The Arab bloc in Israel's parliament abandoned its usual hands-off stance on Sept. 22 and endorsed former military chief Benny Gantz for prime minister, potentially giving him the edge over hard-line incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel was set for crucial discussions on Sept. 22 on who should try to form the next government as last week’s deadlocked election threatened Benjamin Netanyahu’s long reign as prime minister.
Whatever David Cameron may have achieved during his six years as Britain’s prime minister, he’ll likely be remembered for only one thing: Brexit.
After all, Cameron was the one who decided to hold the referendum on Britain’s European Union membership—and the one who ultimately lost it. His critics say he shares the blame for the seemingly interminable crisis the country has found itself in for the past three years: divided, deadlocked, and weeks away from potentially crashing out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
It was perhaps for this reason that Cameron decided to take back some control of the narrative through his newly released memoir, For the Record, in which the former Conservative Party leader said he hopes to explain his reasons behind holding the 2016 vote, to share his regrets for what has happened since, and to, ultimately, apologize.
Cameron’s journey across the British airwaves this week in promotion of his book points to a leader trying to reshape the narrative of a seismic moment in Britain’s history, and the role he played in it. But in an era when the legacies of former leaders are often written in real time, will expressing regret over some of the decisions he made over the course of his tenure be enough to rehabilitate his?
In his first major interview in the three years since he left Downing Street and British politics, Cameron opened with an apology. “Well, I’m deeply sorry about all that’s happened,” Cameron told the British broadcaster ITV. Sorry, that is, for losing the 2016 referendum; sorry for his years of faulting the EU without highlighting the benefits of its membership; and sorry for political divisions that have plagued the country since. But while some in his cabinet, including his former chancellor and close ally George Osborne, expressed regret over holding the referendum itself, Cameron insisted the vote over Britain’s place in Europe was “inevitable.” (On the other decision he is most known for—imposing what has amounted to a decade of public-spending cuts following the 2008 financial crisis—Cameron didn’t waver. His government “probably didn’t cut enough” when it came to austerity, he said.)
“There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about all the decisions I made,” Cameron said during the ITV interview, “and all that has followed.”
State apologies for past errors are becoming more common in modern-day politics, yet rarely do leaders express regret for their own actions—especially so soon after they have taken place. Cameron’s expression of regret isn’t necessarily one that many will even appreciate. After all, he isn’t alone in thinking about Brexit every day—for many in Britain, there isn’t an option (a condition that has since been dubbed “Brexit fatigue”). For others, his remarks may not register as a genuine apology at all.
“He doesn’t actually use the word apologize anywhere,” Edwin Battistella, the author of Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology, told me in reference to Cameron’s ITV interview, adding: “I can be sorry it’s raining, or I can be sorry that someone is not in the office if someone calls. But it’s not really an apology. It’s a sort of reflection on how he feels.”
Cameron also deflects blame. Though he accepted that he could have done more to promote the benefits of EU membership in the years leading up to the referendum, he told The Times of London that he “wasn’t making up stuff about Europe” when he criticized the bloc. He took responsibility for what was ultimately “my referendum, my campaign, my decision to try and renegotiate,” but faulted the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for not doing more to help. He expressed an affinity for current Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his deputy, Michael Gove, both fellow Conservatives who backed the campaign to leave the EU, but criticized them for acting “appallingly” during the referendum and, when it came to claims about issues such as immigration and EU spending, “left the truth at home.”
The former prime minister also offered rare criticism of his successor, Theresa May, who, like Cameron, has found the legacy of her premiership dominated by Brexit (though, unlike Cameron, she decided to stay on as a member of Parliament following her resignation from Downing Street). He suggested that May didn’t appreciate how her lack of a parliamentary majority would inhibit her ability to get a Brexit deal through the House of Commons, adding that “a closer partnership ... would have been a better way to proceed.”
[Read: Theresa May’s final humiliation]
It’s unlikely that Cameron’s book will change the perception that he ranks among the country’s worst prime ministers, and perhaps that isn’t even the point. For much of the past three years, Cameron has been regarded not just as the prime minister who brought on this tumultuous moment in Britain’s history, but as the leader who, having lost, simply walked away. “Where is he?” the British actor Danny Dyer asked in a viral polemic in 2018. “He’s in Europe, he’s in Nice … I think he should be held accountable for it.” In writing this book, Cameron is effectively replying, I’m right here.
“He went on the record as saying his efforts were part of a larger failure, and he’s open to taking some responsibility, even if he doesn’t directly apologize,” Battistella said. “He’s treating this like someone who pretty much sees his political career as over and as just a little bit of legacy setting.”
After failing to secure a clear election victory twice in six months, Israel's longest-serving prime minister now seems to be calculating that he can stay in power only by sharing it.
Ahmet Davutoglu, a former foreign minister and prime minister, says he's leaving the Justice and Development Party, the third major figure to do so
PM says adverse supreme court ruling would not stop him proroguing parliament again
Boris Johnson has refused to rule out suspending parliament again if the supreme court rules on Tuesday that he abused his powers as prime minister in doing so earlier this month.
The British prime minister, who is in New York for a UN summit, also indicated he would not feel obliged to resign if the justices rule he misled the Queen in his reasons for suspending parliament. Continue reading...
PM says president could come up with better pact, in apparent shift from European position
Boris Johnson has sided with Donald Trump in calling the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran a “bad deal”, while praising the US president as a “very brilliant negotiator” capable of achieving a better one.
The prime minister’s remarks, made in a NBC interview, marked a sharp change in UK rhetoric. British leaders, including Johnson, had until now upheld the 2015 accord between six major powers and Iran as a major diplomatic achievement. Continue reading...
Prime minister says she and Trump discussed her country’s reforms on sidelines of UN general assembly
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, has said Donald Trump expressed “interest” in her country’s gun buyback program, as the US president faces calls for dramatic changes to the nation’s firearms laws.
After the two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Ardern told reporters that she “sensed an interest” from the US president in the sweeping gun reforms her government passed after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March. Continue reading...
Keeping on top of your mental health in today’s taxing world can be tough. But a few changes can help lift the burden
Human beings are not built to endure prolonged periods of stress. If you want to see an extreme example of what it can do to a person, observe prime ministers as they enter and exit Downing Street. Before, fresh-faced, they simper for the cameras. Afterwards, they are gaunt, grey and lined. It is like watching an accelerated version of ageing, and a reminder of how stress corrodes the human body.
We live in stressful times, though. More people are scratching a living in the gig economy, without paid leave or long-term job security. Austerity has ripped through communities like bullets through plasterboard, destroying the mental health of those forced into dehumanising encounters with the machinery of the welfare state. The Amazon is burning, a no-deal Brexit is looming and we are hurtling headfirst towards climate catastrophe. It is no wonder that our mental health services are in crisis, more young people are seeking help for anxiety and schoolchildren are being taught mindfulness to cope with the stresses of social media. According to a 2018 study, 75% of Britons experienced such profound stress in the previous year that they felt unable to cope. Continue reading...
Labour MP says Canadian PM’s scandal reveals ‘even liberal leaders’ succumb to racism
The Labour MP David Lammy has blamed the decision by Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to blacken his face at a party on pervasive racist tropes that even “liberal leaders” succumb to, as he made calls to tackle white supremacy and privilege.
Speaking at a fringe event at the party’s conference in Brighton, the anti-racism campaigner spoke out about old pictures that have emerged of Trudeau in blackface, including one of him dressed up for an Arabian Nights themed gala while still a teacher in 2001. Continue reading...
Frank Bainimarama, Enele Sopoaga and Hilda Heine hope their urgent demands for action will save their island nations from the rising waves
It is the final night of the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu and the Fijian prime minister is explaining how to drink kava.
“You clap first,” says Frank Bainimarama, as the smooth wooden bowl is passed around the circle. “Then you have to gulp in one go; then you clap again – one, two, three.” Continue reading...
Disputes in the Gulf should be resolved peacefully via talks, and all sides should remain calm and exercise restraint, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Iraq’s visiting prime minister on Monday,
Israel’s president is holding his second and final day of crucial talks to find a new prime minister and way out of political deadlock, as he meets with the smaller parties elected in last
The Arab bloc in Israel’s parliament has endorsed Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz for prime minister. With that nod, Gantz looks to edge by incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu in the number
Sudan’s new prime minister has formed a committee to probe an armed June crackdown on a weeks-long protest camp in Khartoum that killed and wounded hundreds of demonstrators, state media
Israeli ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he will not endorse either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz for prime minister following last week’s deadlocked elections. Lieberman
Heavily indebted Lebanon will discuss getting help from Saudi Arabia with its financial situation at a new bilateral council the two countries are setting up, the Lebanese prime minister said on
When Scott Morrison meets Donald Trump during his first official visit to the United States this weekend, the Australian prime minister will enjoy a level of hospitality afforded to few other guests.Morrison’s invitation to a state dinner at the White House on Friday puts him in the company of just one other leader, French President Emmanuel Macron, to receive such an honour during the Trump administration.But behind the smiles and handshakes, analysts say the two leaders will have to confront…
Boris Johnson could recall parliament if Britain’s highest court rules he unlawfully suspended it, a government lawyer said on Tuesday, after judges heard the prime minister wanted a shutdown because it was an obstacle to his Brexit plans.Johnson announced on August 28 that he had asked Queen Elizabeth to prorogue, or suspend, parliament for five weeks from last week until October 14. He said the shutdown was necessary to allow him to introduce a new legislative agenda.Opponents said the real…
Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger Benny Gantz were in a stand-off over calls for a unity government on Thursday as election results put the prime minister’s long tenure in office at risk.In a major development following Tuesday’s polls, Netanyahu said he preferred to form a right-wing coalition, but the results showed it was not possible.He urged Gantz to join him in forming a unity government instead, and the two men shook hands when they crossed paths at a memorial event…
Israel’s prime minister has now become the U.S. president’s pet poodle. The Tlaib-Omar debacle is another terrible blow for relations between Israel and the Democratic Party – and between Israel and U.S. Jews
After apologizing often for official misdeeds of past governments, the prime minister faces voters over a racist-tinged misdeed and their judgment on his contrition.
The prime minister declines to rule out military action ahead of talks with Iran at the UN.
The former prime minister has been asked whether he regrets calling a referendum
Has there been any progress in the UK's talks in Brussels since Boris Johnson became prime minister?
The prime minister insists he acted in "the proper way" after accusations of a conflict of interest when he was London mayor.
The shadow foreign secretary condemns Boris Johnson as "utterly unsuited" to the job of prime minister.
In an attempt to defend the images of Justin Trudeau in blackface, people are sharing an out-of-context photo of former prime minister Stephen Harper from when he was named an honorary chief.
The Arab-led Joint List confirmed their support of centrist party Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz as Israel's prime minister. It is the first time since 1992 that Arab parties have endorsed a candidate in the selection process.
Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta's budget will be delivered Oct. 24. Asked Monday if he'll blink on making tough spending cuts, he invoked former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's historic three-word rebuttal. "Just watch me," he said.
The prime minister has long turned controversy into opportunity, but his friendship with an American woman carries hints of financial improprieties.
The prime minister of Canada wanted to talk about a ban on military-style rifles in Canada. Reporters wanted to talk about the possibility of new images of him emerging.
The prime minister called on his rival, Benny Gantz, to meet right away, in a dramatic bid to remain in power. His opponents called it just posturing.
Sudan's newly appointed prime minister launched an independent investigation into a deadly crackdown on protesters in June, which killed dozens of people and threatened to crush the country's pro-democracy uprising.
Potential kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday he will not back either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz for Israeli prime minister, just hours after the president began talks to break the post-election deadlock.