Turbulent times invariably invite historical comparisons.
The latest example involves U.S. Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez description of the detention centres holding migrants at the U.S./Mexico border as “concentration camps" last week. The controversy continued into the weekend, as politicians across the spectrum rushed to either condemn or support her choice of words.
Slapping a historical comparison onto the present is something I struggle with where Trump is concerned. I think Trump, and the rise of movements similar to his, need to be treated as a contemporary problem: we shouldn’t shy away from the modern dangers that he poses, and the appeal which he provokes, by trying to frame him as a continuation of 20th century fascism. Trumpism is uniquely its own beast.
But I don’t think that’s what Ocasio-Cortez has done. Compared to the insipid responses from many of her colleagues, Ocasio-Cortez has simply brought home the basic moral fact that keeping humans in these kinds of conditions is absolutely wrong and in many ways akin to the concentration camps used by Nazi Germany.
Twenty-four people have died in these detention centres in the past few months alone, with six of them being children. Lawyers for the Trump administration are actually arguing that the government is not obliged to give those detained soap or beds.
When Republican leader Kevin McCarthy demanded that Ocasio-Cortez apologise for her choice of words, she told him to “apologise to the children that have been separated from their parents."
A moral spine from our politicians can seem like a rarity in today’s climate – as our government’s own recent refusal to condemn Trump’s harassment of Sadiq Khan has shown. As we prepare for the possibility of having both a President Trump and a Prime Minister Johnson, I hope that others will follow Ocasio-Cortez’s lead In speaking out — if they haven’t already done so.
So, while I am not certain that comparisons to our shared past are always helpful, I feel sure that we will look back on our period of history and question why our contemporary condemnations weren’t loud or bold enough.
The Conservative leadership race continues this week between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. In a column for The Telegraph this morning, Hunt has called for Johnson to “man up” after Johnson refused to take part in Sky New’s live leadership debate. Pressure has continued to mount for Johnson to comment on the police being called to his home on Friday after a dispute with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds.
Turkey’s ruling party, AKP, have lost control of Istanbul after a second election at the weekend. The opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, received a majority of 775,000 over ex-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. The victory is a huge increase on the 13,000 lead which Imamoglu achieved in the first election held earlier this year, which was annulled after the AKP alleged irregularities in the race.
The US has confirmed that it launched a cyberattack against Iranian military computer systems during the weeks of escalated tension between the two countries. Trump administration officials have said that the attacks disabled the Iranian intelligence systems that control rocket and missile launchers. President Trump has said that he will impose further sanctions on Iran today in an attempt to stop the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Business & Economy
Guy Hands is in talks to buy a German packaging company which supplies pads used during the transportation of glass containers and cans. Hands’ private equity group, Terra Firma Capital Partners, is leading discussions to acquire the German Cartonplast Group which is valued at several hundred million euros. The discussions represent Hands’ move to pursue takeovers on a ‘deal-by-deal’ basis, which involve sourcing capital from investors for each specific transaction that Hands pursues.
British police have arrested five people in connection to a fraud investigation into the Patisserie Valerie chain. The company’s former chairman, Luke Johnson, was not one of the five arrested. The arrests follow the company being put on the market earlier this year. The company collapsed in the aftermath of irregularities being found in its accounts, resulting in the immediate closure of 70 stories.
The Offshore Wind Industry Council has announced a £100m fund to help UK firms benefit from the rise in the offshore wind supply chain, which has seen turbines being erected in more than 30 locations across the country. The funds will be invested over a 10 year period, with the incentives being used to provide practical help for UK companies in all aspects of offshore wind.
The week ahead
This week’s focus is likely to be on developments ahead of the weekend’s G20 Summit in Osaka. All eyes will be on U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two countries have resumed talks ahead of the Summit. The ongoing trade war between the two countries is expected to dominate the discussions but other issues, especially anxieties over ongoing tensions in Iran will also be front of mind.
The Conservative leadership race enters into a decisive phase this week, as party members prepare to vote between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson. Brexit will likely continue to dominate the race, with Johnson and Hunt disagreeing on how to react to a possible No-Deal. Whoever ends up at Number 10 by the end of July, another fraught period for the UK’s economy is expected.
Retail giant H&M will release half-yearly results on Thursday. 2018 saw a challenging year for the company, as profits were down from 2017. The first quarter results for this year exceeded profit and margin expectations, with an 11% increase in sales by 31 May.
What's happening today?
Case Box Holdings
Civitas Social Housing
Zoo Digital Group
Avanti Communications Group
Borders & Southern Petroleum
Globalworth Release Estate Investments Limited
Nautilus Marine Services
Ra International Group
Spectra Systems Corporation
TBC Bank Group
United Oil & Gas
Int. Economic Announcements
(09:00) IFO Current Assessment (GER)
(09:00) IFO Expectations (GER)
Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times
Columns of Note
With the recent 18-month sentencing of Natalie McGarry for embezzlement, the question of prison reform for non-violent offences has been raised again. The outgoing chair of the reform group Women in Prison, Yvonne Roberts, makes the case in The Guardian for why a better system is needed to deliver both justice and proper rehabilitation for women. If you’re relatively new to the topic of prison reform (like I am), Roberts approaches the debate in a thorough, yet accessible, way as she discusses the group’s history, the structural challenges female offenders are up against, and why proper reform must be a priority.
For The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino analyses a popular expression amongst young millennials and Generation Z: asking celebrities to kill them on social media, as a way of expressing their love and devotion (no, seriously). If you’re younger and familiar with casual demands for celebrities to “step on my throat”, Tolentino’s psychoanalysis of the phenomenon is simultaneously completely fascinating and the most uncomfortable thing you’ll read this month. If you’re older and utterly disturbed by this revelation, the piece is an introduction to one of the strangest parts of online youth culture.
House of Commons
Education (including Topical Questions)
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill [Lords]: 2nd Reading
To approve a Statutory Instrument relating to the draft Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 - Greg Clark
Smart cities - Dr Lisa Cameron
House of Lords
The decline in the number of students taking music A-level - Lord Black of Brentwood
Difficulties of working-age disabled adults who have lost the support need to live independently in the community - Baroness Campbell of Surbiton
Additional train services between Newcastle and Edinburgh - Lord Beith
Role of further education colleges in the delivery of the Industrial Strategy - Baroness Bull
Court and Tribunals (Online Procedures) Bill [HL] - Report stage - Lord Keen of Elie
Ensuring boards of public bodies are fully representative of the society they are set up to service. - Lord Holmes of Richmond
No business scheduled.
House of Commons
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Ground Rents (Leasehold Properties) - Eddie Hughes
Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill: 2nd reading
Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill - Jesse Norman
Parental involvement in teaching in relation to the Equality Act 2010 - Mr Roger Godsiff
House of Lords
Report of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights — Baroness Lister of Burtersett
Addressing ash dieback — Lord Harries of Pentregarth
How many unaccompanied child refugees have entered the UK since beginning of 2016 under (1) section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 or (2) the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation — Lord Dubs
Impact of weapons exported from the UK to Saudi Arabia on the conflict in Yemen — The Lord Bishop of St Albans
Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] — Second Reading - Lord Ashton of Hyde
Orders and regulations
Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England (Amendment) Regulations 2019 — Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Enforcement) (Amendment) Order 2019 — Lord Henley
An Update on Scotland’s Education Reforms
Stage 3 Proceedings
Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill
S5M-15408 Gil Paterson: Health Issues Raised by Aircraft Noise