no-deal Britain 

Will prime minister Johnson put lipstick on the pig?

Today’s Sunday Times reports that various EU countries are panicking so badly over Britain leaving the EU with no deal they are willing to offer a new one. At its shallowest, this proves the point some of us have been making from the get-go: that the only way the EU would ever offer withdrawal terms in Britain’s interests would be if the UK credibly threatened to leave with no deal at all. However, there is a far less rosy way to look at this reported development. Boris Johnson has positioned…

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UK Britain 

Why Brexiteers don’t trust Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson insists that he’s not bluffing when he says he’s prepared to take the UK out of the EU with no deal if, as is now widely predicted, he becomes Britain’s next prime minister later this month. Do we believe him? Maybe; maybe not. Many don’t. One reason why there’s so much suspicion is that he has consistently said he will try to get a better deal from the EU – and expects to do so. Since the EU has shown itself implacably opposed to any renegotiation, some might…

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Tories Britain 

How the Tories can save themselves and Brexit

A general election in Britain in the near future is surely well-nigh inescapable. Whoever wins the Conservative leadership election — and as we can see from the histrionics of the past few days, Boris Johnson may end up destroying himself — both Johnson and his rival, Jeremy Hunt, have committed themselves to leaving the EU with no-deal on October 31 if they cannot renegotiate the withdrawal terms. Since it seems overwhelmingly likely — regardless of Johnson’s claims to the contrary — that the EU will not offer any concessions, the…

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Britain 

Can this leadership contest produce a real British conservative?

Boris Johnson has topped the first ballot for the Tory leadership with 114 votes, and it is being assumed that his bandwagon is now unstoppable. Is it? If Michael Gove, that intellectually formidable, competent and experienced minister is deemed by the admission of his past cocaine use to have a character flaw that makes him unsuitable to lead his country, how much more so is this true of Boris Johnson. His launch press conference was shoddy. Faced with awkward questions, such as over his own sampling of cocaine in the…

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UK Britain 

From the frying-pan into the fire?

It would appear that Mrs May is about to resign. We’d do well to be a little cautious about whether this is actually going to happen. Just saying. We are reading that her resignation will be announced tomorrow. Then she will remain prime minister until the Conservative party elects a new leader. In normal circumstances, this would seem a strange way to govern a country. After all, by what authority would she do anything at all as a kind of post-political mortem prime minister? But then, these aren’t normal circumstances,…

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cliff Britain 

At the cliff-edge, the Tory lemmings

Well, what in heaven’s name did anyone expect? Theresa May’s refinements to her Brexit deal, crafted in order to force it through the Commons on her fourth attempt, have caused consternation and horror in the Tory party. With the political cliff edge towards which she has been steadily driving the party clearly in sight, she is now proposing a lethal shove to push the Conservative lemmings over the drop altogether. For her new Brexit deal is even worse than the old one – which was itself beyond terrible. This new…

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UK Britain 

The one and only way for panicking MPs to save their skins

They get it and they don’t get it. Panicking parliamentarians are gazing upon their poll numbers in free fall with horror and disbelief. Is it really possible that the Conservative and Labour parties might be collapsing as much as the polls suggest? Yes, it is most certainly possible. Might the Conservative party now be out of power for a generation or even split apart and disintegrate altogether? Yes it might. Could the entire political system now be entering a profound realignment? Yes it could. Can Nigel Farage’s Brexit party really…

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Britain Israel USA 

Leaving Egypt to cross the (metaphorical) seas

At the festival of Passover, which Jews are about to celebrate, the story is recounted of how the children of Israel managed to redeem themselves from slavery through their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea in which their Egyptian pursuers proceeded to drown. Plunging into the sea was a supreme act of collective faith by the escaping Israelites, involving extraordinary courage and requiring an equally crucial act of leadership. These three factors are in conspicuously short supply in the west today. In Britain, the stalled and sabotaged Brexit process irresistibly…

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Britain 

The only way to end this abuse of power: replace Mrs May by a PM committed to no-deal

It has been reported that the government has ordered all operational planning for a no-deal Brexit to end. According to a leaked email seen by Sky News, the decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill. On what basis has this cynical, manipulative and irresponsible decision been taken? For the possibility remains that, whatever the eventual date on which it leaves (if ever), the UK will do so with no deal. The Cabinet doesn’t even seem to have been told that abandoning no-deal preparations…

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Brexit Britain 

Will Mrs May now hammer the final nail into Brexit and democracy?

On the Briefings for Brexit website an anonymous civil service whistleblower, “Caroline Bell”, who previously wrote about the government’s duplicity over Brexit and the case for leaving with no deal as I described here, has now written an explosive claim that many of the detailed orders prepared by Whitehall to enable the country to continue to function smoothly in a no-deal departure are being deliberately held up by Number Ten. MPs and even ministers, s/he maintains, have been acting in a deliberately created information vacuum. Worse, s/he fears that, if…

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