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Podcast: "United" Kingdom? Tony Blair on Truss, Charles, Brexit, and division in UK & beyond


Listen: In the span of just 48 hours in early September, the United Kingdom got a new prime minister, Liz Truss, and a new monarch, King Charles III. Both face big challenges in their new roles. For Truss, the Tory leader: a range of issues from inflation to the ongoing fallout of Brexit. For Charles: the relevance of the monarchy itself, now that Britain's longest-serving and much-beloved queen is gone. The United Kingdom also faces staggering inflation and a looming energy crunch. On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer talks with a man who occupied 10 Downing Street for a decade - former prime minister Tony Blair - about the road ahead for his country. Blair believes there will be a lot of uncertainty over the next year or two if Truss insists on big tax cuts and big borrowing. He also looks back at the queen's legacy and the future of the monarchy, explains why Brexit will hurt - but probably not fragment - the UK, and argues that we need to return to his comfort zone of the political center to fix today's problems.

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Boris Johnson Is Likely To Face Another No-Confidence Vote Soon | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Boris Johnson is likely to face another no-confidence vote soon

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Boris Johnson survives no-confidence vote, but are his days as prime minister still numbered?

Yeah. On balance, I think you're still going to see another no-confidence vote. The rules in the Tory Party executive committee say you can't, but they can change the rules. And because the vote was this close and because there is such opposition with the scandals that he continues to drive, I think the likelihood that you end up with another no-confidence vote in coming months is actually pretty high. So on balance, yeah, I still think his days are numbered. He's holding on by a thread. Good news though, is that he's less likely to cause trouble over Northern Ireland-Ireland border given how weak he is right now. So the Europeans at least are resting a little easily.

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Marcos Jr. Wins in Philippines: No Huge Changes in Governance Expected | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s win, corruption and kleptocracy in the Philippines

With Marcos Jr. about to win the presidency, how will his leadership change the Philippines? Sri Lanka's prime minister resigned. Will its president be next? Is Sinn Féin's victory a sign that a united Ireland is closer? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

With Marcos Jr. about to win the presidency, how will his leadership change the Philippines?

Well, it was a big win, almost 30 points over his opponent, and the first time we've seen an absolute majority in Philippines history for the presidency. Not huge changes expected in governance. Let's keep in mind that the vice president is actually the daughter of President Duterte, who's just leaving power. The president and the vice presidents here are actually... Those elections are held separately, and so you can have different parties that actually win, and frequently do, which is sort of an unusual twist to the Philippines. Pro-foreign direct investment, generally pro-markets, a little bit more of a US and Western tilt as opposed to Duterte, whose military really was skeptical of China, but he personally was more engaged with Beijing. The big question is what's the cabinet going to look like, how independent, how technocratic, or is there going to be a lot of corruption, a lot of kleptocracy? Keeping in mind that Bongbong, the new president, is the son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who were drummed out for an extraordinary abuse of power in the Philippines before. So what everyone's going to be watching.

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A man walks past Sinn Fein election posters along the nationalist Falls Road in Belfast.

REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

What We're Watching: Elections in Northern Ireland, South African president in trouble

Northern Ireland’s choice

On Thursday, voters across the UK head to the polls for local elections, but it’s the contest in Northern Ireland that might make history. Sinn Féin is expected to finish with the most seats in Northern Ireland’s assembly. Its victory would be more symbolic than immediately substantive, since power in the assembly must be shared between the two lead parties, and Sinn Féin has focused its campaign on today’s economic hardship, not on a century of Irish partition. But the symbolism matters. A Sinn Féin win would mark the first time in Northern Ireland’s 101-year history that the UK province is led by a party that supports reunification with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state. It would make Sinn Féin the most popular party on both sides of the Irish border. And it would prove deeply embarrassing for UK PM Boris Johnson, who is fighting for his scandal-plagued political life at the moment and considering another battle with the European Union over Northern Ireland’s place in the EU’s single market.

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Annie Gugliotta

Boris Johnson’s Irish weapon

To keep one’s political allies onside, it helps to have the right enemies. Especially when one is in trouble. And Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in serious trouble. The scandal resulting from his attendance at parties during COVID lockdowns and from the perception that he lied about it has taken a toll on Johnson’s popularity. His aggressive support for Ukraine against Russian invaders hasn’t done enough to boost his support.

For now, says Eurasia Group Europe expert Mujtaba Rahman, “a silent majority within Johnson’s Conservative Party refuse to support him but have not yet decided to try to oust him.” Johnson might survive if he makes it to summer without a leadership challenge. But, “a growing number of critics within his party believe the crunch moment is coming sooner than that,” warns Rahman.

Crunch time may begin next Thursday, May 5, after votes are counted from local elections across the UK. The results will be widely judged as a referendum on Johnson’s government, and poor Conservative Party performance could push him to the edge of a political cliff.

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The great roe row: UK and France fight over fish... and other stuff

Fish are divisive. Their various odors are distinctive, and though some people enjoy them, others find their slimy exteriors off-putting.

They also can drive a wedge between longtime "friends" like France and the UK. In recent weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Emmanuel Macron have been at loggerheads over questions of fishing access in the English Channel. But is this latest row really about roe?

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What We're Watching: Brexit clashes, China stalking Taiwan, strongman's son for Philippine president

Bet you thought Brexit was over… it's not: The EU and UK remain at loggerheads over the future of the Northern Irish border. Brussels says that it won't renegotiate a part of the post-Brexit EU-UK trade deal that includes a symbolic border between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, and Northern Ireland, part of the UK, threatening to increase tensions along this decades-long flashpoint. Though British PM Boris Johnson agreed in December to a nominal border that would essentially run through the Irish Sea, he has been dragging his feet ever since, and has even threatened in recent weeks to use a loophole to renege on the Northern Ireland clause altogether, which would only further infuriate the Europeans. Indeed, Johnson is facing extreme pressure from all sides: Northern Irish unionists are furious that the British PM ever agreed to a border in the first place, saying it undermines its place within the UK trade system, while Brussels is refusing to budge, saying that renegotiating Brexit would destabilize the whole continent amid ongoing supply chain disruptions. London's ultimatum expires in 10 days.

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Bosnian Serbs Leaving Institutions in Reaction to Genocide Denial Law | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Bosnian Serbs will boycott government over genocide denial law

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is going on in Bosnia with Bosnian Serbs boycotting all major institutions?

Well, it's a reaction against a decision that was taken by the outgoing high representative during his very last days, after 12 years of having done very little in this respect, to have a law banning any denial of Srebrenica and other genocides. But this issue goes to very many other aspects of the Bosnian situation. So, it has created a political crisis that will be somewhat difficult to resolve.

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