Posts by Rich Lock

  • Hard News: Trump 2018,

    The monster in Mary Shelley's original book was pretty sympathetic and misunderstood, albeit in a teen emo 'nobody understands me' sort of a way.

    Bannon, is possibly more of a more of a wight or ghoul.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump 2018, in reply to TracyMac,

    Trump has been fairly ineffective so far, other than passing that disgusting tax bill, and signing executive orders for things like slicing up national parks and denying climate change at a rate 80% greater than Obama's.

    ....and appointing a whole bunch of manifestly unqualified idiots to lifetime-job federal judge positions.

    For example, Matthew Petersen, who was nominated to fill the empty seat in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

    And if the grand jury returns an indictment against Donald Trump, Jared Kushner or any of the people being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation, that case will be heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. What. A. Coincidence.

    Here he is being quizzed on his qualifications for the job in question:

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Theresa May could well become this century's Anthony Eden.

    Neville Chamberlain, maybe?

    Scene: an airport in London. Prime Minister Teresa May climbs out of aeroplane just landed from mainland Europe.

    TM: I have in my hand a piece of paper...

    Arlene Foster: Not so feckin' fast there, Teresa, ye wee feckin' gack.

    Some random MP as yet to be cast: Speak for England, Keir Starmer! (note to editor: line may be cut depending on ability to find MP with actual guts).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home,

    For those who want an update, the British Prime Minister Teresa May has just had her legs kicked out from under her by the DUP, a bunch of swivel-eyed religious loons who would rather cut out their own tongues than think the word 'compromise'. These are the same nutcases she bribed with a £1billion bung to prop up her minority government after she managed to lose a working majority by calling a snap election and then spectacularly stuffing it up.

    Specifically, she came back from negotiations with the EU a couple of days ago with some sort of progress (literally the first progress in 17 months since the referendum), only to have them blow a fuse and essentially veto what was a done deal between the UK and the EU, because it would have meant, crudely speaking, keeping Northern Ireland in the EU in all but name and effectively shifting the Republic of Ireland/UK border into the middle of the Irish Sea.

    The leader of this fringe group, who, it cannot be emphasised enough, are utterly and rabidly fucking nuts (they firmly believe the earth is less than six thousand years old, and are essentially the front group for a loyalist terror organisation), is now publicly and pointedly humiliating the Prime Minister by refusing to take her calls. Let that sink in for a second.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Unemployment will increase, probably to the point where the government will be no longer able to pay benefits.

    My 'best case' thinking at the moment is that we'll get a return to something like the '80's - mass unemployment, sporadic inner city unrest, etc.

    However, I suspect a more realistic outcome is that we'll get that, but turned up to 11, plus the return of 'The Troubles'.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    the path to Brexit started ten years ago

    No, far earlier than that. The notorious 'bendy banana' stories first appeared in 1994, for example, and the Murdoch press's antipathy was well established by that point. I personally remember a TV ad for The Sun which ran around the same time (maybe a little earlier - late '80's, perhaps) which contained the song line: "they'll standardise your sausage, to meet the regulations", over footage of a cleaver hacking the end off a sausage which had a british flag stuck in it (gosh, I wonder what point they could possibly have been trying to make?).

    The leavers have been laying the groundwork for this for 25+ years - UKIP was founded in 1991.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home, in reply to Asinius,

    While pragmatism may mean that the whole of Kent doesn't actually get turned into a lorry park with traffic backing up the M20 all the way to London, there are multiple other issues that are nowhere near being resolved.

    For example, the open skies agreement will lapse when the UK crashes out, making it illegal for commercial aircraft to fly to and from the UK and mainland Europe. They will be grounded.

    Apparently, airlines are refusing to sell tickets past the deadline, because at present, no-one knows how this will be resolved (if at all).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It seems rather a shame he didn't have his journey when it might have mattered.

    What has been forgotten, now that the battle lines have hardened into absolutism on both sides, is that there are plenty of very good reasons to think the EU is not a shining beacon of absolute purity, around whose feet the huddled masses can find comfort in a sort of Euro version of that other statue on Liberty Island the other side of the pond (this, crudely speaking, is the current mindset of most remainers, kiln-baked into an article of faith - that there is a beacon shining from a tower in Brussels, that we must turn to in our darkest hour).

    I recently finished reading leading lefty youth firebrand Owen Jones's 'The Establishment' (2014), who was and is a high-profile remainer. It was rather striking, reading this in 2017, that he spends most of chapter 8 outlining the ways in which the EU is undemocratic and hugely economically neoliberal - for example, privatisation of the UK rail system just before the 1997 election was generally seen as a last vicious and money-grabbing gasp on the part of a tory government that knew it was doomed. The inefficiency and costs of the privatised network have been a running sore ever since, and polls have shown that renationalisation would be an extremely popular move. He points out that renationalisation would contravene EU directive 91/440.

    There was also the not-insignificant Greece debacle, which unfolded very shortly prior to the UK referendum, where it is generally accepted that the EU gave Greece a good kicking, economically speaking.

    At the time, most remainers weren't really voting 'remain' with any passion - they were looking at the guys on the other side and defining themselves in opposition (Farage is worse than Cameron, so I guess now that you've forced me to decide, I'll go and stand with these guys. But no touching, and I'm holding my breath.)

    And most Labour heartland seats outside London also voted leave, usually by fairly wide margins.

    So yeah, he hasn't been great so far, but I'm not sure anyone else would be any good at unravelling this Gordian knot either.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home,

    "Is it as bad as it seems from this far away?"

    Yeah, it really is. I have only realised at quite an advanced stage in life that the metaphor 'jaw-dropping' is actually taken from a literal physical effect that can happen when spectacular what-the-fuckery occurs. It is currently happening to me nearly every day when I read the news.

    There is still no real progress in the talks (including the extremely contentious Irish border question) despite the fact that Article 50 was triggered back in March, and the clock is relentlessly ticking down towards a hard deadline.

    The long predicted domino-toppling has started, with both the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority announcing in the last day or two that they are leaving (it is fully expected that large elements of the pharma industry will follow suite).

    In response to the huge amounts of economic and fiscal uncertainty, the chancellor here has just delivered a long-anticipated 'make-or-break' budget where the main intended talking point is.....(drumroll)... the raising of the threshold on stamp duty for first time house buyers. This is a move that the Office for Budget Responsibility, more or less before the words were out of his mouth, pointed out would only have the effect of raising house prices and therefore completely negating the intended effect. Bravo, Mr Hammond. Insert slow handclap gif here.

    Following the budget announcement yesterday, the Institute for Fiscal Studies today announced that the budget indicates that the UK is 'in danger of losing two decades of earnings growth' (that is, wages will flatline for another two decades). This is on top of the previous nine years of flatlined austerity wages.

    Talk to any leaver and you generally get one or more of three standard reactions: 'taking back control' (although when pressed they can't actually really define what that means, or how in a day-to-day sense life will be better); it's going to be great (although when pressed they're never able to tell you why. This reaction generally comes from rightist libertarians and techbros), and; 'your grandchildren will thank you' (the thinking here seems to be that a two-generational war of independence is a worthwhile price to pay to shrug off the yoke of tyranny in the name of the as-yet unborn sons and daughters of England).

    And speaking of NIMBYs - those who voted for it and who are just now realising it might effect them, don't.... quite appear ready to deal with the consequences of their actions.

    Grimsby, a town that makes it's living from fishing and fish processing, and which voted 70/30 for leave, has petioned to be made a free port or free town or some such, having belatedly realised that if it sent all it's fleet to sea, every single day of the year, and they came back loaded to capacity evey time, it still wouldn't be enough to keep it's main industry (the land-based processing) running at more than a small fraction of it's capacity. The shortfall is of course currently made up by processing EU catch, which is then shipped back to the continent tariff-free, making processing here economical and straightforward for EU members. This...might not be the case after March 2019.

    There has also been wailing from the usual/expected cake-and-eat-it leaver quarters that several cities that were bidding to be EU Capitals of Culture 2023 (Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Belfast/Derry) will no longer be eligible. You know, because we won't actally be in the EU any more (but, but, we're leaving the EU, not Europe! I don't understand!)

    The whole thing is just.....fuck.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: And so it begins ..., in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Those that believe Trump had that intent at heart, simply see everything going on since through a lens that 'the swamp' wants rid of him.

    For me, the most depressing thing about this (and the whole of the last 18 months or so) is the failure of the approval needle to move below mid- high-30's.

    It's the same here in the UK - the most incompetent government in living memory, and it's still polling a solid 40%, just a couple of points below Labour.

    There will always be a rock-solid core that simply can't be reached, and that percentage is scarily high.

    Trumplestiltskin once infamously boasted that he'd be able to get away with shooting somebody on 5th Avenue. I suspect that's what it would take to even get a flicker below 35%. That or the piss tape.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2710 posts Report Reply

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