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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Something extraordinary is happening in the middle of this extraordinary crisis. While the physical health of the world is in peril, a new kind of health is emerging in which the emotional connections between people start to strengthen along new, fresh lines. I call this social health.
This can be seen most clearly in the world of politics where old borders and enmities are dissolving. For evidence of this, look no further than my home country, Britain, and the response to the hospitalization due to complications from coronavirus of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
I have known Boris for 30 years, from when he was editor of The Spectator, the famous conservative magazine.… Seguir leyendo »
Boris Johnson’s war with the coronavirus has turned personal. When the prime minister was admitted to intensive care with severe symptoms on Monday night, it was a reminder to Britons that like it or not, we are all in this together.
The virus that has changed daily life across the world knows no bounds when it comes to privilege, class or high office. A leader who has repeatedly defied the laws of political gravity finds himself struck down by the very virus he had put his government on a war footing to beat.
Mr. Johnson’s hospital stay comes after a week of damaging headlines over his government’s handling of the outbreak and rumors of his declining health.… Seguir leyendo »
Boris Johnson, the prime minister of Britain, on Friday announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. In a brief video released on Twitter, he shared the basics: Having developed “mild symptoms — that’s to say, a temperature and a persistent cough” — he underwent testing and received the bad news. He will now be “self-isolating” until the illness has run its course.
Looking mostly healthy, if typically disheveled, Mr. Johnson stressed that he would continue to “lead the national fightback” from his home via teleconferencing. He urged the British public to abide by the three-week lockdown put into place on Monday.… Seguir leyendo »
Boris Johnson has spent decades preparing for his lead role, honing his adopted character, perfecting his mannerisms, gauging the reactions to his performance and adjusting it for maximum effect. Now he has the national stage and the rapt audience he always craved. His speech this week announcing a lockdown drew the biggest television audience in Britain in this century.
The problem is that he has been preparing for the wrong part. The man came to power playing Falstaff, a double-dealing, comically entertaining, shameless rogue; now he is suddenly onstage as Henry V, the wartime king whose solemn judgment, intense focus, charisma and conviction must lead his nation in a time of crisis.… Seguir leyendo »
The timing of many trade negotiations is now increasingly uncertain, as are the UK’s plans to host COP26 in November. Policy work continues, however, and the EU has released its draft negotiating text for the new UK-EU trade deal (opens in new window), which includes a sub-chapter specifically devoted to climate.
This is a timely reminder both of the pressing need for the UK to integrate its trade and climate policymaking and to use the current crisis-induced breathing space in international negotiations – however limited – to catch up on both strategy and priorities on this critical policy intersection.
The UK government has moved fast to reset its external trade relations post-Brexit.… Seguir leyendo »
Ten days ago, I was asked to see a patient. I’m a respiratory specialist in an intensive-care unit at a hospital in London, so it wasn’t surprising that the patient needed a ventilator. It seemed fairly typical. But the patient turned out to have the coronavirus — our hospital’s first case and one of nearly 2,000 people who have so far tested positive in Britain. I hadn’t worn a mask. Soon I developed a cough.
Though I experienced neither fever nor breathlessness, I was told to self-isolate for 14 days. That’s where I am now, in self-isolation. And I’m not the only one from my hospital.… Seguir leyendo »
Shortly before Brexit, a touching little farewell ceremony took place in the Berlaymont, the European commission’s Brussels headquarters.
On Jean-Claude Juncker’s last day as president of the commission, he made a final appearance in the basement press room at midday – the time the commission has been briefing the world’s press every day for much of the past 60 years.
Juncker gave an emotional valedictory. When he stopped speaking, an Italian journalist stood up. “History will judge you, Mr Juncker,” the journalist said solemnly, “but we will never forget you” before urging a round of applause for the Luxembourger’s “30 years as a true European”.… Seguir leyendo »
This week the UK will start negotiating its future relationship with the European Union. The government is trying to convince the EU that it is serious about its red lines and is prepared to walk away from negotiations if the UK’s ‘regulatory freedom’ is not accepted – a no-deal scenario that would result in tariffs between the EU and the UK. Yet at the same time the story is telling the world is that Britain is ‘re-emerging after decades of hibernation as a campaigner for global free trade’, as Boris Johnson put it in his speech in Greenwich a few weeks ago.… Seguir leyendo »
I got a message in the back seat of a black sedan, a car that usually drives local officials: “It’s good you left. There’s a case on the seventeenth floor.” The sender was Ningning, whose family I had stayed with for over two weeks, and whom I had left, clutching a water bottle in hand, back at her family’s complex on Danjiang Road in Shiyan. Her uncle had procured the car for me to take me to Wuhan’s Tianhe airport. She messaged me two hours into my trip away from her, and from quarantine in Hubei province.
I had missed the first British evacuation when my embassy didn’t get me a permit for the checkpoints in time, but I was trying to make the second.… Seguir leyendo »
En momentos históricos cruciales, las rupturas políticas racionales suelen producirse por motivos equivocados. El Brexit del primer ministro británico, Boris Johnson, puede ser un buen ejemplo.
Cuando el presidente norteamericano Richard Nixon se deshizo del sistema de Bretton Woods en agosto de 1971, sus razones tenían poca visión de futuro. Abrumado por las presiones internas para imponer controles de precios efectivos y aplacar a sus seguidores de la clase trabajadora, Nixon dejó de ver el panorama más amplio. Aun así, siguió un instinto sólido: las fuerzas históricas habían actuado en contra de la sustentabilidad de ese sistema monetario global remarcable de posguerra.… Seguir leyendo »
Cuando el Reino Unido votó en 2016 por abandonar la Unión Europea, los responsables de las políticas y líderes políticos en toda Europa temieron que pronto ellos también tendrían que enfrentar una crisis similar. Los preocupaba un efecto dominó por el cual los movimientos y políticos populistas lograrían que otros estados miembros abandonaran, uno tras otro, la UE, revirtiendo un proceso de décadas de integración europea.
Pero, al menos hasta hace poco, la brexit produjo la situación opuesta. Para sorpresa de todos, la UE disfrutó dividendos por la brexit en los años posteriores al referendo en el RU. Los europeos observaron como el RU se sumía en el caos político: los británicos literalmente acopiaban alimentos y medicamentos por miedo a lo que el futuro podría depararles.… Seguir leyendo »
Behold the goddess Iris, belted tunic undulating in an imagined wind, bosom held out and head held … well, almost 1,500 miles away in Athens.
These are the Elgin marbles if you ask the British, the Parthenon marbles if you ask the Greeks. A nobleman saved them 200-odd years ago if you ask the British, and he stole them if you ask the Greeks. This fight never really got old, but it’s especially new today. The European Union might ask an exiting United Kingdom to drop off these paragons of ancient achievement on its way out. The case is stronger than ever.… Seguir leyendo »
La forzada renuncia del ministro de Hacienda del Reino Unido, Sajid Javid, es la última señal de que la política macroeconómica está siendo cambiada drásticamente, y no sólo en el Reino Unido. Además de completar el entierro ritual de las políticas de austeridad implementadas por los gobiernos del Reino Unido desde 2010, el alejamiento de Javid el 13 de febrero tiene una importancia mayor.
El primer ministro Boris Johnson está decidido a superar la resistencia del Tesoro a sus enormes ambiciones de gasto. La última vez que un primer ministro británico intentó abrir los grifos de gasto del gobierno a este nivel fue en 1964, cuando Harold Wilson, del Partido Laborista, creó el Departamento de Asuntos Económicos (DAE) para contrarrestar la hostilidad del Tesoro a la inversión pública.… Seguir leyendo »