Reino Unido

In Britain, Reality Is Cleaving in Two

In Britain, Armistice Day is usually an understated affair, marked only by two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. This year was considerably more eventful, as two very different protests descended on London.

One, composed of hundreds of thousands of people calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, snaked peacefully through the west of the city and over the River Thames — a patchwork of red, green, white and black. The other, comprising a few hundred people from Britain’s far right and football hooligan networks, gathered several miles away in Westminster. Ostensibly there to defend a key national war memorial from the peace marchers, the group clashed with Metropolitan Police officers.…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain's new foreign secretary, former prime minister David Cameron, arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday. (Kin Cheung/AP)

Lazarus breathes. London has witnessed a political resurrection almost worthy of St. John’s Gospel, Chapter 11, in which a man is restored to life (or, here, public life) long after being given up for a goner by his friends. David Cameron, the British prime minister who quit suddenly in 2016, has been appointed foreign secretary. The 57-year-old Cameron will now be presenting his country’s policies on, among other things, Israel-Gaza and the war in Ukraine.

His return to cabinet duties, unprecedented in the past half-century, has astonished Westminster, not least because no one leaked the plan to the media. Downing Street, which is notoriously sieve-like, managed to keep something secret.…  Seguir leyendo »

David Cameron with Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 2016. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

It is quite incredible really. David Cameron is back. The former prime minister who gambled with the future of his country by calling the Brexit referendum because he wanted to resolve a dispute within his own party is now entrusted with representing British interests on the world stage.

As a European, it is impossible not to laugh: I did, for several minutes, when news broke of his resurrection. But in spite of the staggering irony of it all, this could actually be good news from the perspective of the UK’s allies in Europe and beyond. Politics is the art of the possible, and every appointment should be weighed against its alternatives.…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain's former prime minister, David Cameron, leaves 10 Downing Street after being appointed foreign secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle on 13 November 2023 in London, England. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

There are many reshuffles that provoke surprise; there are some that prompt bemusement as well. Rishi Sunak’s decision to install David Cameron as the seventh foreign secretary in seven years is one that does both. The former prime minister will bring undoubted strengths into the top team and to the UK’s relationships abroad. The concern must be, however, that these could be outweighed by the controversial legacy he brings too. And none of that says that he can bring back voters for his party at home.

He brings one clear advantage as Sunak’s new foreign secretary. As prime minister, he was comfortable on the world stage and congenial in the relationships he formed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech on AI at Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace on October 26, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

On 1–2 November, the UK will host its AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, bringing AI powerhouses like the US and China together with industry leaders, civil society and experts, in an attempt to lead on managing AI risks on an international level.

Today, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak previewed the summit by announcing a new UK AI Safety Institute, which would monitor AI development and risks and share its findings worldwide.

When the UK first announced the summit in June 2023, there was some criticism that it added another process to an already crowded landscape.

While there is a need to coordinate across these efforts, especially the existing Global Partnership on AI, the summit will have a distinct focus on ‘frontier’ AI risks – that is the concern that the most powerful AI models could either be used for dangerous purposes or act in unanticipated ways.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rishi Sunak Is Trying His Best. He’s Probably Still Doomed.

When Rishi Sunak became prime minister of Britain a year ago, there was little sense of celebration. The markets were in free fall after the disastrous 49-day tenure of his predecessor, Liz Truss, and the government was in disarray. Mr. Sunak, who had been rejected by Conservative Party members earlier in the year, was inserted by lawmakers in the desperate hope he could calm the crisis. Given that the party had just ousted two leaders in quick succession, it was unclear how long he would even stay in the post.

One year later, he can take comfort that Britain is in a different place.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anatomía de Gran Bretaña, de Anthony Sampson, publicada en 1962, fue una obra profunda y académica que apareció en un momento en que la percepción de que el Reino Unido estaba en declive socavaba la confianza en las instituciones británicas. Aunque las nuevas memorias del ex ministro conservador Rory Stewart, Politics On the Edge, son mucho más personales y de alcance más limitado, también brindan una oportunidad para reflexionar sobre la situación del Reino Unido.

Según Stewart, los políticos británicos “no han sabido responder adecuadamente a todos los desafíos importantes de los últimos 15 años”. Si bien algunos sectores de la economía del Reino Unido funcionan bien, el “servicio público británico” –que incluye el Servicio Nacional de Salud (NHS), las escuelas, el transporte público, los servicios públicos, la policía y las prisiones– se está deteriorando.…  Seguir leyendo »

TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images

En julio de 2019, el secretario de Asuntos Exteriores del Reino Unido, Jeremy Hunt, lanzó una campaña mundial por la libertad de prensa en una conferencia en Londres coorganizada por el gobierno canadiense. “Hoy nos acompañan delegaciones de más de 100 países... nunca antes se habían unido tantos países en esta causa”, anunció con orgullo. El evento estableció la Coalición por la Libertad de los Medios, y desde entonces se han unido más de 50 países.

El impulso detrás de la iniciativa de libertad de prensa fue el asesinato en octubre de 2018 del periodista saudita Jamal Khashoggi en el consulado saudí en Estambul.…  Seguir leyendo »

En una época como la nuestra, torturada por relaciones postizas, mediatas e indirectas, que se basan en todo menos en el contacto sincero y personal, nos incumbe evocar a Inglaterra. Con la fama de discretos que tienen, no deja de ser irónico que los ingleses sean maestros de las actividades sociales más extraordinarias. El pueblo inglés no es reservado pero necesita un hábitat concreto con el que esté familiarizado para estar cómodo y poder así proyectarse al exterior. Nos recuerda Scruton que el inglés se asoma al mundo mediante la afiliación a instituciones u organizaciones basadas todas ellas en vínculos leales y duraderos: colegios, universidades, regimientos, equipos deportivos o clubes.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘As it stands, the onus is now exclusively put on the Bank of England to stabilise UK inflation.’ Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock

The government seems to be claiming that it’s winning the fight against inflation. But we are not out of the woods yet. Inflation currently is still far too high and the Bank of England has today increased rates again to 5.25% and lowered its growth forecast. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The case of Spain is a great counter-example. Its inflation has just fallen to the 2% target. How is it that it has already achieved this important milestone?

The reason is more forceful management of the economy – the Spanish government took quicker, more concerted action than ours did.…  Seguir leyendo »

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) headquarters in London, March 2023. Henry Nicholls / Reuters.

During a civil war, sometimes the most reliable news comes from very far away. As Sudan became a conflict zone last April, the BBC World Service launched an emergency “pop-up” news outlet to keep local listeners informed about the deteriorating situation in the country, providing bulletins in Arabic from London, Amman, and Cairo. The global news channel deployed old and new technologies side by side: shortwave radio, the medium of choice for international broadcasters since the 1920s, was combined with feeds on digital and social media channels. The aim, according to the director of the World Service, was to bring “clear, independent information and advice at a time of critical need”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nigel Farage, el exlíder del Partido de la Independencia del Reino Unido (UKIP) y la fuerza motora detrás de la campaña de salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea, recientemente causó un escándalo cuando reveló que, dos meses antes, le habían cerrado sus cuentas bancarias, supuestamente por sus opiniones políticas.

Farage dijo que intentó abrir cuentas nuevas en otros siete bancos, pero que todos lo rechazaron. Su banco original, Coutts -una subsidiaria de NatWest que cuenta con una clientela ultrarrica- luego declaró que la decisión de cerrar su cuenta fue puramente comercial y que Farage simplemente cayó muy por debajo del umbral de riqueza del banco.…  Seguir leyendo »

The last Brexit deal? Gibraltar fears a hard border with Spain

Antonio Sánchez Morodo flashes his identity card at the border guards as he leaves Spain to get to work, riding his bike down Winston Churchill Avenue on the only land crossing into Gibraltar, a sliver of British-Mediterranean soil that is as wealthy as it is cramped.

Space is so scarce in the UK overseas territory, where everything is squeezed by the iconic hunk of limestone looming over it, that it relies on 15,400 cross-frontier commuters from Spain to double the size of its workforce on a daily basis, before they return home to sleep in Andalusia, mainland Spain’s southernmost autonomous community.…  Seguir leyendo »

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks at the opening of London Tech Week in central London on June 12. Ian Vogier/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The tech venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, or “a16z”, announced on June 11 that it would be opening an office in the United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supplied a quote for the announcement, proclaiming a bright new blockchain-based future for Britain.

This might seem odd given the current state of the cryptocurrency market, which collapsed a year ago in a farrago of incompetence and fraud. Crypto enthusiasm was all the rage for politicians such as Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez while the bubble was pumping. Getting into crypto now, however, is like buying Theranos stock after Elizabeth Holmes was exposed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los europeos somos muy de relaciones. Y de ahí se deriva gran parte de nuestra confusión política. Mezclamos el concepto de intereses estratégicos con el de relaciones exteriores. Es una de las cosas que Reino Unido y la UE tienen en común. Todo el debate sobre el Brexit, en ambos lados de la discusión, giró en torno a con quién queríamos estar, no en torno a qué queríamos hacer.

Estados Unidos define su interés nacional con independencia de sus relaciones. Es el privilegio de una superpotencia, pero también resulta difícil. En la década anterior, Estados Unidos había desplazado su atención del Atlántico al Pacífico.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Illegal Migration Bill matters beyond UK borders

The Illegal Migration Bill is currently going through the UK House of Lords at breakneck speed, with peers being forced to scrutinize the controversial proposals well into the early hours.

This has curtailed the deep scrutiny needed of highly controversial proposals for the UK government’s migration and refugee policy, and will create unintended negative consequences for the UK’s wider international standing.

Significant legal, moral, humanitarian and practical concerns have been expressed by UK charities, the Local Government Association, the Law Society, Bar Council, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, former lord chief justice Lord Justice Thomas, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury.…  Seguir leyendo »

Geoeconomic fragmentation poses serious challenges for the UK

The latest IMF assessment of the UK economy contained some welcome good news. Compared to its projection only a month ago that the UK would be in recession this year, the IMF is now forecasting modest growth of 0.4 per cent in 2023. The Bank of England has also upgraded the prospect for real GDP growth over the next year by over 1 percentage point.

UK domestic challenges

But it is important to put this good news in perspective. In the short-term, the UK’s economic performance is still expected to be near the bottom among industrialized countries; inflation remains high and persistent; and in the longer term, the UK’s continuing poor productivity performance will remain a drag on growth and living standards.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rishi Sunak is in Washington this week. The centrepiece is the British prime minister’s meeting with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office. But he will also meet other senior politicians and business leaders, and attend a game of the local Major League baseball team, the Washington Nationals. It had been rumoured that Mr Sunak would throw the ceremonial first pitch, but it now appears he will not have the honour. That may, in fact, come as a relief: celebrity pitching is fraught with risk, as Barack Obama discovered in 2010, when he threw so high and wide that those in the crowd who weren’t laughing jeered.…  Seguir leyendo »

King Charles III waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Coronation Day, London, May 6, 2023. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Getty Images

Is the third time the charm? Charles’s first coronation was at Gordonstoun school in November 1965, when he played Macbeth. There is a photograph in the Royal Collections of him in a get-up nearly as strange as those he is wearing at Westminster Abbey almost sixty years later, sporting a bad fake beard and what seems like a horse harness around his neck and chest as a breastplate. The recently updated online catalog describes the “people involved” in the image as “Charles III, King of the United Kingdom (b. 1948)” and “Macbeth, King of Scotland (c. 1005-1057)”, as if this seventeen-year-old boy is floating somewhere between the eleventh and twenty-first centuries and between real and theatrical performances of kingship.…  Seguir leyendo »

The UK's new king, Charles III, at Buckingham Palace in London the day after his mother Queen Elizabeth II died. Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.

To see the five-metre flags hanging over London’s Regent Street and Piccadilly in preparation for the coronation is to look at one of the most solid parts of the UK’s constitution. It is a reminder that the existence of the monarchy spares the UK from confronting constitutional questions which it is not well-equipped to answer.

It is already evident that King Charles III intends a careful evolution of the monarchy in his own mould. His own interests are clear; his long commitment to environmental and sustainability issues is evident in the causes he champions and it would be surprising if he did not attend one of the next COP climate change summits, as he had clearly wanted to in November 2022.…  Seguir leyendo »