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Posts Tagged ‘Standpoint’

VAL 2016 | Tre tidskrifter har inför folkomröstningen i Storbritannien bjudit in representanter för Vote Remain och Vote Leave att argumentera för sin sak.

Newsweek 24 juni 2016

I Newsweek är det Iain Duncan Smith och Sadiq Khan som står för argumenten.

Duncan Smith, som säger Ja till Brexit, var partiledare för Conservative Party mellan 2001 och 2003 och minister för ”work and pensions” i David Camerons regering mellan åren 2010-2016.

Sadiq Khan, från Labour, valdes till Londons borgmästare i maj och anser att Storbritannien mår bäst av att stanna kvar i EU.

Först Duncan Smiths argument i korthet:

President Barack Obama is just one of the many international leaders to urge the people of the United Kingdom to remain members of the European Union. But in doing so he is asking British voters to accept policies and institutions that the American people would not accept for themselves. I’m not just guessing that this is the case. An opinion poll by YouGov found that only 29 percent of Americans would agree to Mexicans having an automatic right to live and work in the U.S. in return for Americans enjoying such a right in Mexico. Even fewer—19 percent—supported the idea of a joint Canadian-Mexican-American high court that would be the ultimate decider of human rights questions. Only 33 percent supported a “South and North American Environmental Agency” that would regulate the fishing industry across the Americas.

As members of the 28-state EU, the British people are subject to the decisions of a supranational and highly politicized court; they watch as jobs in their neighborhoods are taken by Romanians, Bulgarians and other Europeans; and they also find that bureaucrats in Brussels rather than elected representatives in the House of Commons decide all key environmental, fishing and agricultural matters. Britain is only a fraction of the democracy that it was in 1973, when we joined the European Economic Community.

Och här är några av Khans motargument:

Whether it’s analysis from the British Treasury, the Bank of England, the Confederation of British Industry, the International Monetary Fund or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, it is clear that remaining part of the EU will be better for our economy, better for trade, better for businesses—both large and small—and better for exports.

Almost half of everything we sell to the rest of the world we sell to Europe. In London alone, we export more than £12 billion every year to Europe, and we are home to the European headquarters of 60 percent of the world’s non-European global businesses.

Access to EU markets is crucial to the success of the City of London, and for every £1 we put into the EU, we get almost £10 back through increased trade, investment, low prices and jobs.

I The Spectator har Matthew Parris och Daniel Hannan plockat fram sina sex bästa argument för och emot EU-medlemskapet. Debattörerna har dessutom fått möjlighet att replikera på varandras inlägg.

The Spectator 11 June 2016

Parris är kolumnist för tidskriften och dagstidningen The Times. Hannan sitter i EU-parlamentet för Conservative PartyParris skriver:

Like almost everyone, I’ve piled angrily into this fight. But as the debate nears resolution I feel ashamed of all my furious certainties. In the end, none of us knows, and we shouldn’t pretend to. So I’ll try now to express more temperately six thoughts that persist as the early rage subsides.

From the first three you’ll see that I’m beginning to understand that for many the EU is now a whipping boy. ‘Europe’ has become for many what in other ages Rome, or communist plots, or America, or international Jewry, or big business represented: a conspiracy against us, an explanation. In the words of Cavafy’s poem ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’, ‘a kind of solution’. Europe has become a punchbag for our fears and frustrations. Hating the EU has become exciting, brave, a source of self-affirmation, a proxy.

Daniel Hannan inleder med att skriva:

For me, as for so many people, it’s a heart versus head issue. I’m emotionally drawn to Europe. I speak French and Spanish and have lived and worked all over the Continent. I’ve made many friends among the Brussels functionaries. Lots of them, naturally, are committed Euro-federalists. Yet they are also decent neighbours, loyal companions and generous hosts. I feel twinges of unease about disappointing them, especially the anglophiles. But, in the end, the head must rule the heart.

Remainers often tell us to think of our children, and I’m doing precisely that. I am thinking, not just about the EU as it is now, but about the diminished role that a surly, introverted Europe will have in their lifetime. And that makes my decision very easy.

Standpoint har låtit de två konservativa parlamentsledamöterna Oliver Letwin och Michael Gove stå för argumenten.

Standpoint..

Letwin, förespråkare för Vote Remain, tar i sitt inlägg som utgångspunkt det avtal som premiärminister David Cameron förhandlade fram med EU inför folkomröstningen.

The binding, international law decision that he agreed with the other heads of government in Brussels a few months ago provides explicitly for some member states to form voluntarily a full political, fiscal and monetary union. But it also makes it explicitly clear that this will not apply to other states (including, explicitly, the UK).

The agreement goes on to state explicitly that the phrase “ever closer union” does not provide the European Court with a legal basis for expansive interpretations of the treaties, that it is not the ambition of the UK to form part of an ever closer union, and that the phrase “ever closer union” therefore does not apply to the UK.

Second, the agreement acknowledges, for the first time, that the EU is and will remain permanently a multi-currency zone. And, to make a reality of this, it establishes a new set of protocols governing the relationship between those countries within the eurozone and those countries that maintain their own currencies.

These changes are fundamental. Together, they create the opportunity for a new Europe of concentric circles to emerge — a Europe in which Britain can do exactly what very many of us have wanted for decades: namely, for Britain to be a permanent, full member of the outer circle, the free trade single market, while some other countries travel towards a different destination as members of the inner circle of political, fiscal and monetary union.

Även Michael Gove, Vote Leave, argumenterar utifrån avtalet med Bryssel. Gove är minister i Camerons regering.

We have to be honest about the lack of reform. The deal with other EU nations doesn’t return a single power from Brussels to nation states, doesn’t reduce wasteful EU spending by a penny, doesn’t get rid of a single job-destroying regulation or display even a glimmer of a scintilla of a recognition that the EU might be anything other than a Garden of Eden from which no one should wish to be excluded.

But what makes the deal particularly problematic for us in Britain is not just failure to reform the EU this time round, but the surrender of our veto over future changes.

The deal specifies that countries such as Britain which may not want to see further integration will give up their ability to stop others; they “will not create obstacles to but [will] facilitate such further deepening”.

It has always been critical to the defence of our interests in Europe that we can block other countries at critical moments and make sure our needs are met before others can make new arrangements. The PM made good use of that power in 2011 when he vetoed plans for further integration that didn’t take account of Britain’s needs. Under the new Brussels deal, that power would be lost.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 24 juni 2016; The Spectator den 11 juni 2016; Standpoint juni 2016.

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PROFIL | Få väljare har någon tydlig bild av premiärminister David Cameron som person och politiker.

Standpoint November 2015

Trots att Cameron nu är inne på sin andra mandatperiod framstår t.o.m. hans ideologiska övertygelser som aningen otydliga.

Och trots sina valsegrar – som bl.a. gett det konservativa partiet egen majoritet i parlamentet för första gången sedan 1992 och räddat kvar Skottland i det förenande kungariket – kommer historien antagligen bedöma honom resultatet av kommande folkomröstning om Storbritanniens medlemskap i EU.

Stephen Glover, krönikör i Daily Mail och tidigare redaktör för Independent on Sunday har försökt ge en bild av vem han är som person och politiker.

Glover skriver så här om Cameron i tidskriften Standpoint:

What kind of man is David Cameron? It is strange to be asking this question of someone who has been leader of the Tory party for 10 years, Prime Minister for more than five, and about whom there exists a colossal amount of information.

[…]

It is true he is almost unthinkingly ambitious (at 14 he declared without having shown much interest in politics that he was going to be Prime Minister), and capable of ruthlessness. We saw how at Prime Minister’s Questions he loved to play Flashman to poor, heavy-footed Ed Miliband. But if he knows how to be shitty, he is not a shit. On the contrary, his nature is sunny and well-meaning. I even found myself reinterpreting some words of congratulation he had uttered after I had delivered a eulogy at a friend’s memorial service in 2007 at which he was present. He twice complimented me, which seemed excessive. I assumed then that he was trying to oil up to a journalist, but now I wonder whether he wasn’t going out of his way to be kind to a stranger, offering words of reassurance to someone plainly exhausted by making a testing speech that was probably not particularly good.

Of course, we should never be starry-eyed about the people who rule us, but I submit the proposition that, his sense of entitlement and flashes of ruthlessness notwithstanding, Cameron is unusually decent for a leading politician, as well not unpardonably (in view of his considerable gifts) confident.

With the elegance and self-assurance of one of those natural cricketers at school capable of scoring a hundred without breaking sweat, he has eased his way forward through life apparently effortlessly. There were sadnesses, of course: his father’s disability, and later, and much more tragic, the serious illness and death of his first child, Ivan. But the early misfortune was mitigated by his father’s good cheer and lack of self-pity; and the latter, when it came, could be dealt with because he was such a well-balanced and grounded person.

[…]

Most of us grow tougher as we get older, and doubtless David Cameron has done so, but I don’t think this unguarded benevolence has left him. If he were a dog he would be an enthusiastic Labrador, bounding up to strangers with automatic good will and lack of suspicion, his tongue lolling out ready to bestow a lick, and reluctant to bare his teeth even when provoked. (He does, however, bear unLabrador-like grudges. Two prominent Tory MPs have told me that he has not spoken to them since being, in his view, crossed by them.) There is also an innate languor that can make it difficult for him to work up his energy levels.

[…]

As I write, David Cameron is basking in the sun. He has won the first Tory majority since 1992. The Labour party has turned in on itself. His only plausable rival, Boris Johnson, is marginalised and diminished. So confident is the Prime Minister that he made a centre-ground, even left-leaning, speech at the Tory party conference that might have tumbled from the lips of Tony Blair. In it he reached out rhetorically to the poor and dispossessed. (There was, however, one surprisingly tough-sounding passage about Islamic extremism in Britain that was largely ignored.) Things have never looked so good for our suave, sleek, soft Prime Minister who has filled out a bit, and looks ever more authentically Tory — master of all he surveys.

But there are once-in-a-generation issues in politics that cannot be dodged or massaged away by efficient despatchers of business and consensus-seekers. Europe is one of them. It looms like an iceberg in front of David Cameron and his administration. I am not at all sure he has any idea of what is coming his way.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint, November 2015.

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LABOUR | Jeremy Corbyn, partiledare för Labour i Storbritannien, tvekar aldrig att i tid och otid sjunga det multikulturella samhällets lov.

Standpoint September 2015

Men alla är inte lika imponerade av partiledarens politiska retorik.

Maryam Ahmed, tidigare varit ordförande för Oxford University Conservative Association, konstaterar i Standpoint att etniska minoritetsgrupper och väljare i de lägre inkomstgrupperna röstade på Conservative Party i större omfattning än vad vänster inom Labour vill erkänna.

As a working-class British Muslim born to Pakistani parents, I am adamant that Corbyn does not represent me — indeed, his policies are only notable in that they appear to be designed to keep me and my ilk on the very lowest rungs of British society.

During a recent interview with former Respect leader Salma Yaqoob, Corbyn stated his desire to “increase levels of multiculturalism” and assured British Muslims that they have a right to “be treated as part of the community” before dismissing the Prime Minister’s assertion that multiculturalism has failed. Of course, Corbyn neglected to mention that a multicultural society is, by definition, one in which minority groups exist in relative isolation, without integration into the wider community. The conflation of multiculturalism with diversity is a trick often deployed by the Left but I am surprised that Corbyn, a man who claims to despise yah-boo politics, would sink to such tactics.

This self-proclaimed champion of social mobility sees nothing wrong with a ghettoised society in which British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis exhibit lower rates of social mobility and employment than any other ethnic group in Britain, with 42 per cent of British Pakistanis and 48 per cent of British Bangladeshis in possession of no academic or professional qualifications. Nor does he see any contradiction in moralising on human rights while endorsing a multicultural Britain where more than 1,200 women of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origin undergo forced marriage each year and a further 137,000 British women have been subjected to genital mutilation. Most alarmingly, he has never once acknowledged the link between multiculturalism and the radicalisation of some 2,000 Britons who have travelled to Syria to fight alongside ISIS.

Corbyn has made it abundantly clear that he is willing to court minority votes with the same cheap platitudes as Yaqoob’s predecessor George Galloway, while endorsing policies that consign British Muslims to the socio-economic scrapheap without any hope of self-betterment. Much like Galloway, he is fond of criticising the “high levels of Islamophobia” in the media, even though his own dealings with hate preachers such as Raed Salah (who recently called for the establishment of a “global caliphate”) are far more distasteful to many British Muslims than the occasional sensationalist tabloid headline.

Corbyn, it seems, is more concerned with maintaining his carefully cultivated persona as a moral messiah — a saviour of the downtrodden — than with listening to the needs or wishes of the socially and economically disadvantaged. This man who takes tea with terrorists and has at his disposal a vast army of useful idiots can no longer be treated as a figure of ridicule.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint, September 2015

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VAL 2015 | Väljarna har i allt större utsträckning börjat vända de etablerade partierna ryggen i Storbritannien.

Standpoint April 2015 Issue 71

Av den anledningen har Conservative Party och Labour tvingats inse att valkampanjen måste bedrivas lika mycket lokalt och regionalt som nationellt.

Men frågan är om småpartierna, p.g.a. valsystemet, kan förvandla de många röster man antar att de kommer att få till mer än bara några symboliska mandat. Undantaget här är möjligtvis SNP som kan ta hem hela Skottland.

Men oavsett om väljarna tycker att de två stora har blivit allt för lika varandra eller om det handlar om att de inte tycker sig få svar på sina frågor kan det mycket väl ändå bli så att de två stora partierna fortsätter dominera, om än med färre mandat, via ännu en koalitionsregering.

Ingen tror nämligen idag att vare sig Labour eller de konservativa kommer att vinna så pass många röster att det kan bilda en egen majoritetsregering.

I sitt temanumret inför valet skriver Oliver Wiseman, Assistant Editor på tidskriften Standpoint, om hur politiken i landet har förändrats sedan 1950-talet.

One of just two men will be Prime Minister after May 7. In that sense this election is a two-horse race. In every other respect, Britain is in for a messy, multi-dimensional and unpredictable few weeks, after which the country might wake up on May 8 knowing little more than it knew the night before. The process by which Britain resolves the contest between the two candidates for the top job will, to a greater extent than in any election in living memory, be a local rather than national process. Of course, the fierce national debate (televised or not) between Labour and the Conservatives and their respective visions for the country rages on. But an unprecedented proportion of voters are listening to someone else: above all, UKIP and the Greens in England, and the SNP in Scotland. Both UKIP and the SNP have won considerable support by connecting people’s problems to membership of a union, the former a European one, the latter a British one. Can the insurgents live up to their own high expectations on polling day?

[…]

British politics has changed. In the 1955 general election, the high-water mark of the two-party system, 96 per cent of the votes cast went to either Labour or the Conservatives. Just one other party, Clement Davies’s Liberals, won more than one per cent of the national vote and there were only four parties—Sinn Fein being the other—in the House of Commons. By contrast, in 2010, Labour and the Conservatives won a combined share of the vote of just 65 per cent and today there are 12 parties represented in the Commons.

It is no coincidence that 1955 was the year the swingometer made its debut on the BBC’s election coverage. The two-party system meant that the ups and downs of the campaign, the mood of different corners of the country and the strengths or weaknesses of a party leader’s speech mattered only insofar as they affected one thing: the swing. But the TV graphic has become less useful with each election since its debut. In 2015, it is moribund. Election battles are now fought on too many fronts to be encapsulated in the shift of one arrow to the left or the right. Once May 7 and its choppy wake has passed, both Labour and the Conservatives, if they hope to ever form a majority government again, must ask themselves why large swathes of the electorate hate them so much and why parties they dismissed as amateurish flashes in the pan are suddenly doing so well.

Tidskriftsomslag; Standpoint, april 2015.

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IDEOLOGI Rysslands agerande i Ukraina har fått omvärlden att fundera över vad som ideologiskt driver Vladimir Putin.

Standpoint April 2014

Father of Russia’s conservatism” av Lesley Chamberlain, Standpoint

There’s nothing new about the Russian conservatism Putin stands for, and it is something worth understanding, even if it makes us weep with frustration at the heavy-handed seizing of Crimea and the evident will of most Ukrainians not to be subject to Russian rule.

Just as many liberal Western democracies trace their histories of tolerance and a sharp separation of church and state back to the Enlightenment, so Russia still seems to be fighting the French Revolution, the political climax of that period. Russian conservativism has its roots in resistance to the modern momentum of individualistic liberation. There was never a Russian Edmund Burke to make a sophisticated plea for the powers of tradition and community over rationality as a guide to how to live. But there was always the Orthodox Church to bluntly dismiss reason as anathema. And for three and half centuries there was a tsar to rule by divine authority.

Whenever I try to understand the authoritarian Russian way anew I have to think of a man who 50 years before Lenin and 150 before Putin spelt out the classic Russian formula: Orthodoxy, autocracy, nationality. Count Sergei Uvarov’s tripartite slogan of 1833 was conservative Russia’s answer to liberté, egalité, fraternité. It meant, in something closer to today’s terms, autocracy, religious authority and managed democracy. Many Russians seem to find that acceptable.

Standpoint March 2014

The Russian Enigma: Is The Bear Turning East?” av Walter Laqueur, Standpoint

”An elite without an ideology is a threat.” This is the central point in an article by Aleksei Podberezkin in the first issue of 2014 of the Moscow weekly Zavtra. This is the organ of the Russian far-Right, Podberezkin being a leading figure in these circles. He is a strong believer in Russian nationalism and therefore critical of the present state of affairs in Russia in which politicians are preoccupied with ”technical” issues such as macroeconomics, but he also wants to preserve much of Soviet Communism. As a politician he was not very successful: competing in the elections for the presidency of Russia he scored 0.1 per cent of the vote. But he still is a respected figure in these circles as a political thinker. Whether the absence of an ideology is really a threat is not at all clear; Russia has  suffered from many disasters in its history but they were more often caused by a surfeit of ideology rather than the absence.

But it is certainly true that the recent period in Russian history has been marked by the absence of an ideology (or doctrine or strategy) comparable to the past. This has been noted by many authoritative interpreters of the Russian political scene irrespective of their political orientation. To give but one example, Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, wrote ten years ago that in Russia at present ideas hardly mattered and interests reigned supreme. The world view of Russian elites centred on financial interests.

Russia has had a national idea ever since the days of Filotel, a 16th-century monk in the city of Pskov who claimed that Moscow was the third Rome and that a fourth Rome would never be. The leaders and the political elites were always preoccupied with Russia’s destiny.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint mars respektive april 2014. 

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SYRIEN | Barack Obamas har alltid haft en god förmåga att kommunicera sin politik. Åtminstone under valkampanjerna.

Standpoint oktobver 2013

Efter sina valsegrar har han inte imponerat lika mycket. Och när det gäller krisen i Syrien har turerna varit mer komiska än statsmannamässiga.

I en krönika i Standpoint kallar t.ex. Emanuele Ottolenghi honom för Hamlet i Vita huset.

Det blir smått underhållande när han försöker reda ut vad presidenten egentligen tänker göra åt Bashar al-Assad och situationen i Syrien.

First, he told the world that ”Assad must go.” Then he told the world the use of chemical weapons constituted a red line for his Administration. Then he told the world that the extensive use of chemical weapons, with mass casualties involved, would trigger an American response. When chemical weapons were extensively used, he finally announced that he was going to launch a strike. But then he told the world he had the authority to strike but was going to seek authority from Congress to do so. Though the warships were steaming off and the missiles were loaded, he called the whole thing off and let Congress decide instead.

First, then, inaction; followed by a decision to act quickly rescinded in favour of a Congressional vote he was likelier to lose than win; and with it, a delay that could only be read as hesitancy by all the regional players, both friend and foe; and finally, in the midst of the debate before the vote, a deferral to a flight of fancy, courtesy of a Russian diplomatic offer that looks more like a pretext than a solution.

[…]

It is as if his utterances are not statements of intent and enunciations of policy but rather the educated expression of a wish or an opinion, the implementation of which will somehow fall on other people.

So when Obama said that ”Assad must go” he never apparently meant to announce a US policy; he just said, out loud, that he wished that Assad would go, much as a disgruntled football fan might wish his team’s manager to quit. When he defined the use of chemical weapons as a red line, Obama must have intended, once again, not to warn of a US-initiated response but merely to express the hope that Assad would stop short of murdering his own people with chemical weapons. Now Obama has done it again. Although Assad should be punished, Obama is not going to punish him. Although he has the authority, he will not use it. Even though diplomacy has failed, it would be nice if it were to succeed. And although Assad is like Hitler, and Obama invokes Roosevelt, the American people prefer to rebuild the economy at home rather than engage in foreign wars.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint, oktober 2013.

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header_blocksSJÄLVCENSUR: BBC är ett varumärke med högt förtroende i Sverige och omvärlden. Men i England har förtroendet de senaste åren dalat inte minst för den självcensur man ägnar sig åt.

Och precis som i Sverige handlar denna självcensur ofta om en beröringsångest vad gäller kritisk granskning av den politiska islamismen.

Nick Cohen rapporterar om turerna kring The London Bombers en av de mest genomarbetade och politiskt betydelsefulla dramadokumentär som brittisk television har låtit beställa.

Ett team journalister ägnade månader att göra efterforskningar i Leeds slum där tre av de fyra (Sidique Khan, Hasib Hussein och Shehzad Tanweer) ansvariga för bombdådet den 7/7 växte upp.

Teamet, som bestod av minst en muslim, rapporterade till författaren Terry Cafolla. Cafolla har tidigare vunnit en rad utmärkelser för sin dramatisering av religöst hat på en skola i Belfast.  

Det unika här var att journalisterna inte beskrev det islamistiska hatet som en följd av att muslimer har blivit ”förödmjukade” av amerikanare, engelsmän eller av de danska karikatyrteckningarna.

Istället kom man fram till att hatet beror på att Wahhabism – och deras olika teokratiska varianter – kunde fås att framstå som lika modernt som sekulariserad humanism. Denna rena form av religion skulle befria muslimerna från deras fäders pinsamt primitiva och vidskepliga tro. Att acceptera fanatism var ett tecken på överlägsenhet och ett bevis på att man kunde avancera och bli urbant sofistikerad.

Journalisterna lyckade övertala familjerna till tre av de fyra bombarna att samarbeta. Till slut var man överrens om att BBC på ett korrekt sätt beskrev deras söners och bröders liv och uppväxt. Cafolla levererade fem versioner av manuskriptet. Ett slutgiltig version var på gång när BBC plötsligt drog undan mattan och skrotade projektet.

Manuskriptet cirkulerar nu i Samizdat. Den officiella anledningen var att dramat inte höll måttet. Men journalisterna påstår att förklaringen till att BBC stoppade dramat var för att man ansåg det som ”Islamophobic”. 

Nick Cohen skriver:

The defining characteristic of Islamophobic prejudice is the belief that all Muslims are potential terrorists, and yet here, apparently, is the BBC seconding that motion by arguing that a dramatic examination of terrorism would be offensive to all Muslims.

Cohen ser detta som ett resultat av ”the moral contortions of the postmodern liberal establishment”:

In the past few years, the Foreign Office, the Home Office, the West Midlands Police, the liberal press, the Liberal Democrats, the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Lord Chief Justice and the Archbishop of Canterbury have all either supported ultra-reactionary doctrines or made libellous accusations against the critics of radical Islam. All have sought to prove their liberal tolerance by supporting the most illiberal and intolerant wing of British Islam, and by blocking out the voices of its Muslim and non-Muslim critics as they do it.

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