“Look, this is either the Clash, or it's the Rolling Stones...”
November 13, 2019 12:03 AM   Subscribe

As librarians help registration (more libraries), it is time, yet again, to vote (December 2019 edition) with another exciting UK General Election. As Alexander Boris de Pfeffel endorses Jeremy Corbyn and demonstrates his popular culture experience (YouTube), so parties outline NHS funding plans and struggle to try and form alliances or pacts (progressive)(right wing)(SNP-Labour)(Northern Ireland). Though, previously. Some past MPs stand down or turn; new candidates, either reluctantly, some complicatedly, others angrily making it legally interesting. The BBC is under suspicion of bias, the PM won't release the Russian report (Hillary), people still say 'cyber', and the past haunts candidates (more)(yet more)(another)(endless). But will megaphone man win? The current bookmaker odds. posted by Wordshore (504 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
The bookmaker odds are brutal with the Cons at 1/14 to win the most seats. That said I couldn't find any evidence that betting is a better predictor of elections than polling—though that seems to be because so few people bet on politics.
posted by dudleian at 1:30 AM on November 13, 2019


At least there’s only five more weeks of this particular brand of shit.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:39 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm especially excited about this "election of a lifetime" now that I've used this handy tool to put into numbers what I already knew: my vote counts for bugger all!

[1] 0.0008 of a vote to be precise.
[2] That won't stop me from voting, but I'll be even more vociferous against FPTP when the opportunity presents.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 2:08 AM on November 13, 2019 [11 favorites]


My vote's worth a hundred times more than yours but it's still less than one. What a superb system FPTP is.
posted by entity447b at 2:25 AM on November 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


That's a depressing tool Ten Cold Hot Dogs. I mean, I knew I lived in a safe tory seat, but still... ouch.

In (my constituency), each person's vote is worth the equivalent of 0.0053 votes
Voters in (my constituency) have 43x less voting power than the average UK voter.
(my constituency) ranks 596 out of 650 constituencies in the UK

posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:35 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Well, I've had my first election leaflets through the door over the past day or two. The Tory incumbent, who has been a steadfast cheerleader for the party line when it comes to Brexit, avoids any mention of the word: the message is all about what she's successfully campaigned for as our MP in the past. The Lib Dems, meanwhile, seem to have jumped the gun slightly - using the European election results as their data source, they declare prominently that "It's Remain with the Lib Dems or Brexit here," above a graph showing that the Brexit Party drew nearly half of the vote back in May. I wonder if they'll reprint now that Farage has stood down the BXP candidate here.

Interesting (if dispiriting!) tool, thanks, Ten Cold Hot Dogs. It seems my vote is worth 0.0215 of a standard vote; I have 11x less voting power than the average UK voter, and my constituency is ranked 477th out of 650. Yay.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:44 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


No love for the Monster Raving Loony Party?
posted by chavenet at 2:58 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did some leafleting for the Green Party last week, I now have a lot of respect for Royal Mail employees and have developed Opinions on which letterboxes are good (open easily, little resistance from draft-excluder) and which are awful (open inwards on strong spring, very stiff draft excluder).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:59 AM on November 13, 2019 [15 favorites]


Having plugged the latest voting intentions into a portable swingometer and played around with the uncertainties a bit, there's still seems to be a significant chance of a hung parliament, albeit requiring co-operation from the Remain parties.

So, yeah, I'll be over here in the corner singing the doom song.
posted by Eleven at 3:20 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've lived outside the UK for more than 15 years so I don't get a vote at all, even though I'm still a British citizen. I don't know whether that's more or less irritating than having a fraction of a vote.

Either way, fuck all this shit and crush the Tories.
posted by ZipRibbons at 3:23 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


I checked all the places I've ever lived and my current location is the most valuable my vote has ever been, at 0.45. Which is double the average vote value.
posted by biffa at 3:24 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


The bookmaker odds are brutal with the Cons at 1/14 to win the most seats. That said I couldn't find any evidence that betting is a better predictor of elections than polling—though that seems to be because so few people bet on politics.

There's some reality to it, but all bookmaker odds really show is who is betting on what, and who's got money to throw on an odds-on bet?
posted by Chaffinch at 3:24 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, odds will be adjusted based on how much money is being put on different options, to minimise the bookmakers' losses overall. Very good odds for the Tories can just mean more money has been bet on them than anyone else.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:26 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


No love for the Monster Raving Loony Party?

It's kind of played out
posted by thelonius at 3:44 AM on November 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


In the Australian federal election this year, the Labor Party were the bookmakers' favourites to win. The bookmakers were so sure of this that they declared a Labor win and paid out before the polls closed—with an unexpected conservative victory. So, yes, the wisdom of crowds.
posted by acb at 4:22 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]




These days your vote counts a hundred times over. People will measure what percent of under 40, female, elderly, Asian-born, single-parent, cheese-loving, middle-income, public-schooled, person that you are and look at what percent of your group votes. And those politicians will look at the results and figure out who they can screw over and who they will need to listen to.

Your candidate doesn't have to win for your vote to count.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:55 AM on November 13, 2019 [15 favorites]


I came to MeFi to get away from general election anxiety and all I can say is SCREAM.
posted by cstross at 5:28 AM on November 13, 2019 [18 favorites]



I came to MeFi to get away from general election anxiety and all I can say is SCREAM.


Suddenly Conservatives Realize: Europeans Are Marvelous?

Socialism, Corbyn, Revolution! Elect Anti-Murdoch!
posted by lalochezia at 6:07 AM on November 13, 2019 [12 favorites]


Well, using Ten Cold Hot Dogs' link, I apparently have 3x as much power as the average voter, but I'm still only the equivalent of 0.657 votes. I'm not a statistician and my clouded brain can only divine from that, that there must be a small number of people with exceedingly powerful votes. I think?

This, from the results on the same page, is an interesting take:

38934 votes were wasted in [my constituency] in 2017:
37309 people did not vote for the winning candidate. Their votes were wasted, as they could not be used to help their preferred party in another constituency.


I mean, if you consider people voting for the candidate they wanted to be a waste, sure. (I know, it's a pro-STV site so they're pushing that. Just seems a strange way of putting it. Votes aren't pound coins, you're not dropping them down the drain if you cast them for a candidate who turns out to lose).
posted by penguin pie at 6:11 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hey, it's worth mentioning that the Mefi Politics Slack has a #politics-uk channel and its mostly just me wittering away to myself, please I need some more UK-based Mefites to join up and share the misery. I'll see if someone can swing by and provide signup details.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:14 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ten Cold Hot Dogs, thanks for confirming what I suspected - my vote is worth a quarter of what yours is at 0.0002, being in the third safest seat in the country (Liverpool Riverside). I can't find out definitively which the first and second are but I believe they are also in Liverpool. I'm glad the Tories are extinct in these parts, but I still want proportional representation. And we wonder why people are disillusioned with politics and turnout is so shit.
posted by Acey at 6:15 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


On a related note - anybody have a link to a trustworthy, independent page that can guide you on tactical voting? We're at a point where I feel like any such website is probably going to be owned by someone with a vested interest. My lifelong party allegiance is in the process of crumbling and I somehow have to decide how to play constitutional issues like Brexit and Scottish independence without the comfort blanket of just putting the cross in the box I always do.
posted by penguin pie at 6:15 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Try getvoting.org. Not neutral but anti-Brexit.
posted by Acey at 6:17 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Slack sign up and other details are on the wiki.
posted by edd at 6:20 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


(Here's the invitation link for politicsfilter.slack.com)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:21 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


[Thanks edd and Johnny!!!]
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:22 AM on November 13, 2019


Ah, here we go, from the notes at voter power, the best and worst constituencies are:
Bottom 5 Constituencies:
Knowsley (0.000175473)
Liverpool, Walton (0.000203169)
Liverpool, Riverside (0.000215619)
Liverpool, West Derby (0.000298711)
Bootle (0.000311588)

Top 5 Constituencies:
Arfon (1.67904)
Na h-Eileanan an Iar (1.57989)
Ceredigion (1.28933)
Aberconwy (1.27609)
North East Fife (1.22693)
That means the safest 5 seats in the country are all in Liverpool and are all Labour. Thatcher cast a long shadow 'round here.
posted by Acey at 6:24 AM on November 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


Does Boris actually think David Brent was the hero of The Office?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:29 AM on November 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


Na h-Eileanan an Iar (1.57989)

I know that place well and voted in several elections when living there. My walk to the polling station one year.

The gap narrowed in the last election, so Labour have an outside chance of taking it from ABM (SNP), but only if the Lib Dems (who have zero chance) stand down. As it happens, the Lib Dems are fielding a candidate and will almost certainly improve on last time.

So it's Angus to retain the seat, unless the Scottish Christians (who got 7.5% at the last election) don't stand and support the Labour candidate (unlikely but not impossble), or a sizeable chunk of the Conservative vote goes to Labour (extremely unlikely but not impossible).

Word on the ground is that the SNP are fairly confident but not taking it for granted as Angus has a mixed local reputation and these are uncertain times (and elections).
posted by Wordshore at 6:47 AM on November 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


Try getvoting.org. Not neutral but anti-Brexit.

Huh. Just tried them, put in my postcode and got the response:
We have not made any specific recommendations in Scotland. Please vote for any candidate who supports staying in the EU.
Guess they can't compute all the variables any better than I can.
posted by penguin pie at 7:27 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


These days your vote counts a hundred times over. People will measure what percent of under 40, female, elderly, Asian-born, single-parent, cheese-loving, middle-income, public-schooled, person that you are and look at what percent of your group votes. And those politicians will look at the results and figure out who they can screw over and who they will need to listen to.
That's only true if you're polled after the election.
posted by Aethelwulf at 7:37 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


penguin pie: the SNP is adamantly pro-Remain and pro-EU, and they're set to take something like 50 of the 54 Scottish seats; the Scottish Greens are only standing in a double-handful of seats, and that leaves the LibDems. I believe 2-4 of the LibDem seats in Scotland are safe.

Here's how the 2017 election panned out in Scotland; if you want to vote tactical anti-Tory, it should be relatively easy to figure out what to do.

(Annoyingly, I am a member of the Scottish Green Party but I live in Edinburgh North and Leith, which is very nearly a three-way marginal; given the alarming strength of the Tory showing in 2017 I feel I have to vote SNP to reduce the risk of a split vote letting the bastards in.)
posted by cstross at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


I'm in the same constituency, cstross *waves a little ship with 'Persevere' underneath it at you in friendly fashion*. So I share your quandary albeit with slightly different triangulation.
posted by penguin pie at 8:25 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean, if you consider people voting for the candidate they wanted to be a waste, sure.

Ha, it hadn't really occurred to me to consider it *not* a waste. In general elections I get to choose between:

- voting for my preferred party (Green), which is at best going to help the candidate keep their deposit, at worst prove actively harmful in splitting the left/liberal/Remain vote, or

- voting tactically for whichever of the bigger parties looks as if it has the better chance, feeling I've betrayed some of my principles in the service of others, and then getting to watch as the Tories win the seat anyway.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:55 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


My parents are also in that constituency. They're very pro EU, but also pro-union.
So I guess the electoral calculus there is Labour?

Because Lib Dems look to be a lost cause.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:01 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


penguin pie: Due diligence: I'd heard rumours that Deirdre Brock MP was a TERF—the SNP seems to have a TERF problem at present—but after making enquiries, I gather she has a good record on LGBT (including the T) rights and generally has a good voting record all round.

(The SNP are not a huge leap from the SGP: both pro-EU, pro-Scottish independence, pro-civil rights, left wing/social democrat: the emphasis differs and the SGP has better environmental credentials, but they're working together in Holyrood, so.)

LibDems: I made the mistake of voting for them in the 2010 GE, and look where it got us. Never again. (In retrospect, like many UK voters, I missed the significance of the Orange Book putsch in 2008 until too late. There are still a lot of social liberals fighting the good fight within the LibDems, but on economic matters they're increasingly neoliberal/right wing, and as they say: money talks.)
posted by cstross at 9:23 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


I hadn't realized that my remaining family in the UK live in three conservative constituencies: East Renfrewshire, Worcester and Richmond (Yorks). I've been away for too long to be able to vote.

Sadly, I think my parents in East Ren (early 80s, pro Europe, pro Union — or should I say, violently anti-SNP) will probably still vote conservative because they always have. Dunno how my sibs vote: anything but conservative AFAIK.
posted by scruss at 9:25 AM on November 13, 2019


> "I mean, if you consider people voting for the candidate they wanted to be a waste, sure."

Well... in the sense they mean, it is. Except for some comparatively insubstantial considerations, the effect of their vote is exactly the same as if they'd all stayed home. In many voting systems other than First Past The Post, that wouldn't be the case.
posted by kyrademon at 9:39 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I can't get to the voterpower site - only have internet access through work at the moment and it's blocked here. Is it based on number in constituency plus size of majority?
posted by paduasoy at 9:44 AM on November 13, 2019


Getvoting is also blocked, with the category "Games". The Doom song on Youtube is apparently fine though. Possibly a message from my local authority employers.
posted by paduasoy at 9:46 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Is it based on number in constituency plus size of majority?

Yes, I think so, having quickly skimmed through the New Economics Foundation research the algorithm is based on. Apologies if closer reading proves me mistaken!
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2019


Thanks, ManyLeggedCreature. A friend has just checked the site for me - my vote is worth 0.997. That is seriously scary and also completely wrong.
posted by paduasoy at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2019


My supposed vote power is a bit weird, because my constituency went from Tory to Labour in 2015 by only 465 votes, but in 2017 the Labour candidate had a 12182 vote lead.

The difference seems to be driven almost entirely by turnout.

So, I think it's considered a relatively safe seat, with such a big Majority, but the 2015 numbers mainly came from a complete collapse in the Lib Dem vote and the 2017 Numbers seem to be turnout related (tories kept the same vote total throughout).
If they go back to pre-2010 libdem numbers then it's going Tory again.

So really who knows at this point.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:50 AM on November 13, 2019


So where do I go to read about the "Orange Book Putsch" and what that actually means inside the Lib Dems? I kind of understand the factionalism within Labour and the Conservatives but don't really have a handle on the subgroupings within the Lib Dems. I am also unlikely to actually buy and read the Orange Book, so a good summary/review would also be welcome?
posted by DoveBrown at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2019


My vote's worth 0.0367 (voters here have 6x less voting power than the average UK voter, and
we rank 404 out of 650 constituencies in the UK) and I'm in an odd position because the 10-year Tory incumbent switched to Lib Dem and is running (for LD) in an adjacent borough. So the Tories have parachuted in a white man who is "looking forward to moving here" apparently. (All the other candidates are long term residents with varied good experience.)

I'm pretty much a single issue voter this time round and I don't trust Labour's Brexit intentions. I'd vote LD but I don't want to split the anti-Tory vote. Not that I think anyone can breach the blue here - they got ~59% last time.

What do?
posted by Ilira at 11:35 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Gah. Wouldn't it be so much easier if we could just have a confirmatory referendum on the negotiated deal, instead of this ridiculous overcomplicated proxy referendum farce of a general election?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:58 AM on November 13, 2019 [8 favorites]


These articles seems to have an explanation of the Orange Book Putsch, albeit from different angles.
posted by evilDoug at 1:21 PM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


This ad (What if Batman is the bad guy) is surprisingly well done for a british political ad.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:38 PM on November 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


Boris: "The northerners all hate me! The Scots all hate me! Where should I go where people love me?"
Dominic: "Stick to close to London. The Home Counties. I know - we'll send you to Kent. You won't get any problems there."
posted by Wordshore at 1:45 PM on November 13, 2019 [18 favorites]


For those only familiar with US politics the rough equivalent of wordshore's link above would be to walk up to your least favorite politico and stab them in the face with a rusty nail while screaming "I WILL EAT YOUR EYES!".
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:27 PM on November 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


What the heck is going on in this one (about a third of the way in)?
Q: "Mr Johnson aren't you responsible for implementing Brexit?"
Boris: "Well, that'll be up to the next government."
Q: "Do you intend to play a part in that next government?"
Boris: "Well that'll be up to the next Prime Minister and that can't be me as I explained yesterday."
Q: "Do you feel betrayed by Mr Gove?"
Boris: "I cannot, unfortunately, get on with doing what I wanted to do, so it'll be up to somebody else now. I wish him every possible success."
It sounds like something dramatic has happened but I don't see anything relevant in the news..?
posted by swr at 10:04 PM on November 13, 2019


What the heck is going on in this one (about a third of the way in)?
That clip is a year or two old.
You can tell because he's aged about 30 years, lost some hair and picked up a couple of serious addictions since then.
posted by fullerine at 10:17 PM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


You're right, it's old. Here it is, July 2016.
posted by swr at 10:40 PM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


As someone put it recently, your vote is not a valentine, it's a chess move.
posted by acb at 1:16 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Rebecca Solnit:
Today, my dream includes all fossil fuel left in the ground, the end of the American empire, our 800 overseas bases shut down, and total nuclear disarmament globally. When that’s done, I want an end to patriarchy and capitalism and racism and a beginning of experiments in real and direct democracy, though direct democracy probably means an end to the corrupted representative democracy of this nation. We can get a little closer by elections, or at least not get further away on every front, and but the work doesn’t begin and end with elections—and it doesn’t necessarily work through them. That’s part of why I think of voting as a chess move, not a valentine. It’s just a little part of the picture of how we make the world.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:45 AM on November 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


Given that we're in this fucking mess because of experiments with direct democracy, I'm not particularly sympathetic to calls for replacing representative democracy with it entirely.
posted by Dysk at 2:49 AM on November 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I want decisions on complex, weighty political matters to be made by people who have the time, knowledge, experience and access to expert advice necessary for them to be able to make those decisions well. I don't think direct democracy is a good fit for that. But I'd also like it if the people running the country were people who were actually interested in running the country - people who wanted to govern, not simply to hold power. And I have no idea how we might filter for that.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:35 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Bottom 5 Constituencies:
Knowsley (0.000175473)
Liverpool, Walton (0.000203169)
Liverpool, Riverside (0.000215619)
Liverpool, West Derby (0.000298711)
Bootle (0.000311588)


Scousers represent
posted by Chaffinch at 5:25 AM on November 14, 2019


Dysk: I think the problem with our experiments with direct democracy can be laid squarely at the feet of racism and capitalism, which in turn are side-effects of patriarchy. Which needs to be buried at a crossroads with a mouthful of garlic and a stake through its withered heart-like object, stat, otherwise we're not going to live long enough to try and fix the rest.

(NB: am middle-aged male breadwinner who resents the hell out of having patriarchal expectations imposed on him.)
posted by cstross at 5:27 AM on November 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


Not to extend the derail too much, but the Brexit process is hardly an example of direct democracy despite the fact that it started with a referendum. For practical reasons, you might still expect negotiations to be conducted by a representative, but at the very least the process couldn't be considered direct democracy without further confirmatory referenda at key points, from "hey, wait, so what did we mean by Brexit exactly?" all the way to "ok, we know what Brexit is now and we have an agreement for leaving the EU, do we still want to do this?"
posted by tobascodagama at 5:49 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't really know what to think about this any more. I left the UK for Ireland a little over a month ago (don't worry, I've registered for a postal vote), but it all looks a bit grim. The remain parties can't or won't agree a pact, whereas the leave side appear to have mostly got their act together (pending more climb-downs by Farage), and the bookies think that the Tories will get an overall majority barring some kind of Lazarus-like resurrection of Corbyn's reputation, which feels doubtful at best. And despite various gaffes already, and general odiousness of Tories, their support appears to be rising slightly according to various pollsters.

So is that it - Brexit likely to happen, with a high probability still of crash-out after they inevitably fail to agree a trade deal by the time the transition period ends? A Tory majority for attempting to create Singapore-on-Thames?

What worries me is just how bad the crash-out might be. When Ukraine left the USSR, in a referendum where over 90% of the population voted for independence, the country remained on good terms with its neighbours and former masters. But despite this, Ukraine's GDP dropped 10% per year for a decade afterwards. Could this happen to an isolated and friendless UK?
posted by BigCalm at 5:52 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Democracy depends on informed participation, or at least processes that are not rigged against a thoughtful weighting of the relevant issues, as the Brexit referendum (with its lack of clarity, low thresholds for approval, and the shifting goalposts between advisory referendum and No Deal being the Immutable Sacred Will Of The People) was.
posted by acb at 5:54 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


The remain parties can't or won't agree a pact, whereas the leave side appear to have mostly got their act together

That's because being right wing is easy. Just repeat "Leave" forever and ever.

The remain parties can't agree because, ultimately, the Lib Dems stand to gain from stopping Labour, enabling Tories and replacing them. For the grassroots Libs there seems to be some pragmatism, but the leadership would rather have anything but Corbyn.
posted by Chaffinch at 6:01 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Given that we're in this fucking mess because of experiments with direct democracy, I'm not particularly sympathetic to calls for replacing representative democracy with it entirely.

I wouldn't call first-past-the-post voting the ideal form of a representative democracy though.
posted by Pendragon at 7:44 AM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


It’s not clear to me that Labour is a Remain party. Officially neutral, cracks papered over.
posted by Segundus at 7:58 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Corbyn campaigned more for Remain than most MPs, including Lib Dems. labour aren't a remain party, no, because they are a vast party full of varying positions. There are right and leftwing arguments against the EU, the rightwing ones being what we are seeing exclusively for the past 3 years.

On remain: "Over the years I have been critical of many decisions taken by the EU, and I remain critical of its shortcomings; from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services".[207] He summarised his stance as being "for 'Remain – and Reform' in Europe"

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Jeremy_Corbyn
posted by Chaffinch at 8:07 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Even if they chose to 100% back remain or leave, who are they going to convince at this stage? It would only alienate people, so their attitude is it's best to focus on their other policies
posted by Chaffinch at 8:14 AM on November 14, 2019


Chris Dillow: Bad faith arguments.

Matthew Parris (limited article wall) I’ll vote Lib Dem – but I can’t join them:
I don’t believe that before last week I’ve ever quit any organisation on an issue of principle. I tend to find people tiresome who make a song and dance about doing so. I never thought that one day I’d be ‘making an exhibition of myself’ (as my father used to say) and certainly not so late in my life.

But in my Times column on Saturday that’s what I did. And it’s futile to deny I was attention-seeking. Of course I was. A columnist earns his bread by drawing attention to himself and his opinions. Quitting the party you joined 50 years ago is just a rather theatrical way of doing that.
Owen Jones: The Lib Dems hate Labour more than they hate Brexit:
The second plank of the Tory strategy relies on the Liberal Democrats dividing the remain vote. Jo Swinson may have valid reasons, on her own political terms, for waging her party’s rampantly anti-Labour campaign. The Lib Dems’ only real chance of picking up significant numbers of seats is in the south-west, and that means winning over Tory remainers who abhor the very notion of a Corbyn-led government.

By focusing her attacks on Labour rather than the Tory Brexiteers, Swinson believes she will reassure those David Cameron-type supporters that a vote for the Lib Dems will not install Corbyn in Downing Street. It is why Swinson so aggressively opposed a temporary Corbyn premiership to extend article 50 and call an election, and why she refuses to stand down candidates against anti-Brexit Labour MPs.

The problem is that the future of the country is rather more important than whether the Lib Dems win back St Ives, Cheltenham or North Devon...

The Lib Dems will protest that this is terribly unfair. Are they not a national party with the right to stand wherever they choose? Yes, this is how politics works. But the problem is this: the party has made stopping Brexit its defining cause, while simultaneously portraying it as a crusade that transcends party politics. The Lib Dems know that throwing resources at seats they cannot win and peeling away significant numbers of Labour voters will allow the Tories to win. They know that demonising Labour as a “Brexit party” – when a Labour-led government implementing its policy of a second referendum is the only plausible route to stop Brexit – divides remainers to the benefit of the Tory Brexiteers. They know that focusing their vitriol on Corbyn strengthens the position of Johnson.

But ultimately they are not, by definition, an anti-Brexit party; the remain cause is secondary to increasing the number of Lib Dem seats in parliament. If your main aim in politics is to advance the partisan interests of the Lib Dems and repeat their performance in government, then this makes sense. If your only cause is stopping Brexit, however, it does not.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:09 AM on November 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't trust Corbyn an inch-- certainly not while Seumas Milne has his ear. But I do profoundly trust those within Labour who have been doing the long, slow, largely unsung work of holding his feet to the fire for the last three years till he grudgingly accepted a new referendum.

He'd walk it back tomorrow if he could. But if Labour get into power (which is likely to be shared power with Remain parties in any case), Labour Remainers will hold the line.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:17 AM on November 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


If the Labour party was interested in tactics, they'd dump Corbyn.

He is wildly unpopular. I am not here to argue whether that unpopularity is well deserved or not but simply to point it out as a fact. Labour's policies are generally held in high regard. In that sense, Corbyn is an actual impediment to Labour gaining power.

I vote in a Con-Lab marginal. Last election the Pro-European Tory was thrown out for a Corbynite. This time, who knows, though the Labour MP will likely hold. I'm voting Green as I always have.
posted by vacapinta at 9:24 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Boris Johnson's opponents in his seat include Lord Buckethead, Count Binface, Elmo, and Yace "Interplanetary Time Lord" Yogenstein. Also, someone with an address in Ireland, and someone else with an address in France.
posted by Wordshore at 10:09 AM on November 14, 2019 [3 favorites]




Steve Barclay tries to justify Brexit in a way that will appeal to football fans, demonstrating complete cluelessness on both topics simultaneously.
posted by automatronic at 2:05 PM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


How many of those people were likely to vote labour anyway? Joanna Lumley? Really?
posted by Grangousier at 11:47 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's hard to take the Labour antisemitism stuff seriously when it isn't taken seriously within other parties and especially when research shows Conservatives are more likely to hold antisemitic views.

It always smacked of double standards, like Tommy Robinson types suddenly caring about Halal food being cruel to animals, or the niqab oppressive to women. I'm not doubting that antisemitism, sexism, racism of all kinds exists across society and of course it exists in the Labour party, but why the focus on Labour? Is it their support for Palestinians? or is it that we just expect this stuff from conservatives, and they get a free ride?
posted by Chaffinch at 12:27 AM on November 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


The Marxist intellectual Sam Kriss opines on the Labour antisemitism thing:
This trick is easy to perform. Say you wanted to wreck the activities of the Royal Horticultural Society – it doesn’t matter why: maybe they spurned your petunias, maybe you missed out on a Lindley Medal, maybe you just hate gardening. Start by saying that there are troubling incidents of anti-Japanese racism within the RHS. After all, aren’t they trying to eradicate Japanese knotweed? Aren’t there a few members who will sometimes grumble that raking pebbles around isn’t ‘real gardening’? Maybe you’ll have to fabricate a few incidents, but the RHS has nearly half a million members; some of them must have said something unpleasant about the Japanese at some point in the past. Of course, the RHS will try to defend themselves, but you’re one step ahead of them. Anti-Japanese prejudice clearly exists, you say, and therefore denying that there’s any problem is part of the problem. Now the gardeners have to pick up their pitchforks and start rooting around for racists, and they keep finding nothing of any significance – which just proves how bad the problem really is. If their leadership keeps ignoring the issue, maybe we need a new leadership. And meanwhile, green-fingered Japanese are getting – justifiably – very worried. What will happen to them if they turn up at the Chelsea Garden Show this year? Are they safe among their own plants? (It’s true; fellow gardeners have started looking at them strangely lately. A lot of people just want to nurture something living out of the soil, but now all these Japanese are making things impossible. So when they see a Japanese person at an RHS event, they can’t suppress the thought: is this person against me?) Now you’re on a roll. If anyone tries to object to what you’re doing, you can just point to the growing gloom among Japanese gardeners. How dare anyone try to delegitimise their lived experiences? They’ve start putting down their shears en masse. Some are even talking about leaving the country. You’ve taken away a wholesome pastime from thousands of blameless Japanese people, made them anxious and miserable, but the Royal Horticultural Society is now in total disarray, devouring itself in search of hidden racism. Congratulations. You’ve won.
posted by acb at 1:01 AM on November 15, 2019 [6 favorites]


Is the right capitalising on Labour’s problems with anti-semitism? Of course they are, why wouldn’t they? Does that mean that Labour doesn’t have a problem? Sadly, no.

Nobody had to make up accusations of anti-semitism within the Labour party because they were right there, out in the open. Nobody had to make up the idea that the leaderships response was to downplay the allegations, dither around, kick one or two “bad apples” out & hope that the problem would go away either.

The fact that this is a problem for the party is entirely of the party’s own making & moaning about double standards just looks incredibly disingenuous to me.
posted by pharm at 2:55 AM on November 15, 2019 [13 favorites]


Yeah, the Royal Horticultural Society don't have a history of leadership intervening in disciplinary processes to get issues around anti-Japanese statements dismissed. Unlike Labour with anti-semitism. And then there's Ken Livingstone, and just how often he was pardoned or protected whenever he opened his rather careless mouth.
posted by Dysk at 3:00 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


And like yes, there are double standards in play. I do wish that people would point this out as an attack on the Tories rather than in defense of Labour though. The Tories should also be pariahs for this, but everyone seems to prefer the version where the Tories get away with it, so we should be allowed to too. Which is a fucking problem.
posted by Dysk at 3:02 AM on November 15, 2019 [13 favorites]


Michael Rosen has some useful things to say on this.

Yeah, the Royal Horticultural Society don't have a history of leadership intervening in disciplinary processes to get issues around anti-Japanese statements dismissed.

Very few discussions of antisemitism ever involve the actual structure and constitution of the labour party.
(Very few discussions of the Labour party do, at all). Jeremy Corbyn holds MUCH less power than most people imagine. There are whole layers of politics that people don't really talk about.

So, for example you would have to look at Iain McNicholl who was the general secretary for the first part of Corbyn's tenure and I think it's safe to say, he wasn't keen on Corbyn. It is verifiably the case that McNicholl's office was deliberately delaying action on antisemitic members whilst the leaders office was trying to get them to increase disciplinary action. This includes Livingstone.

So the only time Corbyn intervened in the process was to request it be actually applied quickly and decisively and then a second time when Staffers requested the opinion of the leaders office (during the gap between McNicholl and Formby). Formby then dramatically sped up the process.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:50 AM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


And like yes, there are double standards in play. I do wish that people would point this out as an attack on the Tories rather than in defense of Labour though. The Tories should also be pariahs for this, but everyone seems to prefer the version where the Tories get away with it, so we should be allowed to too. Which is a fucking problem.

How do you do this though? The press aren't interested, and they're barely interested in their Islamophobia and blatant racism.

The fact that this is a problem for the party is entirely of the party’s own making & moaning about double standards just looks incredibly disingenuous to me.

Labour have actually tried to do things about antisemitism, Corbyn has campaigned against antisemitism. As posted above regarding Michael Rosen, there is a concerted effort to weaponise it against the party's left. Antisemitism exists there, and is dealt with, but its more complicated when people are trying to use it against the leadership.
posted by Chaffinch at 4:24 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Just this guy, y'know put it better than I could
posted by Chaffinch at 4:31 AM on November 15, 2019


Accusing a Tory of anti-semitism would probably result in a net gain in votes for them.
posted by fullerine at 4:40 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


People keep quoting Jeremy Corbyn's popularity ratings in isolation. But Ed Miliband was slightly more popular at only -55 but UK Polling Report had Gordon Brown down to -62 at times. The truth is his approval rating is kind of normal for a Labour leader after the media have done their usual hate campaign.

I thought Gary Young's article about the Tory Press in today's Guardian was interesting.
It is simply not possible to make an informed decision when one is routinely, wilfully and cynically misinformed. When devout remainers insist the referendum was invalid because we were lied to, they talk as though the misinformation of 2016 was a one-off. It wasn’t. On that basis we should revoke all pretence that we live in a democracy and start again...

People think they are immune to all of this. They’re not. We can and do, of course, make up our own minds. But we don’t make them up out of thin air. Boris Johnson’s “Teflon qualities”, Labour’s “incomprehensible” Brexit policy or Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership failings” are all remarked upon as though they are unrivalled facts rather than judgments, all mediated through an almighty filter with extreme prejudice. The framing is so dominant and pervasive, and reproduced so consistently, omnisciently and persistently, that it ceases to feel like a frame at all.
The smearing of Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-semite is a good example. Compare that to Boris Johnson who's personally written about "piccaninnies" and "watermelon smiles", compared Muslim women who wear burqas to "letter boxes" and bank robbers, and said it's legitimate for Parliament to debate banning the burqa.

Imagine that Jeremy Corbyn had written articles using actual anti-semitic slurs, had mocked yarmulkes and payot, and called for Parliament to debate whether kosher slaughter should be banned. That would be be prime evidence that he is an anti-semite, just as Johnson's articles show who he really is.

But the "national debate" is always about Corbyn's terrible anti-semitism. The right-wing press start it, then the BBC picks it up, and then we start talking about it too.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:41 AM on November 15, 2019 [8 favorites]


I've been uncomfortable with the whole anti-semitism thing from the start. I don't doubt that there is some truth to the accusation that elements within Labour and the left in general veer from anti-zionism into straight out anti-semitism. Hence why it has proved such a valuable stick with which to beat them. Most well meaning lefties don't want to appear to be denying a serious accusation, so the whole thing rumbles on indefinitely. Whichever scroat in the Tory party came up with the idea of exploiting it must be delighted. Meanwhile, certain Tories can write opinion pieces with outright racism, misogyny, or whatever strain of prejudice they want to tap into, and most Tory voters couldn't give a shit - and a significant number actively applaud it.

It's not like people don't see what they're doing. According to this list posted the other day, one of the most shared videos on Facebook has been this one from a Jewish audience member on Question Time. "Attack the character instead of the policies because the policies are correct."
posted by Acey at 6:14 AM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


As a bit of a palate cleanser, here is Johnson freezing up then getting annoyed when asked if he is relateable

It's a fluffy question for which he gives an interesting answer, if you can call it that
posted by Chaffinch at 6:18 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Chaffinch: Labour have actually tried to do things about antisemitism, Corbyn has campaigned against antisemitism.

TheophileEscargot: Imagine that Jeremy Corbyn had written articles using actual anti-semitic slurs, had mocked yarmulkes and payot, and called for Parliament to debate whether kosher slaughter should be banned. That would be be prime evidence that he is an anti-semite, just as Johnson's articles show who he really is.
I’m referring to Britain’s Jews who, for the first time in their history, have concluded that someone hostile to them is on the brink of taking democratic power. Yes, of course, not every single British Jew holds that view. But the most recent poll found that 87% regard Corbyn as an antisemite, meaning an anti-Jewish racist.

Why? The recitation is now wearily familiar. Recall that Corbyn’s first reaction on hearing of a plan to remove a mural filled with hideous caricatures of hook-nosed Jewish bankers was to ask, “Why?” Or that he decided to challenge two “Zionists” not on their arguments but by suggesting that, though they “might have lived in this country for a very long time”, they “don’t understand English irony”. Or that, when a Palestinian Islamist preacher was found by a British tribunal to have peddled the medieval and lethal myth of Jews feasting on the blood of gentile children, Corbyn declared that man a very “honoured citizen”, and invited him for tea in the House of Commons. (And those are merely some of the greatest hits; the full discography runs much longer.)

For four years, Britain’s Jews have – naively, perhaps – waited for the moment when one of these revelations would prove too much for the Labour faithful, shocking them into action. Perhaps it would be the discovery that, despite evidence against hundreds of party members – including those trafficking in grotesque neo-Nazi imagery and Holocaust denial – only a handful have actually been expelled. Or maybe it would be the BBC Panorama investigation that showed how Corbyn’s team repeatedly interfered in antisemitism cases as they went through a supposedly independent disciplinary process, “mainly so they could let their mates off the charge”, as one whistleblower, driven to the brink of suicide, put it. Or perhaps it would be the fact that Labour has become only the second political party ever to be investigated for institutional racism by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (the other was the BNP).

But no. No revelation has ever proved shocking enough that it couldn’t be explained away by those who’d rather not see it. So publicly Labour’s luminaries insist they are fighting a “ruthless” fight against antisemitism, doing all the Jewish community has asked of them, as John McDonnell said this week, even though the facts point the other way.

We’re meant to cheer that Chris Williamson has been barred from standing again as an MP. But Jews remember that, even when Williamson’s penchant for egregious Jew-baiting was well known, Corbyn was still praising him. Just a few months ago, in fact, Corbyn called him “a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not antisemitic in any way.”

None of this has stopped. Labour’s crop of prospective parliamentary candidates has included several with a documented history of anti-Jewish bigotry, Twitter back-catalogues playing on all the familiar tunes of Jewish conspiracy, greed and the rest of it. Two candidates were forced to step down on Thursday, one for calling a Jewish fellow councillor “Shylock”. It suggests this is no longer a problem of one man, but that the malaise is now institutional.
Labour is supposed to be better than this. Saying they're not as bad as Johnson is not a high bar to clear, it's like 2" off the ground.

So yes, there is a media campaign by the right wing where antisemitism by Corbyn and the Labour party membership is used as a stick to beat them with. The correct answer to this is to root out the proven antisemites and be seen to be doing so, not point at the tories and press and complain that they're getting away with worse.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:32 AM on November 15, 2019 [9 favorites]


As a bit of a palate cleanser, here is Johnson freezing up then getting annoyed when asked if he is relateable

Thank you, I needed that. The man has clearly never used a mop in his life. Quelle surprise.

The correct answer to this is to root out the proven antisemites and be seen to be doing so

I agree, and evidently more has to be done. In an ideal world they should never have been given the opportunity to exploit it because we shouldn't have missed the obvious examples of racism in the first place, let alone tolerate outright racism. It angers me that it exists more than it angers me that they let their opponents exploit it.

And I agree that Labour is supposed to be better. But therein lies the problem - when you are well meaning, you can never be pure enough - and meanwhile far worse can safely be ignored. It's not just in regard to racism that this tactic surfaces. When people protest the lack of action on climate change, they are derided for having ever used a plane. When people protest against unfettered capitalism, they are derided for having ever been to Starbucks. The tactic works, that's why it gets used at every given opportunity. It lets the accused off the hook.

In this context, it's that the Tory party has become a hive of scum and villainy ("become" in the loosest sense of the word), but don't worry about that because the other side do it too and it's bastards all the way down. I'm sorry but there's a big difference between a party that pushes a "hostile environment" under a leader with a litany of racist jibes and one that has a history of anti-racism. I wish I didn't have to do such sickening calculus but in times like these it's important to keep some perspective.
posted by Acey at 7:07 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


If a Corbyn government is an existential threat to British Jewish life, and the next government is going to be either Labour or Tory-led, are tactical voting campaigns to prevent a Tory government not in themselves deeply problematic?
posted by acb at 7:17 AM on November 15, 2019


The correct answer to this is to root out the proven antisemites and be seen to be doing so

I agree. I would say the correct approach is a rigorous, evidence based, robust process for removing antisemites from the party. I would (and do) vehemently support that.
I would point out however that the person mentioned in your article:

" Corbyn’s team repeatedly interfered in antisemitism cases as they went through a supposedly independent disciplinary process, “mainly so they could let their mates off the charge”, as one whistleblower, driven to the brink of suicide, put it."

Is apparently Sam Matthews, who you might note is also the person referred to in my links above shown repeatedly NOT taking action and being asked to do so more quickly by Murray and Corbyn.
Now clearly there are two narratives here, but one of them has evidence in the form of emails and the other does not yet have any evidence attached, so I tend to find one more credible than the other. In fact the freedland article references a number of things which have been quite thoroughly debunked. Here's a thread and separately a blog discussing the article that you've shared.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:21 AM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


If a Corbyn government is an existential threat to British Jewish life, and the next government is going to be either Labour or Tory-led, are tactical voting campaigns to prevent a Tory government not in themselves deeply problematic?

That's a pretty big "if". Taking the advice of the Jewish woman from Question Time, look at the policies. Are the Labour party pushing overtly anti-semitic policies? Not as far as I can tell. Meanwhile the Tory party are pushing a far-right, anti-immigrant, pro-Brexit agenda. It's not leftwingers attacking synagogues.
posted by Acey at 7:28 AM on November 15, 2019 [7 favorites]


I’d say those responses linked by JtGYK are fairly typical of the kind of nit-picking & general doubling down on the “we’re anti-racist so how can we be anti-semitic” bullshit we’ve seen from the left in response to accusations of anti-semitism.

Instead of listening, inwardly digesting & moving forward there’s been nothing but denial, denial, denial. Hear no evil, see no evil is the mantra.
posted by pharm at 7:29 AM on November 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


Last comment and then I'm backing out. We've devoted god knows how many threads to endlessly discussing the issue, and I think that is warranted. I don't get involved but I'm here lurking a lot of the time. I worry about these things and want to do the right thing. I'm lucky in that my former MP was Jewish and Labour, and my new Labour candidate is a committed anti-racist. But there are other issues that are getting sidelined as a result of this, and I'm not sure what more can be said on the matter.

I'd be interested to know what people think about the announced plan to nationalise BT OpenReach, for instance. Aside from, you know, it being a "crazed communist scheme".
posted by Acey at 7:38 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Looks perfectly reasonable to me! Last mile network connections are a natural monopoly. The Tories have definitely been caught on the hop & are thrashing about trying to find a suitable counter.

Will be interesting to see how it resonates with the general public. If Labour can come out with a stream of this stuff between now and the election then I think there’s a chance the tide might turn, or at least it would in any normal election. Sadly the looming Brexit tower of doom is still there, lurking on the horizon of this one :(
posted by pharm at 7:45 AM on November 15, 2019


I think the natural comparison is with roads.
If roads are provided by the state then why not data.

I have been enjoying seeing Conservatives try (and generally fail) to answer that question.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:48 AM on November 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Count Binface is actually a rebranded Lord Buckethead, following a copyright claim from the makers of Hyperspace (1984), a movie which starred Chris Elliott and Paula Poundstone and oh FFS I give up. I just give up.
posted by whuppy at 7:53 AM on November 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


Also, there is an interesting thread here which suggests (according to the governments own figures) that industry competition adds £6.2 billion to the cost of broadband provision.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:54 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


The correct answer to this is to root out the proven antisemites and be seen to be doing so

Of course, but to be seen it has to be reported in the media

I'd be interested to know what people think about the announced plan to nationalise BT OpenReach, for instance. Aside from, you know, it being a "crazed communist scheme".

I've always thought internet would and should become a public utility

"crazed communist scheme"

What's next, free water??
posted by Chaffinch at 9:21 AM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested to know what people think about the announced plan to nationalise BT OpenReach, for instance. Aside from, you know, it being a "crazed communist scheme".

This lies vaguely in my work bailiwick for once! Copper telecoms (twisted pair) cable is a relatively slow media for signal transmission. Worse, you have the single bell wire to provide the ringer signal for old school pulse dialing phones; this basically acts as an antenna for random environment noise and crosstalk from other cables, which then interferes with the main connection (modern vDSL sockets disconnect the latter for this reason). This was all perfectly adequate for analogue voice calls, but is a poor transmission system for digital signals, especially over the distances from exchange to home.

Even worse, due to the cost of copper in the 70s phone lines then were copper clad alumnium which has much higher attenuation, making it near useless for digital signals.

Fibre optic is a far better medium for digital signals, particularly over distance. Lower signal loss, effectively not susceptible to electromagnetic environment cross talk/noise interference, and the base design of photons through glass leads to significantly faster transmission speed. The beauty (of single mode at least) is that to get more bandwidth you just need new equipment at each end; the fibre itself doesn't need to be changed. Where I work, we've gone from a 100Mbs backbone between buildings to 1Gbs to trunked 4Gbs and now 10Gbs in places without changing the fibre; we could even run 40Gbs if we had the need and could afford it.

The other thing is that ADSL and its successor, vDSL (with fibre to the street cabinet with vDSL modems, then copper to ther home) is that the design assumes you will be downloading much more than uploading, so that's how the bandwidth available is split. This is fine for downloading files, streaming TV etc, but is woeful for home working and business use etc where you want to send out information at high speed too; video conferencing being the classic example.

Fibre by design is symmetric, so you have as much 'up' bandwidth as you do down.

A little known fact is that BT knew all this, and given the price of copper in the 80s were investing in fibre as the intended replacement for new build and eventually full conversion; the UK, Japan and the US were all moving towards full fibre deployment to upgrade the telecoms. Then Thatcher happened; she didn't like that BT was doing something that competitors couldn't, so her gov forced them to abandon the plans in 1990. The US similarly the break of AT&T killed off fibre deployment. To do it economically, you need to do it en masse, so this basically killed fibre, and that sort of rippled through the west. You only have to compare to Japan where they kept going to see the impact.
[In Southeast Asia] they roared ahead. The Japanese in particular formulated a plan. While we were faffing about with half an Mbps 'being sufficient' the Japanese were rolling out 10Mbps. When we got to 2Mbps they were rolling out 100Mbps. Hong Kong in 2012 already had a gigabit both ways. In 1999 Japan already had 50Mbps universally and South Korea was comfortably using 4G by 2006. In the UK there's no vision, mission or plan, we're engaged in a random walk into the future".
So to sum up - we NEED to deploy fibre to the home, and drag our telecoms infrastructure into the 20th century, let alone the 21st. But doing it in dribs and drabs is expensive, and thus the slow rollout of fibre-to-the-cab, with some fibre-to-the-premises for new build (at eyewatering cost for the developer). We're still a very long away from digging up roads and rewiring the poles to every house.

Nationalising BT openreach (the infrastructure arm of BT) is one solution so the government can borrow money cheaply to invest in telecoms without falling foul of anti-competition rules. Because it will take a *lot* of money. Not just to rural areas which are traditionally expensive due to long distances and low density, but also urban centres limping along with huge webs of cables run all over the place that will need a lot of road digging and quite possibly new exchanges - and land in dense urban areas isn't cheap either. Monopoly infrastructure is something that governments arguably *should* do, because business + monopoly is generally an ineffecient way of doing things. Thus the ofcom handcuffs on BT to stop it taking advantage of the position. Note though, ofcom decided not to fully split off BT openreach recently because of the pensions debt; splitting it off entirely will leave openreach with a big starting debt from the pension scheme which will also need to be funded. It's going to require a fat wallet to get things rolling, that's for sure, even though per-mile costs should fall later in the process.

Cost estimates vary, from what, 20 billion (labour) to 100 billion (BT)? Public infratructure always costs more than planned due to unknown unknowns, so I'd expect it to be more at the higher end of that. But you also have to factor in productivity increases (and thus higher taxes in theory) due to having a fit-for-purpose telecoms infrastructure, so I'm not knowledgable enough to judge the financial viability of it. Someone is going to have to pay to drag us out of the copper age eventually, and nationalising it seems a viable method as a layman.

The bit that seems questionable to me is the 'free broadband' part. So not only nationalising BT openreach, but also setting up a government ISP to offer free customer service over it. Public utilities, yes, free public utilities? That's new. Whether it's water, electricity, phones, rail... even in public hands, they were never free but billed by use, so users contributed to the cost of paying for the intrastructure and the people to run it based upon how heavily they used it. This is common worldwide for public utilities. Tap water is free to customers in licenced bars etc, and must be made available for free for employees - but the business still has to pay their water bill. They can't cut you off at home if you can't pay, but you still owe the bill.

Running an ISP on top of nationalised infrastructure isn't free, there's plenty of work involved in network management, providing equipment to use it and customer support (seriously, someone needs to answer the phone when grandma's internet stops working) at least. The plan is to tax Amazon, Google, Apple etc to pay for it; kinda thought that money was already earmarked for other big spending plans, and it's not like it's easy to get that money as many countries have found. So consider me a sceptic on the practical aspect of that. Especially since end-use fees are a big chunk of how you pay for that infrastructure in the first place.

I'm also not a fan of a government ISP for another reason; post Snowden, I assume that such an ISP would have a direct hookup for GCHQ at a much closer level than just access to the fibre exchanges. And it makes it that much easier to implement censorship. First it was alleged child porn (such as wikipedia), then copyright infringement, then 'extremist material' and the tories have been trying to force age-blocks for porn through recently. Currently this has to use the courts to force this sort of thing on ISPs, how much easier would it be for a future censor-friendly government when it owns and controls the infrastructure and national ISP on top of it?
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:37 AM on November 16, 2019 [20 favorites]


The other problem with a free government run ISP is that you risk it driving all the other ISPs out of the consumer market altogether. And then an election or two down the line the Tories get in and decide that the government ISP shouldn't serve up porn (and anything else that gets tagged as sex by blocking software, like anything vaguely related to queer identities) and now you've effectively got a government monopoly on Internet access censored by the tory party.

Nationalise the delivery infrastructure, sure. But I don't like notion of a government ISP, because elections happen, so you'd have to trust the tories with it as well as Labour.
posted by Dysk at 3:36 AM on November 16, 2019 [12 favorites]


I used to work for BT in the 90s. My recollection is that BT made an offer to the John Major government around 1994: we will bear the cost of installing fibre to everybody's home if you let us run "video on demand" services - streaming in modern terminology - over it. This offer was made at a point where commercial viability of DSL was not yet there - and where the WorldWide Web was still something mostly seen in labs. The government said no as it would have destroyed the commercial viability of the cable companies it was tying to promote as BT's competition. If BT had still been a private entity at the time - or if the government had taken them up on its pact- then, for sure, we would have had fibre to the home many years ago.

Moving to fibre way back in the 90s would have made a pretty substantial boost to the economy - a great ROI. These days, VDSL, 4G mobile and other connection technologies have muddied the water: connectivity is widely available, fast enough for streaming and adequate for most business applications - so the extra to be obtained by a switch to Fibre is less obvious.

It would have been a world beating idea in 1989, still pretty innovative in 1999 or even 2009. A little less so now. But still way less then a costly geegaws like Trident (£31 billion to replace), Hinkley Point C (£22 billion) or HSR2 (£56 billion). And it is an idea which would benefit benefit every business and household to some degree.
posted by rongorongo at 4:14 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


UK Polling Report: Understanding the latest voting intention polls:
Obviously all three show Brexit support falling sharply as fewer people are able to vote for them, and unsurprisingly this has favoured the Conservative party...

... the lead appears to be broadly steady – both Labour and the Conservatives are gaining support that the expense of the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit party.

With four weeks to go, the Conservatives maintain a solid lead. Of course it’s worth remembering that the Conservatives also had a solid lead at this point in the last election too – much of the narrowing in the Tory lead came after the manifestos were published. In theory at least, there is time for things to change – although that said 2017 was an extremely unusual campaign in terms of the amount of change in party support.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:27 AM on November 16, 2019


Moving to fibre way back in the 90s would have made a pretty substantial boost to the economy - a great ROI. These days, VDSL, 4G mobile and other connection technologies have muddied the water: connectivity is widely available, fast enough for streaming and adequate for most business applications - so the extra to be obtained by a switch to Fibre is less obvious.
I can't access Openreach fibre broadband where I live. I'm not in the middle of nowhere, I'm just on a short street at the edge of a BT exchange area where they neglected to install FTTC - my max speed on a wired connection would be 4Mbps. I use a 4G connection from Three. £20 per month (with no telephone "line rental" to pay on top of that) for unlimited data which generally reaches about 70Mbps. I use it heavily for university work and also stream TV and large amounts of radio over it with no ill effects. I understand that 5G is about to appear on the local mast which will increase the speed somewhat.

Why do I need a fibre connection right into my house when I'm not running a business or a data centre out of it? Perhaps I'm being short-sighted - such predictions have a habit of being risible 20 years down the line - but I can't envisage a time when I'm going to need 1Gbps. Fibre to every house makes for good headlines for politicians, but it's hugely expensive and surely running a beefy fibre link to a local mast and using 5G or some other wireless technology to reach individual homes is more cost-effective and will work well enough.
posted by winterhill at 1:46 AM on November 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Why do I need a fibre connection right into my house when I'm not running a business or a data centre out of it? Perhaps I'm being short-sighted - such predictions have a habit of being risible 20 years down the line - but I can't envisage a time when I'm going to need 1Gbps.

Yes, something something 640kb. Network infrastructure kind of reaches a medium term end game with FTTP though - you put the infrastructure in once and then you're finished (somewhat simplifying). The idea isn't just your needs now, it's in 15-20 years time when you might have several really super high definition TVs (16k? 32k? Massive bitrates for both) in a shared house, game streaming, other downloads and services that we haven't even thought of yet. You have to replace copper anyhow, so it may as well be done with a proper solution.
posted by jaduncan at 2:01 AM on November 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Everyone has different needs and we shouldn't simply cater for the lowest common denominator. Those who work from home – an increasing proportion of people – would benefit from faster upload speeds for videoconferencing and general speedy file syncing.

I'm not convinced that fibre is the most cost effective solution for literally everyone – 5G to a local mast may work in some places, satellite internet will work in others – but in the cities where many people live, fibre is a good option, it's future-proofed, it has less lock-in in terms of vendor (unlike going with SpaceX internet).
posted by adrianhon at 2:16 AM on November 18, 2019


In terms is accessibility, nationalising mobile mast infrastructure would probably be a better idea. Getting decent mobile coverage universal is going to be much easier than running fiber to every single home, more people have smartphones than any other kind of device, and you can get dongles to adapt to PC anyway. The fact that you'd be ensuring decent mobile telephony for everyone, including in areas where there is currently effectively no signal, would be a bonus too.
posted by Dysk at 2:31 AM on November 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


Like yes, fibre to the home will let everyone have Internet, will let everyone search and apply for jobs, benefits, and government programs (assuming you have a PC, or a router and the ability to set it up or get someone else to). Giving everyone good 4G or 5G would allow the same (including for people with smartphones but no WiFi set) and would mean that you can actually receive the follow-up phone calls from potential employers, or the council, or whatever, regardless of how middle of nowhere you are.
posted by Dysk at 2:43 AM on November 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


nationalising mobile mast infrastructure would probably be a better idea

Yep - would any political party care to make a binding promise about mobile network coverage, please? The signal inside my house (in Kent) is so poor it often takes me multiple attempts to send a text message, and making a phone call is right out; both my brother's house (Surrey) and my parents' (Buckinghamshire) are in complete mobile phone black spots, so that they can't even receive 2FA confirmation texts; at my desk at work (London) I either have four bars of 4G or no signal at all; as I take the train into work, the signal comes and goes even when we're not in a tunnel; if I visit my nearest city, I need to remember to note the train times home again before I set out, because the signal there is so flaky and unpredictable. As time goes by, more and more companies assume you can always receive SMSes, and more and more phone apps assume you have permanent connectivity. This is getting to be a real nuisance.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:46 AM on November 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


+1 for better mobile coverage.

Independent of universal full fibre, I really think we ought to have Basic Minimum Internet, probably via cellular. So much of modern life and work and government services requires an internet connection, we should all get some level of minimum service for free; it could be subject to a speed and usage cap, but access to a lot of sites and info should always also be free.
posted by adrianhon at 3:05 AM on November 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Independent of universal full fibre, I really think we ought to have Basic Minimum Internet, probably via cellular. .

Fully agree. Doing it this way avoids the problems of potentially supplanting all non-government consumer ISPs as well, sidestepping a lot of the concerns detailed above.
posted by Dysk at 3:12 AM on November 18, 2019


What we shouldn't do any more is suggest that "you can always access the internet at the library if you can't afford it". Libraries are amazing, but that creates a two-tier system where those with the means can access work opportunities, government facilities, community and entertainment (yes, chat and entertainment, we're not robots) at home easily while those without are limited to the odd hour struggling with Internet Explorer on a clapped-out public PC at a library. Those with the internet piped into their houses 24/7 are at an obvious advantage.

Internet access should be plumbed into houses like water, gas and electricity these days. It's not really an optional extra any more.
posted by winterhill at 3:18 AM on November 18, 2019 [11 favorites]


When you move into a new house, it's mostly all set up. You turn the lights on and they work. You turn the heating on and the gas heats the house. You can turn the tap on and get water. You'll get billed for them later, but they work from the moment you open the door for the first time.

The internet is the exception to the rule - plug your modem in and you'll get nothing, often for several weeks after you've moved in while they faff around "installing" it. It should be more like the other utilities - it works as a default when you move in, and you can pick an ISP (like you can pick an electricity provider) at your convenience.
posted by winterhill at 3:31 AM on November 18, 2019 [5 favorites]


I heard that in one country (Scandinavian, predictably) if you plug a network cable into an Ethernet port in your new home, you'd get 10mbit up and down for free, no faffing required. That was several years ago, I don't know if that's still the case or if it's even better now.
posted by adrianhon at 3:36 AM on November 18, 2019


I'm not convinced that fibre is the most cost effective solution for literally everyone

Seems to me that if it was ever justifiable to run a copper pair to a building in the past, it's justifiable to run a fibre to it now.
posted by flabdablet at 9:48 AM on November 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


I am also not really surprised to learn that it's the same right wingers that the public always seems to think of as "better at managing the economy" that screwed up FTTP in the UK, just like they did in Australia. Dumbfucks from arsehole to breakfast time.
posted by flabdablet at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2019 [5 favorites]


Peter Oborne in the Guardian:
I have talked to senior BBC executives, and they tell me they personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.
Jesus fucking christ I can't even.
posted by automatronic at 5:25 PM on November 18, 2019 [26 favorites]


If you were an unscrupulous prick in a position of power, encouraging the public by all means available to you to think of all persons in positions of power as unscrupulous pricks, and the system they occupy as fundamentally broken yet completely inevitable, would be in your direct interest.

I think it's quite important not to fall in line behind the unscrupulous pricks who have been actively promoting this nihilistic, indiscriminately cynical view for as long as I've been paying attention. If the reported attitude of BBC executives you employ makes you angry - as it damn well should - write to every media outlet you think has some chance of publishing you and say so.

You might care to remind these unspeakably complacent upper-middle-class fuckers that if the media had been a bit more willing to expose lies told by a British PM, countless lives could have been saved in Iraq. The BBC has a public duty to open the British political system up to public scrutiny. Failure to do so undermines public trust in both British politics and the BBC and directly serves the interests of people actively engaged in undermining the health of BBC and politics and public.
posted by flabdablet at 9:28 PM on November 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


Right wingers in the late C20th fetishised “competition”, leading to ludicrous situations when they tried to force competition onto natural monopolies.
posted by pharm at 12:44 AM on November 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Right wingers in the late C20th fetishised “competition”, leading to ludicrous situations when they tried to force competition onto natural monopolies.
Boris Johnson, 2013: "I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity."
posted by winterhill at 3:25 AM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


2013?? In the midst of austerity, he held that view? That shocks me more than all the lying. Paraphrased: "In order that I, a person driven primarily by envy and unable to imagine that others are not, might remain productive, millions of people, perhaps the majority of the population, must continue to be deprived of basic economic security."
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:24 AM on November 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've not had the time to fully look into it, but it seems that there's a 2 .2GB file floating around which purports to be Arron Banks' Twitter DMs.
more at #arronbanksleaks hashtag....
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:47 AM on November 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm waiting for a roundup before I have a proper look at them but so far there's been antisemitism, racism and talk of having 10k in a safe for Guido Fawks. So nothing we don't already know. I've got a feeling nothing will happen with any of this, and wonder if Corbyn will bring any of it up in the debates tonight.

On another note, I just want to say Laura Kuenssberg is a Tory hack. A Tory MP was suspended for antisemitic remarks amongst other things and a Labour MP voluntarily left so she posted the Labour story to conflate the two. What's the point of Purdah?
posted by Chaffinch at 6:22 AM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


The screenshots I’m seeing floating around are pretty explosive stuff. Never a dull moment eh?

Also who’s dumb enough to confer with other members of a criminal conspiracy over an unencrypted web app? If this is what they’ve posted in their Twitter DMs, the Telegram, Signal and Whatsapp groups must be nuclear-grade cesspools.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:48 AM on November 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


The Conservatives have been accused of misleading the public after they rebranded their official Twitter account as “factcheckUK” during the televised leaders’ debate and used it to publish anti-Labour posts.
The Conservative party renamed their main media account as “factcheckUK”, changed its logo to hide its political origins, and used it to push pro-Conservative material to the public. [...] Although the Twitter handle remained as @CCHQPress, all other branding was changed to resemble an independent factchecking outlet [...] Shortly after the debate finished the Twitter account name was changed from factcheckUK to CCHQ Press.
posted by lucidium at 2:09 PM on November 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


As someone else pointed out, Italian Elon Musk was banned for saying he sends calzones into space but CCHQ get less than a slap on the wrist for wilfully misleading people during an election. Straight out of the Bannon playbook and they know they'll get away with it.

As for the "debates" they made the same mistake as usual- allowing claps, heckles (how poisonous does your base have to be to heckle mention of the world's poorest people?) and having no fact checking or time to fully flesh out arguments. I doubt it will change many minds however it is far more likely to be a lot of people's first time seeing Corbyn as he actually is and not bent through a media lense, and he came across quite well. In contrast we already know what Johnson is about and his bluster probably won't be turning anyone over to him that hasn't already.

That said, all a Tory has to do is not violently shit themselves on camera and they can lie all they like and be declared statesmanlike.
posted by Chaffinch at 12:54 AM on November 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't have the link to hand, but post-debate polling had it roughly even between Johnson and Corbyn as the winner.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2019


The numbers I've seen elsewhere have been from YouGov, 51-49 on the question of "Leaving aside your own party preference, who do you think performed best overall in tonight's debate?". Johnson is the 51, but of course that's basically a wash.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 AM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


"LeAvInG AsIdE YoUr OwN PaRtY PrEfErEnCe"
posted by Chaffinch at 8:04 AM on November 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I've seen a few people posting fake-looking headlines about a uni registering students to vote without them knowing. Can anyone link to an actual story? More importantly can anyone comment on the legality of it? The usual flag crowd are getting their voter fraud excuses in early and I'd like to know how accurate it is
posted by Chaffinch at 1:56 PM on November 20, 2019


A nothingburger of a story as it is standard for Uni accomodation forms to have a "register me to vote at this adress" check-box on them.

It's quite easy and legal to have overlapping voter registration at two addresses.
If one was so inclined you could probably vote at both places if you wished to risk the almost guaranteed custodial sentence to swing the total by one whole vote.
posted by fullerine at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


You're even fully entitled to vote in both locations for local elections, e.g. council elections; it's only an offence to vote in both places for the same national (general, EU) election.

Electoral law requires that universities should provide applicable student information to the local election officials to facilitate their duties, and this, from the Office for Students (the regulator for universities):

"(higher education) Providers should cooperate and work effectively in partnership with the relevant ERO (electoral registration officer) or EROs for the purpose of facilitating the electoral registration of students who are registered on their higher education courses."

So it's faux outrage from the Sun etc because voter suppression helps the tories.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:38 AM on November 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


New Statesman: How People's Vote destroyed itself.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:52 AM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Rudd's boardroom coup to completely cripple the People's Vote organisation in order to satisfy his own ego - when he was in charge of only 1 org out of 9 making it up - on the eve of the general election campaign couldn't have been better orchestrated if he was a no-deal Brexit mole. PV had the people, the money and the campaigners on the ground to really make a difference in tactical voting, and it's all in limbo now. Despicable man.

Returning to election fraud for a minute; from the electoral commision (click the date links for further details) who investigate this in league with the police - despite the allegations:
In 2018, there was no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud. Of the 266 cases that were investigated by the police, one led to a conviction, and two suspects accepted police cautions.

In 2017, there was one conviction and eight suspects accepted police cautions.
It's a total non-problem; so of course the tories are threatening a voter photo ID law to effectively suppress labour and lib dem voting, aided and abetted by their press barons - trials have already proved the risk. And of course, there was the 'admin failures' leading many EU citizens being turned away from polls - a fate waiting for us all under the tories.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:46 AM on November 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also in let's-do-what-the-Americans-do-since-it-works-so-well-for-them news: Rich donors hand Tories £5.5m election funding boost -- Cash from tycoons including wife of Russian businessman about 26 times higher than big Labour donations

How is this legal?
posted by Acey at 10:49 AM on November 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


A nothingburger of a story as it is standard for Uni accomodation forms to have a "register me to vote at this adress" check-box on them.
When I registered for university this September, it was part of the university registration process to register to vote in the city. The web interface had a list of tasks you had to do prior to starting your course - confirming your details, confirming your course, uploading a photo for your ID card etc - and one of those was registering to vote at your university address. It was clearly marked as an optional part of the process, but it was there for convenience should a student wish to use it.
posted by winterhill at 11:04 AM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've heard a lot of people today saying that they're disappointed that the Labour manifesto doesn't include, or is weaker than they wanted on, some subject that's close to them personally and that they aren't sure about whether they're going to bother voting Labour. I know quite a number of trans people expressing disquiet at a particular piece of weaselly language included in it regarding "single-sex spaces", for instance. I've even heard a couple of people saying they're disappointed that Labour aren't planning to legalise cannabis.

To those people, I say: look at the other party that can realistically form a government. Think about whether you fancy five more years of those nasty, venal little scrotes. Think about what they could do with five years of majority and what their policies are likely to be on your personal pet subject. Then vote Labour.
posted by winterhill at 11:10 AM on November 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


How is this legal?

Donations to political parties can only be made by individuals who are on the electoral register or UK companies that are registered, or incorporated in the European Union and are trading in the UK.

However, it's mainly up to the parties to satisfy themselves the money is permitted; companies and individuals don't have to disclose where they got the money, which is a loophole big enough to drive a truckload of dirty money through (ref Arron Banks). Mrs Chernukhin is UK resident and presumably on the electoral roll, given the amount of money she's regularly given to the tory party - she's hardly the first Russian living in the UK with stacks of money from questionable sources. London is known as the Global Laundromat - a Home Affairs Select Committee estimated there's £100bn a year of illicit money laundered through property alone in the capital.

It stinks to high heaven, and of course the tories are neck deep in it. I suspect when Johnson keeps referring to 'global Britain', he's thinking of a very different kind of 'trade' than we are.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:23 PM on November 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


To be fair to the venal scrotes, they haven't actually been actively harmful on trans issues directly. If current Labour is beholden to or otherwise infiltrated by TERFs, that might not be the case for them.

Of course, trans people are also disproportionately affected by poverty, NHS cuts, and cuts to public services in general. But I'd be wary of, as a cis person, telling trans people not to be concerned by this, or contrasting it with the current lot. It might ting pretty fucking hollow to a lot of people used to seeing them and theirs thrown under the bus by progressive movements.

For clarity: I'm trans, and would vote Labour if I could vote, but the optics of cis people telling trans people to hold their nose re Labour transphobia is not good, and likely to hurt more than help.
posted by Dysk at 2:00 PM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


the optics of cis people telling trans people to hold their nose re Labour transphobia is not good, and likely to hurt more than help.
I'm a trans woman, and I'm not telling anyone not to be concerned, but the alternative is five more years of all the things you mention. The NHS care for trans people is already worse than abysmal, with multi-year waiting lists for the most basic healthcare, but after a Conservative majority government for another few years there won't be an NHS.
posted by winterhill at 2:46 PM on November 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


My apologies, that was a bad assumption on my part.
posted by Dysk at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2019


For the benefit of anyone reading this who hasn't been through it and doesn't understand the situation fully. If you're a trans person (in my case, a trans woman), there are four ways to get some level of healthcare, in this case hormone treatment to suppress testosterone and promote the development of female secondary sex characteristics.

You can go the NHS route. There are eight Gender Identity Clinics serving the whole of England and Wales. The current waiting time at Leeds is around 2.5 years, which is around average - some are a bit shorter, some are considerably longer. I've heard of four-year waiting lists. This is the wait for your first appointment and there's another lengthy wait following this before you can start treatment. That's if you present as trans enough - there's a lot of gender policing involved and people have been turned away for not, eg. wearing "feminine enough" clothes.

You can go private, to an outfit like GenderCare in London. This lot do much the same thing as the NHS GICs, but much more quickly. The fees for appointments are between £150-300 per appointment, and for those of us living outside London there's also the significant cost of a London trip. It's basically a way for those with the means to jump the queue, and it's partly why the NHS system is so shit - those people with the financial and social capital to change the system tend to also have the funds to just jump the queue and move on, so nothing happens.

You can start getting into legally grey areas with Dr Webberley and GenderGP. GenderGP used to be registered in the UK and operated sort-of legitimately, but after Webberley was struck off by the GMC the clinic apparently moved to Spain. The website now shows office addresses in the likes of Belize and Hong Kong - caveat emptor.

Or - and an awful lot of people do this, and I've done this in the past - you can go online to completely unregulated pharmacies in countries like India and Vanuatu and buy hormone treatments online, and take them without medical supervision. This is the most affordable option, but it's plagued with obvious safety issues as well as issues with delivery delays and disappearing pharmacies - QHI was pretty reliable until it closed after a dodgy Daily Mail "exposé". This doesn't work for trans men - oestrogen and anti-androgens are a legal grey area while testosterone is a controlled substance.

That's just for hormone treatment. I've just dropped £655 of your English pounds on a course of laser facial hair removal where the lovely Leanne does the high-tech equivalent of sticking red hot pokers in my face for half an hour one Monday a month. Some trans people need genital surgery. Some trans people need facial surgery. Some trans people need hair replacement. All of those are four-five figures.

Some morons say trans women only transition so that they can get access to women's spaces, like changing rooms. I contend that if I wanted to look at naked ladies, there are far simpler and less painful ways.
posted by winterhill at 12:44 AM on November 22, 2019 [11 favorites]


Oestrogen and anti-androgens are in the lovely situation where they aren't illegal to buy without a prescription, but they are illegal to sell to anyone without a prescription. So as long as you can find a dodgy internet pharmacy willing to just sell you the pills, the worst that can happen to you is that customs decide to hold onto or hold up your pills.

Testosterone is a Class C controlled substance by comparison.

I'm kind of surprised that the wait at Leeds is only 2.5 years. I waited longer than that for my two GIC appointments a decade ago, and I was under the impression it had only gotten worse since then.

Labour having TERF dogwhistles in their manifesto is worrying. They also have some decent policies in their LGBT+ section (GRA reforms to allow self-ID) but the dogwhistle is in their Equality and Women section. They're trying to play to both sides here. We don't know which they intend to follow through on (or it could be both - allow self-ID and then make that effectively meaningless by strengthening opportunities to discriminate by "natal sex" or whatever other other bullshit). This is genuinely concerning.
posted by Dysk at 1:02 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Labour having TERF dogwhistles in their manifesto is worrying

Can you give an example? I'd hope it was just an unfortunate attempt to play both sides . Labour is a big party with about half a million members and sadly there is inevitably some TERF influence there. There's also a large, active youth wing which I would really hope would be turned off by transphobia.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:14 AM on November 22, 2019


Pink News article for context.

Disappointing as having Labour be at best pandering to TERFs with their election material, it's not like there are many better options. The Lib Dems have taken in several awful homophobes. The Greens are a little better, though they've also had some worrying tendencies with regard to courting TERFs under Caroline Lucas. They're not electorally relevant outside of Brighton anyhow.

The Tories have actually not been awful on trans issues directly. Under May, there was even a push for GRA reform, with consultations and everything, which has since been derailed in the morass of the Brexit context and changing leadership. It is far from clear that a Tory government now would take this up again, or be sympathetic rather than antagonistic if they do. Then there's their assault on public services, benefits, and the NHS.

UK politics is just fucking hostile across the board to trans people, especially trans women, at this point in history. Gay marriage was passed with caveats that are deeply hostile to trans people, with the support of both major parties.

Labour is a big party with about half a million members and sadly there is inevitably some TERF influence there. There's also a large, active youth wing which I would really hope would be turned off by transphobia.

The concerns are real and legitimate. Please don't try to minimise or excuse them like this. Transphobia is endemic on the left because of how easy it is for people to fall for TERF talking points that align superficially with their politics of equality and feminism. The youth wing clearly don't have enough influence to keep the transphobia out of the stated policy goals in their manifesto.
posted by Dysk at 1:22 AM on November 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


I was trying to say that transphobia is everywhere in society, sorry. I wasn't trying to minimise it.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:37 AM on November 22, 2019


It shouldn't be in progressive movements, and it sure as fuck shouldn't be in a Labour manifesto. It is perfectly reasonable to expect them not to be, in both senses of the word expect.
posted by Dysk at 1:41 AM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


the optics of cis people telling trans people to hold their nose re Labour transphobia is not good, and likely to hurt more than help.
Whilst this is not what winterhill was doing it is almost certainly what the Labour Party are doing.

This is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the Labour Government and it must be horrifying for trans people to be treated this way.

It's true that Labour are far and away the best party for LGBT+ rights but the fact this was considered acceptable, or even pushed for by some of the shadow cabinet is a huge warning sign for anyone fighting transphobia. We're going to be fighting some of our "own side" over this and we should be careful not to allow fear to stop us being uncompromising in demanding rights for trans people. The bathroom bullshit is already here and transphobes are mobilising. Labour has made enormous gains pushing the Overton window to the left and we must ensure we do not leave anyone behind.

Shit, transphobes and the right are going to attack us over this anyway, we might as well give them something to be scared of.
posted by fullerine at 2:22 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Whilst this is not what winterhill was doing it is almost certainly what the Labour Party are doing.

Yeah, I was primed to read it that way because of the number of people - mostly Labour members - in my circles I have seen minimising it, downplaying it, or being outright hostile to trans people raising it as a concern.

Again, apologies to winterhill for my mistake. Entirely my bad.
posted by Dysk at 2:28 AM on November 22, 2019


So, uh...they're doing a special Question Time tonight in a venue that's maybe a two-minute walk from my office, which is more than a little weird for me.

Corbyn, Johnson, Swinson, and Sturgeon will be answering questions from the audience. It's just as well it's full up already. I don't think they'd like me starting off with "Mr. Johnson, what--and I cannot stress this enough--the fuck?".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:29 AM on November 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


(There's also a rumor he might visit a local hospital, to which I can only respond "Oh, please do". He'd get Yorkshired out of existence around here.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:51 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Where is it being held? I'm also in Sheffield. I'm just curious!
posted by winterhill at 2:52 AM on November 22, 2019


It's at the Octagon. Not telling you which office I'm in, though. ;)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:59 AM on November 22, 2019


They've kept that quiet. I'm at Sheffield University.

A mysterious email did go out yesterday about an "external event" at the Octagon requiring various route closures but I didn't put two and two together.
posted by winterhill at 3:00 AM on November 22, 2019


Yeah, I was primed to read it that way because of the number of people - mostly Labour members - in my circles I have seen minimising it, downplaying it, or being outright hostile to trans people raising it as a concern.
Call them melts :)
Hopefully, they'll see the parallels between what they are doing and what the centrists and Blairites did to the left of the Labour party and will grow a spine.

This is going to be a hideous fight but it's human rights we're fighting for.

We are within touching distance of an actual no-shit socialist government and that is a huge prize to win. Some are trying to reassure but come December 13th there'd better be an unequivocal walking back of this vague rubbish or they'd have shown themselves to be actual TERFs instead of just trying to pander to them.
posted by fullerine at 3:04 AM on November 22, 2019


Corbyn, Johnson, Swinson, and Sturgeon will be answering questions from the audience. It's just as well it's full up already.

Yeah, the BBC politics team need to reserve space for their regular list of Tory plants.
posted by PenDevil at 3:15 AM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


We are within touching distance of an actual no-shit socialist government and that is a huge prize to win.

Not a dig at you and maybe it's Hardest Possible Brexit-fatigue talking but I'm sick of politicians huge prizes tbh. I'd more than gladly grasp 50% of what's on offer from Corbyn now with both hands and take the rest in a second parliament for the sake of the e.g. 20 extra seats which make sure Labour get to form the next government and enact it all.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:43 AM on November 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the BBC politics team need to reserve space for their regular list of Tory plants

"Mr Corbyn I earn a meagre £125,000 a year as a small commodities trading business owner.."
posted by Chaffinch at 4:08 AM on November 22, 2019


"Mr Corbyn I earn a meagre £125,000 a year as a small commodities trading business owner..
So, one of the people?
posted by fullerine at 4:46 AM on November 22, 2019


So, one of the people?
This fuckin' guy

Can someone help me understand corporation tax in terms of the Labour manifesto? If my (imaginary) company makes 50k profit and the corporation tax is raised, can I not just give myself a larger salary up to 80k and therefore pay less tax altogether? Is that how it works?
posted by Chaffinch at 6:19 AM on November 22, 2019


For a personal services company Chaffinch? Sure, although you’ll obviously pay NI, employers NI & income tax on that. Dividends come out of post-corporation tax income however, so in effect a raise in corporation tax is a tax on dividend income. What’s more likely for large companies is that it will drive even further the existing tendency to return money to shareholders via share buybacks, which (IIRC) is not taxable. Those who choose to sell their shares will pay capital gains tax of course, but that’s lower than other taxes (usually - Private Equity firms are absolute masters of turning income into capital gains.)

(If my analysis here is missing anything, then shout, because I’m not intimately familiar with this stuff.)
posted by pharm at 7:27 AM on November 22, 2019


Corporation tax is proposed to go up to 26% and higher rate income tax of 40% (even ignoring NI) starts at £50,000 currently.

Am I missing something?
posted by ambrosen at 8:19 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, higher rate tax payers pay 32.5% on dividends.

So if you make an extra 100 pounds and are already a higher rate earner then you could PAYE it, in which case you’d pay approx £12 employers NI, £2 personal NI & £35 income tax for a total post-tax home pay of £51. Or you could put it through as company profits, in which case at current rates you’d pay £20 corporation tax & £28 dividend tax for a total post-tax pay of £52.

So at the margin, if you’re already higher rate tax payer & looking to maximise your income there’s not much in it & Corbyn’s raise in corporation tax will simply push higher earners using personal services companies to pay themselves more in salary than they currently do. There’s considerable flexibility for people not already taking the maximum out of their taxable allowances though, so there’ll be a range of people in the middle for whom the rise in corporation tax represents a genuine rise in their tax rate.

(Running a personal services company does let you take a lot of taxable benefits at the lower end which reduce your total tax rate, the above calculation is assuming that an individual has already used up all their allowances & is therefore paying the higher (although not the highest possible) rates).
posted by pharm at 8:42 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I thought Jeremy Corbyn wasn't particularly great in the debate tonight.
Until I saw Swinson and Johnson.

Ouch, Boris got bodied
posted by fullerine at 1:03 PM on November 22, 2019


I was quite busy last night getting drunk so i didn't see the "debate". Was it as much of a waste of time as the last one? Any good memes?

Also thank you for the corporation tax explainers, it makes *slightly* more sense to me now
posted by Chaffinch at 1:30 AM on November 23, 2019


In election news in this area, the local (ex-BNP and UKIP) independent candidate is ramping up rhetoric suggesting that Labour are engaging in voter intimidation. He's set up a "hotline" to report any such behaviour.

The candidate in question (who I'm not directly naming here in case Google pick it up) has the unwavering support of local newspaper The Press, which prints endless front-page articles praising him and giving him a prominent platform. The company that publishes The Press also publishes various books by "Tommy Robinson", and its editor has also written a number of Islamophobic books. The paper has been implicated in encouraging intimidation of elected officials itself.

Incidentally, I was stopped outside the polling station when I went to vote in the European elections earlier this year. The person who stopped me asked me who I was voting for. When I refused to tell him, he told me that I'd "better be voting Brexit [Party]". It's not Labour who are engaging in this stuff.
posted by winterhill at 2:22 AM on November 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


he told me that I'd "better be voting Brexit [Party]"

I'd ask what he intended to do if I didn't and call the police. Horrible bunch.
posted by Chaffinch at 2:40 AM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


To be honest, I'm amazed that the activities of The Press (as in the local newspaper, not the whole newspaper industry) haven't come to wider attention. Nobody gives a shit about anything that happens round here, we're a long way north of London, we're poor and unglamorous, we're squished between several major cities that suck away attention and investment. As so often happens in areas starved of daylight, the far right have taken over swathes of the local media and politics.

The Press is fairly clever in the way it does things. The other local newspaper, the Spenborough Guardian, upped and left town a few years ago. There's still a paper published under that name but it's a JPI Media owned title with no local presence, full of syndicated copy and news from 30-40 miles away. The Press has filled the gap - the news pages are full of stuff about planned developments in the area, local crime stories, pictures of what your kids have been up to in school, coverage of minor local Rugby League teams. People buy it because it's got the local news. It's widely-distributed - it's for sale in supermarkets and newsagents, but you'll also find copies piled up in hairdressers, cafés and pubs. Take one! It's free! Read it at home.

When the reader opens it, especially around election time, they'll also find non-stop articles praising local far-right politicians, their manifestos printed in full, editorials about snowflakes, the LGBT menace and Sharia law. The editorial a couple of weeks ago speculated on when Greta Thunberg might have her "inevitable breakdown" and kill herself. A recent article about the death of a local councillor consisted of a single paragraph about the Labour councillor who died followed by several paragraphs of effusive praise of a far-right "independent" seeking to replace him in the by-election.

I understand the principle of a free press, but I think that this one-sided right-wing rhetoric in an area's only local newspaper is particularly corrosive. Because it's round here, no-one notices, but it is happening.
posted by winterhill at 2:44 AM on November 23, 2019 [17 favorites]


BBC has been more than a bit off recently and has now just edited out Johnson's being laughed at by a live audience when asked about truth.
Now the Times has this;
BBC suppressing Russia influence stories.
posted by adamvasco at 2:09 PM on November 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


I am so furious at the BBC. I have my license renewal sitting right there in my inbox, and it's due in a week, and I am going to pay it, of course, but I resent it more and more every year. When I first moved here, 22 years ago, and my husband explained the whole license fee thing to me, I was very accepting of the idea, because I was coming from the land of Fox News etc., and I liked the idea of a state broadcaster that wasn't subject to advertising, but fuck me, it's a non-stop Tory party political broadcast now, and has been for too long.
posted by skybluepink at 12:21 AM on November 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


TERF rag The Guardian are weighing in on the dodgy language in the Labour manifesto, with (naturally) a lengthy contribution from TERF pressure group Woman's Place UK.
Laura Pidcock, a shadow cabinet minister, said: “I think that there has to be the enforcement of single-space exemptions for women to heal and recover; and it is absolutely crucial that there are spaces, that there is provision, for trans people to also get the help and support they need.”
So what Pidcock appears to be putting forward as Labour's position is that "women" and "trans people" are two different groups of people who require different provision rather than taking the position that trans women are women.

This "clarification" means I'm going to have to reconsider who I vote for at this election, as well as my party membership. Labour will win this seat whether I trudge down to the polling station or not, but the Green Party are also standing locally and one less Labour vote - with a letter to Tracy Brabin explaining why I didn't vote for her - might send a message.
posted by winterhill at 2:16 AM on November 24, 2019 [8 favorites]


Labour will win this seat whether I trudge down to the polling station or not, but the Green Party are also standing locally and one less Labour vote - with a letter to Tracy Brabin explaining why I didn't vote for her - might send a message.

A better way to send a message might be to write to Tracy Brabin before the election, ask her to clarify her own position on this, and then share the response you get.
posted by automatronic at 6:15 AM on November 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


The John Sweeney whistleblowing letter to Ofcom.
posted by adamvasco at 12:06 PM on November 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


The Stroud constituency should be interesting.

In the last election Labour flipped this seat. The outgoing Tory MP lost by a mere 687 votes. So this is definitely a marginal and winnable by either side.

But in the last election, the Greens (a very popular party here who control the councils and the mayors's office) semi-official stance was "Vote for us if you like, but we understand if you vote Labour."

This year, they are doing the opposite. They are campaigning fiercely their candidate is Molly Scott Cato, the very popular Green MEP. The Green argument this go-round is that Greens beat Labour in the European elections and, were it not for FPTP tactics, Greens are clearly the party that local people want.

Labour is upset and asking for Molly to stand down. The Greens contend that they are the only viable option for Remainers and that Labour support has been crumbling in the area. The Lib Dems are standing down in favor of the Greens.
posted by vacapinta at 2:08 AM on November 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


UK Polling Report: Sunday Polls "There does not appear to be any consistent trend or impact from the debate".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:14 AM on November 25, 2019


Labour is upset and asking for Molly to stand down.

LOL fuck yooouuuu
Unite to Remain [coalition of Greens, LibDems, Plaid Cymru who are standing down for each other] said it had approached Labour about being part of the process, but had been rebuffed. Asked about the pact, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said: “We will never enter pacts, coalitions or deals like that. Ever.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:15 AM on November 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


I understand why they won't, but it's super annoying that Labour doesn't stand down candidates.

So far it seems like the Lib Dem leadership have been absolute dicks, whilst the membership are overall proving pretty decent all round. (Canterbury being the primest example. It's annoying that they'll stand aside in Stroud but not in Canterbury).

The Labour membership have (from what I've seen) been very hostile to Lib Dem's. The leadership, I don't think have been as bad, but I wish they'd engage more and do the sensible thing.
Everyone expects the greens to stand down by default, and yet there are still labour candidates in Brighton which is just a waste. I say go for it. Molly Scott Cato is great.

I think parties say things like "We'll never do deals or coalitions" because they think it makes them sound strong and confident (lol at Jo Swinson's "I might be prime minister" lines) but does anyone believe them for a second? It would be more credible to admit that you're beholden to the electorate and you'll do your best to get as much as y our values through as you can?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:26 AM on November 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


I have attempted to register to vote as a (naturalized) citizen living overseas. I left England just over three years ago, and apparently my borough council has been unable to verify my identity (which, seriously, fuck that - I know they still have records of my council tax bills, if nothing else).

So I'm supposed to find a British citizen living overseas who is a registered elector - and who is not my spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild - and have them attest they're who I say I am. Indiana is not exactly a hive of British ex-pats. (And even if it were, if people have been here long enough they won't be able to vote anyway.) If they won't take my passport or driving licence as evidence, no voting for me.
posted by minsies at 5:47 AM on November 25, 2019


'Get Brexit Done'? The reality will be far more difficult and tortuous

Meanwhile: Final green light to the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement
(And Australia and New Zealand are next in line)

If I were her Majesty's opposition, I'd make this a climate election. The reality of climate change overrules the fantasy of Brexit. Just like in the EU Parliament elections, where the nationalist right were expected to win, but green parties saw a surge.
posted by mumimor at 5:48 AM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


minsies: there have to be message boards or Facebook groups for British expatriates in the US right? If you're in any of those, I hope you can find someone who'll vouch for you.

If the guarantor doesn't have to be in the US, I can put you in touch with some Brits in Europe.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:54 PM on November 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Labour membership have (from what I've seen) been very hostile to Lib Dem's

Because they're much closer to the Tories? Because of their track record on voting and coalitions?

Something like 88% of Tory marginals are Lab/Con and the Libs keep trying to act like there's an equivalence between the two of them. The onus is overwhelmingly on the Lib Dems to stand down candidates and as the Canterbury affair has shown, they will not. Couple that with the likelihood of a Lib/Con coalition if Labour stood down to give the Lib Dems a seat and I can totally understand the hostility.
posted by Chaffinch at 3:12 AM on November 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


The onus is overwhelmingly on the Lib Dems to stand down candidates and as the Canterbury affair has shown, they will not.
I too find what the Liberals did in Canterbury egregious, but given that Labour are refusing to do any electoral pacts with them, I find that statement a little entitled. Maybe I'm misreading you.

Couple that with the likelihood of a Lib/Con coalition if Labour stood down
Stranger things have happened, I grant you, but "likelihood"? I know they could all be wrong / Tories, but the unanimous view amongst political commentators seems to be that the Cons have to win an outright majority because no one will form a coalition with them. Ye gods, the Cons are so toxic that even the DUP have said they would go into an alliance with Labour.
posted by dudleian at 3:59 AM on November 26, 2019 [6 favorites]


I too find what the Liberals did in Canterbury egregious, but given that Labour are refusing to do any electoral pacts with them, I find that statement a little entitled. Maybe I'm misreading you.

I mean, do you think if Labour agreed to a pact the other parties would stand down in those far-more-numerous Con/Lab marginals? Libs have already shown they won't.
posted by Chaffinch at 4:30 AM on November 26, 2019


A certain number of candidates on both sides would stand down (or simply agree to halt campaigning) in each other's marginal constituencies. That is literally what a pact is.

With Unite to Remain, Lib Dems have shown they will indeed form a pact and stand down their own candidates. Unite to Remain did in fact reach out to Labour in order to do just this. They were rebuffed. Had Labour been willing to respond in kind, the Canterbury situation might well not have happened. They might well not be facing Molly Scott Cato in Stroud, or Sam Gyimah in Kensington.

I wish either Labour or the Lib Dems had a halfway competent leader right now. Swinson does face misogyny, and Corbyn does face hostility-- but both have serious caveats that give their enemies plenty of target space, and those weaknesses are not being addressed by those closest to them.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:10 PM on November 26, 2019 [9 favorites]


I'm feeling really discouraged, guys. Corbyn's horrifying interview last night with Andrew Neil could really tank the tiny bit of momentum Labour had going for them.

The longer I've been following Labour in this election, the more I seem to be learning about how politics shouldn't be done.

Earlier in the year when everyone was snipping about who would lead the GNU, I was sympathetic to the case that Corbyn should have first crack as befitting his role as Leader of the Opposition.

But by not joining the Unite to Remain Alliance for the election, Labour has absolutely shot itself and the country in the face. Unite to Remain was pretty much offering Labour a minority government with Corbyn as PM, and almost certain electoral victory. Imagine how powerful it would have been if the Unite to Remain Alliance was renamed as and effectively became the Anti-Tory Alliance.

* The SNP wouldn't have to do their little dance of pushing for 2 referendums, which seems to be firming up Tory support - it's shocking to see how the polls currently have the Tories only losing 1 seat in Scotland. The SNP could just focus on pro-Remain messaging in their held constituencies, while allowing Labour to hoover up the anti-Indy vote.

* The Lib Dems wouldn't have to do their (already) self-destructive delusion of convincing Tories that a vote for them would not be a vote for PM Corbyn. Instead, they could focus their messaging on defusing anti-Corbyn and anti-Labour hysteria: constantly hammering home that PM Johnson would be worse than PM Corbyn, and that a confidence-and-supply relationship would help squash Labour's more radical policies.

* Labour's big problem is Corbyn, but Corbyn does represent many of Labour's organizational weaknesses. People see Corbyn (and Labour) as puritanical, isolating, passive, absent in leadership, anti-Semitic, etc. What better way to show Labour's desire to be a big-tent party, to truly commit to Corbyn's speeches of being for the many, than by being an active and deeply cooperative leader in an anti-Tory alliance? As mentioned in many a place, Lab/LibDem marginals are fundamentally non-existent - Lab, the Lib Dems, and the SNP could have carried the same powerful anti-Tory message while tailoring them to maximum effectiveness for each of their very different constituent types. Can you imagine a debate stage where all 3 parties just pile up on Johnson? Instead we have a Labour party that is acting as puritanical, isolating, passive, absent in leadership, and anti-Semitic as people believe. Also, god knows that Labour, in having a hundred less seats to fill, would have had more time and resources to do better background checks for their PPCs - that first week of uncovering sickening social media posts was deeply depressing.

I just see hundreds and hundreds of Labour comments online that are increasingly hateful of the Lib Dems and the SNP, and vice versa. Labour keeps talking up their positive campaign, but the trenches between the anti-Tory parties are just getting deeper and more toxic, because of how desperately people are trying to grab all the remaining oxygen. Every one of these comments and every second of campaigning in three-way marginals is just such waste of time, that should have be surgically directed at the Tories instead. If/when the Tories win, the ensuing wrath between Labour and the Lib Dems will linger and curdle, dangerously, I believe. This is not necessary, not now!

I saw this tweet yesterday, and I think it really sums up why Labour has failed, in a similar way to how the Tories have failed at Brexit:

"Domestic political cultures play a role too. UK FPTP culture of “winner takes all” doesn’t translate well to negotiations with EU. Not only because the EU strives daily for compromise between 28 members, but also because that is how most of their domestic political systems work."

I've been reading the phrase "the logic of FPTP works its course" increasingly frequently in response to the Lib Dems' poll squeeze, and it has become a figure of creeping malignant force in my mind, like entropy, like necrosis.
posted by facehugger at 12:34 AM on November 27, 2019 [10 favorites]


As a refreshment to the long gasp of angst above, may I share with you all the delightful and wonderful Count Binface, formerly Lord Buckethead, who is once again running against Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip? If any of you watched Johnson's excreable "Vogue Questions" video, Count Binface does a version that is somehow more truthful.

#itstimeforsurrealchange
posted by facehugger at 1:00 AM on November 27, 2019


Imagine how powerful it would have been if the Unite to Remain Alliance was renamed as and effectively became the Anti-Tory Alliance.

Og, but what about Labour's oh-so-clever electoral strategy of refusing to have a real policy on Brexit?
posted by Dysk at 2:00 AM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Unite to Remain was pretty much offering Labour a minority government with Corbyn as PM, and almost certain electoral victory.

I thought the Lib Dems/Swinson said they would never work with Corbyn in a coalition. Maybe I'm getting mixed up with the whole caretaker government thing but I never got this idea this was a flyer.

The SNP wouldn't have to do their little dance of pushing for 2 referendums, which seems to be firming up Tory support - it's shocking to see how the polls currently have the Tories only losing 1 seat in Scotland. The SNP could just focus on pro-Remain messaging in their held constituencies, while allowing Labour to hoover up the anti-Indy vote.

I'm not so sure the Tories will only lose one seat in Scotland – we'll have to see. And as an SNP supporter, talking about the SNP's "little dance of pushing for 2 referendums" isn't very productive or endearing. Scottish independence is kind of our raison d'etre, you know?
posted by adrianhon at 2:13 AM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


The DUP, SNP, and Lib Dems have said they would support an anti-Tory government, but not with Corbyn as the leader. Adam Price (Plaid Cymru) has said he would support anti-Tory government, but that he had no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit.
posted by dudleian at 2:28 AM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


adrianhon, I apologize - I see how my words trivialize the independence movement, which I never meant to do.

I was also basing my conclusions solely from polls I've seen about what's happening in Scotland, so if you are seeing different things on the ground I definitely defer to you!
posted by facehugger at 2:31 AM on November 27, 2019


No worries, it's a heated time! It's hard to see what will happen in Scotland; polls suggest perhaps 40 SNP seats but aggregate betting markets have shown more like 45-48 seats.
posted by adrianhon at 2:35 AM on November 27, 2019


Never a dull moment: Jeremy Corbyn reveals dossier 'proving NHS up for sale' (Guardian)
posted by adrianhon at 2:46 AM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


You guys you guys you guys

This could be BIG

Dysk, I was writing a long response about how frustrating I have found Labour's Brexit stance, but the new dossier is a master stroke

If Labour has its druthers (evidence: uncertain) they could use this opportunity to center the rest of the campaign on both the NHS and Brexit. Not only should they hammer on the perennial fear of the Tories stripping away the NHS, they should also lead a national conversation for freaking once on what the actual consequences of Brexit would be. One of the most fundamental parts of Brexit is that its every single permutation leads to a UK with considerably less leverage over trade. Labour should hit and hit on again the biggest narrative of the dossier - that the UK will have no choice in accepting terrible trade deals offered by larger powers, especially right after we've left the EU.

This is what Labour should have done from the start. Lead the country (and the mainstream media - sigh) on the importance of understanding Brexit and just how hazardous it would be. They could have easily framed the impact of Brexit through the lens of the NHS - a deeply engaging narrative that people generally trust Labour on.

Now they have two weeks to do exactly this. To quote the estimable Donald Tusk, "Please do not waste this time."
posted by facehugger at 3:30 AM on November 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


I don't care what Time Magazine says, 2019 is the year of the whistleblower.

Edit: let's not forget the original Brexit whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni.
posted by facehugger at 3:39 AM on November 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


Apparently the dossier has been hanging around Reddit for a month???

This is strange.
posted by facehugger at 3:57 AM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not only should they hammer on the perennial fear of the Tories stripping away the NHS, they should also lead a national conversation for freaking once on what the actual consequences of Brexit would be. One of the most fundamental parts of Brexit is that its every single permutation leads to a UK with considerably less leverage over trade. Labour should hit and hit on again the biggest narrative of the dossier - that the UK will have no choice in accepting terrible trade deals offered by larger powers, especially right after we've left the EU.
Yes, let this be a test. IMO, the problem with Corbyn is not that he is an obnoxious person, though he is. It's that he is bad at politics -- his job. Let's see if he can handle this amazing gift.
posted by mumimor at 4:30 AM on November 27, 2019 [3 favorites]


Not sure how encouraging this is but 650,000 people applied to register to vote on deadline day alone.
posted by Chaffinch at 4:31 AM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Stranger and STRANGER. (Unfortunately, this from The Telegraph is not so strange anymore.)

Swear to god, seeing how The Times, ITV, BBC, and Laura Kuenssberg in particular, have covered Johnson versus how they cover Corbyn has made me a full-on conspiracy theorist.
posted by facehugger at 4:57 AM on November 27, 2019 [7 favorites]


It's honestly so depressing, how can you hold people like Kuennsberg to account? They're laughing in our faces
posted by Chaffinch at 5:00 AM on November 27, 2019


This is not really news though, is it?

This document is not the UK position, it is the US position and it reflects what anyone who cared to look already knew which that the US opening position is that they want full access and regulatory alignment. Including full access for medicine sales, ability to sell to the NHS, and alignment on food standards.

Where the Conservatives have been dishonest, and where I expect them to be dishonest in responding to this is how much the UK will be able to move the US from its opening position. They will claim that this only an opening position (true) and that the final agreement will contain concessions from the US as well as from the UK (this part is not true).

If you want to know what happens to small countries which have to negotiate trade deals with the US under duress, look at what happened to the NAFTA / USMCA negotiation.

The public really has no idea how little negotiating leverage the UK has in agreeing FTAs with either the US or the rEU.
posted by atrazine at 5:19 AM on November 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


After a no-deal brexit I imagine that duress will be significant
posted by Chaffinch at 5:23 AM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


atrazine, this dossier wouldn't fly if it was put before Lady Hale, but it's not trying to be legally permissible, it's trying to win in the court of public opinion/politics instead.

One of the main narratives of Labour's campaign has been: can you trust Johnson on the NHS? Almost every single day they've laid down a crumb or two, one example of which was Corbyn waving around the redacted version of the documents in last week's ITV debate. As shown very entertainingly in this Gogglebox clip, the trigger has been laid in many people's minds, and Labour has decided to fire it today.

The issue is that, in trying to win in the court of public opinion, Labour needs to be constantly vigilant in steering the narrative. Just releasing these documents is not enough because we are not Lady Hale(s) - we don't have extensive international trade knowledge, and there are many figures from the Tories and the Tory-supporting media who will try their damnedest to veer the narrative off the road. This is the hard part - you do not need overwhelming evidence to win in the court of public opinion, but you do need to be aggressive in guiding people to the verdict you want them to make.

I can see a successful case Labour can make to win the court of public opinion - getting people to understand that a) Johnson's hard Brexit is bad because the UK will be powerless in international trade deals, and b) because of that, important parts of the NHS will necessarily be affected by a US trade deal.

Labour better start spinning this well because it seems like every political journalist has already failed to understand a). You get comments like this, where journalists who are much more comfortable re-tweeting anonymous No. 10 leaks fundamentally do not understand that the UK is not a big empire man anymore, that the proof that the UK would have to agree to much of the dossier comes from how very small the UK is and how much smaller it would be outside of the EU.

It's not spelled out explicitly in the dossier but if you cared to know a single true thing about the UK's position post-Brexit, it would be the first thing flashing in your mind.

I'm already disappointed that Labour has already failed in framing this point and others by not unveiling this news with at least two international trade journalists simultaneously publishing their analyses. Yeah, they didn't want to risk leaking it, but having the correct initial framing is so much more important - disbelief and distrust is hard to wedge when it's already settled, and the UK couldn't disbelieve and distrust Corbyn more.

God, so much to learn about how not to do politics by following Labour this election.
posted by facehugger at 6:05 AM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]


nvm

Anyway, I think the trade deal talks are both a nothingburger and potentially a big deal simultaneously. Do they show that the government is planning to sell out the NHS? Not really. Is it possible that they will concentrate the minds of the electorate on exactly who is going to be conducting post-Brexit trade deals & the likely the position of the UK in terms of negotiating power? Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see...
posted by pharm at 6:08 AM on November 27, 2019


What we really need is an honest discussion about which areas of our economy should be aligned with which trading bloc and which should be aligned with neither. That will then drive the perfect set of trading agreements.

How close we are able to get to those will of course depend on what we can offer each bloc. There is no way we're going to get a deal where we have full access to the parts of the US and EU markets that we want unless they have access to the parts they want. Since the regulatory standards are divergent, full market access can be granted to only one of them and not both in any particular sector. That means that the agreements have to be negotiated simultaneously so that sectors can be traded off until there is a complete package for each.
posted by atrazine at 7:32 AM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


I find the whole talk of best trade deal a bit depressing. Because honestly the whole Brexit project should be scrapped.

The thing about Corbyn is that I expect his message from all this is not "Look, this is an example of how weak and defenceless the UK will become. Brexit is madness." but rather "Labour will negotiate better Brexit trade deals because [details redacted]!!"
posted by vacapinta at 7:41 AM on November 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


My (possibly complacent) assumption since the campaign started is that Labour are likely to negotiate a Norway+ deal to put to referendum. Which is about as clear about being more closely aligned to the EU than the US as it gets.

I have a little sympathy for Labour in choosing their battles and not emphasising that. It's what I'd do. But I'm not a politician, and I'd like politicians to be better than me at politics.
posted by ambrosen at 7:53 AM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]








Chaffinch

That LAURA K WHAT THE FUCK has actually elevated itself beyond my previous LAURA K WHAT THE FUCK

But only barely.

Don't forget - Cummings' blog post might breach the civil service code of purdah, and the possibility of Johnson escaping his own interview with Andrew Neil is bad enough for other broadcasters to call out.

Both of these issues are especially egregious since postal votes will start going out at the end of this week.

Let's not let Rob Burley off the hook either.

Don't worry, the BBC isn't only anti-Labour, they're are also weirdly anti-Jolyon Maugham, the QC who helped lead the Joanna Cherry proroguing of Parliament case.
posted by facehugger at 12:43 PM on November 27, 2019


Postal votes are already dropping on people's doormats as of yesterday, per close family member.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:08 PM on November 27, 2019


Don't worry, the BBC isn't only anti-Labour...

Also anti-Carole Cadwallader, anti-Shahmir Sanni, anti-Chris Wylie... there are quite a few people Auntie is anti.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


Don't forget - Cummings' blog post might breach the civil service code of purdah

He quit at the start of the month and it wasn't reported until yesterday. Instead we got Boris making scones! What a fun guy :)

Even if Cummings was still advisor would you honestly expect anything to happen? They can do and say as they like and most of the media will go along with it. The Andrew Neil-Johnson interview stitch up is further proof.
posted by Chaffinch at 12:04 AM on November 28, 2019


Also anti-Carole Cadwallader, anti-Shahmir Sanni, anti-Chris Wylie... there are quite a few people Auntie is anti.
Also voting, apparently.
posted by fullerine at 1:03 AM on November 28, 2019


Spads have different employment rules to the rest of us - they’re effectively “at will” (in the US employment terms sense) employees of the crown who can be dismissed without notice IIRC. I don’t know whether it’s normal for spads to all get the boot at the start of an election campaign, but it’s entirely plausible.
posted by pharm at 1:37 AM on November 28, 2019




Negotiate the softest brexit possible then have a vote against Remain, yeah. They absolutely have to get leave voters on board because the alternative is they vote Tory and we get a guaranteed hard Brexit. It's about stopping the Tories now.
posted by Chaffinch at 2:45 AM on November 28, 2019


"Negotiate... brexit..." is not a remain position.

And that is what they have been doing. They are not going to wheel out more Leavers as the face of the party. "The softest possible brexit" might not be the plan for long, if indeed it ever was. Labour seem intent on getting something that isn't brexit in name only, ergo not the softest possible.
posted by Dysk at 2:51 AM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I have to agree with Dysk. Every time I convince myself that I'm being unreasonable / too purist in my criticism of the Labour balancing act, something like this happens.
posted by dudleian at 3:04 AM on November 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


You mean every time you feel your criticism of the Labour party isn't deserved there's a big "insider" sourced fact-free media story which shows you were right all along?

Funny that.

By the way any Americans observing this should be taking notes, they will do the same to Sanders and Warren.
posted by fullerine at 3:12 AM on November 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


"The softest possible brexit" might not be the plan for long, if indeed it ever was

Being pragmatic, what is the option right now?

They need to draw leave voters away from the Tories/Brexit Party
posted by Chaffinch at 3:12 AM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Also anti-Carole Cadwallader, anti-Shahmir Sanni, anti-Chris Wylie... there are quite a few people Auntie is anti.

Chris Wylie is a years long political data consultant who left SCL / Cambridge Analytica to form a rival firm doing exactly the same dodgy shit (using the same Facebook data) and pitched work to both the Leave Campaign and to the Donald Trump campaign. In both cases unsuccessfully.
His new company was eventually wound up after being sued by SCL for all the IP he stole from them.

After which he used all those stolen documents to become a very effective whistleblower on what exactly was going on.

I'm glad he did that as we otherwise wouldn't have known, but seriously fuck everything else about Chris Wylie. He's not a good person and he doesn't even have the spine to consistently take a moral position. We only know about this stuff because he was furious at the people who closed down his company.

Even though he helped to break electoral law on behalf of Vote Leave, I have a bit more sympathy for Sanni who seems to have been a very junior, very clueless person who got himself stuck in the gears of quite a nasty machine.
posted by atrazine at 4:12 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Being pragmatic, what is the option right now?

The same thing it's always been: provide a cohesive narrative of hope and improvement, demonstrate how morally and electorally bankrupt the initial referendum campaign was, and stop ceding ground to the tories by halfway adopting a bunch of their policies, thus showing yourself as being unwilling to stand for anything, from the perspective of both 'sides'. Labour policy as voted at conference is being... liberally interpreted by the leadership - here is the relevant text: "If the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public."

So the whole "we will negotiate a better deal and have a referendum" position is not a neutral one. Per Labour's own policy, it is a tacit endorsement of Brexit.
posted by Dysk at 4:55 AM on November 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


They never said it was neutral, but that they would remain neutral during a referendum. They have no choice but to offer something to both sides due to the diverse nature of the Labour party, and always have.

Right now they have to appeal to Leave voters. No other party can siphon them off except the Brexit party, and I know who I would choose of those 3.
posted by Chaffinch at 5:40 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


So the whole "we will negotiate a better deal and have a referendum" position is not a neutral one. Per Labour's own policy, it is a tacit endorsement of Brexit.

Absolutely. They plan to negotiate to leave. That's a leave position. They like to look neutral but they're not. A vote for them is not a vote to remain, regardless of what Keir Starmer trots out after Corbyn speeches and what Owen Jones likes to spin in the Guardian.
posted by biffa at 8:24 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Right now they have to appeal to Leave voters. No other party can siphon them off except the Brexit party, and I know who I would choose of those 3.

But their inability to make a case for anything because of not wanting to be seen to favour one position over another means that the debate over what kind of Brexit we should do has now moved to the extreme of 'no deal', because at no point did Labour, as the party of opposition, actually make a case for anything else.

Say Labour get in, negotiate some other deal and set up a referendum who will actually be making the case for remain? Labour won't apparently be making the case for remain or leave (though it seems likely that politically they will be seen as supporting the leave deal they just made), the Tories and BXP will want maximum leave, so what are the chances of a remain result? Take into account how ineffectual Labour were when they were supposed to be supporting remain in the 2016 referendum. A vote for Labour is a vote for leave, albeit that it might be a less shit leave than Johnson's.
posted by biffa at 8:31 AM on November 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Right now, what are the chances of a Remain result at all? How does it happen? I think Labour should have targeted leavers from the very start, as it stands yeah it looks like a less shit leave where at least priority might be on those worse affected by leave. A second referendum feels like a distant dream though, these last couple of weeks have felt like an eternity.
posted by Chaffinch at 9:19 AM on November 28, 2019


Pretty much no chance of a remain result. Labour have put ideology over protecting the poor by effectively supporting leave and the inevitable economic crash it will cause. I don't see a route to us ever being better off outside the EU than in it either. Its Mother Theresa economics: suffering is good for the soul and the souls of us Labour people who will care for you in your pain.
posted by biffa at 9:49 AM on November 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


Corbyn has and was always going to get the blame for anything bad happening anyway, no matter what he did. The center and the right just hate him, not that he hasn't made mistakes.
posted by Chaffinch at 9:58 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but on the other hand he's a bit shit.
posted by Grangousier at 11:38 AM on November 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


I'm happy to spread the blame about. Johnson is an unscrupulous, deceitful piece of shit who is happy to fuck the country up for his own self promotion. Corbyn's job was to not let him get everything his own way. He has utterly failed.
posted by biffa at 12:43 PM on November 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


Cummings is back!

I also said — keep an eye on my blog, if Brexit is in danger then I will send up a ‘bat signal’ here.

Here we go…


Thank you for looking out for us Master Dominic!

And if we win, and we get Brexit done by 31 January, then you’re invited to the Vote Leave party in No10!

And, of course, THE NHS WILL GET MORE THAN £350 MILLION PER WEEK EXTRA IF WE WIN, JUST AS WE PROMISED — imagine how cross Tony Blair will be when this happens…

Best wishes

Dominic


Will there be pie at the party? We like pie.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:49 PM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


This should be the easiest election ever for Labour. The Tories have failed again and again. The NHS is threatened. Austerity is a failure unsupported by experts. Climate change is a huge agenda all over Europe. Brexit is idiocy. On top of being a failure, the Tories and the Brexit party have lied monumentally. How can you not win this election? And yet...
posted by mumimor at 3:09 PM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


if Brexit is in danger then I will send up a ‘batshit signal’ here

FTFH
posted by Grangousier at 3:25 PM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


One day the immensely replicated personality fragments of Cummings will use their spare clock cycles to curse their progenitor as they toil in the prime factor mines of the gestalt entity once known as William Rees Mogg.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:54 PM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


This should be the easiest election ever for Labour. The Tories have failed again and again. The NHS is threatened. Austerity is a failure unsupported by experts. Climate change is a huge agenda all over Europe. Brexit is idiocy. On top of being a failure, the Tories and the Brexit party have lied monumentally. How can you not win this election? And yet...

People keep saying this as if every news outlet hasn't actively been demonising him for the past 4 years and has ramped it up during impartiality, and as if they wouldn't do it to literally anyone threatening the established order. Who else would beat Johnson? Owen Smith? Fucking Jo Swinson?
posted by Chaffinch at 1:08 AM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


People keep saying this as if every news outlet hasn't actively been demonising him for the past 4 years

The Mirror would like a word.
posted by Dysk at 1:12 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I imagine the Morning Star would as well, but that's two against basically everybody else.
posted by skybluepink at 1:22 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Daily Mail, the Express, Sky News, BBC, Telegraph, Times, Evening Standard would like a word. I can guarantee I've missed some there.

Come on, this is disingenuous. One newspaper doesn't consistently demonise him and that disproves my point? Again, anyone standing where he is would get the same treatment.

Johnson dodged an interview and the BBC ran a video of him eating scones. It's a serious issue.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:24 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Every" is just literally not true. Many, yes. Most, even. But it is simply untrue that every news outlet has it in for Corbyn. The Mirror is at least as nakedly partisan in its uncritical support. "Doesn't demonise him" is a disingenuous way of describing The Mirror's attitude to Corbyn.

And this isn't something we've seen consistently. Other Labour leaders have managed to keep the press on side in the past. I strongly disagree that anyone else would have the same fate.
posted by Dysk at 1:28 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


There's been one Labour government since the 70's and it's because they got on with Murdoch.

"Every" is just literally not true.

Technically correct. The best kind of correct.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:33 AM on November 29, 2019


And like, maybe you disagree. Maybe anyone else would have faced the exact same attitude from the press. In which case, this is the new reality to deal with. A Labour leader has to make their case and win over the people in spite of the reality in which they find themselves. Corbyn has failed to do that. You can blame the press all you like, but if this is what the norm is now, then you complaining how unfair it is won't help. You need a leader who can do well even when the playing field isn't level. You need someone better than Corbyn.
posted by Dysk at 1:34 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Technically correct. The best kind of correct.

Technically correct is technically the only kind of correct.
posted by Dysk at 1:35 AM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


There's been one Labour government since the 70's


And not all of the failures lost the election because of being demonised by the press. You can't point to the lack of electoral success as proof of an unfair media in itself. Milliband and Brown for example lost it on merit.
posted by Dysk at 1:37 AM on November 29, 2019


I'm not saying all the failures are down to the press, in the same way I didn't mean literally all of the press are laying into the left. I thought maybe I could use a conversational tone but I'll try to be more precise in future. I'm trying to have a conversation about a dirty press.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:43 AM on November 29, 2019


The press is dirty. I've wondered for a while about the fact that many journalists skew towards conservative, it's not just their bosses. My guess is that it's the proximity to power and money.
But: Corbyn has been in politics for more than 50 years. He has had leadership ambitions for quite a few of those. And yet he has never taken the time to understand the EU or the UK's international relations in general. He seems constitutionally unable to set an agenda/present a compelling vision, even at a time in history when it should be the easiest thing for a Labour leader to do. Leaders need to lead, they need to present the realities they deal with and explain how they intend to go forward. Corbyn was mealy mouthed already during the referendum. It hasn't improved.
Boris Johnson is so horrible that people laughed out loud at him when he talked about telling the truth. The whole Conservative party has been corrupted by Brexit. They want to sell the NHS to the Americans, sink the food safety standards and increase poverty, while ignoring the climate crisis. And yet Corbyn and Labour struggle to make their policy heard.
The media are bad, but this is the age of social media, there are plenty of other channels than the rightwing press.
posted by mumimor at 2:15 AM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


And yet Corbyn and Labour struggle to make their policy heard

Specifically, what should they have done?

Also, if not Corbyn then who? Assuming the same manifesto as they have now.

Boris Johnson is so horrible that people laughed out loud at him

And the BBC edited it out for the news. How do you counter that?

I see so many compaints but no solutions.
posted by Chaffinch at 2:39 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I also think people are underestimating just how many nasty, vicious little people we share a country with and who's lives and opinions have been poisoned by the steady rise of far right fascism, memes, conspiracies and bigotry that centrism absolutely cannot combat.
posted by Chaffinch at 2:54 AM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Yes, Corbyn has been smeared and demonised, very successfully. Since at least the last election he has been a net liability for the Labour Party, and at this point he personally is seen by many, many people as a specific reason not to vote Labour. How fair or not that is makes no difference - it is the case. What he and his team have also demonstrated is that they don't have the imagination to do anything outside their tiny palette of usual responses. What the press has done was entirely predictable, and all the party leadership has done is reinforce it while complaining about it.

Also, if not Corbyn then whom?

Yes, that's the problem. Most of the people with any leadership capability and experience have already been alienated from the party. John McDonnell from the current team would be doing a much more effective job, albeit with a lot of the same baggage. In any case, anyone else would probably be a step up at this point. Say, Angela Rayner, who as a person and a representative of the party I've been impressed by simply because of her hard work and straightforwardness. Or Jess Phillips, who at least has the confidence to take Johnson on, the groundedness and wit to undermine his pomposity and a skin thick enough (after years of Twitter nonsense) to see off the worst the press can throw at her. Just two names off the top of my head. But, really, pretty much anyone apart from Diane Abbott (just because she's been equally effectively demonised, in a much more vile way than Corbyn).

At this point in this campaign, the best we could hope for is someone who will fail less catastrophically (if it's as close again this time as last it will be because of people voting against the Tories, not because of Corbyn but despite him). That needn't have been the case, and is the result of four years of complacency, stupid territorial positioning, lack of imagination and laziness on the part of the current Labour leadership.
posted by Grangousier at 3:07 AM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


I also think people are underestimating just how many nasty, vicious little people we share a country with

SMH
posted by dudleian at 3:10 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I also think people are underestimating just how many nasty, vicious little people we share a country with and who's lives and opinions have been poisoned by the steady rise of far right fascism, memes, conspiracies and bigotry that centrism absolutely cannot combat.

This is a strawman. None of us here are arguing for centrism, we're not Blairites. We're arguing for competence, and for not ceding ground to the right's xenophobic racist projects like brexit.
posted by Dysk at 3:17 AM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Dysk, on the matter of Corbyn and the Labour Party's extraordinary unpopularity, I agree that a large part of it has come from Labour's abdication of leading a national conversation on the hazards of Brexit and of the Tories' role in austerity. The vacuum that arose was then so easily co-opted by the Tories and the media, and unfortunately, the Tories have always had fantastic communication skills. I read a tweet the other day, where someone wrote that people who are astonished by the weakness of the May and Johnson government need to realize that a weak Government often arises from a weak Opposition.

I think an example of what a strong Opposition could have looked like can be seen in many of Jess Phillips' sterling speeches, of which this is one of the best. Phillips understands what political representation truly is. Even though she represents "a Leave constituency," she has never stopped communicating with her constituents, Parliament, and the mainstream media as to why Brexit is disastrous. Instead of just passively reflecting poll numbers from 2016, she has been truly leading, and in a way that is engaging and respectful and always true.

With that said, I think Chaffinch also has legitimate points (which I have seen myself) on how incredibly bankrupt the British mainstream media has been. And just like how we should never stop accepting the weaknesses of Labour's leadership, we should also never stop accepting the weaknesses of the media.

When you mention that this is "the new reality to deal with," I think it is always important, increasingly so, to point out every egregious example and resist normalizing it. One example is from Lewis Goodall from Sky News, who today posted this barn burner of a thread on the proper journalism that has been missing from this election. It is a breath of fresh air, unfortunately, but similarly to Phillips' speeches, it helps clarify what politicans and we, the populace, are entitled to.

Yes, Labour leadership have been lazy as hell in counteracting right-wing ignorance. But that does not erase the fact that the media is also constantly feeding right-wing ignorance as well, and that the media is enabling a situation where the Labour leadership is playing politics on hard mode while the Tories are playing politics on tutorial mode. by the mainstream media. John McDonnell had very strong points today on the powerful impact of the BBC letting Johnson dodge scrutiny when postal votes are already being sent off.
posted by facehugger at 3:17 AM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is a strawman

No it isn't. The overton window has skewed to the right a lot in recent years and it can't be blamed on Corbyn or his incompetence. The brexit project is a symptom of that and it hasn't been countered effectively. "Stop Brexit" is a plaster on an open wound, we need broad social change.
posted by Chaffinch at 3:21 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


No it isn't.

It is here. None of us are arguing against a radical left-wing set of policies. Some of just wish they were attached to a note competent leadership who weren't willing to give ground on xenophobia in an ineffective attempt to sell the rest.

I want broad nationalisation, higher taxes, a more comprehensive welfare state, scrapping trident, etc. I just don't want it with brexit attached. This - and everyone else you're arguing with in the thread - is not a centrist position. We're not saying "ditch Corbyn and get a Blair in" we're saying "ditch Corbyn and get a more competent, internationalist lefty in".
posted by Dysk at 3:54 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not everyone who disagrees with you is a centrist, and suggesting that what we're arguing for as an alternative to Corbyn is centrism, that is absolutely a strawman.
posted by Dysk at 3:56 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fair enough, it just seems everything seems to be pinned on Corbyn and other aspects seem to be more eagerly dismissed. For all the suggestions of who would have replaced him. I also chose centrists because they're the ones i see most enthusiastically attacking both sides and offering nothing. I mean that in a broad sense, not just the election.

a) it's a bit late for that now, and
b) they'd have gotten the same terrible treatment too. We're all looking at this in hindsight.

I think an example of what a strong Opposition could have looked like can be seen in many of Jess Phillips' sterling speeches

I've respect for Jess Phillips, but would the same not be being said of her now as it is of Corbyn?

ince at least the last election he has been a net liability for the Labour Party

Not sure what you mean by that, he gained its highest vote share since 2001, took 30 seats and deprived May of her majority.

This is all academic so- where do we go from here?

To change the subject a littlewould anyone like to talk about ice sculptures? Sending your dad to get your mate into a leader's debate in your place? Sending the same dad to insult working class people in an interview? The BBC have also denied Johnson's request to be interviewed by Andrew Marr, insisting on Neil. Will he bottle that one too? Polls don't mean much but a few today have Labour up and there's still 2 weeks to go
posted by Chaffinch at 4:59 AM on November 29, 2019


Yeah, Johnson's performance in the election period has made even Jo Swinson look like a model of statesmanship and competence.
posted by Dysk at 5:10 AM on November 29, 2019


The overton window has skewed to the right a lot in recent years and it can't be blamed on Corbyn or his incompetence.

It maybe can't all be blamed on Corbyn but he actually gets paid to lead the opposition and he has been shit at opposing that shift in the Overton window. I would argue this is at least in part due to the vacuum where his opposition to Brexit should be.
posted by biffa at 5:12 AM on November 29, 2019 [7 favorites]


would the same not be being said of her now as it is of Corbyn?

That she's been a member of the extremist far left since the 1970s, friend to Irish and Islamic terrorists, and is antisemetic? No they wouldn't. They'd be saying something else, but her willingness to engage directly with people suggests that she'd deal with it differently. Perhaps she wouldn't succeed, but it would be a different situation with a possibility of success rather than the current situation with the certainty of failure.

Even if by some weird glitch the Labour Party won this election, watching the way the current leadership have responded to crisis over the last four years suggests that when they encountered actual power they'd fall to bits. The insanity doesn't stop on December 13th, whoever wins, it just moves on to its next phase.
posted by Grangousier at 5:21 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Part of the problem with Corbyn is that his comfort zone is preaching to the converted - at which by all accounts he’s very good. Hits the high notes, rousing speeches, all that good stuff. He’s been far less effective at reaching out to those voters who’s votes he needs in order to cross the line to a workable majority.

By way of contrast MacDonnell is a master of communication - he was extremely impressive on the Today program this morning & it’s very clear why the Tories view him as the literal devil incarnate. It’s MacDonnell with his smooth words & clear messaging that scares the wits out of them politically, not Corbyn with his appeals to the faithful. (Obviously they can’t stand Corbyn’s politics but that’s a different issue.)
posted by pharm at 6:23 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Chaffinch,

I am also proper horrified at how badly the media has been treating the Tories, and conversely Labour, this election. Don't know if you heard about ITV's small little softball interview with Johnson last night, where Paul Brand allowed Johnson to say that he had never lied in his career, without immediately rebutting that Johnson has been sacked for lying twice? Not going to link to it - if anyone wants to singe their own eyeballs they can google it themselves.

I don't have an answer for where we go from here, but I do think one can analyze the Labour leadership's politics, strategies, and communications separately, and see the 2016 ref, Labour has failed in the latter two categories, especially when it comes to Brexit.

Brexit Strategy

I actually think Labour's current Brexit position, of having a second referendum where Corbyn is neutral and MPs can campaign however they want, is actually quite astute. The biggest problem is that Labour has just decided on this position over the past few months - they should have immediately positioned themselves as the second referendum party at least at the beginning of this year, when May's deal first failed.

Corbyn is trying to portray Labour as a big-tent party and portray himself as statesmanlike and the guy pitching the big tent, but this is a last-minute swerve after 3 years of waffling and decisions all over the place. This profile on Corbyn has an illuminating point - he is flexible, but he has certainly not been agile: "...Jeremy does move on issues, but he moves very slowly." Corbyn has only settled on a second ref because people like Starmer have dragged him kicking and screaming to this new position. When we get focus groups criticizing Corbyn for his indecisiveness and untrustworthiness on Brexit, I have some sympathy on their position.

Brexit Communications

I bring up Jess Phillips because she has a talent for taking nuanced points on Brexit that no one wants to hear, and discussing them in a way that is engaging and relevant while still being comprehensive and true.

Corbyn and the Labour leadership (other than Starmer) have failed to do any of this. First, they barely even want to mention Brexit, second, for the better part of three years they didn't really have a position on Brexit, and third, when they are forced to discuss it, they make it boring and isolated from ~real Labour issues~.

Labour knows how to do messaging well, as you mention when you say that Labour has moved the Overton window so that austerity = bad, but they've not cared to use these messaging smarts on Brexit and so they've contributed to the bankrupt media culture around Brexit. This Guardian op-ed gets to the heart of this. Yes, the media is right-wing and loves the Tories, but Labour has been relentless in making sure people counter the propaganda of austerity. They should have been just as relentless in making sure people counter the propaganda of sunlit uplands Brexit, it was their responsibility as the Opposition party to do so, but they have dropped the ball and kicked it over the fence.

"...when focus groups were told that an initial Brexit deal “would actually trigger a new and almost certainly much longer and more complex new phase of talks”, there was “horrified silence”. That remainers have failed since 2016 to bring most voters to this realisation – that they have made Brexit seem a malign but largely abstract process – has been a crucial failure."

Labour have had so. many. chances. to hammer this home, to completely unravel the Tories' winning slogan of "Get Brexit Done," but I am constantly yelling at the screen when Corbyn's response is to instead say that Labour will get a better deal.

I reject the assumption that Brexit is inherently too boring and too complicated for the vast majority of people to understand. For one, Phillips and Starmer (when he is let outside of the cage) are doing a bang-up job in discussing it all by themselves. Listen to this amazing speech by Starmer, that ties together the topics of the customs union and traditional manufacturing with personality and grace. Can you imagine if Labour had used Momentum's social media prowess to pump out videos like this for the past 3 years, succinctly explaining the main parts of Brexit while making a case to remaining? Or what if Labour had come up with a similar idea to Rory Stewart's (sigh - I know, I know) citizen assemblies? Labour would use its considerable political machine to set up regular meetings in every seat to help communicate all the issues with Brexit, and solicit feedback as to what people's concerns were on the EU and on the local frustrations that led to people voting Leave in the first place.

Labour plays politics on hard mode
. It sucks, we should always be pushing back and trying to change it, and it's especially unfair when most mainstream political reporters continue to be willfully ignorant of Brexit itself (e.g many of them rejected the implications of Labour's uncovered dossier because of their willful ignorance of international trade). But shifting the Overton window is an essential part of politics, and Labour seems to have forgotten that when it comes to Brexit. Look at Tory party instead, which has pushed the Overton window to no deal. When questioned on Brexit, Labour leadership always looks so shocked to be playing on the Tories' field, but I have little sympathy when it has seemed like Labour has not even tried to shift the Brexit Overton window themselves.
posted by facehugger at 6:30 AM on November 29, 2019 [9 favorites]


pharm, let's just say you're not the only John McDonnell fan here lol

what's cooler than being cool

ice cold
posted by facehugger at 6:34 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oo yes, I remember that quote:
“I think he should spend his retirement in quiet contemplation of the role that he played with regard to the Iraq war ... I think he should have a bit of humility about the judgments he makes about individuals and others in the future.”
The MacDonnell approach to media interviews: Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
posted by pharm at 6:51 AM on November 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


Said it before and I’ll say it again: old-white-guy socialism needs to die. The old white guys can stay on and offer opinions, but they need to stop seeing themselves as the only true saviours of progressive values.

For example, look how democratic socialism in the US has moved on from Sanders to the Squad. Younger progressives from marginalised groups who are *far* better at intersectionality and more in tune with today’s world. If socialism is going to survive as a viable force in politics, they’re who I want as leaders and deciders.

Corbyn’s old-white-guy blind spots have been his Achilles heel. I don’t think he intends to be anti-Semitic, but he’s historically been crap at recognising it and reluctant to call it out from people he perceives as allies.

Ditto his readiness to throw immigrants under the bus and speak in favour of a Brexit that ends freedom of movement. In the recently-announced “reach out to Leave voters” initiative, look to see more tacit or overt anti-immigrant fuckery.

The greatest weakness of the Corbyn fandom is their insistence that Corbyn equals Socialism and Socialism equals Corbyn. It absolutely plays into the ego-trip of the 1970s white male socialist activist, always singular, always the lone heroic banner-bearer, always the person with the One True Solution if everyone else could only see.

I do not want socialism defined by a man who trusts Seumas Milne and Kate Hoey more than he trusts Jess Phillips and David Lammy. I want socialism to be defined by those whom inequality and systemic bias most affect.

“If not Corbyn, then who?”

Further to the excellent suggestions above: David Lammy. Experienced MP for a working-class area, fiercely intelligent, amazing speaker and a passionate Remainer.

For the future: Magid Magid, though he’s an MEP not an MP, is also a rising star who bears watching.

Femi Oluwole— an activist not an elected politician, but a seriously impressive, intelligent voice of reason who’s great at having actual conversations with people who disagree with him. In ten years’ time, I hope he’ll have gone into Parliament.

I hope Labour hold their seats and win their marginals. I also hope the party moves on past Corbyn, and soon.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:57 AM on November 29, 2019 [12 favorites]


There's been another incident on London Bridge.

It all seems to be connected these days.
posted by Grangousier at 7:10 AM on November 29, 2019


People seem to be comparing Corbyn to some fantasy figure in their head, with impeccable left-wing credentials and intense personal charisma.

In this election, Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats are tanking in the polls. Corbyn's personal poll ratings are no worse than Ed Miliband's or Gordon Brown's.

Apart from the right-wing press and the billionaire establishment on his side, Boris Johnson has been the first Conservative leader in years to neutralise the Brexit Party / UKIP threat. Those are massive advantages which any non-fantasy opposition leader would struggle to deal with.

I especially disagree about the Overton window. Jeremy Cornbyn seems to be the only Labour leader who understands the Overton window and has successfully shifted it. The debate used to be about austerity and balanced budgets. In 2019 the Conservatives have accepted the end of austerity, are offering borrow-to-invest policies and spending levels very much like Labour were offering in 2017.

That didn't just happen by coincidence. It happened because the actual human Jeremy Corbyn started challenging the austerity narrative instead of meekly accepting it. On economics, he's already shifted the Overton window much to the left. No-one else did it.

And whenever and however Jeremy Corbyn goes, exactly the same thing starts up again. The right-wing hate campaign against the new leader. The echoing of it by the BBC as The Big Story of the day. The hand-wringing over why oh why the leader is so bad at presentation: heart in the right place but not nearly as media-savvy as I'd be with my extensive experience of The West Wing box sets. The PLP factions briefing against the leader in the hope of replacing him. Round and round...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:39 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Theophile Escargot, I agree that Corbyn has shifted the Overton window on a whole heap of policies, which is why it's been so dismaying to see him be so slow and waffling when it comes to Brexit. I don't know if he's still a strong Eurosceptic, but at the very least he obviously couldn't care to discuss it, his voice and energy flags or he doesn't talk about it at all.

I mentioned above with Keir Starmer's speech, there are so many ways that Labour could have humanized the technocratic Brexit issues and made them fundamentally Labour issues (Brexit is about the NHS, Brexit is about manufacturing, Brexit is about austerity, etc).

Unfortunately, Labour has let Brexit be a Tory issue instead of a Labour issue, and because the Tories' main hammer in this election and in the past few years has been "Get Brexit Done," Labour has looked clumsy and uncoordinated when they aren't clumsy and uncoordinated on most other issues.

If you know exactly what your enemy's offense is, my god, why aren't you tackling it directly?
posted by facehugger at 7:57 AM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Corbyn's personal poll ratings are no worse than Ed Miliband's or Gordon Brown's.

Corbyn is up against a Boris Johnson who is so bad at electioneering that he allowed himself to be represented by a melting ice sculpture in a live TV debate. Milliband and Brown were not. And they were hardly ideal candidates themselves.
posted by Dysk at 8:01 AM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


When you mention that this is "the new reality to deal with," I think it is always important, increasingly so, to point out every egregious example and resist normalizing it.

For the record, I don't think this is the new unchangeable reality. I don't think it would be quite like this if we had someone other than Corbyn in charge of Labour. I was making the point that even if you think anyone else would be subject to the same media landscape, then anyone has to be able to deal with that - it's no excuse for Corbyn's performance even if you don't think it would be better for anyone else.
posted by Dysk at 8:03 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dysk, I agree - Labour is already playing politics on hard mode, and Barry Gardiner yelling at a reporter to stop asking about anti-semitism because it's not relevant to the current press conference only makes it harder.

God, I was so amped for the Labour dossier leak, and then Gardiner had to butt in and remind me that, yep, Corbyn's Labour Party still hasn't levelled up in politicking, no sirree.

As a fee-paying member of the John McDonnell fan club, sometimes I wonder how much better LOTO McDonnell would have been. As we are now, I am glad that McDonnell has recognized the need to pass the baton to someone younger, preferably a woman. I agree with Pallas Athena that Corbynomics' weaknesses stem largely from how out of time the leadership is, and that I am excited for where the new crop of budding socialists take the Labour Party.

At the very least, can we get someone more blood-thirsty? I know Corbyn is cosplaying ~elder statesman~, but these are wackadoodle times run by wackadoodle politicians, and if you treat Johnson antics like One Tory Disraeli tactics, you are throwing away opportunity after opportunity.

I'm no fan of the Lib Dems or Jo Swinson, but I will never forget how she orchestrated Phillip Lee crossing Parliament so that Johnson saw his majority evaporate right in front of him.
posted by facehugger at 8:17 AM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


People seem to be comparing Corbyn to some fantasy figure in their head, with impeccable left-wing credentials and intense personal charisma.

His fans, and Momentum, hold him up as exactly this.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:27 AM on November 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


Jo Swinson's done exactly what you wanted, taken an unambiguous revoke Brexit stance.

Her party's sunk to 15% in the polls. Her popularity rating is down to only a few points above Corbyn's in spite of the fact she's a fresh face and no-one's really bothered attacking her.

If it's so easy to oppose a united, media-backed right wing under Boris Johnson, why is she doing so badly?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:39 AM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Lib Dems have been a marginal party since the coalition, and while she has indeed taken a strong stance on Brexit, the Lib Dems have also been up to all their usual laughable tricks (the bar graphs!) and as ever, refused to distance themselves from the Clegg era leadership and austerity, all of which rather doesn't help them.

The notion that a party with 20 MPs - of which only 12 were elected as Lib Dems - would be in a position to move the needle on national politics to the same extent as Labour is hard to believe in the best of circumstances. And Swinson is hardly that.
posted by Dysk at 8:48 AM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


For most of my adult life, people in all sorts of organisations have been blaming communications and/or the media for their failures. From dog-catcher to PM. Spin doctors have been introduced as the dark masters of politics. All across the board, left and right, dog-catcher and national party, the dismal narrative has been "if only people got our message" and "if only the media would treat us fairly". And in my experience, 90% of the time, the message itself was the problem. Actually it's message/timing. The Labour manifesto looks good to me because I'm a far left radical hippie living in Denmark where we have recently elected the most socialist government since the war. I can see how, as Chaffinch says, the Overton window has moved so far to the right in the UK, that some people can't even imagine the good life anymore.
But the solution to that is not to follow the voters in their insecurity and lack of imagination, but to meet the voters with a real understanding of the world that they can recognize, and with solutions that can happen in that world.
Boris Johnson is a liar and most people know it, but he seems confident that his "plan" will work, in that sense he is authentic, and I know it's crazy but people will rather vote for a confident crook than for an insecure angel. We saw that in the US. Corbyn is an honest idealist, but even he doesn't seem confident that his plan will work (because it won't, because he won't deal with Brexit).
posted by mumimor at 9:01 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


TheophileEscargot, my issue is not that Labour should be The SuperRevoke Party. I actually said in a comment above that I think Labour's current Brexit policy of a 2nd ref and Corbyn staying neutral is very politically astute.

I think that the way the Labour Party got here was slapdash and two years too late. If it had started out with this position on 2016, and had used it to continually counter Tory attacks, I think Labour would be entering this election in a much stronger position, with Corbyn having much higher approval ratings.

Another issue is that Labour has barely even been countering Tory Brexit attacks at all. To continue the metaphor from my previous comment, the Tories' main offense for years now has been "Get Brexit Done." Labour has been on another football pitch, trying to defend against a "billionaires out to get you" offense, when the Tories have been scoring again and again in the unattended goal post of Brexit.

If you know exactly what your enemy's offense is, why aren't you tackling it directly?
posted by facehugger at 9:06 AM on November 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Go on then, who's the secret MeFite who wrote this Guardian election quiz? (See question 4.)
posted by winterhill at 9:22 AM on November 29, 2019 [11 favorites]


Corbyn's personal poll ratings are no worse than Ed Miliband's or Gordon Brown's.

Citation needed. Jeremy Corbyn has lowest leadership satisfaction rating for any opposition leader since 1977.

Leaders of governments have crap poll ratings because, well, usually that's why they become ex prime ministers. Brown was never leader of the opposition going into an election, but even when he lost to Cameron he was only around -40 net approval.

Miliband's worst rating in opposition was -44. Corbyn hit -60 a couple of months ago, worse than Michael Foot's lowest at -56.
Leaders of the opposition - and their party - should be polling better than the government if you expect to win a general election.

May's poll ratings tanked a) when she started talking after announcing the election and more people realised what a soulless robot she was and b) the 'dementia tax' manifesto which pissed off a huge core tory core (well off old people) and has since been proved to be the 2nd worst PM in modern times. Yet she still beat Corbyn into 2nd place in 2017.

There is no signs of a Labour or Corbyn recovery coming this time, and insistence that Corbyn's poll ratings aren't so bad compared to his two party predecessors really is missing the point by a mile. Even if his ratings were no worse than Miliband's or Brown's - all three of them still LOST their elections. Right now it's looking like the tories are going to win by a landslide with the country's worst post-war PM because frankly, 'anyone but Corbyn' is the most common thing being said by actual voters.

If it's so easy to oppose a united, media-backed right wing under Boris Johnson, why is she doing so badly?
Because Labour have spent much of their time going after the Lib Dems and Swinson instead of the tories, and we've seen plenty of comments on here accusing them of basically everything under the sun, including that they're just itching to abandon their remain position to get into bed with the tories. Plus she is also a just terrible candidate who is rightly tarred with abetting austerity. They're a tiny party, and it's not like they have a deep talent pool to draw on.

If there's one thing good that comes out of this horror show, and the aftermath of a car crash brexit, is that we might finally, finally, get a leader of the opposition who can actually inspire people outside their hardest core voter, doesn't have decades of baggage of bad decisions, and can actually have a coherent position on the biggest issues. Not holding my breath admittedly, with our luck it's going to be going to be Corbyn vs Rees-Mogg in 5 years time...
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:54 AM on November 29, 2019 [8 favorites]




When all politicians are seen as liars, it’s Boris Johnson’s big lie that cuts through
Make no mistake, these were not people who couldn’t do with the government spending more money. They all agreed that their town needed help and that things had got worse in the last 10 years (though, tellingly, none blamed the Tories for that, instead speaking of the decline as if it were the inevitable result of global, even natural, forces). Three of the women worked in local schools. And yet they dismissed Labour’s offer of new billions out of hand.
posted by mumimor at 2:33 PM on November 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


A Jonathan Freedland opinion piece about post-truth?
Well, at least we're not post-irony then.
posted by fullerine at 4:33 PM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


When all politicians are seen as liars, it’s Boris Johnson’s big lie that cuts through

Well, yes. It's the drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience thing.
posted by flabdablet at 10:19 PM on November 29, 2019


Freedland:
Thanks in part to the cavalier disregard for truth that has come to characterise politics here and elsewhere, many voters now start from a base assumption that politicians are dishonest. Rows about details, numbers and figures especially, are shrugged off: “Who knows what’s true and what’s not? After all, they all lie.”

That helps a serial peddler of untruths like Johnson. But it also narrows the scope for what any politician can offer. They can, it seems, get away with making one big promise if that pledge seems both true to that politician and deliverable: “Here’s my oven-ready Brexit deal, let’s get it done,” fits that bill for Johnson (even if, of course, Brexit won’t be anywhere near done). But Labour’s long, expensive laundry list of costly spending promises falls at the second hurdle.

It’s a sour irony that Johnson, who did so much to shape this post-truth landscape, is currently benefiting from the scepticism it has nurtured – while it’s his opponents who are paying the price.
That's not "sour irony". That's successfully executed authoritarian strategy, and every media presenter who has ever failed to hold up an interview in order to insist that claims made in the course of it be either factual or withdrawn, and every journalist who has given a lying authoritarian a platform that fails to call them on their lies, has been complicit in that success.
posted by flabdablet at 10:24 PM on November 29, 2019 [11 favorites]


Freedland:
Make no mistake, these were not people who couldn’t do with the government spending more money. They all agreed that their town needed help and that things had got worse in the last 10 years (though, tellingly, none blamed the Tories for that, instead speaking of the decline as if it were the inevitable result of global, even natural, forces).
"Sour irony" would be the way that Freedland here offers a rueful headshake at the gullibility of these poor benighted Leavers and then immediately goes on to write a line like "the cavalier disregard for truth that has come to characterise politics here and elsewhere" when what he ought to have said is "the deliberate and ongoing promotion of a cavalier disregard for truth by populist authoritarians and their willing mass-media dupes here and elsewhere".
posted by flabdablet at 10:37 PM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Tellingly, Freedland does not blame the Tories for that, instead speaking of the cavalier disregard for truth as if it were the inevitable result of global, even natural, forces.
posted by kyrademon at 3:36 AM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


Corbyn’s old-white-guy blind spots have been his Achilles heel. I don’t think he intends to be anti-Semitic, but he’s historically been crap at recognising it and reluctant to call it out from people he perceives as allies.

You might say that. Or you might say that Corbyn mobilised the hatred of tens of thousands of Jew-hating Little Englanders and continues to use it to cling to power as his party founders. Consider this bit from the Andrew Neil interview:
AN: Let’s get to some specifics. You said in the ITV debate that anyone who has committed any anti-Semitic act in the Labour Party, they’ve been suspended or expelled and you’ve investigated, your words, ‘every single case.’ The Chief Rabbi has called that ‘a mendacious fiction.’ And he’s right, isn’t he?

JC: No, he’s not right.

AN: Really?

JC: Because he would have to produce the evidence to say that’s mendacious.

AN: Well, let’s look for some. Let me ask you this. Is it anti-Semitic to say Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world governments?

JC: In the Chakrabarti Report we asked that people did not use comparisons about conspiracies, not use –

AN: Is that anti-Semitic?

JC: – because in the belief of Shami, and I support her on this in that report, that can be constructed as being an anti-Semitic statement and therefore – and therefore should not be –

AN: Right, but let’s just get it clear. I asked you – I gave you a specific quote. Are the words ‘Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world government’. Is that anti-Semitic?

JC: It should not be used and it is.

AN: But you can’t say it’s anti-Semitic?

JC: Look, I just said that it should not be used.

AN: That’s different from being – there’s lots of things shouldn’t be used but that’s not the same as anti-Semitic. Is it, or isn’t it anti-Semitic?

JC: Andrew, it is an anti-Semitic trope that has been used and that was – if you’d let me finish before, I made that very clear in the Chakrabarti Report which we did very early on – very early on during my –

AN: So we’re agreed it’s anti-Semitic? Right, that’s all I wanted to establish.

JC: – very early on during my leadership.

AN: Yet these were the words used by Liam Moore. He’s a Labour member, former council candidate. Your party’s actually been investigating him now for almost a year.

JC: It’s not being investigated for anti-Semitism, it’s being investigated for process.

AN: But has he been suspended? He hasn’t been suspended. You said everybody’s been suspended or expelled –

JC: I said they’ve been investigated and action has been taken.
That quote is by no means unusual among Labour supporters and representatives. The people saying things like this openly are a small minority, but their friends and supporters and the people uncritically denying their existence are legion.

I regret the fact that Labour losing means that the Tories will win, but I can only be glad that the party led by a cowardly, mendacious Jew hater will not be in a position to embolden more antisemites.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:42 AM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


That quote is by no means unusual among Labour supporters and representatives.

How the fuck do you know that? You're on the other side of the fucking world.
posted by Grangousier at 3:56 AM on November 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


Because the Jewish world is small and well connected. There is a firehose of this sort of filth. And really, would it matter? Isn't this enough?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:03 AM on November 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Or you might say that Corbyn mobilised the hatred of tens of thousands of Jew-hating Little Englanders and continues to use it to cling to power as his party founders.

You might casually imply that all Labour voters are antisemites, certainly.
posted by entity447b at 4:03 AM on November 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I can only be glad that the party led by a cowardly, mendacious Jew hater will not be in a position to embolden more antisemites

So what the hell else is Johnson?

You'd have to work pretty fucking hard to convince me that his desire to expel or effectiveness at expelling antisemitic headkickers from the ranks of his supporters could reach even Corbyn's appallingly low standard.

Johnson has no principles beyond the ongoing advantaging of Johnson. How anybody facing any kind of structural threat within UK society as it is right now could possibly believe they'd end up better off with Johnson and his team of thugs, spivs and chancers in power is more than I can comprehend.
posted by flabdablet at 4:17 AM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


Three responses in about half an hour, none of which engage with the substance but instead attack the messenger. This is what people mean when they talk about fragility.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 AM on November 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm saddened that you've apparently interpreted one of my customary sprays against Johnson and his ilk as an attack on you personally.

You'll get no disagreement from me that Corbyn's antisemitism is appalling (in fact I just described it as such, in the very comment you've just responded to). Where we apparently differ, and I would certainly be interested in your position on the substance of that difference, is that I remain totally unpersuaded that Johnson is any less of a cowardly, mendacious Jew hater than Corbyn. From which follows my bafflement that you're willing to present a likely Johnson victory over Corbyn as a net win for UK Jews.

This is not fragility. If I had a reflex desire to defend Corbyn on this issue then it would be, but I don't and it isn't. This is straight-up bafflement. I simply fail to grasp how somebody as manifestly unfit for office as Johnson could attract the support of anybody with as consistent a history of thoughtful comment as your own, on this or any other basis.
posted by flabdablet at 4:35 AM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen much mention from the usual Labour antisemitism commentators about Boris Johnson and Theresa May were in Plymouth last week unveiling a statue of Nancy Astor?

May said "When Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, our country and our democracy were changed for the better. "

For those unaware Nancy Astor was the second woman elected as an MP.
She also said in a letter to US Ambassador to Britain Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., Nancy speculated that Hitler could be the solution to the “world problem” of Jews.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:44 AM on November 30, 2019 [6 favorites]


The UN said this about the fifth-richest country in the world after almost 10 years of Tory rule.

"14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%.For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.

But through it all, one actor has stubbornly resisted seeing the situation for what it is. The Government has remained determinedly in a state of denial. "

Statement by Special Rapporteur on Poverty, Professor Philip Alston

The Tories are an existential threat to a substantial proportion of the UK population.

They have to go, now.

posted by Caractacus at 12:23 PM on November 30, 2019 [13 favorites]


It's not the Clash or the Rolling Stones, but Madness.
Madness take barbed swipe at Boris Johnson on first new song in three years
"The Eton Boys are undefiled/ The Bullingdon Boys, running wild"
posted by Buntix at 1:29 PM on November 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Statement by Special Rapporteur on Poverty, Professor Philip Alston
Who ought to know rapaciously socially-destructive conservatism when he sees it - as he's brother to Richard Alston, one of the prime architects of similar policies under the Australian equivalent to the Tories.

Christmas get-togethers for the Alston's must be a blast…
posted by Pinback at 2:13 PM on November 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Try reading that Alston report and flipping between that and Engel's Condition of the Working Class in England and you soon get confused which is which
posted by runincircles at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


[One deleted. Sorry, but this isn't the place to have a Meta-conversation about who should and shouldn't post here. That said, I'll remind people that while we don't currently restrict any thread commenting to particular groups, we do ask that people who are not directly affected by a grave situation to refrain from dominating, hijacking or disrupting threads over those whose lives are on the line. Further discussion can be had in Metatalk, if necessary.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:33 AM on December 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


Corbyn has posted a little video, quite nicely produced, that enumerates many social and religious groups – LGBT+, straight, "hijab, turban, cross", travelers, and so forth. One British group is left out: Jews. Under the circumstances it's quite extraordinary that he wouldn't have taken the opportunity to reassure them.

I never did care for the slogan "For the Many, Not the Few", but ending the video with those words makes it positively sinister: if those groups are "the many", there's no prize for guessing who "the few" might be.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:56 AM on December 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, let’s look for some. Let me ask you this. Is it anti-Semitic to say Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world governments?

See, I want to believe that Corbyn isn't an anti-Semite, deep down I have trouble believing that he's hateful rather than just incompetent and overly tolerant of ideological allies. But...

First, 87% of British Jews feel otherwise. Let me ask people to consider, whether if any other small minority believed in such overwhelming numbers that the leader of a major party had racist views directed at them, it would be considered remotely acceptable to dismiss that opinion? Would anyone dare?

Second, that statement is obviously and transparently anti-Semitic. It's frothing at the mouth, Black Hundreds and Pogroms, Goebbels style anti-Semitism. How hard would it have been for Corbyn to simply say that? Why does he love an own-goal so much? It's not a grey area, it's not an unfortunate use of language, it isn't a contested statement about Israeli vs Palestinian aspirations. It's just wrong and he is a fool for not condemning it outright. It would have cost him nothing.
posted by atrazine at 4:16 AM on December 1, 2019 [12 favorites]


According to BMJ:

" Spending constraints between 2010 and 2014 were associated with an estimated 45 368 (95% CI 34 530 to 56 206) higher than expected number of deaths compared with pre-2010 trends. Deaths in those aged ≥60 and in care homes accounted for the majority. [snip]

Projections to 2020 based on 2009-2014 trend was cumulatively linked to an estimated 152 141 (95% CI 134 597 and 169 685) additional deaths."

Effects of health and social care spending constraints on mortality in England: a time trend analysis

The Tories are an existential threat to the elderly, anyone on low income or in precarious work.

They have to go, now.
posted by Caractacus at 7:25 AM on December 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


Joe in Australia,

This election is full of terrible choices. Unfortunately, under first-past-the-post, which is a primitive voting system that the UK is bound by and Australia is not, elections are often decided by who you are less horrified by.

I think a few of us on this thread have had such a strong reaction to your comments because it makes it sound like we support Labour because we either agree with anti-semitism or we don't care about anti-semitism.

Which is not the case. I think the majority of Labour voters agree with the "substance" of your comments: we agree that Labour has become institutionally anti-semitic, and we agree that the Labour leadership is continually dropping the ball in tackling it.

The first week of campaigning was excruciating, seeing scores of Labour PPCs and councillors dropped because a 10-minute google search was able to find the most nauseating anti-semitic comments. Anti-semitism is not "lesser" to us, I think many of us felt a searing pain and empathy towards the Jewish community whenever these comments come up, or whenever Corbyn defiantly doesn't apologize. And it's even more heart-breaking when we think to ourselves, late at night, about how incidents like Corbyn's defiance can lead to a wider societal acceptance of violently anti-semitic acts.

We didn't immediately engage with your substance because we agree with your substance, which we have discussed previously in this thread and in many innumerable previous threads. But we do attack the messenger because you haven't engaged with our substance, which has been threaded even more strongly in this thread than any other topic, which is that the Tories are an existential threat to British society.

I don't even know where to start. Under the Tories and their hard Brexit, child poverty may rise to a record 60-year high, critical medicines and devices like Epipens may be short for months, the way immigrants are treated through the "Hostile Environment" policy might become even more severe, the country might backtrack from being a climate crisis leader to being one of the world's worst offenders, revising the Human Rights Act and restricting the Supreme Court may lead to an unparalleled hoarding of executive power, and "an awful lot" of the past decade of austerity might continue to be "baked in" to British society.

It is disingenuous to say that Corbyn and the Labour Party are just as bad. But in saying that, we are not erasing Labour's anti-semitism. We look at the article you posted about the majority of British Jews scared of a Corbyn government, and we feel awful. But we also know of, or even live lives that have been immeasurably destroyed by the last decade of Tory austerity. Look at the posts under #ToryStory. Please, please share the posts under #ToryStory to anyone else you know in Australia who is curious about British politics, and wants to know how we ended up with such a depressing election.

We feel awful that it looks like we're choosing ending austerity over anti-semitism, but we're not. We feel awful for both, for the whole sorry mess, and we feel enraged that we even have to make such a monstrous choice. But - unlike in Australia - in the UK we have the first-past-the-post system, where making such monstrous choices are how you don't die.
posted by facehugger at 8:24 AM on December 1, 2019 [35 favorites]


In more peppy news, there will be what looks like a smashing dance party at Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, Dec 3rd to protest against Trump's visit/Johnson/Farage.

Jamie xx, Horse Meat Disco, Seth Troxler, SHYGIRL, Gideön, Midland, HAAi, and 808 State!

If you can't make it, Fck Boris regularly organizes street raves around London and the rest of the country!
posted by facehugger at 9:18 AM on December 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


Absolutely No You-Know-What: I've posted about the approval ratings before.

Different topic: UK Polling Reports Sunday Polling Roundup:
Polls in the last week had been consistent in showing a small decrease in Conservative support and a small increase in Labour support, marginally reducing the Tory lead. While these polls aren’t quite so uniform... most still show movement in Labour’s favour.

There remains a significant difference in the overall size of the lead, varying from just six points in the BMG poll to fifteen from Opinium. It is hard to put a specific figure on what sort of lead the Conservatives need to secure an overall majority – it obviously depends on exactly where they gain or lose votes – but as a rough rule of thumb it is probably somewhere around six or seven points. That means at the moment the vast majority of polls are still indicating a Tory majority, but there is no longer that much room for further tightening.
There seems to be a lot of despondency around, but with none of the major parties willing to work with him, Boris Johnson needs an absolute majority to carry out his terrible agenda. Just a point or two more and some of the polls already have that being denied him.

This is not time to give up, this is time to step it up! Check out the tactical voting aggregator that facehugger linked to and try to talk whoever you can, wherever you can into voting against the Tories.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:26 PM on December 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


It is disingenuous to say that Corbyn and the Labour Party are just as bad. But in saying that, we are not erasing Labour's anti-semitism. We look at the article you posted about the majority of British Jews scared of a Corbyn government, and we feel awful. But we also know of, or even live lives that have been immeasurably destroyed by the last decade of Tory austerity.

And this is a point worth dwelling on a little. When a society is organised in such a way as to cause severe, ongoing, structural damage to a significant fraction of its members, a consistently observable historical response to that has always been a general tendency amongst the less thoughtful amongst those so disadvantaged to look for easily identifiable groups upon whom to visit their hatred and resentment.

It's quite rare to find the angriest of the disadvantaged actually rising up against the rich and powerful who do well out of societies organised this way and therefore act to maintain that organisation, because doing so requires considerable organisation, teamwork and planning, and if you spend your whole life being crushed by the system you just don't have the resources for any of that. So what tends to happen instead is that loosely organized groups of thugs form and pay out their resentment, even to the extent of inflicting terrible violence, on some rather more accessible Other.

And this, of course, suits the rich and powerful just fine because it saps energy from opposition to them. So they will quite often get behind the Other-bashing in all kinds of ways, ranging from subtle and not-so-subtle propaganda support to outright co-option as official policy.

Historically, Jews have found themselves playing the role of the easily identifiable and accessible Other in all kinds of places and all kinds of times. But the common thread that links all of the worst excesses is popular support, and that kind of popular support only arises where there is ongoing structural, institutionalised disadvantage to feed it.

The UK has been living under austerity for long enough now that resentment of pretty much any identifiable Other now dominates its politics almost completely. That's a fucking dangerous environment in which to be identifiable as any kind of minority.

It seems completely obvious to me that the reason you're seeing more visibly toxic anti-semitism emerging from the Labour camp than the Tories at present is exactly because Labour is the party whose entire reason for existence is to look after the interests of the disadvantaged. If you have more disadvantaged people amongst your supporters, you're going to see more anti-minority sentiment from them as well, because it's disadvantage that breeds that sentiment.

It's not a top-down thing; it's a sampling thing, and if you want to get rid of it, the way to do that is not to sink the boot into Labour for promoting it, but to work on reversing the tide of structural injustice that makes it fester and grow. Turf the fucking Tories out and their brutal, blinkered austerity with them. Stamp out the anti-semitism in the fire brigade after containing the wildfire.
posted by flabdablet at 9:33 PM on December 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


Or you might say that Corbyn mobilised the hatred of tens of thousands of Jew-hating Little Englanders

I'm neither a jew hater or a little Englander, thanks. Little England are still reading the Mail and voting for the Tories and their apparently acceptable racism and antisemitism.

Turf the fucking Tories out and their brutal, blinkered austerity with them. Stamp out the anti-semitism in the fire brigade after containing the wildfire.

Yeah
posted by Chaffinch at 12:28 AM on December 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


Most Labour supporters can be not racist little englanders, and Corbyn can have still mobilised tens of thousands of them. I mean, unless you're expecting Labour to really lose.
posted by Dysk at 2:53 AM on December 2, 2019


Do you honestly think Labour are going for the antisemite vote? This thread is a joke
posted by Chaffinch at 3:14 AM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


Given Corbyn's performance when asked if "Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world governments" was anti-semitic, it does rather seem like he's trying hard not to alienate the antisemitic vote at least. That was some hella verbal and mental gymnastics to avoid just saying "yes".
posted by Dysk at 3:30 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


50 times Jeremy Corbyn took a stand to defend Jewish People and Jewish life in Britain:
• Corbyn organises Apr 1977 defence of Jewish-populated Wood Green from a neo-Nazi march.
• EDM 987, Corbyn campaigned to protect Jewish cemetery from sale to property developers.
• EDM 3933, 7 Nov 1990: Corbyn denounced the rise of anti-Semitic publications.
• EDM 356, 25 June 1992, Corbyn censures a Holocaust denier, warning antisemitism is on the rise
• EDM 435, 6 July 1992, Corbyn slammed Rupert Murdoch for paying £83,000 for the Goebbels Diaries
• EDM 706, 2 Nov. 1992, Corbyn is main sponsor on a motion condemning the National Front for insulting Holocaust victims by laying wreaths at the cenotaph
• EDM 1474, 25 Feb. 1993, Jeremy signed a motion condemning rise of Nazism in Huntingdon
• EDM 1364, 21 June 1994, Jeremy Corbyn expresses fear antisemitism is on the rise
• EDM 1413, 29 June 1994, Corbyn signed a motion calling on the Director of Public Prosecutions to do more to tackle antisemitism
• EDM 634, 11 April 2000: Corbyn denounces David Irving for being a Holocaust denier.
• EDM 1124, 6 Nov 2000: Corbyn signs motion paying tribute to ‘British Schindler’, Bill Barazetti, for saving the lives of Jewish children in World War II.
• EDM 742, 28 Jan 2002: Corbyn praises football clubs for commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day.
• EDM 1233, 30 April 2002: Corbyn is primary sponsor of a motion condemning antisemitic vandalism of Finsbury Park Synagogue
• May 2002: Corbyn helps organise vigil for Finsbury Park Synagogue after antisemitic attack.
• EDM 1691, 23 July 2002: Corbyn denounces attack on a synagogue in Swansea.
• EDM 123, 26 Nov 2003: Corbyn condemns attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul.
• EDM 461, 21 January 2004: Corbyn signs motion condemning the French government’s moves to ban religious symbols—including the Jewish kippa—in French schools.
• EDM 646, 23 February 2004: Corbyn lambasts the annual rise in antisemitic incidents.
• EDM 717, 26 February 2004: Corbyn signs motion praising Simon Wiesenthal for bringing Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice.
• EDM 1613, 8 September 2004: Corbyn co-sponsors motion expressing concern over the future of the United Synagogue Pension Scheme.
• EDM 1699, 11 Oct 2004: Corbyn signs motion condemning arbitrary attacks on civilians in both Israel and Palestine.
• EDM 343, 16 June 2005: Corbyn censures the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in West Ham.
• EDM 1774, 8 Mar 2006: Corbyn signs motion condemning an Iranian newspaper for soliciting cartoons about the Holocaust.
• EDM 1267, 16 Apr 2006: Corbyn signs motion condemning Bryan Ferry for antisemitic remarks.
• EDM 2414, 26 June 2006: Corbyn signs motion praising British war veterans for their efforts to combat the Holocaust.
• EDM 2705, 10 Oct 2006: Corbyn marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street.
• EDM 271, 14 Nov 2007: Corbyn co-sponsors motion urging further efforts to address poverty and social exclusion in the Jewish community of East London.
• EDM 1453, 12 May 2008: Corbyn salutes the memory of the Jewish heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
• EDM 2350, 27 Oct 2008: Corbyn marks the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
• EDM 605, 27 Jan 2009: Corbyn welcomes action against antisemitism on university campuses.
• EDM 917, 26 Feb 2009: Corbyn signs motion condemning antisemitism on the internet.
• EDM 1175, 24 March 2009: Corbyn pays tribute to British citizens who rescued Jewish people during the Holocaust.
• EDM 2145 22 Oct. 2009 Corbyn condemns BBC for giving air time to ‘holocaust denying’ BNP
• EDM 337, 2 December 2009: Corbyn signs motion condemning discrimination against minorities, including Jews, in Iran.
• EDM 850, 9 February 2010: Corbyn calls for investigation into antisemitism on Facebook.
• EDM 891, 22 February 2010: Corbyn urges UK Gov to re-settle Yemeni Jews in Britain.
• EDM 908, 27 Oct 2010: Corbyn pays tribute to the late-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
• EDM 1527, 3 Mar 2011: Corbyn condemns the antisemitic remarks of John Galliano.
• EDM 2870, 14 Mar 2012: Corbyn condemns the sale of Nazi memorabilia in Bristol.
• EDM 2866, 14 Mar 2012: Corbyn co-sponsors motion condemning antisemitism in Latvia.
• EDM 2899, 20 Mar 2012: Corbyn condemns an attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse.
• EDM 168, 12 June 2012: Corbyn denounces antisemitism in Polish & Ukrainian football
• EDM 195, 13 June 2012: Corbyn co-sponsors motion calling on the BBC to reverse its decision to drop a Jewish community programme (‘Jewish Citizen Manchester’) from its schedule.
• EDM 1133, 1 Mar 2013: Corbyn signs motion condemning antisemitism in sport.
• 1 October 2013: Corbyn is one of the few MPs to publicly defend the late-Ralph Miliband from Daily Mail antisemitism.
• June 2015: Corbyn participates in ceremony to commemorate the founding of the North London Synagogue in Islington.
• EDM 165, 22 June 2015: Corbyn denounces a neo-Nazi rally planned for Golders Green, where many Jews live, and calls for protection of local residents.
• 25 June 2015: Corbyn is leads calls for counter-demonstration in defence of Jewish residents in Golders Green. The neo-Nazi march is re-routed.
• 9 Oct 2016: Corbyn, close to tears, leads commemoration of the Battle of Cable Street.
• 3 Dec 2016: Corbyn visits Terezín concentration camp to commemorate Holocaust victims
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:31 AM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sure. And he's still walking on eggshells around certain kinds of antisemitism.

This is so much the classic "I/they can't be racist! look at the all the nice things they've done for [ethnic group]" defence, and it's as tiresome as ever.
posted by Dysk at 3:33 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


It seems completely obvious to me that the reason you're seeing more visibly toxic anti-semitism emerging from the Labour camp than the Tories at present is exactly because Labour is the party whose entire reason for existence is to look after the interests of the disadvantaged. If you have more disadvantaged people amongst your supporters, you're going to see more anti-minority sentiment from them as well, because it's disadvantage that breeds that sentiment.

That might be an explanation if this was coming from Labour supporting people struggling at the very bottom of society. That isn't the case, it's not people desperate after yet another UC delay or benefits sanction lashing out blindly, many of these people have been Labour activists and active party members for decades who are not themselves backed economically into a corner.

Stamp out the anti-semitism in the fire brigade after containing the wildfire.

Some of us think the anti-Semitism is the wildfire.
posted by atrazine at 3:52 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dysk, TheophileEscargot, please.

Dysk - I wrote that hella long comment above to say that we should stop slandering all Labour supporters, as if to say that Labour voters are also voting for the return for the Third Reich. We are not, we are very aware that we are facing a choice between a rock and a hard place. People here generally understand that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic, but under the context of first-past-the-post, it's either that or actual annihilation from the Tories.

I'm also sure that many of us are typical Lib Dem/Green/SNP voters, but are having to vote Labour for tactical reasons. Why are you making it harder? Ok, sure, let's say everyone fighting anti-semitism has a moral duty to not vote for Labour. Then what the hell are we supposed to do, let the Tories win? Can't we stop the Tories by voting Labour and furiously lambast Labour for its anti-semitism problem?

You have often discussed any and all Labour support in bad faith and in the most inflammatory terms. Look, we are all working as hard as we can to make the country a better place in our own ways, and the vast majority of us on this thread accept that Labour has failed in many ways. We want to be part of making Labour, and the country, better.

TheophileEscargot, when many of us say that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic, we focus on the institutionally part. I've seen that list you posted many times, but it only focuses on Corbyn's individual behavior. The issue isn't what one person has done, it's the actions of hundreds of people throughout the party, and often it's less what people have done and more what people haven't done. Like when scores and scores of PPCs in the first week were found to have written blatantly anti-semitic social media posts that were uncovered in less than a day - when Labour goes through its usual background check process, why didn't they check on anti-semitic social media posts as rigorously as they could, especially when this has been a known problem? It can be lots of small things, like a banker joke told in a meeting that isn't quickly reprimanded, or the continual re-selection of PPCs and councillors that have said outrageously anti-semitic things when if they had said something as outrageously anti-poor, they would have been kicked out of the party. It's these small things that Labour leadership let slide, or don't reprimand quickly/severely enough, that creates a culture where people throughout the organization feel that they are able to indulge in anti-semitism, and to then spread that culture far and wide.

I see examples of that everyday in my Twitter timeline. I see vociferous Labour activists like Owen Jones decide not to report on the latest anti-semitic incident whereas they pounce on every single anti-poor pronouncement from the Tories, or less famous Labour activists pounce on people denouncing anti-semitism and declare that these people, like the Chief Rabbi, have weird tenuous connections to powerful Tory and Zionist funders. Unlike Dysk, I heavily disagree that Labour is attracting anti-semites, but I do believe that people are so desperate for Labour to win, that they feel that an otherwise continually enraging pattern of anti-semitism should be swept under the rug, or even completely condemned.

All of these actions are done insitutionally, not by Corbyn himself. But when budding Labour activists see Corbyn vehemently shoot down the very real grief of the Jewish community, they aren't learning how to listen, they aren't learning how to understand, they aren't learning how to rectify wrongs. They are instead learning how to selectively dehumanize.
posted by facehugger at 4:01 AM on December 2, 2019 [9 favorites]


The only reason this attack line works is because of the vast vast majority of Labour members actually give a fuck about fighting inequality and racism.
If they didn't, it wouldn't work. The fact that accusations of anti-semitism damage the labour party is because the people who vote labour, and the people who join labour are (in the main) people who care about this stuff.

How much damage has the absolutely blatant Islamophobia done to the Tories? Zero! because they do not care.
How many conservatives were outraged at the honouring of Nancy Astor? None. Because she's one of theirs first and foremost.

Labour are (and absolutely should be) held to a higher standard and I (and again, I believe a solid 99% of Labour members) want to meet that standard. I will listen all day and all night to anyone discussing their experiences in good faith. (Which includes the majority of MeFi commentators. Thanks for being willing to discuss it here). But I won't listen to people who only care about this issue as a way to sow mistrust and division. Because those people do not care about anti-semitism. They care about attacking progressive politics. They're encouraging hatred for their own ends.

Labour ought to do better. Because Labour ALWAYS ought to do better.
But from my perspective, one party cares about this and one party doesn't. That's not a hard choice.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:34 AM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


People here generally understand that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic, but under the context of first-past-the-post, it's either that or actual annihilation from the Tories.

If they do, FPTP is making a lot of them refuse to acknowledge it. And I'm not slandering Labour supporters by agreeing with Joe that tens of thousands of anti-semites are voting Labour. Millions of people voted Labour in the last election. Tens of thousands is a very small minority.

As I have said several times in this thread, if I could vote, I would be voting Labour. What on earth makes you think that my being critical is the failings of the Labour Party make me want a Tory win? I don't. I want Labour to win this election. I also want Labour to be better on this and many other points. There is no way forward on achieving that if we refuse to acknowledge the problems as real and not a right wing media fiction.
posted by Dysk at 5:26 AM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


And like, you did indeed write a long comment acknowledging the issue as a legitimate one, facehugger. But you aren't, as this thread clearly shows, representative of everyone here. There are still a lot of people more interested in minimising, denying, and burying the issue.
posted by Dysk at 5:29 AM on December 2, 2019


Just this guy, y'know: Jolly good for you. But whenever I try to talk anyone in a mixed group of people into voting against the Tories, the resident Tories pipe up and start sneering about how Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-semite and anyone who votes Labour probably is too.

It's a standard motte and bailey argument. "Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite" is the motte: start by implying that. When challenged, retreat to the bailey: "Labour hasn't been zealous enough about rooting out institutional anti-semitism". Next conversation: right back to the motte. You might be genuinely concerned about the bailey part, but in practice you're helping them promote the motte.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:33 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


As ever in these conversations, "is an anti-semite" is not a useful framing. Racism is not merely KKK caricatures and literal Nazis. Someone can be engaging in racist or antisemitic or whateverist behaviour without malicious intent. Trying to litigate if someone is truly a bigot in their heart of hearts is distracting from the meaningful question of whether their actions contribute to marginalisation and prejudice.

Or in other words, doing lots of good things for a group doesn't make the actions you take that harm them go away. It doesn't counteract them.

And refusing to condemn a statement like "Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world governments" or take action against people spouting bigotry like that, that is antisemitic in effect. Intent isn't magic.
posted by Dysk at 5:42 AM on December 2, 2019


in practice you're helping them promote the motte.

Really pretty sure I'm not.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:42 AM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


Dysk, what I'm objecting to is not criticism of the Labour Party, I think we both share the same criticisms. It's that the way Joe in Australia and you have worded your comments have been extremely inflammatory, and they are easily read as slandering all Labour supporters as anti-Semitic.

To me, when I read the immediate replies to your comments, they are angry because they are defending themselves from being called anti-Semitic, not that they are defending the entire Labour Party from being called anti-Semitic.
posted by facehugger at 5:45 AM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


I've checked in to say thanks to facehugger for a such a measured and sensible comment.
posted by dudleian at 5:45 AM on December 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


(Speaking of Ken Livingstone.)

Theophile: This blanket deny, deny, deny is doing nobody any favours. That is what’s allowing the right to use this as a stick to beat Labour.

I continue to be absolutely astonished that the party leadership was unable to sort this issue out when it first came to prominence. The Blair / Campbell PR team would have made this a non-issue in weeks.
posted by pharm at 5:46 AM on December 2, 2019


The Blair / Campbell PR team MADE this an issue.
McNicol (The chair of the NEC installed by blair) and his team delayed action on handling antisemitism cases while he was General Secretary, and allowing a backlog of cases to build up.
They deliberately obstructed Corbyn from doing anything about it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:50 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


The only reason this attack line works is because of the vast vast majority of Labour members actually give a fuck about fighting inequality and racism.
If they didn't, it wouldn't work. The fact that accusations of anti-semitism damage the labour party is because the people who vote labour, and the people who join labour are (in the main) people who care about this stuff.


It's the basis behind "so much for the tolerant left".

Racism is something that can and should be removed from Labour and the left in general. It's hard-coded into the right though.
posted by Chaffinch at 5:54 AM on December 2, 2019


This is a general comment, not about antisemitism.

Maybe I'm just riding my own hobby horse (PR) but I believe that a lot of the heat is being generated by FPTP and the need for Labour and Conservative to "peel away" support from minority parties (BxP, Green, Lib Dem). That leads the major parties into casting the election as an Alien vs Predator death match. I don't think that does democracy or society any favours. I agree that PR is not a panacea, but it seems like a step in the right direction.
posted by dudleian at 5:56 AM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


I wish we had passed PR when we had the vote too. I don't know if people remember the cynical "She needs a maternity unit NOT an alternative voting system" campaign
posted by Chaffinch at 5:59 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah. I totally agree.
Labour is easily two, if not three parties.
The Tories are definitely two parties.
Even the Lib Dems have two fairly distinct ideologies crammed into them.

World would be infinitely better if they could split without losing electoral force.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:01 AM on December 2, 2019


The anti-AV campaign was another Dominic Cummings job btw. He’s nothing if not consistent.
posted by pharm at 6:01 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just riding my own hobby horse (PR) but I believe that a lot of the heat is being generated by FPTP

Fully agree. So many people I know, both on and off metafilter, who are normally very considered, aware people have, since an election looked to be on the cards, turned into full-on denialists, sharing borderline Jewish conspiracy nonsense from Another Angry Voice and the like (this last does not not apply to any mefites as far as I am aware). FPTP makes people panic and see everything in us-or-them monochrome, unable or unwilling to see and acknowledge the shades of grey they normally would.
posted by Dysk at 6:04 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]




(In fact Cummings entire political career has been based round taking two slogans: “Take back control” and “We could spend that on the NHS!” and repeating them over and over again. The anti-€ campaign was the first, the anti-AV campaign was the second & the anti-EU campaign combined them both.)
posted by pharm at 6:13 AM on December 2, 2019


I find the idea that Blair planted the NEC chairman as a deep cover anti-Corbyn operative eight years before Corbyn became leader of the PLP something of a conspiracy theory personally, but each to their own. (He was actually appointed under Milliband wasn’t he?) Also, this entire narrative comes from John Lansman, so about as far from an objective source as you could possibly get: Press X to doubt.

This whole left-narrative of “everything anyone ever says against us is /clearly/ because they hate the working class and just want to grind them under their boots for funsies” is one of the things driving this whole problem. TheophileEscargot’s list is a classic example: No one cares about the times Corbyn said the right things because the leadership keeps on face-planting into garden rakes on this issue regardless, which makes the whole “we’re holier than thou” line ring hollow.
posted by pharm at 6:36 AM on December 2, 2019


Y'know what. You're right!
He was appointed in 2011, when Milliband was leader and yeah, I don't have any source apart from Lansman.

Though, to be fair I don't think there was anything particularly deep cover about his tenure. That's a bit of a straw man. There's been a long running battle between left and right in the Labour party for some time.
The suggestion was not that he was biding his time waiting to cause mischief. He was causing mischief all along. The right wing of the party fought tooth and nail against giving ANY power to the left.

Famously from Luke Akehurst:" I'm happy to have you in the church, just as long as you aren't defining the theology, choosing the hymns, controlling the synodd or being appointed as Archbishop."

But when Corbyn was elected the right controlled the NEC, the media apparatus, most of the MPs, the whole thing. It was a running complaint for years before Corbyn (and before milliband) that the leadership was limiting the influence of CLPs and of members. Strongly substantiated accusations of parachuting in candidates or restricting selection criteria abounded. It's why, when Miliband changed the rules and the membership got a say in the Leader they voted so starkly against the PLP.

They should have been two parties all along. If not more.
But FPTP means that they have to scrabble for the driving wheel of one big behemoth and the internal politics of the labour party meant that it was a vicious scrabble (from both sides).
If you aren't a member of the Labour party you won't have seen much or any of it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:57 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


The latest missives from Jennifer Arcuri, regarding the special relationship (not that one) she had with Johnson:

During their first encounter alone, in a hotel bar, he asked her: "Were you a model? You are absolutely beautiful. I can see you being a model and actress."

She said: "He had complimented me but it was not sleazy in any way. I said, yeah, I was a wannabe model. I felt I knew his mind, or his soul. I am not saying he was my soulmate but there was a kinship; it was like an innate kinaesthetic response to someone.

"I knew where he was going with wanting to pursue me. I am not stupid. People had mentioned he wants to sleep with you and I said, 'No, he doesn't. He is so enthralled with my mind.'"


Did that make you throw up inside? GOOD. Use your disgust to topple these Tories!

The Labour Party has a very nifty site, My Plan to Win, that details the little things and big things you can do everyday to help campaign, and it plugs it all in to a fun schedule. I don't think the Lib Dems have a similar site, but the actions should be the same. If you have even the tiniest bit of time and energy, please sign up, and please send this site to your friends and family! You don't have to be in or be close to a marginal to make it count!

And don't forget to tactically vote! Jon Worth's tactical voting aggregator has different categories - for some constituencies, you can send out postal votes now, and for others, you should wait until polling day because the data is still volatile!
posted by facehugger at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Fwiw, my family are lifelong Labour activists. Both my parents have been Labour councillors & have been active in Labour politics since they were students. I spent my teenage years delivering labour leaflets at every election.

I agree that the right of the party worked very hard to lock the left, but bear in mind this was a response to the disastrous (as they saw it) Foot leadership, where once the left had taken control they promptly set about making the party completely unelectable for a decade. There’s a chicken / egg relationship here, where to some extent each group is reacting to what the other did last time around.
posted by pharm at 7:21 AM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


(that should be “lock out the left”.)
posted by pharm at 7:26 AM on December 2, 2019


Sorry, rereading my comment it comes across like I was specifically saying:
If you aren't a member of the Labour party you won't have seen much or any of it.
to you. Which I wasn't (it was mean more generally). Didn't mean to come off like I was demanding receipts :p

But Yeah, I agree with you (in part). There is a fundamental schism in the Labour party which is only exacerbated by FPTP. Both the right and the left think they are saving the party from each other.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:17 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also, this entire narrative comes from John Lansman, so about as far from an objective source as you could possibly get: Press X to doubt.
Are you calling Jon Lansman anti-semitic?
posted by fullerine at 8:39 AM on December 2, 2019


No, I’m suggesting he’s the most pro-Momentum source you could possibly name & has a bias against anything that blames the current Labour leadership for the problems the party is having with accusations of anti-semitism. Lansman blaming Blairites for the party’s problems is about as surprising as winter following autumn.
posted by pharm at 9:01 AM on December 2, 2019 [6 favorites]


I mean, he's the chair and founder of momentum, so yeah, safe to say he's got a horse in the race.

It's probably a good idea to always be aware of what biases various commentators bring to the table when discussing things they've said.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:42 AM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Swap My Vote is live, everyone! Looks like a cool opportunity to meet other anti-Tories around the country as well!

"1) Choose the party you would ideally vote for, and the party that you are willing to vote for tactically in your local constituency.

2) We’ll find you a list of people with the complementary preferences. Pick one partner to swap your vote with. The recent polls by their name can help you see where your vote might make most difference.

3) If your partner agrees to the swap, it is confirmed. We’ll put you in touch with each other’s Facebook or Twitter profiles and, if you like, you can introduce yourselves."
posted by facehugger at 10:30 AM on December 2, 2019 [5 favorites]


As with all vote-swapping sites, I'd be wary of bad-faith actors.

Troll brigades, paid or volunteer, are 100% a Cummings strategy (also, of course, a Russian strategy). If I worked for Cummings, the absolute first thing I'd do on that site is register as many accounts as I could, each posing as a 'reasonable' swap.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:58 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]




The recent polls by their name can help you see where your vote might make most difference.

Do you know what polls this uses?
posted by Chaffinch at 1:39 PM on December 2, 2019


Stupid question, ignore. I didnt read it right haha
posted by Chaffinch at 1:50 PM on December 2, 2019


Here's my Vote for policies result.
No real surprise there.

I tried to choose policies which I legit thought were best, and not play "Guess the party".
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:11 AM on December 3, 2019


I was on Twitter last night idly scrolling about when I noticed some people arguing that the Labour policy would effectively increase their tax because Labour were scrapping the personal allowance.

I went and checked because I hadn't seen this anywhere only to discover a website "the cost of corbyn" (I'm not linking it) that was just full of the weirdest and most tangential claims. So I dug in a bit further, searching twitter on Personal Allowance or Single Person Occupancy rate (another thing that a few folk were claiming labour were scrapping). There are a ton of memes and arguments which do not penetrate into the left wing social media bubble making these claims which so far as I can tell are just fully lies.

What I found interesting though was that I replied to a few threads (I know, rarely a good idea) pointing out that it didn't appear to be true, not in the manifesto, no evidence that Labour had ever claimed this.
But of course, unsurprisingly the most vocal folk were dead set on the notion. Even if Labour didn't say it anywhere they still would do it, etc etc. You can't trust 'em they'll bankrupt the country in days.

This always worries me. Because, whilst I think think they've been duped by the duplicitous tories, they think that I've been duped by the duplicitous Labour.
What if they're right?
It's incredibly difficult to confront your own views and verify them.

David Allen Green wrote something on this..

"We want politicians to be honest," say voters dishonestly
Politicians lie because voters want to be lied to.
But so many voters do not seem to care that they are being lied to, as long as they are the lies they want to hear.

If they want to believe that Labour will screw them, they'll believe it.
How can they be convinced ? (Or alternatively, how can I be convinced?)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:28 AM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I was on Twitter last night idly scrolling about when I noticed some people arguing that the Labour policy would effectively increase their tax because Labour were scrapping the personal allowance.

Bizarre and definitely not policy. What is true is that some couples currently claiming marriage tax allowance would see their taxes go up by about £250 a year. Only couples where one spouse earns under the personal allowance and the other pays only basic rate tax can claim this so this does actually hit relatively low earners.

When googling to make sure I had the details of marriage tax allowance correct I found a Conservative attack site that claimed "abolishing the personal allowance" as one of Corbyn's 12 new taxes. When you actually click on the details it just says that "In March 2019, the New Economics Foundation released a report calling for the abolition of the Personal Allowance. John McDonnell called the idea ‘the kind of innovative thinking we need to fix the imbalances and problems of our tax system’."

Very dishonest as definitely not in the manifesto!
posted by atrazine at 3:47 AM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just this guy, y'know - I've been thinking about compiling a Mefi post after the election to discuss just how incredibly innovative (for better and worse) this campaign has been, in terms of online presence.

The Cost of Corbyn is another Tory Party website that launched right after the Factcheck UK debacle. It has at least gotten some pushback from the media because it launched before Labour's manifesto even launched, so how would they know what "the cost of Corbyn" would be? There have been some tech journalists who have followed the ups and downs of the website's url - at first Cost of Corbyn was the first result that would pop up if you googled the Labour Manifesto, but I think Labour has successfully dethroned it in the SEOs.

On the other hand, Labour has been just as fighting back just as hard on social media and on Facebook. One of their biggest initiatives was on WASPI women - Labour spent millions targeting their Facebook WASPI ads on only women above age 55, and their ads link to a website that encourages women to see how much they would be entitled to under Labour. Labour has also released various other "online calculators" based on their 95% no income tax rise proposal.

I have also been consistently impressed by Labour's social media videos, and I'm not the only one. I'm partial to this one, but apparently the Rob Delaney NHS video has been the most popular video in this entire election, even compared to the Tories (especially when they seem to think the Blair Witch Matt Hancock Project videos are not a mess). What's surprising is that more than half of the people who have shared the Rob Delaney video on Facebook have never interacted with a Labour Party Facebook page before, which shows just how much of a crossover success it has been.
posted by facehugger at 3:59 AM on December 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


The WASPI thing is the most naked vote bribe I have ever seen in UK politics I think: A hugely expensive transfer of wealth to people without any reasonable justification. The idea that we should spend £58 billion specifically on making a bunch of already relatively wealthy women wealthier instead of spending that on people who are actually starving and resorting to food banks just to feed their children sticks in my craw. Yes, a small number of women have found themselves in difficult circumstances but that’s what the benefit system is for & I’d far rather than money went into the benefit system in general to help out all of those in real need.

I hate it.
posted by pharm at 5:29 AM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Do you not think those women should receive the compensation they are entitled to?

instead of spending that on people who are actually starving and resorting to food banks just to feed their children

We can do both.
posted by Chaffinch at 5:45 AM on December 3, 2019




No, because they’re not entitled to it: Their pensionable age was raised to the same age as men in /1995/. They had equality with men in terms of ability to work for the entire period in question & have had decades to decide what they were going to do. The whole thing is ludicrous & infantilising and the most obvious vote bribe since George Osbourne launched Help To Buy. (Which was a small fraction of the cost of Labour’s promise to the WASPI women who are still moaning because it doesn’t give them everything they’re asking for.)

Spend the money on people who actually need it, not people moaning that they have to work to the same age as the men. They wanted gender equality? This /is/ gender equality. Jesus wept. (Did I mention that I hate it?)
posted by pharm at 5:58 AM on December 3, 2019


Fine, OK, do we moaners get compensated for things like child-rearing and elder care that might derail some of our prime earning years?
posted by skybluepink at 6:04 AM on December 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Spend the money on people who actually need it

It's not either/or

obvious vote bribe

This could apply to any election pledge
posted by Chaffinch at 6:11 AM on December 3, 2019


Do you not think those women should receive the compensation they are entitled to?

I don't think they're entitled to very much if any compensation, so yes, they should receive the compensation they're entitled to.

In 1995, the state pension age was increased from 60 to 65 for women. This change was to be phased in starting in 2010, fifteen years later. At the time, the oldest women affected would have been 45.

In 2011, the phasing was sped up slightly. This arguably was unfair as some women had their SPA go up by as much as 24 months with only seven years notice.

Specifically 500,000 women born in 1953 and 1954 will have to wait 12 months or longer for their SPA, of those 300,000 will have to wait 18 months or longer, and 33,000 will have to wait 24 months longer. The last group has 7 years to prepare for this, the other groups slightly longer.

Proportionally, two years longer to wait with seven years to prepare could be potentially quite tough.

If the goal of WASPI was to provide some compensation to those women, that would be one thing. What they actually want is compensation that reverses the 1995 SPA increase and that is what Labour has agreed to give them.

That is the richest generation in the UK today, many of them with vast housing wealth being given an enormous amount of money in some cases to compensate them for something they have had 15 years to adapt to.

It's not either/or

On some level it is. Even though Labour is planning to increase spending in many, many areas significantly and to increase taxes to pay for it, something which is quite easy to do in a relatively low-tax country like this, that does not mean that spending trade-offs disappear entirely. There is *always* something else that money could be spent on. Unless Labour has exhausted all other areas where that money could be spent in this country to alleviate poverty, increase productivity, improve public services, whatever - it still either/or.

It is, however, quite effective politics and I think with some groups an extremely effective vote getter so I understand from a political if not a policy point of view why they want to do this.
posted by atrazine at 6:22 AM on December 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


I’m in complete agreement that the small cohort who found themselves on the wrong end of the 2011 changes should be helped btw. The idea that all of the changes should be completely rolled back is what I find incomprehensible. Could Labour really find nothing else that would make a greater impact on people’s lives to spend £58billion on? It just feels immoral to me.
posted by pharm at 6:29 AM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]




Grangousier, that's hilarious!
posted by mumimor at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2019


(I want to point out that the "I" there, isn't me, but the person who wrote the thread of which that's the first sentence, who also isn't me. I just realised it's ambiguous.)

(It is hilarious, though - it seems that the current Tory policy is to not turn up.)
posted by Grangousier at 12:07 PM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


"There's no such thing as government, governments are just people."

The true legacy of Thatcher lives on.
posted by entity447b at 12:58 PM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


This particular government doesn't seem especially just.
posted by Grangousier at 1:05 PM on December 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


"There's no such thing as government, governments are just people."

The true legacy of Thatcher lives on.


Thatcher there making a Dril tweet before the internet even existed
posted by Chaffinch at 12:31 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


"There's no such thing as government, governments are just people."

Wait, is this an official Tory position?
posted by Harald74 at 2:24 AM on December 4, 2019


Given that we've only seen it from a local Councillor, no.
posted by Dysk at 2:27 AM on December 4, 2019


Wait, is this an official Tory position?

I think it's more the emergence of half-considered and philosophically incoherent ideological positions and prejudices into the harsh light of public opinion. So, no.

And, in some weird way (as that about describes most stuff that's poured like toxic waste from government mouthpieces over the last few years), yes.
posted by Grangousier at 2:35 AM on December 4, 2019


First Dog on the Moon:
IT'S TIME TO STOP SOOKING ABOUT JEREMY CORBYN AND GET TO WORK ELECTING A GOVERNMENT THAT ISN'T TRYING TO ERADICATE POVERTY BY KILLING ALL THE POOR PEOPLE!!

The world is in terrible peril. Boris and his dull-eyed crew of trumpesque grifters are exactly the kind of people who got us here.

It is well past time to do something about it (if it is even possible).

We have to believe that it is possible.
Puts his finger right on it. Which is a good trick, dogs having no fingers.
posted by flabdablet at 4:45 AM on December 4, 2019 [12 favorites]


The Progressive Economy Forum has an Analysis of Party Manifesto Pledges (Full PDF).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:05 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


A few more links.

UK Polling Report: How not to interpret opinion polls.

Flip Chart Fairy Tales: Whatever happened to The Debt?
The Debt was a really Bad Thing ten years ago. The sheer hugeness of it was going to drag the country down, cripple the economy, turn us into a pariah on the international markets and bankrupt the country...

Ten years ago a debt-to-GDP ratio of 60 percent was going to cripple us. Nowadays, it seems, 80 percent is nothing to worry about. Politicians in both the main parties are now so relaxed about it that they are happy to see it grow again.
Chris Dillow: The Tories shrinking class base:
...whilst the Tories have an overall lead of nine percentage points, they trail Labour by 57%-21% among 18-24 year-olds and lead by only 39%-36% among ABC1s*. By contrast, in 1992 – when their overall lead was very similar - they led 54%-22% among ABC1s and trailed Labour by only three points among 18-24 year-olds.
And someone who's heroically waded through Boris Johnson's novel points out that it's full of anti-semitic tropes like a shady character called Sammy Katz who has "eyes like an unblinking snake" and "proud nose and curly hair".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:41 AM on December 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


“It’s the oldest human problem, Lyra, an’ it’s the difference between good and evil. Evil can be unscrupulous, and good can’t. Evil has nothing to stop it doing what it wants, while good has one hand tied behind its back. To do the things it needs to do to win, it’d have to become evil to do ’em.”
― Philip Pullman, The Secret Commonwealth
posted by flabdablet at 6:48 AM on December 4, 2019 [13 favorites]




The Debt was a really Bad Thing ten years ago. The sheer hugeness of it was going to drag the country down, cripple the economy, turn us into a pariah on the international markets and bankrupt the country...

It's axiomatic that the Tories are the party that's best at Managing The Economy. Their Brexit is the economically responsible method for achieving those aims.

Also, debt is only ever bad if Labour runs it up.

I'm frankly surprised that people seem unaware of these fundamental economic principles.
posted by flabdablet at 10:59 AM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


"I'm frankly surprised that people seem unaware of these fundamental economic principles."
Not that surprising, really. We didn't go to the right schools.
posted by aleph at 4:33 PM on December 4, 2019 [4 favorites]




For all their myriad faults, at least the LibDems have refused to sit on the fence on trans issues.

(To be fair, the Labour manifesto seems pretty unequivocal too, I was kind of worried the Terf brigade had got to them for a while.)
posted by pharm at 1:27 AM on December 5, 2019


Warning on that link for twitter being a complete cesspool of transphobes.
posted by Dysk at 1:37 AM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


Yeah. Sorry about that :( Wasn’t sure whether the mention the replies or not.
posted by pharm at 1:42 AM on December 5, 2019


Good on the Lib Dems though. That's definitely more comprehensive than the Labour manifesto - GRA reforms (explicitly to remove the problematic aspects, since on its own, "GRA reform" could mean giving the TERFs what they want) and recognising non-binary identities (including the X option for passports). The bit about schools is pretty important too, and something that's often not the focus of a lot of activism.
posted by Dysk at 1:54 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Compare with Labour making an effort to appease TERFs while also promising some (more limited) GRA reforms. They've since doubled down on their TERF-friendly position.
posted by Dysk at 1:58 AM on December 5, 2019


Yeah, the Terfs inside Labour are clearly working to roll back the manifesto commitments :(
posted by pharm at 2:10 AM on December 5, 2019


Cassetteboy vs Boris Johnson
posted by rory at 5:11 AM on December 5, 2019 [9 favorites]


7 Days.....

Autonomy.work rates each party manifesto on workplace and industrial strategy

New Labour Video Ad

England’s Tightest Marginal: Southampton

'Honk': Creators of Untitled Goose Game urge fans to vote Labour
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 AM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hi, sorry, I know we seem a bit touchy but right now my Twitter feed and my Facebook feed are both basically choc-a-bloc with WHY YOU MUST BACK JEREMY AND IF YOU DON'T YOU'RE A MONSTER TORY TRAITOR posts and I, for one, being a bit ambivalent at best am getting quite ground down by it and to be honest at this point we don't really need your help. Thanks.
posted by Grangousier at 7:41 AM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]




> Here's my Vote for policies result.

The overall results are interesting. I know it's self selecting for people who care about policies, but still.
posted by lucidium at 11:57 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Thanks, The Whelk, for that really interesting link about Southampton Itchen.
posted by paduasoy at 4:56 PM on December 5, 2019


Jo Maugham articulates perfectly why I, a Stroud voter, just voted Green in a Tory/Lab marginal. I refuse to prop up the two-party system and wish others would do the same.
posted by vacapinta at 12:13 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


vacapinta I’m with you. As Maugham says “I care not about the views of those who think they can hate their way to a better world.”
posted by dudleian at 12:24 AM on December 6, 2019


Work for the better World. But live in the one you're in.
posted by aleph at 1:25 AM on December 6, 2019


I wanted to vote Labour, but last night I agreed to a vote swap with a colleague: I'm voting Lib Dem in my constitutuency, he's a Lib Dem voter who's voting Labour in his.

Everyone's entitled to vote how they want.

But we're both non-white people living in the UK, and are actually going to suffer from a fanatically extremist Tory party forming a majority government in the UK, so we're going against our ideal preferences.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:39 AM on December 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


Sadly FPTP forces that choice on most of us TheophileEscargot :(

Meanwhile Johnson has confirmed that he will not be interviewed by Andrew Neil. Will Corbyn bring it up tonight? I’d hope so - it’s an open goal surely?
posted by pharm at 3:07 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


HAHAHAHAHAH
posted by lalochezia at 12:15 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Made the mistake of watching the leader's debate on the BBC just now. I'd forgotten just how frustrating it is. Answer the damn question, both of you! Gnnn...
posted by Dysk at 1:31 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, watched it too. I think Corbyn was better about not just auto-pivoting to three-word soundbites, but in any case the whole palaver has given me even more of a sinking feeling.

"Well, um, y'know..." is going to win this election for a worthless, untrustworthy individual who won't dare articulate or advance his positions, but will claim to hold a 5+ year mandate for the horrors to come.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:39 PM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Interesting that the debate set appears to have been a TARDIS interior rejected by the sixth doctor for being too garish.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:04 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


British diplomat in US resigns, saying she can't 'peddle half-truths' on Brexit
“I have been increasingly dismayed by the way in which our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and trade-offs which Brexit involves; the use of misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications of the various options before us; and some behaviour towards our institutions, which, were it happening in another country, we would almost certainly as diplomats have received instructions to register our concern,”
posted by mumimor at 10:12 PM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]


Interesting that the debate set appears to have been a TARDIS interior rejected by the sixth doctor for being too garish.

Good evening and welcome to the BBC. The theme for this election is HEXAGONS...
posted by Dysk at 12:26 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]




Here's the actual report from Friends of the Earth with a bit more detail, and a link to a PDF with a full breakdown of their methodology.
posted by Dysk at 2:20 AM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


British diplomat in US resigns, saying she can't 'peddle half-truths' on Brexit

It seems very generous to imply they contain as much as 50% truth.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


In 90 seats where the Tories lead Lab-Lib-SNP-Plaid-Grn vote is bigger than the Tory vote. Not all of these are realistic but in 19, that gap is greater than 10 points. Of the 19 about 6 are embarrassing - Kensington, Ynys Mon, Wimbledon, Finchley, Putney, and CoL.

I'm so freaking tired, you guys.

I was optimistic for a long time, especially since Labour/Momentum have unveiled some absolutely world-class, revolutionary organizing tools (very much worth composing a Mefi post about after the election) and have used them to deploy canvassing in quality and quantity that this country has never seen before. It was a significant part of the huge 2017 Labour swing, and I couldn't see how it wouldn't work its magic again.

But the disparity between the fired up canvassers and the constant middling poll numbers are increasingly infuriating me, because they show just how much the Labour leadership have cut off the legs of what could have been a truly nation-shaking social movement. Over and over again, canvassers are saying that, on the doorstep, Corbyn is a bigger issue than Brexit - that this election could be pretty much summed up in terms of whether one hates Corbyn or Brexit more. I see hundreds of these kids, so full of passion and fire and hope, trying so hard to meet with people where they are. Many have spent days, if not weeks, traveling to the remotest parts of the country, walking down every single street, talking to every person they meet, communicating again and again with Labour's manifesto and why it matters to people's lives, and laying out clearly and persuasively why we need a second referendum instead of a bad Tory Brexit.

Labour/Momentum have to push these organizers to the absolute max, because each one of them are doing the job that the Labour leadership should have done. If the Labour leadership had been decisive with their second referendum decision from the beginning, if they had executed disciplined, clear communication of their Brexit position and their manifesto pledges, if they had been alert to the structural changes that were breaking up party attachment in their Northern and Midland heartlands and acted on these issues ASAP, then we wouldn't need to waste the energy of thousands of organizers in explaining why universal broadband would actually be useful or what Labour's Brexit position was again. Yes, TheophileEscargot, social media and the mainstream media have poisoned Corbyn's popularity, but a large part of why this has been so successful is that Corbyn has allowed space for that poison. There have been innumerable times where Corbyn could have clear with Labour's positions, but either he's disappeared and let McDonnell brave the morning shows, or when he is in the spotlight, he's evasive, snippy, and waffling.

If you're trying to sell something hard left, you need to go above and beyond to reassure people, and that requires communication hegemony, discipline, clarity, and leadership. I think of New Labour's pledge cards - I don't see why we couldn't have similarly focused and crystal clear messaging coupled with hard left policies.

It also requires long term strategy and coalition building, and this is another way that Labour has shot itself in the foot. To go back to the tweet quoted at the top, I am enormously frustrated that the decisiveness and clarity that Labour lost in deciding their Brexit position has only resurfaced in consistently ruling out an anti-Tory alliance and pursuing an offensive instead of defensive campaigning strategy. I understand their probable reasons - they were initially bullish based on their 2017 success, and they've sold themselves as a party resistant to others watering down the hardness of their policies (especially if it's watering down by a Lib Dem coalition). But in doing so, I can't see how they hadn't just lost the election from the very moment it was called. The dynamic of the 2017 election was that the Tories hoovered up the Leave vote and Labour hoovered up the Remain vote, and the exact same dynamic is happening now, except the Remain vote has been fragmented. Unfortunately this is such a left-fringe thing to do, to spend more energy lashing out and differentiating themselves instead of building the coalitions and worthy compromises to achieve and hold onto power. Corbyn's Labour has done a fantastic job pushing the political Overton window to the left - every party is at least paying lip service to the idea of ending austerity with large, Keynesian cash infusions. But Labour is still acting and politicking like it's 2015.

The one phrase that I've been coming back to these days is abdication of responsibility. I see these crowds of canvassers, often these crowds of kids, trying to shoulder the weight of this thrown-away responsibility on their small shivering shoulders. And what should be the most heartening phenomenon of this campaign becomes among the most heart-breaking.
posted by facehugger at 9:12 PM on December 7, 2019 [14 favorites]


Facehugger, you're making a fundamental mistake if you think Corbyn's team failed to communicate their position. People want to imagine that Labour is anti-Brexit, because that would be both sane and consistent with Socialist principles. But Corbyn is the Leader of the Opposition and as far as I can see he has never changed his position on anything in his life. Corbyn is pro-Brexit and always has been. When people accuse him of waffling they're being wilfully blind: he wants Brexit; he wants the dissolution of at least the NI part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; he wants the UK, or what's left of it, out of the Western alliance. He has said as much over and over again.

See also, "why doesn't Jeremy just communicate his views on antisemitism".
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:24 PM on December 7, 2019


Joe in Australia, I don't think I'm making a fundamental mistake at all, because while it may be clear that Corbyn is a Lexiter, it has not been clear about whether the Labour Party is. Just read this article, or this one, to see how Corbyn's indecisiveness and incoherence, much more than his Eurosceptism, has damaged the Labour Party. This is beyond Corbyn, this is also a failure of the entire Labour leadership to do basic political strategy and basic communication/PR.

I'm not talking about Corbyn's individual positions and I rarely do because what is more relevant are the positions of the whole Labour Party. My comment was mostly about the party. As a party, Labour has been terrible in defining what its position is, saying vague stuff for years while letting individual MPs declare their own specific intentions. This is a party failing. You can say that this waffling is because Corbyn is himself a Brexiteer but I disagree - even up to last year there was political acceptance of the soft Brexit of Corbyn's dreams, but there is never political space for waffling itself. It matters less what his position is, and more that he did not have the conviction to execute it - he did not decide what the party's position should be as fast as he should have - he instead decided what the party's decision should be at the last possible moment, right before this election.

My criticism is not mainly of his personal beliefs, which I disagree with, it's that his continual poor leadership has lead to the party having a break down in its communication and trust to the public.
posted by facehugger at 10:50 PM on December 7, 2019 [3 favorites]


Similarly to Labour's anti-Semitism problem, this is a systemic issue and should not just be debated within the narrow confines of "Jeremy Corbyn's personal anti-Semitism." Yes, Corbyn is Leader of the Labour Party, but ultimately his willful blindness to widespread cultural acceptance of anti-Semitism was continually allowed and propagated by all levels in the party. We need to look at how the Labour leadership enshrined in anti-Semitism in ordinary bureaucracy and why so few gatekeepers challenged it. This is a far more relevant line of inquiry than all the times Corbyn complimented Hamas before he became LOTO.

You cannot discuss the entirety of
the Labour Party's systemic anti-Semitism by pointing at Corbyn's individual beliefs and individual actions, just as you cannot absolve the systemic anti-Semitism by pointing at Corbyn's individual beliefs and individual actions.
posted by facehugger at 11:00 PM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


Mods and etc, can I suggest having a moratorium on discussing Corbyn's personal beliefs for this thread?

It very quickly devolves into inflammatory language and blanket statements that read like condemnation and mockery of all Labour supporters, and it always leads to individual Mefites feeling like they have to defend ourselves/Corbyn in similarily inflammatory tones.

I think we should keep our focus on a systemic view, e.g Corbyn's leadership issues, the lack of independent oversight over anti-Semitic cases, the Labour Party's shifting positions on Brexit and its poor communication skills.

A systemic view is less inflammatory but also much more accurate as to how the Labour Party/Parliament has gotten into this mess.
posted by facehugger at 11:29 PM on December 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


facehugger thanks for your excellent post.

I don’t have an issue with the Labour manifesto, but there is just so much of it. A program that large would be hard (!) to implement in a single parliament under normal circumstances, but at the same time as Brexit (and clearing up the structural damage of the past 10 years)? What are the priorities, the guiding principles, what will get done first, and how will we know if it’s succeeded?

But ultimately the manifesto isn’t the issue. As you say, it’s the failure to come up with an alternative to the right wing Brexit narrative. Labour had excellent attack lines recently on the Tory plans for the NI / Ireland / rUK border, but they got no traction because they couldn’t say what they’d do instead. The biggest move in the Overton window has been from “leave means Norway” (espoused even by Farage at the time of the referendum) to “leave now with no deal” as engineered pretty much unopposed by the ERG and BxP.

I respect your request to not discuss Corbyn’s personal qualities. My point would be that my reservations about him parallel my reservations about the royal family: the problems are less to do with the individuals concerned than the uncritical and structural deference of some who support them.
posted by dudleian at 12:56 AM on December 8, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't think Facehugger's request is coherent. Corbyn is the Leader and we can't discuss (e.g.) Labour's present incoherence on Brexit without reference to his past and his personal qualities. Take the NI border as an example. Dudleian says
Labour had excellent attack lines recently on the Tory plans for the NI / Ireland / rUK border, but they got no traction because they couldn’t say what they’d do instead.
How can we discuss this without acknowledging that Corbyn is a longtime supporter of a unified Ireland? Nobody who wants a united Ireland would call for a customs border dividing NI from the Irish Republic; but Corbyn doesn't want to come out and say that he supports an internal British border. The obvious answer to this unpalatable dilemma is to drop Brexit, but Corbyn won't do that either. Consequently, the Party is paralysed from the neck down.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:45 AM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Come on! This again?

The obvious answer to this unpalatable dilemma is to drop Brexit, but Corbyn won't do that either.

Corbyn CAN'T drop Brexit.
Corbyn does not make policy.
The official Labour party policy is to renew trident. Corbyn absolutely hates nuclear weapons, but he doesn't have the power to change that policy.
But sure... Brexit is the thing he's gonna force.

Facehugger is talking absolute sense when they say we should talk about Labour as a whole.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:09 AM on December 8, 2019 [5 favorites]


[Joe in Australia, you've been very clear about your objections to Corbyn, but it's not your place to insist on how British members must discuss British politics. Please back off that.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:38 AM on December 8, 2019 [14 favorites]


The tactical voting sites are advising me to vote Labour (a swing from the LD recommendations earlier in the campaign), so I guess that's what I'll be doing, while fully expecting that more than half the votes cast in my constituency will yet again go to the Conservatives anyway.

My perspective, as someone who has never voted Labour before, is that the FPTP system is now forcing me to vote for a party that's let me down and let the country down, by forming an Opposition that has apparently chosen, over and over, not to represent the interests of the half of the electorate that the Government also has not cared to represent.

There are plenty of things to like in the manifesto, the local candidate seems a decent sort, and I guess I do trust that they actually would hold a referendum on the deal that they eventually ended up with... and I'd rather have Labour in power than the Tories. But I truly do resent having to vote for them after the way they've handled the last three and a half years.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:52 AM on December 9, 2019 [7 favorites]


I think there’s one last big poll being published in the run up to the election, so check the sites last thing for any updates.
posted by pharm at 5:12 AM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


Several conservative candidates are also now being investigated for antisemitism. I will be interested to see how quickly and thoroughly these investigations are carried out.

(Also Nigel Farage has many very unsavoury associations with anti-Semites and was on a radio show with a guy who thinks the Trump impeachment is a "Jew Plot" but that won't surprise anyone, we all know he's a scumbag)
posted by atrazine at 6:10 AM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Rough summary of events today, for those not following:

- The Daily Mirror's front page story was a photo of a four year old boy with pneumonia forced to sleep on a hospital floor due to lack of beds.
- An ITV reporter attempted to show the photo to the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson took the reporters phone and put it in his pocket.
- Health minister Matt Hancock was dispatched to Leeds to sort out the situation.
- While leaving, he was heckled by a handful of protestors. One of Matt Hancock's aides walked straight into the outstretched, hi-viz clad arm of a protestor.
- The Conservatives immediately put it about that the aide had been punched by a rabid mob of Labour supporters that had been taxied in.
- Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston, head reporters at the BBC and ITV respectively, immediately tweeted this fabrication. "One of them punched Hancocks adviser"
- The tweets have been deleted. Peston has apologised. Kuenssberg is "happy to apologise" but continues to try to justify her posting total shite as "confusion".

There was also some bullshit from Boris about reviewing the BBC's license fee, which is currently not up for review until 2027, though I may review mine before then.
posted by grahamparks at 2:31 PM on December 9, 2019 [7 favorites]


I read the other day that they had agreed to change the review date to 2024, so it wouldn't clash with the election schedule. Pause for hollow laugh.

TBH, after Chris Chibnall took over Dr Who, there's nothing for me on the BBC but Only Connect and Radio 3 on Sundays and Saturday mornings up to 12:30, so I don't know that I'd be that sad to see it go.
posted by Grangousier at 3:39 PM on December 9, 2019


Additionally Tory twitter is abuzz with A LOT of friends of the same senior nursing sister (who apparently doesn't know that no one in Leeds would ever call it Leeds Hospital, an entertaining little shibboleth) who says that it didn't happen and was all staged.

Also several ex-paediatric nurses are all tweeting at a telegraph journalist explaining how it couldn't possibly be true.
All of them using the exact same copy and pasted words.

Apparently the mother (who staged it for political reasons) is angry at Jeremy Corbyn for politicising it.
(Two subsequent tweets from the same person)

It terrifies me. It genuinely terrifies me that so much effort would go to debunking something which seems so thoroughly evidenced. That there is literally nothing you could say to these tory supporters that they wouldn't instantly rationalise or try and debunk.
It terrifies me because... maybe that's me.
Maybe that's me on the other side, not hearing a bad word said against the left. I like to think that I seek out evidence to support my views. But they think that too.
It can't just be two tribes hurling invective at each other. Something must be true. How can I ever believe anything I think?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:34 PM on December 9, 2019 [12 favorites]


Something must be true. How can I ever believe anything I think?

I do it by spending quite a lot of time seeking out and evaluating the quality of evidence that opposes my views.

In my experience, very few conservatives do the same.

In my experience, as in yours apparently, evidence that opposes my political and ecological views turns out, far more often than not, to have been deliberately and not even particularly skilfully fabricated and propagated by some conservative-leaning PR machine with a clear axe to grind.

Promotion of the notion that we are living in a post-truth age, where everything is shapeless and fluid and slanted and nothing is trustworthy, has been a live and ongoing right-wing strategy since the Reagan era. Don't fall for it. It's pernicious horseshit, designed to cause exactly the kind of intellectual terror you're currently experiencing in order to reduce the ability of those opposed to self-serving authoritarian populism to organise ourselves effectively.

People who care about facts have never had more reliable fact-checking resources so ready to hand as we do right now. Use them.
posted by flabdablet at 8:05 PM on December 9, 2019 [10 favorites]


As an aside: I would prefer not to see the process with which the Tory noise machine reacts to inconvenient truths referred to as "debunking". "Bunking" would be closer to the mark.
posted by flabdablet at 8:13 PM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


> "Maybe that's me on the other side, not hearing a bad word said against the left. I like to think that I seek out evidence to support my views. But they think that too."
The important thing is you (and I) realise & worry about that.
> "It can't just be two tribes hurling invective at each other. Something must be true. How can I ever believe anything I think?"
That, of course, has been the whole point of the exercise. (I guess that should be "is", not "has been", since it's ongoing & spreading everywhere in the West).

It never was to have things unfold exactly like 1984. It always was to fast-forward to the last couple of chapters…
posted by Pinback at 8:27 PM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]


It terrifies me because... maybe that's me.
They know exactly what they're doing.
Like a chocolate-smeared narcissist denying all knowledge of what happened to your chocolate.
posted by fullerine at 9:50 PM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


Additionally Tory twitter is abuzz with A LOT of friends of the same senior nursing sister...

It's very much worth reading through the deepish-dive twitter thread by @marcowenjones* on this.

He's also done one on the spread of the claim that a Tory advisor was punched.

Lots of data nerdery, analysis, and graphs.


* Ast Prof Mid East Studies @HBKU | Digital Humanities | PhD @durham_uni | Fellow @ExeterIAI -- per his bio blurb.
posted by Buntix at 11:04 PM on December 9, 2019 [4 favorites]


Like a chocolate-smeared narcissist denying all knowledge of what happened to your chocolate

...confident that if they only do this often enough, enough people to keep them well supplied with the stuff will come to accept that (a) it is normal for everybody to be smeared with chocolate all the time, despite the fact that everybody else you know spends only about 0.0001% of their lives in that condition and (b) chocolate is not really a thing that worth caring about any more.
posted by flabdablet at 11:07 PM on December 9, 2019 [3 favorites]


There was also some bullshit from Boris about reviewing the BBC's license fee

If journalism had the integrity it really should have, "There was also some bullshit from Boris about..." would be the mandatory introduction to his every reported utterance, in much the same way as "...the political wing of the IRA" used to follow every single occurrence of the words "Sinn Féin".
posted by flabdablet at 1:26 AM on December 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


More on the deliberate engineering of cynicism from Hannah Arendt via Nigel Tubbs
This leader is spared from ever having to be accountable to his own statements. Naïve are those who thought then (or believe now) that such a leader would be brought down by his lies, or made to adhere to his promises. ‘The totalitarian system, unfortunately, is fool-proof against such normal consequences; its ingeniousness rests precisely on the elimination of that reality which either unmasks the liar or forces him to live up to his pretence’. In yesterday’s totalitarianism and in today’s totality, the fake dominates. Gullibility embraces the fake, and cynicism embraces gullibility. The totality is immune from truth because the very idea of truth is dissolved within it.
The thing about that fucker Johnson is that he's been using Arendt as an instruction manual.
posted by flabdablet at 2:19 AM on December 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


Original source of the "kid in A&E" story.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:21 AM on December 10, 2019


Woman whose account spread fake news about boy on hospital floor claims she was hacked

Curiouser and curiouser / More and more fucked up. Your choice.
posted by Grangousier at 6:45 AM on December 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah, she says she was hacked. Not at all convinced that's the case, but will wait and see.
posted by skybluepink at 8:03 AM on December 10, 2019




The problem is I wouldn't put it past them to actually hack someone's account, but "I was hacked" is also great cover in that it's basically impossible to prove false but completely exonerates you.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:15 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's the first line of defence for every shitty person who gets busted saying shitty things. Unless you're the Prime Minister, and you're being asked about your shitty novel full of racism, sexism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, among other horrible things, in which case you call it satire.
posted by skybluepink at 8:20 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


What would have happened if nobody had been filming Hancock going to his car? The fact that so many senior journalists leapt to regurgitate the story given to them by a "Tory source" before checking it is nauseating. Then a bot storm copy-pasting a fake story to sow doubt.

All to stop the Prime Minister from being scrutinised and to stop people talking about a sick child.
posted by Chaffinch at 8:43 AM on December 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Increasing talk of a hung Parliament.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:21 PM on December 10, 2019 [2 favorites]


Something I had not fully contemplated about an election this week, is that it will be so fresh in everybody's minds when it comes to family reunions at Christmas. Normally, the particular line of propagandist ordure that caused your crypto-fascist uncle to vote Tory yet again, and then boast about it, would be mercifully forgotten by the time everybody is assembled around the dinner table. Not this time, folks.
posted by rongorongo at 11:29 PM on December 10, 2019




Minister hints Tories could crack down on tactical voting campaigns. Vote tactically while you still can.

(I gathered up a few thoughts on the election on my site instead of writing a long comment for this thread.)
posted by rory at 2:22 AM on December 11, 2019


Well, obviously they're in favour of free and fair elections where anyone over the age of 18 is able to vote for whoever they like as long as they can produce a valid Conservative Party membership card.
posted by Grangousier at 2:37 AM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Oh, and we finally have the new word to describe Michael Gove, and that word is "stong".
posted by Grangousier at 2:40 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Boris Johnson hides in fridge.

Doo-dah, doo-dah.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:16 AM on December 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


The fact Labour will probably (and rightly) extend voting to EU citizens makes this election critical to the mid-term survival of the Tories as a viable majority-government party.

I'm not sure how I feel about that (as someone who would gain voting rights from it). In virtually all countries around the world, voting in national elections is restricted to citizens only. Although to be fair, the UK is already an exception in that commonwealth citizens can vote here.
posted by atrazine at 3:34 AM on December 11, 2019


The real solution of course is to grant British citizenship to those who desire it and are entitled to it. For many, the remaining hurdle is the enormous application fee (£1330 per person at this time) and even the costs of registration.

You'd think they were actively trying to discourage people.
posted by vacapinta at 4:30 AM on December 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


To be fair, they're only trying to discourage foreigners.
posted by flabdablet at 4:41 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Except that some countries still bar dual citizenship, and (had I the choice) I certainly wouldn't want to be putting all my eggs in this particular basket just for the sake of being able to vote in FPTP national elections.

I think I'd support extending the franchise to anyone with indefinite leave to remain, not just citizens.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:43 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


we finally have the new word to describe Michael Gove, and that word is "stong"

You can say what you like about Gove, but at least he made the tains run on time
posted by flabdablet at 4:59 AM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


just for the sake of being able to vote in FPTP national elections

Does anybody else's brain insist on pronouncing that initialism as "fupped up"?
posted by flabdablet at 5:03 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Does anybody else's brain insist on pronouncing that initialism as "fupped up"?

Well, mine didn't, but it does now, and I thank you for it.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:09 AM on December 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


Except that some countries still bar dual citizenship, and (had I the choice) I certainly wouldn't want to be putting all my eggs in this particular basket just for the sake of being able to vote in FPTP national elections.

Yes, mine is one of those and I wouldn't make that trade.
posted by atrazine at 6:19 AM on December 11, 2019


Welp, I've signed up to spend tomorrow going round with door-knocking teams, ready to give an excruciating personal perspective on the US healthcare system, which has impoverished my parents and ruined their lives.
posted by skybluepink at 6:34 AM on December 11, 2019 [11 favorites]




Rafael Behr: It is just about possible, for one day more at least, to imagine a Britain that is spared the lunacy of Brexit, and a Labour party no longer in thrall to Corbyn. But the combination defies electoral probability. Those of us who wish for it must be reconciled to a darker prospect. We live with the undertow of sadness and dread. We are braced for that feeling, like seeing callous hands rummaging in a private drawer where a delicate, tangled identity is stored and pulling at the threads. It feels like exile.
posted by rory at 6:50 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Laura K, as Dominic Raab did the other day, admits to having seen postal votes and comments on them.

I don't believe a word she says, Labour could be 90% on the Tories and she'd still say this but this is illegal right? Are there repercussions?
posted by Chaffinch at 6:51 AM on December 11, 2019


Spreadsheet of registered voter counts, found via this article. Turns out my constituency, highlighted in the article as an anomaly, has seen one of the highest rises in the country, at 11% (nearly 7k new voters). Sadly, as the article also points out, the Tory majority here is more than 17k, so even if they all vote the same non-Conservative way, it likely won't be enough.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:56 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


According to some discussion of this on PoliticalBetting, no one is allowed to reveal actual vote tallies, but council workers do see the votes as they process them and so candidates (or their representatives) often receive hints of approximately how the postal votes are piling up before the actual count.

It would be better if postal votes were sealed inside a second envelope so that no one could see the vote.
posted by pharm at 7:29 AM on December 11, 2019


The Conservatives are right to fear the possibility of a hung parliament.

BAME activists letter: We stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he always stood with us: "No other British politician in recent memory has been so dedicated to working with us in our communities, in order to overturn racism and achieve justice for those of us facing oppression and injustices."

The Tory party is so dependent on big money it now represents only a tiny elite.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:39 AM on December 11, 2019


It would be better if postal votes were sealed inside a second envelope so that no one could see the vote.

I proxy postal voted for my brother and the ballot was placed inside two envelopes - one to declare it was a proxy vote and one to actually post it. I don’t know if regular postal votes include the second envelope.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:45 AM on December 11, 2019


American Prospect: on the ground with the Labour doorknockers and activist groups (Shoutout the group names Gays and Lesbians Support The Migrants and Bum Boys Against Boris.)
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Postal vote ballots are sealed within a second envelope so that the person verifying the vote cannot see how you have voted.

They do open the envelopes before election day, and are instructed to keep the paper face down where possible. You can sometimes see the vote if they've folded it the wrong way, used a massive marker to put a cross, etc. but there is definitely no way whatsoever to use that to get real information about how the vote is going.
posted by atrazine at 8:46 AM on December 11, 2019


Peter Oborne: Boris Johnson wants to destroy the Britain I love. I cannot vote Conservative :
I’ve been a loyal Conservative voter. Until very recently, I’d exclusively worked for Conservative-leaning publications: the Telegraph, Mail, London Evening Standard, Express and Spectator. Most of my friends and relations are Conservative. But I cannot vote Conservative tomorrow.

Something horrible has happened. The Conservative party lies. It cheats. It bullies...

...many traditional Conservatives have left or been driven out of the party, including David Gauke, Rory Stewart, Amber Rudd, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Matthew Parris and many others. Former prime minister John Major’s public call not to vote for Johnson was particularly powerful.

The media makes little of this. The denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn by Ian Austin, a Labour politician of negligible importance who had already left the party, got far more coverage than the cry of despair from a former Tory prime minister...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:02 PM on December 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


Oborne was just on Channel 4, naming names. He is all out of fucks to give, and he's not being weaselly about it and tossing his vote away to make a statement: He's voting Labour.
posted by skybluepink at 1:13 PM on December 11, 2019 [8 favorites]


...many traditional Conservatives have left or been driven out of the party, including David Gauke, Rory Stewart, Amber Rudd, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Matthew Parris and many others. Former prime minister John Major’s public call not to vote for Johnson was particularly powerful.

The difference between those people and the current leadership is that they're actual small-c conservatives. They like this country more-or-less the way it is. The current Conservative party leadership are right wing revolutionaries. They have no reverence or affection for British institutions. No care for parliament, for the independent judiciary, no respect for the sovereign, no affection for the union, no feeling of pride for the BBC. Occupied by a foreign power, we might expect more respect for tradition from our provincial governor that we see from this howling pack of swine.

The only remotely sane one in the cabinet is Matt Hancock and he's been selected to climb into the wicker goat of the NHS.
posted by atrazine at 1:52 PM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm old enough to remember why those guys suck, but I tell you, I wish those fuckers were typical of my current political enemies.
posted by skybluepink at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


Fingers crossed that your country resolves *something* today. Even if the result isn't one you like, it's got to be less soul-sapping than the last 3 years…
posted by Pinback at 5:06 PM on December 11, 2019


Have you met the Tories? Even if you think you’ve no more soul to sap they manage to sap it anyway. They’re world champion soulsappers.
posted by Grangousier at 5:18 PM on December 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


Yes. We've even grown our own down here, on some imported religious soil. Still, it's easier to face existential challenges rather than existential dread.
posted by Pinback at 5:22 PM on December 11, 2019


Ladies and gentlemen, non-binaries and polymorphs, here we go.

The latest and, I think, last poll has no majority. Well, perhaps. But it looks bad for Johnson getting a big majority, and if you think the Tories are united behind the man then boy, have I got a manifesto to sell you.

Prediction: if not another hung parliament, then one which quickly moves to the equivalent due to infighting under Johnson. The man has run a terrible, no-good, awful campaign, and even if he gets the numericals to form a government he'll run that in a terrible, no-good, awful way.

It's an idiot who predicts anything, so guilty. But vote tomorrow, vote for the sanest option you can find, and do what I'm going to do and drink heavily with like-minded friends as the results come in.

We can regroup on the other side. The fight goes on. Keep the faith.
posted by Devonian at 5:45 PM on December 11, 2019 [14 favorites]


Good luck, all. We are pulling for you.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:26 PM on December 11, 2019 [8 favorites]


Dunno if I mentioned it here before (CTRL-F suggests not) and it's a little thing amongst all the other lies, misrepresentations and distractions of this contrived election, but seeing Nicky Morgan routinely put forward as one of the few acceptable-face-of-Conservatism, spin-spin-sugar talking heads when she isn't even standing at this election, has no accountability and anything she says can be trivially disavowed by an incoming Johnson government is an absolute joke. Of course the real fucking joke is that no single interviewer or commentator seems to call out the fact - cowardly, credulous, enabling shits that they are.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:44 PM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


it's easier to face existential challenges rather than existential dread

Yeah, I dunno. Personally I would rather live with a bit of dread than have to spend all my time actually fighting for my fucking life.

The UK is in my thoughts and prayers today, for what they're worth.
posted by flabdablet at 9:32 PM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


6:00 am, and I'm fuelling up and heading off to GOTV. Game on, comrades!
posted by skybluepink at 10:06 PM on December 11, 2019 [8 favorites]


Russ: Please retweet this.
19 seats can be taken from the Tories with a 1% swing.
A further 42 are winnable with a swing of 5%
I've listed all 61 seats and the #TacticalVote advice

(But also check https://tactical.vote/compare cos the advice might have been updated).
Good luck everybody, its going to be a long day!
posted by rongorongo at 10:30 PM on December 11, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oborne:
Something horrible has happened. The Conservative party lies. It cheats. It bullies. It’s not the wise, gentle, decent party of the postwar era.
Those of us who still have clear memories of the Thatcher era could perhaps pause for a moment and reflect a little on how just how much worse Johnson would have to be in order to dislodge a set of eye scales that apparently managed to remain firmly affixed throughout her reign of terror.
posted by flabdablet at 10:36 PM on December 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


I hope you succeed in ousting Johnson. I have more to say, but you’re way more affected and don’t need yet another person who’s not there telling you how important it is.

Also, I’m sorry that FPTP is such a bullshit system and that some of you will end up voting in ways with which you disagree because the alternative is so catastrophic.
posted by frimble at 10:56 PM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Voted. Lib Dem as promised though I prefer Labour. Polling Station seemed busy but I don't usually vote so soon after opening time. There were two entrances, went in through a massive puddle, then noticed there was a dry one 20 feet away. Come on, let's do this! Also you might want to thank the polling staff for coming out for 7AM on a rainy winter day.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:22 PM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Sent in my instruction to my proxy vote as I'm away for at the moment. Had to hold my nose, but while my constituency is not one of the extreme marginals, it is marginal enough that I don't want to risk voting my actual preference and helping let in the Tories or dousing any final flicker of hope for a second referendum. Here's hoping despair is staved off for another little while...
posted by tavegyl at 11:36 PM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, well, I know every day it's someone's birthday, but today is mine. Be kind, universe.
posted by tavegyl at 11:40 PM on December 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


Despite the various and unnecessary hoops I had to jump through (bureacracy, incompetence, voter suppression, I don't know) managed to postal vote. It won't do any good, being a safe Tory seat led by a repellant being, but a vote is a vote.

Continuing to avoid, and not miss, the wall-to-wall election coverage by wandering around Sweden and eating lussekatt* instead. I have not yet bought a return flight ticket back.

* Other cakes, confectionary and pastries are available. Except when I'm in the near vicinity.
posted by Wordshore at 11:44 PM on December 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Are we going to use this as the discussion post for election results or was anyone planning to start a new one?
posted by Major Clanger at 12:29 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have voted and would also vote for a new FPP. Also against FPTP.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:45 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Big choices to make today everyone. Hope you make the right one!
posted by Chaffinch at 12:52 AM on December 12, 2019


Waiting to go out door-knocking. The weather forecast has improved!
posted by skybluepink at 12:55 AM on December 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Good luck skybluepink! What kind of constituency are you in?
posted by Chaffinch at 1:03 AM on December 12, 2019


Posted my vote in for Alyn Smith (a.k.a. the leave a light on guy) a few weeks back, the polls seem to be suggesting that he'll win the seat from the current tory, here's hoping...
posted by Buntix at 1:03 AM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Morning all! I haven't posted in these threads much, but I have been reading them avidly. Just voted Labour in what has historically been a fairly safe Labour seat. Let's show Johnson he can't have it all his own way.
posted by altolinguistic at 1:09 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Posted my vote in for Alyn Smith (a.k.a. the leave a light on guy)

He would be such an asset in Parliament.
posted by rory at 1:10 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Good luck with wind and weather to everyone braving the cold, wet outside to vote today.
posted by Dysk at 1:21 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


+1 for starting a new election thread. Updates are going to come thick and fast tonight and having a new FPP thread will help increase visibility for everyone who isn't tracking this one!
posted by adrianhon at 1:45 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I asked because I'd do it myself but I'm a bit busy and my FPP would be 'The UK is having its third General Election in five years'; I expect someone can do much better than that and wouldn't want to get in their way!
posted by Major Clanger at 2:03 AM on December 12, 2019


I am a horrible filthy foreigner living in the UK. Please vote for those of us who can't.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:14 AM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Likewise, I'm a British citizen who left the country so long ago they won't let me vote any more.

Please make your voice heard today!
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:36 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


If no-one's made an FPP by this evening I'll have a go but I'd be very happy for someone else to do it! One useful link:

Guardian: What time will we know who won? Hour-by-hour election night guide
posted by adrianhon at 2:47 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Just voted Labour in Southampton Itchen. Tories won by 31 votes last time. 31 votes! I've voted twice (proxy vote for family member). It is horrible weather here. Both polling stations were busy-ish though no queue.

Another FPP would be good and doesn't need to be perfect or even any more than a blank space for us to pour our hopes, dreams, rage and despair into.
posted by paduasoy at 3:34 AM on December 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Good luck from France, please find a way to beat Johnson and then cancel Brexit.
posted by anzen-dai-ichi at 3:41 AM on December 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Though we do have the Frankie Boyle post which could just become the official election post. It only has 44 comments at the moment. "We'll change the world, bit by bit, so nobody will notice it ... "
posted by paduasoy at 3:59 AM on December 12, 2019


Voted Lib Dem in South Cambs this morning. It has been a safe Tory seat but it also had a strong Remain vote. The Lib Dems and the Tories have been leafleting heavily here. The Lib Dems think they might be able to swing the seat and the Tories desperately don't want to lose it.

I don't know how the vote will go here. I work and socialise with people who are strongly Remain and generally anti-Tory but I have no idea how the wider public feel in this part of Cambridgeshire.
posted by antiwiggle at 4:26 AM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Just spent the morning knocking on doors in the pouring rain. I'm in Birkenhead North, but I campaigned for Margaret Greenwood in Wirral West. She took a tradionally Tory seat off of Esther McVey two elections back, and both her elections have been close. The big fight in Birky North is between the foul former Labour right winger Frank Field and the real Labour candidate Mick Whitely. Field is vile, but he's an independent, and he's mostly ok on stuff like Universal Credit, although I would LOVE to see him bounced out of his seat, so after I warm up and dry off, I might go down and bang on doors for Mick as well. Wirral West is the seat at greater direct risk from the Tories, so that's where I went.

I went out in the first crew, so a lot of people were obviously at work, but we mostly got a friendly reception when we did make contact. This is a very small sample size, and about half of the time I was canvassing on a pretty impoverished council estate, but the Brexit voters I talked to are still voting Labour because fuck the Tories, what have they ever done for the North?
posted by skybluepink at 5:43 AM on December 12, 2019 [10 favorites]


Voted Lib Dem in West Dorset which was Oliver Letwin's seat. Have only briefly glimpsed a flyer for the new Tory candidate and predictably he "believes in Brexit" so fuck him. Generally considered to be a (very) safe Tory seat with 55% of the vote last time but speaking to a few of my Mum's generation, they voted for Letwin in the past because he's a "good Tory" but Johnson and co leave a nasty taste in their mouths so you never know. Unlikely, but hopefully it'll at least be closer this time.
posted by jontyjago at 6:01 AM on December 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


About to go out and vote Labour with my heart in my mouth because I'm only 90% sure the Lib Dems have got the seat.

But I want the anti-austerity party to do well, even if Corbyn's fixing late 80s capitalism, not late 2010s capitalism.

And if anyone has time to campaign in the West Midlands, please go to Birmingham Northfield and help save Richard Burden's seat. Would be an evil Tory one to scalp, and was where I grew up.
posted by ambrosen at 6:28 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


If the LibDems lose you’ll kick yourself ambrosen, but I respect your choice.
posted by pharm at 6:31 AM on December 12, 2019 [1 favorite]




Wordshore, I knew we could rely upon you in our hour of need.
posted by Major Clanger at 7:40 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Wordshore, I knew we could rely upon you in our hour of need.

I only made that FPP because I am constipated (too much low-fibre cake) and there was no reading material in this Swedish restroom and nothing else to do while waiting for ... things to emerge.
posted by Wordshore at 7:47 AM on December 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


☕️ ☕️ ☕️ 🧁 🍰 🎂
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:55 AM on December 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Thank you Wordshore!
posted by adrianhon at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2019


Did my bit for democracy on the way in to work. Is it wrong of me to say that I actually quite enjoyed it? Everybody is very nice and smiley and it feels like joining in with the community, which is unusual for me in my bit of South London.

I actually wouldn't mind voting more often.
posted by Grangousier at 8:25 AM on December 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


I actually wouldn't mind voting more often.

If there's a hung Parliament you may get your wish.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:55 AM on December 12, 2019


OK, so that prediction didn't age well.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:31 PM on December 12, 2019


There's a running gag in Archer, where stuff gets spilt on the floor and Archer or Malory will go "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."

I hear that in my head quite often these days. I hear it when I think about poll results showing 67% Australian support for John Howard's augmented anti-terrorism laws that allow our security services to detain anybody they deem to be a "terrorist suspect" for extended periods in secret and make it a crime to reveal publicly that this has been done. I hear it when I think about the US electing Trump. I heard it when Australia elected Scott from Marketing over the unpopular Australian Labor Party leader with the big manifesto, and I'm hearing it again today.

I wonder how many people were hearing it in the Weimar Republic.

I don't want ants and I find it difficult to understand why so many of my contemporaries apparently do.
posted by flabdablet at 8:00 PM on December 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


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