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Old 05-19-2018, 11:44 AM   #801
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The Royal family is an affront to any notion of meritocratic or democratic society and annoys the shit out of me. They're also the most pragmatic way of choosing a head of state.

Compare the involvement of the royal family in day to day politics with that of almost any President on the planet. Comparatively, they do very little. Now compare their on paper powers with those of most western Presidents. On paper they have more power than most western Presidents. Why then do they exercise less? Because how much power they can exercise in reality depends far more on public perception than on what the law says. US presidents of both parties have been routinely overstepped their constitutional bounds for decades. Meanwhile the monarchy has powers they haven't used in hudlndreds of years (see the veto, unused in over 300 years).

The US (and other nations) presidents get away with overstepping their bounds because public perception is that they're the highest, legitimate authority in the country. Meanwhile as long as the monarchies powers are viewed as illegitimate - because they're undemocratic - any attempt to use them will fail, except in a true emergency (think their ability to call an election in the event the government attempts to suspend elections, for example) in which case they provide a single, centralised and non politically aligned backstop against abuses of the system by career politicians.

In short, having a single head of state with emergency powers is very useful in the event of serioua political abuse of power, and the single best way to keep that head of state from abusing their power is to make sure it seems illegitimate for them to use it except in emergencies. Public perception of what they should be able to do will win out over on paper laws any day, and in the case of elected head of states his imbues one person with dangerous amounts of power regardless of how much you try to curtail it with laws.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:31 AM   #802
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Hey, props to you Concept, that's the kind of unique kingdom insight a closed-minded individual like myself wouldn't have imagined otherwise.

@AK2: I think humans, innately, desire some kind of royalty. You wouldn't imagine the number of people who crave the idea of "American Royalty" who flaunt wealth and power. They even coined the term "imperial presidency" to term how a president should act. Nothing annoys a poor person more than a rich person looking/acting poor. To them it's like, "you have all the advantages and are telling me my life is better bugger off".

I don't care for it though.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:10 PM   #803
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See also my views on having an unelected second chamber - democratically I find it offensive, but in practical terms much more useful than having two elected chambers (pretty sure I had an argument with Kush about it in this very thread).
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:03 AM   #804
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It's the opposite with the US. The origins of the House and Senate were as a compromise between those who wanted proportional representation and equal representation, believing that two houses would act as a gatekeeper to prevent one state's interest from influencing the whole of US politics. In the early days of the US the House was where most of the action was, but after the first World War its impact has fallen considerably.

Why? Well before telecommunications expanded, you knew your Congressman because he was local and was an access point to Washington DC. But in places like California where population density has ballooned and the minutes in a workday stayed static, the relationship between a county and its congressmen is about as interpersonal as between one of the senators. Add that to the two year cycle and most people can't even name their local rep, with the position having very low prestige and influence nationally.

Post-telephone, the desire for singular celebrity figures magnified the power of the president and senators. With television, you feel closer to the president than the local congressman you never see on national TV. So the House, which was historically cohesive and more in-line with what democracy should ideally represent, is now a chaotic, disjointed mess that only serves as a checkpoint for policy. It can't effectively introduce policy or find agreement on changes that the senate would also accept. And hence, American politics has been kinda sorta spinning its wheels for the past 30 years on many domestic issues.

Though, that goes for a lot of things. For almost 100 years, before the industrial revolution and the era of imperialism, the US was pretty devoted to its democratic ideal. It's moved away from that toward a more authoritarian approach to the present day.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:27 AM   #805
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What's going on in Britannia lately?! Aren't we due to exit the EU in two months time? Why all the new bluster about staying in?
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:04 AM   #806
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The long and short of it is that May has predictably fucked up and people are pissed about it.

edit: ahahahaha okay remember when I said May predictably fucked up?

yeah that was an understatement and a half. Her Brexit plan hasn't been thrown out so much as tossed into a wood chipper and set on fire.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:53 PM   #807
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Basically our government is where Americans should look right now to feel better about themselves.

The past two years of negotiations have only been about the terms we leave on, not the terms of any future agreements between ourselves and the EU. What they've basically come up with is;

-A transition period extending until the end of 2020 during which time we'll continue to abide by a bunch of EU regulations whilst we negotiate our future relationship without any representation or say in the EU changing those regulations.
-We'll pay those contributions to the EU budget we've already committed to.
-The Irish backstop - in the event that we fail to agree a way to keep the Irish border a soft border (no customs checks etc - it's a major part of the Good Friday agreement that bought peace to Northern Ireland) then NI will continue to operate under EU regulations indefinitely to ensure there's no need to check goods going one way or another over the border.

Now no-one is very happy with this deal and it was defeated in the commons 432-202 in the biggest single defeat for a piece of UK government legislation ever. Whilst the Conservatives are the largest single party in parliament, because we have minor parties that actually matter they don't wield a majority on their own. They currently rely on small party of Northern Irish nationalists in the DUP who are strongly opposed to the Irish backstop, and even within the Conservative party there are both anti- and pro-EU factions who both hate this deal for various reasons (the anti-EU side believes we're giving too much up, the pro-EU side believes we're shooting ourselves in the foot in our haste to get out). These factions are both pretty strong and can't agree on anything except that they hate the current deal on the table, and having to pander to both prevents the Conservatives from achieving anything.

So far still with me? Ok. So after this deal failed to clear parliament, Labour (currently our second largest party) tabled a vote of no confidence in the government which would, if passed, force a new government and almost certainly a general election. Unfortunately you just found the only other thing the warring Conservative factions actually agree on - they should absolutely not risk a general election giving the other guys a chance at power. The DUP decided that despite voting against the deal they would honour their current "confidence and supply) arrangement with the Conservatives (a deal whereby they agree to vote with the government on confidence votes and budgets in exchange for huge funding for Northern Ireland), so the government actually won the confidence vote 326-305 thereby preventing an early election (our next one isn't scheduled until 2022 in the normal course of things).

Hence, massive paralysis. Unfortunately paralysis isn't even the worst of our problems right now. The one piece of Brexit legislation we've managed to get through is the one that says we are definitely leaving regardless at the end of March. Even if parliament overturned this (unlikely in and of itself, given the current gridlock) the remaining 27 EU countries would all have to individually agree to any extension because this date is also set by Article 50 (the means by which countries leave the EU, setting a two year deadline from when it's activated). They're not super keen on doing so because a) it'd make the upcoming EU parliament elections in May super complicated if they moved our leaving date to a few months after they happen and b) they're largely tired of pandering to the child in a corner who can't decide what it even wants and have had two years of their time wasted by us already. The highest EU court has said we can unilaterally retract Article 50 entirely (and therefore decide we're not leaving at all) without the EU's say so though, but doing so is probably political suicide.

Now what does it look like if we reach the end of March with no deal agreed? Well, most policy decisions made by UK governments for ~40 years have rested on the assumption of certain realities of EU membership. This ranges from things like the agreements which allow any and all flights between the UK and EU countries, every single trade deal we're currently part of and basically everything about goods coming into the country. The flights thing probably jumps out at you there but what should really scare people is the Dover-Calais crossing. As it turns out we're a small, overpopulated island that gets the majority of its food, medicine, all of the chemicals we use to provide safe drinking water and god knows what else over crossings with the EU because it's the only remotely close landmass. Who knew? Not the guy who was in charge of negotiations with the EU, apparently. Right now as an EU member state we're part of the customs union so there are no customs checks at any of these points. In the event of a no-deal situation I refer you to above article for concerns about how long it would take to process an individual truck, and to this one for the fun fact that about 2.6m trucks cross just one of our major links with the EU every year. Predictions on times for trucks sat waiting on the 14 mile stretch of motorway being prepared as a lorry park range from several days to several weeks. Many with food in them. Which will totally keep in the back of a truck that long.

Tl;dr, we've failed to unseat our current government early, our government has failed to pass any kind of deal and in the event of a no-deal our country is about to hit the point where we can't get food, chemicals to provide clean water and medicine into the country fast enough to meet demand in about ten weeks time. Existing supplies will stretch that time frame a bit, but we're talking weeks there.

I would actually take Trump as President and a government shutdown in preference right now.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:21 PM   #808
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Yeah you guys are seriously fucked. As much as I hate to say it, no-deal is what's likely to happen as your shit politicians only care about themselves.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:29 PM   #809
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Part of me still doesn't quite believe we've reached the point where government ministers have begun seriously and publically talking about the need to stockpile food and medicine in case of no-deal, and another part of me despairs that they've only begun thinking about that in the past few weeks.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:08 PM   #810
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For those interested; as it stands we're still leaving next Friday with no deal currently in place (although the EU27 are as we speak debating our request for a short extension of 2-3 months or so but the mood seems to be that there's no point in granting an extension unless we can guarantee a different outcome to what we'd get now). Any one of the EU27 could veto the request. In the meantime May channeled her inner Trump by giving a speech blaming MPs for her personal failure to make any kind of attempt to find a consensus in parliament and trying to align herself with "the people" against them, which is totally how a responsible adult acts at a time when MPs are already receiving death threats and one was murdered by a right wing terrorist just a few years ago.

EDIT the first: Assuming the Speaker allows her to bring it back for a third time, I suspect May will get her deal passed now. The EU has agreed an extension to the 22nd of May conditional on the deal passing parliament (to give us time to pass all the technical bits required to make it work), but only until 12th April if it doesn't. With the EU having set out their stall now I suspect that the anti-no deal majority will be cowed into voting for her deal for fear of a no deal. They might force some amendments to it though relating either to calling a general election or to dictate the next phase of negotiations (the deal only covers the terms of our exit and creates a transitional period, it says nothing about what our longterm relationship with the EU will look like).
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:51 AM   #811
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Theresa May's going, going, gone June 7th.

imho should have been gone much earlier.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:32 PM   #812
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So what happens now? Another referendum on Brexit?
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:38 AM   #813
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Honestly I don't have a fucking clue.

There's the threat of Boris Johnson being her successor, at which point we know this country's completely fucked beyond repair.
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:29 PM   #814
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Tory MPs vote amongst themselves for a successor to the Tory leadership, and the top two candidates get voted on by the wider Tory membership across the country. Winner becomes leader of the party. Winner almost certainly becomes PM too, although that's contingent upon them being able to command the confidence of the house of commons (where the Tories do not quite hold a majority, so they're currently reliant on the DUP for support, and if the winner is too divisive amongst Tory MPs it's possible some of them will refuse to support the new Tory leader as PM). Most likely outcome is that the new Tory leader is also the new PM, but that's not 100% guaranteed.

Assuming the most likely outcome happens and the next Tory leader also becomes PM at the same time, they inherit the same problems May had; there's no majority in parliament for any given outcome on Brexit. so there's complete paralysis. May was a PR nightmare but there's no reason to believe anyone else could've done any better. Even if a new Tory leader is more willing to compromise with Labour, the Labour party can't even agree amongst themselves what they actually want and so many Tories would oppose any compromise with Labour that it's entirely possible for the two main party leaderships to agree a compromise Brexit strategy between them and still see it defeated in the commons.

I'm in no way sad the Maybot is finally being decommissioned but realistically things will be no different with someone else.

A customs union might stand a chance at passing parliament - when Ken Clarke put forward an amendment to that effect earlier this year it was only defeated by three votes, and a number of those voting against are adamantly against a no deal Brexit and might cave on the matter as we run up on the October deadline - but no guarantee. Hell if BoJo gets in he could simply stop bringing Brexit legislation forward and let the clock run out.

EDIT the first: Also worth noting that May steps aside as Conservative party leader on June 7th; to my understanding she remains Prime Minister until a new one is agreed (much like how Brown remained PM for 5 days after losing the 2010 general election until it became clear Cameron and Clegg could agree a deal to reach a majority in the commons). The contest is expected to last until late July.

EDIT the second: Oh and we also had european elections on Thursday. We're expecting results tomorrow or Monday I think because the last EU nations voted today. The Brexit Party (pro no-deal extremists) are expected to send the largest single British contingent on a vote percentage in the mid-30's by virtue of having no specific policies and Farage as a leader. I voted Green on the basis they're unambiguously pro-Remain and pro-environmental regulation. They have way too many barmy ideas on things like education for me to ever vote for them on a national level (the Lib Dems and Labour generally have a much better put together if less radical and interesting national agenda) but in terms of the sort of things the EU parliament regulates I'm quite fond of them.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:44 AM   #815
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Northern Ireland and Scotland are yet to be counted, but it looks pretty much like a tie up between Remain and Leave votes. The few Tory and Labour voters are hard to lump into one camp or the other given how much of a mess both parties are on the issue; the obvious pro-Leave parties (Ukip and Brexit) are combined polling at 36.8%, whilst the unambiguous Remain parties (Lib Dem, Green and Change UK) are combined 37.2%. Seems likely that once NI and particularly Scotland are counted, Remain parties will collectively be a few points ahead but not enough in it to really call it. Tories beaten into fifth place. Labour narrowly in third ahead of the Greens in fourth, but they could easily switch places after Scotland declares (where the Greens usually hold up well but the SNP have all but cleaned up the former Labour vote). Our two main parties of government for the last century beaten into fifth and third/fourth place is kid of funny, even allowing for how the EU elections are always a place for protest voting.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:23 AM   #816
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tbh after the entire shambles of Brexit thus far, most everything since the vote has landed squarely on the Conservatives' doorstep, it's absolutely no surprise they've collapsed. Add in May's resignation and the actual freak show stepping up to try and steal top spot (Hunt, Gove, Boris and a few others)... It's unsurprising nobody wants to back them.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:09 PM   #817
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Why would Boris take the job now? Wasn't he cowering at the thought 3 years ago?
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:01 PM   #818
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Boris wanted it three years ago but one of his main allies at the time gave a speech announcing his own candidacy a couple of hours before Boris was due to announce he was running. The speech was widely seen as a take that at BoJo, and he ended up not running because of it.

If Boris makes it to the run off put to the Tory membership he'll probably win, but enough MPs hate him that he might well not make it past the first round. A number of senior Tories have made it clear they won't support him even if he becomes leader.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:19 PM   #819
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So the race to the next PM is between the clown and the cunt.

Whoever wins, we lose.
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:55 AM   #820
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I mean, all the options were Tories. It couldn't really have been much less terrible.
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Old 07-23-2019, 06:39 AM   #821
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Boris Johnson is Prime Minister.

We are completely fucked.
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Old 07-23-2019, 08:05 AM   #822
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Bojock Unleashed!

God save the Queen

And maybe the Brexit deal, too.
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