Will the “Condition of Britain” question out-trump “Get Brexit done”?

The 2019 Get Brexit Done election campaign is under way, and Johnson is suddenly up against the “condition of Britain” question. So far, the parties have been making their pitches and it seems that both the “major parties” are busy trying to outbid each other in their spending promises. If however, you turn to look at what concerns the voters, and bear in mind that most tend not to get switched on to the fact that there’s an election on till about 2 weeks before D-day, the monthly Ipsos Mori poll of political issues is interesting. They started with Brexit being way ahead as a “very important” issue, but the NHS has now almost caught it up (55% to 54%) and this is despite Johnson trying to make the focus how he can “get Brexit done” and it’s “The People … Read more

Liberalism retreats before the advance of nationalism and the strong man

The turbulence of 2016 has revealed enough to make clear that we now have two competing visions of the global political order, liberalism and nationalism. One might say “nothing new then”, given that such a competition is in some ways a reversion to an older pre-1945 pattern, were it not for the apparent progress made since then to create a rules and human rights-based international order. Now however, some might think that such progress is going into reverse, with the rise of “strong man” authoritarian regimes in important states like Russia, Turkey, India and even, for some, the USA under Trump, to join longer-standing regimes in places like China. Suddenly liberal democracy looks to be under threat. A rules-based liberal global order Since the end of the Cold War, and the competing claims to legitimacy of democracy and communism, it … Read more

Let’s not forget why we need european unity

Let’s not forget what Europe was like within living memory, full of bloody conflict, as it had been for hundreds of years. Brexiteers wanting to pull the UK out of the EU do so in the face of a very troubled history which has involved the UK more often than many realise, whereas under european unity we have had 71 years of peace. This photo shows the place where six resistance members in our village in France were shot by the Nazis after the Allied landings in 1944, in retaliation for the Resistance’s uprising. This was the Europe that those founding the EU wanted to prevent ever happening again. We in the UK were part of the immense and very costly effort to bring peace to a bitterly divided Europe. This continent was riven by nationalism and racism, where 6 … Read more

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