The main story this week has to be about the historic meeting between North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In. However, there were plenty of other stories that caught my eye and Amber Rudd’s resignation just about creeps into last week though its implications will be significant for weeks to come…
This was very, very unexpected until quite recently. It was only late last November when Donald Trump was calling Kim Jong Un “little rocket man” and threatening mass destruction on North Korea and its regime.
For there to be a major warming of relations between all sides since can only be evidence that the old protocols do not apply under President Trump. We have seen plenty of policy turnarounds, both domestically and internationally, under Trump and it now seems clear almost anything is possible with Trump at the helm.
Whilst this may have negative implications in the future and in other political arenas, there is no doubt recent developments are incredibly positive on the Korean Peninsula. There is now a genuine belief among most parties that an official peace treaty can be signed by both sides that formally ends the Korean War.
Kim Jong Un has even spoken of his desire for a de-nuclearized Korean Peninsula, though that still seems quite ambitious to me in the short to medium term.
However, this is overall a very positive story and I’ll let Kim Jong Un end it with some quite eloquent words from the Summit;
"We bade farewell to the frozen relationship between North and South Korea, which was a nightmare, and we announced the beginning of a warm spring to the world."
The Windrush scandal rumbled on all week for Amber Rudd with her position becoming more and more untenable. It all culminated on Sunday with the Guardian publishing evidence that she had known about deportation targets.
Yvette Cooper gave her a torrid time of it in the Home Affairs Select Committee last Wednesday and she apparently misled both that Committee and Parliament by denying she knew about the targets.
She seems an intelligent and amenable politician to me but she really messed up here. What we don’t know is what orders Theresa May gave her as events progressed as May has quite a lot of culpability over Windrush.
It will be interesting to see who is appointed the next Home Secretary later today. Furthermore’ will Labour continue to go after Theresa May on this or they will now focus on the last few days of campaigning before the local elections on Thursday…
A week of bickering between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail over spending promises ahead of the next budget. A number of polls came out this week which are always interesting to those who follow closely, however I think they are quite meaningless until the 8th Amendment referendum is concluded. Once that takes place, the gloves will be off between all the parties and an election could then be called at any point..
On the 8th Amendment Referendum, the Repeal side continue to have a strong lead but a poll on Saturday from the Irish Daily Mail put Repeal support at only 46% when “Don’t Know”s and “Wont Vote”s are included.
This is potentially dangerous territory for Repealers and I continue to stick with my recent predictions on a low turnout and close final vote here.
Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington DC was notable for the high affinity the American and French leaders old for each and his strong words on the environment;
“What is the meaning of our life if our decision, our conscious decision, is to reduce the opportunities for our children and grandchildren?
By polluting the oceans, not mitigating CO2 emissions and destroying our biodiversity, we are killing our planet. Let us face it: there is no Planet B.
On this issue it may happen we have a disagreement between the United States and France. It may happen, like in all families. But that is, for me, a short-term disagreement. In the long run, we will have to face the same realities. We are citizens of the same planet.
We have to face it. Beyond some short-term disagreements, we have to work together.
With business leaders and local communities, in order to make our planet great again, and create new jobs and new opportunities, while safeguarding our Earth. And I am sure one day, the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement. And I am sure we can work together to fulfil with you the ambitions of the Global Compact on the environment.”
And on Iran which will be crucial in the coming months as Trump has threatened on numerous occasions to tear up the JCPOA. From Macron’s words it is clear he belives this would be a foolish thing to do;
“There is an existing framework – called the JCPOA - to control the nuclear activity of Iran. We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that. But it is true to say that this agreement may not address all concerns, very important concerns. This is true. But we should not abandon it without having something substantial, more substantial, instead. That is my position. That is why France will not leave the JCPOA, because we signed it.
Your President and your country will have to take, in the current days and weeks, their responsibilities regarding this issue.”