It’s a week of political events but there is plenty of political posturing in Ireland. I did follow the Pakistan elections quite closely and predicted a win for Imran Khan’s PTI party here…
I’m holding back on articles over the summer though will be following Brexit, Irish presidential election updates and the Swedish Election on Sunday, September 9th…
July 22nd : The antisemtitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn are back but Labour rising in the Polls...
In a week of continued disarray for the Conservatives over Brexit divisions and a number of very tight government victories (and one defeat on the European Medicines Agency) , it should be surprising that there seemed to be more attacks on the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
The most recent chapter of this long running saga "erupted" when the Labour leadership decided to uphold their complete definition of anti-antisemitism. It led Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP for Barking, calling him a "fucking anti-Semitic racist" to his face.
Their definition has diverged from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, particularly on criticism of Israel.
It has been a weakness for Labour for some time, as the media and rebellious Labour backbenchers attack the leadership over their alleged lack of effort in combating antisemitism in the party.
Fortunately for Labour, the wider electorate do not seem to have been too heavily influenced by this as Labour are now consistently enjoying their largest lead in the polls for some time...
As I predicted, the last edition of my Weekly Review became rapidly obsolete.
On Monday afternoon, Boris Johnson decided to follow in the footsteps of David Davis and resign over Theresa May’s Chequers white paper.
The white paper seems to be an almost unworkable document that has managed to disappoint those on both the leave and remain sides of the Conservative Party.
Since Boris resigned, there have been several other resignations from junior ministers and others with appointed positions within the party.
The pressure has steadily grown on Theresa May since Friday last and with only two weeks to go before the summer recess, there is a palpable sense that the coming week will be extremely dramatic and dangerous for her.
From a polling perspective, Labour got their biggest lead since the 2017 election on Saturday when they were ahead by 4%. Ominously for May, Labour then went and exceeded that on Sunday with a 5% lead.
It didn’t help that last week was also when Donald Trump visited the United Kingdom for the first time as American president. He brought plenty of drama and memorable soundbites, including criticizing Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy.
Again, next week will be dominated by Donald Trump’s visit to Helsinki to meet with Vladimir Putin and Theresa May’s struggles with the Customs and Trade Bills, as well as any potential leadership challenges….
Sinn Fein captured the headlines last week by announcing they will be fielding a candidate for the Irish Presidential election later in the year. They will be up against a very popular incumbent in Michael D Higgins. Personally, I don’t think Sinn Fein believe they have much chance of winning but they must assume it will give them a lot of publicity and media coverage ahead of the probable 2019 General Election.
A fantastic world cup was capped by France beating Croatia 4-2. The whole month has been enjoyable, with brilliant games and very little of the anticipated off the field drama. From a political perspective, there were some nice pictured captures over the month. Macron celebrating Pogba stands out in two ways; 1) he helps with his campaign policy “France is back” and 2) he is working on fixing frayed relations between the government and the greater society as a whole…
David Davis has finally resigned as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union late Sunday night. He had threatened to do so on around five occasions over the past year.
He has also brought down two other ministers from the Department for Exiting the European Union with him, Steve Baker and Suella Braverman.
The problem with writing this Weekly Review is that the story is constantly evolving on Monday morning as I write this.
Since I’ve started a number of further Conservative MPs have commented in support of David Davis, including Andrea Jenkyns, Andrew Bridgen and Bernard Jenkin.
Jenkin’s comments were particularly damning;
“There has been a massive haemorrhage of trust in the last few days because in all my meetings with the prime minister, I never expected this to be the result. And I never expected the vicious briefing against Eurosceptics in the cabinet to take place as it has done…..This isn’t cabinet government and if the prime minister thinks she has consent and support from every member of her cabinet she is deluding herself, as we have just seen.”
Theresa May will announce her next Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union today and we will probably see any further resignations shortly while they have the shield of David Davis.
I’ll sign off for this now and will write something later on today or in the week when more information emerges….
The major talking political event last week impacts European, Irish and British politics. The EU Leaders’ Summit focused mainly on immigration as the issue has steadily continued to raise tensions across the European Union over the last 18 months.
Immigration is an issue that has threatened Angela Merkel’s government in recent weeks. The mood in the EU has become more anti-immigration over the last year with governments in Italy and Austria emerging on the backs of promoting a tougher stance in their electoral campaigns.
The EU27 did reach a deal after nine hours of negotiations on Friday. This will lead to the creation of staging posts in countries just outside the European Union (these are yet to be agreed) and the even distribution of the refugees which are sifted from economic migrants at these centers (crucially this is opt-in so Hungary etc will almost certainly not participate).
This doesn’t seem like a very comprehensive or sustainable solution. However, I didn’t realise that migration is massively down from 2015. In May it was 96% lower than in October 2018 (the peal of the crisis).
What I take form this is that there has been a difference of about 2.5 years from the peak of the crisis and the (hopefully) peak of the political reaction to it. If the European union can weather the political storm is it currently experiencing, then things should become a lot smoother in the mid to long term.
The question is though will the above measure be enough to satisfy the broader EU electorate. A crucial acid test for this will be the Swedish general election in September. Sweden has seen it’s fair share of political backlash recently and the far-right Swedish Democrats have climbed steadily in the polls.
While it looks unlikely they will enter government there (despite winning one recent poll and regularly coming second), a shock win would really put pressure on the established parties to renege on their vow not to enter government with them.
The UK were given an insight into were Brexit now stands on the list of EU priorities. By most accounts, Theresa May was given about 10 minutes for an update. The EU 27 seem to have lost a lot o patience and if there isn’t a clear position and offer by the UK Government by the end of July I can see the EU taking the initiative and giving the UK a take it or leave it ultimatum.
Finally, If things go badly at Chequers next week, it may not even be Theresa May who receives this offer…