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Corsair
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Lots of great, sound and well thought arguments here.
Praise you all for that.

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Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:52 pm
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Shadowspite wrote:
Clockwork wrote:
Darkprincess wrote:
Apparently not. To be fair, Dark Lord of the Sith Theresa May would have been my choice out of the initial rogues gallery anyway.


FTFY

And that's the problem right there. We can't just respectfully disagree with our political opponents, can we? We have to demonise them. Theresa May can't just be wrong on some issues, she has to be an irredeemably black-hearted villain. And the other side is no better when they try to turn Jeremy Corbyn's poor judgement into 'evidence' that he's a raging anti-semite and terrorist-sympathiser.


This is a fair comment.

But when I see a duck, I call it a duck, and Theresa May has a worrying illiberal and authoritarian streak. More importantly, I wanted to highlight how absurd it is that she is the best of a bad bunch.


Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:02 am
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Best of a bad bunch indeed. However, I'm more concerned that The Opposition have thought now is the right time to attempt a (failed) coup and as such, they have virtually imploded.

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Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:54 am
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Clockwork wrote:
But when I see a duck, I call it a duck, and Theresa May has a worrying illiberal and authoritarian streak. More importantly, I wanted to highlight how absurd it is that she is the best of a bad bunch.

Which is fine. But there's a difference between calling a duck a duck, and calling a duck Hitler. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out Theresa May's authoritarian and illiberal positions (you'll notice that I did that, so why would I have a problem with someone else doing the same?). And I realise that calling her "Dark Lord of the Sith" was just a joke, so maybe I shouldn't have aimed my point specifically at you.

Jolemai wrote:
I'm more concerned that The Opposition have thought now is the right time to attempt a (failed) coup and as such, they have virtually imploded.

Hm. Well. Look, I think Jeremy Corbyn is a good, decent, principled human being. But Labour needs a leader who can actually run a successful general election campaign. How many of those has it had since the 1950s? Just two: Harold Wilson and Tony Blair, both of whom were arch-moderates. Radical leftist leaders make most voters run far, far away from Labour.

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Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:54 am
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OK, Theresa May just appointed Boris Johnson our new Foreign Secretary (i.e. our chief diplomat, equivalent to America's Secretary of State). So I now officially don't know what the heck is going on.

Boris Johnson once won a prize for writing "the most offensive poem about the Turkish president". So yeah. Now in charge of our international diplomacy. Wrote a poem about another nation's leader having sex with a goat.

This is a thing that happened. In the actual world we live in.

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Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:33 pm
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Just some random thoughts.
Daeron wrote:
If I may cut in.. This disillusionment is not unique to the UK. Belgium suffers from it as well, and I dare say the problem is wide-spread in Europe. In general, people have a negative view about politics..
Some of the emotions I see return are:
- A very negative perception about politicians
- People seem to think our current situation is bad
- Every solution seems bad.. regardless of what it is
I find this interesting to examine this in itself, regardless of political view. I wonder what it means to the political and democratic future of my country and.. well.. Europe as a whole. At some point this world will become the world of my kids and their generation, and I'm concerned about what my generation will be handing over to them.

I see several reasons for negative perception of politicians (besides that some of them deserve it).
- Bad journalism. I don't know situation in your countries, but around here, journalists often focus on trivialities and pseudoproblems, while important issues are only covered superficially and often from misleading perspective. Politicians are then forced by journalists to respond to questions framed in this perspective, which might make them look incompetent. Especially if journalists have some favorites and try to make fools of their opposition.
- Newspapers also like to portray politics as a conflict, while in reality politicians need to negotiate and often cooperate across the parties. This way, people often get unrealistic expectations.
- People often don't understand how democracy really works (an no one educates them). I remember debate in our house about a plan to build a kindergarten in neighborhood (surprisingly unpopular plan, but older people don't want the construction activity), where one man informed us that he has written a letter to mayor threatening him that he will personally depose him if any construction starts. He clearly did not understand that deposing an elected representative is not in his power.
- People also don't understand that power of political institutions is limited. That for example city council has limited budget and there are laws to be observed, which may make something which seems pretty logical and straightforward actually impossible.
- Since WWII, politicians back themselves into a corner. A lot of power was transferred out of politics. For example, making central banks independent looked like a good idea at the beginning, but now we have (Czech) central bank which lowers our exchange rate, effectively negating attempts of our government to raise our living standard. There were also cases when attempts of local administration to create local jobs by offering contracts explicitly for local companies were canceled because they violate WTO rules. Even EU now requires public tenders be Europe-wide, which on one hand does ensure better competition, but on the other hand gives advantage to big companies, channeling the money away from local economy. Politicians cannot do anything about it, but they don't like to admit it, so some of them pretend that the problem does not exist (and instead focus on pseudoproblems in accordance with the bad journalism point above), or they promise to solve it, which they later fail to do, further disappointing people.

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I can't help but notice that there's division, even among the traditional parties or political alignments. Traditional parties seem to have an identity crisis, where they have a new vs old generation conflict or progressive vs conservative. The progressive parties seem popular "in theory" but for some reason can't cash in the votes. The conservative forces are disliked, or hated even, except by people who will staunchly defend them to a level that's almost scary...
Our world is changing a lot, and our politics often seem incapable of dealing with the pace.

IMHO one of the problems is that right wing essentially got what it wanted and has nothing new to promise, while left wing lost its voter base, because most of the jobs was exported to Asia, and people who are poor now cannot organize so well, because they are often working individually.

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Dissension is commonplace... and we have politicians feeding it, and feeding on it. But I see a dangerous trend that this conflicted is targeting people or groups of people, instead of principles.

People in problems often want to blame someone for it, and there are politicians who are too happy to find a suitable scapegoat. Preferably some defenseless minority.

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If we'd have a big political conflict about, say, employee rights or the social system or whatever.. I'd get that. Politicians could heavily defend the principles they want to represent. There's room for discussion, diplomacy and agreement because a system can be found to support more than one principle, even if they are quite opposing ideas. At least we'd be discussing ideas.

IMHO the great conflict of today is between human civilization and environment. And traditional parties, both right and left, cannot do anything about it, because their ideological systems are based on 19th century economics, which did not have to take environmental limits into account. The solution would be for people to agree to consume less, but this is not an election winning proposition ;-)

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But lately, the conflict seems to targeting people and sentiment rather than principles. Old vs young. Immigrant vs locals. Tax-payer vs social beneficiary. I'm even throwing rich vs poor in this... It's not new, but the way it's discussed is. Nowadays being wealthy is almost seen as trickery, sin and crime. And being poor is seen as being crime done upon a person.
Personal responsibility is marginalised in these discussions and someone else is always to blame.

Let's face it. Some rich people got their property in an underhanded way (in our country definitely so) and a lot of people are poor simply because external conditions drove them to it. Personal responsibility is important, but in a lot of situations, it is simply not enough. I have also seen too many times personal responsibility invoked by right wing politicians as an excuse for not doing anything to make the social system more supporting for people in problems.

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I can't help but feel this is a dangerous situation. Politics are never a solution to an emotion, which is why I so dislike the emotional discourse of politicians. "We feel this way". Yes, well, screw that....

On the other hand, political preferences are often based on emotional preferences. The rational argument are often used ex-post to rationalize something people simply wanted to do. At the time of discussion of slavery abolition, there were rational arguments for slavery as well, at least if you started from feeling that slaves don't have to be considered human beings just like anyone else.


Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:54 am
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Shadowspite wrote:
Hm. Well. Look, I think Jeremy Corbyn is a good, decent, principled human being. But Labour needs a leader who can actually run a successful general election campaign. How many of those has it had since the 1950s? Just two: Harold Wilson and Tony Blair, both of whom were arch-moderates. Radical leftist leaders make most voters run far, far away from Labour.

On the other hand, who will get votes of radical leftist voters disappointed by centrist leaders of Labour party?

I have also read that Labour is now rapidly gaining new members, and since Scottish referendum, where they declared themselves as leftist, so are Greens and SNP. So there is clearly a lot of leftist voters who felt unrepresented by centrist Labour party.


Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:04 am
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Loflar wrote:
So there is clearly a lot of leftist voters who felt unrepresented by centrist Labour party.

You have an odd definition of "a lot". The Greens have exactly one MP. The party has around 60,000 members, compared to 150,000 Conservative Party members and 500,000 Labour Party members. Green Party candidates got less than 4% of the vote in the last general election.

Other radical leftist and extreme socialist parties are even less successful. TUSC got 0.1% of votes cast in the last election. George Galloway's Respect Party and Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party got even less than that. There's simply no widespread appetite for extreme leftism in the UK.

The majority of Labour MPs don't want Corbyn as leader. They are much less left-wing than him because being as left-wing as Corbyn won't get you elected in most of the UK, and Labour MPs are those candidates who could actually get elected in their constituencies. If radical leftism was as popular as you seem to think, there would be far more Labour MPs who aligned with Corbyn. But people like that rarely win elections.

The SNP have done really well in Scotland, where there is clearly an appetite for politics somewhat to the left of the post-Blair Labour Party. But Scotland is only about 8% of the UK population. If you cannot win in England, you don't get to form a government.

Scrape together everyone who voted SNP, everyone who voted for the Greens, everyone who voted for very left-wing parties like TUSC, everyone who voted for left-wing Labour candidates like Corbyn... and you're still well below the 35% or so of the voting population you need to get a parliamentary majority. You'd be lucky to get half of that.

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:43 am
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Very interesting reply Loflar. Thanks! I enjoyed reading that.
Loflar wrote:
Quote:
But lately, the conflict seems to targeting people and sentiment rather than principles. Old vs young. Immigrant vs locals. Tax-payer vs social beneficiary. I'm even throwing rich vs poor in this... It's not new, but the way it's discussed is. Nowadays being wealthy is almost seen as trickery, sin and crime. And being poor is seen as being crime done upon a person.
Personal responsibility is marginalised in these discussions and someone else is always to blame.

Let's face it. Some rich people got their property in an underhanded way (in our country definitely so) and a lot of people are poor simply because external conditions drove them to it. Personal responsibility is important, but in a lot of situations, it is simply not enough. I have also seen too many times personal responsibility invoked by right wing politicians as an excuse for not doing anything to make the social system more supporting for people in problems.


Oh agreed. It's a challenging balance. One can only rise with opportunities that exist (and are accessible). But I also firmly believe that people can grow to an opportunity.. and I see people who have no intention of going anywhere.
I agree with neither conservative left or right in Belgium as neither seem to actually present a solution. I do find a lot of good ideas floating around between our progressive liberals and modern left though... I wish more effort would be put in examining them.

I try to examine the numbers myself as often as I can, to have as independent an opinion as I can. It also shows, surprisingly, how little facts and honesty are involved in political discourses. It's sad to say that, even if you listen to both right and left, you don't get enough facts to picture the truth. :(

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:43 am
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Shadowspite wrote:
Loflar wrote:
So there is clearly a lot of leftist voters who felt unrepresented by centrist Labour party.

You have an odd definition of "a lot". The Greens have exactly one MP. The party has around 60,000 members, compared to 150,000 Conservative Party members and 500,000 Labour Party members. Green Party candidates got less than 4% of the vote in the last general election.

According to what I have read, 100 000 of those 500 000 became members of LP after Corbyn became leader. That is my definition of "a lot". True, Greens have only one MP, but UK uses majority election system, which underrepresents minorities. I was told by my English friend that a lot of people in UK do not vote, because they live in district where the result is known in advance and they know that their vote would not influence the result.

Quote:
The majority of Labour MPs don't want Corbyn as leader. They are much less left-wing than him because being as left-wing as Corbyn won't get you elected in most of the UK, and Labour MPs are those candidates who could actually get elected in their constituencies. If radical leftism was as popular as you seem to think, there would be far more Labour MPs who aligned with Corbyn. But people like that rarely win elections.

It also depends on a way candidates are appointed in their own party. In our country, for example, I know of a popular leftist economist, who would probably attract voters, but who was not allowed to run for social democratic party, because local party establishment was afraid, that she will get elected instead of them.

Quote:
The SNP have done really well in Scotland, where there is clearly an appetite for politics somewhat to the left of the post-Blair Labour Party. But Scotland is only about 8% of the UK population. If you cannot win in England, you don't get to form a government.

Scrape together everyone who voted SNP, everyone who voted for the Greens, everyone who voted for very left-wing parties like TUSC, everyone who voted for left-wing Labour candidates like Corbyn... and you're still well below the 35% or so of the voting population you need to get a parliamentary majority. You'd be lucky to get half of that.

Yes. But then again, there are all those people who did not vote. Could someone like Corbyn mobilize them? The only way to really know is to try it. If he loses, it will simply mean that nothing will change.

Daeron wrote:
I try to examine the numbers myself as often as I can, to have as independent an opinion as I can. It also shows, surprisingly, how little facts and honesty are involved in political discourses. It's sad to say that, even if you listen to both right and left, you don't get enough facts to picture the truth. :(

My impression is that politicians actually do not lie that often. But based on their political affiliation, they generally have limited view of the problem, because they assign different importance to the same facts. Sometimes they don't know and they have to invent some answer, because saying that they don't know would be admitting incompetence, which is, from PR point of view, worse then being caught lying. And when you think of it, the amount of trivial and sometimes actually useless information they are simply expected by people to know is astounding.

Disclaimer: I know some politicians personally.


Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:47 pm
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Loflar wrote:
According to what I have read, 100 000 of those 500 000 became members of LP after Corbyn became leader. That is my definition of "a lot".

Out of a population of 65 million, that's not a lot.

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True, Greens have only one MP, but UK uses majority election system, which underrepresents minorities. I was told by my English friend that a lot of people in UK do not vote, because they live in district where the result is known in advance and they know that their vote would not influence the result.

We average around 65% turnout in general elections, which is about what you'd expect for a developed democracy. A bit lower than Germany. A bit higher than Japan. Much higher than the US. ;)

You're right about our first-past-the-post system and the problem of 'safe seats' depressing turnout. I'd personally prefer a proportional representation system and the coalition governments that would result.

But with only 4% of the vote, the Greens would still be a very small party. And TUSC and similar far-left parties would still only have a single MP out of 649, based on the proportion of votes they manage to get.

And, while more people might be willing to vote for Greens and radical socialists under such a system, you would also get more people willing to vote for far-right parties like the BNP. A coalition government that needed Greens to be on-board in order to have a governing majority would be OK. One that needed the BNP, on the other hand... No, thanks. But if you enable one, you enable the other. Our current system at least has the advantage of keeping both fringes out of government. Since we don't have a proper written constitution to rein in abuses and protect minority rights, maybe we need that?

Quote:
Yes. But then again, there are all those people who did not vote. Could someone like Corbyn mobilize them? The only way to really know is to try it. If he loses, it will simply mean that nothing will change.

Fair enough. Many Labour MPs don't want to take that risk, though. And I think they know their constituents better than you or I do.

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:32 pm
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So where did the "dark lord of the sith" thing come from regarding Theresa May?

That wasn't in my original post...

For the record, I've never imagined Theresa May as wearing a black cloak and helmet while wielding a lightsabre...

(spike-heeled PVC thigh boots and wielding a riding crop, maybe - but that's another story altogether :D)

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:20 pm
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Darkprincess wrote:
So where did the "dark lord of the sith" thing come from regarding Theresa May?
That wasn't in my original post...

It was Clockwork's little joke. Hence his 'FTFY' ('Fixed That For You') under the (altered) quote. It's a thing the kids are doing these days. ;)

Quote:
(spike-heeled PVC thigh boots and wielding a riding crop, maybe - but that's another story altogether :D)

Don't you imagine everybody dressed that way, though? :P

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:55 am
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Shadowspite wrote:
Loflar wrote:
According to what I have read, 100 000 of those 500 000 became members of LP after Corbyn became leader. That is my definition of "a lot".

Out of a population of 65 million, that's not a lot.

That is 25% surge. Or rescaled for Czech Republic with population of 10 million, that would be about 15 000, which would make for a moderate sized party alone (ODS, or Civic Democratic Party, which used to win elections here and now is drifting to the far right and openly praising Farage, has about this number of members).
Our biggest parties have about 50 000 members.

Darkprincess wrote:
(spike-heeled PVC thigh boots and wielding a riding crop, maybe - but that's another story altogether :D)

No, that would be Christine Lagarde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1OnDgBNlRU (Rap News dedicated to austerity, she appears in about half of the video)


Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:09 am
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Shadowspite wrote:
Darkprincess wrote:
So where did the "dark lord of the sith" thing come from regarding Theresa May?
That wasn't in my original post...

It was Clockwork's little joke. Hence his 'FTFY' ('Fixed That For You') under the (altered) quote. It's a thing the kids are doing these days. ;)


Ahh I see - Forgive me as it's been a very long time since I was a kid :)

Shadowspite wrote:
Quote:
(spike-heeled PVC thigh boots and wielding a riding crop, maybe - but that's another story altogether :D)

Don't you imagine everybody dressed that way, though? :P


Just the dominant ones - I can't honestly see the new Education Secretary Justine Greening in that way - to me, she is a natural submissive ;)

Loflar wrote:
No, that would be Christine Lagarde


Ooooh, yes! Now you're talking! :twisted:

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:29 am
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Loflar wrote:
That is 25% surge.

Well, we'll see. If Corbyn survives this leadership challenge, I think the Parliamentary Labour Party are just going to have to stick with him no matter what.

As long as the SNP holds Scotland, Labour are only going to get into government as part of a coalition anyway. Which actually makes Corbyn's more extreme views less problematic, since he'd have to compromise with his coalition partner(s) just like Cameron did with the Lib Dems in 2010-2015. He might want to nationalise everything, leave NATO, boycott Israel and abolish our nuclear deterrent, but none of those are likely to happen in a coalition.

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No, that would be Christine Lagarde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1OnDgBNlRU (Rap News dedicated to austerity, she appears in about half of the video)

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Darkprincess wrote:
Just the dominant ones - I can't honestly see the new Education Secretary Justine Greening in that way - to me, she is a natural submissive ;)

Speaking of Justine Greening, who would have predicted our first openly gay Education Secretary (and Equalities Minister) would be a Tory? She's a big improvement over the awful (and homophobic) Nicky Morgan, anyway.

EDIT: Wait, wait, wait. That word is censored? OK, why? It is not a slur!

EDIT2: Thanks for taking the word 'gay' out of the autocensor list! :D

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Last edited by Shadowspite on Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:51 am
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Aparently the word is censored. Not sure if that's still a sensible thing to do nowadays. I'll bring it up with the mods.

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:47 pm
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Shadowspite wrote:
Don't you imagine everybody dressed that way, though? :P


Ha. Dressed.

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Rork wrote:
Shadowspite wrote:
Don't you imagine everybody dressed that way, though? :P


Ha. Dressed.


well, semi-dressed :D
You know me so well :)

Shadowspite wrote:
EDIT: Wait, wait, wait. That word is censored? OK, why? It is not a slur!


No it isn't, but apparently the software seems to think so - that's just SO last century of it ;)
Perhaps you should have just used the word "lesbian" instead - I'm pretty sure that's OK - I seem to have gotten away with using it myself in here previously.

Seriously though the auto-censorship in many forums is often a source of amusement (and often incredulity) to us liberal Europeans :D

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Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:28 pm
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Darkprincess wrote:

Seriously though the auto-censorship in many forums is often a source of amusement (and often incredulity) to us liberal Europeans :D


I would rate many as high as ****

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literally what the f*ck?! "who'd have guessed she'd [justine greening] be a conservative?". i literally have no idea why you are surprised at that. don't bother explaining to me either.

i vote conservative and consider myself to be a good person voting in the interest of the country as a whole, and i don't subscribe to this narrative that seems to pervade facebook and bizarre little forums such as this that if you are politically right-of-centre then you're a horrible person. and i'm not alone thankfully.

i also happen to have voted to leave the EU as i felt and still feel that otherwise we'd have become part of the inexorable creation of a european superstate (well it's clearly tending towards that, regardless of the veracity of that monnet 'quote'). those who voted to remain would happily believe and slander me as a xenophobic racist. again it's just attacks and slander from the Left - i wonder if it makes people feel good to brand others as bigots whilst they themselves

politics is actually quite complicated unfortunately and reducing it down to good vs. evil is frankly preposterous and puerile (when talking about that found in the UK obviously). and this is why i don't talk about politics in polite company, the same way it's inadvisable to talk about religion or money in polite company. because it's serious sh*t and you can easily put someone's nose out of joint. like mine.

now you know who i am, feel free to say horrible things about me. i'll stick to T9A boards in future.


Shadowspite wrote:
Loflar wrote:
That is 25% surge.

Well, we'll see. If Corbyn survives this leadership challenge, I think the Parliamentary Labour Party are just going to have to stick with him no matter what.

As long as the SNP holds Scotland, Labour are only going to get into government as part of a coalition anyway. Which actually makes Corbyn's more extreme views less problematic, since he'd have to compromise with his coalition partner(s) just like Cameron did with the Lib Dems in 2010-2015. He might want to nationalise everything, leave NATO, boycott Israel and abolish our nuclear deterrent, but none of those are likely to happen in a coalition.


Darkprincess wrote:
Just the dominant ones - I can't honestly see the new Education Secretary Justine Greening in that way - to me, she is a natural submissive ;)

Speaking of Justine Greening, who would have predicted our first openly gay Education Secretary (and Equalities Minister) would be a Tory? She's a big improvement over the awful (and homophobic) Nicky Morgan, anyway.

EDIT: Wait, wait, wait. That word is censored? OK, why? It is not a slur!


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I won't say horrible things about you, toots. My "who would have predicted?" crack about Justine Greening wasn't meant the way you seem to have interpreted it. Actually, my (perhaps over-snarky) point was that the Tories are not the nasty, reactionary, homophobic party that those on the Left often stereotype them as. There are still some homophobic Tories like Nicky Morgan, but most of the top Tories these days are social liberals (or 'progressives', as they seem to prefer).

I am very pleased to see a new Tory PM promote an open lesbian to Education Secretary. It demonstrates how far both the Tory Party and the UK have come that Theresa May obviously felt able to do that without it being a political risk. And given the problems the Labour Party is still having with misogyny and antisemitism, it shows that 'Left' parties don't have a monopoly on social progressivism.

I'm sorry if it came across as me bashing your preferred political party. Full disclosure: I think Cameron and Osborne did a pretty good job of rescuing our economy after Brown's screw-ups. While I'm a committed social liberal, I vote for whichever party I think will make the best job of running the country, and I do trust the Tories far more than Labour on economic issues. I guess you might call me a "Nick Clegg Liberal". So, like you said, politics is complicated.

No need for you to fly off the handle like that, though.

EDIT: Hang on, did you miss the post where I said that I have a lot of respect for Theresa May, even though I disagree with her on some issues? And I think I now understand what you meant with that cryptic "Nah, mate, I'm more left wing than you" post a while back (that you never explained). You were snarkily accusing us of posing, of playing "leftier than thou", weren't you? So I'm actually not too inclined to feel sorry for inadvertently upsetting you.

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Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:48 am
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toots wrote:
literally what the f*ck?! "who'd have guessed she'd [justine greening] be a conservative?". i literally have no idea why you are surprised at that. don't bother explaining to me either.

i vote conservative and consider myself to be a good person voting in the interest of the country as a whole, and i don't subscribe to this narrative that seems to pervade facebook and bizarre little forums such as this that if you are politically right-of-centre then you're a horrible person. and i'm not alone thankfully.

i also happen to have voted to leave the EU as i felt and still feel that otherwise we'd have become part of the inexorable creation of a european superstate (well it's clearly tending towards that, regardless of the veracity of that monnet 'quote'). those who voted to remain would happily believe and slander me as a xenophobic racist. again it's just attacks and slander from the Left - i wonder if it makes people feel good to brand others as bigots whilst they themselves

politics is actually quite complicated unfortunately and reducing it down to good vs. evil is frankly preposterous and puerile (when talking about that found in the UK obviously). and this is why i don't talk about politics in polite company, the same way it's inadvisable to talk about religion or money in polite company. because it's serious sh*t and you can easily put someone's nose out of joint. like mine.

now you know who i am, feel free to say horrible things about me. i'll stick to T9A boards in future.


Nobody in here is going to say horrible things about you (or anybody else for that matter) - least of all Shadowspite - he is one of the most inclusive thinkers that I know on this forum. He won't mind that you voted to leave, and neither do I (even though I voted to remain). Such is the nature of democracy. Everybody is entitled to vote whichever way they see fit - to suggest otherwise would be to undermine the very principles of a democratic society. (Having said that, I'm sure there are plenty of Remain supporters all over the UK that would welcome being able to go out in public without getting spat at, verbally (and in some cases physically) abused, having bricks through their windows or having their tyres slashed. You don't see Remain voters doing that sort of thing...)

But that's not the point - Shadowspite was merely making the point (quite correctly I think) that with Justine Greening being a conservative, it was something of a surprise that she should come out as being openly gay, since by definition, conservatives have traditionally kept such things hidden (despite the levels of homosexuality - particularly among men - is far higher within the ranks of the conservative party than it is in most others.). The fact is that Justine Greening is the first openly gay female MP and she happens to be a conservative. So what? Shadowspite's comment on this was not offensive or judicial - he was merely pointing it out, that's all.

I also think that the old party lines are much more blurred now than they used to be - the old divisions of left and right are still present but there's a lot more crossover these days than there ever has been in the past. It's still interesting though that some conservatives still use the term "lefty" as an insult but you don't see labour supporters name-calling against conservatives in such a way - perhaps because being somewhat left-of-centre makes people a bit more liberal and accepting of opposing views (and we must have opposing views - and must allow them to be heard - in order to maintain a properly functioning democracy)

It doesn't matter whether someone is straight or gay - we have both in this forum - so frankly I am a little mystified as to your reaction to Shadowspite's post, because when I read it I saw nothing offensive or derogatory in it...

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Sat Jul 30, 2016 1:12 pm
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I should probably clarify something, since it seems even DP slightly misunderstood my original point.

I actually wasn't surprised about Justine Greening. I was certainly pleased and (a little bit) impressed, but my "who would have predicted?" bit was meant to be sarcastic. I was gently poking at my fellow liberal/leftists who tend to assume that the Tory Party hasn't changed since Margaret Thatcher's day.

If anything, I probably would have predicted that the first openly gay Education Secretary would be a Tory rather than Labour. In my own experience, the Conservative Party members I've known have generally been well-educated middle-class people who were more accepting of homosexuality (and more tolerant and liberal in general) than the generally working-class Labour Party members I've met. Living as I do in the North-East of England, I'm afraid the most bigoted, closed-minded people I've known have usually been Labour supporters. I don't assume that's any sort of general rule, though.

I should also note that my online political discussions are mostly with American Democrats, and it always amuses me how they (in general) think that British Tories must be Biblical-literalist, racist, misogynist homophobes. It's a stereotype based on US Republicans, of course, but it's just completely wrong.

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Sat Jul 30, 2016 2:08 pm
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