Britain’s Theresa May blames Russia for her own failures

This 4 October 2017 video from Britain is called From one failure, to another. Watch as Theresa May’s conference speech lurches towards disaster.

By Julie Hyland in Britain:

May deploys anti-Russian propaganda to distract from Brexit crisis

15 November 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May used her speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet—a gathering of the City of London—Monday evening to launch an attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Describing Russia as a threat to “open economies and free societies,” she accused the Putin regime of “seeking to weaponise information” and planting “fake stories” so as to “sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.”

A Downing Street source acknowledged that she was not responding to “any specific event” and May herself gave no evidence to back up her assertions.

Her claims underscore how unsubstantiated allegations of Russian “interference” and “fake news” have become the refuge of choice for crisis-ridden politicians the world over.

May’s Mansion House speech was made on the eve of the return of the European Union Withdrawal Bill to parliament. Eight days of “line by line” examination of the bill—aimed at incorporating EU legislation into British law—will take place between now and Christmas, in what has been likened to “guerrilla warfare” as each clause is bitterly contested.

Her tirade against Russia must be seen in this context. Its aim was to conceal the divisions within the British bourgeoisie over Brexit, which threaten the downfall of her own government, and to direct social and political tensions outwards, against “foreign” powers.

May did not accuse Moscow of interference in the 2016 EU referendum, which returned a narrow Leave majority. To do so would contradict her repeated claim that Brexit is the “will of the people”—a self-serving mantra that reflects the dominance of hardline Brexiteers within the Tory Party and her own cabinet.

A majority of the ruling elite, however, including substantial sections of the City, are gravely concerned at the impact of EU withdrawal on the interests of British imperialism. Represented politically by the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party—especially its Blairite wing—these layers are toying with trumped up allegations of Russian meddling to overturn the referendum result.

For May to play fast and loose with anti-Russian propaganda, despite its potential damage to her own cause, illustrates the scale of the crisis she confronts. Having lost two cabinet ministers to scandals in the aspace of week, May announced Friday she would put an amendment enshrining in law the date Britain leaves the EU—at 11 p.m., March 29, 2019.

It became clear that this move was in line with demands of leading Brexiteers when a secret letter from Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to May, marked “for your eyes only,” was leaked at the weekend.

The joint by-line is significant given that it was Gove who publicly torpedoed Johnson’s bid for Tory party leadership last June. With the clock ticking on Brexit, they have joined forces to oppose any retreat from or dilution of EU withdrawal.

Their letter, EU Exit—Next Steps, complained of “insufficient energy” on Brexit in parts of the government, demanded that any transition period be concluded by June 2021, and pressed May to ensure maximum support for this among the UK’s negotiating team by “clarifying their minds” and helping them “internalise the logic.”

The result has been to fuel the cross-party, pro-Remain opposition. Led by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, some 300 amendments have been tabled to the bill, including a number by Tory rebels.

These centre on the use of so-called Henry VIII clauses giving ministers executive powers to force through legislation, the role of the European Court of Justice during any transition period and the constitutional position of the devolved administrations after Brexit—especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland which voted to Remain.

May’s exit deadline only added another bone of contention to this list, with pro-EU Tory MP Dominic Grieve describing it as “thoroughly stupid” for limiting Britain’s room for manoeuvre in EU negotiations. Labour, for its part, wants “exit day” to be after an unspecified transition period of several years, while the Liberal Democrats favour a second referendum.

Should any of the amendments get the support of more than 11 Tory MPs the government faces defeat. The prospect of this is reinforced by reports that 40 Tory MPs have put their name to demands for May to resign—just eight short of the number needed to force a leadership challenge.

It was to forestall a Tory rebellion that Brexit Secretary David Davis announced a last-minute concession Monday—just prior to May’s Mansion House speech—that parliament could vote on a final deal between the UK and the EU. But this is a take-it-or-leave-it vote, with rejection meaning the UK will exit without agreement—precisely what the Remain faction fears most of all.

As a result, Davis’ “olive-branch” only ratcheted up tensions further, with Tory MP Anna Soubry describing it as “insulting,” “meaningless” and only adding to the government’s “grave difficulty” over Brexit.

While Britain’s parliament tears itself apart over whether it can vote on a final deal, there is no guarantee that the EU is even prepared to offer one. Last week the EU’s chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, again ruled out any progress to talks on future UK-EU trade relations without agreement on the “divorce” terms.

The EU summit on December 14/15 will decide whether “real and sincere progress” has been made regarding the UK’s outstanding financial contributions—estimated at about €60 billion (£53 billion), the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic and the rights of EU citizens in Britain.

May’s weakness is only strengthening the resolve of Germany and France that no concessions can be made. They are not prepared to help a prime minister in hock to a hardline anti-EU faction, especially when she—and indeed her government—might not be around for much longer.

Barnier acknowledged that the EU was making “technical preparations” for a collapse of negotiations, while on Tuesday Manfred Weber, a key ally of Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, warned “the clock is ticking.” Speaking in advance of talks requested by May in London today, Weber said it did not look as if the EU would be “entering into the second phase” of negotiations in December, adding “we need to warn the British government… to put proposals on the table.”

Sections of the EU are recklessly stoking the factional infighting within British political circles—nowhere more so than regarding the Irish border. The EU has suggested that Northern Ireland could remain in a customs union or the single market after the UK exits, obviating the restoration of a “hard border” between north and south.

This was rejected by Davis who said it would only create another new border instead, this time within the UK, between Northern Ireland and the mainland. Britain would not accept any arrangement that cost the UK’s “constitutional and economic integrity,” he said.

Dublin denounced Britain for trying to dictate Ireland’s future, while leading EU officials accused May of placing her political survival—her government is kept in power by the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland—above the interests of the Irish people.

In the Observer Sunday, European parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt referred to the 1998 Belfast agreement that ended The Troubles in Northern Ireland by bringing Sinn Fein into a power-sharing executive. He warned that avoidance of a hard border was “crucial to safeguard peace and to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, which was brokered with the active participation of the European Union. … I hope the British government will do what is right for all the people of Northern Ireland. The peace process should transcend domestic party politics.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark said Ms May and US politicians who have made similar claims [about Russia] were “attributing to others what they are guilty of themselves.”

He referred to a database compiled by Carnegie Mellon University researcher Dov Levin showing that Washington has meddled in around 80 foreign elections since World War II and Britain interfered in votes in Iran and Yugoslavia.

Mr Clark continued: “Her claims are hypocritical and based on hearsay, as the evidence is non-existent.

“She’s trying to pretend she’s strong and stable, but this is her last blast to get us angry with Russia for the failings of her own government.

“What was not in her speech were promises to cap energy bills and rail fares. She’s making up external enemies when the real enemies are closer to home.

“People are not going to buy this politics of mass distraction.”

Theresa May is playing a reckless game of nuclear roulette. The Tories are helping to accelerate a trajectory towards conflict with Russia, says COLIN TODHUNTER.

28 thoughts on “Britain’s Theresa May blames Russia for her own failures

  1. Pingback: “Britain’s Theresa May blames Russia for her own failures” | Dear Kitty | BOYCIE'S BLOGS: REINFORCING THE UK'S NEED FOR AN ANTI-TORY/DUP REVOLUTION

  2. Tuesday 14th November 2014

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THERESA MAY’S Lord Mayor’s Banquet speech, in which she harangued Moscow for meddling in elections and spreading fake news, smacks of political desperation.

    Her willingness to sing every tune from the Hillary Clinton songbook simply illustrates, as with the US presidential election loser, that she cannot accept personal responsibility for her own political misfortune.

    Clinton did not believe she could lose against ignorant loudmouth Donald Trump, having already snatched the Democratic Party nomination from Bernie Sanders because she had the supposedly impartial Democratic National Committee in her corner.

    She was wrong because she didn’t understand the level of resentment against her sense of entitlement and image as the voice of Wall Street.

    May’s electoral misfortune too was entirely of her own making.

    The Prime Minister had a workable parliamentary majority after succeeding David Cameron but plumped for a snap election because she believed dodgy media forecasts that Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn would melt down, leaving her a landslide victor.

    Labour gained seats, leaving Corbyn much stronger, while May exudes weakness, having to retain the likes of Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson in her Cabinet because sacking them would leave her in an even more abject position.

    Rather than engage in self-criticism — the action of a confident and honest leader — she lashes out at Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

    Her allegations that Moscow has been “meddling” in elections, planting “fake stories and Photoshopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West” and fomented conflict in Ukraine indicate that the PM lacks self-awareness.

    Has she learned nothing about the history of the country of which she is Prime Minister?

    Does she believe that Britain’s security services played no role in developments affecting countries that were once close allies of Moscow or constituent republics of the Soviet Union?

    Conflict in Ukraine was never part of Putin’s planning. Russia was supportive of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych who wanted European Union membership while maintaining existing trade links and friendly relations with Russia.

    For the EU, US and Britain it was all or nothing and they encouraged the so-called Maidan violent protests led by fascist gangs that ousted the president and provoked armed conflict in the east of the country.

    May refers to “Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea” as “the first time since the second world war that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe.”

    Crimea was transferred from Russia to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchov in 1954 in an opaque operation that was neither explained nor debated at that time.

    It was then and is still populated overwhelmingly by Russians and the Crimean city of Sevastopol was and remains the home port of the Black Sea Fleet.

    Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Western powers and their transnational corporations walked all over Russia, with the connivance of corrupt and drink-addled president Boris Yeltsin.

    Promises that Nato would not extend itself to Russia’s border were disowned and dishonoured.

    Putin is no Bolshevik. Neither is he an anti-imperialist. His preference would have been acting as a friend of the West, but the worm turned in response to being demeaned and his intervention in Syria was dictated mainly by Russian self-interest.

    If his corruption-sodden regime has, as May alleges, meddled in elections and spread fake news, Russia has simply been imitating global masters in the art.

    Whatever her claims, May’s problems are not made in Moscow. They are totally home-grown.


    • Yes, often ‘Johnny Foreigner’ is blamed; whether ‘Johnny Russian Foreigner’ or ‘Johnny Muslim Foreigner’ or ‘Johnny Communist Foreigner’ or ‘Johnny Jewish Foreigner’ etc. etc.


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