An annoying distraction from Eurovision
April 18, 2017 3:16 AM   Subscribe

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a general election for the UK on the 8th June. In a speech, the PM describes Brexit, unity et al, and Jeremy Corbyn, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP as the core reasons. With "I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion", this reverses her previous position on a snap election. The PM needs first to overturn the 2011 Fixed-term Parliaments Act, which will be attempted in the House of Commons tomorrow. Before the general election, there are the local elections on May 4th.
posted by Wordshore (550 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
So I guess the question is "why?"
posted by rongorongo at 3:20 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Just watching May's speech and the servile response to it from commentators on BBC News. No mention, of course, of this additional context (from the Guardian live blog):
The Crown Prosecution Service is due to make a decision quite soon about whether to charge Tories in relation to alleged over-spending at the general election in South Thanet and in other constituencies. An election now would eliminate the risk of prosecutions leading to byelections in these seats.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:21 AM on April 18 [36 favorites]


If there’s a general election now and SNP+Greens get a majority, won’t that be (even more) justification for another Scottish referendum?
posted by adrianhon at 3:22 AM on April 18


*fans self*

So much voting. I can't take it.

On the plus side, the next scheduled GE wasn't until 2020. So if May wins, then gets kicked out in five years, we might have less of the Tories overall.

That's assuming the U.K. is still a thing in 2022, of course.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:23 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


This. This is the alternative timeline.
posted by chavenet at 3:27 AM on April 18 [11 favorites]


Getting rid of the fixed term parliament act will be a good thing at least. But then after the election when the conservatives get every single seat in England they'll probably bring in a fixed conservative government act and that will be that forever.
posted by dng at 3:32 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Feeling alarmed about this. I was hoping the Brexit shambles would have more time to make its effects felt before we went to another vote. On the plus side, we'll surely have a resignation from either May or Corbyn, depending on who wins?
posted by prune at 3:32 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Conservatives doing well in the polls, Labour self-immolating, the consequences of Brexit not yet fully felt, makes very good sense to do this (from T May's perspective that is). There will most likely be some bizarro twists but can't see this as anything other than efficient realpolitik from May.
posted by Gratishades at 3:33 AM on April 18 [26 favorites]


Daily Mash.
posted by plep at 3:34 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


So I guess the question is "why?"

Yesterday's "best prime minister?" YouGov might have had some impact on her ego, perhaps?

Theresa May: 50% (+1)
Jeremy Corbyn: 14% (-2)
Not sure: 36% (+1)

Twitter rumors are that Corbyn is considering changing his name to "Not sure" by deed poll, possibly even before he'll comment on the election some time next week.
posted by effbot at 3:35 AM on April 18 [35 favorites]


Perceptive tweet from Robert Harris:
It's almost as if they want to get an election out of the way before the consequences of Brexit start to become apparent
TBF that's already started with GDP slowing and a consumer credit squeeze...
posted by adrianhon at 3:36 AM on April 18 [20 favorites]


The PM needs first to overturn the 2011 Fixed-term Parliaments Act, which will be attempted in the House of Commons tomorrow.

Well that lasted a long time. I mean, I don't even remember what the point of it was supposed to be, except the Conservatives thought it'd let them stay in power more easily.
posted by hoyland at 3:40 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


So I guess the question is "why?"
From the Article 50 FPP (hat tip to effbot): When Brexit Started To Make Us Poorer

If anyone's been in a supermarket recently, prices are being hiked left right and centre as the costs bleed through. Anyone who uses gas or electricity for power (rather than magical thinking and Brexit hot air) then they know that utility companies are making ~10% hikes there.

Wages are stagnant or worse and prices are going up, so even if Brexit is a success in 15 years time things will get worse before they get better (for some values of "better"). May needs a vote now, because once the electorate begin to feel the effects and associate them with her premiership, she won't be winning jack.

Also, Labour isn't working.
posted by comealongpole at 3:41 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


It's so self-servingly cynical it's almost breathtaking really. It should clearly have been called last summer after Theresa May was appointed head of her party, and if not then should certainly have been called before Article 50 was deployed. And as it wasn't it should have been called after Article 50 finally detonated.

Although of course maybe we'll get the joy of yet another election then. And several more referendums as every part of the union decides to leave all the other parts as quickly and as surely as they can.
posted by dng at 3:42 AM on April 18 [19 favorites]


Getting rid of the fixed term parliament act will be a good thing at least

I don't believe the intent is to repeal it, but rather to invoke the 2/3 supermajority escape clause.

Assuming all 330 Tory MPs vote for an early dissolution, that means 104 opposition MPs will have to do the same to force an early election. I can see a lot of Labour back-benchers being horrified at the prospect of having to fight an election under Corbyn, but given that the SNP will probably back an early election - they can run their campaign as a quasi-referendum on another independence vote - there's little chance of such a vote failing.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:44 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


I'm going to carry around "Also, Labour isn't working." in my head for the next day or so. It's poetically profound in curious ways.
posted by hippybear at 3:45 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


Salmond and Sturgeon will have a field day, an Independence referendum is somehow too disruptive, but making Scots go back to the polls to reaffirm their disdain of Westminster Tories is A-OK?

The slime Carswell will be oozing back to the Conservatives too, I imagine.
posted by comealongpole at 3:46 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Dollar Store Thatcher.
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 3:48 AM on April 18 [24 favorites]


Voting Waldo.
posted by delfin at 3:48 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


This does make a sane Brexit more likely (or as sane as such a thing can be). At the moment May has a slender majority and the Brexit-Ultras can threaten sabotage at any time they choose if they feel May and Davis are going soft. After a GE May will have a large (probably gargantuan) personal mandate, and their influence will be diluted.

So, Brexit is now unstoppable, but Full-Bore Hard Brexit is less likely. And that's the best desperate attempt at finding a silver lining I can manage.
posted by sobarel at 3:49 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


I'm going to carry around "Also, Labour isn't working." in my head for the next day or so. It's poetically profound in curious ways.

It's an old Tory campaign slogan (well, without the also).
posted by Dysk at 3:49 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


I'm booking holidays to keep me out of the country till it's all over. One thing I've learned about UK politics is that, the further away you are from it, the funnier it is. If you're into black farces that is.
posted by quarsan at 3:49 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Ah, see, I'm not familiar with the culture and references... Footnotes would be helpful. I use the Pynchon Wiki when I'm reading his stuff, too.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


This fixes so many of May's problems:

1/ Party unity. Tories now have to become the 'Brexit party' because that's the election winning strategy. None (or fewer) of her MPs can justifiably be 'hesitant remainers'.
2/ Scotland. Either the SNP wins again and so May is absolved of responsibility for their independence referendum or they don't do as well (which isn't impossible) and she can try and stop another referendum
3/ Labour. Key issue is going to Brexit (what form etc) and Labour has no vision. Weak leader, lid dems splitting off the more Remain friendly vote, and hit by boundary changes
4/ May's legitimacy: she was going to be in trouble once the honeymoon period wore off and people remembered she was never elected. This is an election the Tories basically cannot lose

Timing here is perfect, people are riled up about Brexit not being delivered (and so want to vote for the party that will deliver Brexit) but before the deal takes shape and some realise they don't like the details.

It's utterly terrifying
posted by litleozy at 3:51 AM on April 18 [30 favorites]


Arron Banks, former UKIP funder, Leave.UK funder and born rich twat, has vowed to stand against Carswell, so that'll provide some fun on election night. Amongst all the whisky bottles.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:52 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah and full Brexit is the most likely outcome - its the easiest one to deliver and there will be enough MPs to ram it through
posted by litleozy at 3:53 AM on April 18


Meant to ask, what happens to Gorton now? Do they still run the by election?
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:55 AM on April 18


Opposition parties need to hammer home the point that the Tories obviously think that two months of their Brexit Article 50 time is better spent on an election campaign than in "getting the best deal for Britain".
posted by daveje at 3:58 AM on April 18 [12 favorites]




Is there any chance she'll fail to overturn the Fixed Term Parliaments Act?
posted by corb at 4:00 AM on April 18


If ever I should have previewed...
posted by corb at 4:00 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


Meant to ask, what happens to Gorton now? Do they still run the by election?

I wouldn't have thought so. Parliament will now be dissolved before the scheduled by-election date.
posted by sobarel at 4:02 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Oh god, Corbyn - rightly or wrongly - has the electoral cut through of a soaked baguette; this is awful timing that will deliver more tory shite for years to come. If only Labour, instead of devouring itself from the arsehole, has spent this time getting its house in order and aiming to be competitive. Instead, it's gonna be a rout.
posted by smoke at 4:02 AM on April 18 [22 favorites]


So I guess the question is "why?"

Maybe someone lounging on the sofa at home in Downing Street last night saw Erdoğan's referendum victory for centralising more power in the leader and thought "I'll have some of that"?
posted by Wordshore at 4:04 AM on April 18 [17 favorites]


corb: Very little.

May needs a 2/3 supermajority under the FTPA. Assuming all 330 Tory MPs vote in favour - there will surely be a three-line whip - then 104 opposition MPs will have to support the motion for an early election.

The 56 SNP MPs are very likely to do this, as the SNP can in effect treat this as an opportunity to run their campaign as a quasi-referendum on having another independence vote. So, that means only 48 of the 229 Labour MPs need to support the motion, disregarding the minor parties for now.

Corbyn has apparently just said that Labour will support this. (What choice does he have? If opposed it, and lost - and 48 of his MPs might well have voted against him - then he would be excoriated as a coward.) Even though a lot of his back-benchers will be appalled at the prospect of fighting a general election under Corbyn's leadership, I can't see enough of them breaking ranks to prevent a vote in favour of early dissolution.

Polling yesterday had the Tories leading Labour by 21%. This is going to be an utter rout.
posted by Major Clanger at 4:07 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


This is bad for the Labour Party. Currently they are horrible divided and a June election does not give them enough time to sort out their problems.
posted by antiwiggle at 4:08 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Even if Labour were given the next fifteen years I'm not sure they'd have enough time to sort out their problems.
posted by dng at 4:09 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


I mean, just compare first statements:
Corbyn: oh yeah tories have failed on the economy (???)
Farron: vote for us to stop a hard brexit

Corbyn's approach to Brexit has been hoping it will just go away. And here we are
posted by litleozy at 4:11 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


Instead, it's gonna be a rout.
And what is interesting is that it would be a rout by the fairly small set of brexit supporting MPs - at the expense of the majority of those who oppose the idea. A coalition of anti-brexit MPs could be easy winners if they could accomplish the massive organisational challenge.
posted by rongorongo at 4:11 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Be interesting to see if the Guardian pulls its finger out and swings in behind Corbyn
posted by Panthalassa at 4:11 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Polling yesterday had the Tories leading Labour by 21%. This is going to be an utter rout.

And we all know how accurate polls are, right? (Kidding; I'm not that optimistic)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:11 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Have just looked at the bookmakers odds; the clear favorite to win the vote.
posted by Wordshore at 4:15 AM on April 18


BREXILECTION!
posted by lawrencium at 4:17 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


Can't say I'm enjoying the palpable excitement from journalists. May needs raking over the coals for this self-serving decision, but they're too much looking forward to another general election.
posted by mushhushshu at 4:20 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


Even if Labour were given the next fifteen years I'm not sure they'd have enough time to sort out their problems.

Personally I would have said three to five years, but not by June.

Still if the real opposition party, the SNP, put up candidates in English seats then maybe something like sanity would prevail.
posted by antiwiggle at 4:29 AM on April 18




Be interesting to see if the Guardian pulls its finger out and swings in behind Corbyn
Why would it? It's a liberal paper, not a Left one. I expect them to endorse Farron as the anti-Brexit choice in this election. The Lib Dems, I predict, will significantly up their vote share, but almost entirely at the expense of Labour, simply adding to the Tory landslide.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:31 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


LibDems are going to do all right out of this. They have had their act together much, much better than Labour since 2015. (Admittedly it's easier to do that when you can squeeze all your MPs into a Mini, but even so.)

They have a clear line on Brexit, they've already won one by-election with a significant swing by fighting it on that platform, nobody else is explicitly going after Remain voters (other than the SNP who probably won't be fielding candidates south of the border (yet)), and they've given themselves enough distance from 2010 that the electorate is likely to be a lot more forgiving about the coalition, now they can make a pretty sound case for "look what the Tories would have done without us." But yeah, I would be massively surprised if they got enough MPs to form an effective opposition.
posted by Catseye at 4:38 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


Another thought: this could be really bad news for Northern Ireland, regardless of (UK) election results. What if power-sharing talks collapse when Westminster is dissolved? Everyone just... waits around drumming their fingers?
posted by Catseye at 4:41 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


So far the analysis seems to be pretty much divided between "Masterfully timed strategy to consolidate power", "Deliberate political suicide by a party looking to escape brexit" and "Rabbit in the headlights random blunder". I have no idea which to believe. We shall see.
posted by rongorongo at 4:44 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


Christ. Corbyn is such a prize idiot. Why give the Tories exactly what they want? Why?

The man is a fool & he’s being played like an instrument by the Tories. It’s so bloody depressing.
posted by pharm at 4:46 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


I really want to believe the polls are wrong. I've got an online subscription to the Financial Times (behind a paywall) - it has a very well informed and pro-business readership, and a LOT of commentors on Brexit stories say they are former Tory voters who will not vote Tory again because of Brexit. They feel betrayed.
posted by prune at 4:47 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


(reposting with corrected URL)

It's not the despair, Laura. I can stand the despair. It's the hope.
posted by pharm at 4:48 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


prune: That’s the London vote for you. Lets see if they really follow through.
posted by pharm at 4:50 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> "Still if the real opposition party, the SNP, put up candidates in English seats then maybe something like sanity would prevail."

I don't think it would. As far as I can tell from north of the border, the SNP is loathed south of the border even by people who should know better. They seem to be regarded the same way Canada outside Quebec views the Bloc Québécois.

> "Deliberate political suicide by a party looking to escape brexit"

This is just a fantasy, I'm afraid.
posted by kyrademon at 4:50 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


(ha, and the Scottish Conservatives are running all their local election campaigns around here on a "Send a message to the SNP - we don't want another divisive referendum!" platform. AWKWARD.)
posted by Catseye at 4:50 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


Is there any chance she'll fail to overturn the Fixed Term Parliaments Act?

It's hard for any opposition to say, in effect, 'No, no, we think you should carry on running the country.'
posted by Segundus at 4:52 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


Why would it? It's a liberal paper, not a Left one. I expect them to endorse Farron as the anti-Brexit choice in this election. The Lib Dems, I predict, will significantly up their vote share, but almost entirely at the expense of Labour, simply adding to the Tory landslide.

Perhaps I worded my original comment too strongly. I more meant that it would be nice to see their relentlessly negative coverage of him let up a bit.
posted by Panthalassa at 4:52 AM on April 18


This seems like the ideal moment for the Labour Party to launch another battle for the party leadership?
posted by Segundus at 4:53 AM on April 18 [11 favorites]


Of course May is acting in a coldly cynical manner but it's a brilliant move to take advantage of Corbyn and the absolute lack of unity in the opposition.

As far as I can tell the ultimate plan for Labour is as follows.

1)Weakly support remain
2) Hemorrhage support
3) Provide Tories a bullet proof majority
4) Watch Tories deliver hard Brexit
5)?
6) Sweep into power in 5 years when the economy is in shambles
posted by vuron at 4:53 AM on April 18 [14 favorites]


It's hard for any opposition to say, in effect, 'No, no, we think you should carry on running the country.'

True, but it shows that the Fixed Term Parliament Act has no purpose outside a coalition government.
posted by mushhushshu at 4:54 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


HOLYFUCKINSHIT
posted by lalochezia at 4:59 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


I don't think it would. As far as I can tell from north of the border, the SNP is loathed south of the border even by people who should know better. They seem to be regarded the same way Canada outside Quebec views the Bloc Québécois.

Not so much where I live, but where I live is weird. I am in South Cambridgeshire which is a Remain voting solid Tory constituency. Lots of right wing country folk and left wing academics living in the same place (in broad strokes).
posted by antiwiggle at 5:01 AM on April 18


So far the analysis seems to be pretty much divided between "Masterfully timed strategy to consolidate power", "Deliberate political suicide by a party looking to escape brexit" and "Rabbit in the headlights random blunder". I have no idea which to believe. We shall see.

Surely the entirety of their thinking is that this way they won't have to have an election one month after we leave the eu.

I mean, hopefully it'll be as much of a success of all their recent short term planning and they end up losing this election instead of that hypothetical one, but as long as they do keep a functional majority they won't care about anything else, even if they lose a couple of seats and only hang on to it by a single MP.
posted by dng at 5:04 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Another thought: this could be really bad news for Northern Ireland, regardless of (UK) election results
I honestly don't think N Ireland and what might happen with this election (or indeed leaving the EU) crossed the mind of any senior member of the Cabinet (perhaps the NI Secretary, but 'who he?')
posted by TwelveNoteRow at 5:16 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


If one way or another this means half of the guardian front page is no longer "why Corbyn is actually bad" columns, there's at least one silver lining.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:20 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


God, recently I feel like I've been in my local polling station more often than my bloody living room. Over here the Duppers are saying it's a chance for people to vote for the Union (or as @LADFLEG have subtitled it "keep the taigs in their place") and Sinn Féin are "up for it" (always easy to be up for a paid job that you don't have to turn up for, eh lads?). So, business as usual.
posted by billiebee at 5:22 AM on April 18 [14 favorites]


Interesting to see the language of 'division' vs 'unity' playing such a big role in the PM's announcement. The concept of 'unity' seems to be doing a lot of work in politics at the moment, with the sense of "we all need to throw our wholehearted support behind whatever the majority decided, because if we keep disagreeing then that's Being Divisive."

This didn't seem like the wisest approach to political disagreement when it started appearing in Facebook memes right after the EU referendum result (no, no we are not going to All Come Together and march on Brussels, and I don't care what Winnie the Pooh thinks). But it was easy to see the appeal of it, at least. Unity is good, arguing is bad... plus the Blitz spirit "we're all in this together!" feeling... plus whatever it is that causes everyone to talk about "we" when we're discussing what the national football team has done or should do? We speak with one voice! We're all in this together! (hey, that one rings a bell...) If you aren't supporting Brexit heart, mind and soul, you are against democracy! Judges ruling that Parliament should get to vote on this are enemies of the people!

And now we've got "we need unity at Westminster", because even the puny efforts at opposing that the opposition has managed to do are Being Divisive.

I've always thought I was all in favour of unity, especially in turbulent times... but I don't think this is the kind of unity I meant.
posted by Catseye at 5:30 AM on April 18 [14 favorites]


In the next 51 days that's two lots of elections in France, two lots in the UK as well, and of course, Eurovision. Toss in a likely war between North Korea and the USA, and the Queen possibly passing with Charles ascending the throne, and it makes for a busy few weeks for journalists and a lot of angst on social media.
posted by Wordshore at 5:33 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


There's a thought if you're reading this, Cortex:

UK ELECTION MEGATHREADS!

Distant sound of cortex smashing morning mug of tea against the wall
posted by Wordshore at 5:34 AM on April 18 [56 favorites]


Here in the South West, an area whose liberal politics I definitely had written in the +ve column on my "should I move here?" list, I have no idea how well the Lib Dems will do in what is now a fully Tory region, but I know that I'll be fighting tooth and nail for them, and the region itself either voted remain, or is desperately dependent on EU structural funding and CAP support.
posted by ambrosen at 5:34 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


I guess this is the point where I have to start making serious plans for what the fuck I do if/when I get thrown out of the country.
posted by Dysk at 5:40 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


Would like to second the Honourable Member for Lalochezia
posted by runincircles at 5:40 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


The only way I can see the Tories losing is if all the other parties form a single "not those Brexit guys" coalition. They don't need any other policies — heaven knows that the Tories have been ggrreeaatt with their post-Brexit policies beyond “make shit up as we go” — as those can be fought over after the election. I suspect this coalition has about the same likelihood as squadrons of unicorns barrel-rolling above Marble Arch, alas, as there are egos involved in the House. I did get a hollow laugh at Farron's “Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority”, though: wasn't it the LibDems' fuck-witted coalition with the Tories that presented the current Conservative majority and its spanish-reflexive-verb-ending-leaking policies?

It does mean I get to vote SNP again, though, in the very last year I could possibly vote in the UK.
posted by scruss at 5:46 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


I honestly don't think N Ireland and what might happen with this election (or indeed leaving the EU) crossed the mind of any senior member of the Cabinet (perhaps the NI Secretary, but 'who he?')

Perhaps appropriately, the man's name is James Brokenshire.
posted by daveje at 5:47 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


  cortex smashing morning mug of tea

Don't worry, he's American, so no actual tea would harmed in the smashening.
posted by scruss at 5:48 AM on April 18 [28 favorites]


I have to say that I'm finding the "oh excited joy, elections!" vibe off a lot of the media and commenters here rather off-putting. A lot of us have an awful fucking lot to lose here, this isn't just another twist in some bloody soap opera.
posted by Dysk at 5:49 AM on April 18 [26 favorites]


"No Tories No Brexit."*
Labour's election strategy done.

*Also, we'll get rid of Corbyn
posted by fullerine at 5:51 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Same here, Dysk. I'm generally feeling dread while trying to work out how I can make any difference in a safe (albeit Labour) seat.
posted by mushhushshu at 5:52 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


In the next 51 days that's two lots of elections in France, two lots in the UK as well, and of course, Eurovision. Toss in a likely war between North Korea and the USA

In South Korea, War Hysteria Is Seen as an American Problem
“I’m much more worried about anything President Trump might do than the threats of war and retaliation from North Korea,” a friend of mine who teaches engineering at a local university in Gwangju told me over dinner one night. His sentiment is widely echoed throughout South Korea.

In Seoul, people are going about their regular business. “For many South Koreans, the concerns about the North can feel like a rite of spring, along with the rain showers or the cherry blossoms that crowds flock to see this time of year,” two Seoul-based reporters for The Wall Street Journal wrote last Friday. On Saturday, James Pearson, the Reuters correspondent in Seoul, took time out from his extensive coverage of North Korea’s missile tests to tweet that “South Koreans in general are not interested in the fireworks north of the DMZ.”
posted by Panthalassa at 5:53 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


"No Tories No Brexit."*
Labour's election strategy done.


Isn't Article 50 notification irrevocable though?
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:55 AM on April 18


Article 50 is not definitely irrevocable, no.
posted by Dysk at 5:56 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


I'm generally feeling dread

No-one who believes the British electorate didn't vote for a hard Brexit, or for leaving the Single Market, should be downhearted.
posted by Segundus at 5:58 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]




An Italian friend has just told me, with a straight face, "You have too many elections and votes in Britain". I ... wait, what?
posted by Wordshore at 6:02 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


In the next 51 days that's two lots of elections in France, two lots in the UK as well, and of course, Eurovision. Toss in a likely war between North Korea and the USA

Also, Weetabix sold to US firm after breakfast cereal fails to catch on in China
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:04 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Given that 117 year old Italian woman who died the other day had lived through 90 Italian governments, that's a bit rich.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:04 AM on April 18 [19 favorites]


Corbyn won't campaign on Brexit.
The Lib-Dems and Labour won't talk to the SNP.
The Green Party is electorially insignificant.

At least it's only seven weeks of grim foreboding, before the absolute certainty of disaster takes over.
posted by Devonian at 6:04 AM on April 18 [20 favorites]


I guess I get to see if the Union will further toxify itself before the Scottish independence campaign. Right now I'm just thinking about all the things I can do to keep the Tories out of Brighton and Hove.
posted by jaduncan at 6:05 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


A while back I heard that Labour was planning on using strategies and tools that worked very well for the Sanders campaign last year. Phonebanking and facebanking (getting your facebook friends motivated to vote) may therefore be coming to a constituency near you, and if it's a "safe" seat, that's where you would be expending your energies.

And by the way, isn't it lovely how those ever accurate opinion polls back in GE 2015 and EU in or out 2016 are absolutely all the media can think of talking about these days? Because they're never wrong. And, wouldn't it be terribly nice if they talked about policies, or maybe asked the PM things like, "will the Tories follow the election funding rules this time around?" or "aren't you a leader without a mandate?" You know, things that proper journalists asks.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 6:07 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I guess this is the point where I have to start making serious plans for what the fuck I do if/when I get thrown out of the country.

Dysk, you are an EU national, aren't you? if I recall correctly, the commission made it a point that the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa need to be settled first (read: nobody will be kicked out of the country) before serious negotiations on trade can start.

Of course, elections will be another huge distraction when the UK should really be laser-focused on Brexit. With more energy spent on internal strife and less energy for the important questions (how to shape the UK's relationship with the EU), this will weaken the position of the UK even further.

Maybe the idea is to leave all the hard work to sort it all out to the bureaucrats in Brussels? But then again, wasn't the idea of Brexit to have more say in matters? Will be difficult if they don't get up their ass and actually start working on it.


Article 50 is not definitely irrevocable, no.

I believe, revocation with Art. 50 requires an unanimous agreement of all 27 member states. Good luck with that.

But even if Art. 50 is revoked, the UK's standing in the EU will be permanently damaged. What reason is there to continue all the special deals that the UK got, foremost the famous Thatcher rebates? Why continue to subsidize regions where a majority of the population want out of the EU (I'm looking at you Cornwall and Wales)? Why trust the UK that it won't change it's mind once again in a few years and wants out after all? Why trust the UK in anything related to the EU?
posted by sour cream at 6:08 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


Howling Laud senses the opportunity.
posted by delfin at 6:10 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> Dollar Store Thatcher.

:ahem: 'Pound Shop Thatcher', ifyouplease.

Mood currently see-sawing between BRING IT, MAY. BRING IT. and OH, BLOODY HELL FIRE.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 6:10 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


:ahem: 'Pound Shop Thatcher', ifyouplease.

Is a post-Brexit UK officially Poundland?
posted by jaduncan at 6:13 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


"No Tories No Brexit" is, unfortunately, a bit of a dream when about 80% of Labour voted for it during the parliamentary vote.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:16 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


The concept of 'unity' seems to be doing a lot of work in politics at the moment, with the sense of "we all need to throw our wholehearted support behind whatever the majority decided, because if we keep disagreeing then that's Being Divisive."

Yeah, it's funny how calls for unity almost always come from people in power trying to consolidate their position. Around election times there needs to be a little phrasebook distributed to schools, workplaces, and pubs throughout the land, with reminders of essential translations like:

"We must be united" --> "Everyone must do what I want, unquestioned"
"We must be allowed to talk about [X]" --> "When I talk about [X], people shouldn't be allowed to contradict me"
"Common sense" or "Good old days" --> "My unexamined biases"
[Any reference to "Real People", "Real Brits", etc] --> "Anyone we disagree with shouldn't really be considered a person, so their opinions/rights/safety can be ignored".
posted by metaBugs at 6:18 AM on April 18 [35 favorites]


Dysk, you are an EU national, aren't you? if I recall correctly, the commission made it a point that the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa need to be settled first (read: nobody will be kicked out of the country) before serious negotiations on trade can start.

Yes, and given the UK government's recent history on legal gymnastics in defining who counts as resident (never mind eligible for permanent resident status) here, I'm not hopeful that that means shit. I'm already counted as "not habitually resident" in the only country I've lived in for about twelve years, since I left home at eighteen, on account of not currently being in work. I have absolute confidence that any deal on current EU residents of the UK will be similarly targeted at people "habitually resident" in the UK at the time of brexit.
posted by Dysk at 6:19 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


Is a post-Brexit UK officially Poundland?

Yes, and not just for the pig any more.
posted by delfin at 6:25 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> Howling Laud senses the opportunity.

In-fucking-deed. The only sane vote right now is a "Vote For Insanity".
posted by ZipRibbons at 6:27 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


And I wasn't suggesting it'll happen tomorrow, or later this year. Just that what the tories eventually want out of this is very clear, and it'd be stupid not to start preparing for that now in light of their coming electoral victory settling much of the current uncertainty.
posted by Dysk at 6:27 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


The sheer balls-out chutzpah of May's line about 'THEIR political games' - meaning the other parties' - is quite something. Especially when you think about Labour's masterful strategy of not really opposing Brexit and hoping the issue will go away.

I'm seeing this election more as a warm-up for the now traditional summer Labour leadership election than anything else. A few months ago I really liked Keir Starmer but I'm less enthused by him now after his Article 50 flop.
posted by Mocata at 6:30 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


From what I understand, being Foreign, Corbyn's saving grace is that he was too thick to get with the neoliberalism program and so is the only one in the Labour party with any credible stance against neoliberalism, which is what the leftie kids want these days. Problem is, Corbyn a) is the leader of a party of people who are still very much neoliberals and thus don't want to work with him, b) he's thick, and c) because he's thick, he's also in favour of things like Brexit which is not what the people who voted for him as leader want. So he has no natural constituency and no real way to pull one together.

Meanwhile, the people who used to vote Labour don't any more because Labour basically gave up on solidarity to chase neoliberalism and so their voters have no reason to vote for the success of people not exactly like them. If Labour want to get out of the quagmire they have to come up with a compelling vision of their own, which they can't do because most of them were Extremely Wrong about this big question of this generation.
posted by Merus at 6:33 AM on April 18 [14 favorites]


If we can cool it with the preemptive disappointment, that'd be great. If you want no Tories and no Brexit, talk about how it might happen, not about how difficult it might be. Don't crack your eggshells before they're hatched, everyone.
posted by ambrosen at 6:33 AM on April 18 [14 favorites]


And here is the full statement from Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and Scottish first minister, on the early election announcement.

This announcement is one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history, and it shows that Theresa May is once again putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country.

She is clearly betting that the Tories can win a bigger majority in England given the utter disarray in the Labour party.

That makes it all the important that Scotland is protected from a Tory party which now sees the chance of grabbing control of government for many years to come and moving the UK further to the right – forcing through a hard Brexit and imposing deeper cuts in the process.

That means that this will be – more than ever before – an election about standing up for Scotland, in the face of a rightwing, austerity obsessed Tory government with no mandate in Scotland but which now thinks it can do whatever it wants and get away with it.

In terms of Scotland, this move is a huge political miscalculation by the prime minister.

It will once again give people the opportunity to reject the Tories’ narrow, divisive agenda, as well as reinforcing the democratic mandate which already exists for giving the people of Scotland a choice on their future.

The SNP will always put the people of Scotland first – and between now and June 8 we will work harder than ever to retain the trust of the people.

(from the Guardian)
posted by mumimor at 6:35 AM on April 18 [27 favorites]


Here's one silver lining: George Osborne may be out of at least one job by 9 June.
posted by mushhushshu at 6:37 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Christ. Corbyn is such a prize idiot. Why give the Tories exactly what they want? Why?

I had the horrifying experience of a Jeremy Corbyn-related panic attack a few weeks ago.

In short, my (not-massively-mentally-healthy-to-begin-with) brain started down a rabbit hole of "what if he's a Russian plant put in place specifically to be as ineffective as possible and guarantee increasing-far-right-ism/Putin's wide agenda", so I started googling "Jeremy Corbyn conspiracy theories" (surprisingly few hits), and then I got worried that I was the only person who had figured this out and was I morally obligated to tell the world about this conspiracy? And then it turned out he's been on Russia Today a couple of times, which intensified the panic. And then I saw my copy of What to Do When the Russians Come looming out of the bookshelf (seemed a lot funnier five years ago when I bought it second-hand) and then I had to to a lot of self-soothing to get out of that panic cycle.

My other competing (/currently prevailing) theory is that he simply has a terrible case of Richard Dawkins disease which manifests whenever he opens his mouth. Which is a lot les big-global-conspiracy-level politically frightening, even if it's still politically frightening in some other senses, and definitely not at all politically helpful.

Also this is not a great time to have brain problems in general.
posted by terretu at 6:38 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


If you want no Tories and no Brexit, talk about how it might happen, not about how difficult it might be.

Well I suppose flying pigs might carry them off to a frozen hell.
posted by Dysk at 6:40 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


Howling Laud senses the opportunity.

Hell, they should go full Pirate Party, and they might win some seats.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:41 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


So I guess the question is "why?"

They are horribly unpopular right now but everyone else is in a state of disarray so they'll probably win a landslide on a tiny fraction of votes.

Also this is before the worst of Brexit kicks in.

so basically we're going to have an unopposed Tory party immune from the consequences of their actions as the UK implodes economically who'll sell off everything they can, shut down all social services and try to make the place a tax haven.

We're boned.
posted by Artw at 6:43 AM on April 18 [25 favorites]


Is a post-Brexit UK officially Poundland?

As if pre-Brexit wasn't
posted by ominous_paws at 6:49 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I wrote about this in my blog, and why I won't be voting for Jeremy Corbyn (my constituency MP) again. (In summary: the Tories and Labour are offering two different variants on the same Scarfolk-meets-Royston-Vasey dystopia, and the position of lesser evil has fallen to the Lib Dems.)
posted by acb at 6:51 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


"We must be united"

For a split-second there, I thought this meant "We must be like United (Airlines)", i.e. ask people kindly to leave and if they don't comply, give them a good kicking and then haul them away - minus a couple teeth, of course.
posted by sour cream at 6:54 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


There is going to be an almost six-week-long campaign, yeah? Surely the proclamations of doom can wait until we see exactly what voters think now that the next election is in two months instead of three years at the very least. Or even until there's been a good enough chance to see how well the entirely untested leaders of all the major parties manage at selling their policies?
posted by Panthalassa at 6:54 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Nobody has any policies.

The Lib Dems have being right on Brexit, that's as close as it gets.
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


Labour leadership candidates, July 2017:

Dan Jarvis: "I'm such a powerful force of nature that I can't even get published in The New Statesman. But I have jumped out of planes."

Yvette Cooper: "Watch Strictly, then, do you?"

Chuka Umunna: "I personally detest anyone who'd even consider voting Labour."

Andy Burnham: "I look like a haunted tree."

Keir Starmer: "Back in 5 minutes."

Jess Phillips: "Ian Hislop is hilarious."

Inspiring bunch, aren't they?
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:00 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]


I am far from a Corbyn fan, but what else are Labour supposed to do aside from vote in favour? They're the opposition, their goal is to unseat the governing party. If you get offered a chance to do that, it's very difficult to argue that tactical considerations mean you should pass up a chance.
posted by Urtylug at 7:03 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


The Haunted Tree will be running Greater Manchester by then. He's somehow the only non-awful candidate.
posted by mushhushshu at 7:03 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Inspiring bunch, aren't they?

I think they make Corbyn look good, frankly.
posted by glasseyes at 7:04 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


The Haunted Tree is currently busy slagging coffee off for being posh.
posted by Mocata at 7:06 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Corbyn was definitely the least-worst at the Labour leadership election (the others were warmed-over Blair-era careerists who seemed content to parrot the past week's focus-group research in lieu of standing for anything), and that's the tragedy.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is for the Lib Dems to take over as the party of opposition, and let Labour spend some time in the wilderness, exploring the idea of what a radical socialist alternative is meant to look like in the 21st century. If the Lib Dems eventually take government and sweep first-past-the-post aside, there may be room for some Corbynistas in one of the coalition governments that will inevitably follow.
posted by acb at 7:09 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


It will be interesting to see how Nicola Sturgeon handles this one. The SNP will almost certainly return a large number of MPs in Scotland again. But if the Conservatives win an increased majority secured for the long-term, then that may give the Westminster government more confidence in continuing to oppose an article 30 call for an indyRef2. It is interesting to see Craig Murray's take on this: the SNP should fight the election on a manifesto of declaring independence should they gain a simple majority.
posted by rongorongo at 7:10 AM on April 18


The Haunted Tree is currently busy slagging coffee off for being posh.
That was Owen Smith.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:11 AM on April 18


Nobody has any policies.

I don't really understand the point of this.
posted by Panthalassa at 7:11 AM on April 18


That was Owen Smith.

Au contraire.
posted by Mocata at 7:13 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Brexit is such a confused clusterfuck that no party has anything substantial to say beyond "the best deal for Britain!" (or "fuck brexit" in the case of the Lib Dems) on the issue, with no clarifications apparent on what that means (except that everyone agrees that getting immigration under control is a priority, because casual xenophobia and racism has just become that mainstream I guess). Politics beyond that will largely and necessarily be shaped by brexit, how that happens.

I guess labour and the tories both have clear and opposed policies articulated on grammar and free schools. That's something.
posted by Dysk at 7:17 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Owen Smith would have overenthusiastically slagged off *all* coffee for being posh, not just the barista-made stuff. Probably whilst holding a Venti Caramel Macchiato.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:17 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Clearly, Progress polling figures suggest that slagging off coffee plays very well with Labour's traditional base.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:20 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


“I tell you it is the first time I have ever been given little biscuits and a posh cup in here,” Smith said, looking up at the owner David Gamberini, as his order was placed on the table. “Seriously, I would have a mug normally,” the MP added, examining the refreshments in front of him

Owen Smith in the Guardian. But yeah, Burnham's been at it as well. Wanker.
posted by threetwentytwo at 7:27 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Corbyn: Let's give kids some lunch.
Britain: You idiot. You fucking shit. Go die.
May: I'm going to poison all of you.
Britain: YESSSSSS!!!!
@pixelatedboat
posted by Panthalassa at 7:31 AM on April 18 [23 favorites]


So if Keir Starmer announced today that he was challenging for the Labour leadership, would he have time to boot Corbyn out before the GE? Or would that be a ridiculous thing to do from his point of view? Better to wait, not have to be the man implementing Brexit, and step up in five years?
posted by penguin pie at 7:40 AM on April 18


Dear Great Britain;

As an American, I envy your ability to look back less than a year and potentially replace your government after several months of a 'what were we thinking?' administration - especially when called for by said government. Please annex the US and provide us the same opportunity.

Regards
-A concerned US Citizen with fewer options.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:41 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


The SNP has plenty of policies; in fact, it's been the only party of note to consistently evolve and present a coherent policy package, but the unionist parties pointedly ignore this because what else can they do?

I find it ironic that the only plausible path to saving the Union would be for the non-Tories to form a coalition with the SNP - which has shown itself perfectly capable of governing with huge popular support from an electorate which doesn't wholeheartedly agree with the SNP's primary political goal.

Now there's a lesson in practical politics for ya.
posted by Devonian at 7:44 AM on April 18 [12 favorites]


:ahem: 'Pound Shop Thatcher', ifyouplease.

Boot fair Thatcher.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:49 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Bag of junk left outside the charity shop that's been picked through and scattered over the pavement Thatcher
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:54 AM on April 18 [18 favorites]


if I recall correctly, the commission made it a point that the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa need to be settled first (read: nobody will be kicked out of the country) before serious negotiations on trade can start.

The UK government has made a point of voting not to commit to protecting the rights of EU citizens to stay in the UK, I've been trying to keep track and I think the current count is that Parliament has voted on various options to resolve this four times now and each time they have voted not to do so, with the Government taking a hard line and its MPs lining up to keep using EU citizens as bargaining chips.
posted by biffa at 7:55 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Fuck optimism. I walked to the library today, about two miles, and I saw 18 homeless people. And that's only the ones I noticed, the visible ones. And then when I get to the library there's a nice big sign saying "The Council needs to make 30 million pounds of cuts. Add your suggestions here".

My cousin got refused PIP last week despite being unable to read, write, handle money or follow basic directions. Women have to fill in special forms to claim child benefit for a third child if they've been raped (and you can't still live with your abuser). Teachers are quitting in droves. Nursing recruitment has dropped 23%. Housing benefit is being removed from under 21s. New GCSEs are being introduced so hastily that the grade boundaries have already been changed and teachers won't have a clue about results until results day. And then there's people like Dysk whose lives are being fucked around with. And those are only my personal bugbears.

I mean, we can pretend Corbyn's in with a shot if it'll make you feel good. I'll be the first one to get the drinks in at the bar if I'm wrong. But everyone knows which way this is going and I don't much see the point in pretending otherwise at this juncture.
posted by threetwentytwo at 8:00 AM on April 18 [38 favorites]


with the Government taking a hard line and it's MPs lining up to keep using EU citizens as bargaining chips

In fairness I believe the UK government offered to clear the issue early by giving all expats on both sides the right to remain, but Merkel vetoed it, so she is the one insisting that the issue is for bargaining over.
posted by Segundus at 8:15 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


This is the email received from the Conservative Party. I have bolded places where my eyes rolled even more than normal:


Dear -------
The Prime Minister has just announced that a General Election will be held on 8 June - and that we will shortly take the necessary steps in Parliament to ensure that this can happen.
• We need this election now to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
• Every vote cast for Theresa May and the Conservatives will strengthen Britain’s hand in the Brexit negotiations.
• We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.
• The choice is between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
We need an election because:
It will strengthen the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand in Europe. Division in Westminster, and the Government’s small majority, risks weakening your Government’s hand in its negotiations with Europe.
It is the only way to ensure we have strong leadership, certainty and stability. An election now will give the country stability and certainty for a full five years, not just up to the point at which we leave the European Union but beyond it too.
And we do need an election now:
We have a one-off chance to hold an election while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin. This decision cannot be delayed and needs to happen now. That is the only way to end the uncertainty the other parties are causing.
If we don’t have an election, we will have uncertainty and instability. The negotiations will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled General Election. Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and cause uncertainty and instability.
We have the right plan for negotiating with Europe. The Government will negotiate a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world. That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws, and our own borders – and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world. The result will be a more secure future for our country and a better deal for you.
But our plan is opposed by the other parties. The country is coming together, but Westminster is still divided. In recent weeks, Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to “grind” the business of government “to a standstill”. The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union. And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. All the other parties are doing is playing political games and causing uncertainty about the future.
We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain. Only Theresa May has the plan and the proven leadership to deliver the right deal for Britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary, working people here at home.
We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain and:
Establish Britain as the strongest country in Europe, in economic growth and national security. We will negotiate a deep and special partnership with our European neighbours. We will strike export deals for British goods and services. And we will lead the world in preventing terrorism and fighting modern slavery.
Build a stronger economy that rewards people who work hard and creates secure and well-paid jobs. We will make sure there is growth and prosperity around the whole country.
Provide real opportunity for all. We will give everyone a chance to get on in life, by building enough affordable housing and making sure there is a good school place for every child.
Build a more secure and united nation by taking action against the extremists who try to divide our society and standing up to the separatists who want to break up our country.
But we will also take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future. We will build on the good work we have done and stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain. But, from the productivity of our economy to the need for a world-class system of social care, we will tackle head-on the long-term challenges we face as a country.
Theresa May is a strong leader who puts the national interest first and gets things done. When she became Prime Minister after the referendum, the priority was to provide economic certainty, a clear vision and strong leadership – and that’s what she delivered. She has also delivered on the mandate from the referendum, and begun the process through which Britain will leave the EU. Now she needs your support to lead Britain through the next five years and give the country the certainty and stability we all need.
You can only get the strong leadership the country needs by voting for Theresa May and your local Conservative candidate. A vote for any other party risks Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, propped up in coalition by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, and the Liberal Democrats who just want to re-open the divisions of the referendum.
The choice facing the country at this election is all about leadership. The choice in this election is strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Donate today to support our General Election Campaign.
Patrick McLoughlin
Chairman of the Conservative Party

posted by vacapinta at 8:17 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


If we can cool it with the preemptive disappointment, that'd be great. If you want no Tories and no Brexit, talk about how it might happen, not about how difficult it might be. Don't crack your eggshells before they're hatched, everyone.

Do you have a "how it might happen" to contribute? If not it's pretty rude to jump into the convo to tell people they're doing it rong.
posted by PMdixon at 8:27 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


blah blah blah long term blah blah plan for strong blah blah blah.

Clearly those words polled well. After all, the 'long-term economic plan' worked so well, didn't it?
posted by adrianhon at 8:27 AM on April 18


Some small hope: it seems May doesn't want TV debates. Understandable, because she is awful at PMQs, even compared to Corbyn. This leaves the other parties with an easy 'Is she frit?' line which the Tories can't confront.

Let there be TV debates with or without her – she will come off looking worse either way.

Other hope: the Tories could lose most of their Lib Dem gains from 2015, according to the New Statesman.

The Tories' biggest danger is in buying in to the shit they're peddling.
posted by mushhushshu at 8:30 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Can you lot keep the noise down please?

I'm trying to watch the snooker.
posted by ZipRibbons at 8:35 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


Are you registered to vote in Britain, PMdixon? Because I'm not going to put the effort into answering your question until I know that.

And as a member of a non-Tory remain party in a constituency that changed Tory in 2015, I'm dead certain I'll go down fighting at the very least.
posted by ambrosen at 8:44 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


functionally the same activity. it's all balls.
posted by lalochezia at 8:44 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


This from Huffpo makes me worry if Labour has given up in advance?
I think I'll get back off the internet and out for an aperitivo...
posted by mumimor at 8:46 AM on April 18


Panthalassa: "People in Bristol give their views following Theresa May's announcement of a snap election in June

Love the enthusiasm of lady at 0:19.
"

Does Brenda speak for you?

Really, BBC, really?
posted by chavenet at 8:49 AM on April 18


I don't believe the intent is to repeal it, but rather to invoke the 2/3 supermajority escape clause.

So not being a UK constitutional scholar (or even knowing if that's a thing in the UK), can a sitting parliament repeal an act that regulates themselves?

(where I'm from, that would take two separate votes from two different parliaments, with a general election in between.)
posted by effbot at 8:52 AM on April 18


So not being a UK constitutional scholar (or even knowing if that's a thing in the UK), can a sitting parliament repeal an act that regulates themselves?

Yes, because of parliamentary sovereignty. Parliament is supreme.
posted by plep at 8:56 AM on April 18


So not being a UK constitutional scholar (or even knowing if that's a thing in the UK), can a sitting parliament repeal an act that regulates themselves?

A central tenet is that a Parliament cannot 'bind the hands' of a future Parliament.
posted by veedubya at 8:56 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


A central tenet is that a Parliament cannot 'bind the hands' of a future Parliament.

Unless you've started the process of leaving the EU just before you hold an election, presumably.
posted by dng at 8:58 AM on April 18 [14 favorites]


Unless you've started the process of leaving the EU just before you hold an election, presumably.

A future Parliament could ask to remain. It'd then be up to the EU as to whether to say yes or no.
posted by veedubya at 9:01 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


So...who's up for starting whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.uk?
posted by Katemonkey at 9:11 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


This also means just 4 or 5 PMQs before parliament is dissolved pre-election. A pantomine/circus though it often is, they might be worth a watch as the last opportunity to see more than a few familiar politicians do their political stuff before they lose either their seat, or their position.
posted by Wordshore at 9:14 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Are you registered to vote in Britain, PMdixon? Because I'm not going to put the effort into answering your question until I know that.

Nope! Sorry, I didn't realize that the comment I replied to was directed exclusively at me, probably because I hadn't posted in the thread prior to it.
posted by PMdixon at 9:36 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


threetwentytwo, I'm also totally livid about how much evil has been done to the public realm in the UK in the name of austerity. And I'm fine if you don't feel that your personal engagement makes a difference. But I'm not going to let anyone discourage me from doing everything I can until the polls close.

I need to fight this for my own health, and as far as I'm concerned, every vote against the Tories is a vote in support of a prosperous & fair Britain.
posted by ambrosen at 9:39 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


The nation was hardly gripped by election fever the last time we had one in 2015. What will make this one different? May knows that we're not exactly going to be thrilled by the prospect of being asked to trudge down to the polls yet again to make an uninspiring choice between shit and slightly less shit and that this will lead to a coronation for the Conservative Party. The fact that both the major parties have jumped on board the Brexit Express so readily makes it even less of a choice - do you want Brexit or Brexit?

This is perhaps the first election where I am seriously considering not voting. Perhaps if the turnout is so crap that it makes more headlines than the result, it might make the lot of them think twice about how well they are engaging the people of the country with the democratic system.
posted by winterhill at 9:41 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


There'll be people voting against the tories by voting UKIP. That hardly seems like a vote for prosperity and fairness.
posted by Dysk at 9:42 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Perhaps if the turnout is so crap that it makes more headlines than the result, it might make the lot of them think twice about how well they are engaging the people of the country with the democratic system.

'Teaching them a lesson' via the polls hasn't exactly had a particularly great tak record of late...
posted by Dysk at 9:43 AM on April 18 [17 favorites]


This is perhaps the first election where I am seriously considering not voting. Perhaps if the turnout is so crap that it makes more headlines than the result, it might make the lot of them think twice about how well they are engaging the people of the country with the democratic system.

That fundamentally doesn't work. Has it ever worked? At the end of the day, some group wins; if they won without your vote, why would they change the system or their engagement to make you more likely to engage? From their perspective, the system, without your vote, is working as intended: they won (whoever 'they' are).
posted by cjelli at 9:45 AM on April 18 [26 favorites]


Remember, you can do more than just vote. Go campaign. If your friends and family are interested, discuss what the manifestos contain. Perhaps skip the rolling news coverage though, because I've barely watched more than half an hour and I already spotted quite a lot of anti-Labour bias from the BBC, quel surprise.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 9:49 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


I'm interested that the UK fixed-term parliament law actually has a process to override it. In Canada, when a sitting government has wanted to call an early election in spite of a law requiring a fixed term, the procedure is to just say fuck it and have it anyway. Harper got away with this in 2008 because the law technically didn't limit the power the Gov. General to dissolve parliament (at the PM's request), and because the Supreme Court didn't want touch it with a 10-foot pole. In Quebec (2014) and Alberta (2015), there wasn't much outcry over the early elections and both governments failed to return to power.
posted by figurant at 9:52 AM on April 18


Here are the figures from a snap Guardian ICM poll following the announcement this morning:

Conservatives: 46% (up 2 from Guardian/ICM over the weekend)
Labour: 25% (down 1)
Lib Dems: 11% (up 1)
Ukip: 8% (down 3)
Greens: 4% (no change)

Conservative lead: 21 points (up 3)
posted by biffa at 10:00 AM on April 18


Do poll numbers really matter? This isn't a proportional representation system. If a Tory area, for example, becomes *more* Tory it would push up the poll numbers but wouldn't give them another MP
posted by vacapinta at 10:03 AM on April 18


Other hope: the Tories could lose most of their Lib Dem gains from 2015, according to the New Statesman.
I'd be more heartened by that possibility if I didn't remember what happened in 2010. On the basis of that, I'd expect the Lib Dems to run a passionate, anti-Brexit campaign aimed at remain voters, run the Tories surprisingly close by picking up some of the seats they lost in 2015 ... and then go into coalition with the Tories to push through hard Brexit, claiming that "they had no choice" and moreover "it was the sensible thing to do."
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:06 AM on April 18 [10 favorites]


{turns on radio}
Political commentator: "...should the result be inconclusive and disappointing to Theresa, and political conditions deteriorate during the summer, the possibility of another General Election this autumn is a distinctly real one..."
{turns off radio}
{looks for wherever I put my passport}
posted by Wordshore at 10:08 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


... But of course having another referendum is completely impossible.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:10 AM on April 18 [13 favorites]


My apologies, Dysk, I didn't mean to imply that every option was better than the Tories. And also, I didn't mean to imply that only people who are registered to vote in the UK have useful things to say about the UK government. That was rude of me, and not intended. I want a UK that belongs to everyone who chooses to live here.
posted by ambrosen at 10:16 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I'd expect the Lib Dems to run a passionate, anti-Brexit campaign aimed at remain voters, run the Tories surprisingly close by picking up some of the seats they lost in 2015 ... and then go into coalition with the Tories to push through hard Brexit, claiming that "they had no choice" and moreover "it was the sensible thing to do."

Coalition on hard Brexit seems more Labour's bag these days, sadly.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


Seems Corbyn is hoping to use the opportunity to purge the party of dissidents, because when you're way behind in the polls, letting Labour MPs focus on the general election wouldn't be much of a challenge, would it?
posted by effbot at 10:25 AM on April 18


I'm amazed that I managed to mostly forget about Eurovision this year, because I've been watching it every year since 2008. I'm not going to break my streak.

Damn you, Theresa May.
posted by actionpotential at 10:26 AM on April 18


What better time to consider rebooting the Carry On franchise? With all this talk of hard Brexit, the double-entendres would flow like cheap Spanish wine. But who to cast in the leading roles - with so much comedy talent available? Our first cut at a cast list:

Joanna Lumley as Theresa May
Stewart Lee as Jeremy Corbyn
Matt Berry (in blond afro) as Boris Johnson
Alexei Sayle as Len McLusky
Tracy Ullmann as Angela Merkel
Sandy Toksvig as Marie le Pen
Steve Coogan as John bercow
Frankie Boyle as Michael Gove
Stephen Fry as Rees-Mogg
Kevin Bridges as Alex Salmond
Hugh Dennis as Philip Hammond
Omid Djalili as Sajid Javid
Eddie Izzard as Jeremy Hunt
Jo Brand as Amber Rudd
Mark Steel as Nick Clegg
Ricky Gervais as Chris Grayling
Jack White As George Osborne
Jeremy Hardy as John McDonnell.
Sara Millican as Angela Eagle
Peter Kay as Tom Watson
Al Murray as Nigel Farage
Marcus Brigstocke as Paul Nuttall
Bridgit Christie as Emily Thornbury
Doon Mackichan as Nicola sturgeon
Lenny Henry as Dianne Abbot
Jonathan Pie as Donald trump
Michael Sheen as Tony Blair
Sacha Baron Cohen as Hilary Benn
Bob Mortimer - Liam Fox
Vic Reeves - the ghost of Winston Churchill

now who have we forgotten?
posted by aeshnid at 10:30 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


The Independent: General Election: Theresa May has handed us our final chance to stop Brexit
The wisest pitch for the opposition parties (excluding Ukip, of course) is to promise the nation a vote through Parliament or a proper referendum on the final terms of Brexit. They should make clear that they believe Article 50 is politically reversible; that whatever the UK asked for on 23 June 2016, it was not necessarily a hard Brexit with no deal in place, and a virtual guarantee that people will lose their jobs and be poorer after 2019.
Questions from an American:

1) Is Corbyn so wishy-washy on Brexit because he is trying to please two different factions within his own party, or is it that he's ideologically an isolationist, and out of step with his party..?

2) Why the heck are the Tories still so popular? I thought there was a general sense of "WTF have we done? I didn't expect it to actually happen!" after the referendum.

3) Could the Lib Dems and Labor form a coalition? Or is the issue that in each voting district the Labor candidates will split the vote with the Lib Dem candidates, and the Tory will win in a walk? Is there no way around this? Labor declining to run a candidate in the Lib Dems strongest areas, and vice versa? And then team up in a coaltion so they both get power rather than both getting shut out? (I guess that would basically be like Lib Dems and Labor merging into a single party for practical purposes, but it seems like very much the rational move in a first past the post system, if your goal is to actually get power!)

4) Seven weeks? I am imagining an American election season compressed into seven weeks. I would overdose on hypocrisy and die.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:33 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Why the heck are the Tories still so popular? I thought there was a general sense of "WTF have we done? I didn't expect it to actually happen!" after the referendum.

This is my question also, as a yank. When I first heard this headline this morning it seemed like a possible chance to limit the Brexit damage, if not undo it. But what I'm reading here sounds like instead this is a move to make Brexit an even surer thing even though it's not popular with the people?
posted by dnash at 10:38 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Do not even hint at LibLab lest I have to drag out my Nick Clegg voodoo doll. Not much left of it by now.

As for buyer's remorse, the typical reaction of someone whose vote contributed to something horrible is not "what did WE do" but "what did THEY do?" Because my vote was measured and sensible and it was those OTHER people who took it over the top. Obviously not my fault. Obviously.
posted by delfin at 10:41 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


1) Is Corbyn so wishy-washy on Brexit because he is trying to please two different factions within his own party, or is it that he's ideologically an isolationist, and out of step with his party..?

A lot of Labour's 'traditional' support is older people in the north. Many of these people are aligned toward Brexit. Plus he personally seems to be pretty ambivalent about the EU.

2) Why the heck are the Tories still so popular? I thought there was a general sense of "WTF have we done? I didn't expect it to actually happen!" after the referendum.

This is what we would have liked to happen, but it has not. Since the referendum, the economy has been OK, which people view as proof that Remain were wrong about Brexit being bad for the economy.

3) Could the Lib Dems and Labor form a coalition? Or is the issue that in each voting district the Labor candidates will split the vote with the Lib Dem candidates, and the Tory will win in a walk? Is there no way around this? Labor declining to run a candidate in the Lib Dems strongest areas, and vice versa? And then team up in a coaltion so they both get power rather than both getting shut out? (I guess that would basically be like Lib Dems and Labor merging into a single party for practical purposes, but it seems like very much the rational move in a first past the post system, if your goal is to actually get power!)

Yes, and indeed this is probably necessary for the Conservatives be be ousted. However, tactical voting happens a lot in British elections, and there aren't many Lab-Lib marginals.

4) Seven weeks? I am imagining an American election season compressed into seven weeks. I would overdose on hypocrisy and die.

At least we get the damn things over quickly!
posted by Urtylug at 10:46 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Do poll numbers really matter?

They can be a useful indicator of the general trend, even if they have tended to underestimate support on the right, as with the 2015 GE and Brexit. As you say, numbers shifting to vote tory in a tory held constituency give a bigger vote but not a larger number of MPs. We saw this happen in the UK from 1979 to 1983, when the tories got a slightly smaller share in 1983 but added MPs for an even more whopping majority (144). Notably, in both cases they got less than 46% (43.9% & 42.4%).
posted by biffa at 10:48 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


At least we get the damn things over quickly!

Well we will get the GE sorted pretty quickly this time, since it is expedient for May to make it so. Last time it dragged out for a while since it was obviously coming, say about 8-9 months? Then the Labour leadership battle dragged out for another 5 months. Then for another 4 months in 2016? And I would guess for another 3-4 months after this one as well? May ending up with a fantastic majority and obliterating as many environmental, labour and financial regulations as she can get her hands on in the name of repealing EU legislation. Meanwhile the press will cheer the cuts, make merry with more Labour infighting and there will be no oversight and no holding to account, because now that's what all (and not just some) of them do now.
posted by biffa at 10:56 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I think what some people have hoped would happen is that the cooler heads would realize the potential nightmare that is Brexit and step up to block it but the reality is that Corbyn and some of labour seem okay with Brexit because it means a break from the Neoliberal Boogeymen in Brussels.

In theory yes the Tories should've experienced a big backlash from voters that stand to lose a lot if Full Brexit happens but it seems that those individuals are heavily outnumbered by bitter Little Britain types who are perfectly okay with suffering economically as long as they can get rid of Eastern Europeans (kind of sounds like a typical Trump supporter) and the ultra-rich who are okay with dismantling the British social security net in an attempt to turn London into Cayman Islands 2.0.

What's hilarious is the Conservatives who actually think they have a good negotiating position vs Brussels when nothing could be further from the truth. I fully expect the UK to be utterly punished by the negotiations.
posted by vuron at 11:02 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


This from Hayley Barlow (head of comms at C4 News): "the CPS have told Channel 4 News tonight that they are considering charges against more than 30 individuals."

If I were an opposition leader I'd be doing my own U-turn and forcefully suggesting that if May wants a general election, she can wait till the CPS make their decisions.
posted by mushhushshu at 11:16 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


Also, just heard the perfect Tory attack line on BBC: give us a majority to protect Britain's interest in the EU negotiations.

So the EU isn't done being a bogeyman oooooooooh no
posted by litleozy at 11:26 AM on April 18


mushhushshu, what does this phrase "opposition leader" mean in English? Is it some kind of Scots dialect phrase?
posted by ambrosen at 11:26 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


aeshnid: I reckon Hugh Laurie for Rees-Mogg, given his pre-House typecasting as upper-class and generally useless.
posted by doop at 11:27 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Jack White As George Osborne

Typo or bizarre/inspired?
posted by biffa at 11:39 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Jeremy. Hear me out.

I know this sounds extreme. but I've got an idea.

Workers' councils. armed workers' councils. set them up and transfer all power to them.

cause sweartogod that's the best shot Labour's got of forming a government. And if you're gonna do socialism, why do it by halves?

(no, I do not think Corbyn should transfer all power to the soviets, though yes "The Red Flag" is stuck in my head right now. I'm just saddened that the U.K. left is even more of a shambles than the U.S. left is, and the U.S. left is such a shambles. I'm sure that if Sanders had achieved a position of real power, he would have gotten as thoroughly undermined by his own party and by the media as Corbyn has. But I'm also pretty sure Sanders wouldn't have taken a stance as dumb as Corbyn's mumbly-mouthed veiled-Brexcellerationist nonsense. I never would have dreamed that seven short years after Clegg's feckless sellout to the Conservatives, the LibDems would somehow become the least objectionable semi-major party in England.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:41 AM on April 18 [11 favorites]


"unity", "strong ... together"

so Fascists, then?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:42 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


@daraobriain:

Jesus, there are rooms in the house I visit less than my local polling station these days. "The usual booth, sir?"
posted by Wordshore at 11:52 AM on April 18 [11 favorites]


Ahem, Dara...
posted by billiebee at 12:04 PM on April 18 [8 favorites]




Are the boundary changes going to come into effect for this election? I was under the impression that they were still being consulted on. My constituency is due to be eliminated in the changes.

I have to admit to getting a little bit of election fatigue. I voted for an MP in 2015, then in 2016, and now again...
posted by winterhill at 12:28 PM on April 18


No, I believe they are going with current constituency boundaries.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:30 PM on April 18


the LibDems would somehow become the least objectionable semi-major party in England

Cathy Newman, just moments ago: For fourth time @timfarron struggled to give me a clear answer on if it's true he believes homosexuality is sinful. Answering would be a "theological pronouncement", apparently.
posted by effbot at 12:34 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Worth remembering the 'liberal' in the Lib Dems is about market regulation, not social issues.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:36 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Cathy Newman, just moments ago: For fourth time @timfarron struggled to give me a clear answer on if it's true he believes homosexuality is sinful. Answering would be a "theological pronouncement", apparently.

Curious about this as well as this is the first I've heard of this. Could anyone weigh in here? Is Farron a discreet homophobe?
posted by litleozy at 12:40 PM on April 18


Cathy Newman, just moments ago: For fourth time @timfarron struggled to give me a clear answer on if it's true he believes homosexuality is sinful. Answering would be a "theological pronouncement", apparently.

I am not a UK citizen or an EU national, but I lived in Belfast for a year and have a great respect for the UK and (many of) its institutions. I have also lived in Belgium on a number of occasions, and I marveled at what a great achievement the EU is. My first thought when reading that quote about Tim Farron? "Well, we're boned."
posted by dhens at 12:42 PM on April 18


Cathy Newman, just moments ago: For fourth time @timfarron struggled to give me a clear answer on if it's true he believes homosexuality is sinful. Answering would be a "theological pronouncement", apparently.

I had a conversation with somebody just the other day about Farron, and I raised his inability to split his religious beliefs from his political ones as a big mark against him. I'll still be voting Lib Dem in the general election, but I hope his lease is as short as Corbyn's.
posted by Emma May Smith at 12:42 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


This list shows where you should either vote Labour or Lib Dem on 8th June to prevent the Tories from getting into power again.

I'm in Islington North (Corbyn's electorate) and I'll probably vote Lib Dem, despite it being a Labour seat. I find Corbyn's vision for a post-Brexit closed-shop socialist society as dispiriting as May's vision of an Atlantic Singapore with aristocracy and servants. Ordinarily, I'd entertain voting Green (they're more open to ideas like Universal Basic Income and “doughnut economics”) or Pirate Party (if they ran here), but now's not the time; the Lib Dems, for all their flaws, are the standard-bearers for stopping this Brexit nonsense and reclaiming some sanity. (And with CON and LAB both offering variations on the same dismal, parochial dystopia, the torch of “lesser evil” has been passed down.)

I guess if the Tories win with a 1-seat majority, having taken Islington North, I'll feel bad about that, but it's a risk I'll take. It's also extremely unlikely.
posted by acb at 12:45 PM on April 18 [9 favorites]


Curious about this as well as this is the first I've heard of this. Could anyone weigh in here? Is Farron a discreet homophobe?

In the past he's voted against numerous laws which would provide equal rights to LGBT people. He's also anti-woman, sadly.
posted by Emma May Smith at 12:45 PM on April 18


On Farron & LGBT rights: It’s complicated apparently. My guess is that he’s a committed conservative-ish Christian who doesn’t believe that modern politics should intrude on personal relationships but also believes that same sex relationships are biblically un-Christian.
posted by pharm at 12:45 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


On Farron: I am absolutely not defending homophobia, at all in any way, but: Watch the interview. He makes it clear that he understands the difference between a personal religious view and the law. He has consistently voted in favour of LGBTQ equality, and it's part of his party's platform.

I won't defend and don't like his religious dogma, but he understands the need not to impose it on the rest of us.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:45 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


Worth remembering the 'liberal' in the Lib Dems is about market regulation, not social issues.

The “Democrats” part is about social democracy, though; they formed from the (classical) Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (an offshoot of Labour).
posted by acb at 12:46 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


> I'm in Islington North (Corbyn's electorate) and I'll probably vote Lib Dem

I think my ideal outcome from this election is a Lib/Lab coalition with Labour losing Islington North. (hey, one can dream..)
posted by doop at 12:47 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


I heard Farron also is a huge fan of Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.
posted by acb at 12:48 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


That is beyond the pale.
posted by biffa at 12:53 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


I think my ideal outcome from this election is a Lib/Lab coalition with Labour losing Islington North. (hey, one can dream..)

So what have you got against a Green/SNP coalition?
posted by Segundus at 1:02 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


ok, fair enough, an "any of SNP/Green/Lib/Lab" coalition would do me fine..
posted by doop at 1:04 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


> The “Democrats” part is about social democracy, though; they formed from the (classical) Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (an offshoot of Labour).

Didn't they have a parody anthem for a while that started "The people's flag is palest pink?"

but yeah if they're the least offensive major-ish party that doesn't mean that they're not also truly godawful. I can't think of any parliamentary mechanism by which England won't be in darkness for at least a decade, and it's not like Corbyn's gonna lead anything extra-parliamentary anytime soon.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:09 PM on April 18


(I'll eat whatever ridiculous cake you folks want if I'm wrong, and then I'll have some tea, and I will listen diligently and take notes on how to improve while you all hurl invective at me about how hopeless I am at making tea.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:13 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


So what have you got against a Green/SNP coalition?

Are the Green Party even running enough candidates for this to be logically possible? (And even if they are, those millions of Britons, far away from the Brightons and Bristols of this world, spontaneously deciding that voting Green wouldn't be weird at all feels about as probable as all the atoms in one's body spontaneously deciding to jump left by exactly a metre, teleporting that person through a wall they're standing next to. Not strictly logically impossible, though postulating a plausible path from here to there is challenging.)
posted by acb at 1:13 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


They'll still have more MPs than UKIP, though.
posted by mushhushshu at 1:50 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


> Didn't they have a parody anthem

The version I remember was "The people's flag is slightly pink, / It's not as red as people think ... And just to prove we're still sincere, / We'll sing The Red Flag once a year," but I remember it as a self-mocking Labour song rather than one of the LibDems or SDP.

Also, this situation is really painful. I cannot see a scenario in which the Conservatives don't gain seats and then say they have a mandate for welfare cuts and Brexit.

Doesn't a short election campaign give sitting MPs a huge advantage? How does it work in constituency parties - will they already know whom they want to stand or will they have to go through the whole selection process?

I listened recently to an episode of Great Lives with Neil Kinnock talking about Aneurin Bevan. It made me think about political conviction and the ability to carry stuff through. I'm just not seeing that in the Labour party at the moment. Though owning my own failure here - I'm barely involved with the local party and I probably should be. Just can't face the infighting, or, to be honest, the people contact, and I despair at anything making any difference.
posted by paduasoy at 2:07 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


As someone just pointed out on Twitter, whatever Farron's personal beliefs, he voted for equal marriage whereas two-thirds of Tories did not.
posted by mushhushshu at 2:09 PM on April 18 [8 favorites]


At the end of the day, this is the most succinct political analysis of the rationale behind May's decision that I've read:

Snap Election 'Suggests The Shit Will Have Really Hit The Fan By 2020'

It's from the Daily Mash, god help us all.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:35 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


They'll still have more MPs than UKIP, though.

That is a pretty low bar to set, though, and from there to potential alternative party of government is a vast leap. Their best semi-realistic hope would be to have a few MPs and be part of a Labour-Liberal-SNP-Green broadly-non-reactionary coalition with a slim enough majority that the others can't gang up on them and dismiss their ideas as pretty, idealistic fluff before turning to divvying up the spoils and rewarding party donors.
posted by acb at 2:38 PM on April 18


Snap Election 'Suggests The Shit Will Have Really Hit The Fan By 2020'

Just think how bad May knows Brexit is going to be if she'd throw away three more years of Corbyn.
posted by acb at 2:39 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


Tories maybe net ten a gain of ten seats? Take 25 lower-middle-class seats from Labour on the collapse of the UKIP vote and having demonstrated firm Brexit resolve, but give back 15 upper-middle-class LibDem seats they swing in 2015?

LibDems maybe gross and net gain of ten seats? Those 15 Tory swings, and maybe a couple each of of the Labour and SNP swings?

Labour those 27ish lost seats gross and net?
posted by MattD at 2:45 PM on April 18


"How bad could the front page of The Daily Mail be?" he thought, naively.

(also, I suppose we'll be moving to a fully elected House of Lords as well then? or maybe not...)
posted by adrianhon at 3:04 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


This is perhaps the first election where I am seriously considering not voting. Perhaps if the turnout is so crap that it makes more headlines than the result, it might make the lot of them think twice about how well they are engaging the people of the country with the democratic system.

Oh my God this is just SO wrongheaded I don't know where to even begin.

No, that's not what they'll think, they'll just think "Excellent, there's someone else who didn't vote for our opponents, and who doesn't care what we do, so let's do what we like". Not voting is the very opposite to a solution to the shitpit we're in. Please do not take that option, nor tell other people you're taking it, nor even suggest in a humourous way that it might be a solution.

Fucking vote, dammit. Just vote.
posted by penguin pie at 3:12 PM on April 18 [19 favorites]


Snap Election 'Suggests The Shit Will Have Really Hit The Fan By 2020'

That and she has some Great Repeal linked legislation lined up that is going to be so scorched earth that she doesn't feel she can make it all stick with her current small majority, so she can swap that for what might turn out to be a lot bigger one if the current polls are any indicator. Fill the house with loyal types and substantially reduce the potential for Tory rebels with tiny majorities to cut up rough and disrupt the cull of regulation and turn the country into a free market utopia.
posted by biffa at 3:21 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


You know who always turns out to vote? Tory voters. A low turnout almost always benefits the Tories.

If you can't bring yourself to visit a polling station (and in my 19 years of voting I've *never* had to queue), get a postal vote.

If you genuinely don't want to vote for any party, spoil your ballot.

Not voting means nobody can tell whether you're disaffected or just can't be arsed. And we can't afford to be apathetic right now.
posted by mushhushshu at 3:26 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


"How bad could the front page of The Daily Mail be?" he thought, naively.

The violent fuckers over at The Sun went for "kill", "smash" and "MURDER". Another 50 days of that, and I fear we'll see more Mairs before this is over.
posted by effbot at 3:30 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


This is perhaps the first election where I am seriously considering not voting. Perhaps if the turnout is so crap that it makes more headlines than the result, it might make the lot of them think twice about how well they are engaging the people of the country with the democratic system.

The 2012 PCC elections had an average 15% turnout. And somehow we still have PCCs. Nobody threw that out. You're not going to be able to persuade enough people not to vote and even if you could it wouldn't change anything. If voter turnout was 25% at the GE all it would mean is articles questioning whether the government had a mandate, it wouldn't actually stop there being a government or stop them from doing what they wanted with their majority.
posted by biffa at 3:31 PM on April 18 [12 favorites]


You know who always turns out to vote? Tory voters. A low turnout almost always benefits the Tories.

It has been pointed out that this snap election will be in the middle of both secondary school exams and Ramadan. I wonder whether this is just a fortuitous coincidence.
posted by acb at 3:51 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


acb: I'm in Islington North as well (Archway represent!) and I won't be voting for Corbyn either, despite having voted for him last time. I respect his principled stand, but he's been an atrocious leader of Labour and I fundamentally disagree with his stance on Brexit. It'll probably be Lib Dems for me - they've been in the dog house long enough for student loans. I wonder if I should do some leafletting or something.
posted by adrianhon at 3:54 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


I find Corbyn's vision for a post-Brexit closed-shop socialist society...

Where on earth do you see that? Policy wise he's basically Ed Miliband.

I spent almost the entire day figuring out what work my team had planned for the next 7 weeks that we will have to cancel due to purdah rules. The joys of being a civil servant before a snap election.
posted by knapah at 3:57 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


In case anyone wonders, Emily Thornberry just clarified Labour's view of Brexit: "Well, you know, we haven't picked a side."

(they're optimistic, though, lots of people have apparently joined the party today. Not entirely clear if someone's told them that it's not another party leadership election this time.)
posted by effbot at 4:04 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


In case anyone wonders, Emily Thornberry just clarified Labour's view of Brexit: "Well, you know, we haven't picked a side."

“The real fight starts now” — Jeremy Corbyn, 9 June 2017
posted by acb at 4:11 PM on April 18 [8 favorites]


Where on earth do you see that? Policy wise he's basically Ed Miliband.

If Milliband was a zealous Brexiteer, perhaps.

Corbyn's wholehearted support of the catastrophic and self-harming policy of leaving the EU is either a desperate and cynical ploy to dog-whistle to the xenophobes, in the hope that some of UKIP's base return to Labour, or, if taken at face value, guided by the idea that building socialism (for whatever definition one gives that) would require a degree of self-imposed isolation from the neoliberal world, i.e., the EU. Go far enough down that road and you're building DDR-style “anti-fascist self-protection barriers” to keep your citizenry being lured away by the promises of Marlboro and Coca-Cola.
posted by acb at 4:17 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


In case anyone wonders, Emily Thornberry just clarified Labour's view of Brexit: "Well, you know, we haven't picked a side."

Another slam-dunk (pardon the US sport[s] reference) for Thornberry.
posted by dhens at 5:29 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I really do have to give Labour credit for making the US Democratic Party look organised, efficient, and on-message by comparison.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:46 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


There are a lot of unknowns here.

It's a popular interpretation of Theresa May that she's a natural Remainer who is imprisoned by extremely pro-Brexit Tory MPs using her small majority against her. She was, very quietly, pro-Remain before the referendum. A further theory is that the new election will give her a large majority and allow her to pursue a softer Brexit.

Another interpretation is that she really believes it (alt link via Google). She was always strongly anti-immigration and devoted to Cameron's target. ConservativeHome points out that "The poll might well return a Tory Parliamentary Party more Brexiteering than the present one, thereby restricting May’s room for manouevre on ECJ authority, immigration control and payments to the EU."

So, it's unclear to me whether the election will lead to a softer or harder Brexit.

Another thing that somtimes gets overlooked is that while the referendum vote was close in vote share terms, the Remain vote is highly concentrated in certain areas. That means if you ran it by Parliamentary constituency, there are about 421 Leave seats and 229 Remain. This makes a Parliamentary route to cancelling Brexit unlikely unless there's a shift in opinion, which so far hasn't happened.

That the Labour party isn't opposing Brexit isn't just a personal whim of Jeremy Corbyn. It's partly electoral calculus, partly because the Labour rebels rebelled against Corbyn when he initially suggested he could vote against Article 50 if conditions weren't met. Labour's current Brexit fudge polls as a reaonable compromise amongst the groups Labour has to appeal to: it probably wouldn't be much different under another leader.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:00 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Marx did not foresee that the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie would be followed by the dictatorship of the white van man.
posted by ethansr at 10:28 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


There are a lot of unknowns here.

I am increasingly of the belief that it's best to approach modern politics on the basis that almost all currently extant forms of governance are black-box systems containing unknowable ratios of chaotic-neutral, chaotic-evil, and chaotic-abjectly-stupid.

And this is why I drink.

(apologies to the D&D folx for the linguistic appropriation, I only ever played it once during an experimental phase at uni, but the domain language is pertinent and convertable).
posted by Buntix at 10:38 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Reasons for Labour to be cheerful.

* An early election means the old constituencies will be used, denying the Tories a big advantage.
* Labour's policies, when presented separately, are popular and poll well.
* Party membership is larger and more active than at any time in recent memory.
* Corbyn is poor at getting his message out in normal times, but has proved unexpectedly effective when put on the spot by an actual election.
* The liberals are resurgent and likely to hit Tory seats.
* UKIP is failing and will not impact the Labour vote so badly.
* In Scotland, things can only get better.
* The Tory government has members who are past masters at manufacturing problems and scandals.

As of now, it's all to play for.
posted by Segundus at 10:44 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]




As of now, it's all to play for.

The short timespan does mean there's less chance of any major scandals/events/brexit-impacts (such as a mass dalmatian puppy grave being discovered, or Michael Howard coming back from the dead after a sinister Tory blood ritual and de-sanguinating Reeta Chakrabarti on Newsnight) pre-election and there being no real shift in the polling numbers.

It's a smaller preventative action now based on the currently known rather than a potentially bigger gamble on the unknown. Which is odd, as that's not how people normally work.

There may be trouble ahead. Like serious trouble.
posted by Buntix at 11:08 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Seems Corbyn is hoping to use the opportunity to purge the party of dissidents

Seems the Tories have the same idea. Big tents, unity, etc.
posted by effbot at 1:29 AM on April 19


The question about how many MPs may jump ship in the coming weeks (presumably to the Lib-Dems), is an interesting one. We have a pretty large number of Labour MPs who are disaffected with Corbyn - many facing possible de-selection in their constituencies. And there are probably a pretty large number of Conservative MPs who are opposed to the kind of hard Brexit policy being pushed by May.
posted by rongorongo at 1:32 AM on April 19


Actually the latest Partly Political Podcast nails it.
posted by Buntix at 1:33 AM on April 19


Interesting WingsOverScotland article that notes that the decision to block Teresa May's request for an election sits with the Labour party today (the Conservatives need 100 MPs, not from their ranks, to support the motion - and the SNP have apparently indicated they will abstain). If Corbyn were to force the Tory's to wait for another 3 years for an election, then the ongoing pain and chaos of Brexit would have done a lot to boost his party's chances in 2020. If he decides, instead, to permit an election in June - then it is likely to catch his party at a nadir, end his role as leader, and keep the party out of power for at least another 2 years. His choice.
posted by rongorongo at 2:25 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


end his role as leader, and keep the party out of power for at least another 2 years.

Well, looks like we got ourselves an optimist.
posted by biffa at 2:52 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Good piece on The Intercept, British Prime Minister Wants Election Now, Before Cost of Brexit Becomes Clear, with a spot-on final paragraph quoted from John Lanchester:
The deeper problem is that the referendum has exposed splits in society which aren’t mapped by the political parties as they are currently constituted. People talk about Britain being ‘divided’ as if that’s a new issue, but societies are often divided, and the interests of all groups and individuals do not align. If they did, humanity would be the Borg. Political parties are the mechanism through which divisions in society are argued over and competing interests asserted.

The trouble with where we are now is that the configuration of the parties doesn’t match the issues which need to be resolved. To simplify, the Tories are a coalition of nationalists, who voted out, and business interests, who voted in; Labour is a coalition of urban liberals, who voted in, and the working class, who voted out. This means that if a general election were held tomorrow on the single issue of the referendum, the voter wouldn’t know whom to vote for. It wouldn’t be at all clear which faction in either party was likely to prevail when the hugely important details of what Brexit means come to be debated.
posted by adrianhon at 2:55 AM on April 19 [13 favorites]


I can't help but feel that the conservatives also want to get an election out of the way now before they have to give citizenship to all the EU nationals currently living here, leading to 2-3 million more British citzizens that'd presumably be fairly opposed to them voting at the while also enraging all their fanatical hard brexit support.

And then that'll also give themselves three more years to somehow work out how to deny all these new Britons the vote, plus implement the boundary changes to lock in their majority for ever, etc etc.
posted by dng at 4:01 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]




I can't help but feel that the conservatives also want to get an election out of the way now before they have to give citizenship to all the EU nationals currently living here

I'd be surprised if they did that. More likely, they'd be given indefinite leave to remain – provided they have jobs, of course, and meaning they wouldn't be eligible to vote.
posted by mushhushshu at 4:15 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how many might be reading this thread, but here's a reminder that if you are a Commonwealth or Irish citizen resident in the UK, you can vote in UK general elections, so please register and help defend your fellow migrants—EU and otherwise—who can't.

I voted as an Australian citizen in England in the 1992 General Election, even though I lived there as a student for only a year, and again in 2005, before I became a dual citizen.

It may be a historical anomaly, but you still have every right to it. It also has the advantage of pissing off the Daily Mail. Before they get their Empire 2.0, let them deal with the consequences of Empire 1.0.
posted by rory at 4:26 AM on April 19 [18 favorites]


George Osborne's quitting as MP, very unsurprisingly.

Osborne retains the title of Person I Have Met Who Was Most Likely to be an Actual Robot.
posted by threetwentytwo at 4:46 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


* UKIP is failing and will not impact the Labour vote so badly.

UKIP is being reabsorbed, virtually wholesale, into the Tories, and taking with it a lot of non-metropolitan Labour voters who've bought into the narrative that their enemies are foreigners and disloyal “metropolitan elites” (i.e., “rootless cosmopolitans”).

* In Scotland, things can only get better.

In the sense that you can't fall off the floor. Though voters rejecting the SNP and running into the arms of any of the Westminster parties is, at this point in history, unlikely. (Perhaps if the Scottish Labour Party broke off all formal ties with its Westminster counterpart, and made a demonstration of being willing to robustly disagree with it when it regards Scottish interests to be at stake, they'd be in with a shot when the SNP eventually stumbles.
posted by acb at 5:03 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


The trouble with where we are now is that the configuration of the parties doesn’t match the issues which need to be resolved.

Yes, that is the heart of it. In my district, the current MP is a Tory but he is a *good* Tory who campaigned for Remain and founded Conservatives for Europe. Do I vote for him? Or for the Labor rival who is a Lexiter (Leave-Left) and believes that once we go flying off that Brexit cliff it will be all sunshine and roses because the EU was the source of social inequality. There is no viable Lib Dem or Green candidate.

If remaining in the EU is my issue, how do I vote?
posted by vacapinta at 5:20 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


I can't help but feel that the conservatives also want to get an election out of the way now before they have to give citizenship to all the EU nationals currently living here, leading to 2-3 million more British citzizens

Absolutely will not happen. That anyone thinks it might is indicative of just how little attention anyone has been paying to the attitude and policies toward EU migrants the British government has been behind over the last decade.
posted by Dysk at 5:28 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


> If remaining in the EU is my issue, how do I vote?

After seeing this, I think we might need to add pro-Europe Tories to the list of least-worst options.

All depending on your constituency, of course.
posted by mushhushshu at 5:43 AM on April 19


Dysk, what if the deal is from the EU is a simple "accept the 2-3 million current EU nationals, or we'll also revoke the 1-2 mill UK expats in the EU".

At the moment all the Brexit camp seem to picture this weird negotiation where the UK gets all the xenophobic goodies they desire, but has to give nothing in return.
posted by Static Vagabond at 5:53 AM on April 19


Again, look at how the UK government currently defines which EU nationals get to count as 'resident' here. The notion that any deal would include EU nationals resident in the UK at the time of brexit and a bunch who weren't is pie-in-the-sky even before the Daily Mail and redtop mates get involved.
posted by Dysk at 5:57 AM on April 19 [7 favorites]


And remember that this is the definition that the UK government adopted while in the EU, without major complaint therefrom. They aren't going to get all the advantages and their xenophobic goodies, but there is nothing to indicate that this particular one isn't already a gimme.
posted by Dysk at 5:59 AM on April 19


Dysk, what if the deal is from the EU is a simple "accept the 2-3 million current EU nationals, or we'll also revoke the 1-2 mill UK expats in the EU".

All those empty polski skleps can be repurposed into Costa Del Sol-themed bars for grumpy repatriees, festooned with Union Jacks, football memorabilia and the kind of patriotic tat that reminds one of being an Englishman among foreigners, and serving only pasteurised ales that used to be shipped to Spain.
posted by acb at 6:21 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah, from the habitual residence test (HRT) info page, which includes, as a most unhelpful sentence "There is no clear definition of habitual residence and it can be difficult to prove that you intend to settle in the UK."

Sorry to hear you're wrapped up in that quagmire Dysk
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:24 AM on April 19


Yep, there's no question in my mind that Theresa May is driven by a vision of England (+appendages) in which everyone who lives there was born there.

This is wildly different to my view of the UK, and what I want from it, as well as being wildly different to my values, and wildly different to the needs of a developed industrialised service focussed economy.

In my wildly overreaching opinion, it is concordant with a plurality of rural, small town and post-industrial town English values, less resonant in Wales and unpopular in Scotland. Northern Ireland obviously has a whole different set of considerations around values, and clearly isn't particularly of interest to Tory strategies.

Which is to say that the key aim of Tory Brexit is to make sure that everyone that votes Tory never hears anyone speaking in a language other than unaccented English in the street. It is a ridiculous and hateful aim, and anyone who has another pretext for thinking Brexit is desirable is functionally indistinguishable from that set of values.
posted by ambrosen at 6:27 AM on April 19 [12 favorites]


The Election is on. Vote was 522 votes to 13.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:50 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Fixed-term Parliaments are good, except when they are not.

Motion: Early Parliamentary General Election Act (aka 2017 Party before Country Act)

Passed. (Ayes 522; Nos 13)

So, 8 June 2017 it is then.
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:50 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Yep, there's no question in my mind that Theresa May is driven by a vision of England (+appendages) in which everyone who lives there was born there.

Why does this all seem so... familiar...
posted by delfin at 7:14 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Well, that shows how good a judge of the SNP's position I was! (I.e. not very good at all.)

Surprised not to see more Labour rebels though. Perhaps the general view is that it's going to happen and best not to make matters even worse by exposing splits beforehand.
posted by Major Clanger at 7:29 AM on April 19


Yep, there's no question in my mind that Theresa May is driven by a vision of England (+appendages) in which everyone who lives there was born there.


I don't agree. I think she is driven by a vision of England where she is, and remains, Prime Minister. She was a Remainer, when it became expedient to her ambition, she became a committed Brexiter. She was against a GE in Oct 2016, when it became expedient to call one in Apr 2017 she called one. She is committed only to whatever will let her keep riding the tiger and if that is to go along with whatever reality the red tops and the Mail can create, that is what she will do.
posted by biffa at 7:46 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Or perhaps by a motivation to play a historic role, reshaping Britain in her image, from a politically-correct, liberal Eurostate into an authoritarian, hierarchical Singapore/Dubai-like state, and in doing so, cement the Conservative Party into a Singaporean-style perpetual party of government. If she succeeds, she will be no less a historical figure than Elizabeth I or Henry VIII.
posted by acb at 7:50 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by ZipRibbons at 7:52 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Honestly if you want to see the fucking state of political journalism in this country, look at all the journos on Twitter rushing to criticise John McDonnell for saying anyone on £70,000 a year is rich. When the average salary in London is £36,000.

But hey, at least John Harris will be on the train to Shit Provincial Town to tell us what the poors really think.
posted by threetwentytwo at 8:17 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


oh yes indeed. I can't wait for the next round of coverage from those same journalists about how out-of-touch Labour is with Ordinary Working People(tm).

Fuck it, back to the Daily Mash for my political commentary these days. Currently: May confident Britain’s rabid, insane press will never turn on her ("We’re not just a vicious, neo-fascist media giant and its current pet politician. We’re genuinely friends.”)
posted by Catseye at 8:44 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Kind of confused by the SNP's total abstention myself. Seems to have been an attempt to stand against Brexit while using the GE as a proxy for indyref2
posted by scruss at 8:46 AM on April 19


Interesting that two of the 13 MPs who voted against are the two independents who are currently suspended from the SNP (Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry). SNP shortly to make a decision on whether they'll be standing as SNP or not this time round; I wonder if that's a sign they won't be?
posted by Catseye at 8:52 AM on April 19


(My guess there would be that the SNP will boot both of them, especially given that Michelle Thomson's seat will be a key target for the LibDems, and then go after the Tories hard on the expenses scandal stuff. Harder to do that if your own MPs are recently readmitted after police investigations...)
posted by Catseye at 9:02 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I'm hearing that Labour supporters have already donated over £200,000 in the last 24 hours.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 9:44 AM on April 19


Kind of confused by the SNP's total abstention myself. Seems to have been an attempt to stand against Brexit while using the GE as a proxy for indyref2
British Political Parties Are Not Your Friends and Will Always Disappoint You, part no. 124336 of an ongoing series.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:52 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Huh? The SNP's stance seems perfectly clear to me. They could have voted for it (pointlessly, since it was a foregone conclusion) and been accused indulging in of the same kind of naked political games at the expense of actually governing as the Tories; they could have voted against it (pointlessly, since it was a foregone conclusion) and been accused of being to cowardly to actually take on the current government and its awful policies; or they could have said f*ck off, this is stupid. They chose to say f*ck off, this is stupid, and honestly it seems like the most sensible of the three choices they were given.
posted by kyrademon at 10:07 AM on April 19 [10 favorites]


They chose to say fsck off, this is stupid, and honestly it seems like the most sensible of the three choices they were given.

The act counts "the number of members who vote in favour of the motion" and compares that to "two thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats)" so in practice, saying it's stupid is the same thing as being a coward...
posted by effbot at 10:58 AM on April 19


biffa, the reason I think she's driven to keeping Englandshire English is because of the way she ran the Home Office: I don't think it had to be anything like as vicious as it has been: refusing visitor visas to people I've known, as well as rejecting spousal visas to friends of mine and refusing entry to others. All of which happened to white people from nations with no trend of unlawful migration to the UK who speak good English and met both the reasonable criteria and the unreasonable ones. The spousal visa came through in the end, but the rejected application had nothing wrong with it. TLDR: Theresa May doesn't people coming to the UK.

I think the wanting to keep in power is also one of her motivations, but it feels like a work ethic driven - "I will get the job done" - type of desire to keep in power, not a "must rule everything" desire to keep in power.
posted by ambrosen at 11:00 AM on April 19 [7 favorites]


I'm going to lift an illuminating comment about the idiocy going on. I'm surprised the hard right aren't all on some sort of medication to absorb all the double think.

The country is simultaneously uniting under Brexit, but at the same time is being hijacked by bremoaners and saboteurs.

The opposition is simultaneously derided as weak and divided, but at the same time is actively obstructing the "will of the people".

A union with Europe is dismissed as undemocratic and taking away our sovereignty, yet a union with Scotland is powerful and in Scotland's economic interest.
posted by adamvasco at 12:09 PM on April 19 [9 favorites]


Thanks, kyrademon, seems a bit more sensible now.

  Some small hope: it seems May doesn't want TV debates

Seems that ITV are going ahead and ‘empty chairing’ May anyway. “The British people deserve to hear party leaders set out their plans and debate them publicly.”, quoth ‘Nice But Dim’ Farron, not realizing that May doesn't have any.
posted by scruss at 12:48 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


> "in practice, saying it's stupid is the same thing as being a coward..."

Not at all. In practice, their votes were completely irrelevant once Labour announced they were voting for it. Literally the only way their vote mattered was in how they chose to be perceived and the statement they wanted to make.

"Screw this noise" appears to be their choice of statement.
posted by kyrademon at 12:58 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Something Theresa May is not is agile. Even today, with the advantage of surprise, she could do little more but trot out robotic phrases. When challenged successfully (such as by Yvette Cooper), she struggled to come back. She will look weak if she skips the debates, but right now I think she might look even worse if exposed to harsher scrutiny than she's been receiving under PMQs. Hell, even Corbyn has bested her on several occasions.

She's a weak leader playing at being a tough leader. If things go wrong during the campaign (and surely they will?), she might find it difficult to recover.

All this talk of landslides in the media puts her in a bad spot. Anything other than a landslide might look like failure. And while the Tories are good at uniting, they are also bloodthirsty when it comes to faltering leadership.
posted by mushhushshu at 1:19 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Post-announcement YouGov (via @britainelects):

CON: 48% (+4)
LAB: 24% (+1)
LDEM: 12% (-)
UKIP: 7% (-3)
posted by effbot at 2:34 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Christ.
posted by pharm at 3:05 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


A union with Europe is dismissed as undemocratic and taking away our sovereignty, yet a union with Scotland is powerful and in Scotland's economic interest.

The problem with the EU is that one cannot spin it as an English-dominated empire.
posted by acb at 3:20 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Polling timeline for Scotland. Latest was 17th March, so no impact from the election announcement yet). Then it was:

SNP: 47%, Tories: 28%, Labour: 14%, Other: 7%, Lib Dems: 4%


My suspicion is that the Tories will benefit as the election is (to a degree) going to be seen as an ersatz for indyref2. The SNP was a much safer vote for the union-inclined (but wanting a competentish centre-left government) at the last general election as indyref1 had already been and gone.

This time it doesn't seem likely the SNP/Greens will pick up any 'No' voters, and will quite possibly lose a lot of the 'Maybe' and 'Kinda Yes, but can we stop having quite so much fscking politics all at once, maybe leave it a decade?'
posted by Buntix at 3:23 PM on April 19


Donate to the Lib Dems here. I have, and you should too. The only major anti-Brexit party. Here's what they believe in.

Donating means you help even if they're an unrealistic prospect in your constituency. This is the only chance to send an anti-Brexit message before the 2-year time limit. If they do well, it increases the (admittedly slim) chances of a roll-back referendum.
posted by Quagkapi at 3:24 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Donate to the Lib Dems here. I have, and you should too.

Is there any way to earmark donations for use in a specific constituency?
posted by acb at 3:36 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Donate to the Lib Dems here. I have, and you should too. The only major anti-Brexit party. Here's what they believe in.

Like they were anti-tuition fees. Part of their 'No more broken promises' campaign. Just before they got into bed with the Tories.
posted by veedubya at 3:46 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


veedubya, as a UK citizen resident in another EU country, remind us how you feel about Brexit before attacking a non-Brexit policy of the only anti-Brexit party running in all 650 constituencies.
posted by ambrosen at 3:55 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


I said that I'd vote Brexit. I voted Brexit.

The LibDems said that they'd vote to eliminate tuition fees. They voted to triple them.
posted by veedubya at 3:59 PM on April 19




I have a lot of beef with the Lib Dems, but I'd vote for them every day if it meant the Tories didn't have a massive majority. That's how bad things feel right now.
posted by mushhushshu at 4:13 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


It was the LibDems that gave the Tories their majority a mere 7 years ago. Every single piece of disgusting legislation that the Tories passed, demonising the poor, stripping out the NHS for spare parts, was done with their active participation, and couldn't have been done without, the LibDems.

Tim Farron Refuses To Rule Out Possible Tory Coalition After Election
posted by veedubya at 4:18 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Well, the LD line on that last time round was "but we reined the Tories in - look what they would have done without us!". Which didn't get much traction in 2015 ("haha yeah right, how much worse could it have been?"), but I suspect might play a bit better with the voters they're after this time ("...oh.")

It says a lot about the weirdness that is current UK politics that the LibDems are the only UK-wide party going after the 48% who voted Remain. Usually you'd think the other mainstream parties would be making a bit of an effort in that direction - the government because they're on a thin enough majority as it is and many of their own voters voted against Brexit, the opposition because, well, that's half the voting population who didn't want what the government is going for. But instead we've got the government pushing the most extreme Brexit possible, and the opposition trundling along with them. It's weird.
posted by Catseye at 4:41 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


It's right to ask questions about what the Lib Dems can deliver. But I'd say that the Tories used them as a human shield and they clearly did mitigate what the Tories did. Whether they should've left the coalition, well, everything was uncharted waters, and as the largest party in Parliament, the Tories had all the power of the government fell, so I do think they felt that the best they could do for the country was to mitigate Tory destruction. Which they did.

So I'm saying you can justify questioning how much the Lib Dems could deliver if they were in a position of power. Which is why they've learned not to make concrete promises, up to, and including not ruling out coalition again.

To imply they were anything other than backed into a corner with reference to tuition fees is not justified, and being prevented from delivering your promises by being overpowered doesn't mean their motives are suspect: it means their delivery is suspect. So they should be attacked on concrete terms not on moral terms.

But I think coalition is very unlikely, and we should be aiming to weaken the Tory majority. As far as I know, everyone here is against the Tories for either their destruction of the public sector or their parochialism.
posted by ambrosen at 4:46 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


and they clearly did mitigate what the Tories did

No, they didn't. They were active participants in what the Tories did. The Tories didn't have a majority without them. Everything that the Tories did was only possible because of the LibDems.

They weren't backed into a corner. That's an insult to everybody that voted for them who didn't want the Tories in power. The LibDems threw everybody who voted for them, who would never have countenanced voting Tory, under the bus for a seat at the Tory table.

The LibDems have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they'll say anything for a chance at (a small part of) government, and will handwave away any promises that they've made once they're offered a part in government.

I'd say that that you should tell the people that committed suicide because of the hardships imposed on them by the Con/LibDem government that it isn't a moral argument, but you can't because they're dead.
posted by veedubya at 4:56 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Catseye, too right, it's weird.

As a Brexit voter, I'd happily accept the retraction of Article 50, if that's what it took to unite the Labour Party. It seems like the perfect issue that Labour could use to differentiate itself from the Tories. A single issue election, on a subject that the entire country understands, would be awesome. Get the entire PLP behind it, and push it like the devil's at their back. Unfortunately, for those of us who are Labour from 'cradle to grave' the self-immolation of the last 30 years continues.
posted by veedubya at 5:05 PM on April 19


I said that I'd vote Brexit. I voted Brexit.

Why?
posted by jaduncan at 7:49 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Honestly? I don't think that, culturally, the UK belongs in the EU. It's always been a bad fit. Personally, I think that the EU/UK relationship is one of those things that, on paper, should work but doesn't. It's like a loveless marriage. Eventually, it just makes sense to call it a day. At some point, both parties have to acknowledge that they'd be better off going their own way. Maybe, in an alternate timeline, the UK could have integrated better with the Continentals. But that never happened.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of the EU. I love the free travel zone. I love the idea of European cooperation. But, right from the start, it was never an easy fit.

Godspeed the EU. May you sail well without us to hold you back.
posted by veedubya at 8:25 PM on April 19


BBC Reporter, Nick Eardley, fails to head the warning about checking who is behind you when conducting a walking piece to camera.
posted by rongorongo at 11:06 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


> Honestly? I don't think that, culturally, the UK belongs in the EU. It's always been a bad fit. Personally, I think that the EU/UK relationship is one of those things that, on paper, should work but doesn't. It's like a loveless marriage. Eventually, it just makes sense to call it a day. At some point, both parties have to acknowledge that they'd be better off going their own way. Maybe, in an alternate timeline, the UK could have integrated better with the Continentals. But that never happened.

Dang though something as big as brexit needs a material analysis, rather than abstract statements about cultural fit. Although I would have been 100% behind (say) Greece dumping the Euro, the U.K. leaving the EU when they weren't saddled to the Euro — and thus shielded from being punished by outside austerity measures — just seems like a bad move for everyone, even/especially the working class of the U.K. Wrecked economy in England, which isn't a good thing when there's no left party capable of turning an economic crisis into an opportunity to soak the rich, chaos in Northern Ireland, the disuniting of Scotland and England, loss of EU subsidies, disruption to the lives of people like dysk, etc.

Like go ahead and anthropomorphize England and Europe all you want, but when talking in real terms rather than abstraction left Brexit becomes very hard to justify.

(and, again, I say this as someone who was way saddened when Greece was unsuccessful at defying the EU. It absolutely is an institution that enforces neoliberalism. The thing is, that doesn't necessarily mean that a particular country leaving it is a good idea.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:44 PM on April 19 [13 favorites]


Veedubya: however awful the Lib Dems were and are likely to be, a straight, large Tory majority will be worse. Seriously. No two ways about it. If you live in a Tory/Lib Dem marginal, voting Lib Dem is the least-worst option.

I'm feeling slightly more optimistic than I was at 3am, so I'll even go so far as to say that the Lib Dem membership wouldn't allow for a coalition in the same form as in 2010. Lessons learned, fingers burned. But even if, somehow, we had a 2010-style deal, a coalition would be better than the Tories having nothing to hold them back over the next five years. Cold comfort, but the opposite is to welcome death in by the front door. May hasn't show any indication she wouldn't be terrifying if she could do what she wanted.

(Disclaimer: I haven't voted Lib Dem since 2010. I live in a safe Labour constituency but in a ward that voted Tory until recently.)
posted by mushhushshu at 11:57 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


To be clear, I think UK nationals who are dual nationals of another EU country and take advantage of freedom of movement but want to lecture us on their very important feelings about the necessity of Brexit due to poor 'UK' cultural fit with the 'Continentals' can do one.

Thornton's Continental is the UK's favourite premium chocolate selection box, so clearly it's a great cultural fit. I don't know what else the word means in modern British English, to be frank.
posted by ambrosen at 12:33 AM on April 20 [11 favorites]


Daily Mail: Tory manifesto will guarantee end of free movement, UK to leave single market and no more meddling by Euro judges:
Theresa May will place a triple lock on Brexit in the Tory manifesto to stop obstruction by diehard Remainers.

Tory sources say she is set to include specific pledges to overcome opposition within her party and in the Lords.

The manifesto is expected to commit the Conservatives to ending EU free movement and pulling out of both the single market and European Court of Justice.
I think the theory that May is calling the election so she can deliver a soft Brexit without hardline Tory MPs exploiting her tiny majority just died.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:53 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


Honestly? I don't think that, culturally, the UK belongs in the EU. It's always been a bad fit. Personally, I think that the EU/UK relationship is one of those things that, on paper, should work but doesn't. It's like a loveless marriage. Eventually, it just makes sense to call it a day. At some point, both parties have to acknowledge that they'd be better off going their own way. Maybe, in an alternate timeline, the UK could have integrated better with the Continentals. But that never happened.

And the same thing is true for the UK and Scotland, no?

But I don't think that the simile of marriage/divorce is very fitting.
This is not a marriage and you are not supposed to love the EU or the countries on the continent.

Actually, to stick with the anthropomorphizing, the EU is more like a house in which a bunch of brothers and sisters are living together. Even if we don't necessarily love each other, we are all related by blood (just look at the royal houses) and no divorce can change that. Brothers and sisters may have their differences, but they are always stronger together than estranged from each other.

Britain is the bitchy sister that always demands the biggest piece of the pie (and thanks to Aunt Maggie is routinely getting it, too) and is lazy with her household chores. One day, she storms out and announces that she's gonna move out and make her own pie and eat it all by herself. The brothers and sisters roll their eyes and point out that she can't really bake very well and does not even have an oven, to which sister Britain replies that she'll find someone else to make pie with and besides, your house is about to come crumbling down, anyway.

We are currently in the bargaining stage, where sister Britain's position is that she still wants her piece of pie, but no more household chores please. This will be followed by the depression stage, but that will come only long after the election, when it dawns on Britain that a lot of things are done easier together than alone, and she's not all that popular in the rest of the street as she thought (as she has a reputation of being a bit bitchy towards her neighbors, which she doesn't want to allow into the house).
posted by sour cream at 12:53 AM on April 20 [26 favorites]


There is of course uncle Donald living down the street, a psychopath and misogynist who likes to make fun of people and beats his wife.
Sister Britain claims that she gets along great with him since "opposites attract".
posted by sour cream at 12:59 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


> Tory manifesto will guarantee end of free movement, UK to leave single market and no more meddling by Euro judges:

I'm still kind of baffled at how the Tories can wind up pushing such colossally business-unfriendly policies all of a sudden.
posted by doop at 1:15 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


Honestly? I don't think that, culturally, the UK belongs in the EU. It's always been a bad fit.

The same can and has been said by disgruntled people in many other EU countries about their own special cultural status. From the vantage point of the rest of the world, it's nonsense. Imagine if we were talking about a hypothetical Asian Union. "I don't think that, culturally, Japan belongs in the Asian Union. It's always been a bad fit." "I don't think that, culturally, India belongs in the Asian Union. It's always been a bad fit." Given its millennia-long entanglement with other parts of it, if Britain isn't culturally part of Europe then who is?

If, alternatively, your argument is that Britain isn't a good fit for the organisational culture of the EU, because the latter is obsessed with bureaucracy and over-regulation and the UK is a wild and free spirit, then I would invite you to engage with the Home Office and its 85-page forms. Britain is so obsessed with regulations that it's spent decades fabricating imaginary ones and projecting them onto the EU, because the boring reality was considered too dull by its journalists. Part of the reason the rest of the EU was so shocked at the thought of Brexit was that Britain has been so instrumental in the development of the EU's actual policies and regulations.
posted by rory at 1:44 AM on April 20 [19 favorites]


I see with some dismay that we're now making hay of the fact that people earning £70k, over twice the average London wage, are offended by being called "rich"? Jesu.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:49 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I'm still kind of baffled at how the Tories can wind up pushing such colossally business-unfriendly policies all of a sudden.
There's business and business. I genuinely think we've reached a point where small, medium, even large businesses simply don't matter anymore to the giant blocs of capital that fund the Tories and other, similar parties. Perhaps it's a consequence of the predicament that Piketty sketched out a few years ago. When inherited money earns the kinds of returns it has over the past 30 years, those who benefit from it become ever more detached from the real economy. It's simply irrelevant to them. Consumers, home owners, wage earners, businesses that actually produce things: who cares? Their political consent can always be bought every five years via the newspapers (also owned by capital).

That's the donors and the politicians. I'd also suggest a lot of those voting for Brexit also aren't particularly exposed to the real economy either (they're disproportionately likely to be pensioners, retirees, and others outside the labour market). Or at least they don't connect Brexit with their own personal economic circumstances because there aren't exactly a plethora of news media in this country that would encourage them to think about the issue in that way.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:00 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


Thing is, I've always understood the phrase "giant blocs of capital that fund the Tories" to basically mean "City money", but this manifesto would be a disaster for the City, or for any multinational corporate outfit. (Witness how sterling moves in response to harder/softer Brexit news). Unless inherited blocs of capital basically means Murdoch, in which case fair enough.
posted by doop at 3:22 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


rory: Britain is so obsessed with regulations that it's spent decades fabricating imaginary ones and projecting them onto the EU, because the boring reality was considered too dull by its journalists.

Very interesting link, containing these two extremely interesting factoidal gems:
1) Contrary to what the Brexiteers say, metrification is not an EU thing and was decided by the UK as national law even prior to joining the EU. The UK could go back to imperial units at any time and stay a member of the EU.

2) Another lie peddled by the Brexiteers is about the ban of bent bananas. There is no ban against bananas of any shape. There is, however, a regulation that states that bananas have to be classified according to quality (which includes their shape), so when you go to the supermarket, you see them in crates labeled "Class I", "Class II" etc.

Indeed, kind of difficult to get all huffy about that, once you understand what's really going on. But then again, the role of newspapers in the UK today seems to be mostly to get all huffy about everything and not so much to explain what is really going on.
posted by sour cream at 3:28 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


And the same thing is true for the UK and Scotland, no?

Why not? Let the Scots go their own way. It'd be interesting to see how they fare under the tender mercies of the EU/ECB. I'm sure that the technocrat bankers will have no qualms about funding things like Scotland's free Higher Education.

Imagine if we were talking about a hypothetical Asian Union. "I don't think that, culturally, Japan belongs in the Asian Union. It's always been a bad fit." "I don't think that, culturally, India belongs in the Asian Union. It's always been a bad fit." Given its millennia-long entanglement with other parts of it, if Britain isn't culturally part of Europe then who is?

So, your point is that those supranational government unions, that don't exist -- presumably because neither Japan nor India want to be part of one, is proof that UK fits culturally with continental Europe? Gibberish.

Whether you like it or not, UK has a different history than continental. Largely because of an accident of geography.

To be clear, I think UK nationals who are dual nationals of another EU country and take advantage of freedom of movement but want to lecture us on their very important feelings about the necessity of Brexit due to poor 'UK' cultural fit with the 'Continentals' can do one.

And there you go. Us pesky EU citizens exercising our rights to travel, work, and have opinions. Clearly, for some, the EU should just be treated as an abstract concept that the little people should never dare to make use of. I can't understand how anybody can be so confused that they complain about UK leaving EU, but then complain when UK citizens do what the EU was established for.
posted by veedubya at 3:29 AM on April 20


sour cream, I could have sworn that the banana example you gave was from Yes, Minister. I must have been confusing it with the 'Save the British Banger' (high fat emulsified offal tube) episode.
posted by veedubya at 3:32 AM on April 20


The line between real life and Yes, Minister got rubbed out a long time ago.
posted by mushhushshu at 3:36 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


The line between real life and The Thick Of It got rubbed out a long time ago.
posted by doop at 3:38 AM on April 20


Too true.
posted by veedubya at 3:38 AM on April 20


About Yes, Minister I mean.

I've never seen The Thick Of It. I never liked the guy who was originally in it. The one who was done for having dodgy material on his computer.
posted by veedubya at 3:41 AM on April 20


I can't understand how anybody can be so confused that they complain about UK leaving EU, but then complain when UK citizens do what the EU was established for.

I'm complaining about people who vote to remove my rights to do so while they have nationality rights to another country (one which is arguably as badly affected by Brexit as the UK is) so won't be affected by it. That's why I think your behaviour is indefensible.
posted by ambrosen at 3:42 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


So, just to be clear, you think that any British citizen that has dual citizenship should not have been allowed to vote in the referendum?
posted by veedubya at 3:44 AM on April 20


The complaining about the dual citizenship EU resident UK national voting brexit isn't a complaint about the little guy taking advantage of shit, it's a complaint that you're voting to stop other people doing exactly what you've done, from a position where you're personally utterly insulated from the consequences. It's a problem for the same reason a working-class-background millionaire who made their fortune off the back of their free public education voting against taxes and free education. It's not "how dare the poor use services!" it's "how dare the hypocrites pull up the ladder behind them!"
posted by Dysk at 3:45 AM on April 20 [15 favorites]


And you should totally have been allowed to vote, it's how you voted that's unconscionable.
posted by Dysk at 3:46 AM on April 20 [10 favorites]


The complaining about the dual citizenship EU resident UK national voting brexit isn't a complaint about the little guy taking advantage of shit, it's a complaint that you're voting to stop other people doing exactly what you've done, from a position where you're personally utterly insulated from the consequences.

You're like a Monty Python sketch. "Let's all agree that you have rights. But let's also agree that you don't have the right to exercise those rights."
posted by veedubya at 3:47 AM on April 20


You have the right to exercise your rights. Choosing to use your rights to be a selfish and hypocritical arsehole, however, does rather make you a hypocritical and selfish arsehole.
posted by Dysk at 3:54 AM on April 20 [12 favorites]


A question: were you only a UK citizen, but still living and working in the EU, would you still vote Brexit?

I don't know for sure. Probably. On the slim chance that I got booted out of the EU as a result, there's plenty more of the world to see.
posted by veedubya at 3:57 AM on April 20


Thing is, I've always understood the phrase "giant blocs of capital that fund the Tories" to basically mean "City money", but this manifesto would be a disaster for the City, or for any multinational corporate outfit. (Witness how sterling moves in response to harder/softer Brexit news). Unless inherited blocs of capital basically means Murdoch, in which case fair enough.
Yeah, I was thinking specifically of Murdoch and Dacre here—the rest is just me trying to work through some half-formed ideas in my head. But I do genuinely think there is a split in the City: some City interests would certainly benefit from the kind of policies being suggested, while to others they'd be an existential disaster. "Business" and "the City" aren't undifferentiated blocs, is what I'm saying.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:04 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Apparently the Tories aren't answering the calls of city folks.
posted by longbaugh at 4:05 AM on April 20


The tories have rather made this general election all about brexit, as it happens. But god forbid those of us being fucked by brexit start talking about that, oh dear.
posted by Dysk at 4:07 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]


Party leaders have launched their election campaigns today.

Theresa May has arrived by helicopter to a golf course for her launch speech.
But her presence hasn't been received positively by everyone.


Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has been doing a big old speech about people vs elites, inequality, tax and so on which a lot of people have reportedly been quite impressed by.
Other Labour politicians have been echoing the policy of taking on the media quite aggressively.


A lot of labour candidates are standing down. (And george osbourne)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:12 AM on April 20


some City interests would certainly benefit from the kind of policies being suggested, while to others they'd be an existential disaster

Isn't "the City" predominately US finance capital? That and German, French and Japanese finance capital?
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:16 AM on April 20


You know, like Wimbledon.

It's in the UK but most of the major players are from out of town.
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:21 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


Most of Britain is foreign capital.

Britain is a globally-connected nation. But somehow it seems to want to deny this. I live in a pretty little village in the English countryside. Most of the people around me are white, British. My local pub is run by white British people. Everyone is friendly. Isn't it all so English and idylic?

The truth is though that almost all the beer at the pub is supplied by global drink distributors. The food too is supplied by a European food distributor. People drive foreign cars. The largest employers in the area are Multi-nationals whose headquarters are based abroad.

You can't "Buy British" because there is nothing British to buy. High street shops are disappearing because everyone gives their money to Jeff Bezos instead and will continue to do so, Brexit or no Brexit. Even small artisans such as the local bakers depend on their imported flour. Even if the flour is ground locally then the wheat is imported.

There's a small (white, British) family near me that was devastated by the Brexit vote. They make small handicrafts and their biggest customers are in Europe. Their margins are too slim to survive any tariffs or extra regulations. I don't know whats going to happen to them.

The country is about to severely impoverish itself. Or, should I say further impoverish the poor and middle-class. The richest will always make out.

And I'm still not clear why because all I hear from Brexiters is warm platitudes like "bad fit" and "take control" and "Make X Great." Nationalism comes in many guises I suppose.
posted by vacapinta at 4:25 AM on April 20 [26 favorites]


A lot of labour candidates are standing down.

I'm surprised by this. Even if they thought they were heading for electoral oblivion. I thought that sitting MPs got a far more generous severance package if they were kicked out by an election rather than resigning or not bothering to stand.
posted by veedubya at 4:33 AM on April 20


Conservative party chairman said today
"This is yet more evidence of chaos from Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. It shows they can’t provide the strong and stable leadership Britain needs at this serious moment in our history."
I've been hearing this a lot, I think it's one of their new catchphrases, which is a strange choice given that the last leader launched a hugely divisive referendum before quitting and then having a snap election called by a new leader who promised not to call a snap election.

I guess they think that Corbyn being so disliked by his parliamentary party is a huge weakness, but with the threat of an election, and many of the more obstreperous MPs standing aside it might not be the slam dunk they think it is.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:49 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Labour catchphrase suggestion: June marks the end of May
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:22 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


And I'm still not clear why because all I hear from Brexiters is warm platitudes like "bad fit" and "take control" and "Make X Great."

This a thousand times.

I think it's quite obvious by now that this wasn't a vote about facts or actual policy. Rather, a number of politicians and newspapers managed to create anger and anti-EU sentiments and to channel that towards the Brexit vote.

It is patently obvious that they didn't expect to succeed, as there never was an actual plan on what to do now. When it is pointed out that leaving the EU is an extremely complicated matter that requires 1000s of laws and regulations to be rewritten, the appropriate answer should be "yes, we know that; here's our plan and this is the timeline, we'll accomplish X by date Y... and in the end we want to go here... " and so on. But instead, those pointing out the obvious are simply marked saboteurs and told to shut up.

So, veedubya (or any other Brexiteers on this list), what is the actual plan? What did you hope for when you voted for Brexit? What is the best-case scenario where Britain is better off than without Brexit?

Because, as far as I can see it, all arguments for Brexit (too many foreigners, too many EU regulations, not enough "control", can get better trade deals on our own, etc. etc.) have been thoroughly debunked. And every time this question comes up, the response is essentially just a vague feeling of alienation, of "not fitting in with Europe" or being "culturally incompatible." And now that the trigger is pulled, it is not possible, for psychological reasons, to back off again and admit that it was a mistake. Rather, those that voted yes will look for any excuse that will justify their decision. Which, in turn, creates a huge market for tabloids and politicians peddling more lies about the EU.

Oh, and on that culture thing: Britain is culturally more similar to the rest of the EU than, say, North India is to South India or Beijing is to Western China. Our common foundations are Christianity, enlightenment, human rights, democracy, separation of church and state etc.; some of those ideas even originated, or were singificantly shaped by Britain. We share most of our history, cultural and otherwise, even though we were divided in many of the wars that were fought in Europe. Also, noone is forcing you to give up your culture or even asking you to do so. On the contrary! The rest of Europe loves those British quirks (not counting anything to do with Brexit here, of course...)

So, most of the supposed differences leading to that feeling of alieanation in the UK seem to be rather superficial. There is one, however, that might run a bit deeper, and that is the unwillingness to compromise in UK politics. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the UK is an island nations and therefore never really had many border disputes that require compromising. In fact, and to get back to the topic, that's what this election seems to be all about. It's about achieving a better "mandate", namely one that would require less compromise (internally). Of course, it will do nothing to bring the UK even one step forward to a compromise with the rest of Europe. But that seems to be very low on the list of priorities anyway. It is totally unclear what the UK and the Brexiteers want or what they are willing to give - the only thing that is clear is that they are not willing to compromise.
posted by sour cream at 5:23 AM on April 20 [12 favorites]


I'm still kind of baffled at how the Tories can wind up pushing such colossally business-unfriendly policies all of a sudden.

Cutting off the British workforce's ability to go abroad for a better deal, and thus forcing them to accept what they're given or starve, could be seen as business-friendly, for certain definitions of “business”.
posted by acb at 5:30 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I live in Central Europe. I chose to work here. Every day I speak to non-British EU citizens. I socialise with non-Brit EU citizens. I've learned the language (badly admittedly). As a side-gig I teach English to Europeans - not for the money but for the chance to mix with different cultures. And yet, somehow, I'm still fair game to be lectured on what European culture is by people who up until a year ago saw the EU as nothing more than a place to go to fry their skin for a couple of weeks a year. (And the source of incendiary Daily Mail articles about bananas.)

So, veedubya (or any other Brexiteers on this list), what is the actual plan? What did you hope for when you voted for Brexit? What is the best-case scenario where Britain is better off than without Brexit?

I'm not answering this here again, because it just goes round and round round. If you, or anybody else here, wants to discuss it sensibly over memail, I'd be happy to oblige. (Time permitting of course.)

I understand that people are upset about Brexit. But, Christ, what's happening here, and what's happened in the past, is just walls of text (from me and others) with seemingly no hope of meeting a healthy disagreement. If this thread just turns into me taking on all comers then, apart from it being exhausting, I'm going to be in line for a bollocking from the mods.

In summary. I like British politics. I came to this thread to see others discuss British politics. So can we, at least in this thread, drop the Brexit stuff?
posted by veedubya at 5:46 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


(Brexit is such a wide-ranging and multi-faceted affair that any article which tries to summarise the full number and depth of the pit-falls to be negotiated is not going to be a short read. However "Brexit:Are you angry yet?" from Citizen of Nowhere is the best I've seen. (follow-up here also.))
posted by rongorongo at 5:46 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


So can we, at least in this thread, drop the Brexit stuff?

Impossible. Blatantly, obviously, impossible. This is the Brexit election. Arguing otherwise would ignore reality and ignore Theresa May's public statement.
posted by threetwentytwo at 5:57 AM on April 20 [17 favorites]


And yet, somehow, I'm still fair game to be lectured on what European culture is by people who up until a year ago saw the EU as nothing more than a place to go to fry their skin for a couple of weeks a year. (And the source of incendiary Daily Mail articles about bananas.)

Oh, and this is a ridiculous characterisation of the Mefites you are discussing.
posted by threetwentytwo at 6:00 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


British politics is Brexit. It's an existential crisis for the country, and as a policy, it's quite literally no more defensible than Trump.

I'm sorry there's no other politics to discuss in the UK, because there's lots else in the UK that needs fixing at the moment, but Brexit is all-consuming. See point 1 in my last paragraph: it's an existential threat.
posted by ambrosen at 6:01 AM on April 20 [13 favorites]


"So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands."

For reference, this is the last sentence of May's statement. A statement which contains the terms Brexit 6 times, and Europe or European Union 10 times.

It doesn't mention education, the NHS, employment, the welfare state or anything which we might otherwise expect to discuss in an election season. It mentions the economy in relation to Brexit only.
posted by threetwentytwo at 6:11 AM on April 20 [10 favorites]


[It's fine to talk about Brexit in here.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:12 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


So, your point is that those supranational government unions, that don't exist -- presumably because neither Japan nor India want to be part of one, is proof that UK fits culturally with continental Europe? Gibberish. Whether you like it or not, UK has a different history than continental. Largely because of an accident of geography.

Who said anything about proof? An analogy is an analogy. The point is that Japan has just as much of a different history in relation to its own continent as Britain does, but nobody from outside Asia would say this makes them a "bad fit" in Asia (even though for centuries it didn't want much to do with it). The point is also that the history of every other European country has differences from that of Europe as a whole. No single EU country is Europe in miniature.

That my analogy used a hypothetical parallel union should be neither here nor there, because clearly from your response you were talking only about the UK's fit with European culture rather than EU organisational culture. Okay. But the idea that the UK is a "bad fit" for continental culture is, to use your own term, gibberish. This is an island which was settled by Europeans after the end of the last Ice Age, was invaded and re-invaded by people from southern, northern and middle Europe over millennia, speaks a language related to every other European tongue apart from Finnish and Basque, has practiced the dominant religion of Europe for over a thousand years, and thanks to its Empire has directly and indirectly been the most significant agent of European culture in the non-European world. Whether you like it or not, UK history is intimately bound up with continental, and because of an accident of geography always will be.

Plenty of places have been a much worse fit with UK culture than anywhere on the continent: 16th century North America; 17th century India; 18th century Australia; 19th century Africa and the Pacific. Britain was quite prepared to persist with all of those, until it was asked - or forced - not to. Indeed, we're now being told by Brexiteers what a good fit they could be again.
posted by rory at 6:13 AM on April 20 [8 favorites]


It's fine to talk about Brexit in here

Okay, but could we limit it to brexit in relation to the upcoming election, rather than a full relitigation of previous brexit threads?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:15 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


[Fair point. Don't make it personal, and don't dredge up the past for the sake of it. Thank you.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:24 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Brexit is personal for a lot of us. Inextricably so. It represents the two major parties in the country campaigning on the promise of fucking our lives up, removing our immigration rights. Neither party was willing to offer us any meaningful guarantee - they both voted against it. Our concerns and position is barely even being paid the empty lip service it was in months gone by. The ability for this to not be personal is a function of a privileged position with respect to the whole concept of brexit.
posted by Dysk at 6:39 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


Please correct me if I'm misrepresenting you position here, but it does not seem to give much reflection to the socioeconomic factors involved.

I'll admit that, in my haste to vote in the referendum, I failed to draw up a full and viable economic plan for post-Brexit. Clearly this was an error. In my defence, I don't think many other people, on either side, did. As it happens, I did give a great deal of thought to social and economic factors prior to casting my vote. What swung it for me, in that area, was that as a child of the early 70s, I've lived all but 2 of my years under the EC/EU. During that time I've seen the destruction of the mining, steel, shipbuilding, and other heavy industries. To say nothing of a civil war that lasted 25 years. That all took place under the benevolent gaze of the EC/EU. If the EU can't protect its vulnerable communities from destruction at the hands of neoliberal dogma, if it can't do anything to ease a stupid border dispute within a European union that's predicated on eliminating borders, then what the hell use is it?

And you? How much time did you spend living and working in continental Europe, mingling with the locals, prior to deciding that UK should remain in EU?
posted by veedubya at 6:40 AM on April 20


The ability for this to not be personal is a function of a privileged position with respect to the whole concept of brexit.

"Don't make it personal" doesn't mean that you have to approach it with a clinical eye and include charts and not talk about how Brexit is a personal issue to you, it means don't call people names and make the thread into a fight about who's the real dickhead.
posted by Etrigan at 6:44 AM on April 20


So your pronouncements can't be rebutted because you have personal experience of the people you're voting to shaft, and it's ridiculous to oppose the shafting of those people if you haven't met them yourself?
posted by Dysk at 6:44 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what there is about Brexit that isn't relevant to the current election, though. The strong and stable lie is so blatant, it should be on the side of a bus, and it also has the likelihood of being just as much of a rallying call as £350m a week for the NHS*. So any talk of this election campaign has to be about how the Tories cheat and lie to win, because they're not affected by policy, and anyway, if poor people get poorer, that cements the superiority of the privileged. Brexit really is the archetype of that mentality, so it's definitely relevant.

*Writing this comment at (office) work in the NHS, while I wait for the toilet to refill so I can attempt to flush it. We can't afford to fix the plumbing.
posted by ambrosen at 6:45 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


Etrigan, this is personal in the way that racism is inherently personal - certain political positions on the topic in effect amount to the same.
posted by Dysk at 6:47 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Because *clearly* the whole Northern Ireland issue was well within the EU’s ability to solve, if only they’d pulled their finger out, right?

What a joke.
posted by pharm at 6:47 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


So your pronouncements can't be rebutted because you have personal experience of the people you're voting to shaft, and it's ridiculous to oppose the shafting of those people if you haven't met them yourself?

I didn't vote to shaft anybody. I voted to Leave the EU. Let's not forget, that nobody here - absolutely nobody - knows what's going to happen to EU citizens as a result of Brexit. It's all just speculation right now.
posted by veedubya at 6:50 AM on April 20


And you? How much time did you spend living and working in continental Europe, mingling with the locals, prior to deciding that UK should remain in EU?

Look, I'm clearly just an uncosmopolitan poor pleb who's only visited the major cities of Western Europe for the odd few days, but why you imagine this should be a prerequisite for being a Remainer is beyond me.
posted by threetwentytwo at 6:51 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


It doesn't mention education, the NHS, employment, the welfare state or anything which we might otherwise expect to discuss in an election season. It mentions the economy in relation to Brexit only.

We don't have politics any more. We only have Brexit. It's become its own ideology, it cannot be questioned. Policies, thoughts, ideas, constituencies and every conceivable socioeconomic divide are now only to be described in terms of how Brexity they are. Is leaving the single market good for the U.K.? Who cares, that's not important - leaving is the most Brexity of all options, so we must Brexit our way to the Brexitest Brexit possible. Brexit is no longer a decision we made. Brexit is who we are. Outside Brexit, there is nothing.
posted by Catseye at 6:52 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


We know exactly what’s going to happen to EU citizens in the UK: they’re going to be used as bargaining chips.
posted by pharm at 6:52 AM on April 20 [8 favorites]


"Controlling immigration" was a key and central plank of the brexit campaign, and the concerted political effort to ruthlessly stamp out any attempt at providing any form of assurance about the future to EU citizens resident in Britain whatsoever rather belies the intent of the parties involved.
posted by Dysk at 6:52 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Because *clearly* the whole Northern Ireland issue was well within the EU’s ability to solve, if only they’d pulled their finger out, right?

Let's see. A community that claims to be dedicated to the elimination of borders within that community. Two members of that community at war over a border. Yeah. Silly me for thinking that the EU could have helped in any way.
posted by veedubya at 6:54 AM on April 20


Imagine if we'd just passed a referendum on replacing the Lords with a Senate and no-one bothered describing how that new upper chamber might be constituted prior to the vote. That's not even half the shitshow/powergrab opportunity of Brexit yet still an enormous constitutional issue which I'd expect to form the major part of debate in advance of an explicitly-related election since it would dictate how/if any other policies might be implemented.
posted by comealongpole at 6:55 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Brexit is the only reason we're having this election: it's May's pretext for it, and it's why Labour is in crisis, which is her actual reason for it. And it's a convenient distraction from possible Tory overspending prosecutions, which could well be her other actual reason for it.

As we're only a day or two into it, we don't yet know how the pre-18 April Brexit rhetoric will transform into election rhetoric, but transform it will. There isn't any chance that the Tories will let themselves be drawn into debates about austerity and the stealth privatisation of the NHS when they can bang the Brexit drum. Whether Corbyn can make himself heard on those other matters remains to be seen; given the state of UK media coverage of Labour, I'm not optimistic. But for the two thirds of Labour voters who voted Remain, whatever Corbyn says about the economy and workers' rights and the NHS will be tempered by the knowledge that he sold us out in the Article 50 vote. Yes, May would have forced it through anyway, but he held the bloody door open for her when he could instead have stuck out his foot.

Triggering Article 50 is going to have - is already having - a much bigger impact on the economy and workers' rights and the NHS than any tinkering around the edges that Corbyn might come up with, unless he can somehow find a way to revoke it before March 2019, which he personally seems not to want to. All it would need at this point is a cast-iron promise to hold a second referendum on any final Brexit deal, in which rejection would mean revoking Article 50 and acceptance would mean Brexit. If Labour commits to that, and tries convincing the Leave-voting third of Labour supporters why they should remain rather than the Remain-voting two-thirds why they should be happy to leave, then maybe it won't haemorrhage marginals to the Lib Dems or, by splitting the anti-Tory vote under first-past-the-post, to the Tories themselves. It could even win back some of Scotland, given that the Scottish anti-Tory vote splitting three or four ways was what gave the SNP such a resounding sweep in 2015.

I'm doubtful that Labour under Corbyn will commit to that. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by rory at 6:56 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


The UK's insistence on keeping its borders less integrated than the rest of EU, combined with an irrational hostility to anything that could be seen as EU meddling in Britain couldn't possibly have anything to do with that, no. Let's look outward to apportion blame.
posted by Dysk at 6:56 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Oh wait, you’re actually serious?

It took the concerted effort of the President of the USA, three Prime Ministers in succession & a Sinn Fein leadership willing and able to drag the Provisionals to the negotiating table to bring peace to Northern Ireland, but the EU was somehow supposed to waltz in and tell everyone to stop being such naughty boys?

Pull the other one - it’s got bells on.
posted by pharm at 6:57 AM on April 20 [13 favorites]


Etrigan, this is personal in the way that racism is inherently personal - certain political positions on the topic in effect amount to the same.

Yes, I understand that. And when someone says something racist on MetaFilter, the best response is not to call that person an arsehole and make the thread into a succession of "Nuh uh!" "Yuh HUH!" "So's your mom!" comments.
posted by Etrigan at 6:59 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


And when someone says something racist on MetaFilter

Is this referring to me? If so, please point out the racist comment.
posted by veedubya at 7:00 AM on April 20


I don't buy into cultural incompatibility as a reason to reject palpably good things, but then I've lived in London for most of my adult life. The UK contains many different cultures, and by and large their health depends on economic considerations rather than the effects of other cultures; whether different cultures are 'compatible' (as the Tories say Scotland and England's are) or 'incompatible', as they say the, er. monolithic European culture is (bonus points for finding any such thing), are political constructs and used thusly.

Europe is a huge mix of cultures, by no means bounded by borders, and there's absolutely no reason the UK's mix of cultures would be ipso facto incompatible. Except when it's poiitically expedient to claim so, and the history of culturally-motivated politics is... mixed.

It's not as if 'culture' is even definable. I have zero interest in sport, which absolutely prevents me from being a proper Englishman, according to many. (Remember Tebbit's 'cricket test'?) Which would confuse me, as I am reliably informed that many other nations and cultures have a significant interest in the sportings, if I took what cultural politicians said at face value.
posted by Devonian at 7:00 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


[This is spinning up into round three or four of veedubya vs. the world and it's going in circles and getting pretty tedious. Y'all aren't going to suddenly fundamentally disagree any less a couple dozen comments into an hours-long argument so let's just cut it off at this point all around right now.]
posted by cortex at 7:06 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


> I'll admit that, in my haste to vote in the referendum, I failed to draw up a full and viable economic plan for post-Brexit [...] I don't think many other people, on either side, did.

This gets to the heart of the matter, I think. People decided about Brexit almost exclusively on instinct and gut feeling. Most of the rational argumentation came afterwards, and did little to shift anyone from their initial emotional position.

> How much time did you spend living and working in continental Europe, mingling with the locals, prior to deciding that UK should remain in EU?

I know you were asking someone else, but as a counterpoint to your position, here's how I've experienced living in Europe as a British expat. Executive summary: I can't believe the UK is throwing away all the wonderful privileges I've been lucky enough to enjoy for my entire life.
posted by ZipRibbons at 7:07 AM on April 20 [8 favorites]


And when someone says something racist on MetaFilter

Is this referring to me? If so, please point out the racist comment.


No, it's drawing the same parallel that Dysk drew.
posted by Etrigan at 7:09 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Cool. My apologies.
posted by veedubya at 7:10 AM on April 20


Rory said it perfectly, that any individual policy Corbyn (or any other non-Tory) comes up with is going to be described as tinkering round the edges.

Corbyn's announced a policy of a £10 increase per week in Carers Allowance. Really, they should be paid in gold bars, but it's a start. But it's not sexy, its not glamourous, it's not the kind of thing that gets on the front pages. And I doubt many of the political journos I scorned upthread have met a Carers Allowance claimant in their lives or know how little they get paid.
posted by threetwentytwo at 7:12 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


Corbyn should have gone for Universal Basic Income and spent the entire election campaign doing nothing but hammering it home.
posted by veedubya at 7:15 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


[veedubya, cut it off meant cut it off. You've commented in this thread more than anyone else and I need you to stop at this point.]
posted by cortex at 7:18 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


Corbyn announcing a policy of a £10 minimum wage, and an increase in the allowance received by full time careers to £70 effectively works out to Corbyn saying that full time carers are worth seven minimum wage hours a week. And most all of the carers I know are in situations so desperate, and so unused to being thrown any scraps that they'll take the extra tenner and try desperately to fade out of the political conversation before it all goes wrong again.
posted by Dysk at 7:22 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Take it from a Northern Irish person, the EU were hugely important in ending the conflict in Northern Ireland.
posted by knapah at 7:30 AM on April 20 [11 favorites]


Re: carer's allowance, I'm glad that care is even vaguely on the political radar, but vaguely is not going to be enough. This is a massive issue that's going to get bigger and bigger as the twin pressures of an ageing demographic on one hand and cuts on the other keep pressing down. It's a million quiet tragedies. It needs some serious political vision to fix, with some thinking way beyond the short term. But, you know, nobody likes to think about getting old or ill or disabled and it's not getting the tabloids frothing so... who cares, right? BREXIT BREXIT BREXIT, crush the saboteurs!
posted by Catseye at 7:38 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


And you? How much time did you spend living and working in continental Europe, mingling with the locals, prior to deciding that UK should remain in EU?

Not being a subject, I didn't get to vote in this. But living in continental Europe, I am deeply interested in the future of the EU.

Should the UK remain in the EU? I believe that a EU with the UK is stronger than a EU without it, so for that reason, I would have preferred the UK to stay. But then again, the UK accounts for only 15% or so of the EU economy, so that's like 1/7th. How much will my life be affected by Brexit? Difficult to say, but probably not very much. Maybe it will affect growth negatively for a couple of years due to the shrinking market and the friction caused by Brexit, but then again, maybe relocating financial services to continental Europe will more than offset this, who knows?

But I do find the mechanisms that led to Brexit quite interesting, because a lot of that is happening in continental Europe as well - rabid tabloids spreading disinformation rather than inform about issues, agitating politicians, a vague feeling that the EU is responsible for everything so if they don't fix everything right away, well screw them, etc. etc.

I've lived all but 2 of my years under the EC/EU. During that time I've seen the destruction of the mining, steel, shipbuilding, and other heavy industries. To say nothing of a civil war that lasted 25 years. That all took place under the benevolent gaze of the EC/EU.

Interesting. I'm not sure those industries would have fared any differently without the EU. Just as a sidenote, many (most?) Brexiteers complain about too many EU regulations, but fail to recognize that many (most?) EU regulations are there to protect European industry and companies from non-EU competition. So arguably, without the EU, non-EU competition for those sectors would have been even stronger. I'm not sure that would have saved those industries.

As for the conflict in Northern Ireland, which I presume you are referring to, what could the EU have ideally done? Meddled more? Sent in troops? Threatened the involved parties? Bribed them? There's probably nothing that the EU could have done that wouldn't have led to the Brexiteers saying "we don't want the EU to meddle in our affairs!" Anyway, the EU played a large role in keeping Europe free from any major landwars in the last 70 years and you have to give it credit for that, but I suppose that is still not perfect enough for some people.
posted by sour cream at 7:58 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Here's a list of tech initiatives aimed at activists for the 2017 General Election.
posted by Devonian at 8:23 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


(I wrote this in response to one of veedubya's comments, but it makes a more general Brexit-related point relevant to this election...)

absolutely nobody knows what's going to happen to EU citizens as a result of Brexit. It's all just speculation right now.

There are many documented cases right now of EU citizens who, as a result of the Brexit vote, have applied for indefinite leave to remain only to be told by the Home Office that they don't meet their stringent conditions and should make preparations to leave, because blinkered Home Office bureaucrats haven't thought to remove that menacing language from their letters to EU citizens who still have a guaranteed right to live in what is - for the time being - an EU country. The psychological impact of that, of the uncertainty around what might happen to them after March 2019, is weighing on three million people in Britain, and countless others who are married to them or friends with them or work with them. I'm a UK citizen, but I'm concerned for my downstairs neighbour of the past seven years, who's French, and work colleagues who are Belgian and Italian and Greek.

As a non-EU migrant to the UK, I know what it's like to live with the Home Office hanging like the sword of Damocles over your future, and I came here before things got really bad; and under Theresa May as Home Secretary, things got really bad. If the current rules around Indefinite Leave to Remain were applied to EU27 UK residents without any special consideration - i.e., without any deal, which seems to be a perfectly acceptable possibility for most Brexit cheerleaders - then hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, would have to leave. Many will be married to British citizens: it won't matter. Many will have UK-citizen children: it won't matter. Many will have no particular ties any longer in their home country: that won't matter. This is happening now, to non-EU migrants in the UK who haven't yet secured Indefinite Leave to Remain or citizenship and don't have above-average incomes. It will happen to EU27 citizens too, unless a bunch of right-wing chancers under pressure from the most xenophobic elements of the British electorate negotiate a deal that guarantees residency for foreigners at the behest of the hated EU. "They can't tell us who gets to stay here! Take back control!"

EU27 residents (apart from those from Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) can't vote in UK general elections, so are totally dependent on the rest of us to stick up for them. And part of that should be to press candidates, MPs, ministers and parties to guarantee indefinite leave to remain for current EU27 residents, not at some future point, but now, as an election pledge. None of this hedging of bets and talk of negotiations: if you intend to negotiate about this, you're suggesting that you are willing in theory to deport thousands of people who have made their lives here in good faith - and, as an inevitable consequence, to tear apart families and relationships, disrupt businesses, and diminish Britain's standing among its neighbours. None of this should be up for negotiation. Unless you intend to put mass deportations in your election manifesto, take it off the table now.
posted by rory at 8:37 AM on April 20 [31 favorites]


I know six people so far who voted Labour in 2015 but are voting Tory this June; suspect England is extremely screwed. I'll be voting for the candidate most likely to defeat the sitting Tory here, whatever their party. Ho hum.
posted by Wordshore at 8:39 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Are these Brexit-people or Corbyn-is-beyond-the-pale people Wordshore?
posted by pharm at 9:07 AM on April 20


During that time I've seen the destruction of the mining, steel, shipbuilding, and other heavy industries.

This was entirely down to the disastrous/monstrous decision by Thatcher and the Tories to destroy the UK's manufacturing base to make way for the nationwide adoption of service industries instead. It had very little/nothing to do with the EU.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 9:18 AM on April 20 [11 favorites]


I'm interested in seeing how the Labour MPs fight this general election. With the vast majority of them voting no confidence in Corbyn only last summer. But yet he has the support of most of the Labour party members.
Presumably most of those MPs will retain their seats, so it's not like the tension is going to be resolved by them getting voted out.
This sort of thing from a siting Labour MP: "I will not countenance ever voting to make Corbyn prime minister" is astounding. Will it become more widespread as the campaign develops?
posted by 92_elements at 9:37 AM on April 20


I used to always like politics-as-sport-stroke-recreation ("Woo, PMQs!"), a preference which has declined in recent years as I've seen shit shake out. Ugh, wasted years! I hate fruitless, pointless, back-and-forth arguing a position though. Ludicrously idealistic as it sounds, I think as many people as possible should advocate for their corner and then vote their conscience. I loathe that politicians can't or won't say "Here are the pros and cons of my idea of how the country should be run". I dream of an electorate that would put five minutes into thinking about their vote, wherever they place it. ComealongPollyanna!

Anyway, in a break from my usual General Election routine, so far I've convinced a) my floating-voter self and b) my floating-voter Mum to support the only viable non-Tory in my constituency. Not at all sure how my friends and other family vote (none of my business!) but will be advancing the cause of *ahem* basic humanity with them in whatever terms or forum I feel might best work.
posted by comealongpole at 10:06 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]




Corbyn to Remainers: “Please don't vote for me.”

Oh, yeah, where? That link is currently six pages long.
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:12 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


> I'll admit that, in my haste to vote in the referendum, I failed to draw up a full and viable economic plan for post-Brexit. Clearly this was an error.

Actually, the civil service looked into this fairly rationally and even handedly. The main political parties didn't and this is why we are being compelled to choose between baal and beelzebub, without a shred of a rational option left any more.

The government (the Tory government) actually issued a booklet laying out what would happen, both for and against. It was exceptionally even handed. Someone reminded me of this booklet - ah, here it is courtesy of @cubicgarden on twitter.

It looked like it was a very civil-service document. I read it again a few weeks after the referendum, and everything it spoke about has played out. By leaving, there would be no impact on immigration and that this was mostly a governmental issue. That the value of the pound would tank and prices would go up for household goods. That there would be a decade of madness.

In fact, here it is on the government website.

Please review it. Everything it has predicted has played out. It advises we stay in the EU. It is from a Tory government.

This indicates we have moved beyond rational debate. Theresa May, in fact, refuses to debate, or to not continually break manifesto pledges she seized power from.

This is a power grab from a frightened, sneering psycopath backed up by the bullies, who can't see more than a few years ahead. That Lynton Crosby is back to throw his dead cats on the table of debate shows us we're scraping the barrel even more desperately this time around.

I'm still waiting to hear a single rational (not emotive) benefit to Brexit - not an imaginary, 'it will be like the 1950s again' or 'we will be like Singapore' or any of the whimsy name-calling nonsense most of the pro-brexit camp espouse. I think there is a reason for this.
posted by davemee at 10:17 AM on April 20 [28 favorites]


“Labour rules out second Brexit referendum”

So we have an election which is a referendum on leaving the EU (there are literally no other policies being proposed, except for Labour's minute adjustments to carers' pensions or similar), where the only viable outcomes are Yes and Yes.
posted by acb at 10:20 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


Just seen the Lib Dem council(!) elections Groundhog Day party political broadcast on telly. Whoever you support that's excellently done.
posted by comealongpole at 10:32 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


Wherever you look, from full-spectrum dominance of the UK media, abuses of 2015 election spending, to the ever encroaching power of unaccountable private providers in public services – the shift of power to the wealthy and already powerful is proceeding at an unprecedented pace.

[...]

And May is continuing in the same vein. She does not look like someone intending to lead a one-nation party so much as a one-party nation.

That is what is now at stake in this election. Another five years of Tory rule with all the terrible consequences that will have is bad enough. But it is clear they will attempt to use those years to reshape our politics in a far more fundamental and sinister way.

Theresa May is not just breaking her promises, she is breaking our politics.
Clive Lewis, Theresa May is not just breaking her promises – she is breaking our politics, Guardian (20 April 2017).
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:40 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


There is a (non-partisan) brexit mitigation campaign in the offing from Gina Miller (bringer of the court case that forced the tories to get parliament approval for brexit).
"We need to prevent MPs and the people being forced into an Extreme Brexit that is not in Britain’s best interests.

We will support candidates who campaign for a real final vote on Brexit, including rejecting any deal that leaves Britain worse off."
It looks like the Scottish Greens will also be looking to consolidate the anti-tory vote by not running in the regions where the Conservative vote is highest.
Chapman told the National: “I would be quite happy for us to support non-Green candidates if it meant getting Tories out of Scotland and making sure we had elected representatives who walk the walk of the politics of the new Scotland we want to see.

posted by Buntix at 3:39 PM on April 20 [7 favorites]


“Labour rules out second Brexit referendum”

I'm ashamed to be a party member.
posted by jaduncan at 7:23 PM on April 20 [6 favorites]


“Labour rules out second Brexit referendum”
I'm in a bit of a quandary with Corbyn's strategy because I understand the arguments for Lexit but I remain anti CRETINOUS FUCKING MORON so it's a tricky one.
posted by fullerine at 10:31 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


So, the choice for the English voter at least, appears to be between the Conservatives - who have been corralled into backing a hard Brexit, Labour - who are also backing whatever Brexit the Conservatives are having, and the Lib-Dems who oppose Brexit but who have expressed a willingness to go into a coalition with the Conservatives. (Or of not voting and signalling that you are OK with whatever option the elected government chooses).
posted by rongorongo at 11:55 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Perhaps a movement to make a protest vote for the MRLP a Thing as they represent an arguably saner (and forced-deportation free) alternative.

The way politics are these days they'll probably end up in government. Which will upset them greatly, but at least they're unlikely to embugger things as badly as the other suspects.

It does seem like May isn't so much playing n-dimensional chess as Othello, and she's just realised she can flip the entire board in 2 or 3 moves and there's no real blocking options available.
posted by Buntix at 12:57 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


The only message or protest vote any government pays attention to is the one where they're no longer in power. Withdrawal in disgust isn't a good option this time.

In Surrey, local parties are working towards a single progressive candidate, in defiance of party leaders, in an attempt to unseat everyone's favourite accidental swear (and NHS-wrecker) Jeremy Hunt. If across-the-board alliances aren't an option, a Tory decapitation strategy might have widespread appeal.
posted by mushhushshu at 1:14 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


My father was born in Scotland, meaning I'd be entitled to a Scottish passport for the asking. It's increasingly hard not to just wish fervently for the breakup of the UK.
posted by jaduncan at 1:19 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


The EU's draft negotiating guidelines if anyone is interested.

Folks on Twitter have been pointing out choice parts. One red line is that EU citizens in Britain will indefinitely be protected by the ECJ on elements such as pensions, employment and welfare. The same would apply to British citizens in the UK.
posted by vacapinta at 1:25 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


According to the fairly broad proposed citizenship criteria in indyref1 then anyone "habitually resident" at the point of independence would also be considered a Scottish citizen. So technically it would be possible for anyone (English, EU, or otherwise) just to Gretna Green a passport when independence happens. Which is as it should be.


Just, if youse are all going to move North then please avoid buying up my dream home before I can afford it.
posted by Buntix at 1:34 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


The issue with habitually resident as a test can be seen in the current Home Office war with EU nationals, but I have a lot of faith in the SNP's Scotland to be better.
posted by jaduncan at 1:56 AM on April 21


Definitaly an "It's Complicated" area, but there is/was a real move towards explicit and deliberate inclusivity. Which isn't atypical, as noted in the link, EU citizens can already not only vote but run as MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. So, currently active MSPs could be among those having their residence revoked (I was sure there was at least one already, but not finding).
posted by Buntix at 2:32 AM on April 21


Of course, ruling out a second referendum doesn't technically preclude a u-turn on Brexit. Parliament could theoretically vote to revoke the article 50 declaration.

There's no guarantee a second referendum wouldn't just end up with the same result anyway.
posted by knapah at 3:21 AM on April 21


Sadly, I don't think this Brexit car is going to turn around before it hits the wall. And it will hit that wall.

Here's a nice annotation on what the EU will be seeking in the negotiations.

Note that while Davis is not even acknowledging that EU services have to leave London, the EU is already moving them and also insists the UK will have to foot the bill.
While the EU has whitepapers and drafts and established red lines, including UK continuing to be subject to the ECJ all we get from our side is that we will get "the best deal" with no specifics.

Ugh. I love this country and feel so saddened at this self-immolation.
posted by vacapinta at 3:45 AM on April 21 [14 favorites]


Disturbance at the Heron House –Theresa May has lost two of her team in close succession: Katie Perrior, her director of communications, and Lizzie Loudon, her press secretary.
posted by mushhushshu at 4:39 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3):
“If tomorrow, the new UK government decides to change its position, it is possible to do,” said Tajani. “The final decision is for the 27 member states, but everybody will be in favour if the UK [decides to reverse article 50].”

Though stressing that the decision was a matter for the UK electorate alone to consider, the president’s intervention pointedly contradicted those who argue that the upcoming general election is not a second chance to consider exiting the EU.
EU leader: UK would be welcomed back if voters overturn Brexit
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:40 AM on April 21 [9 favorites]


Here's a set of tweets that the author kindly posted as a blog, on why this is not normal. Long story short, this can be framed as a pretty gross power grab.
posted by ambrosen at 4:40 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


According to the fairly broad proposed citizenship criteria in indyref1 then anyone "habitually resident" at the point of independence would also be considered a Scottish citizen. So technically it would be possible for anyone (English, EU, or otherwise) just to Gretna Green a passport when independence happens. Which is as it should be.

Not unless they redefine habitual residence in the process - it's a piece of piss to prove if you're working and earning enough, and designed to utterly exclude you if you're not (and in its majestic equality, it grants vi rights to able-bodied unemployed people, and those unable to work for literally any reason whatsoever).
posted by Dysk at 5:27 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Also, Labour's doubling down on 'we must brexit' combined with an utter absence of any messaging or signaling on the future of EU citizens in the UK says rather a lot, sadly. Solidarity for everyone (with a local passport), that's the internationalist labour movement way!
posted by Dysk at 5:30 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]



Also, Labour's doubling down on 'we must brexit' combined with an utter absence of any messaging or signaling on the future of EU citizens in the UK says rather a lot, sadly.


To me it says: the Labour vote is irrevocably split on the issue of Brexit, and the leadership has decided they'll lose more votes if they don't say Brexit is a done deal. My surmise is that remain voters are more likely to vote against the Tories, so they're more likely to vote Labour where it's tight despite the Brexit stance.

I agree that the lack of firm support for EU residents is shite.
posted by mushhushshu at 6:02 AM on April 21


If they were looking fit a compromise position to appeal for votes, then yes, saying brexit is a done deal while reassuring remainers that it won't be that extreme would be sensible. Thing is, that isn't what they're doing - they're just doing the former, with a conspicuous absence of the latter. The lack of messaging on EU citizens is not merely a disappointing omission, it exists in the context of Labour pushing brexit hard, and in that context, said omission makes a statement it simply wouldn't when looked at in isolation.
posted by Dysk at 6:39 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Also, Labour's doubling down on 'we must brexit' combined with an utter absence of any messaging or signaling on the future of EU citizens in the UK says rather a lot, sadly.
I'll be interested in how Gina Miller's "Best for Britain" tactical voting scheme (links: Guardian, GoFundMe) gets on. She seems to be promising to promote candidates who pledge to support a free vote on the Brexit deal.
posted by rongorongo at 6:45 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


It's also pretty telling that we've had to rely on Gina Miller (an EU citizen) for all the organising to oppose brexit at every stage. Nobody else is interested in looking after us at all, it seems.
posted by Dysk at 7:00 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I guess you could call Gina a EU citizen, but only insofar as every British person is an EU citizen. She was born in British Guiana just before it became independent, she's as British as I am, or am I missing something?
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:17 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Nope, I misunderstood something it seems, between all the racist headlines in the papers at the time of the launch of her legal challenge, combined with the quotes from her about "taking back my rights as an EU citizen" and similar. I stand corrected.
posted by Dysk at 7:25 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Don't think you're missing anything, Static Vagabond, except how clearly the press have worked to make a monster of her. I'm not 100% sure whether being born in British Guiana granted rights to live in the UK, and (technical point) I'm fairly sure she would've had to apply for full citizenship.
posted by ambrosen at 7:28 AM on April 21


Now, everybody, I understand that not all of you want to chop off your legs, but the fact remains that 52% of the British people voted to chop off our legs, and although many of those were deceived by the Leg Amputation for Victory party, we in the Remain Standing party need to respect the result, even if it means chopping off our legs. So, as you know, I as leader instructed our MPs to support the government's plan to go ahead and schedule the operation to chop off everyone's legs, under threat of chopping off their party support, and we will be running in this election on a platform of strategic non-obstruction of the LeAVers' plan for mass amputation.

As it happens, our own party once included chopping off everyone's legs in our 1983 manifesto, and even if you may have found your legs intermittently useful in the 34 years since, especially those who were yourselves too young to walk in the 1980s, I think you'll agree that it's important to remain true to our original Remain Standing principles, especially when some of our more elderly members remain stuck in 1983. True, they may have no need for legs themselves, as many are now in wheelchairs, but they still have hands and can still fill in ballot papers. I myself am ambivalent about legs, which strike me as a prop to the middle class and its obsession with low-cost travel. I know that many of you are still attached to them, but trust me, on 30 March 2019 you won't be.

Instead, I and our party will be focussing on the real issue in this campaign, which is the government's outrageous track record of breaking poor people's arms, and their plans to operate on our back doors via the back door.
posted by rory at 8:12 AM on April 21 [14 favorites]


clearly the press have worked to make a monster of her. I'm not 100% sure whether being born in British Guiana granted rights to live in the UK, and (technical point) I'm fairly sure she would've had to apply for full citizenship.

Monster, indeed.

Miller was born in 1965 in the Crown colony of British Guyana. Right to live in UK? Full citizenship? Yes, on both counts. In those far off days the British Nationality Act of 1948 applied.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:33 AM on April 21


Mister Bijou, my understanding is that that right was taken away by 1975 when she moved to the UK. Which is to say that the UK has form for retrospectively removing citizenship rights from her once before. I suspect that her parents had to apply for a visa for her to come to school here.

The retrospective removal of rights to live in the UK for so many people is a pretty unpleasant foreshadowing, now I see it from that perspective.
posted by ambrosen at 10:47 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


Ambrosen, appreciate your input. Thanks.
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:06 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


10 Reasons why GE17 will make Scottish independence more likely.
We shall see what happens - but I think these are interesting predictions.
posted by rongorongo at 11:25 AM on April 21


Once Britain leaves the EU, there's nothing legally stopping Westminster from dissolving the Scottish government and imposing direct rule.
posted by acb at 11:34 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Hang on, how does being in the EU stop them?
posted by grahamparks at 12:10 PM on April 21


I think the devolution agreement is connected to EU treaties and would not be easy to unilaterally roll back.
posted by acb at 12:42 PM on April 21


I think the devolution agreement is connected to EU treaties and would not be easy to unilaterally roll back.

My non-UK non-lawyer understanding is that part of the process of Scottish devolution involved the incorporation of various European human rights language into British law, and that while part of the reason for that was to be in compliance with certain EU treaties, they're just British law now and will remain such after Brexit.

However, I further understand that the NI peace accords do have provisions directly referencing certain EU bodies, and that will be a problem. As will the border with EU member state Ireland.

Maybe if we keep throwing vague understandings at each other someone with actual expertise will show up.
posted by PMdixon at 12:53 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


The subject of exactly how a conflict between Scotland and Westminster over control would pan out - is probably a fairly big derail. My understanding is that there are indeed some EU-related issues relating to devolution. But the realm of the UK is formed from a bi-partite union from two countries (Scotland and England+Wales+Ireland if we go back to the 1707 Treaty of Union). Scotland and England have separate legal systems and each country has different systems of sovereignty. And that is before considering the UN's perspective on Scotland as a Nation State and the EU's on issue of removing citizen status of a people against their will. All of which encompasses just the constitutional legal issues - not the realpolitik.
posted by rongorongo at 1:16 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I almost said that to me it's inconceivable that Westminster could roll back Scottish devolution.

That's not quite right: It's inconceivable to me the Westminster could roll back Scottish devolution without extremely substantial military repercussions.
posted by ambrosen at 1:36 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


and the EU's on issue of removing citizen status of a people against their will

Isn't that pretty much what's happening with Brexit?
posted by acb at 2:39 PM on April 21




Well, yes, so will everybody.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


We shall see what happens - but I think these are interesting predictions.

There's certainly enough potential major factors there to suggest that current poll numbers could be wildly inaccurate. Particularly in terms of how the Scottish Labour vote splits. Presumably a lot of people voting for them in GE2015 were fully expecting to elect a Labour MP (and potentially a Labour government), this time, in most constituencies, it's way more likely to be perceived as a 'wasted' third party vote as neither of those outcomes appear remotely likely.

There is also the mentioned age factor, and that the 16/17 year olds who got politically activated during indyref1 (I have some great compare-and-contrast pics of the [mobbed] "Yes" campaign table and the [lonely, bored, with stacks of ungiven paraphernalia] "No" campaign in the Stirling Uni atrium somewhere - technically not 16/17yr olds, but) will be old enough to vote in this election.
posted by Buntix at 6:44 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


According to the National, the Scottish Labour party is talking with the Tories about doing a tactical-voting deal, which raises more questions than it answers. Does Unionism, or some combination of Unionism and Europhobia, trump all other ideological considerations? Will the Lib Dems (a pro-European Unionist party) join such a deal? Would it be fair to say that, north of the border, the three Westminster parties are but factions of an unspoken Unionist Party?
posted by acb at 6:02 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


Would it be fair to say that, north of the border, the three Westminster parties are but factions of an unspoken Unionist Party?

Pretty much

It seems a truly bizarre self-immolating move from Scottish Labour as their cozying up with the Tories is likely a large part of what led to them being wiped from the board up here in GE2015. Perhaps they figure that the cure for shooting themselves in the foot is to double down and shoot themselves in the kneecaps this time.

Doubly odd in that Scottish Labour was very much anti-brexit.

They even ruled out any more collaborations...
While Labour was on the winning side in the 2014 referendum, its association with the pro-union Conservatives and the No campaign’s often negative tone fuelled a collapse in support that saw it lose all but one of its Scottish MPs last year.

Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour deputy leader, said the party would “never again” campaign alongside the Conservatives or allow itself to be seen to be “talking Scotland down”.
posted by Buntix at 7:01 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Would it be fair to say that, north of the border, the three Westminster parties are but factions of an unspoken Unionist Party?

Wings over Scotland have an old screengrab that allegedly features Keiza Dugdale (Scottish Labour leader) responding to the following question:
"Any chance of an answer to the question about where you draw the line? I really am interested - would you welcome a vote for the BNP as a means of preserving the Union and if not why not?"
Alleged Kezia:
"That's a very difficult question which I hope you appreciate can't just have a simple yes or no answer.

If the BNP ever got a seat in the Scottish Parliament then they would vote to save the union. I wont applaud that... but actually what I'd rather spend my time doing is campaigning to ensure the BNP are exposed for the party they are: fascists, racists and homophobes."
Innocent me would suggest that there is a simple answer, and that answer is no.
posted by jaduncan at 8:16 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


In this case an answer with more information seems better than one with less, especially as this sort of specious bullshit question is designed to try and infer something about the opinion of the interview subject which isn't the opinion of the interview subject. So yes = would work with BNP, no = (1)would put ideology before the union and (2) the union is less most important thing than other thing and not their priority.
posted by biffa at 8:40 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


"No. The BNP would support the union, but I would never welcome people voting for them."
posted by jaduncan at 8:57 AM on April 22


Exactly, a more complex answer is required than the one you give above ('no').
posted by biffa at 9:58 AM on April 22


In England, it looks like the crucial question is "are you a leaver or a remainder?" In Scotland is it now "are you for the union or for independence?" Those Scots who are UK unionists but also pro-EU (many traditional Scottish tories) - and those who are pro-independence but anti-EU - have to make a tricky choice.
posted by rongorongo at 1:57 PM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Some polls in. (TLDR: remember when we had things like social services and free education?).

One poll suggesting that the Tories could be in line to pick up 13 seats in Scotland (with Labour losing their last one).
posted by Buntix at 12:13 AM on April 23


This might please Dysk:

Labour to guarantee unilaterally rights of EU nationals in UK in manifesto - @Keir_Starmer speech tomorrow
posted by mushhushshu at 2:35 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Conservatives are planning a price cap for energy prices.

But the tabloids* are horrified and appalled by the idea claiming it's a return to the socialist policies of the 70's and will cause blackouts.

Meanwhile Labour is proposing they completely rewrite the Brexit white paper. Presumably in an attempt to mollify both leave and remain camps.

and Nicola Sturgeon is fully calling out the tories for calling an election to avoid the effects of the expenses fraud investigations.


*Well, the tabloids two years ago were horrified and appalled when Ed MIlliband's Labour party proposed it. I'm fairly sure they'll consider it a great policy for striving hard workers or some such now. Predictably, twitter is full of conservative supporters condescendingly trying to explain the difference between a freeze and a cap.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:14 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


This might please Dysk:

It really does! Good on Labour for getting it together somewhat.

As for how this affects me (and others in my situation) personally, well the devil is in the details of how they define the eligibility criteria.
posted by Dysk at 4:10 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


On this, have y'all seen this in projects?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:09 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


So, hey, US mefites. I thought you should know that the most pressing political issue in the UK today is:
"What is a Mugwump and is it a good thing or a bad thing?"

So, yeah.
Politics!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:26 AM on April 27


Labour ahead in the polls of those under 40.
posted by Segundus at 5:22 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, bafflingly, Tim Farron has told a voter in Cambridge to "sniff my spaniel".

You'd have thought a Liberal leader would know better than to dabble in gay sex and dogs (for those with long memories...).
posted by Devonian at 9:38 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


AFP: #BREAKING UK PM Theresa May accuses EU 27 of lining up to oppose Britain over Brexit

I guess she's said "Brexit means Brexit!" so many times she's forgotten what the word means.
posted by effbot at 11:26 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Christ on a bike. We're lead by absolute cretins.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:27 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


No, America's led by an absolute cretin. We're led by mendacious idiots.

I too was darkly amused by Thazza's "they're ganging up against us" plaint. I wonder what she thought would happen? We're fucking over the EU for no discernible reason except mendacious idiocy; they've got the world's largest political entity to keep running. Was she expecting chocolates, perhaps?

It's interesting too to hear the "Reality is seeping in" comments from the EU today, which mirror those from Ireland recently. As with Trump, the raw fact is that no matter how much power you have to shape reality back at home, the outside world is both bigger and not having it. It doesn't matter how much unvarnished hate against the EU/judges/Remain voters the Mail summons up, it will have no effect on the negotiations. None of the rabid right's levers reach beyond Dover (here's hoping Marine sinks) so... yeah. Don't be so surprised, Mrs May: those of us on whom your Tory magic does not work aren't.
posted by Devonian at 2:24 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


There is power in a union.
posted by jaduncan at 3:10 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


You'd have thought a Liberal leader would know better than to dabble in gay sex and dogs (for those with long memories...).
I well remember that and the local west country meme became Vote Liberal or we'll shoot your dog.
posted by adamvasco at 5:23 PM on April 27


Via Twitter, an account of how EU’s position on Brexit have evolved: part 1, part 2, part 3 (some of it behind paywall, ymmv).

"This account is possible because the EU has not “played its cards close to it chest”, as the UK has sought to do. Instead, it has been open and transparent. And, as will be shown, it has also been methodical, firm and consistent; its stated views have also corresponded with its actions. This openness, transparency, firmness, method, consistency and reliability offers, perhaps, a contrast to the erratic and secretive approach of Britain. Indeed, it is plain that the UK is now negotiating on terms set by the EU. Seeing how this stronger position has been fashioned and then enforced is both fascinating and instructive."
posted by effbot at 11:58 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


In all seriousness, the rest of the EU is demonstrating that solidarity (aside from the moral and morale benefits) is actually really effective as a negotiating stance.
posted by jaduncan at 12:27 AM on April 28 [4 favorites]


As Brexit looms, Bank of England has nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
Not even periods or quotation marks. Not to mention an Oxford comma.
posted by sour cream at 1:49 AM on April 28


(You'd expect a National Literacy Trust to be literate enough to know the difference between grammar and orthography, but I guess you cannot expect too much from UK national institutions these days :-)
posted by effbot at 2:38 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Surely it should be postpunctuation world?
posted by Devonian at 5:38 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations, unanimously approved by EU27.

Haven't checked the UK tabloids, but people are already talking about going to war against everyone on Twitter so I guess it'll be over the top, as usual.
posted by effbot at 5:59 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Adamvasco - lest we forget, Auberon Waugh stood for parliament at the time under this slogan...

Woof, and furthermore: woof.
posted by Devonian at 6:16 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations, unanimously approved by EU27.

Who would have thought there'd be unity among them? It's almost as if they were all part of some kind of ... union.
posted by sour cream at 10:42 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Just back from an evening with highly political friends, who have - as always - thrown their house open to like-mindeds for Election Night.

We agreed that this time, there is absolutely nothing good that can happen. It's going to be terrible, whatever the details. Curiously, this frees us to just drink heavily and enjoy the ride - the despair we can live with, it's the hope that crushes. The Indyref, the Brexit vote, the last general, the American election - all had a good chance of not being terrible, all went totes 'Ding-dong! Mr Fuckwallah is here with a large delivery of fuck for you. Sign here'.

This time, the gentleman is expected. We shall be prepared.
posted by Devonian at 8:30 PM on April 29 [14 favorites]


Meanwhile, some tories are facing dire resource allocation battles of their own in this post-crisis austerity driven world...
posted by Buntix at 12:50 PM on April 30


Things are heating up in Euroland, and not necessarily to Thazza's advantage. Jeremy Cliffe,
Berlin Bureau Chief at The Economist, has tweetstormed a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. How off-planet is the Supreme Leader? Let's find out...
-------
Today's FAZ report on May's disastrous dinner with Juncker - briefed by senior Commission sources - is absolutely damning.

1) May had said she wanted to talk not just Brexit but also world problems; but in practice it fell to Juncker to propose one to discuss.
2) May has made clear to the Commission that she fully expects to be reelected as PM.
3) It is thought [in the Commission] that May wants to frustrate the daily business of the EU27, to improve her own negotiating position. [Devonian note: already happening, with UK buggering up EU budget due 'purdah']
4) May seemed pissed off at Davis for regaling her dinner guests of his ECJ case against her data retention measures - three times.
5) EU side were astonished at May's suggestion that EU/UK expats issue could be sorted at EU Council meeting at the end of June.
6) Juncker objected to this timetable as way too optimistic given complexities, eg on rights to health care.
7) Juncker pulled two piles of paper from his bag: Croatia's EU entry deal, Canada's free trade deal. His point: Brexit will be v v complex.
8) May wanted to work through the Brexit talks in monthly, 4-day blocks; all confidential until the end of the process.
9) Commission said impossible to reconcile this with need to square off member states & European Parliament, so documents must be published.
10) EU side felt May was seeing whole thing through rose-tinted-glasses. "Let us make Brexit a success" she told them.
11) Juncker countered that Britain will now be a third state, not even (like Turkey) in the customs union: "Brexit cannot be a success".
12) May seemed surprised by this and seemed to the EU side not to have been fully briefed.
13) She cited her own JHA opt-out negotiations as home sec as a model: a mutually useful agreement meaning lots on paper, little in reality.
14) May's reference to the JHA (justice and home affairs) opt-outs set off alarm signals for the EU side. This was what they had feared.
15) ie as home sec May opted out of EU measures (playing to UK audience) then opted back in, and wrongly thinks she can do same with Brexit [Devonian note: JHA opt-out took 18 months to agree]
16) "The more I hear, the more sceptical I become" said Juncker (this was only half way through the dinner)
17) May then insisted to Juncker et al that UK owes EU no money because there is nothing to that effect in the treaties.
18) Her guests then informed her that the EU is not a golf club
19) Davis then objected that EU could not force a post-Brexit, post-ECJ UK to pay the bill. OK, said Juncker, then no trade deal.
20) ...leaving EU27 with UK's unpaid bills will involve national parliaments in process (a point that Berlin had made *repeatedly* before).

---

There's a lot more out there along these lines. Story has legs.
posted by Devonian at 4:26 PM on April 30 [19 favorites]


25) Juncker's team now think it more likely than not that Brexit talks will collapse & hope Brits wake up to harsh realities in time.
posted by vacapinta at 1:18 AM on May 1


Seems the brexit media spin is that "May Is Playing 4D Chess" and did all that on purpose, as part of an extremely cunning plan. To the extent they acknowledge it at all, the other spin angle is that Juncker got rekt.
posted by effbot at 2:20 AM on May 1


In education news, headteachers are seriously discussing the possibility of shortening school hours in an attempt to plug the massive holes in the budget. The people moaning about extra bank holidays don't seem to care about the disaster for parents this would be (educational impacts aside). My nephew's school is already asking for £30 per month per child to cover "basic needs", and other schools are asking for parents to pay for new GCSE textbooks.

As with a lot of other areas, this isn't going to really hit until later this year. Conveniently after the election.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:15 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


In education news, headteachers are seriously discussing the possibility of shortening school hours in an attempt to plug the massive holes in the budget.

Edinburgh (but nowhere else in Scotland) introduced half-day Fridays in the 1980s, and it's a colossal pain in the neck and/or wallet. It costs my family an extra £30 a week in childcare, around £1200, just to cover noon to 3pm on those days. In effect, one of us is working around a month of every year just to pay for this one policy.
posted by rory at 4:32 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


Hah. The 'Independent' candidate in my local election roster is also a list MSP candidate... on the Tory list.

Yeah. Nice try, but I think they've outed themselves as thick as mince even by Conservative standards. Guess who's getting last place on my ballot?
posted by Devonian at 5:36 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Noting that the official Leave campaign has declared support for Marine Le Pen in the French election, and

Noting that it is May Day, and worthy of festivity, and

Noting that a new spirit of unity and fraternity is needed,

I have written the following song, to be sung to the tune of God Save The Queen (American cousins - My Country, 'Tis Of Thee):

Fuck off, you fascist scum
Fuck off, you fascist scum
Fascists, fuck off
Fuck off, you fascist scum
Fuck off, you fascist scum
Fuck off, you fascist scum
Fascists, fuck off

I highly recommend a chorus or two of this. It raises the spirits.
posted by Devonian at 6:17 AM on May 1 [12 favorites]


That's interesting, rory, I had no idea (my partner went to school in Fife and he didn't know either!)

I'm thinking of the parents at my old workplace. It was shit but had the benefit of offering school hours work only so parents loved it. No way would they let them off a Friday afternoon.

I'll be voting Burnham on Thursday. Even the vague risk that a Tory with the campaign slogan "From here. For here." might end up running a city who didn't want a mayor in the first place is too much for me.

(BTW, Sean Anstee, quite a lot of us aren't "from here". Get stuffed.)
posted by threetwentytwo at 6:17 AM on May 1


(May I also remind people in the UK that yelling "YOU'D BE SPEAKING GERMAN IF IT WASN'T FOR US" at multilingual continental Europeans isn't quite as clever as it may seem.)

(But ok, it can result in some entertaining smackdowns.)
posted by effbot at 6:36 AM on May 1 [6 favorites]


Actually, the entire quote (by Tony Parsons) is this: If not for the blood sacrifice of the British, Juncker would be speaking German today. Show some respect, you puffed-up political pygmy.

It's funny, because Juncker's native language is German. (Actually, Luxembourgish, which is a dialect of German that is basically identical with Moselle Franconian, the variety of German spoken in the adjacent region of Germany).
Hard to tell if Mr. Parsons is trying to be funny or if he's just poorly informed.
posted by sour cream at 7:43 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


(If not for the Russians, they'd all be speaking English. If we want to be all correct about it. They can thank the Americans for the fact that they're not all speaking Russian, but that might blow up some irony meters these days, so I have to advise against it.)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:04 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Patrick Ness' Tweet here is relevant to Parsons, I think.

"One of the weird things about Britain is that it's filled with middle aged people who on some level vaguely believe they lived thru WWII."
posted by threetwentytwo at 8:38 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


Hard to tell if Mr. Parsons is trying to be funny or if he's just poorly informed.

If you remove the thousands of tweets about how great his latest great book is, the rest of his feed is mostly assorted ranting about how May will show the remoaner snowflakes who's the boss, and how any questioning of Brexit is libel against the 52% that matters, mixed with some stuff about how useless Corbyn is. A bit more self-promotion than your average cranky tory twitter feed, but otherwise it's just standard old dude yelling at things. So I'd go for "poorly informed, but doesn't care".
posted by effbot at 8:38 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Maybe post-collapse British people will all have to learn a language or two to get by. German isn't a bad one.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on May 1


Tony Parsons is a ludicrous little man. Like his ex-wife Julie Burchill and her ex-friend Toby Young he seems to believe that it's possible to make up for a deficit in intelligence by slathering on vanity and opinionatedness. I've suspected for a while that the people who commission him look upon him as a sort of performing monkey. That he genuinely seems to believe he's employed for his intelligence and wit is amusing and sad in equal parts.
posted by Grangousier at 8:53 AM on May 1


Maybe post-collapse British people will all have to learn a language or two to get by. German isn't a bad one.

It will probably not be the Brits leading the Brexodus, though.

Most likely to leave are probably recent EU immigrants, for a variety of reasons:
a) less attachment to the UK than many Brits (YMMV, of course),
b) usually already speak another language other than English, so picking up a third one is easier,
c) tend to have greater mobility, e.g. already have the experience of living in a foreign country,
d) many don't feel welcome in the UK anymore.
e) many have "portable" skills - e.g. working as a nurse, a carpenter or in finance, it is easier to relocate than, say, for a farmer or a civil servant.

I have definitely seen some evidence already that many EU immigrants in the UK are weighing their options. Don't really see too many Brits preparing to make the jump across the Channel - I think they're more likely to got to the US or Canada or so.
posted by sour cream at 9:15 AM on May 1


Hah. The 'Independent' candidate in my local election roster is also a list MSP candidate... on the Tory list.

My Tory local election candidate sent us a flyer with about four paragraphs of text, which were all so vague and general that it read like he'd just copy/pasted it from something else and dropped in the place name. So I Googled it and... he had. 90% of it is lifted (with placenames judiciously changed) from:
a) his previous election attempts, including in a totally different seat;
b) a previous Conservative candidate's campaign somewhere in England;
c) an unsuccessful candidate's campaign for mayoral elections somewhere in New Zealand.

The best bit is not actually the New Zealand thing, but the previous election attempts, because he used almost exactly the same text when campaigning for a Westminster seat as for a Scottish Parliament one and ended up unintentionally rubbishing his own party as the sitting government. So, 2011 Holyrood elections: "My message is that it's time for change and some real leadership at Holyrood". 2015 Westminster elections: "My message is that it's time for change and some real leadership at Westminster."
posted by Catseye at 9:28 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


If not for the Russians, they'd all be speaking English.

(Wow, did I botch that. The second language in this sentence was obviously supposed to be "German".)
posted by tobascodagama at 9:33 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Seems the FAZ article is now available online, for anyone who wants to practise a foreign language (the headline shouldn't be too difficult to understand if you know English :-)
posted by effbot at 10:29 AM on May 1


Seems the FAZ article is now available online, for anyone who wants to practise a foreign language

Here's a Google translation of the one-page version. Bit ropey in spots, but understandable enough.
posted by rory at 11:56 AM on May 1


Noting that the official Leave campaign has declared support for Marine Le Pen in the French election

Ups! What??? I favorited your comment without noticing this rather grotesque detail. Please elaborate
posted by mumimor at 12:02 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Fasicst Nationalists are an oddly international bunch.
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Matthew Elliot, CEO of Vote Leave, said on Sky News that Le Pen making it to the run-off was a massive win for populism. I'm not going to link to the story as reported in the Express, because it's the Express.
posted by Devonian at 1:17 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


On BBC Radio 4 this morning, they interviewed a WWII historian who suggested that Britain could have won the war without the help of the US.

Nationalism leads to historical revisionism.
posted by vacapinta at 1:31 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


On BBC Radio 4 this morning, they interviewed a WWII historian who suggested that Britain could have won the war without the help of the US.

I love how the British keep the past alive! That's one thing that we are going to miss without them.

A slightly less charitable reading is that many Brits more and more resemble that charming but slightly racist Granduncle who keeps retelling those glorious stories about the war, knowing that he'll never see better days again.
posted by sour cream at 1:55 AM on May 2


The war? Wasn't that when the UK helped defeat fascism, and then afterwards took the opportunity of being configured as an operational wartime economy to deliver the welfare state?
posted by Devonian at 7:31 AM on May 2 [9 favorites]


vacapinta: That’s a mis-statement of his position I think: What he said was that Britain could (possibly) have won the war without US boots on the ground but it would have been impossible to win the war without US support in the form of food & armaments.

(Same goes for Russia: US supplies of grain & material were crucial to their war effort IIRC.)
posted by pharm at 2:57 AM on May 3


A few others got him to clarify and he is doing so on his twitter timeline. To his credit, he is quite patient and graceful in his responses.
posted by vacapinta at 4:07 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Theresa May, our PM just said:

In the past few days we have seen just how tough these talks are likely to be. Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press. The European commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election that will take place on 8 June.

Threats? This is frightening rhetoric. Are these Tories leading the country to war?
posted by vacapinta at 8:05 AM on May 3 [4 favorites]


If nothing else the rhetoric is evidence against the hypothesis floating around that the election is so that May can get a greater loyal-to-her majority, sideline the hard-brexiteers by reducing her dependency on them, and hence implement a softer brexit.

It does also seem straight out of the Lynton Crosby - Project Fear pt IV playbook. Make the situation seem as dire as possible (even if doing so is self-fulfilling), then portray the opposition as ineffectual, and indeed, mugwumpy.

It's like NLP for the morally vacuous.
posted by Buntix at 8:57 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Threats? This is frightening rhetoric. Are these Tories leading the country to war?

Nah, more like desperation. What is happening is that the Tories are being called out for lying about the consequences of Brexit, and their only possible defence is posturing and more lying.
posted by mumimor at 9:00 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Thazza is talking to one constituency, the oldie Brexit brigade, for whom no amount of red meat is enough. She doesn't care about the rest of us until June - and then, I guess, we'll find out if she remembers we exist.

You can get a bit of dark jollies from how the blowhards are saying 'Europe is only playing at hardball because it's got elections coming up' while not admitting that every word that Supreme Leader is chanting is that twice over.
posted by Devonian at 9:54 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


There's this incredibly dumb notion that the best deal makers are tough, difficult, tricksy people to deal with always coming out with clever ways to sneak something over the opposition.

I don't know if May genuinely believes this (I really hope she doesn't) or if she's just playing to the moron gallery.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:01 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


It is entirely for the GRAR EUROPE SNEAKY STEALS OUR BRITISH BUT WE WON THE WAR crowd. 100 percent. Because they vote.
posted by Devonian at 1:32 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Basically we're fucked
posted by dng at 1:47 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


(Extremely) optimistically, we might come to a consensus that we're fucked in time to withdraw the Article 50 notice, and we can spend the next decade inside the EU atoning for being such dicks instead of the next 2 or 3 decades attempting to rebuild our economy outside the EU.
posted by ambrosen at 1:50 PM on May 3


I don't know what you're smoking over there, but could you pass it here, because I really need it.

No. The rest of Europe is going to watch us dismantling our own boat from the inside with hammers before sinking into the ocean all the while blaming them for our wreckage. Despite the fact that it's all our own fault.
posted by Grangousier at 2:33 PM on May 3 [9 favorites]


“How can these smart people be so deluded?”

Yanis Varoufakis was on Newsnight last night.
posted by pharm at 2:58 AM on May 4


(note that he’s referring mostly to the EU authorities with that statement!)
posted by pharm at 3:12 AM on May 4


@realDonaldTrump: Failing EU should give UK a good deal ASAP. Teresa May if you need help with #Brexit talsk call me.

@realDonaldTrump: UK may have lost two WWs bigly, but shouldnt be punching bag of Europe anymore!
posted by sour cream at 8:19 AM on May 4


[fake] ... in case you couldn't tell.
posted by sour cream at 8:20 AM on May 4


I don't know if May genuinely believes this (I really hope she doesn't) or if she's just playing to the moron gallery.
"May wants voters' minds on her present fight - & present enemy. What/who ever that is. Today its Juncker. Tomorrow - she'll find one... May's success depends on Tory press (& TV following) clever selection of real human enemies - as proxies for wars on terror& migrants - @SimonFRCox (thread)
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:44 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Current local election results, with about 1/4 councils reporting:

Con up 113 councillors, to 441.
Lab down 58, to 308.
Ukip down 30 seats, to zero.

So judging from these trends, the merger between conservatives and kippers seem complete. Labour says they beat the expectations of people who had expected a complete labour wipeout, and that the real fight will start when they release their manifesto in a few weeks from now.
posted by effbot at 12:27 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Labour says they beat the expectations of people who had expected a complete labour wipeout, and that the real fight will start when they release their manifesto in a few weeks from now.

Dear Labour Party: it is generally a good idea to start the "real fight" before an election, not soon after.
posted by Dysk at 1:05 AM on May 5 [6 favorites]


the real fight will start when they release their manifesto in a few weeks from now.

Jeremy H. Corbyn. They expect that releasing a document hardly anyone will read in the last two weeks of the campaign will close a 24-point lead? The voters who will make the difference aren't listening to anyone's words, they're responding to appearances.
posted by rory at 2:13 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


Theresa May’s Brexit Britain can no longer be considered a serious country
With the following cracking comment.
Yet as the government of Theresa May and its cheerleaders in the billionaire-owned press continue their illogical, ignorant and deluded promises and accusations over Brexit, it is time for Europeans to reconsider this idea of the British – or, to be more accurate, of the English.

Agreed. Just when you thought that there's no further depths of stupidity for the UK to sink to, that we've finally reached peak stupid, a whole new vista of stupid yawns open.

The UK inexplicably voted to inflict serious harm on ourselves, and to inflict collateral damage on our closest allies. Now we’re simply amazed that the EU doesn’t just want to roll over and let us do what we want. But…but…we’re Britain! Don’t they know that? Why are they so vindictive? Why are they picking on us?

We choose Theresa May, the most awkward, stilted, charmless politician in recorded history to negotiate on our behalf. She predictably humiliates herself, and the UK, and then we blame the European press for pointing it out. Our own press foams at the mouth, spitting venom every day, but we expect the European press to be impartial. Why?

We disregard all logic and economic expertise, and make a stupid political decision to Brexit. Now we’re astounded that the EU are also prioritising political imperatives over economic ones, by making it difficult for us. Why do we expect completely different standards from the EU than we apply to ourselves?

There seems to be very little awareness in the UK, and definitely not from the government, that we’re the ones doing all this. The EU are just reacting, logically and predictably, to protect their own interests against our senseless, mindless, stupid actions. They’re not doing anything to us. We’re not victims here.

What’s happening now is what was always predicted, by everyone who knows anything about these things: the ridiculous fantasies of the Brexit campaign are coming into contact with reality, like a cruise liner grinding into an iceberg. And the magic beans salesmen who brought us here are busy blaming the EU for the mess they created.
posted by adamvasco at 3:18 AM on May 5 [15 favorites]


I think effbot's comment was intended as a satirical exaggeration. The official Labour line is here, via the Guardian.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:20 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


I was riffing on this quote from McDonnell: "The manifestoes from all the parties will be published in the next couple of weeks and I think you will see the support for our policies is incredibly strong and we will translate that into support for the party." Not that much of an exaggeration :-)
posted by effbot at 5:09 AM on May 5 [5 favorites]


It does look like the Labour -> Tory vote transfer is about a third (even higher in Scotland, with SNP unchanged +/- a handful).

If the trend continues in the GE then that does see the Tories getting >= 400 MPS, possibly even more than the 418 New Labour had at their peak.

Yay (not yay).
posted by Buntix at 6:20 AM on May 5


[...and thinking about it, the non-tory third is most likely to be a reasonably even (give or take a couple of dozen) three way split between Labour, the Lib Dems, and SNP; meaning that (barring a left-coalition) realistically there isn't going to be an opposition. At least not one that's going to have the weight to mitigate or block Tory policies.

Skimming through previous parliamentary ratios it seems that it could potentially be the closest to a de-facto single party state we've been for at least 100 years. ]
posted by Buntix at 7:06 AM on May 5


And on top of that probably the death of any hope of actually left wing politics in this country maybe for ever, because you know that serious people in suits are going to emerge from Progress or somewhere similar and explain that no one in the UK wants left wing policies, so let's remake the Labour party as blue as possible forever.

It's all so infuriating because polls always show a majority of people want rail privatisation, truly public NHS, more progressive taxes and so on.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:48 AM on May 5 [1 favorite]


rail privatisation

Umm... nationalisation, surely? Or are people truly enamoured with outrageous prices, awful rolling stock, Richard fucking Branson, and constant failures of certain franchises?
posted by Dysk at 8:51 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


With all the results in it does look like the Tories are up ~23%, which if carried through to the GE will put them up another 70 or so seats over their existing 330.


Combined with the open, diplomacy-beggering, belligerence towards the EU 27 the worst of brexits seems very much on the cards.

{disclaimer: this is all really just doodling on the scatterplot and comparing apples and pears, but the trend...}
posted by Buntix at 9:42 AM on May 5


Haunted Tree wins easily on first preferences.

Small comfort for the 'anyone but the Tories' coalition.
posted by mushhushshu at 9:58 AM on May 5 [2 favorites]


Similarly, I do like that Rubbish Party candidate elected in East Ayrshire is an actual BBC headline.
posted by Buntix at 1:48 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


Rubbish Party candidate elected in East Ayrshire

I have to admit that slogans like "Vote Sally for a better valley" and "Sally is totally committed to the Valley" are pretty solid, but cannot help thinking that "The aim of the party is to rid the local community of all types of 'rubbish'" has a certain Hot Fuzz flavour to it.
posted by effbot at 7:10 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


Well that didnt take long.
Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” Juncker said, to applause from his audience. “The French will have elections on Sunday and I would like them to understand what I am saying.” After these opening remarks in English, he switched to French for the rest of the speech.
posted by adamvasco at 7:55 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


New Statesman: Eight Thoughts on the Local Elections
The projected national share – which works out how the country would have voted if everyone, not just the councils up for grabs, had voted – puts a figure on the triumph. The Conservatives are on 38 per cent, Labour are on 27 per cent, the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent, while Ukip have collapsed to five per cent.

To put that Ukip result in perspective, in 2013, they got 22 per cent. That’s what’s turbo-charging the Conservative performance and allowing them to overhaul the Liberal Democrats and Labour even when those parties are gaining votes.

Labour are also losing votes, however – they are three points down on 2013. You could see Labour’s leadership issues – bluntly, not enough people want Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street and not enough people trust John McDonnell at the Treasury for them to win – as a bit like mould in a house. A problem, but one that can be fixed either by replacing the top two or finding a way to turn around the public on them. Theresa May’s gobbling up of the Ukip vote is a lot like someone setting a fire in that same house.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:30 PM on May 5


This is cold comfort, but the one half positive of the tories winning would be that they then own brexit and all it's negative effects. Might be scope for a reversal in Labour's fortunes as a result.

But a lot of people will suffer in the meantime.
posted by knapah at 2:18 AM on May 6


Obviously it would be better if they didn't win at all, I'm clutching straws here to find any indication that we're not heading into permanent conservative rule.
posted by knapah at 2:21 AM on May 6


That'd pretty much require a complete change in Labour leadership, though, away from Jeremy "three-line whip for blank cheque brexit" Corbyn. I have a hard time seeing any replacement not being much closer to the old New Labour mould.
posted by Dysk at 5:04 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


You should read Japan's Brexit note to Britain — it's brutal.
( Business Insider article links to the translated 15 page letter)
In sum, it says, we have invested a huge amount of money in Britain. And you guys are screwing it up. Do you want us to withdraw all our cash, companies and investments? Because we can make that happen if you guys don't wake up to reality!
posted by adamvasco at 7:26 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


adamvasco, in all fairness, that letter is from 8 months ago.
I'm sure the British government has come up with a reasonable plan in the meantime and properly addressed Japan's concerns.

Either that, or they resorted to petty name-calling, inexplicably involving the war.
posted by sour cream at 8:08 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


The Tories are too arrogant and reptilian to give a fuck about anything or anybody apart from their own right wing pockets.
And on a different note it was John Major back last June who stated that the NHS is about as safe with the Brexit Tories as a pet hamster would be with a hungry python. (pdf)
posted by adamvasco at 9:22 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I imagine all those companies have moved over to Ireland or are making plans to do so by now.
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


PeatWorrier on the newsnet.scot podcast discussing the election and what it might mean for Scottish independence and the left. Pretty much summed up by the phrase:
"Everything you care about you are going to lose, politically, in the next half-decade..."
posted by Buntix at 9:30 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


[Originally posted by roolya_boolya on the Monetising misinformation thread. But rather relevant here as well...]

The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked - A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose?

The reference to DUP involvement is particularly concerning in that the ***ing fascist neck-tattoo brigade have been deliberately infiltrating Scottish councils (running as Labour or Tories):

Orange Order elected to councils as Labour and Tory members.

From the first Guardian article:
Britain had always been key to Bannon’s plans, another ex-Cambridge Analytica employee told me on condition of anonymity. It was a crucial part of his strategy for changing the entire world order.

“He believes that to change politics, you have to first change the culture. And Britain was key to that. He thought that where Britain led, America would follow. The idea of Brexit was hugely symbolically important to him.”
I'm not entirely convinced the far-right have the level of competence the theory would imply. But at the same time there are a lot of things that do look like they are aimed at manufacturing and mainstreaming a culture of fascism.
posted by Buntix at 4:31 PM on May 7 [6 favorites]


That'd pretty much require a complete change in Labour leadership, though

Won't happen, the guy loves campaigning too much to step aside, no matter what happens. Not entire clear to me if he even understands what's expected from an opposition leader.
posted by effbot at 2:08 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Eurovision, May has confirmed that it's the one aspect of European unity she still supports - unlike all the other ones she supported this time last year.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:54 PM on May 9


Won't happen, the guy loves campaigning too much to step aside, no matter what happens.

Apparently "carrying on no matter what happens" didn't really mean that. Corbyn's also banned BuzzFeed, thus following in the footsteps of Trump and Le Pen.
posted by effbot at 1:07 PM on May 9


Speaking of Eurovision,...

Oh no! They took Slavko from us, the braided whip from Montenegro!
posted by sour cream at 12:46 AM on May 10


Failing to win a place in the final, fans were left distraught and took to social media to rant at the scoring system.

MONTENEGRO DESERVED TO BE THERE THEY UNDERSTOOD THE CONCEPT OF EUROVISION Y'ALL LET THEM DOWN

So Eurovision fans are like Corbynistas, basically? Voters disrespecting the true fans by not voting the right way, etc.
posted by effbot at 2:01 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


CPS decides it's not in the public interest to charge Tories involved in election fraud cases.

To be fair it does seem like they wouldn't be able to prove their case:
"The Act also makes it a technical offence for an election agent to fail to deliver a true return. By omitting any 'Battle Bus' costs, the returns may have been inaccurate. However, it is clear agents were told by Conservative Party headquarters that the costs were part of the national campaign and it would not be possible to prove any agent acted knowingly or dishonestly. Therefore we have concluded it is not in the public interest to charge anyone referred to us with this offence.
as it was actually Tory Lair Central that perpetrated the fraud.
posted by Buntix at 3:19 AM on May 10


Speaking of Eurovision, May has confirmed that it's the one aspect of European unity she still supports

In fairness, the European Broadcasting Union has almost nothing to do with the EU. Hence it has Israel and Morrocco in it.
posted by jaduncan at 3:46 AM on May 10


Of all the terrible things Theresa may has done, believes in, and plans to do, this interview is not, in the grand scheme of things an example of the worst of them.
BUT, I was so furious hearing it.

Theresa May and Husband discuss "Boy Jobs and Girl Jobs".
Mr. May: "I get to decide when I take the bins out, not if I take the bins out"

Ugh! I'm so annoyed that Britain has had two female prime ministers and not one of them can I point to as a positive example for a child. Sorry this was going to be a more eloquent argument, but just ugh.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:52 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Might be a step up from the earlier Tory leader's concept of "low-value people", though (on the other hand...)
posted by effbot at 5:00 AM on May 10


Here is a really interesting paper* on cognitive bias.


"The Role of Personality, Authoritarianism, Numeracy, Thinking Styles and Cognitive Biases in the United Kingdom’s 2016 Referendum on European Union Membership"

The research shows that:
"When compared with Remain voters, Leave voters displayed significantly lower levels of numeracy, reasoning and appeared more reliant on impulsive ‘System 1’ thinking."

But of course, I would believe that because it also shows:
"a voter’s ability to think rationally about the evidence for a referendum topic distinctly depends on whether or not that evidence supports their existing views. "


*Actually a preliminary finding. A formal paper is being produced and hopefully, very thoroughly peer reviewed. Perhaps when it is a formal paper it would make a good FPP
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:10 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn “will lay out plans to take parts of Britain’s energy industry back into public ownership alongside the railways and the Royal Mail in a radical manifesto,” The Guardian reports.

“A draft version of the document, drawn up by the leadership team and seen by the Guardian, pledges the phased abolition of tuition fees, a dramatic boost in finance for childcare, a review of sweeping cuts to universal credit and a promise to scrap the bedroom tax.”
posted by Chrysostom at 11:40 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I do like the sound of this whole "back to the 70s" plan.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Indeed.
It's evidence really that the right has no answer to the manifesto.
They're not attacking the substance at all just a lazy swipe at it.
The other lazy attack is, of course, "Well who's going to pay for all that!".
But the answer to that is literally in the manifesto, it's all fully costed and completely backed up by top economists.
It's a strong manifesto and the leaking of it earlier was either a very very lucky accident or a genius PR move.

They knew that the hostile press would jump on the leak hold it up and declare it "Yet more incompetence from Corbyn's office" or some such.
So the press got all riled up and crowed about the leak and suddenly everyone is talking about this manifesto and maybe a few places are even reading it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:15 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


I do like the sound of this whole "back to the 70s" plan.

For those of us who follow this sort of thing, over the last 4 years or so UK energy policy has basically gone back to the 90s. the same subsidy mechanism for renewables that is really about propping up nuclear capacity. Price capping is not a million miles from the pre-competition marketplace of 1990-1998.
posted by biffa at 7:45 AM on May 14


Is the editor of the Daily Mail the most dangerous man in Britain?.
posted by adamvasco at 4:08 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


I think there would be real value in having an organisation that tracks and reports on the movements and actions of the editors of major newspapers. There are essentially public figures with a huge amount of power and yet most people don't know who they are and there is no public oversight of them, who they associate with and the causes and effects of what they write. They basically have an agreement amongst themselves not to report on each other so are largely free from concerns about being brought to book.
posted by biffa at 12:56 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


YouGov: Forget 52%. The rise of the “Re-Leavers” mean the pro-Brexit electorate is 68%:
...the “Re-Leavers.”... are people who voted to Remain in the EU and many still think that leaving was the wrong decision, but crucially now believe the government has a duty to carry out the will of the British people.

When taking this into account, we can split the country into three groups instead of two: The Hard Leavers who want out of the EU (45%); the Hard Remainers who still want to try to stop Brexit (22%); and the Re-Leavers (23%). The other 9% don’t know.

This group means that when discussing Brexit and its implications in the campaign the electorate is not two pools of voters split almost down the middle 52/48. Instead, it is instead one massive lake made up of Leave and Re-Leave voters and one much smaller Remain pond. This means that the Conservatives and UKIP are fishing among 68% of voters with Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Greens and nationalists scrapping for just 22% of voters...

The most obvious beneficiary of this three-way split is the Conservative party and it shows why it is entering landslide territory... It also partially helps to explain the struggles Labour and the Liberal Democrats are facing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:02 AM on May 15


iars lie to either avoid getting into 'trouble' or they lie for some sort of gain.

Liars also lie for attention.
posted by Artw at 8:04 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Labour should get rid of Corbyn ASAP, or they're sure to remain in opposition for the next 30 years.

At least!
posted by Kwadeng at 9:30 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


This group means that when discussing Brexit and its implications in the campaign the electorate is not two pools of voters split almost down the middle 52/48. Instead, it is instead one massive lake made up of Leave and Re-Leave voters and one much smaller Remain pond. This means that the Conservatives and UKIP are fishing among 68% of voters with Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Greens and nationalists scrapping for just 22% of voters...

A questionable assertion. The "Re-Leaver" position is basically the one being taken by Labour - hence the frustration among Hard Remainers with Labour this election. The Tories will win a landslide because they've coopted UKIP and the opposition is split, not because a bunch of Remain voters have suddenly become Kippers. (How hard, now, to remember my hopes that UKIP would split the Tory vote in 2015 and enable a Miliband victory.)

Post-election, "Re-Leavers" could well become "Re-gretters" once the negotiations tank and the full Brexit effects are felt, and so could some Hard Leavers. Nothing is set in stone.

But well done, Theresa May, for turning us into a one-party state in the meantime. You're putting the blight back in Blighty.
posted by rory at 2:20 AM on May 16


they're sure to remain in opposition for the next 30 years

I suspect that's the plan. Corbyn just loves it; he gets to run rallies where small crowds of young people chant his name, hire more of his north korea-inspired communist buddies to important positions in the party, and never ever have to actually deal with any difficult issues whatsoever, except for a bit of standard socialist/communist infighting. And if Labour get enough of a drubbing in June, he might even get rid of so many more critical MPs than supporting MPs that it becomes easier to stay at the top. And if Labour beats the worst forecasts, he'll declare himself a true winner. Pure populist.
posted by effbot at 2:45 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


C'mon guys, we can probably do a bit better in terms of political discourse than that.
Corbyn's not a communist. The Labour Party Manifesto is a solid social democratic platform that pre-New Labour would have been entirely normal.

The Labour party machine had very much moved centrist, and vehemently opposed Corbyn. The press were incredibly hostile, and so he came in as leader and tried to build bridges between all branches of the party only to be set upon from all sides. No one would have come out of that well.
So he had no real media machine, no parliamentary support, but Labour party members wanted the party to move leftwards.
All this is UK Politics 101. You (in the general sense) may think that this is complete nonsense of course, and that's fine, but you need to have something better to add that silly claims of communism or eternal irrelevance.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:14 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


His "stop the war" buddies, including the campaign guy he just brought onboard, sure are. Corbyn's your Trump, in a lot of ways (the rest of the party isn't even remotely as insane as the GOP, though :-)
posted by effbot at 3:38 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I 'd say that he's more like Jill Stein, but in retrospect it's pretty obvious that Russia has been promoting spoiler candidates worldwide, and that Corbyn is one of them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:14 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Jill Stein was definitely a spoiler candidate promoted by Russia, though? Like, she was a regular on RT? So, if your theory is that Corbyn was a spoiler candidate promoted by Russia, then it's a perfectly apt comparison.

(Here's where I say that I don't know enough to say whether Corbyn is actually being promoted by Russia. But while I don't know if Corbyn has ever been on RT, I did very easily find a tweet of his recommending that people watch RT for their reporting on Syria, which... uh...)
posted by tobascodagama at 8:17 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Scientists have discovered that in other countries politicians can exist who have no American counterpart - mind-blowing I know, but there it is.

Jtgyk is quite right: the manifesto is actually a pretty reasonable document; quite moderate in many respects. I reckon this is a pretty fair assessment.
posted by Segundus at 8:47 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


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