Saturday salon 10/6

1. UK election- May kicks an own goal

The BBC has the results – it’s a hung parliament.

Theresa May did a Malcolm Turnbull, by calling an election to strengthen her position, and scraping back in by the barest of margins.

To do the arithmetic, she should need 326 seats out of 650. However, Sinn Fein own 7 seats, which they don’t take up, I believe because they refuse to stand up for the Queen. So allowing for a speaker, the real pass mark this time is 322. May with 318 has done a deal with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party, who have 10, to support her on supply and no confidence motions.

Here’s how the votes changed:

Here’s the main changes in seats:

I think that’s now +30 for Labour, as the last seat went to them.

The youth vote surged to 66.4%, up from 43% in 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn achieved the biggest improvement in Labour’s vote since 1945, and will stay leader as long as he wants. May leads a weakened and divided party into Brexit talks in 10 days time.

BBC has neat interactive maps if you want to follow how the vote went in the various parts of the UK.

2. Some random developments on terrorism

First, Theresa May is probably grateful that a report of an investigation into who is funding Jihadi groups in the UK was not published before the election and probably never will be. Those who are in the know say it’s the Saudis, to whom the UK sells a lot of arms.

Secondly, the Saudis along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain are trying to diplomatically and physically isolate the tiny but wealthy Gulf state of Qatar. As part of that they are demanding that Al Jazeera alters its editorial policies. Al Jazeera has been under cyber attack for some time.

Something distinctly unpleasant is going on. Rex Tillerson is saying to Saudi Arabia et al, ease off, give them space, they are trying to expunge the funding of terrorism from within their borders. (Would that Saudi Arabia was doing the same.) Trump is urging the five-nation group to go for it. Qataris are in his mind bad people.

Muzzling Al Jazeera doesn’t seem to me part of the solution.

Thirdly, Iran was hit by a terrorist attack (and Trump said they had it coming). IS has claimed responsibility, and the Saudis and IS may be competing to show who can lead the attack on the Shiites. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say it was Saudi Arabia supporting ISIS. Who knows?

However, wherever you look Trump seems to be leading the Saudi Arabia cheer squad. He may do well to remember that most of those involved in 9/11 were Saudis.

Fourthly, at home there was interesting commentary on the source of Jihadi redicalisation and how it can be combatted. Counter terrorism academic and Labor MP Dr Anne Aly, talking to 7.30, believes the profile of the would-be terrorist has changed:

    Now I would say your typical actor is somebody who is young, who probably hasn’t been connected to religion very much, doesn’t have an ideologue, doesn’t really, isn’t really immersed in the ideology, and comes to that through violence. (Emphasis added)

Aly is saying, and she’s not alone, that a propensity to violence itself is often a precondition of radicalisation, and understanding of Islam by those radicalised is pathetically shallow.

Ali Kadri of the Brisbane Holland Park Mosque says teaching those vulnerable to radicalisation about Islam is in fact the best weapon against terrorism.

3. Trump v Comey

It may be true that Trump does not intentionally tell lies. It’s just that he doesn’t deal in truth vs lies, just in what is and is not in his own interest.

We can now choose between Comey, the former chief spook, and the narcissistic bully the US has for a president.

I haven’t been following this one closely apart from the considerable amount I’ve heard on the radio. Here’s the Vox take:

  • James Comey’s testimony shows Hillary Clinton was right all along
    • One clear message shone through like a flash of lightning from James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday morning: Hillary Clinton was right about Donald Trump.

      His testimony painted a picture of a president who neither understands nor respects the norms and values that underlie the constitutional order, lacks the information necessary to do his job properly, and doesn’t have the humility to seek or accept appropriate advice about how to get better. Comey knew it from his very first meeting with Trump.

  • The most important Comey takeaway is that congressional Republicans don’t care
  • 3 winners and 3 losers from James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee
  • Losers are Trump. Attorney General Jess Sessions, and the Republican Party.

  • The one thing about the Comey testimony right-wing news sites refused to touch
  • An analysis of how the media has handled reporting of Comey’s testimony:

      it’s clear that right-wing news sites encourage their readers to view information as a means to a partisan end — or to view it as their political opponents trying to skew the truth for their partisan ends.

    4. Margaret Court keeps digging

    >When you are in a hole, stop digging. That was the early advice Margaret Court refused to take.

    She lost me when she said gay people were the work of the devil. If the stadium is renamed it will be pretty much her own doing.

    I liked John McEnroe’s comment:

    Saudi soccer team upsets everyone

    In other strangeness, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation decided their players would not participate in one minute’s silence for the Manchester victims, because such gestures were “not in keeping with Saudi culture”.

    Saying sorry just doesn’t quite cut it somehow. What is done can’t be undone.

    Apparently our players covered their tattoos when playing in Saudi Arabia recently, and a woman on our team covered up out of respect.

    51 thoughts on “Saturday salon 10/6”

    1. The irony is that May has had to accept the vote of a party that may have had past links to a religion based terrorist organization to form government. The article said that:

      The party is one of the most socially conservative in Europe, having sought to maintain some of the continent’s strictest restrictions on abortion and consistently opposed same-sex marriage.

      The DUP has successfully kept Northern Ireland as the only UK country without same-sex marriage, but the party denies being “anti-LGBT”.
      It recently backed the right of a Belfast bakery to refuse to make a cake with a gay rights slogan and proposed a law to allow religious business people to refuse to serve people where that would conflict with their religious beliefs.

      The owners of Ashers bakery refused an order placed by gay activist Gareth Lee, claiming the message was inconsistent with their “sincerely held” religious beliefs.

      At least one senior DUP party member has defended creationism, the theory that the world was created by God 10,000 years ago.

      MP Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s former environment minister, has also been labelled a “climate change denier” for his public views on climate change.

      Founder Ian Paisley also once declared the country and western style of dancing as “sinful”.

      the article pointed out that there could be problems with some conservatives who don’t support DUP views. For example:

      openly gay Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson reminded the potential new partners of the government that she was a “Protestant Unionist about to marry an Irish Catholic”.

      Ms Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives went from one seat to 13 in the election, giving the national party one of its few success stories on the night.

    2. You keep repeating yourself Jumpy, but I’m at a loss to find anyone (apart from you) who thinks Mrs May’s legitimacy is in question.

    3. All parties with less than 50% popular vote or majority seats have legitimacy issues by those that dislike them.
      Is this your first election zoot ?

    4. All parties with less than 50% popular vote or majority seats have legitimacy issues by those that dislike them.

      Which explains your oft repeated antipathy to Prime Minister Gillard.
      But who specifically is questioning Prime Minister May’s legitimacy? You must have someone in mind when you keep banging on about it.

    5. May has been elected fair and square, and looks determined to get on with things.

      Some Conservatives are saying that she should consider her position, and I believe Corbyn said she should resign.

      I think it’s reasonable to say that she had two intentions in going to the polls. One was to decimate Labour, the other to put her in a position to deal with dissent within her own ranks.

      Obviously she failed on both counts. We’ll see how it all looks out. Boris looked very pleased on TV after it all transpired.

    6. You keep repeating yourself Jumpy, ….

      You must have someone in mind when you keep banging on about it.

      Ive mentioned it twice.
      You’ve snidely mentioned ESL teachers many times. Perhaps listen to yours.

    7. One of the scary things about Theresa May was how she dodged the debate, and couldn’t communicate beyond slogans. They say she didn’t have a kitchen cabinet, she had two minders. Seems she didn’t know what she thought about anything until she talked to her minders.

      Trump OTOH is not so backward in coming forward. However, as Comey testified his advisers succeeded in getting him to give up tweeting. He went 2,756 minutes without a tweet. Three more and he would have equalled his record.

    8. Ive mentioned it twice.

      With no basis for it but an unquenchable desire to attack Julia Gillard. (Otherwise you would have made some reference to Prime Minister Turnbull as well.)

    9. Brian at 11.41pm

      This morning’s news is that “the two minders” have gone.
      Let us wait to see if Sir Lynton follows suit.
      Much comment in UK non-tabloids that he
      I) advised that ‘the manifesto’ was unimportant*
      II) advised savage attack ads on Red Jezza, throughout the campaign.

      I think Mrs May possibly dealt herself a terrible blow by calling a very early election, having promised repeatedly that she wouldn’t.

      * backflip early in Tory campaign, on what (turned out to be) an unpopular dementia tax , announced for the first time in their manifesto, gave the lie to that hypothesis, Sir Lynton.

    10. BTW

      I’m amazed that Mr Corbyn, with a far left background and Parliamentary allies, improved the Labour position. Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer “I’m a Marxist”, just for starters.

      Momentum movement redolent of Trotskyite Militant Tendency in early 80s, disrupted Labour politics in Briatain for several years, probably helped Michael Foot to lose a General Election.

      Mr Foot was bookish and eccentric too. He did poorly. Corbyn lost but did relatively well. Why Is It So??

    11. Yes, the minders have gone, as demanded by May’s colleagues. On Corbyn, Nick Rowley, who worked for Tony Blair, tries to explain.

      Corbyn isn’t a bookish eccentric, he grows vegetables in his yard, knows who he is and what he thinks. In other words he comes across as a person and had authenticity.

      Young people, who usually wouldn’t vote if they can’t do it on their phone, bothered to find a polling station.

    12. Brian,

      I am bookish, eccentric (interested in politics for instance) and we grow vegetables in our yard. I’m surprised to see such a person do relatively well in a modern general election.

      Times must be changing, after all.

    13. Amb: Corbyn is a blast from a past that is looking better and better compared with the world that Blair and his fellow travelers have delivered.

    14. Young voters want free stuff and Corbyn promised everything free. Older voter should know that can’t happen.
      Anyway, he lost.

    15. Young voters want free stuff and Corbyn promised everything free. Older voter should know that can’t happen.
      Anyway, he lost.

      And get off my lawn!!

    16. And get off my lawn!!

      Gran Torino !, love that movie.
      Clint Eastwood is a genius.

    17. I’ve just seen the movie 20th Century Women. Thoroughly recommended.

      Jumpy Corbyn realised that the Brits, and everyone, took a wrong turn with Maggie Thatcher. If you want to move forward ‘here’ is not the best place to start, so you have to retrace your steps a bit.

    18. Thatcher?
      Well, i’d have to read up to discuss in detail.
      But I don’t think the young voters in the UK were as knowledgable as the old ones about Thatcher and the pros and cons of her tenure.

    19. No, the young people don’t know about Thatcher. Didn’t say they did. But they liked what they heard from Corbyn, and the free marketeers were crapping themselves, saying Corbyn is taking them back to the 1970s.

    20. Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow admits he knows nothing .

      Professor Matthew Goodwin eats his new Brexit book on TV as promised, because he got it so wrong:

      I’m saying this out loud. I do not believe that Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, will poll 38%. I will happily eat my new Brexit book if they do

      Lynton Crosby isn’t a genius – and five other lessons the election.

      Tory ‘modernisers’ are already plotting against Ms May.

      Scottish Conservatives want a soft Brexit, that is they want to stay within the single market and the EU customs union. They are also said to be plotting a breakaway party, since denied, but…

    21. Young Jumpy: Thatcher was actually inspired by the thinking of Frazer and Howard at the time and was prime minister at a time when stagflation was key economic problem. My take was that stagflation was driven by the combination of businesses and unions that were both determined to maintain their profit margin/inflation adjusted wages no matter what was going on at the time. In Australia the problem was resolved by dumping Frazer and replacing him with Hawke who had the union cred to get the unions and business to be more sensible.
      Problem is that the problems we face are different than what they were in Thatcher’s time. What we face now is stagnation with low inflation part of the problem.
      You might find Tim Colebatch’s set of data on the stagnation of the Aus economy. interesting.

    22. But they liked what they heard from Corbyn,

      Yeah, free everything. We should be smart enough to know there is no such thing.

    23. I’ll admit to falling for distractions at times, but, what Frazer ( Whitlam smasher ) has to do with Corbyn I can’t fathom.

      Corbyn lost, Hillary lost and Shorten lost.
      May, Trump and Turnbull won.
      None of them can give us everything for free.

    24. Couldn’t get the whole story up ootz, but I’m not surprised the upper crust see more value in gouging the taxpayer trough that earning through free trade.

    25. To be quite clear I’m in favour of Capitalism not corporatism, huge difference if one cares to look.

    26. Actually, can a marxist still be such a bogey man, when the reds are not under beds anymore, but in the white house and a communist country is giving us economic life support.

      BTW our free marketeer must not have paid any attention to the various post where Brian elaborated why the ‘free’ basic universal income increasingly is favoured by many economists around the world and several nation such as Finland have implemented it already. Thats right, rather than paying attention to what is being said and to informing himself, he hijacks just about every thread and makes it about himself “being different”.

    27. Appealing to the mob again oozt ?
      What am I lamenting ?
      And WTF has your rant to do with the UK election ?

    28. What am I lamenting ?
      And WTF has your rant to do with the UK election ?

      Thanks for that, I rest my case 😀

    29. Hahaha, some sort of imagined victory in a nonexistent battle you claim for nonproductive Argumentistan.
      Congratulations !!
      Your prize is the sum of all things gained in it, nothing.

    30. Jumpy, very simply, I think, Corbyn painted a vision of a world people thought they would like to live in. It wasn’t free everything, no-one is that stupid. They thought he was authentic.

      He got 40% of the vote, and if you add SNP, LD, and Green it goes to 52%.

      It scared the living daylights out of the free market capitalist ruling class, so the the front page of the Fin Review declared a ‘crisis in democracy’. Clearly the people were defective!

      Your bleating about ‘free everything’ is really setting up a convenient straw person.

      See also, Labour success ends the hegemony of the right-wing press.

    31. Couldn’t get the whole story up ootz

      I’ll help you Jumpy (that’s what us pinko socialist scum do, we help our fellow citizens). Here’s the whole, unabridged story linked to by Ootz:

      LONDON — Kensington, the last remaining seat has declared its votes. The seat has always been held by a conservative MP, but has been won by Labour for the first time in its history.

      More to follow…


      French Socialist Party projected to lose 200 seats, finish with perhaps 20 to 35 seats. “Hard Left” party France Unbowed perhaps 11 to 20 seats.

      Socialist leader lost the seat he had held for 20 years. These early projections from Guardian UK, world news.

      It appears France has swung to the Centre.
      Why Is It So?

    33. BTW Brian

      That was a neat and persuasive article by Nick Rowley, explaining many of Mr Corbyn’s strengths.

    34. Why Is It So?

      I’ve got a thesis going that it is about the history of hope.

      The film we saw yesterday was set in 1979, and culturally took us back to those times, in the American context.

      There was a lot of hope after the troubled 1950s, with near universal, if not prosperity, at least a decent standard of living in the welfare society, and there seemed to be constant progress. In the late 1960s and into the 1970s we had established norms being questioned, the second great wave of feminism, Silent Spring and the birth of environmentalism, experiments in small-scale communal living and more.

      Then we had the oil shock, stagflation, neoliberal economics etc. Hope died with Fraser replacing Whitlam in Australia, Reagan and Thatcherite economics. Bernie Sanders, Corbyn and Macron are giving people an idea that there is another way, not the Third Way of Tony Blair, which was really Labour putting on the clothes of the right.

      Macron is seen as centre-right, but in the European context that is probably centre-left or centre in the Anglo-Saxon context. We’ll have to see how he goes, but Germany wants and needs a strong France as a partner, and the European project once agoin looks to be back on the rails.

      Corbyn is further left, and there is a feeling his time will come.

    35. BTW, Ms May does not have a deal with the Irish Unionists, it is still being negotiated. Meanwhile, she has to settle her own party, find some new minders, address parliament on her program for the next five years in 9 days time, start Brexit negotiations in 10.

      She’ll be busy.

    36. One of the things that helped in the post war period was government’s run by people who had lived through at least one war and a depression and government’s and business leaders that were scared that the communists would take over if the workers became too dissatisfied. Gough was the last Australian prime minister who had fought in WWII.
      One of the things May was going on about was reducing public funding of aged care. No wonder Corbyn was attractive and the majority voted for leftish parties in the UK election.

    37. Not just reducing aged care, making people extract the value of their homes down to 100,000 pounds before they became eligible for public assistance at all. There were cartoons and stuff of Ms May coming to get you.

      I just read an article in the Weekend Fin Review saying the UK economy is struggling, and May said nothing about how she was going to fix it.

    38. In my next post I want to take up the question Ootz raised about whether raised levels of CO2 are harmful to humans.

      Interesting question. Didn’t get it finished last night. I think I’ve discovered why we routinely get crappy government decisions. Frog in a pot seems a good image.

      Then some serious stuff about climate change raised by Paul Hawken, then back to see what the Finkel thing means against that backdrop.

    39. Some British wag said that with the so called dementua tax Mrs May only omitted compulsory euthanasia for all over 70s from her manifesto.

      Pity that the Conservatives have somehow contrived to gain the nickname The Nasty Party

    40. Be thankful Ambigulous that your phone is going to fail long before you do.

      That is a perceptive observation there, John D.

      I suspect, Brian, that the answer on CO2 is that the body routinely copes with a high variation in CO2 concentration. In a room with many people the concentration might be as high as 5000 ppm. The negative effect I suspect will be drowsiness. Maybe that is why I nod off at functions.

      However this article has a good chart which brings up the issue of comparative lung function, something I would not immediately thought of.

    41. That answers a lot.
      More ventilated classrooms for the teachers and students now !

    42. Jumpy, I think that you will find that schools are designed in Australia to standards that take ventillation into account.

    43. !Viva la ventilacion!

      Very annoying, BilB, for fresh air fiends, when the heating inspectors come round in an office block and demand that the fiends close their wide open windows cos it’s messing up the thermostats.

      !Viva the fresh air, the zephyr breezes, the anti-pollution measures!

    44. All available data indicates your brain is in fine working order, Brian.

      But a walk is always good.

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