Tell us, UK, how did you do it?


Like a meteor, Boris Johnson seems to be streaking across the firmament to land with a dull thud. He’s lost his majority when Dr Phillip Lee crossed the aisle! He might have the shortest term of any prime minister in UK history! I know you’ve all got a lot of work yet to overcome the poison of Brexit, but I’m envious that you managed to take one small step towards sanity.

Tell us how to do it here.

I went looking for comparisons to help us out, and alas, I had to read Jennifer Rubin, the conservative journalist who was such a cheerleader for war in Iraq. I have no confidence in her opinion, but she did list three lessons for the US to learn.

First, Trump, like Johnson, is all bluster and no competence, and as problems of his own making mount, he becomes even less stable. As matters get worse, Trump hides more often (e.g., refusing to go to Poland), lies more (e.g., phantom calls from China’s negotiators, an anti-historical explanation for Russia’s expulsion from the Group of Seven) and lashes out more frequently.

OK, yes, we know. Both the UK and US are suffering self-inflicted wounds in the persons of Johnson and Trump. We already are fully aware of this.

Second, unlike Lee, the United States has, with the exception of Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), no sitting legislator with the nerve to call out his party’s leader and stand up for conservative and constitutional principles. If we had a “no confidence” vote in the United States — wouldn’t that be delightful?! — the Republican administration and party would collapse under the weight of Trump’s stunning incompetence. The very little man behind the curtain no longer can sustain the illusion of sanity, let alone strength.

We’re relying on conservative legislators to grow a spine and abandon the Republican party? Hah. If there’s one thing we know, Republicans lack spines, consciences, and honest principles. This isn’t going to happen. There’s too much money and power driving the dominant political party (and we’ll have to watch it that if the Democrats gain seats, they might just turn into another party with no principles — there are good signs that the DNC is already like that.)

And finally, the antidote to illiberal wannabe autocrats is democracy. Brits took to the streets to protest Johnson’s scheme, and now in the heart of the oldest deliberative body, the model for democratic legislatures everywhere, conservatives are taking on their leader. If American conservatives would only follow their example, America’s Trumpian nightmare would end sooner rather than later.

We’ve done protests — remember the Women’s March? — but there was no follow-through and none of it dislodged any of the vermin in office from their positions. Any protest would have to involve more than a day of marching, followed by going home to the status quo. I don’t know that Americans are prepared to do more.

We’re pinning all hopes on the next election, held in gerrymandered districts with active voter suppression and an electoral college that makes most of us irrelevant. There are a heck of a lot of structural problems in American democracy that make an appeal to “democracy” just as forlorn as expecting Republicans to have a conscience.

It looks to me like we’re going to have to rely instead on an old American tradition: Revolution. But that’s a real throw of the dice.

Comments

  1. F.O. says

    UK giving the boot to Johnson and Italy relegating Salvini to opposition, today was a good day.

    the model for democratic legislatures everywhere

    Isn’t the House of Lords populated by inheritance or appointment instead of election? Doesn’t strike me as a fantastic model for any wannabe democracy.

  2. ospalh says

    I still think the East German monday demonstrations are the best example of how.
    Go on a march on moday at about 18:00.
    Every monday.
    Every town/city.

  3. F.O. says

    @PZ since you linked to @MattyBeRad, he wrote an article about how voting works as a way to contain rebellions rather than give actual power to the masses.
    I tend to agree with it, given how impotent voters feel in most democracies; even the election of someone like Ocasio-Cortez, which should be the norm, is seen as something special, something that gives real hope in a system where the default, regardless of what the propaganda says, is that small people count for shit.

  4. kingoftown says

    Not as good as it seems. If an election happens (the most likely outcome in my view) the conservatives will probably be back with a big majority thanks to first past the post. The opposition is very divided and Johnson has attracted a lot of loons away from the brexit party.

  5. says

    If American conservatives would only follow their example, America’s Trumpian nightmare would end sooner rather than later.

    We’ve done protests — remember the Women’s March? — but there was no follow-through and none of it dislodged any of the vermin in office from their positions.

    The left has done protests. The right hasn’t. She’s explicitly saying that if US “conservatives would [protest, the] nightmare would end sooner….”

    In Rubin’s world, only conservatives matter. But that’s actually probably true more generally, because only conservatives stand in the way of positive change. So, okay, I agree, but isn’t that mere tautology?

    If the people propping up the bad regime stopped propping up the bad regime, the regime would no longer be propped up

    Look, it’s not bad that Rubin has drifted far enough away from the self-destructive and absolutist forms of conservative loyalty to actually write approvingly of the eventual end of the Trump regime. And Rubin doesn’t deserve more condemnation than do those who are actually still propping up Trump. However, her writing never gets to the place it needs to be: Trump is evil. Propping up Trump is evil. Every single congressional Republican is engaged to a greater or lesser degree in an evil project. Those who say (behind closed doors) that they would like to end the Trump regime so long as it didn’t cost any Republican power are complete and utter cowards. Moral cowards. Political cowards. Personal cowards. Those who don’t wish to end the Trump regime despite its obvious cruelty and incompetence are unrepentantly evil. The Republican party as we have known it must die. Conservatives must create a new party or parties and elect as their representatives only people untainted by the Trump administration and current congressional Republican leadership. Anything less is an endorsement of putting conservatism’s power in the hands of either incompetent cowards or voluntary evil.

    If Rubin could write that, if she could get there, then I might give a fuck about her analysis of the UK and Johnson and who has to protest when to accomplish what. Unless and until I see that message under her byline, I can’t help but be repulsed by her insistence that the libs are somehow doing something wrong and contributing to to this failed government. Yes, I think Pelosi is also acting out of cowardice, but I’m perfectly happy to vote against those not moving promptly against this regime, even if they wear Ds on their lapels.

    This is a crisis of conservative making, and Rubin, as someone who has embedded herself in right-wing journalism is as responsible for the anti-truth climate that enabled Trump (even if she herself opposed Trump during the campaign), simply has no credibility with me when she attempts to explain which social forces must or must not do engage in which specific activities to “fix” the US, much less the UK a country where she does not live and whose politics are thus even less familiar to her than those of the US.

    Again, the people currently propping up Trump deserve more and harsher criticism than that deserved by Rubin, but I don’t know why we want the people who got us into this mess to tell us how to get out of it.

  6. says

    It’s certainly not the only difference, but I would point to the public funding of elections.
    Nobody in the UK parliament got their seat by outspending their opponent, and there’s no such thing as a political donor where parliament is concerned.

    The main reason the US has been subverted by money is that for a long time politicians have been bought, not elected.

  7. hemidactylus says

    How Revolutionary is the American tradition (umm contradiction much?). We and Edmund Burke could look to France as a better exemplar, which is why I prefer the Popperian piecemeal approach to the inevitable guillotine, Terror, freethinking Paine imprisoned for not being radical enough, and Camus over Sartre. Yes Burke was a status quo foot-dragger but Che’s bloody wall!!!!

    I hate that there are so few like George Will amongst conservatives who don’t cotton to Trump, though I am not about to read his huge book. The point is, though I don’t cotton to conservatives, they need to play a role in cleaning up the mess their own ilk have created. Crap I wish Jeb had won the nomination even if he would have become POTUS and we could hate on him instead. What would a daily ration of Jeb tweets sound like? Would he be caging kids at the border?

  8. says

    The US’s problem always has been and remains that it is a two party state. Two parties is no better than one party because there’s always a majority in the two multi-person bodies of power. Moments like republican Kent Williams becoming Tennessee’s speaker of the house in 2009 are as rare as hen’s teeth in US politics. But oh so delicious.

    If the US had a viable third party over many decades (10-15 senators, 40-60 representatives) I doubt things would be this way. Minority governments in other countries (e.g. present or past in the UK, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, etc.) have to listen to constituents and coalition partners or risk losing power. Lobbying and bribery are much more difficult.

  9. kingoftown says

    @Intransitive
    The first past the post voting system is a big part of the problem. It stops people voting for smaller parties because it will most likely be a wasted vote.

  10. robro says

    Ian King @ #6 — You may be right that no one was elected to Parliament by out spending an opponent, but there’s evidence that various pro-Brexit organizations coordinated their efforts and their financial resources. UK campaign law violations seem serious enough to warrant a deep examination and perhaps tossing the vote altogether. And, if they could do it for a referendum, there’s reason to suspect they could do it for candidates.

  11. mrquotidian says

    Like #4kingoftown said, this was more of a hollow victory for any remainers. Johnson looks foolish to be sure, but there is still little way of preventing a hard Brexit (but who knows for sure, there are a lot of moving parts right now).

    From what I’ve read, the main thing parliament can do right now is pass a resolution requiring Boris to ask for an extension from the EU… but he could simply not comply, because if there is a no-confidence vote, polling suggests a conservative coalition will probably be back in charge and all of this would have been pointless. Even with the extension, there is only one deal available – the one that May secured and the hard-liners have repeatedly rejected. It’s either May’s deal, or it’s a hard Brexit. The only other thing parliament could do is withdraw article 50 and stop the whole Brexit process, but there is simply no political will to do this.

    The whole scene of the lone tory crossing the aisle is a lot like John McCain voting no to the repeal of the ACA… A symbolic act more than anything, and one that is literally the least we should expect from these people.

  12. PaulBC says

    For me the big takeaway is that there are actually systems of government in which the majority leader cannot simply declare “I am the Grim Reaper. All attempts to legislate will die under me.” Who knew? It’d be nice to have something like that around here, regardless of specific circumstances in the UK.

  13. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@7

    I hate that there are so few like George Will amongst conservatives who don’t cotton to Trump, though I am not about to read his huge book.

    I’m cool with the death of George Wills. Actually, I was surprised he was still alive before his recent reinvention as a Never Trumper. A commitment to some middle-of-the-road conservatism does even less to warm the cockles of my heart than a commitment to middle-of-the-road incremental liberalism. The day we need more George Wills, the “invisible hand of the free market” will surely step in to supply them for us. Isn’t that how it works?

  14. says

    @1: The House of Lords certainly used to be only hereditary Lords. But the increased use of life peerages from 1958 has turned it into a chamber where the members are appointed for life, and the number of heritidary peers eligible to sit has been greatly reduced.
    There are currently 775 members of the house of Lords, including 661 life peers and 92 hereditary peers (and a few others – religious leaders mainly).

    The powers of the House of Lords has also been reduced over the years, and it now only has powers to amend or delay legislation, not to block it completely.

    As for the current Brexit situation. The only reliable way to stop Brexit on the 31st of October would be for a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson, and then for someone to form a new government on condition that they will delay Brexit, and hold a referencdum on what to do about Brexit, and then call a new general election once Brexit’s sorted one way or another.

    I wouldn’t trust Borsi Johnson to keep his word and actually hold a general election on 14th October once Parliament was dissolved.

  15. Dunc says

    For me the big takeaway is that there are actually systems of government in which the majority leader cannot simply declare “I am the Grim Reaper. All attempts to legislate will die under me.”

    Indeed there are, but the UK is only (kinda) one of them at the moment because two rather unusual circumstances pertain simultaneously: the “majority leader” doesn’t actually have a majority (or that majority is, at best, razor-thin), and the issues at stake are so momentous and controversial that a significant number MPs are prepared to defy their parties over them.

    Under more normal conditions, the power of the Prime Minister is such that the UK has been described as an “elective dictatorship“.

  16. Curious Digressions says

    <

    blockquote>We’ve done protests — remember the Women’s March? — but there was no follow-through and none of it dislodged any of the vermin in office from their positions. Any protest would have to involve more than a day of marching, followed by going home to the status quo. I don’t know that Americans are prepared to do more.

    Agreed. Like one of the protest groups repeatedly says in their email – only prolonged and sustained action will have any effect. However, no one is providing any useful or actionable suggestions that working families can put into practice in their daily lives. What are they suggesting I do (other than send another donation)?

  17. Curious Digressions says

    Sorry about the blockquote fail. Imagine that the first paragraph is marked as an OP quote.

  18. ashley says

    I fear there’s a long way to go in the battle to keep British democracy intact and stop this despotic Government from riding roughshod over it. (I voted against Brexit but think we should leave – but NOT without a deal.)

  19. unit000 says

    The situation on this side of the pond, ‘pon this delightful septic isle, is somewhat less terrifying than it was 24 hours previously, but only somewhat. There’s a lot of work ahead of the Parliamentary Reality-Based Community just to ensure leaving the EU without a deal in place is averted.
    The key difference between the situation on t’other side of the Atlantic and over here does seem to be the fact that there are still rightwing legislators who have principles over here – who are prepared to put country not only before party, but before their own self-interest and career prospects also. No-one of any substance or standing in the Republican party is willing to take the same sort of stand as high-profile Tories have.

  20. methuseus says

    The biggest problem is how legal lobbying is in the USA. It’s illegal, at least in the way it’s done in the USA, in many other countries.
    The second biggest problem is, as Ian King says, is that elections in the US are so expensive that only a subset of people can even think to run. Isn’t it something like $15,000 just to get your name on the ballot for the House of Representatives in many states?
    The third biggest problem is the voting system. First past the post and the electoral college help to entrench the two-party system. And yes, that includes the lack of third and fourth parties as Intransitive said. There’s also the fact that we already have started the 202 election cycle, whereas most countries you’re barely allowed to announce your candidacy more than 8 weeks before the election.
    It’s not so much that other countries’ systems are a million times better, but each one has something a little different that makes it work a little more fairly than here in the USA.

  21. Steve Cameron says

    I find advice like Rubin’s to be so trite and tone-deaf. It’s just another version of “If they’re out of bread why don’t they eat cake?” It’s not as if the Senate and House can’t already essentially have no confidence votes of their respective leaders, McConnell and Pelosi; it’s not as if they can’t impeach the President. It’s that they — these elected members — by a large enough majority have insulated themselves from feeling any pressure to do anything so drastic, like the British parliament did yesterday. Since Rubin’s giving out pointless advice here’s another one : if we all want longer weekends, we should just add another day to the week! It’s so simple, Trump could have thought it up. I wonder why it hasn’t happened already.

  22. KG says

    Isn’t the House of Lords populated by inheritance or appointment instead of election? Doesn’t strike me as a fantastic model for any wannabe democracy. – F.O.@1

    Yes, it, is, and the juta’s current plan is to use procedural tricks in the unelected Lords to thwart the will of the elected Commons.

    From what I’ve read, the main thing parliament can do right now is pass a resolution requiring Boris to ask for an extension from the EU… but he could simply not comply, because if there is a no-confidence vote, polling suggests a conservative coalition will probably be back in charge and all of this would have been pointless. Even with the extension, there is only one deal available – the one that May secured and the hard-liners have repeatedly rejected. It’s either May’s deal, or it’s a hard Brexit. – mrquotidian@12

    This is a bit muddled. First, May’s deal is a hard Brexit: one in which the UK leaves the Single Market and Customs Union; during the referendum, no prominent Leaver, as far as I know, was advocating this – certainly neither Johnson nor Farage was. Currently Johnson (not “Boris” – “Boris” is a fictional character invented by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to disguise his psychopathy) claims to want an election on October 15th if the “No no-deal” Bill (I can’t recall its formal name), which would mandate him to ask for an extension if he can’t negotiate a deal acceptable to the Commons, or persuade them to vote for a no-deal crash-out, by October 19th. The opposition are saying they will not agree to an election (which requires either a 2/3 majority of the whole house, or a vote of no-confidence followed by a 14-day period in which no putative government gets a vote of confidence) until the Bill receives the royal assent, in order to prevent Johnson pushing through a crash-out during the campaign (e.g. by using “prerogative powers” to change the date to after October 31st, when a crash-out occurs if nothing occurs to prevent it). But there seems to be a faction in the opposition arguing that an election should not be agreed until Johnson has actually asked for and received an extension. My own feeling is that this risks him simply breaking the law, no doubt with some transparent quibble to avoid admitting he’s doing so, and that the priority is to get the junta out of power. The polls certainly put the Tories in the lead at present, but unless the junta can bribe Farage to stand down his troops, they could find it very hard to get a majority with just 30-35% of the vote, even with a badly split opposition. They would almost certainly lose most of their 13 seats in Scotland, and would have the difficult task of persuading the Brexiteer headbangers they intend a no-deal crash-out (which they do), while also persuading their more “moderate” voters they are going to achieve a deal – quite a few of their seats in southern England are vulnerable to the LibDems. And then of course there’s the fact that Johnson’s performance over the last few days has been extraordinarily inept, while Corbyn has to a considerable extent risen to the occasion – as he did in 2017. During an election campaign, the PM appears much more as one among a scrum of competing politicians rather than being surrounded by the aura of office. By all accounts, Johnson has been badly rattled by the Tory rebellions, and would go into the campaign with the remarkable record of losing his first two Commons votes as PM fresh in the media. The opposition parties would focus on Johnson’s record of lying (he has been dismissed for it twice, once as a journalist, once as a minister), and conspiring with a criminal friend (look up “Darius Guppy”) to have a journalist beaten up, and on the sinister role of his Svengali, the unelected Dominic Cummings, who appears to be the real PM – Johnson is almost as lazy as Trump. And also on the dire consequences of a no-deal crash-out. So I’m by no means convinced Johnson would win a majority, even with “D”UP support.

  23. raven says

    I’m not quite seeing how this is some sort of big deal.
    The UK has had three years to negotiate the terms of leaving the EU.
    They haven’t come up with anything acceptable yet.

    Deadlines have been coming and going for three years.
    The next one is October 15, 2019.
    A three month extension will do what?
    AFAICT, provide yet again another deadline that the UK will miss.
    And another mini-crisis that they will flounder around with.

  24. PaulBC says

    Every time I think of the House of Lords, what first comes to mind are the phrases “drunk as a lord” and “lords a leaping” so I assume the upper house is filled with drunk men who leap around a lot (not that this makes it any worse than the US Senate). Today I decided to check wikipedia and I find that there is something called Lords Spiritual “who sit by virtue of their ecclesiastical offices”. WTF?

    So, I give up. Note that US democracy is very broken, so I’m not even trying to make a comparison here. In fact, I think that parliamentary systems have a lot of advantages in avoiding the kind of power split that happens in many US elections. But I still feel like I’m reading the rules to a game that is being made up as it goes along.

  25. PaulBC says

    raven@25

    I think the only “big deal” is that Boris Johnson made an anti-democratic move that shows some sign, at least temporarily, of being thwarted. I have no idea how this shit show is supposed to end. Would Brexit pass if voted on today? And if so, maybe it just needs to happen, though it sounds like a bad idea to me (and both people I know from the UK who I talk to regularly here in the SF Bay Area).

  26. KG says

    Further to my #24, Johnson expelled the 21 Tory MPs who voted against him yesterday (an act of staggering hypocrisy, considering his record under May), which means they cannot stand as Tory candidates if there’s an election. Many tories who did not support the rebellion think he badly over-reacted. He might re-admit them, but that could be perceived as weakness. Some are going to retire at the next election anyway, but others might stand as independents, and perhaps take part or all of their constituency parties with them – another factor increasing Johnson’s difficulties in gettinga majority in an election.

    raven@25,
    It’s a big deal because it’s part of the resistance to a coup. This is not just a piece of rhetoric – a minority government under a leader elected by a tiny number of unrepresentative people is attempting to subordinate the Commons to its will, and openly threatening to ignore legislation in a bid to force through a no-dela crash-out for which it has no mandate whatever. Secondly, an election is coming before the end of the year – that’s as certain as anything can be in such a febrile atmosphere – and the current Bill is about preventing the Cummings-Johnson junta pre-empting the main issue in the campaign. If the Tories lose the election, it’s likely there will be no Brexit if it has not happened beforehand.

  27. KG says

    See 18:40 at the link in my #28 for Tory backbench reaction to the “Night of the Long Knives”. But something utterly bizarre has occurred – an amendment effectively aimed at putting May’s deal to the Commons again if an aextension is requested and granted has passed without a division – seemingly by mistake! See 19:40 at the same link. My guess is that the Lords will take this amendment out again, if the Bill gets that far.

  28. KG says

    MPs are now voting on the Bill’s third reading, after which, if passed (it will be) it goes to the Lords.

  29. KG says

    The Bill has passed its third reading by 327 votes to 299. No PM has ever lost their first Commons vote as PM, AFAIK – certainly, none has lost the first three, and that is a record that could well stand for as long as the Commons exists.

  30. kingoftown says

    The good news about this election is that the DUP will almost certainly lose their grip on power and be punished by the largely pro remain NI electorate. If Johnson gets a large majority he may be able to get Theresa May’s deal through with the Irish backstop.

    Currently Northern Ireland has no pro remain representation in parliament (Sinn Fein don’t take their seats). The Alliance party (NI sister party to the liberal democrats) did extremely well in the EU elections and looks set to take at least a couple of seats from the DUP.

  31. mrquotidian says

    #24 KG – I meant to say “no-deal” instead of just “hard Brexit.” May’s deal is not the same as a no-deal, hard Brexit because her deal includes the Irish backstop at the very least (personally of course, I think her deal is still a disaster as you describe, but not nearly as terrible as a no-deal situation). The people who voted against May’s plan in her coalition were not moderates, but the ultras who thought it didn’t go far enough, that the backstop would trap them in the EU, and they are the ones Johnson is appealing to. But his plan of renegotiation is a non-starter because the EU has already agreed to May’s plan and said they will not accept anything else without a backstop. There is no other plan, so a no-deal, hard Brexit gonna fall unless they move to revoke article 50.

    But I agree with everything else you say – there’s a lot that could happen and there’s not guarantee that a conservative coalition will prevail in the event of an election. I just think that people have been misled in thinking that there are more options available than there actually are. I suspect that Johnson’s intention has been to play to that misconception to stall time, ensuring a no-deal/hard Brexit… and the tory moderates finally just figured that out.

  32. wzrd1 says

    Interesting closing thought. Revolution.
    In a nuclear armed nation.
    Whatever could go wrong?
    Or, for that matter, what do you think the other nuclear armed nations would be thinking, other than beating the inevitable and possibly lowering potential injuries?

  33. PaulBC says

    wzrd1@35

    It’s not exactly unprecedented. The Soviet Union (a major nuclear power, you might recall) went through an unscheduled change of government. What counts as a revolution in your book?

    However, I would prefer something more akin to limping along until Mars is terraformed or a gateway to some alternative universe is found with a coincidentally inhabitable but uninhabited planet. Or, I dunno, maybe the Singularity™ will make it all moot. I do not want a revolution. The devil I know (or knew circa 1999) beats some totally unknown one.

    I realize “It sucks, but work with me here.” is a lousy political slogan, and yet I’d vote for it.

  34. monad says

    @15 PaulBC: Oh sure, you claim you mean dearth now, but if all the George Wills catch plague you’ll say you meant death all along. I know how that worked in Thucydides.

  35. says

    PZ, your entire thesis is based on the idea that Boris Johnson somehow represents a significant break in policy from Theresa May (or even David Cameron).

    As with the Republican Party over here, the overriding goal of all Tory leadership is to maintain Tory control of the government, and the control of the rich over the economy. All else is secondary. Brexit is only backed by Tories because of the wonderful possibility for looting the public sector which will occur in the chaos and the opportunities for a US-style unregulated economy with essentially no safety nets. All the hype about patriotism is patently just to delude the rubes, and if you could somehow magically offer to make the unethical rich richer faster without Brexit than with it, Boris Johnson would turn 180° in under 5 seconds. Theresa May was perceived as endangering Tory control by losing seats, first in the snap election and then in by-elections. If she hadn’t done that, her “deal” would still be (accurately) portrayed in the media as the best the UK is going to get from the EU if Brexit goes forward, and it would bother nobody inside the party when she put it up for a vote for a fifth, sixth, and seventh time and lost. Boris Johnson is now PM not because he’s pro-Brexit, but because the Tories think he can prevent the opposition to Brexit — which is now, for better or worse, official Tory policy — from stopping it, which would seriously endanger the Tory government by providing a rallying point. Once it’s a fait accompli the Tory leadership’s perception — probably correctly, given how mutton-headed the English public is — is that the public will prefer Tories to run the government in a post-Brexit world.

    Other examples of people who would rather destroy everything than relinquish power are, of course, the Republican Party, and the former DLC members who now control the DNC (which is why the increasingly senile Biden and the sellout Harris are called “electable” even though a Sanders-Warren coalition would blow either one out of the water).

  36. eleanor says

    @32 KG: It has happened before that a prime minister has lost his first commons vote, but the last time was in 1894. (On a question which also involved the tricky relationship between the UK and Ireland.) But yes, losing all of the first three is an unprecedented humiliation.

  37. PaulBC says

    monad@37

    Perhaps what I was trying to say is that I’m cool with the death of derp, of which there is no dearth in the work of George Will. But I swear it was completely unintentional, though if you had asked me a few years ago if Will was still alive and writing a column, I would have guessed not, and maybe that’s how it slipped in.

  38. KG says

    eleanor@39,

    Thanks for that correction! mrquotidian@34, Yes, it seems we’re essentially in agreement. The Vicar@38, it’s in tune with your usual silly “I’m both politically purer and more cynical than you” songs to pretend that Johnson does not represent a radical break with Cameron’s policy (May was an intermediate figure). Of course all Tory politicians want their party and the rich in power, but they have deep and abiding ideological differences concerning how to go about advancing those aims*. It is a kind of “vulgar Marxism” to assume that all differences between one’s opponents or enemies are trivial. More important, it’s a factually wrong, and politically disastrous assumption – politically disastrous because if you don’t understand the deep divisions among your enemies, you can’t exploit them.

    *Johnson himself is just a narcissist like Trump, but he has tied himself completley to the Brexiteer ultras.

  39. KG says

    I’ll make further comments on the Brexit brouhaha back in the normal place – the “Political Madness” thread.

  40. mountainbob says

    PZ, sad to say, but you’ve gone completely nuts with your hostility to all things Republican. Unless we abandon the experiment of democracy entirely, no party can govern completely alone. Things appear bleak just now – because they are – but backing all Republican candidates and office holders into a corner so you can spray them with invective will only increase their claims of victimhood, and increase the sympathy their fellow travelers exhibit. You have offered no alternative, but have repeatedly suggested that violence is the best way forward. It’s making your posts harder and harder to read.

  41. KG says

    PZ, sad to say, but you’ve gone completely nuts with your hostility to all things Republican. Unless we abandon the experiment of democracy entirely, no party can govern completely alone. – mountainbob@44

    And of course it’s absolutely impossible there should be a significant party other than the Republicans and the Democrats.

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