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Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

A British Test for the Populist Revolution

Posted by hkarner - 9. Dezember 2019

Date: 07‑12‑2019

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Gerard Baker

If Boris Johnson’s pro‑Brexit Tories capture a large portion of former Labour voters in next week’s election, it will transform British politics and galvanize conservatives across the West

A country that likes to consider itself the most stable of democracies, a model of government typified by steady, pragmatic, get‑things‑done‑with‑no‑drama progress, has descended in a few years into southern European‑style political chaos.

Next Thursday, the British go to the polls in a nationwide vote for the fourth time in less than five years. The result could produce the U.K.’s fourth prime minister in a little over three years. If the opposition to Boris Johnson’s incumbent Conservatives can beat the odds and win on Thursday, the Battle of Brexit, which has paralyzed politics for 3½ years, is likely to be prolonged for a while yet, with the prospect of at least one more national vote in 2020. It’s possible that one outcome could be the eventual breakup of the kingdom itself. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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It’s not just Britain that’s breaking up, Europe is too

Posted by hkarner - 8. November 2019

Date: 07-11-2019
Source: The Guardian by Martin Kettle

The tremors of this Brexit election will be felt across a continent whose powers are on the wane

Arguably the most surreal event during the general election campaign is scheduled for the week before polling day. On 3 December, Nato leaders, including Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, will gather at a Buckingham Palace reception. The next day, the Nato chiefs will meet in a luxury – but thankfully non-Trump-owned – hotel outside Watford. It’s the event where the leaders will discuss big subjects including Syria, Afghanistan, Russia and military burden-sharing – and where none of these big subjects is likely to be solved.

In the not so distant past, a leader fighting an election might have seen an international summit they were hosting as a golden opportunity. The grandeur and importance of such a gathering would mean free publicity from the campaign gods, reminding voters that the incumbent is someone who bestrides the world stage, has the ear of powerful allies, and is at ease with the deepest responsibilities of office. As a prime minister milked the occasion, opponents could only grind their teeth in frustration. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Labour government would radically transform Britain

Posted by hkarner - 1. November 2019

Date: 31-10-2019
Source: The Economist

How Jeremy Corbyn’s party is trying to woo British voters

SHORTLY BEFORE the financial crisis of 2008, a little-known Labour MP published a 64-page pamphlet. In “Another World is Possible: A Manifesto for 21st Century Socialism”, John McDonnell laid out an economic vision which clashed with the slick, pro-business mantra of Tony Blair’s New Labour. It praised participatory democracy in Venezuela and hailed co-ops in the Basque country, while calling for the sweeping nationalisation of industry.

The booklet was an attempt by Mr McDonnell, then on the backbenches, to scupper the coronation of Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party and prime minister in 2007. Mr McDonnell attracted the support of just 29 MPs. A little over a decade later, Mr Brown is long gone from politics. New Labour is history. Mr McDonnell is shadow chancellor and Jeremy Corbyn, his friend and socialist ally, is leader. Labour will campaign in Britain’s general election, to be held on December 12th, on the most left-wing platform in a generation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What Happens to the United Kingdom Now?

Posted by hkarner - 1. November 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.

Even after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, the country will face years of talks in which it will be negotiating from a position of weakness. The UK will be less prosperous and influential than before, and will be under increasing internal strain because of policies driven by malignant English nationalism.

LONDON – The United Kingdom’s Brexit psychodrama continues. Although the UK government and the European Union reached a revised withdrawal agreement in mid-October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was unable to push the deal through Parliament so that the UK could leave the bloc by his hoped-for date of October 31. EU leaders have therefore granted a further three-month extension of the Brexit deadline until January 31, and the UK will now hold a parliamentary election on December 12, which may help to resolve the current impasse. 

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit Election

Posted by hkarner - 31. Oktober 2019

Date: 30-10-2019

Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Corbyn could win if the Tories fail to offer a vision of Greater Britain.

Boris Johnson on Tuesday finally cajoled Britain’s reluctant Parliament to call a December general election to try to settle Brexit. It’s a brave and desperate gamble—and one that will work only if he runs a campaign persuading voters to embrace a Brexit vision bigger than the divorce deal he needs a new Parliament to pass.

Britain’s recent Brexit miseries have arisen from the hung Parliament elected after Theresa May’s disastrous 2017 bid for a larger majority. Mrs.

May’s big-government-conservative campaign left voters confused about what improvements either Brexit or a Conservative government could bring.

She barely held on in tenuous alliance with a Northern Ireland unionist party that caused her to adopt impractical red lines on trade policy in Brexit talks with the European Union, and her Brexit deal failed in Parliament. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The long Brexit ordeal will finish off the break-up of Britain

Posted by hkarner - 29. Oktober 2019

Date: 28-10-2019
Source: The Guardian by Neal Ascherson

The referendum didn’t so much create new divisions as rediscover old ones – but three years of wrangling have broken the bonds of union

This is the sound of British politics. A crescendo rumble, a deafening crash, a four-letter word. The blond skateboard king from behind the cycle shed, his shirt-tails flapping, has fallen off yet again. Unfortunately, the cracked pavement under his wheels is called Britain, or optimistically the United Kingdom, and he and his mates have been pounding it to destruction for more than three years.

In that time, the Brexit ordeal has changed Britain. Not as much as some think. Many of these changes, above all the English sense of powerlessness and resentment of elites, were already gathering speed 10 years ago, as Europe and the world crawled out of the banking disaster. Brexit disputes only accelerated them. The 2016 referendum didn’t so much create new divisions within England as rediscover old ones, especially in its aftermath. It was almost laughable that so few remain voters knew a leaver, or vice versa. England is still a country astonishingly segregated by class, by location, by attitudes towards power and privilege. Before the last war ended, the doomed fighter pilot Richard Hillary asked: “Was there perhaps a new race of Englishmen arising out of this war, a harmonious synthesis of the governing class and the great rest of England?” No, there wasn’t. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexit and Britain’s Broken Parliament

Posted by hkarner - 23. Oktober 2019

Date: 22-10-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Walter Russell Mead

The prime minister can’t call an election, thanks to a reform enacted in 2011.

Is Britain broken? That’s the question a bemused world has been asking since the unexpected result of Remainer David Cameron’s Brexit referendum plunged the U.K. into a three-year political crisis.

Two things are striking about this period of national agony and debate. The first is how sensible and peaceful the British people have remained. The Brexit referendum carried by 52% to 48% (a margin of roughly 1.3 million out of more than 33.5 million votes cast) and the consequences are unpredictable and large. Will the United Kingdom even stay united as Scotland and Northern Ireland react to Brexit? Will Britain’s economy flourish as it opens to the world or wither without privileged access to European markets? From the City of London’s financial sector to the Sunderland Nissan factory, hundreds of thousands, even millions of jobs may be at stake. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe isn’t the enemy – demonising us is undermining Britain

Posted by hkarner - 1. Oktober 2019

Date: 30-09-2019
Source: The Guardian by Joris Luyendijk

The Tories used to worry about being the nasty party.
Now they’re making Britain a difficult country to like

A deeply nasty man …’ Boris Johnson

Seventeen years ago Theresa May stunned her fellow Conservatives by telling their annual party conference that they were “just plain unattractive”. The Tories, she said, had become “the nasty party”. Today, from where I sit in western Europe, Britain itself looks just plain unattractive. It seems to have become “the nasty country”. I’m not saying the British people are any worse, or any better, than any other Europeans. I am saying its ruling political party is nasty, as is much of its press. The leader of the Conservative party, and therefore the prime minister, is a man who has personally taken nastiness to an entirely new level, yet is the country’s most popular politician.

Ever since the UK voted to leave the EU, millions of other Europeans like me have been looking for signs that the country is coming around to its old, pragmatic self. It’s a version of Boris Johnson’s cakeism: you want to love Britain and you want to be honest about the kind of country it is now. These two positions have become impossible to hold at the same time.

For years now a decisive segment of the British establishment and electorate has been poisoning itself with lies

The UK now seems to be the country whose government lies about nonexistent negotiations with the EU while threatening to renege on its outstanding financial obligations – often misrepresented as the “divorce bill”. It’s the country whose leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, threatened to sabotage the EU from within if Brexit was postponed. It’s the country, too, whose last prime minister (the aforementioned May) threatened to stop cooperating with the EU on terrorism, inspiring the Sun front-page headline: “Your money or your lives”. The country whose former Conservative leader Michael Howard talked up war with Spain over Gibraltar. Whose cabinet minister Priti Patel suggested threatening the people of Ireland with starvation. Whose foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt likened the EU to the Soviet Union and whose current prime minister compared it to the Nazis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Labour contemplates life after Jeremy Corbyn

Posted by hkarner - 28. September 2019

Date: 26-09-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The party conference was overshadowed by the question of succession

The supreme court’s thunderclap of a ruling against the government on September 24th was a godsend for Jeremy Corbyn. It not only gave him an excuse to bring his Labour Party conference to a premature end by giving his speech a day early. It also allowed the party to dispense with a speech by Tom Watson, the deputy leader, that might have resulted in mass walkouts. There is nevertheless no doubt that this year’s conference, held in a rainy Brighton, was a miserable affair. An event that is designed to showcase the leader’s preparedness for power was overshadowed by the question of whether he should be preparing for retirement.

The first sign of trouble was a failed attempt to remove Mr Watson from his job by Jon Lansman, the head of Mr Corbyn’s praetorian guard, Momentum. It is no secret that the left covets Mr Watson’s head. But Mr Lansman’s timing was odd given that his plot was guaranteed to ignite an internal war and send the media into a blood-frenzy. The only explanation is panic about the succession. Under current rules the deputy leader takes over temporarily if the leader resigns and therefore plays a role in choosing the next one.

The second sign of trouble was a leaked memo by Andrew Fisher, a member of Mr Corbyn’s inner circle and an author of Labour’s 2017 manifesto. Mr Fisher lambasted Mr Corbyn’s office for its “blizzard of lies” and “lack of competence, professionalism and human decency”. The last two words were particularly cutting. He also warned that the party would not be able to win the next election with the current leadership.

The succession crisis is being driven by two numbers: 70 and 25. At 70, Mr Corbyn is on the old side for somebody who aspires to the most demanding job in British politics. And at 25, Labour’s average poll rating is much too low for a party that aspires to power. Labour should be well ahead of a government that blunders from crisis to crisis. Instead it is behind in every poll, sometimes by some distance. In this year’s European election Labour finished third, behind the Liberal Democrats. In two subsequent by-elections it has suffered double-digit declines in its vote share. Labour mps from the Midlands and the north report that voters constantly tell them they will not back Labour so long as it is led by Mr Corbyn. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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British Government Goes Rogue

Posted by hkarner - 26. September 2019

Date: 25-09-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

A ‘dead’ Constitution looks good compared to Britain’s ‘living’ version.

America’s written Constitution gets a bad rap for being insufficiently adaptable. But not a few Britons might wish they had something similar as a legal decision Tuesday sent British politics—and Brexit—into new chaos.

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson lacked a legal basis to prorogue Parliament this month. Mr. Johnson hoped to quiet a noisy legislature that can’t say what sort of Brexit it wants and allow him space to renegotiate with the European Union. But the gambit united fractious Brexit opponents, leading to embarrassing legislative defeats for Mr. Johnson.

Lawmakers who claimed to be insulted by Mr. Johnson’s assault on their rights also spurned options to hold him democratically accountable. They twice refused his request to break Parliament’s Brexit deadlock by holding a general election in October, which would also have been an opportunity for voters to send him a message on his prorogation tactic. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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