Category Archives: Politics

Sixty-one words on the Article 50 triggering

I have about five separate subjects for Brexit-related blog-posts that I want to write today. But I am too sad and angry — and, to be honest, bitter — to write coherently about any of them.

So instead here is an artwork based on Banksy’s “Girl With a Balloon”, which I found unattributed in this tweet.

That pretty much summarises how I feel.

What drives political decisions in the UK?

Since the EU referendum — which politicians have taken to reflexively saying “delivered a clear decision” despite the tiny majority — the behaviour of our politicians has been perplexing. Theresa May, who recognised that the UK is better off in Europe, has been inexplicably pushing for the hardest possible Brexit; Jeremy Corbyn, who campaigned to Remain, has whipped both MPs and Lords to go along with May’s unamended Brexit bill.

Why?

I have a horrible feeling the answer may be cowardice. I fear that Thomas Mair’s murder of Jo Cox looms large in the minds of May and those like her. I suspect that, at bottom, May is simply afraid of the anger of hard-right Leavers. That anger comes — rarely, thankfully — in the form of actual murderers. But it also comes in the form of hatred from the tabloid press; and in the form of rhetoric from people like Nigel Farage, saying things like “Every attempt … to delay or dilute Brexit will only increase our anger”.

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Please consider writing to your MP about child refugees

On Wednesday, Parliament will vote on whether to close the Dubs scheme, which allows unaccompanied child refugees to enter Britain. When established, this scheme was supposed to take in 3,000 kids; it’s done less than a tenth of that, and closing it now would be shameful.

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I just wrote a brief letter to my MP to that effect:
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Why Trump matters to me: I love America

You might legitimately ask why I am whining on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about Donald Trump, when he is president of a country that is not even in the same continent as mine.

One perfectly cromulent answer would be that America’s economic and military power means that whatever it does has implications for every country; and that is true. But for me the issue is much deeper than that.

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The real issue is that genuinely, deeply love America, and I hate to see it abused.

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The utter capitulation of Corbyn’s Labour

My cousin Sue has been a Labour member for thirty years, and is deeply enough involved in the party and its campaigning to have given speeches at the annual conference and appeared as a disability advocate on the BBC.

In the wake of Labour’s three-line whip mandating MPs to vote for Theresa May’s hard-Brexit bill irrespective of whether any of their amendments were accepted (they weren’t), Sue tweeted “There’s only ever 1 question for me. Is today the day I let stupid idiot humans beat an ideal?”. At which point I went off on one and posted a series of tweets in response. I reproduce them below, lightly edited.

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WARNING. This will be boring to many people, and infuriating to others. It surely exposes my political naivety. Yes, a case can be made that I should just get over it. Don’t read on if you don’t want to. Continue reading

I liked democracy. Let’s bring it back.

I live in the United Kingdom, a parliamentary democracy. Let’s recap where we are right now:

  • We stand on the brink of the greatest constitutional change in living memory.
  • Leading the charge is a Prime Minister who has never won a general election.
  • In fact she has never even won a leadership election of her own party, having won by default when her opponent dropped out.
  • We are proceeding on the basis of a whitepaper that was thrown together literally overnight and than contains no meaningful analysis.
  • Debate has been squeezed into hours, compared with weeks for the much less important Maastricht treaty.
  • MPs for the devolved Scottish and Welsh assemblies have been allowed almost no time to speak (though Mark Harper took a full hour).
  • The supine opposition party has pledged, before even knowing which amendments if any are to be accepted, to vote for the bill.
  • Oh, and the policy that May is forcing through is one that she does not believe in, but has adopted from Nigel Farage –a man who has stood for Parliament seven times, and lost every time. But he gets to dictate policy.

This doesn’t feel like a democracy at all. It feels like a dictatorship, and one totally unprecendented in my lifetime.

 

A careful and objective investigation into whether Trump is literally a psychopath

With perfect timing, frequent commenter Robin Jubber has just asserted that “Whatever mental disorder Trump suffers from … it’s not psychopathy”. Is he right?

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The Washington Post conducted a dispassionate assessment of whether Trump is a fascist. It scored him 26 out of a possible 44 — a hair under 60% — and concluded “He is semi-fascist: more fascist than any successful American politician yet, and the most dangerous threat to pluralist democracy in this country in more than a century, but — thank our stars — an amateurish imitation of the real thing.”

Can we do the same thing in assessing whether he is a psychopath?

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