Goodbye UK

Britain’s Prime Charlatan

Here I am on a Late Great Western train heading to this month’s Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London and to pass the time I thought I’d have a go on the blog.

I’m not going to comment at length of the election results, except to say that the scale of the Conservative majority and corresponding Labour rout mean that the UK is heading for at least five years with the hard right in charge, and probably many more. That is if the United Kingdom exists five years from now, which is doubtful.

During this time the country of my birth will almost certainly turn itself into a Trumpian dystopia, with planned assaults on the National Health Service, the courts, and what remains of its threadbare constitution. Poverty and homelessness will continue to rise and the evil xenophobic rhetoric that helped win the election (as it did the 2016 Referendum) will make the environment of the UK even more hostile to anyone ‘foreign’.

That’s whats going to happen and that, apparently, is what people voted for. How anyone could vote for a party led by a person so palpably unsuitable for high office is beyond me. But that’s what people did. I hope they’re proud.

For myself, I’ll just say two things. One is that at least this Election Night made me feel young again. I relived all the horror of 1983.

The second is just that although Ireland is no paradise I’m glad I found a way out of the nightmare of Britain. Sorry if that sounds selfish but it’s the truth.

Goodbye UK.

P.S. My train is going to be at least an hour late. No chance of the railways being fixed in the next five years either.

14 Responses to “Goodbye UK”

  1. If the authoritarianism and isolation don’t get us, climate changes will.

  2. “that, apparently, is what people voted for”

    For what it’s worth, despite the alienation Corbyn has caused, even among former Labour supporters, even in yesterday’s election more people voted against strong-leave parties than for them. Similarly, Clinton had more popular votes than Trump, and Gore more than Bush.

    What is it worth? Nothing.

    It is no surprise that a non-democratic system produces a non-democratic response.

    What I see as the bigger problem is that Poland, Hungary, etc are (rightly) sanctioned by the EU when their right-wind governments enact legislation which is anti-democratic, while the UK (and other countries such as France) are not even criticized for not having proportional representation, which is the very basis of democracy.

    A system in which a party which gets X% of the votes doesn’t get X% of the seats in parliament is not democratic, full stop. Sure, you can call it “democratic”, as in the “German Democratic Republic” and the “Democratic Republic of the Congo”, but that doesn’t make it so.

    I think that not even Brexit will change this. In the US, when told that it is possible to be elected President even if another candidate has a larger share of the popular vote, many people say “If that ever happens, I’m sure that the laws will be changed”. When I point out that it has already happened several times, I get just a “well, whatever” response. 😦

    • jonivar skullerud Says:

      I am no fan of the electoral system used in Westminster elections (and in Canada, India, Papua New Guinea and a host of other countries), but strict proportionality is not everything.

      Elections and representations have a number of purposes, and different systems represent different compromises between these purposes. Proportional representation strictly speaking only makes sense if you are not voting for persons but for opinions, but there is no system that could conceivably properly represent all the various combinations of opinions held in a population.

      Btw, I take it that “A system in which a party which gets X% of the votes doesn’t get X% of the seats in parliament is not democratic, full stop” does not have the rider “unless X

      • nannacecilie Says:

        A crucial bit disappeared at the end. It should read “unless X is less than 5”, but the less than symbol was taken to be html markup.

      • You’ve left us on a cliffhanger there!

      • As I noted in another comment, if there is a threshold, then one should rank parties in order of preference, and if the first choice doesn’t make the cut, the the second does etc.

  3. I can’t add any cheery notes about the election result (except that my Remain MP increased his majority).
    However, I can offer advice on the late train. I recommend the new https://delayrepay.gwr.com A simple form to fill in for a refund – 25% for 15 minutes late, 50% for 30 minutes and 100% for 60 minutes. You only need to enter your details the first time and then you have an account for easy future refunds – and it seems to work! Less than a week for refunds of 50% into London and 25% back.
    We need a written Constitution, different electroral systems for upper and lower House, separation of Executive and Legislature etc. I recommend reading Tom Paine.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Doesn’t the American system work so well ! There are two problems with *any* system:

      1. Arrow’s theorem shows that voting anomalies, defined in an intuitively obvious way, will always occur in any democratic voting system.

      2. Any human system is subject to human corruption, and the system might best be designed to make that difficult, rather than to optimise some kind of semi-arbitrary (in view of point no.1) fairness criterion.

      The US system was deliberately designed so that legislature, executive and judiciary would squabble for power in ‘grey’ situations, thereby preventing any one of them from becoming too powerful. I’m not sure it has succeeded. In the UK we have seen a similar – and, forensically speaking, fascinating – squabble this year.

      • Even if Arrow’s theorem always applies, the answer shouldn’t be that since nothing is perfect then no improvement is necessary. Similarly, the existence of other problems shouldn’t prevent one from improving what can be improved.

      • Note that one can, and some countries do, have systems based on PR with the head of government elected by parliament yet still have checks and balances which actually work.

  4. Dave Carter Says:

    We have allowed some insidious attitudes to take root, encouraged by the foreign-owned press. Normalisation of racism is one, and a contempt for education and knowledge is another. There is no pride in achievement, only in some vague tribal affiliation. People identify with their country, city or town, not with anything that they themselves are achieved. Traveling around you notice how much more open people are, to outsiders and ideas. Even people whose circumstances are far worse than those of anyone in the UK.

    Its a dark day in an increasingly dark country.

  5. Just a reminder that I don’t allow anonymous comments. Read my comments policy on the front page of this blog.

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