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Liberal, Briton, FBPE. Co-mod of m/neoliberal

theinspectorst avatar

Definitely not needed for current military needs. Britain effectively operates a relatively small but relatively elite army - trying to incorporate a large number of untrained teenagers into that model would seem like an enormous and unhelpful distraction. The bigger issue the army faces today is a lack of funding.

This is really just a headline he's come up with to appeal to reactionary elderly Tory voters who are thinking about switching to Reform. It's the worst way to make policy. The more you scratch under the surface, the more problematic the policy is.

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If you’re not doing great, wouldn’t it make more sense to try and weather the storm and work to make things sunnier before the next election rather than call for an election amidst the storm?

The latest possible date the election could have been is January 2025, but that was practically very unlikely as i) there is an extremely sharp generational divide in voting intentions (far sharper than in most Western democracies) and January would have meant the Tories having to get their elderly core voters to the polls in the middle of winter, and ii) a January vote would have meant a campaign running over Christmas, and everyone would have punished Sunak for that. The widespread expectation was for an autumn election.

It's unclear why Sunak jumped earlier but likely a combination of various factors:

  • them being worried the economy will not get better by the autumn (so avoids going to the polls after a summer of bad economic news);

  • going early means their main opponents on the right (Reform) don't have time to get their act together and select candidates in all seats (which they would have done by the autumn);

  • their flagship immigration policy is controversial and expensive, yet likely to have an underwhelming impact on illegal immigration levels, and they'll look like complete idiots for centring an autumn election on a 'stop the boats' slogan if there's another summer of small boat arrivals in the meantime; and

  • Sunak personally is fed up - he's very much a political child of the far-right (an avowed Brexiter long before Boris Johnson or Liz Truss converted to the cause) yet the far-right of the Tory Party don't see him as one of their own and have been constant thorns in his side throughout his leadership - he may just want out at this stage.

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He did a great job with Burnley getting promoted from the Championship. But then they got immediately relegated from the Premier League, finishing 19th out of 20 (in a season where two of their relegation rivals took points deductions) and looking pretty out of their league most of the season. He's falling upwards.

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I mean, is it? Under his leadership the Labour Party broke the law in relation to racism within the party - that was the finding of the independent Equalities and Human Rights Commission investigation. It found that on Corbyn's watch, the culture of the Labour Party 'at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it'. He was the leader, he is accountable. That was his doing.

He then chose to put out a statement rejecting this and dismissing the evidence of racism suffered by Labour members as exaggerated - as a result of which he was suspended. That statement was his doing too.

And now he has chosen to stand against the Labour candidate in an election - this choice was also his doing.

So which part of this is 'their doing'?

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Reminder that the Equality and Human Rights Commission is not 'the media'. It's a non-governmental public body created by a Labour government in 2006 to promote and enforce equality legislation introduced by said Labour government.

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It's a corrupt convention but it wasn't always the case. An important reform by the 2010-15 coalition government was the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which took this incredibly important decision out of the prime minister's partisan hands and have elections on a predictable 5 year cycle (barring the government falling or a supermajority for early elections).

After Boris Johnson won the 2019 election though, he set about dismantling checks and balances such as this. He also changed the electoral system for mayoral elections to First Past the Post (with no consultation or referendum - which the Tories have always insisted was needed to change the electoral system away from FPTP...) because FPTP tends to favour Tories.

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All of our constitutional law takes the form of Acts of Parliament that can be amended or repealed with a 50%+1 vote in Parliament - unlike most countries where the constitution sits above the parliament and changing it requires a supermajority and/or a referendum. Boris had a majority so he could change the constitution. It's a totally messed up system.

One reason British liberals as so passionate about internationalism and the European Union is that international treaties and EU law are some of the few mechanisms we have had for constraining executive overreach, since they sit outside and above Parliament's remit. For example, even if Parliament were to repeal the Human Rights Act, Britain remains a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (which is why some Tories now talk about withdrawing from this too). Without international safeguards external to the UK, in theory all that stands between Britain and despotism is a simple majority vote in Parliament.

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I love whoever decided to drown out Sunak's speech (which was inexplicably done outdoors, on a rainy day) with 'Things Can Only Get Better' on loudspeakers from nearby.

I wonder if it was the same person who played the Benny Hill theme over Boris Johnson's resignation.

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Because the Palestinian children had nothing to do with the killing of Israeli children? What you're describing and explicitly trying to justify here is collective punishment of all of the two million Palestinians in Gaza (more than half of whom are children) for the crimes of (by Israel's estimates) about 3,000 Hamas terrorists on 7 October.

What you're articulating constitutes a war crime under the Geneva Convention and that's exactly why the ICC is getting involved.

Let me try putting this another way. The population of the US state of Nebraska is about two million. Every year, there are about 6,000 violent crimes committed by Nebraskans. Should every Nebraskan be collectively punished for the crimes of those few thousand Nebraskans?

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The president isn't unimportant though. A sad fact about Iranian politics is that the two times they elected a reformist president - Khatami in 1997 and Rouhani in 2013 - it was followed by the election of a Republican president in the US who spat in the face of attempted conciliation.

Bush grouping Shia Iran into his 'axis of evil' and trying to link them with Sunni Al-Qaeda, and then Trump's binning of Obama's carefully negotiated nuclear agreement, has done an enormous amount to undermine the reformists as ineffective and to strengthen the hardliners around Khamanei. It doesn't get talked about enough: there's a weird sort of codependency going on between Khamanei's crew and the US Republicans.

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Hoist the mainsail and shiver me timbers, are they joining the Pirate Party?

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I hope Biden wins by a landslide, but his protectionist instincts are such an ugly trait.

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“It is a total outrage that there are people who are attacking and looting these convoys coming from Jordan, going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

"We are looking at the tools that we have to respond to this,” he added. “We are also raising our concerns at the highest level of the Israeli government and it’s something that we make no bones about – this is completely and utterly unacceptable behaviour.”

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I find the far-right fear-mongering over 15 minute cities is such a bizarre battle for them to choose to fight.

To the average voter, if you tell them that urban planners want to ensure more of the key amenities people need - GPs, schools, shops, parks, etc - are within walking distance of their home, they would tell you that's a great idea. Why on earth would anyone pick that as a thing to oppose, unless they're a moron or they're paid for by carmakers?

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