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Britain’s Conservative government is disintegrating

Alexander Mercouris




The sudden resignation of British Defence Minister Michael Fallon is a symptom of the profound political crisis at the heart of the British elite ever since the British people voted by a clear majority for Brexit in the referendum last year.

I discussed this crisis the day after the vote took place, and it is important to say that it continues today unabated

There is something of a whiff of 1789 in the mood in Britain today. 

The people have voted, the pro-EU liberal centre where Britain’s political class is located has discovered to its horror that the people have rejected it (decisively so in England outside London), but there is no clear sense of where things are going.

I get the strong sense that several of the leaders of the Leave campaign did not expect to win and were using the campaign more to gain leverage within the Conservative party than because they believed in the cause.  Now that to their amazement they have won they don’t know what to do with their victory……..

The mood here is febrile with much of the political class struggling to understand a result that none of them truly anticipated or fully understand and with no-one having a clear plan for going forward.  The extent to which the party leaderships in London have become disconnected from their supporters and have lost legitimacy amongst English voters has come as a shock.  So much so that there are some people who are talking quite seriously about cancelling the referendum result and holding the vote all over again in order to get a different result.  That of course has been done previously elsewhere in the EU.  However trying to do it in Britain after a clear vote to leave the EU would be complete madness and would risk turning the mood here very ugly. I cannot seriously believe that in the end it will be done.

One way or the other Britain is going to experience a period of chaos and drift which will continue for several weeks if not months.  As it happens I doubt a clear sense of stability or direction will emerge for several years.  What the political landscape will look like then is anyone’s guess. 

Gramsci’s famous maxim for once sums it up exactly:

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”.

Since I wrote those words on 26th June 2016 David Cameron – the Prime Minister who called the Brexit vote – has gone, his successor Theresa May has been exposed as an empty suit, and an election which was supposed to consolidate the Conservative government’s authority has ended up badly weakening it.

After a great deal of hesitation Theresa May screwed up the courage in March 2017 to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, supposedly setting in train Britain’s departure from the EU.

However it has since become painfully clear that she has no negotiating strategy to speak of, and no clear conception of how to prepare Britain for life after Brexit.  As a result she was recently reduced to begging the EU to grant Britain a two year extension of time for the negotiations to take place, which the EU has however so far failed to grant.

The problem is that though everyone now seems to agree that Theresa May is discredited and that her authority is gone, no one in Britain’s Conservative government seems to have much idea of what to do either.

The result is that Theresa May – discredited after the election and with no authority to speak of – remains Britain’s Prime Minister because no-one within Britain’s Conservative government has a clear plan of what to do which commands the necessary support to take her place.

The result is paralysis, with the government no longer doing much of anything, and the government descending into increasing factionalism and infighting as it loses direction.

It is this atmosphere of gathering disintegration which has brought Michael Fallon down.

In the climate of chaos and drift that now grips the government someone – inevitably – has put together and is circulating a “black book” outlining the sexual misadventures of various Conservative MPs.

This appears to be a pretty indiscriminate affair targeting MPs of all factions.  However it is adding to what is already a pretty febrile atmosphere, and is a symptom of the government’s loss of grip and authority.

Michael Fallon is the first victim, and it is quite likely that before long there will be others.

Needless to say that will reduce what is left of the government’s authority still more.

The situation in Britain’s opposition Labour Party is marginally better in that its leader Jeremy Corbyn unlike Theresa May has succeeded in consolidating his authority following a successful election campaign and seems to enjoy a high degree of personal support amongst the public.

However Jeremy Corbyn continues to suffer from the same problem that has beset him ever since he became Labour’s leader, which is that the vast majority of the members of Labour’s parliamentary party are bitterly hostile to him, and continue to do everything in their power to obstruct him.

That calls into question how stable any government he eventually forms will be.

Nonetheless the only route out of the crisis is a new government, which realistically only Corbyn can now lead.  Preferably this should be after an election in which he wins a majority.

To those who worry that a Corbyn government would be a disaster, I would say (1) that he has been the most gravely underestimated politician in British politics over the last three years, making it at least possible that he will be a successful Prime Minister just as – contrary to all expectations – he has turned out to be a surprisingly successful Leader of the Opposition; and (2) that a drift towards disaster is anyway what we have now.

I expect this logic – unwelcome as it is to many people – over the next weeks and months to start to take hold.

If so then before long we will probably see another election, with a Corbyn government being formed shortly after.

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What Lies Behind the Malaise of the West?

Prime Minister Theresa May was just forced to pledge that she would not lead her party in the next election — to survive a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Patrick J. Buchanan



Authored by Patrick Buchanan via

Is it coincidence or contagion, this malady that seems to have suddenly induced paralysis in the leading nations of the West?

With lawyer-fixer Michael Cohen’s confession that he colluded with Donald Trump in making hush money payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, America’s stage is set for a play that will run two years.

As Democrats test the waters for a presidential run by savaging Trump, the establishment Trump detests and defeated in 2016 will use every weapon in its considerable arsenal to break and bring him down, as it did half a century ago to Richard Nixon.

By spring 2019, Americans will be unable to escape the vitriol on cable and social media. And the outside world will see America again as a house divided. Our politics will be even more poisonous than now, and it is not easy to see what would bring our warring tribes together again.

Consider, then, the situation of our old ally Great Britain.

Prime Minister Theresa May was just forced to pledge that she would not lead her party in the next election — to survive a no-confidence vote in Parliament. A third of all Tory members voted to throw her out.

The no-confidence vote was called after May had to cancel a vote on the Brexit plan she had negotiated with the EU, when it was evident that a coalition of Tories and Labor would vote to kill her plan.

May has been humiliated. Yet her humiliation solves nothing. The clock is running toward a March deadline for concluding a Brexit deal. And no plan acceptable to both Parliament and the EU is on the table.

The possibility exists that Britain could simply crash out of the EU, causing severe economic damage to both.

Realizing this, Brussels has left the door open if Britain should vote in a second referendum to remain in the EU. But calling and carrying out that referendum would be a betrayal of the 52 percent of the British people that voted to restore full national independence.

While London wanted to stay in the EU in 2016, England voted to leave. Northern Ireland wanted to stay, as did Scotland, though 45 percent of Scots had earlier voted to declare their own independence from Great Britain.

In France, after four Saturdays of anarchy, arson, looting and vandalism of her national monuments, President Emmanuel Macron capitulated to the rioters. He withdrew the fuel tax that triggered the uprisings. He agreed to have his government add $113 a month to those earning the minimum wage, and to let workers get overtime pay and Christmas bonuses tax-free, and to revoke higher social charges on modest pensions.

The cost of Macron’s retreat is estimated at $11 billion, 0.4 percent of France’s GDP. Saturday will tell us if his appeasement bought peace.

The political collapse of Macron has been extraordinary.

In 2017, he won almost two-thirds of the national vote, and his La Republique en Marche! won an absolute majority of the National Assembly.

Today, one poll puts Macron’s approval at 21 percent. The idea that he can replace Angela Merkel as the recognized leader of the EU seems ridiculous.

As for Merkel herself, hailed as leader of the West in the time of Trump, her party and coalition lost so much support in the recent election that she stepped down as leader of the CDU and pledged not to run for another term as chancellor.

Europe’s fourth-largest economy, Italy, is now led by a coalition of the populist-left Five Star Movement and populist-right Lega party. The coalition seeks greater freedom on spending than Brussels is willing to allow, and a halt to migration from across the Med.

With Poland and Hungary at odds with Brussels over alterations in their political systems, the EU has never seemed less united.

What are the underlying causes of these 21st-century crises of Western democracies?

Certainly, globalization, with its creation of ties among transnational elites at the expense of nation-states and their indigenous peoples is one. Capitals — Washington, London, Paris, Berlin — seem ever more distant from the countries they rule.

Then there is demography. The native-born of almost all Western nations are aging, shrinking and dying. Death rates exceed birth rates. While peoples of the West are living longer, they are producing fewer children to replace them.

At the same time, Western elites have welcomed foreign workers and left borders unsecured against mass migration. And the people coming in, almost all now from the Third World, are not assimilating as the children of 19th- and 20th-century European immigrants to the USA had largely done by 1960.

A consequence and related cause is the rise of tribalism, or ethno-nationalism, the search for identity and community with one’s own. Loyalties to family, tribe, neighborhood, culture and country appear paramount, rising above intellectual and political alignments.

The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing, said Pascal. And so it does.

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Petro Poroshenko and Theresa May: failed leaders on the same disastrous trajectory (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 37.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look how UK PM Theresa May and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko are willing to destroy their country in the pursuit of pleasing their globalist masters, while retaining what little power they still hold.

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Via Zerohedge

Ukraine’s president has recently warned Russian tanks are amassing along the border between the two countries amid increasing tensions. The comments came late last month after three Ukrainian naval boats were seized in the Kerch Strait by Russia.

President Petro Poroshenko has allegedly shown images of what he claims to be hundreds of tanks preparing for an invasion.

He told Sky News:

“This is the tank base just 18km from our border, this was happening in September, October, and now.”

“This is 18km from my border, this is the same warehouse where they have their ammunition, the same where they have multi-rocket launch systems, we should be prepared to protect my country.”

Satellite imagery from Google Earth taken sometime in November from the Defense Blog has verified Poroshenko claims. Photos show hundreds of Russian main battle tanks at a new military installation in the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky region.

The Russian base is about 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) away from the rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Images show hundreds of main battle tanks, with thousands of military trucks, support systems, artillery pieces, tankers, and troop transport vehicles.

Russia has been quietly building up its forces near the border with Ukraine since late summer and now has a military force greater than 2014, the year Moscow annexed Crimea, Viktor Muzhenko, the commander of Ukrainian armed forces, told Reuters in an interview last week.

In front of us is an aggressor who has no legal, moral or any other limits,” he said. “It is very difficult to predict when it will occur to him to begin active combat actions against Ukraine.”

“This (the Kerch Strait incident) was an act of aggression from regular forces, the border service (of the Russian Federation) in relation to the Ukrainian armed forces,” Muzhenko added.

Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation, made a great point in October that Washington is now treating Ukraine as if it were a NATO member, donating warships and military equipment to the country for use against Russia. This is the latest indication that America’s military-industrial complex is shifting to Ukraine as the epicenter to start World War III, and from which the nuclear war is to be sparked against Russia.

There is a reason why Russia is amassing hundreds of main battle tanks on the Ukranian border, that is because the next geopolitical flare-up is right around the corner, likely to occur during the next global recession.

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Canada PM Justin Trudeau in way over his head with Huawei CFO arrest

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Justin Trudeau’s response to U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese officials over of stories around the arrest of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver and the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in China.

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Via Zerohedge

China Arrests Former Canadian Diplomat As Government Fears Reprisal For Huawei CFO
Is this one of the “severe” reprisals threatened by Beijing when it summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing for a meeting over the weekend?

According to Reuters, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig has been detained in China. Kovrig’s employer, International Crisis Group, is working to secure his “safe” release.

The reason for Kovrig’s detention wasn’t immediately clear, and Beijing has refused to comment on his detention. However, Reuters noted that the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has “stoked fears of reprisals.”

“International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,” the think-tank said in a statement.

“We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” it added.

China’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Public Security did not respond immediately to questions faxed earlier about Kovrig’s detention.

The exact reason for the detention was not immediately clear. The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.

Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, has been working for the ICG as an in-house “expert” since February 2017. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat for the Canadian government between 2003 and 2016, with stints in Hong Kong and Beijing.

And while it’s possible that the timing of Kovrig’s arrest is purely coincidental, the timing is certainly suspicious.

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