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Showing posts from May, 2017

Courts aren't touching the worst part of the immigration executive order

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled 10-3 against Donald Trump's immigration executive order, keeping in place an injunction against its enforcement. This, for those struggling to keep up, is the second 'travel ban' order: the President gave up on defending the first one in court after it appeared headed to resounding defeat. The new version is somewhat less obvious in its Muslim-targeting, but the courts are still taking a dim view of it.
Or most of it, anyway. One major part of the order, in both versions, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days and cuts the overall refugee quota for 2017 from 110 000 to 50 000. These sections are not at issue in the 4th Circuit case, and there's not much any court can do about them: the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is run largely at the discretion of the president. In one case, state governments are arguing that refugee numbers can only be reduced after 'appropriate consultation' w…

The UK as one-party state

We live in hope, but the overwhelming probability is still that Theresa May will win next month's election by a landslide that effectively makes it impossible for Labour to win a majority in 2022. If that happens, then from 1979 to 2027 the UK government will have changed partisan hands two and a half times. Forty-eight years with only two changes of government, or three if you insist on taking the Lib Dems seriously.

This is not normal. Even counting only to now, not ten years into the future, Australia has had four changes since 1979; the USA, at least five, probably eight; France, somewhere between three (if you count Presidents, with their very long terms) and seven (if you count Prime Ministers).*

The story only gets stranger if you think about what politics has actually looked like during these long stretches. For most of its recent political history, the UK has resembled a one-party state in which the only opposition sat in total disarray, apparently incapable of mounting a…

The tuition fee storm in a teacup

The Labour Party has now officially announced that it's going to abolish university tuition fees if it wins power, throwing itself into a debate that's been floating around student politics since they were tripled to £9000 in 2010. We have sort of known about this for a few weeks, and even before that everybody suspected it might happen, given the general tenor of Corbyn's politics and the passions of his base.
The main thing you need to know about the tuition fees debate is that it doesn't really matter.

Everyone's bullshitting about the French election

Emmanuel Macron beat Marine Le Pen extremely resoundingly last week. It was an electoral defeat for right-wing populism that, unlike in the Netherlands, wasn't achieved by pandering to nativism. That's a happy outcome, and an exciting prospect, so it's natural that everyone is rushing to learn lessons. The angles are varied. Today we have Chuka Umunna arguing that the result shows Labour can succeed by embracing an unashamedly open, pro-European message. Yesterday Rachel Sylvester reckoned the real moral of the story is that centrists should split from established parties, particularly on the left. There are lots more. But all these self-serving hot takes are wrong.