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Old 05-19-2018, 11:44 AM   #801
Concept
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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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