Brexit

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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:02 pm

I watched both the debates as well. I thought the Channel 4 one was more controlled, Krishnan Guru Murphy is better at managing the candidates to an extent, but I felt he spent way too much time interrupting them in order to pass on journo zingers that at one point got so personal (to Sajid Javid, of all the candidates) that others spoke out to defend him and say he's a great guy. I felt the tone of the debate was too aggressive and negative towards the candidates, and it meant it was difficult for them to really say much when they were being interrupted by the host all the time.

The BBC debate was about as bad, but for different reasons. Emily Maitlis is a decent enough broadcaster, but for whatever reason (I feel the format had something to do with it) debate was second to pointless bickering. Rory Stewart came off badly because he seemed to lack a sense of poise about being challenged on his views that I can only imagine comes from relative inexperience. When Boris did speak he seemed to compromise his position on key elements of his policy statements, especially the issue of Brexit. For the record I think Michael Gove is completely reasonable to say that if a deal is days away from being struck then it makes no sense to leave on the 31st October, but Boris doesn't have the courage of his convictions to insist on what he says is his attitude. Jeremy Hunt managed to make himself seem even more in cloud cuckoo land than he already does by saying the two aims of Conservatives are to cut taxes and increase public spending, without really acknowledging these are contradictory. Sajid Javid has struggled to get out of the starting blocks and hasn't made a real impression.

I felt the BBC debate format was poorly chosen, having no real studio audience meant that candidates weren't encouraged to address their responses to a member of the public which kept them in check during the C4 debate. The people they chose were strange, asking a 15 year old to question on climate change when they can't vote and frankly won't support the conservatives at that age anyway, it's no surprise the result is that the questioner is unhappy with the answers they get.

On another note, I think it's worth pointing out that Rory Stewart brought up an interesting point about prorogation; Tony Blair tried to do this on Iraq and ended up thwarted because the MPs just went and met elsewhere. Proroguing parliament won't stop it meeting, it'll just close the place where they meet.

Edit: Following the third vote, Rory Stewart has been eliminated. He actually lost votes compared to the second vote, while Boris has nearly half the overall parliamentary party backing him.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:04 pm

I'm increasingly leaning towards Gove, which is an opinion I never thought I'd have to have.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:40 pm

It appears Johnson has maneuvered Gove out of the race. There is evidence to suggest some tactical voting has taken place to put Johnson head-to-head against the weaker Hunt (which there's no rules against, but which manages to make this already undemocratic process even shittier). Johnson was always the front-runner, but he really does have it in the bag now.

I think it speaks volumes as to how Brexit has been mishandled by the political classes that something that could probably have actually been done relatively painlessly a long time ago has instead managed to turn this country into a garbage fire without even having happened yet.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:02 pm

Going to be honest, I actually think I would prefer Boris to Hunt (but Gove over either). Jeremy Hunt has the habit of genuinely becoming interesting in a small part of a wider job and harping on about it all the time and neglecting the rest. His track record in the NHS is pisspoor even notwithstanding the issue of funding. His primary negotiation was with Junior doctors over their contracts, which he failed to reach an agreement over and simply imposed a contract on them, prompting strikes.

But it's pretty inevitable that Boris is going to be PM now, which is probably a disaster for the UK. I don't have any faith in Boris' ability as a minister and I think people resting on his record as mayor of London are missing both the many mistakes he made in the role (such as the expensive non-starter "Garden Bridge", the expensive and illegal to use water cannons he bought that had to be sold at a massive loss, the "Boris Island" airport idea) and the fact that running a city doesn't make you good at running a country (unless you're, you know, Erdogan).

When it comes to Brexit, it probably means No Deal. While I hope that the EU would be pragmatic and engage with someone like Hunt or Gove to renegotiate, I don't think they'll feel in a position to back down to someone like Boris without emboldening their right wing demagogues throughout Europe. My expectation is that the deal agreed with be the only thing he has to work with, and he won't have the political connections to make parliament vote in favour of that deal. As such he's nearly bound to say fuck it and let the UK fall out of the EU with no idea how that's going to affect things. Because, you know, fuck business.

Domestically, if he ever even gets to do anything on that front, I think he's going to be ineffectual. The one good thing that seems to have come from the debates is that the candidates, which make up a significant chunk of experienced cabinet ministers in government, have admitted or refused to argue against the concept that cuts have gone too far. Jeremy Hunt said this, and Sajid Javid's plan involved slowing the pace of UK debt reduction to free up more money for public spending. I would expect a Conservative government to try to lessen the pace of debt reduction in order to provide additional funds to cushion the blow that Brexit without a deal with cause. I'm not sure how much this will help, but something definitely needs to change in how things are done here.

As a side note, the BBC is coming under fire for its choice of debate questioners. One, an imam who asked a question about Islamophobia, reactivated a twitter account he owned where he was apparently critical of Israel and Jews. The final questioner was a solicitor who worked for the Labour party and stood as a councillor for them. It's kind of to be expected that someone who literally supports the other party will be dissatisfied with a conservative panel whatever they say. The Beeb is revamping its vetting procedures as a result, apparently.
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Re: Brexit

Postby cmsellers » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:26 pm

Marcuse wrote:the fact that running a city doesn't make you good at running a country (unless you're, you know, Erdogan).

The only way Erdogan did a good job of running Turkey is if you count running it into the ground. The AKP's initial success in Turkey was due to Abdullah Gul, and Gollum largely continued Gul's policies initially. The more Erdogan deviated from the pattern set by Gul, the worse Turkey got, to the point that it's now in a worse state than it was under the Kemalists in the nineties.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:06 am

In a neat way to derail the process of choosing the next PM, the neighbor of Boris Johnson's partner has recorded them rowing and given (sold?) it to the Guardian. They also called the police to the flat, where no action was taken and nobody was hurt.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48734660

Being completely honest I'm not confident of the motives of this person to have heard two people fighting and recorded it through a wall in order to share the material with a newspaper. Regardless of what they do to fight domestically I don't think deliberately prying into a leadership candidate's private life is okay, unless they've done something illegal which would bear relevance to their work like committing a crime. In this case it seems like a heated row between two adults has been publicised against the wishes of the people involved in order to make Boris look bad. This is dumb because he's said enough in newspapers and ministerial positions to make himself look dumb for a lifetime. The person who did it claims to be apolitical but voted to Remain. Surprise surprise.

Naturally the media has hung on this every word like fucking morons and the content which should be about what each candidate would do for the country has been subsumed in sub-par tabloid tattle-tales. Well done media.
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Re: Brexit

Postby cmsellers » Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:38 pm

Marcuse wrote:In a neat way to derail the process of choosing the next PM, the neighbor of Boris Johnson's partner has recorded them rowing and given (sold?) it to the Guardian.

Me, an American: isn't rowing like the stereotypical upper-upper class, fancy college sport? How is that disqualifying?

Marcuse wrote:Being completely honest I'm not confident of the motives of this person to have heard two people fighting and recorded it through a wall in order to share the material with a newspaper.

Oh!
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Re: Brexit

Postby Crimson847 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:35 pm

Marcuse wrote:In a neat way to derail the process of choosing the next PM, the neighbor of Boris Johnson's partner has recorded them rowing and given (sold?) it to the Guardian. They also called the police to the flat, where no action was taken and nobody was hurt.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48734660

Being completely honest I'm not confident of the motives of this person to have heard two people fighting and recorded it through a wall in order to share the material with a newspaper. Regardless of what they do to fight domestically I don't think deliberately prying into a leadership candidate's private life is okay, unless they've done something illegal which would bear relevance to their work like committing a crime. In this case it seems like a heated row between two adults has been publicised against the wishes of the people involved in order to make Boris look bad. This is dumb because he's said enough in newspapers and ministerial positions to make himself look dumb for a lifetime. The person who did it claims to be apolitical but voted to Remain. Surprise surprise.

Naturally the media has hung on this every word like fucking morons and the content which should be about what each candidate would do for the country has been subsumed in sub-par tabloid tattle-tales. Well done media.


Calling the police and recording the interaction seems like a perfectly defensible response to hearing loud thumping/crashing noises from next door in the middle of a heated argument.

I'm less certain about publicizing the tape--absent criminal or grossly unethical behavior, something like this shouldn't be publicized. But the fact that Mr. Johnson refused to leave her apartment when she repeatedly insisted he do so, combined with the sounds of struggle and the "get off me", incline me to think the story is at least debatably newsworthy.
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"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Re: Brexit

Postby Pedgerow » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:00 am

I guess I'd need to imagine how I'd handle it if it was another politician. If I was a 29-year-old man who already owned a house in central London next door to one of the most famous political figures in the country (side note: how fucking rich is this dude?), and I heard a violent and nonconsensual-sounding commotion involving, say, Jeremy Corbyn, then I would absolutely call the police, and I would probably hand the recording to a newspaper, because I consider pretty much everything politicians do to be "in the public interest." However, I would only trust newspapers I agree with: the Independent, the Times, and maybe the Guardian could be trusted with a recording like that. If Vince Cable made wife-beating noises and the Daily Express asked me for a tape of those noises, I would probably side with Vince Cable.

But this could also show the extent to which society now seems to be split along Brexit lines. If the noises came from Mark Francois, I'd think, "He's definitely beating his wife. That's just the sort of thing he would do, the utter bastard." Whereas, if it was Philip Hammond, I'd still call the police, and then I'd think, "Lovely Phil would never do such a thing. I wonder what's actually happening? Perhaps a burglar has broken in?"

So all in all, even someone's response to this situation will inevitably be a political statement of some sort. But both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have said they would like to leave with a deal, and they said that repeatedly in the debates, and neither one guaranteed that they would definitely leave with no deal if it came to it, so I'm not sure how much that would have factored into the decision.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:25 am

I have actually quite liked Jeremy Hunt's approach to the police visit incident. He's not been suggesting the incident tells us anything untoward about Johnson, but instead is using it to highlight Johnson's general lack of engagement with the media during this contest - Johnson has done nothing to try and brush what should actually be an extremely minor scandal off, which has let it fester.

And the people who matter seem to agree - Hunt is currently ahead of Johnson in polls of Tory party members.

(something else that might be having an impact, at least according to a conversation I overheard between two old Tories in the pub last night: the incident has brought attention back to Johnson's reputation as a serial philanderer, including multiple extramarital affairs which, despite being one of his defining features, actually hadn't featured in coverage of the contest much, and this is something you would not expect to poll well among the key demographic in this contest - it certainly seemed to have switched these two old boys' votes)
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:58 pm

I think if the only place the recording went was to the police then I would be way more inclined to pass it off as a concerned neighbor trying to make sure nothing is untoward. The fact they gave it to the Guardian afterwards, claiming it's relevant politically is what makes me think this is a hit job.

But make no mistake if he had been doing something illegal then I would consider it newsworthy. Being a jerk in private isn't news, nor is it something we should ignore privacy for. We all have moments when we say and do things which we might regret in private and while I certainly don't think it's okay for anyone to be abusive, having a fight verbally isn't something I would criticise a minister for.

What gets me really steamed is how the media has used this as an excuse to avoid coverage of policy positions, approach to Brexit, and how they would perform in their job in favour of tabloid style rumour mill crap which doesn't help anyone in the country know who their next prime minister is. I agree that Jeremy Hunt has played it canny and clever and hasn't capitalised on it in a way that's come off creepy. I just am annoyed that the leadership debate is now about what Boris said to his girlfriend behind closed doors.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:30 pm

I actually think the recording might be better for Johnson overall, though. The police having to be called over a domestic involving him would have been all over the media anyway, but the tape actually makes plain it was just a verbal spat. If all we knew was that there had been a domestic and the police had to be called, I think we'd actually be seeing much more sensationalist speculation.
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Re: Brexit

Postby gisambards » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Boris Johnson has ramped up his media appearances in response to Jeremy Hunt's criticism. Not yet clear whether it's working, but it has led to this bizarre moment from an interview with the Guardian, where he appears to attempt to make up what his hobby is on the spot:
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Re: Brexit

Postby Twistappel » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:58 pm

It seems rather fitting that The Fletcher Memorial Home randomly started playing on my computer, as I opened this thread.
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Re: Brexit

Postby Marcuse » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:29 pm

I think Jeremy Hunt should demand that we see such a cardboard bus, made by the skillful hand of Boris.
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