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Posts Tagged ‘Guardian’

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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Boris Johnson ‚confident‘ EU will back down in Brexit talks

Posted by hkarner - 21. August 2019

Date: 19-08-2019
Source: The Guardian

PM says ‘backstop just doesn’t work’ in run-up to meetings with Merkel and Macron

Johnson claims he is confident EU will shift its position on backstop

Boris Johnson has claimed that EU leaders will change their positions and allow the UK to scrap the Brexit backstop in the withdrawal agreement.

As the prime minister prepares for face-to-face talks with Angela Merkel of Germany and Emmanuel Macron of France this week, he acknowledged there would be “bumps in the road” before any agreement to drop the plan to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

It follows the leak of cabinet papers this weekend warning that carrying out Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit would cause “incredibly serious” economic harm. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Guardian view on preventing no deal: do whatever it takes

Posted by hkarner - 21. August 2019

Date: 20-08-2019
Source: The Guardian Editorial

Cabinet Office documents have laid bare the destructive impact of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement

Divisions remain frustratingly strong … Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) plays a part in many of these divides, but he also has to be part of any solution.’

Boris Johnson has been prime minister less than four weeks. In the absence of parliament, he has made a spirited attempt to pretend that British exit from the European Union would be straightforward. Brexit will definitely take place on 31 October, he has insisted. It will either involve the EU abandoning the Irish backstop or there will be no deal. The difference scarcely matters to Mr Johnson, who insists Brexit will be a trouble-free exercise in whatever form it comes, whose dangers have been exaggerated and whose rewards underestimated.

Every bit of this was false when Mr Johnson first concocted it. It is even more threadbare now – and getting more dangerous by the day. However, we may now be witnessing the first faint wisps of recognition from within the government that things are not going to work out as they pretend.

Cabinet Office documents on the likely aftershocks of a no-deal Brexit were leaked at the weekend. They covered every aspect of public policy. They are devastating. All of the impacts are bad; some are likely to be enduringly so. But the Johnson government’s response to the leak was telling. Ministers focused on issues of process, not on the documents’ substance. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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No 10 furious at leak of paper predicting shortages after no-deal Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 20. August 2019

Date: 19-08-2019
Source: The Guardian

Government figures seek to play down predictions of food, medicine and fuel shortages in leaked document

Downing Street has reacted with fury to the leak of an official document predicting that a no-deal Brexit would lead to food, medicine and petrol shortages, with No 10 sources blaming the disclosure on a hostile former minister intent on ruining Boris Johnson’s trip to see EU leaders this week.

The leaked document, detailing preparations under Operation Yellowhammer, argues that the most likely scenario is severe extended delays to medicine supplies and shortages of some fresh foods, combined with price rises, if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

It said there would be a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland before long and a “three-month meltdown” at ports unable to cope with extra checks. Protests could break out across the UK, requiring significant police intervention, and two oil refineries could close, with thousands of job losses, according to the documents. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Greta Thunberg became the new front in the Brexit culture war

Posted by hkarner - 18. August 2019

Date: 17-08-2019
Source: Guardian

Nigel Farage and his hangers-on need a new rallying cause, so they’ve turned on this 16-year-old with frightening vitriol

Greta Thunberg. ‘What’s funny about the idea of a teenage girl sinking to the bottom of the sea?’

She looks both younger than her age and old enough to have the cares of the world on her shoulders. Face scrubbed clean, dressed in a severe black jacket, Greta Thunberg stares unsmiling from the cover of this month’s GQ magazine. It’s an arresting, even unsettling, image: her outstretched finger points accusingly at the reader, in the manner of a wartime recruitment poster. Your planet needs you, millennials.

Back in the 1990s, posing for men’s magazines in your knickers was a rite of passage for young actors and pop stars not so much older than Greta, but that feels a very long time ago now. Here is a cover girl designed not to titillate male readers but to nudge their consciences, and very successfully, too. Successfully enough to make her some powerful enemies.

The perennial rightwing agent provocateur Arron Banks this week tweeted, “Freak yachting accidents do happen in August”, over a picture of Greta sailing across the Atlantic in order to avoid the carbon emissions of flying. A joke, he insisted, but what’s funny about the idea of a teenage girl sinking to the bottom of the sea?

Something about female eco-warriors seems to bring out the worst in a certain kind of man, whether it’s Nigel Farage accusing Meghan Markle of destroying Prince Harry’s popularity with her woke enthusiasms, or the Australian shock jock Alan Jones suggesting this week that the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinta Ardern, should have a “sock shoved down her throat” for daring to argue that Australia go further in reducing emissions. Choke her, drown her, whatever; just shut her up. Who do they think they are, these women telling us how to live? 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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How the media contributed to the migrant crisis

Posted by hkarner - 5. August 2019

Date: 03-08-2019
Source: The Guardian By Daniel Trilling

Disaster reporting plays to set ideas about people from ‘over there’.

When did you notice the word “migrant” start to take precedence over the many other terms applied to people on the move? For me it was in 2015, as the refugee crisis in Europe reached its peak. While debate raged over whether people crossing the Mediterranean via unofficial routes should be regarded as deserving candidates for European sympathy and protection, it seemed as if that word came to crowd out all others. Unlike the other terms, well-meaning or malicious, that might be applied to people in similar situations, this one word appears shorn of context; without even an im- or an em- attached to it to indicate that the people it describes have histories or futures. Instead, it implies an endless present: they are migrants, they move, it’s what they do. It’s a form of description that, until 2015, I might have expected to see more often in nature documentaries, applied to animals rather than human beings. 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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Boris Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit will not break EU unity

Posted by hkarner - 2. August 2019

Date: 01-08-2019
Source: The Guardian by Guy Verhofstadt

The UK government should instead seek an agreement that removes the need for the backstop altogether

Attempts to put pressure on Ireland will only be met with waves of solidarity from the rest of the EU.’ Boris Johnson at Stormont House, Belfast on Wednesday.

No matter what Boris Johnson or his new Vote Leave cabinet threaten – and the expectation in Brussels is that no-deal planning will be ramped up in an attempt to intimidate other EU countries – be in no doubt: there isn’t time to limit the damage of a sudden severance from the world’s largest trading bloc this Halloween.

Unless a further extension is requested, or article 50 is revoked by 31 October, when the current extension of UK membership expires, a dramatic shock awaits the global economy, and we all stand to lose. The few who may prosper are the wealthy bankers and hedge fund managers who have already bet on chaos. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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