Thursday, 27 June 2019

With Angela Merkel's tremor, German faces political tremors

With Angela Merkel's tremor, German faces political tremors

There is fantasy and there is political reality. At ta time when the EU faces extraordinary challenges, to see the German Leader going through what was justified as dehidration is extremely worrying, no matter what they say to justify what is in plein view.

The EU faces a potentially extraordinarily damaging set of circumstances. The struggle with the USA in terms of economics, the upheaval affecting several key EU countries and also some later newcomers into the EU, the prospect of a war in Asia Minor and the Middle East that could make other conflicts looks like minor incidents and the set of circumstances that have led to the loss of faith in so called centre parties are very much part of the picture.

None of those set to replace Angela Merkel is well known enough or has the necessary profile to keep the German ruling coalition together. Let us remember how the present coalition was born. In 2017, the CDU/CSU won a very narrow victory with an ever smaller majority. Because of the reluctance of SPD to form a coaltion after SPD was severely beaten, Angela Merkel had to go for FPD and Grünne. When her attempt to form a coalition with |FPD and Grünne, in despair, she went back to SPD that seeing that the absence of a coalition would lead to yet another Federal Election in which much more could be lost decided to agree terms with Angela Merkel. After that, came several regional elections - one in Bavaria and another one in Hesse where CDU, CSU and SPD lost ever more ground for the benefit of Alternative für Deutschland and Grünne.

As a consequence of loss after loss, Angela Merkel agreed to resign as CDU Leader while remaining German Chancellor until the end of her term in office. Now, the possibility of Angela Merkel having to resign as Chancellor brings back the reality of yet another Federal Election that in view of what is happening right now could lead to major electoral losses and the rise of other political forces including Alternative für Deutschland.

So what you see could herald significant political changes with enormous geopolitical implications.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Who will benefit from war in Middle East and Asia Minor and who will suffer because of it?

Who will benefit from war in Middle East and Asia Minor and who will suffer because of it?

A brief look at EU oil importers tells us that the Russian Federation produce 28.9 % of petroleum related products consumed in the European Union, followed by Norway with 12%. Around 8.9% comes from Saudi Arabia, 4.6% comes from Iraq, 4.6% comes from Azerbaijan, 6.5% comes from Kazahkstan (to name countries close to the conflict zone). About 20% of oil exports come through the straight that is going to be at the centre of a conflict between Iran and USA.

Depending on reserves and the duration of the conflict, the price escalade could and would force countries to recalculate national budgets across the European Union. The financial Tsunami that would be the direct consequence would lead to extraordinary political extremes across Europe. If you think that Democracy is already fragile, think again. What could happen would send nations towards the political abyss.

This, my friends, is the image of Armageddon and is very much a possibility should there be widespread war in the Middle East and Asia Minor. We are entering Nostradamus territory. 

Now, because of the implication of such conflict, how united will old allies be in this regard? Will economic considerations and the potential serious political repercussions be a reason to challenge old alliances? For the United States of America, such a conflict comes with the territory. The number of military bases spread across Iraq and other neighbouring countries of Iran has both a political and an economic dimension. In order to maintain its image as major Superpower, the United States cannot be seen as walking away from conflict after so many statements about 'consequences'. It comes a time when statements that are not supported with actions become not just an embarrassement but a sign of weakness.

Let's look at another issue that very much involves NATO and it is about Turkey's position as member of the alliance. Turkey recently acquired anti-missile defenses and Russian jets are on the way. Calls by the USA to prevent Turkey from acquiring Russian jets and Russian anti-missile defenses have fallen on deaf ears. President Erdogan is not going to do something that goes against Turkish interests. It is well known that Turkey is moving in to fill up a void created by what happened in Iraq and dealing with its own regional agenda that sometimes collides with the interests of the United States of America. As a member of NATO, Turkey is seen as getting too close to the Russian Federation. What can USA do about it? At the moment, it is all about talking and saying 'if you get this, we will not give you that'. Some people might be asking how reliable Turkey would be if there was a massive regional conflict.

How reliable would other members of NATO be if USA actions go against their crucial interests? Britain has been playing a waiting game not to go against agreements signed with Iran and the same attitude has been adopted by others in Continental Europe. USA has been telling Germany that Germany has to stop buying Russian oil and Russian gas. Easier said than done when 28.9% of energy supplies to the European Union come from the Russian Federation. I reckon that Germany and the rest of the EU will be reluctant to engage or support any actions that could undermine their own national interests.

Going farther East, China has been told by the USA that it has to protect its own ships going through waters that could be in the conflict zone if there is war against Iran and what about Japan? A possible confrontation in Asia Minor and in the Middle East would affect the entire world economy. It can be safely said that everybody will be affected in more ways than one and not just economically but politically. What is the Organisation of the United Nations saying about the possibility of such a conflict? Is the USA going to bypass - once again - the Organisation of the United Nations? 

Monday, 24 June 2019

Iran: Misreading signals and cultural misunderstandings

Iran: Misreading signals and cultural misunderstandings

The greatest defect of Western Diplomacy is the huge capacity to misread signals and the inability overcome cultural differences. The more the stakes are raised the more entrenched positions become. 

World War Two offers many examples of how bad things can be. One of the said examples involves cultural differences between Japan and Western nations. Japanese soldiers were cultural averse to any surrender. Surrender was seen as shameful, as an act of weakness. For those who shared British heritage, surrender was very much part of the game. If things were bad enough, then surrender was a way out. Those who surrendered to Japanese forces were seen as inferior and treated badly because they were seen as subhumans. When the wheels of war started moving in the opposite direction, many Japanese military and also civilians chose death. There are records of civilians who died jumping off from heights. 

The assumption is that increasing pressure on Iran, Iran will be brought to the negotiations table. Instead, it is fatally weakening moderate politicians that want an agreement and reinforcing hardliners that would choose open war instead of what they see as a surrender.

While some in Britain see a dual-national as somebody that needs rescuing, in Iran they see her as an Iranian national that has engaged in anti-Iran activities.

Geopolitical factors will make positions in Iran ever more entrenched. Increased military presence and sanctions are not fomenting generosity. 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Gordon Brown's Coronation as Labour Prime Minister

Gordon Brown's Coronation as Labour Prime Minister

In 1997, Tony Blair became Prime Minister in a landslide General Election winning a record number of seats in the House of Commons. Behind the curtains, there were several agreements that the general public only became aware of when after an illegal military invasion of Iraq his Prime Ministerial position was becoming untenable and there was the need to think about a replacement. It was said that Gordon Brown was his natural successor, but how natural that succession was. Gordon Brown was crowned Prime Minister by the Labour Party and there were no apparent concerns in the Labour supporting mass media. Now, they seem to be very concerned about the leadership election in the Conservative Party, concerns that they didn't have when Gordon Brown was appointed without people outside the Labour Party having a say.

Folks, this is how the political system works in Britain in all political parties. It is up to each political parties to choose or appoint a leader and if the party in question happens to be power then it is natural and part of the rules that the new Leader becomes Prime Minister. 

The way it operates is based on the principle that people vote for the political party and that the political party chooses its leader. Full stop. 

If Boris Johnson becomes Leader or if Jeremy Hunt becomes Leader then whoever is chosen will be Prime Minister according to the rules.


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

BBC's pitfalls and Rory Stewart's obstinacy talking about putting Theresa May's Deal to the vote yet again

BBC's pitfalls and Rory Stewart's obstinacy talking about putting Theresa May's Deal to the vote yet again

Lack of due diligence led the BBC into a trap of its own making. Trying to question Boris Johnson about comments he made long before he became a leadership contender, the BBC invited an Imam to talk about Islamophobia only to find out hours later that the said Iman that has now been expelled by his Mosque and by the school where he was Deputy Headmaster had been writing anti-Semitic comments and derogatory comments about women. Not a happy time for the BBC that was recently put on the spot for getting rid of free TV Licenses for over 75s and for the amounts paid to certain individuals, salaries paid with the income produced by TV Licenses.

Rory Stewart made a fundamental gaffe. The foundation of his argument to become Prime Minister was the idea of trying to push through the House of Commons the very same deal negotiated by Theresa May that was rejected by the House of Commons three times. In the first round he got 19 votes and manage to increase his support to 37 votes, but right after the BBC debate his support simply collapsed losing 10 votes of the 37 he had.

Tomorrow, there be will another round and there would be additional rounds until two candidates are left with the most votes. A series of hustings will take place across the country in which members of the Conservative Party will listen and then vote to decide who is going to be the next British Prime Minister. But, as Churchill stated, "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." 

The newly elected Conservative Prime Minister will have to deal with the same fragmented Parliament and as the October 31, 2019 deadline approaches tensions will rise even more. With the EU in a state of disarray, with the Labour Party extremely divided, nobody is the in mood for negotiations. The choice is still a binary option.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Brexit Party and SNP: A picture that speaks volumes

Brexit Party and SNP: A picture that speaks volumes

Until Brexit is completed, there will be no deal

Until Brexit is completed, there will be no deal

A quick look at what is happening in the main EU countries is more than enough to understand that the EU is in no position to negotiate anything. If anything, the EU has to devote all its energies to prevent a meltdown that would lead to the extinction of the EU.

In France, President Macron doesn't seem to be getting things done. It looks like a growing crisis that threaten the very foundation of democracy in France. Showering French citizens with tear gas and water cannons, and engaged in unwarranted acts of violence, Police forces that follow President Macron's orders are turning France into a battlefield. 

In Germany, the sheer idea of having to go cap in hand to ask German taxpayers for more money to subsidise failing economies is a sobering thought for ailing Angela Merkel that knows that she is being watched from inside and from outside the CDU/CSU. She is no longer leader of the ruling coalition very much like Theresa May is no longer leader of the Conservative Party and is very much yesterday's Chancellor.

Events in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Italy and elsewhere are not reassuring either. In Spain, recently elected Members of the European Parliament are not being allowed to join the European Parliament because of the struggle for independence in Catalonia. 

Contenders in the leadership election in the Conservative Party or those in opposition can talk about a deal but it is a deal that no longer exists. It was killed by Parliament and led to the downfall of Theresa May. Most of the world deals with WTO terms and has been doing so for a very long time. The issue is the survival of a protectionist club called European Union (before European Community, earlier Common Market) that almost single-handed led to a debacle across the Developing World when over-production and subsidies caused a dramatic fall of agricultural prices and the creation of massive foreign debt in countries that very much depend on agriculture to make ends meet.

Delivering Brexit is a sine qua non for the Conservative Party. They know that they either deliver Brexit or are replaced by the Brexit Party under a Marxist Prime Minister. This has enormous implications for Britain and for international equilibrium. Whatever is left of the |Special Relationship could come to an end. This is not just the crisis regarding Huawei. This is Huawei and everything else including Britain's membership of NATO.

Britain should seek to preserve the Conservative government by getting Brexit done as a way to prevent a major geopolitical catastrophe.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Rory Stewart: Deluded about pact with Brexit Party?

Rory Stewart: Deluded about pact with Brexit Party?

Rory Stewart
The  2019 local elections proved to be an absolute disaster for the Conservative Party that was punished for Theresa May's loss of public face. This was followed by the European Parliament Elections in which the Conservative Party was practically wiped out. As if this wasn't enough, in the Peterborough By Election, the Conservative Party was third behind the Brexit Party. The news that Rory Stewart contacted Nigel Farage to seek an agreement is the act of a desperate man that got barely 19 votes in the first round of the Conservative Party Leadership Election. Matt Hancock who got 20 votes walked away. But Rory Stewart went as a far as confirming that he is willing to destroy the Conservative Party following the path established by Philip Hammond. The fact that he was looking for a deal with the Brexit Party merely serves to confirm what Dominic Raab stated: If the Conservative Party doesn't deliver Brexit, the Conservative Party is finished.

Rumours that Boris Johnson could be confirmed even before two candidates are chosen to allow the Conservative Party Membership is given the opportunity to vote indicate that there is an awareness that should a leader be chosen that is not strong enough, not decisive enough, not enough of a believer in Brexit, this would be catastrophic for the Conservative Party. October 31st is the chosen date, the deadline. October 31st 2019 is the date to prove if the Conservative Party is a political force worth voting for. A new failure would not only condemn the new leader to a disgraceful departure. It would sink the Conservative Party. The Brexit Party is watching. Any hesitation in the Conservative Party will be a gigantic boost for the Brexit Party. Conservatives like Jacob Rees Mogg have spoken about including Nigel Farage in any future possible negotiation with the European Union.

In the meantime, in a desperate attempt to hold the Labour Party together, Jeremy Corbyn would be forced to offer a vote to Labour Party members so that any decision is not seen as Jeremy Corbyn's decision but as the Labour Party's decision. The Labour Party has already lost several Members of Parliament without an election being fought - Chuka Umunna joined the Lib Dems as Treasure and Business Spokesman. Not long ago, A high Profile Jewish MP resigned and accused the Labour Party of Anti-Semitism, accusation that was backed up by other Labour MPs who left to become independent. This happened after several MPs had become independent facing the certain danger of being deselected by their local constituencies.

Both Conservatives and Labour are in a state of flux. People are being asked who they will vote for if there was a General Election tomorrow. Lib Dems and Brexit Party come on top in terms of preferences. Some commentators who are politically aligned with the Labour Party have said that should Boris Johnson become leader the next step would be a general election but, perhaps, they are not taking into account the desperate state of both political parties and that in such general election the Conservative Party and the Labour Party risk coming third and fourth.

Confronting the possibility of Parliament being suspended to ensure that no one can prevent Brexit, Rory Stewart talked about using the Central Hall located not far from the Houses of Parliament to organise an alternative Parliament that would challenge the government but this looks very much like a political crisis of gigantic proportions not seen in Britain since the days of Oliver Cromwell and Charles I. Moreover, a motion put forward by the Labour Party aimed at preventing No Deal was defeated just days ago. 

On Tuesday, June 18th 2019, the Second Round in the Conservative Party Leadership Election will take place. There are six candidates left in the struggle. Remainers like Rory Stewart will have to have enough support to survive because facing a Conservative Party Membership vote with grassroots that are mainly for Leave.


Thursday, 13 June 2019

Rory Stewart publicly declares that he would usher the destruction of the Conservative Party

Rory Stewart publicly declares that he would usher the destruction of the Conservative Party

Rory Stewart
Rory Stewart, like Philip Hammond, is the voice of surrender to the European Union and he has publicly stated - like Philip Hammond - that he is willing to destroy the Conservative Party in the process if he doesn't get things his way.

Philip Hammond
Rory Stewart stated unequivocally to destroy Boris Johnson, the man that represents real Brexit and he is without a shadow of a doubt the spearhead of the Remainers in the Conservative Party.

Rory Stewart will be voicing the fears spread by some in the Labour Party, in the Lib Dem Party and in other political organisations including the Conservative Party that led to the downfall of Theresa May. Next week, we will see a regrouping of contenders in the leadership contest and both camps in the Conservative Party will be struggling for control. Remainers will be plotting against Boris Johnson that they see as the embodiment of Leave.

In the meantime, the Brexit Party that came second in the Peterborough By-Election effectively relegated the Conservative Party in the local elections and in the European Parliament Elections is now sending a clear message to the Conservative Party: "Get Brexit done or face political catastrophe." The Conservative Party of 1997 lost the election mainly because of internal divisions. The Conservative Party lost the local elections and the European Parliament Elections of 2019 and was relegated to third place in Peterborough. In this context, Rory Stewart could be seen as a political suicide not just for Rory Stewart but a political suicide for the Conservative Party if people like Rory Stewart get their way.

Emmanuel Macron's threats are playing into the hands of those who want to breakaway with a deal or without a deal. Treating Britain like a province of the EU or even a province of France, Macron - much more than other EU mandarins - is weakening the Remain camp factions that cannot even agree with each other as the Remain camp becomes ever more fragmented.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Jo Brand and the BBC: One too many in what constitutes incitement to violence

Jo Brand and the BBC: One too many in what constitutes incitement to violence

Jo Brand and the BBC
Speaking on Radio 4, Jo Brand made a comment that constitutes incitement to violence. We are not going to mention the comment she made because what she suggested is basically promoting criminal violence for political purposes.

Telling jokes is one thing. Using the BBC to promote violence is quite another and nowhere in the BBC Charter it is suggested that the public broadcaster can or should engage giving a platform to individuals to promote criminal activities.

Sooner than later, laughing at the act of throwing milkshakes against people merely because of not sharing their views was bound to lead to what Jo Brand laughed about. We have seen elderly people thrown out to the ground by angry mobs shouting expletives and being insulting.

An NHS nurse lost her job looking after people with mental health problems because she lost the plot right in front of the Houses of Parliament and ended up apologising for what she had done. She had the excuse of being driven by crowd madness but Jo Brand had no excuse whatsoever to say what she said. She knew exactly what she said and the potential repercussion of what she said.

When Jeremy Corbyn's supporters shouted at this young black man holding an Israeli flag and supporting President Trump saying that his black man is racist, Nazi, Fascist and the like, something is very wrong. Who encourages people to engage in such behaviour? We should ask journalists and activist like Owen Jones about it, as one the most vociferous individuals on print, on television and on the streets. His ideological stances go all over the top and this has consequences in an increasingly tense political environment in which unstable individuals can easily get carried away by the messages he is sending out. The careless attitude in terms of what they say and do is something that Jo Brand shares with Owen Jones. They are agitators that don't seem to care about the consequences and especially when other people can get hurt. 
Owen Jones

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

BBC Salaries: Why BBC needs to cut free TV Licence for Pensioners? This is why.

Why the BBC is cutting free TV License for people over 75 years of age? This is why.

News and Current Affairs – presenter salaries

Huw Edwards£520,000 – £529,999
John Humphrys£400,000 – £409,999
Andrew Marr£400,000 – £409,999
Eddie Mair£330,000 – £339,999
George Alagiah£290,000 – £299,999
Nick Robinson£250,000 – £259,999
Evan Davis£250,000 – £259,999
Jon Sopel£230,000 – £239,999
Mishal Husain£220,000 – £229,999
Emily Maitlis£220,000 – £229,999
Laura Kuenssberg£220,000 – £229,999
Victoria Derbyshire£210,000 – £219,999
Martha Kearney£200,000 – £209,999
Sophie Raworth£200,000 – £209,999
Jeremy Bowen£200,000 – £209,999
Amol Rajan£200,000 – £209,999
Fiona Bruce£180,000 – £189,999
Katya Adler£170,000 – £179,999
Mark Easton£170,000 – £179,999
James Naughtie£170,000 – £179,999
Sarah Montague£160,000 – £169,999
Justin Webb£160,000 – £169,999
Kamal Ahmed£160,000 – £169,999
John Simpson£160,000 – £169,999
Ben Brown£150,000 – £159,999
Tina Daheley£150,000 – £159,999
Simon Jack£150,000 – £159,999
Fergal Keane£150,000 – £159,999
John Pienaar£150,000 – £159,999
Sarah Smith£150,000 – £159,999

Radio presenter salaries

Chris Evans
£1,660,000 – £1,669,999
Steve Wright£550,000 – £559,999
Nicky Campbell£410,000 – £419,999
Nick Grimshaw£400,000 – £409,999
Stephen Nolan£400,000 – £409,999
Simon Mayo£340,000 – £349,999
Vanessa Feltz£330,000 – £339,999
Ken Bruce£300,000 – £309,999
Scott Mills£280,000 – £289,999
Lauren Laverne£230,000 – £239,999
Mark Radcliffe£190,000 – £199,999
Greg James£170,000 – £179,999
Jo Whiley£170,000 – £179,999
Shaun Keaveny£170,000 – £179,999
Moira Stuart£160,000 – £169,999
Trevor Nelson£150,000 – £159,999
Rachel Burden£150,000 – £159,999
Jane Garvey£150,000 – £159,999

Sport presenter salaries

Gary Lineker
£1,750,000 – £1,759,999
Alan Shearer£410,000 – £419,999
Gabby Logan£230,000 – £239,999
Mark Chapman£220,000 – £229,999
Sue Barker£190,000 – £199,999
John McEnroe£190,000 – £199,999
Jonathan Agnew£180,000 – £189,999
Clare Balding£180,000 – £189,999
Ian Wright£170,000 – £179,999

Multiple genres and television presenter salaries

Graham Norton£600,000 – £609,999
Jeremy Vine£440,000 – £449,999
Claudia Winkleman£370,000 – £379,999
Jason Mohammad£260,000 – £269,999
Nick Knowles£230,000 – £239,999
Dan Walker£220,000 – £229,999
Mary Berry£190,000 – £199,999