The G-7 – a lesson on the consequences of Brexit
It was to be expected. The Telegraph has this: “Boris Johnson fails to secure backing of the G7 nations for swift sanctions against Russia and Syria“. But it is good to see that the Telegraph also has this piece: “Boris Johnson ‘not to blame’ for failed Russia sanctions at the G7, former foreign minister says“. As the articles make clear, Germany, Italy and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs all rejected the proposals of Clown Boris.
The fact is that EU Member States always seek to have a united position before participating in wider meetings such as the G-7. That’s is encouraged by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Formerly, by virtue of the “special relationship” with the USA, a British Foreign Secretary had considerable influence in the development of any EU foreign policy stance.
Now, by reason of the Brexit notification, the UK is no longer an insider in the EU looking out, but an off-shore outsider looking in.
Mrs May had wished to continue to play a central role in EU affairs until the UK ceased to be a Member state, but at her first EU summit last October she was told in no uncertain terms that this would not be possible – see: “May: UK will remain at centre of EU decision-making until Brexit – Prime minister angers European leaders at first EU summit by saying Britain wants to maintain central role until it leaves“.
The Wicked Witch and her Clown Boris
There are some stories about the relationship between the Prime Minister and her Foreign Secretary. The Guardian’s Martin Kettle writes this: “Boris Johnson is largely toothless. And that’s just how Theresa May likes it“. Mr Kettle makes these points:
- British foreign secretaries are not in charge of British foreign policy. British prime ministers are their own foreign secretaries now, and have been since at least Margaret Thatcher’s time.
- There remain big differences between the prime minister, who is conscientious and hardworking to a fault, and her foreign secretary, who has a record of being lazy and winging it
- The main reason why May is happy with Johnson being where he is concerns domestic politics. The permanently ambitious Johnson remains May’s chief potential rival. With Brexit now beginning to take shape, she wants him in the government tent, not outside it.
The Independent’s John Rentoul has a similar piece: “Is Boris Johnson’s blunder proof that he’s a political court jester, or a sign that he knows he will never be PM?“:-
- The Foreign Secretary is the second-most popular politician in Britain, overtaken only, when she became Prime Minister, by Theresa May herself.
- Johnson has been unsackable for the past nine months, as the most important member of the Brexit ring of steel around the PM in the Cabinet. Now that May has invoked Article 50, however, she does not need her human shield so much, although it would still be damaging to her to lose him.
Interestingly, Paul Goodman writes on the Conservative Home website: “May has Johnson exactly where she wants him” – and this may well be a correct assessment.
The Guardian has this: “Boris Johnson is a liability for Britain, says John McDonnell – Shadow chancellor says foreign secretary’s ‘poor judgment’ undermines UK credibility, adding that even cabinet has no confidence in him“.
This article is a bad case of the pot calling the kettle black
Any list of the people undermining the UK’s credibility should have the Leader of the Labour Party right at the top of the list.
The Independent carries this piece by Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary: “Theresa May’s Brexit plan makes no sense for Britain but all the sense in the world for internal Tory politics – The Prime Minister is scared stiff of the hard right of her party – the people who campaigned for Brexit, helped destroy David Cameron, and would destroy her if she questioned their ideology“.
As his Wikipedia entry shows, Mr Umunna is a pretty high-powered guy. An example of his ability is that he had the good sense to resign from the Shadow Cabinet and return to the back benches when the dreadful Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Labour leader.
Just yesterday the Independent reported “Theresa May takes 37-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn in new poll – The poll of more than 10,000 British adults found that 55 per cent think the current Prime Minister is the best choice for the role“. Analysis of the impact of Brexit by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft found that 55 per cent of the poll of more than 10,000 UK adult respondents believe the current Prime Minister is the best choice for the role compared to 18 per cent who favour Mr Corbyn. In a further blow to the Labour leader, only 38 per cent of his party’s supporters would prefer him in Downing St, compared to 29 per cent who believe Ms May is more suited to the job. 33 per cent said they do not know.
Predictions are that Labour will lose between 50 and 100 seats in the local government elections in May. With HM Opposition in such disarray, whom can we turn to?
Tim Farron to the Rescue?
The Guardian has this: “Brexit vote is making UK a laughing stock abroad, says Tim Farron – Liberal Democrat leader says ‘malevolent forces’ such as Nigel Farage are tarnishing Britain’s image after EU referendum“. The opening sets the tone for the article:
“There is no doubt about it: this Conservative Government is hurtling like a runaway train towards a hard, ideological Brexit, with a weak Prime Minister lacking the guts to stand up to the reckless right-wingers sitting in the driving seat.”
Credence is given to this by this in the Financial Times: “Theresa May ensures only Brexit key allows entry to No 10 – Business leaders find access to PM elusive and there are unwritten rules“.
The sooner the sane remainers in the Conservative Party, the more sensible people in the Labour Party, the members of the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats make common cause, the better.