Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Will Democrats Learn From Labour’s Loss?

No.

But the policies of Labour in the 2019 election are very different from what they were in 2005 when Tony Blair and the so-called “modernisers” held sway. Labour last Thursday went into the election with an unashamedly socialist set of policies, promising a massive increase in government spending, and big tax increases for the well-off. Nationalisation of some industries was back on the agenda. There would be massive increase in spending for the National Health Service – and an offer of free broadband for everyone. Why no offer of free puppies for all, one wag asked derisively.

The problem is that the pragmatic, working-class people of Sedgefield – and any number of other constituencies across the industrial towns and cities of the UK – held their collective noses and said you must be joking. These are smart, savvy people. They know that you don’t get something for nothing.

Electoral districts that all my life have been Labour – Blyth Valley, Bolsover, Rother Valley, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Dudley, Grimsby – are now held by the Conservatives. It is hard to overstate just how seismic this is. And remember social class in the UK has always been a bigger determinant of how people vote than it has been in the US. Just like the whole class system, frankly. Some of these constituencies have never, ever flirted with the right.

Of course, there is a massive caveat that makes reading across from what happened in the UK to what might happen in the US precarious. Brexit, no deal, the European Union Withdrawal Agreement will not be on the ballot in the 2020 US presidential election. Brexit did play a big part in this general election – how could it not given the turmoil in Britain of these past three-and-a-half years?

But as Phil Wilson, the man who succeeded Tony Blair as the Labour MP in Sedgefield – and who lost his seat on Thursday night, pointed out, Brexit was nothing like as big an issue on the doorstep as Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s socialist policies.

Britain Wants Brexit

The elites keep saying that the people don’t want, or should’t want, Brexit, but the people keep making their wished known at the ballot box.

Boris Johnson has said he hopes his party’s “extraordinary” election win will bring “closure” to the Brexit debate and “let the healing begin”.

Speaking in Downing Street, he said he would seek to repay the trust placed in him by Labour supporters who had voted Conservative for the first time.

He said he would not ignore those who opposed Brexit as he builds with Europe a partnership “of sovereign equals”.

The Tories have won a Commons majority of 80, the party’s largest since 1987.

It means the UK is heading out of the EU at the end of next month, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said, with Mr Johnson’s “thumping” majority allowing him to get the laws required through Parliament “in a matter of weeks”.

The Conservatives’ victory in the 650th and final contest of the election – the seat of St Ives, in Cornwall – took their total number of MPs up to 365. Labour finished on 203, the SNP 48, Liberal Democrats 11 and the DUP eight.

Terrorist Released Due to “Budget Cuts”

Budget cuts, eh?

Two people were killed and three were injured by Usman Khan, 28, a convicted terrorist who served half of his time.

PM Boris Johnson claimed scrapping early release would have stopped him.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will blame budget cuts for “missed chances to intervene” in a speech on Sunday.

As many as 70 convicted terrorists released from prison could be the focus of the government review.

Khan, 28, who was shot by police on Friday after carrying out the attack, was jailed over a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange in 2012.

He was sentenced to indeterminate detention for “public protection” with a minimum jail term of eight years.

This sentence would have allowed him to be kept in prison beyond the minimum term.

But in 2013, the Court of Appeal quashed the sentence, replacing it with a 16-year-fixed term of which Khan should serve half in prison. He was released on licence in December 2018 – subject to an “extensive list of licence conditions”, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

Families Threaten to Import Jihadis into U.K.

If they pull it off, I would prosecute the families for abetting and importing terrorists into the country.

British families are plotting to smuggle relatives who joined Islamic State out of Syria amid a Cabinet row over the issue, intelligence sources claim.

They say there has been ‘chatter’ among those living in the UK about how they can help suspect jihadi family members get back to Britain.

Islamic State members have already been smuggled out of camps where British citizens are held, another western security source said, adding that the ‘window of time for countries to repatriate effectively is closing very quickly’.

British Liberals Attack Private Schools

Coming soon to an American legislature near you courtesy of the Democratic Party.

(Bloomberg) — The main U.K. opposition Labour Party adopted a policy to scrap private schools such as Eton — the alma mater of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the second-in-line to the throne, Prince William.

Delegates at Labour’s annual conference passed a resolution on Sunday to include “a commitment to integrate all private schools into the state sector” in the party’s next general election manifesto.

“This is a huge step forward in dismantling the privilege of a tiny, Eton-educated elite who are running our country into the ground,” said Laura Parker, national coordinator of Momentum, a grassroots movement set up to support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “Every child deserves a world-class education, not only those who are able pay for it.”

The new policy shows how Labour under Corbyn is seeking to make political capital by attacking the rich. Stoking a class war plays to the party’s base in a country which is still very much defined by its class system.

A Labour government would take measures including scrapping the charitable status enjoyed by private schools, meaning they would lose their tax breaks, according to the resolution.

The motion also advocated ensuring that only 7% of students admitted by universities come from private schools — in line with the national proportion of pupils attending them — and redistributing their investments, endowments and properties “democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions.”

Getting Personal in the UK

And you thought American politics were raucous.

The leader of the UK Independence Party has broken up with his girlfriend following revelations of her shocking comments about American actress Meghan Markle.

“I don’t defend these comments whatsoever,” UKIP leader Henry Bolton, 54, said on “Good Morning Britain” on Monday.

Bolton said the “romantic side” of his relationship with Jo Marney, a 25-year-old model, ended Sunday night after a “long and upsetting conversation” for both of them.

“At the moment it is obviously quite incompatible to continue the relationship,” he said. But “I’m going to be continuing to support her family because Jo is absolutely distraught by this.”

The split followed an uproar over Facebook messages Marney sent to a friend about Markle, who will marry Prince Harry this spring. Marney described Markle as a “dumb little commoner,” and called black people “ugly.” She also said Markle would “taint” the royal family and pave the way for a “black king.”

When a person responded to the comments by calling them racist, Marney answered: “So what?” the BBC reported.

Sword-Yielding Prius Driver Attacks Police

Yikes.

A man arrested outside Buckingham Palace armed with a 4ft sword repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as police struggled to subdue him, Scotland Yard has said.

Three unarmed officers were injured – two receiving cuts to their hands – while detaining the man just after 8.30pm on Friday. Police are treating the incident as suspected terrorism.

Scotland Yard said the man drove at a police van just outside Buckingham Palace in a blue Toyota Prius, and stopped in front of it.

Queen Reported for No Seat Belt

Ha!

The Queen has been reported to West Yorkshire Police for not wearing a seat belt in the official car for the State Opening of Parliament.

A 999 call was made by someone saying the monarch was not strapped in while being driven through London.

The phone call was confirmed in a tweet by the West Yorkshire force, which added the hashtags #not999 #notevenwestyorkshire.

Civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Queen in UK law.

Yes, unlike America, there are people who are actually above the law in the UK.

Russia Slams UK for Canceled Meeting

Ouch.

Russia has criticised Boris Johnson’s decision to scrap a planned trip to Moscow after discussions with the US.

The move showed the UK has no “real influence” over world events, Russia’s foreign ministry said.

Mr Johnson said events in Syria had “changed the situation fundamentally” and he would go to G7 talks instead.

UK To Capture and Store Citizens’ Internet History

Sounds like something North Korea or Iran would do.

Internet providers will soon be required to record which services their customers’ devices connect to – including websites and messaging apps.

The Home Office says it will help combat terrorism, but critics have described it as a “snoopers’ charter”.

Critics of the law have said hackers could get access to the records.

“It only takes one bad actor to go in there and get the entire database,” said James Blessing, chairman of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa), which represents BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and others.

“You can try every conceivable thing in the entire world to [protect it] but somebody will still outsmart you.

“Mistakes will happen. It’s a question of when. Hopefully it’s in tens or maybe a hundred years. But it might be next week.”
The Investigatory Powers Bill was approved by the House of Lords on 19 November and is due to become law before the end of 2016.

Britain Gets a New Prime Minister

Welcome.

Theresa May promised to build a “better Britain” and to make the UK’s EU exit a “success” after she was announced as the new Tory leader and soon-to-be PM.

Speaking outside Parliament, Mrs May said she was “honoured and humbled” to succeed David Cameron, after her only rival in the race withdrew on Monday.

Mr Cameron will tender his resignation to the Queen after PMQs on Wednesday.

Mr Cameron, who has been UK prime minister since 2010, decided to quit after the UK’s Brexit vote.

Paul Ryan Urges Trade Deal with U.K.

Good.

Ryan (R-Wis.) is advocating being aggressive early in establishing deals with Britain.

“Obviously it takes time to do something like this, but I think it is something we should be working on,” Ryan told ABC affiliate WISN in Wisconsin last week, according to comments his office published on the speaker’s website Monday. “We should begin discussions with Great Britain to ease concerns so that we do have a smooth trade relationship with Great Britain because they are our indispensable ally.”

Ryan later added on Wisconsin radio station WBEL that negotiations with Britain should be done on “a parallel track” to ongoing talks with the European Union toward a trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

Ryan, a frequent champion of free trade as a tool to improve foreign relations, isn’t the only lawmaker urging the administration to launch talks with London to ensure the U.S.-U.K. relationship won’t be harmed by British-European divorce proceedings.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement Friday soon after the Brexit results were announced that talks should begin now.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Friday that he would introduce legislation that would require the United States and U.K. to “honor our current arrangements” until new bilateral deals are drafted. It also would direct the U.S. Trade Representative to begin negotiations “as soon as possible.”

There are many reasons that the U.S. should get a trade deal done ASAP. Britain’s relationship with the U.S. deserves respect. We are allies and friends who have supported each other vigorously for over a century. We should be holding our hands out in partnership. But it is also in the U.S.’s best interests. It is almost certain that the EU will seek to punish Britain and throttle Britain’s access to EU markets. Britain still needs a place to sell their goods. There’s no reason that the U.S. can’t benefit from their need in the form of advantageous prices on the things they export (vehicles, mechanical appliances, mineral fuels, pharmaceutical products, electrical equipment, etc.) and a place to sell American goods to replace E.U. goods. Also, by locking in an agreement with Britain right away, it bolsters the U.S.’s bargaining position in the negotiations with the E.U.

Hopefully the Obama Administration recognizes this historic opportunity to benefit both the United States and our ancient partner, Britain.