Sunday, July 03, 2016
Meanwhile in Merrie Olde England
It's time for a little catch-up on the political news the American news media have decided is less important than Bill Clinton getting a haircut on an airplane tarmac --- oh sorry, saying hi to Loretta Lynch on the tarmac. It's so hard to keep the tarmac scandals apart. (If you're looking for a news story that's actually informative on this latest, this one by Amy Chozick in the NY Times strikes me as fair and informative.)
For some real political intrigue instead of sophomoric pearl clutching over bullshit, you really need to read the British press. Take this piece about the Tory leadership in the wake of Brexit:
Now that the news cycle is measured in seconds, there’s a risk that 23 June might come to feel like history, that we might move on too soon. But there can be no moving on until we have reckoned with what exactly was done to the people of these islands – and by whom.
Ain't that the truth...
This week’s antics of Gove and Johnson are a useful reminder. For the way one has treated the other is the way both have treated the country. Some may be tempted to turn Johnson into an object of sympathy – poor Boris, knifed by his pal – but he deserves none. In seven days he has been exposed as an egomaniac whose vanity and ambition was so great he was prepared to lead his country on a path he knew led to disaster, so long as it fed his own appetite for status.
He didn’t believe a word of his own rhetoric, we know that now. His face last Friday morning, ashen with the terror of victory, proved it. That hot mess of a column he served up on Monday confirmed it again: he was trying to back out of the very decision he’d persuaded the country to make. And let’s not be coy:persuade it, he did. Imagine the Leave campaign without him. Gove, Nigel Farage and Gisela Stuart: they couldn’t have done it without the star power of Boris.
He knew it was best for Britain to remain in the EU. But it served his ambition to argue otherwise. We just weren’t meant to fall for it. Once we had, he panicked, vanishing during a weekend of national crisis before hiding from parliament. He lit the spark then ran away – petrified at the blaze he started.
He has left us to look on his works and despair. The outlook for the economy is so bleak, the governor of the Bank of England talks of “economic post-traumatic stress disorder.” The Economist Intelligence Unit projects a 6% contraction by 2020, an 8% decline in investment, rising unemployment, falling tax revenues and public debt to reach 100% of our national output. No wonder George Osborne casually announced that the central aim of his fiscal policy since 2010 – eradicating the deficit – has now been indefinitely postponed, thereby breaking what had been the defining commitment of the Tories’ manifesto at the last election, back in the Paleolithic era known as 2015.
Perhaps headlines about Britain losing its AAA credit ratings don’t cut through. Maybe it’s easier to think in terms of the contracts cancelled, the planned investments scrapped, the existing jobs that will be lost and the future jobs that will never happen. Or the British scientific and medical research that relied on EU funding and European cooperation and that will now be set back “decades”, according to those at the sharp end.
And what was it all for? For Johnson, it was gross ambition. Gove’s motive was superficially more admirable. He, along with Daniel Hannan and others, was driven by intellectual fervour, a burning belief in abstract nouns such as “sovereignty” and “freedom”. Those ideas are noble in themselves, of course they are. But not when they are peeled away from the rough texture of the real world. For when doctrine is kept distilled, pure and fervently uncontaminated by reality, it turns into zealotry.
Just look at what this act of vandalism has wrought. There has been a 500% increase in the number of hate crimes reported, as migrants are taunted on the street, told to pack their bags and get out – as if 23 June were a permission slip to every racist and bigot in the land. And for what? So Boris could get a job and so Gove, Hannan and the rest could make Britain more closely resemble the pristine constitutional models of the nation-state found in 17th-century tracts of political philosophy, rather than one that might fit into the interdependent, complex 21st-century world and our blood-drenched European corner of it.
They did it with lies, whether the false promise that we could both halt immigration and enjoy full access to the single market or that deceitful £350m figure, still defended by Gove, which tricked millions into believing a leave vote would bring a cash windfall to the NHS. They did it with no plan, as clueless about post-Brexit Britain as Bush and Blair were about post-invasion Iraq. They did it with no care for the chaos they would unleash.
It's so House of Cards. The original. Only real!
As for the other big Tory in the running for the Party leadership, get a load of this:
Theresa May has warned that the future of European Union citizens living inside the UK is uncertain and their status will be part of any Brexit negotiations.
The Home Secretary, who has emerged as the clear front-runner in the Conservative Party leadership contest following the withdrawal of the former London mayor Boris Johnson, also told ITV’s Peston on Sunday there could be an upsurge in immigration before Britain officially leaves the EU.
And though Ms May said she wanted to “guarantee the position” for EU citizens currently living in the UK and British citizens living in EU countries, she admitted their future was up for negotiation.
“What's important is there will be a negotiation here as to how we deal with that issue of people who are already here and who have established life here and Brits who have established a life in other countries within the European Union.
Nice. No doubt she and Trump would have a beautiful friendship.
digby 7/03/2016 04:30:00 PM