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Steven Brake
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Posted: 04 September 2019 at 12:27pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

@Marc:

No, the UK isn't a pure democracy, and we probably haven't had one of them since the days of ancient Athens. But it's generally felt that votes ought to count, and that our government receives their mandate from the people.

For what it's worth, I'm not in favour of Brexit, but I'm also not particularly impressed with so many members of the political class who've sought to stymie the result at every turn, often using the most torturous logic and mealy-mouthed arguments.

Oh, and a good word for constitutional monarchy - it largely seems to serve as a bulwark against political extremism!

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Leigh DJ Hunt
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Posted: 04 September 2019 at 3:08pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I think members of Parliament should represent their constituents and that includes voting for or against measures in a way that is in their constituents' best interests. I am personally pleased that even some of the usually self-serving Tories are voting this way, with conscience and heart rather than on some blind desperate need to Brexit at all costs.
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Marc Baptiste
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Posted: 06 September 2019 at 8:16am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Steven,

Thank you for replying to the main points of my post - I truly appreciate hearing from (among others) a subject of the U.K.

I will say we have to agree to disagree about constitutional monarchies.  I believe them to be inheritors of the antithesis of democracies: absolute monarchies.  Also, as for being bulwarks against political extremism, I am not sure it was much of a bulwark against BoJo becoming Prime Minister.

Marc
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Koroush Ghazi
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Posted: 06 September 2019 at 8:48am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

 Steven Brake wrote:
No, the UK isn't a pure democracy, and we probably haven't had one of them since the days of ancient Athens.


"Pure democracy" is horrendous. Read any of the accounts from ancient Greece (e.g., I read Xenophon's The Persian Expedition) and you'll see how unworkable it often was - some sort of "sign from the Gods" was eventually necessary to break days and days of deadlocked circular discussion.

In modern circumstances, it's even worse, as the vast majority of the population is either uneducated or willingly ignorant of the pertinent facts and issues involved. Sadly, as Sir Humphrey Appleby once said:


 QUOTE:
Democracy is the enemy of government. The mass of voters have no idea how the country should be run. That is our job. Democracy is only a device to enable the government to pretend it is acting with the consent of the people.


That's why a Democratic Republic is usually preferred, because it provides some checks and balances against dictatorship, but it takes much of the important decision making out of the hands of Joe and Jill Sixpack.

The gutless leadership that put the original Brexit decision in the hands of the mob via a referendum is the cause of this problem. The last thing needed is more gutless, populist maneuvering by Boris.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 September 2019 at 9:02am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

My tenth grade Social Studies teacher—who inspired me to grow a beard—used to say that Communism was the only true form of Democracy, and Democracy was the only true form of Communism, and that neither existed anywhere in the world.

As true today as in 1966.

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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 06 September 2019 at 11:57am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Now that Boris has been caught lying about his promising discussions with EU leaders (even called negotiations), actually saying things about it at the G7 meeting, I would hope people wary of a chip of the Trump block would take heed. Even his own brother is walking away from him.Trump was caught lying about meetings at the same G7, saying he was with so-and-so so couldn't be at an environmental meeting while those names persons were shown right there at that environmental meeting! Trump's simply being a lobbyist for Putin at the G7 made it a joke and Boris has added another to the mockery made of these high offices and the supposed representing of the people.

Hard as it seems to believe, the hard Brexit people are still banking on reassurance and promises Trumpo keeps making... I say worry, anything Trump might say is as likely to be simplistic or delusional as something to rebuild an economy on! Very bizarre times. I never expected to see Xenophobia so far out in the open and empowered. A lot of these anti-EU people seem very simplistic and all divide and conquer to me. They want to be the big frogs in the smaller pond, and all at a time when there are predictions of half of England being submerged in rising ocean levels.

As I say, Scotland will definitely be going on it's own. This really is the turning point. And all Boris can muster is blaming others, that he doesn't even want to talk about the EU anymore and calling Corbyn a "great big girls' blouse". Where are the best and brightest, a Stanley Baldwin for today? How did such a bunch of sow's ears disguised as silk purses manage to grab votes... did they seem all pizazz and personality? Vision? Or were they really more a lot of entitled blustering the right sort of tie wearers jumping in  front of a mob? Can't think of a good PM in quite awhile. Britain For The British = Make America Great Again... slip slide and away. :^(


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 06 September 2019 at 12:08pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 06 September 2019 at 12:07pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Communism should be a dusty old relic on pieces of yellowing paper to be puzzled over by now though... thank Nixon and his great 'opening' perhaps that it isn't? A true democracy would'nt have political parties allowed i don't think, but going with what works as much as fails I'll tackle what we have over obvious horror shows and failures. You look at that Chinese woman rescinding the extradition law for Hong Kong the other day... a real life actual zombie... brr. Evil and sick. Meanwhile the erstwhile Comrade Vladimir is going from 'strength' to 'strength' while we get stupidly distracted and weaker. VP Pence talks of his cherished faith and how mercifully it allows him to overcome while simply doing his job in meeting an Irish leader. G7 is made a joke of, NATO is full-frontedly undermined by the U.S. administration, and the Farage Brexit fanaticism still raves on and another country is divided up with name-calling down to the household level. Skim milk masquerades as cream... bring back the hovis bread and marmite I say.


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 06 September 2019 at 12:08pm
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Steven Brake
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Posted: 07 September 2019 at 4:47am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

@Koroush Ghazi:

The damage that Brexit has done to the British sense of democracy is incredible.

On the one hand, there's the insistence that the people have voted, Leave won and that's what we must do; on the other is the argument that there are some decisions that really oughtn't to be put to the people, as we're not qualified to understand what we're doing. If we accept the former, we're opening the door to populist, mob rule; and if we concede the latter, we're acknowledging that votes don't really count for much, and that our elected officials, having won them, can then choose to ignore them if they wish.
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Steven Brake
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Posted: 07 September 2019 at 5:08am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Oh, we're now in the surreal position in which having been blocked in his attempt to call a General Election on 15 October, Boris Johnson might have to call a vote of no confidence in his own government so that we HAVE to have an election, and which Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders could only oppose by refusing to support, thereby technically declaring their support for him.

With each passing day, British politics feels like a hitherto lost chapter of Alice in Wonderland.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 07 September 2019 at 7:46am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Steven B. - welcome to the other side of the Looking Glass. Mind the Cheshire Cat, whose appearance seems unmistakable here.

I'm minded of the old Irwin Allen TV show, "The Time Tunnel." This time, Doug and Tony travel to November of 2016 and have to correct the vote. Of course, that could never happen in reality- oh, DAMN!
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Marc Baptiste
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Posted: 07 September 2019 at 9:42am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

No, Steven.  It looks like Boris is going to take a third option: break the law.

Boris still impress you more than Corbyn?  Corbyn has at least been consistent lately: he opposes new elections, period.  Boris is all over the map - proroge Parliament? New elections? Break the law?   Anyone with half a brain can see Boris is laying a trap for the opposition in his desire for new elections.  I am actually pretty impressed the Corbyn and the other leaders of the opposition parties are NOT falling for it.

You have a WORSE than Nixon or Trump situation on your hands... at least our Presidents were never arrogant enough to ANNOUNCE that they were going to break the law.

Marc




Edited by Marc Baptiste on 07 September 2019 at 9:53am
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Steven Brake
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Posted: 07 September 2019 at 10:55am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

No, neither Johnson nor Corbyn impress! But I don't understand why some Corbyn supporters claim that he's "played a blinder" recently. He's just been apathetic, and allowed Johnson to score a series of own goals (as he did with Teresa May).

Polls are notoriously unreliable, and events in the UK and US have demonstrated that they can often be worthless, but Labour are consistently seen to be haemorrhaging support, and Jo Swinson, the new Liberal Democrat leader, has said that she won't form a coalition with Corbyn. I think - and fear - that, somehow, Johnson WILL find a way to wangle an election, form some sort of pact with The Brexit Party to prevent a split in the vote, and win the majority - perhaps even sweeping majority - that May presumed she'd get back in 2017.

If that happens, and Labour lose yet another General Election, I don't realistically see how Corbyn can stay on as leader, but, equally, I don't see him tendering his resignation.
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