(AJ) Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps says tanker was captured ‘for failing to respect international maritime rules’.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said its forces have captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for allegedly violating international laws, amid rising tensions in the Gulf.
The Stena Impero tanker “was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules,” the IRGC’s official website Sepahnews announced.
The tanker “was led to the shore and handed over to the organisation to go through the legal procedure and required investigations,” it said.
The vessel was seized by “small crafts and a helicopter” at 7:30pm local time (15:00GMT), the owner of the vessel, Stena Bulk, and Northern Marine Management said, adding that they are “presently unable to contact the vessel”.
Tanker tracking service Marine Traffic showed that the UK-flagged, Swedish-owned Stena Impero last signalled its location near the Island of Larak in the highly sensitive waterway at 9pm local time (16:30 GMT).
There are 23 crew members on board, the company’s statement added.
“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a spokesperson for Britain’s Ministry of Defence said.
Second vessel seized
The British Foreign Office confirmed a second naval vessel, a Liberian-flagged vessel, had been seized in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian authorities.
Later on Friday, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported that the Liberian-flagged Mesdar tanker was briefly held and given a notice to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.
“I’m extremely concerned by the seizure of two naval vessels by Iranian authorities in the Strait of Hormuz,” said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
“I will shortly attend a COBR (national security) meeting to review what we know and what we can do to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels.
“These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region.”
There was no immediate confirmation from Iran that its forces had seized a second vessel.
The developments came a day after the IRGC said it had seized a foreign tanker accused of smuggling oil with a crew of 12 on Sunday.
The Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, the world’s most important waterways for the transport of oil, has become a hotspot for tensions with Iran amid a spate of incidents there.
Relations between Britain and Iran and the United States and Iran have soured in particular.
Earlier this month, British Royal Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar for allegedly violating sanctions against Syria.
On Friday, Gibraltar’s Supreme Court extended for 30 days the detention of the seized Iranian supertanker, Panama-flagged Grace 1, which was intercepted off the southern tip of Spain on July 4.
Richard Weitz, a security analyst at Wikistrat, a global risk consultancy group, said Friday’s incident was a “reciprocal action” by Iran.
“This was anticipated,” he told Al Jazeera from Washington, DC. “This is just the latest in a series of these subconventional forms of provocative moves.”
(GUA) Party says it is taking ‘decisive action’ after leaked draft of disciplinary process sparks further anger
Labour has been accused by the Board of Deputies of British Jews of “letting off” people accused of antisemitism without sanction, after a leaked draft of the party’s disciplinary process showed that some members can avoid punishment in serious cases where they have apologised and agreed to undergo education.
The Board of Deputies, a leading Jewish organisation, said Labour’s disciplinary processes were still not good enough and appeared too permissive towards antisemites, following the emergence of a draft of the party’s “antisemitism decision-making matrix” from March.
But Labour defended itself, saying all cases were reviewed on the basis of evidence and arguing that it was right to adjust sanctions depending on the member’s acceptance of culpability. It is understood that the party does not treat an apology as an automatically mitigating factor or as a reason for not imposing a sanction.
The matrix, seen by the Guardian, says: “If there is a case to answer that the member has breached the rules, decide whether a) the alleged conduct is too serious to be disciplined with a written warning (ie suspension or expulsion appears appropriate, or b) there is an important dispute of fact. If so, refer to the NCC (unless education appropriate/agreed, and with acknowledgement/apology, is sufficient mitigation).”
It adds: “If the conduct would have been serious enough for referral to the NCC [national constitutional committee] or an NEC [national executive committee] warning but member has acknowledged/apologised and agreed to education, record agreement to education.”
Labour said all cases were reviewed based on the available evidence. A party spokeswoman said: “For example, an individual’s refusal to recognise their wrongdoing is likely to result in a more severe sanction.
“The Labour party is taking decisive action against antisemitism, swiftly suspending and imposing robust sanctions on individuals. Since Jennie Formby became general secretary, the number of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints and investigations has been doubled and the rate at which cases are dealt with has increased more than fourfold.”
However, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies, said: “Despite Labour’s protestations after the Panorama programme, it is clear that Labour’s disciplinary processes still seem to be more geared towards protecting antisemites than protecting Jews. Over and over again, we see known and repeat offenders being let off despite a massive burden of evidence.
“The option of apology or training for those with serious enough cases to be referred to the national constitutional committee to get off is nothing better than a ‘get out of jail free card’ for racists. Fundamentally, this is about the culture and leadership of the party under Jeremy Corbyn being too permissive to antisemites. The process is wrong, the practice is wrong and the culture is wrong.”
Separately, the Board of Deputies wrote to all MPs and members of the national executive committee ahead of a special shadow cabinet meeting on Monday, calling for a more independent disciplinary procedure and for the cases of two high-profile members under investigation, Chris Williamson and Peter Willsman, to be dealt with within a fortnight.
The Jewish Leadership Council has also written to shadow cabinet ministers calling for an independent disciplinary system to be brought in and saying they must not underestimate the importance of Monday’s meeting as “inaction will signal your support for what has happened and what will follow”.
The interventions come after a difficult couple of weeks for Labour, since the broadcast of a BBC Panorama documentary in which eight former staff members alleged that the party was not dealing properly with complaints of antisemitism and was allowing Corbyn’s office to get involved in disputes.
Labour strongly denied any interference by the leader’s office, complained to the BBC, and said the claims were made by “disaffected former officials including those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind”.
However, there has been an outcry from some in the party, including Tom Watson, the deputy leader, whose relations with the leadership are at a low point.
More than 60 Labour peers took out an advertisement accusing Corbyn of having “failed the test of leadership” over his handling of antisemitism complaints within the party, and Labour’s leaders in the House of Lords issued a veiled challenge to Corbyn’s authority on Monday by warning him that antisemitism was a “cancer that will continue to grow”.
Meanwhile, more than 200 Labour supporters – half of them current or former Labour staffers – demanded an explanation from party bosses over the treatment of the Panorama whistleblowers.
Labour is to hold an extraordinary shadow cabinet meeting on Monday to address concerns about antisemitism, and Corbyn will address MPs on the issue the same day.
(Reuters) LONDON (Reuters) – British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in nearly 11 years, official data showed on Tuesday, but there were potential signs of future weakness in jobs growth, the economy’s silver lining since the Brexit referendum.
Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6% in the three months to May, the biggest increase since mid-2008 and stronger than the median forecast of 3.5% in a Reuters poll of economists.
Including bonuses, pay growth beat all forecasts in the poll, rising to 3.4%, the Office for National Statistics said, with a change in the timing of public health workers’ pay rises accounting for a small part of the increase.
Many economists say the strength of Britain’s labor market is at least in part due to employers hiring workers who they can later lay off if needed, rather than making longer-term investment commitments ahead of Brexit.
Unemployment held at its joint lowest rate since the three months to January 1975, forcing many employers to offer higher pay to their workers whose spending has helped the economy.
“However, the booming jobs market has inevitably shown signs of losing momentum in recent months,” Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors.
“As more and more people have entered work, businesses have found it harder to fill vacancies, and skills shortages are now clearly evident across all sectors.”
The pick-up in pay has been noted by the Bank of England which says it might need to raise interest rates in response, assuming Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit.
The BoE said in May it expected wage growth of 3% at the end of this year.
Tuesday’s data showed the number of people out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million.
But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year and below the forecast of an increase of 45,000 in the Reuters poll.
While there was a chunky rise in the number of self-employed workers, the number of employees fell by the most since 2011, and job vacancies dropped to their lowest in more than a year.
Some recently published surveys of companies have also suggested employers are turning more cautious about hiring as Britain approaches its new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.
Both the contenders to be prime minister have said they would leave the EU without a transition deal if necessary, raising the prospect of a shock to the economy in just over three months’ time.
A survey published last week showed that companies were more worried about Brexit than at any time since the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union and they planned to reduce investment and hiring.
(Reuters) LONDON (Reuters) – The suspect behind the leak of confidential memos from Britain’s Washington ambassador, which sparked a major diplomatic rift with the United States, has been identified, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.
Last week, Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper published memos from Kim Darroch in which he described Donald Trump’s administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”, prompting an angry response from the U.S. president and causing the envoy to announce his resignation.
British officials have launched an inquiry to find the person responsible for the leak and counter-terrorism police said on Friday they had launched a criminal investigation.
According to the Sunday Times, which cited unnamed government sources, a suspect had been identified and suggestions that it could be the result of a computer hack by a foreign state had been ruled out.
“They think they know who did the leaking,” an unnamed government source told the paper. “It’s now a case of building a case that will stand up in court. It was someone with access to historical files. They went in and grabbed a range of material. It was quite crude.”
Both the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday reported that intelligence officials from the GCHQ eavesdropping spy agency were about to join the investigation to find the suspect by scouring email and phone records.
The Mail also published further memos from Darroch, defying a police warning that media which did so could be committing a criminal act.
The paper said Darroch had written to the British government in May 2018 that Trump had decided to unilaterally withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers for “personality reasons” because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Darroch had said in the cable that the Trump administration was “set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism”, the paper said.
Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer had warned the media not to print any more leaked documents, saying it could breach the Official Secrets Act.
However, he was widely criticized by editors and politicians including the foreign minister Jeremy Hunt and ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, the two men battling to replace Theresa May as prime minister when she steps down in just over a week’s time.
“It cannot be conceivably right that newspapers or any other media organization publishing such material should face prosecution,” Johnson, the frontrunner, said.
Today, our survey shows Johnson on 72 per cent and Hunt on 28 per cent. We have varied the standard question and added one to ask whether or not respondents have already voted. Seventy-one per cent of respondents say that they have done so
If the survey is accurate, it would be reasonable to assume, on the evidence available at the moment, that Johnson will win somewhere between 67 per cent and 72 per cent of the vote.
And if the survey is correct, Johnson has won this contest already. Even if the entire 28 per cent of those who haven’t voted yet opt for Hunt, he cannot catch the front-runner.
In conclusion, our surveys and YouGov’s poll last weekend are all singing the same song. Johnson has won.
The 67-72% prediction takes into consideration a You-Gov poll last week that had Johnson at 67% and Hunt at 29%.
(ZH) With the Persian Gulf uncharacteristically quiet in recent days, without any material provocation either real of staged, late on Wednesday CNN reported that five armed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. There was no independent verification of the report, but instead it was once again sourced to those who stands to gain the most from a way with Iran, namely “two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident.”British Heritage tanker
According to the report, the British Heritage tanker was sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by the Iranian boats. The Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials. A US aircraft was overhead and recorded video of the incident, although so far a video has not been released.
In addition to the US aircraft escort, the UK’s Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose had been escorting the tanker, and during the confrontation, it trained its deck guns on the Iranians and gave them a verbal warning to back away, which they did. Montrose is equipped on the deck with 30 mm guns specifically designed to drive off small boats. The frigate was in the region performing a “maritime security role” according to a prior notification from UK officials.HMS Montrose
The incident takes place less than a week after British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed and seized an Iranian ship believed to have been carrying oil to Syria, in what authorities said was a violation of European Union sanctions on Syria. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned earlier Wednesday that the UK “will see the consequences” after the Gibraltar seizure.
Rouhani, speaking in a cabinet session, said, “I tell the British that they are the initiator of insecurity and you will understand its consequences later.”
On Tuesday, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said that the US and allies were working to put together a coalition of countries to come up with a system to enforce freedom of navigation in the region amid what the US says are heightened threats from Iran.
“We had a discussion today, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and I and we are engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab el Mandeb,” Dunford said following an awards ceremony for his Finnish counterpart.
“I think what we’ll do is, we certainly from the United States perspective would provide maritime domain awareness and surveillance,” he said, adding that naval vessels would escort commercial ships that shared a country of origin, if required.
“Escorting in the normal course of events would be done by countries who have the same flag so a ship that is flagged by a particular country would be escorted by that country and I think what the United States can provide is domain awareness, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and then coordination and patrols for other ships that would be in the area would be largely coalition ships,” Dunford said.
This alleged latest provocation by Iran comes just hours after President Trump announced on Twitter that sanctions on Iran will “soon be increased, substantially!” following news that Iran was enriching uranium beyond the limits imposed by the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Last month Trump halted plans for a military strike against Iran in retaliation for the shooting down of a US drone, Trump said he found it hard to believe it had been an “intentional” act. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it,” Trump said in the Oval Office on June 20.
It is unclear if Trump has been briefed on the latest events in the Gulf, and if this alleged attempt at seizing a western tanker will give the neocons in Trump’s circle enough sway to finally commence the Gulf war which could send oil above $300 and involve all the world’s superpowers in what would be one giant, and very deadly proxy war.
(GUA) Resignation letter says ‘situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like’
Sir Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to Washington who has been at the centre of a diplomatic row over leaked cables criticising Donald Trump, has resigned his post, the Foreign Office has said.
In a letter to Simon McDonald, the most senior official at the Foreign Office, Darroch said the row, in which Trump has called the ambassador “a pompous fool” and “very stupid”, meant he could not continue.
“Since the leak of official documents from this embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador,” he wrote.
“I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”
In response to Darroch’s letter, McDonald said that he accepted the resignation with “deep personal regret” and praised him for behaving throughout the controversy “as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class”.
McDonald added: “The prime minister, foreign secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job. I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself.”
Speaking in the House of Commons shortly after the news emerged, Theresa May praised Darroch for “a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom”. She added: “We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. I hope the house will reflect on the importance of defending our values and principles particularly when they are under pressure.”
Jeremy Corbyn called the treatment of Darroch “beyond unfair and wrong” and said that he had given “honourable and good service”.
“The whole house should join together in deeply regretting the feeling he’s got that he must resign at this moment,” he said.
(IrishTimes) Trump says US will ‘no longer deal’ with UK ambassador after leaks on his ‘inept’ administration
Ivanka Trump and UK international trade secretary Liam Fox arrive for the state banquet for US president Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace on June 3rd. Photograph: Victoria Jones/Reuters
US president Donald Trump will “no longer deal” with the UK’s ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch and criticised prime minister Theresa May for making a “mess” of Brexit, he said on Twitter.
“I have been very critical about the way the UK and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit. What a mess she and her representatives have created,” he tweeted.
“I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way. I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US. We will no longer deal with him.
“The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!”
Earlier on Monday, Britain’s trade minister said he would apologise to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka for a leak of confidential memos in which the UK ambassador describes the US administration as “dysfunctional” and “inept”.
The memos from Sir Kim, the ambassador to Washington, were leaked to a Sunday newspaper, annoying Mr Trump and triggering demands on the British side to find out who had disclosed them.
International trade secretary Liam Fox, who is on a visit to Washington, told BBC radio he would apologise to the president’s daughter Ivanka, whom he is due to meet during his trip.
“I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way,” he said.
“Malicious leaks of this nature … can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest.”
The revelations come at a time when Britain is hoping to strike a major trade deal with its closest ally after it leaves the European Union, an exit scheduled for October 31st.
Mr Trump told reporters, of Sir Kim: “We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well, so I can understand and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”
In memos to his government dating from 2017 to the present, Sir Kim said reports of in-fighting in the White House were “mostly true” and last month described confusion within the administration over Mr Trump’s decision to call off a military strike on Iran.
“We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” Sir Kim wrote in one memo.
Ministers said Britain did view the Trump administration as effective.
“I have made it clear that I don’t share the ambassador’s assessment of either the US administration or relations with the US administration, but I do defend his right to make that frank assessment,” foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters.
“What we will not allow to happen is any interruption in the superb relationship that we have the United States, which is our closest ally around the world,” he added, promising “serious consequences” for whoever who had leaked the memos.
Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and long a thorn in the side of British governments, said figures such as Sir Kim, would be “not be around” if former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, one of two candidates seeking to replace Theresa May as prime minister, was chosen by Conservative Party members.
Despite being close to Mr Trump, Mr Farage ruled himself out of becoming Britain’s next ambassador in Washington. “I don’t think I’m the right man for that job,” he told BBC radio.
An inquiry is now being held to determine who was behind the second serious disclosure of confidential material this year.
The British government defended the memos, saying they met Downing Street’s expectations of “honest, unvarnished assessment[s].”By Anya van Wagtendonk Jul 7, 2019, 12:44pm EDTSHARE
Britain’s ambassador to the United States called President Donald Trump “uniquely dysfunctional” and expressed grave concerns about American economic and foreign policy in a series of cables that were leaked to the British tabloid the Daily Mail and published on Saturday.
The leaked cables, prepared by Sir Kim Darroch (who has served as ambassador from Britain to the US since January 2016), cover the entirety of the Trump presidency, even touching on an official state visit to the UK less than a month ago, when the Trump and his family attended a banquet at Buckingham Palace and afternoon tea with Prince Charles and Camilla, and laid a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Despite the widespread and colorful protests that took place during that visit, Darroch wrote afterwards that the UK might now be “flavour of the month” in Trump’s eyes. But these leaks may challenge whatever goodwill emerged from the US president’s visit.
In the documents, Darroch describes “vicious infighting and chaos” within the Trump administration, and said that collusion between Trump and “dodgy Russians” was possible.
He also warned that an “America First”-style foreign policy could undermine international trade agreements, and warned negotiations over Brexit could introduce further conflict into the two countries’ diplomatic relations.
Trump has endorsed Brexit in the past, and recommended the UK “walk away” from the EU without a deal ahead of his state visit. After it leaves the European Union, the UK will need to renegotiate a number of its trade agreements, and could look to strengthen its trade ties with the US. Darroch wrote doing so could be easier said than done due to the Trump administration’s stances on a variety of issues.
“As we advance our agenda of deepening and strengthening trading arrangements, divergences of approach on climate change, media freedoms, and the death penalty may come to the fore,” the ambassador wrote.
Darroch also criticized Trump’s foreign policy more generally, and cited the administration’s stance on Iran as being of concern.
He wrote of Trump’s last minute decision to call off a military strike against Iran, expressing frustration at the confusion that rippled across the diplomatic community during the incident. He also cautioned his government to be wary of believing Trump’s rationale for canceling the strike (the president said he decided against the attack after learning there would be civilian casualties).
“His claim, however, that he changed his mind because of 150 predicted casualties doesn’t stand up; he would certainly have heard this figure in his initial briefing,” Darroch wrote. “It’s more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look [during the 2020 election].”
Darroch also warned that the US president could still choose to strike Iran: “Just one more Iranian attack somewhere in the region could trigger yet another Trump U-turn.”
This is something Trump has made clear himself; during an interview with Meet the Press in late June, the president said, “If they do something else, it’ll be double.” During the same interview, Trump also said, “I’m not looking for war and if there is, it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”
Overall, Darroch described the president as “clumsy and inept,” and wrote, “I don’t think this Administration will ever look competent.”
In spite of the concerns Darroch raised, he also assessed Trump as someone whom the UK can expect to complete his first term in full, writing that despite controversies, Trump will always “emerge from the flames, battered but intact, like [Arnold] Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of The Terminator.”
This is not the first time that a communication from Darroch regarding the president has leaked. In a telegram sent shortly before Trump’s election, but published shortly afterwards, Darroch suggested to British Prime Minister Theresa May that the president-elect could be “open to outside influence” from Britain.
In a statement issued in response to these most recent leaks, Britain’s Foreign Office defended their diplomat.
“The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country,” the statement read in part. “Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid. Just as the U.S. ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.”
Donald Trump has had a long, complicated relationship with the UK
Leaders from the United States and United Kingdom have long referred to a “special relationship” existing between the two nations. Winston Churchill famously upheld this idea during the years immediately following World War II, insisting that a similar war could only be avoided by maintaining close ties between Britain and the United States.
But Donald Trump has repeatedly complicated that relationship by squabbling with various political figures in Britain and inserting himself into that country’s political process. En route to the state visit, for example, he responded to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s criticism of his trip by tweeting Khan was “a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.”
The tweet came after years of the two men trading barbs, as Vox’s Alex Ward has described: Khan has called Trump “ill-informed” and his Muslim ban “ignorant;” Trump has accused Khan of being blasé about terrorism and crime.
The president also criticized Meghan Markle, the American actress who recently married into the royal family, in the lead up to his state visit. As Vox’s Gabriela Resto-Montero reported:
Although the royal family stays away from commenting on politics, particularly foreign politics, Markle was critical of Trump during the 2016 election, back when she was a private American citizen.
The president took to Twitter to claim he’d never made that statement; however, as NBC News reports, audio seems to suggest he did, in fact, say those words about the duchess.
Beyond insulting the country’s politicians and public figures, Trump has inserted himself into the UK’s political process in a manner US president typically avoid.
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump came out strongly for Brexit, saying things like: “I know Great Britain very well. I know, you know, the country very well. I have a lot of investments there. I would say that they’re better off without it. But I want them to make their own decision.”
He has continued his advocacy for the UK’s divorce from the European Union as president, often without adding qualifiers such as “I want them to make their own decision.” He addressed the British people in an interview with the Sunday Times ahead of his state visit and said: “If you don’t get the deal you want, if you don’t get a fair deal, then you walk away.”
The president is also linked to right-wing politicians in Britain, and has seemingly endorsed two of them: Boris Johnson, a Brexit supporter and Theresa May’s former foreign secretary, and Brexiteer and current leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage.
In a 2018 interview with British tabloid The Sun, Trump heavily criticized May’s handling of Brexit, and said Johnson would make “a great prime minister.” The comments came as May was busy defending the decision to invite the president for a state visit. In recent weeks, Johnson has taken the lead in the race to replace May; while Trump has not officially endorsed Johnson’s candidacy, the British politician said Trump called him during the UK visit and “wished me well.”
Trump has advocated for putting Farage in charge of future Brexit negotiations, telling the Sunday Times, “I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer, he is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in but think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”
The president has also publicly lobbied for Farage to be given another job: Ambassador Darroch’s. Shortly after his election, he tweeted that Farage should become ambassador to the US. In response, Darroch’s predecessor, Peter Westmacott, told the Guardian: “Ambassadors need to be acceptable to host governments, not chosen by them.”
The Lords have been proven right for centuries. That is why they still exist.
When the Lords raise i allways pay atention.
(Express) PEERS last night backed a Parliamentary move to “stop Brexit”. They voted by 245 to 99, a majority of 146, in favour of setting up a joint committee of peers and MPs to examine the potential costs of a no-deal departure from the EU.
Brexit: No-deal bill is a ‘political ruse’ says Lord Rabathan
Speaking in the debate on the motion, Lord Robathan, a Tory MP and former Minister, warned colleagues: “It is frankly a political ruse. It is designed to tie the hands of an incoming prime minister. “This House is unelected, it is privileged, it is unaccountable. I think we should be very wary of trying to stop Brexit.”
Pointing to the referendum result, Lord Robathan added: “I don’t think we should be prepared – and that’s the point of this motion- to tell the little people outside… ‘sorry guys you just got it wrong’. I think that would be very unwise
“If we try to thwart the will of the people we would be very, very ill-advised.”
Baroness Smith, the Labour leader in the Lords, tabled the motion.
Opening the debate, she cited warnings from motor manufacturers, supermarket chains and the Bank of England about the potential impact on the economy of a no-deal Brexit.
“We cannot accept marching towards the cliff edge without an up-to-date assessment of what lurks beyond,” she said.
Baroness Smith warned of the impact on motor, supermarket and banking companies, if a no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)
Lord Robathan warned colleagues a no-deal Brexit is a political ruse (Image: getty)
Judges’ no problem with £350m claim
HIGH Court judges yesterday said they threw out a summons issued against Boris Johnson because false statements in politics “are not new”.
Marcus Ball, 29, had claimed the former foreign secretary lied during the 2016 referendum campaign saying the UK gave £350million a week to the EU.
But Lady Justice Rafferty said that the allegation could not apply to statistics that were publicly available.
The British navy has seized an oil tanker called Grace 1 on its way past Gibraltar to the Syrian refinery of Baniyas, which is under EU sanctions. Fabian Picardo, the Gibraltar first minister, told the BBC he had written to the European Commission and EU Council presidents to give details. The operation comes amid uncertainty on UK-EU defence and foreign policy cooperation after Brexit due later this year.
Yesterday, we reported about the increasingly dejected atmosphere at Deutsche Bank’s Wall Street headquarters, where the looming fear that the bank is going to gut, shutter or sell most, if not all, of its US i-banking business has inspired those remaining employees to openly hunt for other jobs, while some managers and more junior employees are treating every day like its a Summer Friday.
But while things are certainly looking dire at 60 Wall Street, in the UK, where the looming uncertainty over Brexit is being compounded by a continent-wide slowdown, the impact on the financial services industry is being acutely felt, particularly among interns and junior analysts who are worried that they won’t be able to find permanent jobs in the City as thousands of job cuts loom.
According to Bloomberg, which apparently sent a team of reporters to hang out in some popular London pubs frequented by finance types. Though it’s hardly a lasting comfort, some who have lost their jobs are finding camaraderie and a “safe space” with others in a similar position.
Recently, Nomura slashed dozens of brokerage jobs. Afterwards, those who lost out met in the pub to share a few round of goodbye drinks. The expectations for job losses this summer are so severe, that at least one of BBG’s sources deemed the summer of 2019, the “summer of gloom”.
Japan’s biggest brokerage let about 30 people go that day in April. Summer has arrived in London, but the smiles are likely to remain frozen in the financial community as HSBC Holdings Plc and Deutsche Bank AG join Nomura in implementing thousands of job reductions. In an atmosphere that may be the gloomiest since the financial crisis, some are jumping before they’re pushed.
“It’s one of the worst London job markets I have ever seen outside of a crisis,” said Stephane Rambosson, founder of Vici Advisory, a London-based executive search firm. “I think there’s a real possibility that you could see more than 5,000 jobs lost by the end of the year.
“Cuts are concentrated at non-U.S. investment banks. European lenders, hobbled by weak domestic growth and negative interest rates, have been losing market share for years. Experienced bankers have seen contractions before, but there’s a feeling this time is different. It’s not just shaky markets, trade tensions and Brexit: Automation is making some banking skills obsolete.
One now-former banker even joked to BBG that some of his ex-colleagues have been forced to give up their dream of working in finance, and are instead pursuing employment at…a blockchain startup. Others are exploring opportunities in the cannabis industry.
In the City, the anxiety is palpable as some bankers quit rather than wait to be laid off.
“People are stressed out and desperately looking for new things, because they know it’s not going to be easy to find a job at another bank,” said Rambosson, himself a former investment banker. “We see people quitting before the cuts come and taking the view that now’s the right time to get out.”
With all of this in mind, we can’t blame traders for being cynical.
eeThings will get worse,” said Amrit Shahani, research director at Coalition. “We expect a further 10% reduction in investment bank headcount in the U.K. over the next two years, partly due to Brexit job moves.”
It’s as good a time as any to learn that money can’t buy happiness. And while some former bankers might struggle to get over it, for others, it’s never too late to pivot to fintech.
Estudou na prestigiada escola de Eton, a mesma por onde passaram vários primeiros-ministros conservadores como Anthony Eden e David Cameron. Tornou-se editor da também prestigiada revista conservadora Spectator aos 27 anos (de onde sairia para ir dirigir o Sunday Telegraph e, mais tarde, a edição diária), foi co-editor de uma obra sobre o intelectual do Partido Conservador T.E. Utley e defendeu nos seus editoriais no Telegraph ideias como o direito à caça às raposas e a oposição ao casamento gay. Não há dúvidas sobre o posicionamento deste britânico conservador e pró-Brexit. E também não há dúvidas de que é um dos analistas britânicos mais aptos a falar sobre o momento que o Partido Conservador atravessa. Basta lembrar que o Observer escreveu em tempos que “é difícil imaginar alguém mais Tory do que Charles Moore”.
Talvez tenha sido por isso que em 1997 foi convidado pela própria Margaret Thatcher para escrever a sua biografia, dando-lhe acesso total e impondo apenas uma condição: que o resultado desse trabalho fosse apenas publicado após a sua morte. Moore cumpriu a promessa e em 2013 saiu o primeiro volume da obra, Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography (sem edição em português), a que se seguiu o segundo volume, três anos depois, Margaret Thatcher: Everything She Wants (também sem edição em português). A terceira e última parte deverá ser publicada ainda este ano.
Uma biografia “autorizada” e não “oficial”, é a distinção que Charles Moore faz questão de fazer no início da conversa com o Observador numa sala do luxuoso Hotel Palácio. A entrevista surgiu graças à passagem do jornalista por Portugal, a propósito da sua participação num painel do Estoril Political Forum, evento do Instituto de Estudos Políticos da Universidade Católica, para falar sobre o antigo primeiro-ministro britânico Winston Churchill. Na conversa com o Observador, Churchill foi um dos nomes mencionados, numa comparação “de certa forma ridícula, mas não totalmente”, com Boris Johnson — o favorito à liderança dos conservadores e ao cargo de primeiro-ministro. E Moore explica porquê, justificando a afirmação com a “psicologia” da liderança.
Charles Moore no Hotel Palácio, onde decorreu o Estoril Political Forum (OBSERVADOR)
Boris Johnson é mesmo o nome incontornável que dominou toda a conversa. Moore, que foi diretor de Boris no Telegraph, sabe bem como é o homem que pode vir a liderar os destinos do Reino Unido, com defeitos (“não é de fiar”) e qualidades (“ele quer mesmo isto”). E o escritor também tem opiniões sobre o recente escândalo doméstico que envolve o candidato, acusado por um vizinho de gritos violentos contra a mulher: para Moore, tudo não passa de um ataque das elites, da BBC, dos que não querem o Brexit e “não têm escrúpulos”. Mas não só. Na conversa de mais de meia hora com o Observador, Moore não evitou nenhuma pergunta: falou sobre David Cameron, sobre Theresa May e sobre o adversário de Boris, Jeremy Hunt, que considera “um homem completamente capaz”. E falou sobre Thatcher, é claro.
Mas também falou de ideias e de tática negocial. Moore defende que um no deal é uma solução que tem de ser aceite como um cenário que “não faz mal”, desvaloriza a crise que os tories atravessam e considera que a vida dos conservadores e dos próprios britânicos acalmará assim que o Brexit for alcançado. “Uma das razões pelas quais isto tem sido tão amargo é porque as pessoas acham — e infelizmente têm razão — que isto ainda não está decidido. Por isso toda a gente continua a lutar, a lutar, a lutar”, declara, batendo com o punho fechado na mão, ao ritmo de cada palavra, para ajudar a ilustrar o seu ponto. Resolvido o impasse, a sociedade britânica fará as pazes com o Brexit, acredita. “É claro que o tempo passa e a certa altura a decisão caberá a outra geração, mas, por enquanto, quem tentar reabrir isto será impopular. Até entre os remainers“, sentencia.
Estive no Reino Unido no final de março, a propósito da saída prevista para dia 29 que não chegou a acontecer, e recordo-me de que várias pessoas, sobretudo as que votaram pela saída, me disseram: “Se Margaret Thatcher fosse primeira-ministra, não estaríamos nesta situação”. Tem escrito sobre a vida dela, por isso pergunto-lhe isto: acha que Thatcher teria lidado com o Brexit de forma diferente do que fez Theresa May? Nunca responderia à questão ‘O que faria a senhora Thatcher?’, porque aquilo que sei é apenas aquilo que ela fez e essa é a minha única capacidade. Mas posso dizer algo sobre como ela tratou esta questão. Thatcher começou a sua carreira política como pró-europeia e apoiou a entrada da Grã-Bretanha. Também apoiou a manutenção na Comunidade Europeia no referendo de 1975, altura em que já se tinha tornado líder dos conservadores. Durante o seu período como primeira-ministra, de 1979 a 1990, tornou-se mais hostil à Comunidade Europeia, sobretudo devido ao plano Delors, que acabaria por levar ao euro. Uma união económica era suposto ser um dos aspetos de uma união política e não algo totalmente separado. A senhora Thatcher era muito, muito contra isto e foi daí que surgiu o conflito com Helmut Kohl e com [Jacques] Delors e com [François] Mitterrand, mas também com muitas pessoas dentro do seu próprio partido. Isso foi uma das causas da sua queda. E depois de ela ter saído do cargo, contra a sua vontade, desenvolveu a convicção de que deveríamos sair da Comunidade Europeia. Mas foi aconselhada a não o dizer em público, porque já era uma senhora de idade e isto era algo controverso…
E ela já tinha abandonado a política. Já tinha abandonado e não ia voltar. Mas era difícil calá-la, por isso cada vez que me cruzava com ela numa festa ou algo do género ela dizia-me “quero sair” [da UE]. Nunca fez um discurso público a dizê-lo claramente. Continuou, no entanto, a fazer vários discursos críticos. Por isso a trajetória de Margaret Thatcher em tudo isto acabou por ser em direção à saída e ela acabou por liderar uma grande fatia da opinião pública. Sobretudo na questão do referendo à entrada no euro, que ela começou a defender publicamente ainda antes de abandonar o cargo. Os conselheiros séniores dela não concordavam com isto e daí surgiram vários conflitos. Mas ela conseguiu introduzir esta ideia na corrente sanguínea da política. E, gradualmente, os partidos começaram a perceber que iam ter de permitir um referendo à moeda única e daí surgiu a base para o referendo à permanência na União Europeia. Durante 20 anos tivemos uma espécie de compromisso dos partidos com um referendo. Foi por isso que David Cameron acabou por levar a cabo o referendo há três anos, porque sentiu que não tinha como escapar.”Era difícil calar Margaret Thatcher, por isso cada vez que me cruzava com ela numa festa ou algo do género ela dizia-me ‘quero sair’ [da UE]. Nunca fez um discurso público a dizê-lo claramente. Continuou, no entanto, a fazer vários discursos críticos. Por isso a trajetória de Margaret Thatcher em tudo isto acabou por ser em direção à saída e ela acabou por liderar uma grande fatia da opinião pública.”
Mas acha que ele o teria marcado se não fosse pela subida do UKIP? A subida do UKIP foi parte da motivação para se dizer que era necessário um referendo. Ele queria dizer isso, mas não queria marcá-lo, por que era perigoso. Só que depois decidiu avançar porque pensou que conseguiria que o remain [ficar] vencesse. Ele tinha vencido o referendo à independência da Escócia quando toda a gente tinha dito que ele ia perder e tinha também vencido as eleições de 2015 quando toda a gente dizia que as ia perder.
Cameron foi arrogante? Foi. E não se preparou o suficiente. E como não conhecia pessoas suficientes que iam votar pela saída, não compreendeu quão forte era esse sentimento por todo o país.
Porque vivia dentro da bolha de Londres? Sim. Quer dizer, para ser justo com Cameron, ele sempre teve uma boa intuição para perceber como pensam as outras pessoas. Mas apesar disso, quando se é um primeiro-ministro muito ocupado e se está rodeado de pessoas que pensam da mesma forma, há uma tendência para desvalorizar a ideia de que, pelo menos no Reino Unido, quando há um referendo — e eles são raros — as pessoas têm tendência a causar problemas ao governo.
É uma espécie de voto de protesto? Sim, [as pessoas sentem que] têm ali uma oportunidade.
“É preciso estar preparado para um no deal e é preciso ficar satisfeito com um no deal“
Passando para Theresa May: como acha que ela lidou com este tema, tendo em conta que era a favor da manutenção e depois decidiu que iria conseguir o Brexit, como ela própria definiu? Acabou por não o conseguir, o que pode provocar alguns sentimentos contraditórios. Ela era uma remainer, mas não tenho a certeza se… Ninguém sabe ao certo o que ela pensa, na verdade. A minha sensação é que ela era parecida à senhora Thatcher dos primeiros tempos. Era uma remainer, mas não era apaixonada. A senhora Thatcher nunca foi uma europeísta entusiasta e é isso que sinto por parte da senhora May. E quando ela se tornou líder pensei que isso poderia ser bom, ter uma primeira-ministra remainer que nos levasse à saída, porque isso uniria as pessoas. Ao início, parecia ser esse o caso. Mas houve dois problemas: o primeiro é que ela se deu muito mal na eleição de 2017, porque não conseguiu explicar-se; o outro é que as negociações [para o Brexit] são tão difíceis que penso que é preciso ter um líder que quer mesmo aquele resultado. É preciso investir tanto naquilo e combater os poderes na Europa… E acho que ela não sabia o que queria e portanto não conseguiu negociar. Para além disso, creio que estava assustada e Bruxelas conseguiu pressentir isso, portanto podiam estabelecer condições e fizeram-no.”Para ser justo com Cameron, ele sempre teve uma boa intuição para perceber como pensam as outras pessoas. Mas apesar disso, quando se é um primeiro-ministro muito ocupado e se está rodeado de pessoas que pensam da mesma forma, há uma tendência para desvalorizar a ideia de que, pelo menos no Reino Unido, quando há um referendo — e eles são raros — as pessoas têm tendência a causar problemas ao governo.”
Ou seja, para si, hoje em dia, é melhor ter um primeiro-ministro que seja apaixonadamente a favor da saída? Temo bem que sim. Não é ideal, mas acho que é o melhor, porque acho que May pensava que estava a fazer o melhor possível numa situação má. Ela achava que o Brexit era mau, mas… “O meu trabalho é torná-lo melhor.” Em vez de pensar “é algo bom, por isso vamos lá consegui-lo”.
Mas o próprio partido não lhe facilitou a vida. Ela conseguiu de facto um acordo e mesmo assim… [Interrompe] Mas isso é porque era um acordo impossível de aceitar para… Bem, talvez não impossível, mas muito difícil de aceitar de um ponto de vista pró-Brexit. Por várias razões, mas sobretudo devido ao backstop das Irlandas. Acho que ela, erradamente, tinha esta ideia de que era possível separar a Irlanda do Norte do resto do Reino Unido. E houve ainda aqueles disparates sobre o Acordo de Sexta-Feira Santa estar em risco, o que é totalmente absurdo. Mas era isso que eles tinham na cabeça.
E acha que um novo líder conservador conseguiria renegociar essa parte? A UE tem dito frequentemente que o backstop não é negociável… É claro que é impossível ter a certeza, mas acho que devemos tentar. E a forma de tentar é dizer que iremos sair, mesmo que não consigamos um acordo, a 31 de outubro. A UE tem de saber isso. Caso contrário, se eles não acharem que nós vamos sair aconteça o que acontecer, não têm nenhum incentivo para nos dar alguma coisa.
Mas então isso é apenas uma tática negocial. Sim, mas também tem de ser real. Caso contrário, não é uma boa tática.
Charles Moore foi o biógrafo escolhido por Thatcher. Como condição, impôs-lhe que obra só poderia ser publicada depois da sua morte (Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Mas digamos que Boris Johnson vence a corrida à liderança, como parece provável. Acha que ele irá arriscar sair a 31 de outubro porque acha que um no deal não é assim tão mau ou porque acha que é um risco que se tem de correr? Acho que para fazer isto é preciso acreditar que um no deal não faz mal. E acho que é isso que ele pensa. Não quer dizer que seja o ideal, porque o ideal seria se tudo isto tivesse sido iniciado de outra forma e não tivéssemos aceitado as pré-condições da UE como o dinheiro [que o Reino Unido terá de pagar à UE], a Irlanda, etc. Mas tendo em conta a dificuldade política, tendo em conta que é preciso cumprir a promessa do referendo e tendo em conta o calendário, é preciso estar preparado para um no deal e é preciso ficar satisfeito com um no deal.
“Boris Johnson é muito descontraído, mas é uma pessoa muito difícil de dirigir ou controlar”
Fala-se muito sobre a instabilidade de Boris Johnson e sobre como ninguém sabe ao certo aquilo em que acredita. Acha que ele é o homem que pode conseguir o Brexit? Sim. Conheço-o há 30 anos e fui chefe dele. Acho que ele é uma personagem rara e, em muitos aspetos, não é de fiar. Quer dizer, acho até que se pode dizer que se há algo em que podemos confiar é no facto de ele ser pouco confiável. Sabíamos sempre, por exemplo, que ele se ia atrasar.
A entregar os seus artigos? Sim ou para ir fazer um discurso ou… Em tudo! E sabíamos que se fosse um evento social ele diria que sim e depois diria que não. Ele é muito descontraído, mas é uma pessoa muito difícil de dirigir ou controlar. Mas há duas coisas que destaco: uma é que ele quer mesmo isto, acha mesmo que é a coisa certa a fazer; a outra é que, politicamente, tem de fazê-lo, caso contrário está acabado. Ele só pode ser primeiro-ministro e continuar a ser primeiro-ministro se conseguir o Brexit.”Conheço [Boris] há 30 anos e fui chefe dele. Acho que ele é uma personagem rara e, em muitos aspetos, não é de fiar. Quer dizer, acho até que se pode dizer que se há algo em que podemos confiar é em que ele é pouco confiável. Sabíamos sempre, por exemplo, que ele se ia atrasar.”
E se Boris pedir outro adiamento, acha que o partido ou os britânicos… [Interrompe] Seria ridículo. É claro que a data em si não é importante, mas é importante por uma questão de confiança. É óbvio que se ele conseguir rapidamente um acordo para se alterar o backstop ou algo do género e eles disserem “desculpem, acham que podemos acabar antes a 10 de novembro?” isso não seria problema. Mas isso só pode acontecer se houver um acordo.
Mas Boris Johnson não diz isso… Não, não pode dizer isso agora, caso contrário pareceria um cata-vento.
Mas Michael Gove e Jeremy Hunt, por exemplo, têm dito isso. Que se for só por questões técnicas, poderiam pedir um adiamento curto. Mas acho que isso é um erro da parte deles, do ponto de vista tático, porque dá a ideia de que estão prontos a ceder. Sobretudo Hunt, porque era contra o Brexit. A mim preocupa-me a ideia de nos fixarmos numa única data, porque isso pode fazer de alguém um alvo. Mas acho que tem de ser assim porque já se quebrou tanto a confiança com os apoiantes do Brexit, quer no Partido Conservador, quer no país, que tem de ser desta maneira.
Acha que Hunt tem alguma hipótese de vencer esta corrida? Acho que ele tem hipóteses, sim, mas está muito atrás. É um homem completamente capaz e é preciso lembrarmo-nos de que tem com ele o establishment, as elites e a BBC e todos aqueles que estão contra o Brexit e não têm escrúpulos e que vão tentar tudo para o travar. Vemos que isso está a acontecer agora, com isto do Boris Johnson e da namorada a meio da noite, com alguém a escutar através das paredes. Vão fazer tudo o que conseguirem. Todos os dias até 22 de julho vai surgir alguém a tentar destruí-lo, por isso Hunt pode ter hipóteses. Para além disso, acho que ele vai fazer uma boa campanha. Mas não acho que vá ganhar porque esta votação é para os membros do partido e esses querem o Brexit por grande margem, 75%-35% ou 70%-30%. Portanto, vão preferir o candidato que está mais determinado em consegui-lo.
Ou seja, mesmo que surjam mais escândalos com Boris Johnson durante a campanha, o seu efeito será provavelmente nulo? Provavelmente. Quer dizer, é claro que tudo pode acontecer, mas a forma de pensar dos militantes conservadores é “a BBC está contra nós, o sistema está contra nós, o Banco de Inglaterra está contra nós, a UE está contra nós, portanto não vamos ouvir nada destas coisas sobre o Boris em que eles querem que nós acreditemos”.
“As pessoas da UE são geralmente muito mais razoáveis na vida real do que na teoria. É como a distinção católica entre a doutrina e a pastoral”
Mas mesmo que Boris Johnson vença, como pode o Partido Conservador estancar a perda de votos e de apoios para Nigel Farage e para o seu Partido do Brexit? Vimos os resultados nestas Europeias, foi uma derrota histórica… Sim, mas acho que 90% disso só acontece porque ainda não tivemos Brexit. Antes de Farage fundar o Partido do Brexit, o UKIP desceu para os 5%, porque as pessoas acreditavam que a senhora May estava a conseguir o Brexit. Acho que vai acontecer o mesmo agora, talvez até mais, porque Boris é mais eloquente do que a senhora May e mais credível neste papel. Se o conseguir, acho que o Partido do Brexit tornar-se-á muito pequeno. O maior perigo é o problema parlamentar, quando há esta margem tão curta [para conseguir maioria], mas acho que é tudo uma questão de liderança. Seria muito difícil para os deputados conservadores deitarem abaixo este líder novo, porque seriam afastados do partido se o fizessem. Digamos que há cinco que o fazem — com uma margem tão curta, é possível. Ora, aí acho que alguns deputados trabalhistas irão votar a favor do Brexit, porque é o que os seus eleitores querem.”A forma de pensar dos militantes conservadores é ‘a BBC está contra nós, o sistema está contra nós, o Banco de Inglaterra está contra nós, a UE está contra nós, portanto não vamos ouvir nada destas coisas sobre o Boris em que eles querem que nós acreditemos’.”
E a verdade é esta: o Partido Trabalhista tem de dizer que quer novas eleições, mas na realidade não as quer. Porque acham que a esta altura podem não as conseguir ganhar, devido às divisões internas, a Jeremy Corbyn e tudo o mais. A verdade é que não há muitas pessoas na Câmara dos Comuns que queiram eleições antecipadas a esta altura. Contudo, se Boris fosse derrotado no Parlamento e tivesse de haver eleições antecipadas, ele teria um bom mandato para vencer a eleição. Bastava-lhe dizer “Oiçam, eu cumpri a vontade do povo, consegui isto e agora eles querem travar-me, por isso teremos eleições.”
Então ele pode convocar eleições só para conseguir ter uma margem maior na Câmara? Bem, terá de o fazer se perder a moção de confiança. Mas, caso contrário, não tem de o fazer e duvido que o faça, porque provavelmente preferirá simplesmente comandar o navio.
Nos últimos meses, em relação ao Brexit, temos dito tantas vezes “isto vai ser assim” ou “isto vai ser assado” e depois as coisas mudam. Acredita que ainda vamos ter surpresas? É claro que há sempre outros fatores. Imagine, por exemplo, que há um crash repentino nos mercados, não por causa do Brexit, mas devido ao sobreaquecimento das economias ocidentais e de Wall Street. De repente, toda a gente se iria sentir muito negativa e muito assustada. Pode acontecer, algumas pessoas até estão à espera disso, e isso mudaria as coisas — não sei certamente em que sentido, mas… Acho que é claro que o Brexit é algo que precisa de ser resolvido e a pessoa que o resolver ficará em vantagem. E portanto acho que isso provavelmente significa que tem de ser alguém que seja a favor do Brexit. Se fosse alguém contra, é claro que havia gente que ficaria satisfeita, mas também teríamos um escândalo, porque de repente seria preciso recuar em tudo. O mais provável é que a pessoa que diga “Vamos conseguir o Brexit” e depois o consiga se torne no líder político mais bem sucedido. E creio que é isso que vai acontecer.
Então e se a UE decidir dizer simplesmente “Bem, não vamos mudar nada no acordo e portanto têm de sair com um no deal.” Acha que esse é um cenário provável ou Bruxelas quererá negociar até ao fim? Na verdade não sei o suficiente sobre o funcionamento interno da Bruxelas. A minha intuição é que provavelmente eles vão querer dar qualquer coisa, porque estão preocupados com temas como a indústria automóvel alemã ou a relação comercial com França. Acho que vão arranjar uma forma de pressionar a Irlanda, porque o governo irlandês abusou da sorte. Pensou que tinha o apoio de Bruxelas e tinha, mas imagino que tenha havido algum barulho quando a senhora Merkel veio dizer “se calhar conseguimos encontrar uma solução para o backstop“.
Mas ao mesmo tempo temos Emmanuel Macron a dizer “nem pensar”… É claro. Acho que tudo é possível. Mas do ponto de vista britânico, não devemos preocupar-nos demasiado com isso. Isso é problema deles. Devemos apenas decidir para onde vamos e ser firmes, mas educados. Devemos dizer “gostávamos de ter um acordo que segue estas linhas e, se não der, OK.”
Muita gente, inclusive dentro do Reino Unido, afirma que um no deal seria muito mais duro para a economia britânica do que uma saída com acordo. Sim, mas não acho que isso seja verdade. Ou então pelo menos só é verdade no curto-prazo. E a gravidade nesse curto-prazo depende de quão bem preparados estamos e do trabalho que foi feito nisso.
E o governo preparou-se? Preparou-se bastante, na verdade. Mas provavelmente não o suficiente, porque sempre foi contra isto. Quando uma pessoa se prepara para algo que não quer, pensa de forma diferente sobre isso do que se for algo que quer. E o nosso ministro das Finanças, Philippe Hammond, foi o [ministro] mais negativo e o mais difícil de todos. Está sempre a tentar travar um no deal. A partir de 23 de julho tudo isto mudará e poderemos dizer “aqui vamos nós, o mais rápido que pudermos”.”A verdade é esta: o Partido Trabalhista tem de dizer que quer novas eleições, mas na realidade não as quer. Porque acham que a esta altura podiam não as conseguir ganhar, devido às divisões internas, a Jeremy Corbyn e tudo o mais. A verdade é que não há muitas pessoas na Câmara dos Comuns que queiram eleições antecipadas a esta altura.”
Mas é uma janela de tempo muito curta… É, mas os instrumentos básicos, a legislação e a organização estão lá. A parte imponderável é o que os franceses, em particular, irão fazer, e também os alemães e os holandeses, até certo ponto. A minha sensação é que as pessoas da UE são geralmente muito mais razoáveis na vida real do que na teoria. É como a distinção católica entre a doutrina e a pastoral [risos]. Arranja-se uma forma de fazer as coisas, se for preciso fazê-las.
“Isto tem sido tão amargo porque as pessoas acham — e infelizmente têm razão — que o Brexit ainda não está decidido”
Tem havido muita discussão sobre se o Brexit está a afetar a política britânica de uma forma mais profunda, com a subida do Partido do Brexit, com o bom resultado dos Liberais Democratas nas Europeias… Acha que os tories alguma vez recuperarão o domínio que já tiveram? Sim. O Partido Conservador é um conceito vago, de certa forma. Se tivéssemos de definir aquilo que defende numa única frase diríamos que é o partido da Nação — o que não é o mesmo que dizer que é nacionalista. Portanto poderemos dizer que é o partido que resgatou o país do controlo externo, que restaurou a independência britânica. Esse é um argumento forte. Percebo que também há um argumento em sentido contrário que também é forte, mas acho que , apesar de tudo , isto traz vantagem aos conservadores. Tem razão quando diz que tem havido muito movimento na política britânica e, até certo ponto, isto é uma questão de classe: os conservadores irão tornar-se mais fortes entre as classes trabalhadora e média-baixa e menos fortes entre as classes mais altas. Mas já houve um precedente, porque parte da força histórica dos conservadores em tempos foi com a classe trabalhadora. Sobretudo no norte, na Escócia e na Irlanda do Norte.
Charles Moore editou Boris Johnson quando este era jornalista no Telegraph (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Mas está a perder esse apoio na Escócia, pelo menos. É difícil perceber. Os conservadores têm tido resultados muito melhores na Escócia nos últimos anos do que já chegaram a ter antes, quando eram mesmo maus. Mas tem razão num sentido mais lato, os principais ganhos para os conservadores nisto tudo estão é em Inglaterra. Sobretudo no norte e no leste e no oeste da Inglaterra, não tanto no sul e em Londres.
E o Reino Unido enquanto nação conseguirá recuperar do Brexit? Falou em divisões de classe, em oposição entre Escócia e Inglaterra… É possível sarar as divisões que se tornaram mais evidentes com o Brexit? Sim, porque uma das razões pelas quais isto tem sido tão amargo é porque as pessoas acham — e infelizmente têm razão — que isto ainda não está decidido. Por isso toda a gente continua a lutar, a lutar, a lutar. Se estiver mesmo decidido e alguém tentar reabrir a discussão, a maioria das pessoas vai dizer “parem com isso, já decidimos”. Como sou velho o suficiente para me lembrar da última vez, sei que foi isso que aconteceu durante muito tempo a seguir ao referendo de 1975 [à entrada do Reino Unido na Comunidade Europeia]. É claro que o tempo passa e a certa altura a decisão caberá a outra geração, mas, por enquanto, quem tentar reabrir isto será impopular. Até entre os remainers. E há um assunto secundário, embora também muito importante, que é este: se quisermos voltar a entrar, quais serão os termos? Podem ser melhores do que já foram? De certeza que serão piores, teríamos de nos juntar ao euro e tudo o mais.
E as pessoas já só querem que isto acabe? Cerca de um quarto da população quer muito ficar, mas é apenas um quarto. Diria que metade é pró-remain, mas apenas um quarto se preocupa a sério com isso. A percentagem dos que querem sair também não é uma maioria clara, mas estes são uma maioria mais forte e vão sentir-se muito melhor assim que isto estiver feito.”O Partido Conservador é um conceito vago, de certa forma. Se tivéssemos de definir aquilo que defende numa única frase diríamos que é o partido da Nação — o que não é o mesmo que dizer que é nacionalista. Portanto poderemos dizer que é o partido que resgatou o país do controlo externo, que restaurou a independência britânica. (…) Tem havido muito movimento na política britânica e, até certo ponto, isto é uma questão de classe: os conservadores irão tornar-se mais fortes entre as classes trabalhadora e média-baixa e menos fortes entre as classes mais altas.”
E os políticos tory conseguirão sobreviver a este processo? Theresa May já caiu. Boris Johnson conseguirá manter-se de pé? Se ele conseguir, ficará numa posição muito forte.
E se não conseguir? Será afastado. É por isso que acho que irá fazê-lo, não tem outra hipótese. É como Churchill. Eu sei, é uma comparação de certa forma ridícula, mas não totalmente ridícula em termos políticos. Churchill tornou-se primeiro-ministro em 1940 porque teve de ser. Porque todos os outros estavam errados e ele tinha estado certo. Churchill não teria sobrevivido enquanto primeiro-ministro se não tivesse conseguido impedir a invasão da Grã-Bretanha. E foi isso que fez.
Boris Johnson provavelmente gostaria dessa comparação. Gostaria, sim [risos]. E claro que já pensou nela, até porque escreveu um livro sobre Churchill [O Fator Churchill, ed. Dom Quixote]. É claro que Boris não é Churchill, mas a psicologia é a mesma. E toda a gente também disse que Churchill não era de fiar, que era um egocêntrico, um egoísta, que tomava más decisões, tudo isso. Tenho a certeza que ele também gritava com a mulher dele à uma da manhã [risos]. A psicologia é a mesma.
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Há uns meses o Observador fez uma escolha: uma parte dos artigos que publicamos deixariam de ser de acesso totalmente livre. Esses artigos Premium, por regra aqueles onde fazemos um maior investimento editorial e que mais diferenciam o nosso projecto, constituem a base do nosso programa de assinaturas.
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The internal Labour row over anti-Semitism has dragged on for nearly three years. Here’s a guide to what’s been going on.
What is anti-Semitism?
Jewish people have faced prejudice and hostility for centuries. During World War II, six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis or their accomplices in what is known as the Holocaust.
Modern-day anti-Semitism can take many forms including, but not limited to, conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the global financial system and the media, to attacks on synagogues, verbal abuse or hate speech and abusive memes on social media.
In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted a working definition of anti-Semitism which described it as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews”.
The UK and the IHRA’s other 30 members accepted the definition, as well as a series of accompanying “contemporary” examples of how anti-Semitism manifests itself in public life.
These include Holocaust denial, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (through the existence of the State of Israel), and holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of that state.
Labour got itself into trouble over the definition – as we’ll explain later.
How does it relate to Israel?
Debates about anti-Semitism in Labour often involve Israel and the term “Zionism”.
In its modern sense, Zionism refers to support for Israel’s existence and prosperity. It began as a political movement in Europe in the late 19th Century which sought to develop Jewish nationhood in the land known as Palestine – also known to Jews as the ancient Land of Israel.
The movement evolved and eventually led to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Some say “Zionist” can be used as a coded attack on Jewish people, while others say the Israeli government and its supporters are deliberately confusing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism to avoid criticism.
Attitudes to Israel in the UK, and on the left in particular, are influenced by its troubled relationship with its Arab neighbours and its long conflict with the Palestinians.
A 2016 report by the Home Affairs Committee of MPs backed the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism but said it should include an additional statement to maintain freedom of speech “in the context of discourse about Israel and Palestine”.
This, it said, should read “it is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Israeli government without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent” or to hold Israel “to the same standards as other liberal democracies or to take a particular interest in the Israeli government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest ant-Semitic intent”.
Anti-Semitism was generally not regarded as a big problem in the Labour Party before Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader in September 2015.
Since then, things have changed, with Mr Corbyn and other figures on the left setting a new political direction.
There has been an influx of new members, many of whom are vocal critics of Israel and who believe the UK, along with the US, should be tougher towards Israel, especially regarding its policies towards the Palestinians and its building of settlements in the occupied territories.
The strength of the left’s support for Palestinian statehood, which Jeremy Corbyn has championed for decades, contrasts with the more nuanced position taken by many of his predecessors.
As the balance of power within Labour changed after Mr Corbyn’s appointment, attention quickly focused on what activists and elected representatives were saying – and had said in the past – on social media and elsewhere about Israel and Jewish people.
There were claims that anti-Semitic tropes were being widely propagated and a number of incidents attracted a great deal of attention.
High-profile suspensions over alleged anti-Semitic comments include MP Naz Shah, the ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone and MP Chris Williamson, an ally and friend of Mr Corbyn.
Ms Shah apologised for a string of comments on Twitter, including one suggesting Israel should be moved to the United States, although she was subsequently re-instated.
Labour has never confirmed the number of anti-Semitism cases it is investigating and the scale of the issue among its supporters has become a source of political dispute itself.
In April 2019, the Sunday Times reported that Labour had received 863 complaints against party members, including councillors.
The newspaper claimed leaked e-mails it had seen showed more than half of the cases remained unresolved while there had been no investigation in 28% of them.
It said fewer than 30 people had been expelled while members investigated for posting online comments such as “Heil Hitler” and “Jews are the problem” had not been suspended.
Labour disputed the reports while Jewish Voice for Labour, a newly constituted group supportive of Mr Corbyn, maintained the number of cases being investigated represented a tiny fraction of Labour’s 500,000 plus membership.
What has Labour done in response?
Not nearly enough, say its critics.
In 2016, Mr Corbyn asked the barrister and human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti – who was appointed a Labour peer soon after her report was published – to look into the extent of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism within the party.
The report concluded that while Labour was not “overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism”, there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere”.
It called for a series of recommendations to tackle what it said was the “clear evidence of ignorant attitudes” within sections of the party.
Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby says she has strengthened and speeded up the party’s disciplinary procedures, with more staff to handle investigations but Baroness Chakrabarti – now Labour’s shadow attorney general – has criticised the pace of progress.
The Home Affairs Committee’s 2016 report said the leadership’s lack of action “risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-Semitic”.
This, in turn, led to complaints from prominent Jewish MPs that he was too close to the party for any review to be independent.
But in a politically damaging move, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it would be conducting its own wide-ranging investigation into whether Labour “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”.
Labour said it would co-operate fully with the watchdog.
It is only the second time the EHRC has investigated a political party – in 2010, it ordered the BNP to re-write its constitution to comply with race relation laws.
A Labour spokesman rejected “any suggestion that the party does not handle ant-Semitism complaints fairly and robustly, or that the party has acted unlawfully”.
In July 2018, Labour adopted a new anti-Semitism code which critics, including Jewish leaders and some Labour MPs, said fell unacceptably short of the IHRA definition.
Labour’s version did not include a number of its examples of anti-Semitism, including:
accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country
requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations
Following a consultation – and widespread criticism – Labour subsequently adopted the full IHRA definition and examples, along with an accompanying statement that “this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians”.
Critics have said the addition of a “caveat” undermines the IHRA definition – but Labour says it is intended to reassure members they can be critical of Israel without being anti-Semitic.
Mr Corbyn proposed a longer additional statement – which would have allowed criticism of the foundation of the state of Israel as a racist endeavour – but this was not accepted by the party’s ruling executive.
Jeremy Corbyn’s views
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted time and time again there is no place for anti-Semitism in Labour.
Some of his supporters say the problem has been exaggerated and is being used as a stick to beat the Labour leader by people who don’t like him or his views on the Middle East.
He comes from a different political tradition than virtually every other post-war Labour leader, having campaigned for 40 years against Western imperialism and aggression.
Mr Corbyn’s opponents accuse him of being too close to Hamas, a militant Islamist group, and Hezbollah, a Lebanese paramilitary group. Both groups are widely viewed in the West as terrorist organisations.
He described representatives of Hamas as his “friends” after inviting them to a controversial meeting in Parliament in 2009.
He later said he regretted his use of language, but insisted his motivation in talking to enemies of Israel was the promotion of peace in the Middle East.
But his critics argue his views have created the space for anti-Semitism to flourish in the party and he has condoned anti-Jewish prejudice through several of his own actions.
The ‘English irony’ video
Mr Corbyn faced criticism in August 2018 after a video emerged on the Daily Mail website of a 2013 clip in which he said a group of British Zionists had “no sense of English irony”.
Former chief rabbi Lord Sacks branded the comments “the most offensive statement” by a politician since Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech and accused the Labour leader of being an anti-Semite.
Mr Corbyn said he had used the term “Zionist” in an “accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people”.
He added: “I am now more careful with how I might use the term ‘Zionist’ because a once self-identifying political term has been increasingly hijacked by anti-Semites as code for Jews.”
It isn’t the only row he has been embroiled in, though.
The Tunis wreath row
In August 2018, the Labour leader also came under fire over his presence at a ceremony in Tunisia in 2014 which is said to have honoured the perpetrators of the 1972 Munich massacre, during which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by Palestinian militants and killed.
The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Mr Corbyn deserved “unequivocal condemnation” for laying a wreath on the grave of one of those behind the atrocity.
The Labour leader tweeted that Mr Netanyahu’s claims about his “actions and words are false”, adding: “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.”
Mr Corbyn said he had attended the event in Tunis as part of a wider event about the search for peace.
Earlier in August 2018, Jeremy Corbyn apologised over an event he hosted as a backbench MP in 2010 where a Holocaust survivor compared Israel to Nazism.
After the Times published details of the event, the Labour leader said he had “on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject” and was sorry for the “concerns and anxiety that this has caused”.
Unease within Labour ranks in Parliament intensified in 2017 and 2018 amid concerns the leadership was not doing enough to defend Jewish MPs, such as Luciana Berger, who were themselves the targets of anti-Semitic abuse and death threats.
In March 2018, scores of Labour MPs joined Jewish groups, including the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and other anti-racism campaigners to demand action in an unprecedented “Enough is Enough” rally outside Parliament.
In a further sign of the breakdown in trust between Labour and the Jewish community, the Jewish Labour Movement considered severing its century-old affiliation to the party.
While deciding to retain its ties, the organisation of 2,000 members did pass a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn and voted to describe the party as “institutionally anti-Semitic”.
In February 2019, nine MPs quit Labour, many of them citing the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism as their reason for leaving.
Ms Berger, who had a police escort at the 2018 Labour Party conference, said she had come to the “sickening conclusion” that the party had become institutionally anti-Semitic and that she was “embarrassed and ashamed” to stay.
Ms Berger’s supporters, including deputy leader Tom Watson, claimed she has been “bullied out of her own party by racist thugs”.
Among the other defectors, Joan Ryan claimed the party had “become infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism” while Ian Austin blamed Mr Corbyn for “creating a culture of extremism and intolerance”.
What else has happened?
In March 2018, the head of the Labour Party’s disputes panel quit after it emerged she had opposed the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.
Christine Shawcroft said she had not not been aware of the “abhorrent” Facebook post that had led to his suspension
In July 2018, the UK’s three main Jewish newspapers published the same front page, warning that a government led by Mr Corbyn would pose an “existential threat to Jewish life”.
Earlier that month the party brought disciplinary action against the Labour MP Margaret Hodge, after she reportedly called Mr Corbyn an “anti-Semite” and a “racist”.
Ms Hodge refused to apologise and the action was later dropped.
Frank Field, the MP for Birkenhead since 1979, quit the party’s group in Parliament in August 2018, saying the leadership had become “a force for anti-Semitism in British politics”.
In May 2019, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee – Peter Willsman – was suspended after LBC radio reported he had been recorded as saying that the Israeli embassy was “almost certainly” behind the anti-Semitism row.
And Labour’s successful candidate in the Peterborough by-election, Lisa Forbes, was engulfed in a row after it emerged she had liked a social media post suggesting Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.
She apologised and calls for her to be suspended were rejected but the controversy led to fresh ructions and claims racism had become “institutionalised” within the party.
(Economist) The world’s biggest international financial centre faces its toughest test
The world has a handful of great commercial hubs. Silicon Valley dominates technology. For electronics, head to Shenzhen. The home of luxury is Paris and the capital of outsourcing is Bangalore, in India. One of the mightiest clusters of all is London, which hosts the globe’s largest international financial centre. Within a square mile on the Thames, a multinational firm can sell $5bn of shares in 20 minutes, or a European startup can raise seed finance from Asian pensioners. You can insure container ships or a pop star’s vocal cords. Companies can hedge the risk that a factory anywhere on the planet will face a volatile currency or hurricanes and a rising sea level a decade from now.
This metropolis of money, known as the City, generates £120bn ($152bn) of output a year—as much as Germany’s car industry. Because it allocates capital and distributes risk at a vast scale, its influence is global. But now, with a “no-deal” conclusion looking increasingly likely after a change of leader of the Conservative Party (see article), Brexit threatens to rupture Britain’s financial links with the European Union. If Labour wins the next election under Jeremy Corbyn, Britain will also end up with its most left-wing government since 1945, one that is deeply hostile to capital and markets. Either outcome would make the eu poorer and damage London’s position. Together, they could change the workings of the global financial system.Get our daily newsletter
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London’s prowess is something to behold. It hosts 37% of the world’s currency dealing and 18% of cross-border lending. It is a hub for derivatives, asset management, insurance and investment banks. Relations with Europe are particularly intimate. The City generates a quarter of its income from the continent, and Europe gets a quarter of its financial services from London, often the most sophisticated ones. French or Italian firms go to London to meet investors or organise a takeover. When the European Central Bank buys bonds as part of its monetary policy, the sellers are very often asset managers and banks domiciled in Britain. Some 90% of European interest-rate swaps are cleared through the City’s plumbing.
The City’s history is long but serpentine. In 1873 Walter Bagehot, The Economist’s then-editor, wrote of its “natural pre-eminence”. In fact decades of decline lay ahead. A revival began in the 1960s when the offshore market for dollar lending boomed. Another lift came with the stockmarket deregulation of Big Bang in 1986 and again after 2000 when London became a centre for trading the euro and emerging markets. Even the financial crisis of 2008 did not do much damage to the City’s standing abroad. Today the magic formula has many parts: openness to people and capital, the time zone, proximity to subsea data cables, and posh schools. But, above all, it relies on stable politics and regulation, close ties to America and seamless ones to Europe. Brexit and Mr Corbyn threaten this formula in three ways.
The first is by ripping up the legal framework, as the eu cancels the “passports” that let City firms operate across the continent. Activity may move in search of certainty. The second is by the remaining 27 eu members adopting an industrial policy that uses regulation to compel financial firms to move to the euro zone. As Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris jostle for business, this fight is turning ugly. And the last is from within Britain—if a Corbyn government takes the country back decades, with nationalisation at below-market prices, a financial-transactions tax, a tough line on mergers and acquisitions and possibly even capital controls. If a Labour government also attacks private schools and second homes, London’s giant pools of capital will disappear faster than a trader’s cocktail.
Given the sums at stake—London hosts $20trn of bank assets and securities—you might expect a grand bargain between the eu and its financial hub. Some chance (see article). Britain has spurned the option of staying in the single market. A bespoke deal for financial services is not on the table because the eu is loth to grant special favours to a departing country. It is as if New York and Wall Street were divorcing America without any agreement. Thanks to temporary licences, the risk of a financial crisis on Brexit day is slim. But these arrangements will not last long—the deal over derivatives, say, expires next year.
Behind the stand-off is a deep divide. The City could keep free access to the eu if it agreed to be regulated by it. But Britain rightly fears handing control of its largest industry to the bloc, particularly if the eu’s unspoken goal is to shrink London. Europe’s motives blend principle and greed. It wants to supervise its own financial system, but also to grab jobs and tax revenues from London. In the long run the most likely set-up is “equivalence”, in which firms receive recognition from Europe. The catch is that, as Switzerland is discovering, this can be withdrawn at any time, leading to a state of permanent instability. That threat will lead to a drift of activity and people into the euro zone as eu authorities win full sovereignty over the euro zone’s capital markets.
This sounds good for the eu, but it is likely to be a pyrrhic victory. The continent’s financial system is balkanised and dominated by sluggish banks. New business will be spread across several cities, fragmenting activity further. Europe’s heavy-handed regulation may prompt non-eu business to stay away. Ultimately the costs of a less efficient financial system are likely to outweigh the extra income from capturing business from London. The annual bill for every 0.1 percentage-point increase in euro-zone firms’ cost of funding amounts to €32bn, or 0.3% of gdp.
And what of the City? It has a chance of prospering. Its links with America remain tight. It will have to try to keep Europe close, too, while increasing its non-eu international business from today’s share of 25-30%, and developing new strengths in fintech and green finance. The biggest danger is that it has lost the battle of ideas at home. Many Britons, not just Mr Corbyn, resent the City’s post-crisis bail-out—no matter that British banks have since tripled their capital buffers, and thus pose little threat to taxpayers. Even Margaret Thatcher, who oversaw Big Bang in the 1980s, disliked flash bankers. But Britons cannot ignore the £65bn, or 3% of gdp, of annual tax that the City pays towards hospitals and schools. For a country that is losing friends fast, having a global, sophisticated industry is a blessing, not a curse.
(EXP) O chefe da diplomacia britânica, Jeremy Hunt, aceitou ir à televisão, mas Boris Johnson não. Na impossibilidade de ter os dois candidatos à liderança do Partido Conservador e do país, o canal cancela o frente a frente e renova convite para segunda-feira. A campanha de Johnson tem sido ensombrada por um incidente doméstico que afetou a sua popularidade
A Sky News convidou os dois candidatos à liderança do Partido Conservador e do Governo britânico para um debate em direto, esta terça-feira. O ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros, Jeremy Hunt, aceitou o convite, mas o seu antecessor e antigo autarca de Londres, Boris Johnson, declinou-o. Na ausência de um dos candidatos, o debate será cancelado, mas o canal de televisão fará novo convite a Hunt e Johnson para a próxima segunda-feira, 1 de julho.
Hunt pediu no domingo ao seu rival que não fosse um “cobarde”. Num artigo para o jornal “The Times”, Hunt escreveu que não tinha interesse em discutir a vida privada de Johnson, apenas em debater com o adversário os planos para o Brexit.
“Um novo primeiro-ministro precisa da legitimidade de ter tornado os seus argumentos públicos e de os ter submetido a escrutínio. Só então se pode entrar pela porta da frente do número 10 [de Downing Street, residência oficial], de cabeça erguida, em vez de se esgueirar pela porta dos fundos, que é o que Boris parece querer”, acrescentou. E, em tom de desafio, reforçou: “Não sejas cobarde, Boris. Faz-te um homem e mostra à nação que consegues lidar com o escrutínio intenso que o trabalho mais difícil do país envolverá”.
Johnson cai nas preferências dos conservadores após altercação com namorada
No mesmo dia, Hunt dissera à Sky News que qualquer candidato a primeiro-ministro precisa de mostrar que é capaz de responder a “perguntas difíceis”. “O que Boris tem de fazer é envolver-se adequadamente nesta disputa pela liderança e não fugir do debate ao vivo marcado para esta terça-feira à noite, para o qual foi convidado e para o qual eu já me mostrei disponível. É uma audição para ser primeiro-ministro do Reino Unido”, lembrou.
Quando fala em vida privada, Hunt refere-se ao caso que tem ensombrado a campanha de Johnson desde que, sexta-feira, a polícia foi chamada por um vizinho que afirmou ter ficado “assustado e preocupado” depois de ouvir gritos e estrondos vindos da propriedade que Johnson partilha com a namorada, Carrie Symonds. O candidato não quis prestar esclarecimentos.
Numa sondagem feita após o incidente, o ex-mayor de Londres é ultrapassado pelo seu rival. Os eleitores conservadores (a decisão entre os dois candidatos está nas mãos de cerca de 150 militantes do partido) ainda mantêm Johnson na dianteira, mas com uma queda de 10%.
Três quartos dos inquiridos afirmam que o caráter de um candidato importa na disputa para chefiar o Governo, enquanto mais de metade diz que a vida privada de Johnson é relevante para aferir as suas capacidades para ocupar o cargo de primeiro-ministro. O vencedor será anunciado na semana de 21 de julho.
(GUA) Tory leadership frontrunner hardens position as Eurosceptics extend influence on faltering campaign
Boris Johnson has hardened his position on leaving the EU “do or die” by the end of October, as hardline Eurosceptics extended their influence on his faltering campaign to be prime minister.
The frontrunner toughened his Brexit stance as criticism continued over his refusal to answer questions about a police visit to his flat following a loud late-night altercation with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.
In a round of interviews designed to put the focus back on his EU policy and away from his personal life, Johnson appeared to signal there was an increasing prospect of a no-deal Brexit three months after he would take office.Profile
Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign
Johnson first doubled down on his commitment to leaving on 31 October in an interview with Talkradio, saying he was in no way reneging on his firm pledge.
“We are getting ready to come out on 31 October. Come what may,” he said. Asked to confirm this, he added: “Do or die. Come what may.”
He then said he would scrap Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and seek a completely new deal before then, as minor changes would not satisfy him.
“I mean more than a change,” he said. “It’s got to be, we need a new withdrawal agreement – if we’re going to go out on the basis of a withdrawal agreement.”
Not only has the EU said it will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, but the timetable would be extremely tight as parliament is in recess over the summer and then sitting for about 10 days before party conference season begins. MPs return midway through October, just a few weeks before the deadline.
Johnson then emphasised his position on leaving by 31 October yet again by writing a letter to Jeremy Hunt, his Tory leadership opponent, challenging him to commit to that date “come what may”.
Hunt replied with a dig that Johnson could find out his policy if he turned up to a Sky News head-to-head debate on Tuesday night that Johnson has refused to attend. “Hi Boris, it’s good to talk. But no need for snail-mail, why not turn up to Sky tonight and I’ll give you full and frank answers?#BoJoNoShow,” he tweeted.
Hunt also tried to claim his Brexit policy was similar to Johnson’s but that he would be a more trusted negotiator to deliver changes that could get through the UK parliament. “Who is the person that we trust to send to Brussels on behalf of the British people and come back with a deal, and that has to be someone that they trust, that they’re prepared to talk to, because in the end you don’t do a deal with someone you don’t trust,” Hunt told the BBC in an interview.
In fact, Hunt’s stance is more moderate than that of his rival as he has not committed to leaving on 31 October if he needs more time to do a deal. Johnson also wants to throw out the withdrawal agreement for a new one, while Hunt would be seeking more modest tweaks.
In another sign that Johnson’s campaign was taking a more hardline turn, he appointed Iain Duncan Smith, a veteran Eurosceptic and former Tory leader, as his campaign chief. Johnson also revealed Mark Fullbrook, a business partner of the Australia election guru Lynton Crosby, would be formally joining the team.
Sources close to the campaign said Eurosceptics in the party were increasingly turning the screws on Johnson by warning they would withdraw support for his government if he fails to take the UK out of the EU by 31 October.
One of the 28 “Spartan” MPs who voted against May’s withdrawal deal said they would not tolerate minor changes to the agreement repackaged and sold as a great new deal. He said they were working on the assumption that Johnson was heading for a no-deal Brexit and parliament could either be not consulted or simply ignored.
Johnson appeared to bear out that strategy in his Talkradio interview in which he said he could categorically rule out an extension to article 50, meaning he believes he has a way to stop parliament blocking a no-deal Brexit.
“It would be up to the prime minister of the day. I have myself to decide under the current terms of the extension that we have, to apply for such an extension. And it is up to the EU to decide whether to grant it. At the moment, the law says that the UK is leaving the EU, international treaty law says the UK is leaving the EU on 31 October.”
At the same time, up to a dozen MPs on the centrist wing of the party, such as Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond, have been warning they could bring down the government in a confidence vote together with opposition parties if Johnson tried to exit without a deal.
In an earlier interview on LBC radio, Johnson dismissed the idea his Brexit plans could be hampered by Tory rebels, saying the party was “staring down the barrel of defeat” if it did not deliver a departure plan, which would focus minds.
Johnson has been criticised for hiding during the campaign but he attempted to neutralise that criticism with a series of choreographed campaign visits on Tuesday including a speech to a horticultural society and a walk down a high street in Surrey.
He conducted the round of media interviews and was filmed on the campaign trail, after keeping a low profile for the first part of the campaign and dodging questions over the weekend about the screaming row with his partner that prompted a neighbour to call the police.
He was asked 26 times on LBC about the provenance of a photographshowing him with his partner smiling in a Sussex garden, which appeared on news websites on Monday. However, Johnson refused every time to say whether it was staged, who released it and whether it was recent. “Newspapers will print whatever they are going to print,” he said. “The longer we spend on things extraneous to what I want to do, the bigger the waste of time.”
His mood was subdued at a hustings in Birmingham on Saturday, the day after the story of the row broke in the Guardian, where he told the event’s moderator, Iain Dale, that people did not want to know “about that sort of thing”.
But a film has emerged of him giving a rabble-rousing speech to a private garden party later that day, telling Conservative members that the NHS absolutely needs “reform” and firing them up for a general election by asking them to be ready to “wallop Jeremy Corbyn”.
Asked by one party member what he would do with the NHS, Johnson told the crowd the health service was a “crowning glory” but was “not getting the kind of support and indeed the kind of changes and management that it needs”, suggesting he as prime minister would aim to undertake an overhaul of the health service.
He said Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive, had once helped him get elected president of the Oxford Union as a student, and together they would “sort things out”.
In remarks that may alarm those opposed to another reorganisation of the NHS, Johnson said: “It needs more money but where you are absolutely right is that it needs reform.”
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said the comments were “alarming but unsurprising given the hard-right agenda Johnson has been putting forward”.
“His tax plans will benefit the richest, he’s the biggest defender of the bankers who crashed the economy, and he’s been buddying up with Trump to sell off our NHS to US corporations,” he said. “His comments to Tory party members about his plans for the NHS need to be clarified immediately.”
Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister, has met hedge fund and private equity executives to raise donations for his leadership campaign, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Johnson, who on Tuesday reaffirmed his determination to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct 31, is seeking to build up a war chest for his campaign and rebuild ties with executives, which were strained last year by his expletive four-letter-word attack on business.
Johnson, 55, held a breakfast meeting on June 18 with potential donors at 5 Hertford Street, a private members’ club in London’s wealthy Mayfair district, the sources said. The club has a strict dress code which requires men to wear a jacket, except on the dance floor after 23:00.
Johnson’s spokesman did not respond to request for comment, and 5 Hertford Street declined to comment.
Johnson, a former mayor of London who during the leadership campaign has called for tax cuts for higher-earning Britons, has benefited in the past from financiers’ donations.
The largest single donation to his campaign during this parliament has come from the hedge fund manager Jon Wood, the founder of SRM Global Fund, who has donated £75,000, the register of lawmakers’ financial interests shows.
Wood could not be reached for comment.
Johan Christofferson, co-founder of U.S. hedge fund Christofferson Robb, has donated £36,000 to the Johnson campaign, the register shows.
The register is updated every two weeks. Current entries run until June 17 so it was not yet clear whether further donations had been made following the June 18 meeting.
“I DEFENDED BANKERS”
Johnson and his leadership rival, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, must each raise £150,000 for their campaigns, under the rules of their governing Conservative Party. The funds help cover campaign costs, including travel to the 16 debates nationwide they are due to attend.
The Conservative Party’s approximate 160,000 paid-up members will choose between the two men, with the result due on July 23. The new party leader automatically becomes prime minister.
Johnson has earned more than £700,000 during this parliamentary sitting – since the 2017 national election – from speaking engagements, publishing and journalism, the parliamentary register shows.
The June 18 meeting in Mayfair followed another breakfast earlier on the same day with company executives.
Johnson held that breakfast at Somerset House, a neo-classical building overlooking the Thames, according to two sources briefed on the talks.
One of those sources said the executives attended because they expect Johnson to become the next prime minister.
Johnson’s record as mayor of London, when he championed financial services, has been clouded by his reported dismissal of companies’ concerns last year about leaving the EU with the comment “fuck business”.
At the weekend, Johnson confirmed he made the comment, describing it as a stray remark to the Belgian ambassador, but claimed he is Britain’s most pro-business politician.
“I can’t think of any other politician, even Conservative politician, who from the crash of 2008 onwards actually stuck up for the bankers,” he told a Conservative Party hustings.
“Can you think of anybody who stuck up for the bankers as much as I did? I defended them day in, day out, from those who frankly wanted to hang them from the nearest lamppost.”
Business leaders say their relationship with ministers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s were strained because they were initially kept at arm’s length.
Some ministers, including Johnson – who served briefly as foreign minister – also accused companies of issuing exaggerated threats about the damage Brexit would cause to the UK economy.
The latest in the Conservative leadership contest and a theme of “revenge” features widely on many of Friday’s newspaper front pages.
“Boris gets his revenge” is the Daily Mail’s headline. It reports that former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been accused of lending the votes of his supporters to Jeremy Hunt, after Michael Gove wrecked his previous campaign to become leader of the Conservative Party.
A friend of Mr Gove tells the paper he has been the victim of “dark dealings”.
The Daily Telegraph has the same story under a similar headline: “Boris exacts his revenge”, while the Daily Express describes Mr Gove being knocked out of the leadership contest as a moment of “sweet revenge” for the frontrunner.
The Times goes further, claiming that Mr Johnson’s supporters “boasted” about their revenge on Mr Gove.
It quotes one unnamed MP as saying: “Gove stabbed us in the back – we’ve stabbed him in the front”.
“Was the result fixed?” asks the Guardian. It says Boris Johnson’s camp believes Mr Hunt, who is dubbed “Theresa in trousers” by some at Westminster, will make a less formidable adversary than Mr Gove.
The Financial Times comments that Conservative MPs were once labelled “the most sophisticated electorate in the world”. But after a day of dark rumours of skulduggery, one MP sighed: “Better to say we’re the most duplicitous.”
The Daily Mirror complains that after the latest round in the Conservative leadership race, “shameless Johnson ” or “callous Hunt” will be the next prime minister – and voters don’t get a say.
But the Daily Telegraph thinks that finally the country has what it needed three years ago: a public contest for the leadership of the party. It sees the vote as an historic opportunity to remind the candidates what the voters think beyond the world of Westminster.