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Archive for juni, 2016

the Spectator

Bild: Nick Newman i The Spectator.

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VAL 2016 | Rädsla är en viktig motivationsfaktor inför ett val. Den sida som kan måla upp ett trovärdigt skräckscenario har en rejäl fördel.

vote-leave-pa

Detta gynnar ofta anhängarna till status quo eftersom ingen kan bevisa hur framtiden kommer att gestalta sig.

För- och nackdelarna med ett medlemskap i EU är svårt att kvantifiera. Frågan är så komplex att inte ens experterna kan ge någon tydlig bild av de ekonomiska konsekvenserna av medlemskap för vare sig enskilda medborgare eller för medlemsländerna.

Anhängarna till ett EU-medlemskap har en fördel eftersom man alltid kan hävda att en förändring riskerar det man redan uppnått. Så länge som nuläget inte har inneburet påtagliga nackdelar för väljarna kan man alltid hävda att vi vet vad vi har men inte vad vi riskerar att få om man röstar för ett utträde.

Charles Moore på The Spectator har noterat att kampanjen Vote Leave har haft svårt att möta de argument som Vote Remain har pumpat ut inför folkomröstningen. Inte minst för att Vote Remain har hela regeringskansliets resurser till sitt förfogande.

Vote Leave ser ut att sakna ett effektivt ”war room” som kan neutralisera alla påstående om påstådda negativa konsekvenser av Brexit.

The Leave camp sometimes looks stumped because it cannot give a precise answer to what would happen economically if we were not in the EU. This is always a problem for people who believe in freedom rather than government control. In the 1970s, inflation and bad labour relations were the enemy. It became an article of faith among the elites that the answer was a ‘prices and incomes policy’ in which wise people, managed by governments, decided what should be the fair relation between the two. The widely worshipped J.K. Galbraith explained in 1975 that ‘pay and price curbs will be a permanent feature, both in Britain and in every other industrial nation’. Anyone who suggested otherwise had to put up with ‘How on earth will you control it? What will you do about industrial anarchy?’ People who said that essentially the best thing to do was to break the automatic linkage between pay and prices and then see what happened next were considered mad. By the 21st century, no western country any longer had such curbs, and even the heirs of Galbraith are not trying to bring them back. Almost all of the economic arguments for membership of the EU are based on fear of freedom. It is, unfortunately, a powerful emotion.

One thing I miss in the No campaign is a front-rank real expert, rather like that man on the radio called Bill Frindall who used to know every cricket score in history.  As the government publishes every day of the campaign a stupendous amount of facts whitch are not true, it is no good just complaining.  You have to refute them, giving chapter and verse.  It is a difficulty for the Leave camp that most of its members, because they do not like rule by Brussels, are not absolutely secure in their knowledge of its details.  An exception is Daniel Hannan.  Vote Leave should put him forward more.

Bild: Independent.

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FOTOGRAFI Kungliga Livgardesskvadronens (K1) musikkår till häst blåser in Nationaldagen. De rider söder ut på Vasagatan. 1950-1950 FOTOGRAF: Karlsson, Yngve. Svenska Dagbladet BILDNUMMER: SSMSvD024850 Stockholms stadsmuseum, Sweden

Kungliga Livgardesskvadronens (K1) musikkår blåser in nationaldagen 1950, Stockholm

H.M. Konungen på Sofiero idag:

Det är detta som vi firar på vår nationaldag: Samhörigheten med Sverige och med varandra.

På Sveriges Kungahus kan man ta del av kungens hela nationaldagstal på Sofiero idag den 6 juni 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Det är inte var dag Bernie Sanders blir intervjuad av en anhängare och hamnar på omslaget till en rikstäckande tidskrift.

THR_Isse_12_Bernie_Sanders_Cover_embed

När regissören Spike Lee träffade senatorn för The Hollywood Reporter blev det inga hårdslående frågor. Sanders gick knappast därifrån svettig.

Det bästa man kan säga är att samtalet möjligtvis gav en lite tydligare bild av den självutnämnde ”demokratiska socialisten” Sanders åsikter i en rad ganska förutsägbara frågor.

Do you think that Mrs. Hillary Clinton has an advantage with her relationship with President Obama? I mean, what is your relationship with the president?

It’s a good relationship. But let me be very straight about this: This president will go down in history as one of the smartest presidents. Brilliant guy. And especially the more people hear from the Republicans, the smarter they think he is. (Laughter.) But he is also incredibly disciplined and focused. You’re around the media every single day, and you have the opportunity to say dumb things — he does it very, very rarely. He is very focused. He came to Vermont to campaign for me way back in 2006. I worked on his elections in 2008 and 2012 and just was in the Oval Office a couple of months ago. So we have a very positive and, I think, friendly relationship. Is he closer to Hillary Clinton? I suspect. She was his secretary of state for four years.

When did it hit you — I’m going to run for the United States of America? When did this happen?

I got to tell you there’s a funny story that every day 100 people brush their teeth and they look in the mirror and every one of them says, ”There is the next president of the United States.” That’s the definition of the U.S. Senate. Honestly, honestly, I was not one of those people.

It wasn’t you, huh?

It wasn’t me. I love my state, very happy to be the senator. But this is what I concluded, Spike: With all due respect to Secretary Clinton and everybody else, it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. The problems facing this country now are so serious, are so deep, that the same-old, same-old ain’t going to do it. And what we need to do is create a political movement — what I call a political revolution — where millions of people come together.

A coalition, right?

Absolutely a coalition, based on the trade union movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay community movement and bringing people together to tell the billionaire class that they cannot have it all. People don’t appreciate how much power Wall Street has, corporate America, the corporate media. And we got to take ‘em on.

[…]

Trump. Have you seen the film A Face in the Crowd, directed by Elia Kazan? Do you see a correlation between Lonesome Rhodes [a character who rises to fame in the early days of TV], played by Andy Griffith, and Donald Trump?

He is an entertainer by and large. He did very well on television; he knows the media very, very well. Don’t underestimate him. And God knows who he is really, but we see what he personifies on TV every night. He knows how to manipulate the media very effectively, he knows how to do what he does with people. But let me just reassure you: Donald Trump is not going to become president of the United States. That I can say.

Would you agree that he is possibly the Frankenstein that the GOP has created? They got a monster on their hands and don’t know what to do with it.

There’s no question. The estab­lishment Republicans are going nuts. And this could lead to a real dissolution of the Republican Party as we know it.

Who are the people who are voting for him? When a guy says I can stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody — even saying that, knowing that 99 Americans die every day — and you’re going to shoot somebody and no one’s going to not vote for you? That’s insane to me.

Well, virtually every day he says something that’s crazier than the day before, right? So what can you say? But here is what I think is going on. I think that the establishment has underestimated the contempt and the frustration that the American people have, a segment of the American people have, with politics as usual.

With Washington, D.C., right?

Yeah, yeah. So when he says, ”Look, I’m not them,” they say, ”OK, that’s good enough for me.” You know? ”That’s all that I need.” And there is a lot of anger out there and a lot of reasons for the anger. One of the reasons for these 50-year-old, 60-year-old white guys voting for Trump is in many cases they are working longer hours for lower wages, they are seeing their jobs go to China, they are seeing their jobs go to Mexico. They are scared to death about the future of their kids, and they don’t see anybody doing anything about it. And Trump comes along and says, ”I got the solution, we’re going to scapegoat Mexicans and we’re going to build a wall a mile high.” People are angry, what do you do? You don’t get to the real issues as to why people are hurting, you scapegoat. You scapegoat blacks, Latinos, gays, anybody, Jews, Muslims, any minority out there, that’s what you do. That is nothing new. That’s what demagogues have always done, and that’s what Trump is doing. What we are trying to do in our campaign is bring people together to look at the real problems facing this country, which in my view is the greed of corporate America, of Wall Street, the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality. Let’s attack those issues. Let’s not scapegoat people.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Hollywood Reporter, den 15-22 april 2016.

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The Spectator

Bild: RGJ, The Spectator. Fler teckningar av Richard Jolleys hemsida

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VAL 2016 | Clinton vill gärna lyfta fram sina erfarenheter som bl.a. utrikesminister i valrörelsen för att visa på skillnaden mellan henne och Donald Trump.

The New York Times Magazine April 17 2016

Vad som är mindre känt är att hon ständig låg till höger om president Barack Obama i säkerhetspolitiska frågor när hon var hans Secretary of State.

Även om hon har gått åt vänster i år för att inte tappa väljare till Bernie Sanders kommer hon sannolikt lita mer på USA:s militära makt som president än vad Obama gjort.

Jack Sullivan, en av hennes kampanjrådgivare och tidigare medarbetare under hennes tid som utrikesminister, tror att hennes mer aggressiva framtoning i säkerhetspolitiska frågor ligger rätt i tiden.

Enligt Sullivan går hennes strategi i valrörelsen ut på att visa för väljarna att hon har en klar och tydlig plan för att konfrontera terrorismen från islamisterna samtidigt som hon tänker utmåla Trump som en person utan några kvalifikationer överhuvudtaget när det gäller att hantera USA:s nationella säkerhet.

Mark Landler kallar t.o.m. Clinton för hök när han skrev i The New York Times Magazine om Clintons instinkt på det utrikes- och säkerhetspolitiska området.

Det är en bild som säkert kommer att överraska många av Clintons många beundrare runt om i världen, inte minst i Sverige.

“Hillary is very much a member of the traditional American foreign-policy establishment,” says Vali Nasr, a foreign-policy strategist who advised her on Pakistan and Afghanistan at the State Department. “She believes, like presidents going back to the Reagan or Kennedy years, in the importance of the military — in solving terrorism, in asserting American influence. The shift with Obama is that he went from reliance on the military to the intelligence agencies. Their position was, ‘All you need to deal with terrorism is N.S.A. and C.I.A., drones and special ops.’ So the C.I.A. gave Obama an angle, if you will, to be simultaneously hawkish and shun using the military.”

[…]

Jack Keane is one of the intellectual architects of the Iraq surge; he is also perhaps the greatest single influence on the way Hillary Clinton thinks about military issues. A bear of a man with a jowly, careworn face and Brylcreem-slicked hair, Keane exudes the supreme self-confidence you would expect of a retired four-star general.

[…]

Though he is one of a parade of cable-TV generals, Keane is the resident hawk on Fox News, where he appears regularly to call for the United States to use greater military force in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He doesn’t shrink from putting boots on the ground and has little use for civilian leaders, like Obama, who do.

Keane first got to know Clinton in the fall of 2001, when she was a freshman senator and he was the Army’s second in command, with a distinguished combat and command record in Vietnam, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. He had expected her to be intelligent, hard-working and politically astute, but he was not prepared for the respect she showed for the Army as an institution, or her sympathy for the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families. Keane was confident he could smell a phony politician a mile away, and he didn’t get that whiff from her.

“I read people; that’s one of my strengths,” he told me. “It’s not that I can’t be fooled, but I’m not fooled often.”

[…]

He and Clinton continued to talk, even after Obama was elected and she became secretary of state. More often than not, they found themselves in sync. Keane, like Clinton, favored more robust intervention in Syria than Obama did. In April 2015, the week before she announced her candidacy, Clinton asked him for a briefing on military options for dealing with the fighters of the Islamic State. Bringing along three young female analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, Keane gave her a 2-hour-20-minute presentation. Among other steps, he advocated imposing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria that would neutralize the air power of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, with a goal of forcing him into a political settlement with opposition groups. Six months later, Clinton publicly adopted this position, further distancing herself from Obama.

“I’m convinced this president, no matter what the circumstances, will never put any boots on the ground to do anything, even when it’s compelling,” Keane told me.

[…]

“One of the problems the president has, which weakens his diplomatic efforts, is that leaders don’t believe he would use military power. That’s an issue that would separate the president from Hillary Clinton rather dramatically. She would look at military force as another realistic option, but only where there is no other option.”

Befriending Keane wasn’t just about cultivating a single adviser. It gave Clinton instant entree to his informal network of active-duty and retired generals.

[…]

Just as Clinton benefited from her alliance with the military commanders, she gave them political cover. “Here’s the dirty little secret,” says Tom Nides, her former deputy secretary of state for management and resources. “They all knew they wanted her on their side. They knew that if they walked into the Situation Room and they had her, it made a huge difference in the dynamics. When she opened her mouth, she could change the momentum in the room.”

David Axelrod recalls one meeting where Clinton “kicked the thing off and pretty much articulated their opinion; I’m sure that’s one that they remember. There’s no doubt that she wanted to give them every troop that McChrystal was asking for.” Still, Clinton didn’t prevail on every argument. After agreeing to send the troops, Obama added a condition of his own: that the soldiers be deployed as quickly as possible and pulled out again, starting in the summer of 2011 — a deadline that proved more fateful in the long run than a difference of 10,000 troops. Clinton opposed setting a public deadline for withdrawal, arguing that it would tip America’s hand to the Taliban and encourage them to wait out the United States — which, in fact, was exactly what happened.

[…]

To thwart the progressive insurgency of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton carefully calibrated her message during the Democratic primaries to align herself closely with Barack Obama and his racially diverse coalition. But as she pivots to the general election, that balancing act with Obama will become trickier. “There’s going to be a huge amount of interest in the press to score-keep,” Sullivan says. “It just so easily can become a sport that distracts from her ability to make an affirmative case.”

In showing her stripes as a prospective commander in chief, Clinton will no doubt draw heavily upon her State Department experience — filtering the lessons she learned in Libya, Syria and Iraq into the sinewy worldview she has held since childhood. Last fall, in a series of policy speeches, Clinton began limning distinctions with the president on national security. She said the United States should consider sending more special-operations troops to Iraq than Obama had committed, to help the Iraqis and Kurds fight the Islamic State. She came out in favor of a partial no-fly zone over Syria. And she described the threat posed by ISIS to Americans in starker terms than he did. As is often the case with Clinton and Obama, the differences were less about direction than degree. She wasn’t calling for ground troops in the Middle East, any more than he was. Clinton insisted her plan was not a break with his, merely an “intensification and acceleration” of it.

It’s an open question how well Clinton’s hawkish instincts match the country’s mood. Americans are weary of war and remain suspicious of foreign entanglements. And yet, after the retrenchment of the Obama years, there is polling evidence that they are equally dissatisfied with a portrait of their country as a spent force, managing its decline amid a world of rising powers like China, resurgent empires like Vladimir Putin’s Russia and lethal new forces like the Islamic State. If Obama’s minimalist approach was a necessary reaction to the maximalist style of his predecessor, then perhaps what Americans yearn for is something in between — the kind of steel-belted pragmatism that Clinton has spent a lifetime honing.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 24 april 2016.

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POLITIK | ”Det var först när språkrören försökte rädda sig själva som proffspolitikerna ute i landet fick nog.”

Fokus 6-12 Maj 2016

skrev Maggie Strömberg för en tid sedan i Fokus. Och så var det kanske. Men det handlade nog också lite om politisk självbevarelsedrift.

Som så många gånger tidigare när det gäller partierna kom kritiken först efter att krisen var ett faktum.

Upproret kommer från lokalpolitiker som är mer vana vid att styra och kompromissa än många av de miljöpartister som befolkar regeringskansliet. Det handlar om brist på professionalism. Om kommunikation, strategi, krishantering. Förmåga att vinna val framöver.

Det finns en utbredd irritation över att kompetens och erfarenhet från lokalpolitiker inte har tagits tillvara i regeringsarbetet. Många tycker att både riksdagsgruppen och regeringsfolket framstår som amatörer.

– I stället för att ta in folk som har vana av att sitta i kommunpolitiska förhandlingar har man plockat in tjänstemän som fått all sin kunskap om politik från House of Cards, säger en.

– Det är bara kompisrekryteringar, säger en annan.

– Vi i kommunerna har ju fattat hur man hanterar att man inte alltid får som man vill. Man måste ändå stå för sina beslut. Det går inte att gå ut och säga ”vi har tagit det här beslutet som var jävligt dåligt”. Det är ju oseriöst, fräser den tredje.

Sanningen är att kritiken mot strategin att gå i opposition mot sig själva inte existerat tidigare i Miljöpartiet. Och det i ett parti där man har en tradition att diskutera och förankra näst intill in absurdum.

Så dessa lokalpolitikers upprördhet har lite av efterhandskonstruktion över sig. Den bästa formen av krishantering är om man lyckas lägga skulden på någon annan.

Anledningen till att det inte funnits beror nog på att sitta-stil-i-båten-strategin var just det som tre av partierna inom Alliansen gjorde under åtta år i regeringsställning. Därav att de numera kallas småpartier.

Att ”stå för sina beslut” utraderade effektivt de politiska och ideologiska skillnaderna mellan Allianspartierna. Med resultatet att endast Moderaterna har kunnat uppvisa hyfsade opinionssiffror.

Är det t.ex. någon som tror att Centerpartiet gått vidare i nyliberal riktning om partiet växt under sin tid i regeringen? Och är det någon som tror att deras tillväxt i opposition inte beror just på att man nu markerar distans mot övriga partier?

Om strategin att opponera mot sig själv hade fungerat och gett bättre opinionssiffror för Miljöpartiet hade nog kommunpolitikerna snarare applåderat sina språkrör.

Problemet var inte själva strategin utan hur man implementerade den. Istället för att smutskasta tagna beslut i regeringen borde man kanske lagt tyngdpunkten på att säja att ”så här långt nådde vi, nu bygger vi vidare på detta”.

Tidskriftsomslag: Fokus den 6-12 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | De har gjorts otaliga försök att jämföra Donald Trump med Mussolini och Hitler. Mest verkar detta handla om önsketänkande från motståndare.

Nam Y. Huh - AP

Poängen tycks vara att försöka få jämförelserna att fästa så att det skall bli lättare att mobilisera väljarna mot honom inför presidentvalet. Om alla ser honom som en blivande diktator kommer ingen att vilja rösta på honom.

Men Matthew Copper har tidigare i t.ex. Newsweek visat att denna oro – äkta eller låtsad – inte har mycket med verkligheten att göra. Detta även om Trump själv skulle ha tankar på att göra sig till USA:s diktator.

Det amerikanska systemet är uppbyggt just för att hindra att något parti eller politiker tillskansar sig någon diktatorisk makt.

Om Barack Obama har haft svårt att få igenom sin politik under snart åtta år finns det knappast någon anledning att tro att en president Trump skulle få det lättare.

Om något så har det politiska systemet under Obama snarare anklagats för att vara trögt och oförmöget att kunna hantera de problem som landet står inför. Kongressen har mer eller mindre effektivt lyckats hindra och obstruera för att minimera presidentens beslut.

Just p.g.a. att den dömande, lagstiftande och beslutande makten är skilda åt är risken för att beslut som utmanar konstitutionen skall gå igenom liten i USA.

Och varför skulle kongressens politiker välja att lägga sig platt på marken p.g.a. Trump? Är det någon som tror att politiker frivilligt skulle lämna över makt och inflytande till Trump bara för han säger det? I vilken demokrati brukar det ske?

Men det betyder inte att man inte kan dra vissa lärdomar av den personlighetskult som skapats kring Trump.

Hans förmåga att locka människor till massmöten är t.ex. intressant när man tittar på personer som just Hitler och Mussolini. (Men när det gäller massmöten påminner han kanske mer om Barack Obama än någon av dagens populister på högerkanten eller gårdaganes diktatorer.)

Emily Cadei har för Newsweek talat med en rad forskare och akademiker om deras syn på Trumps valkampanj:

The lesson from this race: A strong cult of personality can trump ideology. And that’s been proved by generations of demagogues. The support behind Italy’s Benito Mussolini was “more about the leader than…about the party or the ideology,” bypassing or even upending the traditional party structures, says Arfon Rees, a specialist in Soviet and Russian history at the U.K.’s University of Birmingham.

There are other parallels, says Joseph Sassoon, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. When Trump says he’s his own best adviser and has no speechwriters, “this is really a prototype of Saddam or Qaddafi or Nasser…the wanting to control the language of their speeches,” says Sassoon, referencing former leaders of Iraq, Libya and Egypt. “An essential component of the cult of personality is it cannot be shared with anyone.”

German philosopher Max Weber coined the term  charismatic authority to describe leaders whose power is built on their “exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character,” as opposed to the rule of law or simply brute force. Many may not regard Trump the candidate in an admirable light, but to his followers, his business success and his personal wealth — which freed him from the unseemly campaign fundraising dance of his primary rivals — make him inviolable. American politicians are “all bought and paid for by somebody,” 62-year-old Trump supporter Nick Glaub said outside the suburban Cincinnati Trump rally. “The only person that isn’t is that man right there,” said Glaub, gesturing to the community center where the real estate mogul had just spoken.

Trump’s charismatic authority stems from this belief that he is above politics-as-usual, says Roger Eatwell, a politics professor at Britain’s University of Bath. And it goes beyond his reality-TV fame. “Celebrity…tends to be a fairly passing phenomenon, and it doesn’t tend to be a very emotional phenomenon,” Eatwell explains. But Trump’s campaign offers something deeper: “a sense of identification.”

[…]

Trump frequently points out that he is bringing into the political process people who rarely vote—those who have been, in one way or another, marginalized. A  Quinnipiac University poll released April 5 shows the depths of alienation of Trump supporters: While 62 percent of all U.S. voters agree that their “beliefs and values are under attack,” that number soars to 91 percent among Trump backers. And 90 percent of Trump supporters agreed that “public officials don’t care much what people like me think.”

[…]

A common way populist leaders burnish their anti-elite bona fides is through a lowbrow speaking style. Trump’s  third- or fourth-grade language level has made him a media punch line, but he’s hardly the first politician to use little words to gain mass appeal. Many of the most successful populists “talk in everyday speech to their target audience,” says Eatwell. Eschewing upper-middle-class academic sentence construction for short, declarative “common” phrasing “helps say they’re not part of the system,” he explains. This is a fundamental element of Trump’s appeal.

And it’s not just the speaking style that is simplified. Rees says a common theme of the right-wing regimes he studies is their simplification of the entire political discourse, “reducing it to basic binary opposites, of black and white,” and, of course, of us vs. them. Psychological theory holds that targeting the “other” helps a group construct its own identity: “You say…what you are not,” as Eatwell puts it. For Trump, the “other” is immigrants—Mexican and Muslim, in particular. In Nazi Germany, it was the Jews.

Rees sums up the mindset as: “We don’t really need complexity. We know what the problem is. We know what the solution is. All we need is the will to do it.”

Bild: Nam Y. Huh/AP. Trump vid ett valmöte på Wexford County Civic Center den 4 mars i Cadillac, Michigan. ”Even the experience of a Trump rally feels different from normal campaign event, something more akin to a rock concert or a mega-church prayer session than a political event.” 

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Adam Singelton The Spectator

Tecknare: Adam Singelton, The Spectator.

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VAL 2016 | Inom Torypartiet kampanjar man idag inte bara för Vote Remain eller Vote Leave utan också om vem man vill se som nästa premiärminister.

Newsweek 20 maj 2016

Även om kampanjen för att positionera Boris Johnson, partiets populäre tidigare Londonborgmästare, inte sker allt för öppet kan alla ändå se tecken på att striden pågår bakom kulisserna.

Johnsons strategi tycks gå ut på att bara kritisera David Cameron när det gäller hans inställning i folkomröstningen. I övriga frågor har Johnson intagit rollen som den lojale partianhängaren som inte kritiserar sin premiärminister.

Isabel Oakeshott, political editor-at-largeDaily Mail, har skrivit en artikel i Newsweek om rivaliteten mellan de två och kampanjen kring Cameron och Boris Johnson.

Johnson publicly declared he would be campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, in direct opposition to Cameron, who called the referendum but is backing the Remain campaign.

Johnson’s announcement—on the issue that has repeatedly divided the Conservative Party over the past three decades—added personal drama to the historic decision facing the British electorate on June 23: whether to remain part of the economic and political bloc that formed in the wake of two catastrophic wars in Europe to bring peace and prosperity to the continent. The now-public contest between Johnson and Cameron will result in either the defeat and possible resignation of a sitting British prime minister or a potentially fatal blow to the ambitions of his rival, Johnson, who may be the most intellectually capable and popular politician of his generation.

”The last thing I wanted was to go against  David Cameron or the government,” Johnson told reporters gathered outside his home on February 21, the day he made his public declaration.

[…]

The prime minister had good reason to believe his entreaties to Johnson might work. Johnson is multilingual and fundamentally internationalist in outlook. Privately, his doubts about the merits of the EU were usually outweighed by his appreciation of its benefits. But he wavered. A friend of Johnson’s, who wants Britain to stay in the EU, says Johnson once told him, ”I have to warn you, one day I might say we should come out of Europe.”

After Cameron’s election victory in 2015, the prime minister promised to negotiate a new relationship between Britain and the EU, one that gave Britain more power over its own policies. Still conflicted, Johnson waited until Cameron had concluded his dealmaking before making up his mind. In the end, it was Johnson’s wife, Marina Wheeler, who helped persuade him that the prime minister’s deal did not reclaim enough British sovereignty.

If Johnson ends up on the losing side of the referendum it would be a blow—but, in an odd twist, he could end up benefiting from the defeat, because in the eyes of many Conservative MPs he will have been on the right side of the argument. The next few years might then play out like this: Cameron stays on as leader and prime minister until 2019 (the process for choosing a new leader takes several months), or he might quit earlier; a leadership contest takes place; and Johnson defeats Cameron’s key ally, George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, who is less popular with the Conservative legislators. (A March poll by YouGov showed 43 percent of Conservative Party members backed Johnson to be the next leader, while just 22 percent backed Osborne.)

In that scenario, Johnson would likely lead the Conservatives to an election victory in 2020, over a Labour Party that has weakened since its catastrophic defeat in 2015. That would bring Eton’s tally of prime ministers to 20.

Publicly, Johnson shrugs off the suggestion that he is fixated on getting to 10 Downing Street. In truth, his campaign for that job seems to be well underway. ”Low-key and loyal to Cameron” is how an insider describes his strategy. By ”loyal,” the insider means that Johnson is not making it his business to challenge or undermine the prime minister on subjects other than Europe. His outriders—a handful of MPs working, very unofficially, on Johnson’s behalf in an attempt to improve his prospects—are assiduously avoiding the small but significant faction of anti-EU Conservative MPs who detest the prime minister and would like him gone at any cost. At this delicate early stage, Johnson can’t come over as too grabby.

He is unlikely to find an easy path to the most powerful job in Britain. Osborne, who has played Cameron’s understudy for years, will fight him hard. And while Tory MPs like a winner—and even Johnson’s political enemies acknowledge his electoral successes—he hasn’t cultivated his colleagues. During his long years in City Hall, he spent little time in the House of Commons tea room—networking, sharing gossip, forging friendships and alliances. Colleagues who envy his career or disapprove of his foibles and indiscretions are unlikely to hold back from damaging his chances when they can.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 20 maj 2016.

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