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zompist bboard • View topic - A Very Brief Explanation of the British Election

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:17 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:21 pm 
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Here's something about British politics I've always wanted to know more about: what's the deal with the shadow cabinet? I gather that they're from the out-of-power parties, but I have no idea what they actually do. For example, does the shadow Home Secretary ever work with the Home Secretary on whatever it is the Home Secretary does?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:29 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:56 am 
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Axiem: the constitution has three formal elements (aside from general tradition and practice): statute law, common law, and authoritative works.

Statute law is just the laws passed by parliament. "Constitutional" laws are passed the same way as any other laws, and don't have to be defined as such. A recent development is that some court cases have suggested there may be two types of laws - constitutional ones and other ones - with constitutional laws taking precedence in case of apparent conflict. [that is, the courts seem to be edging toward the idea of constitutional review] These constitutional laws probably include the Magna Carta, the Acts of Union and the Bill of Rights. However, the fundamental rule of UK politics is "parliamentary sovereignty" - parliament can do anything it likes, no matter what other parliaments have done. So Parliament could do away with the Bill of Rights tommorrow, if it wanted. However, judges may feel that a law that contradicts the Bill of Rights should be ignored, unless it specifically says that it's intentionally superseding the Bill of Rights. [for instance, most of the Magna Carta has long since been repealed and replaced.]

Common law is law created by judges. They basically fill gaps in established precedent, and their judgements establish binding precedents until parliament gets around to explicitly contradicting them.

Works of authority are previous analyses of the constitution that have been accepted as broadly correct. Mostly they're fixed texts that are in some respects out of date; however, Erskine May is actually continually updated. Mostly it's updated to reflect changes in practice, but theoretically you could intentionally change it to say something new - but in that case it might be considered not to be constitutional anymore.


Regarding uncodified constitutions in general: it's worth bearing in mind that all constitutions have large unwritten elements. The US's written "constitution" in particular, being extremely short and often rather vague, is only a small part of the actual US constitution. To take just the most famous example, the written Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power of constitutional review - and given that this was not part of the English (or any other, to my knowledge) constitution at the time, it almost certainly was not originally intended. More generally, if you follow a Supreme Court ruling, almost none of the reasoning, the principles, the precedents, the established interpretations, that those rulings are based on are actually codified in the written Constitution, and even a lot of the bits that are officially based on the written Constitution are not actually written down (the right to abortion, for instance, is famously discovered in the right to privacy, which itself is famously discovered from the ideological implications of the written Constitution, rather than in any actual written text). Similarly, incredibly important practices like the filibuster, and indeed cloture to override the filibuster, have no basis in the written Constitution.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:05 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:12 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:05 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:16 pm 
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ìtsanso, God In The Mountain, may our names inspire the deepest feelings of fear in urkos and all his ilk, for we have saved another man from his lies! I welcome back to the feast hall kal, who will never gamble again! May the eleven gods bless him!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:29 pm 
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Today someone should probably explain: the 1922 Committee.

Yesterday, the PM "visited the 1922 Committee", in what was considered a critical moment for her continued career. But what does that actually mean?

Simple! The 1922 Committee is the informal name for the private gathering of backbench Conservative MPs - that is, Tory MPs who do not have jobs in the government. The Committee exists to help backbenchers* orchestrate coherent lines of strategy with their own party leadership, and to relay the views of the backbenchers as a group to the government. Traditionally, frontbenchers (people with government jobs) were banned, but in 2010 Cameron succesfully persuaded the committee to reform to allow frontbenchers to attend meetings, which has apparently helped reduce the independence of the committee, although it's still the case that only backbenchers are allowed to vote on the officers of the committee.

Meetings of the committee are private, and apparently there's a reasonable degree of openness there, although quotes and impressions are occasionally leaked. For important meetings, the media crowd around outside the door of the committee room and try to hear what's going on. Of paramount importance? The tradition that whenever a PM attends the 1922 committee, the MPs signal their support for her by banging loudly on tables (which the media outside can hear).

Apparently, May was greated with general, but not enthusiastic, thumping, indicating that her position is not under immediate threat, but that she is very much out of favour and far from secure in her position.

If the situation worsens for her, the man of the hour will be the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady.

[Brady has been an MP for 20 years. He served in a number of Shadow Cabinet positions in the early 2000s, but has been back on the backbenches for 10 years now, having resigned in protest at a policy he didn't think was right-wing enough. In 2010, he won "Backbencher of the Year" (yes, that's a real award), and became Chair of the 1922 Committee.

He also serves on a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups - he's the Secretary of the Cayman Islands Groups and of the Fluoridation Group, for example. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal bodies of MPs devoted to quietly advancing certain interests; their work is done almost entirely behind the scenes in Westminster, not in front of cameras (which helsps them avoid partisanship). Some are serious, albeit informal, policy committees, like the Infrastructure Group that Brady is a member of, and may even have substantial institutional backing - the APPG for homelessness, for instance, has a major homelessness charity running much of its admin; others are more like after-school clubs, as much a part of MP's social lives (note: they don't have any; they have masive workloads, lots of commuting, and despite changes to improve their standard of living they still do a lot of their official work at night, for some reason) as of the national policy environment. Like the APPG for Jazz Appreciation, for instance, or the All-Pary Parliamentary Group for Cheese, of which the Leader of the Opposition is a prominent member. [Jeremy Corbyn loves cheese so much he once attempted to surreptitiously infiltrate Mexico with a bag filled with illegal cheeses to distribute to his Mexican family members and friends. The police stopped him at the border. "It's only cheese!" he said. "Oh, OK then," they said, and let him through. Of such thrilling stories is Jeremy Corbyn's legend made.]

]

If May is in trouble, it may be, say, the resignation of a top frontbench colleague that triggers her fall. But that will only happen if the 1922 Committee seems to have lost confidence in her, and that's what she, and others, will be frequently chatting to Mr Brady about. Mr Brady may well also be the won to tell her that she has to resign. If there is a formal challenge, it's Mr Brady who, according to internal Tory rules, will act as the returning officer over the ensuing leadership election.


The 1922 Committee is unique to the Tories, but the Parliamentary Labour Party is a close equivalent on the other side of the aisle (though the PLP includes frontbenchers as well).

No points for guessing when the 1922 Committee was formed. Yes, that's right: 1923.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:02 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:11 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:33 pm 
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Tim Farron just resigned as leader of the Lib Dems wtf is happening?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:07 pm 
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“To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”

I had an easier time finding out what football club he supports than what Christian denomination he belongs to. Christian Today simply describes him as "evangelical Christian". I gather than in a UK-context, that most likely means low-church CofE?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:19 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:27 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:41 pm 
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I like how claims that the Strict and Particular Baptists are not a product of the Reformation...

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:09 am 
Avisaru
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OK, news just in from my dad, he is an independent and worships at a church in Kendal.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:49 am 
Sanno
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But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
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I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:15 am 
Avisaru
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I don't know the specifics, that's as much as dad told me, and probably all he's got from his connections.

The most annoying thing about the whole episode is that it plays into this narrative evangelicals (as represented by organisations such as the Christian Institute and Christian Concern) have of "persecuted Christians" (because the majority of society objecting to the homophobia and anti-abortion activism that evangelicals tend to stand for is enough to constitute persecution in their eyes), and this is only yet further ammunition for them in their campaign of arse-holery which they have been inflicting on the rest of us in the CofE and beyond. I never thought I could get angry at Tim Farron but clearly I thought wrong.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:42 am 
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But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
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I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:55 am 
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I completely agree with absolutely everything you say, but the problem is that whenever he does do something like this that is how it'll be spun by those particular groups, who only do harm to the church as a whole. If he feels he can't carry on as leader of the party (and I agree, it's not his fault the media have been so probing about his personal views) then he is allowed to do that, but my annoyment comes from the implications, and again that lending of ammunition thing. Evangelicals are unbearable enough without this to back them up in their convictions.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:31 am 
Avisaru
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One question: Are there any rules, norms, conventions or traditions for when British parties hold their party conferences? Apparently it's usually not during campaign seasons, as with US party conventions.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:38 am 
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But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
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I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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