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The Charge of the Light Brexit Brigade

by Luis de Sousa Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 03:10:15 PM EST






Into the valley of death
Rode May's two hundred
Europhobe to the right of them
Opposition to the left of them
Country in front of them
Volleyed and thundered



The Charge of the Light Brigade
by Caton Woodville
An old story

The year is 1854, Britain is fighting the Crimean War in alliance with France and the remnants of the Ottoman empire, and against the rising Russian superpower. On the 25th of October the British are acting in the valley of Balaclava with a large number of forces. With Russian forces retreating from their redoubts in the southern side of the valley, General George Bingham, in command of the British army, orders the Light Brigade of the Cavalry to prevent the enemy from withdrawing with them the artillery pieces stationed in those redouts. What followed became known as the "Charge of the Light Brigade", a largely mindless and unexplained massacre of British troops.


frontpaged with minor edit - Bjinse


Commanding the British cavalry is Major James Brudenell, brother-in-law with General Bingham. The two men loathe each other and do not see eye-to-eye. The order of immediate attack from General Bingham is carried to Major Brudenell by Captain Louis Edward Nolan. Possibly from a combination of misexplanation by Nolan and Brudenell's contempt towards Bingham, the order is understood as a charge on a different redoubt, on the opposite end of the valley bottom. The 670 units of the Light Brigade are sent charging across almost 2 km of open field against a large and well entrenched artillery battery.


It is an act of sheer folly, that is never corrected. Brudenell likely regards it as a personal tirade from Bingham. Some accounts hint at Nolan trying to stop the cavalry already in motion, but he is one of the first victims of the charge. Even though the Light Brigade manages to reach enemy lines, it is decimated on its way; neither the British heavy cavalry, nor the French cavalry in the valley dare to follow. After their retreat, discounting dead, wounded and prisoners, the Light Brigade was down to less than 200 units.


Popular celebration

This military disaster helps explaining in different ways the political quagmire in which the UK finds itself today trying to exit EU. One of the most extraordinary aspects is how the Balaclave massacre was promptly celebrated as an act of braveness.


Just six weeks after the event, The Examiner newspaper published a poem penned by Alfred Lord Tennyson that bared the infamous title: "The Charge of the Light Brigade". Tennyson leaves aside any reference to command mishap and instead glorifies the sense of duty of the fallen and the bravery of those that managed to escape from certain death.


This spectacular spin on the story endured in popular culture to this day, in subsequent literature, in cinema and in music. The first motion picture re-enacting events dates from 1936, with remakes appearing decades later. Even foreign artists took the massacre as theme.


It is hard to imagine the French glorifying Waterloo or the Greeks singing the fall of Constantinople, but in British culture things are slightly different. Disaster, failure, massacre, all fine if it can highlight courage in face of the adverse. An important element of europhobic (and nationalist) rhetoric, come what may, braveness all shall withstand.  


The Trooper
Bruce Dickinson, a notable artist and europhobe, has in recent decades greatly contributed to the popular glorification of the Balaclava massacre. Image source: Wikipaedia (original licence applies).


Thought entrenchment

The most interesting parallel with Brexit is of a different nature. Taking the accounts from both French and Russian commands on the battle ground that day in Balaclava, the frontal change against entrenched artillery could only be described as an act of madness. A pointless loss of life from which no advantage could be gained. Why then did it ever took place?


On receiving the order, Major Brudenell must have certainly thought similarly, but still did not sway. Either he perceived it as plausible for his arch-rival to submit his cavalry to such an ordeal, or was unable to confront his commanding antagonist. Brudenell was at least thoughtful enough not to send the heavy cavalry after the Light Brigade, which could have even changed the fate of the war.


While it is not possible to know for sure what happened exactly in that inglorious day, the feud between the two commanding officers certainly played a role. Entrenched in their bickering the two men were not able build the bridge necessary in extraordinary circumstances. Sounds familiar?


The quagmire

Returning to Britain with a sealed agreement to exit the EU, prime minister Theresa May did not chose to face Parliament or entail negotiations with those that can ratify it. Instead she opted for touring the country, while at the same time assailing democratic procedures to the extent of her Government being deemed in contempt of Parliament. Theresa May is an entrenched primed minister, hopelessly seeking a way forwards without moving. So far all she managed was to postpone the day of the charge of her own light brigade.


The motion of no confidence moved against her by her party's europhobes did not provide for a resounding victory, but at least laid down the cards on the table and showed who is who. To hers two hundred, May must now find other 125 MPs to ratify the agreement and move on to the next phase of negotiations.


Those necessary MP votes she will not find to her right; in this story the Conservative europhobes and the DUP play the role of the Russian artillery. To succeed she must do what Major Brudenell did not, leaver her trench, reach across the valley of the Commons and negotiate with the opposition.


Easy it certainly wont be, but for sure better than charging mindlessly along the valley. Instead of threatening Parliament with "her deal or else", she should instead demonstrate that the shape of a future relation with the EU is largely left open. First settle the score with the EU and cement the UK's reputation as a reliable negotiating partner before starting to design a new UK.


The number of MPs required to ratify the agreement with the EU means that Labour must be on board. The price demanded by Labour in exchange will be high: a general election. None other could be expected, but that is where the negotiation starts.


And would a general election be such a high price to pay? The Conservative party remains ahead in polls and with the exit agreement ratified parties can then focus on the future relationship with the EU and the UK's place in a globalised world. Nothing is yet lost, nothing is yet won.


The end game

Past the history and the literature, a disorderly exit from the EU, without a ratified withdrawal agreement, on the 29th of March continues to appear as the most likely outcome. It is not only the prime minister who is entrenched, every one else is entrenched too, fearing the electoral consequences of reaching out across the valley.


This concerns primarily Jeremy Corbyn, himself a lukewarm europhobe and leading a party that could be as divided as the Conservatives. Moreover, his personal disdain for Theresa May has become increasingly apparent. Corbyn could well be playing the role of General Bingham in this version of the story.


Other possible outcomes look at best remote. Be it for cancelling the exit procedure and remaining in the EU, or staging a second referendum, the popular and parliamentary support is lacking. More importantly, none of these strategies would help healing the deep divide running along the country; much to the contrary.


If no one rises to the extraordinary circumstances, May shall be facing an entrenched Parliament coming the ides of January. She will do no more than launching her government and her country into a senseless and devastating charge.


And the massacre of May's two hundred shall be sang for decades to come.

This is a crosspost from AtTheEdgeOfTime.

Display:
The year 1854 perhaps?

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 04:03:05 PM EST
:) How did pass? I can not even blame the spellchecker. Thanks.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 07:00:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well said

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 04:57:14 PM EST
You stole my title and metaphor! The Charge of the Brexit Brigade Wed Jan 25th, 2017
.  Nevertheless the metaphor is as apt now as it was then - almost 2 years ago - and very little has changed.

The referendum result itself is perhaps the best analogue for the order for the Charge of the Light Brigade, with the UK establishment determined to follow through on that "order" despite mounting evidence that the referendum campaign was corrupted, none of the Brexiteer promises proved realistic, and the damage a no deal Brexit will wreck on the UK economy is increasingly obvious.

The divide in the military command at Balaclava is perhaps also a good metaphor for the divide in the Tory party leadership between Leavers and Remainers.

But as other commentators have also noted, Brexit isn't really about economic growth (or military victory). It celebrates a British fetish for glorious failure, for being brave in the face of adversity, and of almost inviting defeat on occasion if it will feed the myth of glorious Britannia.

That it also covers up splits in the establishment, whether military or political is another side-benefit. No one remembers the enmity and rivalry in the military command, no one is prosecuted for rank incompetence, all is drowned out by "Land of Hope and Glory!". The British commander was later promoted to General and then Field Marshall.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 05:54:18 PM EST
Apologies Frank, I missed your earlier diary. "Glorious failure" is well put, and indeed it reflects in many moments and decisions in the process so far.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 07:04:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't mind him.
You cannot steal what belongs to you.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 07:22:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Did Russia Give Away Crimea Sixty Years Ago? | Wilson Center - 2014 |

Crimea was part of Russia from 1783, when the Tsarist Empire annexed  it a decade after defeating Ottoman forces in the Battle of Kozludzha, until 1954, when the Soviet government transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR).

[...]

Khrushchev had been elevated to the post of CPSU First Secretary in September 1953 but was still consolidating his leading position in early 1954. He had earlier served as the head of the Communist Party of Ukraine from the late 1930s through the end of 1949 (apart from a year-and-a-half during World War II when he was assigned as a political commissar to the front). During the last several years of Khrushchev's tenure in the UkrSSR, he had overseen the Soviet government's side of a fierce civil war in the newly annexed western regions of Ukraine, especially Volynia and Galicia. The civil war was marked by high levels of casualties and gruesome atrocities on both sides.

Occasional armed clashes were still occurring in the mid-1950s, but the war was over by the time Crimea was transferred in February 1954. The repeated references at the meeting of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium on 19 February to the "unity of Russians and Ukrainians" and to the "great and indissoluble friendship" between the two peoples, and the affirmation that the transfer would demonstrate how wise it was to have Ukraine "under the leadership of the Communist Party and the Soviet government," indicate that Khrushchev saw the transfer as a way of fortifying and perpetuating Soviet control over Ukraine now that the civil war had finally been won.

[...]

The transfer of Crimea to the UkrSSR also was politically useful for Khrushchev as he sought to firm up the support he needed in his ongoing power struggle with Soviet Prime Minister Georgii Malenkov, who had initially emerged as the preeminent leader in the USSR in 1953 after Joseph Stalin's death. Having been at a disadvantage right after Stalin's death, Khrushchev had steadily whittled away at Malenkov's position and had gained a major edge with his elevation to the post of CPSU First Secretary in September 1953. Nevertheless, the post-Stalin power struggle was by no means over in early 1954, and Khrushchev was trying to line up as much support as he could on the CPSU Presidium for a bid to remove Malenkov from the prime minister's spot (a feat he accomplished in January 1955). Among those whose support Khrushchev was hoping to enlist was Oleksiy Kyrychenko, who had become first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine in early June 1953 (displacing Leonid Mel'nykov, who had succeeded Khrushchev in that post in December 1949) and soon thereafter had been appointed a full member of the CPSU Presidium.

Throughout history, the Black Sea region was prone to the fall and rise of Empires. The Russian Federation knew very well it could not stand idle by after the three Western powers considered the signed agreement of Feb. 21, 2014 null and void.

Address by President of the Russian Federation - March 18, 2014

Relate reading ...

Ukraine's Holodomor of 1933 and the Maidan Revolution
Ukraine: Extremists Reject EU Deal, Demand Violent Overthrow

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 07:13:43 PM EST
Putin tells May to 'fulfil will of people' on Brexit | The Guardian |

    Britons may see some irony in a lesson on democracy from a fourth-term president who has co-opted or crushed any substantial opposition in his home country. In a statement, the former foreign secretary David Miliband, who has backed a second referendum, said it was "an insult to the United Kingdom that he should be lecturing us on our democratic process".

From Putin's annual address, he was hopeful to sign new trade deals with the UK after Brexit. In the ICO Watch List [% of projects], the Russian Federation is 4th after the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 07:38:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
co-opted or crushed any substantial opposition

Instant turn-off to me here in uniarty the USA. GMAFB.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 09:54:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An historical journey into Crimea -- Asia Times
Most of the Nazi collaborators in Crimea during WWII were not Tatars. Still, under Stalin, the Tatars were the first ethnic minority to be entirely deported. When Soviet power was back in Crimea, those who remained were expelled en masse to Central Asia because of "treason to the Fatherland". Now their sons and grandsons are coming back in droves.
by das monde on Fri Dec 21st, 2018 at 10:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pepe Escobar ... as always excellent!

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Dec 21st, 2018 at 10:34:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 11:39:37 PM EST
Now in article form: "politics is not a fairy tale, and history does not owe us a happy ending".

Clap Your Hands If You Believe in Brexit - Foreign Policy

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Thu Dec 20th, 2018 at 11:42:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an excellent piece, this passage in particular:

Even at the pinnacle of the British Empire, when Britain ruled a quarter of the world's landmass and commanded the seas, it was the heroic defeats that were honored in popular memory. The stories live on even today: Gen. Charles Gordon, making his heroic last stand at Khartoum; the slaughter at Isandlwana; the brave redcoats of innumerable Victorian paintings, fighting to the last man against hopeless and desperate odds. The result is a curious act of historical alchemy, transmuting one of the most formidable empires of global history into the myth of Little Britain.

 Thanks for sharing.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2018 at 05:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Clap your hand..." seems more appropriate.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 08:43:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice analogy, Luis (and Frank!).
As chance would have it I watched a movie about this a week ago where Nolan was acted by a young David Hemmings.
Real Brexiteers don't eat quiche!
Boris famously said 'Fuck business' and he meant it. Who cares about the grubby middle class with their uppity, greedy passion for trade? Kept to the 'Tradesman's entrance' they should be.
You're not going to hear him (or anyone else) say 'Fuck the City' though, are you?
Cameron shows how it's elegantly done... stir the maximum amount of shit then slope off smirking to reap the expensive speech circuit bounty, then popping back occasionally to gravely pontificate á la Blair.
From the continent it looks like a half century of europhobic gutter press has made the island population deeply distrustful of anyone beyond the shores, and even madder than its reputation for Follies, and such Nonsense poetry as 'ours not to reason why'.

A nation in an orgy of self-flagellation, atoning for its Imperial sins.

Jerome and Jerome, three men in a coracle, doughtily setting sail in the teeth of a hurricane, off to refind the glorious acme of Empire when wogs grovelled properly and all was ordered in its appropriate place and routine floggings administered to boost morale.

Where's the EU going?
Italy trying to jack internal demand with an expansive state budget? Macron eyeing the Frexit, and the UK spazzino out?
As a FB friend commented: if I was in charge of the EU I would be hitting the bottle hard by now.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2018 at 04:25:31 AM EST
This is a first-rate contribution. In particular, I liked

Instead of threatening Parliament with "her deal or else", she should instead demonstrate that the shape of a future relation with the EU is largely left open. First settle the score with the EU and cement the UK's reputation as a reliable negotiating partner before starting to design a new UK.

To those who complain about the enduring nature of the back stop, the solution to it is in their hands and which they already promote - technology which does not exist or cannot (yet) be trusted; a comprehensive (trade) agreement the like of which has never yet been negotiated.

In other words 'kick the can down the road and minimise the immediate disruption' until another English trait kicks in - 'that something will turn up' in the fashion of Dickens' Micawber.  

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Dec 21st, 2018 at 09:40:05 AM EST
There are also innumerable examples from various other wars, particularly WW1.

A difference from the Charge is that Brexit is still supported by about half of British voters, despite the availability of extensive new information. Despite the intrusions by Putin and Trump, and the short-sighted opportunism of party leadership, it is even now still not clear whether Remain would win in a new referendum.

by asdf on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 01:51:53 AM EST
Support for Brexit is down to less than 40%, while Remain is picking up a lot of former Don't Knows and is climbing steadily.

That's still an insane percentage, but virtually all of the support comes from confused pensioners and low information voters who have spent decades being brainwashed by anti-EU lies in the UK's fascist press.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 07:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Opinion polling has gotten a bad rap in recent years which has led many to question their accuracy and significance. But if you take them at face value there has been a huge swing to Remain with both May's deal and no deal polling very badly. The problem is ther is almost no way for this changed reality to articulate its way into the Westminster bubble where politicians are locked into very entrenched positions.

Thus even if there were to be a 2:1 majority for Remain against any other option - which I think is quite possible - this will not necessarily be believed or translated into action in government. The establishment has a very effective dam against popular sentiment between elections and unless this dam bursts nothing will happen. If it does burst the effect could be quite spectacular.

Dam burst of dreams

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 11:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remainer Gilets jaunes, where are you?

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 10:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the question of what goes on in the Westminster bubble, we discussed in another thread the illusory notion that Corbyn as PM could beat the oily foreigners into submission, sorry, negotiate a better deal.

Here's some interesting poll data:

A further challenge for Jeremy Corbyn is to persuade voters that he could get a better Brexit deal if he were prime minister. This claim is rejected by 68%-11% of voters generally, by 47%-30% of Labour voters, and - perhaps most ominously - by 52-23% of Labour leave voters.

Admittedly, it's extra-Parliamentary. But when it becomes apparent, even to those deep in the brown stuff within the HP Sauce bottle, that Parliament is incapable of settling this issue and a slide over the cliff-edge approaches, what will happen?

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 10:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that is precisely what gives the whole Brexit saga its dramatic appeal - the fact that no one really knows what happens when no deal approaches despite the fact that a large majority are opposed and also know their electorate won't thank them for a bad outcome.

The script is tailor made for a "knight in shining armour" moment but the casting Director has blanched at the prospect of casting either Corbyn or BoJo in the role and no one has written the script yet anyway.

But it's amazing how the threat of onrushing reality can focus minds and persuade waverers - and May is still the one in possession of the initiative. If she can't get a majority for her deal, what is her plan B?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 07:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Support for Brexit is down to less than 40%

For those interested in more detail see Peter Kellner's piece in the Guardian The polls are clear: support for staying in the EU has rocketed

There is a campaign amongst the (predominantly remain supporting) youth to turn out the vote next time. Many who were too young to vote in 2016 are now eligible. By the time of another vote, there will have been about 1.2 million deaths in the UK, mostly older people and I assume biased to 'leave'.

Independent of Kellner's survey, and without anyone changing their mind, there is likely to be a narrow majority for remain next time. That in itself would explain the reluctance to have a vote; a narrow swing to remain could be thought to be more unstabling than the status quo.

by oldremainmer48 on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 10:45:58 AM EST
I'm reading the polls as providing for a a huge swing to remain when the other option is either May's deal or no deal. For the first time the voters will have a concrete choice with known outcomes. I have been meaning to do a diary on it but haven't the time at the moment. Would you fancy giving it a crack?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 11:06:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just don't see a clear majority one way or the other ...

Many forms to ask people's opinion and conclude how a new vote will turn out. Indeed, the turnout can also be worrisome as everyone is clear about one matter: "We're all tired about politics and Brexit. Let's get on with it."

What UK thinks: EU

Do you agree or disagree that 'Anything less than a clean break from the EU will be a betrayal of the Referendum vote'?

Result here.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 01:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
YouGov failed spectacularly in June of 2016. If I recall correctly, even their referendum day poll gave a 5% margin win to Remain.

A new referendum is a huge risk. You need a very good plan to placate on the one hand the gratuitous lies from the Leave campaign, but more importantly, Facebook and their acolytes. Even then, there is no guarantee things will turn out your way.

I see it wiser to take down Labour's official path: move on with a light Brexit, remain in the single market and strike a Customs Union agreement with the EU. Years later adhesion can be re-considered.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 11:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but also consider that there may be latent Remain support that could come out if an assertive anti-Brexit program were tabled. Bernie Sanders in the US broke all the "centralist moderate" norms and got a lot of support.

If the choice is between Conservative Brexit and Labour Brexit, why even bother to vote?

by asdf on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 02:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that Sanders comparisons need to apply. Talking about how awful Brexit is is as "centrist moderate" as can be. The problem Remain faced was that their most visible spokespeople are utter twats and that there was no actual Brexit to oppose. Now with May's document there is at finally something to oppose, but the ghost of Lexit is still haunting the Labour HQ.
by generic on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 05:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Ian Dunt has demonstrated there is nothing in the Corbyn election manifesto which falls foul of EU rules. So you can be anything from a Corbynista to a neo-liberal and find little that is objectionable in the Treaties. The problem is that UK governments have been terrible at exploiting the scope those treaties allow, and has tended to use them as an excuse not to do stuff they didn't want to do anyway.

The only people with a real political problem with the EU are the Troskyist/Stalinist leftist fringe and the hard nationalist right. Everyone else who is anti-EU has been duped into believing that the EU is opposed to their brand of politics when in fact the EU has no difficulty in accomodating a very wide range of political policies and traditions indeed.

It is not the EU's fault that national electorates have been drifting ever further right and putting great strain on the social democratic foundations of the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 09:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not the EU's fault that national electorates have been drifting ever further right

No it's not the EU's fault, it's the ECB's, but people are conflating the two.

Understandably... There's some guilt-by-association.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 05:40:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ECB is constituted as it is because Europeans elect right wingers.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 08:36:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that even when Europeans think they have elected left wingers they turn out to be functionally right wingers (with the honorable exception of Greece, which is why it was necessary to punish them so severely)

It used to be only central Europeans who saw no distinction between left and right. Now it's the whole bloody continent.

(Probably overstating the case, but Italy and France are the latest victims)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Dec 28th, 2018 at 11:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't Le Pen against the big banks as well as immigrants?
The old L-R polarity just doesn't stand the test any more.
Even more so the concept of what centre-anything means!
The Overton window has slid right out of the wall.
Get 'em by the semantics and the rest will follow'.
I am far from happy about the power Salvini has garnered piggybacking on the MV5*'s electoral victory, but this budget, though far from perfect, does more to make the very poor slightly better off than any has in decades.
It is distributive, which is why Brussels bashed it so.
The chances it will bring economic growth are still slim to none, but neither did austerity so something new deserves to be tried.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 29th, 2018 at 02:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... there is nothing in the Corbyn election manifesto which falls foul of EU rules. So you can be anything from a Corbynista to a neo-liberal and find little that is objectionable in the Treaties.

George Peretz QC has a related analysis in the Guardian today.

Four reasons Jeremy Corbyn is dead wrong about EU state aid

I was struck by his comment

The real problem is not the state aid rules but the UK's own policy. The UK gives much less state aid per head than most EU countries, under-using the scope that it has within the state aid rules to support (for example) industrial training and regional development. And though Lexiters complain that the state aid rules could be an obstacle to a Labour government, in my experience they never get beyond abstractions about the "neoliberal" nature of those rules to actually set out the policies that a Labour government may want to implement that would not be permitted.
by oldremainmer48 on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 06:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
unstabling

I mean "destabilising"

by oldremainmer48 on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 11:03:36 AM EST
Even after Brexit, PM May and the British are causing concern and a heap of trouble. Never mind the Irish border and Old Troubles.

'Intrusion' or 'Invasion'? Russian politicians attack May over mis-translated speech

Russian politicians reacted angrily to British Prime Minister Theresa May's Christmas Speech -- all because of a mistranslation.

The Prime Minister praised the armed forces in her annual Christmas address thanking them for playing a "vital role" in, among other things, "protecting our waters and our skies from Russian intrusion."

But in Russia, the TASS news agency and multiple news organisations including Kommersant, the Novaya Gazeta and NTV, translated the sentence as "Russian invasion" sparking outrage.
'Absolutely stupid'

Alexei Chepa, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Parliament's International Affairs Committee described it as "an unweighted, absolutely stupid and ill-conceived statement," according to the Ria Novosti news agency.

"I think that it, on the one hand, causes a certain irony in the assessment of the political strength of the British leader, on the other hand, it is very offensive and very alarming that such statements are heard from the lips of the leaders," he added.

Andrei Klimov, head of the Federation Council's Commission to Protect State Sovereignty, also took aim at May over her (mistranslated) speech.

"Something is wrong in the British Kingdom. Nobody attacks the UK, so it's very convenient for them to say that their army is bravely resisting threats from Moscow," Klimov is quoted by Ria Novosti as saying.

Gavin Williamson: HMS Echo in Odessa 'sends message to Russia'
Russian Embassy Slams UK Over Warship's Ukraine Visit 'Sending Message' to Putin
A dozen Russian fighter jets land in Crimea amid rising tensions on border | Reuters |
Mike Pompeo offered 'military assistance' to Ukraine in Crimea stand-off with Russia, says Poroshenko

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 at 07:38:16 PM EST
Gavin Williamson: UK ship in Ukraine 'sends message to Russia'. It's easy to see how one could start if the Royal Navy get involved in a confrontation with Russian vessels in the Black Sea.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 03:13:38 AM EST
by generic on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 08:49:18 PM EST
Majority of UK conservatives reject May's Brexit deal with Brussels, YouGov poll results
Asked how they would vote if another referendum were held to choose between [1] May's deal or [2] leaving without a deal, just 29% said they would pick May's agreement, compared to 64% who would opt for no deal. The survey was conducted the period 17-22 December
m'k. I'm not seeing a pathway to another referendum. Help?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 6th, 2019 at 08:35:37 PM EST
The idea of another referendum that will (somehow) Magically Change Everything is a pipe dream.  

Whether the pipe is filled with opium or marijuana is a debate yet to be resolved.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2019 at 07:22:05 PM EST
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