“New political order”…”can’t be stopped

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US senior White House Staff have said  “there’s a new political order that’s being formed” and “if the party and the conservative movement are together, it can’t be stopped”.

BBC via RNZ: Bannon hails ‘new political order’

Steve Bannon vowed at a conservative conference to bring together those of “wide and sometimes divergent opinions” in support of “economic nationalism”.

“We are a nation with a culture and a reason for being,” the normally behind-the-scenes adviser told the audience.

He said the president was “maniacally focused” on pursuing his agenda.

“I’ve said that there’s a new political order that’s being formed out of this. And it’s still being formed,” he said.

The former editor of Breitbart News Network appeared with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

During his appearance on Thursday, Mr Bannon repeated his attack on the media, describing members of the press as the “opposition party” who are “always wrong” about Mr Trump.

“I think if you look at, you know, the opposition party,” Mr Bannon said, referring to the media.

It’s likely to be no coincidence that Breitbart fan Cameron Slater has been calling the New Zealand media “the opposition party” for the past few months. It’s a bit pathetic, but those trying to overreach for power often try to talk up enemies to go up against.

“How they portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and how they’re portraying the administration – it’s always wrong,” he told Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosted the conference.

Referring to the “corporatist, globalist media”, he said: “If you [the audience] think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight you are sadly mistaken.”

Pot calling kettle black with gross exaggerations saying the media are “always wrong”.

“The truth of the matter is [Trump] brought together the party and the conservative moment, and I’ve got to tell you, if the party and the conservative movement are together, it can’t be stopped,” Mr Priebus said.

With Republican majorities in both the Senate and Congress a lot can probably be done, but Trump’s administration has already found out that another check on power, the US courts, can at least slow them down.

UK update – Conservatives

Update #1 from Missy in the UK:


Conservatives:

The honeymoon is over for Theresa May as it appears that Cameron’s supporters are starting what one journalist has described as a concerted attack on May in order to destabilise her Government. It started with a speech given by George Osborne the other day criticising the Government’s economic policy and their response to Brexit, but the weekend is when it got interesting as David Cameron’s former Communications director, Craig Oliver – sorry make that SIR Craig Oliver (more on that later) – started flogging his book on the EU referendum, and parts have been leaked to the media.

Along with the predictable stuff about Johnson and Gove betraying the PM, and how they underestimated people’s views on immigration, and how they thought the economy would win it for them, there were a couple of pointed comments on Theresa May. For anyone here who has read my views regarding May’s referendum presence (or lack of) this will be no surprise.
According to Oliver it was suggested that May would back Brexit, so the PM called her had words and hung up on her, apparently satisfied he had made an impact. May then released a statement offering muted support to the Remain campaign.

Oliver accuses May of being a submarine during the referendum campaign – basically nowhere to be seen. She is being accused of not really supporting Remain, offering lukewarm support, and all the time plotting to bring down Cameron. Essentially he now believes that she only offered lukewarm support to the Remain side as she could not be seen going against the PM as Home Secretary.

Now, what the truth in this is, is anyone’s guess, but the idea that May was a Brexiter, but only supporting the PM as he was the PM is one that I have heard a number of times from UK people. Most say that May is a Brexiter from way back, and has always been a eurosceptic. This is leading some in the media to speculate it will be a hard Brexit, not a soft Brexit that many want as it will be almost like Remaining.

Another allegation in Oliver’s book is that May tried to stonewall the PM on the issue of immigration, he claims that she blocked his plans for an immigration brake, supposedly to help the leave campaign – and her future ambitions of being PM. However, many of her allies / supporters have come out today and denied this, saying it was May that wanted a brake on immigration and the PM ignored her.

One thing that is also notable is that May was apparently supposed to go with Cameron in February to try an negotiate a deal with the EU to try and stop the referendum, however, she ended up not going because she had a weekend away with her husband planned. This was when Cameron failed to get any significant concessions – especially in terms of free movement. Oliver suggests that this was deliberate so that she wouldn’t be tainted with the expected failed negotiations.

Book Controversies:

With regards to the book itself there are a number of controversies around it – and the author, summed up below:

  1. Craig Oliver is one of the people who received his knighthood when Cameron left office, it is considered by many to be tainted based on the way it was awarded.
  2. Many MP’s and Ministers have an active dislike of Oliver, and they are all airing their opinions now, the most common one is that many don’t think he was very good at his job, and also they have noted that he used to constantly write notes in meetings, and it was highly suspected that he was going to cash in on being the Communications Director for the PM.
  3. When a senior public official leaves their position they are not allowed (by law) to make any money from their position – or the knowledge gained whilst in the position – for at least 3 months, and then any position, or potential commercial matter, needs to be reviewed and approved. This means for anyone wanting to write a book they shouldn’t even be optioning it, let alone have it published and ready for sale, for at least 3 months, Oliver has been out of his job for 2 and a half months. It is viewed as being published with unseemly haste, but most recognise it is timed to be released before the Conservative Party Conference in a couple of weeks.

UK Update – Conservatives

Missy is back in action with a report from the UK and Europe. Report 1:


Conservatives

The big news today is that David Cameron has resigned from Parliament effective immediately. This has forced a by-election in his electorate, but it shouldn’t be an issue as it is a safe Conservative seat.

Last week Brexit Minister David Davis intimated that the UK would not be looking for a deal that necessary included remaining in the single market by saying it was very improbable that they would. He was rebuked by Theresa May, with a spokesperson saying that it is not right to be putting all their cards on the table before negotiations, and claimed that it was his opinion not Government policy. This has led some commentators to think that it will be a soft Brexit, whilst others think she is wanting to keep all negotiating points secret in order to execute a hard Brexit.

On Theresa May, and Brexit, she has stated that there will not be a points based immigration system after Brexit. Theresa May is not in favour of points based systems as she said it does not curb immigration, and does not necessarily bring in people who contribute to society, she is in favour of a work permit based system, where immigrants will have to have a job prior to migrating to the UK. This will include EU citizens as well.

 

UK politics – net approval ratings

It is likely to be years until the next UK election but Prime Minister Theresa May is polling with strong approval ratings compared to equally strong disapproval ratings for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is less popular than UKIP ex leader Nigel Farage.

David Farrar has a net approval rating list in May vs Corbyn

  1. Theresa May +34%
  2. Philip Hammond +4%
  3. Boris Johnson +3%
  4. Amber Rudd -6%
  5. Owen Smith -11%
  6. Nicola Sturgeon -11%
  7. Tim Farron -12%
  8. Nigel Farage -23%
  9. Jeremy Corbyn -31%

That looks good for May and the Conservatives, and awful for Corbyn and Labour. May even has a positive net approval rating amongst Labour voters of +4.2%, not far behind Corbyn’s +8.6% which is embarrassing for own party support.

The source, Polling Digest, doesn’t  give Owen Smith’s approval rating amongst Labour voters, but he is less negative on -11% than Corbyn’s -31% with all voters. Smith is challenging Corbyn for leadership of Labour.

UK update

A catch up from Missy in the UK:


Hi All, okay, I know I have been a little MIA again, my only excuse is it is summer (yay) and I have been busy, and away, oh, and the UK seem to have been consumed by a little thing called the Olympics. :)

So, politics wise in the UK, it is still quiet, though a few things seem to have popped up. A very quick summary of the main points – I will miss some stuff I know, but essentially it doesn’t really get going again for another week or two, this weekend is the late summer bank holiday weekend, which is essentially like the Wellington/Auckland Anniversary weekends in signalling the back to work for most folks.

So, the summary:

Labour

The leadership race has been trucking along, with the same accusations, allegations, and insults as in the lead up. Sadiq Khan appeared at a leadership hustings, and was booed by Corbyn supporters – he has put his support behind Owen Smith. Owen Smith however hasn’t got off lightly, he has been pilloried by suggesting that the UK need to ‘get around the table’ with ISIS, as you can imagine that has not gone down well, to be fair it didn’t go down well when Corbyn suggested something similar a number of months ago, but he was smarter in saying it during the referendum campaign so it kind of got overlooked.

Corbyn is allegedly planning moves that could further damage the Labour Party (if that is possible), it is understood that if Corbyn wins the leadership election he will give more say to the members on policy making through email polls and plebiscites, this will further diminish the views of PLP. As much of the membership is now dominated by Corbyn supporters, this is a move that will boost his far left agenda within the party – it could also spell the end of the party.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/22/jeremy-corbyn-to-bypass-critical-mps-by-polling-labour-members-o/

Conservatives

As MPs head back from holiday there has been some noise from Conservatives. Most notably over the weekend, it has come out who advised Theresa May to use the EU citizens as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations, apparently all leadership contenders were advised to do that, but only May went with it, and now there is pressure on May again to guarantee the status of EU citizens in the UK – without having the status of UK citizens in the EU guaranteed I might add. This is however, in my opinion, one area that I think Theresa May has been smart, she would go into negotiations in a weaker position if she gave the guarantee to EU citizens, without having guaranteed the status of UK citizens, and I think the majority of people – especially those that voted Leave – get this and support her stance on it, it seems to be the vocal minority on social media, and in the MSM, that don’t agree.

EU

Germany, France, and Italy are holding a summit at the moment to discuss the way forward for the EU, and in doing so have stated the intent for closer ties on defence, intelligence, and security. This could be taken by some to confirm some of the fears of many on the Leave side who claimed that the EU had plans for more integrated defence which will, by default, lead to greater integration of Foreign Policy, thus removing more policy making and independence from sovereign nations.

Juncker has come out and claimed that borders are the worst invention ever, yet again pushing for more open borders in the EU. He has also said that there needs to be greater integration and a stronger EU in order to curb rising nationalism. This shows arrogance, stupidity, or blindness – or a combination of all three, on the part of Juncker. He does not seem to understand – or want to understand – that much of the rise in nationalism in Europe is in response to greater EU integration. Most of the nationalist parties in Europe are also anti EU parties, many citing the economic situation, open borders, and increasing control of the EU as reasons for their existence – also reasons why they are getting the support.

And on other EU news, the EU Parliament sent a tweet congratulating European medal winners at the olympics, accompanied by a graphic suggesting that the EU ‘won’ the olympics with the most medals. This of course has been mocked online in the UK.

https://twitter.com/Europarl_EN/status/76769196092

UK update – May poll

Missy spoke too soon yesterday saying her UK updates were just about done.


Wow, what a day, after thinking things were going to slow down a bit as everyone heads into summer holidays, today has been one of event after event, and so the goings on in UK politics seems a little tame.

Terrorism

So, to recap, today started with news of a Somali Migrant in ‘The Jungle’ in Calais being hacked to death by an Afghan migrant in the early hours, then there was the horrific attack on a priest in a church by two ISIS terrorists, after that a German Doctor was shot and killed (not terrorist related), then there was the suicide bombings in Mogadishu, and most recently I have seen a report of a shooting in Sweden in an area that has a high immigrant population (the victim was shot in the leg, so has survived).

Interestingly at least a couple of these matters would not make international news, but with the recent events in Europe over the last few days everything like this is being reported here in the UK.

Whilst the French attack in particular has taken up most of the media coverage it hasn’t been a completely uneventful day in the UK – though nothing too dramatic.

Labour in court

There are currently two cases relating to the Labour leadership race before the courts, and today the first one had a hearing. A Labour donor is taking the Labour Party to court over the automatic inclusion of Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot paper. It is claimed that Labour rules were misapplied, and there is no provision for the Labour leader to be automatically on the ballot paper.

In one report I read earlier today it said that in the case being put forward the argument stated that it is in the job description for the Leader to maintain the support of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The donor bringing the case has denied that he is trying to get Corbyn removed from the ballot paper, just stating that he should require the same number of nominations as any other candidate, a ruling is expected on Thursday.

If the case is ruled against the Labour party this will cause problems for Corbyn as he will most likely not be able to get the nominations required.

Conservatives at Thatcher level in polls

And in other news, the first poll since Theresa May took over was released today, with Conservatives at the same levels that they were at when Margaret Thatcher won with a landslide, I will have to go and hunt the exact numbers again, but will sort them soon.

It is anticipated that after this poll Labour could lose up to 44 seats – maybe it is a good time for Theresa May to call a snap election, she would most likely win, and some pundits suggest she could get a 100 seat majority, which would consolidate her position.


So, the latest poll figures are:

  • Conservatives 43%
  • Labour 27%
  • UKIP 13%
  • Lib Dems 8%
  • Greens 4%
  • SNP 4%

The poll is done by a company called ICM, and from what I can gather it is for the Guardian.
Remembering that UK has FPP so the percentages don’t mean the same thing as in NZ, however, most analysis seems to suggest that Labour would lose 40+ seats.

The Conservatives have a 16% lead overall, but when it is broken down they have a 21% lead in England which is where the majority of the marginal seats are.

Whichever way anyone looks at it, this is very bad for Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn still seems to have his head in the sand, and is blaming others – not him.


Also:

Independent: Theresa May morphing into 1979 Margaret Thatcher in eyes of public, poll finds

Polling data by YouGov on the current Prime Minister has been analysed in relation to Ipsos Mori data on how former leader Ms Thatcher was viewed at two different points – just before her election in April 1979 and six years into her premiership, in October 1985.

Analysis shows Ms May is within three percentage points of th 1979-era Ms Thatcher in five out of eight criteria.

may-thatcher-v3-3-sec

The research notes: “The two areas which Theresa May matches the elder Thatcher are on capability as a leader and experience – in both cases areas where you would expect a person’s performance to improve with time.

“The areas in which she matches the younger Thatcher, however, are personality based and areas which you would expect to see decline the longer a politician is incumbent.

“In this sense, Theresa May has the best of both worlds: her governmental capability and experience are acknowledged by voters, whilst the negative personal perceptions associated with a lengthy incumbency are not present – at least yet.”

UK update

Missy’s UK update


Conservatives:

David Cameron followed tradition and did a list of resignation honours – essentially a pile of people getting honours or peerages as payment for their loyalty to Cameron. Interestingly some of the honours on his list have reportedly been blocked by Whitehall for ethical reasons. The list has not been released as yet, so who is on it, what they were in line to get, and the reasons for being blocked are all speculation.

This is seen by some as a move by the Cabinet Office, and others in Whitehall to try and reverse the view of the public of cronyism. It is yet another thing that has marred David Cameron’s exit from Downing Street.

As expected Hollande has indeed demanded that the UK trigger article 50 immediately, Theresa May has said the UK will not rush into it and will only trigger article 50 when the groundwork for Brexit has been completed. Of course this is taking much longer than it should because Cameron refused to let any Government department prepare any plans in the event of a Brexit vote.

Labour:

Corbyn is coming under increasing pressure in the media, and from his MPs today.
First an MP (sorry can’t remember his name at the moment) has tweeted several tweets accusing Jeremy Corbyn of trying to bully him by threatening to call his father to put pressure on him to fall into line.

The father of the MP in question was a Sinn Fein councillor, but is unknown to Corbyn, it is believed that Corbyn thought that as the MP’s father was Sinn Fein he would share similar political views and therefore agree to put pressure on the MP.

In the end Corbyn did not call the MP’s father, which is apparently just as well, as the MP in question said his father would not be happy about such a thing. Corbyn’s office denies this.

Second, 45 Female MP’s have written to Corbyn demanding he does more to stop the abuse from his supporters. They have asked him to sign a pledge to stop the rape threats, death threats, and other forms of intimidation they have suffered over the last few weeks. They have also said he has failed in his duty of care by opposing a secret ballot for a board vote, despite the female MP’s pleas after receiving intimidating messages.

It seems that Corbyn’s kinder, gentler politics is only for those that agree with him.

Lastly, Len McClusky (Unite Union) has gone conspiracy theorist by claiming that the threats being received by female MPs are actually from MI5 agents pretending to be Corbyn supporters in order to undermine him.

And as of about an hour or so ago the news is once again dominated by overseas events with the shooting in Munich.


The Munich shooting will be covered in the next post here.

Update from the UK

Another welcome update from Missy in the UK:


First my apologies for yesterday’s brief bit, I had a work function, and typed it quickly on the way home – on my phone, so not sure if it was coherent! :)

Today shows that things – politically anyway – are settling a bit, and the news headlines have moved onto that very British of subjects – the weather – however, there has been some interesting matters.

Conservatives:

Theresa May had her first Prime Minister’s Questions, and by most reports she wiped the floor with the opposition, looking at the highlights she managed to get a couple of good hits on them, including suggesting Corbyn is an unscrupulous boss. The Telegraph refers to it as May going ‘full Thatcher’.

Remind you of anybody? At her first PMQs, Theresa May goes full Thatcher

After PMQs May headed to Berlin to meet with Angela Merkel, and in a boost for May, Merkel is reported as saying Britain is right to pause and wait before triggering formal Brexit talks. This won’t go down well with Juncker who wants the talks over with sooner rather than later, and is trying to bully the UK into getting on with it.

And a nice summary of Theresa May’s best bits from today:

As if Labour’s week couldn’t get worse, Theresa May uses Jeremy Corbyn as a punching bag at PMQs

Labour:

No change really – still a mess! I have heard nothing more on whether Corbyn will be going ahead with suing the NEC, but that may just be a back up plan if he loses the leadership election. I would say he is probably a little concerned now with Eagle pulling out, as he would be hoping that the votes against him would be split and he would win that way, but now they won’t be, it lessens his chances.

The Guardian did a survey of more than 100 constituencies across the UK, and the results show a cooling of support for Corbyn amongst Labour supporters, this could be of concern for his supporters if those surveyed are either members, or have signed up as supporters.

Labour supporters have cooled on Corbyn, Guardian survey finds

On the supporters thing with the Labour Party, as the cost was put up to 25GBP it was seen as too expensive for many Corbyn supporters, and so one of his supporters started crowd funding to raise money for those who joined within the last 6 months to pay the 25GBP and be able to vote. Unfortunately for her (and maybe Corbyn) it is against the rules of the Labour Party as it was seen as buying support for a candidate, despite the woman who started it claiming that those that used the money could vote for who they liked. Anyway, she now has to pay the money back and isn’t allowed to give it to anyone to use to join Labour as a supporter.

Brexit:

Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee have said Cameron’s Government committed an act of gross negligence by instructing Whitehall to not make any contingency plans for a Brexit vote. This will be another blow to Cameron over the EU referendum.

Cameron accused of ‘gross negligence’ over Brexit contingency plans

 

 

Democracy compared

Anthony Robins posted on Democracy vs efficiency  at The Standard:

Events in England really highlight the different processes of the two main parties. The Conservatives have completed their leadership transition, Labour’s contest has barely begun. Which model is best?

Nor surprisingly Robins thinks Labour is best.

I believe in the Labour model – both here and in the UK – as I think anyone who believes in democracy should.

It depends on what sort of democracy you believe in. Most democracies have some degree of representative democracy – where you elect people to represent you and make decisions for the people – and relatively limited options for direct democracy (where the majority of people make the decisions via votes) beyond occasional elections.

Two little say annoys the hell out of people, but too much say too often can bog down and even paralyse the functioning of a government.

Labour have barely started the challenge process in their (largely) democratic but cumbersome manner – an open selection, with real input from the members.

But there is no doubt that it is cumbersome, it paralysed (and will continue to paralyse) UK Labour at a time when it should have been moving decisively.

Robins understands the problems with a cumbersome democratic process (he doesn’t mention the game playing and manipulation of the processes going on with UK Labour).

There needs to be a counter-narrative. As the UK accepts the “democratic” Brexit vote, it should also accept and celebrate the democratic Labour process. Yes it’s cumbersome, but it involves we the people in politics, when it is obvious that the Tory “closed doors” model has been undermining democratic participation for decades.

This is naive inaccurate partisan bollocks.

Missy commented on Robins’ post yesterday:


I braved the swamp, and dipped my toe (figuratively, not literally) into The Standard. Anthony Robbins has done a post on the differences between the UK Labour leadership and the Conservative Leadership change.

His post however shows exactly how little he has either followed – or understood – the differences. He (naturally) extols the virtues of Labour’s way as being more democratic in that the members can vote, whilst the Conservatives did it behind closed doors quickly in an undemocratic manner (by inference, he didn’t actually state it was undemocratic). Anthony also seems to have overlooked the fact that of the final two candidates Leadsom dropped out, leaving only one candidate, which made it more efficient in terms of getting a new leader in place this time around.

Whilst he acknowledges the Labour party system is cumbersome, he doesn’t seem to think of what may happen if they have to run one of these leadership elections if they are ever in Government.

So lets look at the two ways (as I understand it) that these parties vote for their leaders. (disclaimer: I haven’t read the party rules on either of these parties, and therefore am getting my knowledge from how the media have reported it, so could be wrong on some facts).

Nominations:

Labour: Leaders are nominated to the NEC, requiring a certain percentage of support from the Parliamentary Labour Party, (in this case it worked out to be 50 MPs), so essentially they need to have some support to be nominated.

Conservatives: I am not sure how this happens, but from the way it was done this time it doesn’t look like they actually need to be nominated by anyone, they can just nominate themselves – or rather they declare an interest in standing.

Voting:

Labour: I am not sure exactly, but I believe that Labour run a one member one vote system, so there is no weighting like in NZ.

Conservatives: The Conservatives have a two part vote, the MPs get to vote on the candidates, and after their vote the two that are left go to the membership. This means that the MPs get a say in who their leader will be. I am not sure how many times the MPs vote, this time it was twice, but I am not sure if they would have more if there were more candidates, or less if there were less.

Keeping in mind the leader of the party is leading the MPs it seems eminently sensible that the MPs get a reasonable say in who may end up being the leader, the members after all do not have to spend all week with the leader, nor do they have to work for or with them. Based on this I think the Conservatives have a better system for the election of a leader in that the MPs get a say in who may be the leader, but the membership gets the final say.


 

There are different ways of doing democracy, some better than others, and which is the best may vary in different circumstances.

If a country is in chaos or crisis decisive leadership on behalf of the people can be a far better bet than trying to get thousands or millions of people to understand complex situations and make complex decisions.

 

UK politics update

Missy’s latest update from the UK:


So, things are (sort of) settling, but there have been a couple of interesting developments today.

Brexit:

Despite the Government ruling there will be no 2nd referendum, the House of Commons petition council have ruled that the petition for the 2nd referendum must be debated, the date for the debate is set down as 5 September.

There has been one ‘remain’ winner as Larry the cat gets to stay at No. 10, as he is considered a civil service cat, not the Cameron’s cat.

The pound and sharemarket have rallied, and are starting to stabilise, I imagine this is in response to the stability in leadership in the UK.

Theresa May has stated that her priority is to stop free movement of people. She appears to understand that this will be a non-negotiable matter for those that voted leave, and seems to be happy to make it part of the negotiations. Only time will tell how successful she is with it.

Conservatives:

Today was David Cameron’s last cabinet meeting as PM, from all accounts an emotional time – wonder if he took a cake for his last day?

The movers have been spotted in Downing street, no-one is sure where David Cameron will be living for the next few weeks. His house in London is still occupied, the tenants have until September to move out, since he wasn’t expecting to need it so soon, he can’t go home to Oxfordshire yet as there is still a couple of weeks of school and 70miles is too far for the kids to commute to school.

Theresa May is expected to name her new cabinet tomorrow night.

Theresa May has ruled out an early election. This is consistent with her views when she announced her candidacy for the leadership, so not a surprise.

Labour:

The NEC are voting on whether Corbyn should be on the leadership ballot automatically without getting 51 supporters. There was a debate on whether this would be an open vote, or a secret ballot, the Corbyn supporters were apparently happy for it to be open, but many have expressed fear of intimidation, bullying, and reprisals if it is, and have said it should be a secret ballot. I read a report where they said the decider was when two female members of the NEC expressed their concern at how Corbyn’s supporters would behave towards those that voted against the motion.

Angela Eagle’s office was vandalised overnight or this morning, and a meeting she was holding today had to move locations as the original location was threatened by Corbyn Supporters.

Corbyn claims to have received death threats earlier this week – though I think there are some (except the hard line Corbynistas) that may question this as much of the threats, intimidation, and violence directed at Labour MP’s has come from Corbyn supporters, I for one am inclined to believe him, it seems the left (both sides of it) are getting very very nasty.

Angela Eagle has called on Jeremy Corbyn to call out the bullying and put a stop to it, I don’t think this will happen, he says the right things, but in a way that does not condemn those that are doing this, or distancing himself from his supporters. It is going to be a very nasty battle for the Labour leadership.