Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96: Met U.S. Presidents Since Harry Truman

It still came as shock, even though it was often talked about over the past years. Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96 and there is now a new monarch in Britain. Only earlier this week the Queen had continued her constitutional duty and invited Liz Truss to form a new government. Even with health problems and aging concerns, there was always Queen Elizabeth who kept the long line of history very much intact on the British throne, acting with quiet resolve for decades.

I have thought about how to best reflect her life as seen through the eyes of this American home, and have settled on a series of photos of her interactions with our top leaders. (The Queen never met President Lyndon Johnson.) President Harry Truman was her first president to meet even though Elizabeth was not yet queen when, at the age of 25, she filled in for her very ailing father.  

President Harry S. Truman and Britain’s Princess Elizabeth are shown as their motorcade got underway following the reception ceremony at Washington National Airport on October 31, 1951.
 Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
20th October 1957: Queen Elizabeth II, US president Dwight D Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) with his wife Mamie (1896 – 1979) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at a White House State banquet.
 Keystone/Getty Images
Buckingham Palace during a banquet held in his honor, American President John F. Kennedy and his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, pose with Queen Elizabeth II London, United Kingdom, June 15, 1961.
 PhotoQuest/Getty Images
From BBC
President Gerald Ford dances with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth during a White House State Dinner honoring the Queen US Bicentennial visit, Washington DC, July 7, 1976. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/Getty Images)
6/8/1982 President Reagan riding horses with Queen Elizabeth II during visit to Windsor Castle, Daily Mail
Express UK
People magazine
Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth II, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama. Photo: Jack Hill – WPA Pool/Getty Images
(Wow….just wow.)

Next British Prime Minister Should Reflect Modern Society, Tories Should Embrace Rishi Sunak

Boris Johnson and the term disgraced seems to be the way most British newspapers are reporting the final pages of a chaotic and troubling chapter of a prime minister. He was simply unfit for such a role in their nation or the responsibilities that come with the job.  While politics can be tempestuous and frothy and filled with truly unique personalities it would be hard for most Brits to equate Johnson with anyone else; they have never witnessed such an embarrassing spectacle at 10 Downing like this before in their lifetimes.

Tories, of course, want to salvage their political prospects for the future while walking away from the mess that never got better with Johnson, but only higher and ever more odiferous. Last week many Conservatives said enough and placed their devotion to their nation above the clown show at the prime minister’s residence.  

While no one should forget that the Tories allowed this con man and blowhard to reach such a prestigious position in Britain, it is telling how now they are seeking a stable leader moving forward.  British public opinion tells the Tories that culture war tactics were not acceptable in the past several years, and program cuts exacerbated by tax cuts going forward will not be warmly received either. Making a play for conservatives now with talk of such cuts will meet the sunlight of a new day. But that is how politics is conducted.

The Tories do, however, have one ace in the game with a contender for prime minister.  A person who would speak to the future, has excellent communication skills, and is politically savvy. Oh, yes, let us not forget after the never-well-presented Boris Johnson I am writing about a very attractive candidate who will catch the attention of the press around the globe.  All these factors are very important for a modern prime minister.

Add into the mix this person does not wish to fall into the consequences of a cheap theatrical tax cut pledge knowing such action will further harm the British economy. He should know, being a former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Meet Rishi Sunak. 

He is a conservative grounded in reality which means he speaks candidly to the fire-eaters in his party. He stated his path would be as a frank prime minister—a gentle (or not) reminder that what preceded was a continuous liar—and that he would not be one who offered “comforting fairy tales”.

Sunak has the very life story that Tories require if they are to make inroads into the diverse British society.  Born to Indian parents who had left East Africa, attended excellent schools, and rose to a high position in the government showcases the fact all are welcome in the nation.  And can lead the country.

Conservative leadership need not be grounded in the harsh racism and stale models of the past.  The Tories made a colossal error in supporting Johnson and now must step high and higher to get past the detritus that resulted from his failure at a job he never had the intellect to even seek.

The Tories can do no better at this time than embrace Rishi Sunak.

British Newspapers Largely Mock Boris Johnson As He Resigns From 10 Downing Street

I recall when Boris Johnson, just about three years ago, won an overwhelmingly strong election for Prime Minister. An analyst was reported, in The Economist, as viewing the political landscape being one where the former London mayor might have 10 Downing Street for a decade or more. Conservatives might have a strong hand to play for a long time it was reasoned. That column is one I have not forgotten.

But something else was also brewing in the world that was hard to predict at the point when Johnson secured his personal victory. The excesses of the far-right were about to be checked. Donald Trump would be soundly defeated in 2020, and in France, Marine Le Pen this year was to be terribly scorned by the voters, yet again. After being told that autocratic actions from certain leaders and harsh conservatism were to be our fate on the world stage the winds altered direction to give renewed hope to those who still value democratic ideals.

The xenophobia, wild nationalism, and dangerous populism that is central to the manipulation of certain electoral demographics by the far-right have proven in three powerful cases not to be enough to either get a candidate elected or retain power.

Meanwhile, the work for democracy, as in this case by conservative MPs who placed country over party when ousting Johnson, show those toiling in the vineyard of liberty can create strange alliances. With many divergent groups looking with pleasure at what has transpired comes the British newspapers reporting the resignation of the uncouth and unbalanced pusher of Brexit, Boris Johnson.

This right-winger has been sidelined, something I have waited for since that issue of The Economist made a mental notecard.

Conservative Politicians Put Nation Over Party And Boris Johnson Implodes

Long-time readers of this blog know my contempt for soon-to-be departed Prime Minister Boris Johnson. From his demagogic use of Brexit on that part of the British populace which was easily led and manipulated, to his caddish lifestyle choices, there were always an array of reasons why Johnson was not to be admired. There were always real-time reasons he was to be rightly repudiated.

From a governing style, I often wrote over the years that Johnson’s need to build alliances in Parliament would be fraught with difficulties based on his personality. Boy, that was an understatement!

In just the latest example, Johnson was again unable to use good judgment concerning a Conservative lawmaker, Chris Pincher, who at a rich and exclusive club groped two men. Even though Johnson knew that he had previously entered upon other inappropriate behavior Pincher was given a top-ranking party position earlier this year.

As a result, more than 50 members of Johnson’s government have resigned since Tuesday.

Today Johnson, the only leader in the world who could not seemingly afford a comb, tailor, or valet so to assist in looking well presented announced that he is stepping down as the leader of the Conservative Party. He will continue briefly as prime minister “until a new leader is in place”.

I have noted over the years on Caffeinated Politics that Johnson’s political demise was imminent since he always walked close to the indefensible. I have long been disappointed as he always found some way to further manipulate just enough of his party so as to retain power. This time, however, Johnson is truly going to be gone from 10 Downing Street.

Some party members may now be upset with this latest method used to eject Johnson, but that is too bad, as they can only blame themselves for allowing such a bizarre and bombastic character to hold their highest office. The members of Parliament correctly have taken a lead in this forced ouster, unlike how Theresa May was replaced. A woman one could respect, even when disagreeing with her policies. I wrote highly of her on this blog as being cerebral and someone who has a fine reputation.

The central reason I deplore Johnson can be summed up with what occurred in 2019. It was a lesson in democracy and patriotism when twenty-one Conservative politicians defied Johnson’s wishes by voting for a motion that was in opposition to his Brexit desires. As a result of those votes and within a short span of time, the temper tantrum from 10 Downing Street was being unleashed. (Truly, conservatives have to be more mindful that character matters when it comes to those holding public offices.)

As a result of the bombast from Johnson, it was reported that Conservative MPs who did not support the prime minister “will have the Tory whip removed”, meaning that they would not be allowed to stand as Conservative representatives in parliament.

That is the price that had been threatened.  But (here me now) that was a price those members were willing to pay as they put their nation above and beyond their political careers and fears of a bombastic leader. (Oh, how the fawning Republican conservative knee-benders in our Capitol could learn a lesson from their brethren across the pond.)

It should be noted on Sept. 3, 1939, England declared war against Germany, and Winston Churchill was invited back from political exile to serve as First Lord of the Admiralty and later a prime minister in the war against Adolf Hitler. Eighty years later to the day, his grandson, Nicholas Soames, would be expelled from the Conservative Party for voting against Prime Minister Johnson on Brexit.  

As we all are aware there are very few Republicans, other than those who are not seeking re-election, who have the decency and common sense to lift our country over the insanity that has been smeared by the actions of Donald Trump and his followers. Very few of the Republican Party show any degree of bravery, hardly none like that demonstrated by Soames.

Today’s news from Britain is positive as another elected official who was wedded to nationalism, xenophobia, and unshackled populism was brought down. Once again we have seen what leadership looks like from those who care enough to make a difference.

It looks and feels great.

Thanks to those in Britain who placed country over party. The world salutes you.

Hope In Horrific War

These two front pages of newspapers allowed me a bit of an uplift in an otherwise harsh day of war headlines from Eastern Europe. I know there are truly kind and warm-hearted people in the world, but over the past three weeks the horrors of war does make it seem the better angels of our nature are so far removed. So these front pages made me most glad.

Boris Johnson Has Muslim Racial Problem Added To Mountain Of Self-Created Mess

If the issues inflicting damage were small they could be termed death by a thousand cuts. But when Prime Minister Boris Johnson creates a fiasco he goes all out. Each of the gigantic and seemingly never-ending creations is mounting so to further force the door for his exit from 10 Downing Street.

This weekend a Conservative Cabinet minister called for an investigation into allegations that a Muslim Conservative MP was told she had lost her job because of her faith.

Nusrat Ghani, who was sacked as a transport minister in early 2020, claimed in the Sunday Times that a party whip, appointed by Johnson to organize MPs and keep discipline in parliament, told her that her “Muslim woman minister status was making colleagues feel uncomfortable.”

She said she was told “there were concerns ‘that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations.’ 

“It was very clear to me that the whips and No. 10 (Downing St.) were holding me to a higher threshold of loyalty than others because of my background and faith,” Ghani said.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi called for the allegations to be “investigated properly” and “racism routed [sic] out”. He wrote on Twitter with a hashtag #standwithNus, “there is no place for Islamophobia or any form of racism in our Conservatives party”.

Oh, but there is and long has been a stain of racism with Britain’s Conservative Party. One can not just hashtag their way from their own story. The gravity of this latest episode, timed as it is with the drinking party during the pandemic at the PM’s residence, does now make it a political necessity for Conservatives to act. And act publically.

It was less than a year ago Johnson was roundly condemned, and correctly so, for his refusal to speak out concerning the crowds who booed England’s national soccer team for kneeling to protest racial injustice. Then when several of the teams Black players were targets of racist language following a team defeat Johnson could not find his tongue. Nor could he find that allusive barber and comb. Some of the Conservative MPs also provided racist remarks at that time, also not worthy of Johnson’s rebuke.

Johnson has long been aligned with racism. As has the Conservative Party.

Let us not forget Winston Churchill stated his support for the slogan “Keep England White” with regard to immigration from the West Indies.

Writing in the Telegraph in 2002, Johnson referred to a visit to Africa by the then prime minister Tony Blair.

“What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies,” he wrote, referring to African people as having “watermelon smiles.”

The issue now for the Conservative Party is how to pull away from Johnson and not have his toxic mess further damage their national aims.

The door at 10 Downing is going to open and Boris Johnson will leave permanently. Days or weeks?

But the hour is nearing.

And so it goes.

Fat Lady About To Sing For Boris Johnson?

If you only pay attention to the network evening news when it comes to your information you are probably all too aware that it does snow in winter. But for the rest of the news, you need to read a newspaper while listening to NPR and the BBC.

Here then, it is what one did not find on the networks in the United States Wednesday evening.

Pithy Take On Boris Johnson

This is written so deliciously it would be a shame not to post it. Kudoes to Terry Barnes! His Morning Double Shot can be found each morning in your email when you sign up for his newsletter.

Boris Johnson was an excellent editor of our UK parent, but as a PM he’s proved disappointing in the extreme.  ‘Partygate’ keeps escalating, and yesterday Johnson was interviewed by his own appointed investigator, senior Whitehall type Susan Gray. Now photos have been published of Carrie Symonds, his now child bride and, some would say, his Lady Macbeth, hypocritically hugging friends when hugging was banned back in 2020. Have a look at Tom Bower’s take in today’s World selection – my London sources says pretty well the same thing about Boris’s impending fall: his infatuation with the now Mrs Johnson started the rot. If only he could tell Cliff Richard that Carrie doesn’t live here anymore…