Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

MEGA: Make Europe Great Again

by Frank Schnittger Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 01:53:46 AM EST

I used to write quite a lot about US politics - about 65 stories on the European Tribune alone. And then Trump got elected and I could face it no longer. Say what you like about the legitimacy of his election, but the very fact that a guy like that could get elected doesn't fill me with much hope for the USA as an advanced polity. And why write about him when so many there are much more qualified to do so?

I came of age politically through meeting some South African anti-Apartheid activists who inspired me to do my masters thesis on Apartheid. I couldn't bring myself to visit their country until Mandela was freed and elected President. I did not want to become complicit in the Apartheid regime by visiting the country while I would still enjoy the privileges of a white European under Apartheid. I feel almost as bad about visiting the USA now: lots of great people, but the system absolutely sucks.

And now, having written 170 stories on Brexit, I am beginning to wonder whether my interest in writing about the UK will survive a Boris Johnson victory in this weeks general election. Any country which could vote for Boris Johnson as its leader has to be seriously f*cked up... And yet all you hear and read in the media commentary about the election is of self-proclaimed former Labour voters deciding to vote for Boris because they can't stand Corbyn.

What is it they can't stand about Corbyn when he has been (a relative) voice for moderation and reason in an increasingly dysfunctional, corrupt and disintegrating political system?

I agree he isn't particularly telegenic or charismatic. His age and very urban London roots probably count against him. His tortured attempts to keep both Remainers and Leavers on board within the Labour party always seemed destined to fail. But isn't that precisely what the UK needs right now - someone who can rise above division and bring a bitterly divided nation together again?

Leavers seem to suspect him of being a closet Remainer while Remainers suspect the reverse. But he followed the establishment line of campaigning for Remain and then accepted the result of the referendum as politically binding. His solution was to advocate for a soft Brexit which would keep the UK's economic relationships with the EU as intact as possible while respecting and implementing the vote for Leave: Very much a centrist establishment response to a difficult situation.

And yet he is pilloried from all sides as an extremist when it is the pro-Brexit side which have been becoming ever more extreme in their pronouncements and policy stances. Corbyn was anti-Apartheid, anti-climate change, anti-Iraq war, pro-LGBT rights and pro-united Ireland before it was either fashionable or mainstream to be so, and yet his positions then, have become the political centre ground now. Are people angry at him now for proving them wrong then?

It wasn't Corbyn who said f*ck business, starve the Irish into submission, Muslims are bank-robbers and letterboxes, the EU is the new Soviet Union, or the Brexit negotiations would be the easiest trade negotiation of all time, and yet he is the extremist with a limited grasp of reality?

I appreciate there has been a sustained media campaign against him and even the BBC has disgraced itself, but that has been the case with pretty much every Labour leader since the beginning of the last century. It is probably delusional to think that a more "reasonable", "moderate", or "centrist" Labour leader would fare much differently. But what seems to be different now is that all semblance of class solidarity is breaking down and even those traditional Labour voters who withstood the Tory hype before are succumbing to it now.

The opinion polls have tightened slightly but the Tories still hold a clear 10% lead in the average of recent polls - enough to win an overall majority if translated into actual votes - given the idiocies of the archaic first past the post electoral system. It may be that pollsters are using models which do not take sufficient account of new or occasional voters who may be motivated to turn out by the inanities of the Brexit campaign, but the likelihood seems to be that the "Get Brexit done" Tory campaign slogan will win the day.

If that happens I will be likely to join the many Europeans who cannot see the back of Britain soon enough so that the EU can get on with the job of putting its own house in order. And Britain can "go whistle" if it wants a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement any time soon. The priority will be to "Make Europe Great Again" (MEGA) and any concerns we have for "our friends in Britain" will be very much a secondary consideration.

Responding to English Nationalism with a new European nationalism may not seem like much of an advance, but every political entity needs a minimum of political and social cohesion if it is to function effectively, and for the EU, that means trans-national solidarity on the issues that matter most - climate change, greater economic and social equality, the protection of businesses previously dependent on the UK market, and improved public services for all. These have played second fiddle to other distractions - Brexit, middle eastern wars, and US imperialism for far too long.

I hope it never gets to the stage where I will become reluctant to visit my friends in England for fear of becoming complicit in a class regime dedicated to the destruction of social cohesion and the imposition of austerity on all but the super-rich. But I do get the sense of the UK, and particularly England, spinning off in an entirely different and regressive trajectory if Boris Johnson wins an overall majority.

The sad part is that England became home to so many of the anti-Apartheid activists who were forced to flee South Africa. England also has a rich progressive tradition which is at risk of being lost. And no, it's not all Corbyn's fault, a sentiment both Fintan O'Toole (subscriber only) and Andrew Rawnsley are currently peddling.

I'm staying in London for a few weeks. I'm always optimistic for a Tory defeat until the bitter end.

Some close friend I'm helping out who is relocating, looking for an apartment and a school. Once again London surprises me in very conservative and even archaic systems.

As a career woman in financials she has done very well. However as a single mom, Islamic faith and caring for a grammarschool aged daughter she finds many obstacles. In choice of housing outright discrimination and in choice of a school the many parochial schools run by the Anglican Church.

Geez, in The Netherlands with all of its very own ills, many of these issues were overcome decades ago. I'm often puzzled by the inflexibility due to city ordinances and regulations. Perhaps I just want to get matters done quickly ... reminds me of London's former mayor and Brexit. Pretty archaic, unruly and running a demolition policy to stay in power not caring for the many but just the few.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 03:51:37 AM EST
Prime minister refused to apologise for misogynist and sexist comments he made about single mothers and the character of their children ... you are more likely to get mugged ‼️

What a Trump style a££hole 😎

In his 2006 book Have I Got Views for You, the prime minister said mums were "socially gestapoed into the workplace" and it led to them raising "unloved and undisciplined children" more likely to commit crime.

No apology from the misogyst ... fits rightwing rhetoric of the white man supremacists. Great company Boris!

Related reading ...

Javid refuses to condemn PM's slurs against Muslim women

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 06:57:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain will not submit to reason!

It is an island with weird traditions and institutions, weird appreciation of leadership, population control.

by das monde on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 08:59:59 AM EST
England had a very large population increase during their demographic transition, which it handled with exporting population and importing food, both at gun point. (France in comparision is the Western European country that had a longer transition but with less of a population increase.)

And the English ruling class also made their food problem worse by enclosing food producing land and turning it into less food production and more wool production.

It is hard to see a worse candidate country for your idea of top-down population control being a staple of historical hierarchial societies. Not that your other candidates has been smashing successes. At some point you might want to check if the data fits your theories instead of just assuming that it does. And if it doesn't you might want to think about why you are so sure of your theories even if they don't actually fit, and rethink those grounds.

by fjallstrom on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 03:53:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The British transition was during the imperial era. The island was thus with special foods-importing and population-exporting privileges. But even then agricultural enclosures and industrial conditions must have put pressure on plebs' social, economic, reproductive ambitions.

In chapter 6 of "The Rational Optimist" Matt Ridley asserts: pre-industrial good times used to lead everywhere to more people rather than more wealth; population stress, rising autacracy signaled decline of economic specialization; England was rather exceptional that the poor had lower birth rates and their numbers were "sustained" by downward mobility, leading to rather educated, non-violent poor. That, and the imperial reach, facilitated the Industrial revolution enormously.

So England had that downward dynamics and lower birth rates of the poor for centuries -- could be typical for islands. Now England has to resolve demographic pressures (if any, yeah) without the empire and without industrial wonders. Hence the rise of pre-industrial, "Malthusian" autocracy (Ridley's expression), apparently signaling tough times for the majority?

Thatcher came soon after the Club of Rome report (incidentally!?) and openly increased the economic pressure on the social-reproductive ambitions of the plebs. Blair must have generated some optimism until the 2008 crisis.

Ok, let's try to submit to some data:

The birth rate actually increased under Thatcher, and went down under Blair! Good times must be measured by rentiers and financial sharks, I guess. Rich, patriarchal families may still have as many children as ever, and we would not notice from general statistics.

Without EU membership of the UK, the decline in its birthrates (and the quantity of good food) through the 2010s is likely to be irreversible next decades. But if EU industries and food quality are going to decline as well, Brexit may make sense... as a plot to put definite "sustainability" pressure on British plebs?!

by das monde on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 08:52:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 09:32:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Yap thread is a fascinating source of information about how certain frequent commenters apply orthodox precepts of anthropology to differential diagnosis of "civilizations". Thanks for resurrecting it. At the time I was slumming with the California Cohort of Petty Landlords who were preoccupied with transforming real estate into "money" and identifying ethnic deviants, near and far.

At the moment I'm reading Medical Apartheid, The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present which is turning out a guide to growth (V) of inter-continental demand (Q, $) among natural scientists for a doctrine of applied pathology. Which happens to coincide with my purchasing The History of Statistics, The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900. I'm sorely tempted to skip to Part II, "The Struggle to Extend a Calculus of Probabilities to the Social Sciences," as I would like to be surprised to learn that substitution of mathematical principle for acute absence of observations did not prevail in practical administration of imperium.

Similarly, literate US with leisure to read has now two definitive "impeachment inquiry" reports, one produced by the Committee on Judiciary, the other by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (formerly HUAC). A columnist for the New York Post noted with interest Chairman Schiff's overweening reverence of the first president of the US, first among equally powerful men, a paragon of wisdom among (English) factions (who had agreed to revise Articles of Confederation--similar to the TEU--agreed by representatives of the sovereign states). Indeed the Cmt. on Judiciary recitation of British America's colonial government leaves an impression not unlike that of the transcript of a bible study session, tattooed to one's back. One twists and turns before a mirror to decode the iconography.

"How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?" Schiff wonders, if a president places his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, the Union. Therein lays a strange inequality of two unknowns which is not balanced by either manifesto: a common set of experiences and the national interest personified by one person. ("Our President holds the ultimate public trust." --Cmt on Judiciary) Inexplicably, few doubt the assumption is true for HRM prime minister of the UK. Crazy, huh?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My view is that the US is better off now than in the past WRT most objective metrics. The questions are, I think:

  • How good is it compared to how good it could be?
  • What is the effect of pessimism driven by political campaigns? In other words, if both parties predict Armageddon if the other party wins, it is easy to say that we are all doomed.
by asdf on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 06:44:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The missing unit of measurement is what?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 07:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A specific date in the past when things were better.
by asdf on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 03:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So EU and UK will not be enemies after all?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 02:10:53 PM EST
Oh, they will: Brexit has been constructed as first and foremost an anti-EU project; it needs an enemy - the Eurocrats - to prosper and to divert attention from the looting taking place. The main Brexiter's premise was for the UK to be out of the EU (no budget,no regulations) and yet, to retain unlimited access to the EU's single market.

Since cake is not on the menu, the enmity will keep growing. It is an asymmetrical phenomenon though: the Brexiter are more interested in waging war on the EU, while the EU is chiefly interested at protecting its single market and citizens. Many EU leaders are avowed anglophiles (Tusk, Rutte), and the EU as a whole is certainly not looking at the possibility of a failed state with a strong military just off its coasts.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 02:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that a poetic turn of phrase?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:32:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC | Art Basel [in Miami, FLORIDA]: Maurizio Cattelan's $120,000 banana eaten by artist
"Despite the initial anger of a member of staff, the banana was swiftly replaced and no further action will be taken."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every banana is a work of art.

Warhol only showed the outside of the can of Campbells tomato soup. Should have invited N.E.One to consume contents on video.

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 Dec 9th, 2019 at 12:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know where you draw that inference from my diary. At the very least, the UK under Johnson and the EU will drift further apart, with the prospect of a comprehensive free trade deal becoming ever more remote and plenty of recriminations all around as to why that might be the case.  

However if insecure elites need scapegoats to blame for their own failings, the EU/UK falling out should come in handy. After all, that has been the chief function of the EU within UK political discourse for the past 45 years.

No doubt the EU will still be to blame for the UK elites own failing long after the UK has ceased membership. Quite what the EU owes the UK after Brexit is less than clear - except in the imaginations of self entitled Brexiteers, who appear to believe the EU won't be able to manage without the UK.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 02:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My apologies. I must have lost the plot, when you switched from one story to the other, ruin of the USA by Trump and ruin of SA by someone.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing .... Farage and the Brexit party are completely off the chart in de latest polls ... Labour needs to GOTV 😠

Wonder how the division according to the Districts will pan out next Wednesday ... seen any great analysis and dependent on voter turnout?

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:15:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
check again.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Off the chart can be both ways ... Brexit party polling <2% ... nice, except the votes are gathered on the Tory tray of Boris ... so very stupid.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

file in "The Struggle to Extend a Calculus of Probabilities to the Social Sciences"/data visualization

Fortunately, Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has set up a tactical voting website for voters

who support remaining in the EU in this election, said it is "unfair" that a party could win 6 million votes and not be represented in parliament. "It is a mismatch between the polling booths and parliament," she added.
and Facebook's Nick Clegg pushes back on demands to limit or fact-check political adsbecause numeracy is a terrible thing to waste

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 06:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Argumentum ad hominem

Very poor for Lib Dems leader ... just tell your voters to vote for Boris the man of 5 Pinokkio's!

Today Jo Swinson stated she could work with Labour but not with its leader Jeremy Corbyn 😡
Who is Jo Swinson? What can she accomplish after Wednesday? Voters do have a choice in British crucial election ... and it's NOT just about Brexit!

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 04:46:24 PM EST
That would be the Jo Swinson who might well lose her own seat in her Scottish constituency...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 07:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 09:33:06 PM EST
The press don't hate Corbyn. The press hate left-leaning politics. The UK has become a neoliberal econo-fascist vassal state of the US, and its ruling classes would like to keep it that way.

When someone like Corbyn turns up and tells them they're going to have to give up their privileges, and tells the Israelis and the Saudis that arms sales will end, and the Russians that they won't be able to launder their money any more, the outrageously biased smear campaign we've seen for the last few years is the inevitable result.

There's a certain element of game play in all of this. The press know it's just business, and so does Corbyn.

But I would be entirely unsurprised if a no-compromise Corbyn win was followed by a conveniently deniable but nonetheless effective Corbyn assassination.

It would have been - and possibly will be - the same for any genuine left-leaning leader with principles.

However - IMO the leftward tide is becoming unstoppable, especially among the young, and it's going to take over sooner or later. We'll see this week if that means almost imminently, or after a decade or two of fascist hell.

But one way or another it will take over.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 09:51:18 PM EST
Bit soon to be worrying about the next Spencer Perceval, innit, seeing as how the DNC campaign just achieved air?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 11:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a cetain sort of person who is always looking for an excuse not to do something they think they ought to be seen doing.
So, various media and socially "liberal" people have to, once every 5 years, find a reason not to vote labour because admitting that they don't want to pay tax seems petty & bourgeois.

I, like many labour supporters, have been disgusted by the media's willingness to listen to any jewish conservative as to why Corbyn is unacceptable, but are unable to hear the shouts of the many left wing jews who are happy to vote for him. The dishonesty is grotesque, even by fleet St standards.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 03:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Basic tenet of propaganda: never broadcast off-message views

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 06:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My vote is for fascist hell, pretty much worldwide. The lessons of the past have been learned well by the worst sort, and the atomization of modern society has crushed the bonds of empathy and solidarity that once made left-leaning politics possible. It's only a matter of time before people like me who were dumb enough to get involved with left-leaning online dicussions are rounded up and shot, and since the internet is forever it's too late to do much about it.

Mass demonstrations don't do much of anything if the state is willing to shoot them, let alone hang them up on gibbets as an example. Corpses of political dissidents lining the 10 freeway from Los Angeles to San Franscisco, so that exurban commuters can gaze upon the fruits of opposition to the state and capital? A return to such vindictive poitical violence is not that far away, I fear.

by Zwackus on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 11:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the press know. They asked

about the great scandal of Labour antisemitism. It's really too blatant to pretend. When the BBC photoshopped Corbyn's hat to look more soviet, they still pretended that it was a honest mistake. No one bothers anymore.
by generic on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 09:07:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 10:47:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 08:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt they'd want to assassinate Corbyn, a martyr is the last thing they need. Especially as anybody who'd replace him, such as John McConnel or Angela Rayner, would actually be better.

If they cannot frustrate him in Parliament, they'll do him by treachery and destroy his, and the left's, reputation. But it won't be overt.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 03:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assassinations can work if they're more than just a one-off. Japanese parliamentary politics was killed off in the 20's by a series of high-profile assassinations. It became clear that anyone who challenged the militarists would just be stabbed or shot by one of an endless series of eager junior officers, and that no resistance would be tolerated.

Furthermore, if the person assassinated is the unifying center for a tangle of tactical alliances, taking out that one figure can destroy an entire coalition just as it was starting to build momentum.

by Zwackus on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 12:06:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that the polls do not look promising, but there are several reasons to believe that they over-state the case for a conservative win. Just this morning I saw an intereting analysis which suggested we might be in different territory entirely.

I imagine it's by design, they intend to undermine the moral of Labour activists and supporters. I know that, in my facebook feed, I have seen several of my friends on the brink of despair at the thought of a Tory win.

Personally I'm waiting till friday morning before contemplating a beer/hemlock cocktail but I don't think boris should count his chickens just yet, or his tax haven zillions either.

I have taken the view, right through the election period, that the only polls which matters is the one on thursday. Till then I live in hope.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 03:30:07 PM EST
I share your hope that things could turn out very differently than the polls suggest. It is one thing ventilating against Corbyn, quite another to change the habit of a lifetime. It is also very difficult to predict turnout if the weather is very inclement in marginal constituencies. Who is more motivated to get out and vote regardless? The very fact that Boris seems poised for an over-weaning victory could count against him on the day. What people say in public and do in private can be very different.

Grasping at straws, perhaps. But it isn't a done deal just yet. FWIW ICM have a poll out today with Boris just 6% ahead.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 07:30:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you know that Brexit Elects updates nearly every 5 hours? This and all the "tactical voting" planning to install the "correct" Lord Protector is noise.

Brits need to discriminate between idiot MPs, the legislators.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 07:38:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - I've looked at it occasionally but prefer to do my own aggregating via wiki - where you can disaggregate by pollster.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 09:22:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn tweeted about 4 million new registered voters, compared to 3 the last time around. And unless the Tories broke open their strategic gammon reserves from the Blitz days they won't be voting blue. I'd also expect a large number of first registrants to correlate to a general higher turnout.
by generic on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 08:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 06:35:39 PM EST
by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Dec 9th, 2019 at 09:43:03 PM EST
Fintan O'Toole has a long (subscriber only) piece up in the Irish Times saying that if Labour loses the election, it will be all Corbyn's fault. Apparently this is because the public distrust a leader with such an apparent personal dis-interest in power and would prefer to elect a strong man instead - although he doesn't use those words.

I have drafted a Letter to the Editor as follows:

A Chara:-

Fintan O'Toole buys into the media propagated myth that Corbyn is some sort of far-out radical lefty who wants to revolutionise UK society.

But Corbyn gained this reputation for opposing imperialism, Apartheid, and the Iraq invasion; and supporting LGBT rights, a united Ireland, and radical measures to combat climate change before it was either fashionable or mainstream in UK politics to do so.

What were once radical positions are now mainstream, and since his election as leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn has consistently adopted mainstream, centrist and even establishment positions.

He campaigned for remain in the 2016 referendum, he accepted the result as democratically binding, and he tried to keep both Leavers and Remainers on board within the Labour party by adopting a "soft" Brexit policy whereby the UK would retain a close economic relationship with the EU while ending the political union.

It wasn't Corbyn who said f*ck business, starve the Irish into submission, Muslims are bank-robbers and letterboxes, the EU is the new Soviet Union, or the Brexit negotiations would be the easiest trade negotiation of all time; and yet he is the extremist with a limited grasp of reality?

His domestic policies are aimed at reversing years of Tory austerity policies which have resulted in inequality, poverty, and deprivation unprecedented in modern times. If it was possible to fund decent health, educational and public housing policies in highly indebted post-war 1950's Britain, why is that such a radical idea now?

Corbyn may or may not lose Thursday's election, but if he does it will be due in large measure to the success of the oligarch owned UK media in demonising him, with supposedly "enlightened" commentators such as Fintan O'Toole in tow.

Fintan accuses him of being disinterested in power, but that is because he wants to restore power - and a decent quality of life - "to the many, not just the few".

At a time when the United Kingdom has never been so divided, is not a leader who tries to accommodate both Leavers and Remainers, unionists and nationalists, north and south not precisely what the UK needs right now?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 11:43:13 AM EST
Bad press today ...

Apparently Jonathan Stewart agrees.    Last throngs ... hoping for bad weather, poor for incumbent in the lead and good for staunch Labour voters. ☔️🌧

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 12:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can people vote for Trump? Well, ask yourself, how can somebody vote for Hillary Clinton?  Given a choice between two crooks, half of the US voters chose neither.  I myself voted Green, but it didn't make any use, not even as a gesture.
Until USA ballots have "none of the above" on the ballot and a requirement for a majority of votes cast, politics will continue to deteriorate.
by StillInTheWilderness on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 04:29:07 PM EST
I disagree. My view is that the US suffers under party politics, and what you are voting for is largely the party itself rather than the individual. Obviously the president has a lot more power (too much more) than the rest of government, but none-the-less, he is beholden to his party to sustain his position and enact his policies. Trump demonstrates that clearly.

Personally, I am not a Hillary Clinton fan, and it is an unfortunate consequence of our current primary system that the DNC seems determined to do a re-run of her campaign in 2020 with Biden on the ballot, but in any case, voting Green or for Bernie doesn't solve anything. No candidate is going to be perfect, but in a system where there are only two realistic choices, one should choose one of those two.

The intra-party arguments should be fought out in the primaries (and before); the general election is entirely about getting the best option that is available.

This time around, Bernie is again screwing things up. If he would simply admit that he is too old to be president, and merge his campaign with Liz Warren's, the result would be a solid majority in the democratic party for a good, electable candidate. Instead, the democrats are doing the same stupid stuff that the GOP did last time around, allowing one well-funded power broker to gradually shred the other candidates, one by one, until only he is left.

It's gonna be Pence in 2020 and everybody had better get themselves prepared to live in a theocracy.

by asdf on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 06:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Choose between Hitler or Stalin? I'll pass.
In general you are right that no candidate is perfect, but there are limits. If both candidates are clearly unacceptable it is a crime on the body politic to vote for either.

If you don't like the analogy in the first sentence, thry this:
Vote for Caesar or Pompey? No thanks, I'll pass.

by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 02:18:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I felt that Trump should be impeached for many things such as imposing tariffs which is a violation of Congressional powers and failure to spend funds authorized by Congress, diverting them instead to the stupid wall. Then I learned that Congress explicitly and voluntarily gave up those powers and let the President assume what the Constitution says are Congressional powers.
So it is Congress that should be impeached for dereliction of duty and aiding and abetting violation of the Constitutional separation of powers.
It can be argued that in the modern age there is no time to ask Congress to declare war in the face of an attack. But no way can it be argued that there isn't time for Congress to vote on tariffs.
by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 02:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Retaliation for a nuclear attack is one thing. But, in all other cases there must always be time to get the approval of congress for a war.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 07:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

Disapprove 66 81 51 68 70 63 67 70

Incumbent win rate for each state
In the 2018 general election, an average of 92 percent of incumbents nationwide won re-election. That rate is not atypical (1964-2018). Save that date.

According to one theory of congressional stagnation, 1900-1924 average rate of change was 53.9, and 1926-1950 is was 56.1. Explanation of inelasticity of demand, or preference, for incumbent candidates does not explicitly factor legislated delegation of constitutional authorities such as war powers or expansive stimulus regulation to the executive in the periods observed. However, the greatest common factor of summarized reasons is "power of the purse" vested in the house of representatives In other words, both voters and representatives value control and disbursement of federal treasury more than any other congressional function. The relation of an incumbent to constituents competing for grants and loans or bankruptcy protection perforce is patronage.

Conversely, Gilens and Page (not that one, the other one) adopt factor analysis to reify the cube root of electoral administration by legislatures. Ex post facto voter preference for any elected candidate is expressed as "a quadratic logistic regression technique to estimate the opinions of respondents" about four traditions of republican governance. From this calculus, the pair infer, ordinary, median or unelected, citizens reasonably "have little or no independent influence on policy at all" except, oddly enough, when they incorporate as "business" or trade associations, interest groups, PACs, and so forth to guarantee re-election of ...incumbents who patronize them. Whatevs.

The salient point is, incumbents have shirked responsibility for authorities they delegated to the office of the president. And they and the majority of their constituents only resent that to the extent the president and legislative error disrupts free cash flow from treasury to a hinterlands. I can't speak for the British, but US American political posturing is not more sophisticated than that.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 10:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference is that Hillary would have had to work with a Nancy Pelosi led Congress whereas Trump has to appease the Republican base. In a binary system you are never going to get a really good choice. One marginally better than the other is the best you can hope for.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 07:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
leading the nation? That's a winning ticket -- for just distribution of booty and social mobility through US armed forces.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 10th, 2019 at 07:25:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]