Category Archives: UK Politics

Jeremy Corbyn insists he ‘can still be PM’ and vows to fight Theresa May ‘all the way’ – Chloe Chaplain. 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted he “can still be prime minister” as he vowed to fight Theresa May’s attempt to run a minority government “all the way”.

Labour won 262 seats in the General Election, up from the 232 secured by Ed Miliband in 2015, but the Conservatives remain the largest party in Parliament.

Mrs May today secured an outlined agreement with the DUP who she hopes will be able to prop up her minority in the Commons.

But Mr Corbyn said that, without an outright majority, Mrs May’s position is vulnerable and he has outline his intention to oppose the Queen’s Speech in an attempt to bring down her administration.

‘Very happy’: Mr Corbyn said he was pleased with the election result (Frank Augstein/AP)

He told the Sunday Mirror: “I can still be prime minister. This is still on. Absolutely. Theresa May has been to the palace. She’s now attempting to form a government.

“She’s then got to present a programme to Parliament. There’s a possibility of voting the Queen’s Speech down and we’re going to push that all the way.

“We have got a mandate to deal with issues of poverty, justice and inequality in Britain.  We want to end austerity and invest in this country and that’s what we’re going to do.

“Nearly 13 million people voted for us to do it. That’s why I’m here.”

Mr Corbyn said: “I don’t think Theresa May and this government have any credibility.

“The Prime Minister called this election on the basis she would need a stronger mandate to negotiate Brexit.

“Well look what’s happened. The parallels are with 1974. The Conservatives sought, as they have done this time, a ‘who governs Britain?’ mandate.

 Evening Standard

    By choice, I’ve never voted before. But Jeremy Corbyn has changed my mind – Akala

    We do not need perfect politicians, because we are not perfect people ourselves.

    I have a confession to make: I have never voted in a general election in my life. Despite attending more demos with my parents than I care to remember, I have never yet cast a vote. I can hear the voices of disapproval. Don’t bother; it has been a conscious choice.

    However, I will be voting for the first time in June and I will – I am shocked to be typing this – be voting Labour. I am not a Labour supporter; I do not share the romantic idea that the Labour party was ever as radical an alternative as some would like to think. Despite building the welfare state, Labour has been an imperialist party from Attlee to Wilson to Blair, thus as a “third world” internationalist I have never been able to vote for them.

    So why will I be voting now? Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not that I am naive enough to believe that one man (who is, of course, powerless without the people that support him) can fundamentally alter the nature of British politics, or that I think that if Labour wins that the UK will suddenly reflect his personal political convictions, or even that I believe that the prime minister actually runs the country. However for the first time in my adult life, and perhaps for the first time in British history, someone I would consider to be a fundamentally decent human being has a chance of being elected.

    I recognise that Corbyn is an imperfect “leader”. He is a politician, and he will make more mistakes.

    We do not need perfect politicians, because we are not perfect people ourselves.

    The Guardian

    Part 1: Our Dishonest President – Los Angeles Times. 

    by The Times Editorial Board

    APRIL 2, 2017

    It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters. The Times called him unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, and said his election would be a “catastrophe.”

    Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office.

    Instead, seventy-some days in — and with about 1,400 to go before his term is completed — it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.

    In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all.

    His attempt to de-insure millions of people who had finally received healthcare coverage and, along the way, enact a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich has been put on hold for the moment. But he is proceeding with his efforts to defang the government’s regulatory agencies and bloat the Pentagon’s budget even as he supposedly retreats from the global stage.

    “It is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation.”

    These are immensely dangerous developments which threaten to weaken this country’s moral standing in the world, imperil the planet and reverse years of slow but steady gains by marginalized or impoverished Americans. But, chilling as they are, these radically wrongheaded policy choices are not, in fact, the most frightening aspect of the Trump presidency.

    What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.

    Although his policies are, for the most part, variations on classic Republican positions (many of which would have been undertaken by a President Ted Cruz or a President Marco Rubio), they become far more dangerous in the hands of this imprudent and erratic man. Many Republicans, for instance, support tighter border security and a tougher response to illegal immigration, but Trump’s cockamamie border wall, his impracticable campaign promise to deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally and his blithe disregard for the effect of such proposals on the U.S. relationship with Mexico turn a very bad policy into an appalling one.

    In the days ahead, The Times editorial board will look more closely at the new president, with a special attention to three troubling traits:

    1. Trump’s shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based. Since Jan. 20, he has repeatedly disparaged and challenged those entities that have threatened his agenda, stoking public distrust of essential institutions in a way that undermines faith in American democracy. He has questioned the qualifications of judges and the integrity of their decisions, rather than acknowledging that even the president must submit to the rule of law. He has clashed with his own intelligence agencies, demeaned government workers and questioned the credibility of the electoral system and the Federal Reserve. He has lashed out at journalists, declaring them “enemies of the people,” rather than defending the importance of a critical, independent free press. His contempt for the rule of law and the norms of government are palpable.

    2. His utter lack of regard for truth.Whether it is the easily disprovable boasts about the size of his inauguration crowd or his unsubstantiated assertion that Barack Obama bugged Trump Tower, the new president regularly muddies the waters of fact and fiction. It’s difficult to know whether he actually can’t distinguish the real from the unreal — or whether he intentionally conflates the two to befuddle voters, deflect criticism and undermine the very idea of objective truth. Whatever the explanation, he is encouraging Americans to reject facts, to disrespect science, documents, nonpartisanship and the mainstream media — and instead to simply take positions on the basis of ideology and preconceived notions. This is a recipe for a divided country in which differences grow deeper and rational compromise becomes impossible.

    3. His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot, out-of-the-mainstream ideas. Again, it is not clear whether he believes them or merely uses them. But to cling to disproven “alternative” facts; to retweet racists; to make unverifiable or false statements about rigged elections and fraudulent voters; to buy into discredited conspiracy theories first floated on fringe websites and in supermarket tabloids — these are all of a piece with the Barack Obama birther claptrap that Trump was peddling years ago and which brought him to political prominence. It is deeply alarming that a president would lend the credibility of his office to ideas that have been rightly rejected by politicians from both major political parties.

    Where will this end? Will Trump moderate his crazier campaign positions as time passes? Or will he provoke confrontation with Iran, North Korea or China, or disobey a judge’s order or order a soldier to violate the Constitution? Or, alternately, will the system itself — the Constitution, the courts, the permanent bureaucracy, the Congress, the Democrats, the marchers in the streets — protect us from him as he alienates more and more allies at home and abroad, steps on his own message and creates chaos at the expense of his ability to accomplish his goals? Already, Trump’s job approval rating has been hovering in the mid-30s, according to Gallup, a shockingly low level of support for a new president. And that was before his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, offered to cooperate last week with congressional investigators looking into the connection between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

    “Those who oppose the new president’s reckless and heartless agenda must make their voices heard.”

    On Inauguration Day, we wrote on this page that it was not yet time to declare a state of “wholesale panic” or to call for blanket “non-cooperation” with the Trump administration. Despite plenty of dispiriting signals, that is still our view. The role of the rational opposition is to stand up for the rule of law, the electoral process, the peaceful transfer of power and the role of institutions; we should not underestimate the resiliency of a system in which laws are greater than individuals and voters are as powerful as presidents. This nation survived Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon. It survived slavery. It survived devastating wars. Most likely, it will survive again.

    But if it is to do so, those who oppose the new president’s reckless and heartless agenda must make their voices heard. Protesters must raise their banners. Voters must turn out for elections. Members of Congress — including and especially Republicans — must find the political courage to stand up to Trump. Courts must safeguard the Constitution. State legislators must pass laws to protect their citizens and their policies from federal meddling. All of us who are in the business of holding leaders accountable must redouble our efforts to defend the truth from his cynical assaults.

    The United States is not a perfect country, and it has a great distance to go before it fully achieves its goals of liberty and equality. But preserving what works and defending the rules and values on which democracy depends are a shared responsibility. Everybody has a role to play in this drama.

    LA Times

    The leave fanatics will have their hard Brexit – even if the price is the union – Jonathan Freedland. 

    What a paradoxical story we shall tell our grandchildren about Brexit. The little ones will climb on our knee and we will recall how we bravely seized our independence from hated Brussels, only to destroy our country. Their infant brows will furrow in confusion when we tell them that in order to make Britain great again, we smashed it to pieces.

    Was this some kind of terrible accident, they will ask. And we will have to say no, this was deliberate. Our leaders thought escaping the European Union was so vital it was worth shattering the deeper, closer union that had defined our country for more than three centuries. So great was their professed patriotism that they had to break the thing they loved.

    The Guardian

     

    Never has America elected one so unsuited to top office – Bryan Gould. 

    Donald Trump is by no means the first US president to take office with no prior experience of holding political office.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, for example, became president after a stellar career in the military, though his military service no doubt gave him some familiarity with the concept of public service.
    Trump, however, is unusual in taking office with only the experience of pursuing his own self-interest to guide him – “and a very good thing too” many of his supporters will no doubt say.
    But, however appealing may be the prospect of a president unencumbered by political baggage, the lack of any political or governmental experience can be just as much a handicap for a new president as would be a similar absence of relevant experience in any other field of endeavour that requires judgment, knowledge and understanding.
    Politics in a democracy is essentially about carrying people with you. It requires an ability to persuade and compromise, to recognise “the public interest” is more than the simple aggregation of individual interests.

    The absence of relevant experience is one thing, the continuing impact of inappropriate and unhelpful experience quite another. The fact that Trump’s life has been dedicated to his own self-advancement leads to concern that he is not just lacking the necessary qualities but that he is actually handicapped as he takes office, by allowing his experience to have taught him the wrong lessons.
    The early indications, even before his inauguration, are not encouraging. He has already been exposed, by some immediate and pressing issues, as being ill-prepared for the major responsibilities that will soon become his.
    It was surely unwise, and unlikely to build confidence, to have parted ways so publicly with his providers of intelligence.
    His rejection of the briefing he has been given by the FBI, and the breakdown of relations between them, means that the US no longer has an accepted and reliable source of information about the activities of hostile interests – and the fact that the rejected briefings involve President Putin and Russia can only increase anxieties about the role they may have played in Trump’s election.
    And his child-like susceptibility to flattery, so expertly exploited by Putin, is far from desirable in the man to whom the free world entrusts its future.
    The nature of the allegations made against him – that the Russians have “compromising” material of a sexual or financial nature or both that could be used to blackmail him – and his difficulty in shaking himself free of this story, show how much his public image has already been damaged by what he revealed about himself during his election campaign.

    There can be few who have ascended to high office under such a cloud of their own making.

    In domestic politics, too, he has already shown himself to be less than sure-footed.
    He seems to have struggled to comprehend that running the country is different from running his own businesses and that the two must be separated – indeed, it isn’t clear that he sees any difference between them.
    There is also, of course, the persistent impression – not helped by his continued refusal to publish his tax returns – that those businesses are in trouble and that they owe vast sums of money.
    His record in business does not help.
    It is one marked by risky borrowing, followed by repeated bankruptcies, leaving the burden of unpaid debt to be borne by the lenders – hardly likely to inspire confidence if (as he advocates) the same practices are applied to the management of the public finances.
    And, in the appointments he has made to some of the most important offices in his Administration, he seems to have followed the principle that the essential qualification is that the appointee has a record of opposition to the interests (such as climate change or an end to racial discrimination) to be overseen.
    Most worryingly, Trump’s life experience appears to have taught him that celebrity and headlines are all that matter and will cure all. It seems we are about to enter an era of government by Twitter.

    A snap overnight response to some perceived slight is apparently to replace careful analysis and considered policy – and opponents and those who disagree with him are to be countered by insults and scant regard for the truth.
    It is hard to see that such an impetuous and narcissistic approach to government can possibly succeed. It is even harder to discern the likely end point.
    No American president, surely, has ever entered the White House so much behind the eight ball before he has even begun. Oh, American voters, what have you done?

    NZ Herald

    The right is emboldened, yes. But it’s not in the ascendancy – Gary Younge. 

    When there’s a cloud this large and foreboding no lining, silver or otherwise, will suffice. This was a year in which vulgarity, divisiveness and exclusion won – a triumph for dystopian visions of race, nation and ethnicity. Those thought dangerous and marginal are now not only mainstream, they have power. Immigrants and minorities are fearful, bigots are emboldened, discourse is coarsened. Progressive alternatives, while available, have yet to find a coherent electoral voice. You can polish this turd of a year all you like – it won’t stop it stinking to high heaven.

    But while the prospects for hope are scarce there is, none the less, one thing from which we might draw solace. The right is emboldened but it is not in the ascendancy. The problem is that the centre has collapsed, and liberalism is in retreat. There is nothing to celebrate in the latter but there is much to ponder in the former. It suggests that this moment is less the product of some unstoppable force than the desperate choice of last resort.

    Americans did not turn their backs on a bright new future but on a candidate offering more of the same at a time when the gap between rich and poor and black and white is growing. Nor did most of them vote for Donald Trump. Not only did he get fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, but he got a lower proportion of the eligible vote than Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008, John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000 – all of whom lost.

    The Guardian