Newsletter 16/06/24


A YouGov poll this week showed Reform leading the Conservatives by 1%.

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Dear Subscribers,

A YouGov poll this week showed Reform leading the Conservatives by 1%. The poll is an outlier for showing Reform ahead, but the momentum building behind Nigel Farage’s campaign is reflected across the board. The first Survation MRP poll since Farage’s return shows his party winning 7 seats.

Emmanuel Macron has called parliamentary elections for 30th June in the wake of his defeat at the European elections last week. The RN, formerly led by Marine Le Pen, is widely expected to make gains at the expense of centrist parties and the next Prime Minister may end up being 28 year-old RN party president Jordan Bardella.


What was he thinking?

EU leaders will gather tomorrow to put forward candidates for top jobs on the EU commission in the wake of the EU parliamentary elections last week. Ursula Von Der Leyen is tipped for a second term as commission president. Other roles include European Council President and foreign policy chief. The EU parliament will have an opportunity to reject the slate of candidates, but will not have a say on individual roles or be able to put forward alternative candidates.

Vladimir Putin issued new demands for peace in Ukraine, which included Russian annexation of four occupied regions in addition to Crimea, demilitarisation of the whole country, and a commitment never to join NATO. The proposals were roundly rejected by Ukrainian diplomats. A peace summit in Switzerland is ongoing, though neither Russia nor China have sent diplomats to attend.


Putin makes an unreasonable request

The G7 summit came and went without making many headlines. A small dispute over abortion erupted after conservative Meloni demanded that a joint communique remove reference to abortion rights. The group of nations agreed to use $50 billion worth of frozen Russian assets to fund a new loan to Ukraine. As a sideshow, the US and Ukraine signed a 10-year security pact, which was interpreted by commentators as another significant step towards NATO membership for the embattled nation.


Eliot Wlison on Labour’s plans for constitutional reforms

Ross Clark on Lord Cameron’s counterproductive campaigning


Myths on the impact of Brexit by Catherine McBride

The editorial team at Briefings For Britain will be publishing a series of rebuttals to some of the most often repeated Brexit myths. We have all written about them before, but it looks like our politicians need a refresher course before the election.

Anyone who watched last Friday’s political debate on the BBC may have been surprised to hear Stephen Flynn, representing the SNP, claim that Brexit had cost the UK £40 billion in lost tax revenue. This is not true, and even Full Fact pointed this out after the debate. But no other politician did during the show. Nor did the moderator, Mishal Husain. Unfortunately, these Brexit Myths have been embedded in the minds of many journalists and politicians.

D Day and Putin by Robert Tombs

Wars are inevitably won by economic and industrial power. But only on condition that governments and peoples are willing to use it.

Logically, Putin’s ambitions to destroy Ukraine are absurd.  But only if the West – its leaders and its peoples – are willing to defeat them.  As it is, we give the Ukrainians just enough to keep them fighting and dying for what we proclaim is our security too.  We struggle to find 2.5 percent of GDP for defence – when affordable.  Chamberlain tripled defence spending in the late 1930s in the face of Labour’s opposition, which of course does not today apply.  In the end, resources must count, but only if and when they are used.  Putin can mobilize more of his limited capacity.  Have we the will to mobilize a fraction of our vastly superior resources?

Key Points

Politicos in the UK could be forgiven for being a little bored by the general election. The outcome seems like a foregone conclusion – a large Labour majority – with the only question being how many seats the Conservatives can cobble together with what remains of their splintered support. But if they are looking for something more exciting, they need look no further than our near neighbours across the Channel.

The week following Macron’s shock election announcement was one of the most tumultuous in recent French political history. Left wing parties quickly announced a new “popular front”, despite the attempts by one senior member of the Socialist Party to derail the alliance by laying down preconditions. He was largely ignored and the alliance went ahead.

Meanwhile, on the right, the president of the Republicans, Eric Ciotti, announced live on television that he would seek an alliance with Le Pen. Senior officials from his party distanced themselves from the comments and demanded his resignation. Ciotti responded by locking them out of the party headquarters. After a second set of keys were found, party officials voted to remove him from office, a move which Ciotti successfully challenged in court. At the time of writing he remains party president.

There was more drama amongst right-wing parties, when Eric Zenmour went on television to describe the actions of his deputy in his Reconquête party as “the world record of betrayals” after she suggested that a deal was being done with Le Pen’s party, RN, which would see him sidelined. The deputy in question is Marine Le Pen’s niece. Reconquête’s newly elected MEPs have turned against their leader, and seem to be backing a deal with RN.

With journalists and commentators still scratching their heads trying to find some reason behind Macron’s decision to call the election, Macron himself accused the new left-wing “popular front” of being anti-semitic. His “Ensemble” party is trailing behind RN and the left-wing “popular front” in the polls. All this comes as pundits predict a French debt crisis looming for whichever party comes out on top at the end of the month.

Remainers are fond of casting wistful glances over at the continent and longing for the apparent stability that European politics offers. They blame Brexit for the uncertainty in Britain over the past few years. The chaos facing France should be a reminder that Britain is not alone amongst European nations in facing political upheaval, and that membership of the EU is no foil against political instability.

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