Civil service being subjected to excessive political pressure over Brexit

As investigations focus in on the likely leaker of the Darroch memos, the wider ramifications are now under scrutiny. It is now being suggested that the leaking was politically motivated by those seeking to establish in Washington a British ambassador more clearly sympathetic to both Trump’s and Brexiters’ policies. Coming in the midst of a leadership contest thought likely to install a pro-Trump Hard Brexiter, the implications are considerable. At … Read more

The Johnson leadership bid tilts towards Trump as Brexit looms

The row over the British Ambassador to the US, coming just after a public debate between the leadership challengers to the Tory Party succession has been instructive as to the likely direction of play. Leadership elections, especially when a party is in power, can give useful clues as to the new coalition, in party-political terms, that is being assembled, the personalities and the likely policies in particular. The resignation of … Read more

No deal Brexit is giving Britain a political nervous breakdown

It’s interesting to hear from the ex-head of the UK intelligence service, MI6, that Britain is going through a “political nervous breakdown“. People might be forgiven for thinking “me too” over this national psychiatric diagnosis, such has been the ongoing paralysis in government and Parliament as a result of the Brexit impasse. He went on to criticise the quality of political leadership by the leaders of the main political parties … Read more

Heroes at work to prevent a No Deal Brexit are showing the way

Pessimists think that there is nothing now that can prevent a determined UK PM taking Britain out of the EU with or without a deal. Optimists however think that he can be stopped and that saner counsel will prevail. Those concerned about what is going to happen fluctuate almost daily between these emotional poles. For those more inclined to the “glass half full” outlook on life may be feeling more … Read more

Boris Johnson and the economics of Leave: the whiff of an election

Preoccupied as many people are with the approaching crunch point over Brexit, they may not be so aware of the powerful whiff of an approaching general election and the potential voting-winning economic and tax-and-spend policies of the hard right behind Boris Johnson. While stuffed full of curious contradictions, and amidst masses of scepticism from soon-to-be-ex Chancellor Hammond, there is an interesting sense in BJ’s Borisomics of a mix of tax … Read more

Remain need to form an Anti-Brexit alliance to fight the election

While the Tories are busy being inwardly-focused and dreaming of the easily-won Brexit paradise as promised by Boris Johnson, the Remain side need to be thinking of the likely next General Election. The million dollar question must be whether they can form an Anti-Brexit alliance. The lesson of the last few years should be that the old two party voting pattern has broken down, or is at least on its … Read more

Can Parliament stop a No Deal Brexit being pushed through by a new PM?

You may be feeling more than a touch of déjà vu but it looks like we will be going to the wire again in October, when another round in the struggle for power between Parliament and government over Brexit is likely to take place. Again people are asking whether and how Parliament can stop Johnson pushing through a No Deal Brexit. The Tories appear to be leaving the crowning of … Read more

The Tories are choosing an election winner to leave the EU

To clear the decks was a term in naval warfare, when objects were removed or tied down before battle. It looks like the Tories are clearing the decks for electoral warfare to fix Brexit through a General Election. There is probably now no other way forward and the crunch point for a final decision is fast arriving. There is an eerie unease, like we’re all waiting as the Tory leadership … Read more

Can the UK government force through a No Deal Brexit?

Could a new UK Prime Minister in effect force through a No Deal Brexit without Parliament’s consent? This is yet another tortured question to emerge in the ongoing conflict over whether and on what basis Britain should leave the EU. There has been more than one cliffhanger in the conflict already, where the sides have been deadlocked, the deadline for Britain to leave has got very close and in the … Read more

Populism, fascism, the Far Right and Brexit

Exploring potential links between Populism and authoritarianism today Just how democratic is early 21st century populism? It is a nagging question in the back of people’s minds as they watch the rise of populism in the US and Europe and the retreat from democracy occurring across the world. One is tempted to recall the that democracy was overthrown in the early 20th century by Fascism, National Socialism and authoritarianism in … Read more