David Cameron

John Key does what he does best

Key was heading to France and Italy this week but got London added to the trip after Britain voted to leave the EU.

If it had been anyone else, the request would probably have been declined, and if Key hadn’t already been in the UK for the fast-forwarded change of leadership, it may have been cancelled.

The fact that it wasn’t is down to the Key-Cameron personal relationship and their long-standing membership of an elite club of friends, as leaders of successful Conservative parties and traditional allies.

Key and Cameron have been more than text buddies: the last time Key visited Cameron, last year, it was to the private country retreat at Chequers, which is not unusual, but to the birthday lunch for 11-year-old Nancy Cameron.In his Newstalk ZB interview, Key seemed aware that the value to New Zealand of his visit was diminished to somewhere between “neutral to slightly advantageous”.

Were the UK not in such a period of frenetic activity, it clearly may have been higher.

Cameron may have provided some insights and continuity into the likely new administration.

May, currently Home Secretary, will take over [today]. Read more »

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove set about each other with knives

Michael Gove announced that contrary to his previous position he was going to run for leader, effectively stabbing Boris Johnson in the back. Boris, for his part, then said he wouldn’t stand either, effectively stabbing Michael Gove as well.

Boris Johnson’s allies warned there is a ‘deep pit in Hell’ waiting for Michael Gove tonight after the Justice Secretary stabbed his fellow Brexit champion in the back saying he was not up to being Prime Minister.

Mr Gove delivered a brutal verdict on Mr Johnson’s capabilities and questioned whether his ‘heart and soul’ were in taking us out of the EU, effectively ending his hopes of succeeding David Cameron, as he announced his own bid for Downing Street.

Damning his friend with faint praise, Mr Gove said he had ‘enjoyed working with him’ during the referendum campaign. But he said: ‘I realised in the last few days that Boris isn’t capable of building that team and providing that unity.

‘And so I came reluctantly but firmly to the conclusion that as someone who had argued from the beginning that we should leave the European Union and as someone who wanted ensure that a bold, positive vision for our future was implemented, that I had to stand for leadership of the Conservative party.’

He added: ‘I thought it was right that following the decision that the people took last week that we should have someone leading the Conservative party and leading the country who believed in their heart and soul that Britain was better off outside the European Union.’

As the blows rained down on Mr Johnson this morning, key backers Nick Boles and Dominic Raab defected to Mr Gove’s campaign and arch-rival Theresa May won support from Leader of the House Chris Grayling – another Brexit champion.

Within hours Mr Johnson, who had been the hot favourite, was using an event that had been intended as his campaign launch to rule himself out.  Read more »

The astonishing stupidity of Rachel Smalley

We’ve looked at the retarded nature of Rachel Smalley before. She is perhaps the most annoyingly sanctimonious and solipsistic commentator around. Who can forget her ticking off NASA for naming a spacecraft after an eminent scientist, confusing his name (Kepler) with Kevlar and remonstrating that it isn’t a good look to name a spacecraft after bullet proof vests? Of course, she never lets staff in the NewstalkZB newsroom forget that she is the “only serious journalist” in that organisation.

I was looking forward to her column this morning as much as I looked forward to other lefty commentator reports, but who knew she could be so utterly disdainful of the democratic process.

Referendums have their place. Should a country change its flag, for example? That’s a good use of a referendum. But on the issue of E.U membership, an issue of such profound economic importance, why let ‘Jo public’ decide when some among ‘Jo public’ will be ill-informed, politically ignorant and have little understanding of the impact of their vote on trade, on policy, on Britain’s constitution, on the country’s legal framework, on national unity, on a million things.

That’s not democracy. That is political stupidity.

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EU reacts with petulance, exactly like Brexit campaigners predicted

The EU technocrats have reacted badly to a sovereign nation exercising its democratic rights.

A senior EU leader has confirmed the bloc wants Britain out as soon as possible, warning that David Cameron’s decision to delay the start of Brexit negotiations until his successor is in place may not be fast enough.

Cameron announced on Friday morning that he would step down as prime minister by the autumn, after the British public caused a political earthquake by voting 52%-48% to leave the European Union.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, told the Guardian that EU lawyers were studying whether it was possible to speed up the triggering of article 50 of the Lisbon treaty – the untested procedure for leaving the union.

As the EU’s institutions scrambled to respond to the bodyblow of Britain’s exit, Schulz said uncertainty was “the opposite of what we need”, adding that it was difficult to accept that “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party”.

“I doubt it is only in the hands of the government of the United Kingdom,” he said. “We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until October, but that must not be the last word.”

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At least one Guardian journalist gets it

While the left-wing continues to unhinge at least one Guardian journalist, Matthew d’Ancona, has finally understood what Brexit was all about:

Before analysis, let us admit to awe: the sheer scale of the moment requires it. The word “historic” is deployed too lazily in political discourse. But it is entirely appropriate this morning. This is a hugely significant day in British (and European) history.

When a party loses an election, its soon-to-be-ex-leader rallies the troops and promises a different result next time. But no such option is open to the crushed chieftains of remain today. There is no “next time”.

This was a unique opportunity to seal Britain’s relationship with the European Union, or to end it. And the voters – at a high level of turnout – decided that it was time to go. They heard the warnings, listened to experts of every kind tell them that Brexit meant disaster, watched the prime minister as he urged them not to take a terrible risk. And their answer was: get stuffed.   Read more »

Done like a dog’s dinner, says Audrey Young about David Cameron

Audrey Young provides her opinion on Brexit with a slight segue to John Key and his own referendum troubles.

David Cameron would never have called a referendum on the EU if he thought he would be done like a dog’s dinner, as he has been.

He had supreme confidence in his leadership ability and powers of persuasion when he announced in 2013 why he wanted a referendum. He over-estimated.

It has mild echoes of a far less important referendum promoted by his friend and a similarly unpersuasive Prime Minister John Key on changing the flag.

Cameron fittingly announced tonight he will relinquish his captain’s cap before the Conservatives conference in Birmingham, on October 2.

He has shown leadership in resigning. I wonder when Jeremy Corbyn will likewise show some leadership by resigning, having led Labour down the wrong path of the EU?

[H]istory will define him as a loser and Remainers will beat him up for a miscalculation in holding the referendum at all. So why did he?

EU membership had become such a divisive issue in Britain, he felt it had to be confronted properly.

As Cameron said in his 2013 speech: “Democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer thin.”

You don’t answer the growing perception of a deficit of democracy with another commission of inquiry.

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Hero to Zero: David Cameron gone after Brexit vote

Politics is a fickle beast: you can go from hero to zero in the time it takes to count the votes in a referendum.

David Cameron looked on top of the world a few short months ago, with an opposition leader who is completely tits. However, he backed the wrong horse in the EU referendum and now must fall on his sword. It’s what leaders do, and David Cameron has.

James Delingpole explains:

“How would it be for David Cameron if he lost this Referendum?”

When a BBC crew asked me this two days ago I don’t think either they or I imagined for a moment that this scenario would come to pass.

“It would be an utter disaster for him!” I said, with perhaps a hint of glee.

But it’s not at all how I’m feeling right now. Actually, in the end, Schadenfreude is an ugly emotion. Dave and I were friends once and though he has done an awful lot since as a politician which has irritated me beyond measure, I can take no joy in his downfall.

It was a self-inflicted downfall too, which is what must make it even harder to bear for him.

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Poms vote to Brexit, Porridge Wogs want to stay

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The EU referendum results aren’t yet final but it is almost certain that it is for Brexit.

The BBC and ITV have declared Leave wins, as results continue to show a much stronger Leave vote in electorates that supported leaving than Stay votes in those electorates that voted stay.

All major outlets are now calling it for Leave.

Only Scotland massively supported staying in the EU and now they will likely leave the UK. The Poms will be extremely happy if the Porridge Wogs leave. Labour will be gutted though as it is their stronghold.   Read more »

The Remain campaign disconnect

Janet Daley discusses the peculiarly British response to the killing of an MP, suspending campaigning but also how the threats and stupidity of the Remain camp derailed themselves.

In truth, what became clear in the hours and days after this crime were the common humanity of the British people and the natural decency of the country’s institutions. The immediate, unanimous decision to suspend campaigning on the referendum; the expressions of obviously sincere sympathy and support from all sides of the House; and the decision by the major parties not to contest the by-election which will result from the death of a Labour MP: here was the traditional British character as I have come to know it. It was quite extraordinary to see politicians who had been bashing seven bells out of each other only moments before, instantly restored to benign civility.

This was the real revelation: not the shocking appearance of a single, isolated individual who seemed to be filled with hate, but the response of everyone else.  This is not a vicious country full of antagonism and resentment. It could only seem that way to somebody who sat alone in front of a computer all day – which, of course, is precisely what unstable, isolated individuals are inclined to do.

And that brings us back to the substance of the great debate that must now be reignited. How is it that those very politicians who reacted to a startling tragedy with such immediate, faultless responsiveness to the national mood, could have been failing for weeks to show the slightest understanding of how their own countrymen think?

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More polls confirming Brexit is likely

More polls have revealed that Brexit is increasingly likely.

Support for leaving the EU is strengthening, with phone and online surveys reporting a six-point lead, according to a pair of Guardian/ICM polls.

Leave now enjoys a 53%-47% advantage once “don’t knows” are excluded, according to research conducted over the weekend, compared with a 52%-48% split reported by ICM a fortnight ago.

The figures will make grim reading for David Cameron, George Osborne and the Labour party. They follow a fortnight in which immigration became the dominant issue in the referendum campaign, with the publication of official figures showing that net migration had risen to a near-record 333,000 in 2015.

Prof John Curtice of Strathclyde University, who analyses available referendum polling data on his website whattheukthinks.org, noted that after the ICM data, the running average “poll of polls” would stand at 52% for leave and 48% for remain, the first time leave has been in such a strong position.

Both online and telephone polls show the same lead for leave.

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