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Enemy of the people: the people.

by Colman Wed Nov 30th, 2016 at 11:42:08 AM EST

I think this take on Brexit is relevant:

Prime Minister Theresa May is being careful about what information is available to her opponents in the Brexit negotiations. There will be “no running commentary” or any substantial disclosure from Downing Street. Her opponents, however, are not the various EU institutions. Brussels probably knows the strengths and weaknesses of the UK negotiating position better than the UK itself.

No, her true Brexit opponents are the UK’s media and politicians and, by extension, the public. Mrs May and her government are in an intense negotiation to obtain approval from those to whom they are, in theory, accountable. This is the settlement which matters most. The actual exit terms with the EU are of secondary importance.

May's problem is how to persuade "the people" that she has carried out the "will of the people" by being seen to carry out a project that is simply infeasible, in the sense that the constraints - if you include "not cratering the UK economy" as one - are mutually inconsistent.

I mean, it's possible to build a sensible political programme here: get Council to agree that Article 50 notice is revokable, put in place a negotiation timeline agreed with Council, schedule a general election, parliamentary vote or new referendum to either approve an agreement or revoke Article 50 notice, give article 50 notice, carry out process, see what happens at end.

Meanwhile, take austerity and your more insane policies out back and shoot them in the head and carry out some cosmetic reforms to the welfare system to prevent the non-existent welfare tourism. You get to stay as PM for a nice long time, you neuter UKIP and leave Labour bickering among themselves.

The problem, of course, is that the Tories are so committed to hating the poor and unlucky that they can't bring themselves to do anything except kick them some more and loot the system.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 30th, 2016 at 11:50:05 AM EST
the tories are just like the republicans in the US; they are people who have a belief bordering on religious fervour in the power and moral rightness of capitalism.

I sometimes wonder if they regard the poor as the un-Righteous who may be sacrificed as offerings to appease their god, like Aztecs ripping out hearts. They may say they don't "want" to, but it's a compulsion.

Yes, we are their enemy. Tbh the elites in the the UK and, most particularly Parliament, have more in common with the elites in the EU than they do with their voters. They share ideology and agenda. They lie to us routinely to "nudge" the disinterested majority into supporting measures that materially impoverish themselves. And if they don't tell us anything, that is standard operating procedure for the UK, the most secretive of "democratic" governments

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 30th, 2016 at 08:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To most politicians and governments, their enemy is always the people they are supposed to work for.

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Wed Nov 30th, 2016 at 09:13:12 PM EST
Schrödinger's Brexit -- The Economist

Among the many important questions to be answered are whether Britain will stay in the single market, or the customs union, and whether there will be a transitional period after Britain leaves the EU during which it would retain existing access (in order to reduce the economic disruption). The rationale for this silence is that Britain does not want to "reveal its hand" before negotiating starts. This doesn't really make sense since it will have to reveal its hand when Article 50 is triggered and the negotiations will last two years; everyone in the EU will have plenty of time to react and counter Britain's offer.

Anyway, until such decisions are made, Britain is like [Schrödinger's] cat; simultaneously inside and outside the single market and customs union. This has the advantage for the government of allowing it to pretend that the "have cake and eat it" solution can occur; no trade-offs need to be made between sovereignty and economics. But were the government open the box, to declare for one option over another, the full costs (political or economic) will be revealed. The longer the box can be kept closed, the better. Hence all the meaningless rhetoric.

The analogy can be used more broadly for Trumpian-style populists. Such politicians promote the idea that there are simple solutions to national problems that involve no trade-offs; if only existing leaders had been better negotiators, our country would have had a better deal. It is easy to spout this stuff from the sidelines; harder to achieve when actually in government.

I see characteristics of a bad position. In chess terms, Britain (and whole Europe?) is in a zungzwang, isn't it? :-)

by das monde on Thu Dec 1st, 2016 at 09:36:36 AM EST
It's an infeasible position: it's impossible for them to keep enough people happy for them to maintain power.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 1st, 2016 at 10:06:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This one is an absolute zugzwang indeed: not moving would be optimal. But they have themselves declared that not to be an option.

Actually that was the self-inflicted harm. Yes, I know, there was going to be political pressure. And May wanted to make an announcement that would calm her party members in the short term.
But really, stating all over the press that "if we are not out by then there will be riots in the streets" is almost giving rioters a state sanction as you get close to the date.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Dec 1st, 2016 at 10:52:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course, these being right-wing rioters, they are respectable and their persons must be sacrosanct. Unlike left-wing rioters, who can just be shot in the street like filthy commies.
by Zwackus on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 02:25:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
any right winger seen on the streets behaving badly will be the cannon fodder of their glorious takeoever. They will mourn and even celebrate the dead, even as they kill them; martyrs for the freedom they are providing

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 04:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Brexit Madness: I expect the Supreme Court to block Brexit, effectively for ever
This week I've spent countless hours reading the written submissions to the Supreme Court in the Brexit Appeal.

As a result of that reading I expect the Supreme Court's judgement to block Brexit, effectively for ever.

Of course, the Court's judgement won't be expressed in such direct terms.

One of the unanticipated effects of the Referendum vote on 23rd June 2016 will be that the UK constitution will be changed for ever.

Expressed more precisely I expect that the Supreme Court's judgement on the Government's Brexit appeal will show that the UK constitution has already changed radically and that the UK consitution  is not what it has traditionally been thought to be.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 12:39:43 AM EST
Migeru and I were recently wondering why the Brits keep calling it an UK constitution, while the UK doesn't have a written constitutional document...
by Bjinse on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 08:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because its not all written down in one piece of paper. (If it was we'd frequently be buggered)

I'm often convinced that what constitution we do have is designed to stop the government from doing things that too many people would be pissed off by. whereas written constitutions are generally designed to  show people what they can do. with different rules and centers of power,if the government goes too far and steps on too many toes it will find  a whole array of anchors stopping it. one of the main constitutional documents, the 1911 parliament act starts with

Whereas it is expedient that provision should be made for regulating the relations between the two Houses of Parliament:

And whereas it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation:

And whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by Parliament in a measure effecting such substitution for limiting and defining the powers of the new Second Chamber, but it is expedient to make such provision as in this Act appears for restricting the existing powers of the House of Lords:

105 years later, we're really no nearer enacting the second paragraph, as no major political group, once they sat down and thought about it found it was a good idea. The composition of the house has been tweaked,its no longer entirely stuffed with landed gentry, but it is also place where the wise old heads of the parties can retreat when they retire. it has a place for the senior religious figures, former judges, former civil servants, senior businessmen, senior trade unionists the great and the good who have seen it all before. it is a repository of knowledge and experience that can get government to think again from inside the system. (do other countries have anything similar?)

When it came to actually do anything parliamentarians in the commons realised that as they were the elected house, the constitution gave them primacy. in most situations this could be used as a trump card in overruling the Lords. However if both houses were elected this would not be true, reducing the power of the commons.

Dont expect this constitutional bodge to end anytime soon.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 3rd, 2016 at 04:49:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Davis Says U.K. Could Pay EU to Keep Single-Market Access

The U.K. would consider making contributions to the European Union to secure the best possible access for trade in the bloc's single market, Brexit Secretary David Davis said.

Davis said Thursday his priority is to ensure that businesses keep the ability to trade and provide services in the European market after the U.K. leaves the EU. Though he didn't directly mention making payments, Davis's comment may be a signal that the U.K. could continue to pay into the EU budget after leaving in order to keep market access.

by Bjinse on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 08:47:56 AM EST
So much for the NHS then...
by Bernard on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 02:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No money for the NHS when the Tories are in charge.

We now have a government based on Trumpian-truths who, whenver a film or a TV prog is released shwoing how bad things are, they go up and say that the film is baised and wrong and they have (strangely unavailable) reports proving them wrong. Oh, and by the way, the film/TV prog is so bad they haven't seen it.

It seems that the response to the modern day "Cathy come home" (60s TV prog that changed govt housing policy) is to say they haven't watched it and have a report that shows it isn't true

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 05:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like the EEA solution.
by fjallstrom on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 05:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schona Jolly on Twitter: "Nissan Brexit letter deemed too sensitive to make public, govt refuse to release as it considers "public interest". https://t.co/no2eL0d50B"
Nissan Brexit letter deemed too sensitive to make public, govt refuse to release as it considers "public interest".

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 05:28:23 PM EST
shortly followed by

Faisal Islam on Twitter:  https:/t.co/p9t5ljYz20"

Treasury Select Committee Chair Tyrie asks the National Audit Office to examine if how much Government assurances to Nissan cost:

National Audit office has broad powers to insist on seeing documents that government would refuse to show to others.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2016 at 05:30:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd have thought that the very secrecy suggests there was something rather dodgy going on, which is pretty much SOP for UK govt.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 3rd, 2016 at 08:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point of this diary seems to be that "Enemy of the people is the people" is the attitude of the current ruling conservatives (or conservatives more generally). But what about performance of the supposed progressives, liberals? How much actual love of the people do we see from Hillary Clinton and other nominal leaders of the left? Leaving deplorability remarks aside, the progressives developed the habit of loosing pivotal elections dramatically closely, allowing sweeping consequences of those losses, and barely pushing the tide when they inevitably find themselves in power. They do a lot not to particularly love people. And the connection between progressive head(wo)men and activists is very one-sided.

What sustains this one-directional political dynamics of the last decades? My best anthropological hypothesis tells this bright side of the "Enemy of the people is the people" trend: there is no need to worry of overpopulation, ha. The civilization is gonna be sustained by pressuring any kind of "middle classes" into quiet desperation. How long are people like us going to be correctly, safely steered?

by das monde on Sun Dec 4th, 2016 at 09:33:36 AM EST
I agree with your description of the despicable political dynamic over the last 40 years, but have to insist that the root of the problem lies in pressure to raise money for elections. Once this dominates every other consideration and politicains from both parties are rolling in money they come to see that, and all it entails, as the natural order of things. They virtually have to do this in order to maintain their own self esteem, however it blinds them to the consequences of their own actions. Plus everyone is doing it.

Population control efforts are derailed by the involvement of religion in politics and the discovery by people like Richard Vigenere of the glories of raising money retail by arousing pastors and congregations of Evangelical churches and some parts of 'Mainstream Protestant' churches in a loose alliance with the Catholic and Mormon churches. This was especially significant as so many of these congregants had withdrawn from the society into the security of their churches and thus constituted new voters.

Alienation of blue collar and large portions of white collar workers due to policies that destroyed their jobs was the product of the bi-partisan consensus on Neo-Liberal Economics. Unfortunately, that subject and its ramifications were so abstruse that few appreciated their significance until it had thoroughly seized control of Academic Economics. Worse, for many with reduced circumstances, the religious and economic issues were coincident.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 4th, 2016 at 04:23:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The hallmark of this political dynamics is absence of workable opposition to plain trends like campaign financing. Top liberals have been offering only fake opposition to downsizing state's role in social-economic matters, in effect. The romantic universe is supposed to have balance of powers everywhere, right? Degeneration of "progressive" opposition is then a thorny question.

Did religion ever actually derail population numbers? In contrary (though non-obviously), it has been serving to suppress, obscure, rationalize, comfort quiet desperations of the masses, their austerity for Darwinian liveliness. That could be a deep reason for existence of religion, and for its pretty unopposed revival, not just in central Eurasia:

Donald Trump's Education Secretary Pick Wants To Make Christianity A Bigger Part Of Schooling

The number of children, wives (and cultural pressures to procreate) are not deep drivers of population dynamics. One way or other, resource limitations are met. Malthus wrote his famous treatise based on the example of American colonies - when they had exceptionally wild population growth, ha.

by das monde on Mon Dec 5th, 2016 at 01:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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