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Letter to the British people

by Frank Schnittger Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 02:17:19 PM EST

With the UK preparing for a general election, the Irish Times invited its readers to write an open letter to UK voters (of less than 300 words). A selection of those letters are published here. Some are of a quite personal nature. Many focus on the impact on N. Ireland. Mine, copied below the fold, focuses on the larger political and economic implications.

Feel free to use the comments section to write your own letter. We could even publish a selection of our letters on our front page! A more broadly European perspective would be useful. And yes, you are allowed say "go now and don't let the door hit you in the arse as you leave". All viewpoints are welcome...


Dear Britain… Love, Ireland. Your open letters to UK voters

Dear Britain,

You are a sovereign nation and have the right to make your own decisions about your future direction. However, I wonder if you can spare the time to consider the effect of your vote on your friends and neighbours in Europe.

Firstly, a vote for Brexit will weaken the EU, which has had unparalleled success in maintaining peace and prosperity within Europe for the past 70 years. More recently it has helped to stabilise the political situation in Northern Ireland and heal the divisions caused by the Iron Curtain. We need it to be strong to balance the world superpowers: the USA, China and Russia.

Secondly, a vote for Brexit will divide Europe and make it easier for global multinationals to ride rough-shod over consumer, environmental and workers' rights, to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and to play off one government against another.

Thirdly, exiting the EU will inevitably and unavoidably reduce the opportunities for free trade between us, increase bureaucratic red-tape, and encourage companies to relocate to where their largest market is - more often than not the EU single market - thereby reducing your prosperity as well as ours.

There is no free trade agreement on earth which comes close to providing the benefits of the single market. Already, merely the threat of Brexit has caused the UK's output to be about 3 per cent lower than it would otherwise have been, and this relative decline could be much worse depending on the precise form Brexit ultimately takes.

The loss of Government revenue from this reduction in output already exceeds the famous £350 Million per week Brexit was supposed to save the British exchequer. It's not too late to change your mind, and there is no shame in doing so.

Frank Schnittger

Display:
Nobody over here is listening. those who want brexit coudn't give a shit what you think, those of us who dread brexit don't need to be told what a disaster it will be.

Especially as we're in the middle of a general election where the media have all decided that TWBJ must be carried to victory by any lie necessary. You expect it from the Tory papers, but the BBC has disgraced itself.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 07:10:22 PM EST
Yea, I know. But I thought it might be a useful exercise to try and put my thoughts into less than 300 words and see what came out. I suppose I am hoping there is still a diminishing middle ground of persuadables who don't quite know how they will vote or if they will bother. There is more at stake here than Corbyn or Boris, even if the media try to reduce it to that.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 07:25:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we're past that now. There are no undecided to play for. Or at least none who are amenable to reason. Brexit is first and foremost an emotional condition. Reasons come after the decision, not before.

There are the die hards on both sides, who were absolutely of that persuaion beforehand and will never change their minds. There are also a small number of people who have felt bad about one or other aspect of the decision a it has impacted them or their close circle and will change their vote. But having changed, they won't change now.

My guesss would be that a new referendum would be 55 - 45 remain now. After all, there has been a 6 - 7% turnover in the electorate in the last 3 year and the newbies are more remain

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 09:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
55-45 has been my best guess for a while as well, and is supported by recent opinion polling - which begs the question as to why the Lib Dems weren't pushing for a second referendum rather than a general election. It's much easier for Boris to get the 35%+ he needs to win a general election, than the 50%+ he needs to win a referendum.

But even now, it begs the question as to why Remain voters can't get their act together and vote for Remain candidates and some are even voting for Boris if the party polling figures are to be believed.

I'm still not convinced this is in the bag for Boris...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 09:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cos you're voting for a government and there is no real remain alliance. Swinson has admitted he'd rather support a tory party into brexit than a labour party into a referendum. And many of her party's supporters agree.

Labour meanwhile want to bring the country together in the aftermath of any decision to leave or remain and so are determinedly riding the fence. You might think that it is the duty of govermnet to make the hard decisions, but Cameron changed that dynamic on this question and it has to be played out to the conclusion.

As for the election...no I agree that this is not in the bag but the polls are not going to give any indication. the only poll that matters happens on Dec 12th, till then it's all fire and fury signifying nothing

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 09:49:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swinson has admitted [s]he'd rather support a tory party into brexit than a labour party into a referendum. And many of her party's supporters agree.

Supporting Labour into a referendum could be 6 months at most - after which Lib Dems would be free to support whoever they wished, having (probably) achieved their primary goal of Remaining.

Supporting the Tories into Brexit is forever. I hope they are not deluding themselves that that decision is reversible...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 10:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, they just hate Labour that much.

This is why a Remain alliance is imposssible, Remain is just a stance, rather like their univesity tuition fees promise of 9 years ago, it is just a position to be traded away for power.

The LibDems have no credibility as a party of the centre, let alone as one of the left. They're a moderate right wing party and will always ally with the right.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 10:09:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen: but the BBC has disgraced itself.

BBC admits 'mistake' in editing out laughter at Johnson in TV debate

The BBC has claimed it made a "mistake" in editing a clip where it cut out an audience laughing at Boris Johnson, insisting the decision was made due to time constraints rather than political bias.
In a sign of the changing power dynamics between the BBC and its viewers during this election, viral online videos claiming to highlight aspects of BBC bias are increasingly reaching larger audiences than the original programmes.

The original Weekend News bulletin attracted just 1.6m viewers across both BBC One and the BBC news channel on Saturday, fewer than the number who have watched Facebook and Twitter clips highlighting the BBC's decision to edit out the laughter.

by Bernard on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 09:03:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How it happened ...

Video clip

h/t Nick Flaks

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

by Oui on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 10:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Owen Jones has pointed out in a podcast, the problem is that every BBC "mistake" benefits the tories and they keep on doing it.

but even worse it's the almost daily sins of ommission where stories that are picked up by almost every body else simply don't make it onto the BBC if they show the Tories in a bad light.

but they're willing to believe anybody who slags off the Labour party.

It's just laughable. In fact, it's so bad that, as that story shows, people are more likely to see the online debate about the BBC bias than they are the original story. They're losing more credibility each and every day. It's very sad. I used to be proud to have worked at the BBC, but even as I left the warning signs that all was not well were there.
 

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 05:52:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you contemplate or exercise a lateral move to the Guardian?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 06:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was nowhere near editorial or journalism. IT support and I was getting fed up with finding myelf unable to trade on eperience. Yes, I was (and am) lazy, but you end up wondering why you bother when 18 yr olds are just as capable of doing the job.

So, when I left, I tried to do something else (and failed spectacularly).

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 07:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that ahh disappoint well.
< wipes tears >

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 07:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I intended to type disappointment, but did not realize that goal.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 07:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, the problem is that your number one and two reasons against Brexit are actually seen as advantages by the Brexiteers.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 05:10:37 AM EST
Yea, but it's not Brexiteers I'm trying to convince, but rather the middle ground who may never have been given any good reasons to support Remain. The problem is the 45 years of anti-EU propaganda has never been properly challenged and even the Remain camp have failed to articulate why remaining is a good idea, beyond the maintenance of a status quo many are dissatisfied with. Lexiteers - left wingers who support Brexit - would be a particular target. In my view they are delusional if they think the UK will be in a better position to fight globalism and inequality outside the EU.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 11:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's examine "the benefits of the single market" enumerated in the letter. The letter I'm reading lists reasons for UK not to secede. Does your letter say describe "the benefits of the single market" ?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 06:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson's seat at risk in UK election, polling figures show
Major analysis of data predicts anxious election for seven senior Tories.
Seven senior Tories, including the Boris Johnson, could be at risk of losing their seats at the upcoming British general election.

According to data provided to the Sunday Times, the likes of UK prime minister Boris Johnson, foreign secretary Dominic Raab, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and leading Brexiteer Steve Baker could all be ousted by tactical voting campaigns.

Zac Goldsmith, the former London mayoral leadership hopeful, is almost certain to lose his seat for the second time in as many years if the polling in his Richmond Park seat is correct.

The environment minister trails Sarah Olney, the Lib Dem candidate who defeated him in a by-election in 2016, by 20 points.

Outspoken backbencher Philip Davies and one-time leadership hopeful Sir John Redwood are both also said to be at risk.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 04:57:36 PM EST
I wonder how much of Brexit enthusiasm is due to media coverage of the 1960s and 70s through rose colored glasses.

There's lots of romanticism of stuff like The Beatles, James Bond, Austin Powers, Carnaby Street, hippies, etc. might distract people from the 1970 reality: cold, damp, tiny flats, interminable bus rides, lousy pay, synthetic fabric clothing, holidays in Skegness, narrow roads jammed with little Minis and Cortinas with "L" plates...

What might change some minds would be widespread reminders/education about what it was actually like in Britain from, say, 1967 to 1976. For example, if every time you turned on the TV there was a show about the reality of housing, employment, social welfare, etc. during that time. With a reminder: "Brexit, taking us back to 1965. Have some tinned peas with your meat paste!"

by asdf on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 08:12:08 PM EST
Were you, perchance, in the UK between 1965 and 1976?


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 05:18:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf was on holiday in Skegness.

(Which, for having experienced it, I admit is pretty soul-destroying).

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 07:00:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland was pretty dire as well and the occasional visit to London or working in a pea canning factory in Spalding didn't add much to the experience!

But poverty is relative: "we didn't know we were poor until the social worker told us". When a night out was take-away chips, and if you were feeling wealthy, fish AND chips you didn't miss the fact that some people, not in your social circle, ate out in one of the few fancy restaurants of the time.

More recently charity workers have been drawing the poverty line at 45 inch TV's - they report that charity recipients won't accept anything less, and broadband will soon become a human right. It is the growth of inequality that is the most pernicious together with rationed access to essential healthcare and educational services. Overcrowding on public transport is the new norm and public housing a rarity.

In the 1950's JK Galbraith invented the phrase Private opulence and public squalor" to describe this growing disparity, and for a time - up to the Reagan Thatcher era - serious efforts were made to to reduce it. It's been downhill ever since.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 10:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The New Industrial State (1968) covers much of the same ground as Galbraith's 1958 work, The Affluent Society, but substantially expands and extends those ideas.

The Predator State: how conservatives abandoned the free market and why liberals should too is a book by economist James K. Galbraith, first published in 2008. The title refers to how in US society, as Galbraith sees it, public institutions have been subverted to serve private profit: the "predators" being corporate elites. He argues that these corporate interests run the state "not for any ideological project--but simply in a way that would bring to them, individually and as a group, the most money."

The European Union as a servant to private business by demanding competition in public utilities and transport. Did Brussels take it too far?

Capitalism has invaded democracy - supercapitalism by Robert Reich in 2008
Economics Is Too Important to Be Left to Economists
Individual and Institutional Corruption in European and US Healthcare: Overview and Link of Various Corruption Typologies

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

by Oui on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 06:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.
by asdf on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 04:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dire as it was, that period also offered affordable housing, decent free education, and adequate health care.

Some of the music wasn't bad either.

Brexit is more likely to take the country back to the 1870s, when things weren't quite so rosy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 09:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the media only really got powerful during that time, the Madmen era.
And what was their main fodder? (Apart from slagging off the EU, I don't remember that though.)
It was the Swinging London, Carnaby St, mods'n'rockers, the Beatles, Stones and Jimi Hendrix, Twiggy, David Hemmings time, London became the hippest city in Europe.
The media made hay and created overnight working class pop culture heroes and social mobility got a shot of grease.
Under the media froth things were indeed already grim, and I could smell the rancid smell of Thatcherism coming.
It was fun and frolic one day, the dole queue the next, Pink Floyd at the Roundhouse and marching against the Vietnam war in Grosvenor Sq, being charged by horseback police.
So rose-coloured glasses? Sure, the immense success of the Beatles is stuff of legend, and can anyone point to an event that more clearly signifies the coming of age of the boomer demographic and the last gasp of British global superiority at anything, unless laundering blood money counts?
There was still flair in the air, Liverpool -and London- were a cradle of an amazing crop of creatives whose art spanned the globe and united people in love for life.
Salad days for the fortunate yes, but still thin gruel for the 'great unwashed' hoi polloi.
Unions and capital in perma-standoff.

But in Haight-Ashbury-on-Thames, all was groovy, man!

'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 Mon Nov 25th, 2019 at 10:28:43 PM EST
Harsh austerity `imposed on Ireland' by Berlin, says ex-official
Ireland was hit with unnecessarily harsh austerity measures a decade ago at Berlin's behest, a former German finance ministry official has conceded.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is in the German capital today and will meet federal finance minister Olaf Scholz and his predecessor, Wolfgang Schäuble.

But Prof Christian Kastrop, a former Schäuble aide, suggests Ireland was caught in the euro crisis crossfire between Germany and southern European bailout countries.

"We needed different antibiotics for different programme countries but there was a tendency to see [them] as a group," said Prof Kastrop, an economist and now head of the European programme at the Bertelsmann Foundation.

He says the dominant view in Berlin at the time - particularly in the Merkel chancellery and cabinet table - was to ensure all countries swallowed strong austerity medicine.

But this rigidity did not reflect differentiated thinking then towards programme countries, according to the economist, in particular optimism towards Ireland once it mastered its banking sector problems.

"I never understood back then why programme countries making progress were hit with overblown austerity measures rather than more restraint," said the former finance ministry official. "To be fair, when it comes to other countries, and I don't mean Ireland, it was right to hold them to certain fiscal discipline."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 08:02:58 PM EST
Nice to at least see it admitted. In truth it was totally unconscionable. Bad behaving Irish AND German banks should have equally taken losses.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 08:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Word on the street, lo these many years, is that there is one German bank and its name is DB.

DB took a "share" long, hard, and "humiliating."

What about AIB and the Quinn clan? lol

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 at 10:22:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Nov 27th, 2019 at 12:22:19 PM EST


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Nov 27th, 2019 at 12:28:06 PM EST
by generic on Wed Nov 27th, 2019 at 01:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
one of the requirements for this "points-based" system is that the person have a job which pays in exces of £35K.
There are no nursing job which pay that much money, current nursing shortage may be as much as 70,000.

Also, it is almost impossible for spouses to qualify to join them, which means that even doctors going to jobs earning more than £35k who have with families have issues taking up appointments.

Aside from that, it's all wonderful

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 27th, 2019 at 04:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Watched a report from Surrey and surroundings, Tory has become a cuss word. Many agreed Boris and Brexiteers have destroyed the Conservative party and its principles.

In the Tory heartlands of the commuter belt, remainers may revolt | The Guardian |

While the Tories have been transforming themselves into the nationalist, Pooterish party of hard Brexit, essentially cosmopolitan attitudes - open, internationalist - have been seeping into the formerly Conservative areas of our cities, and the suburbs and towns around them.

Some of this was evident in 2017, in the seats lost by the Tories to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats: Bath, Kingston and Surbiton, Battersea, Enfield Southgate. The same story is reflected in the weakening Conservative presence around Manchester and Bristol - and Lib Dem targets such as St Albans in Hertfordshire. But perhaps the most interesting story lies in Surrey, that traditional signifier of true-blue Tory England.

Until recently, the county had 11 Tory MPs. But by the time the election was called, the Conservatives had expelled Anne Milton, Philip Hammond and Sam Gyimah (now a Lib Dem). In local elections this May, the Tories lost 117 council seats in Surrey and control of four local authorities. Among Surrey's eight remaining Tory MPs are such Brexiters as Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Kwasi Kwarteng. But in the borough of Guildford, remain got 56.2% in the 2016 referendum; in Woking, 56.2%; in Elmbridge, which includes Raab's seat of Esher and Walton, nearly 60%.

Can history repeat itself?

London election results map: How the capital voted as Labour makes gains thanks to surge of young voters | Evening Standard - June 2017 |

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

by Oui on Wed Nov 27th, 2019 at 09:04:08 PM EST
god only knows, some polls show the tories stretching their lead.Even more than 2017, the media, even the TV, are just a complete shitshow of Tory party propaganda.

The only consolation I have iss that, thi time in 2017, the polls were suggesting that the tories would win with a majority of 80 seats.

Frankly, anything could happen in the next fortnight and I doubt I will enjoy much, if any, of it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 28th, 2019 at 02:48:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What will become of Jews in Great Britain

A diatribe by chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis skewed to a Tory election win over Britain's nr. 1 enemy Jeremy Corbyn.

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

by Oui on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 06:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a good one from a well-known Australian moondog:

You know you're not legally required to like Jeremy Corbyn in order to vote for him right?

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 07:21:10 AM EST


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