• Amity
    803
    A Bridge connecting Scotland and Ireland. Majorly big distraction. Totally taking the piss.
    Why is he getting away with all this utter bullshit ? Another huge waste of time, money and resources.

    Johnson originally floated this idea in an interview with the Sunday Times last year. At the time his proposal was considered fanciful, but this week Channel 4 News revealed that government officials have been asked to produce a paper on the costs and benefits of such a plan.

    The original Sunday Times story about Johnson’s proposal provoked a memorable letter to the paper from a retired offshore engineer who said the idea was “about as feasible as building a bridge to the moon”
  • Michael
    8.1k
    Opinion from the Scottish court:

    When pressed on the meaning of the expression “non-justiciable”, counsel for the respondent conceded that in some circumstances the court might hold that the power to prorogue Parliament had not been validly exercised: for example, if Parliament were prorogued for two years, or if the governing party lost its majority at a general election and immediately thereafter attempted to prorogue Parliament. In my opinion that concession was properly made. What the concession acknowledges, however, is that the power to prorogue Parliament is subject to judicial review by the courts. For the reasons stated in the last paragraph I am of opinion that this is inevitable: the courts must have jurisdiction to determine whether any power, under the prerogative or otherwise, has been legally exercised.

    I was right in what I said earlier.
  • S
    11.8k
    "Penny for offshore accounts". Brilliant. :lol:
  • Punshhh
    788
    I like the wood used to make the fire, as the Palace of Westminster is undergoing major refurbishment, it is constructed from timber taken from the Houses of Parliament.
  • Punshhh
    788
    Yesterday he announced the commissioning of two new warships, which will be built in Belfast. More bribes to the DUP to get them onside. It's not going to work though, as it's their nature to never agree to anything.

    I was watching him on the TV lastnight playing with some kids with a model container ship, he was just like a two year old toddler playing with toys.
  • Punshhh
    788
    Breaking news, Johnson is going to re-name Great Britain the Titanic.
  • Amity
    803


    I was right in what I said earlier.Michael
    This: 'For the sake of democracy the judiciary must be able to rule on whether or not its intention and length are lawful.'

    I agree with your thoughts on this. As with the final Scottish legal opinion.

    Meanwhile Johnson and team have misrepresented the finding of the English court as being for them. It is not. And is now under appeal.

    We must wait for the UK supreme court. There is to be a 3 day hearing, starting on 17th September to look at all 3 appeals from Edinburgh, Belfast and London.
  • Amity
    803
    Breaking news, Johnson is going to re-name Great Britain the Titanic.Punshhh

    Let's not be tempted to make this all about Johnson. There is another thread specially for him. It's easy to mix them up. Another thing I am guilty of is simply reporting the latest news. I forget where I am.
    Should we not be bringing in, and connecting, the philosophical perspective more than the political and legal ?
    At least, we are talking about 'democracy' and issues of media and social manipulation.
    Otherwise, this thread could just as easily be swept into a Lounge area? *
    Just thinking aloud...

    * Scrap all that. I see this thread is under 'Interesting stuff'- politics and current affairs not political philosophy :smile:
  • Punshhh
    788
    Quite, when I think about the philosophy of this, I see populists muddying the waters and rubbishing any chance of the public considering the choices involved, or any means of determining the will of the people. All I can say is that the British parliament needs reforming now.
  • Amity
    803

    Exactly.
    Proroguing parliament - what a wheeze, eh?

    Wheeze
    INFORMAL•BRITISH
    a clever or amusing scheme, idea, or trick.
    "a new wheeze to help farmers"
    synonyms:scheme, plan, idea, tactic, move, stratagem, ploy, gambit, device, manoeuvre, contrivance...
    — Online dictionary

    As well as avoiding scrutiny of a Hard Brexit, prorogation gives more time for the photo ops with children, bulls, police, fish and whatever as the PM tours the country electioneering.
    A benevolent dictatorship?
  • Punshhh
    788
    A bumbling dictatorship.
  • ssu
    1.6k
    I would like to ask the British here one question, even thought of opening a different thread:

    What has happened to the Conservative Party?

    There might be not many that have actually voted for them (yes, I understand this is a Philosophy Forum), yet for a foreigner it looks that the party simply doesn't look like the one that was in power during the time of Thatcher and John Major. Especially it doesn't look conservative to me.

    What do people think is the reason for this?
  • Baden
    8.5k


  • Baden
    8.5k
    =Conservative Party :death:
  • unenlightened
    4k
    What has happened to the Conservative Party?ssu

    It's an interesting question and a complex answer. I would suggest two movements both originating in the US, and influencing through Thatcher and Blair primarily. The Thatcher effect is basically the neoliberal turn exemplified by 'there's no such thing as society'. - an ideological individualism justified by some Rand/ social darwinian philosophy. The Blair effect is basic populism, there is only one inviolable principle, 'get elected' - spin becomes fake news.

    The combination of individualism and amoral power seeking results in social collapse.
  • Punshhh
    788
    I've seen it first hand. Older upper middle class Conservatives, became spooked by the Germans in the 70's and 80's. I don't think it was justified, I think it was an outdated wartime mind set which was becoming paranoid. It happened to my parents, who were Conservative councillors, who were involved in the twinning movement and went on many local government exchanges to German cities, and French ones too. But at some point, they became infected with this suspicion and once it had started, it became set in. This incubated under the surface for many years until the development of UKIP, which only deepened the mistrust and widened splits of opinion within the Conservative party. The rest is history.
  • ssu
    1.6k
    Thanks for the answers.

    I too believe that there is something of a more general phenomenon working here than just something unique to British politics. In Europe the main problem is that there hasn't been a proper way or entity to critique the flaws or the shortcomings of the EU integration and EU itself from conservative/right-wing stance leading to populist "fringe" movements taking over the issue, typically new political movements or parties that are basically defined just by their anti-EU stance and not much else centered around one politician. EU has only tolerated a pro-integration federalist discourse and paints anything else as "nationalist". As the political elites have gone along with this (with perhaps the exception of the UK starting with Thatcher), criticism has been left to the previous "fringe" populists. The outcome has been obvious: in many countries the political landscape has changed and especially centrist parties are having a tough time. And sometimes the populists can take over a right-wing party (as they can a moderate left-wing party too).

    Both in the US and in the EU the neoliberal development, globalization, has not only been criticized from the left, but also from the right, which is now obvious several years to the Trump administration. Neither the left or the right are happy with the power of lobbyists and corporations in present have. This can easily morph into populist anti-elitism. Once this populism gets into the political discourse, you are far away from consensus building and normal politics etc. as the last thing populists try to reach is a political consensus on the policies.
  • Echarmion
    865
    EU has only tolerated a pro-integration federalist discourse and paints anything else as "nationalist".ssu

    The thing is, there has been, and still is, very little substantive criticism of the EU. Much of what is touted as "criticism" is, in fact, either nationalism or straight up lies. A sizeable portion of the people who voted for Brexit probably have nationalistic ideas. Just like a lot of the people who voted for Trump do agree with his stances on race, gender and nationalism.

    The truth about the EU is that a lot of it's faults, like the power of the commission and the relative lack of democratic legitimacy, exist because they work in favour of the national governments. They give those governments the power to push through unpopular legislation, with the added benefit of being able to later blame the EU and lament it's faults.
  • Benkei
    2.1k
    democratic legitimacyEcharmion

    And yet there are European countries part of the EU that are less democratic. The democratic deficit of the EU has been exaggerated for years now following a German constitutional court decision referring to a democratic deficit. But that turned on the matter that there's no real way to reconcile representation of the electorate (EU Parliament) with equal representation of states in international affairs (European Council and Council of Ministers). Both bodies need to approve laws even if the appointed Commission (by elected officials) is the body initiating bills.
  • ssu
    1.6k
    The thing is, there has been, and still is, very little substantive criticism of the EU. Much of what is touted as "criticism" is, in fact, either nationalism or straight up lies.Echarmion
    That is how the debate is portrayed, unfortunately.

    The real problem is that you need to be critical to improve things, but if you assume that every criticism is some kind of nationalist lie, you won't go far. The only "criticism" that is tolerated is that the federalization program hasn't gone far enough and we need more integration, which is simply one agenda that is pushed in the EU.

    There's actually a lot of criticism directed towards the EU starting up with the bureaucracy of the organization, the lack of transparency, the peculiar illogical things like the EU Parliament hopping from Brussels to Strasbourg and back. Or things like Greece could outright lie of it's fiscal situation in order to wiggle it's way to the monetary union (and that people believed that with monetary union the countries would start acting in the same way). How well could the EU handle the Yugoslav civil war? The EU was totally incapable of doing anything. How well is the EU managing now it's foreign policy? Turkey wants to occupy parts of Syria and if it doesn't get it's way, it has hinted that it will open it's gates for more refugees to enter the EU. And what just is the EU? For years the EU was basically a large organization for handing out agricultural subsidies (and still is, actually).

    The real problem is that what the EU needs is self-criticism and a debate how to improve it, which way should it go. It's hardly not only about two options: a) the EU has to be formed to be like the US or b) It's a monstrosity that has to be done away with quickly.

    The truth about the EU is that a lot of it's faults, like the power of the commission and the relative lack of democratic legitimacy, exist because they work in favour of the national governments.Echarmion
    Why would this be a surprise? The EU was formed by national governments. It's wasn't formed by Napoleon (or Hitler), but with genuinely sovereign states coming together and through co-operation between them. Why then do you find this to be the problem? It's like some movie fans creating a fan club and then someone coming and objecting to the fact that the fan club is made of movie fans!
  • Punshhh
    788
    In Europe the main problem is that there hasn't been a proper way or entity to critique the flaws or the shortcomings of the EU integration
    This is my perception, it appears rigid and inflexible. In a world which is changing in ways which were not foreseen when the project was conceived the EU appears to be caught in the headlights and unable to act. I am no expert on the EU, as it is perceived as a distant entity from inside the UK, indeed until the referendum was announced, it was very low on the agenda for the majority of the population. It was issues brought about by free movement of people which was causing anti EU sentiment in places like East Anglia where I live and the right wing populist movement in the north of the country.

    David Cameron travelled to Europe in 2015 to explain to the leaders of the EU 27 and the commissioners that this was a serious and growing issue and that he was seeking some kind of remedy, otherwise it could result in a referendum to leave. He pressed his case hard but the EU was unable to provide sufficient flexibility. I can't see how they could have prevented this crisis by showing sufficient flexibility, as they are to rigid. So this outcome was inevitable and yet the EU appeared helpless to adapt to a changing world, or to have sufficient foresight when they welcomed in the Eastern European countries, to put in place rules which would enable members to mitigate issues brought about by such expansion.

    It seems now, following the publication of David Cameron's memoirs, that many people did not realise the strength of the hard right within the Conservative party. Or how much leverage they would find once the referendum was announced. He was surprised how ugly the campaign became and depressed watching the groundswell of anti EU sentiment which developed. In the three areas of, right wing anti EU Conservatives, the population in East Anglia and Lincolnshire who experienced the influx of EU workers and the right wing populist movement in the north of England and the West Country.
  • Amity
    803
    There's actually a lot of criticism directed towards the EU starting up with the bureaucracy of the organization, the lack of transparency, the peculiar illogical things like the EU Parliament hopping from Brussels to Strasbourg and back.ssu

    Agree. I am not an expert on the EU. Some here obviously have more political savvy and personal experience. However, there is value in Google and Wikipedia for starters in Eurosceptism:

    ' The main sources of Euroscepticism have been beliefs that integration undermines national sovereignty and the nation state, that the EU is elitist and lacks democratic legitimacy and transparency,that it is too bureaucratic and wasteful, that it encourages high levels of migration, or perceptions that it is a neoliberal organisation serving the business elite at the expense of the working class, responsible for austerity and driving privatization...'
    [ my bolds ]

    Note well, 'beliefs'. Where is the evidence? How does it compare to the nation states ?

    Who is it that is responsible for the austerity policies ? Which party is it that is now promising money and resources from the money tree they didn't have before?

    It was issues brought about by free movement of people which was causing anti EU sentiment iPunshhh

    'Freedom of movement' is important. I think it vital that it continues but with constraints where necessary. Did the UK not already have the power to control the more troubling aspects ?
    Why blame the EU ? It encompasses more than the 'they are taking our jobs' and 'benefit scroungers'.
    It is not just a one way process.

    The real problem is that what the EU needs is self-criticism and a debate how to improve it, which way should it go. It's hardly not only about two options: a) the EU has to be formed to be like the US or b) It's a monstrosity that has to be done away with quickly.ssu

    Agreed. Does this not happen ? What are the mechanisms? Who would win the argument and using what evidence? What are the other options ?

    the EU was unable to provide sufficient flexibility.Punshhh

    Why not ? Was it simply a power struggle - a feeling of being under attack ? So much of this is phrased in terms of aggression and war. Johnson now apparently bringing the Hulk into it. His colourful language is not helping matters. He may be flexing his imaginary muscles but flexibility in thought is beyond him and the extreme right-wing contingent. And yet, they accuse others. It's all a bit like bullies in the playground.

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/sep/15/hulk-actor-smashes-pms-attempt-at-incredible-metaphor
  • Punshhh
    788
    On the freedom of movement issue, I agree, it is a good thing. There is an issue with numbers of Polish people moving into East Anglia and Lincolnshire. This is not exclusively due to their taking jobs and scrounging. It is more to do with the changing of identity of small and medium sized towns in these areas. Many of which feel more like Polish towns than English towns( ref my post a few pages back).
    Also perhaps the EU should have considered such consequences when forming the union better than they did, or revised policy when enlarging the EU. I see no sign of any flexibility here.
    I agree there is, or so I've heard, more the UK could have done, but didn't. But the perception was that there wasn't.
  • Benkei
    2.1k
    Why would this be a surprise? The EU was formed by national governments. It's wasn't formed by Napoleon (or Hitler), but with genuinely sovereign states coming together and through co-operation between them. Why then do you find this to be the problem? It's like some movie fans creating a fan club and then someone coming and objecting to the fact that the fan club is made of movie fans!ssu

    This analogy doesn't work. The EU passes laws which often have direct effect in the national legal order even if national legislators fail to implement it in time. Fan clubs don't affect those around them in a similar way.

    Laws require legitimacy to be acceptable. Since the EU countries are all reportedly democracies that legitimacy is expected to be democratic. As pointed out above, the EU's legitimacy issue is finding the balance between the equality of nations and representative democracy of the electorate. It's not, and hasn't been since 1979, a club of only states and their national interests.

    The EU has fraud issues both at the national level where EU subsidies are spent and within the EU organisation itself. At the same time, I don't think the EU apparatus itself is very expensive considering what it does when compared to, for instance, US institutions with similar functions. Except for the parliament and european council and council of ministers there might be misspending but the budgets are still relatively tight.
  • Benkei
    2.1k
    He pressed his case hard but the EU was unable to provide sufficient flexibility.Punshhh

    I think the issue here was that it wasn't an opt out, which you decide before signing up to an aspect of the EU legal regime but an attempt to renegotiate what was already agreed. This isn't too much of an issue where it concerns contributions to the EU, which is a continuous negotiation, but it's different when you want to change existing laws. If you allow renegotiating on a case-by-case basis you create a precedent that's not wanted for a political project that intends to integrate European countries.

    It's not as if the Netherlands doesn't have people grumbling about foreigners (Polish or otherwise) but we don't blame this on the EU for the most part (only about 20% of voters does).

    Also, thinking about it, it's also a sort of cognitive dissonance: EU please solve our problem by giving us special treatment but also stop butting in.
  • iolo
    126
    It's amazing that before Cameron introduced this insanity, it was a nonsense confined to Tory fanatics. Once he'd produced a referendum, it got heavily mixed up with tory ambitions and the mugs seem to have regarded their as a bit like a football team you support against all reason. Fake 'democracy' has never looked quite this ludicrous, has it?
  • Punshhh
    788
    My point stands, free movement is ok in principle, but when you then invite large populations into the club without examining and mitigating the demographic consequences, you are exposed to unforeseen consequences. For example Turkey was being considered as one of the next countries to join. Indeed Michael Gove used the fear of this in the leave campaign during the referendum. The UK could quite possibly have had a million or two Turkish people coming in, with no way of controlling it.
  • iolo
    126


    Except I left out 'vote' in 'their vote'. it is an extra-ordinary instance of how people can get hugely worked up about something they'd never bothered about before, isn't it!
  • frank
    3.4k
    The UK could quite possibly have had a million or two Turkish people coming in, with no way of controlling it.Punshhh

    Could you explain why that's problematic? Is it a problem with resources to accommodate the immigrants?
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