U.K.’s ‘New Golden Age’ Isn’t Meant for All

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Brexit was never going to simply “get done,” as Boris Johnson repeated during the campaign that led to his convincing election victory one week ago. But it will soon start to become real.

Parliament’s fresh intake, including a phalanx of new Conservative lawmakers who all pledged to support the prime minister’s Brexit deal, will have a first vote today on the bill taking the U.K. out of the European Union. Armed with a large majority, Johnson can bank on parliament’s approval to leave the EU on Jan. 31.

While the House of Commons arithmetic has changed in his favor, Johnson is still faced with exactly the same set of challenges in quitting the bloc of which the U.K. has been a part for almost half a century.

Johnson has outlined a government program to remake post-Brexit Britain, including priority measures to clamp down on immigration.

Yet as Caroline Alexander and John Ainger report, desperate migrants are still risking their lives to make their way to British shores, and the island haven they have dreamed about — regardless of the new government’s antipathy.

Johnson says a “new golden age” is now within reach. For migrants waiting on the Belgian coast, the question is how long the attraction will last.

Global Headlines

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Leader of the pack | Joe Biden has held steady as the Democratic front-runner despite his weak and stumbling debates. But last night he delivered a steady and crisp performance that showed voters why he’s the candidate to beat for the party’s nomination.

Click here for key takeaways from the Democrats’ face off in Los Angeles.

Rattling NATO | President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest poke at NATO came with a threat to block American access to two military bases if the U.S. imposes more sanctions on Turkey. The move doesn’t appear to indicate a willingness to break with the alliance, but rather to use it as leverage in a dispute with Washington. Even so, Marc Champion and Jonathan Stearns report, it’s reignited fears NATO could be on track for a showdown with Turkey further down the line.

Mixed message | House Democrats who’ve argued for months that President Donald Trump’s impeachment was a matter of urgent national interest are now being forced to defend Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delay in handing the case over to the Senate. That has undercut the carefully crafted message by Pelosi and her caucus that the inquiry transcended the usual partisan conflicts that have paralyzed the Capitol.

Click here for more on U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts’s role in the upcoming Senate trial.

Showdown looms | Top ministers in Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government have criticized the judiciary for sentencing a former army chief to death, suggesting the move may increase the possibility of confrontation with the military. It adds to Khan’s woes as he faces demands for his resignation amid rising inflation and economic reforms being implemented under the International Monetary Fund’s $6 billion rescue package.

Mysterious cash | While China says America and other foreign forces are funding Hong Kong’s protests, Shelly Banjo, Alfred Liu and Kiuyan Wong followed the money and found a different story: $33 million from a cross-section of its society, along with global donors. Now arrests connected with a fund that’s accounted for a significant chunk of those finances could curb funding that’s helped sustain the movement.

What to Watch

Andrew Bailey was named the next head of the Bank of England after the government chose to replace Mark Carney with the U.K.’s top financial regulator as Britain faces the next phase of Brexit. Hassan Rouhani arrives in Japan today on the first visit by an Iranian president in 19 years. Mexico today publishes homicide figures for the month of November, with the country that’s blighted by drug cartels heading toward a new annual murder record.

Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally … Lagos, Nigeria is a byword for urban sprawl and an unrivaled magnet for people. A city of less than 1.5 million in 1970, some estimates put its population at 26 million, and the University of Toronto’s Global Cities Institute estimates by the end of the century it will be the world’s largest city, with 88 million people. Yet, as Paul Wallace and Tope Alake report, developers are focusing on housing for the relatively wealthy — leaving behind families crowded into crumbling dwellings with limited access to clean water and sanitation.


–With assistance from Kathleen Hunter and Ruth Pollard.

To contact the author of this story: Alan Crawford in Berlin at acrawford6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at kmaier2@bloomberg.net

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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