Week of Mar 14 – 20

London USDR Across the Pond

By Steve Parkhurst, Senior Editor, USDR.

Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.


Brexit will be triggered on March 29. And Downing Street repeats: no early election.

So all other things being equal, Britain will have left the EU by the end of March 2019.

What the papers say: Why Tony Blair is still wrong about Brexit

Why did 17.4m people vote for Brexit? A long list of reasons have been put forward but Tony Blair thinks he has the definitive answer: ‘authoritarian populism’. The Sun is not impressed; the paper says that it’s a sorry spectacle to see former Prime Ministers ‘slinging insults’ at voters having been ‘defeated and rejected by the people they used to govern’. What’s more, Blair’s attempt to explain away the referendum shows he is missing the point.

Another election?

I have seen no need for another election any time soon. The Conservative party has the endorsement of the electorate from 2015 for its Manifesto for a Parliament. All the time Mrs May is happy with that Manifesto, which she supported at the time, there is no lack of mandate. The government also has a major mandate from the referendum to get on with Brexit. There would be little  benefit from fighting the referendum again by proxy in a General Election, where  the polling shows the pro Brexit Conservative party is likely to win. If the Election simply confirms the referendum it  adds little.

John Major blasted for ‘bitter’ jibe that saw him liken Brexiteers to footie hooligans

The former Prime Minister called leading Leave campaigners ‘totally un-British’ and ‘undemocratic


The EU referendum’s winners and losers are still struggling to adapt to their role reversal

Those Remainer MPs who hope to continue the fight face particular difficulties.

Tony Blair slammed for ‘spreading doom’ even as ex-PM admits he had NO IDEA how many migrants he was letting in

And the former PM got it wrong when asked about it saying most of the immigration happened after the financial crash


Are British elections being stolen?

With 12 police forces reacting to overspending claims involving 20 MPs, we need to know how serious the problem really is


Philip Hammond’s embarrassing U-turn points to bigger issues in government

Rarely has a Budget unravelled so quickly. Not even George Osborne’s so-called omnishambles package in 2012 saw its central tax-raising feature dropped within a week. The decision to abandon plans to increase National Insurance Contributions (NICs) paid by the self-employed is an abject humiliation for Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and an acute embarrassment for the Government as a whole.

The prime minister’s new line is that ‘now is not the time’. And she’s sticking to it.

Time to see the UK’s strengths – steady pound since 2012

Amidst all the hyperbole over short term movements in sterling it is worthwhile looking at the longer trend. Today sterling is around the same level against the Euro as it was at the beginning of 2012. It is almost a fifth higher against the yen, and around one fifth down against the dollar. Over this time period the dollar has been strong against all major currencies, running with higher interest rates and expectations of higher rates than elsewhere in the advanced world. The yen has been particularly weak thanks to negative rates and the creation so many extra yen by the authorities.


The Article 50 letter: keep it short and simple

The longer it gets, the harder it becomes to simultaneously please both the EU institutions and the British electorate.

This NICs climbdown leaves Hammond fatally wounded, with Brexiteers holding the knife

Almost exactly one week after his first Budget, Philip Hammond has announced that he will not, in fact, increase National Insurance contributions for the self-employed. Not this year, not next year, not in this Parliament. This is not so much a tactical retreat as a full-blown rout, ministers running at full tilt away from a battle with Tory backbenchers and the self-employed strivers the tax plan had so infuriated.


Scotland and a referendum. Send for Cummings to help fight for the Union.

The most ominous portent for a second poll is that the No campaign has collapsed. It needs rebooting urgently.

– – – – – –

Across The Pond is edited daily by Steve Parkhurst. Steve is a political consultant, a writer at his blog as well as a Senior Editor here at US Daily Review. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveParkhurst

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.