I'm taking the summer break to get my head around a few upcoming elections. The second half of 2018 promises to be very dramatic and I want to be on top of it as much as I can...
I've used an image of the new Zimbabwean President, Emerson Mnangagwa, celebrating his victory...
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…
I haven't followed the world of politics closely enough this week to write a post. The World cup has taken over. As an apology I've posted two of my favorite images from Russia so far....
Theresa May managed to almost get all the Lords’ amendments through the Commons last week.
However, the compromise she had to make with the Tory rebels to ensure their compliance on the Meaningful Vote amendment may ultimately lead to her suffering a heavy defeat this Wednesday. if the Lords send back the same amendment she was able to convince Dominic Grieve et all not to support, it is now very unclear they would be willing to back down again.
They believed they had been promised a lot more than what was confirmed by No. 10 after the votes had been completed.
Theresa May had another headache late last week as she suffered a media and a political backlash to her announcement that the NHS will receive a funding increase to the equivalent of 384 million pounds a week.
This figure is very similar to the widely castigated 350 million NHS Brexit bus. In an article last week I wrote that Theresa May could get all the votes through the Commons and still have a terrible June. Nothing last week changed that opinion…
Sinn Fein held their Ard Fheis at the weekend and it seemed to be quite a success with a lot more positive coverage from media in the Republic than typically observed for Sinn Fein events.
I will write an update on the state of play in Irish politics after the next Sunday Business Post poll as then there will be a round of polls that have absorbed any impact from the 8th Amendment referendum.
It feels a little surreal writing this but Angela Merkel’s position is now under serious threat after a week of accusations and rows around immigration in German politics.
I haven’t followed the story closely enough to wrote more here but there seems every chance I could be writing about her resignation this time next week. I almost take it for granted that Theresa May is the sick lady of European politics but outlasting Merkel after May’s own annus horribilis would be quite the accomplishment…
A very short entry this week as hoping to write a few longer posts this week. My only question is on whose side do you think JShinzo Abe from the body language in this picture?
I think Donald Trump in many ways is actually continuing the US foreign policy pivot of moving from the Middle East to Asia .
I don't think this is a conscious move by him, more he sees bigger "prizes" in Asia but it may ultimately prove to be beneficial to the United States, at the price of weakening stability in Eastern Europe and allowing continued political chaos across the Middle East.
From political movements and news yesterday it does look like the meeting will take place between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un and this could continue this pivot...
A dramatic week in Europe that illustrated to me how potentially unstable the European Union is despite the bright economic outlook.
The political deadlock that followed Italy’s election in March has finally ended. Five Star Movement and Lega have agreed to a coalition that has already captured Europe’s attention.
While neither leader will become Prime Minister, that honour goes to Giuseppe Conte a previously little-known member of the Bureau of Administrative Justice, the self-governing body of administrative magistrates.
The new government will have to overcome a number of challenges and it isn’t clear that the two parties will be able to work together.
Historically, recent Italian coalitions have had such a short lifespan that both sides probably realise they will have to go to the Italian electorate again in the not so distant future.
For that reason, I almost see this as a public perception battle as well as a functioning government. Both leaders will have public perception at the back of their minds as they make major decisions.
I will be closely watching who appears to be gaining the advantage between Luigi Di Maoi and Matteo Salvini as the winner of that battle may be the next “true” Italian Prime Minister…
Mariano Rajoy was forced to step down on Friday after a motion of no confidence was passed by the Spanish Chamber of Deputies.
Despite heading the largest party (the People’s Party have 134 out of 350 seats), Rajoy was undone by a large coalition of the left and regional parties.
Rajoy’s time had undoubtedly come. He had overseen the brutal crackdown in Catalonia and his party was also embroiled in the “Gurtel affair”. Last week, a People’s Party secretary was jailed for 33 years for fraud and money laundering.
However, the fragmented state of Spanish politics means that the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party under the new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will struggle to rule (they currently only have 84 seats).
The current government only has two years left to run before elections are necessary but I am very skeptical it will last that long.
The Citizen’s Party is currently leading in the polls (see below) and I can see them doing everything possible to agitate for an early election. They gained a lot of exposure when they won the most seats in the most recent Catalan elections in December.
I believe they may do the same in any Spanish elections and end the short reign of this new socialist-led Spanish government.