UK politics is now almost entirely dominated by BREXIT and it is likely to remain that way for all of the two years of negotiations shortly to commence, and for whatever follows. This is also of vital interest to the remaining 27 EU nations, in several of which the populist nationalism exhibited within the UK, is echoed by similar waves of reaction, even amongst EU founder members. The Netherlands and France are both ‘looking down the barrel’ at their own nationalist movements with their loaded populist propaganda, in upcoming elections.
Nearly nine months on from the June 23rd 2016 UK Referendum, the shock result, certainly amongst the frustrated ‘Remainers,’ continues to produce national news – most recently of a second former UK prime minister John Major, adding his warning dissenting voice, to that of Tony Blair, who spoke out vowing to campaign against Brexit, earlier in the month. Then there is the apparent cabal of US big-money connections, that helped to plot the Brexit outcome – of every twist and turn of referendum- related events. Now the British Parliament is debating giving authority to formally commence ‘Leaving’ negotiations, required from them, by decision of the Supreme Court, rather than being decided by the Executive, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, as she had preferred. Critically, the question of the moment is whether modifying amendments put forward by the House of Lords will be accepted by the House of Commons, which will be known within a few days.
Scotland, that voted heavily to Remain is not reconciled and is contemplating a new Independence referendum, hoping to Remain in Europe, notwithstanding the rest of the UK. That would end the 400 years old Act of Union and dissolve the United Kingdom.
Apart from such far-reaching political implications, there is an urgent ‘need to know,’ particularly by the 48% that voted “Remain”, as to how did this outcome ever get to happen? For many of them, Brexit potentially spells disaster for the economy, and runs against the flow of history.
Sara Bielecki has waded into the mass of data that have been generated on this topic by international Academia and takes a look at ‘the Who’s’ and ‘the Why’s’ of the end result. A key indication is that the ‘Leave’ propaganda churned out by the tabloid press, succeeded in its objective of frightening a sufficient number of voters, who had little personal experience of immigrants, as the pattern and place of voting clearly shows. Nearly all the big cities of Britain having the highest concentrations of immigrants, voted Remain.
We have long specialised in events in the Middle- East, North Africa and Western Asia. During the Trump presidential campaign, he made it clear that he believed that the US was being ‘disrespected’ and that this was going to change. The world is aware of the massive military power concentrated by the USA – and made the connection.
In this issue, in the belief that Donald Trump has IRAN in his sights, Alessandro Bruno’s piece:- “Trump’s Chosen Target: IRAN” analyses the implications and flags up fears that the US may be about to enter another middle-east quagmire.
Our World Democracy Audit is updated in this issue with new data from Transparency International’s recently published “International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016”. We show TI’s comprehensive review of: Corruption in the Americas; Asia Pacific; Europe & Central Asia; Middle & North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Also our own conclusions and how these results amend our World Democracy rankings (for those 154 nations with a minimum one million population). We publish the complete new Democracy Tables with links from each nation listed, which offer a surprisingly large cache of Agency reports and relevant information on each of them.
Clive Lindley – Publisher/Editor
Trina Middlecote – Data Management
The Brexit result of last summer shook the political establishment to the core and has had a seismic effect on the state of Britain, and indeed the continent of Europe. Broadly, 52% of people in the UK voted to leave, so everyone in the country should know someone who voted for our departure from the European Union. Yet apparently, Remainers and Brexiteers individually seem to know very few of those who voted the opposite way to themselves – perhaps accounting for the shock on both sides, when the country decided to leave.
A psephological analysis is clearly needed to fathom these deep divisions, to map out these two camps, and to ascertain the factors at work and their complex interplay. Numerous academic groups from not only British, but European and other universities, have focused on different aspects of what amounted to an electoral phenomenon. Age, wage and educational levels are all indicators which can be measured and have been examined. Harder to quantify but equally important, are more abstract indicators, based on value systems and emotions, which do not dictate votes in a logical fashion.
Immigration: The Shadow Not the Reality
The fact that voters expressing fears about immigration often but not always, tended to reside in areas with low immigration, would indicate that scaremongering tactics used by the Leave campaign and notably UKIP, rather than personal experience, were highly successful in influencing voters, particularly when set beside the fact that not only in London, but most of Britain’s biggest cities where the strongest immigrant concentrations are to be found, did NOT vote to Leave, indeed several to Remain by substantial margins….[continues...]
Will Trump Drag the USA into Another Middle East Quagmire?
During his presidential campaign, Trump continuously emphasised his view that the rest of the World were making fools of the USA. He showed every sign that if he achieved power, he would use the US’s formidable military strength to humiliate some target nation, demonstrating to the world the mighty muscle that the US possesses. The will is there. The only question is against whom?
Russia has an equivalence of nuclear weaponry with the US and anyway, there are other plans for Russia. China is another highly capable nuclear power, but apart from that, they own an enormous chunk of the US’ national debt and have a vast military machine themselves.
So the middle- east?…. [continues...]
New Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International
Our data partners Transparency International, have in late January 2017 issued their most recent Corruption Perceptions Index enabling World Audit to amend its 2017 World Democracy data here in this issue. The link below gives the updated four divisions listing those 154 nations with a minimum one million population that World Audit monitors. These tables now show the amended Corruption rankings and the revised overall World Democracy rankings that result.
Summary of Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2016
Americas: From the Panama Papers in April to the record US$3.5 billion Odebrecht settlement in Brazil in December, 2016 was a good year in the fight against corruption in the Americas. But there is still a long way to go. Read more… [continues...]