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6 minutes ago, Dead Mike said:

It doesn't matter though. Farage has been challenged but as you rightly say, he will just rant away, tell some more pleasing lies & most importantly,his supporters simply don't care. You could have the truth delivered in the slickest, most charismatic fashion & it won't trump 'We can't control our own borders & 3 millions Romanians are coming to get free houses while you all struggle to make ends meet'.

This is 'post-truth' politics playing to an audience who are 'sick of experts'.

It does matter though, because unless him and his ilk are dealt with in a manner that doesn't involve a tasty beverage of some sort we're fucked.

I know I may be biased somewhat, but what's needed is more characters like Bernard Ponsonby. So well known for taking cretins to task is old Bernie that the Home office actually refused to allow him to interview David Cameron on a number of occasions for fear of how the interview would go.

For the record, when UKIP types like Farage or Coburn chat shite there's a way of exposing them that works, as you'll see here;

 

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Farage is a blank slate which anyone can put any issue about the EU onto. He actually has no policies or anything interesting to say. He's whatever Aaron Banks wants him to be to the anti-EU brigade. It's down right damning on the media in this country that he isn't challenged more about his 'man of the people' shtick.

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Also, I see that there's controversy over his party funding, although that's been somewhat buried under the news that some pillock threw a milkshake at him. As I said, if you didn't know better you'd believe it was an orchestrated perfectly timed distraction to not only shift some of the spotlight off the funding issue, but to make him look like the poor victim.

Think James O'Brien mentioned this yesterday. Wouldn't be shocked if on the day Farage was utterly eviscerated by Gordon Brown, he would pay someone to do this.

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Two points here;

One on the complicity of the media - I absolutely agree; several studies have found the British press to be the most biased, and the most right wing in Europe, and the Mail and the Sun are our best selling 'papers. The readership of most newspapers also skews older, which puts them in line with the demographics most likely to have voted Brexit - a chicken or egg scenario there, really.

What worries me, though, is that the younger generations who aren't reading newspapers, and likely aren't watching TV news either, are still consuming news somewhere. But they're likely consuming news third hand via social media, or via online news sources with even more significant biases than the papers. On social media they're likely in their "bubble", unlikely to come into contact with an opposing view aside from an extremist or reductionist argument by way of opposition. So I think the issue of the public not being given the right information, and everything being fed through biased filters, will get worse long before it gets better.

 

As far as challenging Farage goes, this is the problem with the debate culture that's taken over politics. Winning a debate is an exercise in public schoolboy rhetoric, it's not politics, and it helps no one. But it's held up as the measure of political know-how or intellectual expertise, but it's all just showmanship. On top of that, Farage is smart enough to know not to get himself into these situations - if only because his ego can't handle it. He's never going to put himself in a position where he can be exposed without a safety net.

On top of all that, I don't think it matters. The problem with trying to argue with someone who's dishonest and duplicitous is that you're the one doing all the work, and you're the only one arguing in good faith. Those of us on the left make this mistake all the time - we waste our energy, and our resources trying to refute or argue against a point that was never made in good faith in the first place. I don't know what the solution to that is, but that's where we are. 

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Something that occurred to me is that it's possible this situation is much like any other adverse scenario when it comes to people, like war for example, in that the longer it's been allowed to go on, the less it becomes about the original reasons that it arose in the first place, eventually becoming personal. The suffering and general "feelbad factor" that has come about from the economic crash in 2008 (over eleven fucking years ago) has gone on for so long that, given an opportunity to have a direct hand in things rather than leave it up to the people who landed us in this shit in the first place, they're now taking that opportunity to enact their anger and resentment, instead of actually dealing with the problems and the causes of those problems, because at this point they just don't care any more. They just want someone to blame and castigate, and sly operators like Farage know how to channel and direct that energy at the targets they want to aim it at.

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An ardent Brexit-supporting Tory MP meets a Brexit supporter outside Parliament. You'd think they'd get on. You'd be very wrong.

 

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With all the shit going on in the UK it's easy to forget that there's a battle being fought all over Europe at the moment. This is an interesting look at how the rest of the EU is looking ahead of polling time

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The elections, which run through Sunday and take place in all of the European Union's 28 nations, have never had stakes this high. Europe's traditional political powerhouses — the center-right European People's Party and the center-left Socialists & Democrats — are set to lose some clout and face their strongest challenge yet from an array of populist, nationalist and far-right parties that are determined to claw back power from the EU for their own national governments.

This clash of basic values — between Europe growing more united or more divided — has put the continent at a historic political crossroads.

French President Emmanuel Macron, champion of the closer-integration camp, says the challenge at the polls this week is to "not cede to a coalition of destruction and disintegration" that will seek to dismantle the unity the EU has built up over the past six decades.

Facing off against Macron and Europe's traditional parties are Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and a host of other populist, right-wing or far-right leaders who have vowed to fundamentally upend Europe's political landscape.

Nationalist leaders from 11 EU nations stood together in Milan last weekend — a show of unity unthinkable in previous years from a group once considered to be on Europe's political fringe. Salvini then declared "the extremists are in Brussels," the home of EU institutions, for wanting to retain the status quo.

"We need to do everything that is right to free this country, this continent, from the illegal occupation organized by Brussels," Salvini said. 

Europe's far-right and nationalist parties hope to emulate what President Donald Trump did in the 2016 U.S. election and what Brexiteers achieved in the U.K. referendum to leave the EU. That is to disrupt the powers that be, rail against what they see as an out-of-touch elite and warn against migrants massing at Europe's borders ready to rob the continent of its jobs and culture.

Standing with Salvini, Le Pen promised the far-right "will perform a historic feat," saying they could end up as high as the second-biggest political group in the EU parliament. Predictions show that is still extremely ambitious. Projections released by the European Parliament this month show the center-right European People's Party bloc losing 37 of its 217 seats and the center-left S&D group dropping from 186 seats to 149.

As for the far-right and nationalists, the Europe of Nations and Freedom group is predicted to win 62 seats, compared to 37 currently. Such statistics though could be irrelevant as soon as Monday if national parties start shifting to other EU-wide political groups in the 751-seat European legislature which meets both in Brussels and France's Strasbourg.

Orban's nationalist Fidesz party is now in the EPP's ranks, but has been suspended for its anti-EU stance and virulent anti-migration rhetoric. The Hungarian prime minister might well bolt after the election to a new radical-right group, perhaps to be formed by Salvini, Le Pen and other nationalist leaders.

For many among the EU's half billion citizens, the memories of war have vanished and the EU's role in helping to keep the peace for 75 years, a feat for which it won the Nobel Prize, is overlooked.

Yet Europe was body-slammed by the financial crisis a decade ago and struggled through a yearslong debt crisis that saw nations like Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus get bailouts and produced recessions that slashed the incomes of millions.

Europe's high taxes, stagnant wages and gap between rich and poor are still a sore point, highlighted now by weekly protests by France's yellow vest movement demanding more help for hard-pressed workers. EU nations have also not been able to forge a common approach to migration, fueling inter-bloc tensions, and its impotence in quickly containing a migrant influx in 2015 has propelled a surge of support for far-right and nationalist parties.

"We have a crisis of the European Union. This is a matter of fact," Macron acknowledged. Experts say he's right. "There are a lot of people who fear that things potentially are moving in the wrong direction or already have moved in the wrong direction," said Janis Emmanouilidis at the European Policy Centre think-tank in Brussels. "It is a mix of multiple insecurities which, at the end of the day, is pushing people toward those who are coming up with easy answers."

Since the first European Parliament election in 1979, the legislature has slowly changed from a toothless organization where over-the-hill politicians got cushy pre-retirement jobs to a potent force with real decision-making powers.

The EU at first primarily regulated farming but now sets international trade policy for all members and even monetary rules for the 19 nations who use the shared euro currency. The legislature itself affects Europeans' daily lives in thousands of ways: cutting smartphone roaming charges, imposing safety and health rules for industries ranging from chemicals and energy to autos and food, supporting farming, reforming copyright rules and protecting the environment.

There are no cross-border elections this week, just national polls in 28 nations. Each EU nation gets a number of seats in the EU parliament based on its population. Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta have the fewest seats with six each, while the EU's most populous member, Germany, has 96 seats.

Up until now, EU elections were tepid affairs. Voter turnout slumped to just 42.6% in 2014 — but that could well change this year.

The pro-EU side says increasing integration is essential for the EU to survive in a globalized world. Euroskeptics say it robs national identity whenever more decisions are made at EU headquarters in Brussels.

Yet even some mainstream conservatives can have a euroskeptic streak. Czech politician Jan Zahradil, lead candidate for the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists, is among those seeking to return more control to Europe's national capitals.

"(We want) an EU that is scaled back, that is flexible, that is decentralized," Zahradil said. "(An EU) that respects national governments and that cooperates with them, that doesn't fight them, that doesn't patronize them, that doesn't lecture them."

For the pro-EU side, in a world in which China, the U.S. and Russia are all flexing their political and financial muscles, Macron urges voters to think about the strength and unity that comes from 28 smaller nations working together.

"If you fragment Europe, there is no chance you have a stronger Europe. Unity makes strength," Macron said.

Associated Press writers Lorne Cook in Brussels, Angela Charlton in Paris, Elena Becatoros in Athens and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.

 

Edited by David

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One point to add to that is that the two main centre-left/centre-right blocks (which are roughly equivalent to Labour and a pre-Euroinsanity Conservative) have always had more than half the seats between them. There aren't any formal coalitions or power-sharing agreements as that isn't how the European Parliament works (and there's no whipping), but its always meant that broadly mainstream/centrist proposals will pass the Parliament. 

With the forecast changes, that will no longer be the case, so anything that passes will need support of a more left-wing or right-wing group.

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This probably counts as live chat, but it sounds like shit is going down with May being pressured to quit. I know it's a cliche to say the Brexit vote rewrote the rules on politics, but the Prime Minister resigning the day before a national election would be... unusual.

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1 minute ago, JNLister said:

This probably counts as live chat, but it sounds like shit is going down with May being pressured to quit. I know it's a cliche to say the Brexit vote rewrote the rules on politics, but the Prime Minister resigning the day before a national election would be... unusual.

The part of me that wants to watch the world burn hopes she stays on until they can bring another no confidence vote on her, just to spite the fuckers.

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I'm a complete idiot and in my own little bubble. What and who am I voting for tomorrow? (obvs not conservative)

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35 minutes ago, Keith Houchen said:

The part of me that wants to watch the world burn hopes she stays on until they can bring another no confidence vote on her, just to spite the fuckers.

Well it looks like the end now. So given that this is Theresa May, I expect her to cling on for 3 more months. 

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2 minutes ago, DEF said:

What and who am I voting for tomorrow?

Fucking hell, they're really scraping the barrel for questions in Going For Gold these days.

It depends what you want, really, and where you're based.  Speaking of which, dear North West residents, please vote tomorrow if you don't want Stephen Yaxley-Lennon getting in.

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She's not going anywhere, they'll have to prize her out with a winkle picker.

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1 hour ago, Keith Houchen said:

Speaking of which, dear North West residents, please vote tomorrow if you don't want Stephen Yaxley-Lennon getting in.

There's no way he can win.

Is there?

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