Panama Leaks Update – 8th April – 2016
The Panama Leaks keep drawing headlines. Causing problems for leaders across the globe. Currently a lot of attention is focused on the UK, which appears to be the center of the links to the Panama tax haven. Calls for the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron are sounding loud on social media and in British press after his admissions that he indeed held personal stock in his late fathers Panama based fund and sold them for a profit.
Further government links in the UK have been hinted in the British media with George Osborne being accused of stashing away profits from a 6m pound property deal in a Panama company.
Aside from the UK there is still talk about Russian president Putin having links to the Panama scandal. However, no further solid evidence has been presented and in fact Kremlin has hit back with accusations of the leak being information warfare aimed at their president.
In Iceland the prime minister quickly resigned following the scandal. New polls in Iceland show The Pirate Party surging to more than 40% support, however for now the government there is attempting to avoid elections by simply naming a replacement prime minister.
The Panama Papers
The panama papers have already started making heads roll. The Icelandic prime minister resigned after being directly implicated in the leak. Several others are taking heavy fire in the media. However, the Panama Papers have the ability to topple many more heads of state and public servants across the globe.
What are the Panama Papers ? Basically a leak of files from a law-firm helping high earners move income and wealth to Panama to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. As such the Panama Papers are a simple whistle blower case. The unique thing about the Panama Papers is that they do not expose the wrongdoing of any specific person or government, but the potential legal and moral wrongdoings of thousands of government members, public servants and business people across the world.
It is worth noting that sending money to Panama, having a company or a bank account there is not necessarily illegal in any way. In fact usually it is specifically set up not to be. In terms of perception however being named as making maneuvers of this sort is what is damaging, it is not about legal but moral.
Panama Papers Downfalls ?
The panama papers signify a new form of information warfare. Someone found the files. Sent the file to a newspaper and exposed thousands of people across the world. We have no overview yet over everyone implicated. We do not know if the whist blower had a hidden agenda. Was he targeting someone in particular. Has he deliberately left someone out? Months of investigations of the terabytes of documents might reveal the answers down the line.
What we know right now is that several prolific politicians have found themselves in the firing line. First to fall was the Icelandic prime minister as mentioned. Highest in the headlines so far has been Vladimir Putin of Russia and David Cameron of the UK.
Putin is not actually directly implicated by the papers, but media reports link him to funds moved to Panama to the tunes of 2bn dollars via friends, backers and family members. Is that a problem for Putin ? Honestly. No. Whilst democratically elected Vladimir Putin is in a uniquely strong position in Russia in which a perception of him being a bit too close to something dubious matters little and surprises less. As such, Putin does in fact seem like more of a distraction for more vulnerable targets tarnished by the leak.
David Cameron Tax Dodging Links
David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, is a bit of special case in relation to the leak. He is not yet directly implicated, however his father is and several primary donors of his party are as well. That in itself is embarrassing, particularly the family link to tax evasion. However, David Cameron has himself raised himself above the fray on tax evasion by publicly maintaining that being legal is not enough, acting morally is required too.
For instance David Cameron was explicitly outspoken on the amoral but not illegal tax dealings of British comedian Jimmy Carr:
Aside from these moral stances on creative tax dodging David Cameron has stated that the UK was a world leader in combating tax havens and curbing tax dodging. Such statements obviously sound almost outer worldly after the revelations that “the UK are at the heart of tax dodging networks“.
And worse: David Camerons own father was an active perpetrator of these tax avoidance schemes, thus raising clear questions about David Camerons own wealth, efforts to combat tax dodging and honesty in general. To make matters almost comical David Cameron chairs an international conference about stopping international tax evasion schemes next month.
David Cameron is unlikely to fall as a consequence of the Panama Leaks despite being heavily tainted. He has a solid majority in parliament backing him and is not running for re-election. As such the opposition has no possibility of removing him. His own party could but given he is already a dead-man-walking politically it would make sense to keep him in nr.10 till after a potential EU referendum loss, another unpopular budget and other issues that would harmfully tarnish a new Conservative leader.
Prominent Casualties ?
Are we likely to see other prominent casualties of the leak ? Yes. But exactly who is quite unpredictable. Aside from David Cameron, the Icelandic Primeminister and Vladimir Putin most of those implicated are either having more indirect links to the scandal or they are simply difficult to remove by democratic means.
For instance the King of Saudi Arabia has been named. Does it make him unpopular at home? Maybe. Does it topple him? Unlikely. There is no process for removing a Saudi king, nobody to do it and presumably no great shock that he has wealth stashed away either. Similar is true for several Middle Eastern, African and South American leaders and ex-leaders.
In several cases it is possible that the revelations could have influence down the road. The scales could be tipped for the next presidential elections in Argentina. The Ukrainian president could stumble to uprisings or votes. The United Arab Emirates president could face problems. But there is no automatism to it. It would require local public outrage
Is There More ?
More ? The Panama Papers are but a fraction. These are the papers from one big law firm specialized in helping companies and individuals stashing away cash in Panama. Several other companies have the same metier. Plenty of other tax havens are as big or bigger destinations of wealth than Panama. Hong Kong. Cayman Islands. Seychelles. Andorra. Bermuda. British Virgin Islands. Switzerland. Mauritius. And many many more. Each one could have its own leak. From each of the law firms working it. The current leak is might look enormous but it covers a fraction of the entirety.
This of course means too, that nobody is off the hook simply because they are not listed as implicated in this leak. They might simply keep their stash elsewhere. The interesting thing for us though is the political and electoral outfall. We have seen one actual fall. Plenty of humiliation. The longer term consequences are harder to predict. Voters might rise to demand a stop to these practices. Voters might demand measures to hold their leaders accountable, personally and politically. Or. We might settle back into X-Factor and Big Brother when the Panama buzz is over.Read more
Far Right Rise In Europe. Europe is seeing a wave of far right parties getting their breakthrough with voters primarily based on anti-immigration policies, nationalism and anti-EU sentiments usually. The far right rise in Europe is seen more or less across the continent. Inside the European union and outside.
Almost every European country has seen a far right, dirty right or fascist party getting an electoral breakthrough in recent years. The wave of far right populism is carried by anti-immigration policies beyond anything else. Fueled by the fear of Al-Queeda, terror and ISIS. Driven by the crisis of the EU in general and refugee streams in particular.
Far Right Parties In Europe
All of those parties should not be considered equal in nature or policies. Merely part of the same wave of far right populism in Europe. Golden Dawn and the Slovak National Party are actual (roughly) examples of self declared nazi-parties whereas lots of the others try and maintain a veil of mainstream reasonableness, while pursuing far right agendas.
Far Right Parties in Greece: Golden Dawn. An actual national socialist party in Greek politics. They march under fascist banners. plays a Greek version of the Horst Vessel song at rallies and have armed gangs of thugs attacking political opponents, immigrants and refugees. Several members of parliament and the entire leadership of Golden Dawn have spent much of the last couple of years in jail following a judicial crackdown. The crackdown came after a Golden Dawn activist killed a political opponent.
Golden Dawn peaked at around 20% in the polls, but have dropped off to around 12-14% after their legal problems. Golden Dawn was the first nazi party since world war II to win seats in an European election. They currently hold hold 18 seats in the Greek parliament and several seats in the European parliament.
Far Right Parties in France: Front National. An old player on the far right scene is the French anti-immigration and anti-EU party Front National. The far right nationalists are democrats and do not officially subscribe to fascism or nazism. They were led by legendary leader Jean Marie Le Pen for decades, but received their final electoral breakthrough in recent years after his daughter Marine Le Pen took over leadership of the party.
Front National made it to the final round of the presidential elections but ultimately lost. They have however won several local and parliamentary elections and have mayors in multiple French cities, seats in the European Parliament and such.
Far Right Parties in Denmark: Danish Peoples Party and New Right. The Danes are a bit nicer about far right populism than most of the other European nations. The Danish Peoples Party (Dansk Folkeparti) actively weed out party members stating positions too radical in nature publicly and the party acted as backers of the Anders Fogh-Rasmussen government from 2001 till 2011.
Dansk Folkeparti is nationalistic, anti-EU and anti immigration but they go to great lengths not to come across as extremists. They sugar over the more hardline stances with strong support for Israel, demands for better public services to the elderly and the fight for the little man against the system the Danes so enjoy. Currently the Danish Peoples Party have shot up to 20% support at elections and could become the biggest party in Denmark according to current opinion polls.
Far Right Parties in Sweden: Sweden Democrats (a feature on them: Sweden and The Refugee Crisis )
Far Right Parties in Finland: True Finns. The true Finns are very similar to the Danish Peoples Party and Swedish Democrats, must be a Scandinavian thing. They muster strong support for a closed-borders policy and anti EU campaigning.
The True Finns gained approximately 18% of the vote at the latest general election in Finland but are currently polling somewhat below that on average.
Far Right Parties in Germany: Alternative For Germany (a feature on them: Far Right Breakthrough in German Politics)
Far Right Parties in Hungary: Jobbik is about as close as we get to a fascist party without it actually itself as such. They declare themselves radically nationalist, anti-establishment, anti-immigration, antisemitic and of course anti-EU. The visuals of Jobbik make them look like a classic fascist or nazi party with parades of uniformed supporters waving flags looking suspiciously like versions of the Swastika.
Jobbik scored a massive 21% of the vote in the latest Hungarian elections and have become a force to be reckoned with. Not only in the streets. But in parliament too. As the far right rise in Europe goes Jobbik is one of the more extreme parties in the same category as the Slovak National Party and Golden Dawn.
Far Right Parties in Slovakia: Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia and The Slovak National Party (Slovenská národná strana – can be translated as the Slovak Peoples Party too it seems) openly declares itself nationalist and socialist. They have the classic far right and outright fascist stances. They use the traditional fascist symbolism of uniformed political rallies, flags and marching.
After the 2016 elections in Slovakia the Slovak National Party entered into coalition government after coming in as the 4th biggest party. SNS has been riding the wave of far right rise in Europe but has not managed to reach 10% of the vote in Slovakia in the past 25 years. They have however gained more direct influence than most European far right parties by entering and supporting coalition governments in return for political influence.
Far Right Parties in the United Kingdom: The traditional far right party in the UK is the British National Party, BNP, they have never achieved wider support in the electorate or gained seats in parliament. In recent years a new form of right wing populism has been seen from Nigel Farage and his UKIP party. They are most certainly among the softer of the far right parties in Europe with far fewer authoritarian elements.
UKIP would have gained an electoral breakthrough more or less anywhere else in Europe. Nigel Farage secured 12,6% of the vote in the latest general election in the UK and a stunning 27,5% in the 2014 European Parliament elections. The European Parliament result is a consequence of UKIP being the only mainstream party in the UK opposing further EU integration. Whilst the 27,5% result secured UKIP a strong platform in the European parliament they still have not achieved electoral success in general elections in the UK. The reason is simple. A non-proportional electoral system. Their latest election result would have secured Ukip 60-80 seats elsewhere in Europe in a proportional system, but in the UKs first past the post electoral system it was only enough to win a single seat. Party leader Nigel Farage even failed to secure a seat for himself.
Several other far right groupings exist in the UK such as offspring’s of Pegida, the English Defence League. But none of them have achieved wider appeal.
Other Far Right Parties in Europe
The above walk-through of political parties with radical far right platforms in Europe is far from comprehensive.
We could have examined Brothers of Italy and Lega Nord in Italy. The Austrian Freedom Party. Order and Justice from Lithuania. Vlaams Belang (Flemish Nationalist Party) in Belgium. The Party For Freedom from Holland. The SPD (Freedom and Direct Democracy Party) of the Czech Republic. The examples are basically endless.
The new thing is not the amount of radical parties though. Both extreme flanks have always been covered. The new thing is the width of support for anti-immigration, anti-establishment and anti-EU sentiments that has led to the far right rise in Europe.
Far Right Rise In Europe
The Anti-Immigration Wave over Europe have provided wind in the sails for the populist right across the continent. Clearly, attacks reminiscent of those in Brussels and Paris will increase the support for all of those far right parties. The same might be stated for the refugee crisis on the whole.
The individual far right parties across Europe tend to mix a few general themes with locally tailored populist positions. In Sweden the right to shoot wolves. In Denmark a ban on animal sex. In the UK a repeal of smoking bans in pubs. In Hungary strong anti-Roma policies. It all depends on the local area. The common denominator is local political populism.
On top of the local issues most of the far right parties in Europe share positions on a range of issues:
- Closed Borders / Stop to all immigration
- Deportation of immigrants and refugees
- Anti Turkey joining the EU
- Anti EU in general
- Anti Islam / Islamism
- Pro restoration of national culture, independence and pride
- Anti freedom of movement within the EU
- Anti government and establishments
- Better service for the elderly and veterans
- Lower / No foreign aid
A policy issue such as the future of Israel on the hand divide the populist right-wing parties. Several of the Eastern European far right parties are more or less classic antisemitic, whereas for instance the Danish Peoples Party is strongly pro-Israel.
Same Populist Wave As Donald Trump in the US ?
Several people have asked if the right wing trends, the populism and the anti immigration stances of European populist parties are in fact part of the same populist wave that has brought the rise of Donald Trump in the US. We have looked at the question Is Donald Trump A Fascist previously. But. We haven’t explored it in detail yet and as such it is only fair to give an as of yet unsubstantiated opinion:
Yes. At first look. It does appear to be the same issues. The same form of rhetoric. The same segments of voters. The same economic conditions. Similar problems used to propel the arguments. But if it holds up to closer scrutiny is not yet certain. That will have to wait till another time. The Far Right Rise In Europe is a fact. So is the rise of Trump. They look similar.Read more
Sweden is known as one of the most stable and uneventful democracies in the western world. For decades the country has maintained a Scandinavian welfare state model based on high taxes and low income inequality. The center-left Social democrats have been the giant in Swedish politics for as long as anyone care to remember, however only minor adjustments have been made politically doing intermittent periods when the center-right Moderates have managed to take power in the cold northern European country stretching up beyond the arctic circle.
Neighboring countries refer to Sweden as the definition of politically correct, as the land of the forbidden and similar. It all boils down to a political system in which everyone has had a basic consensus about priorities, agendas and economic policies.
Swedish Corrosion of Consensus
New winds are blowing over Sweden and the political system however. An ever increasing pressure on the borders from refugees during the last few years have seemingly corroded the long lasting consensus about the fundamentals.
The Social Democrats won the latest general election on September 14. At least on paper. New party leader Stefan Löfven was elected prime minister after receiving support from 31% of the voters for his party. The Social Democratic government is further backed by normal alliance partners the Miljöpartiet (The Green Party, an environmentalist left leaning party), further left wing democratic socialists of Vänsterpartiet (the Left Party) and the Feminist Party (yes, they have a feminist party in Sweden), though the latter failed to gain any seats in parliament.
This time around however the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Left Party failed to gain a majority in parliament. Normally that would spell a period of ministerial seats for the center-right alliance consisting of the centrist conservative party Moderaterne (the Moderates) led by former primeminister Fredrik Löfkvist at the time, the conservative Christian Democratic Party, the agrarian liberal Center Party and the classic economic liberals of The Liberal Party.
Not this time! The center-right coalition chose to hand the prime minister-ship to the Social Democrats in return for collaboration, some would say control over, on economic matters. An unprecedented abstention from power. What led to it? The Swedish Democrats!
Electoral Breakthrough of The Swedish Democrats
The Swedish Democrats would likely have backed a center-right government given the alternatives. But the center right parties preferred being in opposition when faced with that or Swedish Democrat influence on their policies. Why? Because the Swedish Democrats is part of the so-called dirty right or far right wave that has been sweeping Europe in recent years.
The policy of Swedish Democrats is classic far-right populism. They demand a complete stop to acceptance of asylum seekers first and foremost. According to the Swedish Democrats special rights for minorities such as the Sami people must be revoked. Legal penalties must be significantly heightened to include the possibility of life without parole. Anti-EU sentiments are integral to the nationalist tone of the Swedish Democrats who among other things reject the EURO, oppose Turkish membership of the EU and demand renegotiations of Swedish membership.
On top of the normal far-right anti-immigration, nationalistic, anti-EU and tough on crime stances the Swedish Democrats have several locally tailored political messages as well such as lower taxes for Swedish elderlies, allowing hunters to shoot wolves and much more besides.
In the general scheme of things the Swedish Democrats are thus a far-right party along the lines of French Front National, German Alternative For Germany, the Danish Peoples Party, the Austrian Freedom Party, the True Finns and many more besides.
Significance of The Swedish Democrats
There are far-right parties on the fringe all over Europe. What is the significance of the Swedish Democrats ?
First and foremost they are an abrupt and complete break with the normal running of things politically in Sweden. The debate is usually incredibly civil, politically correct and cautious. Not so with boisterous Swedish Democrats. They yell what few others even dared to think until recently. Secondly the political topics thrown on the table by SD signify a break with all consensus policies on immigration, asylum seekers, EU and much more besides.
This is something entirely unseen hitherto in Swedish politics. Few political leaders seemingly have a clue how to deal with it or respond to it either. So far the establishments on both sides of the aisle have tried to simply silencing the unwanted voice by attempting to exclude them from debates, not joining in discussions raised by SD and keeping them from power by the two usually competing sides joining to keep them from influence.
The Swedish Democrats became the third largest party with 12,9% of the vote. In itself a fairly limited success one would think. However it gave them the swing seats between the two traditional blocks in Swedish politics. Thus creating a necessity for unity across the aisle to keep them from power.
Preserving Status Quo in Swedish Politics ?
The efforts to preserve a status quo by all establishment parties has so far proved a boomerang. Prime minister Stefan Löfven has labelled the Swedish Democrats neo-fascist. All parties have refused to debate them, enter into any deals or coalitions with them locally or in the national parliament. In short: They have been sidelined completely.
The effect? They have been handed the gift being able to portray themselves as victims of political oppression. As the ultimate anti-establishment party daring to voice the truth covered over by the mainstream parties.
The voters reactions? They are flocking to the Swedish Democrats like never before. Polling is often showing the Swedish Democrats as the largest party in Sweden come the next election with an opinion polling peak of staggering 28.8%. The average of polls have them closer to 20-22% making them a likely second party in Sweden, but it still raises serious questions.
Can a party with perhaps a quarter of the vote be kept away from influence continuously ? If they were, would they simply keep growing ? Are the established political parties particularly from the center-right block gonna start making overtures to the far-right Swedish Democrats in order to regain power themselves ? Or are they instead gonna attempt stemming the tide by moving their own policy positions closer to those of SD ?
Time will tell. For now. Nobody seems to have a viable strategy for stopping the wave of far-right populism from the Swedish Democrats. Most even seem scared to try. Swedish politics have been upended by the refugee crisis. It remains to be seen how much political capital the Swedish Democrats will muster on the coattails of the crisis. For now. They have upper hand. The momentum.
UPDATE: Latest Swedish Opinion Polls
The latest opinion polling data in Sweden. It paints the picture described above. Sverige Demokraterne peaks at 28.8% but are generally in the low 20s. Neither side look like they have any chance of forming a working majority government without the Swedish DemocratsRead more
Danish politics are kind of nice. The rest of the world struggles with civil wars, drugs, social decay and corruption. In Denmark they argue over cow poo. As we discussed previously in The Danish Cow Poo Gate the minister may or may not have misinformed the Danish parliament about the amount of cow poo being allowed to be led into the environment next year. Which led the small Conservative Party to declare mistrust in the minister of the environment Eva Kjer Hansen.
The Danish government left by Venstre (a centre-right party labelling themselves liberals) bases its rule on the mandates of the conservative party and as such the mistrust declared in the minister could spell early elections.
Days of crisis. Days of negotiations. Days of debates about cow poo in Denmark. It all seems resolved now with the departure of the minister Eva Kjer Hansen, who chose to resign today after heavy pressure from all sides. Søren Pape Poulsen. Leader of The Conservative Party Denmark may have gotten a victory however, but he has also destabilized the government and poisoned the working relationship between the government and its right wing backers. We might still see early elections called in Denmark.Read more
In one of the more bizarre pieces of political news it seems the Danish government might fall. Over an argument about cow poo! Specifically the minister of farming Eva Kjer has been caught out by state media in Denmark putting forward proposals from special interest lobbyists in the farming sector in relation to the spread of cow poo and cutting of weeds in streams.
One would think this was a rather minor case of a minister being a bit too friendly with the lobbyists within her area of authority. However. The case have seemingly exploded into a proper cow poo gate that might end in the fall of the primeminister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and his minority government. The current government is supported by the far-right Danish Peoples Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives. In this case it is the conservatives causing trouble for the government. The conservatives demand the departure of the minister of farming Eva Kjer, despite supporting the proposals she has put forward, as they feel she has mislead them in relation to how much cow poo can be spread on fields in the coming 3 years.
So, is the Danish government going to fall in cow poo gate ? The most likely answer is still no! The primeministers party is looking at losing power to the leftwing led by the Socialdemocrats if he call an election. Further, the previous election was held only a few months ago and it will be a severely difficult task to explain to Danish voters that cow poo is important enough to bother them again already.
We will keep you posted on the bizarre happenings in the land of Hamlet, HC Andersen and the minister of poo.Read more
Brexit coming ? A referendum is coming up in the UK on the future membership of the EU. As described the other day primeminister David Cameron returned to a public shaming after he failed to secure special terms for Britain at negotiations in Bruxelles. However, it was equally assumed that the meager results could be sold as some kind of victory and thus used as the basis for a STAY campaign.
The STAY campaign was predicted a certain winner. Due to unlimited funds, media support, establishment support etc. But already now I have to flip flop. The STAY victory suddenly got a lot more shaky and uncertain as mayor of London Boris Johnson announced his intention to campaign for a LEAVE vote. With Boris Johnson fighting as a prominent figure in the Brexit ranks the result is simply unpredictable.
The Boris Johnson Difference
The LEAVE campaign was mired by squabbles and division. Charismatic but divisive figure Nigel Farage seemed to be the natural but to many mainstream voters unacceptable natural leader of the movement. And Farage certainly has the power to pull in his special segment of voters, but as seen in the general elections he stirs up as much animosity as he does praise. As such, he was always a bad choice to lead a campaign that needs to win a national majority.
Several Tories were obviously pro Brexit too all along. A few businessmen as well. But Boris Johnson is a potential game changer in the race. Not only is Boris Johnson the most prominent name that could possibly join the brexit campaign, being the favorite next leader of the Conservative party. He is a legitimizing face. He makes it ok for even high ranking tories, business people and voters to side openly with the LEAVE side.
Plenty of voters and second tier politicians would not want be identified with a movement led by Nigel Farage or a similarly divisive face. Boris Johnson on the other hand is liked across the political spectrum. The legendary Boris Johnson buffoonerey, being locked out by his wife after cheating on her – live on tv – and having to walk off down the street from his house, for instance. It sounds silly. But it makes him a sort of likeable harmless household name and even leftwingers will go “Oh I dislike the Tories, but this is Boris”
Boris is a game changer! Is it enough to win for the LEAVE campaign ? I still doubt it. But the odds have certainly changed from 80-20 for the STAY vote to something much tighter!
Brexit Coming ?
Still. A brexit is not likely. The LEAVE campaign is up against formiddable forces. But with the entry of Boris Johnson defeat is no longer a given. And of course. Boris Johnson just made himself an even likelier next Tory leader. In or Out? Give your opinion!
Obviously. David Cameron could have done without another humiliation this week. After the fiasco in Bruxelles he must have hoped for a united conservative party at least backing him. Instead. He lost 6 cabinet members. And the next leader to be: Boris Johnson !
Brexit is closer today. But it is still a long shot. The odds may have changed. But the STAY vote is heavily favored. But if Boris Johnson puts his future career on the line for leaving, it might just happen. Exciting months to come.Read more
As expected UK prime minister David Cameron returned from Bruxelles with a deal giving the UK a few “special arrangements” in their relation to the European Union. Across the board David Cameron is being ridiculed for a minuscule list of achievements that basically add up to exactly nothing.
Right now David Cameron kissing EU boots is trending on Twitter and Facebook:
David Cameron Kissing Boots in Bruxelles.
Defeat for UK primeminister in EU as Brexit looms. The entire idea of the new agreement was for David Cameron to make demands on the EU. Go and do some tough bargaining and bringing home a deal he could sell as a grand victory for Britain over the EU. And finally use it to call a Brexit referendum in which he would support staying in the EU.
The point of the backwards maneuvre of calling a Brexit referendum only to recoommend staying in the EU would be to close the flank Nigel Farage and his rising UKIP party of EU-scepticals along with the anti-EU wing of the Tory party itself. However, the process has been rather derailed from the very start.
- David Cameron realised even before the negotiations that most of the ideal demands (such as the right to close the borders and cut off eastern european immigrants) would be impossible to get fulfilled. So he submitted a very modest list of small demands that he tried to sell a important. It failed.
- The negotiations in Bruxelles were supposed to look long, hard and brutal. And a war torn primeminister could return with the spoils of victory. Sadly. It didnt play like that. The demands were too small to cause much debate and opening bigger debates were too lethal with Poland on the warpath and Greece wanting to attach the refugee crisis. So, instead, Cameron was basically told “Yeah, take those breadcrumbs and stop whining, go away”
- He was supposed to return a victor. Full of conviction being able to point to his results and say: Look, I now support staying in the EU because of this victory. Instead, he came home empty handed to ridicule in newspapers, on the internet and in every news broadcast.
So, now there is gonna be a brexit referendum. And despite all this David Cameron is likely to get his “stay” vote. Right now the “leave” vote actually has a small lead in opinion polls but the referendum is loopsided. The entire establishment, the vast majority of the media, most of the businessworld, all political parties except UKIP and unlimited campaign funds are backing the Stay vote.
Very soon the scaremongering is gonna start from the Stay campaign. Look out for “Businesses will move abroad”, “Thousands of jobs will be lost”, “Criminals will benefit from Brexit” etc. It is the same playbook as the Scottish independence referendum and several others. And it works!
At this time – Stay 80% – Leave 20% is my take on the chances.Read more
Scottish minister of transport Stewart Stevenson has been frozen out of office. Not by his fellow minister, parliament or his civil servants, but by the utter chaos caused by snow in Scotland that he failed to find prevent or find any solutions to. Apparently conditions in the scottish highlands were rather awful, airports were closed, thousands were trapped on motorways between Edinburgh and Glasgow, some even stumbled on their way to the pub.
Of course, the scots dont put up with such things and Stewart Stevenson had to take full responsibility, pack his back bag and leave office. Read that again, the minister took responsibility, declared himself a failure and left. They may be frozen fools but the scots sure have more spine than most politicians.
Now think about George W. Bush and his handling of Katrina.Read more
London is currently experiencing the most agressive and violent riots in the streets since the Thatcher years. The demonstrations are lead, organised and carried out by students, presumably backed by militant anarchists, thucks and opportunist troublemakers. So far, several building such as the treasury has been utterly trashed, several police officers have been attacked and hospitalised, no other than prince Charles have had his car smashed up and so forth.
The students are angry, well furious, that the government havent disbanded tuition fees – and indeed tripled them instead. Now, they had probably expected that from the conservatives but the students largely carried the Liberal Democrats into parliament and government on a promise of tuition fees being abolished. Whichever way you look at it, either Nick Clegg lied to please the students during his campaign, and never intented to abolish the tuition fees, or he sold out along the way, dropped his promises and reversed his political stance 180degrees – in return for ministerial seats. Either way blatant lies, lost hopes and promises deliberately not kept have always been the fuel that lit political anger and inspired demonstrations in the streets. Nick Clegg has basically taken his party from a role of everybodies favorite pet, a faint hope for idealists and the naughty boy in class who dared speak out when others played tactical games, and bought himself seats in government at the expense of his entire political program (the voting reform was sold before he even took office remember). Former Liberal Democrat leaders and prominent figures voted against their own government in parliament, but thats barely a footnote to the students and libdem voters who feel thoroughly betrayed. In that sense, its probably fairly safe to assume Nick Clegg should enjoy his time in the ministeries, as its more than unlikely he will have a seat there after the next election.
Now does any or all of this justify rioting in the streets, destroying property and hurting people? Of course not. Political violence is a bad thing and innocent people having their belongings ruined or being hurt is obviously out of order. However, the anger, frustration and disappointment created by the actions of the british government and the Liberal Democrats in particular are to blame more than anything else, as one person I spoke to said:
“The students dont exactly make you proud to be british. But Clegg. I would have always voted Liberal Democrat. They were the only straight up idealist party. Now theres nobody left to vote for. I am not a student but Nick Clegg betrayed the voters and proved himself a liar like the rest of them. Never again.”
Taken to the streets by the people directly affected, such levels of disappointment can turn nasty. They shouldnt, but equally its hard to believe how it has surprised anyone that they did. And this may only be the beginning, the british are back on the streets, they are angry and ready to show it.Read more
Helle Thorning Schmidt – nicknamed Gucci Helle due to her taste for expensive handbags – has unseated danish primeminister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in a tightly contested election on september 15th 2011. Helle Thornings victory is historic in the sense that she will become the first ever female to become primeminister in Denmark.
Ironically, Helle Thorning actually suffered a hefty and bitter defeat in the elections losing more than 16.000 votes personally and a single seat for her party the Socialdemocrats. Further, her expected coalition partners from the socialist peoples party lost a staggering 7 seats. Luckily for the centre-left coalition bidding for the primeministers position for Helle Thorning her 2 other supporting parties – the radical left and the communist parties both made significant gains. In fact, the danish communist party lead by Johanne Smidt Nielsen managed to triple their public support to grab 8 extra seats for a total of 12. This is strongest support the communists have had in Denmark since just after the Second World War and speculations are already murmoring that the new female pm will have a rough ride ruling her coalition of liberals, socialdemocrats, oldfashioned socialists and communists.Read more
Former comedian and present sub mayor of Copenhagen Klaus Bondam of “Det Radikale Venstre” has decided to resign come first of january. Klaus Bondam is primarily known for his role in various danish comedies and a past as ceo of various Copenhagen theatres. In recent years however he has pursued a career in local politics for the centre/left danish party Det Radikale Venstre and obtained a role as sub mayor of the city.
Klaus Bondam has been under heavy criticism since the last election for making a deal on election night with the rightwing party Dansk Folkeparti (The Danish Peoples Party) to retain his seat as mayor. The comedy mayor resigns to take up a job in Bruxelles.Read more