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Chaircat Meow

UK Politics: Spaffed up the wall while chuntering from a sedentary position

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1 hour ago, Spockydog said:

Why do you think I'm trolling? You think the Israelis are not engaged in an ongoing, systematic program of ethnic cleansing and genocide?

Ok, let’s answer your questions in order.

- Is genocide bad, generally? Yes.

- Is Israel engaging in genocide? No.

These are not exactly headscratchers.  Here’s a couple more to save you the bother.

- Is Israel the same as Nazi Germany? No.

- Are Israel’s policies towards Palestinians problematic? Yes.


We’re arguing about the language used to condemn Israel, remember.  Not about their policies. So here’s a more nuanced question.

- Is it not, at the very least, extremely patronising to use this kind of loaded language to criticise a sovereign nation state for their policies on territory and (what they would consider) national security?

Just treat it as what it is, a geopolitical problem that doesn’t require any analysis of underlying motivations or complexes.

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32 minutes ago, Werthead said:

So we need to wait until the Israeli government kills a few million more Palestinians before criticising their policies?

No.  I just think that the attempted  extermination of an entire race does not remotely compare to the behaviour of the Israeli government.  Hyperbole does not strengthen any argument.

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2 minutes ago, SeanF said:

No.  I just think that the attempted  extermination of an entire race does not remotely compare to the behaviour of the Israeli government.  Hyperbole does not strengthen any argument.

Neither does deliberately whitewashing and excusing the behaviour of a country engaged in colonialism, territorial seizure in violation of international agreements and ramping up international tensions, all to score a few domestic political points.

 

Quote

- Is it not, at the very least, extremely patronising to use this kind of loaded language to criticise a sovereign nation state for their policies on territory and (what they would consider) national security?

For their policies on territories which do not belong to them by their own admission (if they haven't annexed it this afternoon with Trump's nod and wink, which is entirely possible), by holding entire civilian populations prisoner by force of arms, by withholding humanitarian aid, colonising said territories and using national security as a convenient excuse to hide behind whenever they need to excuse the murder of civilians?

Saying it's on the same scale as the Holocaust is clearly not accurate, but suggesting this is merely "problematic" is grossly underestimating the scale of the situation. These are war crimes, plain and simple, and it does fit the international definition of ethnic cleansing.

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3 hours ago, Spockydog said:

I wanted more than a line. You see, I wanted context. Something that's lacking in so many of these Labour anti-semitism stories.

You'll have to take that up with the author, who has removed the post. However, she does seem to accept that she was in the wrong.

Quote

Ms Ramsden has published an apology for her blog.

She said: "I have taken the decision to step down as Labour Party candidate for Gordon, following criticism of a blog written at the height of the bombardment of Gaza by the government of Israel.

"I can see why many Jewish people have been hurt by my words.

"That was never my intention and I apologise unreservedly."

Link for context:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50338256

Quote

I also happen to think the line about the state of Israel becoming an abuser is actually a pretty good analogy.

See, now that's even more problematic, because you're endorsing this analogy despite apparently accepting that it causes offence and has anti-Semitic implications. Is it that you somehow think the analogy is so good that it justifies the anti-Semitism*, or is it that you just don't accept that it has any anti-Semitic connotations after all? Neither is a good look.

 

* pro tip: no analogy is so good that it justifies bigotry.

Edited by mormont

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50 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Neither does deliberately whitewashing and excusing the behaviour of a country engaged in colonialism, territorial seizure in violation of international agreements and ramping up international tensions, all to score a few domestic political points.

 

 

I don't defend the Israeli government.  But, for anyone to compare their actions to the Holocaust is crass.

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The whole conversation about Israel is a poisonous minefield and its almost impossible to have a reasoned conversation on the topic without one side or another making accusations about what the other meant. 

Its easily possible to be appalled by Israels policies, whilst still veering away from comparing them to Nazi Germany or talking about genocides. 

And while we should all be careful about the language we use, there is a point at which the use of the 'dog whistle' becomes very unhelpful and is nothing more than a tool to shut people up. If for instance you might suggest that there were groups lobbying in the US to influence foreign policy in the middle east , then you could easily be accused of using the old 'Israel lobby' and ' Jews acting behind the scenes' dog whistle (I've seen this used numerous times). Yet there are lobbying groups for Israel in the US, in the same way there are groups lobbying for Saudi Arabia, lobbying is massive over there. 

It just becomes too difficult to discuss real issues, when there are certain people who only want to argue in bad faith and through the use of telepathy, tell others what they are saying when they say something.

Edited by Heartofice

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On 11/8/2019 at 11:58 PM, A Horse Named Stranger said:

1. North London Metropolitan Liberal Elite.

Let's be accurate please. Somehow I have the vague feeling, if somebody from Corbyn's circle had uttered those words, you wouldn't be as dismissive.

2. Nope, it doesn't. Which is kinda my point. I am just pointing out, that you bringing up the very ghastly bits of Corbyn's cult, that has infected the Labour party, while being pretty dismissive about the Tories own racist problems, doesn't feel particularly balanced. I think that's a neutral way to put it (at least I hope so). I am refraining from two explanations,  one being, that you are ok, with one form of racism (Islamophobia from the Tories (the Muslim terrorist trope in various shape and forms)), whie you are appaled by another form racism (anti-semitism as displayed by the Cult of Corbyn); or that you don't really care for either form of racism, but that you just want to weaponize the anti-semitism claim against Labour. Personally I think, it's more of case of not wanting to look too closely at your own (former?) party. But that's obviously speculation on my part.

Anyway, like I said, I find both British parties major parties to be pretty appaling at the moment. And I really don't think either of them have the moral high ground on the issue of racism.

1. If the point you were trying to make is that it is unfair to mention Labour anti-Semitism without mentioning Tory anti-Semitism because of the remark by Patel I do not think this argument is successful. Even if we suppose Patel did mean to make an anti-Semitic dog-whistle (which as others have pointed out is a quite unreasonable thing to assume) this would in no way show the problems the Tories have with anti-Semitism come anywhere near those riddling Labour, where an MP (Lucania Berger) was effectively bullied out of her local association among many other incidents. It is reasonable to take into account the magnitude of the problem here, a few instances in one party do not indicate it has a problem in the way a party with voluminous incidents does. 

And I wouldn't necessarily be as dismissive if NLMLE was uttered by someone from the Labour party because it might be the case the individual would have a history of anti-Semitic remarks (if Chris Williamson said it it would probably be reasonable to think it was anti-Semitic in intent). In addition NLMLE is an odd thing for a left-wing politician to say as LMLE at least is a right-wing populist attack line, so it would be much more curious coming from the Labour frontbench than the Tory one and so you might be more likely to entertain the idea it was intended to be interpreted as an attack on Jews if it came from Labour. 

Regarding the Tory issues with Muslims and other general racism it does seem to me this is not as serious an issue as Labour anti-Semitism because no Muslim/black Tory MP has had to resign on account of racist bullying in their party. In so far as many of our problems stem from Tory Teutonophobia I'm just folding this into Brexit. 

2. Tbh I thought my summary of Boris and Corbyn in the OP was balanced. I think both are unfit to be PM. My preference is to stop Brexit even if it means Corbyn becomes PM, so long as he needs to depend on Liberal votes. If the Tories were somehow convinced to drop Brexit as the price of maintaining power (either by DUP or Liberals) I would prefer this to PM Corbyn, but I think it is very unlikely to happen so I do actually want the Labour + SNP + Liberal circus otherwise, even though I fear it will end in disaster one way or the other. 

 

Edited by Chaircat Meow

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But the Tory party at large has their own problems with racism. Johnson has a very clear history of using racist language, and he is not even hiding it from The Spectator and pretty much Telegraphed it to the world, so to speak. And this has been brought up again and again, most recently during his Tory leadership bid. Yet, the Tory membership overwhelmingly voted him in as party leader. I mean, either they were okay with it, they agreed with it, or at the very least thought his racism wasn't a deal breaker. And no, the it was a joke defense does not fly.

So to argue that Labour is morally compromised by the ongoing anti-semitism scandals is true, while it's also a bit rich coming as an argument from a party that has put Johnson in charge. Like I said, I find Tories and Labour to be pretty appaling atm, and I don't think the Tory party has a leg moral leg to stand on in this debate. Esp. not if you look at the other stories concerning Tory members mormont linked. So in that context this Corbyn is a dangerous anti-semite feels a bit like mere political point scoring.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

For their policies on territories which do not belong to them by their own admission (if they haven't annexed it this afternoon with Trump's nod and wink, which is entirely possible), by holding entire civilian populations prisoner by force of arms, by withholding humanitarian aid, colonising said territories and using national security as a convenient excuse to hide behind whenever they need to excuse the murder of civilians?

Saying it's on the same scale as the Holocaust is clearly not accurate, but suggesting this is merely "problematic" is grossly underestimating the scale of the situation. These are war crimes, plain and simple, and it does fit the international definition of ethnic cleansing.

I mean, “problematic” is a neutral word, I’m pretty sure it can encompass war crimes if you want it to.  I’m not going to go into the reasons why this arguably doesn’t constitute war crimes, suffice to say I don’t condone Israel’s behaviour either.

In any case, the fact that the situation may be more serious than I’m suggesting obviously doesn’t make it more acceptable to use careless or prejudiced language to describe it, which is more the point I was making.

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In other news, Labour are apparently going to cost us £1.2 trillion in the next five years and we should all totally trust this as accurate, obviously

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"The Real Meaning of the Brexit Debate"

THE POLITICS OF PAIN
Postwar England and the Rise of Nationalism
By Fintan O’Toole

Author is Irish.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/books/review/the-real-meaning-of-the-brexit-debate.html

Quote

 

....There could be no better guide to the murky labyrinth that has brought us here than “The Politics of Pain,” by Fintan O’Toole, a quizzical, acerbic Irishman who bears a passing physical resemblance to Samuel Beckett and who deploys more than a little of Beckett’s frosty irony. For O’Toole, “Brexit is at heart an English nationalist project.” Opinion polls have shown that Scotland and Ireland can go hang, as far as Brexotics are concerned. They are devout believers in English exceptionalism. It was embarrassingly obvious that they never had a plan for what was to happen after Brexit, because they weren’t really interested in the E.U. They were interested only in England. These were the people who never stopped resenting that, despite its heroics in World War II, England should have come down in the world, while remaining convinced that in some indefinable but ineradicable way it was still superior, and deserved better than to be submerged as one ordinary middle-sized nation among 27 others.

Out of this weird mind-set (which has possessed somewhere between a third and a half of English voters all through Britain’s membership in the E.U.) arose an even weirder politics, led by the weirdest character ever to reach Downing Street....

 

 

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1 hour ago, HelenaExMachina said:

In other news, Labour are apparently going to cost us £1.2 trillion in the next five years and we should all totally trust this as accurate, obviously

I haven’t read it and I’m sure it will get picked apart but there is a website for that

https://www.costofcorbyn.com/

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14 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I haven’t read it and I’m sure it will get picked apart but there is a website for that

https://www.costofcorbyn.com/

Yes, because we should all trust the Tory party's "analysis" of labour policies when they're doing anything and everything to distract from the report on Russian funding of the leave campaign, and the Cockwomble's inappropriate actions as mayor of London (and the hush-up that would otherwise be the lead story everywhere today)

Edited by Which Tyler

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Its almost like the narrative that Brexit is English nationalism and a longing for Empire is an ignorant and incorrect one. Who'd have thought that from the NY Times.

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29 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Its almost like the narrative that Brexit is English nationalism and a longing for Empire is an ignorant and incorrect one. Who'd have thought that from the NY Times.

About Wales.

It's almost like a NYT article is based on an observable reality. It's almost like some people don't like that narrative and ignore stuff that supports it. Who would have thought that?

 

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13 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Again, another odd narrative. A majority of the welsh constituencies voted for Brexit, so the Welsh must be overrun with the English in that case.

Only a couple voted overwhelmingly for remain too, most notably Cardiff, that big capital city.
 

Almost like the Guardian wants to spin another false narrative about Brexit. 

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23 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

 

But the Tory party at large has their own problems with racism. Johnson has a very clear history of using racist language, and he is not even hiding it from The Spectator and pretty much Telegraphed it to the world, so to speak. And this has been brought up again and again, most recently during his Tory leadership bid. Yet, the Tory membership overwhelmingly voted him in as party leader. I mean, either they were okay with it, they agreed with it, or at the very least thought his racism wasn't a deal breaker. And no, the it was a joke defense does not fly.

 

You are not wrong. But this is not just the Tories, but conservative parties all across Europe.

At the moment HM Govt has a Home Minister and Finance Minister (Chancellor of the Exchequer - and his Chief Secretary of the Treasury as well FWIW) who are of South Asian descent and the ruling party's chairman (admittedly a ceremonial role) is Black. Tokenism? Maybe. Lack of other candidates given a party internal purge? Maybe. But it's not bad. It's already better than anywhere else in Europe. Labour can likely improve on Black representation, and possibly Muslim representation, but my point Britain has come further than anyone else in Europe, including France.

Yes having a close relationship with your former colonies means the dynamic is different in the UK and in France and the fact that say the first Turkish-German MP was elected in 1993 and the first Muslim CDU MP in 2013 has to be viewed in that context (Yes, I know what the 'C' stands for, but isn't that itself remarkable?) Likely the first generation of migrants in Europe outside of the UK and France were not well educated etc etc, but still Sajid and Sadiq's dads weren't either. (Boris's ancestor and Nasser Hussein's dad obviously were).

I'm not accusing all of European (conservative) elites (can I say old money? It should not be construed as anti-Jewish as outside of France there aren't really any meaningful Jewish communities on the continent, survivors of the Nazi holocaust kindly bundled off to Palestine that was home to Arab communities settled there for hundreds of years, inevitably to engage in what is an existential struggle for both sides, while everyone here can sit and go tut-tut) of racism. At an abstract level, they are not, maybe patronising, but when confronted with actual immigrants in the ground, the reactions can be pretty interesting to watch.

So while the ridiculous BoJo articles are deplorable, you would rather take that if he can appoint a diverse cabinet, than someone who might stay PC on record at all times and do jack-all for diversity, which is basically everybody on the continent, except maybe the French (who are still a bit behind I would say).

 

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2 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

In other news, Labour are apparently going to cost us £1.2 trillion in the next five years and we should all totally trust this as accurate, obviously

The figure appears to have been pulled out of the arse of a passing monkey. It seems to assume that Labour will renationalise everything on their first day in office and that all the assets gained by the process (which would be worth tens of billions at the lower end) would immediately, and somewhat inexplicably, become worthless. This is typical Conservative economics, where expanding your asset base is a bad thing (which is why they like flogging them off, preferably to the Chinese), somehow.

It also assumes that every other economic idea in the Labour playbook would be enacted immediately and paid for in advance rather than, say, over two or three terms. There isn't actually enough time or people to actually do that. Labour would have to choose which economic policies to enact and do them one after another, which would spread the cost over a much longer period of time.

The other, typical piece of economic BS in this argument is that by investing in the economy, Labour would not grow the economy, in defiance of logic and precedent. The Conservatives prefer to rip money out of the economy and put nothing back in, and then moan (at length) when the economy stagnates.

Really, this analysis only proves what we already knew: the Conservatives either 1) do not understand how national economics work, or 2) are lying their tits off to score political points and get ahead of the fact that Labour's manifesto policies will be costed and theirs apparently are not (again).

Quote

Its almost like the narrative that Brexit is English nationalism and a longing for Empire is an ignorant and incorrect one. Who'd have thought that from the NY Times.

 

Brexit is rooted in base sentimentality and a very cliched view of the world. It's clearly not rooted in any kind of economic argument (on which it loses every single time) and it's not rooted in any kind of greater geopolitical reality (where Britain's power and influence in the world is always greater within the European Union than outside of it). So the argument that's left is that people "feel" that Britain shouldn't be part of the EU based on some vague idea that it should stand alone, independent etc (you made this argument yourself previously). Talk to Brexiters and you will very quickly get people talking about fishing waters, WWII, not taking orders from Germans and the French and so on. I've heard Brexiters actually say, "Well, we can be an Empire again!" as one of the reasons it'll be better to leave.

The belief in British exceptionalism and English exceptionalism within that context is very strong out there, almost as much as American exceptionalism (but with far, far less cause).

Edited by Werthead

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