Today, the United Kingdom Decides Its Future

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative party’s manifesto launch in Telford, England, November 24, 2019. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

Making the click-through worthwhile: The United Kingdom votes today, and makes a key decision about its future; Eric Holder warns us about the dangers of an attorney general who sees himself as a president’s wingman; a blunt, direct assessment about anti-Semitism in American life and why so many people only want to see part of the problem; and a question about an odd and grim fact of life in the National Football League.

How Will Brexit End?

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Earlier this week, when we taped The Editors podcast*, I was the relative optimist of the group. While I haven’t followed today’s British election obsessively, the people of the United Kingdom appear exhausted by the endless delays and haggling over Brexit, and I think a sufficient majority wants it to get resolved so that the country can move on to other issues.

The polling looks good for the Conservative party:

The Ipsos MORI survey for the Evening Standard puts Boris Johnson on course to make history with the biggest Conservative vote share since Maggie Thatcher’s first victory in 1979. The headline estimates of voting are Conservative 44 percent (unchanged from a week ago), Labour 33 percent (up one point) and the Liberal Democrats 12 percent (down one point). If voters do as they say, it would imply a solid Tory majority and vindicate Mr Johnson’s decision to gamble all on a Brexit election.

Keep in mind, polling in British elections usually is off enough to provide at least one big surprise. And this year’s final poll comes with a glaring caveat: “However, Ipsos MORI’s researchers found that nearly one in four people who have picked a party they intend to support admitted they may still change their mind, adding an unusually high element of uncertainty.”

But here’s the good news for Conservatives: “The Conservative vote share looked firmest, with 83 percent of supporters saying they had definitely decided. For Labour, 74 percent said they were definite.”

John O’Sullivan declares, “Those who want Brexit should vote Tory. A majority Tory government is alone capable of delivering it. Will it be an imperfect Brexit? Maybe but it’s an essential first step to a full one.”

Daniel Hannan sees the choice as stark: “Boris and Brexit or Corbyn and Communism?”

The stakes for the Conservatives and pro-Brexit forces may be win big or go home. There are 650 seats in the U.K. Parliament, meaning to win a majority and control of the government, a party needs 326. The YouGov poll estimates that Conservatives could win anywhere from 367 seats to 311. Ordinarily, in parliamentary systems, the party that gets the largest share of the vote but falls short of a majority starts assembling a coalition with other parties where there are at least some areas of policy agreement. But under this scenario, Boris Johnson may not have many willing partners.

Daniel Johnson, who founded Standpoint and who’s now created the web site The Article, warns that falling even a little bit short could set up the dominoes for a disastrous scenario:

Even if he still leads the largest party, as seems almost certain, Boris Johnson will be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Either he sticks to his pledge to “get Brexit done”, in which case the combined Opposition parties would probably defeat him in a vote of confidence, or he agrees to put his deal to a second referendum, thereby disappointing all those Leave voters who had just backed him in the election. Such an unpalatable choice risks reopening divisions within the Tories. The spectacle of Boris Johnson clinging to office while ditching his main policy would surely alienate the public.

It is much more likely that a hung Parliament would result in a minority Labour or a caretaker government. Either way, it is hard to see how Jeremy Corbyn would not be Prime Minister.

I don’t think the allies of Great Britain are really psychologically prepared for life with Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn. He makes Bernie Sanders look like a sensible moderate, and he’s essentially on the other side of the traditional Western alliance. The Washington Post editorial board summarized:

Mr. Corbyn espouses a foreign policy whose guiding principle is to oppose the United States and Israel by all means. It has led him to label as “friends” such disparate political forces as Hamas, Hezbollah and the populist government of Venezuela and to accept funding from organizations designated by the U.S. government as terrorist groups. Mr. Corbyn endorsed the Iraqi insurgents who fought U.S. troops and equated the Islamic State’s overrunning of Iraqi cities with the 2004 U.S. offensive in Fallujah. He said that Washington, rather than Moscow, is to blame for the civil war in Ukraine. In an interview with Iran’s state television channel, he called the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden a “tragedy.”

After the recent London Bridge terror attack, Corbyn blamed the war in Iraq and British military interventions. He is the embodiment of Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s “they always blame America first,” distilled essence of everything I detest in foreign policy, a reflexive scapegoating of Western countries as the root of all evil that excuses the world’s most bloodthirsty terrorists. Corbyn is the arrogant, empathetically-defective contrarian who insists the civilian victims of the world’s worst violence really had it coming because of some foreign policy decision from decades ago. You wouldn’t trust this man to operate heavy machinery, nevermind the government of our closest ally.

*The other guys are up in New York and I’m here at National Review Northern Virginia Bureau in Authenticity Woods. Everyone in our house traipses through my home office, and about five minutes in, my wife’s boots make an auditory cameo that turns our podcast into an old-style radio drama. I don’t understand how my voice can sound like I’m on a phone inside a tin can but her footsteps come through crystal-clear.

Eric Holder: I Can’t Stand a Political Attorney General Who’s Loyal to the President

Eric Holder, the former attorney general who was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal and who declared in an interview, “I’m still the President’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy,” declares in today’s Washington Post that Attorney General William Barr is too partisan and blindly loyal to the president to continue serving in his position: “The American people deserve an attorney general who serves their interests, leads the Justice Department with integrity and can be entrusted to pursue the facts and the law, even — and especially — when they are politically inconvenient and inconsistent with the personal interests of the president who appointed him.”

Holder began his tenure by calling America “a nation of cowards” when it came to race, shortly after the country had elected the first African-American president. Under Holder, the Justice Department seized of Associated Press phone records resulting from an AP article in May 2012, characterized Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in an investigation of a leak of classified information.

Earlier this week, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to withhold federal money from schools that fail to counter discrimination against Jews. Somehow the New York Times initially reported it as the administration changing Judaism from a religious category to a national identity, and somehow suggesting that Jews weren’t really American.

We Love to Denounce Hate When It Is Politically Convenient

In Tablet, Liel Liebowitz offers a bracing, blunt, forceful rebuke to everyone who saw the as a menace to America’s Jews but found nothing worth discussing in Jersey City this week:

Jews make up about 2 percent of the American population, yet were the victims of a whopping 57.8 percent of all religious bias crimes last year, according to the FBI. Rather than vocally and unequivocally demanding that their Jewish constituents be protected, the politicians representing those targeted—from de Blasio to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer—have been largely silent on this issue, while at the same time loudly and vigorously accusing the right of racism. Videos like this one, shot at the scene shortly after the Jersey City attack and featuring local neighbors blaming the Jews for Jews being murdered, are not likely to make any politician on the left take action, especially not someone like de Blasio, who has for years been kissing the ring of Al Sharpton, an anti-Semite best remembered for inciting an actual pogrom against the Jews of Brooklyn.


What American Jews need right now is clear and concrete action that protects them from anyone who wishes them harm. Whether you like it or not, the fact is that yesterday New York’s senator and mayor took no such steps. The president did.

In related news, I notice Louis Farrakhan hasn’t tweeted since July. But his account and tweets are still up there, with statements like, “Jews want to silence my voice,” and “The FBI has been the worst enemy of Black advancement. The Jews have control over those agencies of government,” and “The Satanic Jews that control everything and mostly everybody: If they are your enemy, then you must be somebody.” I guess Twitter just doesn’t have much of a problem with comments like that.

To hell with the hateful and anti-Semitic on the Left, and to hell with the hateful and anti-Semitic on the Right. Really, hell is big enough for all of them.

ADDENDUM: You hear it from a lot of losing coaches with disappointing seasons: “Injuries really hurt our chances this year, we just had really bad luck.”

What are the odds that one head coach in the National Football League would have either the team with the most injuries or one of the teams with the most injuries . . . four years in a row? What are the odds that he could achieve this ignoble status after changing franchises? Can it be merely astonishingly bad luck for four consecutive years, or does it point to some sort of systemic problem in how the coach is doing his job? If you’re a Jet fan, these are the sorts of things you look at instead of playoff scenarios.

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