European Politics General (Canada welcome too, I suppose)

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evilthecat:

Pseudonym:
I can imagine that buying the loyalty of one party by just dumping cash onto their local constituents is a bad way to do things. Speaking as somebody who has been ruled mostly by coalitions of multiple parties I think that that kind of cooperation requires at least some degree of trust and loyalty. That trust and loyalty is better secured by regular talk and some government seats than by money. It's not ideal but this is something else.

Yeah, the fault is not with coalitions as a concept but with our political culture and system and (I would argue, at least) with the Tory party. The Con-Dem coalition, which could have worked, was an absolute disaster because the majority party still behaved as if it were in government alone, and because the Lib Dems did not really understand how it would be perceived among their own voting demographic (Lib Dem voters are generally voting on principle for a party they know won't win, and also tend to be more left than right).

I don't know.. Our political culture, for the most part, is too acrimonious and a lot of minor parties are too extreme. I can see a Lab/Green or Lab/SNP coalition working to a degree, but even then there would probably be tensions and risks (especially to the "junior" party).

To be fair. It isn't easy here either. Coalitions rarely win as many seats as they had when governing and the junior partners tend to suffer electorally even if they are probably more effective in a coalition than outside it. There is a reason our recent formation took 7 months and the current coalition cannnot afford to lose even a single of their 114 votes between the two chambers to a disloyal party member. After labour lost over 3/4th or their votes after ruling as the (ever so slightly) smaller partner for four years nobody was too eager to rule on unfavourable terms. The fracturing of votes between so many parties that the largest three could barely rule together (not that they wanted to) didn't help either. I wouldn't be surprised if our version of the libdems is going to lose a lot of votes next time around. To make matters worse the last goverment was the first one since the new millenium started to complete its four year term and I've got money that says the current one won't repeat that. The other ones tended to have some kind of fallout halfway through triggering new elections.

Our system has the advantage of proportional representation so parties won't lose half their seats over a 20% loss in voters and our political culture isn't as hostile as yours though we're making some strides in that direction. Also, everyone is used to coalitions and it is felt amongst the political class that they are the natural and best way to deal with things.

Pseudonym:

I suppose I'm just not getting something. How precisely are Irish and British interests all that different here? Both would want to prevent a Northen Irish disaster with reflaring 'troubles', wouldn't they? It's not as if Ireland has demanded that NI be given to them, they just seem to want a very soft border with NI to prevent something terrible.

Both Ireland and the UK are aligned and want a frictionless border. But... the UK seems to be aiming at a frictional (at least in part) border with the EU. Ireland and the EU, quite rightly, are asking how the UK plans to put restrictions on the EU-UK border except Ireland.

It's turning out to be extremely tricky.

As I said to Cantip above, if there's going to be a hard border, it has to be a hard border somewhere. If it's not on the Ireland-NI border, it seems it has to be made internally within the UK at the NI-GB border - which means NI will be in certain ways (movement of people, goods and services) part of the EU, not the UK. The NI Unionists (DUP) cannot abide this, because they fear different rules from the rest of the UK will act to increase motivation for NI secession from the UK. (And of course, Wales and Scotland think if NI can be other side of the EU-UK border, why shouldn't they?)

This is particularly difficult, because the Tories are relying on the DUP to have a majority government; without, they cannot safely pass their parliamentary bills... including the one they need to sign an EU-UK treaty into UK law.

And just for some amusement with regard to the ongoing clusterfuck that is Brexit...

David Davis, lead negotiator for the UK and head of the department for exiting the EU (DEXEU) told parliament that there was an exhaustive impact assessment that Brexit would have on the UK economy. Parliament demanded they should be allowed to see it so they can be informed about what Brexit means.

Davis obstructed. He was threatened to be held in contempt of parliament, and forced to comply. When the documentation arrived three weeks later it was disturbingly sparse. Parliament thought he had redacted so much of it that what was left was meaningless, and so investigated what was going on. (Redacted because apparently it might give the EU a negotiating advantage, as if the EU are too stupid and incompetent to do this sort of analysis themselves, and despite the fact that negotiations so far suggest the EU is an order of magnitude more aware of what's at stake than the UK government.)

Well! It turns out that DEXEU seems not to have redacted the impact assessments. It probably hadn't done them. Those three weeks delay were just the department frantically putting something together to pretend that it had. Our beloved head of DEXEU had basically lied to Parliament repeatedly. Dspite all these months to have done some impact assessments on the UK economy from Brexit, they just hadn't bothered. Because, hey, why might the UK government want to know that sort of information?

I desperately hope that Brexit won't go badly, because I don't want the country to suffer. But the evidence so far is that it will turn out badly. Consequently, I have to take all the black humour enjoyment I can from this car crash of a process.

Also, even the Cabinet hasn't discussed what they want Brexit to end up being. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/dec/06/david-davis-questioned-by-brexit-committee-about-impact-assessments-politics-live?page=with:block-5a280d2083311a066ae8b965#block-5a280d2083311a066ae8b965

"The cabinet has had general discussions about our Brexit negotiations, but we haven't had a specific mandating of an end-state position.

"That is something that will be done first in the sub-committee constituted to deal with this issue, and logically that will happen once we have confirmation that we have reached "sufficient progress" and are going to begin the phase two process with the European Union.

"We are not yet at that stage and it would have been premature to have that discussion before we reach that stage."

So Parliament set a referendum that didn't ask what kind of relationship with the EU the UK should have, Parliament did not debate what kind of Brexit they hoped to get, the Cabinet has not done so either, the DExEU secretary does not assess the impact of Brexit, he offers such ridiculous divorce terms, the Prime Minister has to capitulate to proceed to the trade talk phase but withholds intent from long standing allies to the point of pissing them off and vetoing the divorce terms.

The UK does not have a government, it has an underfunded civil servant commanded by children.

evilthecat:

I would say the electorate in general. It's unprecedented and displays a level of stupidity and nearsightedness which I think people have a certain entitlement to assume the government is above.

It's not just that they're a motley collection of fascists and evangelical dominionists (although that would be a compelling argument on its own) but the British government aligning itself with a party that represents one side of what was, until 10 years ago, a civil war in which said government was also involved is not something anyone should have to explain is a bad idea.

And yet, that has been the Tory Party's main alliance since 1912 and the days of Bonar Law supporting the arming of the Orangemen in response to Home Rule. Even back in 2010 the DUP were on the Tory side.

There's a reason the Tory Party's full name is the Conservative and Unionist Party, for us in the isle to the side, this is nothing new, you only have to see Gove's comments on the GFA or the hysteria around Corbyn (built upon outright lies) to see what you can get away with. The British have been able to happily erase their history in Ireland and act like they weren't directly responsible for the Orange Order and it's violent agenda throughout the 20th century.

I'd be interested to know if anyone has bets on who the next Tory leader will be when May is deposed, could Johnson really go all the way?

Ninjamedic:
I'd be interested to know if anyone has bets on who the next Tory leader will be when May is deposed, could Johnson really go all the way?

Only if this is indeed the darkest timeline.

Seriously though, I don't see why not. He only has to convince the 150,000 or so conservative party members of which its fairly reasonable to assume the (vast?) majority are brexiteers. Trump got elected for Christs sake, what is Johnson but a milder, more British Trump?

Besides, who the hell else is it going to be, Michael Gove? If they are that against the support of anyone who isn't already voting conservative they might as well perform the neccessary summoning rituals to bring back William Hague from his new job of festering in the Lords.

For all the talk of Corbyn being "unelectable" the lineup of new potential conservative leaders seems to be the definition of "scraping the bottom of the charismaless barrel".

Ninjamedic:
I'd be interested to know if anyone has bets on who the next Tory leader will be when May is deposed, could Johnson really go all the way?

I think the front runners will be Johnson, Rees-Mogg & Gove. As someone who normally (but not always) votes Tory I'm going to be having a good long look at the other parties and have a serious look if any of them deserve my vote more than these three caricatures of all that is wrong with Britain.

Bobular:

Ninjamedic:
I'd be interested to know if anyone has bets on who the next Tory leader will be when May is deposed, could Johnson really go all the way?

I think the front runners will be Johnson, Rees-Mogg & Gove. As someone who normally (but not always) votes Tory I'm going to be having a good long look at the other parties and have a serious look if any of them deserve my vote more than these three caricatures of all that is wrong with Britain.

There's the old joke about the donkey with the labour rosette. The sad thing is, given the choice between the donkey and the current batch of contenders (across the parties), I would probably vote for the donkey.

Back to square one folks.

Rajoy bet on populist unionist fervor depriving Catalan independentists of their majority with a snap election, he bet wrong, pretty much nothing has changed as far as independentist rule of the parliament goes.

https://twitter.com/RobDunsmore/status/939079346278543360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thejournal.ie%2Fbrexit-coveney-3739454-Dec2017%2F

As much as I criticise Fine Gael, I have to take my hat off after seeing Coveney's performance in dealing with the idiocy from Britain currently, watching that Sky News Clip Boulton's childishness contrasted with Coveney firmly yet still politely explaining the Irish position while still emphasising our desire to maintain the stability with the UK strikes me as a microcosm of the Anglo-Irish situation since the referendum.

Also, more of the Little Englanderism: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/you-irish-need-to-get-over-yourselves-sky-news-host-responds-after-controversial-interview-with-simon-coveney-36394432.html

Ninjamedic:
Also, more of the Little Englanderism: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/you-irish-need-to-get-over-yourselves-sky-news-host-responds-after-controversial-interview-with-simon-coveney-36394432.html

Jeeeeeeesus Christ.

Trying to cover his ass by stating that blatant disrespect is about "challenging the interviewee" is pathetic, what a boob.

Sonmi:

Trying to cover his ass by stating that blatant disrespect is about "challenging the interviewee" is pathetic, what a boob.

It's sadly popular pandering over in England at the moment, thinking we're just a bitter splitoff that need to get back line with glorious Britannia.

Fuckin Anglos.

Ninjamedic:
https://twitter.com/RobDunsmore/status/939079346278543360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thejournal.ie%2Fbrexit-coveney-3739454-Dec2017%2F

As much as I criticise Fine Gael, I have to take my hat off after seeing Coveney's performance in dealing with the idiocy from Britain currently, watching that Sky News Clip Boulton's childishness contrasted with Coveney firmly yet still politely explaining the Irish position while still emphasising our desire to maintain the stability with the UK strikes me as a microcosm of the Anglo-Irish situation since the referendum.

Also, more of the Little Englanderism: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/you-irish-need-to-get-over-yourselves-sky-news-host-responds-after-controversial-interview-with-simon-coveney-36394432.html

As a European this seems like a general problem not just with UK-Irish but also with UK-EU relations. There seems to be a fundamental difference in how these negotiations are seen. The EU side has been trying to explain to the British that while the EU is of course chiefly looking out for its own interests and that of its own citizens, not all negotiation has to be a fight and or zero-sum-game. But the British insist on seeing the negotiations in such a way regardless which, in my opinion, will be bad for all involved. Like I said above, the UK and Ireland and the EU all want stability and peace in and around NI. This means that a soft border around NI should be a win for everyone. It might suck for those Brits who thought that Britain could exist independend of what happens in Ireland or the rest of Europe but that was never going to happen. Not because of the EU but because countries existing near one another effect one another regardless.

Pseudonym:

As a European this seems like a general problem not just with UK-Irish but also with UK-EU relations. There seems to be a fundamental difference in how these negotiations are seen. The EU side has been trying to explain to the British that while the EU is of course chiefly looking out for its own interests and that of its own citizens, not all negotiation has to be a fight and or zero-sum-game. But the British insist on seeing the negotiations in such a way regardless which, in my opinion, will be bad for all involved. Like I said above, the UK and Ireland and the EU all want stability and peace in and around NI. This means that a soft border around NI should be a win for everyone. It might suck for those Brits who thought that Britain could exist independend of what happens in Ireland or the rest of Europe but that was never going to happen. Not because of the EU but because countries existing near one another effect one another regardless.

It's all down to grandstanding at home, the Tories are desperate to remain in power so they'll say anything to please Brexit voters. They took the time to lose a general election after all.

[quote="Sonmi" post="528.946139.24178828"
Jeeeeeeesus Christ.

Trying to cover his ass by stating that blatant disrespect is about "challenging the interviewee" is pathetic, what a boob.[/quote]

Without even reading the article, I'm willing to bet that journo was (can't remember his name exactly) Adam/Adrian Boulton. It's exactly the sort of thing he'd do.

Agema:

Sonmi:

Jeeeeeeesus Christ.

Trying to cover his ass by stating that blatant disrespect is about "challenging the interviewee" is pathetic, what a boob.

Without even reading the article, I'm willing to bet that journo was (can't remember his name exactly) Adam/Adrian Boulton. It's exactly the sort of thing he'd do.

Congratulations. You win.

Ninjamedic:

Pseudonym:

As a European this seems like a general problem not just with UK-Irish but also with UK-EU relations. There seems to be a fundamental difference in how these negotiations are seen. The EU side has been trying to explain to the British that while the EU is of course chiefly looking out for its own interests and that of its own citizens, not all negotiation has to be a fight and or zero-sum-game. But the British insist on seeing the negotiations in such a way regardless which, in my opinion, will be bad for all involved. Like I said above, the UK and Ireland and the EU all want stability and peace in and around NI. This means that a soft border around NI should be a win for everyone. It might suck for those Brits who thought that Britain could exist independend of what happens in Ireland or the rest of Europe but that was never going to happen. Not because of the EU but because countries existing near one another effect one another regardless.

It's all down to grandstanding at home, the Tories are desperate to remain in power so they'll say anything to please Brexit voters. They took the time to lose a general election after all.

Part of it might be, but I think British politicians, at least some of them, really do believe that this is how these negotiations work.

Okay, who gave Poland Triumph Of The Will on Blu-Ray for Christmas?

Ninjamedic:
Okay, who gave Poland Triumph Of The Will on Blu-Ray for Christmas?

Populist right-wing nationalists. What else do you need to say.

The Justice and Law Party (PiS) want to rebuild the institutions of Poland from the ground up, because they believe the current system is totally corrupt and full of hidden Commies. The irony is that in their authoritarianism, illiberalism, damage to democratic process, historical revisionism, etc. they are more like the Communists than any other major Polish party.

But PiS have a strong hand. Studies suggest a lot of Poles are uneasy about what PiS is doing with state institutions, but this is overwhelmed by the fact PiS is delivering in many areas of domestic concern by looking after the general welfare of Poles.

Agema:
The Justice and Law Party

Christ, that's a name to run away from.

Agema:

Populist right-wing nationalists. What else do you need to say.

The Justice and Law Party (PiS) want to rebuild the institutions of Poland from the ground up, because they believe the current system is totally corrupt and full of hidden Commies.

Wait, hang on Agema, which issue of 2000AD is this from again?

But PiS have a strong hand. Studies suggest a lot of Poles are uneasy about what PiS is doing with state institutions, but this is overwhelmed by the fact PiS is delivering in many areas of domestic concern by looking after the general welfare of Poles.

How much of a chance is there for a Polish separatist movement against Europe?

Ninjamedic:
How much of a chance is there for a Polish separatist movement against Europe?

While they remain one of the largest net recipients of EU funds, virtually none. They don't really care if they lose all voting rights as has been threatened, so long as they keep getting money.

Agema:

Ninjamedic:
Okay, who gave Poland Triumph Of The Will on Blu-Ray for Christmas?

Studies suggest a lot of Poles are uneasy about what PiS is doing with state institutions, but this is overwhelmed by the fact PiS is delivering in many areas of domestic concern by looking after the general welfare of Poles.

Yep. Unfortunately, it looks like their position will remain unthreatened unless a)economic situation that plays in their favor changes and b) the opposition will get their shit together.

Ninjamedic:

How much of a chance is there for a Polish separatist movement against Europe?

Small. While the governing party tends to beat in the eurosceptic drums like Animal the Muppet, polls show that support for the country to remain in EU, holds steadily above 80 percent. For now.

Agema:
But PiS have a strong hand. Studies suggest a lot of Poles are uneasy about what PiS is doing with state institutions, but this is overwhelmed by the fact PiS is delivering in many areas of domestic concern by looking after the general welfare of Poles.

Its actually really sad that increasingly in European countries right wing populists are better at executing left wing ideas than old left and social democrat parties. Feels bad man.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

Agema:
But PiS have a strong hand. Studies suggest a lot of Poles are uneasy about what PiS is doing with state institutions, but this is overwhelmed by the fact PiS is delivering in many areas of domestic concern by looking after the general welfare of Poles.

Its actually really sad that increasingly in European countries right wing populists are better at executing left wing ideas than old left and social democrat parties. Feels bad man.

Wrong, they're better at playing like their going to execute them. None of them are actually implementing any of them.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

Its actually really sad that increasingly in European countries right wing populists are better at executing left wing ideas than old left and social democrat parties. Feels bad man.

Which left-wing ideas would those be?

Silvanus:
Which left-wing ideas would those be?

Well, a quick looking up of things notes the following about PIS:
- Lengthened maternity leave;
- Promised inexpensive housing (unclear on delivery);
- In favour of universal health care;
- In favour of social security;
- Tax breaks for families;
- Ended military conscription.

Let's be honest, they aren't too dissimilar from many left wing parties if you set aside the EU and immigration stances. And account for the fact that Poland is a far more Catholic country than many.

Catnip1024:

Silvanus:
Which left-wing ideas would those be?

Well, a quick looking up of things notes the following about PIS:
- Lengthened maternity leave;
- Promised inexpensive housing (unclear on delivery);
- In favour of universal health care;
- In favour of social security;
- Tax breaks for families;
- Ended military conscription.

Let's be honest, they aren't too dissimilar from many left wing parties if you set aside the EU and immigration stances. And account for the fact that Poland is a far more Catholic country than many.

I wonder if that has anything to do with the alt-right practicing scorched earth when they're not in power but the left-wing generally being more inclined to support policy initiatives that are decent ideas. I'm not up to date as much as I should be about the various European governments, but that's how US politics have worked for decades now.

Avnger:
I wonder if that has anything to do with the alt-right practicing scorched earth when they're not in power but the left-wing generally being more inclined to support policy initiatives that are decent ideas. I'm not up to date as much as I should be about the various European governments, but that's how US politics have worked for decades now.

There's nothing alt right about PIS. They aren't trolls, they aren't nazi's, they are a party dealing with the particular problems of a particular country. There is a lot one can criticise them for, but calling them alt right is misleading.

And Poland has been a fairly socialist country for quite a while now. Solidarity, and all that. The authoritarian side of PIS is related to the communist era, and a kind of fear of communists / ex-KGB retaining posts of significance. Not quite as hysterical as it sounds, as an ex-USSR nation.

That said, their revisionism is an issue, and removing judicial independence isn't great, regardless of the reasons. But yeah, not alt right.

Catnip1024:

Avnger:
I wonder if that has anything to do with the alt-right practicing scorched earth when they're not in power but the left-wing generally being more inclined to support policy initiatives that are decent ideas. I'm not up to date as much as I should be about the various European governments, but that's how US politics have worked for decades now.

There's nothing alt right about PIS. They aren't trolls, they aren't nazi's, they are a party dealing with the particular problems of a particular country. There is a lot one can criticise them for, but calling them alt right is misleading.

And Poland has been a fairly socialist country for quite a while now. Solidarity, and all that. The authoritarian side of PIS is related to the communist era, and a kind of fear of communists / ex-KGB retaining posts of significance. Not quite as hysterical as it sounds, as an ex-USSR nation.

That said, their revisionism is an issue, and removing judicial independence isn't great, regardless of the reasons. But yeah, not alt right.

There are quirks to Polish politics that tend to be hard for Americans to understand. Many Poles are still very much socialists but they detest the cronyism and corruption of the communist era. In a weird way, laisse-faire North American capitalism tends to remind them of communism. So you will get many socially conservative people who are economically left leaning in a way you do not get in US politics.

Ninjamedic:
How much of a chance is there for a Polish separatist movement against Europe?

Watching pro-PIS media, the blame for the state of affairs is placed primarily on Merkel and Tusk rather than the EU as an organization. Poland is happy with the EU as a trade union but objects to what it sees as unwarranted and hypocritical attack on its sovereignty. In a way staying in the EU is seen as giving Merkel a middle finger.

Catnip1024:

Avnger:
I wonder if that has anything to do with the alt-right practicing scorched earth when they're not in power but the left-wing generally being more inclined to support policy initiatives that are decent ideas. I'm not up to date as much as I should be about the various European governments, but that's how US politics have worked for decades now.

There's nothing alt right about PIS. They aren't trolls, they aren't nazi's, they are a party dealing with the particular problems of a particular country. There is a lot one can criticise them for, but calling them alt right is misleading.

And Poland has been a fairly socialist country for quite a while now. Solidarity, and all that. The authoritarian side of PIS is related to the communist era, and a kind of fear of communists / ex-KGB retaining posts of significance. Not quite as hysterical as it sounds, as an ex-USSR nation.

That said, their revisionism is an issue, and removing judicial independence isn't great, regardless of the reasons. But yeah, not alt right.

That was my bad. I definitely meant right-wing, but I brainfarted and typed alt-right.

Nielas:
There are quirks to Polish politics that tend to be hard for Americans to understand. Many Poles are still very much socialists but they detest the cronyism and corruption of the communist era. In a weird way, laisse-faire North American capitalism tends to remind them of communism. So you will get many socially conservative people who are economically left leaning in a way you do not get in US politics.

Well, even from a UK point of view Polish politics is a little detached. It's hard to comprehend how the USSR years shaped the country as an outsider. And it doesn't help that we only ever hear about Polish politics when they are doing crazy things.

The thing is, being socially conservative but economically left makes a lot of sense. Ultimately, the morals taught by Christianity (and other religions, by and large) tend towards encouraging socialism and looking after your neighbours, whilst still opposing things like gay marriage and abortions. It's bizarre how that is not a thing in US politics.

Catnip1024:
Well, a quick looking up of things notes the following about PIS:
- Lengthened maternity leave;
- Promised inexpensive housing (unclear on delivery);
- In favour of universal health care;
- In favour of social security;
- Tax breaks for families;
- Ended military conscription.

Let's be honest, they aren't too dissimilar from many left wing parties if you set aside the EU and immigration stances. And account for the fact that Poland is a far more Catholic country than many.

Not only that; we would have to set aside all social politics, on which the PiS are on the far-right. They do have a number of left-wing (or interventionist is perhaps a better term?) policies in the economic sphere, and particularly welfare... though they continued privatisation, and their tax system is still right-of-centre, so economics is a mixed bag.

It's this slightly odd combination of social politics on the extreme right and the belief in a strong welfare state domestically. If I remember right, a similar platform has been adopted by a few other European right-wing parties, and has been termed "welfare chauvinism".

Silvanus:
Not only that; we would have to set aside all social politics, on which the PiS are on the far-right.

Which is almost entirely down to them being largely Catholic. Much in the same way as Ireland.

And barring immigration, which I also said.

They do have a number of left-wing (or interventionist is perhaps a better term?) policies in the economic sphere, and particularly welfare... though they continued privatisation, and their tax system is still right-of-centre, so economics is a mixed bag.

You asked which left-wing policies they had implemented. I provided an answer. I'm not trying to say they are out and out socialists by any stretch.

It's this slightly odd combination of social politics on the extreme right and the belief in a strong welfare state domestically. If I remember right, a similar platform has been adopted by a few other European right-wing parties, and has been termed "welfare chauvinism".

Which is a rather unnecessary term for what is much more simply a devoutly Catholic interpretation of socialism.

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