Tag: United Kingdom
Britain's Labour Party has suffered two cruel blows over the past six months. First, it lost power after 13 years in office. And then, following a protracted campaign to replace the defeated Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it found itself with Ed Miliband as its leader.
Tony Blair is a rare exception to the European rule. He has genuine boots-on-the-ground knowledge of Israel and the Palestinian areas - the West Bank in particular - and he has the political courage to reach beyond the clapped-out political cliches. He has sympathy for both sides, but his concern for the Palestinians is not uncritical. Rather, it is realistic and practical.
With the Conservatives dominant in the new ruling configuration, there are signs that the relations with Israel might be rebalanced. For although there are no evident differences in policy between the major parties, there are certainly differences in atmospherics. That is what Israeli diplomats are detecting and that is what they are fervently hoping for.
The gaggle of assembled hacks chortled at what they took to be yet another gaffe by Boris Johnson. The joke was on them. When the two million-plus votes were counted in last month's mayoral election, Boris had delivered a knock-out blow to two-term incumbent, Ken Livingstone.
The tectonic plates are shifting in the Middle East. Shi'ites are challenging Sunnis; Saudis are squaring up to Iranians; Iraq is drifting inexorably towards fragmentation; Lebanon is sliding back into Syria's clutches; the Palestinians are in violent free-fall; major players in the region - galvanised by Teheran - are scrambling to acquire nuclear capability; and radical Islamism is casting a sinister pall over the entire scene.