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  #1  
Old 12-13-2019, 03:41 PM
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Default Get Brexit Done

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Old 12-13-2019, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

Time for a new thread. No more referendums on Brexit, no more elections about Brexit for the short term.

No more interminable juggling of minority parties in Parliament to make any kind of progress, all of it calculated by each party only on whether it will increase that party's power and not on the actual policies. Bozo has won that battle.

Now, all he has to do is Get Brexit Done. And that's a brilliant slogan, which his opponents can and should throw back at him on 1st Feb 2020 (when Britain will be out of the EU but Brexit will not be DONE), and on 1st Jan 2021 (when the interim period will have expired or been extended but Brexit will not be DONE).

Now, it's all up to the Conservatives, minus the ERG and their no-deal fantasies. No excuses for not delivering a good deal, no one else to blame.

So ...

Will this government serve a full term? Yes, not necessarily a full 5 years if they sensibly move the election back to the traditional May, but still 4+ years - most likely May 2024.

Will Britain leave the EU on 31st Jan 2020? Very likely.

Will anything change then? Not really, the interim period starts.

Will a deal ever be reached with the EU that is better than membership? No, but that opinion is what divides the nationalists from the rest of us.

Will any kind of deal be reached by 31st Dec 2020 and will the interim period end then? Unlikely. If there is a deal it will be partial and negotiations will continue.

Will Northern Ireland be a seamless part of the UK? No, that's already been compromised.

Will there be a referendum on Scottish independence? There'll be a campaign, and a constitutional crisis as Bozo obstructs it.

Are there any substantive arguments for Scotland remaining part of the UK that are not also arguments for Britain remaining part of the EU? Land border? N/A. Biggest trading partner? Ahem. Common currency and a longer history of union are about the only things.
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Last edited by JoeP; 12-13-2019 at 11:19 PM. Reason: 2021, of course
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2019, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

And as I ruminated elsewhere, is this a democratic and representative result? Yes.

Even though vested interests have conned the people into voting against their own interests (economic), or for outright lies (health and education), and even though the first-past-the-post electoral system is bad for representation (and Westminster is just as bad at being representative of most citizens as Brussels), this really is the vote the people of England and Wales wanted. A conscious vote for the Nasty Party.
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  #4  
Old 12-13-2019, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

I thought I was prepared for this. I thought I was expecting this, but I was still sickened and so disappointed when I woke up this morning.

I agree with everything JoeP said. And this pretty much sums up how I feel.

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  #5  
Old 12-13-2019, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

It fucking amazes and disgusts me that so many people here can look at what is happening in the U.S. with Trump and say 'Yep, we want that too'. We want a liar, buffoon, self-serving asshole in power too. We want a party that ignores climate change, that gives tax cuts to the ultra rich and corporations. We want to see our NHS head towards a U.S. style system where people have to go to kickstarter to pay for healthcare.

Fuck those people.
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  #6  
Old 12-14-2019, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

The world really is sucking ass lately.

It does seem like a bit of a pickle for Labour regardless of what strategy they picked. Although I think ditching Corbyn was a no-brainer given his -40 approval rating. It couldn't have been worse really, but it wouldn't totally solve the issue of what to do on Brexit.

Polls seem to suggest that public opinion has moved towards Remain - and while the polls slightly underestimated Leave in 2016, they also underestimated Labour in 2017 and were close to the mark in 2019, so it's a better bet that Remain support is higher than Leave than vice versa.

But the inherent issue of the splitting of the left (LibDems, SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru and others) is a problem. Boris mostly united the Brexit vote (UKIP and Brexit Party didn't do so well). Seems like doing whatever you could to get some sort of pact with some of those third-parties would've been a smart move. They didn't really take it as seriously as they should've, believing, somehow, that someone as unpopular as Corbyn could win and then tell his critics on the left/center-left to fuck off, rather than as the desperate situation that requires the opposition to actually unite and cooperate.

The LibDems also bear some blame for not trying harder in this regard, they could've unilaterally stood down in seats that were primarily competitions between Labour and the Conservatives. But Corbyn seems to be too big of an issue to ignore even so.

Perhaps they could've been tempted with a promise of electoral reform, proportional representation of some sort? It seems that the single-member districts are most helpful for the Conservatives at this point, so it would be a good idea for Labour too. The Tories + Brexit and UKIP were less than 50% even with Corbyn's poor performance.

The wildcard there is that the SNP massively benefits from the single member FPTP (first past the post) system. They got about 4% of the national vote but about 8% of the seats. And it would be hard for Labour to get a majority coalition without the SNP... On the other hand, they use MMP in Scotland, so they would have a hard time arguing against the idea of proportional representation as inherently bad...
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Old 12-14-2019, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

The Lib Dems tried to get an AV system in place but it was roundly rejected 2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum - Wikipedia
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

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Originally Posted by fragment View Post
The Lib Dems tried to get an AV system in place but it was roundly rejected 2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum - Wikipedia
And the price they paid for getting that referendum nearly wiped out the party entirely. They have never recovered.
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

Well, I wasn't talking about

1. A referendum necessarily. Parliament can, in fact, pass laws without having a referendum. Brexit is a pretty clear model for how putting everything to a referendum can be a bad idea. This may be a large change, but seeing as it makes things more democratically representative, people will have a perfectly fair opportunity to express their displeasure if they don't like it!

2. I wasn't talking about the "alternative vote" which is the same as IRV, or instant runoff voting. Single member districts with IRV is not nearly as good a method as proportional representation (the "single transferable vote" which is a similar method with multi-member districts works a bit better, but it's still not the best). If the British are overly attached to their regions and/or constituency seats, they could implement a system similar to that of Germany or Scotland, where you vote for your local representative and also for a national party, and then additional seats are assigned in order to bring the results more into proportionality, either nationally or at the region level.

So, for example, in this election, the Tories won over 50% of the seats with only about 44% of the votes. Labour got a similar percentage of seats relative to their percentage of the vote (32% of the vote but 31% of seats). The LibDems, however, got 12% of the vote and only 1.6% of the seats, and the Greens got 2.7% of the vote and only 0.15% of the seats.

Overhang seats (if you kept the starting point of 650, which would be silly, IMO) would imply you'd add something like 187 additional seats to parliament. The Conservatives would get no additional seats. The LibDems would gain 86 seats this way, Labour would gain 67 or 68, the Greens would get 22, etc. (the Brexit Party would also gain seats this way).

The precise details of the implementation can vary a bit (the fact that the SNP got almost twice as many seats as their vote share would imply but the MMP method doesn't take seats away in that scenario causes some disproportionality, but you get the idea.

IRV, on the other hand, wouldn't be all that helpful, if say, Labour > Brexit Party folks listed the Tories as their second choice. If you're running up huge margins in London and other city centers while the Tories are winning narrower victories elsewhere, IRV won't make it any better, and the Tories will still be able to win with a minority of the national vote.

3. Labour didn't take a position which may be part of why it was such a blowout. There may also have been good reasons to reject some of the connected changes (Tory gerrymandering). So I don't know that the result of that referendum is a very good barometer of how a referendum on proportional representation would go, particularly if all the non-Tory parties were united (or maybe without the SNP).

But even so, unless there would be a large backlash, I'd go ahead and say to do it without a referendum, because the only reason it was a referendum in the first place was that Cameron and the Tories didn't want it and thus were unwilling to outright give it to the LibDems (who were idiots to agree to a referendum for that reason).

Labour had a chance before the 2010 election to do that... it would've been a very good idea, because under a proportional representation election, Labour would've potentially been able to form a government with the LibDems instead! But what actually happened was that since the LibCon coalition only required two parties, it was much more workable than a LibLab coalition that would've needed support from some combination of the SNP, PC, NI parties, etc. And you know, Clegg was a sucker/idiot/asshole who got played by David Cameron.

Of course, vote totals would be different under different rules - but things would've generally worked out better for the left under such a system. (Of course, after Blair's huge win would've been a good point to do it - his popularity would've allowed it to stick for multiple elections so that by the time the Tories got in, it would be harder to eliminate.)

But I guess Labour thought that the rules would continue to favor them... now they're fucked in much the same way as the Democrats with gerrymandering and the senate, but even worse, since they can't win more than a seat or two in Scotland and any coalition with SNP will be conditioned on your vital coalition partner trying to GTFO of the country, thus destroying your majority!

There's a lesson there... (I'd say that the lesson is most important for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, who were able to win despite the NDP splitting the left vote, but they should be more worried about the Conservatives getting in despite right-wing parties basically never getting a majority of the vote, given that it's happened before... rather than trying to never enter a coalition with the NDP.)
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

Re: NDP.
That's my riding, 65% of the vote split between Green, NDP, and Liberal. So we're sending a Tory to Ottawa. The kind of guy who thinks mental illness is your own fault. This is the consequence of multi parties in a FPTP system.

ETA: In Canada an electoral district that sends a representative is commonly called a 'riding'.
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Old 12-14-2019, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

After a polarizing U.K. election, online searches for moving to Canada spike - again - National | Globalnews.ca

Well then, we could use some good English stock, better late than never. How does a place named Cambridge Bay sound to you? Where, you ask? Oh, just on Victoria Island. Pack those bags, we'll arrange the travel.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2019, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

From The Last Leg last night, some things to celebrate:

Because of the stonking™ majority, the Conservatives can now ignore the ERG (Jacob Twee-Toff and his band of rabid Eurosceptics) and the DUP (Ulster Unionist anti-choice anti-gay nuts) meaning more chance of a softer Brexit.

And in the same vein, this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Osman
Boris out-cunted Nigel Farage
Plus, Adam Hills will get to shave his beard off.


And - the highest number of female MPs ever. Britain elects highest-ever number of female MPs to the Commons | PoliticsHome.com - even though Gender imbalance in General Election media coverage as women ‘marginalised’ - ITV News.
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Old 12-14-2019, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

They made a big feature of celebrating delivery of the following campaign promises:
40 new hospitals!
20,000 more police!
50,000 more nurses!

Although a small part of me suspects that segment may have been ever so slightly tongue in cheek. I mean, are they alleging those might be lies?
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2019, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

It does seem to me that Corbyn was a larger issue FOR LABOUR than first-past-the-post though.

Labour got about 32% of the vote, and received 31% of the seats. They weren't the ones who got fucked by FPTP, it's that the LibDems were and the Tories were the ones who benefited from the LibDems getting fucked.

But the thing is that the LibDems were polling nearly even with Labour, even ahead of them in a few polls in the spring, and still quite close until the early fall. But once the election became likely, and then called, they lost vote share. People realized it wasn't going to happen and went back to Labour because the LibDems couldn't win.

But in a proportional system, there would be no reason to unite around Labour if you don't like them or don't like Corbyn. Every vote for a LibDem counts, if you vote 20% for them, they get 20% of the seats, there's no possibility of them gaining votes but losing seats like in this election. And not only that, but the LibDems vote share could've been depressed even at their polling peak because even then there were people who figured that only Labour could stop the Tories. Likewise, some Tory voters may have been unwilling to abandon the Conservatives because they wanted to stop Corbyn, and voting LibDem wouldn't get the LibDems many seats but might instead help Labour win more seats.

Therefore I think it's likely that the LibDems would've broken 20% in an election under proportional representation, and Labour would've fallen to the 20s or mid 20s, since the LibDems' election period slide was likely due to FPTP not because Corbyn won them over per se. In fact, it's very plausible that the LibDems could've won more votes than Labour and thus more seats, under proportional representation.

It's possible that a PR election would've resulted in PM Jo Swinson in coalition with Labour as the junior partners (possibly with Corbyn forced out as part of the deal). Or with a minority government with Swinson as leader of the opposition. Or in a hung parliament. In which case you'd still have Labour infighting about what the fuck went wrong, why are we the third-largest party for the first time in a century, and the answer would still mostly be: Corbyn was massively unpopular with a -40 approval rating. And he refused to take a clear position on Brexit, while resulted in the LibDems sucking up a bunch of Remain voters.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

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Well, I wasn't talking about...
Most of which I agree with to some extent, but given that

1) the fairly recent attempt at electoral reform failed badly, so there is unlikely to be much political appetite for anyone to try again for another 10 years at least, no matter what system is proposed,

2) when the Lib Dems had their chance to put electoral reform on the table AV is what they chose, and

3) if the Lib Dems were willing to work with Labour they could have done so as soon as BoJo lost his majority a few months ago,

it seems to me like your speculations on this don't match up with the political reality.

FWIW my experience living through and supporting electoral reform from FPTP to MMP here in NZ suggests that

1) a party in power under FPTP will not support it because they are most concerned about their immediate political advantage rather than the long-term situation (let alone the good of the country), so

2) reform requires a large popular movement, which will only occur when most people are thoroughly disgusted with the major parties but are also not so politically disaffected to think that change is impossible or ineffective.

So maybe if BoJo thoroughly fucks up and Labour doesn't get their act together it could happen for the UK.

Last edited by fragment; 12-15-2019 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by fragment View Post
electoral reform from FPTP to MMP here in NZ
I'd like to add that this has IMO been a fairly successful change. Diversity shot up in our Parliament since the change, and Māori in particular have had much greater representation and influence. It could be argued that these reflect other trends, which is likely true, but the rapidity and extent of the change implies a facilitation effect from the voting system.

In addition, since we adopted MMP, Governments have rarely passed major legislative changes lacking significant popular support, a stark contrast with the prior decade. Which is not always to my preference - tackling climate change, for example, has moved as slow as the flow of our shrinking glaciers - but it's hard to deny the relative improvement in quality of democratic representativeness.

I suspect being a small country also helped a lot with both the feasibility of electoral reform and the impacts of it.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragment View Post
1) a party in power under FPTP will not support it because they are most concerned about their immediate political advantage rather than the long-term situation (let alone the good of the country)
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

Quote:
Originally Posted by fragment View Post
3) if the Lib Dems were willing to work with Labour they could have done so as soon as BoJo lost his majority a few months ago
It's kinda hard to disentangle that from the LibDems being unwilling to work with Jeremy Corbyn.

And I mean, I don't blame them that much - his approval rating, as noted, was toxic, and would he really be willing to compromise with the LibDems in a coalition when he didn't even have great relations with many of his own MPs?

Like, it would've been better to just do it anyway, but Corbyn probably deserves more blame. The LibDems should've stood down in seats where their candidates would split the vote and help the Tory win. But if Corbyn stepping down as Labour leader was the price to get an anti-BoJo agreement with the LibDems, then he should've done it. Given his rancid approval ratings and "preferred Prime Minister" margins vs. May and Johnson, it's hard to make the case that LibDems were the ones making an unreasonable request, other than by delusional denial of the polls because you don't like what they say.

But his cult, basically, viewed Corbyn, the man, as more essential than anything else, it seems to me.
Quote:
it seems to me like your speculations on this don't match up with the political reality.
You may be right about the LibDems being unreasonable. I don't know what they would've done if Corbyn had, in fact, stepped down a several months ago. Maybe they still would've hoped they could win more seats by refusing to ally with Labour and put that partisan interest above country. And I have less knowledge of what they would've done in 2015 or 2010 or earlier.

But I think probably the best opportunity for Labour to have done this was 1. without a referendum 2. before the 2010 election.

But they would've had to prioritize keeping the Tories out over being able to form a single party government. A change like that would pretty much guarantee they need to form coalitions to govern.

But had they read the movement towards the SNP in Scotland correctly, they would've realized that was going to be the case anyway. But maybe it was too hard to see where things were going then.

Likewise, it may be right that Obama couldn't have gotten DC statehood through Congress in 2009, or gotten the Democrats to blow up the filibuster, etc. but it remains the case that those would've been smart things for the Democrats to do. It's just not solely his failure, but also the failure of people like Pat Leahy and Dianne Feinstein and Blanche Lincoln, etc. I'm perfectly fine with saying that Nick Clegg was a dumbass back then too.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Get Brexit Done

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It's kinda hard to disentangle that from the LibDems being unwilling to work with Jeremy Corbyn.
True, but any of this counter-factual speculation depends on when we choose to start counter-factualising and which facts we counter. At the time of the loss of Tory majority working with Labour and working with Corbyn were the same thing and the LibDems had to deal with that reality. They would have served their stated agendas better by accepting the offer to form a temporary coalition, get a soft Brexit deal negotiated with referendum to confirm and then going to general election.

Quote:
But if Corbyn stepping down as Labour leader was the price to get an anti-BoJo agreement with the LibDems, then he should've done it.
Also true. He didn't need to even stand down as Labour leader, he could have just agreed to support an alternative Labour MP as interim PM.

Ultimately I'm a bit less interested in apportioning blame than in judging the actions of individuals/organisations based on the situations they actually found themselves in.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:08 AM
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My name is mickthinks and I am a Corbynist.

I want to defend both Corbyn from unfair criticism, and the Momentum project from hasty rejection. I think I have a lot to say , but right now I have little time to order my thoughts as well as erimir has done, so I'm just putting this here and raising a question:

Is vox one of the sources you are using for your information and analysis, erimir: UK election results: LabourÔ€™s crushing defeat, explained - Vox ?

Because I think it is faulty in a number of areas.

That's it for now ...
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:55 AM
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I did not see that Vox article until just now.

And I'll admit I don't know all the details of the various anti-Semitism accusations and so forth to distinguish entirely what's overhyped and what was real. But I do know that the vast majority of British Jews thought Corbyn was anti-Semitic, and I'm not that inclined to dismiss the opinion of almost 90% of British Jews on whether something is worrying regarding anti-Semitism without a really good defense. And some of the instances I read about can, at best, be defended as Corbyn being oblivious. Like that mural isn't that subtle, and his excuse was that he didn't look that closely at it, right?

It's not really a defensible kind of obliviousness, you know? Like, if a Democratic candidate claims to be unaware of various racist stereotypes about black people and thus "accidentally" hangs out with and seems to endorse anti-black racists, it doesn't really exculpate you, it just suggests you've concerned yourself so little with anti-black racism that you can't notice obvious instances of it.

And in some cases, I suppose, it could be a lack of due diligence as a politician. But sorry, if you wanna be leader of a political party, you really ought to avoid praising people who say that Jews use the blood of children to bake bread and they knew about 9/11 beforehand. As a politician, it's not that great of an excuse to say you can't be bothered to look into these sorts of things. Your staff should be doing background not just on people you don't like, but on people you might be inclined to agree with.

And maybe the PLP was unfair to him. But still, there's a reason why basically any party leader who's not Corbyn would resign after a vote of no confidence, and it doesn't seem likely to lead to victory if the leader doesn't have the support of their MPs.

And I'm aware that the media situation in the UK isn't better than in the US. And I certainly would build in some forgiveness there, given that I think that media fucked up in 2016 and that's part of why Hillary lost. But I mean, we're talking about a 2 pt popular vote victory vs. a 12 pt popular vote loss. She had -13 favorability vs. Corbyn's -40. Even giving the UK media bias a larger bit of blame, there's still a lot more blame left to distribute.

And certainly Brexit was a big issue, and one which any Labour leader would've struggled with. But it seems to me whether you should drop a -40 approval leader is a much simpler question to answer than how Labour should deal with Brexit.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:07 PM
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They won the election with a decisive majority, they don't need to lie and promise impossible things any more.

And yet ...

Michael Gove promises Brexit trade deal with EU by end of 2020 | Politics | The Guardian

The deal may be "oven ready" in de Piffle's words, but the govt is not "match fit".

Quote:
Despite Gove’s confidence, a new report from the Institute for Government warned that Whitehall is not “match fit” for the next phase of Brexit negotiations.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:10 PM
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And in the "you don't say" department:

One thing Johnson’s victory doesn’t change: he’s still lying about Ireland | Fintan O’Toole | Opinion | The Guardian

When someone called Fintan O'Toole tells me what the situation is for Ireland, I'm inclined to believe him.

Quote:
The first big problem is that Johnson’s thumping majority doesn’t make his mendacity and fecklessness go away. The Irish government wants the withdrawal deal to be ratified, largely because it got what it wanted: a version of the Northern Ireland-only backstop. But this is like inheriting valuable shares in a very dodgy company.
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one part of it is effectively being jettisoned as dead weight so that the great Brexit balloon can ascend into the blue skies of renewed greatness.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:17 PM
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And from the "who else have I heard this kind of language from" department:

Boris Johnson threatens BBC with two-pronged attack | Media | The Guardian

Quote:
No 10 boycotts Today programme and considers decriminalising non-payment of licence fee
The licence fee as a mechanism is pretty anachronistic, but this is an attack on state funding itself - and they're also attacking Channel 4 which has a state mandate but is commercially funded. (And Labour are also attacking the BBC.)

No sign of rowing back from populism yet, then. No sign of statesmanship.
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Old 12-17-2019, 08:34 PM
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:surprise: :uk:

Boris Johnson could ditch promise to protect workers' rights and environmental protections after Brexit, No 10 suggests | The Independent
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