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Author Topic: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister  (Read 14369 times)

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Offline The GrimSqueaker

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2022, 03:31:12 PM »
A Governor-General may sometimes dissolve parliament though. Such as when Australia went tits up in 1975.
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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2022, 03:33:02 PM »
It would be helpful, but he does not have the consitutional power to do so.  The king or queen in the UK has incredibly limited power in this regard.  They can only accept the resignation of a prime minister and invite the new prime minister elect to form a government. 
Was that changed at some point?  I was under the impression that the only power the monarch has now (outside of Royal Assent) is the dissolution of government?  Or I am just completely wrong about how the parliamentary system works lol

A Governor-General may sometimes dissolve parliament though. Such as when Australia went tits up in 1975.
Maybe that's where I am getting the idea from, as the Governor-General is the monarch's representative in that common-wealth nation.
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Offline Irisado

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2022, 09:01:21 PM »
Was that changed at some point?  I was under the impression that the only power the monarch has now (outside of Royal Assent) is the dissolution of government?  Or I am just completely wrong about how the parliamentary system works lol

Back in centuries gone by the monarch had more powers relative to parliament and government, but without looking it up I don't know whether they had that power.  Certainly the system for many decades has been that the monarch can only accept the prime minister's resignation or the prime minister's request to dissolve parliament and call a general election.  The monarch themselves cannot dissolve the legislature or remove the government
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Offline PaxImperator

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2022, 06:33:14 AM »
What happens next? Another internal Tory election I assume?

Yes.  They have set the bar higher this time though by modifying the rules: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-62068930

Thanks. Good to see they're hurrying the process along at least. Hopefully the requirement of 100 MP backers will keep Johnson out of the final round. I have a feeling Conservative party members might be stupid enough to actually re-elect him.

EDIT: Ah amphetamine parrot. Here we go again...
« Last Edit: October 22, 2022, 12:24:54 PM by PaxImperatrix »

Offline Irisado

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2022, 03:51:07 PM »
There are allegedly already over fifty MPs who are backing Johnson.  This is just unbelievable, yet, at the same time, totally apt for the current Conservative Party.  The fact that they are even considering it shows the extent to which they have no respect for the institutions, the electorate, the law, or indeed any form of decency.  Until there is an election to vote this awful lot out, democracy will not function correctly in this country.
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Offline The GrimSqueaker

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2022, 04:15:04 PM »
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Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2022, 06:08:05 PM »
Ah, weathervanes.

Offline Irisado

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2022, 08:46:42 AM »
The farce of Johnson's return was complete when he withdrew, even though, according to him, he had enough supporters.  This is just yet more lying.  He would have run had he had the support.  He didn't have the numbers and this is why he withdrew.  What an absolute charlatan.

Meanwhile, the latest prime minister, Rishie Sunak, has already distinguished himself by announcing that he won't be attending the next COP summit.  This sends out all the wrong messages and, yet again, shows the Conservative Party to be completely disinterested in crucial issues that determine the future health, wellbeing, and indeed survival of the planet.  Therese Coffey (an anti-abortion Conservative, who was briefly made Secretary of State for Health by Truss, yes I am not making this stuff up) has given a ludicrous defence for Sunak not going by describing the COP as a gathering: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-63426674 .  I despair, yet again.
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Offline PaxImperator

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2022, 02:00:10 AM »
Meanwhile, the latest prime minister, Rishie Sunak, has already distinguished himself by announcing that he won't be attending the next COP summit.  This sends out all the wrong messages and, yet again, shows the Conservative Party to be completely disinterested in crucial issues that determine the future health, wellbeing, and indeed survival of the planet.  Therese Coffey (an anti-abortion Conservative, who was briefly made Secretary of State for Health by Truss, yes I am not making this stuff up) has given a ludicrous defence for Sunak not going by describing the COP as a gathering: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-63426674 .  I despair, yet again.

That's very disappointing. Isn't it funny that 'Conservative' and 'conservation' are etymologically related but in practice have very little to do with eachother? Meanwhile, my own country the Netherlands still hasn't made good on its COP26 promise to end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022. The promise had huge carve-outs from the get-go of course, but still they haven't delivered on it. I can see why some climate activists have taken to gluing themselves to famous paintings.



Offline Irisado

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2023, 06:26:04 AM »
The end of Johnson's parliamentary career has perhaps finally come.  The damning select committee report into his behaviour, conduct, and lying has found that he deliberately misled the House of Commons.  For those who do not follow the obscure language that is used in the UK Parliament, this conclusion is tantamount to stating that Johnson lied.

Johnson's response has been straight out of the Trump guide to undermining public institutions, other members of Parliament, the entire democratic process, and flouncing off into a lucrative job writing a column for the Daily Mail (which is also a breach of the rules).  His immediate resignation as an MP on Monday, coinciding ironically with the death of the first European populist, womaniser, and liar, Silvio Berlusconi, also means that, just like other Brexiteers who are evading accountability and scrutiny, he is simply running away.  I am not surprised.  Throughout his entire career, Johnson has been a liar from start to finish and I have no doubt that he will continue to behave in exactly the same way.  All I hope is that he never returns to Politics. 
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Offline Sir_Godspeed

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2023, 07:45:29 AM »
Good beslubbering riddance, but honestly I'm not holding out hope. It seems like people like him will continue to be incentivized into doing well in politics, unfortunately.

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2023, 01:41:37 AM »
Good riddance indeed. He has been shameless to the very end. Not that that should come as a surprise by now...

I do wonder what will happen when the next borderline sociopath comes along in British national politics. Britain's 'good chap' model of government has failed spectacularly. Are any of the parties considering what they might replace it with? At least in theory it should be possible to vet out the likes of Johnson before they reach the halls of power. I do fear Sir_Godspeed's prediction may be proven right though.

(Not saying that British politics is uniquely susceptible to this problem by the way. I could think of a few American, Italian and indeed Dutch examples of politicians utterly unfit for public office.)

Offline Irisado

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2023, 05:22:44 PM »
This is all connected to the backlash against postmaterialism and globalisation.  These extremely dubious characters are going to keep harnessing fear and discontent to whip up a frenzy among certain members of the electorate against mainstream, moderate, and/or centre ground politics.  It really is a problem everywhere now.  The fact that Belusconi, arguably the first populist prime minister in Europe, has disgracefully been given a state funeral tells you all you need to know.

As for the UK, there are no reforms to the electoral system, parliamentary system, or system of government on the horizon.  It will just carry on as it always has.  This is a major problem, but unless all the main parties want to make changes, there will never be any reform.  It is very sad.
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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2023, 04:30:53 AM »
Not much in the way of reform here either. The Dutch parliament's lower house has a code of conduct. Suspected breaches are investigated by an independent body, which is good, but its proposal for a sanction has to be voted on by the entire lower house, which is not so good. It means any sanction could be misconstrued as a settling of political scores. MPs have been undestandably reticent in sanctioning their peers. There is now discussion on letting an independent body administer sanctions and on making the code of conduct more comprehensive, which I'd both support.

If I read your post correctly, you assess that a clash between postmaterialists/globalists on the one hand and materialists/isolationists(?) on the other hand is the root cause of the problem. That implies that the solution would have to resolve that clash. The code of conduct I was referring to would just be fighting one of the symptoms. I'm struggling  to think of a solution that would resolve the clash (as are many western politicians, I'm sure). What do you think? Redistributive policies that seek to create more postmaterialists by meeting people's material needs? If you could point me to further reading on this then that would be good too. I imagine an exhaustive answer might be on the long and complicated side for a forum post.

Offline Irisado

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2023, 08:00:37 AM »
The level of accountability and, crucially, representativeness is much higher in the Dutch parliament though.  The Netherlands has one of the most proportional PR systems in Europe, so it means that votes are highly meaningful.  Yes, it means that really unpleasant people, such as Wilders's PVV party, regularly gain a high number of seats, but it is fair in the sense that it is an accurate representation of voter preferences.  The UK, by contrast, is the only European country (unless you count Belarus) that uses First-Past-The-Post, which is the most unrepresentative electoral system that exists.  This increases the disconnect between voter preference and the actual result, but neither Labour nor the Conservatives will ever reform it because they would lose out.

It is very hard to answer these questions here, as you rightly say, but I will give it a go.  It is important to talk about presidentialisation/personalisation first.  This phenomenon has been around for a long time now, but it has become increasingly dominant in terms of policy making and determining election success.  Using Johnson as an example, he became the face of the Conservative party.  He became 'the brand' that was used to break down the red wall and he was the factor that allowed the Conservatives to win in previously safe Labour seats.  Think about how much Johnson was the centre of media coverage too and how all policy decisions were dominated by him and his inner circle.  The marginalisation of cabinet and parliament in parliamentary systems is not new, but certain leaders exacerbate it.  The UK parliamentary system is also highly susceptible to it due to the fact that most governments win elections with comfortable majorities and policy does not need to be a compromise through negotiation with opposition parties.  If you consider the more consensus-based approach to policy making that is required in The Netherlands, the Nordic countries, and Germany, for example, you will see what I mean.  This does not mean that presidentialistion does not occur in those countries, it does, but it is not so easy to achieve.  Merkel managed it for years, but look at how much more difficult it is for Schultz by comparison.  Rutte has also managed to be increasingly presidential in Blair-like fashion ('teflon Mark').

If you link all of the above to postmaterialism-materialism (the cleavage underpinning so much contemporary politics), voter volatility (which has increased across all European countries during the last ten or so years) and the declining salience of the traditional social cleavages (party identification, class, and religion), you begin to see why there is so much instability.  The traditional cleavages clearly divided voters into left and right.  The class (owner-worker) cleavage was a clear example of this.  The working class voted for the left and the middle class and upper class for the right (N.B. some middle class groups voted for the left, but mostly it was the right).  This has broken down as new cleavages with the postmaterialist-materialist division cut across the left-right axis, meaning that socioeconomic factors are less likely to be the determining factor explaining how people vote.  Consider immigration, for example, which has been exploited by the populist radical right to gain a high number of votes.  Immigration is not a left-right issue.  As a result, these parties have taken votes from both the left and the right, which has left the main centre left and centre right parties struggling to respond.  The old main parties do better when the agenda is on economic issues.  The agenda is currently held by the populist radical right though and this is one reason why they are doing so well.  This does not mean the economy is irrelevant though.  Indeed, the the financial crisis and the poor response to it, especially from the centre-left, is another reason why disillusioned voters started looking for alternatives.

The response of many Conservative parties to changing cleavage salience and the rise of the populist radical right has been to move further to the right and adopt increasingly populist narratives (e.g. Johnson), but, and this is a very important point, the vast majority of populist radical right party leaders in Europe have moved increasingly to abandon previous policies that they held about leaving the EU (Le Pen, for example).  Instead, they now advocate an illiberal democracy and a reformed EU in which the supranational institutions would be irrelevant and the member states would have all the power.  You can see such alliances being formed by these parties in the European Parliament and by their leaders at European Council meetings.  Le Pen, Meloni, and Orbán, have all spoken about the need to reform the EU and about pushing back against liberal democratic values.

The question that has particularly generated a lot of academic debate is what all of this means for democracy and specifically representative democracy.  There is so much reading on this that it hard to point you in the direction of where to start.  Simon Tormey's book from 2015 'The End of Representative Politics' might be of interest to you.  There are so many books and journal articles about political parties and party systems that are of interest (Lipset and Rokkan's 1967 Frozen Party Thesis, Kirchheimer's 1966 'Catch All' Party Thesis, Katz and Mair's 1995 Cartel Party Thesis, and just about any of the recent books on anti-system parties/challenger parties by Hobolt and De Vries and Hopkin) that you could really immerse yourself in the topic.  For high quality explanations of postmaterialism, new cleavages, and voter behaviour, I would recommend Inglehart (the creator of postmaterialism and the world values survey - there is a website dedicated to his work), Ignazi's 1992 journal article that is effectively a response to Inglehart's work not addressing the right, and Hooghe and Marks's 2018 journal article about the transnational cleavage.

On the issue of redistribution, I remain firmly of the view that there has to be redistribution to ensure fairness in society.  The problem is that the entire global economy is structured to limit how much the state can provide support though and there is a very fine line between protectionism and ensuring that WTO rules are adhered to.  The radical left's critique of the global economy, the free market, and neoliberalism is valid, but the problem is that they are unable to provide a solution or an alternative that is either clear or implemetable.  Consequently, neoliberalism continues to dictate how the world works, even though the global financial crisis exposed its severe shortcomings and the inequalities that it has exacerbated.  This is connected to the winners and losers of globalisation argument (postmaterialism-materialism), thus showing why the level of discontent is so hard for mainstream politicians to address.

One day, I dream that politicians will actually come out to say that the way in which the global economy works requires freedom of movement and migration.  They never do though, as they are too scared to make the positive case.  Until this matter is actually tackled though, I fear that there is little chance of ever being able to neutralise the threat from the populist radical right (or indeed some elements of the radical left).  The extremes do not provide the answers.  They serve only to fuel polarisation and dogmatic ideological discourse.  The problem is that the mainstream parties have been left unable to find a convincing narrative and/or policy approach to satisfy a wide range of discontented voters, hence why you see the electorate becoming increasingly polarised across Europe into different blocs.
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Offline PaxImperator

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Re: The End of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister
« Reply #35 on: July 1, 2023, 05:38:39 AM »
Thanks for your thoughtful reply Irisado. Much food for thought there. I'm going to get some of those books you've recommended.

 


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