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General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
3 November 2019, 19:46,
General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
From this morning's New York Times

LONDON — Over the centuries, Great Britain spawned the Industrial Revolution and nurtured representative democracy. It ruled the waves and created common law. It nurtured the first antislavery movement and stood up to Hitler.

And now Britain has gone nuts.

To paraphrase Churchill, if the nation should last for 1,000 years, people may look back and say: This was their saddest hour. Actually, never mind: Brexit may cause the United Kingdom to fragment, so that the country might not last a decade more, let alone last a millennium.

The U.K. is headed for a new election on Dec. 12, at a time when both its major parties are headed by people who should never be trusted anywhere near Downing Street. What’s more serious is the likelihood that Prime Minister Boris Johnson may eventually manage to drag a wearied Britain out of the European Union.

It’s baffling for friends of Britain to see Johnson leading in the polls as he recklessly pursues a path that is damaging his country economically and risks dismembering it. Those of us sentimental about the U.K. — Shakespeare! Cream tea! The Beatles! The Famous Five! — feel as if we’re watching a dear friend quaff a few pints of bitter and hurtle toward a cliff.

Economists largely agree that Brexit will cause both trade and G.D.P. to suffer. One study estimates that Britain may already be 3 percent poorer simply because of planning for Brexit. Another puts the long-term decline at 3.5 percent; a different one estimates a 6 percent drop in the medium term. As The Economist magazine noted, Johnson’s Brexit plan would be even worse for the U.K. economy than that of his predecessor, Theresa May.

Johnson’s Brexit would leave Northern Ireland more integrated with Ireland than with the rest of Britain. And as religion becomes less important on both sides of the border, pressure for Irish unification will grow. One recent poll found a small majority in Northern Ireland in favor of leaving the U.K. and merging with Ireland — although the brakes may come from an Ireland wary of inheriting the weaker Northern Ireland economy.

“Paradoxically, Mr. Johnson and Brexit may have done more for a United Ireland than the I.R.A. ever did,” Jonathan Powell, who was chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote in The Financial Times. Powell warned that Johnson’s plan may “mark the end of the union, leaving a Little Englander government ruling a Little England.”

In Scotland as well, a poll shows a plurality now in favor of independence, and there are already calls for a new referendum on independence.

“The best future for Scotland is one as an equal, independent European nation,” said Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland. “That is a choice I’m determined to ensure is given to the people of Scotland.”

Pragmatism may restrain Scots in the end, for Scotland presumably would then be out of the European Union and would find itself creating a border with England as well. It’s far from clear that the European Union would welcome Scotland back, for fear of encouraging separatists in places like Catalonia.

Even Wales seems fed up. One survey found that 41 percent of people in Wales would favor separation if they could remain in the European Union.

A fractured Great Britain would no longer be great; ultimately, all that would be left might be England. A mighty union that had lasted hundreds of years, running from the Orkneys to Cornwall, from Belfast to Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, would have been torn asunder by the demagoguery of politicians like Johnson who can’t manage even their personal lives, let alone a nation.

London is a tribute to the great man theory of history, with statues and street names and monuments underscoring how leaders change history. Yes, they do — and if the U.K. fragments and Britain’s economy continues to decline, it will be because of the foolhardy and mendacious campaign by Johnson and his enablers. He would be remembered perhaps as the 21st-century version of Guy Fawkes.

This election reflects sordid calculations all around: Johnson hoping that he can win a majority, the Scottish National Party wanting the balloting over before it is discredited by a sexual assault trial next year involving its former leader. If no party wins a majority, it’s possible that we’ll be back where we started, or that Labour will cobble together a government with the Liberal Democrats and hold another referendum on Brexit. I hope so.

One of my British ancestors was Ralph the Wrecker, a pirate from Hunmanby in Yorkshire who set lights on the coast to fool ships so that they would crash on the rocks. He was finally arrested and sentenced to hang. As he stood on the gallows, the noose ready, a messenger galloped up with a pardon. Otherwise I might not be here.

So I know that the British are capable of a change of heart — and we friends of England are hoping for another so that Britain can remain Great.
Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The New York Times since 2001. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, graduated from Harvard, studied law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and then studied Arabic in Cairo. He was a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times.

Follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. His column appears every Sunday and Thursday. Send an email to Nicholas Kristof at

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
3 November 2019, 23:41,
RE: General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
Thing is Charles, and more to the point !what happens next to the Majority ….the 17.4 million who voted OUT ! Johnsons deal is not Brexit ! if the PTB think we are so pissed we will except (anything) they are in for a big surprise come the election …….BTW John boy Walton should have remained on the farm instead of in the toilet paper industry.
To take a look back in times past, its easy to see future direction you need to be.
4 November 2019, 15:25,
RE: General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
(3 November 2019, 23:41)Straight Shooter Wrote: Thing is Charles, and more to the point !what happens next to the Majority ….the 17.4 million who voted OUT ! Johnsons deal is not Brexit ! if the PTB think we are so pissed we will except (anything) they are in for a big surprise come the election …….BTW John boy Walton should have remained on the farm instead of in the toilet paper industry.

Do you foresee civil unrest if TPTB appear to foil the process?

Conspiracy theorists over here are already claiming that the "fix" is in and that Cromwell and Billy the Bastard have both been reincarnated and promise all a good show.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
4 November 2019, 21:13,
RE: General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
TPTB have been trying to foil the process the day after the vote came in and even before it ! , they have completely ignored the results and set (their own agenda) to remain in the EU …..and telling us (we did not understand what the vote was really about ) and that basically we were pretty thick and THEY understood better than we ever could....leavers and remainers do not like the attitude ….at all..

Do I see civil unrest ? Yes I do Charles ….most ALL MM try to control the narrative ….anything Leave is suppressed , anything remain is promoted , the good news is by their in your face actions they have openly shown their hand , no amount of electioneering will not make any difference … we will all shortly see first hand …...most ALL people I speak to around here are just hanging around waiting to VOTE for THE BREXIT PARTY the system is DEAD a new one is required ……...the latest news is Farage is NOT going to stand as a MP ? I think this is a very bad move …..he is well known ….there will be many unknowns (people standing for office) for the BREXIT PARTY and some misfit memories of what happened to UKIP …….it may just serve for a hung parliament or even worse remain in the EU …...if that comes to pass Charles that will turn things nasty and very ugly very quickly ! I really believe that the existing MP's have no clue of the decent and anger they have generated …….not a bloody clue …...we will see how it all pans out Charles.

PS any room at you'r place ? .
To take a look back in times past, its easy to see future direction you need to be.
4 November 2019, 22:14,
RE: General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
It is a long swim or canoe paddling to get over here, unfortunately.

We've many frustrated Brit expats in the general area who warn us of the Commie plots our Democrats are brewing. It reminds them of the home they left. Liberals, Socialialists Commies, all the same. Many establishment Republicans cannnot stand Trump, but like him or not, he has accomplished more in his first term than either of the Bushes did. Best of all he understands that we should not be committing US troops overseas to wars supporting local despots in risky affairs which are not critical to American interests. That's a waste of our blood and treasure and only serves to piss off our allies.

So far as I am concerned if Turkey and the House of Saud want to attack Iran, our military-industrial establishment would be most happy to sell them the weapons to accomplish that worthwhile goal. Then Halliburton and Standard Oil can make megabucks for the cleanup and pumping the oil. Last I heard we had no heavy-hauling vegan-powered railroads, farm equipment, over the road cargo lorries or ocean-going ships.

Nothing the greenies would have us or the EU do for "climate change" is going to mitigate all the carbon that China, Russia, Brazil, India and Africa are spewing out. It's all a scam.

[Sarcasm mode on]
Global nuclear war and reduction of excess human population is the only thing that will positively mitigate climate change. About 200 megatons dispersed over about 2000 tactical warheads targeting would do the trick nicely do away with the terrorism threat. The downrange fallout would reduce the population in India, Pakistan and China enough that they could start operating efficiently.
Sarcasm mode off].

Legal resident aliens in West Virginia can carry a pistol without having to ask the government for permission.

It makes for a very polite society.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
6 November 2019, 01:31,
RE: General Election Triumph or Tragedy?
My analysis, I could be wrong, I could be right?...

Farage's proposed pact with the tories has failed (publicly that is), but - he is doing exactly what he proposed anyway, that is targeting labour seats where the majority of labour supporters voted leave. I suspect the conversation with Boris and Trump went something along the lines of:

Boris - "You know we can't loose face and appear weak Nige, we're the true blues after all, but it would be first class if you can sufficiently weaken labour for us in their leave constituencies, and you have the chance of gaining your first Brexit Party MP's"

Nigel - "Yea I know, so I'll do what we planned all along, and then slag you off publicly to bolster my public image amoung the leave grass roots?"

Boris - "You know it makes sense Nige, and your new Brexit Party MP's votes (we hope) in opposing ghastly amendments wouldn't go a miss, and depending how it goes we may have enough of a majority to put no deal back on the table again in our negotiations with Barnhead!"

Trump - "I think you guys have come up with a beautiful beautiful plan (does ok sign with hand), just keep that commie maniac out at all costs!"

On another note, this often overlooked and seldom mentioned area of EU control worries me greatly. 50/50 split in British Armed Forces Command Structure:

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