becoming a Failed State?

Posted by hkarner - 21. August 2019

Date: 20-08-2019
Source: by Chris Patten

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

Failed states used to be largely the preserve of the developing world, where the institutions of democracy do not have deep roots. But given the extent to which the Brexit campaign has undermined Britain’s institutions through lies, it is reasonable to worry that the country will soon come to resemble a tinpot dictatorship.

LONDON – What is a failed state? Not so long ago, when I was Britain’s Overseas Development Minister, and later European Commissioner for External Affairs, I would probably have tried to answer the question by pointing to specific examples, including several countries in Latin America and Africa.

I would have highlighted tribal conflicts, military coups, economic failure, extremes of poverty, and high mortality rates. I might have referred to the failure of more prosperous societies to ensure that globalization helped everyone and did not leave some communities trapped in deprivation. In addition, I would certainly have mentioned systems of government that had ceased to deliver what they were intended to do, and certainly what outside well-wishers hoped and assumed they would do. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Loud, obsessive, tribal’: the radicalisation of remain

Posted by hkarner - 18. August 2019

Date: 17-08-2019
Source: The Guardian By Daniel Cohen

They hate Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. They no longer trust the BBC. They love civil servants, legal experts and James O’Brien. And now, consumed by the battle against Brexit, hardcore remainers are no longer the moderates.

On 25 October 2017, a pensioner living in the Netherlands created a new hashtag. Hendrik Klaassens was concerned about the rise of Europe’s far right and wanted to bring campaigners together on Twitter. He settled on #FBPE: “Follow Back Pro EU”. Klaassens didn’t specifically have Britain in mind, but within a few days of his tweet, anti-Brexit Twitter accounts started using the hashtag. Before long, they were adding it to their usernames, so that it would appear whenever they tweeted. And in late November, when Mike Galsworthy, an influential anti-Brexit campaigner, posted a widely shared video on Twitter urging his followers to embrace it, #FBPE really took off. It wasn’t a memorable hashtag, but it didn’t need to be. The people consumed by their resistance to Brexit now had their own way to communicate, to find each other in the crowd. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The very idea of a united kingdom is being torn apart by toxic nationalism

Posted by hkarner - 12. August 2019

Date: 11-08-2019
Source: The Guardian: Gordon Brown

Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy is imperilling centuries of common purpose. It can’t be allowed to succeed

Pro-EU and pro-independence groups protest during the Conservative leadership hustings in Perth, Scotland, in July 2019.

The first step to solving a problem is to see it clearly. And if we are to understand why we are facing not only our most serious constitutional crisis since the 17th century but an unprecedented economic calamity precipitated by a no-deal exit from the EU, we must recognise that nationalism is now driving British politics.

Having set almost impossible terms for any negotiation with Europe and preparing to renege on legal obligations to pay our debts to the EU – the economic equivalent of a declaration of war – Boris Johnson’s government is hell-bent on conjuring up the absurd and mendacious image of the patriotic British valiantly defying an intransigent Europe determined to turn us into a vassal state.

His soundbites, pledging token sums for the NHS and 20,000 more police on the street at some future date, cannot disguise a government driven not by the national interest but by a destructive, populist, nationalist ideology. And with Scottish nationalists pushing a more extreme form of separation and Northern Ireland’s unionists becoming, paradoxically, Northern Irish nationalists – digging in, even if it means, against all economic logic, a hard border with the Irish Republic – we are, at best, only a precariously united kingdom. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can Parliament stop no-deal?

Posted by hkarner - 10. August 2019

Date: 09-08-2019
Source: The Economist

The government claims MPs cannot stop Britain leaving the European Union on October 31st. Yet many are determined to try

In march the House of Commons rejected the idea of a no-deal Brexit by a handsome 43-vote margin. Yet this week Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s Svengali-like adviser, suggested that it was now too late for mps to stop Britain leaving without a deal on October 31st, the latest Brexit deadline. This position was echoed by a Downing Street spokesman and by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, who was previously strongly opposed to no-deal.

There are two parts to the argument. The first is that October 31st is now the default option, legally binding on both Britain and the eu. In the absence of some specific action, such as agreeing to another extension, Brexit will take place then. The second is that, given the imminence of the deadline, mps do not have enough power or time to prevent no-deal—unless the government co-operates. And Mr Johnson will not do that. Downing Street is threatening to force a no-deal Brexit even if the prime minister loses a no-confidence vote. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Behind the Tory claims of bold Brexit action is nothing but empty bravado

Posted by hkarner - 5. August 2019

Date: 04-08-2019
Source: The Guardian by Nick Cohen

The new government has set itself against conformism, but it really hates reasonable doubt

‘The right ought to know that a no-deal Brexit is an act of epic folly.’

Like an enraged bull charging a matador, the British right is putting its head down and stampeding towards a no-deal Brexit. It has to keep moving. Were it to stop and consider where it was heading, it would never take the risks it is taking with Britain’s future.

The left fails so often because it thinks it is enough to hate Conservatives and say they are wicked, rather than understand Conservatives and show them to be dangerous. I cannot emphasise strongly enough that on its own terms the right ought to know that a no-deal Brexit is an act of epic folly and that Boris Johnson’s talk of a new golden age for merrie England is as much bullshit as bullish: the drivel of a man and a movement that have nothing but empty bravado to sustain them. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexit: Ökonomin zu Großbritannien: „Wir haben unsere Industrie zerstört“

Posted by hkarner - 4. August 2019

Ann Pettifor, Beraterin von Labour-Chef Jeremy Corbyn, warnt vor Folgen eines harten Brexits. Ihre umstrittene Lösung: ein Green New Deal

Leopold Stefan

Das typisch britische Understatement ist meist schwerlich ins Deutsche zu übersetzen: „Pretty catastrophic“, schätzt Ann Pettifor die wirtschaftlichen Folgen eines harten Brexits ein. Die Volkswirtin sitzt im Beraterteam des Oppositionsführers und Labour-Chefs Jeremy Corbyn. Im STANDARD-Gespräch erzählt sie, was sie den Politikern auf beiden Seiten des Kanals raten würde, um die Wirtschaft in diesen turbulenten Zeiten nachhaltig auf die Beine zu stellen.

Jüngste Meldungen scheinen die Warnungen der britisch-südafrikanischen Volkswirtin zu bestätigen, die bereits mit ihrer Vorhersage der Finanzkrise 2008 Aufmerksamkeit erregt hatte: Das Pfund rasselte am Donnerstag auf ein Mehrjahrestief hinab, nachdem die US-Notenbank ihren Leitzins gesenkt hatte. Ausländische Investoren halten sich angesichts des Brexit-Trubels zurück.

Im Vorfeld des Brexit-Referendums haben EU-Befürworter den Teufel an die Wand gemalt und so ihr Vertrauen verspielt, sagt Ann Pettifor. Jetzt hört keiner mehr auf Warnrufe.
Foto: Reuters

Eine Zwickmühle: Die Briten haben ein „massives Handelsdefizit“, betont die Ökonomin. Die Wirtschaft sei abhängig von Investitionen aus dem Ausland. Eine abgewertete Währung könnte die Exporteure beflügeln. „Aber wir haben den Großteil unserer Industrie zerstört“, bedauert Pettifor, „Es ist schwer wiederzulernen, wie man Güter produziert.“

Ein harter Brexit würde die Unternehmen sofort treffen. Britische Firmen seien eng mit Zulieferern auf dem Kontinent verbunden. Die Lagerkapazitäten seien bald komplett ausgelastet. Würden jetzt Handelsbarrieren zur EU hochgezogen, stünden die britischen Unternehmer mit heruntergelassenen Hosen da. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Die Krise der angloamerikanischen Demokratie

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juli 2019

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, Building the New American Economy, and most recently, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism.

NEW YORK – Wie kann es sein, dass in den zwei ehrwürdigsten und einflussreichsten Demokratien der Welt – dem Vereinigten Königreich und den Vereinigten Staaten –  Donald Trump und Boris Johnson an die Macht kommen? Trump liegt nicht falsch, wenn er Johnson als „Britain Trump” (sic) bezeichnet. Es geht auch nicht um eine Frage ähnlicher Persönlichen oder Stile: vielmehr ist diese Entwicklung Ausdruck eklatanter Mängel in den politischen Institutionen, die es diesen Männern ermöglichten, das Ruder zu übernehmen. 

Sowohl Trump als auch Johnson weisen eine von dem irischen Physiker und Psychologen Ian Hughes so bezeichnete gestörte Psyche” auf. Trump ist ein notorischer Lügner, ein Verbreiter des Rassismus und Steuerhinterzieher in großem Stil. Im Bericht des US-Sonderermittlers Robert Mueller über seine 22-monatige Untersuchung des Trumpschen Präsidentschaftswahlkampfs im Jahr 2016 werden mehrere Fälle von Behinderung der Justiz durch Trump beschrieben. Über 20 Frauen beschuldigen Trump sexueller Übergriffe, mit denen er auf Band auch prahlt. Trump wies seinen Anwalt an, illegale Schweigegeldzahlungen zu tätigen, die einen Verstoß gegen die Bestimmungen für Wahlkampffinanzierung darstellen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why predicting the impact of a no-deal Brexit is so hard

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juli 2019

Date: 27-07-2019
Source: The Economist

Estimates of the economic effects of no-deal on GDP are varied

Apart from Economists for Free Trade (eft), a pro-Brexit group, almost no wonks believe that leaving the eu without a deal would be good for the economy. The majority flinch when Boris Johnson, the new prime minister, promises that Britain will push off by October 31st “come what may”. Yet the question of just how bad a no-deal Brexit would be has many answers.

On July 18th the Office for Budget Responsibility (obr), the fiscal watchdog, warned that a no-deal exit would “push the economy into recession”. The next day Oxford Economics argued that “no-deal Brexit might be bad, but not obr bad.” Capital Economics, another consultancy, wrote last year that in its central no-deal scenario “we don’t expect…a full-blown recession.” Estimates of the long-term effect on gdp are even more varied (see chart).

If Britain leaves without a deal it will become a member of the World Trade Organisation on its own, not as part of the eu. Britain would generally have to charge the same tariffs on eu imports as on non-eu ones. Regulations governing everything from medicines to electricity connections to financial services could lapse. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris Johnson’s confusing and contradictory religious history

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juli 2019

Date: 28-07-2019
Source: The Economist

From the Roman to the Abrahamic, the prime minister’s spiritual history is a mess

BRITAIN’S RELIGIOUS leaders, a relatively small and embattled community in an ever more secular land, are wondering what to make of Boris Johnson. As with many areas of his chaotic life, the new prime minister’s spiritual antecedents, and his present convictions, are a bundle of contrasts and confusion.

In a nutshell, he has Muslim, Jewish and Christian ancestors. He was christened a Catholic by his mother. He was confirmed in the Anglican faith (thus formally lapsing from Catholicism) while attending Eton College, Britain’s poshest school. In 2015 he told an interviewer it would be “pretentious” to call himself a “serious, practising Christian”. But as a guest on “Desert Island Discs”, a BBC radio programme in which celebrities imagine themselves as castaways, he said he would “sing a few hymns and march up and down” to keep his morale up. On the other hand, none of the music he chose to have played on the show was spiritual: it ranged from Brahms to punk-rock. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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