The British Labour Party faces the biggest crisis in its history, bigger than 1983 when it polled less than 28 percent of the popular vote and won only 209 seats in the House of Commons. Numerically, the result of the June 8 general election may not be quite as bad for Labour as it was 34 years ago. And, unlike in 1983, a clutch of despairing former Labour cabinet ministers have not chosen to found an unelectable fringe party. But the damage to the party’s prospects today is far deeper.
In 1983, Labour moderates rightly believed that once the extent of the electoral disaster became plain, there would be a slow revival of enthusiasm for electable policies and an electable leadership.… Seguir leyendo »
Trident survives. The most severe defence spending review in history — searching for savings of almost £40 billion — ignored the £20 billion that is to be spent on a nuclear weapon that will be redundant before it comes into service. The generals, as has so often been the case, are planning to fight the last war. And the politicians, who must have noticed that the world has changed during the past ten years, endorse the military judgment for reasons that have nothing to do with national security.
The possession of a semi- independent nuclear weapon allows Britain to claim the status of a superpower.… Seguir leyendo »
Jens Stoltenberg, the recently re-elected Prime Minister of Norway, could not have been more frank. Asked if entry into the European Union was on his government’s agenda, he replied — almost with pride — that Norway was the only country that had twice rejected Brussels’ embrace. There were, he said, no plans to hold a third referendum. “I was there the last time it was defeated . . . and I don’t seek new defeats.”
He might have added that half of his “coalition of workers, farmers and dreamers” was against membership in principle and that, since Norway benefits from an agreement with the EU that provides the benefits of free trade without the threat of federalism, only diehards want to argue about going right in or staying right out.… Seguir leyendo »
Our cause is just. But so it was in 1975, when Iceland decided - unilaterally and illegally - to create an "exclusion zone" around its coast. Foreign trawlers were forbidden to fish within its boundaries.
When Grimsby skippers ignored the edict, Icelandic gunboats severed the cables which connected boats to nets - risking fishermen being cut in half by steel hawsers ripping across the deck. All Whitehall agreed that the Icelanders - the most highly educated people in the world - would respond to an offer of compromise. I was chosen to carry it to Iceland. I returned home full of sympathy for Neville Chamberlain - though, as compared with Reykjavik, Munich was a meeting of true minds.… Seguir leyendo »