UK Politics General - Speakers, Whips and a Black Rod.

Vitriol

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Given the interest in the EU referendum thread I feel a thread on UK politics generally might be appreciated.

The United Kingdom has a complex constitution contained not in one codified document but a byzantine mix of informal conventions, traditions and customs. Accordingly while i will give a general outline here and will explain the major roles there are various ceremonial, dormant and honorary titles i will not cover such as the Lord High Steward, Royal Champion, Knight Marischal, Black Knight etc.

I am also not going to explain how the military interacts with the crown and parliament beyond saying that by convention military does not comment on civil politics and this is generally kept to.

I am not going to comment on the relationship with those territories like the Isle of Mann or Guernsey which are outside the UK but under the crown.

The uk consists of a tiered series of bodies- at the pinnacle is the crown-in-parliament at westminster, below these is the devolved parliament of scotland and then the regional assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland, below these are the mayoral cities and then at the smallest level the Local Authorities (councils)

The mother of parliaments remains the federal and supreme body of governance and legislature in the United Kingdom. Before 2011 it was also the supreme court.

The parliament consists or 3 parts- the ceremonial(ish) crown, the house of commons and the house of Lords. The general structure if a bill is thus: it is put before the commons sent to the lords who ammend and approve or dispute it, it returns to the commons for final reading and changes and the sent to the lords if they rejected it or to the queen for royal assent if the lords have already passed it. By convention the queen does not withold consent.

The upper house- The House of Lords has no fixed size. In the past it was made up of the peers of the realm- roughly 81 of the most powerful nobles. From 1702 it expanded to include several hundred aristocrats however as it grew in size it lost political power. For the past 100 years it has been reduced to ammendments to legislation, preventing abuse of the constitution and is unable to permanently veto bills or touch finance bills. It retains the power to reject a bill for 2 years twice, effectively meaning a gov must always have won a general election with a clear manifesto mandate before passing highly controversial legislation. By convention the lords did not vote down bills included in a manifesto of a majority government. With the changes to selection (see below) this is no longer the case.

The house of lords formerly contained a committee of non voting 'law lords' who were the uks highest court. This was split off in 2008-10 to form the UK Supreme court. A cosmetic change to reflect the reality of practice.

The lords are appointed by the crown on the advice of the prime minister and appointments committee. By convention the advice is always followed. Before the reforms hereditary peers all had a right to sit however now they elect 80 odd members to sit. 20 odd bishops of the church of england also have the right to sit. The reduction of the right to sit means that where the house was formerly dominated by hereditary earls and dukes it now is mostly populated by appointed Baron life peers, whose peerage and title are not inherited. Peers sit for life.

As a consequence of needing to control the HoL and the fact that sitting is a privilege and not a right which many peers do not actually use it is swollen in size to 800 members down from its 1999 peak of 1200. There are rarely that many actually in house.

The house is moderated by the Lord Speaker who they elect from the house and who cuts ties with their previous party on assuming the role. The Lord Speaker only votes on ties. The Leader of the House is the cabinet position of the leader of the governments faction of lords and allocates time to debate the legislation that reaches the lords from the commons.

The benches are divided into three groups- the government, the opposition and those lords who have no political alignment.

Most appointees are former senior politicians, businessmen, civil service or armed forces heads or other 'notables'

The house of commons although technically the lower house is the more powerful chamber. Members are elected to seats for 5 year terms. By convention the government is drawn from the party that commands a majority from the commons. There are two divisions- Government and opposition. The commons is the source of legislature and committees which draft legislation to be debated. The most notable offices of the house (as opposed to government) are:

the speaker- the moderator of the house, elected from mps and cuts tues with their party on assuming the role. Before the creation of the office of prime minister in the early 1690s this was the most powerful position in the house.
The leader of the commons- an old office that has changed a great deal over the centuries. Currently they set the timetable for debate.

Security in both houses is administered by an official referred to as Black Rod, by convention a decorated general who took early retirement. Both houses have a period set aside each weak where the government takes questions from the house. Ministers are subject to the oversight of their house.

As mentioned above the government is drawn from the majority party of the house of commons. The leader of this party becomes the Prime Minister. The prime minister appoints members of either the lords or commons to head up various branches of the civil service. These individuals form a council ferred to as the cabinet. By convention the PM is always from the commons. These positions can be termed either 'minister of X' or 'secretary of state for X' depending on the office. Each is twinned to a professional civil servant called the 'under secretary of x'. Some roles such as the 'Chancellor of the exchequer' who runs the treasury have unique titles. The structure of the civil service and cabinet are not fixed and can be varied between terms with departments split, merged and renamed. The cabinet sits on the front benches and members without government positions are referred to as back benchers.

The largest opposition party (in the commons) forms Her Majesties Loyal Opposition and appoints a shadow cabinet whose jobs are to monitor, hound and question their govmt opposites. The shadow cabinet represents an alternate government and so does not,irror exactly the gov- positions which are merged in one are separated in the other and new minor postions may exist- the shadow minister for mental health has no gov equivalent atm as an example. The three most powerful offices are the treasury, foreign office and home office with health and education following close behind.

While only the largest party forms the official opposition all opposition parties are expected to form a shadow cabinet and so the frontbench of the opposition contains multiple parties.

Discipline is enforced by the whip system whereby appointed officials within a party keep dirt on mps and make sure they turn up and vote with the party on key issues. Where mps cannot make it into parliament whips from gov and opposition liase to match up missing mps so neither side is unfairly disadvantaged. Where a mp has died en route to a vote whips on the opposing side will remove a corresponding vote where a motion is close. Various bills mandate varying levels of discipline- a three line whip being most severe. A single line whip means members can vote as they wish and a two line whip means members should speak to the whip before not voting, normally the whip will agree provided the vote is not close/an opposite mp can be matched who is also not voting. Defying a three line whip means expulsion from the party or withdrawal of the whip- ie all party support is withdrawn and the mp becomes isolated.

By convention cabinet members resign before defying the whip. They are never expelled or punished for doing so. The chief whip of the gov is a cabinet position.

Whips are always sitting mps.
I'll give a brief summary of the political landscape as it stands at westminster. For the record in the past decade i have voted for every major party except the lib dems.

The current government- the conservatives:
One of the two ancient parties the tories have been in power more than any other party this century.
Centre right,
Individualistic- favouring part privatisation of state assets and individual rights,
Widely blamed for the deindustrialisation in the 80s but also for rejuvenating the economy and curbing ridiculous unions. The destruction of the unions and heavy industry earned them hatred in scotland and the north of england that has never really dissipated.
Often accused of being in the palm of big business.
Changes to the education and benefits system in the last parliament considered incompetent.
The party has suffered splits over the eu since 1989 and these led to the recent referendum. All three of the last tory pms went out of office at least in part due to infighting about the eu.
The party often pledges to reduce immigration. So far it has never managed.
The tories won the last election despite the polls indicating a hung parliament.
The party is popular in the rich south of england and the wealthy rural areas.
The party is in favour of greatly reducing benefits and of withdrawing from the echr and writing a new, reduced, human rights act.

The players to watch in their leadership election are: Boris Johnston, former London Mayor, Theresa May the home secretary.

Michael Gove the Lord Chancellor is an outside bet following his success in the leave campaign, tainted by his poor tenure as education secretary.

The Chancellor George Osborne ruined his chance by losing his temper and threatening a punishment budget if the uk voted to leave. If he can recover the £ he might gain it back.

The Opposition- the labour party.
Formerly the political arm of the unions the second major party of the post war era labour was the party that founded the welfare state.
Originally socialist the parties socialist economics lead to disaster in the winter of 1979 when strikes brought down its government.
The party always contained 'moderates' who in the 80s split to from the lib dems (see below)
In the early 80s a leader called Foot led a lurch to the left that led to their biggest ever defeat.
Over the next 17 years the party drifted to the centre until by the time of blairs election in 1997 they were a centre party.

New Labour were characterised by:
Low regulation
High immigration
Multiculturalism
In favour of the eu
Reducing child poverty
Devolution
Expanding the welfare systems
The war in iraq and banking clash rendered new labour toxic. The party was further tainted by its local councils covering up muslim child rape gangs under fears of provoking racism.

Under a leader called milliband it refused to apologise for past mistakes made re immigration, to offer a eu referendum, to limit immigration ot to accept responsibility for excessive deregulation.

Following their defeat the party lurched left under leader jeremy corbyn whose election was a sanders esque revolt against larty establishment. Corbyn is a socialist hangover from old labour and a protege of Foot. He returned to the policies of 1979 and while very popular with the party membership is widely unpopular with mps who see him as a liability.

Today 21/28 shadow cabinet ministers resigned in protest to his handling of the referendum.

The broad gist of old labour policies is:
Nationalisation
Strong union laws
immigration
Anti eu
Anti nuclear
Heavy regulation
A large welfare state

After campaigning for those issues in defiance of the whip for 30 years the corbyn policy group is something like this:
Nationalisation
Strong union laws
Open Immigration
Pro eu
Anti nuclear
Large welfare state
Tax on the rich
Tax on property

At this point its hard to say who could replace corbyn. If there is no election a split seems likely. His support amongst the party members means he would probably win one in the event of a contest watch: Chucka umma, dan jarvis, yvette cooper, hilary benn, stephen kinnock and gisela stuart. If corbyn does not run watch frank fields and john mcdonnel as well.

Labour have traditionally done well with migrants, urban areas, scotland and the north of england. Their vote in scotland collapsed to the snp after campaigning against independence.

The lib dems

The atrophied whig party the liberals were boosted by the merger with breakaway moderate labour in the 1980s.

They were the junior partners in a coalition in 2010-2015 where after running on a centre left platform they implemented centre right policies. Most infamously promising to end tuition fees before trebling them.
They were eviscerated in 2015 and reduced from third party to fourth.
Their policies have shifted over the years but are normally socially liberal, focussing on individual freedoms. Previously popular in the rural south west of england and rural scotland.
Their vote showed a glimmer of recovery in the recent local elections.

Ukip-
The party of nigel farage is a right wing party focussing on british nationalism and appealing to the working class, despite gaining 4 million votes they only have a single seat.
The party pressured cameron into offering a referendum after defeating tories in bye elections.

In 2015 it took a great many votes from northern labour seats and stands ready to take them if labour continue to remain pro eu in these strongly leave areas.

The snp- the supposedly socialist scottish national party has held power in scotland for the past decade. Ill go into them in detail when i describe scotland's politics but enough to say they swept scotland at the last election and are basically new labour in a kilt and waving a red flag.

It is likely the new conservative pm will trigger an election so he has a mandate for negotiating as gordon brown was severely criticised for not doing so when he took over from blair

That'll do for now, ill detail the devolved legislatures and their political climates at a later date.
 
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autisticdragonkin

Eric Borsheim
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I heard a Canadian source describe the UK as being like Canada but more conservative. Is that the case?
Is it true that the UK has a much better welfare system than Canada?
 

Vitriol

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I heard a Canadian source describe the UK as being like Canada but more conservative. Is that the case?
The current leader is very like Harper, his successor will likely be a bit right still, but nowhere near a US republican. That is probably the best i can give with my limited understanding of canadian politics.
Is it true that the UK has a much better welfare system than Canada?
I don't know what the canadian system is but i can give a brief summary f the uk system and you can decide yourself:

Uk benefits are divided into two groups; means tested and non means tested

non means tested, 1)

Personal Independence Payment- for those with chronic disabilities which permanently renders them unfit for most work. The standard for entry is high and an assessment has to be carried out by a non medically qualified assessor. A major scandal a few years ago found the private company doing the assessment was assessing to quotas and losing 93% of appeals costing the government more in court fees than saving in countering fraud. There are four levels of award. the lowest award possible is £21 a week the highest is £140 per week.
Job seekers Allowance (contribution based) those who have been working for 6 months or more full time are automatically entitled to 6 moths at £50 per week if seeking employment. If they are fired or choose to leave they are entitled to 3 months. beginning three months after they end working.
sick pay- the government mandates a minimum sick pay which must be paid. it is low.
maternity pay- sick pay for pregnancies. nothing special.
child benefit- a small amount paid for having children.£20 for first child- 13 for each after. stopping at 18 and reducing at 16.

Means tested:
out of work:
JSA- Those with less than £2000 in assets can be put on JSA as bove but must meet weekly or monthly after 6 months to prove they are searching for work with details of interviews etc. The government can force them into retraining. Failure to comply leads to sanctions of 3 months to 3 years where payment is stopped.
ESA- if one is temporarily unable to work due to illness this applies. pays like JSA assessed like PIP. this and JSA are mutually exclusive.

In work:
Housing benefit- if one is in social housing the government will pay a proportion of rent depending on how much the household earns under £16000. the calculation is complicated but basically anything less than 12k gets it. if ones earnings are 0 outside of welfare the complete rent is covered for social housing. for private renting the amount is capped depending on size of family and local market.

Working tax credit- those working 16+ hours can apply for this which will top up the wages for low earners the award is about £4-5000 per year for those earning about £6000 per year and drops off to nothing between 12-16000.

Child tax credit is essentially calculated like WTC but also takes int consideration number of children. This award and HB are what generate the ridiculous benefit queen stories.

Under universal credit the above barring pip are brought together. They become separate elements within one award which in theory makes admin cheaper. In reality the saving is made that the rules round JSA which have people proving they are trying to get off welfare are applied to all benefits including WTC and CTC so the mother of nine working 16 hours a week on a checkout at asda and getting 60K a year to live in her nine bed council flat should no longer be possible. In practice implementation has been a broken mess.
 

Adamska

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I hope Theresa "Snooper Charter" May doesn't become the next Tory leader, apparently she's the favourite according this leadership poll:

(If the accuracy of the last few polls are anything to go by Boris has nothing to worry about)
Polls are full of shit usually since they tend to like making things out as close as possible. Boris probably will win, though these fuckers need a game plan soon.
 

AN/ALR56

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Is Boris the new Oswald Mosley or its just progressive news trying to do another project fear like they did with trump and brexit?
 

DangerousGas

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Is Boris the new Oswald Mosley or its just progressive news trying to do another project fear like they did with trump and brexit?
The absolute truth is that we just don't know. It's remarkably hard to see past the shell of buffoonery that he keeps about him at all times to get a real fix on what he's aiming for, beyond a clear play for power.
 

Ass Manager 3000

I logged in to call you stupid.
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Is Boris the new Oswald Mosley
No he isn't Oswald Mosley but he does come across as incompetent. He wrote an op=ed yesterday that was really broad and sounded like he wanted to retain freedom of movement. He walked that back today-

borislol.png


It's more proof that he didn't have a solid plan for what we'd bargain for afterward.

t progressive news trying to do another project fear like they did with trump and brexit?
1) Project fear failed with brexit because they treated the public like fools.
2) Trump is a lazy con man. Nobody needs to lie about that lol.
 

DerSandstrom

Gendergaseous Peter-pansexual
kiwifarms.net
Is Boris the new Oswald Mosley or its just progressive news trying to do another project fear like they did with trump and brexit?
Its probably the latter. Theyre still trying to drum up this "second referendum" and voter remorse shit as if it's truly the majority that voted to remain in the EU.

They're all for democracy and the voting process, until it doesn't go their way. Then they'll just slash your tires and call you a Nazi.
 

AN/ALR56

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@Ass Manager 3000
Yet the media (especially here) loves to proclaim he is the next Hitler and how racist and evil he is.
It just increases notoriety and eventually polls.
They are doing what they can to destroy our version of Trump, yet his poll increase monthly, a obscure mp with a mediocre 20 years of Congress has managed to be a viable third party candidate.
And put his son as candidate for mayor of Rio de Janeiro.
 

Ass Manager 3000

I logged in to call you stupid.
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@Ass Manager 3000
Yet the media (especially here) loves to proclaim he is the next Hitler and how racist and evil he is.
It just increases notoriety and eventually polls.
Yeah he's obviously not the next hitler but he ain't green either. He's just another con man pandering to his audience.

Also Johnson just ruled out a snap general election if he becomes PM.
 
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Pickle Inspector

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Is Boris the new Oswald Mosley or its just progressive news trying to do another project fear like they did with trump and brexit?
Personality wise he's sort of like Trump if instead of being a millionaire property tychoon Trump was a journalist who acted in an affable and bumbling way, the biggest negative about him is like Trump they're a bit of an egotist, some that don't like him think his comedic facade hides something sinister.

Policy wise I imagine he's far more left wing than Trump (The party he's a member of is Center-right politically), he's announced supporting an illegal immigrant amnesty for example, for some reason certain people can't seem to understand wanting a points based migration system instead of open borders doesn't mean you're xenophobic and hate all immigrants.
 

HinRai

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Personality wise he's sort of like Trump if instead of being a millionaire property tychoon Trump was a journalist who acted in an affable and bumbling way, the biggest negative about him is like Trump they're a bit of an egotist, some that don't like him think his comedic facade hides something sinister.

Policy wise I imagine he's far more left wing than Trump (The party he's a member of is Center-right politically), he's announced supporting an illegal immigrant amnesty for example, for some reason certain people can't seem to understand wanting a points based migration system instead of open borders doesn't mean you're xenophobic and hate all immigrants.
Not necessarily sinister, but the Boris we see is not real, I'd bet anything. There's something more going on there.
 

Ass Manager 3000

I logged in to call you stupid.
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I think boris didn't want to win the referendum. He just wanted a foothold for the PM position after a weakened Cameron got the boot a year or so afterwards.

Boris didn't think we'd leave either. That's why he looked so sullen after winning and sending mixed messages.
 
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Adamska

Last Gunman
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I think boris didn't want to win the referendum. He just wanted a foothold for the PM position after a weakened Cameron got the boot a year or so afterwards.

Boris didn't think we'd leave ether. That's why he looked so sullen after winning and sending mixed messages.
He should've stiffened his upper lip at the possibility.

Honestly the fact that no one thought this might fucking happen and had no plan in case it did is hilariously exceptional and pathetic. Even a half-assed one would be better than nothing.
 

Ponderous Pillock

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Boris is perhaps the most fascinating members of the Houses of Parliament (followed only by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dennis Skinner) all of whom I would happy buy drinks for. (Farage now has special dispensation as an MEP)

There are two interviews out there that point to what lies beneath.

One was when he went on Top Gear in the reasonably priced car where Clarkson basically called him out on being the anti-politician. Where the veneer of incompetence belies the steel underneath. Rather than the more common other way around.

The second was an... Observer I believe, interview with him after CCHQ had appointed a "Boris wrangler" for the Mayoral elections that seemed to have the most british job humanly possible. When Boris began to talk about the classics and the ancient Greek General Pericles it was basically up to this CCHQ bod to "cough politely" to keep Boris on track. Boris has a huge intellect and is unashamedly who he is. While he's not been the most loyal to the women in his life he's not got the kind of perpetual embarassment that other issues of leading lights in other parties (and even within the Tories) can be.

====================================

Thing to bare in mind with the ConHome poll is that they tend to be very much about law and order which May has done a half decent job in spite of her inability to competently control a third of her brief.

They won't represent the mainsteam Brexit grassroots and tory voters (nearly all of whom want BoJo or Leadsom or a BoJo/Leadsom dream ticket) they're the online element who've always had a thing for May's clevage.

Also... why the fuck should we trust any kind of opinion poll these days? They've fucked up the last three electoral events and apparently couldn't predict their way into a brewry pissup.
 

Ponderous Pillock

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Welp as this is the place for waffling....

Corbyn has lost his confidence vote pretty damn heavily. However, he has enough who feel confident in him to theoretically get him on the ballot paper.

Which means Momentum will vote him in again.

I mean the main problem right now for Labour is so many of their current members are from the London Metro area, meanwhile their MPs have slowly drifted far from their voter base (aside from a small number of MPs). There's just such a huge disconnect that won't be fixed. Ever.
 

HarryHowler

The Amazing Goatman
kiwifarms.net
Thing to bare in mind with the ConHome poll is that they tend to be very much about law and order which May has done a half decent job in spite of her inability to competently control a third of her brief.

They won't represent the mainsteam Brexit grassroots and tory voters (nearly all of whom want BoJo or Leadsom or a BoJo/Leadsom dream ticket) they're the online element who've always had a thing for May's clevage.
If Johnson gets to the membership vote stage of the contest, he will absolutely crush any possible competitor. Anyone who claims otherwise is full of shit.

The actual problem that Johnson has is that there's quite a few MPs, even in the pro-Brexit camp, who aren't overly happy with the idea of him coming into parliament and getting to the top job so quickly, when there've been several other ministers who've been actively part of the government in one form or another since 2010. Gove joining forces with him eliminates the main danger, as otherwise they might have split the vote and gotten knocked out early on in the MP vote, but it's still possible (albeit unlikely) that he might just miss out on getting to the membership vote if May and at least one other candidate can gain more support than him.
 

Pickle Inspector

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Welp as this is the place for waffling....

Corbyn has lost his confidence vote pretty damn heavily. However, he has enough who feel confident in him to theoretically get him on the ballot paper.

Which means Momentum will vote him in again.

I mean the main problem right now for Labour is so many of their current members are from the London Metro area, meanwhile their MPs have slowly drifted far from their voter base (aside from a small number of MPs). There's just such a huge disconnect that won't be fixed. Ever.
The Corbyn spin team work quickly:


If Johnson gets to the membership vote stage of the contest, he will absolutely crush any possible competitor. Anyone who claims otherwise is full of shit.

The actual problem that Johnson has is that there's quite a few MPs, even in the pro-Brexit camp, who aren't overly happy with the idea of him coming into parliament and getting to the top job so quickly, when there've been several other ministers who've been actively part of the government in one form or another since 2010. Gove joining forces with him eliminates the main danger, as otherwise they might have split the vote and gotten knocked out early on in the MP vote, but it's still possible (albeit unlikely) that he might just miss out on getting to the membership vote if May and at least one other candidate can gain more support than him.
It'd be a bit strange having a pro EU politician like May negotiating the terms of Britain leaving the EU.
 
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