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Mentat

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About Mentat

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  1. Mentat

    UK Politics: The End of May

    Why not simply skip the middle-man and become the 51st State of the USA? No more problems with trade deals! A currency everyone can trust! The EU would have a fit! Immigrants not welcome! What's not to like? At this point, is there any other realistic choice? May's deal is tainted to the point nobody will touch it with a 10 foot pole. It's not coming back. Negotiating a different deal would require a long (2 years?) extension post-October and an amount of political good-will that I can't conceivably imagine May's successor will elicit from the EU (or from the Commons or the British people, for that matter). Revoking Article 50 and disregarding the referendum seems like a political impossibility at this point. You could have a second referendum to kill the first one, but I just can't see that happening with the current Commons unless Corbyn has a Damascene conversion and a good part of the Conservatives revolt (again). It also comes with problems of its own (a very big chunk of disenfranchised and polarised voters who will fall right into Farage's lap). A General election before Brexit is likely to result in a mishmash of parties with no one anywhere near a clear majority and at least half a dozen very different ideas of what Brexit should be (or if it should be in the first place). Neither the Conservatives nor Labour will find this idea appealing. They have much to lose. Is there anything I'm missing?
  2. Mentat

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    I agree. The increasingly mainstream rhetoric of hate and intolerance against those who think, vote, pray or look different to us is a big problem. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, promoting inclusion, diversity and pluralism is the answer. Seems legit. Again, I agree. Her 'new' deal is extremely unlikely to pass. Odds of MV4 failing by a wider margin than MV3 are actually pretty good. Once that happens, Theresa May will probably finally die her political death (her carcass is already being fought over...) and resign or attempt to hold general elections (or just shake her fist and vow her deal will get us next time, it's hard to know with May). If her resignation simply leads to a Tory leadership bid (which Boris Johnson seems likely to win), I think a No Deal Brexit is almost certain. A general election opens up more possibilities, but the Conservatives will probably do anything in their power to avoid a general election prior to Brexit actually happening (except voting for May's deal, I guess).
  3. Mentat

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    Surely we can agree with the sentiment that Nigel Farage is a tool that deserves to be pelted with milkshakes (and/or rancid vegetables) while also agreeing that, since we live in a democracy, people who pelt others with milkshakes (however deserving) should probably face some sort of legal consequences proportionate to the offence if said others decide to press charges (I think a fine and the cost of dry-cleaning his suit sounds perfectly fair, but whatever).
  4. Mentat

    UK Politics: Awaiting MV3

    But not by Nigel Farage? Meanwhile, Brexit talks between Labour and Conservatives have broken down. Theresa May might try to hold indicative votes (again) or try to get her deal through the Commons (yet again). Neither option seems to have a high chance of success. No Deal and No Brexit seem to be the least unlikely options, despite both being extremely problematic.
  5. Mentat

    UK Politics: The Edge of Destruction

    The D'Hondt system aims to assign each seat to the largest number of votes. For simplicity's sake, lets assume the East Midlands region has 1.000.000 votes. In the example quoted Brexit Party has 300.000 votes, Labour has 200.000, Conservatives 160.000 and Lib-Dems 90.000 (we'll ignore the rest for now). So the first of the 5 seats should obviously go to the Brexit Party. This seat would represent 300.000 votes. Second goes to Labour, and represents 200.000 votes, and third to the Tories, representing 160.000 votes. Now we could give the fourth seat to the Lib-Dems, but it would only represent 90.000 votes. If we give it to the Brexit Party instead, though, it would represent 150.000 votes (half of the votes the Brexit Party got). Similarly with the fifth and final seat, if we give it to Labour it will represent 100.000 seats, which is more than the Lib-Dems got, so to Labour it goes. Some people criticize the D'Hondt system for under-representing minority parties (which it does), but it has a solid rationale behind it.
  6. Mentat

    UK Politics: The Edge of Destruction

    He's certainly been handed a poisoned gift in May's offer to hold talks to try and find a compromise (which he was happy to accept). If he has any sense, he'll insist on a confirmatory vote rather than changes on the Political Declaration which will be ultimately non-binding and worthless.
  7. Mentat

    UK Politics: What Goes DUP Must Come Down

    A lot, actually. A customs union basically means no tariffs on goods between the EU and the UK. It doesn't mean regulatory alignment, or free movement of services or people. The EU, for one, won't be too happy about having a customs union with a country that doesn't align with EU regulations (in fact you can pretty much forget about it in areas that are heavily regulated, like food or medication). This is why, if a trade deal involving a customs union is negotiated with the EU, the EU is likely to insist the UK aligns its regulations with theirs on products of certain types produced in the UK or imported into the UK from a third country. People who want the UK to freely negotiate trade deals with third countries, or to be free from EU regulations altogether, might not be happy about this (these people might want to be careful what they wish for, though, as certain third countries would like nothing better than to flood the UK with cheap and under-regulated products which could threaten both UK agriculture and industry as well as the quality of products available to UK consumers). Of course, if you don't have a customs union you will necessarily have to have customs checks. This pretty much means you'll be kicking NI to the curb and throwing the Good Friday agreement out of the window. Some people in Ireland probably won't be happy with that either. All in all, whoever is in charge is likely going to end up with a fair number of unhappy people as a direct result of their decisions. They might have to consider which of all the options available to them is the lesser evil, rather than which option will have them hailed in history books as the second Churchill.
  8. Mentat

    UK Politics: What Goes DUP Must Come Down

    She may not be in the same club as whomever, but she's the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, elected through True Democracy (Trade Mark pending).
  9. Mentat

    UK Politics: What Goes DUP Must Come Down

    Fixed that for you
  10. Mentat

    UK Politics: What Goes DUP Must Come Down

    It's circular because the benefit provided is set by your initial premise: leaving is beneficial to you because you want to leave. As I said, whether the EU has done well or poorly in its trade deals is a matter of opinion, and whether the UK will do better or worse is a matter of speculation. It doesn't make for a compelling argument. A sovereign nation can make its own decisions on trade and immigration... until it signs an international treaty about trade or immigration with a different sovereign nation, at which point it will be bound by international law and whatever the provisions are of the treaty it signed. Your control of your own immigration will mean your citizens will be subject to immigration controls by the rest of EU states. Whatever way you look at it, this is a huge disadvantage, which will not be offset by being able to tell Eastern Europeans to turn back (and a very good case can be made that these Eastern Europeans were actually a valuable asset that you're sacrificing in the altar of prejudice). Most of these answers are very similar to the answers you'd get if you were talking about a national parliament. If I'm a constituent of Aberconwy, I'll get to vote for my representative in the HoC (MP) every four years. Said MP will then get a vote (alongside every other MP) for who gets to be PM. The PM will then get to freely form their Cabinet. How is the PM's Cabinet so different from the EU Commission? Also, all the minutes of EC sessions are publicly available on the EU webpage, if you really want to read them. Maybe you could balk at it once it actually happens, though? The UK isn't currently part of the Euro and, under current European legislation can't be forced to become part of the Euro if it doesn't want to. A closer union might be based on other things than currency. I sympathise with this sentiment.
  11. Mentat

    UK Politics: What Goes DUP Must Come Down

    Acting according to your preferences and values makes perfect logical sense, but it's not a tangible benefit. Independence and accountability are intangible, and a good case can be made that being outside the EU doesn't actually provide independence or accountability (as you'll be forced to adhere to EU regulations if you want to trade with it, but will no longer have a say in said regulations as you're now "independent"). Yes, they can. Arguments can be made for or against pretty much anything. You have to make them before someone can appreciate how good or bad these arguments are (for instance, the UK was not currently under any pressure to join the Euro, so I think your example is not a very good argument). Uncontrollable immigrations isn't really a thing, though. The controls at UK borders are currently UK controls, manned by UK staff. I agree that the EU has failed to sufficiently educate its citizens in its inner workings and all the benefits it provides (though the EU can't teach you about itself in the way Morpheus teaches Neo Kung-Fu, so ultimately if you can't be arsed... you can't be arsed). It may seem like I'm disparaging your objections. I see where you're coming from, but I just think that your objections are based on fears of the future, and that said fears aren't sufficiently based on the facts of the present for them to be reasonable.
  12. Mentat

    UK Politics: What Goes DUP Must Come Down

    This is pretty much the definition of a circular argument. Being out of the EU is a benefit of being out of the EU. Of course, if you don't want to remain in an organization you might find some solace in leaving, but this isn't really a "benefit". Citation needed! I personally think the EU has been fairly successful with its trade negotiations, but to the point that it's a matter of opinion and you might think otherwise, whether the UK does better or worse in its negotiations outside of the EU in the future is pure speculation (and there's good reason to believe that, having considerably less negotiating power than the far bigger block of the EU, it will fare considerably worse). Yes. Being outside of the EU will indeed mean if you want to stop foreigners from coming to your country you will be able to. It won't make the people living in the UK any better off, because the economic side of the argument is completely fallacious, but you can keep Eastern Europeans (or any Europeans for that matter), out of the UK if you want to. This argument is appallingly mean spirited, though, and many British people have decided to make a home or a living elsewhere in Europe in the past (including many retired people, who generally consume quite a lot of public services while paying relatively little taxes). I hope they were, and continue to be, welcome. I don't mean to be rude, but in my mind, this is only a "benefit" if you're a jerk. The EU is composed of four main decision making bodies: the EU parliament (which is elected directly by citizens in elections), the European Council (which is formed by EU members Heads of Government, so May, Macron, Merkel et al), the EU Council (which is formed by EU members Ministers) and the Comission (the president of the Comission is elected by the EU parliament; the president then appoints the rest of the members; the EU parliament must ratify the final Comission and can force it to stand down via a vote of no confidence if it's displeased with its work). It is a democratic organization. Representative democracy is not without its issues and problems (as Rippounet points out), but these are not exclusive to the EU, but a much broader issue. All of Tony Benns questions have answers regarding the EU. You just have to know how it works.
  13. Mentat

    UK Politics: A Third Meaningful Thread

    As I said, either Parliament holding its collective nose and passing May's deal or crashing out of the EU without a deal on the 12th of April. As long as Theresa May is PM I do not believe there will be a second referendum, regardless of what indicative votes may say (she has made this abundantly clear, and despite precedent I think this might be the one issue where she sticks to her guns).
  14. Mentat

    UK Politics: A Third Meaningful Thread

    I'm convinced that any other option beyond No-deal and May's deal is a pipe-dream at this point. May has already said she's willing to consider alternative options provided they're not: - Revoking A50. - A second referendum. - A customs union/common market 2.0 option. - Any other constructive solution you can think of. If a clear majority for anything does emerge from indicative votes (not likely, but we live in interesting times), Theresa May will just say that that option doesn't reflect the will of the people as expressed in the referendum, would imply requesting a longer extension and participating in the EU election, which the voters wouldn't understand or what-have-you... and that she's not willing to implement it. At that point, Parliament can do nothing about it other than throw non-binding amendments and motions at May (which she will simply ignore). The only chance of any solution other than May's deal or No deal happening would be someone calling a vote of no confidence on May, getting it moved in Parliament before the 12th of April, winning it on a platform of a specific solution to Brexit, and personally requesting an extension from the EU (who would be loathe to negotiate with anyone who wasn't a PM... but in this specific instance, and after the VONC went through, just might). The chances of this happening are so close to nil it isn't really worth considering.
  15. Mentat

    UK Politics: A Third Meaningful Thread

    It doesn't really matter, though. May will try to pass her deal next week. Maybe she finds a way past Bercow, or maybe she doesn't. Maybe she manages to strong-arm enough MPs to support her deal, or maybe she doesn't. If by the end of next week the HoC hasn't passed May's deal (for whatever reason) the end result is the same: the UK crashes out of the EU on the 12th of April unless it commits to holding European elections. The EU has lots of serious problems (its role in the Irish banking crisis may be one of them, it's not a subject I'm knowledgeable enough about to give an informed opinion), but Brexit is not on the list. This one actually is entirely the UKs fault. The EU negotiated an exit deal in good faith with the PM and has bent over backwards repeatedly to try and accommodate Britain's parliamentary chaos. Also, Angela Merkel is not the EU's dictator and cannot overrule the comission's decisions (and the decision that was made was a French-German proposal in the first place...). I agree. What is needed right now is someone to take on themselves the mantle of Remain, assume the political cost of either seeking a long extension to A50 or plain revoking it and try to form a cross party majority to hold a VONC and then pass said measure. It doesn't even need to be a member of the opposition. A remainer conservative that could command a sizeable amount of MPs from their party could try and win over Labour and give it a go. Unfortunately, this person doesn't exist.
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