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

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:38 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:28 am 
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OK, apparently the impeachment didn't have as much popular support/impact as I thought.

My impression is that Clinton played for different target demographics in 2016 than in 2008, and that that didn't go over well. But I can't find polls for the 2008 Democratic primary with demographic breakdowns, so w/e.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:37 am 
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I like those rants. Also the one with Tengri and star-childs and Newt Gingrich. Not really the political ones.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:26 am 
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what "rant". newt gingrich IS a space alien. how DARE you defame the immortal science of EDENISM, you fucking MELON

[edit: it has come to my attention that koanic's blog has disappeared. rip in peace, o great scientist of thal supremacy. let us all chant the sumerian nam-shub of race war against the filthy cromags. bork bork bork!]

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:41 am 
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Please stop this is the wrong thread we only talk British Politics here, keep this to the Donald Trump's America thread.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:52 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:39 am 
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An update for anyone puzzled by the latest Issue of the Day. i.e. What on earth is "Windrush"?

What was the Windrush?

The Empire Windrush was originally a German cruise ship, captured by the British and renamed - each captured ship got the name "Empire" and the name of a British river. In this case, the Windrush, a minor tributary of the Thames. The Windrush was used as a transport ship, and in 1948 it was sent to Jamaica to pick up invalid soldiers and sailors recuperating there and bring them back home to the UK. However, there were far fewer such people than expected, and the operator of the ship thought he'd make a few quid by filling his empty berths with civilians - he could offer them cheap fares because he had to go to the UK anyway. Thus, on the 22 June (Windrush Day), the Empire Windrush docked in Tilbury (the old port outside London, where Elizabeth I addressed her troops before the Spanish Armada), with just under 500 passengers.

What does the Windrush represent?

In 1948, Britain was in a bad way. Economic capacity and labour force depleted by WWII, Britain was stabbed in the back and thrown into an economic crisis by the opportunism of the USA, and was struggling to recover. In particular, it was believed that the country desparately needed manpower to replace those lost in the war, and as a result laws were passed effectively opening up the country to immigration. From 1948 onward, all citzens of the Commonwealth had the right to settle indefinitely in the UK; this right was limited in 1962, and further in 1968 (the year of the Rivers of Blood speech), before effectively being abolished in 1971. The Windrush was the first major transport ship to dock after the implementation of the new rules, and has therefore come to symbolise the 'Windrush Generation': the era of mass migration between 1948 and 1962, or more broadly up until 1971.

The largest share of migrants came from the Subcontinent, and there were also many who came from Africa, particular those of Asian ethnicity who were being expelled from nations across Africa under Africanisation policies. However, the Windrush Generation is most closely associated with the origin of the Windrush passengers themselves: Jamaica, and more broadly the Caribbean. Mass migration from India had been occuring for decades if not centuries, but the 500-odd passengers of the Windrush were the first notable incident of mass migration of black people to the UK.

The Windrush and the Windrush Generation are thus strongly associated with multiculturalism and the history of the black british community, and further represent the UK's continuing close ties with its former colonies in the Caribbean. Regarding the people themselves, they are seen almost as pioneers, bravely crossing the ocean to forge a new life here.

So why are the Windrush in the news now?

Brexit. Or, more generally, nationalism. See, for years and years, the Tories, terrified of challenges from the BNP, UKIP, and other forces to their right, have been promising to dramatically reduce immigration. The headline has been to reduce immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands. They've been promising it for a decade, and have never delivered.

Why? Because it's bloody difficult. Immigrants basically fall into three categories: people from the EU, who we could not prevent from coming; students, who we dare not prevent from coming because our higher education system relies on charging overseas students excessive fees; and highly-skilled businessmen with jobs, who the government dare not prevent from coming because the City would crucify them if they did. So the government cannot reduce immigration numbers (plus it would tank the economy if they did, but nobody cares about that). All they can do is increasingly robustly mop up the small number of people who don't fall into those three untouchable categories. That means more and more draconian, American-style enforcement: requiring people to have papers; abducting people from interviews that they've set up with the Home Office to ask how they can get papers, etc.

And Brexit has been worrying some people in this regard. See, there are millions of EU citizens in the UK, and theoretically we are going to safeguard their right to remain (so long as they've been here a certain length of time). But you don't need papers to get into the UK as an EU citizen at the moment. So how will we work out who has a right to be here?

A question journalists have answered by working out what the existing system is, so that we can see how it might have to be changed to deal with Brexit. And the result of looking at the existing system is: oh shit.

See, it turns out that the real targets of that draconian enforcement have not been shady Iraqis and malingering Turks. Instead, it's been the Noble and Iconic Windrush Generation - who are by now sympathetic old pensioners. They've lost their pensions. They been kicked out of their jobs. They've been refused medical treatment (and because everyone gets medical treatment free through the NHS, few but the rish have private healthcare to turn to). They've lost their homes. Because you can't get stuff if you don't have Papers. Thems the rules (because this will encourage self-deportation). Theresa May even wanted to prevent their kids from being educated. These measures have progressed step by step, but the big change was apparently in 2016 - and we've all been so consumed by the various hysterias of the moment that nobody's really noticed any of this until now.

We also don't know if anyone's actually been deported yet. At least one person, the government managed to get her as far as Heathow Airport before some lawyers rescued her. Whether anyone's gotten further than that, we don't know - this is, after all, generally not a well-connected and wealthy community.

What the hell? Why don't they have Papers!?

Well, there are a series of problems.
First, the onus is on the individual to actively prove their right to remain. Because the right to remain is negated by spending too much time abroad, you have to prove continuity of residence. Specifically, for every year since 1948 (or whenever they arrived), they have to provide four independent documents showing residence. Now, can YOU provide your dental checkup records from 1973, at short notice? Or your school attendance records from 1956?

(good news - this process will be streamlined for EU citizens, because they're white, and therefore they're important. Or, more cynically, because we don't want to piss of their governments. Whereas the Windrush generation, this IS their country, so there's no-one to piss off)

Now you might say - but wait! Surely if they've been here all this time, paying taxes, the government has a record of taxes paid? Well yes. And they have records of school enrollment, and of numerous other interactions with the state over the years. But those can't be released to the public. It's important that the government doesn't spend its valuable time and money helping Nefarious Fuzzywuzzies and Suspicious Arabs wriggle their unjust way into citizenship, so it's up to the individual to prove their right to remain. After all, surely they'd take the effort if they wanted to? If they're lazy enough not to have kept their school attendence records neatly filed for sixty years in case they might be needed one day, are they really the sort of people we want to let into the country?

But that's actually not the worst of the problems.

See, in 1948, people living in the commonwealth became citizens of the commonwealth, which meant they could be citizens here. Much like EU citizens decades later, that meant they didn't need visas or the like. It meant they just had to show their passport and they were allowed in, and the deal was that we wouldn't kick them out. So they never had to actually apply to stay here, so there are no records of them applying to stay here. So even if you can prove you've been here since 1948, how can you prove that you entered legally in 1948, and not before, and not from the wrong place?

Well at the very least you could use your passport to at least show you're from the right country. Except you can't. Because back then, wives and children were included in the passport of the head of the household, and didn't have passports of their own. So a generation of people never actually had passports and can't prove their identity, let alone their arrival.

But wait? Surely SOME record was made of who was arriving, you may be asking? Well yes, sure. The British Empire had many faults, but a lack of proper filing was rarely one of them. Every ship that docked, diligent bureaucrats were on hand interviewing every passenger, neatly writing down their names and origins in neat (though barely legible) handwriting on little cardboard cards, which were diligently stored by their thousands in little cabinets in a little office somewhere in the basement of the home office.

...from which basement they were removed in 2010 on the authority of Theresa May, and all destroyed. So there are now no records of who arrived, so people living here now can't prove when and whence they arrived, so they can't prove that they arrived legally and that they have a right to remain. So, no Papers.


Who's in trouble?

Nobody. What is this, the 1990s? Politicians are no longer held accountable for their departments.

In theory, the two main culprits here are Theresa May and Amber Rudd. May's culpability is threefold: she was the Home Secretary who destroyed the landing cards; she was the Home Secretary who cracked down on immigrants; and she's currently, at least in theory, the Prime Minister and, hypothetically, responsible for running the country. Rudd's culpability is the fact she's currently the Home Secretary.

May argues:
- it was Labour who suggested destroying old paper documents, and although the decision to destroy these documents in particular was made under her watch, she didn't make it herself. What do you think she was, some sort of government officer? No, she's a politician, and all decisions are taken by officials, so it's not her fault.
- everyone hates immigrants, so what's wrong with cracking down on them? Obviously nobody ever intended that NICE immigrants would be caught up in that - that's the fault of officials failing to carry out her obvious wishes only to harrass Evil Immigrants.
- oh, so you want to be PM, do you? Please, please, you're welcome to it. Anyone? Anyone at all? Any takers?

Rudd likewise argues:
- fuck off


The scandal continues...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:34 am 
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Wow, that's horrible. And thank you for the explainer, Sal - I had seen people talking about how horrible this whole thing is in various places on the internet, but they were usually too busy pointing out that it is horrible to explain what exactly happened. Wow.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:46 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:57 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:14 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:43 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 6:50 am 
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So, what's going on with Brexit?

As we've covered previously, there is a small logical flaw in the idea of Brexit: the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
- all parties have agreed there cannot be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, for political-military reasons
- there cannot be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Britain, because the DUP won't allow it and the government will collapse
- there cannot be a hard border between Britain and the outside world, because post-Brexit we'll be dependent on foreign trade
- there must be a hard border somewhere between Ireland (i.e. the EU) and the ouside world, because otherwise the EU's customs union won't work
- specifically, there probably must be a hard border between Britain and the EU, because otherwise the Brexiteer's immigration controls won't work.

(it's worth pointing out also that although it's the Irish border that's most important, because of the peace process, the same problems occur with all other borders with the EU, in terms of the damaging effects on the local economies)

So we have a (n entirely predictable) crisis.

There have been two main solutions to this crisis proposed.

1: The Prime Minister favours something we're calling a customs partnership. In essence, Britain would keep a hard border with the outside world, on behalf of the EU, but give compensation to people who aren't actually trying to get to the EU. More specifically: the UK would levy EU customs (as well as its own) on imports into the UK, on the assumption that they're destined for the EU, but if it can be shown that good aren't destined for the EU. The UK would then give the money to the EU.

This option has the advantage of ensuring that there's no hard border with Ireland, at least for goods (this won't stop migration, so presumably the assumption will have to be just that the local police will work harder to find illegal immigrants once they're in the EUK). But it will obviously make trade with the outside world more difficult: companies trading with the UK will have to be willing to pay full EU customs and hope to receive their refund when they show they're only shipping to the UK. And that will be a lot of paperwork, because it's not entirely clear how you'd be able to prove that your goods ended up in the UK, rather than being moved on to the EU (if there's no UK-EU border). And this all relies on the EU being happy to have a free-trade agreement with the UK on terms that Brexiteers agree with - it would probably have to mean UK products would need to abide by EU regulations, for instance, while the UK would have to accept EU products even if they didn't comply with UK regulations.

So, it's controversial. The foreign secretary has described the plan as "crazy", and the Brexist secretary has described the plan as "illegal". Prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has described the PM's proposal as "completely cretinous". The EU has described the plan as "magical thinking". So...

2. The Brexiteers prefer a plan being called Max-Fac (annoyingly, because 'maxi-fac' would sound much better). This is short for 'maximum facilitation'. The idea here is that there both is and isn't a border: there's a border, which is hard enough to do everything required of it, between the UK and Ireland, but at the same time nobody notices the border. This has several requirements: the EU must allow UK goods to travel through the EU without being charged customs; the EU must allow a waiver so that UK citizens don't have to make customs declarations at borders (and likewise the UK with EU citizens); the EU must agree to allow individuals and small businesses to be exempt from customs; the EU must agree to create a class of designated trusted traders who are not subject to customs checks (to allow locals to cross and recross the border without being stopped). And, most importantly, we will use something called "technology", which will solve any problems that might emerge. The problem of ascertaining trusted trader status, for instance, will be solved by technology: flawless number-plate readers will correlate number-plates with entries in a database showing an individual's status - in real time, with no delay, with no need for human border guards. Likewise, technology will prevent smuggling or illegal migration, and will determine which vehicles carry goods for the UK or EU and which carry goods meant to be exported on to third-party countries. And technology will determine whether the goods in a vehicle are compliant with EU regulations when UK regulations have diverged.

Unfortunately this solution is not without its own complication. For one thing, it relies on massive and expensive co-operation from the EU. For another, it still creates border infrastructure, even if it's unmanned, which could be a target for both protests and attacks (most of the 200 crossing points are in constituencies represented by Sinn Fein). Some of the technology required - like keeping a database of every time a Northern Irish citizen's car crosses into Ireland, or compulsory GPS tracking devices on all large vehicles - may prove politically incendiary in the North. And much of the technology required either a) hasn't been detailed, b) has been detailed but doesn't actually exist, or c) does exist in theory, but would take vast expense of time and resources to actually implement everywhere along the border.

As a result, this plan is also controversial, particularly with the EU, who describe this too as "magical thinking". The main opposition party in Ireland has already promised to reject it.


So....

3. With Brexiteers seemingly getting the upper hand in pushing max-fac (which the EU probably won't accept), May has taken the extraordinary step of dividing her cabinet into two working parties to go away and think seriously about how rubbish both options are (normally this sort of thing would be done by civil servants, who present the facts to ministers, who decide which option to choose - but now the facts are determined by political allegiance). To block the brexiteers, she's reportedly been pushing a third option, that eliminates the problems of the first two solutions. The third option is what's called a time-limited goods arrangement. Under this plan, Britain would of course immediately leave the customs union, but wouldn't have a hard border with the EU. Instead, there would be a hard border with the outside world, and Britain would commit to obeying EU regulations and tarriffs. This would appear to avoid all the problems of Brexit entirely, while still delivering Brexit.
However, some Brexiteers complain that this is literally just doing exactly what we've been doing until now, only calling it "Brexit". To assuage them, the arrangement is time-limited: it will end at some point. It's not clear what that point would be, and it may be that it'll be left indefinite. But it'll absolutely happen someday, so this is only a transitional agreement, so Brexit will absolutely have been delivered. Remainers will thus be able to claim that we've Remained, while Hard Brexiteers will be able to claim we have a Hard Brexit that's temporarily being delayed while we implement the necessary technological infrastructure.

A win-win solution!

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 10:00 am 
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How was the Irish border handled before the EU? If the border was unmanned back then, surely there were the exact same problems (a person or goods could get themselves into Ireland and then quite easily get into the UK).

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 10:37 am 
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 12:08 pm 
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Meanwhile, somewhat related to the general British politics theme, there's this little thread on twitter:



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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 1:10 pm 
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Breaking news!!! Read all about it !!!

"A new customs proposal hoping to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Brexit has been agreed by cabinet."

You know where you heard it first!!!


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 1:32 pm 
Smeric
Smeric

Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2002 2:49 am
Posts: 2316
Location: Bonn, Germany
Why not just rename the EU "The Davis - Johnson - Rees-Mogg Glorious British Free Trade Zone"? Everyboy could claim victory and go home, and no actual fact in reality would need to change.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 1:40 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:00 pm
Posts: 3197
Location: One of the dark places of the world

_________________
Blog:

But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 3:03 pm 
Avisaru
Avisaru
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Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:35 pm
Posts: 492
Location: Michigan, USA
Welp, so much for my suggestion that we draw inspiration from history, then. :P

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I generally forget to say, so if it's relevant and I don't mention it--I'm from Southern Michigan and speak Inland North American English. Yes, I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift; no, I don't have the cot-caught merger; and it is called pop.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 2:57 pm 
Sanno
Sanno
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Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:00 am
Posts: 3687
Location: Rogers Park/Evanston


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:33 pm 
Boardlord
Boardlord

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:26 pm
Posts: 3377
Location: In the den
OK, so apparently Parliament has passed a bill that says Parliament can't weigh in on Brexit. Only didn't they just do that by voting?

Also, the government somehow made a concession which amounts to "maybe we'll talk some more", which was apparently key to getting certain members to vote not to vote any more.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-44 ... c_breaking


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