Monday, November 21, 2016

Will Trump Screw Up Politics In Britain, France And Germany Too?


The top 3 U.S. allies in Europe-- Britain, France and Germany-- all had significant political news over the weekend. With François Hollande's Socialist government flailing hopelessly and in terminal tatters, he hasn't even announced if he will seek a second term and many think that he's so unpopular that he'd be hard-pressed to even win renomination from his own party. The most recent polls show Marine Le Pen of the surging neo-fascist Front national making it through the April 23 first round-- along with the nominee of Les républicains (the new name for the Center-right party formerly knows as the Union for a Popular Movement). There are at least 11 parties that will compete in the first round as well as the potential for as many as half a dozen unaffiliated independents-- like Oscar Temaru, who already was a president, president of French Polynesia.

The second round, if, as is likely, no one wins 50% first time around, is scheduled for May 7 and nearly every poll shows any mainstream politician beating Le Pen, except Hollande, with the 2 most recent polls showing him down 53-47% in a head to head matchup, although no one thinks there's much chance of him making it into the second round. Any of Les républicains would also beat Hollande-- Alain Juppé 70-30%, Nicolas Sarkozy 54-46% and François Fillon 62-38%. All Les républicains are also way ahead of Le Pen, Sarkozy besting her 58-42%, Juppé 64-36% and Fillon 65-35%. Even independent Emmanuel Macron leads Le Pen in a head to head 61-39%.

So going into yesterday's first-even presidential primary for Les républicains it was widely thought that one of the two who made it to the Nov. 27 final primary would be the next president of France. And the two finalists in that contest are 2 former prime ministers, François Fillon (a Thatcherite extremist and homophobe long considered a washed up has-been) and Alain Juppé. Sarkozy was knocked out of the running. Fillon was way ahead with 44.2%, followed by Juppé (28.4%) and Sarkozy trailing with 20.7%, a humiliation-- albeit not totally unexpected-- for the former president. He says he'll vote for Fillon next week, as will Bruno Le Maire, who came in 4th. The 5th biggest vote-getter, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, said she's supporting Juppé.

There was no voting in Germany or the U.K., but there was plenty of election-related news. Angela Merkel announced she would run for a 4th term next September. She and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) are the symbol of the status quo and they have taken a string of electoral beatings over her open-door immigration policies. There's been a lot of speculation that she might opt out of running again but she seemed worried that that would make it easier for the wave of populism that's been sweeping Europe-- not to mention Trump, here in the U.S.-- to overtake Germany as well.
"I told the CDU that I was ready to stand again," she said. "This election will be even more difficult than those we have had before as we are facing a strong polarisation" in the community.

She drew a line between Germany and the US in describing as "grotesque" the recent election campaign. Merkel said that for her, political discussion was about engagement not "fighting" and "inciting hatred."

She said that for Germany the values of "democracy, freedom, and respect for human and individual rights," were central pillars of the democratic process.

...Her now famous “Wir schaffen das” ("We can do this") motto, has led to prolonged and at times heated confrontations with her Bavarian sister party, the CSU. Her refugee policies have also boosted the populist, right-wing Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), which draws support through harnessing community fears about migration and Muslims. In state elections this year, the AfD garnered up to a fifth of the popular vote.

But, as the world gears up for a turbulent year ahead, a growing number of German voters want Merkel to stay in office, according to a poll conducted on Sunday: 55 percent of those responded positively, compared to 42 percent in August.

She also received a glowing endorsement from outgoing President Barack Obama in Berlin this week. Germans, he said, should "appreciate" Merkel. If he were German, he added, he would support her. When asked what she made of talk about her being the last defender of the liberal world, Merkel gave one of her typical matter-of-fact responses: No one country could solve everything.
Merkel, on getting the election news
After The Donald won the election last week, she recognized his win-- if not congratulated him-- via Instagram. "Germany and America," read her message, too long for Twitter or Trump's attention span, "are bound by values-- democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of the individual, regardless of their origin, skin colour, creed, gender, sexual orientation or political views. On the basis of these values, I offer close cooperation to the future president of the United States of America, Donald Trump." It kind of sounded what infuriated Trumpanzee over the weekend when the cast of Hamilton voiced similar thoughts as Mike Pence scurried out of the theater. Trump attacked Merkel and her policies all during the campaign. She's also not a fan of Putin's top European supporter, Vladimir Putin, nor of Trump's protectionist trade agenda.

And the U.K., where the news was distinctly sour. Richard Kerbaj and Tim Shipman broke the story Sunday evening for London's Sunday Times that Tony Blair wants to get back and fuck up British politics some more. The 63 year old former New Labour Prime Minister (yes, the Conservative wing of the Labour Party) is bets remembered as Bush's poodle.

Blair hails from a lower middle class background and studied law after failing as a rock music promoter. He's never been in business as such but somehow his long political career has led him to possess a fortune of at least $90 million. So... it looks like that happens in other countries too.

Blair snuck into office in 1983 by deceiving the voters into believing he was a leftist. He wasn't. He immediately tried redefining socialism in a way that wouldn't conflict with capitalism. From his maiden speech in Parliament: "I am a socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality." His whole career was characterized by misleading anyone and everyone resulting in him eventually being forced out of office over his Iraq War lies. He even sucked up to Rupert Murdoch, stood as godfather to Murdoch and Wendi Deng's child and was later caught having an affair with Deng while she and Murdoch were still married. He's a real lowlife. He "worked" for JPMorgan Chase and other banksters-- as a glorified lobbyist-- after he left government. Many in the U.K. would like to see him tried as a war criminal. Instead, according to The Times report, he's "positioning himself to play a pivotal role in shaping Britain’s Brexit deal" and "scouting out a power base for an institute he's starting in Westminster.
Blair’s move has raised eyebrows among several members of the cabinet, who claim he has used meetings about the Middle East and aid to seek to extract information and influence the government’s Brexit plans.

A source who has discussed Brexit with Blair said: “He’s not impressed with Theresa May. He thinks she’s a total lightweight.

“He thinks Jeremy Corbyn is a nutter and the Tories are screwing up Brexit. He thinks there’s a massive hole in British politics that he can fill.”

Blair’s office denied that he had described either leader in this way.

Blair is due to meet May for coffee soon. But the prime minister’s aides believe he is part of an “unholy alliance” of former ministers who are determined to disrupt Brexit.

Last month Blair wrote in the New European newspaper that “remain” supporters should “mobilise and organise” an insurgency to make the public change its mind about leaving the EU. “Blair wants to show that he’s making a big comeback-- and what better way to do that than to weigh in on Brexit?” one insider said.

The former prime minister has recruited Jim Murphy, the former leader of Scottish Labour, to advise him on merging his charitable and business interests under one roof and “bolster the political clout” of his new organisation.

Blair’s interest in staying on the front line of politics was illustrated last week by his meeting with Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of US president-elect Donald Trump.

It can also be revealed Blair has held talks with the former chancellor George Osborne. “Tony and George have been speaking and meeting and have had lots of conversations about the post-Brexit political climate,” a Whitehall source said.

...The two names currently being touted for the organisation are understood to be the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and the Tony Blair Centre for Global Change. After announcing in September the closure of his consultancy businesses-- Windrush Ventures, Firerush Ventures and Tony Blair Associates-- Blair is expected to launch his new organisation in January.

Murphy, who lost his East Renfrewshire seat to the Scottish National Party last year, is said to be receiving more than £200,000 for his role as a senior adviser. He is playing a key role with Catherine Rimmer, Blair’s chief of staff, and Angela Salt, the chief executive of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, in merging Blair’s charitable and commercial operations under one not-for-profit brand.

Blair’s office in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, along with his charity offices in Canary Wharf, east London, and Millbank, in central London, will be relocated to the new site.

A senior official said: “He’s been in and out to see a lot of senior people. He is clearly pushing trying to get an insight into government thinking on Brexit and to influence that.

“He’s trying to suck information out of the system. He wants to come in to talk about development or the Middle East and then he’ll pivot.”

One cabinet minister who received an invitation to visit Blair at his headquarters said: “It felt like a summons.”

An ex-cabinet minister familiar with the former Labour leader’s thinking, said: “Blair does think, as all former prime ministers do, that ministers are bogging up Brexit and if only I were in charge.”

One insider said: “He’s relinquished most of his financial interests because he was done with the negative headlines about his obsession with wealth and he’s remodelling himself. I think it’s fair to say that he sees himself as a global statesman in the Henry Kissinger mould.”
Kissinger, like Blair, is widely reviled as a war criminal, monster and enemy of humanity.

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At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the article suggests clearly, in contrast to its title, that our best European allies have been quite capable of screwing up their own politics long before Herr Hair came on the scene here.

Note, I am NOT saying he will help them much ... just that he is less a cause than a result of whatever vileness may ensue.

John Puma

At 6:47 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Not sure their politics weren't already veering rightward. I would HOPE that voters there aren't as colossally stupid as Americans. They DO have choices (where we do not) and their press is still more free than ours, though that is rapidly changing too.

Drumpf won't do much over there except prove himself to be a fascist ideologue and an intellectual pygmy. But the politics everywhere is veering right due to the (lack of) response to the 2007 crash and the vast xenophobia over all the refugees created by US policies all over the Mideast. Capitalism moved 10s of trillions from the bottom to the top without any interference from governments (most actually helped in that regard) and people are understandably pissed. And US policies have created millions of refugees (and a similar number of casualties) that don't want to be killed by isis or al quaida or the US so they're fleeing toward Europe... who really doesn't want them anywhere nearby.

The learned impulse of humanitarianism is easily "drumpf'd" by limbic fear and hate fanned by drumpfian hate speech.

You want to ID the source of all this... it's cheney/bush/blair for invading Iraq, who had NOTHING to do with 9/11 nor did they have any WMD nor were they any threat to anyone except maybe Iraqi Shia. But they had US oil under their sand and that had to be fixed. And, of course, American voters are total imbeciles.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Globally, the corporatists are on the march. Whether or not Trump is involved directly, these fascist bastards with corner offices see an opportunity to take over, and they aren't about to waste it.


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