Tag Archives: pact

Awkward AUKUS is victory for opportunism – and a chance for Johnson to bash the French

This baby’s nuclear: I have no idea if this is the kind of submarine Australia is getting.

Isn’t it?

This Writer wasn’t aware of Chinese sabre-rattling around Taiwan – I’m more concerned with domestic politics, and face it: how much did the BBC tell you about it up until now? – but I’m happy to accept that there’s an issue.

It seems the United States has been supplying Taiwan with military support of some kind, in order to fend off encroachment by the so-called Red Menace, but decided more help was needed and turned to Australia.

The Aussies saw an opportunity to progress into the military major leagues and said they’d help out – if they could have nuclear submarines – and the UK stepped in to offer to build them.

This meant Australia had to cancel a previously-existing deal for submarine upgrades – with France.

No wonder the French government is denouncing the deal as a “stab in the back”!

To This Writer’s way of thinking, it seems the United States is trying to drag the UK into yet another ill-advised foreign adventure.

Harold Wilson had the good sense to stay out of Vietnam, back in the 1960s – but then, he was probably the most intelligent prime minister the United Kingdom ever had.

Now we have Boris Johnson in charge – a man whose intelligence rates only slightly higher than a swamp filled with quicksand. And he has already started ramping up the UK’s warfaring capabilities in the hope that he can start a rumble that might make him popular at election time.

Let’s face it – all Joe Biden would have to do to drag that blonde lemming over the cliff* is whistle and point.

And Johnson gets to say he has whisked a plum contract out from under the noses of the French.

Never mind the fact that he’s bringing loads more nuclear waste into the country – it’s loadsamoney for… someone!

Yeah. This particular deal looks less and less tasty, the more I look at it.

Oh – and the Chinese have said they’re not happy with all this, but they would, wouldn’t they?

*I know Disney made up that particular urban myth but it’s such a well-known story that the comparison still works.

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Should Labour and the Lib Dems go into an electoral pact?

Number 10: What strategy will put Jeremy Corbyn in the prime minister’s house?

Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog raises an interesting question: with the Brexit Party making overtures to the Tories about an electoral pact, should Labour and the Liberal Democrats do the same?

He makes some good points in favour of it – there are many seats where it would make sense for either party to stand aside, allowing the other a greater opportunity for victory, and it makes no sense for the Liberal Democrats to try to block Labour, only to let the “no deal Brexit” parties have a majority in the House of Commons. Every Liberal Democrat attacking Labour is supporting a Johnson/Cummings administration.

But if the Liberal Democrats have any kind of reputation at the moment, it is for treachery. They cannot be trusted. That position will only have been strengthened – against Labour – with the defections to that party of former Labour and Conservative MPs. That will push Labour away.

And the Liberal Democrats themselves may fear that Tory propaganda painting Jeremy Corbyn as the Devil himself will put marginal Tory voters off switching to them, if they go into a pact with Labour.

So Professor Wren-Lewis is supporting tactical voting – supporting the LDs where they have a more realistic chance of winning, and Labour where that party would fare better.

But his logic isn’t perfect. He says voting for a Labour MP who supports leaving the EU will not help as such a person would not support a second referendum with remaining in the EU on the paper – but this fails to take into account the fact that such a referendum is Labour policy and it is better to have a government with such a policy, if you are a remainer, than a government former by a Johnson/Cummings/Farage “no deal Brexit” alliance.

He also says the Tories can expect around 350 seats according to current polling, but he is out of date. Current polling, it seems, suggests the Tories could only muster around 285 seats unless they win constituencies that would be far from their grip usually.

He also suggests that Labour cannot hope to enjoy the huge surge it had in 2017 because Dominic Cummings will use all the social media expertise he learned during the EU referendum campaign to undermine it. This ignores the fact that the media will have to ditch their anti-Labour bias by law, that hundreds of thousands of young people are signing up to vote just so they can support Labour, and that Labour has a thriving social media presence of its own that has made mincemeat of the Tories on that platform for years.

I mean, you’re reading This Site – right?

Professor Wren-Lewis is right to sound a note of caution – but I wonder if he is going too far.

You can read his article here.

What do you think?

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Lib Dems drift further to the political right in possible deal with Tory rebels

Jo Swinson: It’s an old pic but we don’t have any actual images of her negotations with Rory Stewart and his pals.

If this is true (and it’s a Sunday Times report, so that’s debatable), then it confirms the Liberal Democrats’ rightward drift since Jo Swinson took over as leader.

Remember last week, when former Tory Phillip Lee crossed the floor of the House of Commons to sit with the Liberal Democrats – prompted the party’s LGBT representative, Jenny Rigg, to quit?

She tweeted her anger at what she saw as her party’s capitulation to Toryism.

And it seems she was right:

Rebel Tories expelled from the party are in talks with the Liberal Democrats about a non-aggression pact.

The former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is helping to broker a deal between Rory Stewart, an expelled Conservative and neighbouring Cumbrian MP, and the new leader, Jo Swinson, insiders say.

Under the proposal, Stewart would stand as an independent MP at the next general election but agree to accept a soft Lib Dem whip in exchange for the party not fielding a candidate against him. It is understood that the Green Party would also stand aside in Stewart’s Penrith seat.

[Other expelled Tory rebels including Sam Gyimah and Margot James are implicated in the deal.]

Make no mistake: a deal would only be possible if the Liberal Democrat leadership and the expelled Conservatives were able to see eye-to-eye politically.

And Ms Swinson’s behaviour makes it clear that it is her party that has moved into conjunction with the Tories, not the other way round.

This must be heartbreaking for all the traditional Liberals who have supported their party through nightmares like the Coalition government and beyond – not to mention those who voted LD because they want to remain in the EU. What a bare-faced betrayal.

Source: Lib Dems to stand aside for Rory Stewart and other Tory rebels in general election | News | The Sunday Times

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