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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,431

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I do actually think there is something of a "crisis of masculinity" in politics right now

Men are increasingly playing less of a role, and women more of a role.

The only reason I can think of for this is that male politicians are increasingly in the Donald Trump / Nigel Farage mould. Figures with big mouths who shy away from responsibility and have no statesmanship whatsoever. Compare and contrast with a politician like Angela Merkel and it just becomes embarrassing.

Confirms what many of us suspected

But will politicians and society at large learn from the disastrous mess of the Iraq war?

I do worry that lessons haven't been learned. Cabinet, MP's and media provided little challenge to Blair's plans. And I do worry that the British system is such that bad proposals from the executive branch of government don't get challenged in the way that they should.

If Labour won’t stand up for Remain voters, it’s time for a new party


BARELY more than a week has gone by since 37% of eligible British voters backed Brexit—52% of those who participated—but already the political landscape is transformed. With Boris Johnson out of the Conservative leadership contest, the choice of the next prime minister is one between various shades of isolationist Euroscepticism.

And beyond the transactional costs of leaving the EU, there is the shift in the character of the country’s politics that is undoubtedly now underway. Insinuations that immigration is, per se, bad, are hardening into a new common sense. Other European peoples are coming to be talked of as if they were merely negotiating opponents, even enemies, rather than allies and partners. The ugly wave of xenophobic attacks that has followed the Leave vote has attracted opprobrium from across the political spectrum, but it did not arise in a vacuum. Many Britons rightly worry about what is becoming of their country.

To be fair, voters who rejected Brexit are not entirely voiceless. The Liberal Democrats under Tim Farron have confirmed they will run in the next election on a pro-EU ticket; and picked up 10,000 new members as a result. The Scottish National Party under Nicola Sturgeon is pushing to ensure that Scotland’s vote for Remain is heeded. Sadiq Khan is lobbying to protect London’s access to the single market (how this can be done while the capital is still wired into the rest of the country’s economy is unclear). But as welcome as the Lib Dem initiative is, it is not clear whether Mr Farron and his seven fellow MPs are the force needed to stand up to Britain’s new, illiberal establishment. And Ms Sturgeon and Mr Khan owe their loyalty just to small minorities of the country.

The best existing hope of a strong, national voice for the 48%ers surely lies with Labour. If Mr Corbyn can be forced out, perhaps a new, moderate, pro-European leadership can reorient the party: seizing the opportunity to nab liberal Tory voters from under the nose of Ms May, say, or Ms Leadsom; challenging the new prime minister to negotiate in the interests of an open and prosperous Britain; and, yes, if circumstances change sufficiently, floating the possibility that Britain revisit its choice of June 23rd.

If not—if Mr Corbyn hangs on, or is replaced by another luke-warm Remainer—and unless the Lib Dems can pull off the sort of rise that, at the moment, looks unlikely, Britain needs a new party of the cosmopolitan centre. This might be a splinter from Labour (entirely possible, especially if Mr Corbyn’s opponents fail to unseat him this summer) or from the Tories (most of the party's One Nation sorts are lining up behind Ms May, though without a tremendous deal of enthusiasm). Or it may be something completely new: a fresh party, unsullied by the past, dedicated to keeping Britain open, tolerant and as close to the rest of its continent as possible.

Theresa May appears the least worst of an awful bunch

Michael Gove is IMHO worse than Boris. One of the very worst sort of politician, namely the sort who have no understanding of the phrase "if it ain't broke don't fix it". And what's even worse is that I can see him winning it as the Tory grassroots, judging by what I see locally are in no mood for sanity or moderation.

Andrea Leadsom comes across as being absolutely terrible, similar story with Liam Fox and as I said yesterday, Crabbe comes across as an over ambitious oportunist.

It's a no brainer

Voting to remain means things stay pretty much as they are.

Voting to leave will make things considerably worse.

The EU is not perfect, but the single market is a huge benefit to this country. One that many people take for granted.

Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, London Mayoral, Local Government and PCC elections

It's that time of the year when I do a thread about upcoming elections. On May 5 we have the following elections

•National Assembly for Wales
•Northern Ireland Assembly
•Scottish Parliament
•Police and Crime Commissioners
•Local government elections in England
•Mayor of London and London Assembly

The only elections due where I live are for Derbyshire Police & Crime comissioner. I only realised this is due when I got my polling card through the door this week.

Please feel free to keep us posted on what's happening in your neck of the woods and what you expect to happen in these elections. Please also feel free to keep us informed of any local issues. I'll be looking most at Sheffield City Council elections, where I expect Labour to lose a few seats thanks mainly to discontent over a PFI scheme for road maintainence, which many people are unhappy with.


It's actually Tory policy to push the NFL over here

Along with Major League Baseball and NBA Basketball


I do not agree with this. Rather than importing American sports, the government should be exporting British sports to America. Rugby League inparticular is something I think Americans could really take to.

Also, in the case of Basketball, we already have The British Basketball League, which needs to be promoted far ahead of any American NBA "franchise".

The perils of rhetorical bullsh*t....

The Tories use the toe curlingly embarrassing "Northern Powerhouse" term to sell any of their ideas for Northern England, and this gets used against them by their opponents on a regular basis.

Meanwhile the general population are left with little to no idea of what a "Northern Powerhouse" actually entails. The politicians selling & opposing it are doing far more to obscure than inform.

I think it's much easier for politicians to target those who already vote

As opposed to those who haven't got into the habit. Also, if a politician can't persuade you to vote for them, the next best thing for the politician is for you not to vote as that way none of their rivals will benefit from you not voting for them. Hence all the nonsense you hear from politicians about how not voting for their party is a "wasted vote".

I agree that getting involved in political parties needs to be something that is enjoyable and rewarding for grassroots members. Otherwise the party won't be able to compete at a local level. And I do worry that the people who run things in Westminster often don't seem to grasp this point. There's only so far that political parties can go with central control.

You say that it may come down to relatively simple things, and IMHO one major problem for Labour is that for some time they've been doing the basic things badly.

And it's also worth remembering that many of these problems also apply to the Lib Dems, who now face an uphill struggle just to survive as a party.

Both parties are divided on this issue

But Labour's divisions are so much worse. Especially on just about any defence related issue.

I must also add that I heard the Conservative chairman of the defence select committee (Dr Julian Lewis) on Radio 4 this morning talking about the possibility of military action in Syria and I agreed with almost every word that he said! There are many good arguments for military action, but we need to be sure that we do not make mistakes when it does happen, and that such action is taken on the right terms.
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