Cutbacks caused Brexit: austerity correlates with UKIP membership

Not much detail, as the paper that makes the claim is only available at present to American Economic Association members; but in Did Austerity Cause Brexit? University of Warwick economist Thiemo Fetzer asserts that he found a "significant association between the exposure of an individual or area to the UK government’s austerity-induced welfare reforms begun in 2010, and the following: the subsequent rise in support for the UK Independence Party, an important correlate of Leave support in the 2016 UK referendum on European Union membership; broader individual-level measures of political dissatisfaction; and direct measures of support for Leave. Leveraging data from all UK electoral contests since 2000, along with detailed, individual-level panel data, the findings suggest that the EU referendum could have resulted in a Remain victory had it not been for austerity." (Image: Peter Damian, CC-BY-SA) (via Marginal Revolution) Read the rest

How Boris Johnson's "model bus hobby" non sequitur manipulated the public discourse and his search results

Boris Johnson is a racist, sexist, homophobic lying buffoon who has been repeatedly caught out using lies to sway public opinion, and that's why he's likely to lead the UK Conservative party and become the country's Prime Minister. Read the rest

"PM for a day": dissident Tories plan to bring down the government the day after Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister

Boris Johnson -- a racist, sexist, homophobic lying buffoon who has been repeatedly caught out using lies to sway public opinion -- is now, incredibly, tipped to become the leader of the Conservative Party and thus the Prime Minister of the UK (this is because outgoing PM Theresa May totally bungled Brexit, and the UK's form of parliamentary democracy lets the ruling party fill the PM's seat with a vote of party members, and the British Tories have become the swivel-eyed racist loony party, and Boris is the perfect nominee for King of the Racist Swivel-Eyed Loons). Read the rest

The UK government gave away cheap money for property purchase deposits, which the wealthy abused, driving up property prices and leaving UK taxpayers exposed

In 2013, the UK coalition government of David Cameron's Tories and the Libdems' Nick Clegg launched a "Help to Buy" scheme that gave incredibly cheap, taxpayer subsidised loans to first-time homebuyers, who got their money interest free for five years and thereafter had to repay it at 1.75% interest. Read the rest

Boris Johnson tops first vote in UK Conservative Party election; winner will be prime minister too

With Theresa May stepping down as Conservative Party leader, her position—and with it the job of Prime Minister—will go to one of many candidates standing to replace her. In the first round of voting today, presumptive favorite Boris Johnson won the most votes and three others were knocked out. Seven proceed to the second vote next week.

Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - have been knocked out, in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons. Mr Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.

The BBC graphic above shows how things shook out. Gove was badly hurt by last week's media exposé on the candidates' youthful drug habits due to the extent of his hypocrisy: as education secretary, he imposed a lifetime ban for teachers caught using drugs. Leadsom underperformed compared to opinion polling of party rank and file; she may have popularity issues among her peers in Parliament. Boris is not as inevitable as the first round suggests, as he received only 36% of the total, another candidate might surge as others drop out, and his propensity for gaffes and bigoted remarks offers latitude for a "June surprise". But he is surely the runaway favorite to lead his party—and Britain—into Brexit. Read the rest

Boris Johnson may be the UK's next Prime Minister, but he's up on criminal charges for Brexit "Battle Bus" lies

Boris Johnson (previously) is the racist, cowardly serial liar whose Old Etonian wealth and privilege warped and corrupted him into the kind of man who smashed up restaurants in acts of wanton, drunken vandalism, the sort of man who could never win a general election in the UK. Read the rest

Europe's surging, far-right, "anti-establishment" parties: funded by billionaires, voting for billionaire-friendly policies, lining their own pockets

On May 26th, Europeans will vote for the next EU Parliament, and the region's far-right, "nationalist/anti-establishment" parties (AfD Germany, UKIP/Brexit UK, PiS/Poland, etc) are expected make large gains, possibly prompting a realignment of power in the EU; the far-right parties have campaigned as "anti-establishment," tapping into frustration with elites and their corruption. Read the rest

Delicious milkshake wasted on #Brexit's Nigel Farage

Huh. Looks like vanilla.

Pro-Brexit parties punished in UK local elections

The UK's governing Conservative Party lost 1330 council seats in local elections, but the opposition Labour party failed to make the expected gains, losing 84 of its own. The big winners were the Liberal Democrats, picking up 704 seats, the Greens, picking up 194, and 605 new independent candidates. The far-right UKIP lost 145 seats and now holds only 35.

The Conservative Party's rough night is mostly about failing to deliver Brexit, say analysts, but the explosion of support for the Liberal Democrats and Greens (and the near-annihilation of UKIP) does rather suggest that the taste of Brexit itself is increasingly bitter. Read the rest

Old British rabies paranoia films

Britain is free of rabies; the specter of it being imported from Europe was an omnipresent whisper of menace in public information ad spots and print ads when I was a lad. Here's are three chipper segments from the early 1980s that I recall.

Here's another!

And another!

Read the rest

Brexit is cratering London house prices

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' latest UK house price survey blames Brexit for continued declines in property prices in London and the southeast, "the worst slump since the financial crisis," with far more supply than demand. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Fear that far-right terrorists will stage attacks if Brexit is canceled

The world's law enforcement agencies have a terrible blind spot when it comes to far-right, white supremacist terror groups, treating them as unimportant lone wolves despite their prolific and bloody acts of violence. Read the rest

Brexit Crisis: Church of England to host Emergency Tea Parties

With the Prime Minister's Brexit deal failing for the third time to receive Parliament's blessing and the looming possibility of crashing out the EU without a deal, or a snap general election, or a second referendum, or another series of Parliamentary votes, or a general-purpose popular uprising, or alien intervention, the Church of England has a plan: tea parties.

Churches are being encouraged to host “informal café-style meetings” over the weekend of 30 March “to bring together people of all standpoints and encourage open discussion.” The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, have today backed newly-commissioned resources to invite people to “get together and chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future”.

Under the slogan “Together”, the packs include specially-chosen Bible passages, prayers and questions designed to prompt conversations. The introductory notes urge participants to have “respect for the integrity of differently held positions, encouraging communities which feel the same about the issues to use their imagination to consider the viewpoints of those who feel differently.”

Photo: AS Food studio / Shutterstock Read the rest

British parliament rejects Prime Minister May's Brexit plan for third time

This time she'd promised to resign if they approved it, paving the way for new leadership to execute Prime Minister Theresa May's deal with the European Union for Britain to depart the bloc. Dangling the keys to Downing Street reportedly won over a few power-hungry Tories like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, but not enough. Her Brexit deal was defeated again, for the third time.

The vote on Friday might have been Mrs. May’s last chance to succeed on the issue that has dominated and defined her time in office, and the result left open an array of possibilities, including renewed demands for her resignation and early parliamentary elections.

The defeat appears to leave the increasingly weakened prime minister with two unpalatable options in the short run: Britain can leave the bloc on April 12 without an agreement in place, a chaotic and potentially economically damaging withdrawal; or Mrs. May can ask European leaders – who have ruled out a short delay if her plan failed – for what could be a long postponement.

It wasn't quite the thrashing as the first two votes — 344 votes to 286 — but still so far off that the sheer surreal chaos of it all impresses once again. Read the rest

#Brexit: Actual footage of UK trying to leave EU

Accurate. Read the rest

UK parliament votes to delay Brexit

Britain's parliament voted Thursday to delay Brexit, giving the government breathing room after its repeated failure to gain approval for an exit deal with the European Union. The EU must also agree to the delay, but it will likely do so quickly to help Britain avoid crashing out of the bloc on March 29. However, all states must agree to the extension, and it isn't a done deal.

Mrs May says Brexit could be delayed by three months, to 30 June, if MPs back her withdrawal deal in a vote next week.

If they reject her deal again then she says she will seek a longer extension - but any delay has to be agreed by the 27 other EU member states.

A spokesman for the European Commission said extending Article 50, the mechanism taking the UK out of the EU on 29 March, would need the "unanimous agreement" of all states.

Parliament voted Wednesday against leaving the EU without a deal, after rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May's deal on Tuesday. Read the rest

UK Parliament votes not to leave EU without a deal

Ending the widely-feared possibility of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a Brexit agreement, Parliament voted narrowly against the no-deal "option" Wednesday evening.

MPs have voted by 312 to 308 to reject leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. It is not a legally-binding decision - and it does not rule out the UK leaving the EU. But it means MPs could now get a vote on delaying Brexit. That vote would take place on Thursday, and if it is passed - and the EU agrees to it - the UK will not leave the EU as planned on 29 March.

The vote increases the likelihood of a softer Brexit or even none at all, though it's anyone's guess how it will shake out. A vote to ask the EU to extend the UK's deadline comes next, but a new referendum, a general election and further negotiation with Brussels are all on various power-players' agendas. Prime Minister May may even try to save her twice-thrashed deal. Read the rest

More posts