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Too late for restructuring, lets break up – Annkio Briggs
“Do you also know that the Constitution was designed to work against people who are not Muslims as the word Islam, Muslim, Sharia or Mosque was mentioned over 200 times, while the word Christian or Church was never mentioned in the constitution? And you say that same constitution is meant for all of us?”————Annkio Briggs
Environmental and Human rights activist, Annkio Briggs , has said that it is too late for Nigeria to be restructured, maintaining that what the country needs is total breakup so every emerged country will develop at its own pace.
Mrs. Briggs said that the north has more numbers in the National Assembly and hence, can always influence to their interest any bill or action they feel is against their interest, saying such could happen with the restructuring call.
Briggs said: “Going by the figures, the North is getting over 60 percent of the total local government allocations and even when we come to the states as well they also receive far more than the Southern states.
“Again, if you go to the National Assembly, they are far more in numbers, especially in the House of Representatives, and so by the time there is a motion or bill, which they are not in support of, ends up being frustrated or not being passed at all. “A good example is the PIB that had to spend over 10 years in the National Assembly. How can this continue?”
The female Niger Delta crusader maintained that the real restructuring, for her, means every region keeping hold to whatever it has, no matter how meager the resources may be. “For me, calling for restructuring now is too late we want to go our separate ways because you see what they are calling restructuring is not what restructuring is. Restructuring to them is that the status quo should remain and perhaps a little increase in revenue to agitating regions.
“But the real restructuring is when everybody keeps what you have, even if it is only water that you have, and if you can sell it, sell it. Anything apart from that is not restructuring. What is federalism? This is where you have the states, which are the federating units. “So a federation means that every component is autonomous to itself within that nation. So how can the Federal Government be interested in building hospitals in Abia State or building a university in Rivers State?
“Nigeria is a good example of how impossible to run a government. How can one man alone, who is of a different culture, language, religion run or oversee the rest of the people of over 400 ethnic groups as if he is overseeing his own personal property or estate? “He cannot do it right because he doesn’t know my culture and so how can he make decisions that will be 100 per cent appealing to me because the things I would put into consideration if I am to make the same decisions will be totally different.
“What we are saying is that someone who doesn’t understand a people cannot make any good decision for them. If these simple conditions are not met, governance will fail and that is what has happened in the real sense, it has failed in Nigeria. “The then military leadership under General Abdusalami Abubakar had a rare opportunity of gathering Nigerians together to come up with a document meant to be the constitution.
“But it was bungled because what happened was that one man just sat down and made sure that the document was written to favour a particular section of the country and he called it the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian constitution is the only constitution in the world that tells a lie against itself and its people when its first sentence says: ‘We the people.’ That statement is a lie. There was never a gathering of any people or group of persons to discuss any constitution.
“Do you also know that the Constitution was designed to work against people who are not Muslims as the word Islam, Muslim, Sharia or Mosque was mentioned over 200 times, while the word Christian or Church was never mentioned in the constitution? And you say that same constitution is meant for all of us?”
For The ‘Safety of the officers and of the individuals’, Black Teens Detained And Handcuffed for Selling Water
U.S. Park Police managed to capture and handcuff 3 teenagers responsible for selling water to thirsty people on a hot day. Park police said it was for the “safety of the officers and of the individuals.”
A photo showing three African-American teens being handcuffed at the National Mall for selling water on a hot day has caused outrage across the country.
WJLA reported that a Washington, D.C., City Council member wrote to the head of the agency demanding answers about the incident.
“My kids sell water and everyone smiles at them. These kids do it and get arrested. It IS racist,” said tour guide Tim Krepp wrote. “God forbid the actual free market be allowed on our National Mall.”
Krepp also noted “There’s obviously a racial disparity in how they are treating these young men and other vendors that we see on the mall.”
Council Member Charles Allen was quick to realize the racist environment created by law enforcement.
“I can’t help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot. While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licences, I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground,” Allen wrote.
The U.S. Park Police issued a response Friday saying the four individuals (three teens and one adult) were detained by the Park Police officers for “illegally vending on the National Mall in the area of 12th Street and Jefferson Drive, Northwest.”
The adult was not actually involved, and the three teens, one 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds, were released to the custody of their legal guardians, along with their “contraband”.
There was no legitimate reason for the teens to be cuffed and humiliated at the Mall.
At least 126 migrants were feared dead after their boat sank off the coast of Libya while trying to make the perilous crossing to Europe, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Monday. 19 June
According to four survivors, the migrants left Thursday from Libya but their inflatable boat sank several hours into the journey, IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said.
The survivors said traffickers intercepted their boat shortly after setting off and stole their engine.
At least 126 migrants were feared dead after their boat sank off the coast of Libya while trying to make the perilous crossing to Europe, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Monday.According to four survivors, the migrants left Thursday from Libya but their inflatable boat sank several hours into the journey, IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said.
The survivors said traffickers intercepted their boat shortly after setting off and stole their engine.
“The boat, which was already overloaded, quickly began taking on water and sank,” Di Giacomo said.
The four survivors — two Sudanese and two Nigerian nationals — were picked up by Libyan fisherman who handed them over to another migrant boat making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing.
Di Giacomo said the survivors were finally rescued by the Italian coast guard and taken to Sicily along with about a thousand others who have been rescued in recent days.
Italy has registered more than 65,000 migrant arrivals since January, up nearly a fifth from the same period last year.
More than 1,800 people have died attempting the crossing since the start of the year, according to IOM figures.
Wednesday 14 June 2017 20.46 BSTFirst published on Wednesday 14 June 2017 02.51 BST
Firefighters and police were searching through the still smouldering debris of a tower block inferno in London to retrieve bodies as police warned the death toll of 12 would rise in the coming hours.
Hundreds of people have made desperate calls to a specially created casualty bureau to report missing loved ones in the aftermath of the blaze, which ripped through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.
Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan police said a full search of the building was taking place but it was not anticipated there would be any survivors found inside: “The thoughts of all of us from the emergency services … and from all of London, our thoughts will be with those so affected by a fire on a scale that is unprecedented,” he said.
Amid scenes of anger and recriminations residents said their concerns about fire safety in the building over many years and during a £10m refurbishment last year, had been ignored by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the block’s management company.
In a blog David Collins of the Grenfell action group said: “ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”
Housing activists called the tower block fire a tragedy that was the result of a “combination of government cuts, local authority mismanagement, and sheer contempt for council tenants and the homes they live in”.
The investigation into the cause of the blaze is likely to focus on whether cladding panels fixed to the outside of the building contributed to the pace of the fire spreading.
Throughout the day, the families and friends of residents desperately put out messages on social media searching for any news of their loved ones. A 12-year-old girl, a family with three children, and an 82-year-old man were among the missing. Several hundred people would have been in the block sleeping when the fire took hold.
The London ambulance service said 68 patients were being treated in six hospitals, 18 were in critical care wards.
The prime minister, Theresa May, promised a “proper investigation” saying that if any lessons are to be learned they will be, and “action will be taken”.
Emma Dent Coad, the newly elected Labour MP for Kensington, said the terrible events had devastated the community. “Local people have been streaming into support centres with clothes, food and other supplies to help those affected. It is at times like these that we see the very best of our community, coming together in the face of such adversity,” she said.
At three rest centres across west London distraught people were being comforted and supported. Up to 44 families have been placed in emergency accommodation by the council and many more are being supported in rest centres.
At St Clement and St James Church, the Rev Mark O’Donoghue, said the church was trying to find hotel rooms and bedding for people. “One of the saddest things has been seeing people who have come from one (refuge) centre to another centre, trying to find their loved ones,” he said.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said legitimate questions had to be answered, including over the fire safety strategy for the building, which told residents to stay put inside their flat if a blaze broke out.
“There are genuine concerns, reasonable concerns, that have been raised in the course of the night and it’s really important that these questions are answered,” said Khan.
“I will be demanding answers and I can assure you I will be ensuring there is independence in relation to it. Across London we have many, many tower blocks and what we can’t have is a situation where people’s safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained.”
As smoke billowed from the building and pockets of fire continued to break out, Steve Apter of the London fire brigade described the unprecedented nature of the inferno. The first commander on the scene shortly after 1am had been faced with a blaze that spread with a scale and speed greater than he would have anticipated.
Late on Wednesday firefighters were continuing to face arduous conditions inside the tower block. Drones supplied by Kent fire brigade were used to fly up and down the building to help fire fighters and forensics teams as they picked through rubble, ash, timber and concrete in a detailed search.
“This incident continues to be a challenging one,” said Apter. “We intend to be here until the job is done, working alongside colleagues in the London ambulance service. We certainly intend to be here through the night.”
Apter would not comment on the causes of the fire. He said a full investigation would be set up by fire and police investigators.
“The fire was unprecedented in its scale and spread and is the subject of a full investigation with police. Lessons learnt will be brought out not just across London, but across the UK and globally,” he said.
Some experts said the cladding fixed to the block during a £10m refurbishment last year might be responsible for the speed with which it took hold.
Dr Jim Glocking, technical director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA), an industry body, said a major issue was that insulation underneath cladding on the outside of tower blocks did not need to be fireproof.
The London Fire Brigade wrote in April to all councils warning them about the use of insulation panels on high rise buildings after tests revealed they were highly likely to have caused a devastating fire in Hammersmith and Fulham last year. The investigation showed the panels came apart when burnt exposing flammable insulation to the flames. The FPA had “lobbied long and hard” for building regulations on the issue to be changed, but nothing had happened.
Nick Hurd, the policing and fire minister, said checks would be carried out on tower blocks going through similar refurbishments.
The scale of the horror residents faced continued to emerge throughout the day. Witnesses described seeing mothers throw children to safety, people who were on fire jumping from windows and residents waving and screaming for help using mobile phone lights and torches as distress signals.
“The flames, I have never seen anything like it, it just reminded me of 9/11,” said Mua Ali, 45. “The fire started on the upper floors … Oh my goodness, it spread so quickly, it had completely spread within half an hour.
“My friends live on the fourth floor, someone knocked on their door, they didn’t know and they got out. They have three children. Some people were knocking on doors but the people inside didn’t open the door.”
Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman gesturing to the crowd below that she was about to drop her baby from “the ninth or 10th floor” of the building. A man ran forward and managed to catch the baby, she said.
Joe Walsh, 58, said he saw children being thrown from the windows. “I saw the parent throw two kids out of the window. I don’t know where they landed because I was on the other side. I doubt anyone caught them, I hope they did.”
“It was the screaming that was the worst and I could hear that from the ground. All I could hear was ‘help, help, help’,” said Anne Waters.
At its height 200 firefighters tackled the blaze, supported by 40 engines and a range of specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue vehicles, she said. In addition, at least 20 ambulance crews were in attendance.
Many of those who escaped the flames gathered at the nearby Rugby Portobello centre where they were given water, clothes and blankets.
Businesses at the nearby Notting Dale Village brought trolleys of refreshments, including sandwiches and fruit to the emergency services working at the cordons around Grenfell Tower. The manager, Hayley Allen, said: “We have a local community focus and wanted to help and show our support in whatever way we could.”
Volunteers stood on the edge of the exclusion zone with trays of sandwiches, which were offered to police as they walked past.
Marco Antoniades, who owns MGA Autos on Latimer Road near Grenfell Tower, said: “Everyone is walking round in shock. I’ve seen a couple of friends nearly in tears in other garages round here. Like in most places in England people get together and help each other in times like this and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
If you are concerned for loved ones the police have set up an emergency line: 0800 0961 233
The Nigerian military Government today annulled the presidential elections held 11 days ago and abandoned its promise to hand power back to elected civilians anytime soon.
The announcement was made in a decree signed by the military leader, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, who said “these steps were taken to save our judiciary from being ridiculed and politicized locally and internationally.”
But Western diplomats and opposition figures in Nigeria, interviewed by telephone from here, dismissed General Babangida’s excuse for canceling the elections as a duplicitous attempt to wrap in legal terms what is, in effect, an indefinite extension of military rule.
For one thing, the general’s critics said, the military authorities tightly controlled virtually every aspect of the planned transition to civilian rule. Not only did they limit the number of legal parties to two — the right-of-center Republican National Convention and the left-of-center Social Democracy Party — but they also named them, wrote the parties’ platforms, appointed senior party officials, provided campaign funds and even built thousands of party offices.
“The military has only themselves to blame for this mess,” said a Western diplomat with extensive experience in West Africa. He, like many Nigerians, said an orderly transition to civilian rule was doomed from the start because the military authorities were not genuinely committed to the process. Suspend Electoral Commission
In the brief announcement today, General Babangida also suspended the National Electoral Commission, which, since multiparty elections were first announced in 1986, has been the main governmental body responsible for restoring democracy.
The presidential elections, held on June 12 in Nigeria’s 30 states, involved chunks of land that are in many instances more populous and wealthy than many African nations. Roughly one out of every four black Africans is a Nigerian.
And although voter turnout was light by past standards, there was no evidence of the violence and vote-rigging that marred the last round of balloting, nearly a decade ago. Foreign observers generally described the elections as free and fair.
Nonetheless, the election results had been delayed after a spate of legal challenges in the Nigerian courts. By most accounts, the most significant lawsuit was brought on behalf of the Association for a Better Nigeria, a lobbying group of wealthy businessmen, politicians and military officers who had led a highly visible campaign urging General Babangida to remain in office at least four more years.
The association had charged that the transition to civilian rule had already been compromised by widespread vote tampering and corruption. Last week the association won a court order restraining the National Electoral Commission from releasing final election results. The military authorities said today that the profusion of court cases had made a “ridiculous charade” of the elections that could eventually “culminate in judicial anarchy.”
The nation’s ruling body, the National Security and Defense Council, which includes General Babangida and other senior military leaders, met this morning and will meet again on Thursday.
There was no immediate reaction to the cancellation from Moshood K. O. Abiola, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, who held a sturdy lead over his opponent, Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention, before counting was halted last week by the National Electoral Commission.
Tonight, according to reports monitored here, Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, was calm. Criticism From Soyinka
But leading figures in the country, including Wole Soyinka, a writer and an opponent of military rule, have warned that further attempts to block the transition to civilian rule could plunge the country into anarchy.
“A very tiny but powerful cabal is toying with the future of our nation,” Mr. Soyinka said in a statement. “Any further delay in making the people’s verdict official is a deliberate cultivation of chaos.”
Gani Fawehinmi, a lawyer and human rights worker, said in a statement: “The nation is in danger. It is abundantly clear that the military government is leading Nigeria into a political crisis of immeasurable, chaotic proportions.”
The military has been in control in Nigeria for all but nine years since the country gained its independence from Britain in 1960.
It remains to be seen how Nigerians, especially those from the Yoruba ethnic group in the populous southwest, will react to the cancellation. Many Yoruba have long resented the domination of Nigeria’s political life by the mostly northern Hausa-Falani ethnic group, and were ecstatic when one of their own, Mr. Abiola, appeared to have won the recent balloting.
Moreover, there is a pervasive sense among Nigerian Christians that the military authorities favor the northern Islamic groups, who make up about half the country’s 90 million people. Under Maj. Gen. Mohammed Buhari, General Babangida’s predecessor, Christian schools were taken over by the state, and permits to build churches were held up while the construction of mosques increased.
Photo: Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, the military leader of Nigeria, announced the annulment of the recent presidential election. (The New York Times)
Correction: June 26, 1993, Saturday Because of an editing error, an article on Thursday about the annulment of the Nigerian presidential election referred incorrectly in some editions to Lagos. It is the former capital; Abuja is the new one.
Dear reader, tomorrow will again feature my colleague Adam Taylor anchoring the newsletter. Please enjoy his work and your weekend, and I’ll be back at the helm on Monday.
Terror in Iran reveals the hypocrisy of Trump and his allies
Gunmen linked to the Islamic State launched a brazen assault in Tehran on Wednesday, attacking the country’s parliament building and the shrine dedicated to revolutionary Iran’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. At least 12 people were killed and dozens more wounded.
It was the first time in more than a decade that Tehran was struck by militants. Thomas Erdbrink, the New York Times’s correspondent in Tehran, reported the details: “The attacks started around 10:30 a.m., when men armed with assault rifles and suicide vests — some of them dressed as women — descended on the Parliament building, killing at least one guard and wounding and kidnapping other people. That standoff lasted until midafternoon.”
Iranian policemen evacuate a child from the parliament building in Tehran on June 7. (Omid Vahabzadeh/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
Six assailants were killed. The Islamic State claimed responsibility through its online channels and released a graphic 24-minute video showing a bloody scene from Iran’s parliament.
The implications of the attack “are huge,” said Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College in London, to my colleagues. For Sunni extremists, “attacking Iran is kind of like attacking the U.S. or Israel.”
Iran sits at the vanguard of Shiite Islam. It is an ideological nemesis of jihadist groups like the Islamic State and features prominently as a target in the propaganda of some Sunni fundamentalists. Iranian proxy militias in Iraq and Syria, to varying extents, have been locked in battles with the Islamic State and other extremist outfits.
In the wake of the assault on Tehran, condemnations and condolences rained in from around the world. The European Union’s top foreign envoy, Federica Mogherini, expressed her sympathies for the victims and said it is “obviously a very sad day again for us anytime there is a terror attack anywhere in the world.” French President Emmanuel Macron called his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and apparently discussed expanding “cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” according to an Iranian official. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned “these crimes” and pledged Russia’s “readiness for further joint actions” with Iran.
And then there was President Trump.
The White House has made a particular habit of commenting swiftly on Islamic State-related attacks elsewhere, be they in Paris, London, Manchester or even a phantom episode in the Philippines. But for many hours Wednesday, Trump was conspicuously quiet. The State Department’s spokeswoman issued a pro forma condemnation, asserting that “the depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world.”
When Trump ultimately broke his silence, though, his message snuffed out whatever goodwill American diplomats may have wanted to convey.
“We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” began the statement, before concluding with a startling swipe at Tehran. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
It’s tacky and heartless in any context to try to score political points when lamenting the loss of innocent lives. But even given the pronounced tensions between Tehran and Washington — made all the more acute by the Trump administration putting Iran “on notice” — Trump’s statement seemed to cross an unspoken line in world affairs. Iranian officials, after all, issue their own routine condemnations of terror attacks in the United States, such as last year’s massacre at a nightclub in Orlando, without suggesting that the Great Satan was getting its comeuppance. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Iranians held candlelight vigils.
As we’ve written in this space before, the Trump administration’s hostility to Iran is part of its wholesale embrace of the agenda and rhetoric of Iran’s major rivals in the region — Saudi Arabia and Israel. The leaders of both those countries see Iran as an existential threat, a destabilizing actor that backs dangerous groups across the region. There is plenty of truth in this view, given the extent to which Iran’s powerful and hard-line Revolutionary Guard Corps dominates the country’s foreign policy and supports militancy elsewhere.
But Iran was not attacked by Hezbollah, the influential Lebanese Shiite organization it backs. It was hit by a terrorist group whose ideology is far closer to the creed preached by Saudi clerics than the theologians of Qom, a phenomenon conveniently ignored by the White House and its partners. To be sure, previous administrations have for decades acquiesced or turned a blind eye to the destabilizing effect that Saudi-backed fundamentalism has had on the Muslim world. Yet a Trump administration that is overtly opposed to “radical Islam” has chosen to embolden the Saudis like never before.
Just hours after the attack, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to push forward a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran. A few Democratic senators urged a postponement of the proceedings, given the timing. But they were overruled.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards pointed the finger at Washington and Riyadh, the usual suspects in its eyes. “The public opinion of the world, especially Iran, recognizes this terrorist attack — which took place a week after a joint meeting of the U.S. president and the head of one of the region’s backward governments, which constantly supports fundamentalist terrorists — as very significant,” it said in a statement, referring to Saudi Arabia.
“We underscore that administrations that cannot empathize with human suffering risk losing their humanity,” it read, “and presidents who cannot genuinely recognize victims of terrorism are incapable of leading the fight against terror.”
“The expansive complex is a spiritual and political testament to the 1979 Islamic revolution. And an assault on the shrine — akin to a bombing at America’s Tomb of the Unknowns — is an attack on the country’s political identity and on one of Iran’s most important monuments to Shiite Islam. As Marc Martinez, a senior analyst and Iran expert at the Delma Institute in the United Arab Emirates, explained to my colleague, today’s attack is an assault on the Islamic revolution itself. As a result, he said, the choice of target may bolster the country’s strong sense of nationalism.”
• Britons vote in a parliamentary election today that has become a far closer contest than many expected. Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap election in April, secure at the time in the conviction that her ruling Conservatives could capitalize on the frailties of a floundering Labour Party led by the leftist Jeremy Corbyn. But Labour has become competitive again, and for reasons we explore later in the newsletter, May’s gamble looks to have failed no matter who wins the vote.
For more analysis, see an excellent explainer written by my colleague Adam Taylor, who delves into potential outcomes, including a hung parliament, examines the country’s curious — and, of late, faulty — pollsters, and looks at how the specter of Brexit and recent terrorist attacks impacted the vote.
• The crisis over Qatar continued to escalate, with the Turkish parliament passing a bill that expedited troop deployments to the Arab state — which hosts a Turkish military base — as well as pledged crucial water and food supplies. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is something of an ideological fellow-traveler with the Qataris and a supporter of populist Islamist political parties, such as Egypt’s now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey’s move shows how the dispute risks both widening and lasting longer than Saudi and Emirati officials may have imagined. But diplomacy is ongoing: Qatar’s emir held mediation meetings with his Kuwaiti counterpart, who flew into Doha, and also had a brief phone call with Trump.
• A Burmese military plane carrying more than 100 passengers and crew disappeared on Wednesday after taking off from the coastal town of Myeik en route to Rangoon, the country’s largest city. At the time of writing, authorities were still searching for the jet with six navy ships and three military planes.
• North Korea issued a statement slamming the Trump administration for quitting the Paris agreement on climate. “This is the height of egotism and moral vacuum seeking only their own well-being at the cost of the entire planet,” the statement from Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said. Such conspicuous lectures are not unusual for the pariah state, which once described Hillary Clinton as a “pensioner going shopping.” But it serves to highlight the extent to which this White House has placed itself on the margins of the international community by turning its back on Paris — even North Korea can scold you.
British Prime Minister Theresa May gives a campaign speech to Conservative Party supporters in Norwich, England, on June 7. (Toby Melville/Reuters)
Best laid plans
Britain’s seven-week election campaign began in April with forecasts of a landslide victory for the Conservatives and a Margaret Thatcher-esque grip on power as far as the political eye could see for Prime Minister Theresa May.
It ended Wednesday in a way that no one could have predicted — with a rattled May being heckled during one of her few and characteristically awkward attempts to meet voters, while her once-hapless opponent, Jeremy Corbyn, spoke to large and adoring crowds earned him comparisons to Winston Churchill.
In between, the campaign was interrupted by two mass-casualty terrorist attacks, and May’s seemingly insurmountable lead dwindled, in at least some polls, to a few points.
“Up until the campaign, events had played to her strengths,” said Rosa Prince, author of a biography of May. “But she does have her frailties. And campaigning seems to have brought a lot of those out.”
On Wednesday, May was heckled by butchers during a brief visit to London’s Smithfield Market before retreating to the safer confines of a lawn-bowling club in the countryside. There she sipped tea with elderly Tory voters and told reporters, somewhat implausibly, that she had “enjoyed the campaign.”
Corbyn, by contrast, has campaigned as though he has nothing to lose — which, in a way, is true. His opinion ratings were abysmal going into the election, with not even a majority of Labour’s supporters saying they would prefer him over May as prime minister.
But Corbyn — for decades known to voters primarily for his vaguely Marxist views and scruffy beige suits — has aggressively taken his underdog case to the public. In a country where campaigning is traditionally low-key and door-to-door, the Labour leader has turned heads with large rallies packed with enthusiastic supporters who cheer his call for a “fairer Britain.”
As the nation prepares to vote on Thursday, few believe Corbyn could actually win. If he did, it would rival — and perhaps top — Brexit or President Trump’s November victory for most implausible political outcome of the past 12 months.
But even a win for May, if it’s insufficiently convincing, could leave her seriously damaged within her own party and hobbled going into all-important negotiations with European leaders that will determine whether Brexit is the success she has promised — or a grievous mistake.
“She’ll still win the election, but she’ll be weaker for it,” said Steven Fielding, a political-science professor at the University of Nottingham. “Jeremy Corbyn will lose the election, but he’ll be stronger for it.”— Griff Witte
Then-FBI Director James Comey testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3. (Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
The big news
Washington was already salivating over today’s appearance by James Comey, the fired FBI director, before the Senate Intelligence Committee. But the anticipation truly went through the roof when an advance copy of Comey’s written testimony appeared online on Wednesday afternoon (the version we’ve linked to has excellent annotations from The Post’s political team). The remarks detail Comey’s one-on-one conversations with Trump and his unease with the president’s requests, confirming much of the reporting that has roiled the White House in recent weeks. They also confirmed Trump’s insistence that Comey had told him he wasn’t personally under investigation (though that may have changed since Comey was dismissed). Here are some of the most important — and most bizarre — moments from Comey’s testimony.
During a Jan. 27 one-on-one dinner with Trump, Comey said that he planned to serve the rest of his 10-year term as director, but said he could not be politically “reliable” in the way the president might hope: “A few moments later, the President said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.”
The next month, Trump spoke to Comey alone in the Oval Office about his recently fired national security adviser: “The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, ‘He is a good guy and has been through a lot.’ He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’ I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.'” (Comey clarified that he thought Trump was talking only about ending an investigation into Flynn’s comments to Vice President Pence, but said he was still unnerved.)
Comey then asked Attorney General Jeff Session to have the president stop the private talks: “Shortly afterwards, I spoke with Attorney General Sessions in person to pass along the President’s concerns about leaks. I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me. I told the AG that what had just happened … was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply.”
On March 30, Trump called Comey to push for a public statement that Trump wasn’t under investigation: “On the morning of March 30, the President called me at the FBI. He described the Russia investigation as ‘a cloud’ that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia. He asked what we could do to ‘lift the cloud.'”
Trump tried one more time during a call on April 11: “I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that ‘the cloud” was getting in the way of his ability to do his job.”
Comey then suggested Trump stop contacting him directly on the matter, and Trump agree. “‘Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.’ I did not reply or ask him what he meant by ‘that thing.’ I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.
That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.”