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  1. #201
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Apparently there are already 13 declared candidates for the Tory leadership (and with it, Prime Minister) and another 7 that might declare late.

    Even whittling that down to two is going to be a fucking circus. Wouldn't be surprised if they changed the rules so you had to have ten endorsers or something like that. Would get the Rory Stewart's and Esther McVey's out of the way, which I'm sure the party would appreciate.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #202
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    This has happened in the last several presidential elections in the US too, a billion people come out of the woodwork to run for the job. Did this always happen and we just didn't realize because these people weren't accessible in the way they are now?

  3. #203
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I'd have to look into the American case for a comparison, but the answer on our side of the water is 'no, it wasn't always like this'. We're in unprecedented territory, because in usual times a crowded field would be 6-7, not 13+. It's actually quite common for it to be a battle between 2-4 people, or for one candidate to be such a clear favourite that they are effectively (or actually) unopposed.

    The difference is this time is that there's no good candidate. Boris is the favourite and has the backing of the biggest group of MPs but is definitely not the best option for all of his colleagues. And this is the weakest government since WWII, so in most people's lifetime - so pretty much everyone who has been involved with it is tainted, in some way.

    I suspect that it's because seeing the main candidates struggling, everyone thinks that they have a chance to outflank them in a way that, say, it was unlikely someone like Brown or May was going to lose in their respective years.



    Here's the thing people forget - May was the runaway winner in 2016, universally regarded as the best choice, and incredibly popular with the electorate for the first year or so of her Ministry. And we saw how this issue took her down. Whoever comes through into the job at this point is going to be someone that in 2016 was seen as not as good as her - directly in the case of a Leadsom or a Gove, or indirectly in plenty of other cases. Hard to imagine any of the options doing any better when push comes to shove.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  4. #204
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Double post, but a fair bit to catch up on.

    Couple of Tories have dropped out of the leadership election - James Cleverly and Kit Malthouse (him of the 'compromise). Of the names mentioned on the previous page Mordaunt and Steve 'Brexit hardman' Baker decided not to run in the end.

    Second, Michael Gove's campaign has hit the rocks after admitting that he took cocaine as a journalist in his younger days. I don't think it's the drug revelation itself that is harming him, so much as the fact that he wrote against liberalising the drugs laws while putting half of Colombia up his nose. A day or so later Andrea Leadsom admitted to smoking a bit of dope, something got very little traction other than a 'Tory drug off' hashtag on Twitter. Which I can't imagine is good news for her candidacy.

    Rory Stewart is actually polling quite well out there, though as Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home astutely put it, he's absolutely the favourite candidate of everyone who will never vote Tory. Makes you wonder why he's in the party really, but there we are.

    Right now it looks like Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Hunt, unless Gove or Raab can make a bit of a comeback. Big slate of high profile declarations for Hunt today, which makes me think he'll end up being the stop Boris candidate. Truth is, if anyone goes to the membership against Boris, they'll lose. Stopping Boris has to happen at a parliamentary level and right now looks unlikely.



    Quietly the Tories actually changed the rules for this election, declaring that you now need the backing of 8 MPs to make it onto the first ballot, and then 5% of the Parliamentary Party to proceed to the second ballot. Which I think is quite an interesting move....




    In many ways the most interesting thing though was the Peterborough by-election. It was a Labour hold, despite their previous MP going to gaol for perverting the course of justice. The Brexit party were tipped to take their first seat and Nigel Farage even turned up to the count before trying to sneak away (only to caught by journalists), but the Labour vote just about held up enough. Turnout was down, as you'd expect for a by-election, and the Labour vote was down 17 points. The Tories came in third, with them down a full 25 points. The Lib Dems and Greens came in fourth and fifth, up 8.9% and 1.2% respectively.

    Quite a blow for Brexit as it stalls their momentum, and shows how hard it will actually be for them to overcome existing parties and the levels of organisation that they have amongst their membership. You also think the Brexit party isn't going to get a lot of wavering voters at the last minute - if you are voting for them, you're already pretty motivated to get out to the polls and I'm not sure that's the case for some of the other parties. Labour's vote roughly holding up means things might not be so bad for them as they thought. The Tories have the faint smell of death about them at the moment - if the new Leader doesn't stop them haemorrhaging votes they are going to be fucked. Solid but unspectacular for the Lib Dems and Greens who'll be pleased to increase their vote share in a constituency that has bounced back and forth between the two main parties since World War II.


    And to cap it all off, Trump was here.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #205
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    Ha, quite a line to end on!

  6. #206
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Tory leadership election, first round, saw Boris Johnson put up a big figure that's going to be hard to beat. The two women in the contest and Mark Harper were eliminated in the first round, and Matt Hancock has dropped out today.

    Tuesday is the next round, and the dropouts mean there are 50 votes out there up for grabs in the next round. And of course, people can switch from one round to the next.

    The interesting thing is the Hunt/Gove/Javid anti-Boris axis, because Stewart isn't likely to drop out until he's beaten (though he's got to be on their radar as a future leader after an impressive campaign). I think only one member of the trio will end up running against Boris to try and be a consensus candidate. You'd say Hunt initially as he came top, but actually did a bit worse than expected, while Javid has outperformed early expectations. Rumours are circulating though that Gove's support is cracking, and I think even if he gets through the next round he'll throw his weight behind one of the others if things don't improve.


    It doesn't look like Raab is going to be able to challenge Boris on the right flank, unless there's a big change between now and Tuesday - though I would assume a lot of Raab's 27 votes would go to Boris if pushed. That said, you wonder why they aren't going with the front-runner already, and Boris is a divisive figure.



    Right now it looks like Boris is the only thing standing between Boris and the membership run-off. If he gets in his own way, he could lose it, but he's got enough support out there that frankly it's almost impossible to imagine him not making the final two without a horrendous change in fortune. The question then becomes, how accurate is the polling of the membership, and is he more popular out there than he is in Westminster, which is many people's assumption.

    And if he wins, the follow-up question would have to be how many of his own party would be prepared to bring him down if he lurches to the right? Stewart and Grieve have already said they would, he's known to be unpopular with the likes of Justine Greening and Nicky Morgan, and y'know Ken Clarke isn't going to stand for any old nonsense...


    But the money men usually aren't wrong, and the odds on Boris Johnson being Prime Minister have fallen to 1/5 since yesterday. That's the TL;DR of the post.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  7. #207
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    You're lucky at least that you have a quick process to kill off some of these unlikely candidate. I saw that 20 candidates will be in the first round of debates for the Democratic nomination, and god knows how long we'll have to deal with some of these hopeless causes.

  8. #208
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, we're pretty good like that. The two main parties sort themselves out pretty well. To get on the ballot to the members a Labour leader needs 12.5% of the parliamentary party, so even if everyone got exactly the same you'd be maxed out at 8 choices and no more. And the Tories are famously ruthless when it comes time to remove or select a new leader. It's something that gets some criticism from our left but you can tell there's a lot of secret envy about the clean quick way they get on with it compared with the endless wrangling that sometimes takes place on the left.

    That said, this time could be different. I can tell from some talk that there's fears of a blue on blue bloodbath, both up to the next vote and with whoever ends up against Boris. It'd actually be a surprise if this all calmed down and went on like business as usual.

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  9. #209
    Could be done to the last two in about an hour.

  10. #210
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Well, not quite. But it's decision day today. We'll know by this evening who the last two are, anyway.

    Oddsmakers are all lining up behind a Boris vs Hunt final two. I think they are probably right. I don't see Javid surging at this late stage, even though he's probably had the best campaign of the four of them. And I think a lot of Tories are worried about a Boris vs Gove campaign literally ripping the party in two (which, to be fair, could well happen anyway).

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  11. #211
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    What's the difference between the two, Pete?

  12. #212
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    The end is nigh. Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt. If Donald Trump weren't in office, this would appear to be unbelievable, but we're in a post-Trump era...


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  13. #213
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    Only in two, Prime? Are we seeing the last months of the Conservative party regardless do you think? One wonders - if they go for a hard No Deal Brexit and the worst case scenario unfolds, heaven forbid, surely there'll be swathes of the populace who'll lay the blame at the door of a Boris Johnson premiership? Perhaps not these days, sadly, but I'd like to think. If they deliver a soft Brexit or no Brexit at all then you'll have Farage and the Brexit Party swooping in and levelling all kinds of horrid claims at the door of the party. It feels like any scenario ends up with the Tories looking deeply unelectable for a generation at the other end, doesn't it?

    Johnson vs. Hunt, in a race to become our third Prime Minister since the referendum took place, as decided by 160, 000 members of the electorate alone, both blathering on about betrayals of democracy if Brexit doesn't happen, both potentially heading towards inflicting a No Deal Brexit on the lot of us. Britain has come to this. I'm said I am alive to see our country diminished so severely. It already feels like irreparable damage to our international reputation for the rest of my lifetime, all of it being cheered on, so tragically, by the very people who'll stand to suffer the most for it.

  14. #214
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    What's the difference between the two, Pete?
    At first glance, not a lot. They are both aristocrats, both educated at private school and then Oxford University. Boris is actually descended from George II at some level so in the event of some kind of mass royal catastrophe (like in that John Goodman movie, King Ralph) it's not inconceivable he could become King, while Jeremy Hunt is actually the richest man in the cabinet after selling his company in 2017.

    But their political history is a bit different. Boris started out as a journalist and has always been a bit of a media darling, playing up to the image of a bumbling aristocrat and winning people over that way. The big divide is whether or not there's a real political genius working behind the image - a position that has gotten less popular with time, I think it's fair to say. He was a well-known but fairly junior Tory figure, often in the media but never really in the inner circle of the party - he was never in the shadow cabinet, for example. That changed when he became the Mayor of London, overcoming the then-popular Ken Livingstone and really giving the Tories their first substantial electoral win of the New Labour era. That put him back on the map, signalled a coming turn in UK politics, and I think directly led to his return to the House of Commons in 2015, his role in the Brexit campaign, and his appointment as Foreign Secretary, his one cabinet appointment.

    Hunt's track record is very different - in fact, while Boris was always a bit of a star, even when he wasn't in the frontline, I don't think I heard anyone consider Hunt for this kind of role until a few months ago. But when it became clear May would fall sooner rather than later you started to hear people say that he might actually come through the middle. The truth is that prior to his role as Foreign Secretary, Hunt has reaped the rewards of being intractable. He didn't do a good job as Culture Secretary (although did get a lot of the credit for the Olympics that really should have gone to one of his predecessors, Tessa Jowell), but in all other aspects he was basically a failure. But, he got promoted, and despite mass unpopularity he stuck it out as Health Secretary - possibly the most difficult post for a Tory in our system. But because he did that job loyally, took the flak, and didn't complain or quit or rock the boat, he was rewarded with the Foreign Secretary job when Boris quit in 2018. He's probably been a more stable figure in that job than Boris, but I don't think anyone would say he's been as good as someone like, say, William Hague had been. But all Foreign Secretary's job records are mixed at best, it's probably fair to say (although I do have quite fond memories of Robin Cook).


    Now, to the bit you are probably more interested in - the policy difference. The answer is it's anyone's guess. The thing is, Boris is a political chameleon, so you never really know what he's thinking. He was initially very much in the liberal Tory mould for the first half of his career, and he backed both Ken Clarke and David Cameron - the moderate options - in previous Tory leadership campaigns over Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis, two men that are actually backing him this time around. In more recent years, though, he's shifted, and has been sounding a more populist note, has gotten quite cosy with Donald Trump, has met with Steve Bannon, and all the rest of it. So the general consensus is that Boris is motivated more by ambition than political principle, and will do whatever he thinks works best for him at any given time. Whether he sticks as a populist or pivots more to the centre will probably be determined by the political weather and how the wind is blowing.

    It's harder to be sure exactly about what Hunt believes, because he has made his career out of being a Government loyalist. That means it is difficult to know exactly what he'll do when he's the one with the reins of power. Instinctively, from his record I'd suggest that he seems like a fairly mainstream Conservative in line with much of what you'd expect.

    So the difference between the two is that you've got a maverick figure, with a fervent base and just as many people who can't stand him, that no one really knows what he stands for but has been sounding populist notes in recent years, up against someone that is seen by many as having 'failed up', as having made little mark other than as a party/government loyalist, and is really running on the strength of he's a more solid, moderate figure than his opponent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel 'Plan View Post
    Only in two, Prime? Are we seeing the last months of the Conservative party regardless do you think? One wonders - if they go for a hard No Deal Brexit and the worst case scenario unfolds, heaven forbid, surely there'll be swathes of the populace who'll lay the blame at the door of a Boris Johnson premiership? Perhaps not these days, sadly, but I'd like to think. If they deliver a soft Brexit or no Brexit at all then you'll have Farage and the Brexit Party swooping in and levelling all kinds of horrid claims at the door of the party. It feels like any scenario ends up with the Tories looking deeply unelectable for a generation at the other end, doesn't it?

    Johnson vs. Hunt, in a race to become our third Prime Minister since the referendum took place, as decided by 160,000 members of the electorate alone, both blathering on about betrayals of democracy if Brexit doesn't happen, both potentially heading towards inflicting a No Deal Brexit on the lot of us. Britain has come to this. I'm said I am alive to see our country diminished so severely. It already feels like irreparable damage to our international reputation for the rest of my lifetime, all of it being cheered on, so tragically, by the very people who'll stand to suffer the most for it.
    The option that you don't outline is that they get *something*, declare victory and say it's what they wanted all along, and people are actually fatigued enough with the whole issue to go along with it. But yeah, I think it's more likely that whoever comes in is probably on a hiding to nothing.

    By my reckoning, there'd be around 15 Tory MPs that you might think could bring down a government that was trying to pursue a no deal - maybe more, and it could be as high as 30. Five of them is enough to bring the government down, once you adjust for Sinn Fein (and assuming everyone else except the DUP were allied against them). So yeah, I actually think it's more likely if they try and go that route that the Johnson government will fall, and for the reasons outlined above I'm not sure he'll be willing to try that on for size. His ambition is paramount, and I don't think he'll want to be the first PM since Callaghan to lose a confidence vote - and the first since Stanley Baldwin in the dark days of the 20s to lose one as a Conservative, the 'presumptive party of Government'.

    As for the 'soft' options... yeah, smart money is that they get mullered by the Brexit Party and you may have a split from their right flank - or alternatively the depleted party would absorb the Brexit Party and they'd be the Tories but without the centrists, as they'd probably split off the other wing in that outcome.

    Interesting three months, anyway.



    EDIT: That number has just been reduced by one. One of the ERG Tories, Chris Davies, has just been recalled in Brecon and Radnorshire over his expenses. Lib Dems 2nd there in 2017..... majority is 8,000, but you never know these days....

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  15. #215
    The Brain
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    Really interesting stuff Pete. Also... y'all have a shadow cabinet??

  16. #216
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, the idea is that one member of the opposition will 'shadow' a member of the cabinet, just in case the government changes abruptly and the incoming party need to be prepared. It's also designed so that 'her majesty's loyal opposition' can hold 'her majesty's government' to account more easily.

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  17. #217
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    If anyone thought this was going to be a quiet race, here's how the first day of the final two went:

    1) Police were called to a domestic disturbance in the early hours of the morning involving the favourite to become the next PM.
    2) A Tory MP is effectively sacked by his constituents, prompting a recall election.
    3) Another Tory MP is suspended after grabbing a female protester by the throat.
    4) The Tory whips are forced to investigate as they are sending abusive messages to each other between the two camps.


    All in the space of a day.

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  18. #218
    The Brain
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    Um yikes, to the first one especially! Is that going to knock that candidate out of the race?

  19. #219
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    You'd think so, wouldn't you? But no. Not in the current climate. A lot of right wing pundits here were able to turn the discussion into whether or not his neighbours had a political move when they called the police, despite it being several families who all reported hearing screaming. So we're into the end times, in that respect.

    The way he has handled it has hurt his polling numbers with Tory members though, because he's basically refused to address it. And his polling lead has either halved or evaporated, depending on which set of polls you look at. He's also withdrawn from a leadership debate on SKY news with about a day's notice.

    For a while now, his backers have said the only person who can stop Boris, is Boris. Well, turns out he might end up proving them right. Hunt has been dialling up his own rhetoric and actually looking halfway competent in his own campaign. This isn't over yet.....

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  20. #220
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    Yeesh, unfortunate that the political climate has progressed to that point. Looking forward (if that's the right phrase...) to hearing what happens next.

  21. #221
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    What happened next is that he put out a picture of him with his partner (claiming that it was just taken by paps, though no one really believes that), people started suggesting it was an old picture because his hair didn't match.... and he's refused to comment on how old the photo is.

    Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt is continuing his campaign and has started to dial up a lot of rhetoric about how you have to be able to trust the next PM, and has said the EU aren't going to negotiate with anyone they don't feel they can trust. If Hunt can split off Brexit from Boris, far and away his strongest card to play at the moment, he'll win this one comfortably.

    That might be easier said than done, though, as the Brexit press are clearly coming out for Johnson, and he's had a bit of a gaffe of his own according to the Daily Telegraph, calling some on that flank 'little Englanders'. It's true, but it clearly isn't going to play well.

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  22. #222
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    If anybody has any doubts - we are fucked.

  23. #223
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Interesting Brexit development. David Gauke, who had widely been expected to lose a no-confidence vote in his local party over his Brexit stance and had been targeted by Leave.EU, but he won his vote by almost double, and retains the seat.

    Now, South-West Hertfordshire was actually a remain constituency, by almost 54%, but this is a vote only for Conservative Party members who you'd presume made up a disproportionate amount of the 46%, and he still survived.

    So it's worth noting, I think.

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  24. #224
    The Brain
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    How's it all progressing now, Pete?

  25. #225
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    Eh, hard to say, to be honest. The big news here has been dominated by the ambassador thing, and the onoing anti-semitism row in Labour. The leadership has gone to the backburner, and it kinda looks like Boris might just coast in at this point, without having to do a lot.

    The recent votes about legislation in Northern Ireland have been quite significant though, and could represent a problem for the new PM with his DUP partners in the future. Still, it does kinda serve them right for shutting Stormont for so long.

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  26. #226
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    So it sounds like while I was away that during their debate or whatever it was both Hunt and Johnson seem to have moved the terrain more towards a no deal, even though there's no guarantee that they can get that through parliament.

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  27. #227
    The Brain
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    So is it really a difference that makes no difference at this point, at least in the short term?

  28. #228
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    It's really quite difficult to say, because you keep hearing things about technical workarounds that could be nuclear options to get what they want. And there are Labour MPs saying now that if it's a straight choice between no deal and staying, they'd have to vote for no deal. So the arithmetic could shift, and in Johnson's case we are dealing with someone who is much more likely to use a nuclear option than May ever was. So as with all things over the past couple of years, it's a giant 'who knows' covering most of our political landscape.

    Current state of the polls seems to indicate Brexit and the Lib Dems would have around 60 seats in a general election, while Labour would be the biggest party having lost only half a dozen (net). The Tories would be gutted by it and would be under 200. That said, the new leader will shake all that up immediately, so those are numbers that really couldn't mean less.

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  29. #229
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Fuck Politics right now. Even May essentially said it. It’s a worrying, horrific time and Britain seems determined to make the worst of it.

  30. #230
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    Glad to hear it's not just us!

    Actually, not glad at all. Wish this political dumpster fire was contained to America, or better yet wasn't happening at all.

  31. #231
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Well, as predicted by everyone all along, Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister. Smart money is things don't get any smoother in the near future.

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  32. #232
    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minister.
    Has he ever actually been called Britain Trump though

  33. #233
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I think it's fair to say he is the closest thing we have to Trump. He is different in many ways, and in many ways much less controversial than Trump, but he shares the same characteristic of saying preposterous things.


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  34. #234
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    But as to whether anyone has actually used the name? No, never. It's something he just made up. He's only ever called Boris or BoJo by most people.

    So, the new cabinet. Sajid Javid is the new chancellor, Priti Patel fails up to become Home secretary, and Dominic Raab is the new Foreign Secretary. He's put a longtime ally in at Defenec in Ben Wallace. Gavin Williamson's exile from cabinet after leaking from the major security meeting a while back ends quickly as Boris shows his sense of irony by putting him at Education. Jacob Rees-Mogg will attend cabinet as Leader of the Commons.

    On paper, it's probably the most right-wing government we've had in living memory - but we'll see how they govern in practice.

    The Lib Dems have put down a confidence motion but it's breaking Labour won't back it, saying the timing is bad and if anything it'll strengthen Johnson's hand. Probably true, but even so they have very little room for manoeuvre. There are probably 20-30 people liable to bring down a Johnson government if they lurch too far that way, based on the number of people voting for Rory Stewart. Philip Hammond hasn't been shy about what he thinks of the new PM and his strategy either. And Jeremy Hunt has clearly shown his ambition - I would not bet against him biding his time and waiting to plunge the knife in the Johnsonian back.

    Although it's all change - to quote the former PM, 'nothing has changed'.

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  35. #235
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    While I was away we had the Brecon and Radnorshire By-election, after Chris Davies was recalled. Funny old election, with the Tories putting him up again despite being recalled for corruption. Plaid and the Greens also stepped aside to get the remain vote unified behind the Liberal Democrats, who picked up the seat with a 14% swing.

    It's really difficult to compare the by-election with the general election because there's such a difference in terms of turnout. But what you can see is that the Brexit Party split the Conservative vote and cost BoJo's party the seat. It's a funny position to be in because it's usually the left, rather than the right, who are split here. We also don't know how many Plaid/Green loyalists would refuse to turnout for the Lib Dems (coalition memories could live long for some) and just stayed at home.



    The upshot is this - Johnson's working majority in Parliament is down to 1 (though Charlie Elphicke probably votes for the Tories in most cases, you'd imagine, even though he's technically an independent since having the whip withdrawn pending criminal charges). Any individual MP from the Tories or the DUP can prevent a majority on their own, and two together could bring down the government if Labour were inclined to back a no-confidence motion. It basically means that anything the new government wants to try to do is near enough impossible unless it has the wholesale support of the Conservative Party. The trouble with that is that there are a bunch of MPs - including those ousted in the previous cabinet reshuffle - who are not really inclined to be whipped into voting with the government right now.


    So yeah, fun few months ahead... sure I've said that before.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  36. #236
    Feels like no deal is almost a certainty at this point with the way things are heading.

  37. #237
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Well, it sounds like everyone is expecting an election to be called imminently. We'll see, I suppose.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  38. #238
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    May 2018
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    The whole situation right now is a cause of immense anxiety and stress for me. I get lost in a bit of pop culture here and there, or day to day living, but then there's always a sudden and sharp reminder of the frightening place this country now finds itself, and an even more frightening reminder of how few, if any solutions seem to be presenting themselves. The populism has already infected my family too, which is when things get really disquieting.

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