Tuesday, May 31, 2016

International politics provides relief from local tedium

Politics in New Zealand is soporific at the moment with a boring budget and even a quite muted response from the left-wing opposition, but politics in the rest of the world it is getting quite exciting.

In the US, leading Democratic political candidate Hillary Clinton has been found by the Inspector General of the State Department to have breached government policies by using a personal email server for departmental business. What is worse is that she repeatedly lied about it (as even MSNBC, which is usually hugely sympathetic to Clinton, now admits). The Inspector General's report puts the onus on the FBI, which is running a parallel investigation, to decide whether she and her staff should face criminal charges, and if that happens her run at the presidency is over. Does that mean the Democratic nomination will go to Bernie Sanders? Not necessarily. The Democratic Party seems intent on tearing itself apart into implacable Hillary vs Bernie factions, and Democratic Party rules allow the delegates pledged to Hillary to switch to a candidate more acceptable to the Clinton faction like Joe Biden or John Kerry (as Karl Rove points out in this Wall Street Journal article).

Meanwhile the mainstream media continues to do what it can to undermine Donald Trump's run at the presidency, with the New York Times leading the charge by giving legitimacy to claims that Trump is a fascist. I think Trump is a big government cronyist and a racist, sexist demagogue, but I don't think he even begins to qualify as a fascist. Such claims just add to the perception that Trump is the antagonist of the political establishment and that is a lot of the reason for his increasing popularity with American voters. I wonder whether the geniuses at the New York Times will ever realise this and that they are helping pave Trump's road to the White House.

In the United Kingdom, the prospects of a decision to leave the European Community in next month's referendum are on a knife-edge (the polls are currently averaging 40% to 39% in favour of Remain). I believe we may see a last minute surge in support for Leave due to the Remain campaign's increasingly desperate appeal to people's fears with their ridiculous claims that Brexit will lead to World War 3, worsening climate change and national economic collapse. Whatever the outcome, British politics will not be same with the Brexit issue having created new alliances and splits that cross the traditional left-right divide and many in the Conservative Party are already calling for David Cameron's scalp for his dishonesty during the Brexit campaign.

It is all entertaining, if nothing else.

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