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Posts Tagged ‘Tories’

Boris Johnson, illusionist

Posted by hkarner - 6. Juli 2019

Date: 04-07-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The would-be prime minister’s greatest strengths may vanish in a puff of smoke

A few weeks ago the received wisdom in Westminster was that “only Johnson can defeat Johnson.” Now it is that “not even Johnson can defeat Johnson.” The front-runner’s campaign has lurched from one crisis to another—a fiery row with his girlfriend, an ill-thought-out tax break for the rich, a succession of weird interviews—but the race still looks pre-determined. Boris Johnson leads Jeremy Hunt by an apparently unbridgeable margin.

Conservative Party members know very well that they are not electing a saint or a details man. Over the past few weeks even Tory-friendly journalists have called him “epically unreliable”, “all flaw and no character” and a “habitual liar”. But members are convinced that Mr Johnson’s negatives are more than outweighed by his positives. Are they right? Let us examine Mr Johnson’s four great qualities in turn. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Boris to the Rescue, Maybe

Posted by hkarner - 26. Juni 2019

Date: 25-06-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Britain’s Tories embrace London’s former mayor. Will anyone else?

Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is on track to lead Britain’s Conservative Party—and be the next Prime Minister—and Britons would feel better about that if anyone knew what it means. Amid a national Brexit meltdown, Mr. Johnson has run a leadership campaign by promising everything to everyone.

Britain is now three years from its referendum to leave the European Union, and two departure deadlines have come and gone with a third looming on Oct. 31. Theresa May, whom Mr. Johnson is vying to replace, failed because she never articulated a compelling vision for Brexit and how Britain might thrive on its own.

Mr. Johnson is pitched as the politician who can ride to the Tory rescue. Brexiteers will trust him more than Mrs. May since he has always been one of them. He also speaks with great fervor about the global trading opportunities for Britain outside the EU.

Yet it’s still impossible to say what form of Brexit he really wants. He has promised Brexiteers he’s determined to leave on Oct. 31 with or without a divorce-and-trade pact with the EU. This may now be the only way to save the Conservative Party from disintegration amid rising support for a Brexit Party that knows for sure what it thinks about the biggest question facing British politics.

The problem is that Mr. Johnson also is winning support from Remain Tories on the strength of his promise to do better than Mrs. May at negotiating a deal, and the premise of that pledge is that there will be a deal. Someone will be disappointed, and those who are will dog Mr. Johnson as they did Mrs. May. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Which Boris would Britain get?

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juni 2019

Date: 20-06-2019
Source: The Economist

Britain’s probable next prime minister cannot resist playing to the crowd. In today’s ugly politics that is ominous

The brexit monster unleashed three years ago this weekend has already devoured two British prime ministers. David Cameron surrendered hours after the referendum result was announced on June 24th 2016. Theresa May began confidently but soon found herself cornered. Conservative mps have drawn up a shortlist of candidates to replace her as their leader and thus as prime minister; party members will make a decision by the end of July. The overwhelming favourite among both mps and activists is Boris Johnson.

But which Boris Johnson? The former foreign secretary, who is looked on with a mixture of amusement and contempt in European capitals, has assumed different guises at different times. As mayor of liberal, cosmopolitan London in 2008-16 he preached the virtues of immigration and the single market. As a leading light in the Leave campaign he effortlessly switched to criticising migration and warning of the dangers of Turkish membership of the European Union, which he had previously advocated. Now, in his bid for the votes of right-wing Tory party members, he talks up the prospect of leaving the eu with no deal—“fuck business” if it gets in the way—and joking that women in burkas “look like letterboxes”.

Depressingly, the con trick is working. Despite valiant campaigns by more moderate candidates, Mr Johnson is the person to beat in the members’ vote. Much less clear is how he would behave in office. As the Brexit saga drags on, Britain is growing ever more polarised. In a starkly divided country, which gallery would Mr Johnson choose to play to? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Surreal Contest to Succeed Theresa May

Posted by hkarner - 19. Juni 2019

Date: 18-06-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Tim Bale

Can Anyone Sort Out the Brexit Mess?

In April 1916, a group of Irish Republicans took over much of the center of Dublin and declared independence. The British government reacted swiftly. It sent thousands of troops to restore order, and, once the rebellion had been crushed, executed its ringleaders. Although the Easter Rising failed to end British rule, it did succeed in reinvigorating the Irish independence movement, an effort that culminated in the Irish Free State six years later. A few months after the uprising, the poet W. B. Yeats wrote that things were “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”

In the wake of some of the worst election results it has ever experienced, the British Conservative Party, the country’s oldest and most successful political force, may be feeling as if it is trapped in Yeats’ poem. Nigel Farage’s upstart Brexit Party—a terrible beauty if ever there was one—humiliated the governing Conservatives at the European Parliament election last month and is now running ahead of the Tories in polls for the next general election. It is in this febrile atmosphere that the Conservatives are choosing their next leader and the country’s next prime minister, praying that he can turn things around. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The question is not who will lead the Conservative Party, but whether it will survive

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Brexit could prove to be an extinction event for the party that has dominated British politics for much of the past century-and-a-half

There are few things that Britain’s Conservatives relish more than a leadership election. For candidates, it is a chance to talk about their favourite subject—themselves. For mps and party members, it is an opportunity to trade their votes for favours or flattery. But the brighter Tories recognise that this is a leadership election with a difference: this time they are dancing on the edge of a volcano. The natural party of government for much of the past century-and-a-half could face catastrophe, in the form of an internal split or a wipeout in the next election.

The party’s recent electoral performance has been disastrous. It saw its vote-share crumble to 9% in the European election last month and then came third in the Peterborough by-election. It is polling below 20%. Any honeymoon the next party leader enjoys is sure to be brief, for the Conservatives run a minority government that is trying to push through a complicated and controversial divorce bill in the face of profound divisions in their own ranks, not to mention the country, and mounting impatience in Brussels. The next prime minister could face a vote of no confidence within a month and a general election within a year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tory candidates are misleading people about a no-deal Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juni 2019

Date: 13-06-2019
Source: The Economist

Hardliners say it would be fine, moderates say it could be stopped. Both may be in for a nasty surprise

Fully ten leadership candidates faced a first ballot of Conservative mps as we went to press. In hopes of being one of the final two to go through to a vote by party members, they are vying to promise the most extravagant tax and spending plans. But the immediate challenge for the winner, who will take office in late July, will be Brexit, which is due to happen three months later. And here the promises vary from instant renegotiation of Britain’s exit deal to withdrawing with no deal at all.

The timing is tight. Parliament is likely to go into recess just after the new prime minister is installed, and the European Union will go on holiday. mps come back in September, but for less than two weeks before their party conferences. Brussels will be preoccupied with getting a new commission approved by the European Parliament by November 1st. A summit of eu leaders on October 17th-18th will come just a fortnight before the Brexit deadline. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Tories After Theresa May

Posted by hkarner - 26. Mai 2019

Date: 25-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

The next Prime Minister needs to deliver on Brexit, deal or no deal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May tears up as she makes a statement in Downing Street, May 24.

Prime Minister Theresa May finally gave up her dogged hold on power, announcing Friday that she’ll leave 10 Downing Street on June 7 after failing to deliver Britain’s departure from the European Union. Mrs. May never got much help from other Tories, but her failure means the next party leader will inherit an even tougher job than she did.

“It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” said Mrs. May, who famously declared “Brexit means Brexit” after she became the compromise choice of Tories when David Cameron resigned. Yet she never really believed it or at least never articulated a vision of a post-EU future for her great nation.

Instead she led from behind as a broker between Brussels and factions of the Conservative Party. In 2017 she called a snap election without a message other than attacking Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and the Tories lost their outright majority. Mrs. May spent her three years as PM making complicated political calculations to appease different groups—from Remainers to the pro-Brexit European Research Group—and ended up pleasing no one. Her pitch this week for a potential second Brexit referendum brought about a deserved end.

The question is whether her successor can unite the Tories enough to make a successful Brexit or watch their party divide and fall. The rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, predicted to win this week’s European Parliament elections, shows the biggest danger would be to give up on Brexit. A Conservative crackup could bring to power Mr. Corbyn, whose agenda of nationalization and confiscatory taxation could set back the British economy for a generation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Britain’s Conservative Collapse

Posted by hkarner - 23. Mai 2019

Date: 22-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

Voters seem ready to crush the Tories for their bungling over Brexit.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage addresses a European Parliament election campaign rally in London, May 21.

British voters head to the polls Thursday for a European Parliament election they weren’t supposed to vote in, and the biggest loser is likely to be the ruling Conservative Party. Ignoring Brexit for a moment—yes, it’s possible—the most consequential development in Europe the last two years is the collapse of the Tories as a governing party.

Polls suggest the Conservatives are on track to finish fourth with less than 15% of the vote. The big winner is likely to be the Brexit Party founded by Nigel Farage, which has soared to more than 30% in the polls since it was formed in January. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party probably will waddle in an anemic second.

European Parliament elections traditionally are a poor bellwether for national politics. In 2014 the Tories under David Cameron finished a close third behind Mr. Farage’s U.K. Independence Party and Labour before winning a majority in 2015’s national election. But the Tories are much further behind this time. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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As cross-party talks stall, Theresa May faces calls to quit

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2019

Date: 09-05-2019
Source: The Economist

The Tories reel from local-election losses—and face more punishment from voters later this month

After more than a month of cross-party talks, pressure to reach a deal should be mounting. It was ratcheted up by the local elections on May 2nd, in which Theresa May’s Tories made a staggering net loss of 1,334 council seats and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour unexpectedly lost 82, while the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and Greens each made substantial gains. Somewhat paradoxically, the two main parties chose to interpret these results as a call from the electorate for an early Brexit deal. The prime minister said that people wanted Westminster to “get on with it”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, tweeted that the votes meant “Brexit—sort it. Message received.”

Both parties duly promised to intensify negotiations on a Brexit deal that would pass Parliament. Real progress had been made, claimed Downing Street. An agreement on a temporary customs union that would last at least until 2022 was mooted. Yet no sooner had talks resumed on May 7th than they stalled again. Labour insisted it was ready to compromise but the government was unwilling to shift its red lines. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Tories are transforming into a party of populist nationalism

Posted by hkarner - 6. April 2019

Date: 04-04-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Theresa May’s decision to work with Labour will hasten the transition

A prime minister with a well-deserved reputation for dullness and dithering has finally done something dramatic and bold. This week she broke with the Brexit-right of her party and decided to put national interest above party unity. In a lengthy cabinet meeting on April 2nd Theresa May forged a radically new policy—working with the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, to produce a compromise Brexit and, if that doesn’t work, holding another round of indicative votes in the House of Commons and going with the winner.

Her move has left the hard Brexiteers in her party even more apoplectic than usual. Boris Johnson pronounced that “Brexit is now soft to the point of disintegration.” Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Mrs May of being keener to work with a Marxist than with her fellow Tories. Iain Duncan Smith opined that “the spectre of Corbyn lording it over us in a prime-ministerial way as he wrecks Brexit makes my blood run cold and fear for my party and my country.” So far a couple of junior ministers have resigned. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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