Fourteen Shambolic Years of Conservative Rule

The Tories are Exhausting.

This Thursday the 4th of July the UK will be overcast in the low 60s with some intermittent rain, and all the parliamentary seats will be up for grabs as the UK turns out for yet another insane British snap election. This one was called by Rishi Sunak, the Almost Certainly About To Be Former Prime Minister of the UK.

Snap elections as such don’t exist in the US. There are reasons for special elections to be called outside of the normal cycle, but they are extraordinary. A snap elections just means the Prime Minister wants to have a go at it. And Rishi Sunak called one. He seems tired of being PM, tired of Britain, maybe tired of life.

I’m going to explain roughly how these elections work, if you want to skip this part, that’s understandable. Just scroll down to the picture of a kitten.

Elections are quite different in the UK than the US. Eligible voters all over the four countries that make up the United Kingdom will head to the polls and vote for a local representative, sorted by party affiliation, one of which will be made their Member of Parliament. Many will just be voting for a party, rather than a person. Some local MPs are quite well known in their local constituencies,  and well enough loved to carry votes from across the spectrum, but many are not. Similar to Congressional elections, a lot of people who vote a party line rather than for a person are trying to influence the shape of the national government, not just local representive business.

That’s it, that’s all they get to vote for in these national elections. In this way, it’s much simpler than an American election.

There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom. The closest equivalent in America is probably Congressional districts. These constituencies are geographically contiguous and range from roughly 21,000 to 90,000 residents. There are sometimes accusations of gerrymandering in the UK, but it is strictly amateur stuff compared to the mathematical insanity of American redistricting.

Unlike America, the British don’t vote for governmental roles. The people don’t vote for the Prime Minister, at least not directly. Brits get one representative in the Parliament, and that’s that. The various jobs, privileges, and positions get worked out when this particular mob of election winners show up at Westminster Palace in London.

Great Britain uses a first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system, or what Americans think of as just how elections work. There are many other ways of structuring voting, used in jurisdictions all over the world, but they remain mostly undiscovered in America and the UK. First-past-the-post is a system everyone gets one vote, one time, and the guy with the most votes wins. This style of voting tends to favor two party systems, low diversity in political thought, and men. Voters are usually timid in FPTP systems — you pick a team and stick with it. If you want your vote to matter, you pick one of the two big teams. There’s even a concept for this in Political Science: Duverger’s law. Older democracies like America and the UK prefer FPTP because not much else had been discovered when they started trying to Democracy, and the politics around voting tends to be sticky. Criticizing the voting system often makes older people cranky in the traditional ‘we had it bad, why should you have it any better’ kind of way.

The UK doesn’t have a written constitution. If you mention that to them, they will angrily say that yes, they do, and point at a giant pile of Post-It notes going back to the 17th century. Then they will also mention a few things that aren’t written down and explain that it’s fine because everyone knows those bits. Well, everyone important, at least.

(I am not going to describe the devolved governments or the House of Lords, this is already too long.)

Whoever leads the party which won more than half the seats will be invited by King Charles to form a government. A minority government can also be invited, with the “supply and confidence” of a smaller party. This was the case with Theresa May’s government in 2017 which needed the assistance of the Northern Irish hard line Democratic Unionist Party to stay in government. But it’s often unstable. See Theresa May’s government in 2017.

The winners, now the government, sit on the right of the Speaker of the House of Commons. And the Opposition — the ones that didn’t win the election — sit on the left. (Being the Speaker of the House of Commons is nothing like the Speaker of the House. The term is a false friend.) The job of Speaker of the House of Commons involves calling on MPs who want to talk, telling them when to vote, and shouting “Orrrrdeh!” at grown-up politicians behaving like an out of control middle-school classroom.

If no one party gets a majority, two parties can enter into a coalition to govern together, but  they often fall apart — much like the House and Senate being at odds with each other and the President. (Though we just have to live with it for years, whereas the Brits can go back to the polls sooner with a snap election.)

The Prime Minister doesn’t run for the office of PM; they’re just another MP, technically. But they are generally the leader of their party. As for who gets what job, that’s an internal party matter, and surprisingly little of it is formally legislated. (The party leadership elections are a whole different process which varies by party by-laws.) From there the PM tries to pass laws and create policy, with the usual drama that entails in modern democracies.

The PM can call for an election anytime, with the provision that he or she has to call for one within a five year term. And that’s what Rishi Sunak did on May 22nd, when he called an election for this Thursday. He did this while trailing the opposition by about 20 points in the polls, which is just as much of a death sentence in the UK as the US. He called it while getting unceremoniously rained on, as if even the sky itself was saying “Nah, fuck this guy.”

OK. Civics lesson over.

How it’s Going? (Badly)


We all need this right now

To thank you for reading this, I have provided a kitten picture.

The Conservative Party, also known as the Tories, has been in power for 14 years. It will almost certainly be wiped out at the polls, possibly even out of meaningful existence, but probably not. Modern democratic Britain is a conservative, capital T- Tory, country. They spent nearly 60 years in power during the 20th century, and one of the longest lasting Labour PMs, Tony Blair, basically got the job by being a Tory in all but name. Britain hates the Tories because they continually crash the country into a wall, the same wall their faces are currently planted in now. But Brits love the Tories because Tories tell them that Britain is the best, and they shouldn’t feel bad about the British Empire, and they can go it alone, because they’re made of sterner stuff, and meant to be the best rich white people that rich white people can be, and like Lucy with the damn football, the Brits fall for it every damn time.

Right now in normal, not Tory-fantasy-land Great Britain, everything sucks.

Fuel poverty is skyrocketing, a record number of people are relying on food banks, companies are dumping raw sewage into almost every waterway in England. The National Health Service has more patients on waiting lists for medical care than Ireland has people. The economy is trash, productivity has been flailing since the financial crisis, and the trains are barely running.

Homelessness is becoming common, and young people despair of ever owning a house even as their rents balloon. The country is at least 1.2 million houses behind what it needs.

House building hasn’t kept up with population. One in every 26 houses needed by British families… doesn’t exist. This drives house prices and rents up, but there’s just no way to shelter people if there’s no shelter. There are many reasons a particular person might be the one that become homeless, but that someone had to become homeless in the UK is simply math. The question of  is not why people become homeless, we know why. The only question is  who will become homeless — the ones left standing, when the music stops.

The prisons are overflowing, the police forces are undermanned. The buildings made with shitty RAAC (Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) are falling down piece by piece, including inside of  over two hundred primary and secondary schools in the whole UK.

Compared to the European Neighborhood, the UK is doing even worst than its own estimations.

The chances of seeing a dentist are slightly better than winning a lottery, and people are pulling out teeth at home. There’s not enough people to provide either childcare or eldercare, and not enough money to retain the people doing these jobs now. According to Tim Harford writing in the Financial Times, “Real household disposable income per capita has barely increased for 15 years,” and “the deficit is a permanent fixture, and interest payments on public debt have risen to levels not seen for 40 years.” Bigotry against trans people, nursed by the Conservatives, spans the political spectrum — perhaps a comforting distraction . The Tories would rather pay for flights to Rwanda for asylum seekers than pay their own NHS junior doctors.

And there’s more, and more… a litany of failure, complaints, and human misery.

David Cameron

Falling relative productivity since the financial crisis. This one’s on Cameron, and his stupid austerity.

Truly these last 14 years of Tory rule have been like no other, but to understand this you have to understand David Cameron, Conservative Prime minister, 2010 to 2016. Cameron is the Simone Biles of failing up. No matter how much he wrecked Great Britain, embarrassed himself, or both, he always stuck the landing like it was the easiest thing, like he meant to do it. He introduced Austerity to Britain after the 2009 financial crisis, and convinced his people to starve themselves half to death instead of trying to reform a corrupt banking system. He didn’t take care of his people, he told them, “stiff upper lip!” and went back to one of his multi-million pound homes in the English countryside.

There was no good reason to do austerity, and every country that did suffered terribly as the economy slowed. But most of them had Austerity forced on them, Cameron forced it on his own people. He then accidentally took the UK out of the EU when he didn’t mean to, trying to show off after managing to barely not lose Scotland. No one thought he was insane enough to accidentally leave the EU when he didn’t want to, but he was, and he didn’t care. After that, he walked away from the job, literally singing a little song to himself, and ushered in years of Brexit chaos all of Europe is still trying to get over.

Cameron might have thought he was done failing up after all that, but then he was asked back by Sunak last year to become Foreign Secretary of the UK. But since he wasn’t an MP, Sunak made him Baron Cameron of Chipping Norton, in the County of Oxfordshire. Now he’s Lord Cameron, he even gets a little Santa-looking cape to wear in the House of Lords. That’s all real things adult men did.

He recently fell for some Russian pranksters and talked about Ukraine policy with them because he thought they were the former Ukrainian president. I tried to check, but it’s unclear if this was a video call.

Theresa May

Cameron was succeed by Theresa May, the first Prime Minister to be eaten by Brexit and her own Tory MPs on the back benches of Parliament. She discovered quickly that a clean exit from the EU that involved taking a large chunk of the island next to Britain was impossible. Not the least because the Republic of Ireland has been sick of this shit for a good long time. The Good Friday Agreement had made the Troubles in Ireland kind of go away, but Brexit threatened to bring them back. The prospect of a hard Brexit with a hard Irish border was likely to see a lot of violence, and no one really knew what to do about it. The Brexiteers just failed to talk about it, back in the days of “Reclaiming Our Freedoms.” May failed again and again to get a deal that both the EU and her own party would agree to. Even when the EU was trying to ease the way, Boris Johnson, the next asshat in this story, would just gesticulate and yell that nothing was ever good enough, nothing what ever Brexit enough. Mostly because he was after her job.

May was just a nasty person. Before she was PM, she’d instituted a Home Office hostile environment policy in and effort to reduce migration. This policy amounted to the UK making itself so mean and incompetent that it would just be too hard and awful for migrants to stay. Her administration also deported people back to places where they would face human rights violations against international law. Eventually her hostile policy got so hostile that the government ended up detaining and deporting a bunch of elderly Afro-Caribbean migrants who had lived in the UK for decades legally, after answering the call from the British government to rebuild England post WW2. Yes, the victims of this scandal were color coded, for easy human rights abuses! Eventually the scandal lead to the establishment of a Windrush Day holiday in the UK, to commemorate the hard work and contributions of migrants, particularly Afro-Caribbean migrants, to rebuilding Britain.

This year the UK government celebrated Windrush Day by evicting an 89 year old woman born in Jamaica who came to the UK in 1960 to work in a factory. She built a life and and raised her children in the UK. But she doesn’t have a passport.

So that’s going well.

Eventually Theresa May resigned after three years in office, making way for Boris Johnson.

The Good Chap Theory of Government Meets Boris Fucking Johnson

That no one has bother to work out or write down the nature of the UK Constitution makes things complicated at times. The assumption of these well heeled and well educated (mostly) men is that if you were in the club, you were almost undoubtedly a Good Chap. This is actually a soft doctrine of British politics: that if you made it in the door, you’re probably an good guy and we should just trust that. The good chap is someone with manners, morals, and decorum. How well this idiotic principle of governance held up historically may be a matter of opinion, but it did not survived May’s successor, poisonous blancmange in human form, Boris Johnson. Johnson, a columnist who had jumped into politics presumably because he wasn’t getting enough attention, campaigned hard for Brexit. He was Brexit’s number one hype man, along with Lovecraftian Innsmouth monster Nigel Farage. Johnson has a kind of goofy golden retriever energy to him, a vague cover for the hedonistic nihilism he would show later and that would eventually bring him down. He tells truth and lies triumphantly and with gusto, never seeming to care which one he’s doing at the moment. The Tories tried to treat Johnson like a normal good chap, and he destroyed them. More than any other lousy ass in this list of incompetent, cruel, bigoted British rulers, Boris Johnson wrecked the Conservative Party. He broke the law partying during his own lock down. He lied continuously and obviously to the House of Commons. He lied to the people of Britain about his “oven ready Brexit deal” which did nothing to fix the problems May had encountered. He lied to everyone with the ease of a child laughing. Trying to treat Boris Johnson like a Good Chap was the political equivalent of kissing a nuclear control rod. The question isn’t if you’ll die, but when and how mangled you’ll be when you die.

Eventually beset with too many scandals and actual crimes for the House to ignore, he exited the scene. The only person who benefited from Johnson’s tenure was Nigel Farage. Farage is actually polling well enough to get a seat in Parliament right now. That’s how bad the Tories fucked up.

Liz Truss

With Boris gone it was on to the next terrifying pasty Tory. After a contentious leadership election in which the Tory membership proved their mettle by overwhelmingly fighting to get Liz Truss into the Premiership over the desires of the people, the media, and the actual Tory MPs, who knew her and knew she was insane. But she got a chance to show the world her vision for a strong Britain. She took an economy David Cameron had spent years trying to ruin and managed to crash it completely in less than two months – Great British efficiency! The hurt she caused will be scarring the people of Britain for a generation, but at least she gets to hang out with Trump’s crew in America now.

And Finally, Dishy Rishi

It was time for the technocratic lanky human calculator to take the scene. Rishi Sunak, celebrated for his lack of understanding about how viruses and air work in the midst of a pandemic. He managed to make his very own wave of disability and death, with his Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and by this point doesn’t that seem like the top line of the CV for a Tory Prime Minister?

Sunak was as bad as all of them, though he never quite rose to their deliberate evil, more fumbling without caring who he hurt. Perhaps an improvement on the Tories’ active and hateful malice. In the end, Rishi Sunak was unlucky, last to be holding the premiership hot potato as the 5 year clock ran down. He decided on sudden death to go for it, try to get re-elected against all odds, or at least be done with it so he can move back to Venice Beach, gaze out at the Pacific from his mansion, and ignore the kids killing each other in gang fights behind his building. July 4th can be his independence day, and he can go back and re-up that green card.

Maybe even get a job at Facebook to keep him busy.

After 14 years of Conservative rule, Britain is broken and exhausted. Labour and Kier Starmer is almost certainly headed for a win, but like Tony Blair, Labour is  just trying to be the Tories Lite. No one is holding out much hope the Starmer will fix the nation, because he’s made it clear he won’t. He’s promising just slightly less of the same things the Tories are promising. So the British slog on to the polls tomorrow.

Perfidious Albion, indeed.

I’ll give the last word to the illimitable Douglas Adams, who knew his people well:

“…On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

73 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Effing brilliant. I might have thrown a little shade Jacob Rees-Mogg’s way, though, because he’s the embodiment of your whole post. Thank you.

    • dopefish says:

      That kitten picture was probably the most cheery thing I’ve read here in several days.

      Ed, thanks for that kitten to help cheer us up a little! (and also for this entire post)

      • dopefish says:

        Argh… Quinn, thanks for that kitten to help cheer us up a little! (and also for this entire post)

  2. Queen of the Crone Age says:

    Absolutely brilliant.

    “But Brits love the Tories because Tories tell them that Britain is the best, and they shouldn’t feel bad about the British Empire, and they can go it alone, because they’re made of sterner stuff, and meant to be the best rich white people that rich white people can be, and like Lucy with the damn football, the Brits fall for it every damn time.”

    Sounds like another nation with which I’m familiar.

    • JAFO_NAL says:

      Gad, you’re unfortunately so right. Another “democratic” government set up and evolved so that rich white men can game the system to their advantage (and not even trying to hide it anymore). No gerrymandering but how does the “citizen’s” dark money system work? Same as the US? This week has done nothing to dampen my cynicism.

  3. Mr. Beer N. Hockey says:

    Well done.

    As a foreign exchange student in pre-Thatcher Britain I warned whoever would give me their ear never to vote Tory. Then, as now, my home in my exchange year was a thug Labour town near enough to Eton for me to understand all too well what being in The Club meant for hard done by working people and the twisted club members themselves.

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    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Then you experienced the wonders of shops being closed on Sundays (barring the news agent and tobacconist), using wax paper in the bog, putting 50p coins in the electricity meter, standing on the terraces at football matches, fish ‘n chips served in newspaper, and the visage of politicians like Tony Benn, Michael Foote, and “Sunny Jim” James Callaghan. And probably learned to avoid trains and stations on Saturdays during football season.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not to mention high streets and low, greasy spoons and fry ups, red sauce or brown, a soggy egg on your burger, heel bars, half-price student fares and free admissions, half- or full-round sannies, mincing your beef, spaghetti bolognese with green peas, and ice cream that’s never seen a dairy cow,

        • David Brooks says:

          I will say, as a Brit who visited home last summer, food has improved enormously. We ate at an Indian restaurant, a café run by an expatriate Russian, and a lovely breakfast place run by a Brazilian. And the pub that is actually on the station platform at Kew Gardens.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Glad to see a few things have improved since Thatcher. Now, if people could pay their energy bills, see a doctor, and swim in rivers and the sea without wading into muck, while water companies hand out billions to foreign shareholders instead of investing in…water infrastructure.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        OMG yes! I was an exchange student in the UK in the 80s. Being born there eons previously, most of the things on your list were known to me, but re-appeared as shockingly uncivilized from the moment I landed at Heathrow. The hardest of all to deal with was, yes, the bog paper. I actually ended up bringing my own paper with me when I had to spend the day in the university library.

        As to fish-n-chips, one of our local chippies only changed his oil once a week, on Saturday morning, so one didn’t order from him on any other day.

        And for those not UK adjacent:

        Blancmange … is a sweet dessert popular throughout Europe commonly made with milk or cream and sugar, thickened with rice flour, gelatin, corn starch, or Irish moss, and often flavoured with almonds. It is usually set in a mould and served cold. Although traditionally white (the literal English translation of the name is “white eating”), blancmanges are frequently given other colours.”

        In other words, custard, but white (It’s pronounced “bluh-monj”).

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Besides, custard is made from a powder that comes out of a tin with a little bird on it.

      • Mr. Beer N. Hockey says:

        Wax paper in the bog would surely have been preferable to the slivery bog paper I adjusted myself to! No one I lived with had to pay for their electricity with coins but many of my elders had just such stories to tell. One of my best friends did not have a telephone in his house however – the very definition of poverty nowadays. The payphone on the corner at a pre-set time near his house was how I reached him when necessary.

        The terraces and the long train/bus Saturday journey to get to them were the best days of my life.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Rail and tube trains were often inundated on Saturdays with football fans. It was perilous to wear the wrong colors.

          Yes, long before mobile phones. I’m sure you remember waiting to put your coin in the phone box until you heard the beep, beep, beep, that signaled your party had answered. Left plenty of time to enjoy the…postings inside the red phone box.

  4. Amateur Lawyer At Work says:

    1. Please mention Jonathan Pie, a comedian/journalist, who rants about British politics are always worth listening to, but NSFW, especially to those who understand British cursing.
    2. Liz Truss managed to wreck the economy WITHOUT PASSING ANY LEGISLATION. Just releasing her budget blueprint crashed the economy.
    3. Sunak and his wife are both independently worth 9-figures each, made from venture capitalism undertakings of dubious morals (and both Stanford alums). Sunak is the British private equity equivalent of “the banality of evil”: making money off of the misery of others but that’s just his job and he doesn’t do it for the evil, just for the money.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s almost a nit, but Rish! Sunak’s wife is far wealthier. Her daddy is a billionaire and major shareholder in India’s second largest IT company, Infosys. When they were both students at Stanford B school, everyone remembered her, but few could say the same about Rish! Until recently, she was a non-dom, living in Britain, but not “domiciled” there for tax purposes, an odd but extraordinarily lucrative remnant of empire.

  5. Manuel Gonzalez says:

    Quinn, I am glad for the return of your perspective back into this space. Your prescient posts before were not always fully appreciated and your location abroad vilified. I find that the quality of your analysis and the clear voice in your writing inspires me and it matches the valuable views that Marcy features here.

  6. Magbeth4 says:

    Brilliant! However, he barely touches on the rampant racist behavior at every level of British society: airports, restaurants, hotels, government immigration/refugee problems. I have observed this, first hand, with the treatment towards a friend of mine (who happened to be
    a brilliant physician/surgeon, highly respected art collector, etc., in my country, but viewed as nothing more elevated, socially, than a towel dispenser in a public bathroom).

    This, along with a 5 generation separation from the clutches of British Tyranny, make me, I’m afraid, “prejudiced” (unfortunately, for me, the truth) against things British. It’s a shame, really. People there can be so polite. The country is beautiful, and, indeed, exotic restaurants, Chinese, Indian, etc., are some of the best in the world. However, please spare me from ever visiting there, again, my Revolutionary genes resist, the genetic memory bubbles up from my partly “blue” blood.

    Still, British humor, particularly political, is the best. Englishmen still speak English, grammatically, English Choirs are the best, English Orchestras are superb, and there is no Literature which surpasses English Literature. So much to love; so much to have to forgive: the balance of which, dips “South.”

  7. SteveBev says:

    Excellent piece

    The gentle mockery of British food experiences in the 70’s and 80’s in the commentary is something I get, I experienced and chuckle about.

    However, one really serious issue about the increasing depth of poverty over the last 14 years is food poverty and food insecurity which is now affects shockingly large numbers of people. As an example of the streams of data points on this topic please see 15% of all U.K. households went hungry during January.

  8. cruxdaemon says:

    This. Was. Awesome. I don’t think I’ve read a succinct summary of the last 14 years in the UK. We Americans often don’t pay much attention outside of our shores unless we’re waging war somewhere, so this is very informative. I remember being in Europe when the Brexit vote happened and being gobsmacked. What an own goal. Of course electing Trump could be our own Brexit, but we’re much bigger and richer so it would take us longer to fall.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        After the last week, we’re all a bit knackered, but don’t go spare. It is UEFA Cup season. But one cannot read here long without picking up a few anglicisms…and slang more often found on putting greens and in automotive garages. Or am I a barking mad piss artist?

        • David Brooks says:

          Interesting about the UEFA Cup. England are(*) through to the quarter finals by the skin of their teeth, and there are calls for the manager to resign.

          (*) British context, so group nouns are plural.

  9. Another dude from Gville says:

    This is a very well written piece and written in a very British way. I just wish you could have thrown a pear-shaped reference in there.

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  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Like the law in Dickens’s telling, Labour PM wannabe Keir Starmer is an ass.

    “Britain will not rejoin EU in my lifetime, says Starmer. Labour leader also says he cannot foresee circumstances where UK would re-enter single market or customs union.” Starmer is already so far ahead of Rish! Sunak’s Tories, he needs a spyglass to spot him. Still, Starmer can’t resist the siren call of being Blair 2.0. FFS.

    • Ewan Woodsend says:

      What is striking is that was the one and only mention of Brexit. As John Crace (in The Guardian) said, Labour chose to run the campaign by doing and saying as little as possible about anything. I guess it is the Biden approach in a way.

  11. rosalind says:

    thank you so much for this, Quinn. I happened to be in London during Trump’s conviction and the elections. Re. Trump, every paper – tabloid to “establishment” – led with mocking headlines solely focused on Trump and his trial.

    Watching the news, I was struck at how they used a similar two-person interview by anchor format, but it was without shouty bothsiderism b.s.. The discussions were in depth and long, and often featured a much more diverse and younger panel than the tripe on our channels. I saw one instance of a male politico Rishi-stan getting interviewed and each time he started off-topic bloviating the female anchor talked over him, to the point you couldn’t understand a word being said, until she cut off the interview. While chaotic to listen to, I realized later that by doing this she had robbed him of the “soundbite” that would be clipped and posted out of context on all the social media, and drowned out the words that would be blasted across misleading headlines.

    • David Brooks says:

      Our previous visit to London, with a side trip to the only sane country in Europe (Scotland), was in June 2019, culminating in the first Sox-Yanks game. The day after we arrived so did Himself. We joined the protest in Trafalgar Square but had to leave early because we had matinee tickets for the opera. Tosca. In which a cruel womanizing tyrant gets stabbed in Act 2. If only.

      We also went to the later protest outside Buck House, but He didn’t feel secure enough to face us and had to fly into the Windsors’ back yard by helicopter.

      All the while there was a small but vocal contingent with red hats proclaiming “Make Britain Great Again”, but given the Tory government was firmly in control I thought it was already Great.

  12. emptywheel says:

    Thank you Quinn, for making me laugh as I begin to contemplate Starmer.

    One thing I’d add, because I always do: The way you know the Tories were going south is that Cameron flew through O’Hare, and rather than eating at La Frontera, as all right-thinking people do, he ate at Uno, whereupon he planned Brexit and the rest was destined.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suppose an Old Etonian thought eating pizza in Chicago was the right way to fit in. As if Cameron ever cared about anyone not born on the top rung along with him.

    • Quinn Norton says:

      I didn’t even know you could eat at Uno and survive without major medical intervention. Well, I suppose the answer is you can’t.

  13. punaise says:

    Speaking of Europe (I guess the U.K. is still Europe-ish?) – we just voted against fascism via the internet. (2eme tour of the French legislative election).

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Here’s hoping!

          On a side note I want a button with that slogan so bad. Would go great with my Kraftwerk Tour de France jersey. And is just as applicable here.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The fussy, radical right Jacob Rees-Mogg, in particular, would be happy to return to the days of empire, when the Old Boys, sitting in their club by the fire, could read in a Times headline, “Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off.”

  14. JVOJVOJVO says:

    I imagine Mr. Adams would read this and say, “That’ll do, Quinn. That’ll do!”
    Thank you!

  15. Loonthxu says:

    This was a delight to read. Thanks so much.

    (Rayne – it’s been awhile and I hope I remembered my sign in name. My apologies if I didn’t.)

    [Moderator’s note: Congratulations — it worked, you used the right one and the right email. :-) /~Rayne]

  16. John B.*^ says:

    Seriously, that was the best explanation of how British politics work I’ve ever seen read or had it said…wonderful. Thank

  17. JanAnderson says:

    The British Cons created another “Irish problem” in the 21st century. I’m really not surprised lol

  18. David Brooks says:

    DAMN! I have just found out, from a report in the Grauniad, that we have been eligible to register to vote in the UK since January. So have our kids; the youngest was 3 when we left. Nobody among our friends thought to tell us, or maybe even knew.

    Other expat Brits who hadn’t heard, you can probably find details at, and can get ready for the next parliamentary election or referendum. For sure we haven’t been residents for 41 years, but we have family suffering (and needing frequent remittance) under Tory misrule. Many other nations, including the US, have lifelong suffrage for expat citizens.

    Could have made all the difference in St Neots.

    • David Brooks says:

      And, yes, without intending to brag, but just the facts. It’s not just Latin American families that depend on remittances from their US-based relatives.

      • SteveBev says:

        Hopefully St Neots has not been one of the seats Reform have picked up.

        Exit Poll
        Lab 410 Con 131 LD 61 Ref 13 (!!) SNP 10 Other 25( PC 4 green 2)

  19. David Brooks says:

    A lite late for this observation, but let’s remember, for all her faults, Liz Truss had something in common with Winston Churchill.

    They both served under two monarchs.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      LOL. Not much of a recommendation for a 40-day prime minister. Churchill was a POW during the Boer War for longer than that. More laughable still is that Rish! Sunak just sent Theresa May to the Lords. Her principal accomplishment was creating a cruel, hostile, and incompetent environment at the Home Office.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Looks like there won’t be fifteenth year of Tory rule. Hallelujah.

    Starmer has to stop triangulating for a win and figure out how to govern, because triangulating and being inoffensive will keep his country in the hell hole the Tories have put it.

  21. timbozone says:

    A call for disambiguation here…I have a minor pedantic quibble with the failure to directly associate the term “MP” with “Member of Parliament”. This oversight, the knowing wink of those who are undoubtedly more educated than others let’s say, is also excruciatingly observed in many US publications and news reports, as if there is some magical assumption that American (and others not of the British Commonwealth community) will somehow instantly know what “MP” stands for, with the apparent assumption that the target audience has not seen too many war flicks in which the “MPs” come and roust scofflaw troops back to their barracks, etc.

    Now, obviously, British political lingo no doubt gets a leg up from all the “free” propaganda that passes for much of PBS (US Public Broadcasting System) programming these many past decades, the Bond movies, etc, etc, but let’s be a bit more disciplined. After all, we are not British (yet)!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      But can you tell the difference between a PM and an MP? You may need to read this blog more often. But given the scale of Labor’s victory – unaccountably, a lower percentage than Tony Blair received in 1997 – Rish! Sunak’s humiliating loss, and that Liz Truss lost her seat, others may discipline you, but I won’t quibble, not even minorly, which seems redundant.

      • Narpington says:

        Hardly “unaccountably”, the Tory vote this time was split by the far-right Reform party much more (often in half) than Labour’s, presumably as punishment for them failing to deliver the Magic of Brexit.

        In many constituencies Tory + Reform added up to about the same vote as Labour.

        Starmer’s centrist Labour failed to inspire more voters than the much maligned leftist Corbyn regime.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The list of senior Tories who lost their seats in the Mother of Parliaments reads like a list of candidates for a Tory Cabinet. I wish them well in their permanent jobs in the private sector, which they’ve spent most of their time cultivating.

  23. Spencer Dawkins says:

    Quinn, you are a gift to the human species.

    I read almost every post at Emptywheel as if it was scripture, no matter who wrote it, but this is the first post I’ve seen at Emptywheel that I plan to read aloud to my wife, children, grandchildren, and friends, from beginning to end. OMG, it is not possible to see something this perfect, and keep it to yourself.

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