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Tag Archives: UK

World leaders from May to Trump to Erdogan are all promising to unite their countries while doing the exact opposite

Suddenly the world is full of leaders from Theresa May to President Erdogan of Turkey claiming to unite their countries while visibly deepening their divisions. Denunciations of supposed threats at home and abroad are a common feature of this new political style, whether they are tweeted from the White House or spoken at the podium outside 10 Downing Street.

“Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials,” said May this week, accusing them of deliberately trying to influence the results of the general election on 8 June. All this sounded very like Hillary Clinton convinced that Russia helped lose her the presidential election, though in the case of Britain any such calculation is highly unlikely given the common European assumption that Mrs May is going to win a landslide victory.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/may-erdogan-trump-nationalism-racism-history-brexit-a7719176.html

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Europe

 

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Boris Johnson’s foreign policy in Syria is based on wishful thinking

There is nothing surprising in Boris Johnson saying that it would be difficult for the UK not to join US military action in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in response to a chemical weapons attack. Since the Second World War British governments have been trying to strengthen the UK’s status as the most important military ally of the US. But after 9/11 this obeisance became more craven and knee-jerk, despite producing failed British military ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the Trump administration in power in the US, these British efforts to prove to Washington the usefulness and reliability of its links to the UK have become ever more desperate. Britain’s departure from a major alliance like the EU, and likely confrontation with it over the terms of Brexit, is bound to make Britain less of a power in the world. It therefore needs to foster closer relations with Trump’s America along with an unsavoury list of countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-syria-trump-based-on-wishful-thinking-a7706031.html

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Europe, Middle East

 

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The working class revolts

One recent afternoon I set out on my old Raleigh bike on a tour of post-Brexit Britain. Two years earlier I had travelled the country on my bike as I researched a book. Now, after the vote for Brexit, I began another journey, this time with an even stronger sense of political disorientation. I wanted to discover what had become of the euphoria and, indeed, anger so present after the referendum of 23 June. For two weeks I cycled through the ex-industrial towns and cities of the Midlands and the north of England, two of the regions I visited in 2014.My method then had been basic and, to some, ill-advised. Over the four months I cycled, I either wild-camped or stayed in the homes of people who had heard about my venture by word of mouth, or whom I’d met along the road, and I asked people, simply: “What is life like here?” I received a bewildering range of responses, from ­worries about wages or what world their children might inherit, to explanations about ecological and community projects built on a sense of renewal and hope. I encountered generosity and insight into different ways of life in Britain, and last summer published my findings as Island Story, a travelogue in the spirit of William Cobbett and Orwell.

Source: The working class revolts

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Europe, Reportages

 

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G7 rejection of Russian sanctions is the latest in a series of failures for Boris Johnson

This had been described by some as a defining week in Boris Johnson’s brief and controversial time in the office of Britain’s Foreign Secretary. If that is the case, then it came to be defined quite swiftly and rather embarrassingly.

Less than 24 hours after Mr Johnson announced that he was leading the drive at the G7 summit to impose a super-tough set of sanctions on the Kremlin, the ministers in the group rejected his proposals.

His most punitive demands, such as placing a fresh batch of Russian military personnel on a black-list were given short shrift. There was an agreement to push for an investigation into the chemical attack in Idlib which had triggered the current crisis – but this was something Russia and Iran, allies of President Bashar al-Assad, had already said they would welcome.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/russia-sanctions-failure-boris-johnson-syria-putin-assad-trump-golf-theresa-may-a7679246.html

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Europe

 

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This is what Brexit looks like: cosying up to brutal regimes

Does “Brexit mean Brexit”, or does “Brexit means Britain should cosy up even more to murderous human rights abusers?” Our government is already a serial cheerleader of gruesome regimes: a grubby arms dealer at their service, too. But as Theresa May prostrates Britain before her head-chopping friends in Saudi Arabia, her strategy is clear. Abandoning the vast single market across the Channel doesn’t just mean reducing Britain to the status of lapdog to the woman-groping Muslim-bashing demagogue across the Atlantic. It means an ever-closer relationship to regimes which inflict suffering on people inside and outside their own borders.

Source: This is what Brexit looks like: cosying up to brutal regimes | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Europe

 

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Freeing up the rich to exploit the poor – that’s what Trump and Brexit are about

Propaganda works by sanctifying a single value, such as faith, or patriotism. Anyone who questions it puts themselves outside the circle of respectable opinion. The sacred value is used to obscure the intentions of those who champion it. Today, the value is freedom. Freedom is a word that powerful people use to shut down thought.When thinktanks and the billionaire press call for freedom, they are careful not to specify whose freedoms they mean. Freedom for some, they suggest, means freedom for all. In certain cases, this is true. You can exercise freedom of thought, for instance, without harming others. In other cases, one person’s freedom is another’s captivity.

Source: Freeing up the rich to exploit the poor – that’s what Trump and Brexit are about | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Economy, Europe, European Union

 

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We cannot deal with Islamist terrorism alone. Using security as a Brexit bargaining chip is a dangerous game

This is Theresa May in her Article 50 letter on a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU: “In security terms, a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.” Then we had Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, talking about Britain’s contribution to Europol: “If we left, we would take our information with us.”

And this is Alex Younger, the head of MI6, in his first public speech three months ago addressing the issue of Brexit and security: “The need for the deepest cooperation can only grow. And I am determined that MI6 remains a ready and highly effective partner, just as the UK is and will be. These partnerships save lives in all our countries.”

Whose views should the people of this country, a week after the Westminster attack, believe offers greater protection against terrorism? The chief of the intelligence service? Or politicians trying to use public safety as a bargaining tool?

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-article-50-security-services-islamist-terrorism-mi6-interpol-europe-european-arrest-warrant-a7658486.html

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Europe, European Union

 

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Brexit, Pursued by Despair

The referendum was the flame; Article 50 is the fuse. Today, after months of recrimination and fear, the deed was finally done. Britain’s unelected Prime Minister triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, setting the legal machine of international relations on an unstoppable course towards Brexit. Britain was committed to the complex and painful operation of leaving the EU within two years—with or without the anesthetic of a workable trade deal. The new right wants you to believe that Brexit ignited spontaneously out of a broad Western backlash against racial tolerance and decadence. It wants you to believe that these are your “legitimate concerns.” But as the craven svengalis of triumphant neoconservatism and the gurning spivs they stand behind try to scrawl their own ugly slogans over the pages of recent history, remember that it could have been otherwise. Remember this, because people will try to erase it from the story. Brexit is happening because the people of Britain have been through eight years of savage and senseless austerity. If you take away all of the things that make community life possible—not just the libraries but the youth centers, the after-school clubs, the parks and citizens advice centers—if you do all that and then fix it so people can hardly even afford to leave the house, presuming they have energy out of their exhausting jobs, then communities atrophy.

Source: Brexit, Pursued by Despair | Laurie Penny

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Europe

 

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The tax I pay should be for peace, not war

A young man I know joined the armed forces to fight in Afghanistan because he wanted to have an experience that money couldn’t buy. He is not an ardent patriot or believer in any particular cause. He just wanted a unique experience in his life; to have done something difficult, something money cannot buy.I wanted to talk to this brave young man; ask him if he was prepared to kill or maim another human being. But I didn’t. His father impressed me with his understanding that this was what his son wanted to do with his life and therefore he should be allowed. It was his son’s right to decide.

Source: The tax I pay should be for peace, not war | Mark Rylance | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Europe

 

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The Westminster attack is a tragedy, but it’s not a threat to democracy

The current bout of global terrorism came to the heart of London today in a fatal attack outside the Palace of Westminster. The symbolism is impossible to escape. An assault on the home of democracy induces a peculiar sense of outrage. That people, including a policeman, should die in such an assault is tragic.As yet, nothing is known of the motive. All that can be said is that the attacker failed to enter parliament itself. Bystanders were killed and injured, but the massive security inevitable for such an institution was effective in protecting its occupants. In a busy modern city there is no way absolute security can be assured, but the police can say that the system was tested and worked. Short of holding parliament in a bunker, there are limits to what more can or should sensibly be done.

Source: The Westminster attack is a tragedy, but it’s not a threat to democracy | Simon Jenkins | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Europe

 

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