Europe Endless - UK politics finds its summer theme
May 28, 2019 8:35 AM   Subscribe

It's the end of May and the end of May, but of Brexit bafflement there is no end. With the UK's beleaguered prime minister Theresa May throwing in the towel and triggering a Tory leadership race, the EU parliamentary elections reflecting wild division and disillusion, and all other UK politics at a dead stop, what happens next?

The Brexit Party, the latest host for Nigel Farage, won the EU parliamentary elections with 29 seats, but the uncompromisingly Remain parties - LibDems, Greens, Plaid and the SNP - also did very well. Labour and Conservatives got drubbed, and nobody loves a Chuker.

Despite the evidence of extreme job toxicity - Europe having ended the careers of most recent Tory leaders - the list of candidates is large and growing.

Labour is in trouble. Corbyn has finally, kind of, said that there may have to be a second referendum, but with such Labour royalty as Alistair Campbell being ejected from the party for voting LibDem it's not yet comrades all round.

The SNP won every EU vote in Scotland and increased its share of the poll - knocking Labour, not so long ago the very political heart of the country, into fifth place - and Nicola Sturgeon is promising a new independence referendum next year - but the numbers aren't there yet.

And so, the summer season begins with nothing known and nothing predictable. Let us take our pleasures where we may.
posted by Devonian (259 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kate Hoey, it seems, remains a Labour Party member in good standing.
posted by acb at 8:52 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


We had the same thing with Michael Heseltine. You're generally not allowed to stay in a political party and advocate voting for a different party.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:55 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but party panjandrums will bend over backwards to forgive sins by those they like. Campbell, on the other hand, is an arch-Blairite, and thus to be detested far beyond any actual political opponent.

His role in supporting the WMD Iraqi madness makes him hard to forgive, especially to those who think he eviscerated the BBC in the process, but you just know that's not the reason the knives are out.
posted by Devonian at 9:05 AM on May 28 [11 favorites]


 The Brexit Party, the latest host for N***l F****e

The implied parasitism is a nice touch, given that UKIP's dried husk just blew away in the wind. It makes me very happy that his party got less than ⅓ of the vote.
posted by scruss at 9:44 AM on May 28 [8 favorites]


I believe it comes from Carole Cadwalladr:

"Here he is. Re-elected. Again. The idea that the Brexit Party is a ‘new’ party is a total fiction. It’s just the latest host body for Farage - the tapeworm of British politics."
posted by vacapinta at 9:51 AM on May 28 [28 favorites]




Why doesn't Northern Ireland use D'Hondt for EU elections?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:12 AM on May 28


Channel 4 News' fact checkers do their best to answer the question - if Labour was unambiguously pro-Remain, would it help it in a general election?

Conclusion: yes. Not enough for majority government, but just 17 seats shy with the LibDems at 22 and the SNP at 55 providing coalition fodder less poisonous than the DUP. There's a lot of quite close reasoning in the article, plus plenty of assumptions, but it's painstaking stuff. Enough to give the 'Jezza would rather crash his party than fight Brexit' thought some sustenance.
posted by Devonian at 10:38 AM on May 28 [7 favorites]


Why doesn't Northern Ireland use D'Hondt for EU elections?
I suspect that it’s because they already use 2 different systems for elections -FPTP for Westminster, and STV for Assembly elections. Adding a third system would be confusing. European elections have to be PR based, so they use STV.

There’s some info in this BBC article about why STV is used in Northern Ireland in general - mostly to ensure that both sides in NI are represented properly.
posted by scorbet at 12:57 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


I suspect that it’s because they already use 2 different systems for elections -FPTP for Westminster, and STV for Assembly elections. Adding a third system would be confusing. European elections have to be PR based, so they use STV.
Don't they also use two systems in Scotland and Wales? The good people of those nations seem to cope fine with FPTP, the Additional Member system and D'Hondt.
posted by winterhill at 1:01 PM on May 28


That bbc article doesn’t address some other questions: why do they hand count STV (that is why it is slow, nothing inherent in STV), and why do Scotland and Wales use D’Hondt?

Or better yet, why does anyone use FPTP for anything?
posted by nat at 1:04 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


In 2004, a bit over a year after the Iraq invasion, Labour polled 20.1% in the EU elections. In 2009, post global financial crisis, they fell to 15.7%. They recovered somewhat in 2014 to 2nd place with 25.4% (in the midst of the ConDem coalition), but were beaten by UKIP. Labour subsequently lost the GE under Milliband (remember him?), leading of course to Corbyn's election as leader. And to see off UKIP and heal the tories EU divisions once and for all, Cameron promised a referendum on EU membership at the 2015 election, and well here we are.

Corbyn's first EU elections? 14.1%. What votes they did get came most in Remain areas, while less than 1 in 10 voters plumped for them in heavy Leave areas. And of course, 3/4 of Labour members and 2/3 of (former, now) Labour voters voted Remain, and instead many voted for the Lib Dems, Greens and SNP. Certainly Corbyn's headline policy of being the party of both leavers and remainers proved... unsuccessful. Switching to unambiguously remain and persuing a 2nd ref to bring back their voters that headed to the Greens and Lib Dems at this election seems to be the only way back to relevance for Labour.

In the 58th Corbyn is Bad thread: Corbyn now worse than the war in Iraq

Electorally speaking, Corbyn was about 30% worse than the Iraq war for Labour's vote share in EU elections. Feel free to interpret that how you like.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:06 PM on May 28 [9 favorites]


The truly impressive thing to me is that no one seems to have learned anything about the EU during this process. I can see a referendum which promises stuff that there is no way the EU will agree to as being one of the options being proposed by the ghastly spectre of PM Boris Johnson.

It is as if until someone at the top realizes the UK is no longer an empire, nothing will change.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:14 PM on May 28 [6 favorites]


The EU actually limits voting to not just PR but either list system or the single transferable vote system, so you can’t use the Additional Member system for the EP.
posted by scorbet at 1:15 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Or better yet, why does anyone use FPTP for anything?

It fits in with English high-Tory/Burkean conservative traditions: democracy is all fine and well, within reasonable bounds. FPTP keeps it within those reasonable bounds; it's essentially a thumb on the scales, tilting the balance in favour of the status quo and the established order of things.
posted by acb at 2:18 PM on May 28 [11 favorites]


Labour subsequently lost the GE under Milliband (remember him?)
Currently tweeting as "Chaos With Ed Milliband" FFS.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 4:50 PM on May 28 [4 favorites]


It is as if until someone at the top realizes the UK is no longer an empire, nothing will change.

This is a bit like answering the question about Life, The Universe, and Everything. If you have someone who is A) at the top of the UK's power ladder and B) realises that the UK is no longer an empire, they MUST either get knocked off the ladder or forget that the UK is no longer and empire.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:37 PM on May 28 [6 favorites]


the ghastly spectre of PM Boris Johnson.

to be fair, johnson appears to be a perfect symbol of the times, a white male dolt who has continually failed upward, certain he can solve an intractable problem that a more qualified (to damn with extremely faint praise) woman failed to do
posted by murphy slaw at 9:07 PM on May 28 [16 favorites]


Let us take our pleasures where we may. [article about Kraftwerk]

I was watching "L'auberge espagnole " recently. A French film from 2002 and made by Cédric Klapisch, it deals with a group of students in Barcelona, taking part in an Erasmus programme. A large part of the film is about what happens when a group of people from different cultures and languages are obliged to live under the same roof. In many ways the film tells a story which is like the EU experience in optimistic miniature: people start off with stereotyped pre-conceptions of others and there are many misunderstandings - but gradually they learn each other's cultures and languages and become friends (Klapisch has also made a couple of interesting follow ups which track the same characters as they grow older)

I mention this film because it is hard to find other examples of this approach in British popular culture: the authors of the link Devonian posted about Kraftwerk have to cite a group that goes all the way back to the 1970s. In films and TV - even in Eurovision or those programmes about Brits buying a house in Spain - everybody speaks English. And this means that the sense of having to fight to understand and be understood in a polyglot group - which is a common experience to most people in Europe - is not something we see depicted. Instead, our culture leaves the door open to deriding the multi-lingual, outward looking individuals that help bring cultures together - as being "citizens of nowhere" - an out of touch elite who have lost track of their roots and national loyalties.

Ironically this cultural blindspot has happened at a time of ever more deeply embedded travel, immigration and trading links across the EU. We all experience this - its just that we don't seem to talk about it. In 1976, when Krafwerk released "Trans Europe Express", getting from one country to another was a much more exotic and difficult experience: no cheap airlines flying everywhere, an obligation to show your passport at every national border, the need to change money all the time, little hope of being able to find a job when abroad. Only the TEE could make it over the borders - but it was first class only, folks.

So, I think there is a role for storytellers of all kinds to help combat the isolationist view that has led to support for Brexit. We need stories that move on from the time of the Second World War to tell the truth about the world we live in now. The first requirement from Erasmus applicants is that they should be passionate and excited about the prospect of travelling to another place an learning about it. We need to work to make people of all ages have that kind of passion.
posted by rongorongo at 12:36 AM on May 29 [18 favorites]


(An "Auberge espagnole" is a French expression for a pot luck event - everybody brings something according to whatever they have and think the others might want; but guests usually get surprised by the choices of everybody else. This expression is supposed to have derived from French experiences of basic, but very cosmopolitan,Spanish accommodation encountered while making the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. So, again, there are long standing parallels with the EU experience in this expression.)
posted by rongorongo at 2:05 AM on May 29 [6 favorites]


I was watching "L'auberge espagnole " recently. A French film from 2002 and made by Cédric Klapisch, it deals with a group of students in Barcelona, taking part in an Erasmus programme.

I saw that in Australia when it came out (titled “The Spanish Apartment”). At the time I thought that the gormless English lad incapable of not babbling about Hitler whenever he met a German was an unfair grotesque. I no longer think that.
posted by acb at 5:26 AM on May 29 [16 favorites]



Labour chair: people's vote backers sneering at ordinary people


What the fuck is wrong with these people?

"Ordinary people" have suffered under years of Tory government and austerity. They have been lied to for decades, being told that the root of their problems is immigration and the EU rather than domestic policies.

Why isn't the "opposition" shouting this from the rooftops? Why aren't they out there, every day, banging the drum that a global Britain, at the centre of the largest trading bloc in the world, with compassionate domestic policies is the only way for "ordinary people" and the country as a whole, to flourish?

I mean, I know why they're not doing this but seriously, now is not the time for pie-in-the-sky nice-to-have political theory. We are less than a month away from Boris Fucking Johnson becoming our second non-elected Prime Minister in a row. Surely now (ha!) it's time to actually try something?
posted by jontyjago at 5:39 AM on May 29 [18 favorites]


Right before a leadership contest seems like a bad time for Boris to have to appear in court.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:15 AM on May 29 [4 favorites]


It’s already being framed as a sinister attack by anti-democratic Remainer elites. If anything I think it will probably marginally increase his chances with the Tory membership, who never miss a chance to paint themselves as doughty defenders of all that is Good and Proper.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:36 AM on May 29


Aye, for the "being persecuted by the elites" type that seems to be the Brexit party demographic that the tories want to tempt back with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, being persecuted by an elitist remoaner in a private prosecution in a bad case of sour grapes to try and defeat the will o' the people (as it's already being spun), I think will not hinder him at all with the tory base.

Not that prosecuting him for telling copious and maliciously false lies during the referendum is a bad thing - one can only hope Boris gets a big financial slap and senior politicians have to start being a bit less flagrantly full of shite, but I think that's more than can be reasonably hoped for.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:04 AM on May 29 [2 favorites]


Labour chair: people's vote backers sneering at ordinary people

I'll tell you what disrespect is - it's saying that there was no argument made that leaving the UK would imperil Scottish membership of the EU. It's saying that the Scots knew they'd be chucked out of the EU if they became independent, and still argued for independence, and so they can have no argument against being dragged into Brexit. (Yes, these two entirely contradictory and entirely false statements have been made lately by Leave politicians.) It's saying that because people were warned before the Brexit referendum that there would be dire consequences with No Deal but they voted Brexit anyway, that No Deal is what they voted for. It's saying that the peace deal in Northern Ireland is obsolete and merely a tool that the EU is using to punish the UK.

All these things are such blatant lies made to the 'ordinary people' that they can only be read as demeaning and insulting to us all. We can read. We can remember. We can think. Fuck off, you patronising self-serving mendacious bastards.
posted by Devonian at 9:25 AM on May 29 [23 favorites]


I can confirm that all those things looked like blatant lies from over here in America as well. Brexit, not the Trump election, was the moment I had a full-on cry while eating a sub at a sandwich shop on my lunch -- the moment I knew we might be fucked for some time.
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:57 PM on May 29 [10 favorites]


On the private prosecution of Boris Johnson. It seems to have been launched in June 2016, and it's a coincidence that it's coming to court at the time of the leadership election. It was funded by a crowdfunding campaign that raised £370,000. I don't know how much the defence costs but Johnson has at least one QC on his team.

So first, I agree it's likely to help Boris Johnson in his leadership bid, as in the eyes of the Tory membership it makes him a free speech warrior battling against an undemocratic Remainer establishment.

Second, I'm a bit worried at the prospect of political debate being regulated by expensive court procedures. Well done on the crowdfunding here, but how confident are we that it will always be the good guys who have the money?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:28 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]


The groundswell for this sort of action has come from the fact that there do not seem to be any consequences for bad behaviour in public office anymore. It used to be that when you were caught out you immediately reached for the pearl-handled revolver. A few years on and no one was expected to resign anymore, but they were promptly sacked. At some point politicians realised that there was no physical law that required that they left office, it was just a convention resulting from a false sense of shame, so they started holding on like limpets.

If Johnson had faced any consequences from his bus stunt, apparently racist comments, catastrophic mishandling of the Zaghari-Ratcliffe case etc I don't think this case would have happened. But he was made Foreign Secretary (and kept his job through multiple faux pas), and now looks likely to be gifted the Prime Ministership by Conservative party members who go weak at the knees at the idea of this blond bad boy.

I'm not saying that the current case is a good way to go about things: I think we probably have the same worries on that score. But somehow we need to get the idea of accountability back into politics (and more importantly into politicians) or we're lost.
posted by dudleian at 1:32 AM on May 30 [9 favorites]


From this 2013 FT article:
For the past generation, the lifeblood of British elections has been warnings of black holes, tax bombshells and savage cuts. Usually, the party of government claims the opposition has plans to change economic policy in some unfunded way by about £35bn. I have no idea why £35bn is the magic number, but it was used by the Conservatives in 1992 and 1997, and Labour in 2005 and 2010. The only exception was in the foregone-conclusion election of 2001, when the number was £20bn.
Personally I don't really remember any golden age of responsibility and consequences. As long as I can remember, making up large, bullshit numbers has been standard practice in every election, and it's been up to the other side to debunk them.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:41 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


I agree, the issue we've got is largely one of lack of consequences.

It reminds me a little of the Advertising Standards Agency's usual punishment for misleading ads, which is "don't run the ad again". By the time the investigation is complete, the dodgy ad campaign has already concluded, so it's not much of a punishment at all.

It's the same with breaches of electoral law. Vote Leave broke electoral law during the referendum campaign, but the punishment was a fine. By the time the investigation has concluded and the punishment has been meted out, it doesn't matter much - they pay the fine, but the result has still gone their way through questionable means and isn't overturned.

It'll be the same if Johnson is found guilty in this case. He'll get a small (to him) fine, about the same as a parking ticket would be to the rest of us, and carry on his merry way with Brexit intact. That's how British justice and democracy work - there's just enough rule of law and democracy to keep people from rioting, but not enough to be any real threat to the existing power structure.

If you win a gold medal at the Olympics, and it's later found that you took drugs, you get that medal taken away and it is awarded to the person who came second on the day. Surely the punishment for lying and cheating during an election or referendum campaign should be the same - the result is void.
posted by winterhill at 1:46 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


But he was made Foreign Secretary (and kept his job through multiple faux pas), and now looks likely to be gifted the Prime Ministership by Conservative party members who go weak at the knees at the idea of this blond bad boy.

Martin Kettle has written an article questioning this assumption - and speculating that Boris could have a lot less of a shoe-in to the PM role than we might initially assume. The Conservative Party members might love him - but they might also calculate anybody who promises to bring in a no deal Brexit - runs a big risk of instigating then losing a vote of parliamentary no-confidence in very short order. The resulting GE, at such a point, would not be kind to their party. Johnson's biggest threat comes from a relatively unknown middle ground candidate who shows him up as a reckless has-been.
posted by rongorongo at 4:18 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


This is via Guido Fawkes, so hold your noses, but "Hearing Times/YouGov poll tonight will be a shocker. Word is it is going to show LD 24%, BXP 22%, Lab 19%, Con 19%."

Which if so, according to Martin Baxter's electoral calculus, would be Labour on 202, Brexit on 139, LibDem and Tories tied on 116.

Pick the bones out of that...
posted by Devonian at 11:50 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Confirmed - it’s on the front page of tomorrow’s Times.
posted by pharm at 3:02 PM on May 30


So it seems that the Lib Dems have been forgiven for being the austerity enablers (and them still being stuffed full of orange bookers)

Be interesting if they elect Jo Swinson as new leader as being an Scottish MP by the rules of EVEL (English Votes of English Laws - brought in by Cameron as a screw you to the upperty jocks after indyref) means she can't be PM I think
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:07 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Austerity and other Lib Dem failings can be corrected by voting them out in favour of better parties, all it takes is another general election. No Deal (or indeed any brexit) is much much harder to undo. I'll swallow one parliament of a more right wing government than I'd like if it means no brexit.
posted by Dysk at 2:13 AM on May 31 [4 favorites]




The problem is that FPTP is designed to cause disproportionate results. I saw an extrapolation of the You Gov / Times numbers which showed Tory + BP getting 41% of the vote, but significantly fewer seats (combined) than Labour on 19% of the vote. Whatever you think of the Tories and BP that's not a result to engender faith in the political system. And it's not like these anomalies only happen in polling—for example in '87 the Alliance got 22% of the vote and 3% of the seats.

Not saying I believe any of these numbers, just that FPTP is irredeemably broken and needs getting rid of.
posted by dudleian at 4:24 AM on May 31 [6 favorites]


There is the chance that the middle-ground parties, which are uniformly for voting reform - will have coalition powers after the next election. The LibDems got thoroughly snowed by the Tories last time over that, to the point that lots of people don't even remember there was a referendum about it, but one trusts they've learned...
posted by Devonian at 4:29 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Austerity and other Lib Dem failings can be corrected by voting them out in favour of better parties, all it takes is another general election. No Deal (or indeed any brexit) is much much harder to undo. I'll swallow one parliament of a more right wing government than I'd like if it means no brexit.

Ironically the amount of money to spend on public services might be higher even under remainer Orange Bookers due to the lack of a post-Leave economic downturn.
posted by jaduncan at 5:00 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Don't usually do "linking an opinion piece everyone else has probably already seen" and my doing so achieves nothing and convinces no-one already unconvinced, but Oh God! Marina Hyde is absolutely brutal on the Tory leadership fuckstravaganza under the figleaf of bleak humour:

"Its key value divide is between candidates who would smoke opium at an Iranian wedding, and candidates who would order a drone strike on one. We haven’t even begun to hear from frontrunner Boris Johnson, that flytipped sofa, who will probably be endorsed next week by visiting indignitary Donald Trump..."
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:21 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


frontrunner Boris Johnson, that flytipped sofa, who will probably be endorsed next week by visiting indignitary Donald Trump...

Trump backs Boris Johnson
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:23 AM on June 1 [3 favorites]


Francis Beckett...
Every time I hear Corbyn take a deep breath and intone robotically: “Let me be quite clear. Our preference is for a general election…” I despair. It has become a mantra, a comforting reiteration of a “correct” political position, an escape from reality.
Jeremy Corbyn must resign as Labour leader before party loses all hope
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:56 AM on June 1 [2 favorites]


EDIT: Francis, not Margaret
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:58 AM on June 1


frontrunner Boris Johnson, that flytipped sofa, who will probably be endorsed next week by visiting indignitary Donald Trump...

Trump backs Boris Johnson
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:23 AM on June 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


And Hadley Freeman has the Trumps are coming! covered

Isn't it interesting that while the Bush/Blair epoch unleashed a lot of good satire, the Trump/Brexit age is that of the great female satirist. I like that.
posted by mumimor at 5:57 AM on June 1 [7 favorites]


Boris Johnson, earlier: “The only reason I wouldn't visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”
posted by farlukar at 7:26 AM on June 1


What made the Queen change her stance on the State reception for this man?
posted by hugbucket at 11:18 AM on June 1 [1 favorite]


if they elect Jo Swinson as new leader as being an Scottish MP by the rules of EVEL (English Votes of English Laws - brought in by Cameron as a screw you to the upperty jocks after indyref) means she can't be PM I thinkf they elect Jo Swinson as new leader as being an Scottish MP by the rules of EVEL (English Votes of English Laws - brought in by Cameron as a screw you to the upperty jocks after indyref) means she can't be PM I think

I’m fairly sure this is incorrect. The reason she won’t be PM is that the Lib Dem’s won’t be the biggest party in terms of seats in Westminster. If there was any possibility that an MP from a Scottish constituency couldn’t be PM that would be an absolute gift to the SNP.

Definition of the EVEL process

When it came to Sunday Trading law changes, which don’t apply in Scotland, the SNP argued that any changes in the law in England and Wales could have a commercial impact in Scotland so broke their own policy of abstaining on such votes.
posted by toamouse at 1:00 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


What made the Queen change her stance on the State reception for this man?
Downing street offered him a state visit without checking with the palace first.
Because these people are morons.

The problem with morons in power is that it is difficult to stop ascribing other motives to their actions. So you get "it was a misunderstanding" or "they're secretly geniuses" and eventually "be careful about calling them morons, that's what their puppet masters want you to do"

This happens for a number of reasons but mostly because admitting that the leader of the free world doesn't understand how [everything] works or that the Northern Ireland secretary is surprised there are religious tensions in that part of the world is actually pretty terrifying.

But nope, idiots. We're being ruled by idiots.
posted by fullerine at 12:35 AM on June 2 [14 favorites]


Opinium poll has Brexit Party 26, Labour 22, Conservative 17, Lib Dem 16, Green 11.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:02 AM on June 2


Didn't the last poll have the Liberal Democrats on top at 24%? So, which is it, are they on top or are they fourth after Brexit, Labour and Conservative? With such massive swings, these polls are not remotely useful - I do wonder if their purpose is to induce panic among the various newspapers' reader bases that their most loathed party is at the top. The idea of Prime Minister Nigel Farage being propped up by whatever's left of the Conservative Party and some loonies from Ulster is perhaps what's needed to convince Corbyn to either come around to a second vote or step down in our national interest, and convince Change UK to go away and join the Lib Dems.

I haven't been following the Conservative leadership contest particularly closely, but it seems that they all currently fall into one of two camps - no-deal, or renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement. One of those has minority public support and is highly unlikely to get through Parliament (unless an election is called and Parliament is packed with Brexit Party nutters - and you can guarantee that they'll break convention and stand in Buckingham against Bercow). The other one is not going to get past the EU, who have repeatedly said that there's zero chance of re-opening the WA. It feels like we're in a loop, and reality is going to have to bite them at some point.

It is becoming increasingly clear as the weeks roll on that whoever wins the leadership will have one job - to be the one to tell the public that Brexit is being postponed indefinitely while a way forward is found. We can't carry on with these rolling deadlines and cliff-edges - the effect on the economy and people's well-being is plain. There's a school of thought that says support for Johnson among Tory MPs is because he's the kind of bullshitter who can stand up and say that with minimal electoral damage to the party.
posted by winterhill at 4:25 AM on June 2


Each polling company uses different methods to calibrate polls based on weighted likelihood to vote, which they calculate by comparing pre-election polling to actual election results (i.e.. what people said they do, versus what they actually did - and especially whether they bother to turn out, which affects some parties more than others).

Historically it's a method that's worked well, but in the current UK climate it falls down (LDs going from hero to zero and back to hero over 2 election cycles, Brexit Party appearing from nowhere - so no previous voters to calibrate on, a massive amount of protest and tactical voting implying that what people say or do in non-parliamentary elections may not correlate to what they'd do if they were voting for their MP).

It's all a bit tricky, but I'm nearly certain that polls aren't manipulated. You do get the odd crappy voodoo poll in tabloids, but it's generally clear where that's the case. Professional standards are good in UK polling, and credible polling companies (which is generally what you'd see reported in headline news - YouGov, Comres, Survation etc) are required to publish their raw data. The broad basis on which they weight their results is generally pretty well understood, by backwards engineering if nothing else.

UK Polling Report has plenty of useful content on the way political opinion polling works in the UK. Stay away from the comments section though, which is completely dire.
posted by bifter at 4:41 AM on June 2 [2 favorites]




Historically it's a method that's worked well, but in the current UK climate it falls down (LDs going from hero to zero and back to hero over 2 election cycles, Brexit Party appearing from nowhere - so no previous voters to calibrate on
Good post and thanks for the explanation, but I'd take issue with just this point. Any polling company treating the Brexit Party as a completely new party with no previous history and no previous support is being slightly disingenuous. They are, to all intents and purposes, a continuation of UKIP and should be compared with the previous performance of UKIP. The current party under the UKIP name are a weird far-right fringe group.
posted by winterhill at 4:50 AM on June 2 [6 favorites]


Important to remember that The current party under the Brexit name are a weird far-right fringe group, though, winterhill.

I do very much hope that you're right about whoever wins the Tory leadership race just having the job of letting us down gently about Brexit. I remain uncertain.
posted by ambrosen at 6:22 AM on June 2 [2 favorites]


That Times/YouGov poll which put the Lib Dems ahead on 24% is extremely misleading.

Full results and questions here - see page 2 in particular.

Respondents were initially asked who they would vote for out of Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP/PC or "other".
Only if they answered "other" did they then get the options of Green, Brexit, UKIP or Change UK for that.

It seems blindingly obvious that this would skew the results, so this looks to me like a pretty deliberate attempt to generate an interesting but misleading headline, and it's no surprise that other recent polls haven't reproduced the result.
posted by automatronic at 6:26 AM on June 2


It's absolutely standard methodology to only offer the main parties initially, then prompt second tier if 'other' is answered. I'm fairly sure that most other political pollsters do the same. Don't think the greens have ever been prompted, and UKIP have been complaining about it for ever. Basic principle is usually that if a party gets more than a low single digit percentage in a general election that they'll consider starting to prompt for them.

You can definitely question whether that's appropriate at the moment - it definitely does look like an issue - but I'm certain it's not a deliberate attempt to mislead. There are two reasons for this: one is that getting a representative sample of the population is always a challenge, and you generally want to keep the survey as simple as you can to keep the response rate up. Secondly, one of the main purposes of political polling is to show trends over time, and you can't do that if you frequently change the methodology (you won't be comparing like for like).

There are plenty of analysts that take the raw data from polling companies and apply their own models. Matt Singh famously did this, and got a pretty much on-the-money prediction in for the 2015 general election, while most of the mainstream polling companies didn't.
posted by bifter at 7:19 AM on June 2 [4 favorites]


US wants access to NHS in post-Brexit deal, says Trump ally (Jessica Elgot, The Guardian)
The US will want business access to the NHS in any post-Brexit trade deal, the US ambassador has said, prompting anger from politicians and campaigners before Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK this week.

Woody Johnson, who is a close friend of the US president, said every area of the UK economy would be up for discussion when the two sides brokered a trade deal.

Asked if the NHS was likely to form part of trade negotiations, Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think the entire economy, in a trade deal, all things that are traded would be on the table.” Asked if that specifically meant healthcare, he said: “I would think so.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:42 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


Deltapoll / Mail on Sunday poll has Labour 26%, Brexit Party 24%, Conservative 20%, Lib Dem 16%.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:01 PM on June 2




There's no right answer to how to treat the BP - yes, it's really the old UKIP with a beard and a new hat, but not entirely. Plus, the polls are going to be very febrile, because politics is inchoate at the moment. Whenever the next general election happens, things will look very different to how they are now - at least two new leaders, whatever the fuck happens with Brexit, the very real chance of movement in Scottish independence... I know what my voting intention is, because I'm in Scotland and we have a sane party to vote for, but if I were still in England I wouldn't have a scooby how to answer an intention poll.

Whether you follow the old rules and stick BP under Other or not is just one extra variable. The only way to read the polls right now is to treat them as snapshots with little predictive power.
posted by Devonian at 8:25 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


The Truth About Chlorinated Chicken review – an instant appetite-ruiner. It's a TV review by Tim Dowling, but after reading it, I think I'll be fine without seeing the documentary itself.
posted by mumimor at 11:18 PM on June 3


David Edgerton: Brexit is not a product of history. Interesting if you've read his book The Rise and Fall of the British Nation.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:12 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Nigel Farage tweeted earlier today, "Good meeting with President Trump – he really believes in Brexit and is loving his trip to London." He had about an hour with Trump at the US ambassador's London residence.

(As Carole Cadwalldr reminds us, "Trump & Brexit are not 2 different things. They are the same thing. Same companies. Same data. Same Facebook. Same Russians. Same Cambridge Analytica. Same Robert Mercer. Same Steve Bannon. Same Breitbart. Same Alexander Nix. Same Donald Trump. Same Nigel Farage.")

Incidentally, Trump's visit doesn't get more symbolic than Trump supporters barricaded in a Whitehall Wetherspoons by police as protesters chant ‘Nazi scum off our streets’ (Independent)
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:13 AM on June 4 [9 favorites]


Jesus. That Wetherspoons link:

Standing close to the police cordon was John (who declined to give his surname), a 22-year-old ex-solider wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap. He said he was at the rally to defend free speech.

“As a president he has a right to be here. It is a matter of free speech. These protesters are undemocratic,” he said.


So protesting fascism, standing out in the street and speaking (chanting, yelling) in public is somehow... undemocratic and against free speech?
posted by tractorfeed at 3:30 PM on June 4 [10 favorites]


For a lot of people, "free speech" refers to the right of the speaker and those they agree with to have their say without reply or consequence. That's the "free speech" being violated.
posted by Dysk at 6:46 PM on June 4 [15 favorites]


There seems to be a particular model of "free speech" in American culture that says that I have the right to freely be as outrageously racist and bigoted as I like, and no one has the right to pull me up for it and call me a bigoted racist or tell me to sod off, because that's against my free speech. This bullshit has been imported into this country, largely via Silicon Valley companies that do very little to control hate spread through their platforms.

We've long had limits on "free speech" in this country. You're free to criticise the government in power and express political opinions and run political campaigns, but some of the really nasty stuff that is common currency in the US media (particularly talk radio stations) is prohibited here because it's illegal hate speech.

Trump is free to come here. The government of the day is free to invite him for a state visit, however misguided that is. The people of this country are equally free to protest his presence and tell him we don't want him here.
posted by winterhill at 1:41 AM on June 5 [19 favorites]


The issue of Scottish Independence is worth tracking in the context of Brexit. Conservative candidates Rory Stewart, Sajid Javid and James Cleverly are all on record as saying they would block any request for an IndyRef2 by the Scottish Government - with others also likely to adopt some variant or enhancement of May's "now is not the right time" mantra. Most media commentators appear to be taking the government's line that such "Section 30" request for a referendum by Scotland could be successfully blocked by Westminster. Without the latter's consent the referendum would be illegal: unionist voters would boycott it, some local councils would refuse to co-operate in allowing votes to take place - and so on. If a formal legal challenge to any refusal were to be made by Scotland then it would be referred to the UK Supreme court -and they would probably back the government in London. "Not the right time" in perpetuity then, surely?

Last week the Scottish Government published its "Referendum's bill". The bill, which looks to be passed by the Scottish Parliament, deals with all referendums initiated by the Scottish Parliament. It does not, in fact, mention IndyRefs. It asserts that UK, EU, and Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland aged 16 or over will be eligible to vote in any referendum. The wording of the referendum question will be decided by the Scottish Parliament (alone). And finally, any referendum can be kicked off subject to a majority vote in the Scottish Parliament (alone) . Westminister has the right to object to the holding of a proposed referendum - but that objection must be routed though a Scottish court. Scottish courts have shown themselves as less likely to rule in Westminster's favour than the UK court is - see their decision on Article 50 revocation for example.

All this will make any attempted S30 refusal by Westminster a much more risky prospect on their part: they have to navigate the Scottish legals system and they face the potential political problem of trying to over-rule a decision that may go against them.

Paul Kavannah has published an article discussing some of these details. He cites an earlier article by lawyer Andrew Tickell. As a reminder of time-lines, Sturgeon has stated -that she plans to hold an Independence Referendum before the end of the current Scottish Parliament term in May 2021 and has stated that she means to have legislation for this completed by the end of 2019.
posted by rongorongo at 6:35 AM on June 5 [10 favorites]


What with all the focus on the D-Day and Trump stuff I'm not sure that anyone in the country has noticed Change UK's fragmentation yet.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 11:48 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


C-UK / TIG were always a grab bag rather than a party—compare them to the SDP who had a worked out philosophy /manifesto behind their breakaway. That said, I think they are an infinitely more coherent and fully realised offering than the policy-free Brexit Party...

With the Cons tacking right and Labour left you'd think there was space for a centrist social democratic party, but voters seem uninterested: the loyalists are uncomfortably staying put with Con and Lab, and the disaffected are happy to find a home with either the Libs or Greens.

I think TIG did some good in that it forced Con and Lab to budge a little on Brexit for fear of losing more MPs, and that their existence was a factor in the A50 extensions. But I'm not feeling the loss on the one hand, or the schadenfreude on the other, it's just: shrug.
posted by dudleian at 1:07 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


That shrug is about right, didn't even warrant a Brexitcast from the Beeb.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:04 AM on June 6


Reaching ever new heights of incompetence...

May will only resign when she is sure her successor has confidence of Commons, No 10 says [Guardian]
Boris Johnson could avoid facing an immediate confidence vote in his premiership if he becomes Conservative leader, as ministers are considering whether to send MPs home early for their summer break before the new prime minister is announced.

Mel Stride, the new leader of the House of Commons, aroused suspicions that the Conservatives are plotting to put off a confidence vote for their new leader until September, as he refused to confirm when recess will start. (See 11.36am.)

He said it was “not necessarily” the case that the new Conservative leader would have to appear in front of parliament before MPs go off on holiday until the autumn.

Ministers appear to be trying to get round the threat of a new Conservative leader failing to be able to form a government, if Johnson or one of the other frontrunners to succeed Theresa May loses the support of some Tory MPs or cannot win over the Democratic Unionist party.
posted by Buntix at 6:20 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


[screaming noises]
posted by Happy Dave at 6:26 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


u-turning intensifies...
No 10 retracts suggestion May could delay resignation until she is sure her successor has confidence of Commons

Downing Street has been in touch to say that the comments from the prime minister’s spokesman at lobby this morning (see 12.46pm) have been over-interpreted. A source said that there was “no question of the prime minister hanging around beyond the Conservative leadership contest”. The source said that when the spokesman talked about May needing to be able to tell the Queen that her successor could command the confidence of the Commons, he was just setting out the language used as a formality, not flagging up May’s intention to make this an issue.
Guardian Live
posted by Buntix at 8:01 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


[weeping noises]
posted by Happy Dave at 8:22 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Can anybody comment on how things stand with regard to the the current parliamentary session? Conventionally, my understanding is that the new parliamentary session would take place with a Queen's Speech - either after a general election or failing that each November. Losing a vote on a Queen's Speach motion would be effectively like losing a vote of no confidence for a government: the end of the line. Perhaps because of this, the current session goes all the way back to June 2017 after the last GE - making it the longest in parliamentary history. The House of Commons site says that the current session will run until "The summer of 2019".

Will it? Does it have to? What are the hard limits here?
posted by rongorongo at 8:25 AM on June 6


Who knows. We’ve been playing Parliamentary Calvinball since 2016.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:28 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


What are the hard limits here?

None. There are no hard limits here. I'm no longer certain even the laws of physics apply any more.
posted by Grangousier at 8:56 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


The UK needs some actual basic law rather than just a set of constitutional conventions that can be ignored by a government when it's convenient, however 'not done' it might have been held to be.
posted by Dysk at 9:02 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


To be fair it is extremely on brand for May to fail to get her resignation through parliament.
posted by fullerine at 10:23 AM on June 6 [26 favorites]


he UK needs some actual basic law rather than just a set of constitutional conventions that can be ignored by a government when it's convenient,

We have lots of basic law. And as can be seen in the erstwhile colonies, a written constitution does you no good if nobody's prepared to uphold it, and quite a lot of harm if people aren't prepared to change it.

There is no magic formula. It's down to what the people will put up with.
posted by Devonian at 2:00 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Labour holds Peterborough, narrowly. Brexit second. Tories third.

Labour 10,484
Faragistas, 9,801
Conservatives, 7,243

So that's 25 percent drop in Tory vote and 17 percent in Labour, but Brexit Party couldn't do it - despite being a 61 percent Leave constituency, on the back of the EU vote and with polls going their way. LibDems up 9 percent, for what it's worth. UKIP candidate gor around 400.
posted by Devonian at 6:20 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I'm delighted the BP didn't win and give Farage the chance to write history: he would have been ubiquitous on the media saying that the result was an indisputable call for immediate no deal Brexit, and a lot of the media would have gone along.

Instead that privilege fell to Corbyn who interpreted the win it as a decisive endorsement of his policies of ending austerity and hiding in a cupboard until Brexit goes away.

A grain of truth in both of those narratives.

The spin that caught my eye was from a lot of the Con leadership candidates who (want to) believe that "delivering Brexit" will de-fang the Brexit party and bring a lot of their deserters back on side. I can see their reasoning; voting BP as a protest against the main parties for failing to do...well anything, really...is attractive to a lot of people. But as soon as the BP's one and only policy and raison d'être has been achieved, who would want to vote for a party with no manifesto, no experience, no track record of competence, and made up of a bunch of mavericks who in Ver 1.0 of the party fought like a bunch of cats in a sack?

Go to the country before Brexiting and Labour wins hands down by virtue of a less split vote, regardless of how Boris-y your leader is. Afterwards you have a fighting chance. But that sounds to me like one of those old-school economics theories which assume that everyone is a rational actor with access to all the facts and an full understanding of the consequences of their actions.

tl;dr—I have no clue where this ends.
posted by dudleian at 1:45 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


But as soon as the BP's one and only policy and raison d'être has been achieved, who would want to vote for a party with no manifesto, no experience, no track record of competence, and made up of a bunch of mavericks who in Ver 1.0 of the party fought like a bunch of cats in a sack?

It'll be just as effective a protest vote post-Brexit as it is now. I still maintain that to a certain extent and for a lot of people, brexit was never about brexit, it was about putting two fingers up to Westminster. The Farage Show is just as effective a "fuck you" protest vote post brexit, if not more so. Yes, brexit will take away a lot of their steam, but I think it's naive to imagine that they'll simply disappear or stop being a concern. They'll still have support after brexit.
posted by Dysk at 2:06 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


It might make sense for them to change their name to Britain Party or something though, depending on the circumstances of Brexit. It's not impossible that they're too disorganised and incompetent to do much other than collapse in bickering of course, but there'll be a new "fuck you" party to replace them soon enough in that eventuality. The underlying problem is the "fuck you" mentality and approach to politics, not whatever particular party currently embodies it. And I don't see that disappearing because of a brexit that will inevitably be disappointing to people in one way or another.
posted by Dysk at 4:26 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


The basic equation hasn't changed - pragmatists want to cancel Brexit altogether, ideologues have moved to hard Brexit "and we can survive that, like we survived the war'" as one Brexit party voter said on the radio just now. Helluva argument, lady.

There are more pragmatists than ideologues, in the country as in Parliament - which is why Raab et al want to dissolve Parliament to prevent it voting. That would be an... exciting development, and I'd like to think that the chances of anyone who espouses that getting through the Con leadership selection process would be slim. But they're Tories.

But it boils down to whether someone can force hard Brexit through at gunpoint, and soon. Anything else will lead to some form of public vote, which will be the end of Brexit.
posted by Devonian at 5:36 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Anything else will lead to some form of public vote, which will be the end of Brexit.

I admire your optimism, and I really hope you're right, but the reality of recent public votes doesn't demonstrate that particularly strongly.
posted by Dysk at 6:17 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]






Candidates for the conservative leadership have to have eight MP endorsements by Monday to progress so over the weekend there will be a lot of manoeuvring to capture endorsements from the 140 uncommitted so far.

So far:
Boris 39 MPs
Gove 27
Hunt 23
Raab 20
Javid 16
Hancock 11
McVey 6
Harper 4
Stewart 5
Leadsom 2
Baker <1

That looks like obviously it will be Boris + 1 in the final two but I'm really not so sure. A large number of the uncommitted MPs are Brexit moderates or remainers who are not going to vote for Boris. MPs will also be thinking "who is going to beat JC in a general election?". In that context, someone like Rory Stewart who the latest polling of the general public shows has the highest net approval score as a PM once you correct for "don't knows" might be attractive.

If Boris is in the top two, he will win the membership, they all know that. I could see MPs keeping Boris out of the top two. He and Gove have the advantage that "only Nixon could go to China" if they can convince colleagues that they have the public following among Leave voters to get a deal through that is also acceptable to the EU - i.e. a cosmetically modified version of the current one. That's what Gove is doing with his position on a possible extension and the earlier floats by his allies of "Norway for Now".

I know that it's sacrilege to say it, but I really believe that we would have been better off if Boris Johnson had won instead of Theresa May. She was never strong enough to stand up to the hard brexiteers, like a Brexit chicken-hawk she was so afraid of being labelled a remainer that she gave up every piece of ground to the nutjobs and was left with no room to manoeuvre.
posted by atrazine at 7:03 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I know that it's sacrilege to say it, but I really believe that we would have been better off if Boris Johnson had won instead of Theresa May.

Wouldn't we just have done a hard brexit by now in those circumstances though? That's my initial thought. I'm curious as to how you see it having gone though!
posted by Dysk at 8:01 AM on June 7


Why would Parliament have followed Boris through on hard Brexit when it doesn't want to go there for anyone?

And yes, I do think a public vote will kill Brexit. I think the Brexiteers know it too, which is why they are so absolutely desperate to prevent it.

Those figures for the candidates look more like Boris 39, Anyone But Boris, 125. I'm sure it won't break down like that, but BoJo is immensely unpopular with a lot of Tory MPs - as he is with many people who've actually worked with him. I'm not going to take a guess about what's going to happen in that particular cavalcade of grotesques: the calculus that the Tories are totes gefukken regardless of what they do now will be sinking in, and who can tell what madness awaits?
posted by Devonian at 8:27 AM on June 7


Why would Parliament have followed Boris through on hard Brexit when it doesn't want to go there for anyone?

Hard Brexit just happens if nothing else does. Boris would likely have (intentionally or not) sabotaged the possibility of extensions from the EU side, and I don't see parliament taking command of the process to rescind Article 50 in that situation, especially not at the very short notices that have been involved every time.
posted by Dysk at 8:31 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Parliament voted against No Deal. If the PM - any PM - had said 'sod you, I'm going to pull the plug' or acted tp sabptage an A50 extension, then Parliament would go nuclear and no-confidence into a GE. This hasn't changed, and won't change even if Boris becomes PM, puts Farage into the Lords, makes him deputy PM and flies out to Brussels dressed up as Captain Brexit And The Boy Leaver. Which is why we have those noises about turning Parliament off so it can't.

The moment the UK goes into election or referendum mode, we get an automatic extension (if needed) on Brexit whether the PM wants it or not.
posted by Devonian at 8:47 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


The moment the UK goes into election or referendum mode, we get an automatic extension (if needed) on Brexit whether the PM wants it or not.

That's the situation now, yes, but it isn't necessarily the situation that comes about in the counterfactual. And it isn't automatic - it's at the behest of the EU.
posted by Dysk at 8:51 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


The EU does not want Brexit. If there's a chance that the UK will vote to repeal A50, we will be allowed to have that chance - which is why we've been given October.
posted by Devonian at 9:17 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Again yes, that is the situation as it currently stands. It is not a foregone conclusion that the same would have been the case with an utterly intransigent UK government, rather than one attempting to negotiate a withdrawal agreement, however badly. I'm going to drop this, but I can definitely see circumstances in which one of the very last-minute extensions before this one didn't happen if the circumstances were materially different, i.e with a different government.
posted by Dysk at 9:27 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't we just have done a hard brexit by now in those circumstances though? That's my initial thought. I'm curious as to how you see it having gone though!

I think that where we are now is absolutely not an inevitable consequence of the political beliefs most people (including BoJo and Gove) had at the time of the referendum.

May put herself into a corner with her red lines and she in principled in a dumb way so was unable to get herself out of them and we have now ended up at a point where some hard brexiters have started referring to Gove as "not really a brexiter"!

Boris is a political opportunist whose natural instincts (to the extent that they are not just about self promotion) are about being broadly loved and who would never have let political principles or red lines get in the way of that adulation. We'll never know, but I think that he might have bumbled us into EFTA in the name of national reconciliation and personal quest for the adulation of as broad a public as possible.

Basically May is principled in a cramped, constipated way and Boris in unprincipled in a vague emotional way. I think he would have "sold out" hard brexiters and marginalised them from the beginning - note that they had little to no role in the campaign! May, having convinced herself that people had voted for a set of impossible to achieve things, felt compelled to robotically try and achieve them. Boris may well have felt that he embodied the spirit of Brexit and therefore he got to make decisions regardless of the view of JRM and other fruitcakes. He has immense personal charisma that no-one in the hard Brexit camp has.
posted by atrazine at 10:04 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Why every possible Brexit outcome spells disaster for the Conservative party.

Michael Oakshot:
“To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.”
As Jonathan Freedland points out - with the help of Oakeshott's quote - the Conservative's dilemma comes from having bound themselves to a single, central policy that runs absolutely counter to all the party's supposed core beliefs. Where would a party that supports a strong rule of law, the value of a union between nations , the support of free trade agreements, the role of the small business owner and an appetite for gradual improvements over unthinking revolution - be expected to stand on the idea of Brexit?
posted by rongorongo at 6:25 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Where would a party that supports a strong rule of law, the value of a union between nations , the support of free trade agreements, the role of the small business owner and an appetite for gradual improvements over unthinking revolution - be expected to stand on the idea of Brexit?
This is very well stated. I have thought for some time now that those of "a conservative disposition" as Oakshot described himself, no longer feel that comfortable in many conservative parties. Some notionally conservative parties, such as the Conservatives in the UK, FIDESZ in Hungary and of course the Republican Party in the US, are now in fact more 'radical' in nature than what is traditionally thought of as [small c]onserative. These parties now seek, where possible, to implement quite far-reaching, profound changes that upend the traditional order. Brexit is an obvious example. Of course, the changes these parties seek are quite reactionary, seeking to roll back the clock so that world can again be run soley for the benefit of rich white males. Because they are swimming against the tide of history and demographics, they must be more and more "radical", and less and less of a conservative disposition, to achieve their vision.
posted by vac2003 at 7:32 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


The only genuine conservative running to be leader of the Conservative party is Rory Stewart, from whom one always get the feeling that he really likes this country more or less the way it is. Of course, he doesn't stand a chance.

Gove has been accurately described as a right-wing Maoist, too sure of his own rightness and ready to overturn existing orthodoxy with his own ideas to really be a conservative.

Boris is an egomaniac.

Raab is a lunatic as is Baker.

Hunt and Javid are technocratic opportunists, they occasionally have policies but they have no politics. They're men of air and straw, no real hinterland or gravitas.
posted by atrazine at 2:45 PM on June 9 [5 favorites]


When it’s right to be a hypocrite: ... There is a greater sin than hypocrisy. It is the refusal to uphold values because one may oneself have fallen short of them. — Michael Gove.

I don't know if he reads Neal Stephenson novels, but that argument sounded strangely familiar.

"I think I was once given cocaine, but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose. In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar." -- some clown.

I had to double-check that was not a recent quote. Thank god. But out of all of the leadership candidates, I really wish the front-runner wasn't the Trump-endorsed performance artist.
posted by sourcejedi at 3:38 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the economy has gone into reverse with negative GDP growth in April. I've just lost my job, but it was only a temporary thing until I started university anyway and has little to do with macro-economic factors and more to do with it being a poorly-run company.

I'm not personally someone who believes that GDP growth is the only measure of an economy's health, and I think that in the era of climate change and environmental crisis we need to perhaps look at other ways of living than constant economic growth.

But the party currently in government purports to be the party of stable economic management and is currently in the process of damaging the country's economy with protracted uncertainty and general political chaos.
posted by winterhill at 5:33 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


The economy is nowhere near as healthy as the rosy government economic statistics would have you believe.

On paper, it seems to look reasonable especially considering Brexit-related headwinds, but in real life I don't know anyone who isn't saying "the place where I work is running on fumes, they're making cutbacks and making people redundant".

I think these things take a few months to filter through but I can't see the current "record low unemployment levels" persisting for much longer. There'll be a big jump in the published unemployment rate over the summer. It's bad news, but could be what's required to bring waverers over to the Remain argument...
posted by winterhill at 5:45 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]




could be what's required to bring waverers over to the Remain argument...

Or, (and sorry to be a downer and possible catastrophist about this), to go full-on fascist. I've been seeing a lot more far-right turns of phrase in my general social media / message boards over the last few weeks and months. The latest one is the "common-sense" notion that of course non-white people aren't "proper" English or British (note use of scare quotes - that opinion is not only the opposite of mine, I'd aver that it goes counter to reality itself).

One problem I've found with the creeping takeover by the far right is that anyone who is going in to it to spread that sort of argument (rather than just lazily repeating it) has the motivation and energy to fight it out, whereas a mere schmo like me doesn't, really, all I have is despair and outrage, so when I do try to take them on I fail (or rather they outlast me in the argument, because all they need to do is keep repeating the same content-free shit over and over). Losing arguments like that feels worse than not bothering.
posted by Grangousier at 6:41 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Guardian: Brexit Hangover Leaves UK Nursing Worst Monthly Contraction Since 2016—Britain’s economy shrank by 0.4% in April as car factories shut down in case of a hard Brexit, and stockpiling boost faded
• ONS: Brexit uncertainty hit growth
• Biggest fall in monthly GDP since 2016
• Factory output contracted sharply
• Services stalled; construction also down
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson's idea of economic policy is to stiff the EU of the £39 billion Brexit divorce bill (Reuters), a page straight out of Donald Trump's playbook.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:34 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Final candidates that have 8+ sponsors and go through to the 1st vote

Environment Secretary Michael Gove
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Former Chief Whip Mark Harper
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart

Best response so far: "This is like Game Of Thrones except every contender is Joffrey."
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:31 AM on June 10 [15 favorites]


> Boris Johnson's idea of economic policy is to stiff the EU of the £39 billion Brexit divorce bill (Reuters) ...

And then what, the UK stops trading with the EU? What's to stop the EU from imposing a collection fee on every UK export until the bill is paid? Oh, then the UK imposes retaliatory tariffs, and the battle escalates, and ...? The UK is still an island, and not a self-sufficient one, in spite of what some people might want to imagine.

> ... a page straight out of Donald Trump's playbook

Ah. So it'll work about as well, and lead to a similar humiliating backdown when it becomes clear he has no idea what he's talking about.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:34 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Isn't that all of them apart from Gyimah and Cleverly (who dropped out last week)?

It's not a great look when the two black candidates are the first two to go.
posted by winterhill at 1:17 AM on June 11


And then what, the UK stops trading with the EU? What's to stop the EU from imposing a collection fee on every UK export until the bill is paid? Oh, then the UK imposes retaliatory tariffs, and the battle escalates, and ...?

The EU are pretty clear that the price of anything like a favourable trade deal in the future is to pay that bill and sign the already negotiated WA. And the UK can't impose retaliatory high tariffs under those much-vaunted 'WTO rules'. Any country with which the UK doesn't have a trade agreement is automatically subject to identical tariffs. Which makes that route economic madness.

On the other side of the coin, if the UK adopts a zero-tariff relationship with EU countries, it has to offer the same to everyone else, which means all the countries with which it's trying to establish new trade deals outside the EU can take all the time in the world, because they already have tariff-free access to the UK market by default. The only way to get them to agree to a deal that raises those tariffs above zero is to offer something in exchange - visas, our public services, etc. Meanwhile, cheap imports (many of them failing current standards) will be flooding into the UK and will put further pressure on domestic products (manufacturing, agriculture). Ultimately, a few people with a lot of money get a lot more money from the sell-off of the UK's surviving assets. The rest of us get austerity on steroids.

A backdown seems pretty inevitable. Johnson would be happy with being prime minister for a couple of days, I think. It's another hit of adulation, another notch in the bedpost.
posted by pipeski at 3:00 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


When Hammond flatly denied the UN report on the effects of austerity a couple of weeks ago (or perhaps it was last week, or a year ago, or yesterday... time's gone mad), I realised it was very possible that he actually believed that - that even the one who was supposed to be rational was living in a world where he'd filtered out anything that ran counter to what he wanted to be true. It's not even that he doesn't care (although he doesn't), but that the suffering of people outside his tiny world is invisible to him, as are they. Which is dangerous.

Whether it's any less dangerous than the same approach to reality being displayed by those dedicated to a full-on fantasy universe, who all want to be Prime Minister (or at least have one for their own personal glove puppet), remains to be seen.
posted by Grangousier at 3:08 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Most of the coverage I have seen on the leadership contest has been about candidates fighting to generate sufficient approval amongst their colleagues to get to be one of the final two - and hence attain coronation by the party membership as what the BBC seem to like to term "our next Prime Minister".

That is not quite true however. The selection process merely agrees a party leader. To take over from May as Prime Minister, they have to demonstrate the ability to command a working majority in the commons. And that will only continue to be possible with the support of the DUP (as well as, obviously, all of their own party). The role of the DUP as king makers seems to be getting a little overlooked by the candidates.
posted by rongorongo at 3:56 AM on June 11 [15 favorites]


But even with the DUP there's only a Tory majority of, what, six or so by now? So three rebels can sink the ship, and there are already more than three looking at deselection by their local party for not achieving tumescence at the thought of crashing the country into Ice Station Unicorn. But we'll know more tomorrow with the Labour motion to take control of Parliament to properly bugger up No Deal.
posted by Devonian at 2:28 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Rory Stewart has chosen "on further reading" not to back the Labour motion against no deal, in case you thought things were going to get interestingly difficult.
posted by ambrosen at 2:52 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I would have been amazed if Rory the Tory had broken ranks for the Labour motion - he'd be out of the leadership race in nanoseconds, and he doesn't need to do it. I wouldn't do it if I were he; although he's in no danger of making much progress, he's getting a lot of respect from the bits of the Tory party which retrain some tattered sanity, and across the aisle. The chances of him being able to some actual good are greater* if he doesn't blow up straight away.

(*Still tiny)
posted by Devonian at 3:43 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Rory Stewart is obviously not going to win this leadership contest. But emphasis on *this*.
posted by atrazine at 2:35 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Rory Stewart is obviously not going to win this leadership contest. But emphasis on *this*.

The betting market odds (see Economist chart) place Johnson a country mile ahead of everybody else in terms of odds of becoming next leader. Whilst I suspect a poll of Conservative party members would not look too different - we do hear a lot about how old they are (average age 72). A 72 year old would probably have been aware of politics since the early 1960s. That is not old enough to make them aware of ancient events (the last time Scots voters supported a Conservative victory at Westminster was way back 1953 when they were probably still pulling the wings off butterflies) - but it is ample time to have been aware of what the Conservative Party looked like in the years before Thatcher and since. It is old enough for them to see Rory Stewart as being a throwback in advocating those more rational values. They'll probably still back Johnson - but their age means , if they do so, they will not be doing so in ignorance of where Stewart is coming from (and why his policies were once quite popular amongst voters).
posted by rongorongo at 3:58 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Hey-ho, that's a no to the anti-no-deal safety valve...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:37 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


So Parliament absolutely definitely doesn't want No Deal and will do whatever it actually takes to stop it - until they won't.
posted by Dysk at 3:28 PM on June 12


If you want to see one Tory membership betting market live (and with historical charts), here you go. You can really see the impact of the Gove kneecapping.
posted by jaduncan at 2:27 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


*leadership, obviously
posted by jaduncan at 4:02 AM on June 13


@Peston: "Tory leadership round 1: Johnson 114 Hunt 43 Gove 37 Javid 23 Raab 27 Hancock 20 Stewart 19 McVey 9 Leadsom 11 Harper 10 313 votes cast"

So Johnson only needs ~22% of the people who voted for others to switch over in the next rounds. Doesn't seem any way he doesn't win easily, which I guess means the chances of a no deal brexit being pushed through some time between him taking over and Halloween are close to being a certainty.
posted by Buntix at 5:17 AM on June 13


So is this all Have I Got News For You's fault?
posted by jontyjago at 5:34 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


So Johnson only needs ~22% of the people who voted for others to switch over in the next rounds.

Yes. I would imagine he'll get most of McVey and Leadsom's votes, so it's close.
posted by jaduncan at 6:23 AM on June 13


There’s no advantage to winning, he only needs to be in the top two. He’s already got more than a third of the vote, so unless he *loses* supporters in the next round, he can’t come worse than second.

The only question now is who goes up against him to the membership.
posted by grahamparks at 8:30 AM on June 13


I wonder what Stewart Lee would think of actual PM Boris Johnson.
posted by farlukar at 8:35 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


David Gauke, Rory Stewart's backer, has suggested that backers of Hunt, Gove, Raab, Javid, and Hancock should switch to Stewart as the others would be seen as "Boris-lite" in a final face off - rather than as any kind of alternative. I find that view hard to refute (or to see coming to pass).
posted by rongorongo at 10:31 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I'm also not at all sure that Javid is going to do that well with a selectorate of Tory pensioners who are fine with Boris comparing Islamic women to letterboxes.

Just a guess.
posted by jaduncan at 11:22 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


There was a good (ie, terrifying) thread on Twitter yesterday to the effect that the saner Tories were going to back Boris because they are genuinely scared of Corbyn becoming PM. Not as in they don't want Labour to win, but as in they think he's surrounded by Leninists who have no response to dissent except through oppression and who would carry that policy eagerly into the acquisition of the levers of state power.

Which, having seen quite enough of the antics of the Corbynistas, I'd have a hard time dismissing out of hand.

The real problem is the narrative that the Tories are fucked no matter what happens. so having Bojo as PM isn't a magic safeguard against post-Brexit implosion.

One is reminded, yet again, of the Shorter History Of The Russian Peoples: "And then it got worse."
posted by Devonian at 11:41 AM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Beth Rigby (Sky News editor) on twitter:
NEW: Ballot closed and I’m told by sources on ‘22 that it was decided to disallowed phones in room because of an aggressive whipping operation from Team Johnson. Told had been instructed to take photo of their ballot paper to prove they’d backed Johnson.
Not trusting people to actually do the thing they said they'd do? How about that.
posted by Cheerwell Maker at 1:16 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


I wonder what Stewart Lee would think of actual PM Boris Johnson.

Writing in Grauniad, Lee has taken to referring to him as, "Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Johnson".
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:07 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Does piccaninny have a meaning in the UK that I'm unfamiliar with? It's a serious racial slur in the US.
posted by Justinian at 8:00 PM on June 13


Same meaning in the UK. Like everything else in that list, it's an awful and and racist thing Johnson has said publicly.
posted by Dysk at 8:28 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Ouch. Thanks for the explanation.
posted by Justinian at 8:31 PM on June 13


David Gauke, Rory Stewart's backer, has suggested that backers of Hunt, Gove, Raab, Javid, and Hancock should switch to Stewart as the others would be seen as "Boris-lite" in a final face off - rather than as any kind of alternative. I find that view hard to refute (or to see coming to pass).

I guess that has a sort of logic to it.

Here's the thing, the only place where Boris could have been stopped was at this stage. If enough MPs had decided to support a non-Boris hard Brexit candidate and a soft Brexit candidate to keep him out of the final two. He was always going to win the membership election if he was in final two. Always. Whoever goes up against Boris is going to be so comprehensively routed that it would not surprise me if there was not party membership vote.
posted by atrazine at 1:06 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


The author Danny Dorling recently mentioned (I listen to the podcast feed of his talks, despite the fact that it's basically the same stuff in a different order with asides, and so badly recorded it's difficult to hear, so it's a bit like collecting bootlegs from the 1970s), that the co-author of their last book (Rule Britannia: Brexit and the End of Empire) looked at the school textbooks of a number of Brexit players and found that the phrase "piccaninnies with watermelon smiles" is literally in the history (or geography) book Johnson studied at school.

Yesterday, Marina Hyde was tweeting excerpts from Johnson's novel, which sounds dreadful. What was notable to me was the way that his jokes weren't actually jokes - they looked like jokes, but they didn't have the logical inversions that jokes need to work. Except one, which he'd stolen verbatim from Raymond Chandler.

He just repeats things that he remembers made people laugh (whoever actually devised them), and does vague gestures towards the form of wit without actually being able to do it himself. He really is as lazy, as stupid, as shallow, as dishonest, as self-indulgent as he appears. He makes Mr Toad look like an intellectual and moral colossus.

The coming destruction of the country is perhaps necessary, giving at least the opportunity for something better. I just don't want to have to try to live through it, I want to read about it from several decades in the future.
posted by Grangousier at 1:18 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Here's the thing, the only place where Boris could have been stopped was at this stage.

Yeah, at this point it's basically No Deal or a no confidence vote.
posted by Dysk at 1:21 AM on June 14


Yesterday, Marina Hyde was tweeting excerpts from Johnson's novel, which sounds dreadful. What was notable to me was the way that his jokes weren't actually jokes - they looked like jokes, but they didn't have the logical inversions that jokes need to work. Except one, which he'd stolen verbatim from Raymond Chandler.

Not a fan of Marina Hyde as she comes from the same public school tradition of "Look, I have made a clever rhetorical point, thus we can all rest easy about this creeping fascism" which is a big part of why the UK is where it is right now. Speeches are confused for real action.

But she also referred to Chandler as "little-known author Raymond Chandler" which puts her even lower in my estimation.
posted by vacapinta at 2:26 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Speeches are confused for real action.
You're lucky if you get a speech these days. It's more like "we are all agreed on Twitter that this is a Very Bad Thing, that X is an arsehole and should be stopped, and the power of Twitter is boundless, so it's all going to be okay. Pub?"
posted by winterhill at 2:33 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


I'm sure the little-known author Raymond Chandler thing was a joke.

But yeah, colourful language doesn't make an outward-looking resistance to this creeping fascism.
posted by ambrosen at 2:50 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Calling Raymond Chandler a "little-known author" is obvious sarcasm. She's underlining that Boris can't even be bothered to pinch lines from unknown authors.

I'm a fan of Marina Hyde, because dark humour, at which she excels, is an important coping mechanism for many people, and she's employed by the Guardian to deliver it. I've never taken from any of her columns that we should "rest easy" about the people and events she's railing against. I don't know what other real actions she personally takes to resist the worst, but her columns aren't just empty rhetoric: they're effective rhetoric, which bolsters others.

And in the face of Boris Johnson PM, we're going to need a lot of bolstering.
posted by rory at 3:07 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


It wasn't so much a recommendation of Ms Hyde (of whom my opinion has vacillated over the years) as noting another reminder of how vapid Johnson is - even cherry-picked for effect, every Johnson quote is a fractal of a dull, unimaginative, boorish mind, apart from the one he stole - and that he really is the best they can do and that's extraordinary. TBH, I need the jokes. I no longer think resistance is possible - it's just going to go wherever it's going. I'd quite like to see the whole edifice come crashing down, were it not for the fact that we're stood right under it, and all we'd do is provide a soft landing. On the one hand a government striding confidently towards fascism, on the other a theoretical opposition who are, whenever it counts, enabling that government.

He's not even begun to clamber on board Trump's fabricated war on Iran, but he will because like Donny he will need the distraction, the opportunity to paint his opponents as traitors, the military porn and it worked for Thatcher (and harmed Blair a lot less than people think). And it ties in with his Islamophobia. And it's bargain basement Machiavelli - literally the simplest thing you could do.

Christ, it's all so shit.
posted by Grangousier at 3:13 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I didn't take it that way, Grangousier. It was just a convenient spot from which to launch my own separate tirade.

Perhaps I too am losing hope that Britain will turn around and am now just becoming an angry person. I hope not to become that but it is becoming increasingly difficult.
posted by vacapinta at 3:46 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


I'm not really angry any more. It's just if I think about almost anything other than electric guitars at the moment I fall into despair.
Britain Elects
@britainelects
Westminster voting intention:

BREX: 26% (-)
LDEM: 22% (+2)
LAB: 19% (-1)
CON: 17% (-1)
GRN: 8% (-1)
CHUK: 1% (+1)
UKIP: 0% (-)

via @YouGov, 9 - 10 June
Chgs. w/ 6 Jun

12:02pm · 14 Jun 2019 · Twitter for Android
I've been unable to even for quite some time now. I don't know where we are now. First the world began to resemble satire, then fiction, then bad fiction now it looks like it was knocked together by an indifferent Markov string generator.

Labour will be pleased that they're ahead of the Tories, I expect.
posted by Grangousier at 4:08 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Not a fan of Marina Hyde as she comes from the same public school tradition of "Look, I have made a clever rhetorical point, thus we can all rest easy about this creeping fascism" which is a big part of why the UK is where it is right now. Speeches are confused for real action.

The British tradition venerates quick but shallow wit and the environment of public school and Oxford tutorial makes the people who have gone through it extremely good at it. I once estimated that in my secondary schooling alone, I had to speak for an hour each school day. That's combining, reading out essays I'd written, taking part in class debates, seminars or 1:1 discussions.

I attended an English university with a tutorial system but studied physics so I didn't have quite same hothouse atmosphere there but we still had to solve problems on whiteboards and talk through solutions in small groups with tutors.

In secondary school alone I probably had 1600+ hours of time to practice speaking in contexts where I was being evaluated.

It's interesting, isn't it? How the political cultures of different countries lead to subtly different leadership classes.

The British end up with good speakers who have no idea for detail or implementation the way the French end up with erudite technocratic énarques who have trouble connecting with the masses. Right now, I wouldn't mind if the UK was a bit more French in that regard. Americans end up with whoever can fundraise enough to afford a federal election campaign.
posted by atrazine at 4:12 AM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Grangousier,

It would be interesting to see what the seat prediction is from those numbers.

The ComRes / Electoral Calculus predictions from earlier this week are clearly nuts. It assumes that votes will swing the way they have in past GEs based on overall sentiment. That's not the world we live in any more.
posted by atrazine at 4:29 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


In secondary school alone I probably had 1600+ hours of time to practice speaking in contexts where I was being evaluated.

That's astonishing, and I think it explains a lot about the difference in confidence levels I saw at university between the privately-educated and the state-educated. I went to a grammar school and then Cambridge, and even though I was reading maths rather than anything more debate-focused, honestly I was woefully ill-prepared to cope with intense scrutiny of the supervision system. I was used to my written work being evaluated, but had rarely had cause to speak in front of a teacher, beyond the occasional hand-raised answer to a question ("Ablative absolute" or "v = u + at" or "The Luddites").
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:54 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


This comment in the Guardian struck me as interesting though I cannot vouch for it in any way. Please season with a pinch or peck of salt to taste.

I think something like this explains the embrace of Johnson by "moderate" Conservatives. Any new PM is going to have to go to the EU and ask for six impossible things before breakfast. At best they'll come back with a reasonable compromise, which the Brexit ultras will void on from a great height. The PM will have no choice but to go full on gonzo No Deal. MPs assume that parliament will stop this (I wish I had their confidence) and therefore we will be bounced into a general election. Johnson is the only candidate with the profile and showmanship to take it to Farage and Corbyn, and prevent the extinction of the Conservatives. tl;dr—they're voting for the leader of their GE campaign, not the PM.

If I were one of them I'd be starting to get worried by Johnson's adoption of May's submarine strategy of not engaging with his rivals or in any discussion or debate. If he can't be trusted not to stuff it up in a contest which he has in the bag (as much as anyone can) how can they be confident he can perform under the greater pressure and scrutiny of a GE?
posted by dudleian at 6:21 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


There was also the ComRes/Telegraph poll suggesting that with Boris as leader they would hoover up the Brexit party votes, and have a majority of 144 in parliament at a general election.

Chart of predicted seat outcomes by leader
posted by Buntix at 6:44 AM on June 14


Chart of predicted seat outcomes by leader

The Independent: Boris Johnson: Row over poll predicting landslide election win for Tory leadership hopeful

“[S]everal experts cast doubt on the interpretation of the figures, with one saying it was "bonkers" to project national opinion polls onto constituency results during such political uncertainty.”

That said, I think it’s fair to infer that Corbyn is an utterly inept leader of the opposition.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:28 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


So they're assuming that Johnson gets 100% of the Leave votes essentially?
Meanwhile, under Rory Stewart all the Leave Tory votes go to the Brexit Party which then becomes largest party?

That seems awfully far fetched.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:29 AM on June 14


This comment in the Guardian struck me as interesting though I cannot vouch for it in any way. Please season with a pinch or peck of salt to taste.

I've noticed that commenter before. They seem sane. And the comment seems good enough. If the Tories weren't shitting themselves, they'd be zombies. (And obviously, that is an option)
posted by mumimor at 7:54 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


That seems awfully far fetched.

Well yeah, that Telegraph poll is verging on `prescribing homeopathic medicine based on astrology` level woo*. But it isn't about whether we believe it, it's whether Tories do. And have you seen the shit they are giddily happy to sign up for. Like the idea that a no-deal Brexit (or any Brexit) is a good idea.

There was an article/tweet (possibly posted here) suggesting that what separates Stewart from the rest of the pack was that he was an old school steady-state, keep-things-the-same type tory, whereas the rest are a bunch of radicals who want to completely reshape the country for their ilk's benefit. And while I don't really believe that conservatism has ever been particularly about conserving things the way they are/were, it certainly does seem true that of late the right has becoming increasingly divergent from reality and more like an engineered cult (with I guess Qanon being the vanguard). To pull out (yet again) my favourite paraphrased Voltaire quote: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”.

If/when Johnson is appointed Prime Minister then that is probably us fully reaching the same kayfabe state of politics the U.S. is in.


So is this all Have I Got News For You's fault?

And Deayton got sacked from a satirical TV show for far less than Johnson is on record as having done**. Also IMO he was the glue that once made the show genuinely funny rather than mean/cringe funny.



* In hindsight I should probably have added a disclaimer :D
** Not to excuse that he was cheating on his then pregnant partner.
posted by Buntix at 11:45 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Politics.co.uk presents some analysis of a new YouGov survey that explains the Brexit impasse: A Country of Purists: the Polling Which Lays Bare the Death of Any Compromise On Brexit
All ranked preferences are shown below for each of the four Brexit outcomes. The vast majority of respondents chose either Remain or No Deal as their top choice (45% and 33% respectively), but they were also the most popular bottom choices (42% of people ranked No Deal as their bottom choice and another 42% did the same for Remain). Soft Brexit and May's Deal are the most popular second and third choices respectively, but hardly anyone's first or last choice.

We can usefully group the population into "compromisers" and "purists". Compromisers accept the referendum result and the trade-offs inherent in leaving the EU, while wishing to protect the economy. Purists support Remain or No Deal. Compromisers are now only about a fifth of the population.[…]

As the only parties currently advocating leaving with a deal, Labour and the Conservatives need the compromiser vote as well as a hefty chunk of the purists in a new election. But who will compromisers vote for? And will they vote at all? It turns out that compromisers are much more undecided than the purists, and those who know how they will vote are not necessarily choosing the two main parties. This could be because they are generally less engaged in politics, or because the parties on offer are not appealing, or a combination of both. However, given that purists (almost 80% of the population) are heavily supporting the Brexit purist parties, a general election would be dangerous for both main parties.
On top of that, the compromiser block is shrinking: "The small group of compromisers feel less strongly about Brexit, less informed, and are less likely to vote. The longer the process continues, the less acceptable any deal is likely to become to the public."

While none of this is good news for a general election, the article argues that a second referendum now has the best chance of resolving the Brexit deadlock.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:32 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Divided, pessimistic, angry: survey reveals bleak mood of pre-Brexit UK :
The survey by BritainThinks reveals an astonishing lack of faith in the political system among the British people, with less than 6% believing their politicians understand them. Some 75% say that UK politics is not fit for purpose...

Some 83% feel let down by the political establishment and almost three-quarters (73%) believe the country has become an international laughing stock and that British values are in decline.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:57 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Some 75% say that UK politics is not fit for purpose
A mere 8 years ago, 68% thought things were fine the way they were.
posted by farlukar at 3:03 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Independent: Brexit: Leaked cabinet note admits UK not ready for no-deal exit on October 31, blowing hole in Boris Johnson leadership pledge
It will take “six to eight months” to build up supplies of medicines for a no-deal Brexit, a leaked cabinet note says – undermining Boris Johnson’s threat to crash out of the EU on 31 October.[…]

It also says that it would take “at least 4-5 months” to make traders ready for the new border checks that might be required, including incentives to register for fresh schemes.

The note was revealed by The Financial Times as Mr Johnson – the overwhelming favourite to succeed Theresa May – launched his campaign on a pledge to leave the EU on 31 October “deal or no deal”.

It states that, while government departments had delivered around 85 per cent of their “core no-deal plans”, many of those provided only “a minimum viable level of capability”.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on June 16 [6 favorites]


In today's exciting installment of Britain's Gone Bonkers, Rees-Mogg, about his master's work, told C4 today that Johnson has "a mandate from 17.4 million people" to withhold the EU settlement payoff in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Which is bonkers. Plus, MeFi's Own Tom Watson has said the EU's core values are precisely aligned with Labour's and the party must push for a second referendum with Remain the preferred option. Which isn't bonkers at all, and thus doomed. Plus Plus, everyone's favourite underdog, Rory the Tory, has been picking up support from a few MPs with actual name recognition (for certain values of name recognition). Which is just sweet. And doomed.
posted by Devonian at 1:38 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Jeremy Vine's Boris story is a revealing read.
posted by rory at 1:38 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


YouGov has polled Conservative Party members and found that most would be prepared to accept significant damage to the UK economy, Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving the UK, and the destruction of the Conservative Party itself, to secure Brexit. Madness.

But they would rather lose Brexit than see Jeremy Corbyn become PM.
posted by rory at 1:58 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Jeremy Vine's Boris story is a revealing read.
Looking at the scrap of paper I could make out very little of what his scrawl said. There seemed to be about ten words. There was one at the very top that I could make out:
SHEEP
and then, a few inches below that, another in capitals:
SHARK
but I could not read the rest of the scrawl.
Oh my god he's 80s Guy.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:59 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


*Spoilers / TLDR for Jeremy Vine's Boris story*

It needs to be read to the end. The point is that it looked like a bravura piece of improvisation where Boris Johnson turned up hopelessly unprepared to deliver a speech at an awards ceremony and pleased the audience by self-deprecatingly bluffing his way through. But a few months later he turned up to a different awards ceremony and went through exactly the same act. It looked spontaneous but it's actually a standard routine that lets him deliver an awards ceremony speech without having to prepare anything.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:09 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


Can someone post the Boris story to a Pastebin site or similar? I don't do Facebook.
posted by winterhill at 2:11 AM on June 18


Can someone post the Boris story to a Pastebin site or similar? I don't do Facebook.

It is available on pastebin here.
posted by jaduncan at 2:16 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


That YouGov Poll is insane.
The Conservative and Union Party would be happy with the destruction of the Union or the party if it means they got Brexit.

What the fuck do these people think "Brexit" actually is?
posted by fullerine at 2:20 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]




That YouGov Poll is insane.

Here's a perfect response.
posted by rory at 2:25 AM on June 18


And on Reddit.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:26 AM on June 18


What the fuck do these people think "Brexit" actually is?

Brexit, very literally is them winning.
They've been losing their whole lives. The government keeps getting voted in, they keep having boring jobs and having to do the dishes and get up early and not quite being able to afford going on holiday this year.
But Brexit. They won Brexit. They won it! A Victory in the referendum.
Now they're told that what you won wasn't worth winning, or the cost would be too high, so we'd better not.

But that's what they always hear. Not right now. Too expensive. Not worth the trouble...
Not this time. They won! They want what they won. They want to have won.
It doesn't really matter what it is they won. But they won it. Don't you dare take this one victory away.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:13 AM on June 18 [20 favorites]


Something that has struck me about the current Boris Johnson 'campaign' is this. If he can't come out and campaign and answer questions in a contest where he's the clear front-runner and where the majority of voters (ie. Tory members) are amenable to him, how would he perform in a competitive general election?

Hiding and running down the clock until polling day, emerging every so often to write a column in a friendly newspaper, can only take you so far. The big mistake of the Theresa May 2017 campaign was that she appeared only in front of audiences that couldn't question her. The vast majority of her campaign stops were at workplaces, where staff dutifully stood in a shiny office lobby or hard-hat factory and listened to her speech, humans as props. No one in that position can heckle or question. She came across as robotic and repetitive with nothing to say, and lost her majority.

You could argue that a general election against the ineffectual Corbyn won't be particularly competitive. But Jeremy won't be around forever and I expect the next leader of the opposition will be rather better. Johnson as PM will be quickly exposed for what he is.
posted by winterhill at 3:22 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Something that has struck me about the current Boris Johnson 'campaign' is this. If he can't come out and campaign and answer questions in a contest where he's the clear front-runner and where the majority of voters (ie. Tory members) are amenable to him, how would he perform in a competitive general election?

I read somewhere recently that Johnson was kept out of the spotlight during the last general election because he was felt to be a liability. Of course the Tory election strategists didn’t get a great result, so maybe they would have done better if Johnson had been all over the media… but it does feel like the sheen of his celebrity has worn off a bit. Does the fame into translate into popularity and electability? Maybe? Maybe not?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:34 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Johnson as PM will be quickly exposed for what he is.

Unfortunately, the damage will likely have been done at that point.
posted by Dysk at 3:36 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Nigel Farage's Brexit Party has been told to check all £2.5 million donated to it to ensure it hasn't accepted cash from foreign donors. ... If the party has accepted such donations, they must be returned and reported to the Electoral Commission.

Schadenfreude, Götterfunken...
posted by rory at 3:57 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Schadenfreude, Götterfunken...

From the article:

The Party will be required to satisfy itself that every single £25 'supporter' fee was not from an impermissible source.

And the Party, being a prize herd of wankers, will satisfy itself while gurning over a copy of Big Jugs Monthly and walk away. If there are sanctions of checks in the Commission's report, they're not in the story.

As for the "Boris is too lazy, corrupt and incompetent to be elected/escape detection in power" theory, I refer m'learneds to the US politics megathreads since, oh, July 2016.

Perhaps the fever is close to breaking. But I'm booking me no "Surely This" Uber quite yet.
posted by Devonian at 4:43 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


What the fuck do these people think "Brexit" actually is?

I'd recommend "Chernobyl" to those seeking to understand the shear degree to which poor ideas which are espoused by those in power can persist. I think that when we talk about "fake news" it is often it reference to a falsehood which is propagated for an immediate tactical purpose, like winning an election. But there are also some situations where immediate, expedient lies can become embedded by those other fibs laid on the top of them. Thirty three years after reactor #4 blew up, and three decades after the aftermath helped end the Soviet Union - Russia is still maintaining that the death toll for the event was a mere 31people - and they are talking about making their own film where the baddies were CIA saboteurs.

For my part, I don't expect to ever live to see the day where there is not a group of people - well represented in the Westminster parliament and in the media- talking about how life would be wonderful if only we had left the EU after the 2016 vote. Or how it would be wonderful if only we had left the EU in the way that imagine that we should have.
posted by rongorongo at 5:21 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Well, Raab's out. Five left.

Johnson - 126
Hunt - 46
Gove - 41
Stewart - 37
Javid - 33
Raab - 30.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:12 AM on June 18


Raaaaab eliminaaaated, Hunt and Gove are losing steam, Saj is staring at the drop - will Rory the Tory pull it off and chase BoJo into the shires?
posted by Devonian at 10:15 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Can we just skip to the end of the decade, when the dust's settled and we've all got the hang of our ration cards? Living through this current bit is doing terrible things to my anxiety levels.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:17 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


I find this version of a leadership election, where they're taking a month and a half (June 7-July 22), of a 6 month prolongation to the deadline, after which there will be weeks or more of establishing whether the government has confidence, to be incredibly offensive.

Like, as soon as the pressure lets up slightly, rather than pretending to care, the question becomes not, "How do we deal with our mess?" but rather "What Etonian spunk stain in an otherwise empty suit will be prime minister of the fucking ashes?"

I'm so fucking angry and tired about this. I even took a break from following it at all once the extension was granted, because I felt that nothing's going to move until it's time to panic again and I'm still just fucking gutted at where we're at.
posted by frimble at 10:44 AM on June 18 [13 favorites]


> will Rory the Tory pull it off and chase BoJo into the shires?
Land of Hope and Rory?
posted by farlukar at 11:43 AM on June 18


@HichamYezza:

“My Muslim great-grandfather” pleads Boris Johnson. “My three half-Chinese kids” retorts Jeremy Hunt. “My parents were Muslim” wails Sajid Javid. “Assalamu-Alaikoum” shouts Rory Stewart. “Jeremy Corbyn is Satan” screams Michael Gove.

What a circus.

#BBCOurNextPM
posted by Wordshore at 1:32 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I've read that three times and I'm still only 90% sure it's a joke. Maybe I should have watched the debate after all.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:55 PM on June 18


There was no way the WA could through parliament with May in charge—to be fair she tested that to destruction. We have to try something else. Take unicorns off the table (e.g. Article 50 revocation, a new WA) and what's left? New leader? Another referendum? Another election?

I support another referendum/election, but I think it's likely neither would deliver a decisive result, and they might well produce outcomes I would not like at all. They could deepen this mess rather than resolving it (e.g. a narrow referendum win for remain leading to endless calls for a "best of 3", Farage as PM).

What we need is a 3-5 year timeout to go back and do the work that the government failed to do over the past 3-5 years that would either have avoided Brexit, or created a consensus for one of the possible Brexits. In other words, the impossible.

I agree that we are "wasting time", but we live in a country where the members of the governing party would happily see the country split apart, major damage to the economy and even the destruction of their own party if it meant they got Brexit. And an opposition party that does not (on Brexit at least) oppose. I'm all out of constructive suggestions.
posted by dudleian at 2:10 PM on June 18


I've read that three times and I'm still only 90% sure it's a joke.

Alas, this twitter thread from the person the candidates responded to will clarify to a degree...
posted by Wordshore at 2:46 PM on June 18


I agree that we are "wasting time", but we live in a country where the members of the governing party would happily see the country split apart

I agree, and I live in the UK (possibly more pertinently, in England) too, but you're replying to someone who lives elsewhere in the EU, so it's probably worth taking note of their frustration from that point of view. Because at this point I can certainly empathise with anyone who's thinking "fuck the lot of them".
posted by ambrosen at 3:30 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I find this version of a leadership election, where they're taking a month and a half (June 7-July 22)

I have to admit, it's unclear to me why they couldn't just have the leadership election over the course of a weekend.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:52 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


The Spectator has a long but informative transcript of an Ivan Rogers speech.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:31 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


I agree, and I live in the UK (possibly more pertinently, in England) too, but you're replying to someone who lives elsewhere in the EU, so it's probably worth taking note of their frustration from that point of view. Because at this point I can certainly empathise with anyone who's thinking "fuck the lot of them".

My 'fuck the lot of them', as a mild way of putting it, extends to Westminster, Cameron, Murdoch and the other members of the political and ownership classes who thought it was a good idea to crack open the door to fascists and xenophobes in the hopes that appeasing them would make them go away. Now the door is wide fucking open and whoever the next PM is, he was talking last night about avoiding any democratic process while appeasing the Faragists because ultimately nothing matters except eking out another 4 years in power.

But any time I start thinking "and fuck the English too," I stop myself and think of names and faces of people who will be hurt. Some of whom are in the rest of the EU, NI, Wales or Scotland. Because, ultimately, the reason I'm sad and angry about Brexit is the amount of pain and death it will cause.
posted by frimble at 10:15 PM on June 18 [12 favorites]


Oh, and sorry for being so sweary. This is already the censored version of my feelings, and I’m not sure I can tone it down any further.
posted by frimble at 10:50 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The Spectator has a long but informative transcript of an Ivan Rogers speech.

If you're getting a registration message, try View Page Source.
posted by rory at 2:25 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Stephen Bush at the New Statesman has an interesting take on that YouGov poll of Tory party members:

The crucial thing about this poll of Conservative members, as we know from every survey of Tory party activists and indeed any conversation with Conservative activists or MPs, is that they don’t believe that Brexit will lead to economic catastrophe, or the break-up of the United Kingdom.

What is striking in this poll is that the one thing that Conservative activists actually believe might happen as a result of Brexit – a victory by Jeremy Corbyn – is the one thing that they would sacrifice Brexit for.
posted by rory at 2:44 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I think there's a majority of Conservative Party members who don't believe Brexit will lead to economic catastrophe for them and don't much care what happens to anyone else. They're Tories. When they answer a poll on the effects of Brexit, their thought is "will this affect me?" rather than "will this affect the country?". So if they're sitting in southern England as they are statistically likely to be, they don't give a shit about distant Scotland fucking off or a resumption of the Troubles in far-away NI. If they're on a nice income, they don't give a shit about an economic downturn. The one thing they feel will affect their lives is a Corbyn government.

They're mostly white, grey-haired, male and retired from highly-paid careers during a period where everything was skewed their way - affordable housing, free healthcare, free university, gold-plated pensions. They have a steady and largely bullet-proof income for the rest of their lives. If food and energy prices go up, they'll grumble and pay the higher prices, whereas most people working for a living will be pushed under by even a small price hike. If it really goes tits up, they'll be able to bugger off to Canada or NZ or somewhere.

It's absolutely no surprise to me that Conservative party members care more about "bad man I don't like being Prime Minister" than "collapse of the country's economy for people who are actually economically active". They live in a nice little gold-plated bubble.
posted by winterhill at 3:20 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


Oh, and sorry for being so sweary. This is already the censored version of my feelings, and I’m not sure I can tone it down any further.

Same. I can't really write what I accurately feel about Brexit, and some of the people behind it online because the mods may well delete it (and they would have a point) or there could be other consequences.
posted by Wordshore at 3:21 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Alas, this twitter thread from the person the candidates responded to will clarify to a degree...

Good grief. Really not much of an exaggeration, then.

... And I see the person in question has already been milkshake-ducked, because this is the world we live in.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:53 AM on June 19


They're mostly white, grey-haired, male and retired from highly-paid careers during a period where everything was skewed their way - affordable housing, free healthcare, free university, gold-plated pensions.

This is exactly my stepfather who denies he voted for Brexit (but defended Brexit until he realized what was going on after the fact). I called him today after he had left a ton of messages. He usually does that when the tension is getting unbearable, his wife and all of their friends are still Brexiteers, and he as alienated his biological children and nephews by being a stupid a**.
So now I can hear he is getting into arguments with people, and was looking to me for better arguments. I happily provided them, I'd send the Ivan Rogers speech to him but he can't see after an eye operation last week. He's never been scared of a good argument, but since he is coming from a Brexiteer position, where for a long time he didn't believe what I told him about the EU, he just doesn't have the facts. Now he is openly saying that his friends were fooled by liars, but he still believes some rubbish. The main agenda today was the "Brexit dividend". He began by talking about how the Tory contenders had different points of view on what to do with all the money till I got impatient and told him there is no money. You can have money in the bank and still have nothing in a year if you don't have a plan.
And then he opened up about how they were already feeling the pain. About how austerity had been wrong on a fundamental level. About how he knew people who had less and less because of the falling real-estate market and the rising prices. They live to a large extent on their garden.
And he said, I can't believe they [the politicians] keep going on about the 17 million who voted for Brexit. What about the 16 million who didn't?

Maybe there will be a great change of mind over summer. And maybe that will be too late.
posted by mumimor at 8:39 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I can't believe they [the politicians] keep going on about the 17 million who voted for Brexit. What about the 16 million who didn't?

The 16 million who voted against. There were nearly 30 million registered voters that didn't cast a vote for brexit.
posted by Dysk at 9:03 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


And the results of Round 3...

Boris Johnson - 143
Jeremy Hunt - 54
Michael Gove - 51
Sajid Javid - 38
Rory Stewart - 27
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:10 AM on June 19


What remaining little hope there is now goes on parliament not giving the eventual winner (Johnson) confidence. That's expecting rather a lot of principle and backbone out of the DUP, of course.
posted by Dysk at 10:14 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


As an bystander, it's boggling my mind here that this is the argument about who will lead the Conservative party as they begin to grapple with the groundwork to lay out a vision for Brexit that hasn't already been ruled out in previous attempts.

After this is all sorted out, they will be starting - starting! - to develop a plausible Brexit plan that can muster both a majority in Parliament and an agreement from Europe.

Meanwhile, it sure looks like the establishment players have all the time in the world to indulge in their own petty internal politics. It feels like *I* have a stronger sense of urgency about Brexit than they are showing.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:10 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


WHo knows? Nearly all the Tories on the radio are still trotting out unicorns - literally none of the things they are promising can or will happen. Corbyn is still holding his party's head underwater, waiting for the bubbles to stop. None of the calculus has changed. Boris, if and when selected, will be a stupendous failure due to his inability to... to... well, to.

It's a stock car rally with clown cars. Nobody's going to finish.
posted by Devonian at 11:11 AM on June 19 [8 favorites]


At this rate I'm going to need to build myself a soundproofed closet so I can scream my head off without having a SWAT team descend upon me.
posted by aramaic at 11:28 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Why political journalism keeps getting it wrong:
When I started at the New Statesman in December 2010, we were six months into Britain’s first experience of coalition government since the 1940s, a surprisingly strong alliance between David Cameron’s Conservatives and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. Since then, we’ve had two more general elections, a Scottish independence referendum and a referendum on our membership of the EU. In both the general elections I’ve covered, as well as the 2015 Labour leadership contest and the US presidential election, the working assumption of most political journalists about the result has been wrong. That is not only embarrassing; it has grave implications for our trade.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:17 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Dutch PM Mark Rutte interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I hate it! I hate Brexit from every angle. I hate a no-deal Brexit from every angle."

Ian Dunt's take: "Interview with Dutch PM on Brexit on R4 is like a unicorn abattoir. Each one carefully shepherded forward, butchered, and then disposed of."
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:33 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Alas, this twitter thread from the person the candidates responded to will clarify to a degree...

Good grief. Really not much of an exaggeration, then.
... And I see the person in question has already been milkshake-ducked, because this is the world we live in.


Yeah, on that...
It looks like it's a complete put up job. They trawled his social media and found something that they took 100% out of context. Some details here and there, as ever, too late to save his reputation.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:32 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Saj is out - it's Boris, Gove and Hunt. Gove has squeaked into second place. Boris now has over half the vote with 157.
posted by Devonian at 5:07 AM on June 20


It looks like it's a complete put up job. They trawled his social media and found something that they took 100% out of context.

That's Aman Thakar who does seem to be the victim of a cherrypicking expedition. The nasty comments from Abdullah Patel are confirmed by the BBC.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:14 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


How did I not know about the GoveThulhu Twitter account?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:44 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Since we are talking about Brexit - a series of events that appear to have been helped into place with the assistance of Russia - it is tempting to view Putin as a master puller of strings. For that reason this piece on how Putin may himself be getting played by his intelligence agencies - happy to escalate stories and actions in an attempt to capture his attention - is interesting.
posted by rongorongo at 7:25 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Putin too is mortal, and newer, hungrier and just as ruthless contenders for the throne will rise up and one day, topple him.

This is of little comfort unless they can be in some used to help us protect ourselves. Which will be impossible in any case until we sweep out the shite gangsters who've installed themselves in power here and in the US.
posted by Devonian at 7:56 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Annnd Hunt squeaks through into the final two. Johnson 165, Hunt 77, Gove 75, one spoilt ballot.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:28 AM on June 20


Hunt or Johnson. As a friend said on Facebook, the Conservative leadership election is like a trolley problem with thousands or millions of people on each set of tracks.
posted by Dysk at 12:08 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


The situation is so depressing that I can’t even get any pleasure from the thought of Gove losing again.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:13 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Might just be sour grapes, but the Spectator reports theories that Johnson fixed it to get Hunt:
Cries of foul play have followed, with suspicion that Team Boris “lent” several votes to Hunt.

Boris Johnson managed to win 160 votes from his colleagues: the majority of MPs. But this is just three more than the previous round. Odd given that Sajid Javid scored 34 votes this morning, before he was eliminated. Did all but three of Javid’s supporters move to Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove? That sounds suspicious given that at least four of Javid’s supporters said they were moving to Boris...

Gove’s allies suspect that Gavin Williamson, the former Chief Whip and co-chair of the Boris campaign, directed more than a few Boris supporters to team Hunt to ensure an easier final. Allies of Williamson don’t deny this...

So it’s the ideal result for Boris, who did not want to face the waspish and interrogative Michael Gove in hustings across the country... a depressing result for those who had wanted Boris properly put on the rack over the next few weeks.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:20 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I've been over-following it all and yet I feel like I haven't even taken it in. We're stuck with Bottle Job BoJo or Jeremy "exactly what Vicky D called him" in charge after this pantomime finally plays out? And those weeks of fuckaboutery take us up to their absolutely-essential hols in Tuscany/Land Of Do-As-You-Please so we don't even get to see them face a vote in the Commons, let alone the country?

I cannot find the words.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:20 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


The chances of the UK getting a better deal from the EU have clearly increased significantly, since the next Prime Minister is a choice between the guy who compared the EU to the Soviet Union, and the guy who compared it to Hitler.
posted by daveje at 1:15 AM on June 21 [12 favorites]


Ian Dunt: Johnson vs Hunt: The most pointless contest imaginable.

Back from 2012: journalist Max Hastings on Why Boris Johnson is unfit to be Prime Minister.

John Crace has a bit on how the Tory contest was allegedly managed:
...a Tory MP phoned to explain how it had been organised. Several members of Johnson’s inner circle had up to nine proxy votes each and had used them judiciously to control the outcome. If the Conservative leadership contest had taken place in an African country, we’d be calling it out as a failed state.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:23 AM on June 21 [9 favorites]


I know there was that "Marina Hyde or Marina Jekyll?" debate half a thread ago, but her latest column has some great stuff towards the end:

It is far from a coincidence that two of the leading architects of Brexit – Michael Gove and Johnson – were both journalists. Is it in any way surprising to find that the UK is very drunk and has already missed two deadlines?
posted by rory at 9:12 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


The Guardian: Police called to loud altercation at Boris Johnson's home

Article says police showed up and everything was fine, but...
The neighbour said they recorded the altercation from inside their flat out of concern for Symonds. On the recording, heard by the Guardian, Johnson can be heard refusing to leave the flat and telling Symonds to “get off my fucking laptop” before there is a loud crashing noise.

Symonds is heard saying Johnson had ruined a sofa with red wine: “You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything.”

The neighbour said: “There was a smashing sound of what sounded like plates. There was a couple of very loud screams that I’m certain were Carrie and she was shouting to ‘get out’ a lot. She was saying ‘get out of my flat’ and he was saying no. And then there was silence after the screaming. My partner, who was in bed half asleep, had heard a loud bang and the house shook.”
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:55 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


This is the lead headline over nearly all the front pages of tomorrow's papers - though I'm guessing the Telegraph will have 'Oh look - a squirrel!'
posted by Flitcraft at 1:49 PM on June 21


As per the Marina Hyde article, Johnson has a Pretorian guard willing to go on Tv and radio to repeatedly absolve him of incompetence, financial mismanagement, racist behavior, sexual incontinence, arranging to have a journalist beaten up and much more. Dismissing a domestic altercation would be a light morning’s work.

Things have happened in this campaign which would have buried any other candidate (and did bury Gove) but I have a sick feeling in my stomach that Johnson will just style it out with the help of a compliant right wing media.
posted by dudleian at 1:59 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Just watching Newsnight and it's being framed in populist terms: makes Boris 'a man of the people' who is up against the 'establishment' candidate. Makes him 'more human' - sickening.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:05 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Tomorrow's Telegraph has the story as its main front-page headline.
posted by winterhill at 3:11 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Saturday, 22 June 2019

Johnson late night domestic row

What the papers say ... UK front pages
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:56 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


You'd have thought, now that the path to his lifelong dream is clear, he'd be happy. But he gives every appearance of being deeply miserable. Perhaps the realisation that he's going to have to preside over - at the very least - the destruction of his party, and at worst a disintegrating, riotous, impoverished union, has fought its way to the surface. Unlike Trump, he has some intelligence, albeit clothed in the personality of a nasty venomous toad.

No wonder he doesn't want to talk to anyone.
posted by Devonian at 3:15 AM on June 22 [5 favorites]


I don't think he has that much capacity for introspection myself. I think he just wants to run things because it is his ancestral right. He doesn't care if it is smoking ruins or a castle. He just wants it to be his to play with. He is the person I can see ordering troops into Northern Ireland because he wants to order them somewhere and the North is all they have left of the Empire to send them to.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:32 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


He is the person I can see ordering troops into Northern Ireland

He may also be the person who squirms out of that when the army doesn't refuse, per se, but does start asking pointed questions concerning strategic decisions about that. That, at least, is a hope.
posted by ambrosen at 9:44 AM on June 22


The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr: Video reveals Steve Bannon links to Boris Johnson—Far-right activist claimed he helped with Boris Johnson’s resignation speech as foreign secretary
New evidence suggesting close links between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump’s controversial former campaign manager Steve Bannon can be revealed today, calling into question the former foreign secretary’s previous denials of an association with the influential far-right activist.

Video evidence obtained by the Observer shows Bannon, who helped mastermind Trump’s successful bid for the presidency but was later exiled from the White House, talking about his relationship and contacts with Johnson, and how he helped him craft the first speech after his resignation as foreign secretary, in which Johnson tore into Theresa May’s Brexit strategy.[…]

Reports of Johnson and Bannon’s relationship were first published last summer. When asked about it at the time, Johnson said: “As for the so-called association with Steve Bannon, I’m afraid this is a lefty delusion whose spores continue to breed in the Twittersphere.”
And just to reaffirm the links between Brexit and Trump, Bannon also met with Nigel Farage several times during the same visit.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:10 PM on June 22 [6 favorites]


I don't think he has that much capacity for introspection myself. I think he just wants to run things because it is his ancestral right. He doesn't care if it is smoking ruins or a castle. He just wants it to be his to play with. He is the person I can see ordering troops into Northern Ireland because he wants to order them somewhere and the North is all they have left of the Empire to send them to.

I'm reminded of this quote that's been doing the rounds from Johnson's Eton housemaster, that was part of a letter to his dad in the 80s.
"Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the School for the next half). I think he honestly believes it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else."

Clearly, little has changed. Once this farce of an party leader selection is over, Parliament all go on their hols until September. Then conference season, so basically that takes you to the 9th of October before anything resumes.

I saw somewhere Johnson (or NHS-wrecker Hunt) will have a grand total of nine working days to renegotiate with the EU - something the UK govt promised not to do to get the last extension - before we crash out. And both are deeply in-hock to the ERG and the nutters that make up the tory party membership so they're certainly steaming full ahead towards that halloween iceberg without blinking. Parliament declined its chance to change the default option (thanks to lexity labour MPs outnumbering sane tories), so the only way to avoid that outcome now is a no-confidence vote bringing down the government prior to disaster, and the EU offering an extension to hold a GE - but the extension would still also have to be written into UK law or we'd end up in a really weird legal position where UK law says we've left but EU law says we haven't. Which makes me fear even a no-confidence vote won't stop the crash, as it'll come too late if at all.

The scuttlebutt in the corridors of Brussels is that no-deal appears pretty much inevitable now; but also necessary, as the shock of no-deal restrictions and tariffs kicking in worldwide and the UK economy rapidly flatlining, mass shortages etc with all the bollocks about GATT 24 et al proving to be well, bollocks, it's the only way to shock some kind of sanity into UK politics by conclusively proving the brexiteers the lying frauds they are. And when whoever forms a government in the middle of the crisis, they will have no choice but to accept the withdrawal agreement equivalent (that's all that will be on offer) to buy some breathing space and the future relationship work can begin.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:40 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Donald Tusk: Johnson may make Brexit more exciting, but we won't budge
EU chief says member states are united in rejecting further talks on the withdrawal deal

What a surprise! Who would have known?
I'm really curious about how their brains work. The whole thing is so non-sensical, it's hard to believe it is really happening.

Will Hutton has some words about US and UK leadership, though I think he still doesn't get how the New Labour of the 1990's have some responsibility for the whole mess: The left is fighting back, even in Republican states, as it attempts to reshape capitalism
Behold the new political yobs. The British and American right, once keen to engage intellectually with the left and firmly anchored in business and the middle class, have now become yobs in their evidence-free, argument-free attitude to trade and foreigners. They are guided by noxious prejudice and the simple rule that their flag and interest must rule whatever.

Yobs too in their attitudes to all the decent impulses in society: tolerance; the rule of law (that’s for suckers); a welcome to immigrants, fair play; respect for truth, personal integrity. The triumph of the new nativism is the triumph of the yob. Our societies, let alone our politics, have never been so threatened.
posted by mumimor at 1:44 AM on June 23 [5 favorites]


You'd have thought, now that the path to his lifelong dream is clear, he'd be happy. But he gives every appearance of being deeply miserable.

As the Guardian points out - Johnson is a grade 1 liability for his minders at present. We don't know an awful lot about his personal life - but we do know he is in an ongoing divorce from his ex-wife (who happens to be a barrister) at the same time as being in a relationship with another women whose Twitter feed features rather more postings about saving whales than it does him.
posted by rongorongo at 4:01 AM on June 23


[Couple deleted. Please don't invent horrible things to put in the mouths of horrible people; horrible people generate plenty of those on their own, and we don't need to see them replicated here for rhetorical points. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:10 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


The New Yorker has a great piece on The Empty Promise Of Boris Johnson which goes into his history, background, motivations and generan unfitness to hold a pencil, let alone office. Includes some plausible stuff on why he's so miserable in himself...

Meanwhile, the Mirror says that he wants to go back to his wife, while ex-Hulture Secretary Jeremy is actually getting a bit antsy about Boris' reluctance to debate properly. And we've only just begun.
posted by Devonian at 3:50 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


A pair of interesting articles extrapolating from the EU election result to a UK general election.

Labour's Dilemma

Tories' Dilemma

Predicting no-overall majority, both major parties fragmenting along tribal lines
posted by Caractacus at 10:33 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Those analyses are pretty much spot on at the moment. But as he stresses things will change—or maybe churn is a better word. Already in the latest Opinium poll the BxP have dropped back and Labour regained support. I’m guessing things have gone off the boil for the BxP after the media interest waned post the Euro elections, and Labour are benefiting from the absolute pig’s ear the Cons are making of their leadership stitch up / election. There will be many moments of meta stability (eg when the Cons have a new leader) and stress (eg the lead up to 31 October) which will generate more churn. I still think the Labour plan is to fall apart less than the Cons and to exploit a better ground campaign and the weird multiplier effects of FPTP to be by far the largest party if there is a GE. The only problem is that this strategy requires them to avoid discussing internally and with voters what they’ll do when they get in power (at least re Brexit)—which will leave them in an awful state if / when they reach government.
posted by dudleian at 12:09 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Sky news wanders round Edinburgh in search of somebody who will speak up for Boris Johnson. Is unsuccessful.
(The footage appears to have been shot in Stockbridge - a leafy part of the city with such sassenach friendly features as a cricket ground and a Waitrose - where Ruth Davidson is the MSP. My guess is that if Johnson fans can't be found for a vox-pop even here, it does not bode well for his wider standing in Scotland).
posted by rongorongo at 12:41 AM on June 24 [6 favorites]


He's even more disliked than Farage...

Majority would back Scottish independence if Boris becomes PM, poll suggests
A Panelbase survey of 1,024 voters found that, at the moment, 49% of those questioned support Scottish independence (up one point since last month) while 51% are against it.

However, when asked how they would vote if Johnson were to become prime minister, 53% say they would back independence, with 47% against it.

The survey was conducted last week for the Sunday Times.

The poll found that Johnson has a personal approval rating of minus 37 north of the border, behind his leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, who shares an approval rating of minus 24 with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
posted by Buntix at 4:43 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I'm genuinely ab it surprised that many of the terrible newspapers seem to have Boris Johnson's domestic violence angle on the front page.

The Daily Mail, goes with "Poor Boris driven from his flat by protesters".
The others seem to emphasise that the Hunt campaign is pushing this, the Telegraph just has alittle boris Johnson puff piece.

Nonetheless it's the first thing that's seemed to cause any difficulty to him.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:21 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


In case anyone was wondering why Boris' letterbox comments etc don't seem to hurt his polling:

The Independent: Two thirds of Tory party members believe parts of the UK are under Sharia law.

Based on a YouGov poll (results), which also shows 45% believe "no-go" areas for non-Muslims exist in the UK - a further 21% aren't sure if they do or not.

These are the people choosing the Prime Minister.
posted by automatronic at 10:44 AM on June 24 [5 favorites]


One of the splits in the UK is between who owns the major newpapers - Boris has taken a yearly stipend of £200k+ from the Barclay brothers to write a column for the Telegraph. Presumably they’re expecting some kind of return on their long term investment. Meanwhile the Murdoch press has aimed the big guns at Boris & isn’t letting up - the Sunday Times had something like the first 6 pages on "why Boris is crap".

Sadly, I suspect all this attention is just going to make the election of the floppy haired narcissist to leadership of the Conservative & Unionist Party even more likely.
posted by pharm at 4:45 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Why David Gauke is key to the survival of the Tory party

Whatever your feelings about the Conservative Party, it would be bad if Arron Banks got to cannibalise it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:40 PM on June 25


Why is David Gauke key to the survival of the Tory party, then? It's paywalled and the Google trick isn't getting me in.

As far as I'm concerned if it's behind a paywall it's not on the internet.
posted by Grangousier at 1:50 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Why is David Gauke key to the survival of the Tory party, then? It's paywalled and the Google trick isn't getting me in.
(I find that using a browser plugin like uMatrix - and then its default blocking rules on for the site in question - gets rid of any blocking attempts). But, the story is about how MP David Gauke is being faced with a no confidence vote by his constituents on the ground that he is not Brexity enough. Gauke was nevertheless a supporter of May's deal and the assertion is that the NC motion is being driven by people who are Brexit party advocates rather than Conservatives. I note that The Spectator are also pushing an article telling us how Boris and Carrie's staged picture (not this one) was somehow a PR masterstroke - so you may want to calibrate the magazine's credibility accordingly.
posted by rongorongo at 2:17 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


It's telling that of all the media outlets in the country, Johnson decided to give his "do or die" interview yesterday to Talk Radio. The station is a little-known Murdoch-owned DAB channel. It has 339,000 listeners per week. For context, Jazz FM has 571,000 listeners.

It's almost as if he didn't want the actual interview to be heard in full, and preferred journalists to clip out the choice soundbites and use those on the outlets people actually listen to or watch.
posted by winterhill at 2:52 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Personally, I can't wait to see some of his model buses.
posted by Kosmob0t at 3:00 AM on June 26


The whole thing about model buses is on one level another calculated "oh Boris, he's so silly lol" act, but on a more meta level, it seems to be designed specifically to Google-bomb references to his "We give £350m a week to the EU" bus.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:16 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Ah, I almost forgot there's often a sinister aspect to his antics. Thanks!
posted by Kosmob0t at 3:50 AM on June 26


The bus thing is a "dead cat thrown on the table" tactic to deploy when it looks like an argument would otherwise be lost. Approach as advised in the words of one Boris Johnson back in 2013.
posted by rongorongo at 4:21 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


In case you're wondering what the GATT 'no tariffs' blether's about, here's a tweet of an FT editorial explaining why it's what international trade experts refer to as utter bollocks.(it's designed for countries in the end stages of a larger agreement, it can be objected to by other countries, only a wilful misreading - or an outright lie - would suggest it was in any way appropriate to Brexit).

I don't think any of this matters. The Tory selectorate will pick Boris qua Trump, he will attempt to bypass Parliament to push No Deal through, and we'll have one final almighty constitutional spasm where we'll find out whether the Lexiter rump is enough to counteract the Tory no-no-dealers or whether we'll get a no-confidence election kicked off before Boris phones Brussels to tell them to fuck off and the country collapses.
posted by Devonian at 4:45 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


The Spectator are also pushing an article telling us how Boris and Carrie's staged picture (not this one) was somehow a PR masterstroke - so you may want to calibrate the magazine's credibility accordingly.

The very same Spectator, I feel bound to point out, that used to be edited by one - surely not - Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. I suspect it is fair to say that the editorial and journalistic staff probably have set views on Johnson as a whole.
posted by jaduncan at 6:19 AM on June 26


Even the Spectator has had to publish a couple of anti-Boris-Johnson things. (Limited-article wall, can be circumvented with private windows or View Source).

Max Hastings:
Nobody should blame Johnson for wanting to be prime minister: many unsuitable people do. But there will be infinite historical curiosity about how the Tory parliamentary party could scramble to deliver Britain into the custody of a man whom few of its members would entrust with their wallet, handbag or spouse, save to secure a cabinet seat. A year or so back, I asked a sensible MP what could stop BoJo becoming prime minister, granted his mile-high profile. My companion answered: ‘Nobody in the House likes him.’ Beneath the veneer of Johnsonian geniality, colleagues recognise the egomania that precludes concern for the interests of any human being save himself. Yet now those same Tories seem poised to hand him Downing Street...
Matthew Parris:
On many occasions I’ve assured worried friends that there was no way his colleagues would send him forth to be blessed by the national Tory membership on his way to Downing Street. They knew him too well.

They still do. There’s no need for further evidence about this man. And the fact there’s no need is the reason for the most profound despair. The case is proved already, his allies privately concede it without demur, and more proof is redundant. Colleagues know he’s no good, know he’s a cold-eyed scoundrel. They require no persuading of his inappropriateness to lead a nation through difficult times. Reel off the list of his incapacities and they yawn because they agree, and their opinion of the man hasn’t changed in years. What has changed is their opinion of his future usefulness to their own careers. One always knew there existed such eels in our House of Commons; but what I never knew was that they amount to half the membership of the parliamentary Conservative party. More fool me — and I do mean that.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:30 AM on June 26 [8 favorites]


I honestly can't believe we're here discussing whether an article in The Spectator is written in good faith.

None of their "discussion" about this is intended to put the slightest bit of distance between the Tories and their power to destroy Britain because otherwise they'd have to deal with the blowback from the abysmal cruelty that is their austerity regime.

The last thing that any Tory wants to do is to have to admit that their tough love benefits policies are wildly cruel and economically destructive, and they're prepared to drive this country over a cliff to avoid admitting that. And The Spectator is one of their chief tools.
posted by ambrosen at 7:10 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Sorry, but I’ve read a lot of stuff that I believe was written in good faith in the Spectator, Parris and Rogers being obvious examples. If you mean editorial articles in the Spectator then I agree.
posted by dudleian at 7:58 AM on June 26


Grangousier: "Why is David Gauke key to the survival of the Tory party, then? "

Socrates asked it first, I think.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:36 AM on June 26


dudleian, you're right, I misspoke and imputed (and impugned) motives. But I don't think that any article in The Spectator's going to be able to say "fuck the Tories for ruining everything" quite as loudly as I want to hear.

And I guess that's kind of my fault, but also just where I am in life. I don't feel comfortable dealing with bad things being done to me and having to give the time of day to those who aren't loudly and directly condemning it.
posted by ambrosen at 10:23 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Even the Spectator has had to publish a couple of anti-Boris-Johnson things.

You are mistaking "fixed view" for "positive view". I more mean that the battle lines are very much set from staff member to staff member.
posted by jaduncan at 3:25 PM on June 26


Not only are there just - what is it? - fifteen working Parliamentary days after conference season to sort things out ahead of the No Deal deadline, but - ruh roh! - the civil servant in charge of No Deal planning has just quit.

Obviously it's because everything's in place and there's nothing left for him to do, but it would have been good form to hang on just a little longer, right?

Oh, and I think this thread dies tomorrow. Should we put it into summer recess, or do we need to keep it going because... oh god... the madness still compounds?
posted by Devonian at 10:05 AM on June 27 [12 favorites]


Oh, and I think this thread dies tomorrow. Should we put it into summer recess, or do we need to keep it going because... oh god... the madness still compounds?
My preference would be to put it into hibernation until the identity of the new Prime Minister is known in a few weeks, and use that as the basis for the new thread. There's not a great deal happening in UK politics other than the ridiculous blue-on-blue infighting, as can be seen from the general lack of comments here lately.
posted by winterhill at 2:36 AM on June 28 [6 favorites]


Ladies and gentlemen, some people would have you believe this thread will be closed at the end of today, simply because that's the unalterable policy of this website and the moderators have absolutely no incentive to change it and we have zero leverage to force them.

But I, for one, am tired of that kind of self-defeating negativity. If you put me in charge of this thread, I promise you: I will force the moderators to budge. How? By asking them firmly. Very firmly, if necessary. I promise you: they will change their minds at the very last minute. They always do, even if they never have.

And in the unlikely event that this thread closes without a deal in place, we will simply de-bundle the policy towards GATT flibber-flabber zabbledebooble hobbledyboobledy, and everything will be absolutely fine.

In the spirit of ongoing dialogue and complete transparency, I will not be taking further questions at this time.
posted by yankeefog at 3:12 AM on June 28 [76 favorites]


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