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UK Politics: This Country is Going to the Moggs

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10 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

A minor dissent: he dropped out when his political advisers told him he was finished after Gove knifed him. Gove demonstrated exquisite political misjudgment in trying to knife Boris, and Boris demonstrated extremely poor judgment in assuming he wouldn't have won a leadership contest post-knifing. If he had stayed in, he would have won the leadership contest because, as Wert says, lots of Tories think he can win elections, and he was the beneficiary of enormous sympathy because of Gove's conduct. 

British politics is in this weird space where all the leading politicians are characterized not by their abilities but their relative weakness.  Thus do the Maybot and Bojo weirdly complement each other: one colourless and dutiful without any ideas of her own the other full of zany ideas but lacking judgment and the ability to execute. 

I don't agree with that. Even now, May is significantly more popular amongst the public and the party- https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/06/voters-back-trustworthy-theresa-may-boris-johnson-leadership-campaign 

This is not Italy or the USA, we have never had a leader of this populist style. The Tory party does not have a Tea Party. Boris has played the "celebrity politician" thing well, but it's a double edged sword, a lot of people are very committed to not having this kind of leader, and the similarities to Trump are not going to work in his favour. 

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9 hours ago, mankytoes said:

I don't agree with that. Even now, May is significantly more popular amongst the public and the party- https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/06/voters-back-trustworthy-theresa-may-boris-johnson-leadership-campaign 

This is not Italy or the USA, we have never had a leader of this populist style. The Tory party does not have a Tea Party. Boris has played the "celebrity politician" thing well, but it's a double edged sword, a lot of people are very committed to not having this kind of leader, and the similarities to Trump are not going to work in his favour. 

I don't necessarily disagree, but my point was about Johnson's leadership prospects in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.  And as a British transplant to the U.S., I would just warn you about the danger of "it could never happen here" :)

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3 minutes ago, Gaston de Foix said:

I don't necessarily disagree, but my point was about Johnson's leadership prospects in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.  And as a British transplant to the U.S., I would just warn you about the danger of "it could never happen here" :)

I'm not sure about popularity then, but I would have thought May's popularity would have gone down since then? And Boris was criticised a lot at the time for his clearly disingenuous leave support. 

I think Boris could definitely become PM. But despite some similarities, he isn't Trump. I don't see any evidence that Boris has less political understanding than his rivals. 

Boris is a cartoon of a politician, but Trump is a cartoon of Boris. 

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On ‎10‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 10:41 AM, Erik of Hazelfield said:

Thanks for the many and enlightening replies! Johnson’s decision not to run does make some more sense knowing about the Gove backstabbing story. 

Too many skeletons in his cupboard.

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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/10/uk-supreme-court-backs-bakery-that-refused-to-make-gay-wedding-cake

I think they got this right. Much as I would instinctively back gays against homophobes- "

"Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”, Hale added. “This court has held that ‘nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe.

The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

Hard to argue with that. If this had gone the other way, I'm not sure a gay baker could have refused to make a cake that says "ban gay marriage". 

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39 minutes ago, mankytoes said:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/10/uk-supreme-court-backs-bakery-that-refused-to-make-gay-wedding-cake

I think they got this right. Much as I would instinctively back gays against homophobes- "

"Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”, Hale added. “This court has held that ‘nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe.

The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

Hard to argue with that. If this had gone the other way, I'm not sure a gay baker could have refused to make a cake that says "ban gay marriage". 

I agree.  It's unreasonable to compel speech.

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I think this is incorrect, because the judges don't make any distinction between the baker and the bakery. The individual has a right to free expression: the business does not. 

I'm also confused as to why the judges believe icing a message, dictated by someone else, onto a cake means that the baker is expressing that view. If the cake said 'Angela, marry me', would the baker be proposing marriage to Angela? No. 

I'm sure the justices know the law better than I do. But I find this judgement really quite perplexing. 

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26 minutes ago, mormont said:

I think this is incorrect, because the judges don't make any distinction between the baker and the bakery. The individual has a right to free expression: the business does not. 

I'm also confused as to why the judges believe icing a message, dictated by someone else, onto a cake means that the baker is expressing that view. If the cake said 'Angela, marry me', would the baker be proposing marriage to Angela? No. 

I'm sure the justices know the law better than I do. But I find this judgement really quite perplexing. 

I don't get that. If you want a bespoke message iced on a cake, an individual has to physically do that. Some of these business' are run by one person. So in practise, there's no difference. 

If a Christian enters a bakery and asks for a cake saying "ban gay marriage", do you think the baker should have the legal right to decline? I'd be uncomfortable being made to do that, or instructing an employee to do that. 

The difference is that "support gay marriage" is a political message. To be clear, if the cake said "Happy wedding Adam and Steve", I think the bakery should have to bake it. On the same token, if I was a baker I'd be happy to write messages for religious celebrations, even though I'm an atheist and not a fan of religion. 

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7 minutes ago, mankytoes said:

I don't get that. If you want a bespoke message iced on a cake, an individual has to physically do that. Some of these business' are run by one person. So in practise, there's no difference. 

Having now read the full judgement, that appears to be the gist of the justice's views.

However, on the more substantial point, I'm none the wiser after reading the whole thing. The relevant paragraphs simply state, without any justification, that icing the message on the cake = expressing that view. But that's not a sensible position to take. Surely nobody can seriously believe that a baker is expressing a view by simply icing someone else's words, verbatim, onto a cake. It's simply copying words. So long as the message is legal, what's the basis for refusing?

I can see that someone might be concerned about the reputation of the business, but in this case it is accepted right off the bat that the bakers did not publicise the fact that they were evangelical Christians, did not explain the biblical origins of the name of the bakery, and did not market the business on either front, so that's irrelevant. 

Edited by mormont

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8 minutes ago, mormont said:

Having now read the full judgement, that appears to be the gist of the justice's views.

However, on the more substantial point, I'm none the wiser after reading the whole thing. The relevant paragraphs simply state, without any justification, that icing the message on the cake = expressing that view. But that's not a sensible position to take. Surely nobody can seriously believe that a baker is expressing a view by simply icing someone else's words, verbatim, onto a cake. It's simply copying words. So long as the message is legal, what's the basis for refusing?

I can see that someone might be concerned about the reputation of the business, but in this case it is accepted right off the bat that the bakers did not publicise the fact that they were evangelical Christians, did not explain the biblical origins of the name of the bakery, and did not market the business on either front, so that's irrelevant. 

I see what you're saying, and it is a difficult case. It annoys me when people say "I believe in free speech and free expression", as if that makes their whole viewpoint obvious and requires no further explanation. Freedom is often about balancing one person's right with anothers- in this case, someone's right to use a business, compared with someone's right to free expression.

I wasn't asking rhetorically, would you be ok with being asked to write a message against a political view that you support, like "ban gay marriage" (assuming you support gay marriage)? I won't call you a homophobe if you say yes- but I would be surprised. 

You're right to say it's not reasonable to think that it's the bakers opinion- but they are still being compelled to express something they don't wish to express. If my boss asked me to wear a t-shirt with a political message I don't support, I would refuse. No one thinks employees choose to wear those stupid shirts, but being an employee doesn't take away your individual rights either.

Edited by mankytoes

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41 minutes ago, mankytoes said:

I wasn't asking rhetorically, would you be ok with being asked to write a message against a political view that you support, like "ban gay marriage" (assuming you support gay marriage)? I won't call you a homophobe if you say yes- but I would be surprised. 

That's a trickier question. The reason being, the two messages are not entirely equal: 'ban gay marriage' is a message that does imply views that are homophobic, and it is legitimate for an employer to be concerned that it could open them up to legal action as a result. (Or damage their reputation.) So it would depend on the circumstances, I'd say, as many of these cases do. 

Wearing a t-shirt is quite different from icing a message on a cake, for example. Being asked to wear clothing or badges with a message inevitably, and reasonably, implies some degree of personal endorsement of the message: a bystander will naturally assume that you are expressing that view. It also may offend an employee's dignity in a way that icing a cake does not. (It's also somewhat dissimilar in that a customer cannot dictate what employees wear, only an employer.) Icing a cake that nobody would even know you worked on, on the other hand, as part of a service that explicitly advertises that the customer can dictate the message? No, it's not reasonable to describe that as 'expressing a view'. 

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I'd see it as being similar to a printer declining to print a leaflet for a political organisation that the printer disagrees with.  Even though most people would not necessarily assume that the leaflet reflected the printer's own views, he'd be entitled to decide whether or not he wished to aid that political organisation.

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8 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I'd see it as being similar to a printer declining to print a leaflet for a political organisation that the printer disagrees with.  Even though most people would not necessarily assume that the leaflet reflected the printer's own views, he'd be entitled to decide whether or not he wished to aid that political organisation.

On what grounds?

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11 minutes ago, mormont said:

On what grounds?

On the ground that he doesn't agree with them.  Similar to the way some people decline to act for companies that do animal testing, or sell tobacco.  The cab-rank rule is not general.

Edited by SeanF

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42 minutes ago, SeanF said:

On the ground that he doesn't agree with them.  Similar to the way some people decline to act for companies that do animal testing, or sell tobacco.  The cab-rank rule is not general.

Well, seeing as we just acknowledged that this is a tricky area where the exact circumstances of the case are important in balancing competing rights and responsibilities, I don't really understand why you think anybody's pronouncing 'general' rules. 

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10 minutes ago, mormont said:

Well, seeing as we just acknowledged that this is a tricky area where the exact circumstances of the case are important in balancing competing rights and responsibilities, I don't really understand why you think anybody's pronouncing 'general' rules. 

I should have explained.  Counsel for Mr. Lee argued at first instance, that as a barrister, he had to act for all comers (subject to their paying his fees), ("the cab rank principle) and could not pick and choose clients, and that Northern Irelands Anti-Discrimination Rules imposed similar duties on providers of goods and services generally.

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6 hours ago, SeanF said:

I'd see it as being similar to a printer declining to print a leaflet for a political organisation that the printer disagrees with.  Even though most people would not necessarily assume that the leaflet reflected the printer's own views, he'd be entitled to decide whether or not he wished to aid that political organisation.

I was listening to a Joe Rogan podcast, and the guest (I forget who) argued that it being an artistic act has relevance. He pointed out how uncomfortable it would be to force a Jewish artist to paint a picture of Hitler, I guess your art feeling like more of a personal thing. Now it’s tenuous that icing a cake is particularly artistic, but the quality of the art can’t really factor in. So I would say, using this metric, printing a leaflet is not artistic but icing is. Not that I necessarily agree with it, it’s genuinely tricky and I don’t know where I stand on it.

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