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Username: obscurer

Name: Quinn

Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Profile Info

Links 1 through 10 of 345 Quinn's Bookmarks

I share Piachaud’s conclusion that basic income is a distraction from sensible, feasible and necessary welfare reforms. As in other areas of policy, it is simply not the case that there are simple solutions to apparently difficult issues which policymakers have hitherto been too stupid or corrupt to implement.

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But Sunday’s result suggest that the majority of Turkish citizens – especially the urban, educated population – are no longer buying his vision for the country. The distaste for Erdoğanism has spread beyond the traditional secular Kemalist bloc. There are many reasons to be gloomy about the prospects of Turkish democracy, but all of them predate the day of the referendum. What the vote has in fact revealed is a tiny crack of light.

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The only way May could secure a good deal for the UK would be by diffusing the EU’s spoiling tactics, while still respecting the Burkean Brexiteers’ strongest argument, the imperative of restoring sovereignty to the House of Commons. And the only way of doing this would be to avoid all negotiations by requesting from Brussels a Norway-style, off-the-shelf arrangement for a period of, say, seven years.

The benefits from such a request would be twofold: first, Eurocrats and Europhiles would have no basis for denying Britain such an arrangement. (Moreover, Schäuble, Merkel and sundry would be relieved that the ball is thrown into their successors’ court seven years down the track.) Second, it would make the House of Commons sovereign again by empowering it to debate and decide upon in the fullness of time, and without the stress of a ticking clock, Britain’s long-tem relationship with Europe.

The fact that May has opted for a Brexit negotiation that will immediately activate the EU’s worst instincts and tactics, for petty party-political reasons that ultimately have everything to do with her own power and nothing to do with Britain’s optimal agreement with the EU, means only one thing: she does not deserve the mandate that Brussels is keen to neutralise.

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You can point a finger at university feminist societies if it makes you feel better, but it wasn’t earnest lefty students who consciously chose to avoid full employment policies and shouted at “scroungers” for needing income support to top up the 18-hour job in a call centre they had to fight with 400 other applicants to get.
Supposedly, those on the left have not focused enough on economic concerns because they’ve been obsessed with culture; but critics don’t offer any economic ideas. As always, the complex and multilayered identities of the working class are simplified, used to give middle-class nationalism a coat of authenticity, then tossed aside.
We lament how people trapped in regions of long-term, structural deprivation vote out of frustration, but those on the left who did speak out against austerity and inequality were dismissed as unserious by the same people who now wring their hands.

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This has been UKIP strategy since 1999, and they doubled down on it after hitting the big time. It has brought them some modest success, and has seen them take a council seat here and there from Labour. But their main accomplishment is to have displaced the other parties as the choice of non-Labour voting sections of the working class in safe Labour areas. This Parliament's Ogmore, Sheffield Brightside, and Oldham by-elections typify this trend. Labour hold on, if not handsomely increase its vote, and UKIP batter everyone else and come a distant second. The bulk of working class voters remain resistant to their garish colours and garish politics, as the ballot box demonstrates.

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This is a case where the simplest explanation is the correct one: Donald Trump won because he did exceptionally (indeed, historically) well with the white working class, a bloc that until 2016 was resistant north of the Mason-Dixon line to voting Republican en masse. These voters are concentrated in the Rust Belt and Pennsylvania, which is why Trump swept every state therein except Minnesota. But the hallmarks of this shift were evident in states well beyond their borders (Coos County, New Hampshire, for example). It is all too human to be uncomfortable with outcomes that we do not predict. It is dangerous, however, to stare at reality in the face and insist that what is real cannot be true, simply because it was unforeseen.

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