Brexit Britain, The Boris Touch

Brexit seems to be one of those long Broadway plays that the Brits like, with pointless intrigues, family feuds and an ending that could be predicted at the beginning. A confined theatre is a British temple, Brexit is now being played in the boundaries of Britain with the whole world as spectator and Europe in the demonic role.  A new twist has been introduced to what was becoming the Brexit writer’s block. It has been spiced up with an unexpected Eastern flavour, the Boris touch, with the ending become ever more exciting, dramatic and cliff hanger. Boris has brought a new dimension into British politics, so far missing.

The West and particularly the English, like to be seen to be playing fair by the rules. Rule of law is the official religion of the United Kingdom. Like all religions, it is a fairy tale idealism which works for most things with some degree of hypocrisy but gets stuck when real life gets tough. When the ‘rule of law’ is not working for the English or comes to a dead end, the English scuttle around to find a loophole in the small print, divide the opposition, and transfer the blame. Usually it moves on with a deviant combination of creative energising of the almost hidden small print, confounding the opposition and aided by the lack of a constitution which enables flexibility in interpretation of ‘convention’. The history of the Empire is full of this tactic.

Unfortunately for the English, the Europeans are also immersed in this skewed game of rule of law and are familiar with the British tactic. Hence attempts at dividing the EU, at making the Europeans the scapegoat for refusing to accept a ‘messy and fantasy solution’, and failing to treat the Brits on par with the gods, has all failed. Remember, ‘gods’ are usually above the everyday laws of mortals. Along comes Boris Johnson to save a play repeating scenes under Theresa May. The public attention was waning.

Boris has a Turkish ancestry, on the great grandfather, so a percentage of him brings an Eastern approach now to the Brexit game. The East generally sees rule of law as a utilitarian tool used by the politically powerful while they remain above it. It is no wonder ‘rule of law’ does not appear to work as ‘equitably’ in most countries east of Greece as it seems in the west. Perhaps the difference is that in the west there is craft, pretence and play when rule of law is bent, whereas in the East, power dispenses with the drama and gets to the desired outcome unashamedly.

The UK has now brought in the ‘curry’ option. With the Brexit stasis becoming deeply sclerotic as Parliament could not find any road, lane or even a rope to pull itself through the self-imposed barriers, in came Boris with his eastern temperament woken.

He first warned the Brits of the great Turkish migrant invasion for which only Brexit was a defence. In April 2016, Mr Johnson warned: “I am very pro-Turkish but what I certainly can’t imagine is a situation in which 77 million of my fellow Turks and those of Turkish origin can come here without any checks at all. That is mad – that won’t work.” Now with his Turkish roots he is Prime Minister. Talk about ironic prophecy.

He has dismissed the sacrament of every convention and unwritten rule that has prevented the Crown to institute a proper Constitution and which defined the mystery of Britain. He found the greatest loophole. There is no written constitution so why not open the gaping hole that had so far been covered with customised verbal straw, that is convention. He has driven a bulldozer through propriety of office and government.

Extraordinarily, he is the leader of Britain that every politician and commentator who can say so does say so without embarrassment that he cannot be trusted! Imagine, a country being asked to live by rule of law, have integrity but its leader unashamedly is considered a pathological liar in office! Brexit has brought politics to this level. A new for the office of Her Majesty’s Prime Minister.

Boris prorogued Parliament (suspended now) for long period against convention until courts reversed it: and then against ‘traditional wisdom’ threw out the most staunch members of the Conservative Party who were considered its pillars if not foundation, including grandees and Churchill’s son; has says anything to anyone as they want to hear and then denies he said it; exploited the Queen in his machinations and even called Parliament to sit on an emergency war footing on a Saturday. The unwritten constitution has been exposed by him as the infamous Emperor’s non-existent clothes.

Like leaders in some eastern countries, Boris is pushing as far as is possible, breaking convention as far is possible and ignoring etiquette as far is possible until people go to the courts to stop him. If he carries on, sooner or later the courts will be in a knot.

Brexit has not been done yet but it has taken its toll. It is a war come home and grown into a multidimensional civil war. It is almost the Middle East without the violence. The different camps range from no Brexit, to a Brexit with no Deal to a Brexit with any Deal to a Brexit with a Deal with Customs Union with Europe (meaning obeying EU regulations) and a Brexit with labour laws aligned with Europe and so on.

The British parliament itself is a spectacle. No party can command complete loyalty, (except perhaps Scottish Nationalists). Parties dominating England and Wales all have conspirators galore now.

Britain, or at least England has changed and will change for ever after this. This is a tectonic phase in modern Britain. Calls for a proper written constitution are growing. Some are even predicting the end of the Monarchy on whom convention depended. Some are predicting a move away from the simple majority democracy that UK has and some are predicting a new phase in which smaller parties will reign, perhaps a proportional representation model of some European countries.

The end of United Kingdom is prophesised by many a pundit and politician now. Few think that the country can be united after three years of bitter differences. Scotland is gearing up for another referendum. Northern Ireland’s nationalists are muting a referendum to separate from Britain in near future. That leaves Wales and England.

It is also interesting that this country which ran a racist Empire once, now has its four most important positions in Government run by children of migrant families. The PM has Turkish roots, born in New York. The Foreign Minister is son of a Czechoslovakian Jewish father, The Home Minister is daughter of East African Gujratis and the Chancellor is a son of Pakistani immigrants. It shows how far Britain has come in being a real multicultural and multiracial country. With Brexit, a new Britain is rising as Imperial Britain is dying.

As for Brexit, Boris Johnson is likely to favour a Brexit Deal where Northern Ireland is ditched. The majority of English see Norther Ireland as a burden. He may even stitch up with Scottish nationalists and offer them a referendum. He is likely to get support from some Labour MPs so he can ignore the Northern Irish Unionists (those who want to remain within UK, DUP) who have been a major obstacle to any agreement on Brexit.

After all this real life and often humorous grand Brexit theatre which has made Comic halls irrelevant in London at the moment, and which has made West End plays appear as Children’s entertainment, the end game may still be another referendum and back into EU after a short Brexit. But Brexit Britain will have undergone fundamental change in these three years of internal trauma. It is already being seen very differently by the rest of the world but will be even more after the Boris touch at the heart of an Imperial power that made ceremony, pomp, convention and tradition the sacred unwritten constitution of Great Britain. All that is being blown away by Boris the Turk.

Britain at crossroads, says Corbyn about Brexit

Britain will have to consider its global role after deciding to leave the European Union, but it wants close ties with Europe, the main UK parliamentary opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said in Geneva on Friday. “Britain is at a crossroads,” he said at the UN in Geneva. “The decision by British people to leave the EU in last year’s referendum means there has to be a lot of hard thinking about our role in the world,” Xinhua reported. Corbyn, who leads the Labor Party, spoke to journalists at the United Nations in Geneva after making a speech on human rights and international cooperation and on a day the EU said it and Britain had moved closer in agreeing terms of their divorce. He said some people want to use Brexit, its decision to leave the EU, “to turn Britain in on itself rejecting the outside world and turn everyone into a feared competitor”. “Others want to use Brexit to put rocket boosters under our current economic system’s insecurities and inequalities. Turning Britain into a deregulated corporate tax haven, low wages, with limited rights, cut-price public services, in a wholly destructive race to the bottom.” But Corbyn said his party wants “to see a close and cooperative relationship with our European neighbours, outside the European Union, based on solidarity as well as mutual benefit and fair trade, along with a wider proactive internationalism across the globe”. He said he will fight for non-tariff trade with the EU, but he did not answer a question on whether Britain would have another referendum if that cannot be achieved. In his speech Corbyn warned that the “dominant global economic system is broken” and that it has produced a world where “a wealthy few control 90 per cent of global resources, of growing insecurity and grotesque levels of inequality within and between nations”. Corbyn attacked the governing Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May saying, “Our government has played a central role in enabling the corruption that undermines democracy, and violates human rights.” “In Africa alone $35 billion is lost each year to tax dodging and 50 billion dollars to illicit financial flows, vastly exceeding the $30 billion that enters the continent of Africa as aid,” said the British opposition leader. He spoke of two exposes on tax evasion known as the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers, he said these showed that the powerful and super-rich in the “cannot regulate themselves. Corbyn added that the United Nations has a “pivotal role to play to advance a new consensus, and common ground based on solidarity, respect for human rights, international regulation and cooperation”.

(IANS) // ]]>

WHAT CAN CORBYN VICTORY MEAN FOR INDIA

apology, ‘”Liberation accepts that Anup Chetia deceived us and we genuinely regret this. We obviously were not in a position to check passports or to detect forgeries, neither do we have the practical or financial facilities to vet every single individual with an application where the application is made for and on behalf of an organisation. In this case the application applied for was on behalf of Assam Watch, which is a Human Rights organisation, and has been affiliated to Liberation for the past four years.”  Liberation survived threat of suspension. On Kashmir, Liberation has generally supported Kashmiri  victims of abuse by Indian Army. Liberation also raised issues of Nagas, Sikhs and Mizoram among others. However it also took up issues of Sindh and Balochistan, thus maintaining a principled position on South Asian issues. While Pakistan generally swallowed Liberations exposure of its human rights records, Indian diplomats reacted somewhat hysterically. It is not surprising that Corbyn’s understanding of India is informed more through human rights than trade and pragmatic partnerships. The ‘caste’ issue is another one in which both Corbyn and McDonnell have taken a strong position. Both have been involved in Dalit organisations in UK in some way or other. They have been vocal in their support and promoted the legislation criminalising discrimination based on caste. India and Hindus in United Kingdom have opposed this legislation. There haven’t been efforts to lobby either Corbyn or McDonnell on this issue. Again their approach to India is coloured by the so called ‘caste’ issue. India has an uphill battle with Corbyn. Unlike other Labour leaders who  could be talked into what some commentators may call ‘pragmatic’ position, both Corbyn and McDonnel are politicians of conviction. They will need a lot of persuading. Many are dismissing a Corbyn victory in an election. This may  make Indian policy makers a little uncareful  with Corbyn. With the massive support that Corbyn has achieved in his leadership election and the number of people who have suddenly become interested in politics as a consequence of him becoming leader of Labour, a Corbyn led Labour victory at the next election is not impossible. In fact there is a parallel with the popularity that swept Modi into victory. Even if all British Hindus voted against Labour because of Corbyn, it will not make much difference. It is the white British vote, the massive Muslim vote and the Black vote which makes British Indian vote marginal. Personal experiences can often influence political policies. To date India’s  relationship with Corbyn is not one that can be called ‘special’. Corbyn raised human rights issues when Modi visited United Kingdom.  This is where India currently stands with a Corbyn leadership. It will also be naïve of Indian policy makers to dismiss Britain as a spent power. Britain has often been the trend setter in world politics. Socialism became popular after Britain took it up. Monetarism and Free Trade under Thatcher went on to become the dominant theory in the world. Corbyn will bring another change in British political scene in the post Brexit era. This may again be a trend setter in the world or at least in Europe. Indian diplomats have their work cut out. // ]]>