General Election: Vote!

TL; DR: Vote Against the Tories

This is long, and I’ll understand if you don’t want to read it. So, a summary.

The election should never have been called; Labour should have resisted it when it was. But now that it’s here we need to take advantage of it to protect the NHS. And maybe hold out some hope for stopping, or at least softening, Brexit. Because with the Tories we’ll only get a disastrously hard crash out.

Vote to stop the Tories and save the NHS.

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General Election: Vote!

Right Wing Pirates to Plague the Med

This is a disgrace on humanity:

Far-right activists are planning a sea campaign this summer to disrupt vessels saving refugees in the Mediterranean, after successfully intercepting a rescue mission last month.

Members of the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant “Identitarian” movement – largely twentysomethings often described as Europe’s answer to the American alt-right – have raised £56,489 in less than three weeks to enable them to target boats run by aid charities helping to rescue refugees.

From The Guardian.

A right wing organisation that wants to stop aid agency boats that are trying to rescue refugees. I hope the coastguards of Italy and Greece shut them down hard.

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Losing the War on Terror

The front page of today’s Guardian has a picture of what it looks like when you let the terrorists win:

96237412 27may1national01  1

Armed police used to be almost unknown on British streets. Now they’re becoming alarmingly commonplace. I saw two outside Liverpool Street Station yesterday; armed, like the two above, not just with pistols, but with big, two handed things that most people would call “machine guns.” This increasing militarisation of the police was taken a step further this week when the Maybot ordered actual troops onto the streets. And I read that armoured vehicles were going to be deployed at the FA Cup final.

Armed police on a beach: why? Was there a reasonable expectation of some sort of attack on Scarborough beach? And if there was: would weapons have helped? Armed police would not have stopped the tragedy in Manchester.

The aim of the terrorist is to cause terror. All this escalation does is make ordinary people feel more worried, more scared. Worry and low-grade fear aren’t terror, but they’re on the same axis. Overreacting like this is playing into the terrorists’ hands. As well, of course, as being a cynical political move in the runup to an election whose calling was, itself, a cynical political move.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn gave speech making reasonable, uncontentious points about the links between foreign policy and terrorism. Predictably the right-wing press and Tory politicians went ape.

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Losing the War on Terror

Landmark European Court Case Could Curtail Freedoms of British Dual Nationals

The Home Office refused his application on the grounds that she could not rely on her EU freedom of movement rights, which include the right to bring in a family member, as she was a British national as well as an EU national.

Does this legal case mean that British citizens automatically have fewer rights than EU citizens in general?  If that’s the case then we should be leaving the UK, not the EU.

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Protect the Human Rights Act

There’s a petition at Change.org to get the parties to commit to protecting the Human Rights Act and Britain’s membership of the European Convention on Human Rights. The latter was drafted by British lawyers, remember, after the Second World War; and now some British politicians are suggesting we should abandon it, as we are seemingly committed to abandoning the EU.1

The former enshrines the convention in UK law.2

This one is definitely worth signing.


  1. Although I retain hope. []
  2. Thereby protecting it from faceless Brussels Eurocrats, I dare say. []
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The Syllogism of Betrayal

Earlier today I added a short microblog post in which I called Nigel Farage a traitor. Its a strong word, and maybe one that I shouldn’t throw around so casually.

I don’t really go in for patriotism, nationalism, and all that kind of thing. But I do want Britain — the country I live in, was born in, and am a citizen of — to be the best country it can be. On the assumption that most citizens would have a similar desire, it seems reasonable to me to think that a citizen who acts against that desire — against the country’s best interests — is betraying the country.

Nigel Farage has made it his life’s work to get Britain to leave the European Union, and has been successful in making (or at least starting)1 that happen.

Leaving the EU is not in the best interests of the country.

Therefore Nigel Farage has been working against the best interests of the country. Therefore he is a traitor.

It’s a simple syllogism.

Of course, he’s far from alone in this. I count Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and, of course, Teresa May in the same group. And many more.

Indeed, you could argue that anyone who voted to leave the EU is similarly guilty, but that seems unfair. Many knew exactly what they were doing, of course. But many also (possibly many more) were duped.

It doesn’t mean much if I name these people as traitors, but it’s worth recording what my thinking was behind using that term.


  1. Brexit can still be stopped, and must be. []
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The Syllogism of Betrayal

Scattered Thoughts on the General Election

An Election Unlike Any Other

This election is going to be completely unique in our lifetime, probably ever. Because people will be torn between voting on the normal things they care about: health, security, homes, welfare, the economy… — and the big thing of our time: Brexit.

There were close to half the electorate who voted to stay in the EU (close to half the turnout, anyway). There’s no reason to suppose that any of those have changed their minds, even if many now talk in terms of acceptance. There are plenty who voted the other way who wish things had gone differently. And the non-voters are an unknown.

If a party — or a coalition — were to clearly stand on a platform of stopping Brexit, or even of promising a second referendum, they would be in a position unlike any party ever. Or so it seems to me.

Unfortunately only the Liberal Democrats seem to be even close to that position.

I Can’t Vote Labour

I can’t in conscience vote for a Labour party that won’t clearly place itself against Brexit. I just can’t. This means I have to leave the party, I guess. Corbyn called today for “A Brexit that works for all.” No, no, no.

I imagine this means I’ll be voting Lib Dem. Possibly Green. I’m not sure where they stand yet. In one sense, of course, it doesn’t matter, as I live in one of the safest Labour seats, but that’s not really the point. I’ll be writing to Diane Abbot to explain my position, but I don’t imagine it will change hers, which is to support Corbyn, even though her constituency is one of the most pro-remain in the country.

I voted for Corbyn as leader twice, but he’s very disappointing now. Though I have to say that his policies on literally everything else would be dramatically better than the Tories.

Why, and Why Now?

Why has Mayhem changed her mind on a snap election, and why now? The obvious thing is the Tory lead in the polls, and to take advantage of Labour chaos. Nothing to with Brexit at all, not directly.

But something I was seeing on Facebook tonight was the idea that they were about to lose their majority, when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brings charges for electoral fraud against up to 30 Tory MPs. The prosecutions will still happen, but they won’t affect the position of MPs who get elected this time round (well, unless they get convicted, of course, but I’m guessing the Tories will quietly deselect the ones who are likely to go down).

Effect of Fixed-Term Parliaments Act

My first reaction was, “They can’t: what about the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act?” Turns out that contains a clause that lets the sitting parliament ignore it, as long as they get a two-thirds majority. The irony of that figure was not lost on me, as possibly my most-retweeted tweet shows:

Without Labour voting with the government they wouldn’t get that two-thirds. Corbyn has cheerfully agreed to go along, missing an open goal. First, the opposition should oppose the government, as a general principle. Unless the government is doing the right thing, which is not the case here. More amusingly, if they didn’t get the two-thirds, they would have to go for a vote of no confidence. That is, a Tory MP would have to stand up in the House of Commons and move that “This house has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.” Even if they could come back from that, Corbyn should have forced it just for the lulz.

Polls Can’t Be Trusted

All is doom and gloom, because the polls look so bleak. Except… if there’s one thing the last few years have taught us, it’s that we can no longer rely on polls.1

On Newsnight tonight Paul Mason says he thinks Labour will win. Gotta admire his confidence, at least.


  1. Or the bookies, and don’t get me back onto that argument about how bookies’ odds can be mapped to percentages of expected voting. []
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Scattered Thoughts on the General Election

You Choose

Funny where thoughts of current affairs take you.

All the fawning (and, to be fair, condemnatory and neutral) coverage of Trump’s bombardment of a Syrian air base in response to Assad’s gas attack have stated the quantity and type of munition that was used: “59 Tomahawk Cruise missiles.”

Those of us who lived under the shadow of the mushroom cloud in the 80s will remember that missile. It was the one stationed at Greenham Common, which of course was the subject of much protest, mainly from the Women’s Peace Camp.

The Greenham camp was primarily part of the anti-nuclear movement, as the missiles stationed there carried nuclear warheads. Obviously the ones the US launched a couple of nights ago didn’t, but what the whole thing did was remind me of a song from that time: “Tomahawk Cruise,” by TV Smith’s Explorers.

I recall hearing that song in my Dad’s car1 back when it came out. It’s possible that I only heard it that one time, but it has stuck in my mind all these years, just waiting to be shaken loose.

On listening to it on Apple Music I’m pleased to find the chorus is almost exactly as I remembered. The rest of the lyrics are more oblique than I’d have expected. It was an anti-nuclear song, but less obviously than I’d have thought.

It’s very 80s, as you might expect (it was released in 1980), but there is, of course, nothing wrong with that. Inevitably it’s to be found on YouTube and Spotify.

Not sure whether this counts as nostalgia, in terms of my post the other day, but I don’t really care. What definitely isn’t, though, is the album I’m listening to as I type: The Chiswick Story by Various Artists2 (most of whom I haven’t heard) is a potted history of the label. Lots of good stuff on there.


  1. Bit weird, as he never listened to Radio 1, and there’s no way it would’ve been on Radio 2. I guess maybe I was waiting in the car while my parents shopped. []
  2. It was suggested because that’s the label “Tomahawk Cruise” was on. []
You Choose