Feeds:
Inlägg
Kommentarer

Archive for maj, 2016

VAL 2016 | Mycket har skrivits om att Labour tog hem segern i borgmästarvalet i London. Men en större överraskningen var valet i Skottland.

Ruth Davidson

Där lyckades Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – eller Scottish Conservatives till vardags – gå förbi Labour och bli det största oppositionspartiet.

Efter valet skrev partiledaren Ruth Davidson en krönika om sina upplevelser från valrörelsen. Den gav en bra bild av hur det känns att kampanja på gator och torg, dag in och dag ut.

”I can barely believe it, but I have to. I couldn’t be happier, yet I’m empty inside”, skrev hon i The Spectator när valframgången var ett faktum. Resultatet, trettioen ledamöter, var mer än dubbelt mot tidigare.

On Thursday morning I’m woken by day three of a tension headache firing tentacles up the back of my neck and the base of my skull then burrowing into the cortex beneath. I am drenched in sweat, with dread balled in my stomach. My back throbs thanks to the ire of a decade-old spine break that has never fully healed. I spit blood, mixed with toothpaste, into the sink. My skin has broken out into the kind of volcanic fury not seen since my teenage years and my nails are bitten down to stumps. I love election campaigns. But polling days are their own special torture.

Scots will have had two referendums and two elections in 21 months, which means I’ve spent years on the road. These are hard, gruelling empty miles filled with limp service-station sandwiches and buttressed by soul-sapping chain hotel rooms. And I love it. The sheer joy of criss-crossing the country, the chance encounters, the backs slapped and hands shaken. For a geek like me — thirsty to learn new things at every stop, in every conversation and about every dot on the map we visit — it’s an opportunity to get drunk on the wonder of the new. Colleagues become the sort of brothers-in-arms that only months of in-the-trenches hard graft can bring. But every campaign has a reckoning. Elections are reports card that judge all of us. However much we can plead the mitigation of circumstances, momentum or the actions of others, there’s no escaping the verdict of votes cast.

I’ve marched my team of Scots Tories to the top of the mountain and — God love them — they’ve followed me to a man. Confronting the final 40-hour shift, I felt the burden of that reckoning heavily. Dante should have had a special circle of hell reserved for those who dare to dream at elections, and then see those dreams shot down and the corpses strafed to make sure.

I walk into the polling station with Jen, my partner, clutching her hand as a bank of photographers flash us. Once inside, I duck behind a pillar so they don’t clock that I’ve no vote to cast (mine went by post weeks ago). I then spend my hours as a sentry at various polling stations in a seat I hope to win, campaigning with my fixed air-hostess smile and saying a cheery ‘good morning’ every three seconds as voters filter past. I try to keep score. The ones stopping to chat are a mental mark in the ‘for’ column. Those who ignore me and stare at their feet are in the ‘against’. Going by mental maths, it’s close, but the Presbyterian Scot in me knows it’s worse to hope. It’s the hope that kills you.

Weather tales and gossip are traded within the team like football stickers. ‘It’s raining in Dumfries but sunny in Annan. That’s got to be good for us.’ ‘Mebbe, but what about Biggar?’ As the close of poll ticks nears, the frenetic activity seems pointless; if someone hasn’t voted by 9.40 p.m., they probably won’t by 10 p.m. It doesn’t stop our pace of campaigning stepping up, just in case. At 10 p.m. the window creaks, clangs and is bolted.

This is Schrödinger’s result time: any outcome is possible. So I pull on my suit for the count at Edinburgh Central, sweating under the starch. I follow the old rule: never jinx an election result by writing an acceptance speech. My crumpled concession notes will have to do. As I’m dragged from gantry point to gantry point, across television networks, my picture of election night is more fractured than those watching at home. One result relayed by phone brings a guttural yelp of ‘fucking yaaassssss!!!’ It is a bit too loud. Half a dozen photographers canter over. I refix the mask and hide behind my suit.

Läs mer: ”Ruth Davidson: I’m a John Major Conservative but we are ‘on probation’ in Scotland”, The Telegraph.

Bild: Getty Images. ”Ruth met voters in an Edinburgh pub […]” Från partiets Facebooksida.

Annonser

Read Full Post »

EKONOMI | Hur stort inflytande har en amerikansk president på den ekonomiska utvecklingen i en modern ekonomi?

The New York Times Magazine - 1 Maj 2016

Arbetslösheten i USA ligger på fem procent. Underskottet minskar och BNP ökar. Trots detta känner sig många amerikaner att utvecklingen går i fel riktning.

Frågan är om president Barack Obama borde klarat av att kommunicera en mer positiv bild av vad som uppnåtts under hans tid i Vita huset – detta trots att hans politiska motståndare inte har vikt en tum i sin nattsvarta beskrivning av den ekonomiska utvecklingen.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, finansiell kolumnist, skriver i The New York Times Magazine om det ekonomiska arv som Barack Obamas sannolikt lämnar efter sig.

Often in our conversations, the president expressed a surprising degree of identification with America’s business leaders. “If I hadn’t gone into politics and public service,” Obama told me, “the challenges of creating a business and growing a business and making it work would probably be the thing that was most interesting to me.” His showy embrace of capitalism was especially notable given his fractious relationship with Wall Street and the business community for much of his first term.

In December 2009, Obama was not reluctant to chastise bankers. “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers on Wall Street,” he told Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes.” “The people on Wall Street still don’t get it. They don’t get it. They’re still puzzled, ‘Why is it that people are mad at the banks?’ ”

Given the national mood at the time, Obama’s words shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the business leaders. But the financial sector had buoyed Obama’s campaign, giving him $16 million in political support, nearly twice what McCain received from it, and some executives responded to his new populism in emotional terms. “It’s a war,” Stephen Schwarzman, a co-founder of Blackstone Group, the giant private-equity firm, said of Obama in 2010 and his effort to close a tax loophole that benefited the industry. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” (Schwarzman later apologized.) Others seemed more concerned with the language itself. In 2011, Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, wrote a public letter to Obama, saying: “The divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them. It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents.”

When I asked him about these reactions, Obama laughed. The criticism he leveled at Wall Street “was extraordinarily mild,” he said, but “it hurt their feelings. I would have some of them say to me, ‘You know, my son came home and asked me, ‘Am I a fat cat?’ ” He laughed again.

Obama’s rhetoric does seem mild, at least compared with the withering contempt of, say, Franklin Roosevelt, who, laying out the objectives for the second stage of the New Deal in 1936, said that reckless bankers and speculators are “unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” Obama, to the contrary, seems to find their hatred irritating. “One of the constants that I’ve had to deal with over the last few years is folks on Wall Street complaining even as the stock market went from in the 6,000s to 16,000 or 17,000,” he said. “They’d be constantly complaining about our economic policies. That’s not rooted in anything they’re experiencing; it has to do with ideology and their aggravations about higher taxes.”

[…]

It has always been the case that voters credit or, more often, blame the president for the nation’s economic performance. But it is also the case that the president generally has considerably less sway to move the economy than even he might like to acknowledge. And as the economy continues to disperse, that sway may be diminishing further. A president has less power than ever, in either a hard- power (legal/regulatory) or soft-power (cultural) sense, over American chief executives, let alone over the chief executives of multinationals based in France or China or other places where many U.S. employers make their headquarters.

[…]

Obama considered the problem from a political perspective. “In some ways,” he said, “engaging in those hard changes that we need to make to create a more nimble, dynamic economy doesn’t yield immediate benefits and can seem like a distraction or an effort to undermine a bygone era that doesn’t exist. And that then feeds, both on the left and the right, a temptation to say, ‘If we could just go back to an era in which our borders were closed,’ or ‘If we could just go back to a time when everybody had a defined-benefit plan,’ or ‘We could just go back to a time when there wasn’t any immigrant that was taking my job, things would be O.K.’ ” He didn’t mention Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders by name, but the implications were obvious.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 1 maj 2016.

Read Full Post »

Aktuellt nr 5 1962 John F. Kennedy

JOHN KENNEDY

USA:s PRESIDENT

En hjälte föddes

i Stilla Havet

En fantastisk artikelserie börjar

Tidskriftsomslag: Aktuellt ur Levande Livet, nr 5, 1962 (pris 95 öre, oms inräknad)

Read Full Post »

USA | Barack Obamas utrikespolitik har uppfattats av många som både motsägelsefull och otydlig. Någon röd tråd har varit svår att se.

The Atlantic April 2016

Jeffrey Goldberg, nationell korrespondent för The Atlantic, har träffat presidenten vid ett flertal sedan det första intervjutillfället 2006 när han träffade den dåvarande senatorn från Illinois.

Under Goldbergs senaste möte med presidenten i Vita huset redogjorde Obama bl.a. för hur han ser på USA:s roll i världen och vilken utrikes- och säkerhetspolitisk skola han anser sig ligga närmast.

Något förvånande är att Obama är en stor anhängare till den doktrin som i akademiska kretsar brukar kallas den realistiska skolan. Det är en inriktning som präglade president Richard Nixon och Henry Kissinger under deras tid i Vita huset.

I Obamas fall lär det dock mest vara Brent Scowcroft, nationell säkerhetsrådgivare till president George H. W. Bush, som stått för inspirationen.

I den nitton sidor långa essän i The Atlantic skrev Goldberg bl.a. följande:

Obama, unlike liberal interventionists, is an admirer of the foreign-policy realism of President George H. W. Bush and, in particular, of Bush’s national-security adviser, Brent Scowcroft (“I love that guy,” Obama once told me). Bush and Scowcroft removed Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, and they deftly managed the disintegration of the Soviet Union; Scowcroft also, on Bush’s behalf, toasted the leaders of China shortly after the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. As Obama was writing his campaign manifesto, The Audacity of Hope, in 2006, Susan Rice, then an informal adviser, felt it necessary to remind him to include at least one line of praise for the foreign policy of President Bill Clinton, to partially balance the praise he showered on Bush and Scowcroft.

[…]

One day, over lunch in the Oval Office dining room, I asked the president how he thought his foreign policy might be understood by historians. He started by describing for me a four-box grid representing the main schools of American foreign-policy thought. One box he called isolationism, which he dismissed out of hand. “The world is ever-shrinking,” he said. “Withdrawal is untenable.” The other boxes he labeled realism, liberal interventionism, and internationalism. “I suppose you could call me a realist in believing we can’t, at any given moment, relieve all the world’s misery,” he said. “We have to choose where we can make a real impact.” He also noted that he was quite obviously an internationalist, devoted as he is to strengthening multilateral organizations and international norms.

I told him my impression was that the various traumas of the past seven years have, if anything, intensified his commitment to realist-driven restraint. Had nearly two full terms in the White House soured him on interventionism?

“For all of our warts, the United States has clearly been a force for good in the world,” he said. “If you compare us to previous superpowers, we act less on the basis of naked self-interest, and have been interested in establishing norms that benefit everyone. If it is possible to do good at a bearable cost, to save lives, we will do it.”

If a crisis, or a humanitarian catastrophe, does not meet his stringent standard for what constitutes a direct national-security threat, Obama said, he doesn’t believe that he should be forced into silence. He is not so much the realist, he suggested, that he won’t pass judgment on other leaders. Though he has so far ruled out the use of direct American power to depose Assad, he was not wrong, he argued, to call on Assad to go. “Oftentimes when you get critics of our Syria policy, one of the things that they’ll point out is ‘You called for Assad to go, but you didn’t force him to go. You did not invade.’ And the notion is that if you weren’t going to overthrow the regime, you shouldn’t have said anything. That’s a weird argument to me, the notion that if we use our moral authority to say ‘This is a brutal regime, and this is not how a leader should treat his people,’ once you do that, you are obliged to invade the country and install a government you prefer.”

“I am very much the internationalist,” Obama said in a later conversation. “And I am also an idealist insofar as I believe that we should be promoting values, like democracy and human rights and norms and values, because not only do they serve our interests the more people adopt values that we share—in the same way that, economically, if people adopt rule of law and property rights and so forth, that is to our advantage—but because it makes the world a better place. And I’m willing to say that in a very corny way, and in a way that probably Brent Scowcroft would not say.

“Having said that,” he continued, “I also believe that the world is a tough, complicated, messy, mean place, and full of hardship and tragedy. And in order to advance both our security interests and those ideals and values that we care about, we’ve got to be hardheaded at the same time as we’re bighearted, and pick and choose our spots, and recognize that there are going to be times where the best that we can do is to shine a spotlight on something that’s terrible, but not believe that we can automatically solve it. There are going to be times where our security interests conflict with our concerns about human rights. There are going to be times where we can do something about innocent people being killed, but there are going to be times where we can’t.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, april 2016.

Read Full Post »

IMAGE | Miljöpartiet krishanterar. Både inom och utanför Miljöpartiet har man sökt svaret på frågan vad som hänt med partiet.

Fokus 22-28 april 2016

Ett svar har varit valet av politisk strategi. ”De dubbla budskapen har varit en genomtänkt del av miljöpartiets strategi”, konstaterar t.ex. Maggie Strömberg i Fokus.

Partiet har konsekvent kritiserat den politik man själva är med om att ta beslut om i regeringen. Strömberg tycker sig se att strategin fungerar bra på lokalplanet men inte inom rikspolitiken.

På riksnivå är dubbelstrategin svårare. Miljöpartiet har hela tiden vetat att regerandet skulle innebära svåra kompromisser. Små partier i koalitionsregering straffas nästan alltid av väljarna. Tanken var att miljöpartiet skulle undvika det genom att ministrarna skulle stå upp för regeringens linje medan partisekreterare, riksdagsledamöter och andra i stället skulle framföra vad partiet egentligen ville. Om man samtidigt satsade på mer politikutveckling skulle väljarna förstå vad man egentligen var. Tillsammans med legitimiteten från att ha regerat skulle det göra att partiet växte och om man var större rent procentuellt i nästa regering skulle man inte behöva kompromissa lika mycket.

Moderaterna hade en likande strategi på 70-talet, då de gått in som minsta parti i en borgerlig trepartiregering. Moderaterna lät sin partisekreterare kritisera regeringen samtidigt som partiledaren försvarade den. Partiet växte.

Skillnaden mot nu var att moderaterna vill i samma riktning som mittenpartierna, men ännu längre, till exempel i frågor om att sänka skatten. Miljöpartiet drivs i stället i motsatt ritning än dit man vill, bland annat i migrationsfrågan. Läget skulle vara mer jämförbart om regeringen tvärtom hade liberaliserat flyktingpolitiken, och miljöpartiet hade velat gå ännu längre i den riktningen.

Skillnaden har skapat ett avgrundsstort glapp mellan ideal och realpolitik.

Problemet med miljöpartiets strategi i regeringen är att man nu bara framstår som ett parti som skyller ifrån sig. Inte partiet som vill någonting mer. Ju mer partiet betonar sin egen ståndpunkt, desto mindre regeringsdugligt ser det ut.

Men inom partiet är man nöjd med vad man uppnått inom regeringen. Någon kritik mot själva strategin har inte funnits. Den kritik som framförts har mer handlat om hur man kommunicerat sin politik. Och kommunikationen är bara en del av den övergripande strategin.

Men att kritisera den egna kommunikationsförmåga är något ett parti ofta tar till när opinionssiffrorna dalar. (Hur många gånger har man inte hört Annie Lööf säga att väljarnas bristande entusiasm för Centerpartiet bara beror på att man inte nått ut med sin politik?)

Kritiken inom Miljöpartiet verkar under lång tid mest gått ut på att media blåser upp vad man själva uppfattar som småsaker. Inom partiet har man överlag varit nöjda med både språkrören och vad partiet uppnått i regeringen.

Åsa Romsons debattartikel i Dagens Nyheter inför språkrörsvalet är ett tecken på detta. ”Åtta av tio punkter i MP:s valmanifest på väg infrias”, löd rubriken. Hela artikel hade karaktären av en påminnelse. För partianhängarna var det mesta välkänt.

Inte ens partiets nedgång i opinionen i efterdyningarna av skandalerna verkar få partiet att ta itu med problemet. Även de nyvalda språkrören hoppas på att miljöfrågorna och bättre kommunikation skall vända trenden.

”Vi ska ha större fokus på att se till att miljöfrågorna kommer upp på dagordningen. Vi ska visa hur de diskussioner som förs i Sverige är kopplade till miljö- och resursutmaningen”, säger Gustav Fridolin.

”Det viktigaste är att vi för ut vår politik och det vi gör. Utan oss i regeringen hade inte Sverige spelat en viktig roll i klimatavtalet, till exempel”, säger i sin tur Isabella Lövin.

Någon självrannsakan i efterdyningarna av affärerna Mehmet Kaplan och Yasri Khan har inte skett. Det finns inget tryck inom partiet att driva på för att situationen inte skall kunna upprepas.

Anledningen måste naturligtvis bero på att man inte tycker att de gjort sig skyldiga till några större fel. Tanken tycks vara att om det inte varit för elak media och den egna bristfälliga kommunikationsförmågan hade Kaplan säkerligen suttit kvar i regeringen.

Den distansering som man tvingats till har mest haft karaktären av att ske under galgen. När det gäller Yasri Khan-affären talar t.ex. Isabella Lövin lite vagt om att partiets problem mest handlat om lite ”svajighet”.

Till och med Sverigedemokraterna har ägnat mer tid åt självrannsakan än miljöpartiet. Miljöpartisterna verkar mer se sig som offer. Och är man ett offer för omständigheterna behöver man inte syna sig själva allt för mycket i sömmarna.

Tidskriftsomslag: Fokus, 22-28 april 2016.

Read Full Post »

VAL 2016 | Hur vinner man mot en person som Donald Trump? Denna fråga har satt myror i huvudet på både republikaner och demokrater.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden, på den liberala tankesmedjan Center for American Progress, tror sig ha svaret.

På 90-talet arbetade Tanden för Bill Clinton i Vita huset. Här hade hon även rollen som ”senior policy adviser” till First Lady Clinton.

Senare var Tanden ”deputy campaign manager” åt Clintons senatskampanj i New York 2000 samt ”policy director” i hennes presidentvalskampanj 2008.

Henne svar på problemet Trump är hämtat från valrörelsen i New York när Clinton drev med republikanen Rudy Giuliani.

Det bästa sättet är att helt enkelt att skämta om honom. Och inte ta honom på för mycket allvar. Ett bra skämt är bättre än äkta (eller låtsad) upprördhet.

Mark Binelli intervjuade Tanden i Rolling Stone.

”I was not at all surprised by the success of Sanders,” says Tanden, who is now an outside adviser to Clinton’s campaign. ”The oddity of the race is how much Democratic voters also strongly support President Obama. They like what he’s done, but they want more. On both sides, because of the Great Recession, the Republican assault on government and the virtual standstill in Washington, people have lost faith in traditional answers. Political rollouts and solutions don’t have the power they had in previous cycles. People are interested in more disruptive change.”

Still, Tanden, who has also worked in the Obama White House on crafting the Affordable Care Act, finds it a ”great irony” that Clinton is now considered suspect by parts of the progressive left. ”As someone who worked for her in the Nineties, I can tell you that everyone on Bill Clinton’s White House staff, and everyone on the outside, thought of Hillary as the liberal champion,” Tanden says. ”Liberal activists went to her to lobby. And the president’s more centrist staff was scared of her.” Tanden pauses for a moment, then continues, ”I have to say, I think some of this is weirdly sexist. We assume she has the same views as Bill Clinton when it hurts her, and we assume she has different views when that hurts her.”

[…]

The political class, after months of writing off Trump and being proved wrong again and again, has developed an almost superstitious fear of the man, as if he must have a shriveled monkey’s paw secreted in one of his pockets that’s giving him special powers. But Tanden thinks that ”the best analogy to this race is one that Hillary has actually already run”: her 2000 Senate campaign against another brash New Yorker beloved by his supporters for going off-script, Rudy Giuliani. ”He and Trump are similar, and the way to deal with him was to make clear what he was doing. Our campaign got to a place where we were mocking him, and it really worked.”

Giuliani eventually dropped out of the race after his marriage fell apart and he received a diagnosis of prostate cancer (and Clinton went on to easily dispatch his replacement, Rick Lazio). Before that, according to The New York Times, Clinton ”had found her way to handle the gibes thrown at her by the confrontational mayor. Rather than engage him, Mrs. Clinton became the foot-tapping, arms-folded sighing mother of a forever misbehaving teenager, a strategy intended as much to infantilize Mr. Giuliani as to provoke him.

”‘I can’t be responding every time the mayor gets angry,’ Mrs. Clinton said, smiling as she campaigned in upstate New York a few days before Christmas 1999. ‘Because that’s all I would do.'”

Till detta kan läggas att man skall ta politiska motståndare på allvar om de kommer med seriösa policyförslag.

Gör man inte det riskerar man få även sina anhängare emot sig eftersom väljarna inte köper hela paket från en kandidat (eller ett parti). Även demokratiska väljare kan tilltalas av visa delar av Trumps förslag.

Att bara avfärda allt han säger kan uppfattas som nonchalant och förstärka bilden av Clinton som en av politikeretablissemanget i Washington.

Bild: Från Real Time With Bill Maher Blog.

Read Full Post »

Henry Payne

Teckning: Henry Payne på GoComics. (Se när Donald Trump ger råd på The Apprentice.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »