As London lures Saudi oil giant, RT looks at UK’s history of rule-bending for its questionable ally

As London lures Saudi oil giant, RT looks at UK’s history of rule-bending for its questionable ally
Serious questions are being raised over controversial proposals that could lure the multi-trillion share listing of Saudi Arabia oil giant Aramco to London. RT UK looks at some other times Britain has been accused of bending the rules for its close ally.

London is battling with stock exchanges around the world to host the lucrative float of Saudi state-owned Aramco, which is said to be valued at more than £1.5 trillion – a figure that would make it the biggest share floatation in history. A listing in the capital would be seen as a major victory for the City and boost the UK economy in the wake of Brexit.

Aramco plans to list five percent of its shares in London or another stock market in the West. Current UK rules state more than 25 percent of shares should be listed to stop a single shareholder having too much dominance.

However, proposals put forward by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) could allow for Aramco to sidestep the rules and qualify for a “premium” listing.

It is certainly not the first time Britain has let Saudi Arabia play by its own rules. From ignoring human rights abuses in the country to burying terrorism reports, the UK is not afraid to turn a blind eye to preserve its lucrative relationship with the Gulf kingdom.

What terrorism report?

A report into terrorism funding in the UK has been permanently shelved, sparking widespread condemnation amid claims the government is trying to cover up substantial evidence of Saudi Arabia funding terrorist organizations in Britain.

The report, commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron, will not be published because of “national security reasons” and the “vast amount of personal information” it contains, according to the government.

READ MORE: Theresa May denies suppressing report on Saudi terrorism funding to protect UK arms deals

However, critics say Prime Minister Theresa May is sitting on the report in order to protect diplomatic ties and lucrative trade deals with Saudi Arabia.

Britain and Yemen

When Britain’s part in the Middle Eastern crisis is mentioned, many people would think of Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. But Britain’s role in the destabilization and destruction of Yemen is often lost in the mainstream media.

In the last two years, the UK has licensed the sale of £3 billion (US$3.86 billion) worth of arms to the Saudi government. The sales have come under sustained scrutiny since the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.

Amnesty International says the airstrikes are killing and injuring thousands of civilians, adding that some attacks are“indiscriminate, disproportionate or directed against civilian objects including schools, hospitals, markets and mosques.”

The United Nations estimates around 2.5 million people have been displaced during the conflict, and 17,000 people have died.

Despite this, Britain appears to be turning a blind eye to the conflict, with Saudi Arabia remaining the UK’s most important weapons client.
Arms sales have included Typhoon and Tornado jets and the UK has had military personnel embedded in Saudi headquarters throughout the Yemen conflict.

Silence over human rights abuses

Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has repeatedly been called into question.

Saudi authorities continue their arbitrary arrests, trials and convictions of peaceful dissidents, curbing freedom of expression. Dozens of human rights defenders and activists continue to serve long prison sentences for criticizing authorities or advocating political and rights reforms.

Women face discrimination, as do religious minorities. Women cannot drive a car, wear clothes that “show off their beauty,”interact with men they are not related to in public, or try on clothes when shopping.

Sharia law is national law. Judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes. Children can be tried for capital crimes and sentenced as adults if there are physical signs of puberty.

Despite this, May has no problem traveling to Riyadh to mingle with Saudi Arabia’s leaders. One of her first international visits since triggering Article 50 was to Saudi Arabia for a visit she hoped will “herald a further intensification” in relations.

Blair drops arms investigation

In 2006, Tony Blair’s government abandoned a corruption investigation into a multibillion-pound arms deal between British Aerospace Systems (BAE) and Saudi Arabia, after Saudi threats of “repercussions.”

The Serious Fraud Office was looking into allegations of fraud, corruption and bribery allegations involving the Saudi royals and BAE in its Al Yamamah arms deal.

According to court documents released in 2008, Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless the probe was dropped – and Blair caved, claiming “British lives on British streets” were at risk.

The dropping of the inquiry triggered an international outcry, with allegations Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties.
In 2008, the High Court ruled Blair’s government broke the law when it abandoned the investigation.

Courtesy, RT

Who’s funding Britain’s terrorists? ‘Sensitive’ Home Office report may never be published

Who’s funding Britain's terrorists? ‘Sensitive’ Home Office report may never be published
An investigation commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron into the revenue streams behind jihadist groups operating in Britain may never be published, the Home Office has admitted.

The inquiry is thought to focus on British ally Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist extremists, and may prove politically and legally sensitive, the Guardian reports.

The UK has close ties with Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Theresa May visited the country earlier this year.

In January 2016, a specialist Home Office unit was directed by Downing Street to investigate sources of overseas funding of extremist groups in the UK. The findings were to be shown to Cameron’s then-Home Secretary May.

Eighteen months later, however, the Home Office told the Guardian the report had not been completed and would not necessarily be published, calling the contents “very sensitive.”

A decision on the future of the investigation would be taken “after the election by the next government,” a spokesperson said.

Cameron was urged to launch an investigation in December 2015 as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in exchange for the party supporting the extension of British airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) from Iraq into Syria.

According to the Guardian, Tom Brake, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesperson, has written to the prime minister asking her to confirm that the investigation will not be shelved.

“As home secretary at the time, your department was one of those reading the report. Eighteen months later, and following two horrific terrorist attacks by British-born citizens, that report still remains incomplete and unpublished,” Brake wrote.

“It is no secret that Saudi Arabia in particular provides funding to hundreds of mosques in the UK, espousing a very hard line Wahhabist interpretation of Islam. It is often in these institutions that British extremism takes root.”

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said he felt the government had not held up its side of the bargain.

The report must be published when it is completed, he said, even if its contents are sensitive.

“That short-sighted approach needs to change. It is critical that these extreme, hardline views are confronted head on, and that those who fund them are called out publicly.

“If the Conservatives are serious about stopping terrorism on our shores, they must stop stalling and reopen investigation into foreign funding of violent extremism in the UK.”

The State of World Poverty

By Gabby Ogbechie, TPG.  

I read somewhere that if the entire wealth of the world were to be shared equally between every man, woman and child the world over, it wouldn’t take more than a few months before the line between the poor and the rich would be redrawn. In other words, if one assumes that each individual would receive one million Dollars each if the assumed wealth is equally shared, within three months, one would find that while the net-worth of many would have dwindled to a few hundred thousand Dollars due to acquisitions and purchases they hardly need, a few others would have become billionaires by the same period of time.

In other words, there will always be poverty; the poor will never cease in the world. The Lord and Saviour of all mankind, Jesus Christ said so in confirmation of what the Word of God says in Deuteronomy, Chapter fifteen, and verse eleven.

God repeatedly commanded the children of Israel to take care of the poor and needy, because they were once collectively poor in the land of Egypt, and therefore know what it is like to be poor. At no time than the present has mankind neglected to take care of the poor, and this neglect has resulted in the festering of firstly, the ‘’1%/99%’’ phenomenon, and secondly, the current state of terrorism the world over, which was hitherto restricted to the Middle-East. The neglected poor have become ready and available tools in the hands of agents and purveyors of terror.

A recent study by either Forbes or Fortune shows that the collective net worth of the richest sixty-two individuals in the world is the same as that of the 3.5 billion at the lower end of the wealth spectrum. Obviously, this state of affair is blatantly unacceptable and condemn-able, and must be decried and condemned by all reasonable and just people the world over.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France shot the first salvo against this moral injustice when he remarked, at the height of the ‘’Sub-Prime Mortgage induced Global Economic Recession’’ of 2008/2009 that the Capitalist structure has failed, and that there was a crying need to evolve a new structure that would be fair to all. The new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May struck a more strident chord at the heart of the subject matter when she described the current  state of poverty in Great Britain as a ‘’burning injustice.’’

The world didn’t just arrive at this juncture as an endorsement of man’s innate cruelty to fellow man; we basically got here because we neglected history and the unbridled selfishness which privilege creates. It took men who cared to give thought to the concepts, ideals and processes which enabled mankind to arrive at the 21st Century. One can’t help wondering what the world would be like if men like Montesquieu, John Locke, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, etc. had not given thought to how to regulate society. If Karl Marx had not penned ‘’The Communist Manifesto’’ and ‘’Das Capital,’’ with the system eventually tried out in the defunct USSR, the idea of trying that system as an alternative would have remained appealing.

Mankind sort of relapsed in thinking about the general good, and individualism became the mantra that has brought us, collectively to this present passé.  As a consequence of such passivity and insouciance, mankind has found itself at a point where the wealth of the few are romanticized, and the penury of many neglected to its detriment, basically because the rich dictate what is read, seen, and heard in the press.

Montesquieu gave form to the molding of the Democratic construct by advocating the separation of the powers of government; and John Locke finally worked on the separation of the powers of the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. Adam Smith developed the principles by which Capitalism worked side by side in modern Democratic governmental structure via ‘’Free Trade’’ and ‘’Private Enterprise.’’ Unfortunately, while private enterprise has developed into unrelentingly crass capitalism, free trade has effectively nullified by protectionism and trade blocks which tended to exclude economies which are not within such trade blocks.

Primary to capitalism is the principle of the ‘’Invisible hand’’ which does good to all within an economy; despite the fact that the main beneficiary remains the owner of the means of production or entrepreneur. Obviously, the need for recourse to the Socialist/Communist ideal being unnecessary because of its failure in the defunct USSR remains a fait accompli, especially on account of the bestiality it birthed under Joseph Stalin.

It took the negligence of the humaneness and humanity in man; crass accumulation of wealth by the rich; neglect of the poor in the land; and neglect of history for the gulf of extreme wealth and extreme poverty to be conveniently installed.

With a few exceptions here and there worldwide, it has become crystal that one of the fastest ways to wealth is politics. Most ex-Presidents of States the world over are men of extreme wealth, irrespective of whether they got into office rich or poor. In Nigeria, for instance, it is arguable whether every ex-President is not a billionaire, with the exceptions of Dr. Yakubu Gowon and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, and late Murtala Mohammed. In essence, while some blatantly stole from the countries they governed, others allocated to themselves, friends and family members, State assets which guaranteed extreme wealth soon after at negligible cost. A few examples will surfice:

  1. When the USSR broke up, the then President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin in his quest for Perestroika and privatization of State Assets, allocated the assets of the Oil and Petroleum company, Conoco to a few friends who became instant billionaires via the private companies created with such assets.
  2. Similar development took place in Nigeria during the Presidency of General Olusegun Obasanjo actualized to see a few Nigerians among the super-rich of the world. And he achieved his wish.theresa-may.jpg

Burning Injustice

While we believe at The Property Gazette that David Cameron, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is a man of high caliber integrity (for calling for a referendum on whether the UK should leave or stay in the European Union, and quitting when the ‘leave’ campaign won), it took the incoming Prime Minister, Theresa May to observe that the unaddressed state of poverty in Britain was a ‘’burning injustice.’’ She said, among other things:

“That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home,” the new prime minister said:

May said there were many people who were “just managing” and that her mission was to make Britain a country that worked for everyone.

“If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realize. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives,” May said.


While Prime Minister Theresa May has resolved that the rich would be compelled to share the profits from business by allowing employees to own part of the businesses they worked for, and be represented on the boards of those companies (a move we believe the rich would find disconcerting and unwelcome), leaders all over the world must join ranks with Theresa May to innovate ways and means of effecting some form of wealth sharing (not transfer) in their own countries.  

The United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, one is compelled to posit, have very high stakes in ensuring a world where the majority is not continuously oppressed by a few, because that is a recipe for disaster. Again, we must not fail to reiterate that the current state of terrorism which has exacerbated world poverty was enhanced by the predominance of idle youths who became ready tools in the hands of recruiters of terror in the mold of Islamic extremists who are sworn to Islamize the entire world. A recent study shows that of the legion of foreign recruits by ISIS into their fighting force, Tunisian youths accounted for the highest; six thousands of those foreign fighters, and potential suicide bombers were Tunisians

While it would not be beneficial to continue to lament the current state of world poverty without doing anything about it, we urge all current and aspiring billionaires; all entrepreneurs and stake holders of businesses; Presidents and heads of governments; and members of the hallowed and exclusive ‘’one percent’’ the world over to urgently and sincerely embark on innovations to enhance wealth sharing, going forward, if anarchy and cataclysmic implosions must be avoided.

We at The Property Gazette and LandAssets Consult believe that one of the ways by which this ‘’Wealth Sharing’’ concept could be realized is through The LandAssets Plan. Simply defined,   The LandAssets Plan is a concept which seeks to increase the volume of property insurance and use it to provide solutions to the world-wide problem of unemployment, and enhance poverty reduction, wealth creation, industrialization, manufacturing and housing provision. Put in a nut shell, the LandAssets Plan could be defined as the compulsory insurance of all urban and semi-urban based Real Estate within an economy, with a view to:

deepening insurance penetration;

increasing insurance volume and increasing appreciably, the Gross Annual

Insurance Premium;

providing there from, the required funding for infrastructure provision and maintenance;

providing long term funding for the private sector of the economy;

reducing the cost of funds to single digit from the current, tortuous

Double digit rates; and,

jump-starting the economy from a recessive to a productive one

For detailed appreciation of the concept, click any of the following links:

  1. – On reviving our Depressed Economy; Engendering Growth and Development; and Creating Millions of Jobs: The LandAssets Plan.
  2. – LandAssets Plan Implementation.
  3. – The Jurisprudence of Annuity and The LandAssets Plan.
  4.  –   Banking Reforms  …   The Property Development Sector








‘We need time’ for Brexit, British Prime Minister May warns Merkel and Hollande

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has told her German and French counterparts she does not wish to rush Britain’s exit from the EU. However, the new premier pressed on with the promotion of leading Euroskeptics to key roles.

Großbritannien Theresa May Downing Street 10

In Wednesday evening calls to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, May stressed that her government would need time before beginning the talks.

“On all the phone calls, the prime minister emphasized her commitment to delivering the will of the British people to leave the European Union,” a spokeswoman for May said.

“The prime minister explained that we would need some time to prepare for these negotiations and spoke of her hope that these could be conducted in a constructive and positive spirit.”

‘Spirit of friendly relations’

Merkel was said to have wished her British counterpart good luck. The chancellor’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said the pair had “agreed that cooperation in the spirit of the proven friendly relations between both countries should be continued, including in the forthcoming negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU.”

Merkel, to whom May has been likened, has urged the EU to give Britain time before the start of formal talks, but has also said Britain should rapidly clarify the sort of relationship it wants with the EU.

Großbritannien Boris Johnson auf dem MarktMany see Boris Johnson as a comic character, but May showed clear faith in the former journalist

In his own phone call with May, French President Francois Hollande was said to have urged the British premier to pull her country out of Europe quickly.

“They agreed to actively develop the bilateral relationship that warmly unites France and Britain in all fields,” Hollande’s office said in a statement.

“The president repeated his desire that negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union should be launched as quickly as possible,” the statement said.

Brussels urges swiftness

May has also faced immediate pressure from European Parliament President Martin Schulz andEuropean Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who urged May not to delay the Brexit divorce proceedings.

To formally begin the process, May would have to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would set the clock ticking on a two-year countdown to the UK’s final departure.

Shortly after taking office formally, May made a number of appointments to her cabinet on Wednesday evening, giving the task of negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU to Euroskeptic Conservative veteran David Davis.

The new prime minister, who had publicly supported Britain’s continued EU membership alongside former Prime Minister David Cameron, also appointed leading “Leave” campaigner Boris Johnson to the role of foreign secretary.

Liam Fox, also an opponent of Britain’s membership of the EU, was appointed minister for international trade, reflecting changed priorities after the referendum in which 51 percent of Britons voted to leave the bloc.

rc/bw (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)


Opinion: Quickly handing off the keys to Downing Street

Despite Conservative Party rules, the changing of the guard at Downing Street is taking place quicker than expected. An inner-party vote would not have been democratic anyway, DW’s Birgit Maass writes.

Sergey Elkin Karikatur Brexit

Less than three weeks ago, things were still in order for Britain: The national economy was slowly improving, and unemployment was at a historical low. At No. 10 Downing Street, David Cameron was no doubt happy that, in his second term as prime minister, the Conservative Party held a solid majority and could govern without needing a coalition partner. Scotland’s bid for independence had been averted, and Northern Ireland was at peace.

But, overnight on June 23, a narrow majority of voters made their will known and the next morning Cameron stood over a shambles of his own making. He had hoped until the very last that he would win the Brexit referendum and finally be rid of the nagging issue that his party had been fighting over for years: Britain’s relationship with the EU.

Birgit Maaß Porträt DW’s Birgit Maass

Rather than mollifying his party, Cameron had overplayed his hand and cast the country into chaos. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, the pound plunged to historic lows, panic spread in London – where most residents were opposed to the Brexit – and Scotland threatened to leave the United Kingdom again. The opposition Labour Party began tearing itself apart, and one “Leaver” after another was abandoning the sinking ship: first the Conservative former London Mayor Boris Johnson, then UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and, now, Andrea Leadsom, a Tory candidate for prime minister.

Party rules stipulate an election campaign after a Conservative leader steps down. The Tory base was supposed to have several weeks to choose between Leadsom and Home Secretary Theresa May, who had campaigned for remaining in the European Union.

Leadsom’s surprising withdrawal on Monday disrupted this orderly plan, and the party reacted quickly: May gets the job.

Beats the alternative

The Conservative base does not represent any real majority in the United Kingdom. On average, it is older and whiter than the majority of the people who live in the United Kingdom, and it is mainly situated in the south of the country: The will of such voters would hardly have lent legitimacy to the new prime minister. Moreover, no one would have been well-served if David Cameron had continued to govern as a lame duck. It is good that things are moving along so quickly and that Cameron has already ordered the moving van.

If Cameron had made clear from the start that he would step down in the event of a Brexit, voters would have perhaps considered the consequences of their decision and the turmoil in which the country might find itself. Instead, he claimed until the very end that he would finish what he had started and negotiate with the European Union himself.

Politicians are fundamentally mistrusted. For many voters, the Brexit was only nominally about the European Union. Most simply wanted to give their government the finger. Voters feel as if they are losing out because of globalization and that their country privileges the elite and the capital’s financial district, the City of London.

Because the government cannot ignore this sentiment, it is right of May to take a clear stand: Brexit means Brexit, and there will be no second referendum and no elections in the immediate future. She has promised to unite the country and to rein in big business. We will have to wait and see if she has time to do so on top of negotiating the Brexit.

Ultimately, David Cameron will go down in history as the man responsible for Great Britain’s leaving the European Union, despite the fact that he never really wanted it to.

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UK’s Theresa May prepares to enter Downing Street as new prime minister

Theresa May, the longest-serving home secretary of recent times, has been known as a modernizer, an authoritarian – and above all, a pragmatist. Samira Shackle reports from London on Britain’s new prime minister.

Großbritannien Theresa May Statement

Less than three weeks since the UK voted in favor of a Brexit in the EU referendum, the country faces its first major post-referendum upheaval on Wednesday as Theresa May becomes the country’s fifty-fourth prime minister.

May’s appointment as prime minister has come much earlier than anticipated, with the Conservative Party having originally planned a nine-week leadership race.

The contest that was cut short, however, after the shock withdrawal of her rival Andrea Leadsom on Monday, leaving May with 48 hours rather than nine weeks to prepare her new government.

Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron is due to meet with the Queen on Wednesday morning where he will officially resign.

Following her own meeting with the Monarch for the tradition of “kissing hands,” the newly-appointed prime minister will then make her first speech as the UK’s leader as she makes her way into 10 Downing Street.

Watch video

Incoming British PM vows to lead Brexit

May is due to announce a Cabinet reshuffle later on Wednesday, with several female colleagues expected to be promoted into prominent positions.

“As someone who wanted the UK to stay in the EU, there will be pressure to give prominent cabinet roles to those who backed Brexit,” says Alex Forsyth, political correspondent at the BBC.

“May has promised radical social and economic reform – fuelling speculation over the future of current senior figures. With limited time to make delicate political choices, the new prime minister must weigh change versus continuity, while trying to unite the Conservative Party after a bruising EU referendum campaign,” he told DW.

May, 59, has been home secretary since 2010, making her the longest-serving home secretary in modern times. Long known to have leadership ambitions, she has carefully cultivated an image of decisiveness, unflappability and calm in a crisis.

As top Brexit campaigners Michael Gove and Boris Johnson jostled with each other before falling out of the Conservative leadership contest all together, May emphasized that she was the “serious” and “grown up” candidate to take Britain through these tumultuous times.

Right-wing credentials

While her choice of footwear garners a disproportionate amount of attention in Britain’s media (she famously favors colorful kitten heels), May has for 17 years been one of a small number of women at the top of the Conservative party.

Theresa May's shoesNice shoes, but she will also have to fill those left by her predecessor – including the problems

As home secretary she made a name for herself with her hardline positions on immigration, which the government pledged to reduce to the tens of thousands (at the last count, net migration stood at 330,000). In 2015, she gave a controversial speech in which she said that immigration makes it “impossible to build a cohesive society.”

Among her punitive policies was a rule barring British citizens from bringing spouses or children into the country unless they earned more than £18,600, regardless of their non-British spouse’s income. Families split up because of the rule are currently challenging the law in the supreme court. “As someone working with refugees, I have seen that May’s policies have actively and directly made life worse for migrants to this country,” Lucy Walker, a London-based caseworker, told DW. “Given the current climate of increased hostility to all immigrants, I [am] profoundly worried about what her premiership will mean.”

Another controversial policy proposed by May was the so-called snoopers charter that would require internet service providers and mobile phone companies to maintain records of each user’s internet browsing history.

Although liberal commentators argue that these policies illustrate an authoritarian streak, May is broadly in line with mainstream conservative opinion. “Many of the positions May has taken as home secretary have won her credibility with the right-wing of the party, such as her position on deportation, her desire to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, her general position on immigration, and her willingness to stand up to police federation,” says Matt Cole, a teaching fellow in the department of history at Birmingham University.

Modernizing past

However, May is also seen as a pragmatist who has taken different positions during her long career in politics. In 2002, she gave a speech warning that Conservatives were seen as the “nasty party” and needed to reform. She backed same-sex marriage, and recently warned against racial profiling by police. “May was the original modernizer and those of us who have been involved with trying to create socially liberal spaces within the party have always looked to her as a founding light, even though she’s moved away from that,” says conservative writer Kate Maltby.

Theresa May and David CameronMay is seen as a pragmatist, but also a hardliner on key issues

May campaigned to remain in the EU, but she has said that “Brexit means Brexit” and that there will not be a second referendum. In addition to promising to “make a success” of EU withdrawal, she has pledged radical reforms to aid social mobility and the most disadvantaged in society.

Her air of calm and her political experience mean that many see her as a firm pair of hands to steer the country through challenging times. “I am not a Conservative voter, but I am relieved to see that someone with solid governmental experience has taken charge in this chaotic period,” says Manchester-based lawyer Matt Pembroke. “I don’t want to see more upheaval in the form of an election, I just want someone who can try to salvage something from the disaster we are in,” he told DW.



In ‘Brexit’ Vote, David Cameron Faces Problem of His Own Making

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Cameron Makes Pitch Against ‘Brexit’
On Tuesday, speaking in front of No. 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain made an appeal to older Britons to vote to stay in the European Union. By REUTERS on Publish Date June 22, 2016. Photo by Matt Dunham/Associated Press. Watch in Times Video »
LONDON — David Cameron, the British prime minister, has no one to blame but himself.

In 2013, besieged by the increasingly assertive anti-European Union wing of his own Conservative Party, Mr. Cameron made a promise intended to keep a short-term peace among the Tories before the 2015 general election: If re-elected, he would hold an in-or-out referendum on continued British membership in the bloc.

But what seemed then like a relatively low-risk ploy to deal with a short-term political problem has metastasized into an issue that could badly damage Britain’s economy, influence the country’s direction for generations — and determine Mr. Cameron’s political fate.

As the nation prepares to vote on Thursday, the betting markets are signaling that Britain will choose to remain in Europe, but polls suggest that the outcome is still too close to call.

On Tuesday, speaking in front of No. 10 Downing Street, Mr. Cameron warned that a decision to leave would be an “irreversible” choice. Appealing to older voters, many of whom tend to favor leaving Europe, Mr. Cameron urged them to think about what they would bequeath to the next generation.

“Above all it is about our economy,” he said.

The bluff, ruddy Mr. Cameron is famously lucky, having pulled out last-minute victories in numerous other scrapes. But in this case, many analysts say, he will be damaged goods even if he wins, with rivals circling to succeed him and Conservatives more divided than ever.

If he loses, he will come under pressure to resign, and even if he hangs on for some portion of the four years left in his government’s term, whatever substantive legacy he might have built will be lost to what many consider to be a wholly unnecessary roll of the dice.

Martin Wolf, the economic columnist of The Financial Times, wrote that “this referendum is, arguably, the most irresponsible act by a British government in my lifetime.” Summarizing the nearly unanimous opinion of economists that a British exit — “Brexit” — would be followed by a major shock and permanent loss of growth, he concluded: “The outcome might well prove devastating.”

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‘Brexit’: Explaining Britain’s Vote on European Union Membership APRIL 5, 2016

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‘Brexit’ Debate Even Divides Cats (and Dogs) on Twitter JUNE 22, 2016
Mr. Cameron argues that the referendum had to be called to resolve the festering debate over Britain and the European Union. As in the Scottish referendum on independence in 2014, he says, this vote represents a “great festival of democracy” on a very difficult and divisive topic.

‘Brexit’: Explaining Britain’s Vote on European Union Membership
Britain will hold a referendum on Thursday on whether to leave the European Union, a decision nicknamed “Brexit.”
But if the Scottish referendum turned nasty, and kept the United Kingdom together, this one has become poisonous, with Mr. Cameron’s own cabinet colleagues and supposed friends saying that he has eroded trust in politics, portraying him as a liar and acting like a government in waiting. It has been a campaign punctuated by numerous claims that have little relationship to the facts, with sharp tones of xenophobia, racism, nativism and Islamophobia. And it was marked tragically last Thursday by the assassination of a young Labour member of Parliament, Jo Cox, who fiercely supported remaining in the union.

On Tuesday evening, some of that bitterness surfaced in a fiery television debate in which London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, who wants Britain to remain in the bloc, said that the campaign of his opponents “hasn’t been project fear, it’s been project hate as far as immigration is concerned.”

Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, said that Mr. Cameron “has made the case against himself, and he’s damaged either way.”

The prime minister presumably thought it would be an easy win for the “Remain” forces, Mr. Fielding added. “But it’s far tighter than anyone thought,” he said, “and rather than a salve on the Tory party, it’s made the fever worse.”

Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, is slightly less harsh. “It’s really a binary legacy” for Mr. Cameron, he said. “It is either one that ends in almost complete failure or one that seems pretty respectable in electoral and policy terms. I can’t think of another prime minister who had so much riding on one decision.”

If the Remain campaign loses, “the chances of him staying on are pretty remote,” Professor Bale said. “He will go down as the person who miscalculated, taking us out of Europe almost by mistake, and then shuffled off the stage” in “a pretty ignominious exit.”

Even if Britain votes to stay in the bloc, Mr. Bale said, given Mr. Cameron’s small parliamentary majority, “the number of hard-line euroskeptics and Cameron-haters, he’ll be subject to defeats and blackmail until he steps down.”

There are those who support the contention that Mr. Cameron had to call this referendum in the face of Tory division and the rise of the U.K. Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage. UKIP was cutting into the Conservative vote by arguing, as the “Leave” campaign does now, that Britain could limit immigration and control its own borders only by leaving the European Union.

Mr. Cameron, who had repeatedly pledged to get immigration down to the “tens of thousands” — even though last year net migration was some 330,000 people — never had a persuasive answer to the immigration question. To pacify the growing number of anti-European Union Tories, keep his leadership position and undermine UKIP, he promised this referendum if he won the 2015 election, which he did by a larger margin than expected.

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Even before the election, some, like Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House and a supporter of the Remain movement, argued that a referendum would come at some point, and that it would be more easily won under Mr. Cameron and the Tories.

Charles Lewington, a former director of communications for the Conservative Party, said there had to be a referendum. By 2013, he said, “there was tremendous pressure for an in-out referendum and not just from the old guard.”

Mr. Lewington cited growing concern from Conservative members of Parliament that they were at risk of losing their seats in districts where UKIP was strong. Given the panic in the party, he said, “I don’t think he could have avoided making an in-out manifesto commitment.”

But Tony Travers, a professor of government at the London School of Economics, is less sure. “Cameron didn’t need to do it,” Professor Travers said. Like Harold Wilson, the Labour prime minister who organized a referendum on Europe in 1975, Mr. Cameron began the referendum as an exercise in “internal party discipline,” he said. It was called “for party reasons more than national ones,” he added.

Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, a friend of Mr. Cameron’s and a Tory legislator, was more scathing about the failure of several Conservative leaders to confront, rather than appease, the hard-line Tory euroskeptics.

“If you have an Alsatian sitting in front of you, and it growls at you and bares its teeth, there are two ways of dealing with it,” Mr. Soames said in an interview with the British website Conservativehome. “You can pat it on the head, in which case it’ll bite you, or you can kick it really hard.”

“Successive prime ministers, and it’s not the present prime minister alone, have never understood that they have to take these people on,” Mr. Soames said.

If the Remain side loses, both Mr. Cameron and his deputy, the chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, are likely to be gone within months, Mr. Lewington said.

While all denying any ambition to replace Mr. Cameron, the sharks are in the water, led by Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a prominent campaigner for leaving the European Union. But the winner of such contests in the Tory party is rarely the one who wields the knife, and while Mr. Johnson would seem to lead the race, his success is far from assured.

A version of this news analysis appears in print on June 22, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘Brexit,’ Cameron’s Problem of His Own Making. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

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