- Date published:
4:01 pm, July 13th, 2018 - 47 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, uk politics, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: Boris Johnson, theresa may
It has been a bad week for England, especially for the Conservative Government.
In the world cup the three lions crashed out in the semi finals to Croatia. They went ahead early but then rested on their laurels and despite the heroics of keeper Jordan Pickford were overtaken by a more determined Croatian team.
Theresa May’s government is in dissaray with three senior ministers including Boris Johnson and Minister in charge of BREXIT negotiations.
It appears that at least Theresa May has come to the realisation that for a free trade loving country like England pulling out of its most significant market is actually a bad idea. But others have accused her of wanting a “soft” BREXIT. Clearly they are overcome with references depicting some idea of male sexual prowess.
There seem to be two sticking points, the future of Northern Ireland and a suggestion that the EU should retain full control over that area and an alternative suggestion that a full customs union and single market should continue with restrictions only on the free passage of individuals.
But this is May’s problem to resolve. Although the prospects of a leadership spill and/or the Government imploding look remarkably high.
Surely things could not get any worse …
But wait …
The Orange one has made his way to England. No doubt the loss in the soccer will increase the feeling of doom and despair in England. I have seen it happen regularly here when the All Blacks lose. I expect that feeling to add a certain degree of passion to the mass protests that are occurring.
But Trump has sprayed the place with napalm and lit a match with his latest comments the likes of which I can never recall hearing from the leader of a major western nation.
Trump has effectively called May a loser and suggested she be replaced.
From the Guardian:
In an extraordinary interview that threatened to undermine her new Brexit strategy, painfully thrashed out with her cabinet last week, Trump questioned whether her plans upheld the referendum result and accused her of ignoring his advice.
Against a backdrop of furious protests across the country, the US president openly humiliated May by suggesting that former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who quit in opposition to her Brexit plans this week, would make a great prime minister.
His intervention sabotages her attempts to placate Tory leavers, who are furious following the long-awaited release of her Brexit white paper on Thursday, by winning US support for her proposals.
Perhaps elements of the Conservative Party should think about the unthinkable and supporting Labour and Jeremy Corbyn to take over. Because the way things are going this is going to happen anyway.
I’ve been predicting Corbyn will become PM ever since he got re-elected Labour leader. Comes a time when people just want someone decent in charge for a change. Then the handicap of Labour political culture & party hacks will test his competence to cope with that role way more than the opposition will.
Trump’s bluster will probably waft through Whitehall like a breath of fresh air. A momentary image of a cowboy shooting from the hip will appear in the minds of the mandarins, they will wince & turn away, the stiff upper lip will kick in and the tougher ones will re-engage with the actual content of trans-Atlantic relations (perennially obscure to the media)…
Labour UK under Corbyn just aren’t popular enough.
It’s 40-40 and the Tories are now in disarray, the LD could win 10% and would go with Labour, the SNP certainly will. Go to the polls and the Tories are gone.
Going to the polls is the difficult bit, since the 2011 fixed term Act.
I doubt they changed the law to prevent the automatic consequence of loss of parliamentary majority kicking in (general election) so are you just assuming the Tories will remain staunch?
Tory implosion seems a realistic possibility. What if they believe current polling is worth the gamble of a snap election? That scenario becomes more feasible if May resigns and their next leader seeks a public mandate.
As I understand it, the test in the 2011 act for an early election is for the government to either lose a vote of no confidence, which would require not just the DUP, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats but also some Tory rebels to vote against their own government OR a two thirds majority of the commons, unlikely unless the Tory turkeys vote for an early Xmas.
Which is probably why the Conservatives will try and muddle through. If the MP’s coalesce against a single challenger (as in fact happened last time with May) the leader can change in about a week.
Personally I think a hard brexit is the best option. The UK reverts to the WTO. That is how China and the US conduct their business with the EU.
Could you clarify that somewhat, Wayne? I’ve been wondering why Trump’s trade war with China is even happening, since the WTO was established to prevent such outcomes. I haven’t seen any media report that they complained about China to the WTO – did I miss it that or didn’t they bother? And if not, why not??
The excuses (national security, dumping, etc) the US are using are permitted exceptions (at a real stretch) under the WTO. China could take a WTO action, but it is easier and more effective for them to retaliate in kind.
Where does it all end? Is there some face saving gesture for both the US and China to back off?
Historically that is what happens. Trump is certainly not the first president to apply trade sanctions against China. I am pretty sue that Bush and Obama did so. The difference is the scale of the sanctions, and probably more important the rhetoric that accompanies them.
In fact that is key point about Trump. The rhetoric. His actual policies (climate change excepted) are not much different to previous presidents, but his style sure is.
It works for him. Everyone it is directed against, goes into a panic mode, and seem to adjust to a greater extent than they previously did. The Europeans are accelerating their defence spend at a faster rate than they did with Obama.
Yes, I agree with you about why Trump’s style is effective. It has been amusing that the media keep reproducing critiques of that style in apparent ignorance of its results. It’s like the media operates according to a dumb & dumber rule: `media consumers are dumb, therefore, as providers, we must be dumber’.
But re the WTO, your comments leave me thinking that the organisation isn’t actually fit for purpose. I suppose another conclusion is possible: the WTO has only limited applicability, like the United Nations. Superpowers will pursue their national interests regardless.
Trump playing into Putins plan of weakening the EU.
There’s eight minutes worth of the Sun interview (edited) here...if you can bear it 🙂
If the Hard Brexiteers had any actual principle they would split and form their own party from the Conservatives.
No chance of that then.
I admit I don’t quite understand this “soft/hard” Brexit talk. Sure, the UK can try to have it’s cake and to eat it. And different people will have different views on what that might look like.
But the EU holds all the cards.
So, unless there’s something the UK has, that the EU desperately wants or needs, I’d be padding my rear end if I was some personification of the UK.
Is soft Brexit anything beyond a plea to the EU to not kick as hard or far as it might?
Agree with you there bill. The arrogance of it all by the Tory’s when their ilk burnt it down in the first place assuming they get to temper the outcomes.
The born to rule, we know best attitude we’ve come to love. This is not going to be pretty IMO.
The EU has bigger problems than Brexit,,its a sideshow and they know it…will the EU even exist in a decade?
…will the EU even exist in a decade?
Well, given it’s a cesspool of liberal economic dogma that ain’t exactly conducive to much in the way of autonomy or democracy….here’s hoping not.
From an economic perspective the best thing that could happen is its demise…from a geo-political perspective ,the worst.
That’s a perceptive comment. I agree, with a caveat on the economic point.
What’s good about the current geopolitical context is that it’s multi-polar, with Europe being the most stable attractor. If we want a world based on peaceful coexistence, the role model provided by Europe is essential.
Viewing Europe as a bastion of neoliberalism is too much of a focus on the trading economy. The governance model it uses was carefully designed to be socialist. That’s why it uses an army of bureaucrats and sucks as much money out of members as possible. As far as I can tell, that’s a large part of why Brexit happened. The other large part is the reaction against the globalist (Bilderberger) agenda emerging as a resurgence of nationalism.
I should really differentiate…in economic terms the best thing that could happen is the demise of the single currency, but the original intent of the Union could be considered to have been successful (to date) unfortunately the single currency has undermined the original purpose.
I’m an amateur with regard to economics. I don’t get why the euro is seen to have failed. Particularly if you view Europe as a state federation. The dollar hasn’t failed other federations (USA, Australia, etc).
But Europe (the EU) is not a Federation and therefore the Euro does not function as it could , and I doubt it ever could have been….ironically the UK had avoided that problem by retaining the Pound and yet Brexit….shows what happens I guess when everything is viewed in aggregate.
For a single currency to work the productivity across the sphere needs to be near the same. The Euro didn’t have that with vast differences between what, say, Germany could do and what Greece could.
When the GFC happened it stressed those differences to breaking and, when Greece needed to lower it’s currency, it couldn’t. This resulted in Greece’s economy taking a nose dive. The austerity that the rest of Europe insisted Greece put upon its citizens to hold up the loans made by private citizens in Germany and other well off nations made that worse.
If Greece had had their own floating currency it may have dropped with imports taking a dive but their exports would have likely increased and thus maintained their economy. May have even boosted it.
“For a single currency to work the productivity across the sphere needs to be near the same.”
This is untrue for any currency area of significant size, and its not critical.
“When the GFC happened it stressed those differences to breaking and, when Greece needed to lower it’s currency, it couldn’t.”
While being able to lower its exchange rate, to a limited extent, improved the situation for Greece the actual problem is the austerity (restrictions on government deficit spending) which Greece is and has been subjected to. This created a huge spending gap in the Greek economy, and hence massive unemployment, and the same thing would have happened to the extent that Greece imposed this on itself (if it had its own currency). For example sake the UK did impose a multiple dip recession on itself due to its self imposed austerity policies, till they realized it was counter-productive.
Even if exchange shifts did move Greece towards a trade surplus position you would really need a huge additional source of demand for Greek goods in order to produce two European countries with large trade surpluses at once (as for every trade surplus some other country somewhere must have a matching trade deficit).
To expand on what Pat said. The Eurozone does not have a substantial fiscal capacity is what is wrong with the Eurozone.
The implication of this for Greece, and other Eurozone troubled nations, is there is no ability for them to compensate falls in overall spending (and therefore income, e.g GDP) with increases in government spending (e.g running a deficit). The governance structure then ensures that its not at the Greek (or similar countries) governments discretion what their government deficit is, that is imposed onto who ever is elected by the IMF and EU.
Bill Mitchell has been writing about this online and in print since about 2009, and his colleagues critically since 1998 (e.g pre-Eurozone).
In countries with their own currency this basically happens automatically as these governments run their own central banks and the governments can just instruct them to fund the governments increased spending needs indefinitely.
This issue with the Eurozone design was been known since the suggestion for a single European currency emerged in the 1960’s, but over the course of a series of reports a number of shifts in economic thinking occurred, including on the importance of fiscal capacity to a currency zone.
“But the EU holds all the cards.”
I don’t understand this line of reasoning at all. The UK is moving to a situation where it can adopt any of the EU regulations it wants rather than one where it must adopt them. Surely this puts the cards into the UK governments hands.
I guess it depends how important you think the common trade policy is. After brexit the UK will still be right there in the same place of course and will still be trading with EU members. I don’t believe that much of the common trade policy is of benefit economically, even just in restricted terms of GDP growth.
For example having common financial and commercial policy could just lead to a small number of very large businesses dominating the economy. This is probably not condusive to good economic outcomes for such economies.
Sure, the UK can adopt or reject whatever social/civil policies it likes (eg – EU Human Rights that it helped formulate in the first place?)
But nation states/governments are ruled by economics. And if the EU won’t trade with the UK on an unfettered basis because (say) it renationalises rail and ferry etc, or just because “why would they?”, then what are the prospects for the countries of the UK?
And not forgetting, that at present, the UK is a kind of “landing strip” for various non – EU companies that want easy access to the “euro-zone”. Can’t quite remember how that all works, but it’ll be gone.
Does Europe need London as a financial centre? Maybe it does. Or maybe that just shifts elsewhere. Where did I read something a while back about the City of London (that strange wee “state within a state”) being exempted from all of this?
Anyway, I’m sure the overlords will work out something to their mutual benefit and advantage, and that the plebs they don’t give a shite about will endure and survive.
“I’m sure the overlords will work out something to their mutual benefit and advantage and that the plebs will endure and survive.”
They may themselves believe that….and they may be unpleasantly surprised.
The freedom of movement has provided for a deflationary effect on labour that may or may not be retained,,,either way there will likely be a negative impact during any transition….if not not a serious redirection of investment.
“And if the EU won’t trade with the UK on an unfettered basis”
But the fall back is just to the ever so slightly more fettered basis under which say the US trades with the UK today.
“Does Europe need London as a financial centre? Maybe it does. Or maybe that just shifts elsewhere.”
Last time bank of England economists looked they concluded the UK financial sector was a net cost to the UK economy, not a net benefit. But I doubt a lot of the professional services jobs can so easily re-locate as the common language of this service work seems to be English.
and fundamentally we have to consider how critical trade is to economic performance. The UK has a large diverse domestic economy itself and my expectations would be that the impact of “brexit” will not be visible in any of the UK economic data over a decade. A bit like how the best government estimates for the impact of the TPPA suggested about 1% of GDP difference over 30 years.
The so called majority for Brexit is aging, in 10 years it will no longer exist.
A hard Brexit now, and then going back in, makes no sense.
And who in their right mind would leave the EU and expect a better deal with Trump’s America? America would hold all the cards. It’s a losing hand.
There are two real options
1. stay in the single market and customs union under arrangments the UK helped form and then return to the EU in 10 or 15 or 20 so years time when the oldies die off and participate in EU reform (having been an external critic for a while). The single market would mean an open labour market, but while outside the EU no requirements to pay welfare or housing support or tax credits to “guest workers” – which is what Cameron tried to negotiate for staying in the EU.
2. Or try to negotiate a soft Brexit as they decided on recently, try and have their cake and eat it. But as for negotiating independently why bother – the EU will do deals with us, Oz, ASEAN, TPP, China, RCEP – all part of giving the fingers to Trump during their trade war.
nobody is mentioning the scottish problem. the scots DONT want to leave the eu, another independence vote coming ???
I’d be thinking the enduring sectarian divide in Scotland and the influence of Spain within the EU would make an independence vote…interesting, but fairly pointless from a Brexit perspective.
What sectarian divide is this BIll? I trust you are thinking of another part of the United Kingdom. While there is some division in Scotland this is largely restricted to football and Orange Order marches.
Yeah, it isn’t bullets and bombs. But why do you think the last independence vote didn’t quite get over the line? And what religious leanings do you think were represented by the fuckwits who went into George Square to goad those who had gathered the day after the result was announced?
The instances of families disowning sons and daughters for marrying across the religious divide might be less prevalent now than in decades gone by, but it sure as fuck still happens.
The “division”, as you refer to it, is in no way contained to the realm of football and/or a short period of Orange Order Marches.
Did you ever watch Trainspotting 2?
That shit where Rentboy and Sickboy hit the club and are compelled to perform…stolen bank cards pin numbers 1690 (Battle of the Boyne)…maybe some people missed the commentary? – that moment of deadened dread the pair experience during their impromptu performance when Rentboy uses the term “Catholic” instead of “Fenian”.
We’re talking of a country where even state schools come in two flavours. There are the secular ones (essentially Protestant), and the ones the Catholic kids go to.
And we’re talking of a deep rooted cultural phenomenon where Papal conspiracy, even in this day and age, is writ large for a good chunk of the population. And it informs opinion on a host of social issues.
What I am really enjoying is that Northern Ireland is the really difficult area.
The logic is hard withdrawal and you have to put up boarders all round the area. People will need their passports to visit relatives just on the other side. And they will need a brand new power supply to keep the lights on (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/11/whitehalls-potty-plan-to-keep-ni-lights-on-if-no-brexit-deal).
Logically, it is time to let Northern Ireland return to Eire.
But the conservatives have done a deal with the DUP. This particular party would prefer for the world to burn than let Northern Ireland go back to Eire.
So with a great deal of schadenfreude I await developments.
Who knows? We might get the reunification of Ireland and the collapse of the Conservative Government all at the same time.
Not much to enjoy if Northern Ireland descends into violent conflict, though.
Reported today, 6th night of violence in Derry,
And in Belfast.
The rest of Ireland has been peaceful for decades.
This is Orange march season. Things go really strange.
The numbers of those in the north taking up Irish passports so they retain EU rights is going to grow whatever, this just helps.
Back in 1998 (before the Easter agreement) I wrote to Blair and suggested they decide the fate of Ulster based on whether the majority there had British or Irish passports – a peaceful/democratic way of resolving it all. And have an Ulster parliament whether they were in the UK, or Eire (to maximise the chances of the orangeman coming around to a united Ireland).
I also recommended electoral reform (what Jenkins came up with and died on delivery) and changes to the House of Lords (more sensible than what they did).
They do not do change well. It’s just as well they have an island (tradition) to cling onto.
Thye could have made Britain great if only they had let Ireland be – now the future belongs to Eire in the EU. I wonder how much of the banking they will get, and how much Edinburgh will aspire to – if they can get out of the UK.
The United Kingdom is in a muddle of its own making.
It did so well within the umbrella of the EUrope. But Boris, Farage, and “Fake” Donald have pissed a veritable quagmire on the Tories and the PM for two years now.
The EU currently has a population of 741 Million. USA 325 Million. United Kingdom 65 Million. (Data – as at 2016).
The Brits have a deep seated hatred of foreigners. A disease which has led them to close their gates to Europe. They literally hate Europeans. Indeed, they loathe anybody who has not been born in Westminster.
Secretly, they loathe all of the Colonies they Stole from hapless persons around the globe from 1500s until the late 1950s. They have not Paid one penny of compensation to those Populations. Nor have they apologised.
Under the time of Margaret Thatcher up to the current PM – The Wealthy get to increase their wealth, while the work force live under a kind of threat – never knowing whether from day to day they will have enough money to live as a human being.
The EU has strict Standards for Conditions of Work. And Strict Standards of Law.
Thatcher and May – and all the posh Tories do not concur with those standards.
The UK is not a United Kingdom. It is an-United Misfit. Full of Hate for Foreigners.
Oh dear the week is getting worse and still Friday (BST) to go:
And not just Theresa May is copping it.
Whatever happened to the unwritten rule that a government should not comment on internal affairs of a foreign government?
Indeed, I wondered that too then realised it’s just another example of Trump doing his anti-establishment thing.
Funny how the Guardian report of British MPs outraged at his insults to their PM failed to report any such actual insults. I presume they’re trying to demonstrate that journalism no longer needs to be evidence-based.
Trump told the Sun that Boris Johnson has got what it takes to be a good PM. Hardly a revelation to anyone, that. I was more intrigued that he chose not to add this: “He just needs to grow his hair twice as long, rub gel into it & comb it straight back.” Or this: “If he dyed it orange as well, women would fall over themselves trying to get to him!”
And not just Theresa May is copping it.
That’s true. This daft fuck quoted in the link will be rightfully copping it from a few quarters.
Darren Jones, Labour MP for Bristol North West, echoed those sentiments, writing: “Well this has gone well then. What a humiliating week for Britain (excluding the valiant efforts of our football team!).”
If you’re missing it, I’ll point it out. England is Britain.. Apparently. ffs.
The protesters signs in London are telling and fun.
They sure are DV 🙂
My girls laughed so hard when they first saw the inflated trump blimp. Miss ten wants a trump blimp as a pinata for her birthday.
What I have noticed is how awkward theresa may is, she always appears to look uncomfortable no matter what the occasion. Britain deserves better.
Watched Madam secretary last night, where the president was dead keen to take out the russian satellites on the bases of a perceived attack.
The cabinet removed him on the basis of an incapacitating health issue. – had a brain tumor.
The possibility has been discussed in the US
Despite Trump’s antics in Britain, he has unwittingly handed May and her supporters in the Conservative Party one excellent attack line, should they choose to use it.
This concerns Trump’s comment that Boris Johnson would make a “great prime minister”. This is the death knell I would say for Johnson’s prime ministerial ambitions, which were already under pressure.
I’d advise May to start referring to Johnson as Trumps lapdog and that support for Johnson is support for Trump. I cannot believe that Trump’s endorsement of Johnson in any way helps him or the pro Brexiters amongst the British.
I’d predict that the vast majority of Brits would reject Johnson on the basis of Trumps endorsement of him.
Now’s a good time for May to start putting the boot in, especially while Trump is still in the country.