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Everything posted by mormont

  1. Look, if you want to assess whether this was 'well played' in the sense I meant, all you need to ask yourself is: are the press currently consumed with stories about Labour divisions over Gaza and what a challenge this is for Starmer's leadership? As for 'losing Scotland', that battle is exactly why the SNP proposed this motion (that, and to address their own internal pressures). They hoped to exacerbate Labour splits to benefit from that. Again, we're not now talking about that, are we? Now, my personal political views should be reasonably well known after more than two decades on this forum. But I can't see a way in which anyone can deny that Starmer's in a better position now than he was on Monday. Whether I approve of what happened or not (I think I was clear that I don't), and whether I would rather he take a different policy position on Gaza or not, are not really what I'm talking about. I'm just (not altogether seriously) acknowledging that he comes out of this a winner, tactically speaking.
  2. Again, is there any evidence that any of the above is true? I have looked, but can find none. And is there any argument against the fact that notwithstanding what the Chinese magazines may or may not have done, McCarty's response was in every respect wrong, high handed, and a disgrace?
  3. It's not entirely clear to me why, even if it is true that MPs faced credible threats, the only solution to that would be to take the Labour amendment. I doubt anyone making threats would be mollified by a call for an 'immediate humanitarian ceasefire' instead of an 'immediate ceasefire for all combatants'. I think what happened here is that Starmer (or his team) played on Hoyle's anxieties and manipulated Hoyle into taking a decision based an emotional desire to do something, without stopping to think about whether it would actually be a good idea. Hoyle has never really impressed me as a Speaker, though. Anyway, Starmer has been the big winner in this. Worked out beautifully for him. Well played.
  4. Again, I'm going to assume and indeed insist that it wasn't until I see some sort of clear explanation of why it was, with details. ETA - and I also want to repeat: Even if the magazine(s) did do something wrong or inappropriate, that does not explain or excuse McCarty's actions. Those remain utterly wrong and shady regardless. Unilaterally throwing out hundreds of nominating ballots without consultation, and then concealing it, is not the way you deal with this.
  5. Nope. The publishers broke no rules. ETA - I would genuinely appreciate any links that explain why anyone is viewing this as deliberate collusion to rig the vote, because I cannot find anything myself, and to be honest, searching is hard because of the large number of articles, blog posts, social media posts and other sources saying that these publications did nothing wrong! I'm struggling even to find out what the second magazine in this 'collusion' is. SF World and...? The only one out of bounds here is Dave McCarty.
  6. It didn't just seem that way: it was. It broke no bounds at all.
  7. An alternative presentation of the same facts is: Chinese fans were super excited to be hosting their first WorldCon. Their home magazines did a thing that Western magazines do uncontroversially every year. The only difference was that the enormous number of Chinese voters and small number of Chinese SF magazines combined to concentrate those (perfectly legitimate) votes. In response, McCarty took it upon himself to disqualify a completely unprecedented number of votes for unprecedented reasons, apparently without telling anyone. He still has not explained this decision. There’s no apparent reason he could not do so in this case and the decision is arguably not very compatible with his professed concern for Chinese fandom. The effect is that the Chinese voters were disenfranchised, the first Chinese Hugos featured far fewer Chinese works than should have been the case, and many if not most of the actual winners now say they feel their award is devalued. If McCarty really believed this decision was necessary. in the spirit of the award and proportionate to the issue at hand, he should have been willing to involve others in it and publicly explain it. I’ve run student elections for years: back in the days of paper voting, I took care and concern over every ballot I had to disqualify and got a second opinion on each. If you have any genuine respect for a democratic process you’re engaging in, however trivial, you simply don’t throw out the opinion of a voter unless you absolutely have to by the agreed rules, and you don’t do it on your own, on your sole interpretation of what the organisation running the vote might or might not want. Unprofessional would be the kindest word for it, arrogant would be a less kind one. The combination of this and the background checks suggests someone who doesn’t have a great deal of genuine respect for the integrity of the Hugo awards.
  8. Things Dave McCarty says have, for me, zero probative value at this point. The bit that's drawn less attention, but is growing as a factor, is McCarty chucking out unknown (but very high) numbers of ballots for Chinese language works without any justification other than 'I think this recommendation list is a slate'. Even if it was a slate, that's what EPH is for: the rules don't say slate votes get disqualified on the say-so of the Hugo Administrator.
  9. [mod] Folks, I understand that positions on the Gaza issue are a major concern for the US election. But we’re having a moratorium on threads about Gaza for now, which I for one appreciate since I’m going into my nth straight day of refereeing discussions about it at work. I don’t want it to take over this thread. So let’s hit pause on that please. It is temporary, and I assure you, it’s not likely to go away as an issue meantime. [/mod]
  10. But backing the apartheid regime was not, in fact, the right decision by that criterion. Nor was backdoor sales of arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, for that matter. And as for Churchill, well, there have been books written by more qualified folks than I on that one. Your list might well have been willing to back Ukraine in ways that (some) current leaders are not. Then again they're all dead, so we'll never know. But the idea that this is down to their 'clear sight', I'm sceptical about. I don't want to derail further, so I'll leave it there.
  11. Would that be Margaret Thatcher, who was notoriously 'clear-sighted' about South Africa, to pick just one foreign policy issue at random?
  12. I'll concede that McCarty probably thought he had received 'guidance'. But that 'guidance', as I say, is so limited and non-specific that it doesn't seem likely it was official, and in fact seems consistent with a well meaning Westerner having a conversation with local concom members about possible censorship and going away thinking that some offhand comments were actually Serious Business. That would also fit with the Keystone Cops attempts at 'screening', where nobody seems to understand what they're actually looking for, the results are incomplete or flat wrong, and the application of the information to exclude nominees seems almost random. I may be wrong. The Sichaun propaganda committee might have been behind this inept farce. One would hope the CCP can do better. But I'm inclined to think that assumptions drove this whole mess from start to finish. As for McCarty's concern to protect the Chinese concom, to judge by results, he could hardly have handled that worse. I mean, you quoted an email where he lands them right in the middle of this, in writing, when he had no need to. He's repeatedly made the situation worse and drawn more attention to it. He blustered and hung on when he should have quietly resigned with a letter taking the whole blame on himself. If his intention was to protect the Chinese concom, that goes down as another thing he made a mess of.
  13. Yes? ETA - I mean, that’s a passing remark that tells us nothing of any substance without us drawing inferences about what it might indicate about their role. Informal advice? Formal vetting authority? Certainly, there’s currently no evidence any further ‘guidance’ ever materialised.
  14. OK, but nothing I said disagrees with any of that? I know nothing about the role of the Chinese concom (none of us do). So I’ve not made any comment about their role. They may well have been the source of this impossibly vague ‘guidance’. They possibly made the final call on eligibility, even. Then again maybe not. All we can say is, those emails are incredibly casual about the whole affair. The notion that McCarty was trying to nobly protect them isn’t supported by anything we know either. Yes, it’s reasonable to suppose they were left out of the emails to avoid a paper trail. It’s also reasonable to ask whether McCarty was asked to do that or whether he, in fact, was the one infantilising and making assumptions about whether they needed to be protected. We’ll likely never know. But we can certainly know that whatever the situation was, McCarty made a bad choice that he then executed badly. On the evidence of these emails, he did not seem unduly bothered about it, roped in volunteers to help without briefing them properly about what they were actually doing, stalled on releasing the evidence he must have known would reveal the mess and then was an asshole to people who asked him what were reasonable questions. That post, I understand, was quickly deleted. We can only speculate whether it was the truth. As things stand, we do not have any evidence that a dozen works with LGBTQ themes were in fact removed.
  15. I don't think it's that admirable given that the Westerners in question were in a position that was absolutely untenable regardless. I'm also struck, reading the emails, just how markedly casual McCarty's tone is about the censorship issue. He genuinely doesn't show any signs that he thinks this is a big deal: he talks like it's just an unpleasant local custom we have to observe for form's sake. And he's asking his team to do this work based on a short, vague list of topics. They're floundering as a result. The most common refrain is 'I have no idea if this is an issue but I'm flagging it just in case'. It honestly looks more like that list was based on a conversation with a local fan than any official guidance. Which makes the 'laws we must follow' defence collapse like wet cardboard. This was likely done on hearsay, not legal strictures. It seems credible to me that the CCP never actually said a word to the concom, and that this was actually anticipatory, the concom following 'rules' they were in fact just imagining.
  16. Whether that works on voters or not, Trump's ego surely won't allow him to let this pass?
  17. https://bsky.app/profile/zachrabiroff.bsky.social/post/3klfezqftiy2p "Easily the most money someone named Kirby has ever made on the Fantastic Four."
  18. Heck, according to this page, Hillary Clinton is currently more popular than Hakeem Jeffries, Cory Booker and Rahm Emanuel. https://today.yougov.com/ratings/politics/popularity/Democrats/all Biden, meanwhile, is the fifth most popular Democrat, behind only Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Bernie Sanders. And if that strikes you as a weird mix, well, voters are weird.
  19. I think we have all agreed to pretend Secret Invasion never happened. It's a safe bet that it's significantly less likely to be referenced ever again than The Marvels is. (On top of that, again, have we not read the source material? On a month by month basis, these characters appear in tonally variable stories which only reference events in their solo series when the editor remembers it exists...) Anyway, I rewatched The Marvels this weekend and the edits and reshoots do weigh it down. Forget your Snyder cut, I want to see the original cut of this movie. But it's still pretty good. Zenobia Shroff (Kamala's mum) is so important to that. Kamala's whole family are, but Muneeba is the key here, along with Iman Vellani as Kamala, of course.
  20. Laurence Fishburne spent eight seasons recently playing a harmless grandfather in Black-ish. He's more than capable of doing Regis justice.
  21. It's not really clear that's what you were saying. But it's not really in doubt that there would be a return on that investment, in environmental and economic terms. One could argue about the scale of that, which will depend on how the investment is managed, I suppose. In any case, this isn't really relevant as Labour aren't dropping the commitment because they suddenly decided it was uncertain of the return. They dropped it for political reasons, so the Tories can't accuse them of huge spending commitments (even though huge spending commitments are exactly what the country desperately needs).
  22. It represents about 1% of current public debt. Jeremy Hunt spent £11bn on tax cuts in November and is looking at doing the same again in March. Yes, we have the room to spend this money.
  23. Yes, but - and I don't want to shock you, hope you're sitting down for this bit - Margaret Thatcher lied to you. Countries' budgets are not like household budgets, the analogy she coined back in the day. Countries can pretty much always borrow more money: it just costs more. There isn't really a ceiling, as there is for a household. And if there was, the UK certainly has enough elbow room to borrow £28bn now to avoid catastrophically higher costs later.
  24. I too have been fiscally responsible by not committing to spending money on roof repairs I would have to borrow at high interest rates to afford. I'm sure nothing about that decision will mean that I wind up spending more money at even higher interest rates in future.
  25. Evaluating Bill C as a person is different from evaluating him as a President, of course.
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