21 July 2017

On the Record | Tony Blair struts and frets his hour upon the stage to frustrate the people’s Brexit

Please see my latest wire for The American Spectator, ‘Tony Blair struts and frets his hour upon the stage to frustrate the people’s Brexit’:

Nothing so annoys an audience as the artless ham who simply won’t get off the stage, trying their patience. Just so former prime minister Tony Blair, as he loiters on the UK political stage, with his incessant need for the spotlight, as put-upon Britons await the needful theatre hook to yank him back to the wings and, with him, his tireless and tiring crusade against Brexit — Britain’s escape from the étatist European Union.

“I think it’s possible now that Brexit doesn’t happen,” Mr. Blair confided to a Sky News interviewer. “I think it’s absolutely necessary that it doesn’t happen because I think every day is bringing us fresh evidence that it’s doing us damage economically, certainly doing us damage politically.”

This pro-EU platform is well-trod by Mr. Blair (once a contender for its presidency), and the Continental project of ever greater integration of its member-states. Britain only escaped the catastrophe of the single currency because Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown insisted that five conditions be met before Britain signed on to the Euro, and internal Labour Party tensions meant that Blair thought twice before crossing his Chancellor.

But the Labour prime minister had no qualms about crossing the electorate. He promised and eventually reneged on giving Britons a voice on a “federated” European constitution, released from his pledge when the plan of an EU super-state failed to pass muster in several other countries. Brussels bureaucrats obfuscated and simply passed the legislation as the Lisbon Treaty, a constitution in all but name. It was Conservative premier David Cameron who ultimately gave the people a choice, which earned him Mr. Blair’s opprobrium for bowing to his Euroskeptic Tories’ demand for democratic accountability. Mr. Blair came out against the 2016 referendum and campaigned for Remain, and has continued to snipe ever since, even threatening to re-enter the political arena at the time of last June’s general election. True to form, as Fleet Street busily reports on Brexit difficulties (real or imagined) with the EU negotiating team, once more our aging pantomime artist slaps on the grease paint and heads out before the Krieg lights.

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My thanks to editor Wlady Pleszczynski of The American Spectator.

16 July 2017

On the Record | France’s Brexit strategy could yet be called war by other means

Please see my latest wire as Brexit diarist for The New York Sun, ‘France’s Brexit strategy could yet be called war by other means’:

No wonder President Macron rushed to get President Trump over to Paris. He’s maneuvering madly against Britain in the face of Brexit — a strategy that is finally out in the open with the publication of a leaked City of London memo shared with Brexit ministers early this month.

“France,” it warns, “sees Britain and the City of London as adversaries, not partners.” The Corporation’s special representative to the European Union, Jeremy Browne, writes of the intentions of both Paris government and banking officials.

“They are crystal clear about their underlying objective,” Mr. Browne writes; “the weakening of Britain, the on-going degradation of the City of London.”

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My thanks to editor Seth Lipsky of The New York Sun.