Brexit and General UK politics thread

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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-09-03 06:17pm

See, now you're just stating the gods-damned obvious, so thanks. I am fully aware that a democratic system is a lot better than an actual dictatorship. I have at least a passing familiarity with how a number of dictators (Cromwell included) came to power because of a "broken" system. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to defend something when that something is actually working and effective.

It's not even that I'd want to get rid of Parliament, not really. I just want them to go back to actually governing the country rather than three years of ineffectual squealing about one damned issue.

And will you seriously stop using "fascist" to describe every single right-wing thing anyone posts? It's really, really annoying.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-09-03 06:26pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-09-03 05:58pm
Well this is gonna be fun: Source: BBC Online
Tory rebels and opposition MPs have defeated the government in the first stage of their attempt to pass a law designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

The Commons voted 328 to 301 to take control of the agenda, meaning they can bring forward a bill seeking to delay the UK's exit date.

In response, Boris Johnson said he would bring forward a motion for an early general election.

Jeremy Corbyn said the bill should be passed before an election was held.

In total 21 Tory MPs, including a number of ex-cabinet ministers, joined opposition parties to defeat the government.

The government warned in advance that it would remove the whip - effectively expel - any MPs who chose to vote against it.

LIVE: MPs poised to bring bill to stop no-deal Brexit
Everything you need to know about Brexit
PM 'approved Parliament shutdown in mid-August'

The prime minister said the MPs' bill would "hand control" of Brexit negotiations to the EU and bring "more dither, more delay, more confusion".

He told MPs he had no choice but to press ahead with efforts to call an October election, adding: "The people of this country will have to choose."

The result means the MPs will be able to take control of Commons business on Wednesday.

That will give them the chance to introduce a cross-party bill which would force the prime minister to ask for Brexit to be delayed until 31 January, unless MPs approve a new deal, or vote in favour of a no-deal exit, by 19 October.
The anti-Brexit alliance wins their vote by a surprising margin (328 to 301) to take control of the Commons tomorrow and probably introduce a bill blocking and/or delaying Brexit and Boris has said he's going to bring forward a motion for a snap election.

As much as I think Brexit is a bad idea and it's going to be an utter shitstorm (when it could have been a lot less messy), right now, in this moment, I just want this over with, one way or another! I am fed up with Brexit being the only sodding issue talked about in Westminster because people fucked about for, what, three years without actually figuring out how to leave.

Hell, a lot of the technical stuff is already done and dusted! We sorted out European-wide air traffic control and overflight permissions, we're staying in Euratom and (IIRC) CERN and a shitload of other technical things. We basically sorted everything that wasn't "political" ages ago!

Gods damn it. At this point I would almost be happy if HM told Parliament to fuck off and ruled directly, or, hell, Oliver fucking Cromwell rising from the grave and resuming his job as Lord Protector, because Westminster is a colossal waste of space and time.

I like the idea of democracy, I really do. I consider it my duty as a citizen of the UK/subject of HM the Queen to vote, not a right, because that's what mum and dad taught me. But these last few months have strained that patience to the fucking limit.

Rant over.

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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-09-03 06:29pm

I've endured for twenty-seven years with a serious disability. This ain't gonna break me. It's just getting...I dunno, "boring" isn't the right word for something with this many consequences and new developments...perhaps "repetitive" fits better.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-03 06:37pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-09-03 06:17pm
See, now you're just stating the gods-damned obvious, so thanks. I am fully aware that a democratic system is a lot better than an actual dictatorship. I have at least a passing familiarity with how a number of dictators (Cromwell included) came to power because of a "broken" system. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to defend something when that something is actually working and effective.

It's not even that I'd want to get rid of Parliament, not really. I just want them to go back to actually governing the country rather than three years of ineffectual squealing about one damned issue.
The parliament is in a mess partly because they can't figure out what their voters wanted. Enough people wanted Brexit badly enough that politicans can't afford to ignore their voices...but doing so will kill off any party that allowed no-deal Brexit to happen. People have no idea what they actually want from their politician. The Northern England Labour voters want Brexit to happen, while the southern metropolitan Labour voters want to remain in the EU. How can any party that requires the support of both factions to win enough seats to form a government knows what to do in such a scenario?

The problem is not an issue of politicians messing around. It's also an issue of the British public having no idea what they want as well. People want a world where they can reduce immigration while keeping the economic benefits. That's a fantasy scenario that simply can't happen.

And will you seriously stop using "fascist" to describe every single right-wing thing anyone posts? It's really, really annoying.
I would see post like this as a breakdown in the ability of the voters to make an informed decision in the political process. Democracy only works when tribalism does not overtake people's mindset. The ability to not let emotion clouds the ability to make good decision is necessary for a viable democracy. Once enough people like TRR (regardless of whether they are left or right-wing) has fallen into the trap-hole of tribalism, and simply having a "you're either with me or against me" mindset, then the democratic process is paralysed.

Of course, it is funny when TRR is neither British nor living in the UK to know much about the local politics in the UK and cast everything in a North-American (namely USA) perspective.

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-09-03 06:29pm
I've endured for twenty-seven years with a serious disability. This ain't gonna break me. It's just getting...I dunno, "boring" isn't the right word for something with this many consequences and new developments...perhaps "repetitive" fits better.
That's what Boris and co is banking on. Using the tiredness of the British public to engineer an election with low turn-out ( because hardliners will be more representative in such a scenario), and thus secure even more power and seats. It's a question of who blinks first. If the British voting public blinks first, Boris Johnson would have won the political game.

Tire his opponents until they give him what he wants.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-03 07:32pm

Btw, one of the Tory rebels included Churchill's grandson. It's going to be rather funny to hear how some of the Brexiters decry him for shaming his grandfathers' name or something.

Also, people shouldn't be too quick to celebrate the current result. A GE does not mean the Brexiters will be defeated in an election

See this:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... n-election
The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s strategy: split party, divide country, win election

The defeat of Boris Johnson’s government by the opposition and 21 of his own MPs is the first shot in a battle for the soul of the Conservative party. Six weeks after he took office, the prime minister looks certain to be forced by law to break his promise to leave the European Union by 31 October, “do or die”. The implications for the Tory party are likely to be more significant than for Mr Johnson. The rebels will be purged from the party, by having the whip withdrawn and being prevented from standing as Tory candidates in the next election. The argument over Brexit raging in the Tory party might see the kind of split that followed Robert Peel’s 1846 repeal of the Corn Laws.

Mr Johnson acts as if he wants such a schism, to seal his hostile takeover of the Tory party. The scale and pace of his power grab might astonish outsiders, but no one within the party should be surprised. In June the votes of 92,000 Tory members elected Mr Johnson, a no-dealer, to the party leadership. A month later he made it clear that only no-dealers could sit round the cabinet table. Mr Johnson has lost his majority in parliament, but he has strengthened his hold on his party. Now the Conservative party will be shorn of critics, allowing Mr Johnson to campaign in a forthcoming election – if he can engineer one – with a pledge to reverse any law that prevents a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. For Mr Johnson the incarnation of the Tory party under Theresa May was weak. Weak in spirit, in manner and in appearance. This would not do, he reasoned, for a country that was hurt, angry and scared. Mr Johnson’s response was to adopt the Trumpian tactic of goading opponents to energise his supporters.

The prime minister wants to whip up as much indignation among leave voters as he can. It is a ploy to exacerbate grievances so that he can fight this base’s corner in a flag-waving general election. This must happen before the consequences of a no-deal exit become obvious. To achieve this, Mr Johnson’s strategy with the European Union has been to set out conditions to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement that cannot be met. That would make a damaging no-deal Brexit inevitable. The prime minister could then attach the blame for this outcome to his foes inside parliament and on the continent – hence his provocative and shameful descriptions of his opponents as collaborators who would “surrender” the UK’s sovereignty. This unholy mixture of political opportunism and misguided ideology has been driving Britain towards a geopolitical precipice.

If Britain leaves the EU without a deal, there will be economic chaos; those who suffer most will be the very people who voted for Brexit as an act of defiance. It is no surprise that Mr Johnson now talks about cutting the cost of living, aware no doubt that the Brexit-fuelled depreciation of the pound disproportionately affects the poor by pushing up the prices of food and fuel.

Mr Johnson’s pitch will be an update of the populism that William Hague road-tested in 2001: that the people are being betrayed by a “liberal elite” who wilfully ignore their concerns about foreigners and the threat posed by the EU, which unattended would see the UK becoming “a foreign land”. Yet even Mr Hague did not believe that pooling sovereignty with European partners would undermine our own and remove our right to cut regulation or get the best out of trade deals with the rest of the world. Mr Hague wanted a culture war with Europe, not an economic one. Mr Johnson wants both. This is how far the baleful virus of Europhobic populism has spread. It will keep the nation bitterly divided, even where considerable agreement once existed. Mr Johnson intuitively understands that turmoil will sustain his premiership – to the extent that there is no part of government that he will not burn down on behalf of the governed to keep himself in office. That is why he must be stopped.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by Zaune » 2019-09-03 08:37pm

If the British public vote the Tories back into a Parliamentary majority after this fiasco, I'm going to get serious about taking over from Mr Coffee as SDN's Drunk-in-Residence.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-09-03 08:47pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-09-03 06:17pm
See, now you're just stating the gods-damned obvious, so thanks. I am fully aware that a democratic system is a lot better than an actual dictatorship. I have at least a passing familiarity with how a number of dictators (Cromwell included) came to power because of a "broken" system. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to defend something when that something is actually working and effective.

It's not even that I'd want to get rid of Parliament, not really. I just want them to go back to actually governing the country rather than three years of ineffectual squealing about one damned issue.

And will you seriously stop using "fascist" to describe every single right-wing thing anyone posts? It's really, really annoying.
Your posturing about how much Parliament sucks, understandable as it is, is the sort of response fascists try to provoke (as you yourself acknowledged when you condescendingly called it "obvious"). And while you may be aware of how that con works, not everybody is, so its worth pointing out. And pointing out again and again until the human race finally gets it through their primitive monkey brains that "Strongman" doesn't equally "efficient government that gets stuff done".

Also, I did not call you a fascist.I noted that your post reflected an attitude which fascists try to cultivate, which you yourself acknowledged). I didn't call anyone posting here a fascist, least of all you, but I know that doesn't matter. Everybody "knows" that I call anyone who disagrees with me a fascist, because everyone says it, because everyone knows it, because everyone says it, repeat ad nauseum.

Honestly, why do I even post here any more? Nobody actually reads or responds to what I post. You all just decide what you "know" Straw TRR must have posted, put words in my mouth, and then self-righteously huff and puff about how you're "calling me out" and what an idiot I am. Its been made abundantly clear to me that, short of filing a libel lawsuit against half the posters on this board, there's fuck all I can do to stop it, and its not worth the trouble to do that. If you're going to make up things I never said to criticize me for, you can do that just as well regardless of whether I'm actually posting here or not, the only difference being that I don't have to deal with this shit any longer.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2019-09-03 10:04pm

This is, like, the third time in the past couple of months you have said the exact same thing. You do know the precedent this board sets with members who repeatedly threaten to quit the board in a huff, right?
If You Want To Leave, Just Leave. If you keep threatening or promising to leave, we'll eventually get tired of the melodrama and just ban you. If you ask us to ban you or dare us to ban you, we will. If you demand that we erase all your posts, we will laugh at you.
I don't even want you to leave the board, TRR. But grow the fuck up. Either leave the board, or stop throwing a god-damn tantrum in every other thread. I was hoping my earlier post to you would convince you to stop and self-reflect for a second instead of letting things escalate to this point yet again.

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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-09-03 10:10pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2019-09-03 10:04pm
This is, like, the third time in the past couple of months you have said the exact same thing. You do know the precedent this board sets with members who repeatedly threaten to quit the board in a huff, right?
If You Want To Leave, Just Leave. If you keep threatening or promising to leave, we'll eventually get tired of the melodrama and just ban you. If you ask us to ban you or dare us to ban you, we will. If you demand that we erase all your posts, we will laugh at you.
I don't even want you to leave the board, TRR. But grow the fuck up. Either leave the board, or stop throwing a god-damn tantrum in every other thread. I was hoping my earlier post to you would convince you to stop and self-reflect for a second instead of letting things escalate to this point yet again.
I'll just ask one simple question:

Why is it on me to suck it up and take the high road, and not the people who put words in my mouth and attack me for things I didn't say because Everybody Knows That's What TRR Thinks? Because it sounds like you think I should "grow up" by quietly taking the abuse without complaint, regardless of whether I actually did the things people accuse me of or not.

I mean, I'm not surprised. I learned this lesson way back in elementary school- the loudest person gets the blame for being a trouble-maker, regardless of whether they were actually the instigator. But it fucking sucks.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-09-04 01:48am

Good lord, get a grip then and stop posting how you’ll rage-quit when you do not. I feel a bit sorry for defending your right to express your free opinion, because you behaved like a child immediately thereafter. :(
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by His Divine Shadow » 2019-09-04 02:33am

The Financial Times has a nice series of articles on Jeremy Corbyns plans for the economy. I mean, they aren't really disposed towards him, but what they write sounds good. One can maybe see all the articles from here, or they are blocked behind a paywall.

https://www.ft.com/content/e1028dda-ca4 ... 69401ba76f
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-04 02:51am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-09-03 08:47pm
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-09-03 06:17pm
See, now you're just stating the gods-damned obvious, so thanks. I am fully aware that a democratic system is a lot better than an actual dictatorship. I have at least a passing familiarity with how a number of dictators (Cromwell included) came to power because of a "broken" system. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to defend something when that something is actually working and effective.

It's not even that I'd want to get rid of Parliament, not really. I just want them to go back to actually governing the country rather than three years of ineffectual squealing about one damned issue.

And will you seriously stop using "fascist" to describe every single right-wing thing anyone posts? It's really, really annoying.
Your posturing about how much Parliament sucks, understandable as it is, is the sort of response fascists try to provoke (as you yourself acknowledged when you condescendingly called it "obvious"). And while you may be aware of how that con works, not everybody is, so its worth pointing out. And pointing out again and again until the human race finally gets it through their primitive monkey brains that "Strongman" doesn't equally "efficient government that gets stuff done".

Also, I did not call you a fascist.I noted that your post reflected an attitude which fascists try to cultivate, which you yourself acknowledged). I didn't call anyone posting here a fascist, least of all you, but I know that doesn't matter. Everybody "knows" that I call anyone who disagrees with me a fascist, because everyone says it, because everyone knows it, because everyone says it, repeat ad nauseum.

Honestly, why do I even post here any more? Nobody actually reads or responds to what I post. You all just decide what you "know" Straw TRR must have posted, put words in my mouth, and then self-righteously huff and puff about how you're "calling me out" and what an idiot I am. Its been made abundantly clear to me that, short of filing a libel lawsuit against half the posters on this board, there's fuck all I can do to stop it, and its not worth the trouble to do that. If you're going to make up things I never said to criticize me for, you can do that just as well regardless of whether I'm actually posting here or not, the only difference being that I don't have to deal with this shit any longer.
FFS, He's not even saying you're calling him a fascist. He's saying to not overusing the fascist label for anything related to the right-wing.

Can you please stop seeing everything on the forum as some sort of personal attack? Because people are mainly criticising you for your arguments and the way you overuse certain terms and etc. All we know is your online persona is coming across as someone who is not really good at making arguments and takes things far too personally.

Every time someone criticise your arguments for being weak, you kept responding as if people are attacking you personally and don't really address those criticism that people made. I think a lot of your points is weak because your behaviour does not actually help to win anyone over. Do you not see what you've been doing is basically alienating support from people towards your cause? Humans can get tired of hearing the same stuff again and again, and at some point certain arguments are just ignored because people have started to tune off from it.

This is why far-right groups love the type of post that you have made. The kind of behaviour that you have in making any political arguments is making it easy for smart far-righters to make progressives look like an absolute fools.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-09-04 03:47am

His Divine Shadow wrote:
2019-09-04 02:33am
The Financial Times has a nice series of articles on Jeremy Corbyns plans for the economy. I mean, they aren't really disposed towards him, but what they write sounds good. One can maybe see all the articles from here, or they are blocked behind a paywall.

https://www.ft.com/content/e1028dda-ca4 ... 69401ba76f
Pay walled sadly. Ill pull them at work
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by B5B7 » 2019-09-04 05:03am

AniThyng wrote:
2019-09-03 09:16am
B5B7 wrote:
2019-09-03 12:35am
AniThyng wrote:
2019-09-02 06:15am


Referendums are glorified opinion polls now? Is what is an isn't decidable by simple majority dependent on how it aligns with your worldview, because it doesn't get any more "democratic" than that.

There have been years for the democratically elected MPs in Westminster to deal with this by some other means and they couldn't.
Yes, the UK referendum was a glorified opinion poll. How a narrow margin can be considered a win is ridiculous, this isn't a sports contest where a narrow margin is a win.
In Australia there are stricter rules:
To pass a referendum, the bill must ordinarily achieve a double majority: a majority of those voting nationwide, as well as separate majorities in a majority of states (i.e., 4 out of 6 states). In circumstances where a state is affected by a referendum, a majority of voters in that state must also agree to the change. This is often referred to as a "triple majority".
If had something similar in UK where had to also get a 2/3 majority of counties (or even just over half) I bet Brexit would have failed.
Cameron dumped the issue on the electorate without sufficient time being given for proper debate. It was simply a Conservative Party power play that backfired on him. He should not have involved the nation in what was an internal party matter of his leadership; creating an ongoing mess that is damaging the UK.
I do agree that it was unwise to have staked it on a simple majority, but on the other hand, no one argues that say, the American Presidency should only go to someone who can command 2/3 of the popular vote, merely 50%+1.
I agree that the President being elected on a majority vote is alright (though of course it doesn't always happen, as it didn't happen in the 2016 election due to the ridiculous electoral college system), but in a way leadership elections aren't as important as referenda.
Incidentally, the first past the post system USA uses for POTUS elections only works when only two candidates; if have three or more it breaks down.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-04 05:36am

B5B7 wrote:
2019-09-04 05:03am
I agree that the President being elected on a majority vote is alright (though of course it doesn't always happen, as it didn't happen in the 2016 election due to the ridiculous electoral college system), but in a way leadership elections aren't as important as referenda.
Incidentally, the first past the post system USA uses for POTUS elections only works when only two candidates; if have three or more it breaks down.
Even if the referendum did require a 2/3 majority, there's still nothing that could actually stop a Brexit party from being elected thanks to the first-past-the-post system.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by AniThyng » 2019-09-04 05:40am

If enough people supported it, a pro Brexit government is possible even with a proportional represention system - I don't see why it couldn't, given the referendum, however tight, did pass, so a Brexit party could still take 50%+1 parliamentary seats and try to push it through, unless again this is something that needs 2/3rds parliamentary majority.

That being said, this kind of deadlock is a weakness of parliamentary systems, but I'm still not seeing any alternative democratic systems that won't suffer from the same problem if the issue is divisive enough
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-04 06:07am

AniThyng wrote:
2019-09-04 05:40am
If enough people supported it, a pro Brexit government is possible even with a proportional represention system - I don't see why it couldn't, given the referendum, however tight, did pass, so a Brexit party could still take 50%+1 parliamentary seats and try to push it through, unless again this is something that needs 2/3rds parliamentary majority.

That being said, this kind of deadlock is a weakness of parliamentary systems, but I'm still not seeing any alternative democratic systems that won't suffer from the same problem if the issue is divisive enough
Democracy falters when the voters themselves are deeply divided. One way of resolving this is a new referendum that is based on a preferential voting system like in Australia, where people are allowed to ranked what kind of Brexit do they actually want.

So No-deal is an option, but it can be complemented by a variety of "soft-Brexit" options ( like staying in the EEA) and a option for remain. You then tally it up and seeing how many people truly want a no-deal Brexit at all cost, and balanced against the people who might be happy with a "soft-Brexit".

Right now, the MPs know that a majority of their constituencies want Brexit to happen. But what they do not know is what kind of Brexit they want. If the voters who voted for Brexit wants to keep EU immigrants out at all cost, then there is nothing the MPs can do if they want to be elected. Immigration is a massive issue of concern for many people who voted for Brexit. They simply cannot find themselves to be accepting of freedom of movement because it is seen as a threat to their way of life.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by AniThyng » 2019-09-04 06:22am

You'll still end up with no one option having a majority, I'd think, just a plurality at best if you did that. It's a pity there's no solution that allows those who want Brexit to leave and those who don't to stay, but that's the unavoidable fact of physical geography for you...
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by AniThyng » 2019-09-04 06:29am

B5B7 wrote:
2019-09-04 05:03am
I agree that the President being elected on a majority vote is alright (though of course it doesn't always happen, as it didn't happen in the 2016 election due to the ridiculous electoral college system), but in a way leadership elections aren't as important as referenda.
Incidentally, the first past the post system USA uses for POTUS elections only works when only two candidates; if have three or more it breaks down.
Yeah, strictly speaking it didn't due to the EC and votes going to third parties, but that's the thing, the whole arguement that the "wrong" candidate won is still predicated on what was effectively a narrow popular vote margin.

I mean ultimately something like Brexit should never have been decided by a popular vote, like many many things really shouldn't be, but again, there are multiple general elections where people were given the opportunity to vote in an anti Brexit government and they still didn't/couldn't The whole edifice just breaks down at this level of division.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by His Divine Shadow » 2019-09-04 06:49am

Latest FT article
Labour takes aim at shareholder capitalism
The party wants to change the way companies are owned. But are its ideas fuelled by 1970s nostalgia?

It might not have been his intention, but Julian Richer recently became a socialist hero. In May this year, the owner of the hi-fi and TV retail chain, Richer Sounds, did something that does not happen very often. He transferred his controlling stake in the business with its 53 stores to a trust for the benefit of its 530 staff.

It was not a political gesture. Mr Richer, 60, has no children and simply wanted to ensure that the company he built up over 41 years had a stable succession. “My father dropped down dead at 60, so I was keen for this to happen in my lifetime,” he explains.

Creating an employee trust a bit like John Lewis Partnership, the famous UK retailer, wasn’t an easy choice. It cost Mr Richer the chance to sell for the highest price to private equity or a trade buyer. Instead he flogged the shares to the trust at concessionary rates.

He did so partly to reward his employees who had helped him build the business. But it wasn’t just sentiment: Mr Richer also felt they would be better stewards of the business than a distant and financially driven investor.

“We own 90 per cent of the stores as freeholds, and I didn’t want someone selling those off at the first opportunity to pay a dividend,” he says.

Employee ownership has historically been the minority choice among British businesses. With its £200m in sales for the last financial year, Richer Sounds is one of the largest of the 350-odd companies to have adopted the employee ownership trust (EOT) model.

But it is a path the Labour party hopes to encourage many more to take in the future. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Britain’s opposition is seeking not just to change corporate governance, but the way British companies are financed and owned.

“It is about building a new model of economic democracy,” says James Meadway, an economist and former adviser to the shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

“We need to look beyond the old dichotomy of ownership between private sector and public sector, and engage with the wide range of options that lies in between.”

Ownership has always been central to Labour’s credo. Ever since the social reformer, Sidney Webb, wrote Clause IV of the party’s 1918 constitution, calling for the workers to secure control of “the means of production, distribution and exchange”, such questions have preoccupied the party’s thinking on economic issues.

True, there was a hiatus under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, when these ideas were dropped as outmoded, and the “filthy rich” enjoined to pay their taxes. But under the leadership of Mr Corbyn they have come roaring back.

Much of the public focus has been on nationalisation as the flagship of this new ownership agenda. In the autumn of 2017, Mr McDonnell promised to bring “ownership and control of the utilities and key services into the hands of people who use and work in them”. Labour has identified natural monopolies such as water, electricity transmission and rail, as well as the Royal Mail postal service, as targets for state buybacks.

But the agenda goes far beyond nationalising utilities. Labour thinkers believe they can tap into the same desire to “take back control” that drove the Brexit vote to push through far-reaching changes designed to give staff a greater say in the places where they work.

“Just as nationalisation underpinned the postwar consensus and privatisation drove Thatcherism, new pluralistic and democratic models of ownership will be vital to moving beyond neoliberalism,” says Mathew Lawrence, an influential figure in Labour circles and founder of the Common Wealth think-tank.

Part of the strategy is to promote alternative structures to the dominant public limited company model, which Labour argues leans too much towards the primacy of external shareholders.

The idea is that worker ownership could spur greater productivity by allowing workers to participate financially in its fruits. Placing a lock on the assets — workers would get the economic and voting benefits of ownership, but not the right to sell the shares, under the Labour proposal — would create the commitment that is often absent in conventional shareholder ownership.

Proponents such as Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, claim this would limit the ability of owners to push down wages and cream off excess profits — a traditional critique of shareholder capitalism that has been revived loudly in recent years by academics such as Thomas Piketty.

She also believes it could help industry adjust to the sweeping changes that lie ahead as Britain deals with such challenges as artificial intelligence and decarbonisation. “A worker would have a very different decision mechanism in looking at their job over the next 20-30 years as against a shareholder who may have a very short-term measure,” says Ms Long-Bailey.

Such an approach includes forgoing dividends if workers could see investments being raised that would increase productivity and make them better off. “It is something that already happens in workplaces where there is high worker engagement,” she adds.

Evidence suggests that companies with greater levels of worker ownership are both more stable and willing to tolerate long payback horizons on investment. A review by Cass and Manchester business schools in 2017 concluded that such firms had “either superior or similar economic performance” to non-employee owned firms. This became more marked at times of economic stress.

The harder question is how to create enough of these corporate paragons to make a difference. Labour plans to encourage them through a series of corporate nudges, including tax breaks and soft loans through state investment banks to make it easier for co-ops to buy out private owners or to start new firms.

It would also use state (and local government) procurement to favour companies that extend social ownership, while its energy policy lays great stress on encouraging community providers to play a greater role in meeting local power needs.

One model is that of Preston in Lancashire, where council leaders have deliberately focused spending on local businesses, increasing the proportion being spent locally from 14 per cent in 2012 to about a third now. That included even the council’s food supplies, which were broken into lots and tendered to local farmers.

Yet even supporters are sceptical about whether all this will deliver a genuine transformation. “Getting more co-ops and social enterprises is a very worthy objective,” says one Labour source. “But you wonder whether these sorts of tweaks will really move the needle much.”

One worry is that only weaker companies will convert, as happened in the 1970s when, as industry secretary, the late Tony Benn, forged worker co-operatives at a handful of failing businesses such as Kirby Manufacturing and Engineering, a Liverpool-based radiator maker, and the Meriden motorcycle company. All of them went on to collapse. That is a far cry from the exciting new growth ventures — such as a “People’s Uber” — that Mr Meadway would like to see in the ride-hailing sector.

There is also a concern that the co-operative model tends to work mainly for less capital-intensive sectors, such as retail and services.

A recent report from the New Economics Foundation set the target of converting “just 5 per cent” of the 120,000 smaller UK businesses that are expected to change ownership in the next three years for succession purposes. Even if that came off, it would only amount to 6,000 companies.

That’s why Labour has a second string to drive ownership changes, one designed to ensure that worker involvement is spread throughout the economy — not just in those businesses that have adopted EOTs or co-operative forms.

Among the most contentious of these are plans for “inclusive ownership funds”. Announced last year, these are trusts into which all companies (whether UK owned or subsidiaries of foreign firms) with more than 250 employees would have to transfer a tenth of their shares. Under the broad brush proposals Labour has sketched out, employees would get dividends on the stock worth some £500 a year each with the surplus going into social funds administered by the government.

Critics have attacked the plans, both for their sheer complexity and for the way they would expropriate owners without compensation. Some see the “social funds” as little more than a covert way to increase corporation tax.

There are also plans to reform corporate governance, with a third of the seats on boards being reserved for workers’ representatives. Labour is looking at the auditing profession, with a review by accounting academic Prem Sikka recommending that a statutory body take over the auditing of banking and other financial institutions.

Boardroom pay has come under the spotlight, with (as yet unadopted) proposals to give customers a vote on remuneration at Britain’s 7,000 largest companies. Plans have been floated to scrap options for executives and to make public how much they earn.

The ownership funds are modelled on a far-reaching scheme dreamt up by Sweden’s Social Democrats in the mid 1970s, known as the Meidner Plan, which aimed to create a series of “wage-earner funds” financed by private companies giving employees a share of their profits in voting shares. The objective was for workers to end up with majority control of Swedish industry — then controlled by a tight circle of powerful families.

The plan was finally enacted in the 1980s when the Social Democrats were re-elected, having lost power in 1976. But it had been heavily watered down under huge pressure from employers. The funds suffered the final indignity a decade later of being sold off in one of Sweden’s privatisation waves.

Labour’s funds have already stirred similar growls of hostility from business. Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the UK employers’ trade body the CBI, has warned that the scheme if implemented would hit the value of 60 per cent of its members. Analysis by the FT and Clifford Chance estimates the capital value transferred would be about £300bn.

“That’s an immediate hit to investors, many of whom are pension funds, and it makes it harder for businesses to raise capital for future growth,” she wrote in a letter to members.

Lawyers say seizing shares without compensation could amount to unlawful expropriation, and be challenged under European human rights law, investment treaties and World Trade Organization rules.

“The amounts at stake are so gargantuan that we would likely see a series of disputes that could easily keep the proposal stalled in the courts for years,” says Dan Neidle, a partner at Clifford Chance.

Ms Long-Bailey is already stressing that Labour doesn’t have a “one-size-fits-all” approach to worker ownership. “Some fantastic businesses already have their own funds and what we don’t want to do is to say: ‘You have to do it this way,’” she says. However, all schemes will have to offer more than just a share in the profits. The asset lock and worker representation are also non-negotiable, she insists.

While some of its ideas may not feel completely thought through, the Labour party is in some ways pushing at a half-open door with its search for new models of governance.

Many see merit in reforming a system that often tends towards short-term results and aggressive value extraction. Theresa May’s government looked at reforming governance, while experts such as City economist Andrew Smithers worry that the incentive structures baked into quoted companies actively discourage innovation and long-term investment.

“The free market experiment has just about run its course, and after four decades what we can see is that the result is fairly dismal,” says Diane Coyle, a former adviser to the Treasury. “Low productivity, regional inequalities and a system that doesn’t respond to long-term risks or the need for long-term investment. The market just doesn’t do that sort of co-ordination.”

She favours a more mixed approach to ownership, citing the creative industries as an example. “The [state-financed] BBC provides the training and the market for small producers,” she says. “There’s also the wider effect on the sector, which induces competition around quality.”

Ms Coyle fears, however, that Labour’s obsession with ownership conceals something more regressive. “Rather than an opportunity to do a pragmatic rethink, it’s about going back to the 1970s; talk of sector deals, surrendering to producer lobbies.”

She also worries that there is not enough focus on rebuilding the quoted sector of the UK economy. “We have got too much private equity and not enough PLCs,” she says. “Where we really need to focus is around increasing their numbers and strengthening their governance.”

For all Mr McDonnell’s talk about forging a new economy, some of the party’s ideas have a sepia-tinted feel. The energy and water utilities would, once nationalised, be stripped of their independent regulators and control over pricing returned to “democratic control” (aka politicians). In the 1970s and 1980s that was a recipe for under-investment, not the environmental splurge Ms Long-Bailey envisages.

Labour thinkers talk about their ideas making the UK more like Denmark or perhaps Germany — countries seen as having less Darwinian corporate systems. “En route to a socialist economy, there might be a moment when a different capitalism emerges — a more benign one,” says Hilary Wainwright, a well known sociologist and Labour activist.

But the question remains whether Britain’s system under Mr Corbyn will really learn from other countries’ experience — or simply slip back into Labour’s interventionist past.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-04 06:58am

I like it. It shares some similarities with German companies giving union workers shares and giving them a direct stake in the company. In all honesty, I would really prefer a system in which employees have a direct stake in the company they are working in. So it ensures the goals of the management and the employees are not diverging. The rise of the managerial class in companies or shareholders whose goals aren't aligned with the employees they hired can be rather problematic.

And even if a company did experience a financial downturn and had to lay-off staff. I would rather have the staff decide internally amongst themselves as to who to leave the company and who to stay. And if the employees ultimately did not make the best business decision as to who they laid off, then the collapse of the company is directly in the hands of the employees themselves.

I like the idea of employees having a direct stake, but also have a direct responsibility over the success or failure of their company. It might not necessarily translate into the most efficiently run company, but companies being efficiently run doesn't necessarily translate into benefit for the people at large all the time.
AniThyng wrote:
2019-09-04 06:22am
You'll still end up with no one option having a majority, I'd think, just a plurality at best if you did that. It's a pity there's no solution that allows those who want Brexit to leave and those who don't to stay, but that's the unavoidable fact of physical geography for you...
Plurality is better than the clusterfuck we have right now, in which no one in the whole UK knows what they want. The entire political community of the UK, from the voters to the government itself has no clue what to do.

I suppose if you really want to divide up the UK, then you basically need some internal "city" border control. So cities, towns and etc gets to decide whether they want to give immigrants the right to rent within the city limits. If some areas want to kick up immigrants entirely, then they get to do so and can't complain about it when they lose any economic productivity they have in the area.

People are terrible at understanding economics unless they directly experience what certain policies entails. There are many people that cannot think in a more abstract manner. So if the only way they can experience how important immigration is to economic productivity, let them experience it directly.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by AniThyng » 2019-09-04 07:16am

ray245 wrote:
2019-09-04 06:58am


Plurality is better than the clusterfuck we have right now, in which no one in the whole UK knows what they want. The entire political community of the UK, from the voters to the government itself has no clue what to do.

I suppose if you really want to divide up the UK, then you basically need some internal "city" border control. So cities, towns and etc gets to decide whether they want to give immigrants the right to rent within the city limits. If some areas want to kick up immigrants entirely, then they get to do so and can't complain about it when they lose any economic productivity they have in the area.

People are terrible at understanding economics unless they directly experience what certain policies entails. There are many people that cannot think in a more abstract manner. So if the only way they can experience how important immigration is to economic productivity, let them experience it directly.
Yeah well that's one of the interesting things about immigration too- why do people immigrate? I mean there are certainly many reasons but one of them is certainly the idea of voting with your feet and going somewhere else where you have better opportunities or are more accepted or where the local politics are more in line with your worldview.

But that's orthogonal to my point that The UK is either in the EU or not, and you can't work around it by just saying people can pick with one works for them and go on living by those rules like you could say, tell people if football doesn't work for you you can go play basketball instead. .
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-04 07:41am

AniThyng wrote:
2019-09-04 07:16am
Yeah well that's one of the interesting things about immigration too- why do people immigrate? I mean there are certainly many reasons but one of them is certainly the idea of voting with your feet and going somewhere else where you have better opportunities or are more accepted or where the local politics are more in line with your worldview.
But that's not the migration system we currently have. Our existing international migration system is primarily based on economic reasons. Why do you allow immigrants? Because they bring more investment, wealth and etc to a region. Why do people migrate? Mostly because of economic opportunities and etc.

Sure, you do have people who moved via applying for asylum, but that process is difficult and rarely given to people in large numbers. ( and not being entirely divorced for seeking economic gain).

But societies do not operate fundamentally on economic principles. Yes, a prospering economy is important, but humans are at heart very deeply tribalistic people that had to seek some sort of emotional bond with any newcomers. It's why a Muslim football player like Mo Salah playing for Liverpool FC can drastically result in a reduction of Islamophobia in Liverpool itself. Because people are now able to form an emotional, tribalist connection with the newcomers.

That's the failure of the technocrats in charge of politics in most developed countries. A prospering economy is not the same as a prospering society. If the main bond that migrants and host country are allowed to form is primarily an economic-relationship, such as hiring a foreign worker, and there is an absence of social bonds beyond that, then it is not a healthy relationship for the migrants and their host community. The church in the UK used to be the heart and centre of the local community in the UK, but the decline of the church has resulted in an erosion of any communal space where people can bond socially. The rise of social media, internet and etc has also fundamentally reshaped human networks and relationships. People can communicate more often with people who lived a thousand miles apart on a daily basis via skype, while never having any opportunities to learn the names of their neighbours.

I'm not saying people must interact with their neighbours, but an absence of local civic and communal space and opportunities to bond with the local community has massive consequences to the well-being of a society. And it is within this framework that migrants can become more easily alienated and become an easier target of hate.

And it doesn't help when many governments want to encourage immigration because of the financial benefits it brings, but are unwilling to support and fund expensive programs that actually reduce any possible tension that might arise from such policies. Freedom of movement for UK citizens as part of Europe is laughable when most British do not have a good foreign language education in schools ( where learning a foreign language is not compulsory) and the areas that desperately needs massive investment are entirely neglected.


But that's orthogonal to my point that The UK is either in the EU or not, and you can't work around it by just saying people can pick with one works for them and go on living by those rules like you could say, tell people if football doesn't work for you you can go play basketball instead. .
The issue is that's exactly why the English ( excluding the Scots, Welsh and N.Irish because they have different goals from the English) public wants. The north-south, big cities vs countryside divide has created two radically different English societies. There is no longer a consensus over what England ought to be like.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by ray245 » 2019-09-04 07:47am

Ran out of edit time:

TRR, The Scottish court has ruled that Boris Johnson's proroguing of the parliament is entirely legal.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... ourt-rules
Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament is lawful, Scottish court rules

The court of session in Edinburgh has rejected an attempt to prevent Boris Johnson’s prorogation of the House of Commons.

Lord Doherty, the judge who heard the case, said the decision could not be measured against legal standards as it was matter of high policy and political judgment, and was therefore for politicians to settle.

“In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law. Parliament is the master of its own proceedings. It is for parliament to decide when it sits. Parliament can sit before and after prorogation,” he said.

He told the court it was for parliament, and ultimately the electorate, to hold the government accountable for such political decisions.

The case was initiated by the campaigning barrister Jolyon Maugham QC alongside a cross-party group of 75 MPs and peers, including the SNP’s Joanna Cherry.

An appeal against the ruling is expected, and similar cases are to be heard in Northern Ireland and England.

After the ruling Maugham tweeted: “The idea that if the PM suspends parliament the court can’t get involved looses some ugly demons. If he can do it for 34 days, why not 34 weeks, or 34 months? Where does this political power end?

“It’s not the law as I understand it. Yesterday’s hearing was always going to be a bit of a pre-season friendly. We’re now focused on the inner house, hopefully later this week, and then the supreme court on 17 September.”

Maugham told the Guardian that the petitioners would continue with litigation in the courts for as long as they thought it might be effective.

The Labour MP Ian Murray, one of the 75 MPs and peers who took part in the action, also confirmed there would be an appeal against the ruling.

“But the main battle is currently in parliament, where the prime minister has lost his majority and does not have the support of the house for his dangerous plan to impose a no-deal Brexit on the country.

“We have wrested control of parliamentary business and will attempt to pass a law that makes a no-deal Brexit illegal. We will also fight to secure a final say for the people of the UK on Brexit and we must campaign to remain in the EU,” he said.

Doherty awarded legal costs to the government for Wednesday’s hearing and the temporary interdict hearing last week, but refused a request for full costs.
So the queen is basically following the rule of law. Following protocol and the established constitution might not stop the Brexiters, but anyone who truly believes in democracy, established laws and etc cannot throw it away just because you don't get what you want.
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Re: Brexit and General UK politics thread

Post by LaCroix » 2019-09-04 08:00am

As I expected.

Prorogation is a standard tool to close a session and open a new one. Customary, it never lasted more than a week or two, but there are cases of three weeks. It has been used, lately, to shut down parliament (longer) before an election. And historically, it has been used to prevent a vote on something (in the 50's), or even further back, to shut down parliament for multiple years. (wich technically, today still sets the absolute legal minimum of parliament sitting at least every 3 years, unless I am not informed of more current legislation)

It is no longer wielded by the monarch, but the PM, but yet, parliament has never codified in law when and to what extent the PM is legally allowed to ask for a prorogation. No set of circumstances, no rules for duration, nothing. The ruling party has always wanted to keep that tool for emergencies. In a way, it's like the filibuster in US politics - a tool nobody likes wielded against himself, but nobody wants to abolish because they might need it one day, themselves.

The judge is pretty much saying it: There are no laws against this - create some new ones so he can't do it again, but for now, it's legal.

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