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Posts Tagged ‘Guardian’

You’d never know it, but the future of the United Kingdom is at stake

Posted by hkarner - 29. November 2019

Date: 28‑11‑2019

Source: The Guardian Martin Kettle

The upcoming election could trigger the breakup of the union, and yet the main all‑UK parties have barely mentioned it

If the Conservatives win a majority on 12 December, as they are favourites to do, they will claim a mandate to “get Brexit done”. As a result, there is an extremely real possibility that, by the time of the next scheduled election in 2024, the United Kingdom as we know it will no longer exist. Scotland may by then have voted to become an independent country. Northern Ireland may have voted to unify with the Irish republic. But you would hardly know any of this from the general election campaign so far.

In the leaders’ debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, there was much discussion of Brexit. But there was no discussion about Brexit’s consequences for the parts of the UK – Scotland and Northern Ireland – that did not vote for it. Nor was there a single word about Brexit’s effect on the unresolved divides in Ireland. This was genuinely remarkable. For the past three years, the issue of Ireland has been at the very core of the argument about Brexit. But now, from the leaders of Britain’s two main parties, there was absolutely nothing. Not for the first time in British political debate, it was as though Ireland simply did not exist. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climate emergency: world ‚may have crossed tipping points’

Posted by hkarner - 29. November 2019

Date: 28‑11‑2019

Source: The Guardian

Warning of ‘existential threat to civilisation’ as impacts lead to cascade of unstoppable events

‘Part of the west Antarctic ice sheet may be in irreversible retreat,’ said one of the researchers.

The world may already have crossed a series of climate tipping points, according to a stark warning from scientists. This risk is “an existential threat to civilisation”, they say, meaning “we are in a state of planetary emergency”.

Tipping points are reached when particular impacts of global heating become unstoppable, such as the runaway loss of ice sheets or forests. In the past, extreme heating of 5C was thought necessary to pass tipping points, but the latest evidence suggests this could happen between 1C and 2C.

The planet has already heated by 1C and the temperature is certain to rise further, due to past emissions and because greenhouse gas levels are still rising. The scientists further warn that one tipping point, such as the release of methane from thawing permafrost, may fuel others, leading to a cascade. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How big tech is dragging us towards the next financial crash

Posted by hkarner - 10. November 2019

Date: 09-11-2019
Source: The Guardian

Like the big banks, big tech uses its lobbying muscle to avoid regulation, and thinks it should play by different rules. And like the banks, it could be about to wreak financial havoc on us all. By Rana Foroohar

‘In every major economic downturn in US history, the ‘villains’ have been the ‘heroes’ during the preceding boom,” said the late, great management guru Peter Drucker. I cannot help but wonder if that might be the case over the next few years, as the United States (and possibly the world) heads toward its next big slowdown. Downturns historically come about once every decade, and it has been more than that since the 2008 financial crisis. Back then, banks were the “too-big-to-fail” institutions responsible for our falling stock portfolios, home prices and salaries. Technology companies, by contrast, have led the market upswing over the past decade. But this time around, it is the big tech firms that could play the spoiler role. 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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Trump says Johnson’s Brexit could rule out US trade deal

Posted by hkarner - 2. November 2019

Date: 01-11-2019
Source: The Guardian

US president uses LBC Radio interview with Nigel Farage to promote co-operation between Brexit party and Tories

Donald Trump has intervened in the UK’s nascent election campaign, calling on Boris Johnson to team up with Nigel Farage to form an “unstoppable force” and claiming Jeremy Corbyn would be “so bad for your country”.

Speaking to Farage on LBC Radio, the US president also said Johnson’s Brexit deal could prevent the UK from agreeing a trade deal with the US.

Trump said the US “can’t make a trade deal with the UK” under “certain aspects of the deal”, despite Johnson’s claims it would allow the UK to have an independent trade policy.

One of Labour’s main attacks against Johnson has been that the prime minister would be too close to Trump and allow a sell-off of public services to US companies as the price of a trade deal, with the NHS potentially on the line. 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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How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

Posted by hkarner - 25. Oktober 2019

Date: 24-10-2019
Source: The Guardian By Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes

After communism fell, the promises of western liberalism to transform central and eastern Europe were never fully realised – and now we are seeing the backlash.

In the spring of 1990, John Feffer, a 26-year-old American, spent several months criss-crossing eastern Europe in hope of unlocking the mystery of its post-communist future and writing a book about the historical transformation unfolding before his eyes. He was no expert, so instead of testing theories, he buttonholed as many people from as many walks of life as possible. The contradictions he encountered were fascinating and puzzling. East Europeans were optimistic but apprehensive. Many of those he interviewed at the time expected to be living like Viennese or Londoners within five years, 10 years at the most. But these hopes were mingled with anxiety and foreboding. As Hungarian sociologist Elemér Hankiss observed: “People realised suddenly that in the coming years, it would be decided who would be rich and who would be poor; who would have power and who would not; who would be marginalised and who would be at the centre. And who would be able to found dynasties and whose children would suffer.”

Feffer eventually published his book, but did not return to the countries that had briefly captured his imagination. Then, 25 years later, he decided to revisit the region and to seek out those with whom he had spoken in 1990. This time round, eastern Europe was richer but roiled by resentment. The capitalist future had arrived, but its benefits and burdens were unevenly, even crassly distributed. After reminding us that “For the World War II generation in eastern Europe, communism was the ‘god that failed’”, Feffer writes thatFor the current generation in the region, liberalism is the god that failed.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Remain is now a political identity that will shape Britain long after Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 24. Oktober 2019

Date: 23-10-2019
Source: The Guardian by Rafael Behr

Among the ‘smashed avocado metro-elite’ is a generation of young people radicalised by Brexit

‘These are people who will shape the next generation of British politics and no sane party should be despising and alienating them.’

A remainer was once defined as a voter who wanted the UK to stay in the EU. Then the term got looser, scooping up politicians who pledged to fulfil the referendum mandate while failing some other test of Eurosceptic rigour.

Even some of the MPs who endorsed Boris Johnson’s deal on Tuesday night, bringing Britain far closer to the Brexit point of no return than it came when Theresa May was in Downing Street, will not qualify for True Leaver status; not in the eyes of zealous anti-Brussels puritans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns Mervyn King

Posted by hkarner - 22. Oktober 2019

Date: 21-10-2019
Source: The Guardian Larry Elliott in Washington

Past crashes spawned new thinking and reform but nothing has changed since 2008 banking meltdown, says former Bank of England boss

Lord King said resistance to new thinking meant a repeat of the financial chaos of the 2008-09 period was looming.

The world is sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that will have devastating consequences for the democratic market system, according to the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King.

Lord King, who was in charge at Threadneedle Street during the near-death of the global banking system and deep economic slump a decade ago, said the resistance to new thinking meant a repeat of the chaos of the 2008-09 period was looming. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rebel amendment defeat is yet another painful bellyflop for Boris Johnson

Posted by hkarner - 21. Oktober 2019

Date: 20-10-2019
Source: The Guardian by Polly Toynbee

Prime minister was stopped dead in his tracks from bulldozing deal through parliament with no scrutiny

‘Boris Johnson richly deserves to become the next Tory leader to fail over Europe.’

The prime minister nose-dives again, yet another painful bellyflop among the many in his 88 short days in power. He takes the same humiliating punishment he inflicted on his predecessor in order to snatch her seat: she was gracious, but you could see the inner smirk.

Today he was stopped dead in his tracks from bulldozing an EU deal through parliament. An act that would cement Britain’s fate for decades to come was insultingly put to parliament without time for scrutiny, with no Treasury economic impact assessment, and its 553-page legal text only handed to MPs in the morning as the debate began.

No wonder many, like Sir Oliver Letwin himself, who back the deal in principle, balked at signing up blindfold to such a pig in a poke with no time for deliberation. Will Boris Johnson refuse to send the letter asking for an extension, will he break the law? If so, the law will break him, again.

If anyone was hoping for some great historic parliamentary moment, this was no resounding debate on the nature and future of Britain to ring out through the ages. Instead you could hear the flapping of pigeons coming home to roost to this house that had created such a disastrously flawed referendum. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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