Reino Unido

Nos recuerda Ortega que cada generación tiene su vocación propia, su histórica misión. El 31 de diciembre de 2020 tendrá lugar la salida efectiva del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea poniendo así fin a casi medio siglo de integración. En la ontología de las naciones, el Reino Unido se enfrenta a la suerte suprema: decidir, que no elegir, qué nación ser. Tal ejercicio es siempre traumático, tanto más para un país que desde su ruptura con Roma y la posterior reforma anglicana, y salvo el periodo republicano de Cromwell, había dado férreas muestras de una clara dirección vital.

El Reino Unido siempre tuvo una relación particular con el continente.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘If David Frost and Michel Barnier can strike a bargain, it will lead to a much harder and more disruptive Brexit than most Britons imagine.’ Barnier arrives at No 10. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

After six rounds of talks, the UK and the EU are far from reaching an accord on their future relationship. Both sides are warning that failure – meaning that Britain would leave after the transition period on 31 December without a deal – is a real prospect. Those working for Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, complain that the British have wasted July by refusing to offer meaningful compromises.

Failure is certainly possible. But a deal this year is more likely, for several reasons. First, there has been more progress than one might suppose from the public comments of Barnier and David Frost, the UK negotiator.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pictured is a Nigerian refugee living in the Awaradi settlement that houses some 9,000 displaced people fleeing violence from Boko Haram. Image: Getty Images.

The UK has been redeploying diplomatic, defence and development capabilities towards the Sahel since 2018 – a strategic pivot intended to deliver development impact, address long term security threats to UK interests and support alliances with international partners.

The Sahel is one of Africa’s poorest and most fragile regions and has witnessed an escalation in jihadist activity, illegal migration and trafficking since a security crisis erupted in Mali in 2012.

The crisis spread to Niger and Burkina Faso and may now spill over into Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal. With Nigeria also facing insurgency in the Lake Chad basin, all major regional security and economic anchors in the region are under threat including key UK partners.…  Seguir leyendo »

A pedestrian walks past a Huawei product stand at a telecommunications shop in central London on 29 April 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

The UK’s decision on banning mobile providers from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after December 2020 and removing all the company’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027 is a blow to Huawei and China, but that is one battle in a long war that the West is currently losing.

5G’s significance for the next generation of technology is indisputable and so is its key role in helping countries achieve digital transformation and economic success due to not only the faster and better connection speeds and greater capacity it offers, but also to its role in transforming the way we interact with the critical services and its ability to allow industry to automate and optimize processes that are not possible today.…  Seguir leyendo »

Andrew Milligan/WPA Pool/Getty Images A technician at a “lighthouse laboratory” Covid-19 testing center, Glasgow, Scotland, April 22, 2020

“There are plenty of things people will say we got wrong,” Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, said of the nation’s coronavirus response in a recent speech. In one of the world’s worst affected countries, much of the focus has been on government mismanagement. Johnson’s inexperienced cabinet, selected for fealty to Brexit over anything else, has proved inept and out of its depth. With the Downing Street inner circle dominated by hardliners of the Leave.EU campaign, the response to the crisis was botched and negligently slow—the Brexit preoccupation diverting resources from pandemic planning. Before even any official inquiry is under way, many regard Johnson himself as ultimately responsible: quoted in a damning investigation by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper in April, a senior adviser to the government condemned the prime minister’s fecklessness: “He didn’t do urgent crisis planning.…  Seguir leyendo »

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gives a press conference after a Brexit negotiations meeting at the EU Commission, Brussels. Photo by YVES HERMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s first post-Brexit ambassador to the UK, recently bemoaned the British government’s opposition to starting negotiations on a future EU-UK foreign policy relationship, while EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier expressed his frustration at the UK’s refusal to discuss future cooperation on foreign policy, development and defence. Many in the EU are surprised and disappointed by the UK’s position.

These sentiments are strengthened by the fact that the political declaration outlining the ambitions for the post-Brexit future relationship, agreed by both the EU and UK government alongside the withdrawal agreement in October 2019, contained extensive detail on the proposed terms for the future relationship on foreign, security and defence policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cleaning glasses in preparation for pubs to reopen following an easing of coronavirus restrictions in England. Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images.

With growing pressure to get the economy going, the falling case numbers in the UK and downgrading of the alert level are positive indicators that efforts to tackle the pandemic are working and that work can begin to reverse some of the economic and societal damage.

But without the appropriate public health systems in place — such as the crucial capacity to effectively find, test and isolate cases and trace, quarantine and monitor contacts — a quick easing of lockdown measures and relaxation in public behaviour could walk the country into a second peak of infections, illness and perhaps deaths.

There is a danger that positive steps may encourage a shift in public attitudes toward the pandemic, such as the threat being taken less seriously or thinking the pandemic is over.…  Seguir leyendo »

Corbis via Getty Images Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with his son James, meeting to draw up the Atlantic Charter, August 1941

On June 26, the United Nations celebrates its seventy-fifth birthday. The initiative that led to that moment in 1945 began nearly four years earlier, at an August 1941 meeting between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, on a boat moored off the coast of Newfoundland, a British colony. For FDR, winning the war would necessarily mean a new, post-imperial world order. “I can’t believe that we can fight a war against fascist slavery, and at the same time not work to free people all over the world from a backward colonial policy,” he told Churchill. The British leader, an unrepentant imperialist for whom Canada, just across the water, was a recently lost British dominion, was apoplectic—but he desperately needed the United States first to get into the war (Pearl Harbor was still months away), and the two leaders signed their “Atlantic Charter.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain, bruised and wary after months of lockdown, is reopening.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson triumphantly announced a major loosening of restrictions. Much of the country’s cultural and recreational life — pubs, cafes, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels — will return on July 4, while the distance people are required to keep from one another will be reduced from two meters to one, or about three feet.

“Our long national hibernation,” Mr. Johnson proclaimed, four years to the day since the Brexit referendum he did so much to sway, “is beginning to come to an end.”

The move is not in itself foolish.…  Seguir leyendo »

A boy stands in front of a tent at a displacement camp in Matarara, Mozambique after flooding caused by Cyclone Idai. Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images.

Aid is a rare area where even international observers think the UK’s approach is world-beating. Since 1997, the Department for International Development (DFID) has made the UK a development superpower, setting standards and shaping the policy agenda as global poverty has started to come down.

This gives our ambassadors and ministers precious credibility in developing countries and western capitals alike, as well as improving the prospects that we all succeed in a world less fragile.

No system is perfect though. When I was at Number 10 during the Arab Spring we asked DFID to give the prime minister options to support Arab countries and tackle future migration and terrorism problems at root.…  Seguir leyendo »

Toda mi vida he sido simpatizante del Partido Laborista, pero incluso cuando escribía sobre Margaret Thatcher como periodista, aunque no estuviese de acuerdo con gran parte de lo que ella hacía, no me avergonzaba cuando oía que se referían a ella como primera ministra británica.

Hoy en día, a la edad de 63 años, me siento avergonzado y ridículo mientras el mundo contempla la catástrofe nacional en la que Boris Johnson ha convertido la crisis de la covid-19.

Hasta hace poco, me identificaba a mí mismo como británico (por mi pasaporte), escocés (por mi ascendencia y mi corazón), europeo (por mi geopolítica), de Yorkshire (donde nací) y de Londres (la ciudad donde vivo).…  Seguir leyendo »

On Tuesday, London mayor Sadiq Khan announced a review of the capital’s landmarks, with a view to remove any with links to slavery. Khan’s decision follows the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston by Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol, in the wake of worldwide outrage after the death of George Floyd in police custody. It has already sparked some backlash in a country which habitually romanticizes its past at the expense of progress — and maintains a veneer of denial about the crimes committed by its historic heroes.

Pressed about where the review of London landmarks should draw the line — given that a statue of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill was recently graffitied with the accurate statement «Churchill was a racist» — Khan said the many great historical figures were not perfect.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ministry of Defence, Whitehall on Feb 3, 2016 in London, UK. Photo: Getty Images.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, the United Kingdom’s intelligence services were in several instances complicit in the use of torture by the CIA and other foreign agencies. Despite a series of inquiries since 2010, and some reforms of the system, questions remain about whether enough has been done to prevent future British involvement in the torture of detainees. Ben Horton speaks to Ruth Blakeley and Sam Raphael from The Rendition Project to find out more about what they describe as a ‘machinery of denial’ at the heart of the British state.  

Could you explain what you mean by complicity in torture? …  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, right, leaving Downing Street with Dominic Cummings, his most senior aide. Credit Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Anyone else would have been sacked for it.

Twelve days ago Britain’s media and social media erupted in indignation and incredulity. Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most senior aide, had been exposed for breaking the strict lockdown rules he helped to write, and which everyone else had endured for the previous two months.

“Stay at home and save lives,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the country. It was an incantation, an instruction not a request, backed up by the law and the police.

Britain shut down. Police patrols issued instant fines, sending second-home owners, day trippers and park sunbathers back home.…  Seguir leyendo »

There was a moment, five days before 2014’s historic vote on Scottish independence, when the contest came alive. Electrified by an opinion poll that put the rival camps neck-and-neck, supporters of both sides poured onto the streets in a deluge of democratic fervor. A carnival atmosphere engulfed Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, as activists made their final, thunderous push for victory. The referendum was clinched, days later, by the unionists.

Today, my hometown feels a little different. Buchanan Street — the onetime epicenter of “IndyRef” activism — is shuttered and silent. The periodic protests against London rule have ceased. Scotland, like much of the world, is confined by covid-19.…  Seguir leyendo »

When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting for his life last month, his chief adviser Dominic Cummings was dealing with his own Covid-related battle.

Now the circumstances of Cummings’ case, and in particular how and where he chose to deal with it, pose a challenge to the health of the British government and may even threaten the UK’s capacity to swiftly fight off the virus.

Johnson has proved staunch in his defense of his close ally since the latter was accused of breaking the UK’s strict lockdown by driving 260 miles with his wife, who he admits was displaying some symptoms of coronavirus, and young son to be near his extended family.…  Seguir leyendo »

Riot police in front of a luxury goods store in Hong Kong on the day Chinese lawmakers approve a proposal for sweeping new national security legislation in the city. Photo by Roy Liu/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The decision by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) to create new national security legislation for Hong Kong has seen criticism erupt in parts of the Hong Kong community and internationally. The US has raised the stakes in response, saying it will no longer treat Hong Kong as ‘autonomous’.

Many critics have attacked the process set out by Beijing, arguing that any national security legislation should be considered by Hong Kong’s legislature. That was indeed the original intention when the Basic Law was promulgated in 1990 but, since an aborted attempt to introduce legislation in 2003 and consistent lobbying against reviving it, Beijing seems to have concluded an alternative approach is needed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cada vez es más difícil saber qué debemos creer sobre la pandemia. Parece bastante indudable que el Gobierno británico se equivocó en los primeros momentos (aunque tampoco estoy segura de que ninguno de los que sabemos todo “a toro pasado” lo hubiéramos hecho mejor). Lo que no está tan claro es qué sucederá.

La incertidumbre se debe, en parte, a la situación en la que se encuentran la mayoría de los periodistas. No disponen de información sobre los planes que está elaborando el Gobierno, aparte de algunas filtraciones probablemente sesgadas y las conjeturas que podamos hacer cualquiera de los demás. Si a este problema fundamental se añade la demanda de “novedades” en los medios de comunicación, el resultado es la ristra incoherente de especulaciones que vemos en los periódicos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Will Britain’s Pubs Survive the Coronavirus

A good pub feels a bit like a living room: a familiar, informal space where you can have a pint with friends and strangers. Sometimes there are games, food and a fire, occasionally a dog or cat. There are often pictures of old people on the walls and sports on the television.

The coronavirus lockdown has proved that the reverse is certainly not true: A living room doesn’t feel much like a pub at all. Enjoying a drink in a room that has been used for the same purpose for hundreds of years is an anchoring experience you are unlikely to get from your sofa.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain on his first day back at work in London last month after contracting the coronavirus. Credit Frank Augstein/Associated Press

On the day a paler, thinner, notably less boisterous Boris Johnson returned to work after his near-death coronavirus experience, a Tory member of Parliament tweeted a GIF of a magnificent lion perched on a mountaintop, his mane blowing in the wind. “Good to see @BorisJohnson back at the helm!” he wrote.

This fawning sycophancy is not the norm in British politics. We haven’t, on the whole, run Trumpian courts, or implied that our prime ministers are kings among men. And yet, unusual and unwelcome as the adulation was, the tweeter had a point.

Mr. Johnson’s cabinet is so markedly weak, with so few politicians of intellect and experience, that the prime minister’s absence for nearly a month left an alarming void.…  Seguir leyendo »