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Thread: Tory bastards

  1. #301
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    The concerted attempt by unionists, batshit tories and hardcore brexiteers to claim the good friday agreement is no longer 'fit for purpose' is... worrying. Appalling editorial in the Guardian last week about the NI irish language act as well.

  2. #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    Comment from a mate on FB: "Don't worry, there will be plenty of roadkill for all".
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  3. #303
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    This probably fits in here

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/201...nally-finished

    ... the logic of neoliberalism and unbounded self-interest is as potentially destructive to the establishment as it is to the rest of society. After decades, its flaws and contradictions are becoming too large to deal with.

    It is also the cause of another contradictory flaw that threatens the establishment. As both Robert Peston and Owen Jones have argued, the new regime – for all its individualist and anti-state rhetoric – still depends on the state. Elites require a rule of law, security, a transport infrastructure, an able workforce and social stability to function. But neoliberalism promotes an ever-smaller state and a poorer, less able employee pool, and nods through corporate and super-rich tax evasion on an industrial scale.

    The international transiency of the new elite means they care little about the spaces, communities or workforces that are essential for servicing big corporations, as well as their personal needs. All of which suggests that the current manifestation of the establishment, if we can still call it that, has an extremely limited future.

  4. #304
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    What are they after?
    William Davies writes about the Tory Brexiteers https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n05/willia...are-they-after

    What do they want, these Brexiteers? The fantasies of hardliners such as Liam Fox, Daniel Hannan and Jacob Rees-Mogg are based on dimly learned lessons from British history. The mantra of ‘Global Britain’ resurrects an ideal of laissez-faire from the era of Manchester cotton mills and New World slavery. Discussing the range of Brexit options at a Tory Conference fringe event in October, the former Brexit minister David Jones concluded: ‘If necessary, as Churchill once said, very well then, alone.’ This is the sort of nostalgia Stuart Hall warned against as early as the 1970s, and which Peter Ammon, the outgoing German ambassador in London, identified recently when he complained that Britain was investing in a vision of national isolation that Churchill had played up (and vastly exaggerated) in his wartime rhetoric.

    Do they even believe the myth, or is it an expedient way of bashing opponents while pursuing some ulterior goal? Historical re-enactment may be fine for the Daily Mail and the grassroots, but it doesn’t seem a strong enough motivation to support a professional political career. We need to know not just what kind of past the Brexiteers imagine, but what kind of future they are after. One disconcerting possibility is that figures such as Fox and Rees-Mogg might be willing to believe the dismal economic forecasts, but look on them as an attraction.

    This isn’t as implausible as it may sound. Since the 1960s, conservatism has been defined partly by a greater willingness to inflict harm, especially in the English-speaking world. The logic is that the augmentation of the postwar welfare state by the moral pluralism of the 1960s produced an acute problem of ‘moral hazard’, whereby benign policies ended up being taken for granted and abused. Once people believe things can be had for free and take pleasure in abundance, there is a risk of idleness and hedonism. In the United States, this fear was expressed in the cultural conservatism of the Nixon era, during which moral opprobrium was visited on welfare claimants and feckless liberals. The focus was on race and gender: in the conservative imaginary, compassion would be exploited in the economic realm by black women, and in the judicial realm by black men. In Britain, there was more emphasis on the language of economics, specifically the ‘supply side’ idea that the interests of investors and entrepreneurs were paramount. As the theory behind Thatcherism had it, government services shrink everybody’s incentives to produce, compete and invest. They reduce the motivation for businesses to deliver services, and ordinary people’s desire to work. Toughness, even pain, performs an important moral and psychological function in pushing people to come up with solutions.

    This style of thinking drove Thatcher through the vicious recession of the early 1980s. It was encapsulated by Norman Tebbit in his conference speech in 1981, often misquoted: ‘I grew up in the 1930s with an unemployed father. He didn’t riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking till he found it.’ That would imply that economic hardship should produce a more mobile population, and perhaps further abandonment of deindustrialised regions. A more interventionist version of such thinking appeared with the development of ‘workfare’ programmes by the Clinton and Blair governments of the 1990s, which sought to repurpose the welfare state as a means of boosting claimants’ ‘employability’ as well as their efforts to find work. Under workfare schemes, benefits were either paid to those already in work in the form of ‘tax credits’, or made conditional on enrolment in training programmes and constant job-hunting. The old British idea of the ‘dole’ (or in America of ‘welfare’), as something that was an alternative to work, was quickly eradicated. And there was a new iteration under David Cameron and George Osborne, in the form of austerity. The hypothesis of ‘expansionary fiscal contraction’, touted by Osbornites during the first years of the coalition government, is that cuts to public spending can lead to economic growth, by creating more opportunities for the private sector to invest. As most economists predicted, the hypothesis turned out to be false, but thanks partly to the workfare policies left behind by New Labour, levels of unemployment under austerity didn’t reach those of the Thatcher recession, and Theresa May’s government now boasts the lowest unemployment rate since the mid-1970s. An alternative perspective on that achievement is that hardship has forced people into worse jobs, demanding fewer skills and lower capital investment, so that Britain’s productivity growth has stalled to a degree not seen since the Industrial Revolution. That is what happens when work is framed as a moral duty, to be engaged in at all costs.

    The fear of ‘moral hazard’ produces a punitive approach to debtors, be they households, firms or national governments, the assumption being that anything short of harshness will produce a downward spiral of generosity, forgiveness and free-riding, eventually making the market economy unviable. Osborne liked to claim (against all the evidence coming from the bond markets) that if Britain kept borrowing, lenders would lose trust in the moral rectitude of the government and interest rates would rise. Gratification must be resisted. Pain works. Only pain forces people to adapt and innovate. In practice that may mean all sorts of things: migrating, reskilling, sacrificing weekends or family time, selling property, the ‘gig economy’ and so on. The productiveness of pain is a central conservative belief, whose expression might be economic, but whose logic is deeply moralistic.

    There seems little doubt that for many of Thatcher’s followers the free-market experiment hasn’t gone far enough. As long as there is an NHS, a welfare state and a public sector that is more European than American in scale, we will never truly discover what the British people are made of, because they will never be forced to find out. Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist, has often voiced the opinion that America’s only hope of moral cleansing lies in war. Tory Brexiteers tend not to go that far, but they may well be holding out for a milder version of the same idea, an extreme of economic hardship that means government is no longer capable of picking up the pieces. No wonder families in County Durham or the Welsh Valleys have experienced multiple generations of unemployment, they argue: there’s been adequate unemployment benefit. The estimated £80 billion hit to the public finances caused by Brexit might change that. And that’s before we take up the suggestive comment lurking in the official forecasts that ‘leaving the European Union could provide the UK with an opportunity to regulate differently across social, environmental, energy, consumer and product standards.’

    The optimistic version of this story is that it’s only when the chips are down we discover what people are truly capable of. Brexit might reveal reserves of courage and innovation that have lain dormant for decades, held back by the interferences of bureaucracy and public spending. And if it doesn’t? Well, then the truth is laid bare. Perhaps that will be the moment for a more heroic form of political leadership to rise from the ashes. Several prominent Tory Brexiteers, including Iain Duncan-Smith and Steve Baker, have military backgrounds. As with the Second World War, Brexit will perform an X-ray of our collective moral fibre. Remainers love facts, but are afraid of the truth.

  5. #305
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    luka's going to tell you off for posting that corpse. what's your opinion on it? how do you relate to what they're saying through your own experience?

  6. #306
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    I presume this description of the conservative mindset is obvious to people who have thought about politics more than I have (I'm a complete dabbler - I'm far too self-obsessed to be politically engaged) - authoritarian, disciplinarian, etc.

    I'm interested in where the 'other side' are coming from, being an instinctive lefty (see my 'what have the right got right?' thread). On the left people tend to dismiss the right-wing out of hand as being totally self-interested, borderline/actually sociopathic scum, and doubtless that is true of some of them, but I'm intrigued by the ones who aren't... Probably because I haven't done the homework to justify my own quote-unquote opinions on politics and because self-doubt is the ruling principle of my life... Therefore I'm always wondering if and how I've got it wrong about things.

    So although I disagree with the notion that stripping people of all help will somehow make them toughen up/pull up their bootstraps etc., I wonder if that's because of an emotional tendency to sympathise with others, and also because I see MYSELF as somebody constantly in need of help (despite being simultaneously aware that I am not self-reliant enough, having been indulged by my parents to an extent) - IS there wisdom in the idea that welfare makes people lazy, dependent or otherwise self-limiting?

    Maybe it's just nice to think that people aren't evil heartless cunts and they actually think what they're doing is helping other people by destroying the NHS e.g.

  7. #307
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    you have a lot of intellectually healthy instincts; awareness of your own biases (and particularly how arbitrary they might be), interest in empathising with the 'other side', awareness of what you do and don't know (though i'd like you to be a bit more confidant in saying how you think and feel).

  8. #308
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    Rudd gone. Finally.

  9. #309
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    Is she not going to appeal the decision?
    A tiny ray of light for me recently was that my cousin's appeal has finally been successful, and they're backdating her PIP from when it was stopped. (A rather bigger ray of light for her, of course.)
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  13. #311
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    A tiny ray of light for me recently was that my cousin's appeal has finally been successful, and they're backdating her PIP from when it was stopped. (A rather bigger ray of light for her, of course.)
    Glad to hear that, Tea. Is it the case that the rate of success of appeals vs PIP withdrawals is comparable to those vs JSA sanctions i.e. high enough to make it obvious that the whole system is predicated upon vulnerable people not appealing in an intentionally labyrinthine system?
    OK answered my own question - https://www.scope.org.uk/press-relea...sa-appeal-wins 69% success rate

  14. #312
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    On a lighter note:

    9.37 here: At this point, Theresa May is morphing into late-period Joan Crawford (at least, as imagined in 'Feud'). Haunted doesn't begin to describe it.

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  16. #313
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    The moment she hands over the leadership she'll crumble to dust and gently blow away.

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