Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is across the pond visiting our English cousins to impart her clutched pearls of wisdom to the belabored folk of the British Isles. She moralized on anti-Semitism, she lectured on the Brexit issue, she met with the good and great of Britain’s political establishment — but did anyone notice?
Far from receiving the whistles and bells of a state visit often afforded to politicians of note, it appears that not even the decidedly left-leaning Fleet Street, home of the Brit media, thought she was worth more than a passing comment.
Pelosi on Brexit?
The apparent purpose of Pelosi’s visit was to discuss Brexit and the Northern Ireland question. Somewhat surprisingly, she decided meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May was not worth her time (at least none of the major British publishers acknowledged that a meeting took place). The Speaker did, however, visit with the sulky socialist and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking at the London School of Economics, Pelosi made the case that if the Good Friday agreement (the treaty that put an end to The Troubles in Northern Ireland) were impacted by Brexit, there would be no U.S.-U.K. trade deal. She said:
“First of all, it is very hard to pass a trade bill in the Congress of the United States, so it’s not a given any way …. But if there were any weakening of the Good Friday accords, there would be no chance whatsoever, a non-starter for a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement.
“The Good Friday accords ended 700 years of conflict.
“This is not a treaty only; it’s an ideal, it’s a value, it’s something that’s a model to the world, something that we all take pride in …. It was a model, and other people have used it as a model, and we don’t want that model to be something that can be bargained away in another agreement.”
It certainly sounds as if Pelosi is shilling for the European Union.
The Irish Border Question
The infamous “backstop,” which involves no creation of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is a canard. It is a device made up by E.U. negotiators to trap Britain in the Union and has never once been seen as a real problem by anyone with a serious mind.
The facts are that, regardless of any trade arrangements, Britain would not put up a hard border, Ireland would not put up a hard border, and the E.U. has no right to do so. What we have here is a rather fantastical myth designed to delay eventual withdrawal. Even the E.U. Commission has stated that any frictions between the borders could be dealt with digitally as they are now.
There are already different currencies, tariffs, and trade regulations on either side of the border that are managed without a physical structure being in place. But Nancy appears not to know about such things.
There is little doubt on this side of the pond that Pelosi has been given her orders and her talking points by the European Union; it is using her as international muscle in the negotiations and has failed to be completely honest with her.
Speaking of Anti-Semitism
Before Pelosi met with Corbyn, she had a brief meeting with three Members of Parliament who recently resigned from the Labour Party. These parliamentarians now form (along with others) a group they have named, perhaps sadly, Change UK (CUK), and they cite a reason for splitting is the systemic anti-Semitism within Corbyn’s party.
Anti-Semitism long has been talked about as an issue of the British left, but it was not until Corbyn refused to back a second E.U. referendum that the members quit. Their numbers also include Conservative Party defector Anna Soubry, a former government minister, who also split with her party over not holding a second referendum.
The idea of Pelosi holding court on anti-Semitism has met with some ridicule from Brits.
But perhaps it is not Pelosi’s lack of political charisma or knowledge on Brexit that is to blame for the paucity of British media coverage. She is not well-known in the U.K., nor is she seen by those who do recognize her as a major political player. It is both the blessing and curse of the American presidential system that there is only one Big Kahuna capable of commanding media attention; it seems the Brit public would rather deal with the organ grinder.