back to article Labour wins race to lead UK, but few would envy the load in its tech in-tray

The United Kingdom woke up to the prospect of a new government this morning, but it faces old problems in tech projects, policy, and investment. In policy, there are the challenges following Brexit including how to adapt data protection law, while there are new problems in how – indeed, whether – to create laws addressing the …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wouldn't envy the load in its economic in-tray either. We have two self-inflicted wounds - the long legacy of Brownomics that stopped productivity growth dead and Brexit. Trussonomics can be discounted as a short-lived blip. Covid and Ukraine are a problem shared with other governments but those two are our own.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      " the long legacy of Brownomics"

      The Tories had 14 years to undo that, and didn't, you say? So I doubt that's even real.

      1. Helcat

        You can't undo some things, like Brown selling our gold reserves or raiding the pension pot. Sure, you can start rebuilding our gold reserves, and you can strive to regrow the pension pot, but that'll take money, and Brown left the country rather short on that, thanks.

        So yes, it is real. The effects of the Boom-boom-boom-CRASH of Brownomics is also something that takes a long time to recover from.

        Same way that Labour have the challenge of sorting out the mess the Tories have made. The question is: Are they going to do a better job, make an equal mess of it, ignore it, or make it worse. That's the problem with politics: We don't know until they've tried.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Brown selling our gold reserves or raiding the pension pot. Sure, you can start rebuilding our gold reserves, and you can strive to regrow the pension pot, but that'll take money, and Brown left the country rather short on that, thanks."

          Not that old trope again! Fuckwit Brown sold ~$3B of gold reserves. Which is about 0.1% of GDP. That barely counts as a rounding error in the public finances. It's roughly the amount of money the government spends in a few hours. When the last Liebour government got kicked out, the national debt was around $1.3T. That included the bank bail-outs. Today, it's almost doubled: $2.3T.

          1. GioCiampa
            FAIL

            Is it cliché o'clock?

            "Not that old trope again" - followed up by your own tired cliché that is "Liebour"...

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Yes. He was right about the gold - Brown's decision was correct, and though the timing was unfortunate, the fact it could be unfortunate illustrates that Brown was spot on to sell it. The rest is childish.

        2. unimaginative

          More importantly running up off-balance sheet debt through PFI

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            A long and well established Tory policy…

            1. Like a badger

              "A long and well established Tory policy…"

              Rubbish. Invented by the Tories, but then seized on by Gordo, who used it to ladle circa £60bn of really expensive debt on the NHS. Which just goes to show that in policy terms, you couldn't slide a credit card into the gap between Conservative and Labour.

    2. tmTM

      They've got the majority in Parliament to do something about the problems arising from Brexit.

      I'm not talking about re-joining the EU, but being some part of the single market to boost trade would bring real results.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        I'm not talking about re-joining the EU, but being some part of the single market to boost trade would bring real results.

        I doubt that would be offered, and any attempt to rejoin the EU would be unpopular and probably punitive. It would probably be better to work on boosting trade with Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries instead. But that's also part of our wider economic and industrial policy, ie if we want to boost trade, we need things to trade. Services only get us so far. But like the article says-

        On data policy, Labour will be tempted to gently align with the EU. Despite the passions surrounding Brexit, it's difficult to see the detail of UK data protection law swinging votes one way or another.

        I think last night's results show the votes have thoroughly swung, and they have whips for Commoners. I also think they won't need much temptation. After all, one of the benefits of Brexit was an ability to simply copy parts of EU legislation, and add any opt-outs or carve-outs we want. So as a minimum, we'll need to comply with EU data policy given trade and data sharing, but could also strengthen (or more likely weaken) parts we don't like. And it'll be 5yrs before we can do anything about that.

        I also think incoming cabinet ministers and HoDs have more than enough on their plates sorting out all that IT mess. Plus some other potential EU fun. So re-constituting British Rail by nationalising rail franchises as those expire. Given the number owned by EU entities, that'll probably raise state aid complaints as gravy trains get derailed. Shame Labour isn't talking about going further and renationalising other utilities, but it's potentially got Thames Water as a starter.

        1. wallyhall

          I'm not saying this based on my view of whether the EU is a good thing or not: I will be interested to see if the EU survives the next 10 years.

          Presently, given what's happening across the EU politically, I wouldn't be surprised if there is no EU for the UK to rejoin/align/trade with, by the end of the next (2029->) government term.

          I always wondered how the Roman Empire, and all the other empires which "ruled the world" came to be nothing but memories - perhaps I'm witnessing one such means.

          1. Helcat

            There's a habit of them getting complacent, then decadent, and then they start to crumble.

            It's the adage of Bad times make strong people. Strong people make times good. Good times make weak people. Weak people make bad times. Basically it's a cycle.

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Are you talking about the UK or have you started to believe the EU is an Empire.

            Or are you just a bit funny.

            1. wallyhall

              <blockquote> Are you talking about the UK or have you started to believe the EU is an Empire.

              Or are you just a bit funny.</blockquote>

              “Yes.”

              I won’t bother expanding on that.

            2. Justthefacts Silver badge

              Of course the EU is an empire. Empires come in all types. The Napoleonic empire was colonial, fought and won by military adventure. The colonial British empire was a mixture between military and commercial adventurism. The Austro-Hungarian empire? The Holy Roman Empire? Qing dynasty China “all under heaven”? Ottoman Empire was not the same type of empire as the Roman Empire. The “how” (republic / monarchy / religion / military / trade) is much less important than the power relation between edge and centre; the Ts and Cs between local peasantry & local administrators, and between administrators to royal court.

              The central features of an empire are: central control; law-making, standards-setting, control of money supply; flow of money and goods from the periphery to a wealthy centre; methods of enforcement; appointment of local governors by central authority; a royal court (whatever they call it) where all the actual decision-making and negotiation is done; ambitions to expand its territory.

              By *every* measure above, the EU is an empire.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Starmer won't renationalise anything. He will just set up some complex scam to redirect public money to his mates. It is easy to see how they lost over 3 million votes compared to 2017 with populist claptrap like GB Energy.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            On behalf of Michelle Mone, Lord Ashcroft and Matt Hancocks's publican, I would like to suggest: right conclusion, wrong party.

          2. Justthefacts Silver badge

            What about populist claptrap like *EDF Energy* then? Are you against that too? Wholly owned by the French state. Or are you only against it when the U.K. government does it?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Électricité de France is an actual state owned energy company which actually generates electricity using infrastructure they own. GB Energy is a private public investment company that will funnel taxpayer money to private companies and will have no actual assets.

              1. Justthefacts Silver badge

                That’s not the policy the Labour Party actually announced:

                “although it will not be an energy retail company, it will generate power in its own right, as well as owning, managing and operating clean power projects alongside private firms.”

                I think you’ve been playing the old game of “Tories and Lib Dems announce Labour’s policies”

                A bit like when Sunak announced that Starmer was going to raise taxes by £5k, live on national TV, Starmer being confused by what the f* he’s talking about, somehow that’s Starmers fault.

                https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c9xxpypr8d0o.amp

              2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                I've heard this one before. The next line is 'and did you know Starmer is actually married to a Jew? Point proven!'

                It's such a thin veil over an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Who do you expect to fool?

          3. Binraider Silver badge

            If you knew the GB energy market, you would understand that GB Energy is a really, really good idea to bring down energy prices, while not scaring off half the country with renationalisation. Or the cost of it.

            That the latter would actually be a good thing is not lost on me, but small steps.

            The TOCs are going to be gradually reabsorbed too. Considering 7 are already state owned it really won't be that much of a shock to take the others off.

            But such is the fear mongering that anonymous folks like yourself cower in fear of changing things in areas that are so obviously in need of change.

        3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          "if we want to boost trade, we need things to trade. Services only get us so far."

          That isn't true. Some of the world's richest (and/or fastest growing) economies rely almost entirely on exporting services.

          As far as Brexit goes, the one trade benefit of leaving the EU is the ability to drop tariffs - so of course we haven't done that. It's a no-brainer in terms of economic growth to unilaterally abolish all tariffs, but unfortunately politicians have managed to hoodwink voters into supporting what are nothing more than harmful domestic taxes, and would have trouble raising the same revenue any other way.

          1. unimaginative

            > As far as Brexit goes, the one trade benefit of leaving the EU is the ability to drop tariffs - so of course we haven't done that.

            We have lowered some though. I think some of the ones of foods might be quite important in cost of living terms.

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            "the ability to drop tariffs ".

            It's a bit more complicated than you seem to understand, if you want to save your industry and food production and such.

            The EU has dropped taxes to zero for the worlds poorest countries to help them knowing it cannot harm the EU much.

            There is no way to make Brexit a success for Britain.

            PS. Try to name "Some of the world's richest (and/or fastest growing) economies rely almost entirely on exporting services.". Countries comparable at least slightly to Britain. Drop Monaco for instance, and similar.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              I wrote that quite badly. I should have said 'rely on services', not 'exporting services' - though the same is broadly true in terms of what is being exported, but larger countries usually have large domestic economies.

              https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.SRV.TOTL.ZS?most_recent_value_desc=true

              https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-of-services-in-total-exports?country=OWID_WRL~GBR~JPN~IND~DEU~Upper-middle-income+countries~Middle-income+countries~Lower-middle-income+countries~Low-income+countries~High-income+countries~SGP~USA

              "There is no way to make Brexit a success for Britain."

              No, but there are more and less harmful ways to do it. If it's going to be done at all, then it's simple common sense to maximise the upsides while minimising the downsides. That means unilateral free trade, liberal immigration policies, and so-on.

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            > “Some of the world's richest (and/or fastest growing) economies rely almost entirely on exporting services.

            As far as Brexit goes, the one trade benefit of leaving the EU is the ability to drop tariffs”

            The trouble is the tariffs than be dropped are those that raise the prices of foreign goods being purchased in the UK; Brexit had the effect of raising barriers and tariffs on the services we sell to others, such as financial services - the mainstay of the UK economy, and any in-person services such as operating a European centre of excellence in say AI from the UK…

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              That's the bullshit the politicians use to sell tariffs to voters - once again, they're a domestic tax. We have no reason to care what taxes other countries impose on their citizens. Despite the claims, they don't actually affect us.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                I suggest you try and run a UK based IT consultancy/systems integration company that sells into the EU…

                By leaving the EEA, the UK chose to permit the EU to impose WTO tariffs on UK sales to the EU, rather than the more favourable EEA/EU tariffs…

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  Your personal interests are irrelevant to a discussion of macroeconomic effects. If you won't sell elsewhere instead, someone else will. The EU is the economy that suffers, not the UK.

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Leaving the EU hasn’t made it any easier selling UK IT services (ie. uk nationals paying UK taxes etc.) into other countries…

                    Remember Thatcher’s whole point of forming the common market/EEA was to make it easier for UK businesses to trade with its immediate neighbours…

                    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                      I don't know why you think leaving the EU should make selling into other countries any easier. It's entirely irrelevant. You said something about your personal business, and I explained why that doesn't affect the macroeconomics I taught you.

                      1. Roland6 Silver badge

                        “ That isn't true. Some of the world's richest (and/or fastest growing) economies rely almost entirely on exporting services.”

                        Clearly the UK doesn’t intend being one of these, otherwise it would be have and be taking actions to make it easier to export services, which does impact the macroeconomic effects you are going on about…

                        >” As far as Brexit goes, the one trade benefit of leaving the EU is the ability to drop tariffs”

                        Tariff aren’t the only barrier, we’ve seen this with the massive increase in paperwork needed to trade with the EEA (that is both EEA businesses selling to the Uk and UK businesses selling to the EEA).

                        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                          I have no idea what point you're trying to make, or why you're banging on about stuff I never mentioned.

            2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              When beings know what realities need to be done and how IT and AI simply do them ......

              operating a European centres of excellence in say AI from the UK… .... Roland6

              ...... that’s one almighty prime heavenly extra-terrestrial body and diabological celestial soul gig able to be operated from anywhere imaginable, Roland6, extraordinarily rendering Futures Markets and AIdVenturing Derivatives temporally and virtually and practically and physically untouchable and intangible and relatively anonymous and autonomous ‽ .

              And shared as a question there should you be in denial and wish to disagree whilst IT and AI plans collapse and reprogram everything and everyone around you in Greater IntelAIgent Game Plays heralding Brave New More Orderly Ordered World to Populate and Provision/Colonise and Administer/Mentor and Monitor once your madness accepts utter defeat in the face over the overwhelming evidence of increasingly wwwidespread, publicly available intelligence and both novel and noble and sensitive secret type NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive information confirming the contrary .... Real Sp00key at a Distance Quantum Communications Shit.

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
                Mushroom

                Re: When beings know what realities need to be done and how IT and AI simply do them ......

                Did anyone disagreeing with the above, and venturing an anonymous cowardly silent downvote, not get the recent elite memo on such as be the strangest of postmodern things ........ Klaus Schwab Says Humanity Must Be "Forced Into Collaboration" With Globalist Elites ...... although I do wonder what Klaus Schwab has been toking to get that simple statement so wrong and reversed? A Senior Biden Presidential Type Moment, Klaus?

                How long do you imagine it took AI, or will it take AI if you are prone to the delusional denial of the bleeding leading edge obvious, to understand and construct and deploy the answers which exploit reward and enjoy the pleasures continually provided and remotely delivered via the persistent failings and inherent weaknesses of humankind, and do you think Labour winning the race to lead UKGBNI will result in anything being any different and significantly better for you?

                Methinks you can file those questions in the Holy Grail folder, should you have such a one.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Foundations of Geopolitics

          > Jellied Eel: "I doubt that would be offered, and any attempt to rejoin the EU would be unpopular and probably punitive. It would probably be better to work on boosting trade with Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries instead."

          Far be it for me to accuse you of being biased, but having achieved one of its primary goals- the division of the EU and separation of the UK from it- it would indeed be undesirable for Russia (and for someone best-known for posting their consistently pro-Russian point of view) to see that relationship rebuilt and all their progress undone, wouldn't it?

          Far better to push the Brexiteer fantasy that the UK should- and, more importantly, could- pick up with the Commonwealth countries just as if nothing had changed since the final days of the empire.

          Not that, I suspect, it matters whether that's true or not so much as whether it's sufficient to distract from the idea that the UK should repair its ties with the EU.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

            You really give Russia a lot of credit that it doesn't deserve. The UK is still in NATO and still one of the few nuclear powers on this side of the pond. Being in or out of the EU has little bearing on what Russia gets up to as we didn't use the Euro and were not big importers of their gas.

            What Russia HAS done is fund the green movement in Europe and the UK which is how we ended up in this mess.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

              I never said I was giving them all the credit. But that's certainly something they wanted, and no doubt put effort towards, however much- or little- of the final outcome was actually a result of that. And I've no doubt they wouldn't want to see it reversed.

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

              > The UK is still in NATO

              And Trump is threatening to withdraw from NATO, without the US standing behind the UK and France, there is no NATO worth talking about; a state of affairs that would suit Putin…

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                Maybe, just maybe, Europe should not have been so keen to suckle up to the US and outsource its defence to the US? Trump was quite correct when saying that some of the other NATO nations were not pulling their weight.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  The perverse irony is that Trump's threats to cut off countries supposedly not pulling their weight - and numerous other comments- *do* show that Europe must invest more in its own defences regardless.

                  Not to placate what he demands, but because such threats alone make clear that the US can no longer be reliably trusted to deliver when we need it.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                    The perverse irony is that Trump's threats to cut off countries supposedly not pulling their weight - and numerous other comments- *do* show that Europe must invest more in its own defences regardless.

                    Yep, and this could be a good thing. A lot depend on what Trump means by 'pulling their weight'. If that means blindly following along with US misadventures, not getting involved could be a good thing. Downside is those misadventures tend to impact the EU anyway. So Libya being a classic example, or Syria, Afghanistan etc. The US started a pivot towards the Pacific under Obama though, which isn't really NATO's domain. If the US wants to leave NATO though, that's up to the US. If the EU seriously considers Russia as a military threat, the EU can build up it's military to counter it.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                      Trump is a Russian shill though, and (as the AC who made the comment you were replying to) while I stand by what I said, that doesn't mean it was the scenario I wanted to see, and I'm damn sure that outcome would be to the satisfaction of Russia (and pro-Russians like yourself) whose modus operandi under Putin has always been divide-and-conquer.

                    2. werdsmith Silver badge

                      Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                      A lot depend on what Trump means by 'pulling their weight'

                      Buying a lot of US military hardware, expending it in conflicts, then buying more to replace it.

                      "Come guys, join us firing your stock of $4m each Tomahawks at these important targets. Raytheon are happy to sell you some more.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                        "Come guys, join us firing your stock of $4m each Tomahawks at these important targets. Raytheon are happy to sell you some more.

                        Patriots are much better. Around $4-5m a pop, and it's recommended to fire 2 at each incoming target to improve hit probability. Current production is around 550 missiles a year, with plans to increase production to 600. Russia's launching around 400 missiles & drones a month into Ukraine. That math ain't great for Ukraine, but is absolutely wonderful for Raytheon's shareholders.

                        1. Casca Silver badge

                          Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                          Yea, because Ukraine only have Patriots...sure..

                2. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  It is t just “Europe”, it is the UK, remember Thatcher preferred to buy and thus increase our dependence on the US than maintain a (or build a “world class”) UK defence industry…

                  Looks like the UK needs to get closer to France, who have maintained so level of independence from the US…

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                    Incorrect. The rot started in 1964 with the Harold Wilson govt and their plan to buy US aircraft rather than what was being offered by the UK aircraft manufacturers.

                    Our ability to f things up also relates back to our state ownership of various services. BOAC was originally state owned and they had a habit of ordering very specific types of aircraft. So the manufacturers designed them specifically to suit BOAC and that didn't suit any other airline. Comet, Trident, VC10 to name a few.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                      Some points

                      BOAC - nicknamed Boeing Only A... C.... for its tendency to buy Boeing.

                      Comet was the first jet airliner, and flew 8 years before the 707. If it had not had its structural problems it is likely it would have entered service with more airlines.

                      VC10 was designed for specific airport types that other aircraft had difficulty using - the "hot and high" ones.

                  2. Binraider Silver badge

                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                    The US/UK military industrial complex is well established, and Trump or not, is not going anywhere.

                    The USAF and USMC are as dependent on BAe as the UK is on a bunch of USian contactors. MBDA gives certain elements of UK/EU arms independence though volume production is not one of them. And one that is desperately needed. (Pretty much irrespective of your political alignment, that one is true).

            3. Binraider Silver badge

              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

              Nonsense. Gazprom and rest of the Russian oil network had a vested interest in NOT letting us off the hook for gas.

              Windmills threaten their only significant source of income.

              And that's a good thing.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                "Windmills threaten their only significant source of income."

                The reality being that they make you more dependant on gas. Especially in Germany where you can get long periods of virtually zero wind.

                1. Binraider Silver badge

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  Tosh, good anonymous sir. How does using less, most of the time increase gas usage?

                  Your maths qualifications appear to be in need of improvement.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                    I never said you used more. That is your incorrect reading of my comment. I said it makes you more dependant. This is because when the wind dies down, as it often does, you either run out of power OR you switch to a backup. That backup is most commonly natural gas.

                    1. Binraider Silver badge

                      Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                      That is not an increased dependency. If there were no windmills full stop, that WOULD be an increased dependency on gas; because there's bugger all else.

                      Keep digging.

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

            Far be it for me to accuse you of being biased..

            Which of course you've just done..

            ..but having achieved one of its primary goals- the division of the EU and separation of the UK from it-

            Once upon a time, the EU economy was larger than the US. Once upon a time, Ass Sec Nuland was chewing the fat with the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Pyatt, and famously said 'fsck the EU!'. Which she's done. The EU used to do a lot of business with Russia, and stronger trade/economic ties would have resulted in both countries becoming stronger. Now, the EU's lost that trade, it's economy(s) are extremely fractured and if it continues with it's previous policies, is likely heading for collapse.

            The thing about geopolitics is that nations act in their own interests. And it's been in the US's interests to weaken the EU. Russia, of course saw this coming, planned for it, and things haven't entirely worked out the way Obama and the US Neocons intended. There may be a growing realisation of this in Washington, and attempts to wash their hands of yet another ill considered foreign policy misadventure. Plus there's the consolation prize that offloading the problem onto the EU will cause the EU to implode faster.

            it would indeed be undesirable for Russia (and for someone best-known for posting their consistently pro-Russian point of view) to see that relationship rebuilt and all their progress undone, wouldn't it?

            Like many useful idiots, you seem to see the world in binary. If I'm not with UK, EU, US or Ukrainian policy, I'm somehow 'pro-Russian'. I simply point out that this 'color revolution' or coup in a can hasn't gone the way it was intended, and as been an utter clusterfunk. And it was entirely predictable. Russia probably couldn't care less if we were in or out of the EU, because it makes no difference. We're back in a Cold War, relations between the EU and Russia are at an all time low (give or take previous wars with Russia, like <cough> the Crimean War, 1853 edition) aren't likely to improve any time soon. So Russia's been busily getting on with replacing the EU with new trade deals and alliances. Like BRICS, with 54 or so countries waiting in the wings to join that.

            Far better to push the Brexiteer fantasy that the UK should- and, more importantly, could- pick up with the Commonwealth countries just as if nothing had changed since the final days of the empire.

            Well, the Remnants fantasy is that the EU should have exclusive (in)competency over trade matters, and the EU will act in the UK's interests. Not France. Or Germany. Sure, things changed with the Commonwealth since we joined first the EEC, then Federal Europe. Countries like Australia and New Zealand got hammered by that decision, losing a big trade partner and finding quotas and tariffs imposed on their exports to the UK. Post-EU, we were free to do deals like AUKUS, which had the added benefit of really upsetting the French.

            ...whether it's sufficient to distract from the idea that the UK should repair its ties with the EU.

            Poor choice of words. It's rarely been a good idea to tie yourself to a sinking ship. Plus there's not exactly any rush, in fact a lot of good reasons to maybe wait a decade and see if there's still an EU left to join.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

              The US has more to gain from the breakup of the EU than Russia. The US had a lot to gain from the stoppage of nordstream.

              In the last 4 years the US has more than doubled its LNG exports and European countries are their biggest customers.

              The EU imposes regulations on US tech companies which hurts profits and backhanders.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                > The US has more to gain from the breakup of the EU than Russia.

                Possibly, in the very short term.

                Remember part of the Russian desire for eastern Ukraine is to take over a major producer of grain to the world…

                Similarly, I suspect Russia’s oil and gas reserves will still be significant when the US are struggling…

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  Remember part of the Russian desire for eastern Ukraine is to take over a major producer of grain to the world…

                  I doubt that. Russia's been a much larger producer of grains and pretty much all agriculture since it modernised it's agriculture sector. But agriculture is one of the areas where Ukraine got screwed over by the EU with quotas and regulations to protect the EU's existing agriculture sector. Then again, with the whole 'eat bugs and be happy' thing, the EU will need more land to grow vegetables etc and EU and US agribusiness will be able to pick up land cheap in any bankruptcy sale. Ukraine's already defaulted on a couple of rounds of bonds, some from the IMF. That kind of asset flip worked out well for the IMF and Germany before, not so well for Greece.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

              > "Far be it for me to accuse you of being biased.." Which of course you've just done..

              Well, exactly. :-)

              To be honest, it didn't occur to me that it *wouldn't* have been obvious that I was being tongue-in-cheek there. So... yes, *of course* I was accusing you of being biased!

              > "to distract from the idea that the UK should repair its ties with the EU." Poor choice of words. It's rarely been a good idea to tie yourself to a sinking ship.

              Sounds like exactly the type of wording one would use to describe social, political, economic etc connections between people or groups. Obviously if you want to contrive different connotations to suit the point you wanted to make, well... I can't pre-empt every possible way someone might want to twist a particular phrase to suit themselves.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                So... yes, *of course* I was accusing you of being biased!

                As long as you can recognise your own bias, this is fine. Using emotive terms like 'Brexiteer' demonstrates your bias, as does my use of 'Remnant'. You are still bitter that democracy resulted in the UK leaving the tender embraces of the EU. You have a very defeatist attitude that the UK can't survive without the EU telling us how to live, and how to run our country. I think Brexit allows the UK to act in the UK's interests, which may not necessarily align with the EU.

                AUKUS was a great example, a trilateral deal between the UK, US and Australia to develop nuclear submarines and technology transfer with Australia to develop their capability. Australia is currently a bit limited as it's declared itself a nuclear-free zone, but that can be changed. If it does, Australia stands to benefit greatly given the push for SMRs. Australia is a lot like Russia, ie it's very rich in natural resources, including uranium, and probably a carpton of 'rare' earths. There have also been rumors that Japan and Canada may join AUKUS in part, and Canada is also very rich in resources. But that's the kind of deal that stands to benefit the UK, but would have been impossible in the EU given they claim exclusive (in)competency wrt trade. Especially as France already had a deal with Australia, but wasn't delivering and the terms of that deal were far more limited.

                I can't pre-empt every possible way someone might want to twist a particular phrase to suit themselves.

                But you love to twist words. There has however been a great example of the problems with the EU however. So the EU President, Victor Orban met recently with both Ukraine and Russia to discuss peace plans. The EU President, Charles Michel objected, saying the EU President Orban had no mandate to engage with Russia and talk peace. The EU President, Ursula von der Leyen also criticised the EU President Orban, saying "Appeasment will not stop Russia (Putin)".

                So a curious situation with three EU Presidents, one wanting peace and some restoration of normality with Russia, previously a large and lucrative trading partner with the EU. But the other two Presidents want dead Ukrainians instead, and to continue the economic war with Russia that the EU is currently losing. The UK is currently out of this shitshow and can act wrt Ukraine and Russia as we see fit. Sadly that seems to be on the side of killing more Ukrainians. They have 14, count'em, 14! new battalions of hastily trained conscripts that only need more weapons before they can be thrown under Russia's guns in a repeat of last year's glorious Spring.. I mean Summer counter offensive.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  "Brexiteer" is an emotive term? On the contrary, it's little more than an extension of "Brexit" and seems like a fair and unbiased description of those in favour of and working towards Brexit.

                  If what it relates to brings up negative emotions, that's not my fault or responsibility, it's theirs, and yours.

                  At least have the guts to own it.

                  1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                    I've never liked Brexiteer as a term. Quitling seems like a better word to me.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  Meant to reply to this too...

                  > UK [..] can act wrt Ukraine and Russia as we see fit. Sadly that seems to be on the side of killing more Ukrainians. They have 14, count'em, 14! new battalions of hastily trained conscripts that only need more weapons before they can be thrown under Russia's guns

                  So it's purely coincidental that you're parroting the stock pro-Russian talking point of feigned concern for Ukrainians dying in the defence of their country while ignoring the plight of countless Russians thrown into the meat grinder as part of the invasion?

                  I mean, not that I'm accusing you of being a pro-Russian shill or anything... oh, wait, that's exactly what I'm doing.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

              Also

              > If I'm not with UK, EU, US or Ukrainian policy, I'm somehow 'pro-Russian'

              Yeah, it's just a coincidence that you frequently parrot pro-Russian talking points, isn't it?

              Maybe you're a conscious shill or maybe you're just a useful idiot who absorbed their propaganda- I'm not sure which, and I'm not sure it matters.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                ...you're just a useful idiot who absorbed their propaganda- I'm not sure which, and I'm not sure it matters.

                Not when I'm 'debating' with an anonymong who doesn't have enough courage to put a name to their words. I could call you a 'nafobot' instead because that's an equally lazy counter to 'putinbot' or similar. But the SMO is characterised by intensive propaganda, as is pretty much every conflict. The hard of thinking just swallow it. Putin bad! Orange man bad! Farage bad! Politics has gone the same way with the same propaganda.

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                  "Putin bad! Orange man bad! Farage bad!"

                  All of those things are true, though. Putin is an evil dictator. Trump is dreadful. Farage is paid by Russia. Those are _bad things_.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                    All of those things are true, though. Putin is an evil dictator. Trump is dreadful. Farage is paid by Russia. Those are _bad things

                    The Clintons were paid by Russia. So were the Bidens. Trump may be dreadful, but he's arguably less dreadful than Biden. Putin's an elected leader, Zelensky was elected, but his term's expired. Starmer might be evil, but has just been elected to lead the UK. He didn't exactly do a great job in the past, ie his performance running the DPP (I know nothing!, wasn't my fault! Saville who?) but maybe he'll do better as PM. It'd be hard to do worse than the last 5(?) we had in quick succession, and in <5yrs we get a chance to vote on his performance.

                    But according to our media 'experts', The Putin died years ago because he suffered from multiple fatal illnesses. According to 'inside sources' anway. Ok, much the same people that happily bilked Steele to write his dubious dossier about Trump. Which the media also swallowed wholesale. One strange aspect to those bits of propaganda were the pee & poop parts. Written by juveniles, for juveniles..

                    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                      Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                      Now you're just repeating absurd conspiracy theories. And a few inanities. Trump isn't 'arguably less dreadful than Biden' except to Trump nuts who lie about what Trump is. Biden is hardly a good choice, but he's still clearly and obviously better than an incontinent populist liar/strongman-wannabe and convicted felon.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                        Now you're just repeating absurd conspiracy theories.

                        Nope. Clintons-

                        https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html

                        Bidens.. Well, they were mostly helping the CCP via BHR, but there was also an alleged deal via Rosemont Seneca for $3.5m from Elena Baturina. Well, I mean Rosemont Seneca Thornton because that's an entirely different SPV and not at all related to the Rosemont Seneca that Hunter Biden founded. But that stuff is still under investigation. As is how the crack head ended up taking money from Ukraine. Given the amount the Bidens have given back, that was a remarkably shrewd investment on Ukraine's part.

                        ...but he's still clearly and obviously better than an incontinent populist liar/strongman-wannabe and convicted felon

                        Erm.. really? That isn't what a lot of Democrats, and especially Democrat donors are saying. Biden's even copied Trump's fake tan, and gave another train-wreck performance on the 4th of July. And as for incontinent, anyone who's had to look after an elderly relative knows exactly what Joe's D-Day 'looking for a chair' performance was all about, and why Jill hurriedly whisked him away. Once a Biden baby sitter, always a Biden baby sitter I guess.

                        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                          Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                          Your source does not support your claims about the Clintons. Repeating the same tired old nonsense about Joe Biden is also not proof of anything, except that you believe the things loony Trump nuts believe without a shred of evidence.

                          "That isn't what a lot of Democrats, and especially Democrat donors are saying."

                          Of course it is. The only argument is about whether there's someone more likely than Biden to beat Trump in the upcoming election, and/or who would make a better President. Anyone who isn't a loony Trump nut understands that even a dead body propped up in a chair would be better than a second term for Trump.

                          The level of hypocrisy involved in claiming Biden is incontinent, whilst Trump sits around in shit-filled nappies, is staggering. Maybe Biden did have to run to the toilet once. Trump doesn't even bother changing his nappies when he shits himself, it happens so frequently.

                          1. timrowledge

                            Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                            Jellied eel is a regular purveyor of nonsenses and best ignored or blocked

                            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                              Jellied eel is a regular purveyor of nonsenses and best ignored or blocked.

                              Nope, I'm a collector of trolls. Why not practice what you preach and just ignore me? Or better still, explain what you think is nonsense, and join the debate? The world is living in interesting times with the West being lead by someone who just said he beat Trump, and he'll beat him again in 2020. France just played some politics and now has a deadlocked government split between the far left, and the 'far right'. Oh, and Macron, who seems to see himself as the new Emperor of Europe. And the UK is in a bit of a mess, and has rejected one government to replace it with a new one lead by a Prime Minister who's never really demonstrated any leadership.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                Something that people are ignoring is that Mélenchon is a euro sceptic. He is also a raving populist (something people seem to dislike about the right but love about the left), a nationalist (same) and an absolute antisemite.

                                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                  Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                  Something that people are ignoring is that Mélenchon is a euro sceptic. He is also a raving populist (something people seem to dislike about the right but love about the left), a nationalist (same) and an absolute antisemite.

                                  I think he's more an anti-Zionist, but very much a French Nationalist, so whether he'll be able to get France to invade Wallonia and annex that. Unlikely, but French politics has got weird. But he's also a Marxist/Communist, and has been anti-Ukraine & pro-Russia. It's also interesting the way the results are being spun with the Bbc being very coy about describing Mélenchon as far-left, which he almost certainly is.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                    When you're a nationalist and isolationist like he is then denying a different group of people a homeland is pretty bad.

                                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                      Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                      When you're a nationalist and isolationist like he is then denying a different group of people a homeland is pretty bad.

                                      Not sure what you mean, but add 'populist'. On antisemitism, he's arguably been that. France still has hangovers from WW2 and denial of Vichy France's role in the Holocaust, a position he shared with Mitterrand. Mélenchon has also been pro-Palestine and called for a 2-state solution, but then that's also been the position of the UN for a very long time. Given pro-Palestine has become very trendy, that probably got him a few votes. Seems like Macron's going to be a lame duck President though.

                                      1. Anonymous Coward
                                        Anonymous Coward

                                        Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                        "Mélenchon has also been pro-Palestine and called for a 2-state solution"

                                        On the streets the protesters who support him seem to want a 1 state solution.

                                        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                                          Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                          Most of them want a final solution. And yet, Melenchon is still better than Le Pen - but it's 'which entry on the Bristol Stool Scale would sir like for dessert' stuff.

                                          1. Anonymous Coward
                                            Anonymous Coward

                                            Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                            "Most of them want a final solution"

                                            That is exactly what the far left want. The return of the stolen land to its 'original' inhabitants by force over the current occupiers.

                                          2. Anonymous Coward
                                            Anonymous Coward

                                            Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                            Melenchon is still better than Le Pen

                                            Mélenchon is an arrogant, economically-incompetent, anti-semitic asshole, who makes Jeremy Corbyn look like a cuddly tory grandfather.

                                            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                                              Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                              Yes, and still better than Le Pen is. I'll take the people who won't admit to themselves that they're Nazis over the people who lie about what they are to others, because at least the ones lying to themselves accept that it's vile - so if, maybe through some method reminiscent of Clockwork Orange, you could get them to understand what it is they actually believe, they might stop. But, like I said, it's 'choose your favourite from the Bristol Stool Scale' stuff.

                                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale

                                      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                                        Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                        Vanishingly few of the people pretending to be pro-Palestine have ever said anything that is actually about helping Palestinians. They are anti-Israel (and mostly, let's be honest, overtly antisemitic). Ironically moderate Zionists - those who believe in Israel's right to exist, and even military action against Hamas, but don't support the current government - are pretty much the only people who ever express any actual concern for Palestinians, or do anything to support them.

                                        1. Anonymous Coward
                                          Anonymous Coward

                                          Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                          As with all virtue signalling by the political left it is all just performative theatre. The claims at 'the right' are anti Israel have just been deflection for many years and now the mask has finally slipped off and the world can see the true colours.

                                        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                          Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                          Vanishingly few of the people pretending to be pro-Palestine have ever said anything that is actually about helping Palestinians. They are anti-Israel (and mostly, let's be honest, overtly antisemitic).

                                          That's the populism angle. Thousands of protestors march, chant, wave flags and slogans, occupy universities, but a lot of them haven't really got a clue about the politics involved, either for Israel, or especially any wider geopolitics. Some are clearly organised, eg some of the student 'peace camps' had strangely identical tents. Who provided those, and what were that organisation's aims? But that's often the way with protests. It's like in the UK where pretty much any rally on any issue will have useful idiots waving Socialist Worker banners with catchy slogans on them. They probably have no idea what the Socialist Worker's Party stands for, but it's free advertising for them.

                                          They are anti-Israel (and mostly, let's be honest, overtly antisemitic). Ironically moderate Zionists - those who believe in Israel's right to exist, and even military action against Hamas, but don't support the current government

                                          So when Jewish groups march in protest against the actions of the Israeli government, are they also antisemitic? They'll be accused of this, which is somewhat ironic. But the problem is things have become so politicised that any criticism of the Israeli government gets the dog-whistle of antisemitism, even though the criticisms might be valid and justified. But Hamas knew damn well what would happen when they committed their attrocities. Israel had to respond, and with Bibi in charge, they knew how he'd respond, especially with a neocon cabinet. Now there's the risk of escalation, if Israel decides to enter Lebanon. Politicians have tried to enjoin Iran, but Hamas is Sunni, Hezbollah is Shia and they don't exactly get along. There had been some normalisation of relations between the Arab world and Israel, now that's been fractured, exactly as Hamas intended.

                                          Hamas also exploited the geopolitical situation with the West being distracted by Ukraine, and that conflict creating fractures, especially with weak leadership and changes in governments in many of the Western countries. Israel is exploiting that situation as well. Starmer's in a tricky situation given the way Labour was rocked by the accusations against Corbyn.. But we're certainly living in interesting times.

                                          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                                            Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                            Of course Jewish people are just as capable of believing antisemitic things as non-Jews. It's pretty normal that in any oppressed group some of the members come to believe that the oppression is justified by the group's alleged misbehaviour.

                                            "things have become so politicised that any criticism of the Israeli government gets the dog-whistle of antisemitism"

                                            The idea that Jewish people make false allegations of antisemitism for political ends is itself an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

                                            The reality is that some people perceive racism where there is none, but that much more commonly the victims of racism are better placed to spot it than those who are not involved. Speaking specifically about 'criticism of the Israeli government', it's sometimes not antisemitic per se, but usually comes from people who are antisemitic and have said many other antisemitic things; mostly, though, it's just plain old antisemitic. It's notable that despite Israel having a fucked-up government at the moment, most of the criticism purporting to be of it is not based on reality, but on Iranian propaganda.

                                  2. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                    Looks like the BBC _is_ describing him as far left:

                                    "veteran leader of the radical left France Unbowed (LFI), Jean-Luc Mélenchon"

                                    "A veteran firebrand of France's far left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon "

                                    "The new alliance, called Nupes (New Ecological and Social Popular Union) brings together Socialists, Communists and Greens under the leadership of France's far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon."

                                    "The personality and rhetorical flourish of France's far-left leader is part of his coalition's success so far"

                              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                                Re: Foundations of Geopolitics

                                >"And the UK is in a bit of a mess, and has rejected one government to replace it with a new one lead by a Prime Minister who's never really demonstrated any leadership."

                                Just like many previous occupiers of No. 10, regardless of party affiliation, which isn't really any different to many board rooms...

        5. veti Silver badge

          Don't tell me the Brexiter fantasy about "Commonwealth trade links" is still going. I thought surely they must have seen through that one by now.

          Speaking as a Commonwealth resident (and voter), we've got much more important trade partners to think about. The EU, for instance. China. The US. Heck, Mexico and Chile are as important to us as the UK these days. We're not about to go back to being a docile colony.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Whether it is or not, I'm sure it would suit JelliedEel and other pro-Russian, anti-EU voices to keep it alive.

        6. Roland6 Silver badge

          >” It would probably be better to work on boosting trade with Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries instead.”

          If you had kept up, you would know that ship had sailed some years back…

          Although, those former colonies who are interested eg. USA, Oz, India, are only interested in enhancing their exports (of goods and services/people) to the UK…

      2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        ... but being some part of the single market ...

        Well the EU were very clever and have tied up all the loose ends via the TCA (trade and co-op agreement). Remember the photo of Michel Barnier and David Davis? Barnier had a huge pile of papers coz he knows how complex things are, and Davis had nowt coz, well ... muppet is my take.

        The EU are happy they have the UK where they want them, and now don't really care what happens in the UK as they have other issues they want to progress. That means if the UK wants to be involved in a significant part of the Single Market it will have to do something to attract the attention of the EU. And pissing around at the edges simply won't cut it. What the EU will expect are at least two main things: political stability, perhaps created by a change of our electoral system to avoid the volatility of FPTP, such that it doesn't matter what party is in power, nothing related to the EU will change. Business demands long-term stability, and FPTP is currently not offering that. PR?

        And second, it will demand that we accept the four freedoms, and the acquis communitaire. There will be no exception because we don't like Schengen. It will be full Schengen membership (with the corollary that we will have to adopt an ID card system to make that work). Until we are prepared to offer that we will not make big strides to trade again with the EU, and will remain a third country.

        Of course here there will be huge opposition, but over time, and if our economy doesn't significantly improve, there will be internal pressure to accept these things.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

          FPTP is currently not offering that. PR?

          Be careful what you wish for. The LibDems got 3.5m votes and 71 seats (interestingly, that almost exactly corresponds to a proportion of the vote), Reform got 4m votes but only 4 seats. PR would have given Reform more seats than the LDs, and the Reform + Tory seat count would far surpass Labour. Is that really what you want?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            Is what he wants relevant? Surely it should reflect the will of the people. It does where I live, a country with PR.

            1. Justthefacts Silver badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              When I talked to a Lib Dem canvasser about two weeks ago, he explained to me that while PR was still Lib Dem policy “principle”. now was “just not the right time, there were more important things to focus on”.

              Funny that should happen two weeks before the first vote ever when PR would have harmed Lib Dem rather than helped them. Just one of those coincidences, I guess.

          2. Helcat

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            Actually yes: Because that's the beauty of PR: Everyone's vote suddenly counts for something. Currently, if you don't vote for the winning candidate, your vote is simply discarded - it's meaningless. That's why people vote not for the party they want as it matches their values or whose policies are ones they support, but for the party most likely to win against the party they don't want, regardless of the policies proposed.

            That's why Labour won so many seats: The vast majority of people didn't want the Tories back in power. It also does away with this system of moving electoral ward boundaries to gain an advantage - You only need a majority of 1 vote to win a seat? Anything past that one winning vote only has the value of denying that vote for the other candidates. So better to win several seats by a slim margin and lose the other seat by a massive margin.

            Or, to give an example: If you've two parties and three seats, each voted for by 100 people each: If the outcome was Seat 1: 51/49, seat 2: 51/49, Seat 3: 1/99 (party A getting the first number of votes, party B getting the second): Party A wins two seats against 1 seat for Party B, but Party B got 66% of the votes.

            And this isn't about Labour v Tory v Reform: It's about people having confidence that their vote actually makes a difference.

            Problem is: How would PR look: How would it be impliemented: How can we be sure it'd be fair? And no party wants it when they're in power 'cause they wouldn't have that power without FPTP.

            1. Robin

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              I'm all for PR, but it has to be done right and supported.

              They tried[1] this with "Alternative Vote" referendum in 2011. As I recall, the benefits of an alternative to FPTP were not well promoted at all, and voter turnout was pretty low so we just ended up with the same system. In fact in the intervening years it's cropped up in conversation now and again, and several people didn't even know it happened.

              [1] I say they tried; it was massively in their interests for it not to change.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                Yes, few people remember that, and I would imagine few people would remember what on earth was being offered.

                For those who don't know, and who care, on offer was "single transferable vote" (STV). At present you vote for one of the options, and others have pointed out, it often means tactically voting for someone you don't actually want because you'd rather they win than someone you really don't want. Under STV, you number your choices - so you can vote for who you would rather like to be in power even though you know they stand little chance of winning. But you can do that knowing that (assuming they don't win) you can transfer your vote to your second choice - who would probably be the one you would tactically vote for under the present system. And a third choice, and so on, as far as you wish - and subject to rules which might limit the number of alternatives. But it would mean that whoever was elected would genuinely have received more than half the votes cast which usually isn't the case with the current system.

                Compared to PR (proportional representation), it has the advantage that you are still voting for a local representative. Under PR, you are voting for a party, and "your MP" won't necessarily be anyone chosen locally or voted for locally.

                It means minority candidates stand a slightly better chance because people can vote for them without "wasting their vote".

                Looking at the numbers for my constituency, we've changed party - no surprise there. But Reform got a big vote. I reckon, given that people voting Reform tend to be people that would normally vote Conservative, under STV we might have remained conservative - Reform & Conservative between them got a lot more votes than Labour. We also had a rather disappointing turnout - cue a large proportion of people complaining about what we got, but without having had anything to do with deciding what we got. Our MP got just under 25% of the votes available.

                1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  Preferential systems have that advantage of making populist extremism much less likely to succeed.

                  Suppose (for example) you have centre-left, centre-right and far-right candidates. Even if the far-right candidate is more popular than either of the centrists, unless the centre-right supporters are prepared to hold their nose and vote for an extremist, the tendency will be for the extremist to be eliminated on preferences.

                  Add in compulsory voting and you can argue that the government actually reflects the will of the majority of the electorate. A novel idea in a democracy, but you have to start somewhere...

                2. Binraider Silver badge

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  The MMPR variant of PR means you still have named candidates by region.

                  It otherwise fixes the issues of FPTP and STV, in terms of breaking the historical tendency towards only two parties having power.

              2. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                AV wasn't PR. It had all the bad features of FPTP still.

                Put true PR or MMPR on the table and it's a different game.

              3. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                As noted elsewhere, AV still had the same problems of FPTP while adding a few new ones.

                It was poorly thought out, deliberately, to preserve the status quo.

                Put proper PR on the table and we'll talk referendum.

            2. Dave559

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              "How would PR look?"

              We already know what PR looks like because 3 of the 4 parliaments in the UK are elected using PR systems of voting, and have been for quarter of a century, and mostly working well. Yes, there would need to be quite some thought given to the exact system chosen, but almost anything would be better than FPTP, and there would be nothing preventing it from being changed after several electoral cycles if felt necessary.

              The Additional Member System (single member local constituencies + multi-member regions) as used in Scotland and Wales (and in a similar style in the London Assembly, albeit with all of London as only one 'region'), seems to work well.

              The Single Transferable Vote system (with multi-member constituencies, where you rank your preferences), as used in Scottish council elections and for the Northern Ireland Assembly, also seems to work well. I think I slightly prefer this system because you get to rank as many candidates/parties as you prefer, with the satisfaction of knowing that this will definitely contribute to the outcome, whereas AMS (as currently used), from the perspective of the voter, is essentially still a "one-shot" vote for both of the local and regional contituencies, although the result still ends up proportional at the electorate level.

              Even the Alternative Vote (somewhat confusingly named, perhaps "Single Member Ranked Vote" might be a clearer description) would still be some improvement, although not as much as AMS or STV, etc.

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                Out of those 3 devolved bodies, two are run by extreme nationalist parties, and one is Wales, which no-one cares about enough to know what flavour of government they have. The DUP are vile, and the SNP makes a good pretence, but are ultra-nationalist and have presided over Scotland becoming the country with the most (recorded) hate crimes in Europe.

                So, yes. We know what it looks like, and it's awful.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            Well yeah, that's how PR would work. You don't get just what YOU want. Unless you are suggesting PR, but only for parties that YOU approve of?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              The big problem with PR is that it may well give parliamentary representation which matches the share of the vote, but that doesn't necessarily translate into government policies that proportionately match people's wishes. It tends to produce one of two outcomes:

              - similar parties band together to form a coalition government, which has much the same effect as the FPTP result until the parties fall out & trigger an election, usually a frequent occurrence.

              - the smaller parties act as kingmakers on a per-vote basis, supporting party A when they agree with it, or party B when they agree with it. The result is that the small party has a power that far exceeds its proportionate share of the vote.

              Looking at those countries which use PR for parliamentary elections, none of them has significantly better government than those with FPTP.

              1. Lars Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                "Looking at those countries which use PR for parliamentary elections, none of them has significantly better government than those with FPTP."

                Do you care to list those countries in Europe for us.

                "FPTP is one of the simplest electoral systems, and has been used to elect the House of Commons of England (and its successors for Great Britain and the United Kingdom) since the Middle Ages. Its use extends to former British colonies, most notably the United States, Canada, and India."

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-past-the-post_voting

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  People advocating PR really are saying something quite incredible, when you think about it. How do you hold a vote for something or someone? Primary school children know the answer to this: averyone votes, and the person or thing which gets the most votes wins. But no, that way doesn't result in getting what PR-proponents want (because they're part of a small minority), so let's ignore common sense and come up with some absurdly complicated system vulnerable to manipulation, which lets extremists win.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  Do you care to list those countries in Europe for us

                  List-based: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

                  STV: Ireland and Malta

                  Mixed: Andorra, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia

                  FPTP: UK, France

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                    So... that's a bunch of countries that include many that are either run by extremists, or regularly have serious difficulties forming a government. Even the Netherlands currently has a government that incorporates a far-right party as the biggest group. It's obviously a system that is good for the far right, and bad for sane government.

                  2. Roj Blake Silver badge

                    Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                    France doesn't use true FPTP in its elections, as there is a first round and then a run-off round.

              2. Dave559

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                "- similar parties band together to form a coalition government, which has much the same effect as the FPTP result until the parties fall out & trigger an election, usually a frequent occurrence."

                You avoid this problem by requiring parliaments to be of fixed length (which also prevents the incumbents from cynically trying to time elections for when they are doing better, or perhaps less worse, in opinion polls), and requiring exceptional measures, such as a vote of no confidence, before an out-of-cycle election can be called.

                Certainly, in some countries, coalition governments are sometimes less robust than others, but, in Scotland, although most of the governments of the Scottish Parliament have been coalitions, in 25 years, only one, the most recent, has resulted in a particularly acrimonious breakdown (after quite a number of years working quite well together), and even then the largest party (being only just short of being the majority party) is still continuing as a minority government with a new First Minister - although obviously aware that it now faces a much harder task for the remainder of the parliamentary term.

                I'm not saying that this is a record of perfect success, but it's certainly not the frequent chaos that some people might paint coalition-based governments as being.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            We should copy Germany and make extremist partys illegal.

            1. unimaginative

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              We do not have significant extremsit parties - if by extremist you mean parties that would be caught by the German law. It would affect the likes of the BNP, but they would probably gain more from playing martyr (which they already do with hate speech laws) than they would lose.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                Cough, Reform.

                If they don't qualify as extreme in your view then the education problems are more deep rooted than one first thought.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              But the parties - sorry work, events - in 10 Downing Street were illegal.

          5. graeme leggett Silver badge

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            but under PR there would be a whole array of malcontents and minor issue parties to split the vote. And, for example, people who wanted to vote LD because thry liked their policies and candidate but didn't want the Tories could be happy to put Labour second rather than trying to calculate their tactical vote.

            I think personally that either what could happen with Reform is 1) turn onto an actual party with members driving its policies rather than a Faragist top-down diktat, 2) become an umbrella organisation for a 5-yearly protest vote. 3) get sucked back into a right wing Conservative party

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              I think it's more likely that Reform will end up with more people realising that they are just the new form of the BNP - but taking more care about what they say while meaning the same nasty things. Generally even the people who voted Reform won't vote for people they realise are Nazis, and there's only so long Farage and co can keep up the pretense - it is already wearing pretty thin.

              1. veti Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                Reform's goal is not so much about taking power as it is about manipulating the Tories.

                The Tories have just suffered an epic wipeout while being flanked both from the right (by Reform) and the left (by everyone else). The *usual* response to that, in a two party system, is for the party to tack to the extreme, because it's easier to wipe out the threat to the right than it is to contest the crowded centre ground.

                (Labour did the same thing back in the early 80s, when it began feeling heat from the SWP. It was a costly process for them, but it worked.)

                So we should expect to see the Tories get worse - far worse, possibly - before they can recover. That will create a window of opportunity for Reform (and Farage has already said he's "coming for Labour next"). It's unlikely they will be able to move fast enough to exploit that, but it is theoretically possible they might bring about a true realignment, the likes of which the UK hasn't seen since the 1920s.

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  I think the main reason Reform got so many votes is that in normal times people who support Reform-type parties would still vote Tory, because they know that's as close as they can get to what they want while still voting for a party that might actually achieve something, whereas this time round it was so obvious the Tories would lose heavily that it didn't apply. Also, a strong 'I'm not voting for those cocks again, whatever happens' swing against Tory. Give it five years and those things shouldn't apply, even without a swing even further to the right.

          6. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            It's pretty clear that people who support PR do so because they want the far right to have more power. Everyone else opposes it because they don't want the far right winning seats.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              The greens are currently calling for PR.

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                Yes, exactly. A party whose own members accuse it of institutional racism towards Muslims and black people, and which had to drop multiple candidates due to the most blatant antisemitism and racism - not that it stopped them being nominated in the first place despite it all being entirely public. There's a long and sordid history of the far right masquerading as Greens.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  "There's a long and sordid history of the far right masquerading as Greens."

                  Are you high?

                  Institutional racism, antisemitism and misogyny are the standard operating principals of the political left. Just look at labour and lets not forget that the greens expelled female members for daring to comment about mentally unstable men playing dress-up.

                  There is nothing more racist than a white liberal.

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                    Cuckoo!

                    1. Casca Silver badge

                      Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                      Yes you are...

                2. nobody who matters

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  Having racist leanings is not an exclusively right wing or exclusively left wing trait ;)

                  In most respects, the political leanings of the Green Party have more of an appearence of being left-wing.

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                    Yes, certainly, in most respects the Green party have an _appearance_ of being left wing. That's the whole point. It's all about duping the useful idiots.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                      They are very much to the political left as they want authoritarian fascistic rule. A common trait of most on the left. we've just seen the Australian labour party expel one of its own for daring to go against the wishes of the leader.

                      You will do what we say or else.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                        A common trait of most on the left. we've just seen the Australian labour party expel one of its own for daring to go against the wishes of the leader.

                        You don't have to look that far. You can see it in the voting patterns on here..

                        1. Casca Silver badge

                          Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                          No, its because you are constantly posting russian lies on this forum. Do it on twitter where it bellongs.

                      2. veti Silver badge

                        Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                        If you pitch strongly enough against your own party leader - you should expect to be thrown out of the party. That's always been true in all parties, the only exceptions being when the leader is particularly weak for some reason.

          7. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            Yes, but that might finally make you a modern western society. A many party country with coalition governments. Not the present "North Korea" system with a one party government for god knows for how long.

            Who knows perhaps one day you will be able to vote in the parliament by just pressing a button and not wandering around like idiots.

            And I would suggest there is less room for sleaze in coalition governments than in one party governments for ever.

            Just look at yourself, it's not that other party alone it's the whole bloody hopeless system.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              Yes, but that might finally make you a modern western society. A many party country with coalition governments. Not the present "North Korea" system with a one party government for god knows for how long.

              Again you don't have to look that far. UK terms are for 5yrs. This may seem like 'for ever' to our modern generation. You also don't have to look to DPRK to see how one party government works. The EU is a 'many party government' representing the very pinnacle of a 'modern western society', but only one party governments, which is of course the EPP.. Welcome back Ursula, hopefully you'll sort out that awkwardness regarding your Covid deal by text. At least Kaia Kallas's selection to replace 'Jungle' Josep Borell should prove entertaining and boost popcorn futures. I guess her husband might pick up more transport contracts now to replace the ones he had to drop with Russia. But one of the EU's nepo babies, who suffered terribly under the Soviets-

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siim_Kallas

              1975–1979: Specialist at the Finance Ministry Planning Committee of the Estonian SSR

              1979–1986: Joint Secretary of the Central Authority of the Savings Banks of the Estonian SSR.

              1986–1989: Deputy chief editor of the Communist Party of Estonia newspaper Rahva Hääl

              Daddy also suffered terribly under the EU, where the Kalas familys 'served' in much the same way as our Kinnocks..

              1. Lars Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                "UK terms are for 5yrs".

                There are no terms for how long one party runs the government in Britain or elsewhere.

              2. Casca Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                Your russian leanings are showing again...

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                > UK terms are for 5yrs.

                The maximum in the UK, like the US, the EU and many other countries is five years…

                If anything Boris’s opportunistic repeal of the Fixed Term Parliament Act can be seen as an attempt by the Executive ie. “Monarch” but not the King/Royal family, to move back towards a less democratic state of affairs…

                > This may seem like 'for ever' to our modern generation.

                Not sure what your point is here, evidence seems to show shorter terms will only result in more government by opinion polls and even greater propensity to kick things down the road. Longer, whilst better for more strategic decision making (China is perhaps an extreme example of this), isn’t always better and could be less democratic…

                As for the rest of your comment, well the European project is work in progress…

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                  Coat

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  the European project is work in progress…

                  A bit like nuclear fusion...

          8. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            But the thing about PR is it represents every voters' views. (Of course PR isn't a single system, but that aside I mean a system that takes everyone's views into account.) With PR you can have the whole spectrum of views represented, and like the current system there will be some who will always vote Tory or Labour. That's ok, as their views will still be represented, but minority views such as Reform or Green or whoever will also be included.

            From one election to the next only a subset of people will change their minds, and that means the composition of a government will only change incrementally, rather than swinging from Tory to Labour. Such an environment will be far more conducive to business, who could plan for 10 year investments without worrying they are going to be heavily taxed or forced to compete with newly privatised companies, etc.

            PR gives everyone a say, and smooths out the changes from one government to the next. The only people who won't like it are Labour and Tory, who have a century of investment in the current system.

            I think PR is less controversial. The biggest hurdle we have to surmount is freedom of movement of people. And unfortunately we have lost our privileged place in the EU, so our opt out will never be on the table again. Good!

            1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              PR is generally a poor system. As others have commented above, it tends to create unstable coalitions (and hence frequent elections), or it gives small parties undue power - as in, we'll only support you on this policy if you give us what we want. So you might, for example, get a minority green party calling the shots and forcing the country to shut down all it's nuclear power stations - by having the power to topple the current coalition if it doesn't get it - and leaving the country up manure creek a couple of years later when Russia turns off the gas supply.

            2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              "minority views such as Reform or Green or whoever will also be included."

              Yes, that's why it's disgusting to advocate for PR: you're acknowledging that a feature of the system is giving power to Nazis.

            3. Justthefacts Silver badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              The purpose of First Past the Post is to keep out the extremists. Nothing more or less than that. Once extremists get their nose in the tent, they undermine democracy by using its own machinery against it. Cf Weimar Republic. Hindenburg appointed the big H to lead coalition government with 2 out of 10 seats. 2 out of 10. That’s all they need. You do *not* want “every voters views” represented, because the people who believe in “A Strong Leader” and “Moral Health” will always be there, waiting.

              The German AfD polls 23%. The French RN poll 30%. Reform polls 14%. You only need 20% to burn the Reichstag.

              1. Lars Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                "The purpose of First Past the Post is to keep out the extremists.".

                That was rather funny or do you really think it has kept out extremists (and clowns) in Britain and in the USA.

                In a FPTP system the extremists and clowns have nowhere to go but to take over one of the two main parties or both.

                In a many party system they form their own fringe parties and are better kept in control.

                The main purpose of fptp is to keep the two main parties in charge both in Britain and in the USA.

                It will be interesting to see if Starmer has the strength to change the system.

                1. Justthefacts Silver badge

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  Yes, literally two days ago FPTP kept out extremists in the U.K.

                  Reform had a vote-share of 14%, would have got 93 MPs under PR. They actually got 5. Thank God. The Greens had a similar experience. Thank A Higher God.

                  In the USA, the truth is unfortunately worse. The MAGA side that we *both* actually loathe…..form a larger percentage of the population than can be handled by *any* voting system. Democracy doesn’t promise anti-fascism. Sometimes, populations just vote for authoritarian fascism, and there’s not a lot “the system” can do about that.

                  The difference between us, is mostly that I recognise that the EU is just Make Europe Great Again, and you don’t. I loathe them because I know that *all* Make X Great Again movements are fascist. And you loathe them, because they’ve put the wrong value of X for your liking. But to my eyes, there is literally *zero* difference between MAGA and MAGA EU. Or maybe only this: MAGA EU have a solid record, both then and right now this instant, of being *very effective and competent* at Genocide. MAGA are evil, but the data isn’t yet in whether they are just too incompetent to retain power. We have no such doubts about MAGA EU.

          9. Michael Strorm Silver badge

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            > the Reform + Tory seat count would far surpass Labour

            That's correct, but if the implication is that Reform and the Tories would form a coalition (for a total of 38.0%), then the same possibility would be open to Labour doing so with the Lib Dems to outnumber them (45.7%).

            (Disregarding, as others have noted, that the above percentages above were all from votes made with the FPTP system in mind and likely would have been different if PR had actualy been used).

            1. nobody who matters

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              ,............"but if the implication is that Reform and the Tories would form a coalition".............>

              The Conservatives would be very unlikely to form a coalition with Reform - Reform are a fundamentally intolerate extreme right wing organisation, whose extremism only just fall short of where the National Front lie, despite their public protestations that this is not the case. Most of those who voted Reform have no idea what they have actually voted for.

              My earlier point was that all Reform has done is taken votes which would in the main otherwise have gone to the Conservatives, and would have allowed them to have retained many of the seats that have been claimed by Labour, and would have given Labour a smaller overall majority, and put the opposition parties in a position to be effective in holding the new Government to account,

              Excessively large Parliamentary majorities are not good for Democracy, and not good for the country as we have seen on previous occasions.

          10. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ...Tory + Reform

            As long as Farage is nowhere near government then I'm a happy camper. As a pal of Trump, you can see a mile away where his aims are. He sees himself as the UK version of Trump and would declare himself Grand Ruler for Ever.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: ...Tory + Reform

              He isn't even the UK version of Trump. As Putin-stooge populists go, he's a cut-price scumbag who isn't even fit to change Trump's shitty nappies.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ...Tory + Reform

              Albeit with slightly better hair and make-up than The Orange One.

          11. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

            There would be no tactical voting under PR, and so Green, Labour and and Reform would both have substantially different proportions.

            If people believe in reform they have a right to have their proportion appear in parliament, just as the greens would have way more support if it weren't for tactical voting.

            The issue then becomes how to get stuff done in a polarised parliament. In many respects, the moderates would become the kingmakers; namely, the Lib Dems.

            I'm failing to see this as a bad thing.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

              Reform would have lots of seats in Parliament, but you don't see that as a bad thing. Yup, yet another one who supports PR so the far right gains power.

              We still haven't had a single PR advocate in this discussion who wasn't openly saying that the far right getting seats in Parliament is good. Because, that's what PR supporters want.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                I’m as antifa as they come. Yes, `PR puts reform on seats. It also puts greens and Lib Dem’s on more seats. It means you can vote for what you want instead of against what you don’t - and the endless flip flop between blue and red Tory.

                PR would aid in reducing voter apathy. 50-60 percent turnout not unusual.

                PR is closer to democracy. FPTP preserves the oligarchy. I’ll take the former. See also France, literally yesterday, where negotiations between left centre and right will now be necessary to get stuff done. This is a good thing as opposed to my way or the highway.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                  "I’m as antifa as they come"

                  Ah, that explains a lot!

                  "negotiations between left centre and right"

                  Even the BBC nearly correctly calls them the 'hard left'. The reality is that Macron has made a deal with the extreme far left in order to keep up the perception that the RN is somehow 'far' right when in reality they are by all sensible standards moderate.

                  1. Binraider Silver badge

                    Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                    If you think RN is moderate, when they are literally blaming certain races, creeds and colours for problems then sir, you have some historical reading to do.

                    RN's origins in the Vichy French collaboration / puppet government of Nazi Germany is highly documented, and I suggest you do some reading.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

                      "when they are literally blaming certain races, creeds and colours for problems"

                      The far left parties that Macron has cosied up to do the SAME THING.

                      Mélenchon has blamed Nato expansion for the Ukraine issue.

                      He blamed Germany for the Greek debt crisis and just seems to quite dislike the Germans.

                      He is very anti Jewish

                      He is nationalist and isolationist

                      I know what you're trying to claim by your comment but lets not forget that the political left are horrifically racist. They have epic white knight syndrome and look and make claims like certain groups are not capable of getting ID or they don't know what a computer is.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ... but being some part of the single market ...

          > There will be no exception because we don't like Schengen. It will be full Schengen membership (with the corollary that we will have to adopt an ID card system to make that work).

          the UK can't join Schengen unless Ireland also join Schengen at the same time - due to the CTA (Common Travel Area, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Travel_Area") agreement between UK and Ireland that pre-dates Schengen. If either Ireland or UK joined Schengen then the "rules" Schengen would conflict with the "rules" of the CTA.

      3. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Rejoining the EU is, unfortunately, not likely to be available. The EU would, surely, make dropping the Pound a non-negotiable condition and, although that will happen in a decade or two (specifically so we can rejoin the EU or some differently-named successor) it wouldn't be doable now.

        However, some sort of EEA-like deal is perfectly possible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          However, some sort of EEA-like deal is perfectly possible.

          Much like the one we have, you mean?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Wow. That's news to me. I thought we were going for no deal. Instead we got a poor deal.

          2. graeme leggett Silver badge

            The EEA includes the "free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital"

            That's far from our current situation.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "The EU would, surely, make dropping the Pound a non-negotiable condition"

          This is a no-op. Wannabe member states have to agree to adopt the Euro. Which is not the same as actually adopting the Euro. EU member states can't adopt the Euro until they've been in the ERM for 3 years. Entry to the ERM is voluntary and is essentially invitation-only. No country can be made to do enter the ERM. Besides, they can't enter the ERM until their macroeconomic conditions - interest rate, debt, deficit, etc - are aligned with the Eurozone.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Except that any and all such rules can be modified if the EU want it.

            I wrote here, in the days after the Brexit referendum, that the Brexiteers had killed the Pound because we would be back in the EU within 10 years and the EU would make adopting the Euro their price for letting us back in. i still believe it, although I acknowledge that the stupidity of the Conservative Party has pushed the 10 years out a few more years.

        3. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          @Graham Cobb

          Being forced to adopt the Euro is a popular topic, often used by the brexit lot to warn Brits about rejoining the EU.

          But the Eurozone consists of 20 member states out of the 27 EU members.

          And I am not convinced at all that there is such great enthusiasm to add the Pound among the Eurozone countries.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurozone

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            It's a weird bit of bullshit. There is zero desire to add the UK to the Euro, since it would result in catastrophic problems for the Euro. If grownups were in the room, the discussion would be about having a two-currency system in the EU, with Germany, the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, and similar economies using one - call it the £, if you like - and the weaker economies using another, which we can call the Euro. That way we could have economic policies that suit the two different kinds of economies.

          2. Dave559

            Unlike the Untied Kingdom, which tediously far too often sees things as black or white only (or perhaps blue or red only), something to do with those confrontational battle-front benches rather than having a more co-operative hemicycle in its main parliament, perhaps; the EU recognises that while there are aspirations, there is also the reality that sometimes some degree of negotiation and compromise is necessary or desirable to try to move things forward, as you might expect when trying to consider the varying desires of a citizenry of over 500 million around 450 million people.

            Another country which joined the then-EEC in 1973, Denmark, negotiated an exemption from joining the euro, and, similarly, Sweden (which, as a newer member, would be required to adopt the euro) has "carefully managed" to avoid meeting the criteria for joining the euro.

            Believe it or not, most of our fellow Europeans still recognise the British as valuable trading partners and as friends, and although there may be a strong desire for new members to adopt the euro, I am fairly sure that an exception could be made for a rejoining old-time member, or some other diplomatic fudge reached, as per Denmark and Sweden.

            But having said that, the great economic successes [sic] of recent UK governments have resulted in the value of the pound getting perhaps sufficiently close to that of the euro that would adopting it now actually make very much difference after all?

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              "the value of the pound getting perhaps sufficiently close to that of the euro that would adopting it now actually make very much difference after all?"

              The problem is not the value of the £ at joining. It's that the UK's economy is very differently structured to that of most Eurozone states. (Germany and a handful of other, smaller economies have had the same problem.) You can't set a single economic policy that suits all the different kinds of economies within such a large currency union, so, despite the rules, fiscal transfers from the richer economies are required to make it work. That would, quite rightly, be a killer to any plan to rejoin the EU.

              As I've suggested elsewhere in this thread, there really ought to be two EU currencies (whether or not the UK rejoins). A slight loss of efficiency, but a big gain in economic growth without fiscal transfers.

              1. neilg

                Dave314159ggggdffsdds < Which particular flavour of AI is this bot/user?

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge
    3. jospanner

      How the hell is this Brown’s fault and not the fault of 14 years of austerity rotting the country from the inside out?

      1. andy gibson

        A lot of people like to conveniently forget that Brown also planned ten years of austerity is Labour had won (or gone into a coalition with the Lib Dems in 2010)

        Two links, just in case there are accusations of BBC bias. Even Labour's friend the Guardian:

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/mar/25/alistair-darling-cut-deeper-margaret-thatcher

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8587877.stm

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          10 years of austerity

          and then along comes COVID!

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Nice to see Osborne complain about austerity, then bring in a facsimile of austerity with all the punishment for the little people but none of actual paying off of debt.

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        @jospanner

        Adding to andy gibson's comment, what austerity? Spending kept increasing, tax is at an all time high and the gov had a huge blow out of borrowing not typically seen outside of war time. That of course followed the Labour years of unsustainable spending and borrowing.

        Austerity does not mean keep spending more but a little less than the spendthrift were

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @jospanner

          "what austerity?"

          Your privilege is showing.

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: @jospanner

          Paul Krugman noticed it, and he's widely considered to know a thing or two about economics: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2024/jun/28/how-the-unforced-error-of-tory-austerity-wrecked-britain

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @jospanner

            A period of low interest is a good time to get a move on and pay down debt, not create more. Japan is in some major trouble due to their decades long plan to borrow their way to prosperity.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @jospanner

              Japan is in trouble because its population is shrinking and it has refused to use immigration to solve its problems.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @jospanner

                That is just the icing on the cake. The real problem is that their economy has been in the toilet for nearly 30 years and the govt has printed Yen like mad. A lot of their high tech manufacture left and they've never really recovered.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: @jospanner

                  You do realise the south east Asia economic boom was largely funded by Japan? So a large part of the Japanese “debt” is investment in south East Asian assets…

                  If the UK were to build/purchase a nuclear power station (circa £40bn), it would be recorded in the accounts as an addition to the national debt.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @jospanner

            @Androgynous Cupboard

            "Paul Krugman noticed it"

            Ok I am reading this but I dont yet see where there is anything about austerity (reduced spending). Instead they kept increasing spending (not austerity) but it was less of an increase than would have happened before? I noticed this bit-

            "While Britain had low borrowing costs like the US, its government was not divided. The Cameron executive could have chosen to maintain spending. Why did it turn to austerity?"

            The simple answer is Cameron didnt turn to austerity, he borrowed less after a financial crash instead of maintaining the crazy spending before. Still borrowing, still spending more.

            Amusingly the article does say at the time the Greek debt crisis was hitting (that would be the Eurozone crashing out and almost going under).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @jospanner

              codejunky> Ok I am reading this but I dont yet see where there is anything about austerity

              There are none so blind ...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @jospanner

              You can search the text to see it mentions "austerity" 14 times, so yes the article is talking about austerity. If you're still unsure you need only read the paper by Simon Wren-Lewis linked in the article which has the following text in the first sentence of the first paragraph: "Austerity is defined as a fiscal contraction that causes a significant increase in aggregate unemployment."

              So yes, there was austerity in the UK, but it even so debt was not reduced - firstly because austerity strangled the economy and therefore reduced tax receipts and secondly because of the usual Tory happenings when they're in charge - lack of investment into infrastructure leading to future growth, following Thatcherism dogmatically, and wasting money on the chumocracy.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @jospanner

                @AC

                "You can search the text to see it mentions "austerity" 14 times,"

                Apart from using the word austerity without any description (because it was the name given by Osborne not actual austerity) it does talk about real austerity in the Eurozone. Amusingly he mentions slashing spending, but the UK didnt, instead of what actually happened where the planned increase increased a little slower. The article yabbers on about using austerity as an excuse to lurch right and push for a smaller state, except it got bigger, costs more and interferes more.

                The article is a crying piece that the UK should have borrowed loads more at low interest rates. That isnt austerity, the gov didnt slash its spending it just increased it less than it would have otherwise. Considering he recognised actual austerity in Europe I am surprised he misunderstands or misrepresents austerity in the UK.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @jospanner

                  The two economists in the article correctly identify the Tories' economic policy as austerity but codejunky knows better as usual.

                  Is it possible to cite a serious article (not something from the lunatic fringe) that credibly argues that the UK did not suffer two periods of austerity from 2010-2019 and 2021-2024? I certainly couldn't find one.

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    Re: @jospanner

                    Yes. I provided a link earlier to the actual facts. Whatever Paul Krugman says - there are two types of Krugman articles, the ones where he speaks about economics, and the ones where he tackles social issues as an amateur - the facts are that the UK spent more every year, not less, and it was the deficit spending he approved of.

                    There is of course an argument to be made that the UK should have spent even more, but calling not doing so 'austerity' is falling into the Tory propaganda trap.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @jospanner

                      the facts are that the UK spent more every year, not less

                      Indeed, but it matters little if spending per capita fell as it did in NHS, education, welfare, and other areas, it means it's still a cut.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: @jospanner

                        @AC

                        "Indeed, but it matters little if spending per capita fell as it did in NHS, education, welfare, and other areas, it means it's still a cut."

                        Ok- https://www.statista.com/statistics/651563/uk-public-spending-per-capita-by-country/

                        So still no cut, still no austerity.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: @jospanner

                          Here we see public spending remaining relatively constant between 2010-2019 while the population grew. So a decrease per capita there.

                          Perhaps something more detailed like this is in order:

                          IFG ‘Austerity’ in Public Services

                          There you go, found the austerity for you.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: @jospanner

                            @AC

                            "Here we see public spending remaining relatively constant between 2010-2019 while the population grew. So a decrease per capita there."

                            So take 2 very detached graphs to claim something, not a great demonstration. I showed there were no cuts but instead an increase in spending. You claimed it needed to be per capita and I even provided a source showing again no cuts.

                            You can dance as much as you like but cuts mean spending less, the UK increased spending.

                            "IFG ‘Austerity’ in Public Services

                            There you go, found the austerity for you."

                            Where? Asking departments to piss away less money than before while the gov still spends more is not the gov spending less. It seems to need mental gymnastics to claim austerity, yet austerity means spending less which you have not sourced as happening and I have sourced the lack of austerity.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: @jospanner

                              Where? ... yet austerity means spending less which you have not sourced as happening

                              Figure 1 on page 4, 2010/11-2015/16 and 2015/16-2019/20 on a great big bar graph with bars below 0.

                              Anticipating your next obtuse question, "Unprotected spending" means non-NHS and non-Defence spending.

                              1. codejunky Silver badge

                                Re: @jospanner

                                @AC

                                "Figure 1 on page 4, 2010/11-2015/16 and 2015/16-2019/20 on a great big bar graph with bars below 0."

                                That chart talks about department spending, yet I posted links to GOVERNMENT SPENDING. The gov spent more year on year, that is not austerity. They might not have spent it how you wanted them to but they still spent more. So where is this austerity? You dont like the answer but is isnt there.

                                For some amusement here is as a portion of GDP-

                                https://www.statista.com/statistics/298478/public-sector-expenditure-as-share-of-gdp-united-kingdom-uk/

                                Note the shooting up from 2007/8 only being matched again by about 2016, so the gov is a huge part of GDP which is not a good place to be. The nice lows being abandoned in 2021/2/3

                                1. codejunky Silver badge

                                  Re: @jospanner

                                  *correction

                                  Note the shooting up from 2007/8 only being matched again by about 2016, so the gov is a huge part of GDP which is not a good place to be. The nice lows being abandoned in 2001/2/3

                                2. Anonymous Coward
                                  Anonymous Coward

                                  Re: @jospanner

                                  The gov spent more year on year, that is not austerity. They might not have spent it how you wanted them to but they still spent more. So where is this austerity?

                                  Dumbest post of the week and we're only on Monday?

                                  Give it a rest with the "No Austerity" bollox, mate. Clearly something you've cribbed off a briefing sheet or right-wing op piece.

                                  Try coming down from Codejunky Towers and check what's happened out here in the real world. Not the Chumocracy.

                                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                                    Re: @jospanner

                                    @AC

                                    "Try coming down from Codejunky Towers and check what's happened out here in the real world. Not the Chumocracy."

                                    I am guessing that means you dont have any contradictory evidence yet refuse the evidence before you. Sorry coward but facts dont care about your feelings

                                    1. Anonymous Coward
                                      Anonymous Coward

                                      Re: @jospanner

                                      I am guessing that means you dont have any contradictory evidence yet refuse the evidence before you.

                                      Get yourself off to a foodbank and volunteer for a bit. Experience the real world for a change. Instead of the apparently very sheltered one you seem to experience.

                                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                                        Re: @jospanner

                                        @AC

                                        "Get yourself off to a foodbank and volunteer for a bit. Experience the real world for a change."

                                        Actually you are getting a lot closer to the point than you realise. I think this conversation has got to the stage where you do realise there was no austerity, but for all the extra spending and interference and increased taxing we would expect to see more benefit in our lives.

                                        Food banks are a good example of people fixing the problem. The government has the job of giving our money away, literally. To give our money away to people who need help. People vote for this and yet food banks were created to fix the problem, and yet the gov spends more!

                                        1. Anonymous Coward
                                          Anonymous Coward

                                          Re: @jospanner

                                          To give our money away to people who need help.

                                          Indeed. You are so close to getting it. Keep going!

                                          1. Anonymous Coward
                                            Anonymous Coward

                                            Re: @jospanner

                                            Lets not forget that during the coof it was both sides of the aisle screaming to 'do something NOW!'.

                                            Plenty of fearmongering from the media and opposition that the NHS was about to crumble and nurses were dressing in binbags.

                                            The fact that the NHS bought PPE without doing any due diligence, accepted the first bid and then mishandled the PPE when it arrived is completely party agnostic. This would have happened no matter who was PM.

                                            1. Anonymous Coward
                                              Anonymous Coward

                                              Re: @jospanner

                                              This would have happened no matter who was PM.

                                              I couldn't disagree more. Boring and necessary things required in a modern country like NHS PPE stock rotation and the pandemic readiness team (scrapped by Johnson six months before the pandemic) don't work under the Tories as they can't see any profit in it for their mates.

                                            2. Anonymous Coward
                                              Anonymous Coward

                                              Re: @jospanner

                                              But funnily it was Tory cronies who won the big bucks. Hmm?

                                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                                Anonymous Coward

                                                Re: @jospanner

                                                Probably because those on the political left are often activists and academics who think doing something involves screeching at people, waving signs and generally making the public hate them.

                                                1. Anonymous Coward
                                                  Anonymous Coward

                                                  Re: @jospanner

                                                  Instead of being thieves & liars?

                                            3. Anonymous Coward
                                              Anonymous Coward

                                              Re: @jospanner

                                              > The fact that the NHS bought PPE without doing any due diligence, accepted the first bid and then mishandled the PPE when it arrived is completely party agnostic.

                                              Fact was the government ministers decided not to use the established NHS procurement process and bypassed it and placed orders with mates, there was no competitive bid process, if you satisfied the mates criteria you got to name your price and got sent a purchase order.

                                              Naturally, being politicians they didn’t think about delivery and so mishandled delivery and storage…

                            2. Roland6 Silver badge

                              Re: @jospanner

                              >” Asking departments to piss away less money than before while the gov still spends more is not the gov spending less.”

                              Got where you are coming from.

                              Whilst the Tories claim to want a small public sector/“state”, they actually want a large amount of public money/corporate welfare to give to their mates… so the downward pressure on departmental spend is deliberate and provides opportunities to claim the departments are poorly run etc. and so make the private sector more attractive.

                              1. codejunky Silver badge

                                Re: @jospanner

                                @Roland6

                                "Whilst the Tories claim to want a small public sector/“state”, they actually want a large amount of public money/corporate welfare to give to their mates"

                                That pretty much sums up politics whichever party. The move over the last 20 years has been for more to go to the state and spaff like drunken sailors. Hell even in proclaiming a bonfire of quango's Cameron increased them.

                                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                  Re: @jospanner

                                  That pretty much sums up politics whichever party. The move over the last 20 years has been for more to go to the state and spaff like drunken sailors. Hell even in proclaiming a bonfire of quango's Cameron increased them.

                                  Nowhere is this more obvious than good'ol 'Net Zero', and the return of Ed Millibrain. This makes depressing reading-

                                  https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2024/#annex-a

                                  With Table A.5 showing forecast receipts for this year, with around £19bn coming from ETS, climate, environment and energy levies. Much of those come from the £10bn or so from Renewables Obligations and CfDs. OBR will have to revise forecasts for the new government, but policies are already costing over £500 per household. Millibrain plans to iincrease these costs massively, and why 'renewables' are so popular.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: @jospanner

                                    Remember, Great British Energy will solve all our problems!

                      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                        Re: @jospanner

                        And yet, 'austerity' is still just Tory propaganda; money was spent that wasn't allocated to those areas. If you're calling for a bigger increase, be honest about it.

                        I have no problem saying more money should have been spent on things. I have a problem with 'austerity' bullshit. It was Tory propaganda, and Labour decided it was more beneficial to them to go along with the narrative than to challenge it; this is a tactic that has been empirically proven not to work. It's much better to dispute the narrative and attack the Tories for profligacy and waste, and/or to state clearly that NHS funding requires increased borrowing, if that's what you mean.

                  2. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: @jospanner

                    @AC

                    "The two economists in the article correctly identify the Tories' economic policy as austerity but codejunky knows better as usual."

                    Definition: difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure.

                    Which of course didnt happen. Public expenditure wasnt reduced, it increased. That is why Osbornes 'austerity' was a lie by the definition of austerity.

                    "Is it possible to cite a serious article (not something from the lunatic fringe) that credibly argues that the UK did not suffer two periods of austerity from 2010-2019 and 2021-2024? I certainly couldn't find one."

                    You probably wont find one on a herd of elephants performing a stampede throughout the UK for the same reason, there wasnt one. Forget fringe anything look at the gov states themselves-

                    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-spending-statistics-release-may-2022/public-spending-statistics-may-2022

                    See chart 1.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Terminator

                      Re: @jospanner

                      Hmm. This read like Tim Worstall's substack from the start of the month. But with really bad punctuation.

                      Yawn. Talk to the 'bot :

                      The argument presented hinges on the assertion that public expenditure increased, and thus, there was no true austerity. This is a misunderstanding of what austerity measures entail and their impact. Here’s a detailed refutation:

                      1. **Austerity Definition and Misinterpretation**:

                      - Austerity refers to policies implemented by governments aimed at reducing deficits by cutting public spending, increasing taxes, or both. The focus is not solely on the absolute reduction of public expenditure but on reducing the deficit and altering the structure of public finances.

                      2. **Contextual Spending**:

                      - Public expenditure can increase due to inflation, demographic changes, and economic conditions while still being subject to austerity measures. For instance, increased spending on social security due to higher unemployment doesn’t negate austerity if there are cuts in other areas like healthcare, education, or local government funding.

                      3. **Evidence of Austerity in the UK**:

                      - Numerous credible sources document the austerity measures in the UK post-2010. Reports from institutions such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) highlight significant cuts in specific areas of public spending.

                      - For example, local government budgets were severely cut, leading to reduced services. Similarly, there were cuts in welfare spending and public sector wages.

                      4. **Economic Impact**:

                      - The period saw substantial reductions in public sector employment, wage freezes, and reforms in welfare payments aimed at reducing public spending growth relative to GDP.

                      - The impact of these measures fits the definition of austerity, as they led to difficult economic conditions for many, even if total public expenditure figures increased due to other factors.

                      5. **Government Statistics and Reports**:

                      - Official reports from the UK government, including budget statements and spending reviews, clearly outline the implementation of austerity measures. These documents are available publicly and contradict the assertion that no austerity took place.

                      In conclusion, the claim that the UK did not experience austerity because total public expenditure increased is not supported by a nuanced understanding of economic policies and their impacts. Austerity measures were indeed implemented, affecting various aspects of public spending and economic conditions. Credible sources and government statistics provide ample evidence of this period of austerity in the UK.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: @jospanner

                        @AC

                        "The argument presented hinges on the assertion that public expenditure increased, and thus, there was no true austerity. This is a misunderstanding of what austerity measures entail and their impact. Here’s a detailed refutation:"

                        Thanks for that, it is a fairly good reply with a reasoned argument. Where did you get your definition from? I double checked the definition of austerity in case I was mistaken but yours doesnt seem to align with- https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/austerity

                        So yes using a different definition of austerity than the definition of cutting and reducing government spending to mean trimming some budgets put spending much more you can pretty much make the word mean anything and simultaneously nothing.

                        "The focus is not solely on the absolute reduction of public expenditure but on reducing the deficit and altering the structure of public finances."

                        This is a loaded example as Cameron took over (coalition) after the great recession in 2008/9. To not reduce the deficit would be wildly irresponsible because there was a huge blowout to support the economy. As with covid spending being an anomaly comparable to wartime must then be reduced and to claim it is austerity if the structure of public finances occurs then we had austerity with every government even when they decide to spend much more.

                        The second problem there is their 'reduction' was merely to spend excessively more but a little less than the planned spending of the incumbent labour government.

                        So as with what I assume was another AC your claim to austerity seems to be that some department had to make cuts. Yet spending changes with pretty much every government and so is not austerity, the gov is still spending more.

                        Btw my criticism of your comment does not negate what I said about this being a good comment.

              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: @jospanner

                >"You can search the text to see it mentions "austerity" 14 times, so yes the article is talking about austerity."

                The Paul Krugman article does mention "austerity", however its focus is on "financial austerity" ie. the government maintaining a reducing cap on expenditure so that in real-terms les gets spent year-on-year even though the raw (unadjusted for inflation) numbers increase. This resulting in for example NHS nurses being paid circa 30% less in real terms in 2023 than they were being paid in 2010, but still permitted the Tories to crow that they were spending more on the NHS than Labour. So simply counting the number of times the word "austerity" occurs isn't particularly helpful.

                The question is whether this financial austerity actually resulted in the increased unemployment style of austerity.

                Personally, I would put little weight on Osborne's comments; he still believes in Neo-Liberalism, even though the pivotal paper he bases his thinking on has been shown to have misrepresented data through an elementary spreadsheet error and so the claimed link between low debt and a strong economy doesn't exist.

        3. DJO Silver badge

          Re: @jospanner

          The only times the national debt has gone down has been under Labour administrations.

          The notion that spending goes up under Labour and down under the Tories is a complete lie, the opposite is actually the case but hey, this is politics where facts are just an annoying irrelevance.

          The important thing about borrowing is not the amount but what you do with it. The Tories largely borrow to cut taxes and to service existing loans which is a sure fire recipe for an economic death spiral while Labour mainly borrow for development which helps the economy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @jospanner

            "Labour mainly borrow for development which helps the economy"

            Citation needed. Blair followed on from Major with the public private finance scams for most of the development.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @jospanner

            @DJO

            "The only times the national debt has gone down has been under Labour administrations."

            https://fullfact.org/economy/labour-and-conservative-records-national-debt/

            1. Anonymous Coward
              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @jospanner

                @AC

                And still the 13 years of labour borrowed and spent more than they started but the point being that the cons then continued doing so, hence no austerity.

      3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        "14 years of austerity"

        Isn't it time to stop repeating this tired old Tory propaganda line? There was no austerity. It never happened. After a slight decrease in 2009, spending rose every year from then until 2020. (There was a drop in 2021 after the extraordinary Covid spending in 2020.)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_the_United_Kingdom#List_of_budgets

        1. graeme leggett Silver badge

          Budgets are predicting income plus predicted spending. You need to look at actual receipts and expenditures.

      4. Binraider Silver badge

        Tories will always blame someone else for their own inadequacies!

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Four self inflicted wounds, you are forgetting Thatcher selling everything off and then not investing the North Sea revenues like Norway did…

      So the current mess actually stretches back circa 45 years…

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Thatcher invested the revenues in the country. It's a far higher greater return than anything Norway manages. Norway actually has a different proeblem, which is that that they can't spend their oil revenues on anything without messing up the rest of their economy, and their swf has now reached a size where they can't spend the income from it, either. They might as well have burned banknotes.(What has actually made Norway rich is the economic activity surrounding resource extraction, not selling the resources themselves.)

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          > What has actually made Norway rich is the economic activity surrounding resource extraction, not selling the resources themselves

          Norway has done very well out of selling (North sea) resources to the UK…

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            No, it hasn't. That's the point of what I wrote, which apparently you didn't read.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              No the point you made was about what Norway could and could not do with the wealth it has accumulated. I simply pointed out that a significant proportion of that wealth arises from the UK purchasing Norwegian North Sea gas…

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                As I already explained, that is not wealth at all, because it can't be spent. The actual wealth is, as I explained, a product of the related activity rather than the sales.

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  So the Tory approach to “investment” where you give money to your mates (or in this specific example giving it to Norway) is much better for the UK economy than directly investing in the economy? Which begs the obvious question: after 45 years of Tory economic policy why is the UK in such a piss poor state economically and lacking in essential infrastructure…

                  As for Norways predicament, well it’s very similar to several Middle Eastern OPEC members…

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Partly cos we are a country filled with whinging liberal lefty NIMBYs.

                    1. Roland6 Silver badge

                      From various protests against planning applications, many are actually Tory voters…

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        The most vocal are the green/JSO/XR nutters. Where I used to live it was the ones who would have labour or lib dem signs that complained the most.

                      2. Binraider Silver badge

                        Agree; Priti Vacant make a big song and dance about backing the just stop pylons protestors. As bad as just stop oil IMO.

  2. Plest Silver badge
    Pint

    Party in charge is irrelevant

    We all know who runs the country, the politcal descendants of Sir Humphrey Appleby and co, Starmer, Reeves and co can bleat all they like about this or that but nothing gets done or signed off unless Sir Humphrey and his cronies say so.

    Good luck Sir Kier, I do sincerely wish him well, it's just he's yet another puppet in a long line of 'em!

    1. LogicGate Silver badge

      Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

      I am pretty sure that it was not the politcal descendants of Sir Humphrey Appleby and co that decided to create a Brexit referendum as a means to alleviate inner-party strife,

      I am also pretty sure that it was not the politcal descendants of Sir Humphrey Appleby and co that decided that an advisory Brexit referendum that would have been anulled as illegal if it had been binding, was actually binding and that it involved leaving both the customs union AND the single market.

      Yes Minister is funny, but do not underestimate the effect that the Tory's hands both on the tiller and in the cookie-jars has had.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

        a interesting article in the FT yesterday on how the brexit shit show was just about to consume all the architects of it, and looking at the Tories that have lost their seats the article was spot on. Karma. BUT we all still have to suffer from their idiotic Brexit vote. To think the only reason the shyster Cameron called it was to unite the Tory party! Now more disjointed than it has ever been/ What a total c u next tuesday

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

          TBF the parliamentary Conservative Party is probably more united now than it's ever been, given that there's a lot less of them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            good point well made hahahahaha

            1. LogicGate Silver badge

              Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

              Yup,

              They cancelled all sane cooperative conservatives, leaving only the swivel-eyed loons to run around and complain about cancel-culture.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            Especially with Reece=Mogg retired. He's as bad as his mate Farage. Traitors both of them.

            1. Mike 125

              Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

              Yep. Mogg- fifth columnist in plain sight. Best result from this election- I'd take Farage over Mogg any day.

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

                At least Mogg is his own man, not a paid Kremlin shill. Now Farage has been elected, he's either going to have to declare who's been paying him, or eventually end up in prison.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

              "Especially with Reece=Mogg retired."

              Rumour has it he blames his party leader, Benjamin Disraeli :-)

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

                "1 thumb down"

                Is that you Jacob? Did nanny help you to work the big nasty computer thingy?

                Or did I trigger a snowflake by mentioning a Jewish ex-Prime Minister of the UK called Disraeli? Historical facts. What a bugger, eh?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

                  "Jewish ex-Prime Minister of the UK called Disraeli"

                  He was from a Jewish family but his father renounced Judaism and Benjamin was baptised as CoE.

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

                    Ta for that. It's over 40 years since I did GCE O level history :-)

                    I suppose I should have check on this newfangled interwebby thing :-)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            But each of them can start a fight in an empty room. And probably will.

        2. Helcat

          Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

          Please remember that Cameron was against Brexit and was backed into a corner to call that vote.

          It was not a party line vote, either: You had MP's from all sides supporting and opposing it. And when the vote came in, Cameron threw his toys out the pram and stormed off in a huff as he had NO plan for Brexit: He'd only considered that we'd stay in, so no need for any plan at all.

          Hence the mess.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            It was okay for Cameron to not have a plan for Brexit, his mistake was not having a plan if the result was “Leave”; wishing to leave the EU is different to actually leaving the EU, even though Brexiteers conflagrated the two.

          2. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            If he'd stuck to his guns and told the ERG where to go, he might have lost the premiership but the country would be a whole lot better off.

            Fuck Brexit, fuck the ERG, and fuck anyone that still thinks it's a good idea.

          3. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            The other problem was that the pro-leave side didn't have a plan either!

      2. John Miles

        Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

        I'll let Sir Humphrey Appleby explain why not Yes Minister — Why Britain Joined the European Union ( YouTube)

      3. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

        We should have had a second referendum then, shouldn’t we, like the Brexiteers wanted? To get democratic validation for the sort of Brexit the population wanted. Could have had Norway, Hard Brexit, EFTA, couple of other options too. And if you really want, Remain, as *one* of the options. Of course, the frothy-eyed Goves of this world wanted WTO terms only. But *they* were prepared to have a referendum on that.

        Unfortunately, Gina Miller went to the High Court, to *prevent* that, by insisting the referenda could only have two options on them, and one of them had to be Remain. On exactly zero legal basis, there’s no law that referenda can’t have three or more options. She essentially got the court to rule that the only legal referendum was a straight immediate re-run of a question already voted on.

        This whole “not legally binding” thing is nonsense - the idea that people would have voted differently if they’d put an explicit “legally binding sticker” on it is abusive gas-lighting. Did they put such a “legally binding” sticker when we had a referendum to join the Common Market in 1973? No, we did not.

        1. nobody who matters

          Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

          Whilst you make valid points for most of your post, I must correct you on your last sentence: the only referendum was on 5th June 1975 and was set up by Harold Wilson's October 1974 onwards Labour Government to decide whether or not the UK should <stay> in the EEC (much of the wider Labour Movement at that time was against UK membership, seeing it as a threat to UK jobs). Over 67% voted to stay in, and less than 33% voted against.

          Edward Heath's Conservative Government had already taken the UK into the EEC. Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Accession on 22nd January 1972 and the UK officially joined the EEC on 1st January 1973. There was never any referendum asking whether we should join in the first place!.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

      "the politcal descendants of Sir Humphrey Appleby"

      That's a fictional character.

      Perhaps use real life example instead? Especially for the benefit of non-UK readers.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I don't know.

        I am personally rather familiar with Sir Humphrey. I absolutely love Yes Minister and its sequel, and I personally consider that it should be mandatory watching for every political student.

        Then they can go on to House of Cards, which I abandoned after season 1 because wayyy too plausible and not funny at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You might say that. I couldn't possibly comment.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

      "We all know who runs the country, the politcal descendants of Sir Humphrey Appleby and co, Starmer, Reeves and co can bleat all they like about this or that but nothing gets done or signed off unless Sir Humphrey and his cronies say so."

      What complete fucking garbage. I'm a mid-to-senior civil servant, and I can assure you that we decide nothing, we do our utmost for any government to offer policy options to meet the objectives ministers say they want. We don't control agendas, we don't push them to conclusions we want. If they want some policy like Rwanda or pints of wine, it is not our job to argue against it, but to give them a view of how we think it could operate in practice, including whether it will work and possible consequences, offer options to implement, and then when a decision has been made we offer proposals to amend legislation that once approved by the minister go before Parliament. If a policy seems doomed to failure, but a minister insists it goes ahead, we keep going, that's our job - we're there to administer the business of government, not to decide it, influence it, or comment upon it. The UK has a very effective split between the executive branch of government (ministers, accountable to Parliament), and the administrative branch (the Civil Service). Unfortunately most of the British population are so dim they think that "Yes, Minister" was a documentary. People often say "******* civil servants, they can't make a decision on anything!" and they're right - because this is how democracy works - you don't want unelected officials making decisions do you? But the price of that is that every decision has to go up the tree to ministers.

      And in terms of Civil Service capability, I've work the vast majority of may career in the private sector for very large businesses, I'm on the right of the political spectrum. Over the past few years I've been a civil servant, and I can assure you that any preconceptions you have formed by some lightweight BBC comedy are wrong. The efficiency and effectiveness of Civil Service corporate processes is on a par most large orgnisations - some areas better, some worse, overall par for the course. My colleagues are committed, well trained professionals, who work as civil servants because they believe in the concept of public service. There's bad apples, there's big projects that go wrong (as they do in the private sector, but without public knowledge), and then there's the things that go right day in day out, and people give the civil service and government in general no credit for. In terms of net effeciency, government spends £1,200 billion each year. The Civil Service costs about £12bn a year, so the administration costs are almost exactly 1% of spending. Take any large complex orgnisation in the private sector, and you'll find that it's nearest equivalent (SG&A) is wildly higher - the average for larger companies is around 14%, and for companies of first quartile efficiency it is about 7%. The UK Civil Service was independently benchmarked against a whole load of other countries' administrations a few years back, and the UK came out remarkably well - a net win, allowing some particular areas needing improvement such as data and digital.

      The sad thing about all of this is that my comments won't make a blind bit of difference. You'll still believe that "the Blob" is frustrating the will of ministers, that "Yes, Minister" is how government works, that civil servants are lazy, incompetent, feckless work dodgers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

        that civil servants are lazy, incompetent, feckless work dodgers.

        Well, to be fair, most of the ones that the general public comes into direct contact with (on the rare occasions when they actually answer their phone) are.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

          You are confusing a will to answer the phone on the part of the civil servants concerned, with their ability to do so based on workload. Similarly, confusing their will to provide the level of service you might reasonably expect, with their ability to do so.

          Across the civil service there is a big problem - principally caused by politicians (who have since moved on leaving their mess behind). Across all departments, pay is a big problem - in the MoD there are now several grades on minimum wage, and the way things are heading they'll catch up with another grade in the next few years. Seriously, there are highly skilled and capable people who could earn more stacking shelves in Tesco. As a result, it's "difficult" to attract and retain staff. Add in politically imposed headcount restrictions, effectively a hiring freeze, and you make the situation even worse by not being able to even advertise empty posts. There are many people at the sharp end, the people you describe as "on the rare occasions when they actually answer their phone" who are trying to do the work of 2, 3, 4 or more people.

          Over the years, successive governments, of all colours, have applied "austerity", "pay pause", or other euphemisms for "cut the costs and don't worry about the effects" policies. The result is an outflow of exactly the sort of people we need to retain - often to the contractors they were previously supervising, and for a lot more money. In my area of interest, behind most government IT failures is a civil service ill equipped to take on the big four usual suspects who can afford to hire the very best legal and IT people in order to write contacts and specification that allow them to milk the government purse later. It's not that the civil servants are shirking, but that it's hard to retain the sort of specialised talent when they can defect to the other side (gamekeeper turned poacher) for perhaps four times the salary. Similarly, look at many of the defence projects with "problems" and the root cause is insufficient of the right skills in the right place at the right time.

          And it doesn't help morale when people like Jacob Reese-Mogg (a.k.a. the minister for Victorian times) goes round making snide comments by leaving notes on desks saying "pity you weren't here" (or whatever it was). Personally, I get more done working from home than I do in the office where I have to try and filter out the many conversations going on around me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

            >You are confusing a will to answer the phone on the part of the civil servants concerned, with their ability to do so based on workload. Similarly, confusing their will to provide the level of service you might reasonably expect, with their ability to do so.

            I know that, where I weork, headcount has been cut to the bone and we are expected to do more with less. And now we are being told to "use AI to manage our workload.."

            >Over the years, successive governments, of all colours, have applied "austerity", "pay pause", or other euphemisms for "cut the costs and don't worry about the effects" policies

            Indeed. At one point, we'd not had any sort of pay rise for 3 years. That was on wages that any techie in industry would look at and laugh (I know - I've been on both sides of the fence)

            The only advantage that I can in working for the civil service can be summed up in one word "pension".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

              And even the pension has been watered down. Civil Service pension is not so much gold plated any more, more showing the gold leaf flaking off.

      2. unimaginative
        Unhappy

        Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

        > I'm a mid-to-senior civil servant, and I can assure you that we decide nothing, we do our utmost for any government to offer policy options to meet the objectives ministers say they want. We don't control agendas, we don't push them to conclusions we want. If they want some policy like Rwanda or pints of wine, it is not our job to argue against it, but to give them a view of how we think it could operate in practice, including whether it will work and possible consequences, offer options to implement, and then when a decision has been made we offer proposals to amend legislation that once approved by the minister go before Parliament.

        That is exactly what Sir Humphrey says.

        Yes Minister is not a lightweight comedy. It is well researched. If you get the book version the footnotes tell you about the real events it is based on.

      3. Andy Mac

        Re: Party in charge is irrelevant

        I used to know someone who worked at the Department of International Development. He said he never heard the civil servants there talking about international development, only about their own careers.

  3. jospanner

    The media’s love affair with farage is very dangerous right now.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I doubt Farage will go anywhere much. The Reform vote was primarily a "who can we pick to kick Sunak, but not by voting Labour" one, I seriously doubt if many of those who voted for Farage would expect, or want, to see Reform anywhere near power. A bit like UKIP/Brexit parties, as soon as they'd had their single-issue impact, their votes evaporated.

      It is interesting to see that Labour's share of the vote barely changed, except in Scotland. Their landslide was almost entirely down to the core Tory vote going to Reform or the LibDems. This was an anti-Tory vote, largely by Tory voters, not really pro-Reform or pro-Labour.

      The big question now is how long Starmer can hang on for before the Labour left get the knives out, especially since Corbyn survived. Starmer doesn't have either the personality or the ego of Tony Blair, so seems much less likely to be able to hold the party together now that they don't have to worry about another election for 5 years. I'd give him a year during which he can still blame the Tories for everything, then internal Labour politics and factional fighting will get tricky.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Tory vote going to Reform or the LibDems"

        Looks more like the tory vote went to reform or simply didn't bother.

        Still odd how Europe is taking a very long overdue move away from the left while the UK seems happy to go back and now have a party in charge whose main/only claim is simply 'we're not the tories'. Maybe after a few years of watching AfD, RN, Trump etc. making Europe and the US a more liveable place the UK electorate will realise the error of their ways.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          AfD, RN, Trump etc. making Europe and the US a more liveable place

          This is satire, right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            No.

            Labour have lost over 3 million votes since 2017. If I apply remainer maths that means almost 80% of elidable people didn't vote for them.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              What does that debatable observation have to do with Trump trashing America for four years and AfD/RN still not having power yet in Germany/France?

        2. LogicGate Silver badge

          You are Ellied Jeel and i want my 5 pound.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            You are Ellied Jeel and i want my 5 pound.

            No relation. Said it before and will say it again. I don't use sock puppets or anonymong accounts. Strange how the eternally gullible think I do though.

            1. Casca Silver badge

              You are a sock puppet.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Making [insert country here] more livable

          If you think of the USA then you have clearly not read the 'Project 2025' manifesto.

          Trump will be a Dictator for life. No one will be able to question his madness especially surrounded by a cadre of sycophants.

          All the opposition will be rounded up and put in internment camps. Welcome to the Fifth Reich.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

            No one will be able to question his madness especially surrounded by a cadre of sycophants.

            Sadly this seems to be true of Biden as well as Trump.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

              And Bliar, Brown, Camoron, Johnson, Truss and Sunak.

            2. Casca Silver badge

              Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

              AC is really on strong drugs

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

            "All the opposition will be rounded up and put in internment camps"

            That is the wish of the democrat party. 'Our democracy' is just a dog whistle for single party rule by the corrupt elite.

            And if you want a cadre of sycophants look at the ones supporting Joe. Oh he had a cold, he was jet lagged, he was over prepared, CNN were biased towards Trump, criticism of Joe by the media is election interference...

            The BLM rioters who destroyed cities largely got off without even a slap on the wrist and in some cases with a hefty payout. For simply stepping on the grass on Jan 6th people have been kept locked up and their constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial denied.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

              And if you want a cadre of sycophants look at the ones supporting Joe. Oh he had a cold, he was jet lagged, he was over prepared,

              To be fair, the Dems have said the quiet part out loud. So jet lag is generally a function of distance and time. It's highly unlikely he could have become jetlagged during his trip from "Camp David" to Atlanta. He'd been back in the US 12 days before the debate. Soo.. where did he go during those 12 days? What planet was he visiting?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                "What planet was he visiting?"

                Depends what they dosed him up with! Given the reports that convicted felon Hunter is now actively involved in running the show it could be anything from crack to cheese from the floor.

                Flying west is the easier direction and usually most normal people are expected to fly in on a sunday night and be at work 8am the next morning. Certainly that is the way it worked every time I got shipped out for work and the cheap sods wouldn't stump for the extra night in a hotel :)

                Joe cannot function without a script. People have been saying this since 2020 and finally it has become so bad the media can't fake it any more.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                  "Given the reports that convicted felon Hunter is now actively involved in running the show it could be anything from crack to cheese from the floor."

                  Citation? And even if true, that's a bit better than convicted felon Trump winning another term and actually running the show.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                    Citation? And even if true, that's a bit better than convicted felon Trump winning another term and actually running the show.

                    There's been a bunch of newspaper stories reporting alarm that Hunter has been sitting in on Joe's meetings. And Hunter is a convicted felon in the same way as Trump is, although Trump probably has a much better chance of getting his convictions overturned on appeal. As for running the show, this is a question that's increasingly being asked of Biden. Clearly, he isn't.

                    1. Casca Silver badge

                      Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                      A, a bunch of "newspaper" stories. Sure...we will take your word for it. Strange how you dont post a wall of text when its not about russia. Almost like you dont have a script ready for this...

                    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                      Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                      "There's been a bunch of newspaper stories"

                      Yes, and it's been shown time after time that "newspapers" often copy each others stories, sometimes to such an extent that one paper prints an incorrect article, others copy it and suddenly it's "true" because "everybody" is reporting it. The clue is often that they all use exactly the same "quotes"and so are clearly all using the same single source. I think I'd need to see some trusted sources for that story rather than "some random bloke on the internet" says he saw some reports somewhere. Sadly, in the case of newspapers few, if any, are trustworthy and even those that are more trustworthy than others get caught up in the shark-like feeding frenzy when controversy rules.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                        Sadly, in the case of newspapers few, if any, are trustworthy and even those that are more trustworthy than others get caught up in the shark-like feeding frenzy when controversy rules.

                        Yep, that's why I didn't bother citing any. Most were the usual 'anonymous sources inside the Whitehouse' expressing concern that Hunter was sitting in on meetings. So not exactly very well sourced, or detailed about which meetings. It's probably down to the FBI if Hunter (or Joe) is abusing access, and one of those things that can happen when Joe works from home.

            2. Binraider Silver badge

              Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

              People were killed in that armed insurrection on Capitol Hill

              If you're ignorant of that then I have nothing further to explain.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                Yes, a protester was shot and killed by the police and one was beaten to death by the police. Another died of natural causes.

                The protesters themselves killed no-one.

                1. Binraider Silver badge

                  Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                  I think you need to use some better news sources than listen to the Orange one's rabble.

                  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/us/who-died-in-capitol-building-attack.html

                  Other sources available that strongly disagree with your claims.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Making [insert country here] more livable

                    Ashli Babbitt, protester murdered by police

                    Kevin Greeson, protester natural causes

                    Rosanne Boyland, protester murdered by police

                    Benjamin Philips, protester natural causes

                    So, the fifth person...

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Brian_Sicknick#Medical_examiner_report

                    "The chief medical examiner, Dr. Francisco J. Diaz, told The Washington Post that there was no evidence that Sicknick was injured or had an allergic reaction to chemical irritants."

                    You are fake news.

        4. Filippo Silver badge

          >AfD, RN, Trump etc. making Europe and the US a more liveable place

          Wait, I know how this works.

          * If those guys do not get into power, and things get better, then you will either falsely claim things are worse, or claim that they would be even better with those guys in power.

          * If those guys do not get into power, and things get worse, then you will claim they would have prevented it.

          * If those guys get into power, and things get better, then you will claim it's their merit.

          * If those guys get into power, and things get worse, then you will either falsely claim things are better, or claim it's somebody else's fault.

          Is that the plan? Let's check back in ten years and see if I was correct, eh?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "either falsely claim things are worse"

            With Biden it is very easy to show that things are actually worse, unless you are in the elite inner circle. Just like Hillary calling half the electorate a basket of deplorables, having Janet Yellen go on TV and say that the economy is booming but people just haven't noticed when in reality their grocery bills and fuel costs have more than doubled and they barely have any money left at the end of the month is not going gain the govt any support.

            Just like all the Biden supporters who said the president can't control gas prices when they went through the roof but congratulated him on a job well done when they came back down a bit.

            1. Casca Silver badge

              Good little trump syncophant. Posting as AC of course. Just go back to twitter...

        5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Still odd how Europe is taking a very long overdue move away from the left

          I think that's much the same situation as in the UK, just from a different starting point. Take France, where Macron did a Blair and dragged the socialists to the centre, thus getting a big vote as the dynamic new boy offering change. 7 years on the French have decided that they don't like his changes, but there are no serious moderate alternatives on either the left or the right, since the moderate parties imploded. End result is that people vote pick an extremist party purely as an anti-Macron kicking. Neither the RN or LFI have economically or socially credible policies.

          The problem with the 2-round system in France is that the coming second round will now be a purely tactical one, those even vaguely on the right will vote RN to keep Melenchon away from power, while the centre & left are horse-trading candidates to try & block the RN. It looks like the result is going to be a hung parliament, with Macron, as President, spending the next 3 years trying to block either side from doing anything too crazy. Maybe he's hoping that by the next Presidential election Le Pen & Melenchon will both be so discredited that his protege Attal will have a chance at being elected President?

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            “those even vaguely on the right will vote RN to keep Melenchon away from power”

            There’s a bunch of cope, right there. I think you are deluding yourself. 33% of France are voting RN, because they’ve had their livelihoods destroyed by those in power, and want revenge. They honestly don’t care who gets hurt or killed, as long as isn’t them. Own the truth about what France has become. It’s not even the 33% you need to worry about. At least they voted. It’s the dis-possessed living four to a bedsit in the Banlieu, who never vote, and are never seen.

            There’s going to be no co-habitation.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              33% of France are voting RN, because they’ve had their livelihoods destroyed by those in power, and want revenge.

              You'ver never lived there, have you? I did, for decades, and that's bollocks. They're voting RN because they see other people apparently getting richer when they aren't, and refuse to believe that the pension system is in crisis and about to be bankrupt. Of course, exactly the same is true of the 30% left-wing who vote LFI,they just choose to believe different fantasies about how to fix it.

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Own the truth about what France has become. It’s not even the 33% you need to worry about. At least they voted. It’s the dis-possessed living four to a bedsit in the Banlieu, who never vote, and are never seen.

              Probably much the same in the UK, and for much the same reasons. Sure, Labour won, but on a very low turnout, and under a PR system the results would have been rather different. But across Europe, there's been a rejection of globalism, even though the UK's ended up with a globalist in charge. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Starmer has.. quite a few challenges though, not just in the IT space. There's a NATO conference in the US in a couple of days, so a chance for a meet & greet. I doubt it'll lead to any suprises. Ed Milliband's back in charge of energy policy, so UK industry is still screwed. There's going to be a repeat of the Green Investment Bank, first floated by the Tories and Lib Dems in 2012, then flogged off to Macquarie a few years later after achieving very little.

        6. Casca Silver badge

          Trump making thw US a more livable place? What drugs are you one?

        7. Roland6 Silver badge

          > Still odd how Europe is taking a very long overdue move away from the left

          But is it really a move away from “the left”

          The UK result is very clear: the public including Tory voters had lost confidence in the party that had seemingly been in government since forever. (It is worth noting prior to Blair there had only effectively been three majority Labour governments).

          Looking at Europe, we see much of the same loss in confidence, just that with PR etc. minority government has been more normal, so there isn’t one party you can really point to, therefore I suggest the seemingly only way to protest and (hopefully) get a government that will change the status quo, is to vote against the establishment, which has been predominantly left leaning; a situation that would seem to favour the more right wing parties…

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm one who voted for Reform, and not "just as a kick to Rishi".

        I don't know if I'm alone, and democracy rightly secures anyone's right to disagree with me or think me a fool. I voted Reform with the desire to see Farage and his _convictions_ bring a balance and widening of _convictions_ in our politics, in our MP seats.

        I believe democracy is largely only as good as the options it presents. The Conservatives seem increasingly "in name only", with the exception of a few standing MPs. Whether Reform's existence is enough to generate within them clear and unified _conviction_ again, I do not yet know. If it does, great. If it does not, fine. Either way, there exists right now a voice with conviction - who appears serious (with some relatively famous names around him) about building a new party, a new option, with _conviction_. Particular convictions which have been forgotten by the Conservatives.

        I'm hope those who voted Labour get to see unified _conviction_ from their leader and MPs over the next 4 years too. I know politicians be politicians - but it truly does my nut when someone can't just answer a question straightly. Frankly, I'd rather someone who I disagree with than someone who can't just give a straight answer.

        1. LogicGate Silver badge

          You are aware that Farage's only conviction is to spank any monkey that will get him money and publicity?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            10% for the big guy?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I'm one who voted for Reform, and not "just as a kick to Rishi"."

          I'm one who voted Reform, specifically to kick the Conservative party and encourage the survivors to spend five years or mre thinking about how they pissed off their voters by failing to work for them. I had no expectation that Reform would achieve anything other than splitting the vote.

          I didn't vote Labour because I don't support a range of their policies, but in all honesty, the economic track record of the Labour Party is far better:

          https://theconversation.com/labour-are-much-better-at-running-the-economy-than-voters-think-new-research-162368

          Even though I didn't vote for him, and the economic outlook is bleak, I'm cautiously optimistic for a Starmer led government. I won't like some of what they want to do, they HAVE to put taxes up, but against that I'd value dull sincerity in a PM a lot higher than the Etonian debating skills that seem to be the sole qualifcation of Tory ministers. Simply providing stability of government, and a modicum of integrity puts the country leagues ahead of where we've been for most of the past decade.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Well, I for one would like to say thank you for voting Reform.

            For as long as I can remember we've had the Tories on the right and multiple parties opposing them, splitting the vote, and with this ridiculous electoral system we have that's all it takes. But for the first time in modern UK parliamentary history we now have two right-wing parties in Britain, and now it's the right-wing vote's that split - while the center and left continue to vote tactically, as I've had to do for thirty years now.

            It's brought me a real joy to see that lesson have not been learned by the right. Let's hope the arrogance of both Reform and the "natural party of leadership" that is the Conservatives keeps that lesson unlearned for a long, long time.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              we now have two right-wing parties in Britain

              What, you mean Reform and the (spit) BNP?

              The LibDems are somwhere left of Labour these days. The Tories are centrist, Labour are centrist, hence the "who the fuck cares" attitude to politics these days. A few years ago any party winning a landslide like yesterday's would see it's supporters out cheering in the streets, but the most common attitude I'm seeing today is "turn that crap on the TV off. TGIF, anyone want to go to the pub?"

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Hence the awful turnout. People are fed up.

                The sad thing is that liberal views from the 1990s are now shouted down as 'far right'.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  We're not arguing about benefits or tax policy here: it's Operation Deport Black People hostile environment and Windrush, or Suella Braverman refusing to implement a law preventing protest outside abortion clinics, or Farage aligning himself with rapists.

                  Look further afield and we have "wear a headscarf in public, go to prison" possibly coming to France or "feel free to break the law Mr President" America (hellooo Watergate?). The last time this sort of shit happened in a western democracy was Wiemar Germany. It's racism and facism. If you want to argue big state v small state or benefits policy, I'm very happy to do that civilly over a pint, but some things need to be smacked down.

              2. graeme leggett Silver badge

                The conservatives are on a continuum from Tugehadt (centre-left) to Braverman (populist right - or at least cosplaying it) but their centre of gravity is currently to the right of centre.

                The "who cares" attitude is not down to the traditional two being in same spot on the lefr-right axis but things such as Johnson's buffoonry (and Tory party tolerance of it) making politics unserious and the regular refrain 'theyre all the same' seeps into public attitude until it's believed. At which point you get populists appearing with unfounded claims that somehow they'll sort it out (and not by means such as enforcing standards in oublic life or better parliamentary procedures)

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Oh, that "'they're all the same" started well before Johnson, when Cameron declared himself the "heir to Blair" and abandoned any pretence of being on the right. Blairite Labour centrists have forced the Left out, and Tory wets have forced out the Right. They are all the same, both offering warmed-over New Labour policies with some different glitter on the surface, and indeed that opens the door for populists with unfounded claims who can take advantage of the resultant apathy and low turnouts. It's a dangerous situation.

                  1. graeme leggett Silver badge

                    "Tory wets have forced out the Right. " Pull the other one.

                    Clarke, Soames, Grieve, Stewart, Hammond, Gauke, Letwin, Vaizey - all Tory wets, all gone. Yet Patel, Braverman are kept on despite their casual attitude to ministerial code.

                2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

                  > the regular refrain 'theyre all the same' seeps into public attitude until it's believed

                  I've said it before, but the "they're all the same" or "they're all as bad as each other" attitude is lazy cynicism and useful idiocy that perpetuates and reinforces the exact problem it's supposedly decrying. It rewards those who really *are* already at the bottom and dragging everyone else down.

                  When you assume that- and vote as if- they *are* all the same, you remove any incentive or reward for anyone actually trying to do any better. Quite the opposite, those actually (in effect) wasting their energy doing so are punished for it, painted as hypocrites doing it for self-serving and dishonest reasons because- by definition- they're all in it for themselves. At least the other guy openly lying and advancing his own career isn't *pretending* to be any better, right?

                  And it's true that politicians are on a spectrum, with few- if any- of them actually at the top.

                  Much as I hate the Kier Starmer's centre-right, moderate "reputable" Tory (*) mockery of the "Labour" party, I would never claim that they're "all just the same" as today's actual hard-right-disintegrating-in-the-direction-of-Reform Tory party. Granted, that's not a very high bar to be better than, and the observation is more damning of the Tories than a compliment towards Labour- but it's a difference.

                  (*) Tory by more traditional measures, and not the rabid, hard-right-pandering trash direction it headed in under Johnson and then Truss and which Sunak tried to continue pandering to while simultaneously pretending he was dragging it back to the centre.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    If you're seriously suggesting that Labour is centre-right, and the Tories are hard-right then I'd suggest that you have a serious problem with your idea of where the centre is. You seem to be placing it somewhere around Karl Marx.

                    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

                      I suppose that depends whether you buy into the idea that the "centre" and "centrism" in UK politics is always defined in terms of (being somewhere between) Labour and the Conservatives.

                      In which case, Labour always- by definition- gets to call itself "left" or "centre left", no matter how far the "centre" and the Overton window have been dragged to the right, and no matter that Tory-pandering Blair-era and (even moreso) Starmer-era Labour (with Tories-in-all-but-name like Wes Streeting) are more free-market, privatisation friendly and generally to the right economically than most pre-Thatcher Tory governments.

                      (For a more ludicrous example of this, look at the US and the pro-business Democrats being called "Marxists" by foaming-at-the-mouth Republicans who are so totally detached from reality- or any plausible definition of "left wing" that they wouldn't know a Marxist if they had them lined them up against a wall and shot when the, er, revolution came).

                      I don't buy into that. And while I'd say I'm pretty moderate politically (centre-left by pre-Blair's-capitulation-to-the-English-Tory-electorate standards), I can't look at Starmer and see him as anything other than a moderate and less disreputable Tory.

                    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

                      Wes Streeting wants to pump NHS resources into private healthcare (thus further starving the public sector). That on its own makes Labour right of centre.

                  2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    'They're all the same' is always followed by 'so vote for *ahem* alternative parties'. It's the rallying cry of the far right.

                    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                      It's the rallying cry of the far right.

                      And of the far left.

              3. Roland6 Silver badge

                > The Tories are centrist

                Only one of the factions that form the Tory party can be called centrist. Hopefully, with Reform’s assistance, the Tory party will splinter into the three broad groupings it consists of.

                1. nobody who matters

                  If you think that Reform are comparable to the right wing of the Conservative Party, I think that you do not appreciate just how extreme Reform really are underneath the mild mannered surface they try to present in public ;).

                  Sadly, it appears that quite a lote of the electorate didn't realise either :(

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    TBF, the most right-wing part of the Tory party consists of people who think Reform are a bit wishy-washy, but try to infiltrate the mainstream by speaking carefully. Amusingly, what they want is almost indistinguishable from the Corbynites.

                    1. nobody who matters

                      I will repeat it for your benefit - if you think that Reform are comparable with the right wing of the Conservative Party, you do not understand just how 'right wing' reform are. If you think that Reform are less right wing than the right wing of the Conservative Party, you are even further out of touch with what Reform really are than I would have believed possible!

                      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                        I'm not suggesting for a moment that Reform aren't Nazis in disguise. Remember, the Tory members elected Truss as leader ahead of Sunak at first, simply because Sunak is brown, and we're talking about the most right-wing fringe of those people. Same ends as Reform, different method.

                        1. nobody who matters

                          Liz Truss politics earlier in her life was as a Lib Dem supporter, and as a Conservative, she can hardly be considered 'right-wing'. Along with a good many other members of the party, she was never really a Conservative in my view.

                          1. graeme leggett Silver badge

                            Truss is currently a freemarketer. She's moved position over the years and that happens with many people but she's definitely on the right these days.

                            1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                              As far as her right-wing credentials go, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

                  2. Roland6 Silver badge

                    > If you think that Reform are comparable to the right wing of the Conservative Party

                    Didn’t say that, although given some in the Conservative Party either joined Reform or wanted the Conservative Party to adopt some Reform policies, would suggest some degree of overlap with the extreme right within the Conservative Party. Remember the Conservatives in the main will do whatever to gain and keep power, so I can see the right of the Conservatives seeing how well Reform are doing, deciding to jump ship…

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "Let's hope the arrogance of both Reform and the "natural party of leadership" that is the Conservatives keeps that lesson unlearned for a long, long time."

              Let's hope not! We've seen too many times in recent decades what happens when a party is in power for more than two terms, both Labour and Tory. Labour, by the time Brown got kicked out, was just as arrogant as the Torys were until today. And neither did any long term planning even when they were confident of winning the next term. They still mostly limited themselves to planning for the votes at the next election.

        3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Frankly, I'd rather someone who I disagree with than someone who can't just give a straight answer.

          Me too, and they are indeed sadly lacking in UK politics. I have to admit that Corbyn is one, although I totally disagree with his political and economic policies. On the other side, David (Lord) Frost speaks convincingly from conviction on the centre-right. As you said, it was actually refreshing to hear Farage answering interviewers' questions with an initial direct "Yes" or "No", before explaining himself, instead of the weasel-words employed by too many senior Labour and Tory politicians.

          I'd have to disagree with you about conviction being a general characteristic of Reform, though. Farage, perhaps, but too many of the other candidates are just troublemakers. In my constituency the Reform candidate didn't even show up any any hustings, it was clearly intended merely as an anti-Tory box to tick on the ballot. Many did.

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            You think Corbyn is trustworthy, despite him being shown up as a terrible liar over and over again? You clearly aren't keeping up.

            From the time he lied about his expenses - he claimed he had the lowest expenses in Parliament, but in fact had simply not submitted his expenses that quarter, putting them in late, and was censured by the expenses committee for it - to the times he lied about getting paid by Holocaust deniers to push their agenda, to the many, many racist lies he told about Jewish people and antisemitism in Labour, the list is endless. Don't forget all the other lies/misleading statements and actions, like making a big deal about living in a council house and attacking others over their wealth, but never mentioning that he's a multi-millionaire himself. Oh, and of course there's the absurd story about how his socialite mother - and friend of the Moseleys - single-handedly organised the resistance at the Battle of Cable Street while on a shopping trip to London, which his brother described as 'pure fantasy'.

            He's one of the nastiest, most dishonest, and most venal MPs in a long time, alongside his fellow-travelers Galloway and Farage. Absolute scum.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              No, I didn't say he was trustworthy, I said that he has a position that he is willing to speak to and defend. I disagree completely with him on almost everything, but he doesn't try and hide his nastiness behind waffle and weasel-words.

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                It's still a counter-factual proposition. He does nothing but lie. His whole act is a lie, from top to bottom and beginning to end. He pretends to be a man of strongly held principles, but will in fact say anything if someone pays him enough.

                1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                  I also don't like Corbyn, but to say his opinions can be bought is obvious nonsense. You don't like him because you think he's an anti-semite, a label you've attached to half the commenters here too.

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    Corbyn's declaration of interests show that his main non-parliamentary income in the years before he became Labour leader was taking money from Iran to push their propaganda lines, including Holocaust denial. When he stopped being Labour leader, he went full Icke. There's no doubt about it, he's motivated by money.

                    "you think he's an anti-semite"

                    It's not just what I think. It's established fact.

                    "a label you've attached to half the commenters here too."

                    There are lots of antisemites here. I'm quite happy to call them what they make plain they are.

        4. Killing Time

          Good to hear you voted, even if it was for Beaker Farage.

          Anyone can have _conviction_ ( just ask any guest of HM Prison Service) what is really required is a plan and integrity, neither of which Farage has shown any semblance of possessing.

          If you accept dismissal of a party representative as an 'actor' or claims of a media setup in response to an unacceptable situation they have been caught up in as a straight answer then good luck with your choices of leaders in life.

          Again, glad to hear you voted.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The only _conviction_ to expect from Reform will be criminal ones.

        6. nobody who matters

          <................."I voted Reform with the desire to see Farage and his _convictions_ bring a balance and widening of _convictions_ in our politics, in our MP seats."..................>

          I am afraid that all that your vote (and the votes of tthe others who selected the Reform candidate on their ballot papers) has done is put a Labour Government in place with such an enormous majority that they can enact whatever they wish with complete impunity - the other parties have so few seats that we have no strong opposition in Parliament to rein in any excesses or hold them to account.

          It is most noticeable that in many of the constituencies where Labour have taken the seat from the Conservatives, the new Labour majority is less than two-thirds of the Reform share of the vote. Had Reform not stood for election, the Conservatives would almost certainly have retained those seats!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Had Reform not stood for election, the Conservatives would almost certainly have retained those seats!

            That was the whole idea. Five more years of Sunak would have been a disaster, and the election after it just a rerun of yesterday's.

            Perhaps now, after the pending internal bloodbath, the Tories will listen to their voters.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              > Five more years of Sunak would have been a disaster

              Sunak would of been replaced within a year or so of the GE…

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Sunak would of been replaced within a year or so of the GE…

                They should have replaced him 6 months before the GE, things would have been a lot better!

                I wouldn't be at all surprised if the reason he called the snap election was that he knew the number of no-confidence letters was about to reach the point where there would be a leadership challenge, so he decided to risk it all, and threw the party under a bus instead.

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  The Tories wouldn't have done better after another act of the clown show. Sunak was by far the best leader they had amongst the various choices. The previous election was unwinnable for any Tory leader, but Corbyn's idiocies and racism managed to over-ride the default Labour landslide and condemned the country to another Tory government. This time round, against grown-up opposition, there was no chance for the Tories whoever was in charge.

                2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  They should have replaced him 6 months before the GE, things would have been a lot better!

                  Not really. We burned through Cameron, Johnson, Truss, Sunak.. won't someone think of the stationary costs? It doesn't exactly give the impression of a strong and stable government when there's a new PM every 6 months or so. Plus there was the small problem of who would replace Sunak, then how long they might survive. I also think it was somewhat mean that Sunak got re-elected, and he couldn't retire to his California pad.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    It doesn't exactly give the impression of a strong and stable government when there's a new PM every 6 months or so.

                    True. Any new leader would have had to publish a proper, costed, low-tax low-spend budget & then called an immediate election. They might not have won, but they would have wrong-footed Reform & lost far fewer seats.

                  2. Roland6 Silver badge

                    > I also think it was somewhat mean that Sunak got re-elected

                    Possibly, but it does mean the other 120 Conservative MPs have to get their act together and publicly and actively initiate a leadership contest…

                3. nobody who matters

                  """""""......They should have replaced him 6 months before the GE, things would have been a lot better!......."""""

                  Who with?? There really do not appear to have been any viable possibilities who would have proved any different, much less any better. Even now, the names being bandied about in the press as possible replacements for him are (to my mind) likely to consign the Conservative Party to oblivion for at least a generation, possibly much longer. Whilst that will obviously suit the political views of some, it would not be healthy for the two remaining dominant parties to be left-of-centre (and I don't see Reform as supplanting the Lib Dems as the official opposition in the abscence of any Conservatives).

            2. nobody who matters

              And you think five years of Starmer won't be a disaster? I am not that much of an optimist :(

              And I am not sure why you appear to be inferring that we would have had another 5 years of Sunak if Reform had not stood because there is no eveidence to support that idea. What Reform not handing on a plate those former Conservative held seats over to Labour would have done is ensure that there would have been a large enough and effective opposition to hold the new Government to account - instead of which we have Labour with such a large majority that they are able to behave as a dictatorship for the next five years (just as the Conservatives were able to from 1979). I don't think that is healthy for democracy, or for the UK.

              1. nobody who matters

                Oh, I see someone already appears to think that a dictatorship is fine?

                1. nobody who matters

                  Correction; three!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                And you think five years of Starmer won't be a disaster? I am not that much of an optimist :(

                I didn't say that. 5 years of Starmer likely won't be much different to 5 of Sunak, except that at the end of them we might have a better set of options. Putting Sunak back in would merely have reinforced his view that Tory voters liked what he was doing, leaving us in the same shit in 2029.

                I doubt if Starmer will still be there in 5 years, and we'll probably be in worse shit for a while if he's manoeuvered out, but at least by then there might be some plausible but not extreme alternative.

                And I am not sure why you appear to be inferring that we would have had another 5 years of Sunak if Reform had not stood because there is no eveidence to support that idea.

                I didn't say that, I said that if Reform had not stood the Tories would have lost fewer seats. They'd still have lost the election.

                What Reform not handing on a plate those former Conservative held seats over to Labour would have done is ensure that there would have been a large enough and effective opposition to hold the new Government to account - instead of which we have Labour with such a large majority that they are able to behave as a dictatorship for the next five years (just as the Conservatives were able to from 1979). I don't think that is healthy for democracy, or for the UK.

                Once you get past about 40-seat majority it makes little odds, the opposition have little chance of holding a government to account. The voters will do that.

                1. nobody who matters

                  """""""".......Once you get past about 40-seat majority it makes little odds, the opposition have little chance of holding a government to account. The voters will do that......""""

                  Except of course the voters are not able to do that between elections - they only get the chance when the party with the majority decide that they are allowed to (which since Boris's ill-advised repeal of fixed-term Parliaments is once agin allowing the governing party to call an election when they think they have the best chance of winning, and therefore at least partly sidestepping the liklihood of the majority of the electorate disagreeing with what they have done).

                  """"""....I didn't say that, I said that if Reform had not stood the Tories would have lost fewer seats. They'd still have lost the election...."""

                  ..that is what I said ;)

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Except of course the voters are not able to do that between elections - they only get the chance when the party with the majority decide that they are allowed to

                    Sometimes they can. Don't forget there are two sets of voters. The lumpen proletariat that get to vote whenever there's an election, and the party members. Depending on party, and that party's rules, members can sometimes vote MPs or party leaders out.

                    Many years ago, I got curious and some friends made a bet that I couldn't get some political office. So I looked at the 3 main parties in our city. Labour had something like 30,000 members, Lib Dems 8,000 and Conservatives something like 600. So I joined the Conservatives, and after a few months was made treasurer. Small membership, fewer active members, much easier to infiltrate and win the bet. Plus got invites to the party conference, which was an interesting experience. But for a small monthly fee, people can get more influence over their party. Labour's harder though as from memory, their Union bloc vote makes it much harder to have any real fun.

        7. Binraider Silver badge

          The only conviction that the Tories and Reform can be labelled with is that of the criminal activity that was lying to the entire country about Brexit.

          You could also colour them with having the conviction of being world-class con-people and profiteers at the electorates expense.

          Feel free to disagree but the fact that a reform voter has to resort to posting anonymously to defend their position, is perhaps, indicative that you KNOW it's wrong.

      3. Tron Silver badge

        Don't count your chickens.

        Farage is a populist and will have pulled Labour/Brexit voters and otherwise non-voting chavs, racists and general malcontents to his cause, not just Tories. Many Tories just stayed at home. Reform went from zero to a heck of a lot of votes in a matter of weeks.

        If Starmer keeps to the centre, Farage and the Tories might split the right. But if after a year or two, Labour activists challenge Starmer and replace him with Kahn, using Boris's route into power, Labour will move to the left. That would lose them votes and inspire the right. Then Farage can take control of the whole of the right, the way his idol Trump took control of the Republican party. By then, Labour will be an unpopular sitting regime, and they could be taken down by a populist. The UK's PMs could be Starmer, then Kahn and then Farage.

        There is very little talent in British politics, particularly in managing and rolling out viable policy, which makes it unstable (and butchers the economy, standard of living, quality of life).

        I doubt there will be any investment in Hydrogen, green or otherwise. The Germans are the crash test dummies for that, and it is proving to be insanely expensive. Switching UK gas infrastructure to hydrogen is, ironically, a pipe dream, as everyone would have to go without it for the transition. The expensive and intrusive stuff that requires labour (not available post-Brexit) like heat pumps, just isn't going to happen either. The green transition will be switched to whatever is cheap and do-able, so expect a switch to green electricity to heat homes.

        Also note the almost complete absence of mentioning Brexit by the BBC. Brexit lies got the Tories into power. The real world consequences of Brexit erased them. Is there a D-notice on mentioning any downside to Brexit in UK media, or are they self-censoring?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Don't count your chickens.

          Also note the almost complete absence of mentioning Brexit by the BBC. Brexit lies got the Tories into power. The real world consequences of Brexit erased them. Is there a D-notice on mentioning any downside to Brexit in UK media, or are they self-censoring?

          The BBC did mention Brexit, many times in the time I was watching. Despite pro- and antiBrexit being a cross-party thing at the time, the BBC seemed to be reporting* that the Pro-brexit constituencies mostly voted Labour.

          * Probably correctly, but without explanation, leading to misconceptions that pro-brexit means Labour and anti-brexit means Tory. Personally I think Pro-brexiteers voted Labour because they didn't get the brexit they wanted or expected as there were too many different Brexit outcomes to please all of them

      4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        > the Labour left get the knives out

        Starmer's just spent the last 4 years purging the Labour left, there's nothing of it left for him to worry about.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          What a loony notion. He hasn't purged anyone. He's swept problems under the carpet so as not to rock the boat before the election. Even Diane Abbott is still there, despite making openly antisemitic comments and refusing to apologise for them.

          Hopefully now the election is over we see him deal with the problem properly.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          there's nothing of it left for him to worry about.

          People like Abbot, Long-Bailey and Rayner are still there, Corbyn's still an MP and would be welcomed back into the fold by them if Starmer wasn't there to stop it. If I were Starmer I wouldn't be sanguine about it. To quote another unpleasant politico: "they havent gone away, you know"

      5. Binraider Silver badge

        Absolutely. Labour did not "win" this election by changing minds. The Tories threw it out with the bathwater and about 1/3rd their vote going to Reform following the inevitably failed Brexit.

        Tories rightfully believe no committed labourites will ever switch to them ever again, and so, good riddance to both shades of blue.

        If you want a moderate party now it's Lib Dem or Labour. Take your pick. (I'm pro lib dem myself though FPTP means the vote is tactical).

      6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        I seriously doubt if many of those who voted for Farage would expect, or want, to see Reform anywhere near power

        It's going to be interesting (in a Chinese proverb sort of way) to see how the Poison Dwarf treats his time as an MP - will he do what he did as an MEP (take the wage but not bother to do the job and only turn up to insult his colleagues) or will he actually try to do the job of an MP?

        My guess is not - holding weekly MP surgeries with the great unwashed? Pull the other one..

        Oh - he'll probably be in Parliament sometimes to vent his spleen and rub the Tories faces in their loss but I sincerely doubt whether he's interested in representing Clacton - he wants the kudo and status of being an MP without doing the work.

        And the constant drip of Reform people saying racist/homophobic/anti-immigrant stuff will continue.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    IR35

    You forgot the elephant in the room - IR35, a legislation designed to stop small business competing with bigger players.

    It makes government projects artificially more expensive and of poor quality.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IR35

      "government projects artificially more expensive and of poor quality"

      The govt managed that without IR35.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IR35

      "You forgot the elephant in the room - IR35, a legislation designed to stop small business competing with bigger players."

      FFS, elsergio, could you stop going on and on and on about IR35? There's only one person in the entire universe cares, and that's you.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: IR35

        I guess you like to cut off your nose to spite your face, eh?

        You may not care about this, but this has deep effect on the economy.

        Remember back in the day similar things were said about Post Office, that it is a conspiracy theory and post masters should stop going on about it. Look where it is today.

        IR35 after Tory changes is an issue of similar calibre. It only benefits big corporations that are exempt from it and we all pay for it by reduced economic activity, money being transferred offshore and fewer opportunities for working class.

      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: IR35

        He's a far right tinfoilhatter who believes that 'the Jews don't pay tax', so thinks he shouldn't have to either. He's ranted about it on many occasions here.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: IR35

          Your understanding of this legislation is flawed. It shifts work to large corporations, which can avoid paying taxes due to their resources and strategies.

          Employees of large consultancies earn only a fraction of what clients are charged for their services. Consequently, their (both employees and their employer) tax contributions are substantially lower compared to those of small businesses that deliver the same services, but are affected by the legislation.

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: IR35

            Cuckoo!

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: IR35

              Very intelligent, indeed.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: IR35

              Tax evaders who got stopped by IR35 need to stop lying about it. It wasn't a change in the rules, it was a change in how the rules were enforced. Genuine contractors had no problem. Fake contractors had to start paying the tax that they should always have been paying.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: IR35

                The SI’s were also evading UK tax, IR35 didn’t stop them, it actually rubber stamped their evasion of UK taxes and disguised employment practises

                Just like HMRC have rubber stamped the tax evasion practised by the approved umbrella company operators…which as cost HMRC more lost tax than they believed they were loosing to fake contractors”…

                > Genuine contractors had no problem.

                Doesn’t make any difference, if HMRC deem the contractor to be inside IR35, regardless of what their tool says, you are inside IR35, unless you are willing to argue your case in court…

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: IR35

      > It makes government projects artificially more expensive and of poor quality.

      Whilst I get the more expensive, the link to poor quality is not so direct.

      I suspect the reason why HMRC are using SAP is because of the doctrine of “buy don’t build” handed down from the politicians, hence why SAP had to be so highly customised. I think the use of major SI’s doesn’t automatically mean use a COTS product, just that many will be more comfortable using a COTS package and customising it.

      HMRC really need to be looking to replace SAP with open source and in-house development/customisation.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Politicians come and politicians go

    but the beancounters in No 11 Downing St remain. HM Treasury control gubbermint spending.

    Projects that meet ROCI targerts will mysteriously and suddenly fail new targets. That is how UK Gubbermint fails us all miserably.

    Ministers might get their pet projects 'fully funded' on'y to have No 11 pull the rug. Nothing happens which is the whole aim of Treasury. Once in a blue moon, a project will escape. Thatcher's Handbag made sure that the Chunnel got built. HS2 was doomed because friends of No 11 in Bucks made sure that millions were spent moving a ventinlation tunnel 10ft and other crap, Constan spec changes is also a prime weapon. If there are enough changes, the money will run out and the project will get canned. The Do nothing brigade win again

    Yours Disgusted of Tunbrodge Wells.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Politicians come and politicians go

      "HM Treasury control gubbermint spending."

      No, the chancellor controls government spending.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Politicians come and politicians go

        No, the chancellor controls government spending."

        The same Chancellor of the party who just told us all their plans were "fully funded" and said, barely after the ink was dry on the paper confirming her position as Chancellor, that there not as much money to spend as they thought, The standard cry of every incoming Govt. after promising the earth :-/

        1. nobody who matters

          Re: Politicians come and politicians go

          There is considerably more money available in the exchequer for the new Labour Government to play with than was left for any of the last three incoming Governments who took over after a period of Labour in charge ;)

          1. nobody who matters

            Re: Politicians come and politicians go

            You can downvote all you like, it is a fact that every Labour Government in my lifetime has left the cupboard completely bare - in 1979 not only was there no money left in the Governmen pot, but the Callaghan government had left us in debt to the IMF (that was how bad it had got!). Likewise when the Conservative/Lib Dem took over in 2010 there was no money left - Liam Byrne (the outgoing Cheif secretary to the Treasury) famously left a note for his replacement "I'm afraid there is no money".

            Go on, downvote reality again and make yourself look a total fool!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Politicians come and politicians go

              Ah, yes, the old "by downvoting me you prove that I'm right and you're wrong!" win-either-way strategy that's invariably seen through, ignored and downvoted anyway.

            2. nobody who matters

              Re: Politicians come and politicians go

              I see the usual leftists downvoting reality again as usual. Won't change it.

              """"".....Ah, yes, the old "by downvoting me you prove that I'm right and you're wrong!" win-either-way strategy that's invariably seen through, ignored and downvoted anyway.....""""

              I don't need to be proved right - what I have said in my previous post are recorded historical facts.

    2. Like a badger

      Re: Politicians come and politicians go

      "Thatcher's Handbag made sure that the Chunnel got built. "

      And then Eurotunnel unfortunately went bust because the whole project wasn't commercially viable, wiping out its own shareholders, writing off about £3.4 billion of debt (2006 prices) that you and I ultimately paid for, and still needing bailouts in the several hundred million pound range just to continue operation. Maybe the handbag wasn't such a good idea?

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Politicians come and politicians go

      > HS2 was doomed because

      It was a project founded on political vanity. If it had started from a different place, like how do we address the issues with the WCML, it would have looked very different and had a different cost profile.

      HS2 killed itself in part by wanting to be super fast (400km/h) rather than just fast (201km/h).

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Politicians come and politicians go

        The speed was part of a (rubbish) sales pitch. Speed much more importantly equals capacity. HS2 is roughly the equivalent PPM of 3x the M40. That's a much, much better selling point than a few mins here and there. Also, it only became a vanity project because it was quite literally abused to print money for rich Tory mates.

        But, noooo, namby pamby NIMBYism is the default blocker to progress, and, throw in some truly terrible project management over the top and the whole thing gets curtailed before it's even 1/3rd done.

        This country HAS to get over itself if there is to be any kind of meaningful progress, especially in the planning permission department. It's on Labour people's radar. But I'll believe it when I see it.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Politicians come and politicians go

          > Speed much more importantly equals capacity

          A motorway with vehicles travelling at 2mph has a higher capacity than the same section with vehicles travelling at 70mph…However, the optimal capacity is 55 mph, even though generally you can travel at 70.

          > Also, it only became a vanity project because it was quite literally abused to print money for rich Tory mates.

          It was originally conceived to make New Labour look “with it”, hence why it was only London - Birmingham, subsequent efforts were made to turn it into something useful, it was at this point “capacity” was seized on. There were also the conflicts, the trackbed being one and probably the biggest contributor to the “overspend”, the decision to run 400 km/h trains requests a vastly more expensive alignment and trackbed than that required for 300 km/h (HS1/Eurotunnel) or 201 km/h (west coast mainline).

          Another conflict was the cost/price, the politicians sold it as being a showcase of British engineering (and thus encouraged ideas of 400 km/h etc) yet wanted it built (just like they did with the channel tunnel and HS1) at bargain basement prices, hence minimum use of tunnels and a route that avoided expensive land purchase etc.

          HS2 became expensive because they under estimated the cost of having people working in poorly accessible locations, with modern levels of health and safety and creature comforts.

          > This country HAS to get over itself if there is to be any kind of meaningful progress, especially in the planning permission department.

          The real issue is daft speculative planning applications, which give a false impression that it is the planners who are holding stuff up.

          For example, near me a planning application for 5000 homes was turned down because the developer expected the council to compulsory purchase the pre-existing homes built on the land the developer wanted to use for access…

          Currently got a “solar park” application in progress. The developer is majoring on the greenwash, ignoring the facts from their own brochure show the business park will be a significant net energy consumer ie. Their wind farm and solar farm elements are purely to earn them (to owners and operators) revenue from grid,payments/tax breaks.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doomed.

    https://newsthump.com/2024/07/05/disillusionment-with-labour-government-sets-in/

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    New UK tech policy leaked

    Merged monopoly VirginO2EEVodaThree to be nationalised and rebranded "Great British Broadband"

    Web cookies to henceforth be called "web biscuits"

    All UK schoolchildren to be taught compulsory Perl lessons up to the age of 18

    MP Twitter accounts to be verified with "brown tick"

    New UK web censorship agency to be located in Scunthorpe

    Phishing quotas to be agreed yearly with EU

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: New UK tech policy leaked

      Web cookies to henceforth be called "web biscuits"

      The could more easily be dunked in TEA (The Extreme Anonymiser) thus getting rid of them quickly.

  8. wallyhall

    This must be...

    ...one of the most anoyn threads I've seen on The Reg to date!

    Here's a picture of a cat to cheer anyone up who's done with all the politics and news of the last 40 days!

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: This must be...

      Well Larry the downing street cat kept his seat.

      But mine turned bright orange. oh well never mind.

      Tory: from the old irish word for robber or brigand

  9. Dr. G. Freeman

    Sadly as expected the Government got in.

    Now to blame the old lot for the new lot doing nothing for the next few years or so.

    Until it's time to vote again and they change over.

  10. DS999 Silver badge

    The UK's tax collectors have a "challenging" SAP upgrade?

    Well then pity the US's tax collectors - the IRS has tried more than once to "modernize" its system off the mainframe based software that in parts dates back to the 60s and 70s, but while they have been able to get some pieces off it the heart of the system is still mainframe based. They'd LOVE to be in a situation where their biggest technical hurdle was an SAP upgrade. They could only dream of such a paradise!

  11. OllieJones

    Compared to US govt citizen facing IT?

    Hey reg, you know what would be cool?

    Team up with Jennifer Pahka (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Pahlka) author of Recoding America, and do some comparative pieces on what, if anything, the UK and US can do learn from one another.

  12. martinusher Silver badge

    ...and you're expecting exactly what to change?

    I've seen it all before. Unfortunately. The fundamental problem is that after the changes to the economy in the 1980s government doesn't have the room to act in any other way that its been doing recently. Those changes were designed to be irreversible -- the government made no secret of it at the time -- by essentially moving the locus of power, and so policy making, from Westminster to the City. Governments from this time have tinkered with policies but the basic thrust of what they're doing is now a combination of selling predetermined economic polices to the public (i.e. finding someone to blame) and reacting to events when situations in key industries (e.g. National Rail) get so dire that they have to be attended to.

    This is why Blair was such a disaster (for a Labour government) and I expect Starmer to be exactly the same. "Safe" and "Responsible" really mean just being "Tory-lite" -- no fundamental change. My crystal ball predicts six years of stagnation, a slick advertising campaign (that's really been going all the time -- chip, chip, chip) followed by a triumphant return of the Tories for another decade or so of miasma. The trouble is, though, if you keep circling the drain you'll eventually go down it.

    (FWIW -- I got out during the 80s, moving to US. So I'm not that much better off -- except we, being a lot bigger, are able to absorb economic shocks a bit better. Hopefully.)

  13. Anonymous Coward