Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Interesting Britain!

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  • Rich Lock,

    Is it worth talking about percentage changes in voting? Doesn't this rely on a relatively staticly-sized pie to be useful? There were one million newly-registered voters in this election. While that's only a 2.2% increase, that's still a significant wild card factor.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    This is interesting, cut and pasted from someone else:

    Apparently, the DUP can't vote on English laws (due to the EVEL law passed in 2015). So, the Tory/DUP coalition only have a majority when it comes to non-English laws (Brexit, basically). The DUP promised a soft Brexit in their manifesto (due to the border with the Republic of Ireland). Which means the tories can't vote through their manifesto without the consent of other parties MPs (and it looks like a lot of their own MPs will vote against anyway).

    Technically there can't be a coalition with the DUP due to the peace agreement and our promise of neutrality, so the tories are a minority government.

    If it becomes evident they can't pass bills then there will be a vote of no confidence and there will be another election (hence Boris getting ready to oppose her).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Hmm. If true one would have thought that the Queen's constitutional advisers would have pointed this out to May when she met with the Monarch?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Not necessarily, remembering that Sinn Fein refuses to take its seats in Parliament, reducing the threshold for majority by a few seats in practice; thus all that's needed (on paper) is strict whipping of Con members -- something they are reputed to enjoy...

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1923 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    DUP are providing confidence and supply support to the Conservatives - no coalition.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 496 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    So, the Tory/DUP coalition only have a majority when it comes to non-English laws (Brexit, basically).

    That is fascinating. I think your assessment of this being extremely unstable is correct, in that case. So in order to get any English laws passed at all, they need to reach out to other parties? And even on Brexit they have to have support of pretty much all of their own MPs. There are surely Tory MPs whose electorates who are actually Europhiles?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BenWilson,

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    You don't need to be a weather man
    to know which way the wind blows...

    ... and this site here really does help with that!
    It has a neat interface with the whole planet as it is right now!

    Menu directed overlays for wind, temperature, chemicals, ocean movements.
    Zoom in, zoom out, spin around - change the time...

    Antarctica is a massive generator - endlessly fascinating - as any good planet should be!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I'm no expert on EVEL laws, but reading wikipedia, it appears the current situation is more akin to giving English MPs a veto over English laws, i.e. 'English-only' laws need to have a majority of MPs from England, as well as a majority of the entire house.

    'Non-English' laws in this context apply to any matters not devolved to the regional parliaments - Scotland has the greatest degree of devolution, Wales and NI less so - and beyond Brexit there are still a number of issues that apply nationwide (see 'Reserved and Excepted Matters') including constitutional matters, defence, monetary policy, energy policy, immigration, industrial relations, and many others.

    In any case, it's a bit of a moot point, as Northern Ireland MPs being excluded from votes would actually make the Conservatives' job easier. The Cons have a solid majority of seats in England (296/532, 56%), England+Wales (304/572, 53%), England+Scotland (309/591, 52%), and a bare majority in England+Scotland+Wales (317/631, 50%) - these figures account for a Conservative speaker, by convention a non-voting position.

    The real risk seems to be from Tory MPs defecting, whether on an issue-by-issue basis, or wholesale ship-jumping, as BenWilson and Rob Stowell allude to above.

    Melbourne • Since Jul 2009 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Barry97,

    Just think what Labour could have achieved if they had actually been wholeheartedly behind their leader.

    The most hostile Labour MPs got the smallest swing with 4 of them losing their seats.

    And if it was just about how badly May had campaigned then the SNP wouldn't have suffered so badly.

    Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    https://newmatilda.com/2017/06/11/labour-real-winners-uk-election/ NM has gone to the dogs a bit lately, posting controversy for controversy's sake, but that's worthwhile IMO.

    The Last Leg election special was kinda worth while. Not so much funny-haha as funy-omg, but interesting anyway. Watching the boys try not to be too hard on the female, muslim, Conservative MP was funny. Her response to the suggestion she might like to be PM was genuine and also a sad reflection the state of politics "hell no", but put very politely. With possibly a genuine undertone of "don't even joke about that, it could happen".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Daniel,

    I'm absolutely not an expert either as I barely know how it all works at the best of times.

    However, I think you're right: the main risk is mutinous tory defectors who are either pro-Europe moderates or who want to check a spanner in the works for thier own ends (looking at you, Boris). They'll either defy the whip by voting against, or by just not bothering to turn up.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I'm in a different part of the political spectrum to Corbyn but I thought Labour chose its domestic policy platform pretty well; 40% is a good result even after the change in the UKIP and LibDem vote shares are taken into account.

    That said, I'm opposed to parts of Corbyn's worldview in ways that are independent of public opinion. I think we can retreat from misguided interventionism without supporting Hamas and Hezbollah, Venezuelan socialism and the dissolution of NATO. The idea that Osama bin Laden's death was "a tragedy" is astonishingly stupid.

    Some unusual things have happened recently and I have a feeling that there's more going on than meets the eye.

    Since Nov 2006 • 793 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    UK Labour now streaking ahead in the polls. My pick is May to be gone by August and a new election in October.I think Jeremy Corbyn may be the PM of the UK by Xmas. I want to be the fly on the wall when he meets Trump…

    Labour has added 150,000 new members since the election, it has now got 800,000 members in total. UK Labour is by far the largest, most vital and successful social democratic party left in Western Europe. It has, in a few days, added as many members as it had in total under the Blairites. When one looks at the electoral fate of their European social democratic bretheren in places like Germany, France and the Netherlands who cleaved to the radical centre of TINA neoliberalism, it seems to me Corbyn hasn’t just brought the Overton window way, way back to the left – he has saved the social democratic political project in the UK, and saved the British Labour party from dwindling into irrelevance.


    Translated to NZ, those sort of membership figures I mentioned above would give you 60-70,000 members in Labour. All our political parties put together would struggle to hit 20,000. I feel so jealous of my UK friends, living in a country that doesn’t suffer from the intellectually stultifying and cloying fug of “anti-politics” smugness that New Zealand exists under. Students wear red Jezza tee shirts and people in pubs talk politics. When interviewed, bouncers know some manifesto promises. Oh, to live a real democracy with real, mass membership parties.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I think Jeremy Corbyn may be the PM of the UK by Xmas. I want to be the fly on the wall when he meets Trump…Oh, to live a real democracy with real, mass membership parties.

    Your occasional number one local political mancrush hasn't exactly rushed to volunteer to have Jezza's baby.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    For the UK to have an early election, 2/3 of Parliament has to vote for it. Last time both Labour and the Tories did so, because both believed it was in their interests. Obviously they couldn't both be right, and May wasn't. I thought Corbyn was wrong to vote for the election, but I was the wrong one.

    However, it is very hard to see why/how the Tories - whether under May or a successor - would vote for an early election again (Once bitten, etc). It is possible that they could lose a vote of confidence in Parliament, but even that won't automatically trigger an election. So I wouldn't expect one, any time soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1328 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to simon g,

    For the UK to have an early election, 2/3 of Parliament has to vote for it.

    Yeah, I can't see that happening either. May may get rolled, but it'll just be the next muppet in line. Britain done fucked itself. Again. In a PR system, a close call like this would lead to all sorts of horse trading and essentially the majority would sort of get what it wants, the harder edges would be knocked off. But a winner take-all system like Britain's fucking throwback democracy encourages narrow winners to double down. However much truth there is in "UK Labour is by far the largest, most vital and successful social democratic party left in Western Europe" (and I just don't even), it's probably not going to be much relevant for 3-4 more years.

    I'd be stoked if there was another election, and Corbyn swept in. I'd be stoked about a lot of things that probably won't happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to simon g,

    For the UK to have an early election, 2/3 of Parliament has to vote for it.

    Or the government loses a vote of confidence. There were seven by-elections in the UK in 2016 alone, it is highly unlikely May with her two seat majority would go the distance based on the intervention of the grim reaper alone.

    Although May appears to be deluded enough think she can carry on as if the election never happened, she has lost the moral authority to implement her legislative program, such as it is. For example, she seems absolutely intent on an authoritarian crackdown on the internet, a "more of the same" type policy the electorate has clearly rejected.

    May staggering along alone, wounded and discredited, propped up by the DUP, in the face of a re-invigorated opposition and falling ever further behind in the polls is a recipe for electoral catastrophe. The 1922 committee simply won't stand for it.

    May will be dumped, the DUP deal engineered to collapse, a vote of confidence will be lost and the Tories will run to limit their losses.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yeah, I can’t see that happening either. May may get rolled, but it’ll just be the next muppet in line. Britain done fucked itself. Again. In a PR system, a close call like this would lead to all sorts of horse trading and essentially the majority would sort of get what it wants, the harder edges would be knocked off. But a winner take-all system like Britain’s fucking throwback democracy encourages narrow winners to double down.

    There's been a petition calling on both May and Corbyn to commit to a proportional system and it's now nearing its 300,000-name target.

    But the awkward reality is that it won't happen because both May and Corbyn benefited greatly from third-party votes collapsing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    the Tories will run to limit their losses.

    How would running limit their losses? If they're down massively in the polls all that can happen is they increase their losses. They'd be ejected from Government and all the pomp and power that goes with it. This is Thanksgiving for Turkeys stuff here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Blazing Fintan O'Toole piece for the New York Review of Books:

    Thirdly, the idea of a single British people united by the Brexit vote is ludicrous. Not only do Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London have large anti-Brexit majorities, but many of those who did vote for Brexit are deeply unhappy about the effects of the Conservative government’s austerity policies on healthcare, education, and other public services. (One of these services is policing, and May’s direct responsibility for a reduction in police numbers neutralized any potential swing toward the Conservatives as a result of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.)

    This unrest found a voice in Corbyn’s unabashedly left-wing Labour manifesto, with its clear promises to end austerity and fund better public services by taxing corporations and the very wealthy. May’s appeal to “the people” as a mystic entity came up against Corbyn’s appeal to real people in their daily lives, longing not for a date with national destiny but for a good school, a functioning National Health Service, and decent public transport. Phony populism came up against a more genuine brand of anti-establishment radicalism that convinced the young and the marginalized that they had something to come out and vote for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But the awkward reality is that it won’t happen because both May and Corbyn benefited greatly from third-party votes collapsing.

    Well Labour got pretty much a proportional result. But the Tories got heaps more, 48.8% of the seats off 42.4% of the popular vote. DUP got 1.5% of seats off 0.9% popular vote. So the "majority" has 43.3% of the popular vote.

    The losers are LibDems (1.8% from 7.4%), Greens (0.2% from 1.6%) and UKIP (0% of 1.8%).

    But yes, Labour certainly can do much better out of, and would anticipate doing so in future, so again, I can't see either of the big turkeys voting for their disadvantage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thirdly, the idea of a single British people united by the Brexit vote is ludicrous.

    I don't think I've ever seen a more disuniting movement. It's literally a movement to break out of a union. They are incompetently pissing away one of the few good things about being in Europe. The most frustrating part is that there is a huge number of people in Britain who aren't stupid and don't want this. But that is not how Blighty works. It's vying to out-clownshoe the USA and at the moment that is a big ask.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    FPP has some considerable advantages, as long as you have a largely two party system. For example, it actually allows for more radical reform once you have a mandate. Let’s face it, MMP was voted for in New Zealand as an additional constitutional check on a series of rogue parliaments, not as a tool for legislative reform. And there is much to be said in favour of the bracing democracy of being directly responsible to an electorate. When was the last time under MMP a senior minister lost their seat and was outside WINZ on Monday morning? MMP means you can never get rid of the buggers if they have the grace and favour of the tiny group of political insiders who draw up the party list. FPP also emphasises the need to have well developed electorate organisations, which in turn improves public involvement vis-a-vis our tiny elite cadre parties.

    MMP is a great system for getting an accurate representation of the voters in parliament. Once they are there, it has become a great system for the careerists and managerialists to keep the neoliberal radical centre well and truly locked in place.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Well Labour got pretty much a proportional result.

    I didn't mean so much in terms of final representation – more in the benefits of the race turning binary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

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