Thursday, 23 July 2020
UK: bowling alone
The Brexit clique grabbed the reins of power in expectation of devoting this year to achieving what they see as the glorious severation of Britain from the EU. They chose Mr Johnson as their putative leader because they discerned in him an election winner: and they were right - on a minority vote of 29% of the electorate he handed them a parliamentary majority of 80+
What the Brexit clique probably didn't anticipate was a series of "events" which they'd have to deal with alongside the Brexit negotiations, and the ineptitude of this Brexit-packed cabinet with a Prime Minister gifted as a cheerleader but otherwise unfit to govern, has exposed the folly of Britain without close allies on whom we can rely.
Hong Kong: The behaviour of the Chinese government in flagrantly ignoring the deal by which Hong Kong became once more part of the mainland fiefdom (One country two Systems for 50 years) is appalling, and we must have both admiration and sympathy for the doughty protestors demanding democracy.
But what can Britain alone do*, against the now mighty Chinese empire? "We are watching you," is the pathetic response of our Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, rather in the manner of the incompetent schoolmaster addressing the teen-age trouble-maker now beyond his control.
Huawei: Back in January our independent sovereign go-it-alone government decided, after presumably much careful consideration, that this Chinese manufacturer was the best placed company to build parts of our 5G network. However, the US government disapproved, so six months later we kow-tow (sic) to the US, and change our minds.
This capitulation clearly illustrates our position vis a vis the US with regard to trade talks of anything else.
European Union : After haggling for five days rather than the scheduled two (an restabilised EU tradition) EU leaders have come up with a scheme by which the richer countries will help the poorer members to cope with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
How I regret that we are not part of such a movement towards mature international co-operation. Instead we "avoid" the EU's offer of participation in a joint purchase of PPE equipment and turn down the opportunity to take part in collective action in acquiring a vaccine against the virus. I suppose that if the Oxford vaccine turns out to be a "winner" than this will be hailed as a go-it-alone triumph. Rather I should prefer participation in joint efforts rather than a scrabble to get there first and scoop the lot.
Russia: There is plenty of evidence that the Russian government is going out of its way to destabilise the established Western democracies. But the UK government, with its allegedly world-beating intelligence network, simply didn't bother to look for evidence of such activity in the the Scottish Independence Referendum, the Brexit Referendum or our 2017 election.
Perhaps one of the main means by which we remain a "power in the world" (and prop up up our currency) is by allowing London to a Mecca for money laundering and for the Tories to be helped to hold on to power by accepting bungs from (former) Russian oligarchs. Therefore we mustn't to anything to upset President Putin and his cronies, and this cosy relationship.
Coronavirus: To date the number of deaths from coronavirus among our nearest comparable neighbours is:
UK: 45 000;
Italy: 35 000;
France: 30 000;
Spain: 28 000;
Germany: 9 000.
And yet minister after minister, in the Commons and on the media, claims their dealing with the pandemic has been a great success even envied by the rest of the world.
This is Orwellian perception management in spades.
Many of the lockdown restrictions in England have been eased in the past two weeks, in the view of many too soon.
The government has now abandoned "following the science" and now insists that, taking everything into account (eg the fate of the inner city catering industry if people no longer go to work in the office, versus a potential spike in the virus) it is up to politicians to take a balanced view and make the final decision.
Quite right .
But I suspect that the "science" that most influences the government is neither that of the medical profession nor the economists, but the findings of the "Focus Groups" - what option is most likely to keep us popular?
So go-it alone-Britain, as we withdraw from former allies, is now at the mercy of the world's bully nations, the US, China and Russia, and the schemes of Dominic Cummings, the control-freak apparently now dominating government policy.
* The one thing we can do to honour our obligations to the people of Hong Kong is to offer universal (not just those with OBC passports) accesses to the UK with a view to future citizenship. China couldn't stop us and we don't need anyone's help to do this.
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But what can Britain alone do*, against the now mighty Chinese empire?ReplyDelete
(a) We're not alone: we're working with many international partners, such as the USA and Australia, who have led the way in calling for an independant inquiry; a stance which has led to the Chinese retaliating against them, in the face of which we are standing by our antipodean allies.
(b) please to tell what has your beloved EU done? Heck, forget done; has the EU even said anything even nearly as strong as what our government has been saying?
Back in January our independent sovereign go-it-alone government decided, after presumably much careful consideration, that this Chinese manufacturer was the best placed company to build parts of our 5G network.
I don't remember that. I remember the decision being that there was a finely-balanced choice between the dangers and the benefits and the government came down — only just and reluctantly — on the side of allowing Huawei to provide a limited amount of equipment, with the aim of reducing that proportion over time.
However, the US government disapproved, so six months later we kow-tow (sic) to the US, and change our minds.
And I don't recall that either. As far as I can see it's the behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party vis-a-vis their virus which has made the government realise that they came down on the wrong side in January. The US sanctions are merely being used as a diplomatic fig-leaf to avoid saying that in so many words.
EU leaders have come up with a scheme by which the richer countries will help the poorer members to cope with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemicReplyDelete
Seriously? The 'richer' countries? You know who's going to be shouldering the burden of the EU's next budget? The mighty industrial Germans? The agricultural French?
Nope… the Irish.
Incidentally, this is another good example of why we should avoid proportional representation. In a proper country, it would be impossible for the media to collude in keeping this sort of thing from the electorate, because the opposition party would take every opportunity to point out what a terrible deal the government had done, until it was impossible to ignore.
But because Ireland has PR, both the non-terrorist parties are now locked together in an unholy coalition, with the result that there is no functional opposition. So there's every chance the government will get away with it.
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