With Brexit day only weeks away, and still no deal in place, now might not seem the best time for British politicians to flip the table over.
But this week, 11 Members of Parliament have done exactly that. On Monday, seven members of the opposition Labour Party announced tha
t they were fed up of their leader Jeremy Corbyn, citing reasons ranging from rampant anti-Semitism to hi
s lack of leadership on Brexit. They will Theresa May tactics of pandering to the harder-line Brexiteers in her own party and
elsewhere. That means it’s now hard to see this new group as anything other than a pro-EU bloc in the UK Parliament, dissa
tisfied with the pro-Brexit positions of both government and opposition.
Why does that matter?
Brexit has made the politics of the UK in
credibly hard to read. Both frontbenches are committed to delivering Brexit. The government agreed a way to achieve this
with the other 27 EU member states. Yet the UK Parliament hates the deal, infamously handing May the heaviest defeat in the history of the
House of Commons.
And it hates the deal for reasons all across the political spectrum (that’s right, the Brexiteers hate the deal just as
much as the Remainers).
Since the 2016, Brexit has redrawn the ideological lines of politics in the UK. Professor Sara Hobolt at the London Sc
hool of Economics explained that there “are more people now who are willing to identify as either Brexiteers or Remainers than as supporters of any par
ty. This new divide is more tribal than old party politics, with both groups tending to be inherently distrustful of one another.”
is expected to decide this spring which suppliers can provide technology for 5G networks. If it chooses to allow the use of Huawei gear
it could seriously undermine the US campaign against the company and influence other governments that are weighing how to handle the issue.
The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement earlier this w
eek that it was “looking at a range of options” and that “no decisions have been taken.”
’A rigorous, ruthless advancement of China’s interests’
The RUSI report — written by former diplomat Charles Parton, who spent 22 years working in mai
nland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan — warned that the UK government needed to stay alert for int
erference from the Chinese government across a range of fronts, including politics and research.
Britain is a particularly appealing target for interference as a close
US ally with a large Chinese ethnic community and an open, advanced economy, Parton said.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei: The US ‘cannot crush us’
”Beijing’s interference is not aimed at subverting the West, but represents a rigorous, ruthl
ess advancement of China’s interests and values at the expense of those of the West,” he wrote.
not the few — redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, inv
esting in every region and nation, and tackling climate change,” Corbyn added.In the most
recent election, Ryan saw her vote share increase substantially, along with a countrywide swing towards Labo
ur, though in her own election material Ryan urged voters not to associate her with the Labour leader.
le the Independent Group — as the collection of largely centrist ex-Labour MPs is currently called — has so far dama
ged the opposition party, attention will now turn to the ruling Conservatives.
Several Tory MPs are reportedly consi
dering joining the group, over disagreements with Prime Minister Theresa May regarding Brexit, as the vote
to leave the European Union continues to cause chaos in British politics, with only 37 days until it is due to take effect.
In April and July, Japan signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), a m
ilitary logistics pact, with Canada and France respectively. The Japanese government will tr
y to get it approved by the National Diet this year. Canada and France are also advancing domestic procedures for its approval.
The agreement will enable the provision of food, fuel and military supplies between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and Fren
ch and Canadian armies. Japan has also inked ACSAs with the US, the UK, Australia and India. Why did Japan sign such an agreement?
After WWII, especially in the late 1960s when Japan became an economic powerhouse, it was no longer satisfied with its status as a military microstate.
In the mid-1980s, Japan accelerated the pace to push its SDF onto the world stage with the aim of becoming a major political power.
In 1996, Japan signed the ACSA with the US, followed by one with Aus
tralia in 2010. After the new security law took effect on March 29, 2016, Ja
pan amended the two ACSAs, which enabled more flexible provision of ammunition in wartime between the signatories.
litical and diplomatic means alone cannot support Japan’s global ambitions. A military presence at the global level is needed if Japan is to expand its political clout.
Compared with old European powers like the UK and France, Japan’s military influence in Europe is jerkwater. But it is different after Japan signed military pa
cts with these countries – Japan’s political influence is increasing because of the support of military powers.
With the influence of the UK and France declining in the Asia-Pacific region, their military activities can get
the support from Japan via the ACSA, which will immensely boost Japan’s military clout. These European countries will not look at Ja
pan through the military lens, which will effectively strengthen Japan’s political might.
Meanwhile, exchange of military provisions will help enhance people-to-people exchanges between Japan and these countries, ex
erting Japan‘s cultural influence in these countries and beyond. Even if Japan fails to become a permanent member of the UN Security Co
uncil, it can still play a major role in the world. This has been part of the global strategies of the Abe administration.
We can see that Japan signing ACSAs with six countries is not just for defense and military purposes, it’s part of an overall plan to influence economics, po
litics, military and culture, which is a long-term strategic mind-set of the Japanese government.