1. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, PM
Martin Fletcher in the New Statesman says that Brits have given a con man the keys to the kingdom:
- Boris Johnson’s arrival in Downing Street as prime minister signals the end of the UK as a serious country.
Johnson is “a liar, an adulterer and a pedlar of fantasies who is so utterly lacking in principle and integrity that he is willing to sacrifice the nation’s future on the altar of his own ambition.”
- His row with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, exposed the nastiness, aggression and sense of entitlement that lurk behind his clownish facade.
Fletcher says that 99.75 per cent of the electorate did not vote for Johnson, but were forced to watch impotently from the sidelines as:
- the tiny, anonymous cabal of 160,000 predominantly older, southern, white, wealthy, male right-wing Conservative Party members … chose the country’s new leader. And many of those 160,000 were recent Ukip infiltrators.
According to a YouGov survey:
- 63 per cent of them would apparently prefer to lose Scotland from the Union than forego Brexit, and 59 per cent would prefer to jettison Northern Ireland than stay in the EU.
Plus his fellow Conservative pollies, who:
- detest the man. They know perfectly well what a serially disloyal, untrustworthy, indolent, disorganised and egotistical charlatan he is.
They voted for him:
- as the best chance of saving their seats by out-Faraging Nigel Farage in demagoguery, or because they craved ministerial jobs in his government, or both.
That image came from my friend in Erlangen, with scans of an article pay-walled and auf Deutsch. I’ve struggled with it with the help of my 30 year-old dictionary. For example, the dictionary did not help with the title Die Fesselungskünstler. I think it means ‘escape artist’.
I didn’t need to look up the “Profanisierung und Infantilisierung von Politik” which it attributes to Johnson and Trump. Trump with a thesaurus, is one way of summing him up.
The German “großmäulig, raufsüchtig, eitel und zaudernd” translates as “big-mouthed, conceited, spoiling for a fight and vacillating”. Jörg Schindler, the author, says Johnson has no plan, never had one for anything except self-aggrandisement. Cleverly, he effectively describes himself as “the emperor with no clothes” which passes for disarming honesty which allows people to vote for him.
Schindler says Johnson ran for London Mayor because his Eton and Oxford buddy David Cameron became leader, which Johnson found humiliating. As mayor he had some achievements, but all were initiatives begun by his predecessor Ken Livingstone.
So anything can happen.
Only 13% of Brits would buy a used car from Johnson.
After all that, the article is there now, in English translation.
The Irish Times has an article ‘The clown who wanted to be king’: What the papers say about Boris around Europe. Not flattering.
2. Australian Coalsheviks stand firm
In recent days we’ve had record ice melting in Greenland, the Arctic on fire, including Greenland with more fires this year than in the last 10 combined, and in July we have had the hottest month ever recorded by humans.
Now in Bhutan they are under existential threat from the melting of the “third pole” the Hindu Kush with implications “for nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.”
Hot off the press we have a 1000-page report Climate Change and Land: An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. See story at the ABC and Damien Carrington’s Climate crisis reducing land’s ability to sustain humanity, says IPCC, and how to fix the crisis, including a meat tax.
However, our red-blooded Coalshevik government won’t have a bar of it as the Australian Government Brushes Off UN’s Urgent Climate Warning.
Some Australian farmers who live with the consequences of climate change every day are committed to pursuing carbon neutrality for Australian agriculture by 2030.
Guy Debelle, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, knows we need to act on the economic impact of climate change and said as much in a speech earlier this year.
David Attenborough is going to give us another rocket on TV tonight in Climate Change: the facts, including how to prevent it.
3. A delicate balance
That’s David Rowe, of course, illustrating an AFR article Lost in translation: Morrison’s high-stakes China play.
The point made is that Washington and Canberra were speaking different languages on China policy.
Elsewhere Warwick McKibbin worries that Trump is tweeting the way to a world recession. There were genuine grievances around intellectual property, and the use of tariffs and currency manipulation. However, Trump doesn’t understand that the Chinese can’t and won’t lose face.
Enter Andrew Hastie.
Mathias Cormann has criticised as “clumsy and inappropriate” Andrew Hastie’s comments that compared the west’s response to China to inadequate defences against Nazi Germany.
Peter Dutton supported Hastie. Scott Morrison PM said he’s only a backbencher, meaning Hastie.
Problem is that Hastie heads Federal Parliament’s powerful security and intelligence committee.
Mark Dreyfus was quick to say that Hastie does not speak for the committee.
- described the remarks as “Cold War mentality” that was “detrimental” to the relationship between the countries.
It called on politicians to view China’s growth as an opportunity, not a threat.
“We strongly deplore the Australian federal MP Andrew Hastie’s rhetoric on ‘China threat’ which lays bare his Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” the statement reads.
I’m with Hugh White in broad terms. We need to take a long term view, when China will be stronger, and the Americans may decide to stay at home. It needs a whole new defence strategy, which will cost more, but we need to show seriously that we can sink ships.
we will need to raise defence spending to at least 3.5% of GDP, quadruple the size of the submarine fleet, double the size of our fighter-aircraft force, sell three air warfare destroyers which we have only just built, cancel the $35 billion contract for nine new frigates, and turn the army into a light constabulary force. Also, we should study the acquisition of a fleet of submarines armed with long-range nuclear-tipped missiles, similar to those operated by France and the UK.
There’s about zero chance of that happening, but it may be the price of independence.