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Japan not best pleased by Brexit

Lavigne

Great Teacher
The Labour party's position is to maintain a customs union of sorts, however they're already starting to pay the price for that change in position. It's evident from the local elections last week that the split of the UKIP defectors going to the Tory and Labour parties is more heavily skewed towards the Tories than it was for the GE last year. Labour stood on a manifesto pledge to come out of the SM/CU - trying to weasel out of it now by obfuscating the matter with 'the' and 'a' isn't going to play well with a certain element of Labour voters. At a time when Labour should have been annihilating the Tories, the Tories are actually making advances almost everywhere outside of London and the metropolitan areas, particularly in leave-voting areas. May has been backed into a corner with those results - if the Tory vote in leave areas collapses then the Tories are finished.

The fundamental problem you have here, which has existed since day one, is that you have a Remain-supporting majority in parliament representing a leave-supporting public.

Someone should ask Grieve, Morgan, Soubry etc why they stood as Conservatives at the last GE. They stood, like Labour, on a manifesto pledge to leave the SM/CU - if they weren't happy with that then they should have stood for someone else, or as independents.

I think what we can expect to see when the Brexit bill comes back before Parliament, is that the amendments passed by the Lords will be flagged as confidence votes by the government - it's then up to the Tory rebels as to what they fear more - Brexit, or the possibility of Corbyn/the hard left in power.

I suspect that another GE will, this time more than last year, become a second referendum by proxy.
 

ayase

Shinsengumi
Someone should ask Grieve, Morgan, Soubry etc why they stood as Conservatives at the last GE. They stood, like Labour, on a manifesto pledge to leave the SM/CU - if they weren't happy with that then they should have stood for someone else, or as independents.
Absolutely, I think the problem with modern day politics is that MPs rather enjoy the cushy life of being part of a major party and the benefits that come with that (in terms of support for their election campaigns and no real challengers in safe seats) so even if they don't agree with the party line they still remain in the party when if they had the balls and strength of conviction they wouldn't. Really, I think the parties themselves should start kicking the MPs out if they don't agree with their manifestos, but that itself has the danger for of stopping them from attaining a majority.

Politically and society wide it feels like most of the western world is just in a terrible rut of complacency that probably requires something like a massive stockmarket crash or a world war to shock us out of it.
 

HellCat

Vampire Ninja
I'm not sure why currently backing the Lords is somehow becoming a tool of big business. The Lords are doing what MPs are failing to do- assessing Brexit based on the facts. Tory and Labour MPs just stand there filibustering insisting a vote we have a ton of evidence was compromised must be upheld. Even as jobs go. Even as we learn medical treatment will suffer. Etc.

As for Labour losses in LEs- Part of that was ABTV, a campaign asking people not to vote Tory or Labour and instead only vote for anti Brexit parties. And that did make a difference. We learned from our mistake of trusting the current Labour leadership last year.
 
Really, I think the parties themselves should start kicking the MPs out if they don't agree with their manifestos
Do you think Corbyn, McDonnell etc. should have been kicked out by Kinnock/Smith/Blair/Brown? Should the likes of Bill Cash and Iain Duncan Smith have been kicked out of the Conservative party for opposing Maastricht? You'd quickly end up with either a parliament stuffed with yes-men for whom loyalty to the leader trumps everything or you'd get new parties rising up who spurned this position and soon you're back where you started.

There have always been MPs that have stood on a party platform whilst publicly and vocally opposing some of their policies. If the voters don't realise that they're electing someone who disagrees with one thing or another, be they wanting to stay in the customs union or opposing Heathrow expansion or whatever, then that's their fault.

This is without doubt a good thing. It helps parties adapt, makes them more representative of the population at large and, yes, provides checks and balances on the leadership that a bunch of yes-men or individuals constrained to abide entirely by every word of a party's manifesto (which, remember, is not always practical - circumstances can change between one election and the next in ways that mean that sticking blindly with a position is foolishness in the extreme) would never do.

I'm actually a firm believer in the exact opposite - that individual MPs should have more independence from the party whips, not less. In an ideal world, this would involve the possibility of candidates from the same party and the same underlying ideology but with different positions on a couple of specific key issues standing against each other - having of course abandoned FPTP in favour of a preferential voting system first so that doing this doesn't just suicidally split the vote. This would then prevent the only downside of having more independent minded MPs which is that (barring a rare successful independent) it prevents those with other ideologies within the party from being able to vote for someone who truly represents their views. Not that most people do vote for someone who truly represents their views anyway (either because they can't or because they instead vote tactically), though, and partly as a result even this argument is a against getting MPs feel more able to do what they believe is right for their constituents or the country even if it goes against the party's manifesto is a very weak one.
 
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Lavigne

Great Teacher
As far as the Tory and Labour parties go, both have a huge problem.

The bulk of the Tory support base now comes from leave-backing areas of the country. The majority of Tory MPs would prefer to remain. So, they can follow a soft-Brexit agenda and watch their support fall away, or they can follow a harder-Brexit agenda and struggle to get it through Parliament. Further complications then arise through the European Research Group, which is very well organised, and led by someone who many in the party see as a future leader - there's no real counter balance to the ERG from a remain perspective within the party - hence, they can exert an incredible amount of influence, and can single-handedly torpedo May's "leadership". On top of that, you have the local elections last week which have only intensified the Tory reliance on the leave vote.

On the other side, you have Labour. Led by cult leader Corby, who just happens to be a not so closeted Eurosceptic. Labour also fall foul of the Brexit demographic arithmetic. Although two thirds of Labour voters voted to remain, the third that voted leave are spread such that the impact of those voters are disproportionate to the other two thirds. On top of that they know that they also need to attract voters back from the disintegrating UKIP. The split last year, of those going back to Labour as opposed to those going back to the Tories was relatively healthy. That same split did not persist last week with the local elections, which suggests that even a softening of Labour policy towards the SM/CU is already concerning at least an element of those that actually did vote for them in the general election last year.

At the moment the Labour leadership is being kept in check, to a degree, by the more moderate/centre MPs within the party, but how long will they last before the hard left purge claims them? Alexander is the latest to go, who's next?

Initiatives like ABTV, and Renew are doomed to fail. Without getting Labour on board there is no realistic chance of anything changing. Even with the Tories losing counsellors last week, and Labour failing outside of Metropolis, between them they still took what, 70% of the vote?

Corbyn, and Labour, will continue to tread the fine line of being held hostage by its midland and northern voter-base, and yet seeming somehow different to the Tories to the other two thirds.

The Tories, in the short term at least, will continue doing what they're doing, which seems to be to keep kicking the can further down the road in order to hide the internal splits within the party. I suspect that when it comes to a head, eventually, we'll see another GE, because I don't doubt for a moment that the ERG will not hesitate in bringing down the government if it sees fit. Let's face it, the DUP can effectively achieve the same if they want to.
 

ayase

Shinsengumi
Do you think Corbyn, McDonnell etc. should have been kicked out by Kinnock/Smith/Blair/Brown? Should the likes of Bill Cash and Iain Duncan Smith have been kicked out of the Conservative party for opposing Maastricht?
Yes. What’s even the point of having a party if it’s (like the current Labour Party) got everyone from Marxists to free market capitalists in it? If you have the courage to say “You don’t belong in this party, be an independent or make your own” then your party can at the very least actually have a clear ideology and less infighting.

If the likes of Corbyn had been kicked out during the Kinnock or Blair years they could have made rheir own socialist party, then when elections rolled around the voters could have made the choice whether they wanted a centre left or a hard left candidate. It would make majorities difficult, yes, but then several European countries usually need to form coalitions. It would be rather interesting to see whether the UK centre left would negotiate to govern with those further left or, like has been happening in Germany for years (or with the Liberal Democrats) destroy their own vote by deciding to prop up the right.

Ultimately I don’t think we disagree about the need for more voices to be heard, I’d be very much in favour of abandoning FPTP. I just find it very difficult to see how it is a positive thing for MPs to be constantly undermining a party leader voted for by the members (twice) and being allowed to continue to do so without any real consequences. There’s the argument to be made Militant were doing the same thing in the 80s. They DID get kicked out.

As for local elections, I think the real issue there is how few people care. But then given the ineffectual waffling bureaucracy of local government (which I had a front row seat to for several years) and the fact an awful lot of councillors seem to just be there for the status and ego boost rather than to actually change anything or help anyone, I don’t really blame them.
 
Indeed, the "lots of microparties" position is one that I can empathise with, but in practice you would likely just end up with a set of more-or-less permanent alliances, which would gradually fuse into larger parties. Factors like brand recognition would serve to accelerate any conglomeration. Changing the voting system would allow for perhaps 1-5 parties to be competitive in any given seat rather than the current 1-3, but no more than that. This would probably mean about half a dozen parties nation-wide (plus a handful of localist ones), which really isn't that many viewpoints being represented if you hold up a Sir Joseph Porter style of MP as the ideal.
On the other hand, establishing having multiple candidates from the same party as the norm, and in such a way that it doesn't significantly reduce the ability of the party to win the seat by doing so, you allow for a wide range of ideologies within parliament and a selection of positions on offer to the electorate - again, probably only 1-5 would be competitive, but the higher end would be more common as in even safe areas for a particular party there could be multiple candidates with realistic chances of success.
That said, the "microparties" outcome is actually the more likely of the two, although in reality they too would all become something of a broad church. Is there any true democracy other than Japan that has routinely seen contests between more official candidates of a given party than there are seats available in the relevant ward/constituency?

If you don't allow for factions and fractions within parties, though, the main result is that any party or alliance that wins a majority, however narrow, gets to basically run things as a dictatorship, shouting out any and all dissenting voices on every vote, with no risk of being undermined unless things got so disasterously bad that a group of MPs could no longer bring themselves to be in the same party, which isn't something that happens very often (and the argument for doing this would also logically imply that any defectors no longer had a mandate to be an MP as they would no longer be standing on the same platform as they were elected to, which would make it even rarer than it already is). Sorry, but I cannot and will not see that as a good thing. It is the exact opposite of allowing more views to be heard.
 

ayase

Shinsengumi
To relate this a bit more to the topic, I think what would probably be better would be if the current parties split into new parties - A "soft Brexit/no Brexit" centre right party primarily concerned with global trade and free markets, a "hard Brexit" nationalist party led by someone like Rees Mogg or Farage concerned with immigration and independance and a "medium Brexit" socialist party led by Corbyn concerned with fair trade and protecting British workers. That would be more honest and the voters would actually know what any potential government's position would be, unlike the sh*tshow we have now where no-one really knows what the Tories or Labour are going to do when it comes to crunch time because they're still arguing amongst themselves over it. Is it surprising nobody's sure who to vote for when nobody even knows whether they can trust the parties to stick to their stated policies?

As for allowing voices to be heard, that's the point of elections. If we had proportional representation there'd definitely be a greater number of voices in the Commons. But I'd rather have a strong government that can do what they like for five years who I don't agree with if it was followed by a strong government I do agree with (as used to be the case back when large majorities were common) than consistently weak governments that can't get anything done and can be easily undermined by just a handful of MPs.

Strong governments are necessary to actually change anything, which is what needs to happen if we don't just want the country to totally stagnate. For how much I strongly disagree with a lot of their programme, the Thatcher government was the last one to actually make substantial changes - Every government since then has given the (wrong-headed, imo) impression they can't change things too much otherwise everything will implode, which has basically left the entire country in a state of managed decline ever since. If it takes a virtual dictatorship to get us out of this death spiral then I say bring it on.
 

We're buggered when Brexit can be summed up by a Simpsons meme.
It can't be brexit at all if we're going to use EU policies anyway. Those who voted brexit were thinking of the freedom to make their own policies. I would've wanted to keep free trade and nothing else, no movement of people, no laws from Brussels, no billion pound bailout for the EU nothing, should have been non negotiable, but meh over the past 30 or so years our government resembles the Muppets show.
I wonder if Kermit is going to come clean about his more controversial circle of friends....
 

ayase

Shinsengumi
The last couple of days have thrown up some good examples why, as a lefty, I'm not all that gung-ho on the pro-EU side of the debate that I thought I'd share.

It's things like a Hungarian-American hedge fund manager and currency speculator who was apparently fine with destroying Britain's currency in the 1990s and sending us crashing out of the ERM to make himself a billion quid (ironically creating in doing so a huge barrier to the UK joining the Euro) apparently now believing he knows what's "Best for Britain" - Call me crazy, but I'm rather disinclined to trust someone who made his fortune profiting off the misery of the the British people by wrecking our economy. And why on earth his direct foreign funding of this campaign is any different from the Russians attempting to influence other people's elections I don't know:

Campaign for a second Brexit referendum to be launched with backing from George Soros

It's things like an EU budget commissioner who believes in the rule of the financial markets above democracy and the wishes of the people, and that essentially, he hopes any country that elects anyone who stands against the EU's current agenda will be economically punished for it:

Oettinger apologizes after Italy remarks spark storm

This is why I cannot get on board the liberal centre-left "EU is great" train. Because with every day that passes it seems like it's more of a tool of the cut-throat capitalist right.
 
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The last couple of days have thrown up some good examples why, as a lefty, I'm not all that gung-ho on the pro-EU side of the debate that I thought I'd share.

It's things like a Hungarian-American hedge fund manager and currency speculator who was apparently fine with destroying Britain's currency in the 1990s and sending us crashing out of the ERM to make himself a billion quid (ironically creating in doing so a huge barrier to the UK joining the Euro) apparently now believing he knows what's "Best for Britain" - Call me crazy, but I'm rather disinclined to trust someone who made his fortune profiting off the misery of the the British people by wrecking our economy. And why on earth his direct foreign funding of this campaign is any different from the Russians attempting to influence other people's elections I don't know:

Campaign for a second Brexit referendum to be launched with backing from George Soros

It's things like an EU budget commissioner who believes in the rule of the financial markets above democracy and the wishes of the people:

Oettinger apologizes after Italy remarks spark storm

This is why I cannot get on board the liberal centre-left "EU is great" train.
thank god we don't have the Euro now anyway, something crashes that economy every few years, mostly bailouts. one of the most devastating events to the pound was brexit, and even that is only after the global economic scare in 2008. the more this guy opens his mouth, the more he expects to be paid.
and centre left? I'm mostly centre left and I hate the EU. it's what people confer as the "loopy left" and the very people they label as "millennials" that are pro - EU, older people have seen what it was like before the EU had more policies than free trade
 

ayase

Shinsengumi
I'm mostly centre left and I hate the EU. it's what people confer as the "loopy left" and the very people they label as "millennials" that are pro - EU
If we go by most of the media's definition the "loopy left" is pretty much anyone left of Blair (who I'd personally consider centre-right). I know I'd certainly be lumped into that category if I ever talked to a Daily Mail journo.

And I'm not averse to the idea of the EU, I just don't believe that it is what a lot of its staunch defenders on the centre-left/liberal side of things seem to believe (or want us to believe) it currently is.
 
If we go by most of the media's definition the "loopy left" is pretty much anyone left of Blair (who I'd personally consider centre-right). I know I'd certainly be lumped into that category if I ever talked to a Daily Mail journo.

And I'm not averse to the idea of the EU, I just don't believe that it is what a lot of its staunch defenders on the centre-left/liberal side of things seem to believe (or want us to believe) it currently is.
what's the idea of it though? protecting the member nations interests by having them all treated as part of the bloc? a US like collaboration where if one nation benefits everyone does?
the reality of it though just seems to tie every nation up in bureaucracy and doesn't like being criticised for oversteps the public doesn't take kindly to...
 

ayase

Shinsengumi
what's the idea of it though? protecting the member nations interests by having them all treated as part of the bloc? a US like collaboration where if one nation benefits everyone does?
the reality of it though just seems to tie every nation up in bureaucracy and doesn't like being criticised for oversteps the public doesn't take kindly to...
In my opinion? Making sure the world has a strong voice that argues for European values and culture which is the equal of the other superpowers rather than being dominated culturally, politically and economically by them.

I totally want the European Empire. I just don't want it to be the USA Mk.2, which is the direction it's been going especially under Germany's influence (specifically CDU/Merkel led Germany which shows no sign of ever ending, and now Macron isn't going to help matters, since he's the somehow French lovechild of Blair and Thatcher). Not to mention the influence of the multinationals and global finance.

Edit:
About that wonderful free trade deal we're going to have with the US...

US imposes metal tariffs on key allies
But hey, maybe the major divergence between the US and EU has finally begun, and maybe Trump is the catalyst we have to thank. A more multipolar world can only be a good thing, I think.
 
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ayase

Shinsengumi
From tomorrow's Sunday Times:

Worst case? Surely they mean best case?
https://apjjf.org/-Margaret-Talbot/1900/article.html said:
With surprising enthusiasm, Miyazaki brought up the subject of environmental apocalypse. “Our population could just suddenly dip and disappear!” he said, flourishing his cigarette in the air. “I talked to an expert on this recently, and I said, ‘Tell me the truth.’ He said with mass consumption continuing as it is we will have less than fifty years. Then it will all be like Venice. I think maybe less, more like forty. I’m hoping I’ll live another thirty years. I want to see the sea rise over Tokyo and the NTV tower become an island. I’d like to see Manhattan underwater. I’d like to see when the human population plummets and there are no more high-rises, because nobody’s buying them. I’m excited about that. Money and desire—all that is going to collapse, and wild green grasses are going to take over.”
All welcoming the apocalypse aside, that would surely also mean the near instant collapse of the current government, which could only be a good thing for everyone. And whoever replaced them would have no choice to put a more sensible arrangement in place.
 

HellCat

Vampire Ninja
May is forcing the Withdrawal Bill through parliament in a single day next Tuesday, likely meaning all the beneficial Lords amendments will be stripped.

Not really sure why I'm posting this here since it seems most here disagree with scrutinizing Brexit anyway and will likely welcome this.
 
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