damp squib

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damp squib last won the day on September 16 2017

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  1. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    I mentioned earlier about the futility of New Labour trying to outflank the Tories on immigration. It seems like May was trying to outflank the ERG types by taking a combative stance towards the EU in the utterly stupid belief that you can outflank a group of extremists who actually want a no deal. As always she ended up ####### off everyone and achieving nothing. I agree with @ckn about the needless baiting from Tusk and, of course, Macron (par for the course). And unless they've lost all their diplomatic nous it does seem to indicate that they're resigned to no deal as you say @gingerjon.
  2. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    From you, that's a fair criticism and it will be interesting to see how he'll deal with the debate at the Labour Conference. From anyone who just wants to return to the pre-Corbyn Labour Party or transfer leadership to any of the recent challengers (i.e. most of the vocal critics), its complete hypocrisy. Overall the party is far less autocratic than it was before.
  3. Rowley obviously doesn't coach biting, but I think it's equally obvious that he doesn't prioritise discipline.
  4. damp squib

    Attendance Obsessives....

    It's not a whole sport necessarily. It's anything that feels existential threat. Football is by far the world's most popular sport and yet the League of Ireland is horrendous for head counting because the league struggles. GAA get very healthy crowds but Dublin dominance has seen big event crowds down a little so this year had lots of head counting. Unfortunately Rugby League seems to be in a constant state of existential threat. Edit: also any sport or league in which tickets are a major source of income. Man City don't care about their relatively poor crowds because their attendance income is a drop in the ocean.
  5. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    "We are not proposing another referendum - I understand many people are but there are also many versions of what that referendum would be which could be actually more complicated" I can understand why, as a staunch remainer, this comment would be frustrating. But I'm struggling to see what's inaccurate about it or why it makes Corbyn a dick.
  6. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    Funny enough, I agree with everything you said. I have probably misunderstood several of your posts in this exchange as you so often play devil's advocate on this thread that it is difficult to discern whether what you're writing is a thought exercise or your own views. That's a criticism of my comprehension skills, not your writing skills. As for the Tommy Robinson thing, you mentioned your ethnic background to add weight to your argument and I was merely rebutting that. It certainly wasn't meant to be antagonistic but I probably shouldn't have used such an inflammatory figure so I apologise.
  7. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    I can accept that as a topic for discussion on a very theoretical basis (though I completely disagree), however that theoretical analysis is never applied to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy for very good reasons. The different approaches we take to discussing Nazi Germany and British Colonialism are a consequence of the poor understanding of the effects of British colonialism compared to Nazism. Edit: Just on this point - "I am the son of an immigrant from the former Empire" - you were also raised fully immersed within a British culture that now integrates Irish immigrants. Tommy Robinson has the same background as you (obviously I'm not comparing you but you get the point!).
  8. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    I think we're misunderstanding each other. I was objecting to your point that British Exceptionalism is something unique to the over 50s. It is pervasive at all age levels and in every class of British society. Unfortunately, and I don't mean to pick on you Bob, but this illustrates it perfectly. I can't begin to understand how you could describe the British Empire as "not all bad clearly". In what way is it good? How is it socially acceptable to describe the British Empire in such a way, when similar crimes committed by foreign nations are rightly condemned without any equivocation. By what "standards of the time" are we judging the Bengal Famine of 1943 that are different from Nazi crimes which we would never equivocate as being of "the standards of the time". Why is British colonialism treated differently than Nazism, Fascism etc? Why is there no museum of British Colonialism in London to educate British people about this? I found while teaching in the UK that the children were exposed to the cruelties of mankind through the excellent Holocaust education programs and yet are taught almost nothing about the empire. The lesson they learn is "Never Again will we let others commit these crimes". When you read those lines, if your thought is "Godwin's Law", "ridiculous comparison", "the British were guilty only of neglect" etc. - that is Liberal British Exceptionalism.
  9. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    Even then, like "Hitler made the trains run on time", you have to wonder what someone's motivation is for making that point.
  10. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    Ian Paisley Jr. survives the first ever Westminster recall attempt as the petition falls short by 444 votes, or 0.4% of the 10% needed. +1 to the Brexiteers.
  11. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    Hindsight was definitely the word that came to mind reading that comment from Brown! The last political biography I read was The Blair Years but while it was interesting, it was soured by the realisation that I'd given money to Alastair Campbell.
  12. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    I'm afraid I have to disagree. My point was that many, if not most of the people who voted remain also believe the myth of British exceptionalism to some degree. It may not make them frothy-mouthed chauvinists but it does make them incapable of effectively countering the arguments of the right and maintains the faith of society in the inherent goodness of British institutions. I don't want to derail the thread with examples that would spark an off-topic discussion but I assure you that British exceptionalism is working just fine. Also my argument is not about the need for a change to the electoral system, I think we're far beyond that. Britain has not managed it's decline. It has kicked the can down the road for a century but the true fallout is happening now.
  13. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    I find it hard to believe that someone who spent thirteen years in the upper echelons of New Labour was an opponent of neo-liberalism although, as you say, the fact that he even makes such a comment is interesting and worth a read. Regardless, he was ####### into the wind. The problems are inherent to the system.
  14. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    One of the lessons which Brexit should make clear is that there is no "typically" any more. That cap on the potential of a far-right party only exists because the Tories moved right to occupy that space. If they fail to deliver Brexit the far-right will come back with a vengeance in a form more extreme than anything that has existed so far. They will have the foundational myth of internal treachery on which all fascist movements were built. The "centrist" echo chamber is only partly about believing that most people care about Brexit (people do care about politics in areas in which they are allowed to participate meaningfully - see 1) below). It is also a denial of the effect that decades of "centrist" politics have had on the political consciousness of the British electorate. I think there are two fundamental problems which lead to Brexit: 1) Decades of Neoliberalism, started by Thatcher and continued by New Labour, systematically destroyed the idea that politics is something which everybody engages in on a day to day basis, replacing it with the concept of enlightened rule by two sets of near-identical technocrats you can swap in and out each electoral cycle. Whatever you might think about them, mass membership of Unions and other large working class movements ensured that millions of people had the ability to exert some degree of political power beyond placing a slip in a ballot box every five years. When the Unions were destroyed, millions of people suddenly found themselves completely alienated from politics. Think of how you described the difference between getting someone to show up at a game of a new Rugby League club vs getting them involved and feeling a sense of belonging. Labour embracing neoliberal economics also meant that they were always going to be vulnerable to xenophobic politics. They could never counter the argument "I can't get a council house because of immigrants" with "it's not the immigrant's fault, we just need to build more council houses" because they have no intention of building council houses - they wanted to sell them off. Instead they countered with statistics like "immigrants are a net benefit to GDP" which is meaningless to a person who still doesn't have a council house, or later the pathetic attempts to outflank the right on immigration control which Blair is still pushing. In the absence of class-based politics, all that is left is a culture war. 2) The myth of British exceptionalism and the complete refusal to acknowledge the extent and fundamental evilness of British colonialism. When you have an enormous chasm between the ordinary person and the ability to exercise of political power as I described above, something will fill that gap. Myths of British exceptionalism ensure that it will be the far-right. If you are raised to believe that Britain is great and her past is glorious, then the reason why your life is hard and you are so unhappy must lie elsewhere - immigrants, Muslims, the EU. Liberals and the centre can't effectively counter these arguments because they also believe the myths, albeit in a less chest-beating, outwardly jingoistic form, but no less insidious. Anyone who tries to tackle these myths will be vilified as has happened to Corbyn. Britain had the largest empire in human history. Every other empire has ended with chaos and a total upheaval of the political order. There was no way Britain's was going to fizzle out the way everyone presumed. I am hugely pessimistic about the future. The centre is dead and it won't and shouldn't come back. It's socialism or barbarism and the forces that be seem determined to achieve the latter.
  15. damp squib

    Our new position in the EU

    There is no evidence for this. There has been no consistent polling showing a large enough swing away from "Leave" to justify a new referendum or for Labour to put all their eggs in the "STOP BREXIT" basket. Overturn the decision on such a flimsy basis and you may as well roll out a red carpet for the theoretical new far-right party that 38% of Brits would vote for. None of this takes away from how stupid Brexit is but that is not reflected in the polls because most people do not care about it. That is reality. I believe that Labour recognise this and have essentially resigned themselves to damage limitation. Once you accept the fact that Brexit is almost certainly going to happen the important and responsible thing to do is to plan for the post-Brexit environment, however horrifying it might be. Labour have committed to a Customs Union which should enable them to uphold their obligations in the Good Friday Agreement. That is the only commitment that a party which is not in power and has no control over the Brexit process should be realistically expected to make. An Andy Burnham or Angela Eagle-lead Labour might be fighting on a "STOP BREXIT" ticket but there is little chance they would succeed and even if they did it it would just postpone it. And despite the popularity of the viewpoint in this Lib Dem echo chamber, they would lose far more votes from Labour Brexiteers than they would gain from Tory Remainers switching or single issue Labour Remainers staying. There is no easy way out of Brexit. The Brexit vote was built on fundamental myths within British society that are decades, if not centuries, in the making and exist within all levels of British society. Until you recognise and tackle those myths, which will be a long and painful project, all attempts to just reverse Brexit are ####### into the wind. Very few Remainers seem to be willing to face this.