Brexit.

Innula Zenovka

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Here you go sir: Shocking.

That's an allusion to The Sun's similar front page on election day in 1992, when they did the same to Neil Kinnock, the then Leader of the Labour Party, only with his head as a light bulb and the headline asking the last person to leave the country to turn off all the lights.

That was the election won by John Major, of course, in a victory that turned out, in the event, not to be the best thing that ever happened to the Conservative Party.

We've been here before, I think -- I well remember Margaret Thatcher's three election victories, including the landslide of 1983. This, however, feels rather different, both because the issue at stake -- our membership of the EU -- is even more significant than was anything on her agenda, no matter how radical.

It's also different because Johnson has so few of her characteristics -- her clear ideological drive and firmly held ideology and principles, no matter how wrong-headed, or her misguided sense of mission.

While it now seems inevitable that we'll leave the EU, I keep on telling myself that I've survived worse -- cancer, for example, and the death of my partner and love of my life -- and that, as then, all that I can do is live through it, since worrying and fretting won't change anything.

That, however, is probably a lot easier for me to say now than it would have been 35 years ago (God... such a long time!) since I don't have any children to worry about.

I'm not making any long-term predictions, since it's clear there's a fundamental change in British politics going on -- Bolsover, of all places, returning a Tory MP used to be up there with flying pigs and hell freezing over -- and a lot depends on who succeeds Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Meanwhile, while I understand Jo Swinson's strategy of trying to place the Lib Dems as a safe haven for disenchanted Tory Remainers who were scared of Jeremy Corbyn, that clearly didn't work, so her successor clearly has some thinking to do.

What I'd like to see happen is someone like Emily Thornberry or Keir Starmer take over the Labour Party and start trying to win over left-leaning Lib Dems as part of a campaign to make Labour the voice of the centre-left again, rather than a vehicle for Momentum-style left-wing populism. I'd like to support Jess Phillips but I'm not sure that the qualities which make her such a great campaigner necessarily equip her, on their own, for high political office without prior experience (cf Jeremy Corbyn!). We'll see.

Once Labour have -- please God -- chosen an electable successor to Corbyn and Boris Johnson's hot air and mendacity encounter hard reality, leaving him and us with no one to blame but himself for his and our misfortunes under his leadership -- I give it a year or 18 months -- then things may well look very different for Labour.

One thing's for sure, though -- the only hope of "Getting Brexit done" has now gone out of the window, since revoking the A50 notification was the only way to achieve that. So I think this victory will prove pyrrhic for Johnson and the Tories, particularly once they face an electable opposition, which will be at least some consolation for what they're about to do to the rest of us.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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One thing's for sure, though -- the only hope of "Getting Brexit done" has now gone out of the window, since revoking the A50 notification was the only way to achieve that. So I think this victory will prove pyrrhic for Johnson and the Tories, particularly once they face an electable opposition, which will be at least some consolation for what they're about to do to the rest of us.
The next thing Johnson probably wants to get done is getting the WAB through the HoC, and then use the transition period to get the rest done. Which with one years time is not quite much.

But why do you think that the revocation of A50 notification would be the only way to get Brexit done?
 

Tigger

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The next thing Johnson probably wants to get done is getting the WAB through the HoC, and then use the transition period to get the rest done. Which with one years time is not quite much.

But why do you think that the revocation of A50 notification would be the only way to get Brexit done?
While I hesitate to speak for Innula, I think it's safe to say that even if we leave the EU at the end of january per Johnsons plan that in itself does not "get brexit done" instead it starts the next round of talks to build a trade deal which will most likely take years. Unless Johnson goes down the burn it and salt the earth path and doesn't seek a deal with the EU.
 

Sid

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I get the impression that Bozo thinks he has a strong card in his hands with that short negotiation period, so he can put pressure on the EU.
A lot can be settled easily and relatively quick when the UK is willing to give and take IMHO. But the EU did not let the UK cherry pick during the negotiations of the WA and it will not let them during the new negotiation rounds either.
 

Innula Zenovka

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The next thing Johnson probably wants to get done is getting the WAB through the HoC, and then use the transition period to get the rest done. Which with one years time is not quite much.

But why do you think that the revocation of A50 notification would be the only way to get Brexit done?
Because if we leave at the end of January, then the EU and the UK enter the remainder of the transition period, of which we've now wasted half, in which we're supposed to negotiate a permanent relationship. Those negotiations would always have taken at least 10 years anyway so, as Tigger rightly says, unless we crash out without a deal -- very unlikely now that Johnson has a huge majority -- then negotiations and extensions are going to drag on for years.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I get the impression that Bozo thinks he has a strong card in his hands with that short negotiation period, so he can put pressure on the EU.
A lot can be settled easily and relatively quick when the UK is willing to give and take IMHO. But the EU did not let the UK cherry pick during the negotiations of the WA and it will not let them during the new negotiation rounds either.
Nope. Almost everything Johnson has said so far has been purely for his domestic audience, whether it be Westminster or the UK electorate.

He'll say that to keep his supporters happy, but he very rarely means anything he says.
 

Han Held

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My playlist for the occasion:
I wonder how many people understand why. But if we got through the 1980s, we can handle the 2020s too - it's just deja vu after all.
I wish I could share your optimism -but I can at least share an appropriate addition to the list:


Also, the sheep win ("Through quiet reflection, and great dedication/ Master the art of karate/ Lo, we shall rise up /And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water") -so I think Dogs (too much to quote) might be more appropriate?

 

danielravennest

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How can people say they don't like/trust Corbyn but vote for Boris Fathead? I don't get it. I just... I can't even. WTF
My guess is some people voted for the Conservatives so they will get the blame for all the chaos that will ensue. Note that the Brexit Party was blown out by this election. They got 2% of the vote and zero seats.
 

Cristalle

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This is a thoughtful take, from a Canadian. It's really all about handling Brexit. Centrists got wiped out, it's not about going too far left.

 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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Paul Mason wrote a comment on the outcome of the election named "There's a Danger of the UK Becoming a 'Managed Democracy'" at VICE.

For the best part of three years, Britain has been stalled at a political T-junction. Last night, the electorate put their foot down and yanked the steering wheel to the right. They didn't bother to look where they were going, and we will all now suffer the consequences.

The Conservatives gained an avalanche of seats in small, socially-conservative towns that were once Labour's heartlands. Labour held only the cities and big towns. The same crisis that's ripped through centre-left parties across the world – driven by a mismatch between their values and those of elderly white working class people – has hit Britain.

The stark results have to be digested quickly by a young generation, who see the Conservative Party as close to poison.

First: Brexit will happen. It will happen fast and its impetus will be towards radical deregulation of our society.

It may produce some economic chaos, or the severe erosion of the welfare state, but from now on the right-wing Tory government – in an implicit coalition with the Brexit Party – will have a ready excuse: the foreigners, the Europeans, the left, the saboteurs, the judges. These are the new public enemies we will be invited to hate. Everything that goes wrong with Brexit will be laid at the door of those who opposed it.

Second: a new Scottish independence crisis will open up. You cannot rule a nation of 6 million people who want Europe, social justice and national independence with a viceroy from London. The SNP's old demand was for a second independence referendum by 2021. By the standards that used to apply in international law, they hardly need one. If 55 of 59 Scottish MPs are independentists, the moral case for self-determination is already there.

You may be wondering how this slam-dunk by the right against the left happened. To me, it's simple. We're facing an alliance of the mainstream right and the far right: what the philosopher Hannah Arendt called "the alliance of the elite and the mob".

Every lesson from the 1930s tells us: the only answer to this is an alliance of the centre and the left. But survey the results and it's clear the centre and the left did not want to ally. They wanted to rip each other to shreds.

[...]

I expected Labour to lose, but not this badly. Given Corbyn's unpopularity and the newness of Johnson it was always going to be an uphill struggle. The shocking thing is that, almost without a machine or any campaigners, the Tories took historic Labour towns, because the vibe was on their side.

That vibe was best summed up by a man who approached me in the high street of Leigh, where I grew up: "I'm not allowed to say what I want..." he began. We coaxed it out of him. "I want Boris Johnson to send people round to the homes of every Romanian and throw them and their kids in the back of a van, lock the door and drive them to Dover."
[...]

If Brexit is the worst outcome of this I will be relieved. With a large majority, Johnson is now free to redraw the electoral map, making a Labour majority government impossible. In fact, as demonstrated for the third time running, it is probably impossible anyway, because Scotland has moved permanently to the SNP and may soon leave the Union. The real danger is that we become a "managed democracy" with a rigged electoral system, a sham judiciary and a compliant state broadcaster. There will still be elections every five years, but only one party can win them.
[...]

Labour, whatever else it does, will become the resistance. I think the party can and should grow from half a million people to a million, and I invite you to consider joining it. The small centrist parties formed in the past 12 months have disappeared from parliament and the Lib Dems have shrunk. The main three forces in British politics are still Labour, Scottish Nationalism and the Tory/Farage alliance. Plus, of course, the people – who've been on the streets in numbers greater than a million to resist the Tory Brexit.

Our overarching task is to save democracy and save the planet. That's the politics around which the left now has to regroup.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Many people in the Labour Party, particularly those of us who joined before 2015, would say that erstwhile Corbyn supporters like Paul Mason are part of the problem rather than the solution.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I'm too tired to write much more right now -- I may do over the weekend -- but I would broadly follow the lines of argument in Corbynism: A Critical Approach -- essentially, that Corbyn and his supporters are promoting a left populism, which mimics the arguments of the right-wing populists -- though with different villains, of course, like "the few" and "the 1%" rather than "scroungers" and "citizens of nowhere" and ignores the fact that many of the ills they seek to remedy are features, rather than bugs, of the international capitalist economy in which we all live.

This recent review gives an idea of their arguments, many of which I'd subscribe to


This, from the Jewish Chronicle, gives a very good summary, by the authors, of one of the problems they identify with Corbynism, and it's an analysis I find persuasive: Why Jeremy Corbyn's 'rigged system' is a template for antisemitism (and it's not about Israel).
 
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Chin Rey

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Also, the sheep win ("Through quiet reflection, and great dedication/ Master the art of karate/ Lo, we shall rise up /And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water") -so I think Dogs (too much to quote) might be more appropriate?
I was actually thinking about "Pigs" first. "Dogs" is the song about the opressors' henchmen. But yes, it does have this:
And when you loose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone
And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone
Dragged down by the stone
For those unfamiliar with Pink Floyd's Animals, it's a concept album based on Orwell's Animal Farm. The Pigs are the opressors, the Sheep the masses who meekly allow themselves to be opressed and the Dogs the opressors' henchmen.
I wonder how many of the punkers and prog rockers who used to despise each other so much ever realized how much they had in common. They were really fighting the same enemy only on opposite flanks. But that was then. Youngsters today are too well behaved and have far too much respect for their elders.
 

Ishina

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Second: a new Scottish independence crisis will open up. You cannot rule a nation of 6 million people who want Europe, social justice and national independence with a viceroy from London. The SNP's old demand was for a second independence referendum by 2021. By the standards that used to apply in international law, they hardly need one. If 55 of 59 Scottish MPs are independentists, the moral case for self-determination is already there.
One of the main reasons Scotland voted no to independence last time was because the Tories brought them to heel with the idea that leaving UK also meant leaving the EU. Now they’ve been backstabbed and shoved out of the EU anyway, I don’t see anything else the Tories can threaten them with, except maybe the £, which I imagine must seem a bit measly right now.

The Tories have played Pied Piper with the English public and the Scots more than most people must be looking on with bewildered horror. I don’t think it’d take much at all to convince them to GTFO of UK.