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In story: Party and Policy in a Time of Monsters

Re: Party and Policy in a Time of Monsters
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I was just thinking about you while reading Graeber's Debt.

I am reading a chapter (10 perhaps) where he deals with Islamic medieval times and finds a lot of what Adam Smith later copied, and some that he didn't, like a Laffer curve in Khaldun's Prolegomena. But the interesting thing is that medieval Islamic free trade discussion is taking place in a different context where collaboration is seen as the natural state of mankind, and credit is very much a social convention.

And more on the contents of your diary, there was a group in China around two thousand years ago that argued against war on the basis of war being unprofitable even for the winners if one includes all costs. They were not terribly effective, but one of Graeber's points appears to be that one needs to take the long term effects into account.

by fjallstrom on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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Thanks. Memo to self: "Don't forget about the Urban Dictionary."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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tankie definition

A hardline Stalinist. A tankie is a member of a communist group or a "fellow traveller" (sympathiser) who believes fully in the political system of the Soviet Union and defends/defended the actions of the Soviet Union and other accredited states (China, Serbia, etc.) to the hilt, even in cases where other communists criticise their policies or actions. For instance, such a person favours overseas interventions by Soviet-style states, defends these regimes when they engage in human rights violations, and wishes to establish a similar system in other countries such as Britain and America.
[....]
The term derives from the fact that the divisions within the communist movement first arose when the Soviet Union sent tanks into communist Hungary in 1956, to crush an attempt to establish an alternative version of communism which was not embraced by the Russians. Most communists outside the eastern bloc opposed this action and criticised the Soviet Union. The "tankies" were those who said "send the tanks in".


by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
( / )
Militants?

Trotskyists refer to a tendency of small, disciplined groups trying to infiltrate and take over larger labour parties. Or at least dreaming of it and giving larger Labour parties the perfect excuse to throw out people who were to far left, whether or not they actually belonged to a Trotskyist group.

by fjallstrom on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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It would appear that the split in Labour is due to an ongoing contest for the narrative between the elites, who own the newspapers and the labour base, which has stopped believing the self-serving stories spewed forth by the press as to what Labour supporters want. The base has decisively rejected the story the elites concocted and elected Corbyn because he was the honest Labour leader who was available. Now the ownership of the Guardian is in a quandry.

Perhaps there is an opportunity here for the Morning Star. But they had best take care to see that some City billionaire doesn't buy enough shares to take control. But, if enough of Labour's base has caught on to have elected Corbyn by huge majorities this ongoing disinformation and FUD attack by the press, including much of the Guardian's coverage looks likely to fail.

Reform of the media indeed! Does Corbyn have proposals with any specifics. They might be applicable to the USA, where we have similar problems recently revealed by Bernie Sanders' campaign and the response it has drawn.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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'Trots' I get, though not the particular flavors that might be under discussion. Trotsky opposed Stalin and it got him killed. But what is a 'tankie' in this context?

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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This idea had already been shown to fail by the 70s, the naitonalised industries were bywords for inefficiecy, the ossification, indeed deification, of out-dated work practices and a failure to adapt and move forward to embrace new ideas.

No less so than privatised industries today. I think it's hard to argue that privatised rail is doing a better, cheaper job than BR used to - or would have been able to with equivalent funding.

The idea that nationalisation never works was part of the Thatcherite mythology. Privatisation never works either, and large corporations are at least as incoherent and sclerotic - with the difference that some, like the UK's arms trade (the one that can't design an aircraft carrier that works in warm weather), are also corrupt.

All of which came crashing down in the "Winter of Discontent" in 1978/9.

Which is another legendary moment in the Thatcherite retelling of history. What really happened was that the UK - like most countries - had been through severe inflation caused by oil price shocks.

Unions attempted to protect their workers by pushing up wages. Callaghan was Labour in Name Only, and was effectively just a neoliberal stooge. Of course he took on the unions, and of course he lost.

Which led to the next part of received Thatcherite mythology - the idea that wage increases cause runaway inflation, and that the unions somehow run the country, and will run it into the ground if not castrated.

In fact import costs have far more influence on inflation than wages do. And viable companies always have the option to trim profits to pay a higher wage bill.

If they choose not, that's a choice, not an economic inevitability.

As for the rest - these are also standard Tory talking points. Here's Boris laying them out back in October:

Boris on Corbyn

That's certainly Corbyn's heritage, but it's not so clear what Corbyn has turned into today. I don't think we'd see a Trot being quite as cool about the abuse that Corbyn has received, or being quite so good at getting members to join the party.

Corbyn isn't business as usual. Nor is he necessarily just a throwback. But even if all he wants is to roll back the Thatcherite consensus a lot of Labour voters, old and new, are just fine with that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on
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by Bjinse on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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Great comment, Helen.
A client was somewhat vituperatively dismissive of Jez yesterday, for his 'unelectability'.
This counting on the electorate to be able only to elect mediagenic puppets is disproved by the astonishing recent increase in party registration.
It also reeks of age-ist condescension.
It's a blind spot a mile wide.
Yes there are a lot of easily swayed idiot voters, as Brexit proved, but Corbyn is not promising the moon or using any base tactics to garner voters.  

By just serenely holding firm under the slings and arrows he lets his opponents reveal their mean-spiritedness.
QED

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on
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In story: 18 - 24 July 2016

Washington Journal, this week
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Call-in show, CSPAN, 4 a.m. PST. One call-inner states, "Trump once said that if he ever ran for President, it would be as a Republican. Those people are so stupid they'll vote for anyone". And the show host moved on. Don't know of the accuracy of the quote but Trump would have been spot on. 😂

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on
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The pressure from the City might be equally intense or greater. So which will this crop of Tories choose. The people or the money? The City can easily make it worth their while to trash their political careers.

TEST CASE!

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: 18 - 24 July 2016

Re: Munich shooting
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And by Breivik, so that it is apparently no coincidence that he chose the 22nd of July, and that most of his victims aren't exactly the blonde and blue-eyed sort.

Munich gunman 'obsessed with mass shootings' - BBC News

Written material on such attacks was found in his room. Munich's police chief spoke of links to the massacre by Norway's Anders Behring Breivik

Munich gunman 'obsessed with mass shootings' - BBC News

Seven of the dead were teenagers. Three victims were from Kosovo, three from Turkey and one from Greece.

by Katrin on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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Just support for the NHS and improved social welfare policies will do a world of good, and the government can always subsidize home energy efficiency upgrades which would be very helpful to homeowners and the economy, as it would reduce energy imports. And he could push for affordable housing in London and in areas suitable for retirement living.

Does he or is he likely to support wind and solar? And does he have a policy on land use reform? Encouraging land based wind and solar for homeowners would create more decent jobs, as would better funding for NHS and social welfare. He could work to replace 'efficiency' with equality and effectiveness as a metric for social welfare efforts. That, if successful, would constitute a revolution.

The paradigm shift here need not involve totally new ideas. The problem is not what is known but what has been 'socially forgotten' - like the analysis of Keynes and his followers and of Kalecki, etc. Just bringing those ideas back into the public square would be paradigm shift enough!

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: 18 - 24 July 2016

Munich shooting
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Looks as though he was radicalised by the Americans.
As German authorities try to determine what could have led an 18-year-old student to murder nine people at a shopping centre in Munich, one of the pieces of the puzzle they will be considering is a book called Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.

A copy of a German translation of the 2009 work, by the American academic Peter Langman, was found by police in the suspected gunman's bedroom.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: No, its an old fashioned revolution...
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I hope you are wrong about being swept away. It seems to me if he can just keep the pro-Corbynite base rallied in his support he can survive at least until the next General Election. During that election most, if not all of the New Labour PLP will be swept away. At that point Labour would at least be a viable opposition party if it didn't win. I think the demographic tide is moving in his direction.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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The problem with Corbyn is that the socialist ideas he represents really are a throwback, they are no paradigm shift at all. His is very much the old tankie dream of centrally-organised cadres working dutifully to create a workers paradise, probably based on 5 year plans and the nationalisation of everything that moves.

This idea had already been shown to fail by the 70s, the naitonalised industries were bywords for inefficiecy, the ossification, indeed deification, of out-dated work practices and a failure to adapt and move forward to embrace new ideas.

All of which came crashing down in the "Winter of Discontent" in 1978/9. Something had to change and the struggles of the 80 within Labour were between those who wanted to throw this off, the people who became Blairites, and those who wanted to double down, the Bennites among whom Corbyn was numbered.

However, I suspect that, in the last 30 years, JC has had something of a learning curve. His adherence to democratic decision making is far more pronounced than that of the Bennites. Which means that the accusation that Neil kinnock threw at him of being a "syndicalist" is probably correct

Syndicalism had been a prominent ideology amongst some workers in the period before World War One. Analogous movements existed in countries across the world (especially Europe and the Americas) and were often inspired by anarchist and communist ideas, as well as drawing on the radical democratic practices of some 19th Century trade unionism.

The idea, at its core, was a relatively simple one. Industry should be directly owned and controlled by the working class without intermediaries, and the state and parliament inherently stood in opposition to this happening.

The Labour party has, as the article explains, always been opposed to co-ops and bottom-up organisations, preferring the more traditional Leninist top-down imposition of state ownership "in the name of the people". So, although the Labour party took over the Co-op party, I believe the rule book of the party somewhere specifically prohibits their promotion.

This new syndicalist movement that corbyn leads is very much of the Occupy podemos m5* generation. Whether Corbyn himself is the best person to lead it is something I doubt, as he still harks back instinctively to his Bennite past. But he's better than any of the alternatives on offer, he recognises that neo-liberalist conservativism is a busted flush and that'll do for now

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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Border poll and Irish unity

Sir, - We don't want them, we don't need them, we can't afford them, we are somewhat afraid of them, we think that they are culturally different from us, we don't approve of their prejudices and we don't want them to influence events in the Republic. We also feel that Northerners feel the same way about us. So let's forget about a Border poll, and let the British government get the best deal possible for Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations. - Yours, etc,

AOIFE LORD,

Tankardstown, Co Meath.

The problem is that N. Ireland is hardly going to be at the top of British Government priorities for the Brexit negotiations, and a gradual emiseration of the N.I. people is a problem for all of the people n this island - if not so much for the English.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift
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To really understand the emnity, you have to go back to 1983 and the "longest suicide note in history"

Red Pepper - Alex Nunns - 1983: the biggest myth in Labour Party history

Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable. We know this because the ideas he espouses were emphatically rejected in the 1983 general election. His youthful supporters are ignorant of history. Labour will be obliterated if it moves left, just like 1983. It will be an act of political suicide, just like 1983. It will be an apocalypse, there will be fire and brimstone, humans will be wiped out and the world itself will explode - just like 1983.

That's a précis of every anti-Corbyn op-ed and every has-been politician's warning, repeated over and over again from the moment opinion polls signalled that something was going on in the Labour leadership contest.

MYTH: Labour lost the 1983 election because it was too left wing
...



by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

No, its an old fashioned revolution...
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Just as leaders are often given undue credit for events which merely coincidentally happened under their watch, they can sometimes cop all the blame for things that might well have been worse without them.

Corbyn is presiding over the collapse of Blairite, neo-liberal, pro-business, globalist, and war-mongering "third wayism" which only had a nodding acquaintance with the working class and their concerns - the gradually chipping away at old Labour's socialist achievements of the NHS, public education, public housing, workers rights, living wages, unemployment benefits and a focus on community relations.

Thatcher famously said "there is no such thing as Society". Ever since the NHS has been run down, public schools have been replaced by private or charter schools, public housing has been sold off, secure jobs have been replaced by zero hours contracts, unemployment benefits have been reduced below survival levels and communities have been set against each other to deflect blame from the establishment.

Where it has not actually led this process - under Blair - Labour has, at the very least been complicit.  Corbyn is now copping the flack for 37 years of neglect of labour voters by the party establishment which is aghast that he is not carrying forward their little game: all the while pretending to be socially progressive and caring while at the same time continuing the rape of the working classes.

It is doubtful whether he can turn things around.  He has so few natural allies in positions of power.  But at least he has shouted stop.  The cries that he lacks leadership ability are simply code for the fact that he actually says what he means and means what he says - in itself a revolutionary change in recent Labour party practice.  If he can survive long enough. he could become a pillar of strength in a UK increasingly at sea in the midst of Brexit negotiations which will be one clusterfuck after another.

More likely he will be swept away in a tide of national hysteria when people finally discover that the British Empire isn't what it used to be and that few people outside Britain actually care for their political ambitions one way or another.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
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unless the UK agreed to move that control to airports and shipping ports themselves - effectively moving the border into the Irish sea

I suspect that this might the easiest and cheapest solution. Even tho' it can easily be seen as a half way house to reunification, I suspect that London will apply a little pressure for it to be accepted.

Any other "solution" involves re-winding to a pre-settlement era that few sane people would desire

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Re: Labour's Civil War Due To A Paradigm Shift?
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Although it is interesting to note that the people now telling us that Corbyn is unelectable are largely the same people who told us that invading Iraq would bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: LQD: Labour's Civil War Is Due To A Paradigm Shift

Labour's Civil War Due To A Paradigm Shift?
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Guardian - Steve Richards - Labour's rebels, unable to get their act together, are part of the problem

They are in the painfully contorted position of being both passionately sincere and disingenuous in pointing out that the Corbyn leadership "isn't working". For sure they mean it, but one of the many reasons it is not working is that they constantly attack him.

Labour MPs point to their party's dire poll rating as proof that Corbyn must go. But it is a minor miracle that Labour's poll rating is not even lower, given the number of MPs who have been arguing in public that their leader is useless.

These public declarations of dissent partly explain the apparently deranged behaviour of Corbyn's office, contemplating contacting an MP's parents to put pressure on him, dropping a planned campaign on rail fares to conduct a reshuffle, appointing and sacking an MP recovering from cancer. The people in Corbyn's office behave like paranoid neurotics partly because they have lots to be paranoid about. After decades as a backbench rebel Corbyn cannot and does not know about the arts of leadership, including how to manage a team. But part of the explanation for his behaviour is a justifiable fear that the team is out to get him.



by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
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That's what the up-coming battle is all about. A majority in N. I. voted against Brexit and thus any possibility of a hard border. The realists will argue that the UK will negotiate a deal which will allow them to retain access to the single market and thus avoid the need for customs controls, but any controls on immigration ceded to the UK would require immigration control at the border unless the UK agreed to move that control to airports and shipping ports themselves - effectively moving the border into the Irish sea - something the Unionists might be very nervous about as it effectively creates an all-Ireland entity for the purposes of immigration at least.

I also remain unconvinced that the "realists" will eventually win out.  UK expectations of what they can negotiate seem to me entirely unrealistic, and any agreement will have to be approved by the EU Council where many members will be looking nervously over their shoulders at nationalist and secessionist forces within their own borders.  The need to ensure the EU survives may trump the needs of German car exporters et al...

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
( / )
Perhaps it's because Ireland has benefited so much from EU membership, but I simply don't get the obsession with Germany as the sole beneficiary of the EU.  The Euro, yes, has been driven primarily by Germany's needs, although less so since Draghi took charge of the ECB. Yes, Germany's obsession with trade and fiscal surpluses has been damaging to other members, but would it have been any different without the EU?  

I think we have to avoid the "English disease" of blaming everything - even the underfunding of the NHS - on the EU. Germany is outvoted on every single organ of the EU, so what's to prevent other countries moving the EU in a different direction.  It seems to me the greater problem is the ideological capture of national elites by neo-liberalism and the consequent hegemony of centre right parties committed to "market-led" policies which naturally favour Germany.

It may suit national elites to use Germany as a bogeyman just as Britain used the EU, but at the end of the day they are responsible for the policies they pursue both nationally and within the EU. So far the ECB seems to be the only body which actually votes against the German point of view on the rare occasion.  Everyone else (bar the UK - which wanted even more neo-liberal policies) is moving in lock step with Germany.

Blame your own elites.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
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And Paris and Dublin and every other major city that wants part of the action...

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
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Frankfurt

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Open Thread 18 - 24 July

Re: Guardian going all out
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Bad press is harmless?  What are you saying, Grauniad, that you're irrelevant?
by rifek on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
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But where would the City go?
by rifek on
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In story: Brexit and a United Ireland.

Re: Brexit and a United Ireland.
( / )
OK, I'll restate it: The Schengen Convention and Maastricht Treaty provided little planning beyond Germany's immediate need to move labour, capital, and product around beyond its own borders, at will, and for its own benefit, and so the EU has been on a collision course with itself for decades.
by rifek on
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In story: Open Thread 18 - 24 July

Re: Guardian going all out
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No worries. I haven't really decided how I feel about his idea yet. It's attactive but I'm not wholly convinced. There is a visceral revulsion from people like Toynbee that goes beyond fear of being left stranded by the tides of history.

They really hate the ideas as well. Whether that means fundamental disagreement in that they genuinely think they're wrong/dangerous or they fear the consequences for their own privileges I don't know

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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News and Views

 18 - 24 July 2016

by Bjinse - Jul 18, 58 comments

Your take on today's news media

 11 - 17 July 2016

by Bjinse - Jul 11, 51 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Open Thread 18 - 24 July

by Bjinse - Jul 18, 22 comments

Thread, for lack of a better word, is good

 Open Thread 11 - 17 July

by Bjinse - Jul 11, 41 comments

I'll thread what she's threading

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