A winter election to decide Brexit.

Winter election

Boris only needs 1 of the following 3 :

  • a motion for a general election,

  • a one-line bill,

  • or a no-confidence motion.

 

UK parties

A motion for a general election

Just as the name implies, the prime minister calls for a motion for an election. Now currently, the prime minister is proposing to hold an election on the 12th of December in exchange for more time for opposition MPs to scrutinise the deal further. However, some eyebrows have been raised with the suggested date as it adds logistical problems to conduct an election with the run-up to Christmas.Ballot hall

The last general election held so close to Christmas was in 1918. Ballot organisers will have to compete with organisers trying to set up pantomimes, and nativity plays as well as all the Christmas festivities.  An interesting fact is that most if not all, University students will be out for the winter break. This could work against Boris as polls on yougov.co.uk indicate that between the ages 18 to 28 years olds are :IMG_9139

  • 40-38% likely to vote Labour,
  • 20-30% likely to vote conservative
  • 20-18% likely to vote Liberal Democrat
  • 1-2% likely to vote UKIP

In fact, age has become one way of determining voting habits in the UK, while class is no longer a reliable indicator of how a person will vote. With a statistic showing that over 10 years, a British citizen loses 6% likelihood that they will vote Labour once they are past the age of 50. Some suspect that this is why Labour have abstained whenever Boris Johnson called for an election.

However, polls also indicated a shift has happened, and the majority of the British public are now more likely to back Remain.

So if the opposition puts forward a second referendum as one of their campaign points during an election, they could have a fighting chance to win if they appropriately capitalise on the student voter turnout.

A one-line bill

This would be a risky play by the Prime Minister, and it is unlikely to be the chosen course. Nevertheless, a brief explanation.
A one-line bill needs only a majority to go through. So let’s say Boris puts forward a bill that says that parliament has agreed to go to an election on a set date. If the House is in favour, it will happen. However, the bill is vulnerable to amendments. Conditions to go through might be set by individual MPs that might work against Boris. Such as trying to insist that the voting age be reduced to the age of 16, the dominant age group that support even Corbyn’s hardest policies, including dismantling the UK’s nuclear deterrent; Trident.

A no-confidence motion

It must be said that a vote of no-confidence was ruled out on by opposition parties as they couldn’t agree on a caretaker PM. At the time, they didn’t want a general election as the polls have held to the Tories favour and the remain opposition didn’t want to lose seats that would end up being votes towards Boris’s Brexit.

So what’s going to happen?

Winter Westminister Snow

The UK will move towards a General Election, and Labour will try to win the ticket of a second referendum promise.

The Lib Dems, the SNP will throw their hat in support of this in an attempt to have a coalition that outnumbers Boris.

 

But as it stands, the figures still seem tight and even with an election still only looming the concern over voter turnout as already grim.

This week holds the key to the UK’s future and for many in the UK,
the politicians are playing a game that is a little too close for comfort.

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The aftermath of Brexit Saturday

Super Saturday came and went, so what happened?

The last time the British Parliament sat in the House of Commons on a Saturday was 37 years ago during the Falklands War. Boris Johnson needed to convince members of the opposition to vote in favour of his deal. This is because his government don’t have the numbers to carry the bill forward on their own. On Friday he expressed, however, that he was confident that the House would support it because if they didn’t, it’s no deal, or is it?

Jeremy Corbyn was obvious on his thoughts though…

At 9.30 am (British time), Parliament convened, and Boris Johnson has been subjected to Parliaments questions and statements. Some in favour, some not so; but none as scathing as Jeremy Corbyn’s who said :

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“He(Boris Johnson) has renegotiated the withrawal agreement, and made it even worse….
He has renegotiated the politcal agreement, and made that even worse”

The People’s vote March

As these debates went on inside Westminister, a protest was amassing outside parliament. Thousands of people had descended upon London to join a march to demand parliament give the British people a second referendum and to put a stop Brexit.
There are of course MPs that are in favour of a second referendum. Perhaps as an ironic twist of fate, Boris Johnson’s own brother Jo Johnson is one of them. But the number of MPs that support a second referendum is growing on both sides of the House.

John Bercow being featured heavily on many signs.

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Political Satirist Kaya Mar Source

Kaya Mar, who has been very harsh in his criticism of both leaders across the house is not alone. Many protestors displayed signs of disappointment in the MPs. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is also believed to have attended the march and was walking at the front.

Chants of “EU, WE STAY, WE REALLY WANT TO STAY” amongst other chants were heard as the march proceeded from its starting point at Pall Mall. Many political groups formed alliances on the matter and were attending in support of the #PeoplesVoteMarch.

…The Vote…

The drama doesn’t stop, as Speaker Bercow selected the “Lentwin Amendment” for the MPs to vote on.

Quick re-cap on the “Lentwin Amendment.”

Well basically :
The amendment says parliament will withhold approval of the prime minister’s deal until the withdrawal bill implementing Brexit has been passed.
This is, as you can imagine quite the spanner in the works for Boris. It meant that if the amendment passed, he could not get parliament to approve the deal. So even if it had unanimous support, until the Withdrawal bill had been passed, nothing could move forward. So what did that mean?

If the deal passed, Boris would have to ask for an extension.
Precisely the opposite of what he repeatedly said,
even up until the start of yesterdays Super Saturday sitting.
He would not ask for an extension.

The Results rolled out.

Letwin Amendment vote announcement

The Ayes to the right 322, the Nos to the left 302. So the Ayes have it.

Now, at this point, you would think the British Prime Minister would perhaps raise a white flag, and ask for an extension. As is required of him by law. Instead, he sent three letters to Brussells, but only one letter is required for an extension request.

…So what were the letters?Boris Johnson Now what do i do meme

The first letter was the request to the President of the European Council to grant an extension of the Brexit Deadline to the 31st of January 2020 11pm.
But the letter wasn’t even signed by the prime minister.
Boris Johnson has gone even further and called all the European leaders, including Donald Tusk, just to tell them that the letter was “parliament’s letter, not my letter.”
The second letter, which was initially obtained by BuzzFeed News, was written by Sir Tim Barrow(Uk’s permanent representative to the EU). This letter was addressed to Jeppe Tanholm-Mekkelsen the secretary-general of the Council of the European Union.
The letter was essentially a covering letter for the first letter that explained how the reason that the first letter was sent was that law obliged it. Or to put it a little more bluntly; the reason the first letter was sent was that the law demanded the prime minister had to send a letter to request an extension but that the British prime minister didn’t actually mean it. Boris Johnson still trying to get away with no asking for the extension on a technicality now.
The third letter, which was once again addressed to Donald Tusk, described how the Prime Minister regretted that “parliament missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process for the new Withdrawal Agreement.”
You can say that the prime minister is trying to sidestep away from being legally required to request a Brexit extension.
Adding that he would have prefered a different outcome, he said, “The government will press ahead with ratification and introduce the necessary legislation early next week. I remain confident that we will complete that process by 31 October.”
Even now, many of us are still wondering how that would also be possible.

So what happens next?

Everything now rests on the Withdrawal Agreement passing through the House of Commons on Monday the 21st of October. Without it, parliament cannot vote on a Brexit deal.
If it doesn’t go through, it will lead to the government to have no choice but to ask for an extension. And at the rate things are going, it looks like this battle is far from over.

Conclusion

The British government must either call for a general election or for a referendum. Now keep in mind that a general election could lead to a referendum anyway, but that depends on which side of the house takes power. The government continues to lose support in the house as members of his own party continue to turn on him. One thing is sure, as Theresa May said in the house of commons yesterday, that she felt a sense of Deja Vu from the circumstances. And for once she was right on the bullseye. It can be argued that this was history repeating itself on having another prime minister that has been appointed by their party and not by the public.
So chaos in Westminister, protest on the streets of London and despite Boris’s claim to be fighting for a stronger union of the nations of the UK he is on the verge of losing one. The Scottish government is well underway to back laws to trigger a Scottish Independence vote with a second Scottish Referendum.
The Brexit storm seems to be tearing apart the UK, and it might be time for the government to start asking if this is all really worth it anymore.

Should Brexit be put on hold and a second referendum held?

Brexit: A New Hope or the beginning of the end.

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From left to right, Josep Borrell, Michel Barnier, Simon Coveney.

What is the EU saying?…

When asked about why he believes that negotiations will run-up to the very end of the deadline Josep Borrell had this to say: “Because in the European Union that’s the rule, the decision came in the last last minute

Irish deputy “the UK will need to move to facilitate an agreement”

Michel Barnier says: “a deal is still possible.”

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“Did Boris Johnson have a stroke of Genius or did he just gamble with the UK’s future in a high stakes game?”

Recently we asked the question  “Did Boris Johnson have a stroke of Genius or did he just gamble with the UK’s future in a high stakes game?”

Well after comments like these from EU politicians, it looks like Boris has (for better or worse)steamrolled ahead with his plan and this still has many people concerned.

The speculation is that the way things are moving, the idea was and still is, to let the pressure build enough to force each side to concede on some issues. Like this, they can both, in a desperate attempt to make a deal, concede on certain issues while winning others.

So where are we on the Brexit Deal?

Between the UK and EU is the negotiations table where the currently tabled deal is being adjusted; but what if Boris’s plan backfires and the UK’s negotiations team is forced to choose between conceding too much and no-deal?

Well believe it or not, but Boris and his team could still make him “look” like a hero if the UK suffers in its deal with the EU. How?

Boris would have delivered Brexit by 31/10/2019.36928363842_24d45f2f78_c

But back to Brexit, how close are they to a deal? Well, Sky News amongst others reported that “After 90 minutes of talks between Boris Johnson and Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP leaders left Downing Street tight-lipped.”

This suggests that some serious back and forth is going on between No10 and the DUP after Leo Varadkar and Michel Barnier leaned to a position that believed in achieving a deal. Now while many will be pleased that a deal could be happening, this could well be the beginning of the end.

Scotland wants a second referendum.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans for another Scottish referendum to take place. This is after the recent announcement by Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell that “There is a path open for Scotland to walk into EU membership. There are, of course, things to be done, there is a great deal of hard work, but it can be done, and that is the big issue.”

This complicates matters because Scotland still conducts the majority of

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 its trade within the UK: in 2014, Scotland’s exports totalled £76 billion, of which £48.5 billion (64%) was with constituent nations of the UK. So if Scotland takes independence and joins the single market, the UK could face a similar scenario to the current one taking place over the Irish Border.

Boris Johnson has already stated his opposition to a second Vote as he said, “I think we can cement and intensify the union”.

The final part of this puzzle is the planned protest for a “Final Say” referendum by the public. On the 19th of October, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend upon London in a protest to force the government to hold a second referendum. With over a hundred coaches booked to transport people to London, an increase in the number that was booked for the previous protest, on 23 March.

Conclusion:

I think we can expect 2 outcomes, 

  1. A deal will be struck, and the UK will begin all the necessary preparations to leave, with a minor extension to take place to iron out all the legal jargon. This will, of course, set in motion a chain of events that will include the Scottish referendum. The referendum is also significant as it will be a considerable influence on those wishing to see a single, united Ireland.
  2. If the expected emergency Saturday Sitting doesn’t go well for Boris when he presents his new deal to the commons. Then a lengthy extension will be required as will have no choice but to request it. This, of course, will be a significant blow to the Tory leader, which might not be recoverable for the expected upcoming election.

Have your say, comment below and tell us what do you think will happen?

 

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BORIS’s one major obstacle in delivering Brexit; The Law.

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Boris tried to force the EU to choose, the Northern Irish people and all those affected by Brexit or their word.

So why was the deal he presented such a dangerous gamble? Should the EU concede to his demands, then it opens up the possibility of other countries attempting to make more significant demands on the EU as well. However, Boris would have had a credible threat had there not been the Benn Act.

On the 6th of September 2019, parliament passed a bill the would require the Prime Minister to seek an extension to the Brexit withdrawal date. Now nobody has mentioned what the penalty is if this law is broken. One could speculate though that it is probably a hefty fine which will probably be paid for by those that will gain millions out of Brexit.

boris_johnsonHere’s the rub, Boris is set to prorogue parliament on the 8th of October with the queen’s speech to be on schedule for the 14th of October. This only brings to light how Johnson’s dangerous gamble is walking the razor’s edge whilst carrying the future of the UK.

While everyone is getting anxious, it is as if the British Prime minister wants to play a game of chicken with the EU. To see who backs down first. One thing is sure, Boris is now expected to seek the extension if no deal is reached by the 19th of October. The only other alternative is that Boris is fully aware and willing to break the law.

What could he be planning? Or rather; how does he expect things to unfold should he break that law?

Hypothetically: 

October 19th rolls by and Boris continues to refuse to request the extension. Parliament will, of course, be in an uproar and an election would be called. As we previously mentioned above, there is no known penalty should the British Prime Minister break that law and he expects to get a simple slap on the wrist. Meanwhile over those few days, the clock ticks away the days until the election and its results come in. The conservatives win government and Boris gets to be the one man that delivered Brexit.

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Meanwhile, Brussels is saying that what has been presented is not good enough. Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the European Parliament’s Brexit steering group, said they were “absolutely not positive” about Mr Johnson’s plan, adding “It doesn’t provide the necessary safeguards for Ireland.

 

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As expected, the two border system has not gone down well with Ireland and Leo Varadkar is scheduled to meet with Boris Johnson. Varadker said: “he believes a Brexit deal can still be struck“. 

 

Everyone is feeling the pressure as the deadline looms and the only thing agreed is that time is running out. Meanwhile, a video displayed by the Irish times talking to the common man on the street, presented some people in Ireland are afraid that the violent days of the past could return.

 

Did Boris Johnson have a stroke of Genius or did he just gamble with the UK’s future in a high stakes game?

A Deal is on the table, but what happens if it fails?

29 days to Brexit and Boris Johnson has put forward a deal that is raising eyebrows. You could say that this deal forces the EU to choose between the people in Northern Ireland and their own pride. 

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Jeremy Corbyn  (UK opposition party

…It’s worse than Theresa May’s Deal. I can’t see it getting the support…..”

 

 

 

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“…the proposals do not fully meet the agreed objectives of the backstop…” 

Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach / Irish Prime Minister)

 

 

 

 

So while he avoids allegations of an affair, Boris Johnson is proposing two 2 separate checkpoints at a distance, either side of the border and the other being at sea. We all knew it would be a complex solution for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Chief Eu Negotiator, Michael Barnier said that while there was progress, a lot of work was still left to be done.

In an interview with Sky News, Jeremy Corbyn continued to explain that he believed it would lead to a lot of de-regulation and could even undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

The alternative is out.

Northern Ireland has seen tensions flare up as the country faces the hard border again, and talk of the New IRA is becoming a cause for alarm. The assistant chief constable Barbara Gray, who heads up the counter-terrorism response unit for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), recently told The Guardian :

“I think in the last few weeks, probably since the new cabinet, the new PM and his announcements [on the exit date] that ‘this is October 31, this is what we’re looking at’, I think generally you can almost feel a bit of anxiety rising across society.”

Gray added: “Anything that brings the border issue into question in Northern Ireland brings tension.”

Earlier this year, Journalist Lyra Mckee was murdered by activists of the New IRA during a riot she was reporting on. The New IRA gave the statement:

Lyra_McKee_(33207175144)_(cropped)

“On Thursday night, following an incursion on the Creggan by heavily armed British crown forces which provoked rioting, the IRA deployed our volunteers to engage. We have instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this.

“In the course of attacking the enemy Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces. The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death.”

A certain choice of language used in the statement is cause for concern:

list

…deployed our volunteers to engage…: volunteers aren’t deployed, Soldiers are, and that is exactly what this group feels they are. But this is slowly shaping into not only the end of the UK in the European but also the end of the UK as we know it. 

In 2014 Scotland held a referendum and asked it’s citizens:
“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Scotland answered “No.

But since the Brexit result, this has been shifting. More and more people in Scotland are seeing the dangers of being outside of Europe and the damage it could leave on the Scottish Economy.

So is the Uk on the brink of collapse and isolation?

 

Trump set for an unwelcoming state visit in the UK.

Trump meets the Queen at Windsor Castle in Britain
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Trump is set to visit the Uk on the 3rd of June, but many people don’t want him to.
A series of protests and boycotts are already lining up, as this could be one of the tensest state visits in recent years.

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So who’s not showing up to the state dinner?
Well, the Duchess of Sussex; Meghan Markle was openly against Trump, is set not to meet the US president during his state visit. Not quite snubbing the meeting, but she is on maternity leave from her duties, which conveniently includes state dinners and the such. Back in 2016, she made her position on Trump quite clear :
“You’re not just voting for a woman if it’s Hillary because she’s a woman, but certainly because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting.”
She is not the only royal with issues with the Trumpster, Prince Charles and Donald Trump have very different views on climate change. So the traditional invitation for visiting heads of state to Clarence house for tea might get lost in the mail. Not to mention that the last time the US president was in the UK, Prince Charles and Prince William were both err… “busy”. Charles at a board meeting and William at a charity polo match, giving him quite the royal “sod off” if you ask me.
So what do the politicians think?

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Parliament speaker John Bercow, Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrats Leader Sir Vince Cable all don’t want to meet trump and have already made it clear that they won’t be attending the state dinner.

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So far the only people in Parliament who seem to have openly and publically welcomed trump are:

  • Theresa May (who barely has any friends at this point)
  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who said “the UK should offer the best possible welcome to the president( but let’s be honest it’s his job to be nice to Trump)

So the state dinner might have a few vacant seats… but that’s not the only place where the US president might get a cold reception.
State visits sometimes include a speech in the British parliament, but even here, there are already people who aren’t too keen on him being allowed into the building, let alone the House of Commons.
The moment everyone’s tension will be highest though will be two moments: Two speeches by the US president, one at the state dinner and one in the House of Commons. While the state dinner is important, the speech in the House of Commons is as well but parliament is a little more complicated. House Speaker John Bercow said he doesn’t feel that Donald Trump should be allowed to formally address the MPs but his office will put the request through the normal process just the same (despite he can technically Veto the speech).
And last but not certainly not least is the 200,000 protestors estimate to demonstrate. Aside from the return of the Trump baby, it seems that robot trump is also making its way to the UK.

And of course, the ironic twist of fate is that said “dumping” robot, was made in, you guessed it… China.

And with the success of the Trump baby balloon last year, it’s organisers are planning for a bigger one with talks about the possibility of a hot air balloon version.

 

But is all this necessary, in the past the Queen entertained Romania’s Ceauşescu, Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Zaire’s Mobutu. Alongside them, Trump might seem an angel.

The more hate is thrown at him, the more his supporters will rally to defend him. Which raises the question, if so many people hate him and want him out of office, why is there a fear that he will take the second term?

Has the immigration crisis alarmed the EU?

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In 2015, Europe saw over 1 million asylum seekers arrive, with Germany taking the first step in August 2015 to open its borders. Other European states followed the example, and since then, that number has risen to a staggering 4 million people. But where are we today? Some of the most welcoming countries are waking up to a scary realisation of an increase of right-wing groups. More shockingly than this, is that one of the countries to report a sharp rise in alt-right activity is none other than Sweeden.

But how did a country so progressive make such a u-turn?

Most of the supporters of these right-wing groups are disgruntled conservatives and people who have just or about to fall beneath the poverty line. But many people are unhappy that the taxpayers’ money is being used to fund these welfare programs. But is the slight addition to the host country’s economy, is that really all that’s pushed so many people to support right-wing parties?

Well not quite, you see many are unhappy with what they claim to be no-go-zones. 

Here is a small clip from 60 minutes on Sweeden and its so-called no-go-zone.

 

But, perhaps we’re overblowing this situation, and it is just limited to Sweeden?

France is also facing clashes. With incidents happening specifically on religious sites, also begs the question of drawing a line between religious freedom racist behaviour. Instead of asking if taking in refugees will make the problem disappear, shouldn’t the world be wondering about what can be done?

Sources (Clockwise: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3)

But what does all this say?

Countries of different cultures can co-exist, trade, and have a peaceful relationship; so what’s happening in the EU? Some believe that cultures who have been forced together end up clashing. Although others insist that this kind of suggestion is racist and that there should be no problem in taking on more refugees. But things didn’t go according to plan, and videos that have circulated online are not helping the situation.

So what happened?

Is the culture clash bigger than we thought? And was it carried out too suddenly to expect migrants to assimilate correctly?
Was mass immigration too rushed?
For how long can Europe continue to take in migrants?

What is taking so long about Brexit? Or is the UK scared about the aftermath?

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Since the BREXIT referendum of the 23rd of June 2016 and today, it’s been 2 years 10 months and 15 days. By the time that the final date on the 31st of October comes, and the UK leaves, it will be over 3 years of exhausting negotiations between two parties which have left the British public, waiting and disappointed.

But is Brexit limited to just the UK?

But the UK is not the only country to have had a growing anti-EU movement. The two others who were rumoured to have started talking about leaving were Sweeden and the Netherlands.

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The Sweedish Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson, who held an anti-Eu sentiment has now changed this to :

 

“Cooperation is needed to achieve results, and it is through collaboration that opportunities for reforming the EU from the inside are improved,” he wrote, adding that the Sweden Democrats are now a part of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group within the European Parliament and that it has established good relationships with its “Nordic friends in the Danish People’s Party and the True Finns”.

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However, while the world focused on the UK in the run-up to 2016 referendum, a Dutch pole by polling firm EenVandaag(source) revealed that at the height of the run-up to the 23rd of June, the popular opinion with a 3% lead, was to leave the EU. Since then, the popular vote returned the popular belief to the remain side; with a 56% lead.

But why?

Those within the EU have been given a cold shower of a wake-up call, on the benefits of the EU; not to mention the costs of leaving. This doesn’t mean that the process is easy for the EU member states, Jean Claude Juncker has been reported to describe it as a tragic failure but has also, to put it frankly, thrown David Cameron under the bus.

but can it be stopped?

The European Court has ruled that with if a democratic resolution is achieved in the British parliament to cancel Brexit or decided upon via a referendum, then the whole process can be stopped.

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Can this happen?

maybe…

If the British parliament cannot agree on the deal by the 22nd of May, then the UK must take part in the European elections. People are also expecting Theresa May will be forced to resign as MP’s continue to leave her side after she made the following speech and blamed the delay of Brexit on Parliament.

So now it seems the only way that the UK can hope to move to a U-turn out of article 50 will probably require two options:

  1. Theresa is forced to stand down as Prime Minister
  2. For Nigel Farage to repeat the same anti-EU message.

Wait, number 2 doesn’t sound quite right.

Hear me out.

As the Brexit party drives forward, so have the other parties started to speak. This time people who were silently leaning to remain will make their opinions heard to avoid Nigel Farage being successful again, if possible, loud enough to force another referendum to remain.

So, is the British Parliament just trying to buy more time for democracy or to try and restore a remain situation?

Do you think the UK can back out of this crisis? Or will Brexit go-ahead?

 

The Venezuelan crisis – can we blame radical socialism?

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On May 1st (Venezuelan time), at dawn.

Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition, rallied his supporters at dawn and on a video shared over social media. Calling to action all his supporters and members of the civil service, including the police and armed forces, in short, a Coup d’etat.

What ensued was a violent clash with video’s depicting the violence

But how did this happen? How is this still happening today?

A glance at international news and it’s easy to find articles on the Venezuelan crisis. Reports on the ever-growing food shortages, electricity blackouts, water crisis and violent protests are the key headlines.

 

Sources: link1,link2,link3,link4

This state of emergency wasn’t always the case. Up until 2014, the country had issues, but their public programs were still working.

 

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The year 2014 is also the year that the current president, Nicolás Maduro, got elected. Since then the country spiralled out of control, and many naturally started to blame him. While Maduro’s current regime faces the disdain of leading nations, he wasn’t what caused the problem.

 

Enter Hugo Chavez and his socialist revolution.

Hugo Chavez’s first attempt at power was not by democratic means. He initially tried a coup d’etat in 1992 which failed. After two years he was pardoned and through a democratic means, rose to power on the promise that he would redistribute the wealth to the poorest in Venezuela.

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Once elected, he nationalised more and more industries under the guise that the government would manage these corporations more reasonably than their capitalist leaders.

During the time of Chavez’s terms, oil prices kept going up. Since Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, its export of it continued to bring more wealth. Chavez used this wealth to fund expensive programmes that brought many people out of poverty. The poorest rallied to him, and because of this, the number of people who weren’t so sure about him dwindled, with those who criticised, described as dissenters.
Venezuela’s GDP eventually became 50% coming from oil export alone.
As the years go by Chavez consolidates power through socialist style programs.
It wasn’t long before the socialist populist became the socialist authoritarian with measures like:

  • Elevating his friends to high ranking officials in military positions,
  • the same high ranking friends would then be placed in key leadership positions of the countries oil exports,
  • passed laws to restrict what the media could say

But Chavez had limits to his authoritarianism; he still held democratic elections. With a combination of:

  • friends in the state media
  • using state funds for his campaign
  • having in place a ban on criticising his government.

 

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A woman walks near a mural portraying ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with the slogan “Come On Commander” on the streets of Caracas on Tuesday.  Source

 

He just kept winning elections. And how could he not, the price of oil continued to skyrocket, and more money kept pouring into the government which continued to pour into welfare programmes, more jobs, healthcare, education. Everyone was happy as long as the price of oil continued to surge. Then in 2013, Hugo Chavez dies in office, and Nicholas Maduro replaces him since he is the vice-president. Chavez had already named Maduro as his successor, and Maduro believed he just had to continue off where his mentor left.

 

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In January 2015, the price of oil plummeted by 49.5%.

Welfare programmes are the sole source of sustenance for many Venezuelans, so the funds were draining quickly.

The first step they took to try and keep it all going was to introduce tariffs on foreign goods; this they believed would also provide a boost to local business. The only problem was that nobody was investing in Venezuela because if a company started doing well, the government nationalised it.

 

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There wasn’t enough local production to cater to the country’s demand, and so the price on many necessities skyrocketed. The International Monetary Fund warned that what they now call a Hyper Inflation will hit a rate of 1,000,000 %( that’s 1 million per cent) whereas the average inflation rate of North America or Europe was only 2.2%.

 

The country depended on external sources which their government taxed to help sustain welfare.  Regrettably, this created a cycle that eventually had only one outlet, and that was outside Venezuela’s economy. Venezuela is so dependent on its social welfare programmes that it’s economy has been compared to Zimbabwe after the crises of the early 2000s or Weinbar Germany after World War 1, all this in just a few decades.

Juan Guaido’s coup failed, however, can we consider the past few decades as an example of how easy it is for a country to go from hardcore socialism to authoritarianism?

49 days later… yeah! Rocketman is bouncing on the button again.

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Image Sources: Sky News

I’ve been metaphorically holding my breath.

….but they couldn’t even keep it together for two months, so …

So a lot of people are surprised Trump was the one that didn’t do something silly, but Kim claims he did. Kim was hurt by the fact that Trump, wait for it, got friendly with other dictators.

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As funny as it sounds, the implications are serious. North Korea is reported to have tested a new InterContinental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM, despite agreeing to stop all missile tests and nuclear programme. The question now is, how many strong-arm tactics are going to be employed to try and rein Kim in. The fact that lines of communication are at their best means that there could be a chance for discourse to succeed. To be fair though, it is not the first time that a North Korean dictator pulls a fast one on an American President. Recently Kim Jong Un sent a letter to President Trump and did, in fact, stick to a part of the agreement which was to return the remains of American Soldiers from the Korean War.  The fact that a part of the agreement was respected is a step forward. Is it enough though?

Truth be told, returning the remains is purely a gesture of goodwill albeit one that wouldn’t come at a cost to Kim. President Trump thanked for returning these as it would be a relief for the families, that their loved ones remain’s, are back on their native soil; and it means he gets their support and vote in 2020.

So what’s gonna happen next? 

Well, you can expect the strong-arm tactics to come back into play. This time, however, there is a wild card. Since the lines of communication have become more accessible, it would be very easy for one side to engage the other in a more informal conversation. What some are afraid of is that one side will say something wrong, then so does the other and the whole thing escalates too rapidly to contain. 

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They expected this at the summit, but in the hours that they were together, Trump and Kim were on their best behaviour. But this is like a first date, everybody acts right, as time goes on though someone relaxes and the truth slowly gets revealed.  What is ironic, is that one of the leaders that Trump met, which made Kim angry was President Putin. All the while, Moscow continues to issue new permits for North Korean workers which is a breach of the sanctions, despite the Russian representatives having in the past agreed that sanctions have to be enforced. Yes, you read that right… 

 

And what will these Strong arm tactics be? Well, the truth is, Trump is using heavy-handed boardroom tactics so far. However, Trump has a reputation for seeing through what he says he’ll do and he we’ve seen that in the actions that were ordered in Syria. 

The question therefore is, will Trump order military action against North Korea?