September 8th, 2019


Interesting Links for 08-09-2019

A story about 1,000 baby praying mantises.
(tags:insects viaFJM )
Ukraine and Russia exchange prisoners in landmark deal
(tags:Ukraine russia )
Lib Dems: Why is the party's LGBT+ group angry?
(tags:LGBT libdem politics uk )
GRRM on the Hugo Losers Party
(tags:GeorgeRRMartin party conventions scifi )
What if the Prime Minister deliberately broke the law over extending Article 50?
(tags:law UK Europe politics )
What happened with Stephen Kinnock's amendment, and what does it mean?
(tags:uk law politics europe )
MPs checked with EU chiefs over Brexit delay before passing bill
(tags:UK Europe )
Boris Johnson has chosen the 'left behind' towns he wants to help (and most of them are Tory marginals)
(tags:corruption election Conservatives )
Canada's view: British politics today is what results from the collision of an unstoppable force, an immovable object and a clown car.
(tags:UK Europe Doom Canada )
There are large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships
(tags:gender friendship psychology attraction )
Gender-neutral bathrooms can save women from waiting forever in line
(tags:toilets gender )
Will Brexit Affect Your Prescriptions? (Can anyone explain to me why it's already affecting some drugs?)
Explanation from a friend:
3 factors so far:

(1) Supplier stockpiling = less for immediate demand.
(2) Some drugs now supplied to pharmacies on monthly quota. No backfill if exceeded.
(3)Suppliers agree set price over fixed term with NHS. Value of £ dropping = selling at loss so, some drugs diverted to other markets.

(tags:medicine UK Europe doom )

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.

Brexit: Where are we now?

There is no majority for any deal. There is also no majority for no deal. And there is no majority for revoking Article 50. There is therefore, no majority for anything.

By default, without a majority for anything, we leave the EU without a deal. This is a Bad Thing.

(None of this is new, it's been the state since since May invoked Article 50.)

Boris Johnson knows that there is a majority in parliament against No Deal, so he tried to lock the doors and prevent parliament from stopping him getting No Deal. Instead, he pushed people opposed far enough that they passed a bill saying "If you can't get a deal by the 19th of October you have to ask for an extension".

The intention is then to have a general election. Or, at least, the Conservatives want one now, to the point of calling Corbyn a chicken for not giving in to a painfully transparent ploy. The reason for this is that if there is a general election then (a) parliament shuts and (b) Johnson hopes to be returned with a greater majority. (b) is up for grabs. The polls show the Conservatives doing well right now (or, at least, Labour doing very badly), but they looked much the same before the last general election too, and that didn't end up well for May. (a) is what desperately needs to be avoided - because if parliament is shut then MPs can't respond to whatever shit Johnson pulls next.

For some reason, this law doesn't say we want an extension "To have an election", despite this being what is clearly going to happen. With the result the French are saying "We won't give you an extension for no reason.".

Which seems to include refusing to follow the law, and possibly going to prison for doing so. They've also said they would obey the law, while not asking for an extension, and fuck knows what _that_ means.

The question, at which point, is whether there can be a Vote of No Confidence, followed by a Vote of Confidence (which is the process for switching governments without an election) in a Government of National Unity can happen before we run out of time to get an extension.

To sum up:
1) Parliament has passed a law making it clear that No Deal is out of the question.
2) The government has threatened to ignore this law.
3) At which point avoiding disaster depends on whether a Government of National Unity can be formed fast enough to prevent No Deal.

Some thoughts:
1) The Conservative Party leadership are mostly terrified of their voters going to the Brexit Party. Under a better voting system this would merely be "bad news" rather than "completely apocalyptic". Under First Past The Post a 10% swing can lose you a nearly all of your seats, rather than reducing your percentage of all the seats by 10%. If we had AV (or, even better, AMS or STV) this would be much less bad. Heck, David Cameron probably wouldn't have promised a referendum at all if he hadn't been so scared of a chunk of Conservatives voters going to UKIP back in 2015.
2) The government threatening to break the law is one of those things that is a sign that Everything Is Broken. Frankly, it has been clearer and clearer as we've gone through this process that our lack of a well thought-through constitution is causing a lot of problems. In a sensible country the government wouldn't just be able to shut parliament for five weeks! So much has fallen on to "Here's the convention, and no decent person would break convention", and doesn't cope at all well with people who are willing to burn down everything to get what they want.
3) There still seem to be politicians out there who think that there's a deal with the EU that can get a majority through parliament. And at this point that's so clearly nonsense that I wonder what's going on with them. There's either going to be No Deal or Revocation, as far as I can see. And the only way out of _that_ is either for the Conservatives to get a majority that will push through No Deal, or for there to be a referendum. Which it looks like Revoke would win (according to all of the data I'm seeing, by about 5%) but obviously you can't rely on that.
4) Farage is offering Johnson a deal, if Johnson puts No Deal in the Conservative Manifesto. But that would undoubtedly push some Conservative voters away, while getting some back from the Brexit Party. I'm not sure if that would actually be helpful to Johnson or not!
5) As usual let me know if I've missed anything, or gotten anything wrong.

Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.