Noted English upper-class inbred Jacob Rees-Mogg blames victims of catastrophic fire for lack of common sense, failing to flee through staircases ablaze in flames and carbon monoxide. pic.twitter.com/QRCMhH2wYc
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) November 5, 2019
Boosted from the comments section, blog favourite Tony Jay:
And they’re off!!!
Yes, finally, about bloody time as well. As what will almost certainly be the most important national election in British History since 1979 gets underway the presumed frontrunner, a much-fancied thoroughbred with an awful lot of big money riding on his ample posterior, has already emptied his bowels straight out of the gate, slip-slid on skittering legs straight into the very first fence and now lies, twitching and whinnying, on the much befouled track as multiple sobbing Paramedi(a)cs try desperately to get him back in the race, while from the stands a grim faced Judge begins his descent, mercy-piece cocked and at the ready.
Is that a metaphor or an analogy? Why don’t I understand things? I blame someone.
If you’ve been listening to British Media outlets cover the topic of UK politics at any point over the last millennium (has it only been two years? Really? Is that all?) you’d almost certainly have come away with the distinct impression that this Election was very much a dead rubber. Labour were totes doomed, the Liberal Democrats were on the surge and, though the SNP were due to wipe out all the other parties in Scotland with their message of “Drank mah pish, y’anglash cants”, the only thing standing between the Tory Party of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and an absolute majority in Parliament was the foreign-backed influence project known colloquially as ‘The Brexit Party’ and its intermittently confrontational national Gauleiter, Nigel Farage. This narrative wasn’t just set in stone, it was perma-frozen there by an unchallenged certainty that “Boris”, as his journalistic fans insist on calling him, was simply far too witty and nimble and beloved by the Average Voter for his impression of a jolly decent cove just trying hard to do the absolute best he could on behalf of Queen and Country for anyone on the Opposition benches to lay a glove on him. He’d have this all wrapped up in a matter of days and the only question was how big his win would be.
It would be an understatement of pron-cocktacular proportions to say that this narrative has proven to be, ahem, somewhat flawed.
Where do we even start with the meth-brained way the Tories have gone about the relatively well-defined business of getting themselves elected by actual living voters rather than the access-journalists they used to go to school with?
Let’s begin with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the huffily anachronistic Tory spokesman for the Department of Why Good Blood Will Out, Sirrah!, who took time away from lurking noncorporeally in the blighted ether twixt Dream and Nightmare to go on the radio and pronounce in clipped tones of flat finality that the many of the 72 poor, foreign-born peasants who burnt to death in the Grenfell Fire Tragedy back in 2017 had only themselves to blame for lacking the simple common-sense to ignore the Fire Brigade’s clear instructions to remain in their homes and instead move downstairs, perhaps to the shelter of the family crypt, or possibly the main wine-cellar, where they could have at least enjoyed a nice glass or two of Merlot while awaiting rescue. It didn’t take long for the stench of Rees-Mogg’s comments to breed pushback from the lower classes, and soon he was forced to release a statement in which he clarified that he was, of course, terribly sorry to have been unclear in his original wording and had in fact meant to say entirely the opposite of whatever it was the peons had taken offense to.
Ever the good little Conservative the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg was quick to praise Moggy for the speed of his apology after his ‘gaffe’. I’m sure you meant well, you bargain-basement Halbermann, but I’m afraid you didn’t help. ‘Gaffe’? People asked. What ‘gaffe’? Sneering at dead people for not having the intelligence to ignore mere functionaries isn’t a gaffe, it’s what you do when you’re a Tory scumbag trying to redirect blame away from the private contractor who broke the law to clad the building in cut-price flammable material and the local Tory council who studiously ignored all of the warnings and complaints from the tenants because they didn’t have any financial incentive to give a shit what the serfs were jibber-jabbering about.
Obviously, the next step was to bring in a professional crisis-manager, someone with the nous and the guile to pluck Rees-Mogg from the jaws of peril and fob-off the angry common folk until the Media had got bored and moved on. Obviously, yes, but that bit of common-sense didn’t occur to the mavens down at Conservative Central, because instead they wheeled out oyster-mouthed Brextremist wind-instrument and all-round blistering fuckwit Andrew Bridgen, a sad-trombone sound effect of a man who knows he was lucky to feature in the first series of the inexplicably popular reality-show ‘Britain Does Brexit’ and is so desperate to eke out his 15-minutes of fame that he’ll appear on late-night Japanese TV with a live squid hanging out of his rectum if that’s what it takes to stay ‘relevant’. His argument was that, while Rees-Mogg’s comments were “uncharacteristically clumsy”, his good friend was so “intelligent and compassionate” that what he’d clearly meant to say was that he would simply have given the residents better advice than those know nothing “experts” with their “plans” and “regulations”. Trust a Brextremist to advocate blind obedience to the ill-informed, that’s more or less their native credo. Sorry, Andrew, you’re never going to get that invite to Moggy’s country estate. You’re neither wealthy nor well-born enough, and under that cheap cologne you smell like a prole.
Moving on, there’s the matter of the Intelligence Report on Russian Interference in British Politics, including but not confined to the 2016 Election, which should have been released weeks ago but is now being kept on the down low until after the 2019 Election. Everyone involved in its creation and clearance has affirmed that it’s gone through all of the necessary stages of expert classification and is ready to be released to Parliament and the public in time to be useful, what with a General Election only weeks away. So, what’s the problem? Johnson, of course. He won’t release it. Various BS reasons have been advanced, none of them lasting very long under the intense heat of very mild questioning, and it’s coming down to the simplest of Occam’s Razors: it’s not being released because Johnson and his advisors (mainly long-term Russophile Dominic Cummings) are petrified of what’s in it.
What might that be? Could be anything. Clear evidence of Russian funding for the Leave campaign? Proof of Russian bot-armies helping Leave spread their message? Confirmation of Russian infiltration of the Tory Party? Possibly even actual names named of who the Russians have under their control? Conceivably all of the above with Russo-American in place of just Russian? For all we know the Secret Services could have mapped out the entire influence, manipulation and bribery network that made ALL of 2016’s major failures of democracy happen and handed them to Number 10 wrapped in a big, red bow, but we just don’t know, because Downing Street is deliberately concealing it from us. It’s not hard to see a wide range of reasons Johnson would want to keep the Report bottled up until after the Election, but it is hard to see why an independent Media dedicated to keeping the British Public informed about the major news stories of the day wouldn’t be making a MUCH bigger deal about his deeply-suspicious order to supress it. If only we had one. For example, the BBC didn’t even have the story on their website until very late in the evening after the story broke, and you’d struggle to find it there even now. Needless to say, I can’t imagine that happening if a hypothetical Labour Administration were supressing an Intelligence Report about pressing national security threats. They’d be on it like a drake on a passing lady duck and wouldn’t cover a single other story until it all came out. Still, the topic isn’t going away and every day Johnson sits on it is another day he can get violently buffeted by accusations of complicity with Putin’s aims for the UK. Serves him right.
What’s next? The Advertising Standards Agency has forced the Government to pull its latest tranche of expensive advertisements about the much hated ‘Universal Credit’ system (Welfare or Social Security, I think you guys call it) for being chockablock full of misleading inaccuracies (i.e. blatant lies). That’s a good few hundred thousand pounds of public money spaffed into the void trying to defend yet another Tory project that has as its main purpose inflicting cruelty and misery on millions of defenseless people. Not a good look just weeks before an Election where Labour are making their determination to scrap Universal Credit a centerpiece of their campaign.
It’s been revealed that the figures bandied about by the Government for affordable houses constructed since they won election promising to build 200,000 of them might have been a little bit inflated. Rather than the 200,000 expected, the real figure is a lot more like, uh, just let me check my notes here, ah, more like…. zero. That’s right. Zero. Nada. The big Duck Egg. More millions wasted on incompetence and graft, and what do we the public get out of it? A whole lot of land with absolutely shit-all on it in the midst of a massive affordable housing crisis. Wow, talk about a vote winner, eh guys? They’ll be popping the corks all night at Conservative Central over this one, won’t they? What’s that? Those pops aren’t corks? Then what….? Oh, well, yeah, they obviously knew the price of failure when they took the job on.
Let’s see. In the debate over Johnson’s Withdrawal Bill his Government made a clear promise to MPs of all parties that of course Parliament would have a vote on extending the transition period between agreeing to leave the EU and actually leaving past the December 2020 cut-off should any hypothetical Johnson Government fail to agree a Free Trade Agreement with the EU in that time. This was the infamous No Deal time-bomb identified as the real reason the Brextremists who’d scuppered May’s Withdrawal Bill three times voted for Johnson’s very similar one. If they just held their nose and waited a year, they could force a No Deal Brexit by voting against signing off on whatever rushed and unbalanced FTA the UK and EU managed to cobble together in such a short period of time. The promise to MPs that they could prevent a No Deal by voting to extend the transition period to cover however long it took to get an FTA agreed and signed won a lot of votes over to Johnson’s Withdrawal Bill, but now they’ve bluntly announced that MPs won’t get any such thing, making it crystal clear that Flobalob wants the threat of No Deal back on the table to wave at the next Parliament’s MPs should they reject the terms of any FTA he negotiates. This has not gone down well at all, and leaves Johnson wide open to accusations that he’s just a lying sack of shit who will say whatever he has to in order to get the person he’s talking to to drop their knickers, which has the added benefit of being oh so true.
Next, the Secretary of State for Wales, one Alun Cairns, has been forced to resign from his post after an e-mail emerged proving that he’d been (prepare to be shocked) lying his stumpy little arse off when he denied knowing anything about a former aide (who he had later backed to become a member of the Welsh Assembly) deliberately sabotaging a rape trial in order to get a friend of his off. The thing is, Johnson didn’t sack him, and he’s not stopping him standing as a candidate in the election. On the contrary, he thanked him for his service and is apparently looking forward to welcoming him back when he’s spent enough time in ‘exile’. It’s a really, really bad look and gets worse when (as has been pointed out by Labour) neither Cairns nor his boss seem to have given a moment’s thought for the actual real-life victim in all this at any point during the proceedings. Coming very soon after another Tory candidate in South Wales was outed for having used social media to tell everyone the people featured on Godawful poverty-pron reality TV show ‘Benefits Street’ should be “put down”, this isn’t doing anything good for the Tory campaign to pinch lots of Leave voting seats across South and Central Wales.
And then there’s Flobalob himself, who just can’t seem to get through a single sentence without segueing off into a fat old lie or three. That’s been the key to his success for all these years, but things are a tiny bit different when electoral ‘purdah’ rules are in effect, because the national media have to at least look like they’re being unbiased now that everyone is starting to tune in. In other words, there’s immediate fact-checking going on and (important) the fact-checking is being reported on in real time.
So when he claims that Parliament blocked his Withdrawal Deal from passing, it’s immediately pointed out that, no, Parliament started passing his Withdrawal Deal but rejected his attempt to restrict the whole process of passage to three days, at which point he pulled the Deal and demanded an Election, you fucking liar.
When he claims that electing Labour would mean two Referendums next year and no Brexit, its immediately pointed out that Labour promise one Referendum (on Brexit) and have actually ruled out giving the SNP another Independence Referendum early in their first term, you fucking liar.
When he claims that the Tories are building 40 brand new hospitals, it’s immediately pointed out that the Government has announced six hospital upgrades, with dozens of others being promised some funds to plan these upgrades themselves, you fucking liar.
I could go on, because this shit incenses me and there’s just so much of it happening in such a short period of time, but you get the point. This is supposed to be an Election Johnson and his cronies have wanted and planned for, yeah? So why is this bed piled so high with shit you could throw a sheet over it and provide low-cost skiing opportunities for daredevil midgets? Why can’t the Tories stop stepping on each other’s dicks like they’re trying to skip across Todger River? Could it possibly be that, despite the hype, they’re actually not that good at this unless they get to define the terms and cheat the system in every situation? This is supposed to be Day One of the Greatest Arsekicking Ever Delivered To The British Left and, I’m sorry, but I’m really decidedly unimpressed by the quality of the beating I’m receiving. If I was paying for this, I’d want my money back. Hell, Johnson and Co are paying for this, but they’re using public money to do it, so I feel doubly aggrieved.
Maybe we are going to come out of this with a Government that isn’t actively trying to run some sort of enormous con to immiserate the country in order to enrich their business sponsors. That would be just great, thanks. So if the Tories want to continue being garbage at the job they’ve given themselves, that would be great too, because it looks like Labour are really up for this and chewing up that poll disadvantage even faster than they did in 2017.
Fingers crossed. What’s happening over there? I hear you had some elections that went well?
I have no fucking idea what the hell Tony Jay is talking about half the time, but I absolutely adore reading him.
If the Upper Class Twit of the Year race was real, I would nominate Tony Jay as the announcer.
They’re more fucked up than we are, and that’s really fucking fucked up. Putin’s a fucking genius.
BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg report on the BBC news on TV tonight was over-the-top fawning. And the report on the BBC radio this morning gave the usual “center right Tory party versus the far left Socialist Labour”…
It’s really blatant. People in the UK deserve better.
@Omnes Omnibus: Tracy Ullman’s take on JRM.
She’s a genius.
The basic economic logic of the entire Brexit logic just escapes me.
Who did the Brexiteers think they were going to be selling to if not the EU next door?
And what great British products do they think the rest of the world wants to buy that are better and cheaper than American/Japanese/Chinese/Indian/German stuff?
Has anyone ever actually explained the details beyond just platitudes?
Or was it all just about racism and keeping EU eyes away from all the money they have squirreled away?
Adam L Silverman
This is the key issue, because one of them is Dominic Cummings. He lived in Moscow for three years after he graduated.
Much more at the link.
Adam L Silverman
West of the Rockies
@Adam L Silverman:
There’ll always be an England.
That this starts with a twatter from DPRK News Service is fucking hilarious.
@Kent: It was about the idea other EU citizens could just move in if they wanted. Full stop. Xenophobia. Also a bunch of idiots who thought they could “send a message” when they really just “voted for a submarine made of cheese”
@Another Scott: That was wonderful. He’s such an odious piece of trash.
I was wondering if Tony Jay was going update us soon the UK fiasco, and he came through brilliantly.
The racism ties into the economic logic, and in fact is very similar to the economic logic used by conservative voters. The idea is that if Britain isn’t being held down by having to share and play nice with the rest of Europe, their natural superiority will result in them crushing all the competition and every aspect of life will improve.
James E Powell
In the early 1980s, the press/media determined that details were bad. They praised Reagan for not having any. A few years later, they damned Al Gore for mastering them. They later determined that truth was unknowable.
Adam L Silverman
@Kent: @Tim C.: @Frankensteinbeck: Let us not forget the fact that Reese Moog, Gove, and several others are all shorting Britain. They need a no deal Brexit that does maximum damage to the British economy for them to profit. And they also don’t want to have to pay the new EU tax that is coming online shortly.
I love Tony J’s writing, but he has giant blind spot about Corbyn that reminds me of BernieBros.
One of the reasons, f’rex, that the Tories, as awful as they are, may still win a majority is that Labour is nearly in as deep a shithole as the Tories, and also entirely through its own making.
I continue to be amazed at how quickly national politics went to shit in both the US and UK.
The use of platitudes masquerading as knowledge seem to be concomitant with Idocracy.
Comparative Advantage was worked out in 1817 by David Ricardo, coincidentally a British economist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage
@Frankensteinbeck: Yeah. The rest of the world is just dying for British cars and expensive North Sea oil. And it’s the EU’s fault that that the rest of the world drives Asian cars fueled with Saudi oil.
@Adam L Silverman:
Yup. A bunch of the British Ogliarches, and some Russian ones, bankrolled Brexit, so they could post Hard Brexit, loot Britain, like they did the Soviet Union after the collapse and are looting Russia today.
Tony, you talk about some of the issues the press is beginning to push back on, and a number of other issues – the ‘Universal Credit’ system, affordable houses, the lie(s) in BJ’s Withdrawal Bill, the Cairns bs, etc. – are any of these likely to actually affect the vote in the upcoming election?
It sounds a bit like the daily uncovering of yet another crime or corruption over here, with very little changing in the polling numbers. Do people over there pay any more attention to these things?
@Kent: There is a basic refusal to understand or acknowledge that the prosperity of “this happy little island” has been integrally wound up with commerce with the wider world for at least 400 years.
When did the DPRK gain access to Monty Python?
I’m worried they’ll get access to The Funniest Joke in the World next.
@Barbara: I have heard some of these idiots like Boris Johnson talk about England becoming just like Singapore only right off the coast of Europe.
@Adam L Silverman: As I understand it, the new tax on investments (ATAD)
is pretty much the entire reason for the whole Brexit shitstorm. The Brexit referendum happened right after ATAD was finalized and approved. And it goes into effect on Jan 1, which is why Boris, and whoever is backing him, is so determined to get out ASAP.
@Jay: I know that we prefer the idea of prolonged incarceration for most crimes, but for these guys, I would strongly have to rethink my position on the death penalty for this unabashed treason.
@Omnes Omnibus: Awesome companion piece to Tony Jay’s. It would fit well with a Kohn Oliver segment on the Tories and parallels with Trumpism.
For the Masters of the Universe, a Hard Brexit before the EU cuts off the money laundering is the reason to back Brexit.
For the great Unwashed, it’s racism. When deColoniism hit the Empire, a bunch of POC’s wound up with UK Passports. In the beginning, that was okay, because most of them held down the “invisible jobs”, the ones that better classes don’t see. Some opened curry joints and other ethnic food places, that was okay too, as it was watered down to not offend bland British sensibilities and “real” Brit food was horrible. Amonnia leavened bread.
The problem was their kids, who were less invisible, and now the grandkids, who are Pop Stars, CEO’s, MP’s, etc. What good is a hidebound adherance to class, by even the lower classes, when these POC’s can jump the queue.
So of course, the EU has to be blamed for the failures of the Empire.
Can’t blame real Brits.
I am reminded of the possibly apocryphal London Times headline: “Channel Fogged In; Continent Isolated.” The English have always felt apart from Europe and proud of it. But I thought they had perhaps gotten over it and their imperial glories. Obviously not.
I find Tony’s descriptions of British politics both illuminating and entertaining. I suppose if I were British my sympathies would be with Labour but I don’t know what to make of Corbyn. I am willing to believe that he has been trashed in the English press, particularly the Murdoch papers. (That man has done more damage to democracy than Putin.) I even understand why he was chosen by the Labour members. Party activists are usually more extreme that ordinary voters. (Note that Boris is now PM.) But I can’t help but feel that some of Corbyn’s problems are in the nature of own goals.
It will be a shame if Corbyn’s unpopularity – whether justified or not – leads to a Tory victory.
Yes. The people leading the Conservative Party are awful. Because they support Brexit, they will get 40% of the vote. Because Jeremy Corbyn is a feckless prat, Labour will squander this opportunity with the Lib Dems and SNP siphoning off enough votes to hand the Tories a working majority to crash the European and thus global economy.
Corbyn’s no Blair. Thank dog.
@Adam L Silverman:
Heh. Yes, the oligarch fuckery is stuff everyone should know. I just always default in these questions to what the voters think, because they have to be on board for even a semi-democracy to act. They’re happy to believe that if they give the middle finger to the rest of Europe hard enough, it will prove their natural superiority and they’ll thrive.
?stuck in moderation again,….?
@Jay: Well, damn. There goes another city off my list of places-to-maybe-retire-to. Eatonville is right near Mt. Rainier, so it was on the list as i love hiking in Rainier National Park.
It’s starting to look like every rural area in Washington State is full of RWNJs. Which is to say, like every rural area in the entire country.
If you to the Oakanogan Wine Country area on the back side of the Cascades, there are fewer KKK and Nazi’s.
Ditto for the Art Towns west of the Cascades, but me, I’d head for the Olympics.
Apparently a group of ‘moderate’ Labour MPs are leading the House of Commons, rather hastily. Polling looks bad I suppose. And money probably looks better elsewhere.
There is a lot going on both here and there. Many factors making up these messes. But one of the legacies of Thatcher and Reagan and all their pissing on government service is that the cadre of folks who should have come up since them have been lured by huge paychecks and low taxes to go be, well, anything but in government.
The absolutely shite quality of conservatives in government in both the UK and US right now is particularly shocking. They’ve always been predisposed to dislike the institutions they purport to want to ‘run’ but of late, it’s just so utterly blatantly bad.
I think the generation entering politics and career civil service now will have different views and better skills. Some great people stepped up in 2018 and seem to be aiming for 2020. But we have to survive this crucible first. I think we will, but with much to recon with and rebuild. Which will be difficult.
But the alternatives are far less acceptable.
Jacob Rees-Mogg seems like a younger Roger Stone. Roger is only four years older than I am.
They already had that. That was London. And the rest of the UK was basically like rural Malaysia or Indonesia.
Tony Jay writes well and he skewers the Tories fabulously, but he’s a Corbynite and Corbyn (and therefore Labour) are pro-Brexit. Granted, it would presumably be a much softer and better Brexit than No-Deal or a Johnson-like hard Brexit because the UK would stay in a customs union and be a Norway-like part of the single market and would presumably preserve free movement of labor. And, it would presumably have to be approved in a third referendum, which might lead to ultimate rejection. But if you’re for Remain, like this English/Scottish American (me), the better play would be to vote Lib Dem (or SNP in Scotland or Plaid in Wales or Alliance in NI), who are all unabashedly Remainers. The key is to stop the Tories from obtaining a DUP supported majority, so strategic voting is key. If you live in a Labour-Tory marginal, you should vote Labour despite Corbyn. But if you live in a marginal between the Lib Dems and the Tories, you should vote Lib Dem. And if you live in a Labour/Lib Dem marginal, vote Lib Dem. The best outcome would be a hung Parliament with the pro-Remain parties being capable of preventing either Tories or Labour from effectuating Brexit of any kind. A Labour majority would be 2nd best.
By George I think he’s got it!
5th Generation Northwesterner here. I’ve lived and worked all over OR, WA, and Alaska.
If you want to make a good living you basically have to live within the orbit of Seattle or Portland. We currently live in Camas WA which is suburban Portland.
For retirement when you no longer need to bring in a steady income I’d look to one of the Islands in Puget Sound that are in the rain shadow of the Olympics. I’m a boat nut so always thinking of places to keep a boat that I can use to cruise back and forth to Alaska on the inside passage. I’ve currently got my eye on the southern half of Whidbey Island. Maybe the vicinity of Langley. More accessible and less remote than the San Juans. For a bit larger town Bellingham is extremely nice. Was just there this summer doing a college visit with my daughter. Thinking we could easily live there. Of course everyplace really nice in OR or WA is not going to be cheap. And everyplace cheap is not worth living in if you want to avoid the RWNJ and MAGA crowd.
Thank you, Tony Jay???
Honest to god, I thought that said “a wanking majority,” and now I’m not sure which would be more accurate.
I do gotta say though, after reading the recent NYT expose on corruption in the EU Ag subsidies program (which is 40% of the EU budget), I’d be wanting out too. Makes the farm program corruption in places like Nebraska seem like child’s play.
These write-ups of Tony Jay’s are incredible.
Just when you thought it couldn’t any damn more surreal:
There’s a saying I read on a Brexit blog once: “The wogs begin at Calais”. Yeah, it’s racism alright, for some. And the rich, who want to shut down various EU regulations, both current and future, why, they’re happy to use that racism as a lever.
I really don’t follow it all enough to have a personal opinion on Corbyn, but there are two things that I never see his non-Conservative detractors address:
1) Labour was in shambles when he became leader, after delivering a majority to the double-dip recession Tories. The media likes to sneer at the Labour voters who keep Corbyn as leader, but the centrist wing promised that if the left wing shut up, then at least they would win, and then they completely and totally failed in just about every way. The way the centrist wing keeps talking like Corbyn’s the problem without owning up to their own history of incompetent failure makes it hard to take them seriously.
2) When May called her foolish snap election to increase her majority and crush Labour once and for all and the media actually had to allow Corbyn some semblance of balanced coverage, Corbyn’s popularity rose and May’s fell. And May lost her majority government. Oops.
Maybe he’s not a good Labour leader, but there’s not much evidence that the people he keeps beating back are any better, and there’s at least some evidence that he’s better than he gets credit for (which wouldn’t be hard since he seems to get absolutely no credit for anything). The Liberal Democrats seem pretty content being Tory enablers, and the last three Tory leaders practically lit their country on fire to hang on to power, so the visceral hate directed at Corbyn leaves me mystified.
@Kent: Every time I think nothing can shock me about this President or the bottom-barrel people he has working for him…
@Kent: Corruption is always bad, but $65B is a tiny fraction of the EU’s $19T ($19,000B) GDP. If the UK paid for the whole CAP, it would amount to 2.5% of UK GDP. But it doesn’t. The country’s nominal contribution to the EU is £20B, and the net is £9B (call it $15B), or about 0.6% of UK GDP. And the CAP is only about 40% of the EU budget. IOW, the CAP may be a mess, but it isn’t a sufficient reason for the UK to leave the EU.
Always be suspicious of big nominal numbers in a story like that one.
@Kent: Yep. Before the great Eastern European expansion, London was the only region in the UK that did better than the EU average. An EU that at that point already included such economic powerhouses as Portugal and Greece.
@PeakVT: …and the New York Times is garbage.
Thanks for the advice! I’ve been scouring the real estate websites, looking all over the state.
I should say, my semi-settled decision is to move to Whidbey, which I adore; or Ocean Shores, which is also wonderful but lacks mountains and town centers. The other spots I’ve considered were mostly because housing was less expensive, and I thought it would be nice to have some acreage and mountain or water view within my price range. Via RE websites, I’ve looked at all the towns along the top of the peninsula, towns along the Columbia, etc.
Retirement is still a few years off. Plenty of time for things to change… for better or worse.
This, alas, is quite true.
@CaseyL: My parents were planning on retiring Sequim.
Ocean shores (and Westport on the other side) is ground zero for the next tsunami when the big one hits. There is basically no place to escape to. https://washingtonstategeology.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/newly-published-southwest-washington-tsunami-inundation-hazard-maps/ And Grays Harbor is about the most recessed region of WA. In Ocean Shores you’ll always be dealing with the local meth heads trying to break in to your place.
If actual coastal living is what you want then there are much better options in Oregon. The key to long-term retirement on the OR coast is access to good medical care. Southern coast is too remote. Northern coast has access to Portland and the other valley cities.
Ridiculous. Singapore is a city barely big enough to have suburbs. It has the luxury of a national border between itself and many things that support it as a city, making those things someone else’s problem. Its food is mostly grown in Malaysia, where land is cheap and plentiful enough for farming. Its water is purchased from Malaysia — cheaper than building desalination plants on very expensive land. A good chunk of its workforce are Malaysians commuting in from Johor Baru. Britain is way too big to be Europe’s Singapore.
Sngapore got really lucky back in 1965 when we expelled them from the Federation of Malaysia.
@patroclus: Everything you said is 100% true. Corbyn has been a Leaver for 40+ years, and the reason why Brexit is such a big problem is because both the Tories and the leader of Labour want to Leave. Corbyn simply disagrees with the Tories about how to Leave.
This is why no one bit when Corbyn offered to lead a caretaker government that would prevent a No Deal Brexit: support for such an action would be virtually guaranteeing a Labour Brexit.
@Amir Khalid: I like learning things like this. I have an acquaintance who thinks he’s an expert in Asia (he’s never been; I think he gets most of his info from mail-order bride catalogs). He likes to mansplain me that Singapore is heaven on earth because they have a great airport.
So much winning:
@sdhays: As I see it, the reason for Corbyn hate from the left/center-left is simple and straightforward: he is a Leaver.
Now, there is some disagreement as to whether he would prefer a bad Brexit that he can successfully pawn off on the Tories, leading to a PM Corbyn and the implementation of a leftist utopia, or whether he would prefer to take the reins and craft his own Jobs Brexit, leading to a leftist utopia. But what cannot reasonably be disputed is that Jeremy Corbyn wants Brexit. He’s been voting to Leave since 1975!
The sub-text here is that the Fire Service advice “Don’t rush out” is based on the principle that if everyone thinks “Every man/woman for himself/herself!” and dashes for the hopelessly inadequate stairwells, then everyone dies in the crush. Admittedly the Fire Service did not take into account the fact that the Tory council had decided to wrap Grenfell Tower in thermite, because no-one had informed them of that cost-cutting measure, which is why the Fire Service are now being blamed for everything.
Anyway, Rees-Mogg’s entire life is premised on the principle that “Every man for himself!” must work (especially if that man happens to be JRM), so he is obliged to argue that in Grenfell Tower as in everything, people should have ignored expert advice and just panicked.
Anyone here ever read Betty MacDonald’s book Onions in the Stew about living on Vashon Island with her 2 daughters and 2nd husband in early 1940s? She also wrote the immensely popular The Egg and I
Changi Airport is very nice indeed. It’s so nice and so full of cool stuff that many reckon it’s the bestest airport on the planet. But an airport does not a nation make. And for me it’s where my dad suffered a fatal heart attack while returning with my mother from visiting friends in Indonesia.
Hey, Anne-Laurie! Glad you liked it.
1) Brexit? Yes, it’s utterly pointless and self-destructive with no redeeming features whatsoever. But the vast majority of Leavers didn’t vote for the “economic benefits” of the mythical Brexit, they voted for a whiter Britain where dirty foreigners knew their place and all the “benefits” accrued to people who looked like them. It was dog-whistle politics from start to finish, everything else was just garnish. I guess the only plus point was that we got a rough measurement of how many people in this country are various degrees of white-supremacist leanings and it’s about 1/3, mostly older and based outside of major cities. Good to know.
2) I’m frankly bored with repeating the same things about Corbyn and his leadership through the Brexit disaster. He’s kept the Labour Party in one piece and stopped Brexit happening at every inflection point, and he’s done it in the teeth of a propaganda storm so malicious that all this talk about his unelectability makes me laugh. Yeah, having the media lie about you non-stop for years has no effect on public perceptions of your leadership. I’ll be sure to write and tell President Hillary that after I’ve finished here.
Let’s just have an election where the media is forced to let the public decide for themselves who is and isn’t acceptable, eh? And then, if the country makes the smart choice, we can have a Referendum where we get to reassess what we want Britain to be.
3) The Liberal-Democrats? Oh, you mean “Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats” under their new not-at-all an embarrassing ego-trip rebranding? The Party that can’t seem to explain why they’re relying on fake polls to make themselves look relevant? Those “Jo Swinson’s Liberal-Democrats”?
Sure, in a Lib-Dem/Tory marginal people have to vote for them, but let’s not pretend they’re anything other than Tories Without Ties because led by her, they’re not.
Anyhoo, have a nice Infrastructure Week and let’s see what fresh hell this day brings.
Brilliant, Tony Jay. I’m not as fond of Corbyn as you, but my hope is that the Incredible Sulk’s mendacity and incompetence may be enough to sink the Tories. Fingers crossed, and tactical voting, everybody.
One thing American commentators might wish to remember is that Jeremy Corbyn is the Leader of the Labour Party and not its elected dictator like a US President. What he personally believes does not automatically become Labour Party policy, that’s determined by Conference decisions and in day-to-day operations by something called the Party’s National Executive Committee (the NEC).
What he knows and what most outsiders ignore is that about 30% of regular Labour supporters voted Leave in the Referendum in 2016 and a lot of them will not vote Labour in a general election if the Party takes an absolute Remain line, they will either stay at home, vote Brexit/Leave or in extremis they’ll vote for a Tory. The result would be a loss of maybe thirty or more seats down from the current 270 or so resulting in a solid Tory majority Hate-The-Poors Government for the next five years post-Brexit.
The Tories have swung hard Leave and the Conservative MPs who would have voted against it have been purged. The 80% or so of Tory voters who voted Leave will not desert them now, no matter how incompetent a buffoon leads the Party. Corbyn’s every move, every position is to try to prevent that hard-Leave hard-right Tory government coming into existence.
Labour Party policy is to talk to the EU to create a new Withdrawal Agreement but getting rid of a lot of the Tory “red lines” on things like immigration and right to remain for EU citizens. After defining what Leave would actually entail then they are committed to holding another Referendum on that basis. Corbyn rightly refuses to say how he would vote in that second Referendum because the Leave conditions haven’t been determined, and saying he would unequivocally vote Remain would lose Labour a lot of seats.
Sounds like a plan to me.
All excellent points well made.
@Amir Khalid: Amir, I feel the same way toward London’s Victoria Station, outside of which my father suffered his fatal MI.
You know, what, England? Kick out all the brown folks and you get no more curry. Your white folks still don’t know how to get that right so, go on. I’m sure Boris likes a good curry now and then…would be a shame if he couldn’t get it, Oh, but he will get it, being a rich twit – it’s just you commoners who will be deprived.
That said, Labour in the UK – as in Israel – is a mess…much, much worse than our own “Dems in disarray”.
@OGliberal: It’s not the brown folks the Leavers want rid of, it’s the Poles and Romanians and Bulgarians, the sorts of folks who work for minimum wage in hospitals as cleaners and porters, the plumbers and electricians and construction workers, the seasonal agricultural labourers, the workers in food processing plants, delivery drivers etc.
There was a news story about a Leaver voter in Wales, he wanted the Polish people who had moved in to his town to go back to where they came from, that’s why he had voted Leave. He is a florist, twice a week a refrigerated truck from Holland parks up outside his shop and unloads fresh cut flowers to keep his business going. He couldn’t understand how leaving the EU was going to stop this truck from turning up, he wanted the government to make some kind of exemption for his business but he was still a committed Leaver because some Poles had opened a food shop down the street from his place.
There are millions of people who think this way, and they WILL vote their beliefs in the forthcoming election.
@Robert Sneddon: OK, as a person of Polish descent now I am really offended. :-) So, basically, these people are not only xenophobes but also selfish arseholes…make it OK for me but not for them!
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I hear that Sequim is really nice.
Haven’t been there in something like 20 years.
Love the Olympic National Park.
There is the unfortunate fact that the Cascadia Fault is long overdue for relaxation of tension.
J R in WV
So… at this point, Brexit may well require all the British citizens who moved to other locations in Europe to live to return to Britain immediately after GB leaves the EU, is that a possibility? I mean if GB doesn’t adopt a freedom of movement agreement with the EU? Which is the whole point of Brexit to all the racists who support Brexit, isn’t it?
Amazing that after reading 7,500 words of Tony Jay’s review of current British politics I still have so many questions….
Garlic … [shudders]
No True Briton …
At the risk of stating the obvious, ¿Por que no los dos?
And your story reminds me of “crops rotting in the field” stories circa 2011 when several Southern (US) states amped up their anti-migrant enforcement activities. I gather that farmers weren’t entirely pleased, but that lack of pleasure doesn’t seem to have affected their support for Trump’s anti-migrant-worker regime.
Seems kinda odd that I haven’t seen similar “crops rotting in the field” stories since Jan 20 2017, other than a couple about “California farmers having difficulty finding workers”.
A somewhat different kind of self-own from the same regime: that hilarious story of the Mercedes-Benz exec who was arrested in Alabama.
I have no familiarity with UK politics other than what I read in The Guardian, here, at LG&M, and in a few other places, but David Brockington (a front-pager and intermittent poster at LG&M) is a Labour activist who is witheringly critical of Momentum, the core Corbynite group, which (in his description) sounds a lot like Club for Growth but on the other side of the right-left divide. Suitably adjusted for UK vs. US politics, of course.
Not endorsing, just pointing to another information source.
Wouldn’t that be offset by all the non-Labour voters who voted Remain, and (using the same logic) would cross over to for a hard-line Remain party? Why wouldn’t you be at least as concerned about depressing the turnout of the 70%(?) of Labour supporters who voted Remain?
I mean, the core issue here is whether you believe, setting parties aside, that Leave would win another referendum. If one believes that the majority of UK voters cannot be convinced to support Remain (or: one doesn’t want to convince them, which has the same effect), then sure, going all-in for Remain is a futile effort.
Knowing quite a few people in Dorset, there is a belief that leaving the EU will stop “Brown” people from coming to the country. Brexit was driven by racism against all foreign countries including people from Pakistan, India, Muslims, Syria.
Nigel Farage’s poster with the Syrian refugees saying that Britain was going to get invaded was a dog whistle to the racism about Muslims coming into the UK. Boris Johnson also implied that Turkey would join the Eu and Turkish people would invade the UK.
The problem is that Jeremy Corbyn is incompetent. He is a liability. The labour party have some very good MPs and people who would make an excellent leader but there is a cult like folllowing of Jeremy Corbyn – a bit like Benie Sanders.
The Press is against him including the BBC and every news organisation. To win against the press in the UK, you need a very charismatic leader.
Unfortunatley I believe the Conservatives will still win despite the years of incompetent rule.
@J R in WV: The British citizens currently living and working in EU countries (and in some cases retired and living in warmer sunnier places like Spain and Portugal) will no longer have automatic right to live and work there despite having moved there with the intention to stay long-term, got jobs, bought homes, raised children etc. Arrangements can be made but it’s part of the negotiations after Brexit happens to determine what their status will be. It will cost money to register, fill in forms, appeal decisions etc. lots and lots of bureaucracy and time and worry. It’s the same for a lot of EU citizens living here in the UK, there will be expense and paperwork and worry for them too.
Some EU citizens have lived here for thirty years and more from childhood and suddenly they might have to move to a nation they’ve only visited occasionally since they don’t meet the requirements to remain here, criteria like earning over a certain large-ish amount each year and the like.
@Spider-Dan: Conservative Remainers often take a sabbatical with the Tory-lite Lib Dems when the leadership of their natural political home temporarily goes beyond the pale. Next election they return to their roots having assuaged their conscience and “sent a message”. It’s the reason the Lib Dems have surges in support as in 2010 when they got over 50 MPs and over 6 million votes. They sold their souls for a minor role in the Tory-dominated Coalition government and the next election in 2015 the right-wingers-with-a-conscience said “Fuck it, why vote for the Lib Dems when I could have voted Tory in the first place and saved myself the bother?” The result, the Lib Dems went from 57 seats to 8, losing 4 million voters. Jo Swinson, the current leader of the Lib Dems and a Cabinet minister in the Coalition lost her seat in that election and only won it back by a narrow majority in the 2017 election.
Remember that although Brexit is a big factor in this election it’s not the only thing going on — all the parties are promising big public spending programmes accompanied by lots of borrowing to avoid tax increases, the usual giveaways you see in any election campaigns. For a lot of voters Leave or Remain isn’t an absolute reason for allocating their vote to a particular candidate or Party.
The 30% or so of Labour Leave voters are mostly going to stay loyal to Labour but Jeremy Corbyn and the high heid yins of the Labour party can’t afford to lose many of them, they’re already a minority party. That’s why the policy they’ve come up with attempts to keep as many Leavers on board as they possibly can. Going hard Remain would result in a lower number of Labour votes and fewer seats overall even if they do pick up some waverers from the Lib Dems and the Tories.
The SNP are going to make out like bandits this time around, like they did in 2015 at a guess. It won’t necessarily stop the Tories from getting a majority in the House of Commons but Brexit will intensify the demands for another Independence referendum and it will be hard to stop it happening one way or the other.
@Zinsky: Thank you.
@Dev Null: The Labour Party’s leader is chosen by a secret ballot of people who have joined the party — anyone who is over 14 years old and not a member of another party can join, it costs as little as £3 a year and gets them voting rights. The current party membership is about 485,000 people.
Jeremy Corbyn has been voted Labour leader twice by clear majorities of the party membership. The first time round a number of ex-Nulab Blairite MPs put themselves forward and got destroyed in the first ballot by Corbyn. In the second election they held secret meetings and selected a single candidate they could all back. That didn’t work either.
Either Momentum has 300,000 members (the number of votes Corbyn received in the last leadership election) or he’s doing something right and a lot of non-Momentum party members are supporting him for that reason. The chattering classes struggle to accept that this badly-dressed lower-class oik is actually popular and can’t understand why the lumpenproletariat won’t vote for their choice of a photogenic middle-class right-winger like Keith Starmer so they resort to conspiracy theories about a left-wing activist pressure group somehow controlling the leadership elections, shades of Soros in the US.
That sounds like the point of contention here. Again, if one believes that Remain is a winning issue, it follows that you’ll attract more votes than you lose (among single-issue voters). Conversely, if one believes that Leave is a stronger position, it’s easy to conclude that coming out hard-line Remain will cause single-issue Labour Leavers to jump ship, but won’t gain you many single-issue Tory/Lib Dem Remain votes in exchange.
@Spider-Dan: Labour is trying to decouple the Brexit situation from the General election, offering Labour-supporting Leavers the fig-leaf of a negotiated Withdrawal agreement and a referendum on that vs. Remain down the line. The Conservatives are going hard-Leave, get a solid majority in the House and Johnson as PM and it’s Brexit time with no interference from the bolshies in the House or problematic alliances with the even-more-odious DUP. They have the benefit of knowing that the vast majority of Conservative voters support Leave to start with.
As for Leave vs. Remain even today there isn’t a lot in the votes for either side — I’d hope a second Referendum with the consequences of Leave spelled out in black and white would swing the result to Remain but it would still be close, a few percent (52% Remain, 48% Leave perhaps). A lot of Leave supporters see themselves as martyrs to Evil Machinations by Faceless EU Bureaucrats abetted by home-grown Traitorous Forces (and Soros too, believe it or not). They’re not listening, they are living in their own world full of Sparkly Unicorns, Britain as an independent world power trading under WTO rules and 39 billion pounds of leverage with the duplicitious EU and a lot of them still think “they need us more than we need them”. And yes, a shitload of them are nasty xenophobic racists too and they hate hate HATE being called out on it. Why, some of their best friends are Polish, like that nice girl that looks after Mum-with-dementia in the care home for eight quid fifty an hour.
No, he’s just a guy who could see exactly how corrupt the rich movers and shakers are in both countries and how to use them. He’s been doing it inside Russia for the last 25 years or so; how hard could it be to extend his modus op. outside?