Reino Unido

Parafraseando a Churchill, las elecciones británicas de 2019 no suponen el fin del Brexit. Ni siquiera suponen el principio del fin. Pero sí marcan el fin del principio, y esto ya es mucho. La política y los debates británicos de los tres últimos años se pueden resumir en un gigantesco proceso de adaptación al nuevo mundo posreferéndum. Es decir, al escenario que se abrió súbitamente, y para sorpresa de muchos, aquel día de 2016 en el que un 52% de los británicos votó a favor de abandonar la Unión Europea. Desde entonces, hemos asistido a un esfuerzo constante por adaptar el eje clásico de la política británica (el de izquierda-derecha) a uno nuevo (europeísta-antieuropeísta).…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson speaks after the Conservatives secured a majority in the UK general election. Photo: Getty Images.

What does the UK election result mean for Brexit and forthcoming trade negotiations with the EU?

The most important thing is that it means Brexit will definitely happen. Since the referendum, we’ve had three-and-a-half years of continued uncertainty where all outcomes were still possible. We now know that Brexit will become irreversible from 31 January.

That’s the biggest thing, because I think that will have a big psychological impact on politics, both in the UK and also on the EU side. The EU has been working with a partner that has been unsure about its direction, and perhaps some had still hoped that the process might still be reversed, but that direction is now completely clear.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a Conservative Party event early Friday in London after the general election.Credit...Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Boris Johnson gambled everything on an election and won.

Called to resolve the intractable problem of Brexit, the election on Thursday — undertaken in winter, itself a sign of political crisis — delivered the Conservative Party its first commanding majority in over 40 years. The scale and shape of the victory surpassed projections: Parliament will be full of acquiescent Conservative legislators while the opposition Labour Party teeters on the precipice of civil war.

Mr. Johnson now has the means to do as he pleases. At the end of his term in five years, Britain will be a very different place. Out of the European Union for a start, but perhaps also no longer a union of nations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain’s election results seem to point in two very different directions. The headline result is that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won a smashing victory against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, clearing the way for Britain’s exit from the European Union. This would seem like good news for British nationalists, who have treated the E.U. as an enemy for decades.

Yet this victory may weaken the political fabric of the United Kingdom. Scottish nationalists did extraordinarily well, too, while for the first time, more nationalist members of Parliament (who want a united Ireland) have been elected in Northern Ireland than unionist MPs (who want the union with Great Britain to continue).…  Seguir leyendo »

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images A mural depicting Prime Minister Boris Johnson, London, December 12, 2019

The immediate, clear consequence of the UK election of December 12, 2019, is that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has succeeded where Theresa May’s failed in the last general election, in 2017—by winning an emphatic parliamentary majority that can pass the legislation necessary to facilitate Britain’s departure from the European Union. The faint irony of that two-year hiatus and the handover of party leadership from May to Johnson is that the latter’s deal is rather worse—from the Brexiteers’ point of view—than the one May repeatedly failed to get past Parliament. Nevertheless, the 2019 general election will go down as the moment British voters in effect voted a resounding “yes” in a de facto second referendum on Brexit and gave Boris Johnson a mandate to make his deal law and attempt to meet the latest Brexit deadline (January 31, 2020).…  Seguir leyendo »

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a campaign event on Wednesday.Credit...Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Back when Donald Trump was running for president — and Republicans were still capable of feeling politically ashamed — a conservative friend made what was, to my mind, the decisive case against voting for him.

No, a ballot for Trump did not automatically mean that his voters shared his bigotries. Nor did it necessarily mean that they weren’t embarrassed by them.

It just meant that those bigotries weren’t deal-breakers. If their candidate was a birther, they could live with it. If he thought celebrity was a license for sexual predation, they could live with it. If he wanted to impose a religious test on immigrants; or discredit a judge on account of his ethnic background; or characterize the bulk of Mexican immigrants as “rapists” — that may all have been very unfortunate.…  Seguir leyendo »

Many Americans think of Britain and England as synonymous. That’s not so, and today’s election in the United Kingdom can only be understood if one sees the nation accurately: It is a collection of countries and political tribes.

The U.K. includes four distinct nations. England is by far the largest in terms of territory and population and has always dominated the others. Wales has been been ruled from London since 1283, but the Welsh language and Welsh nationalism continue to flourish in some parts. Scotland only became formally part of the U.K. in 1707 and remains linguistically and culturally distinct. Finally, Northern Ireland consists of the six northern counties of Ireland, which remained part of the U.K.…  Seguir leyendo »

The United Kingdom is voting today. But while citizens will be casting votes for parties, they think of themselves more in relation to Brexit — as Leavers or Remainers — than in terms of party loyalty. A recent YouGov poll suggests 86 percent of voters feel attached to their Brexit choices, while only 68 percent of voters feel attached to a party. In new research, we find views on Brexit can be more important than party affiliation for determining votes, and they shape people’s willingness to contemplate violations of standard democratic norms.

Here is how Brexit has reshaped British politics.

Views on Brexit shape how people are going to vote

Views on Brexit cut across party lines, and shape how people are going to vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a campaign event on Wednesday.Credit...Hannah Mckay/Reuters

This is the dejection election. Not in my lifetime has Britain faced such a miserable choice. Two vain, incompetent, mediocre charlatans are competing to become prime minister. For the Conservatives, we have the blustering, lying, oafish puffball Boris Johnson. In the Labour corner is the querulous, wooden, sanctimonious Jeremy Corbyn.

The two candidates are so alarming that, in an unprecedented intervention, former prime ministers from each of their parties have pleaded with voters to block them. Tony Blair and John Major have urged tactical votes against Mr. Corbyn and Mr. Johnson. Everywhere, exhausted, disillusioned, skeptical voters debate who is worse. British politics has never known anything like it.…  Seguir leyendo »

The United Kingdom is set for a dramatic election night Thursday. Will Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson land the parliamentary majority he needs to secure his Brexit deal?

According to the latest opinion polls the Conservatives seem likely to win a majority. Here are the four factors likely to shape the outcome:

1. Johnson wants a Brexit focus; Labour wants to change the subject

In interviews and debates, Johnson has repeated his central slogan and promise to “Get Brexit Done.” The message appeals to those who voted in June 2016 for Britain to leave the European Union, while speaking to the general public’s disillusionment and frustration with politicians who have bickered over Brexit for the past three and a half years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ian Berry/Magnum Photos Wreckage forming a barricade after a riot, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981

If I dream, it invariably takes the form of being hunted by men with guns—in a house, in a forest, on a street. Sometimes these dreams end with me being shot, sometimes with me stabbing someone. I only ever stab someone, even though, growing up, we had a gun, illegally, in the house—a double-barreled shotgun that my father kept beneath his bed and that we’d use occasionally for shooting rabbits. In my dreams I never see the face of the man I’m stabbing. I’ve had these dreams all my adult life. Maybe they’re common among people like me, maybe they’re not.…  Seguir leyendo »

Durante años, el polarizador Brexit ha sido el principal problema político del Reino Unido y es el pretexto para las elecciones generales del jueves. Según una encuesta reciente, parar lograr sus fines, aceptarían recurrir a la violencia más del 80% de los partidarios de abandonar la UE y más del 50% de los contrarios a la salida. En otro sondeo de este mismo año, más del 50% de los encuestados decía que apoyaría a un líder fuerte dispuesto a vulnerar normas democráticas.

Son indicios peligrosos. Una parlamentaria contraria al Brexit fue asesinada por un fanático precisamente por eso. Los conservadores que ocupan el Gobierno desde 2010, responsables de un estricto programa de austeridad, han forzado el anticipo electoral con el lema ¡Culminemos ya el Brexit!…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at the state opening of Parliament in October. Photo: Getty Images.

Genuine ideological differences have returned to British politics. That is as true in foreign policy as in questions of domestic politics. The post-Cold War foreign policy consensus in UK politics around liberal multilateralism is fraying.

This tradition had some key characteristics. It saw Britain as one of the cornerstones of an international order built on a liberal (or neo-liberal if you prefer) approach to economic globalization. EU membership was considered central to Britain’s influence and prosperity (even if further political integration never had deep support). Security policy was grounded in a stable package of NATO membership, close ties to the US, nuclear deterrence and a willingness to conduct military intervention.…  Seguir leyendo »

Où se cachent tous les électeurs britanniques hostiles au Brexit ? Et pourquoi aucun parti ne peut-il les représenter ? C’est le mystère non résolu de l’élection britannique qui va avoir lieu le 12 décembre. En juin 2016, 17,4 millions – un tiers des 52 millions de citoyens britanniques âgés de plus de 18 ans et ayant donc le droit de vote – ont choisi de quitter l’Union européenne (UE). Dans la plupart des démocraties, un plébiscite modifiant les arrangements constitutionnels, économiques, sociaux et de politique étrangère d’un pays exige les suffrages d’au moins la moitié des électeurs.

Le référendum de 2016 était un plébiscite populiste sur l’immigration.…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson wants to get tougher on crime

Last week’s terrorist knife attack in London reignited Britain’s political battle over crime, just as the United Kingdom heads toward a Dec. 12 general election. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn blamed each other for justice policy failures. The attacker was out on parole from a previous conviction; he might theoretically still be in prison if, when sentenced, Johnson’s proposals had already been in place.

What are those proposals? In August, Johnson announced plans to end the U.K.’s current automatic license (parole) system for sentences of 14 or more years. Under current provisions, these prisoners are often eligible for release after half their original sentence.…  Seguir leyendo »

A menos de dos semanas de la elección británica que finalmente resolverá la cuestión de la pertenencia a la Unión Europea, la ansiedad está en aumento a ambos lados del Canal de la Mancha. Las encuestas de opinión apuntan a una clara victoria de los conservadores de Boris Johnson, y muchos financistas y analistas de medios han empezado a preocuparse una vez más por un Brexit sin acuerdo que resulte caótico. Esto perjudicaría no sólo al Reino Unido, sino también al resto de Europa, que exporta al Reino Unido casi el doble de lo que exporta a China. Otros todavía temen un malestar electoral que pueda convertir a Jeremy Corbyn, un marxista impenitente, en primer ministro en un gobierno laborista inclinado a renacionalizar industrias, revitalizar la lucha de clases de los años 1970 y minar a la OTAN.…  Seguir leyendo »

Next week’s British election is said to be that nation’s most important since World War II. That’s true, but for Americans, it will also serve as a window into our own 2020 contest.

British politics have long mirrored our own. Both nations have been dominated for decades by two parties, one center-right — the Conservatives and the Republicans — and one center-left — Labour and the Democrats. The center-right parties historically attracted the educated and relatively well-off, while the center-left ones attracted the poor, the working class and ethnic and racial minorities. There were important differences, to be sure, but Democrats and Republicans could each see their British counterparts as first cousins rather than distant relatives.…  Seguir leyendo »

Brexit has revived fears that Northern Ireland will return to violence. After three decades of “The Troubles,” deadly warfare in which almost 3,500 people died, violence mostly ended after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was signed. That peace deal relied in part on European Union membership, which enabled free trade and free movement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That satisfied both British unionists, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of the U.K., and Irish republicans, who wanted to join the Republic of Ireland.

Many feared that Brexit threatened that truce. When the U.K. decided to leave the European Union, observers feared that introducing a “hard” border between Northern Ireland, still part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, still part of the E.U., might undermine the peace and encourage militant Irish republicans to attack the border.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Reino Unido y la Unión Europea

Nada se puede dar por sentado en el Reino Unido en estos días, pero es muy probable que 2020 sea el año en que finalmente ocurra la brexit. La mayoría de los ciudadanos del RU probablemente se sientan aliviados por el fin de esta aparentemente interminable agonía, mientras que la mayoría de los líderes europeos estarán agradecidos por no tener que discutir otro aplazamiento. Pero quedan preguntas.

A la pregunta de «¿quién perdió Gran Bretaña?», la respuesta debe ser, ante todo, la propia Gran Bretaña. Independientemente de los errores que puedan haber cometido los restantes 27 miembros de la Unión Europea, no se los puede responsabilizar por el extraordinario comportamiento de los tres gobiernos, igualmente chapuceros, del RU en los últimos cinco años.…  Seguir leyendo »

As Britain heads toward a Dec. 12 election, Boris Johnson has adopted a strategy of pitting the people against Parliament.

This isn’t just a populist rhetorical trick. The fact that the people and Parliament can be treated as opposing sides reveals a deeper crisis in Britain’s constitutional arrangement. I’ll explain below.

Parliament has fought to “take back control” of Brexit

The Brexit vote set off a major legal battle on whether the government needed Parliament’s consent to trigger the exit from the European Union. Parliament won the right to vote on the issue. And while most members of Parliament at the time supported remaining in the E.U., Parliament did eventually consent to exiting.…  Seguir leyendo »