Jan 072021
 

So the US tried to confirm the election of their next president yesterday and were somewhat delayed by a bunch of Trumpist terrorists who seized the Capitol building whilst the politicians ran for cover (perfectly reasonably).

There are several remarkable things about this incident – firstly, how on earth did they manage it? Anyone would think that the Capitol building in the middle of a contentious election process with known extremists planning a “protest”, would have more than enough law enforcement to stop the trashing of the building.

There are those claiming that there was collusion between the insurrectionists and law enforcement; perhaps and it is certainly worth investigating that possibility. But what I’m curious about is who is in charge of law enforcement at the Capitol building and whether they are guilty of collusion.

But the other category of people who should be worried are the instigators of this incident. The Republican extremists who have doubted the results of this election even after over 60 court cases have taken place and found nothing that would justify overturning any results.

Doubted to the extent of openly questioning a legitimate democratic result up to and including inciting this very incident.

They are guilty of incitement to riot at the very least, and they should face consequences too.

Lastly the radicalisation of the right-wing brought about by media pushing lies, conspiracy theories, and downright garbage in the name of “news” should also be blamed for this.

The Red Door
Dec 052020
 

If you ever talk with US citizens on the problems with their country, there is all too often someone who comes up with this old chestnut – “At least I’m not a subject”.

Which is false and even if it were true, it wouldn’t be quite what it appears.

For a start we haven’t been “subjects” since the Nationality Act of 1948, except for a tiny number of special category subjects because for special circumstances they don’t qualify for citizenship – mostly pre-1949 immigrants from the Republic of Ireland, or India.

And if we were subjects, we would be subjects of parliament not an inherited monarchy. Yes we have a monarchy, but the power of the monarch is wielded by parliament under a doctrine known as the “Queen-in-parliament“.

Which is a weird kind of solution to the problem of letting a monarch keep their crown, but keeping real power in the hands of parliament. Once you’ve ‘demoted’ a monarch with an axe and the world hasn’t come to a standstill, you’re no longer “subjects” in the sense of being the property of an absolute monarch.

War Memorial Church

Let us emphasise that last bit – we let the monarchs keep their throne, and they serve at our pleasure. To give a real world example of how that works is the story of Edward VIII who was the present queen’s uncle. To sum up, he wanted to marry a previously married woman and “the establishment” (various prime ministers and the archbishop of Canterbury) was opposed; in the end it was Edward who abdicated and “the establishment” got their way.

Now the reasons were ridiculous (although the outcome may have been unintentionally fortuitous given Edwards VIII and Mrs Simpson’s sympathy for the Nazis), but the balance of power is clear to see.

I dare say those who loudly proclaim “At least I’m not a subject” will ignore this.

Nov 152020
 

There’s a myth propagated by the far-right anti-EU brigade – that the “original” European Economic Community (there was an earlier ECSC) was only ever about a single market for goods and services. As can be seen from the Schuman Declaration, the long-term aim was always political integration :-

A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.

Now you could argue that a unified Europe is undesirable and that it is perfectly reasonable to stop at a single market. That would be an agreeable position – stupid in my opinion, but valid.

But arguing that unification was never the goal would be dishonest.

Toward The Sea
Nov 072020
 

Now that Trump has been rejected by the US electorate, it is time to examine just what caused him to be elected in the first place. It’s all too easy to blame the electoral system (and there are issues with that), but fundamentally Trump got a lot more votes in 2016 (and 2020) than a self-obsessed failed business-critter should have done.

A big part of the MAGA phenomenon was (and is) frustration with mainstream politicians. Yes, there are other contributing factions – evangelical “christians”, far-right racists, the so-called “alt-right”, and traditional Republicans (who may have been reluctant but voted for him nevertheless).

But there is an immense level of frustration with the current political landscape with both political parties beholden to their corporate masters. And ordinary working people (who may not always have the most sophisticated political knowledge) have the urge to vote for “something different”.

Or in other words, “populism” or anti-elitism. Which is not always a bad thing especially if you pick the right elites to be against. But Trump’s brand of populism was fake – he promised to drain the swamp and just jumped in.

Fox News had a poll (don’t laugh – their polling is well done as long as they aren’t just polling their viewers) which was surprising – the US public overwhelmingly support more progressive values (universal health care, etc.) than either of the mainstream parties.

And that’s the key – neither of the two main parties is aligned with the interests of the electorate. Trump appeared to be anti-establishment, and those who didn’t see through to his con-act may well have voted for him because of that. Especially as he lacked corporate donors in 2016.

And that’s the key – the mainstream parties represent the interests of the corporations and not the electorate. And in the long term that is dangerous.

Two Posts in the Sea
Oct 282020
 

I’m a political extremist – I believe in destroying the current model of capitalism (although some individual entrepreneurs deserve to survive and indeed thrive). I believe in a religious test for public office – if you prioritise your god over the will of the people you have no place in public office, etc.

But I know those positions are extreme and most people don’t agree with me. I don’t believe in holding out for a political candidate who espouses my beliefs (or becoming one myself); especially not in the undemocratic political systems we have in the UK (or the USA).

The Bare Family

It is a bit of a shame, but the only sensible thing to do is to vote for a candidate that is closest to what you believe (even if that is not very close). Or to put it another way: Vote for the candidate you dislike the least.

Choosing not to vote is an abdication of your obligations as a citizen – to take part in electing the next government. You can’t very well complain about the government if you didn’t take part in an election (except if you were too young to vote). There are those who last time refused to vote for Hillary Clinton because she was a corporate Democrat and not their ideal candidate; they are at least partially responsible for the disastrous Trump presidency.

Hold your nose and vote.

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