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December 12, 2019

Comments

I am gobsmacked that UK leaders and Brexit voters don't realize that the free, open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is a bloody big deal that keeps Ireland (and the UK!) from going back to the status quo ante, which was just bloody. The British in general don't seem to grasp that the core value of the EU is *peace-keeping*, and that the Irish border is not a secondary issue for them.
I think it's a varient of the old truism that "all politics is local." For most people, the idea that life is significantly different elsewhere rarely if ever breaks thru. The idea that something that is good (they think) for them might be a disaster for others? Most people can't wrap their heads around that, even if it occurs to them to try. Everything filters thru what they see in their own town, their own neighborhood.

One of the ways national leaders are supposed to be different is that their job requires them to at least broaden their vision to encompass the whole country. The tragedy for the UK today (not to mention the US) is having leaders, and would-be leaders, who either can't manage that or just don't care.

Team sanity is looking like a distant third.

For those wanting to follow it overnight, this blog has the best links and commentary:
http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2019/12/12/general-election-2019-the-pb-guide-to-election-night/

(Though Tories are somewhat over-represented amongst the commenters, it is an example of that rare thing, a non-partisan and/or cross-partisan political discussion site.)

Some impressive wingnuttery on your side of the Atlantic...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/11/republicans-clue-us-how-theyll-handle-trumps-trial/
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) topped them all, arguing that the failure to find political bias proved there was political bias. “Is not the lack of evidence that you’re talking about itself evidence of bias?” he asked Horowitz.

Assuming there is no solid majority as a result of today's election in GB, what would be the most likely outcome for either Corbyn or Booris when it comes to forming a majority coalition? Would the Liberals be willing to join Labor in forming a government?

Just asking.

Nigel,

Our wingnuttery is unsurpassed. It is brash, bold, unashamed, and totally untethered to reality.

MAGA.

Bobby

Is not the lack of evidence that you’re talking about itself evidence of bias?

What is most disturbing to me in all of this is that the House (R)'s are not all unintelligent people. At least some if not many of them understand what the evidence that has been presented means, understand the Constitutional limits obligations and responsibilities that apply to them and to the President.

At least some if not many of them understand that they, themselves, are promoting falsehoods, and deliberately obscuring or attempting to deflect attention from the basic issues under consideration.

All of which is to say, at least some if not many of them are lying, knowingly. And encouraging others to do likewise.

I would not expect all of the (R)'s to jump ship and withdraw their support from this president and his criminal pals and activities.

I would expect some, even just a handful.

I see none. I can't think of this as anything other than craven cowardice.

So it's going to be scoundrel time here in the US, until some of these folks grow a spine and a sense of responsibility to something other than their own careers.

Probably gonna be like this for a while. There is a lot of bile to be walked back. Decades of it.

Trump is not going to be removed from office. But in the imaginary world where Trump was removed from office, people would be killed. Harmless normal innocent people would be killed, by enraged MAGAs who have been dreaming of the moment when they could go out and shoot some liberals for years, and now it's arrived.

Trump and the (R)'s in general fire up people's resentment with claims that "coastal elitists" - people like me, people who make up communities I live in and participate in - "hate" the "regular Americans" who live somewhere other than near the Pacific or North Atlantic oceans.

So now we are treated to spectacles like the dude who tells us "his .357 Magnum" is the reason that Trump will not be removed from office. And people like me need to factor that in as one of the risks of opposing this president.

I've been listening to bullshit like this for as long as I've been talking to conservatives more or less daily, in an attempt to understand WTF is going through their heads. Which is basically since about '02.

If Trump is removed, some of these folks are going to shoot some people.

And I say fnck it, do your worst.

ITMFA and it will land wherever it lands. It's time to stop coddling crooks liars and assholes.

So it's going to be scoundrel time here in the US, until some of these folks grow a spine and a sense of responsibility to something other than their own careers.

Funnily enough, "scoundrel" is the word that has been running through my head for weeks when I fantasise about being stopped for a political voxpop. Boris Johnson has been fired from two jobs for lying, is an unprincipled scoundrel, and is probably still going to be PM in 24 hours. So russell's remark applies to many of our politicians as well.

Anybody not familiar with the West Lothian Question (as the anomalous position of English-only issues being decided in Westminster is called) will appreciate the Doc's succinct exposition. I do think the English, and I suppose the Welsh, with their stubborn, nihilist pursuit of Brexit despite the warnings, are a pretty rum bunch. I guess both we (as well as the Americans) are just going to have to get used to the idea that half of our populations are stark, raving mad.

I think the proper term is "barking mad".

The thing about Brexit which may be invisible from overseas is that the EU is an unlovable institution. A bit like the federal government in the USA, but with much less democratic accountability. And it's generally tone deaf regarding British (perhaps I should say English) sensibilities.

The UK pays a lot of money to the EU, and gets little tangible benefit for it - it's the second largest net contributor after Germany. This is because the UK has a relatively large economy (so it pays a lot) with a relatively small and efficient agricultural sector (so it receives not much). So there's a common perception that the EU is a mechanism by which we pay money to foreigners so that they can tell us what to do.

I believe it's very much in the UK's economic interest to remain in the Single Market, and the point about the Irish border is spot on (but was hardly mentioned by the Remain campaign in the referendum). I've voted in the referendum and in general elections (including today's) against Brexit. But I think it's a mistake to dismiss Brexit as a nihilist project.

Is not the lack of evidence that you’re talking about itself evidence of bias?

This is actually not quite as barking mad as it seems initially. IF you understand the assumptions behind it.

Assume that the bias exists. Then the fact that evidence of bias is lacking must be due to a deliberate effort to hide it. The assumption is flat wrong. But once you stipulate it, the rest follows relatively reasonably.

It may be an interesting question whether Senator Lee is so adrift from reality that he personally believes the assumption. But he's doubtless aware that his constituents believe it, and that's the audience he's playing to.

"coastal elitists" - ... - "hate" the "regular Americans"

just for fun:

Trump : NYC
Rudy: NYC
Barr: NYC
Pompeo : Orange CA (aka LA)
Manafort : CT
Kellyanne Conway: Atco, NJ
Hannity : NYC
Maria Bartiromo: NYC
Bill O'Reilly: NYC
Coulter: NYC
Pat Buchanan: DC
Andrew Breitbart: LA
Carlson : SF
Ben Shapiro: LA
Jonah Goldberg: NYC
Limbaugh: FL

Fox News HQ: NYC

Even if you start with such priors, to call it ‘evidence’ is still barking.

The UK pays a lot of money to the EU, and gets little tangible benefit for it...
The UK derived substantial benefit from its membership, even in relation to its (relatively modest) financial contribution.
The problem is more that those benefits are not particularly visible... until after they’re gone.

Kellyanne Conway: Atco, NJ

Atco is actually pretty damned podunk. Maybe a bit less so now, but when Kellyanne was growing up there, very much so. It's borderline pine barrens. Still not Kansas, but also not remotely cosmopolitan.

(Not that I take issue with your overall point, cleek. It's just funny to me to see Atco on that list.)

cleek, the people on your list may actually speak truth as far as they themselves are concerned, although 'despise' seems more likely to me. At least I see no signs of genuine sympathy for the 'heartland' people in these guys (all of them far too intelligent to believe their own BS and/or on (usually involuntary) record stating that it is BS and what they really think about the 'regular' Americans).

the people on your list may actually speak truth as far as they themselves are concerned, although 'despise' seems more likely to me.

Which would be in sync with the Trumpian fondness for accusing his opponents of things that are actually true of him.

"Even if you start with such priors, to call it ‘evidence’ is still barking."

Saddam Hussein only had to give up his WMDs to prove that he didn't have WMDs, also too.

The problem is more that those benefits [i.e. from the EU] are not particularly visible... until after they’re gone.

Yes. This reminds me of the beginning of Carole Cadwalladr's TED talk (I think it was there) where she tells about going back to Wales to talk about the Brexit referendum, and her taxi passing through the rather disadvantaged town, with various public/community buildings which had plaques outside saying "Funded by the EU", and getting to the hall where the Brexit debate was to take place, and various locals saying "the EU has done nothing for us". Wales is of course (like many of the Leave voting places) a net beneficiary of EU funds.

Wales is of course (like many of the Leave voting places) a net beneficiary of EU funds.

Just as the parts of the US which are most opposed to the Federal government are typically recipients of far more Federal dollars than they pay in taxes. One wonders whether it's a matter of carefully maintained ignorance or straight out hypocrisy.

Just listened to the Fugue on Youtube titled "Boris Johnson is a Lying Shit", and one of the comments below it, from someone called alexanderkoller says "This kind of thing is exactly why we on the Continent really really want the UK to stay in Europe." One takes one's small consolations where one can.

Pro Bono,

The undemocratic nature of the EU is, in fact, more of a memory than the current situation. The Union can no longer make legislation or form a budget without the approval of the Parliament, which is a democratic body. The Parliament also can force the Commission to resign - and has done this.

The only areas where the Parliament cannot legislate are those that are reserved for unanimous decision making by member states, e.g. taxation. Most of those exist because the British have wanted it so, so having a Briton complaining about those is hypocritical.

Considenring that the European Parliament has multi-member constituencies with proportional representation, and that there is, indeed very little gerrymandering (just look at the map), the European Parliament is actually a very democratic institution.

In fact, I would say that the two chambers, the Council and the Parliament, represent the European people better than the US House and Senate represent the American people or the Commons and the Lords represent the British. The great benefit of the Council is the dact that its members have votes that relate to the size of their countries.

wj, I think it’s mostly ignorance. Most Americans “know” many more false things about economics than true ones.

wj, I think it’s mostly ignorance. Most Americans “know” many more false things about economics than true ones.

When discussing economics, you go with the facts you want, not the facts you have, because somebody somewhere at some time will provide them.

Absolutely terrible exit poll, Tory majority of 86. Even if it's slightly off, this is appalling. Fucking Jeremy Corbyn.

Exit poll was just announced, predicts the Tories will win 368 seats.

Well that is the end of Corbyn if the exit poll is correct.

And quite possibly the UK.

I'm so sorry, guys.

Will Scotland secede, do you think?

Yes, I think this is very probably the end of the union..

Yes, I think this is very probably the end of the union..

wow.

Labour officially (John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor) blaming it on Brexit, but tons of evidence coming in from Labour MPs and canvassers that on the doorstep, Corbyn was just as big a problem, if not bigger.

Well that is the end of Corbyn if the exit poll is correct.

I have to wonder. It was obvious that Corbyn was going to be a major impediment to Labour success in the election. So why didn't Labour get themselves a different leader before the election? Was the devotion to ideological purity really that strong?

From the point of view of you guys, I just hope there's no correspondence between Corbyn and Sanders (or even Warren)....

Yes, I think this is very probably the end of the union.

So where does that leave the Northern Irish "unionists"? If there is no union to be a part of...? Hard to insist on being British if there is no Britain, just England.

Also, what Dr S said. Really sorry, guys.

So why didn't Labour get themselves a different leader before the election?

I believe there's no good mechanism for doing so. Not to mention, the Corbynistas and their Momentum group moved fast to start taking over the local (and national) Labour organisations. Some people say the left has always been more interested in taking over the party, than in winning the country.

When I said the end of the union, I meant the union with Scotland. Although I guess BoJo's deal makes the eventual unification of Ireland more likely as well.

My prediction is that the UK and the US will, at worse, muddle through.

Whatever that means.

So why didn't Labour get themselves a different leader before the election? Was the devotion to ideological purity really that strong?

Amongst the membership ? Probably still is.
Corbyn will go - but his wing of the party could well produce the next leader.

Don’t think so, Charles. A Johnson Brexit will very likely produce a majority for Scottish independence, in which case a second referendum (while denied and delayed by the Conservative government) will happen at some point.

And a second Trump term would not greatly more malign than ‘muddling on’.

the European Parliament is actually a very democratic institution.
So when did I get to express an opinion on Charles Michel as President of the European Council, or Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission?

If I favour smaller agricultural subsidies, how should I vote in European elections?

The EU is formally democratic, but in practice there's no way for me to vote for what I want.

Long time lurker, first time commenter. The soundtrack to today's UK vote is Liverpool by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. "She should buy us all a drink."

This is a pretty acerbic take down of both Johnson and Corbyn, but mostly aims the ire a Jeremy.

One thing that continues to astound me is the right will hold their nose and vote "for the good of the team", but the "left", broadly construed, cannot bring itself to do so.

etc., etc.

All we get are circular firing squads...

Nader cost Gore the presidency.
Hillary used the DNC to sabotage Sanders.
We have to tack to the center to maintain the majority.
Both parties are the same, so vote for an idiot like Jill Stein.
Johnson is an utter prick who will institute disastrous policies that will KILL THE POOR...but poor Jeremy is kinda' wimpy, so I'll vote Liberal.

This is suicide politics. If the Left is to ever gain the upper hand, we have to get our effing act together.

You want to take Corbyn out? You should have joined Labor in droves two years ago and taken him off the board. But when he's against a total asshole like Johnson? Time to bail.

I utterly disagree. It is a form of purity politics that I have deep qualms about. Not saying it is easy. Never is.

But this will not end well for the British Isles.

My intervention with the British election is now over. Thanks.

I joined the Labour Party a couple of years ago with the sole purpose of voting Corbyn out. It didn't work.

Reminds me of the very famous British journalist applying for a US visa many years ago, who answered the asinine question on the application "Do you plan to overthrow the government of the USA by force?" with the perfect "sole purpose of visit".

Gallows humour, y'all. Good night.

answered the asinine question on the application "Do you plan to overthrow the government of the USA by force?" with the perfect "sole purpose of visit".

Brilliantly played.

A disgruntled American would fill the 8 square inch reply box with a 1,000 word screed about Our Sacred Liberties and Precious Bodily Fluids. Most likely in all caps. Your guy got it done in four words. And got a laugh out of it.

You all are so much better at that sort of thing than we are. I am in awe.

Gallows humour, y'all.

we'll take what we can get.

:)

wrs

Pro Bono,

You and I gave our opinion on von der Leyen and Michel via our representatives. Our democratically-elected national governments made the choice in the Council, and the Parliament ratified the choice on 27th November, after forcing the change of three commissioners.

I joined the Labour Party a couple of years ago with the sole purpose of voting Corbyn out. It didn't work.

Stay. Fight.

A terrible blow GFTNC, my deepest sympathies and ongoing support.

U2 nigel.

You and I gave our opinion on von der Leyen and Michel via our representatives....

I understand how it works, I'm telling you how it looks when the latest panjandrum is appointed to rule over us.

I suppose this doesn't matter very much in countries which benefit from EU largesse, or in Germany which benefits from a massive trade surplus with the rest of the EU. But it makes it hard to promote the EU to voters in the UK.

....Germany which benefits from a massive trade surplus..

Given the German proclivity for austerity, this is a big problem with the EU. There are no offsetting spending programs to offset this imbalance.

My condolences to our British commenters (and lurkers, I suppose). It's a scary thought that we might be in your shoes in a little less than a year from now.

Putin is having a good year

U2 nigel

Cheers, bobby.
(Though stay & fight does not apply to me, as I have never been Labour - rather a pluralist who doesn't really belong in a party.)

This twitter thread seems like a reasonable critique of Labour as led by Corbyn:
https://twitter.com/RussInCheshire/status/1205249029887709184

With the benefit of hindsight, I do wonder if Corbyn considers the possibility that if he'd voted for May's Brexit withdrawal agreement, he could have sat back and watched the then minority Conservative government tear itself apart as it had then to manage the process....

And as for the centre in British politics... there isn't much of it left for now.

I am gobsmacked that UK leaders and Brexit voters don't realize that the free, open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is a bloody big deal that keeps Ireland (and the UK!) from going back to the status quo ante, which was just bloody...

It might be more that they don't greatly care ?

I'm seeing a lot of claims (including from Varadkar) that Johnson is a liberal pragmatist by instinct, and a deal will be done which avoids unpleasantnesses... we'll see.

I don't think Johnson has much in the way of fixed principles, moral or otherwise, so I guess anything is possible. What that anything might be, I can't for now predict.

Putin is having a good year

Yup. Several good years.

Yes, thanks bobbyp, but just to confirm, like Nigel I was never proper Labour, I only joined for a year to try to get Corbyn out because I foresaw that his continued leadership would guarantee years more of Tory rule.

I've been half-heartedly proposing the theory that Nigel lays out in his penultimate paragraph at 10.09 referring to Varadkar, but since I also agree with Nigel's final paragraph I'm not holding my breath.

Working-class revolt against the left?

"'The British election results, like any election result, is the result of unique circumstances and multiple factors,' suggests Jonathan Chait at Intelligencer. 'It is also, however, a test of a widely articulated political theory that has important implications for American politics. That theory holds that Corbyn's populist left-wing platform is both necessary and sufficient in order to defeat the rising nationalist right. Corbyn's crushing defeat is a decisive refutation.'"
U.K. Election: Brexit Wins, Jeremy Corbyn Crashes

since the US and UK are identical in every way, i see no reason why this refutation should be challenged.

since the US and UK are identical in every way, i see no reason why this refutation should be challenged.

Happily for us, none of the major Democratic contenders, even Sanders, is anything like the electability disaster Corbyn is. Not that the Democrats can't manage to lose next fall. But at least a win is far from impossible, no matter who they nominate. (Gabbard might make losing easiest. But even she would have a better shot than Corbyn.)

Nonetheless, the fact that the furthest left candidates keep failing to win even the Democratic nomination is a bit of a clue. Anyone demanding a local "decisive refutation" might want to explain that first.

"left" in the US translates to "moderate conservative" in virtually every other developed nation. As well as to the US ca. mid 20th C.

I'm not sure if the comparisons are apt.

All of that said, I give Trump even odds in 2020. He's already tuning up for a shot at a third term, because everybody has been so mean and unfair to him in his first.

None of this will end well.

"left" in the US translates to "moderate conservative" in virtually every other developed nation. As well as to the US ca. mid 20th C.

Which is why I carefully said "furthest left", rather than just "left" or "far left".

I agree that this doesn't end well. But I'm hoping for "not as horrible as it might well have been."

Which is why I carefully said "furthest left", rather than just "left" or "far left".

Yes, sorry wj, my comment was a response to Charles' link rather than to you comment immediate previous to mine.

I would actually say that my comment applies to our domestic "furthest left", e.g. Warren and Sanders. But agreed that they are to the left of what most Americans appear to find palatable.

Mitch McConnell on his plans for how the impeachment trial will go:

everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent that we can.

Separation of powers, (R) style.

I would actually say that my comment applies to our domestic "furthest left", e.g. Warren and Sanders. But agreed that they are to the left of what most Americans appear to find palatable.

This. As I've made clear, I'm very keen on Warren, while obviously having something approaching contempt for Corbyn. But this has shaken me badly; if any considerable proportion of the US electorate sees someone like Warren as so far left, I really wonder how sound a choice she would be in the era of Trump. However, pace sapient, if nominated she would be an awful lot better (for every possible reason) than even the most delectable of jamon iberico sandwiches. And, if it's at all relevant (hard to tell if it is) she is very impressive and inspiring compared to Corbyn.

Separation of powers, (R) style.

If a "kangaroo court" is one where a guilty verdict is pre-ordained, what is the term where an acquittal is pre-ordained?

"McConnell Court" is available.

Pro Bono,

you are moving goal posts. I described the actual methods that are used by European legislation and for the appointment of the Commission. Now you are complaining that the process does not look as democratic as you wish.

In democracies with proportional representation, such as the EU, you must acknowledge that any vote you give is for a person and for a party: you vote for a person and for a party that you want to entrust the actual political governance to. We know that any government is likely to be a coalition, so all political positions are, by default, negotiable. You simply vote for someone you believe to negotiate well and in good faith.

The choice of von der Leyen as the president of the Commission is a result of very complicated negotiation process, but everyone involved had a democratic mandate. That is how democracy works: you elect politicians to make complex and, sometimes, shady deals for you.

And for your practical question: I don't know the British political map well enough to tell you who in your constituency would be opposing agricultural subsidies. As Britain does not get them, nor pay for them, I don't think it should be very high on the priorities list of British MEPs anyhow.

Potemkourt.

Nigel for the win!

The UK pays a lot of money to the EU, and gets little tangible benefit for it

Wait until the City looses passporting... ouch!

GFTNC

I really don't get your deep seated Corbyn aversion. He wasn't my preferred Labour leader either and I didn't vote for him because of his Brexit stance. But his policies have actually been pretty reasonable and he's by all accounts a decent man.

Could you elaborate maybe - I'm genuinely interested, don't want a fight.

Wait until the City looses passporting... ouch!

Not to mention wait until the UK's biggest export market becomes far harder to sell to. Ouch and then some! Because I somehow don't see the EU being willing to bend over backwards to make particularly favorable trade deals with the UK after this fiasco.

novakant,

What is your take on the accusations of antisemitism against Corbyn, and other Labourites?

From my perspective as an American Jew they don't seem baseless. He does seem, at a minimum, to be quite willing to countenance antisemitism in his associates.

novakant:

1. I thought immediately that he was unelectable, and this rendered prolonged Tory rule pretty much inevitable (this did not make me despise him).

2. I do not think he is actually personally antisemitic, but if that is right he is astonishingly stupid to have defended that mural, which was clearly full of openly anti-semitic tropes if you looked at it for 3 seconds or more. I am unkeen on very stupid party leaders.

3. During the run-up to the Brexit referendum, he sabotaged the Labour part of the Remain campaign. Alan Johnson was leading the campaign for Labour, and said he couldn't even get Corbyn to OK the press releases. No wonder such a high proportion of polled Labour voters said they had no idea what Labour's official stance on Brexit was. Corbyn refused to sit on a stage with the other living Labour leaders (Kinnock, Blair and Brown) because he wouldn't share a platform with Blair (although he has shared platforms with Hamas and Hezbollah - see also point 2). When they tried to accommodate him by arranging for there to be a televised split screen with Kinnock on stage in Wales, Blair on stage in Northern Ireland and Brown on stage in Scotland, with Corbyn on stage in England, he refused. All of this made me have utter contempt for him.

4. His ongoing failure to apologise and deal with at least the perceived (and maybe actual) anti-semitism in the Labour Party was clearly deeply damaging to the party, and his ongoing, repeat statements about it amazingly self-righteous.

5. His policies are perceived as so prehistoric that even ex-mining communities in the north turned against him (see my point 1). Although the post-election Labour talking points said their loss was all about Brexit, everybody out talking to voters say Corbyn, personally, was constantly brought up as the main problem. All the lefties I know say this is mainly because of a huge campaign of misinformation aimed at him, but although I am sure there was plenty of that, I think it was knocking at an open door.

6. He came across as weak, petulant and (again) self-righteous. Even the lefties I know admit this.

I'm sure there's plenty more, but even itemising all this makes me angry all over again. I'm stopping here. Each to his own.

I’m tired, so briefly, what GFTNC said.

I’ll add to that (re the ‘reasonable’ policies), to govern is to choose.

Labour’s manifesto had a huge number of spending commitments, ALL of which were priorities. Listening to a host of post election vox pops from formerly Labour constituencies, it was extremely clear that his promises simply weren’t believed by very many previously Labour voters.
One could make exactly the same point about Brexit - he has spent the last three years declining to take a stand one way or the other.

For a detailed harangue from a Labour perspective, read the twitter thread I posted a link to above.

Corbyn. My personal perspective is that he's just not very bright.

Anti-semitism: he's not personally anti-semitic. But he is utterly deaf to the difference between anti-zionism, which is a rational perspective, and anti-semitism in the guise of anti-zionism, which is simply racist.

The Labour party produced a detailed document (the 'grey book') costing its extravagant promises. Then, apparently as an afterthought, it promised an extra £58bn, which is a lot of money for the UK, to reverse the advancement of pensionable age for women, most of which had been been in the pipeline for 25 years as an entirely justified equalisation of the pensionable age of men and women. Which gave me and others the impression that it didn't actually care about what things cost.

Lurker: I've not explained myself clearly. Having ranted at the British electorate for its stupidity, and at the Labour Party for its self-indulgence in backing Corbyn, I'm now having a go at the EU for its indifference to British sensibilities.

How do the Eurocrats think they look to the UK? What have they done to explain themselves here? The answer seems to be that they don't care, and they've done nothing. How am I supposed to justify the EU when the EU itself seems not to care about how it looks?

Should California secede from the USA? I don't have a view on that. But I do know that the Federal government at least pretends to care what Californians think. What has the EU government done to make the UK electorate think that it cares?

I do know that the Federal government at least pretends to care what Californians think.

The current administration? Not so's you'd notice. At least this Californian sees no signs of it.

I am gobsmacked that UK leaders and Brexit voters don't realize that the free, open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is a bloody big deal...

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Assuming that Brexit now means Parliament approving Johnson's deal, the EU has signed off that the terms of that deal keep the Irish border open in conformance to the Good Friday Agreement. There's still a backstop, but this time it keeps NI in the EU single market and customs union and puts the hard border between NI and the rest of the UK.

The commie view, for anyone curious—

https://novaramedia.com/2019/12/13/no-false-consolations/

We would have won more if it hadn’t been for those divisive Lib Dems and Greens....

I’m not really sure of the point of this comment, as the author goes on to recognise that it’s futile to expect your opponents not to stand against you in a democracy.

As for ‘divisive’.... The Labour left has a curious attitude towards others on the left. They are excoriated as traitors, as ‘red Tories’, or ‘not really Labour’, or a hundred other insults.
Every effort is made to drive them out of any position of influence, and their resulting departures celebrated.
They then complain about the electoral consequences of such ideological exclusivity.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
You’re not, Michael.

But in practical terms, it is a considerably inferior arrangement to EU membership for the people of NI, and it’s possible that the anger of Unionists at the creation of an Irish Sea border will have consequences.
It might well go on to lead to the reunification of Ireland - a process which might be messy (notable that Unionists lost seats in this week’s election).

Thank you GFTNC

It's remarkable that the Conservative and Unionist Party should have created a customs border between Britain and Northern Ireland, and a grave breach of their promises. Unionists in Northern Ireland are deeply unhappy.

However, I see a promising economic future for Northern Ireland as a sort of entrepot between Britain and the EU. Perhaps if the money starts to flow the border arrangements will seem less problematic.

It’s not remarkable that Johnson should have done so,
His track record in betrayal of previous allies is legendary.

This article on him by Sullivan is one of his better pieces of writing:
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/boris-johnson-brexit.html
I don’t share all his conclusions, but the pen portrait is pretty accurate.

Age breakdown of voting. I don’t know the source—I see this cited several places and know basically nothing about reliable data sources over there

https://twitter.com/georgeeaton/status/1205535498065846272

And impressions from someone who says he did 120 hours of canvassing.. it fits the age breakdown data.

https://twitter.com/LukePagarani/status/1205487970897342464

The point of Seymour’s remarks is to shoot down comforting excuses his fellow far leftists might make about how these other parties split the vote.

I realise on re-reading my itemised reply to novakant how incoherent and clumsy it was; it just poured out of me in an exhausted stream. And I'm still too disgusted to go into much now. But on the subject of Donald's second twitter thread, I stopped when I got to this:

The real charge against Corbyn is that he fundamentally believes that British/white lives are of equal value with the lives of others.

I don't doubt that Corbyn is a reasonably decent, egalitarian, anti-racist person. But this kind of accusation is purely to give comfort to those who were unwise enough to back him, and still want to tar his detractors as racists and elitists. Alan Johnson, an impeccably working-class politician (extremely deprived childhood, ex-postman) was closer to the mark when he said on ITV on election night, sitting next to Jon Lansman (the founder of Momentum) "The working classes have always been a big disappointment for Jon, and his cult. Corbyn was a disaster on the doorstep. Everyone knew that he couldn't lead the working class out of a paper bag."

They then complain about the electoral consequences of such ideological exclusivity.

The disdain goes both ways.

I am reminded of the endless debates after the 2000 election where the "center" and "center-left" Democrats excoriated Nader voters in Florida for handing the presidency to George W. Bush, who turned out to be a fucking disaster.

(I have come around to that opinion. The argument is essentially correct.)

"You have nowhere else to go", the Center shouted.

There was similar bile from both sides of the Dem coalition after the 2016 election as well.

(I voted for Clinton without hesitation despite my opinion she was a deeply flawed candidate who held some opinions that I vigorously detested).

Now here we are with the shoe on the other foot, and a similar tragic and terrible outcome.

The point of politics to take power and use it. An ineffectual hapless government under Corbyn is to be preferred over a Tory Johnson government anytime, anywhere. The logic of this is clear....hold your nose and vote Labor.

In my uninformed opinion the Labor (remain) center left has made a huge political miscalculation.

Apologies for leaving the "u" out of Labour.

I am an old geezer, and I remember well the "working class" hanging George McGovern out to dry in 1972.

I have never forgotten it, but I've tried (and mostly succeeded) to forgive it.

When they say politics makes for strange bedfellows, take it to heart.

Thanks.

In my uninformed opinion the Labor (remain) center left has made a huge political miscalculation.

I think the Labour (remain) centre largely held their noses and voted Labour, as I would have if I lived in a Tory/Labour marginal. If you are talking about their rearguard actions in the House to stymie Brexit, you are probably right, but how far back do we go in tracing causes and effects? In my opinion the necessity for those actions was a direct consequence of Corbyn's pathetic fence-sitting before the referendum. Both then and before this election that inspired so much distrust and contempt (among both leavers and remainers!) that it affected (to an extent of which we cannot be certain) the result of both the referendum and the election. Woe is the day that a leader was chosen who could not even beat BoJo, even after 10 years of austerity.

In my opinion the necessity for those actions was a direct consequence of Corbyn's pathetic fence-sitting before the referendum.

Points taken and well said as always GFTNC, but just which way was Corbyn supposed to jump prior to the Brexit vote?

A strong position either way would be a slap at a significant portion of the Labour electorate, correct? That would necessitate him finding a way to bring in new voters....given his many flaws as a politician, that was something he is simply incapable of as you have so eloquently stated.

from Donald's "commie view" link:

Labour was weak in its historic heartlands, where it had been losing ground for decades. New Labour had done nothing to stop the erosion-tending-toward collapse of local industry, trade unions, employment and incomes.

This does, I think, translate to the American context.

We have very low unemployment, but we also have oxy addiction and people using social media fundraising to pay for medical care and funeral expenses. I get several medical Kickstarters every week. I think there are 3 or 4 on my FB feed right now.

Can you please help us care for our friend while she dies?

Can you please help this family that is getting kicked out of a homeless shelter because their kid acts out, and now they have to live in their car, in MA, in December?

People are just beginning to dig themselves out of the freaking catastrophe of 2008, and so they think they're rich again. But nobody has money put away to retire on. People have to hit their credit cards if they need anything that costs more than a couple of hundred dollars. If you have a minute, go look at historical figures for household debt in the US.

I vastly prefer the (D)'s to the (R)'s, but I don't think anybody has a grasp of how to fix this stuff. I don't hear a credible story from anyone that lays out anything like a strategy to get us to a place where tens of millions of people living in a fantastically wealthy society don't have to live in constant, daily anxiety about their future. I'm not talking pie in the sky stuff, I'm talking about basic, workaday stuff.

A place to live, food to eat, a way to get around, useful and meaningful work. Somebody getting their back if they get sick or their lives turn to shit in one or another of the 1,000 ways that that can happen, to anyone.

We have more fucking money than god, and people still worry about stuff like that. Tens of millions of people. You know some of them.

This is making the rounds on social media and elsewhere. It's on Medium, probably a paywall, but I think you can sign in for free long enough to read the piece. It is, IMO, worth the read. Dramatic language, but I defy anybody to argue against the substance.

Stock markets are roaring, tax cuts, business friendly policies. So it's all good, right? Meanwhile people are offing themselves with Oxy and hitting up their friends on social media to pay for their palliative care while they die.

We've fallen and we can't quite get up, y'all. Sh*t is broken. I support and respect the traditional labor movement, but capital appears to have done an end run around the levers they used to be able to bring to bear. Factory floor is now the gig economy, and it ain't going back.

We need new remedies.

And, because the (R)'s have nothing to offer a nation in pain but tax cuts and deregulation and "business friendly" policies, this is what they do to win.

They say they "speak for the people", but they don't want people to vote.

Cowards and moral and intellectual bankrupts.

...but I defy anybody to argue against the substance.

I have no objections, your honor.

Jabba-Bonk is already signaling that there will be another huge corporate tax cut after his re-election.

just which way was Corbyn supposed to jump prior to the Brexit vote?

A strong position either way would be a slap at a significant portion of the Labour electorate, correct?

Sometimes, even if you are a politician, you have to do what's best for the country and try to lead. If you can't explain and persuade, you may pay a price. But if you aren't willing to do it, don't expect anyone to see you as a leader.

Jabba-Bonk is already signaling that there will be another huge corporate tax cut after his re-election.

You have to wonder, once corporate taxes hit zero, and everybody who's rich has incorporated themselves to take advantage, what will they do for an electoral platform?

just which way was Corbyn supposed to jump prior to the Brexit vote?

A strong position either way would be a slap at a significant portion of the Labour electorate, correct? That would necessitate him finding a way to bring in new voters....given his many flaws as a politician, that was something he is simply incapable of as you have so eloquently stated.

If the Labour leadership had come out strongly and unambiguously for remain before the referendum, instead of sabotaging Alan Johnson's attempts, there is a chance they could have made inroads into EU- hatred among the working class in Labour's northern heartland. After all, many of the worker protections etc that the UK enjoys are a result of EU legislation, and anybody who thinks a Tory government will equal such protections after Brexit is misguided. The anti-EU rhetoric which has flourished in this country for decades (interestingly much of it as a result of BoJo exaggerations and half-truths when he was a Telegraph columnist stoking anti-EU sentiment for the laughs and the circulation) could be countered, at least to some extent, by proper targeted information if the whole party had been pulling together. And if Labour had come out strongly for remain, even if it didn't affect the result of the referendum, they would have stymied the SNP to some extent in this election, and Plaid Cymru, probably have won some Lib Dem seats too, and given themselves more credibility when arguing for the NHS (which has been haemorrhaging foreign staff since the referendum) and against the Trump relationship. Labour could not have been strongly pro-leave before the referendum: almost the whole PLP was for remain, and a majority of the membership. Jeremy Corbyn et als' long history of anti-EU feeling was what dictated the fence-sitting, which was what led to such distrust and mockery. Even people who agreed with him and Labour about other policies were disgusted by the dishonesty of their Brexit policies, which (along with the anti-semitism stuff) led several longtime Labour voters of my acquaintance to desert.

You have to wonder, once corporate taxes hit zero, and everybody who's rich has incorporated themselves to take advantage, what will they do for an electoral platform?

Negative tax rates.
Under Bush the Lesser at least one corporation (Bechtel?) got a 100 million dollar tax rebate after not paying ANY corporate taxes for seven straight years.
Job creators have to be incentivized (even if or maybe even especially when their job creation is actually negative).

Sometimes, even if you are a politician, you have to do what's best for the country and try to lead.

Politicians rarely lead. They generally seek to jump into the head of the parade. Counterexamples are few and far between. I can think of only two:

1. FDR staking out a strong position for taking sides in the fight against fascism, 1939-1941.
2. LBJ beating civil rights legislation through a Congress where southern segregationist still held great sway.

However, even these have to be viewed in their historical contexts. There were other reasons why these two could effectively lead.

Shades of the vaunted Clinton "blue wall"

Here's another from Vox. Note the chilling last paragraph.

Is there any hope?

I sure hope so.

Jabba-Bonk is already signaling that there will be another huge corporate tax cut after his re-election.

Corporate taxes are largely an exercise in futility making up only about 6% of federal revenue. They're just another business expense to the corporations and ultimately come out of some individual's pocket. The pockets of the corporations' employees, shareholders, and the consumers of its products and services. The taxes make the corporations less competitive with foreign corporations who enjoy lower tax rates. And encourages corporations to relocate to those countries with the lower tax rates.

Perhaps the greatest return on corporate taxes is the satisfaction some people get from sticking it to the man.

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