UK December 2019 General Election : Will It Break the Brexit Deadlock Before January 31, 2020?

The UK Parliament overwhelmingly approved the holding of another snap election on December 12, 2019, as a way to break the Brexit deadlock, before the EU Commission’s final deadline on January 31, 2019.

In asking the people to vote for another Prime Minister, the outcome could, but not with certainty, decide the Brexit issue; either to move forward under the deal negotiated by incumbent PM Boris Johnson, or be off-the-table once and for all.

Although the outcome of the election does not guarantee that a new PM will garner the majority votes required to decide on the long-running Brexit deal or no-deal issue, the major parties involved see it as the only way to break the Brexit deadlock.

Who Will the UK Voters Choose?

Actually, UK voters are also divided over the Brexit issue as recent polls show 34 percent of those surveyed, now prefer staying with the EU. Those who indicated approval for a No-Deal Bresit represented only 23% percent of the respondents.

PM Johnson, whose Brexit plan was approved by the EU but again turned down by majority of the British Parliament, will campaign for a Brexit under the terms he previously negotiated, or to forge on with a No-Deal Brexit.

Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party believes in remaining with the EU but with concessions to certain reforms, will be calling on UK voters to kick out PM Johnson and his “do or die” Brexit moves.

Liberal Democratic leader Jo Swinson holds a view that is more aligned with the Labour Party, as the liberal’s agenda is to stop Brexit from happening altogether.

However, the question of who will be elected Prime Minister still depends on the Ministers of Parliament whom UK citizens will vote to represent them. The question of whether the Brexit deadlock will be broken, can only happen if the winning party’s elected MPs will make up the majority (326 seats) of the parliament voters.

What is a No-Deal Brexit and Why It is Causing Chaos in the British Parliament

Watching the recent UK news of how the British parliament is getting more chaotic during sessions, makes one interested in knowing what exactly does a No-Deal Brexit signify for the entire United Kingdom.

The long running struggle to arrive either at a Brexit Deal with the European Union or a simple No-Deal Brexit, has in fact resulted in the resignation of original Brexit negotiator, former British Prime Minister Theresa Mary May. Her replacement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting for a No-Brexit Deal, going as far as kicking out Conservatives who voted to block the no-deal proposition, sending the British Parliament into total chaos.

To add insult to injury, another Tory, Phillip Lee, walked away from the Conservative Party only to defect and join the Liberal Democrats right in the middle of PM Boris Johnson’s speech. According to MP Lee, he is sad to note that

“The Brexit process helped to transform the once great Conservative Party into something more akin to a narrow faction.”

What are the Potential Consequences of a NO-Brexit Deal?

What are the potential consequences of a No-Deal Brexit Deal that they could throw an entire parliament into a state of chaos?

As a result, Ministers of Parliament opposed to the no-deal proposition being pushed by Prime Minister Johnson was able to seize control of the legislative body; allowing them to block legislation that would have seen Britain exit from the European Union with nary an agreement, which is what a no-deal Brexit means.

First off, a ‘no deal exit from the European Union means there is no need for a 21-month transition period for the changes to take effect. Public and private entities in the UK, as well as consumers have to immediately respond to whatever changes transpire without room for making adjustments.

One of the main concerns about a no deal scenario is that life and employment could become uncertain for most Britons and others who reside in the UK. .

In terms of trade, the UK will have to pay the EU tariffs, which in turn could mean higher prices of imported European goods. On the other hand, some UK-made products may be initially rejected by countries belonging to the European Union. Not unless the EU’s required certification and authorization have been satisfied by a UK company.

While Britain would no longer be bound by EU rules, it would have to face the EU’s external tariffs. As a result, the prices of EU imported goods and manufacturing materials will go up in British shops. In light of such developments, some UK-based manufacturers may find it more advantageous to transfer business operations in an EU-member country.

When it comes to movement of people across the UK and EU borders, a separate and new set of immigration controls, which the UK or EU will impose, would mean delays in processing of documents in every border.

Although the UK government will no longer have to pay £13 billion as annual contribution to the EU budget, the British government stands to lose some EU subsidies, such as the yearly £3 billion allotment given to UK farmers. At the moment, since there is still no clear path to take, both the UK and the EU are still bound to honour their financial commitments for the 2019 budget.

The border dividing Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, will likely serve as an external border zone for the EU in case of a no-deal scenario. As physical infrastructure will likely be put in place, in which the enforcement of customs and immigration controls will be heightened at this point.

Yet one of the concessions put forward by the UK Government in the event of a no-deal Brexit is that they intend to carry out negotiations that aim to avoid imposition of hard border rules. Moreover, and even for a brief period, there will be negotiations for new tariffs on goods passing through the borders between the Republic of Ireland and the UK’s Northern Ireland.

Controversial Melania Trump Statue in Slovenia, Explained as a Piece of Conceptual Art

Melania Trump, the FLOTUS to POTUS Donald Trump has been honored with a life-size wooden sculpture of her image, or something of that sort. Actually, the sculpture unveiled last Friday (July 05, 2019) does not in anyway resemble the former fashion model and now the first lady of the United States; except for the powder blue outfit she wore at Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

The wooden statue stands tall and high on a vacant lot about five miles outside of Sevnica, a town in Novo Mesto, Slovenia where Melania was born. Despite the oddness of how the wooden sculpture looks, Slovenians take pride that the current first lady of America hails from their town. Say one Sevnica local,

She is our beauty, no matter what, even here. She looks like she just walked out of a beautiful naive painting,”

The essence of her beauty though, escaped the statue as none of the facial details resembled Melania’s features. The artist used a chainsaw to carve the entire figure out of a live linden tree, nine feet from the ground. That explains why everything looks rough, block-like and uneven. The eyes are just a pair of ovals bulging under a single brow. The nose, rather than chiseled, was a mere unflattering blob at the center. Some of the locals likened the carved image to a “Smurfette,” which is in fact, a befitting description of the statue’s appearance.

Onlookers are unable to figure out if the statue is meant as a tribute to the U.S. first lady, or to make fun of her. Still, in spite of the deformed features, it is supposed to be a serious piece of art. There is an art gallery, a conceptual artist and a blue-collar, pipe-layer who dabbles on occasional artwork, involved in its creation.

The Melania Trump Statue at Slovenia, Intended as a Conceptual Art Piece

Lukas Feireiss, the curator of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana involved with the concept of installing the woodwork in Melania’s hometown, said that it is indeed puzzling. Yet in knowing the artist behind its creation, the very ambiguity of the wood monument is its strength and beauty.

As it turned out, the Melania Trump statue is a piece of conceptual art devised by an American international art provocateur named Brad Downey. This artist is known for his display of artistic contradictions by way of sculptures, drawings, paintings and films.

The Melania Trump statue is his latest concept, for which he sought an amateur sculptor who was born in the same place and period as Melania Trump, to do the actual chainsaw carving, The contrast he intended to show is the divergence in stature achieved by two individuals born in the same month, year and place.

Downey found his amateur sculptor in the person of Ales “Maxi” Zupevc, a hard-working fellow who digs ditches and lays cable pipes for a civil engineering company. He engages in sculpture as a hobby. Zupevc is from a town near Sevnica where Melania grew up and was born in April, 1970; the same month and year when the U.S. first lady was born in the same hospital.

In a short documentary produced by Downey, Zupevc says he taught himself woodworking but only as a hobby; a reprieve from his backbreaking work as a ditch digger and pipe layer.

According to Zupevc, Downey handed him a photo of Melania Trump for him to copy by using as chain saw in sculpting the log. He received instructions that if there is one thing that must appear exactly as it is, is Melania’s powder blue Inauguration Day dress and pumps.

Zupevc is proud of his work, and hopes Melania, whom he thinks owns half of America, would be happy,

Populism : An Overview on What It’s All About in Politics

Populism is best described rather than defined, because it does not have specific context, except for a promise of addressing the needs of the neglected masses. Its concept promotes the idea that the political divide is between the morally upright masses and the corrupt ruling elite.

The division is built on the premise that those who rose to political power are dependent on the support provided by their political party as well as beholden to the elite who donated funds for their political campaign. As a result, traditional politicians whether right or left wing, tend to legislate based on the political goals of his or her party, which often times are for the benefit of the elite rather than the ordinary masses.

Reasons Why Populist Leaders are Chosen

Support for populist leaders rise if there are critical reasons that influence voters from detaching their politics from a traditional political party.

The Director of the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR), Martin Bull, explained that the swell in support for populist parties in Europe, started to happen between 2008 and 2011, when the banking crisis in European countries transformed into sovereign debt crisis.

Widespread corruption is the most common reason that makes voters in Europe turn to populist leaders. This is exactly what happened in Slovakia in the country’s recent presidential elections. The killing of a young investigative reporter who had been investigating a high profile corruption case, enraged a country that was already calling for reforms aimed at eradicating political corruptions in the government.

The Slovakian people’s anger translated into overwhelming votes that catapulted a politically inexperienced, female environmental lawyer into becoming Slovakia’s first woman president.

Concerns and Issues Against Populism

Although populism is regarded as akin to democracy, it is not by itself without fault. Dr. Bull argues that when people no longer trust an established system, strongman leaders may emerge. As an authoritarian leader, many make promises to introduce changes, which when scrutinized may not be as feasible as had been projected.

Populist leader Donald Trump promised jobs to millions of unemployed Americans by limiting the influx of migrants, and by preventing undocumented immigrants from entering the country. He argues that doing so will lessen competition over employment opportunities intended for natural born Americans.

However, Trump’s promise did not include addressing issues on why many of America’s natural-born citizens are competing for low-paying jobs that do not require skilled workers; or why not many Americans can afford higher education that will enable them to qualify for high-paying careers.

As critics of populism put it, often times promises of populist leaders contain only a few grains of truth.

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