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1
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by stone on Today at 08:47:40 pm »
In a lot of developing countries politics is often very violent. Politicians may well have underworld links, elections can come with a big dose of rioting or civil disturbance, the members of civil society groups may be at risk of a beating or worse.
Sean, you're right and he did say that too. I was meaning such violence when I recalled that he'd said political parties would do anything to protect insiders and patrons.

My point is that multi-party elections are necessary but very very far from being sufficient to ensure even meagre levels of democracy. Continued existence of multi-party elections leaves no room for complacency in ensuring we continue to have decent levels of democracy. Ensuring our major political parties have some level of accessibility to those in wider society is critical in protecting that.
2
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by Oldmanmatt on Today at 08:39:57 pm »
Edit: I liked the Nigerians I met and talked to. Mostly they were sad, really. Iím fairly sure they were more worried about where the next meal was coming from than which mad general was in power at that moment.

My experience is quite the opposite: when countries are very volatile and insecure, it becomes extremely important to know who has power. Politics here is kinda boring, but in a lot of countries politics can kill you, or ruin your life in an instant.

Say your brother gets pulled up for some spurious reason and gets arrested. Now heís in jail and you have to plead his case to the local police chief to get him out. Perhaps knowing someone in the local party machinery helps put a little pressure on the police, makes springing your brother a little cheaper. Perhaps your brother gave a contract to the wrong company, or made a joke about the wrong guy. You might want to have a chat with him about that. Youíve got to know who has the power.
I see your point.
But what I have found, is that most people just try to keep their heads down. When something like you have described happens, you go to the fixer. Those (mostly) guys who crop up, who seem to be able to just know how to work the system, what ever the system might be that week. Then they deal with ďthe powers that beĒ at the time.
You had NGO time iirc? 🤷‍♂️ we probably just saw things from different angles. Definitely agree on the danger thing though.
Iíve met a few NGO types over the years (and press types), though usually on a ďbrief liaison ď basis.
Everybody gets scared and lonely sometimes.
3
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by seankenny on Today at 08:14:48 pm »
Edit: I liked the Nigerians I met and talked to. Mostly they were sad, really. Iím fairly sure they were more worried about where the next meal was coming from than which mad general was in power at that moment.

My experience is quite the opposite: when countries are very volatile and insecure, it becomes extremely important to know who has power. Politics here is kinda boring, but in a lot of countries politics can kill you, or ruin your life in an instant.

Say your brother gets pulled up for some spurious reason and gets arrested. Now heís in jail and you have to plead his case to the local police chief to get him out. Perhaps knowing someone in the local party machinery helps put a little pressure on the police, makes springing your brother a little cheaper. Perhaps your brother gave a contract to the wrong company, or made a joke about the wrong guy. You might want to have a chat with him about that. Youíve got to know who has the power.
4
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by seankenny on Today at 08:07:10 pm »
I think western support for the Euromaiden revolution made the situation worse for Ukraine, played into the hand of Russian Imperialism and generally is an example of how military and quasi-military intervention needs to be avoided whenever possible.


Whatís your source for this statement? Not even the Jacobin article you posted claimed there had been military support for the Euromaidan protests. I notice also the typical bigotry of the far left in the suggestion that the Russians didnít choose to act from their own motives and desires, but are instead still at heart beholden to the west, who are the only nations with any real agency.





I do see a continuity between current interventionism and colonialism. It is all part of the same misguided idea that we should be violently controlling people across the world.

Flesh this out with a little more information for those of us who donít swim in the same waters. Current interventionism? Where are you talking about?
5
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by Oldmanmatt on Today at 08:01:15 pm »
🤷🏻‍♂️ I lived for a few months in Lagos in 92.
It was chaos.
Used to hang out in a shantytown down by the sea, on weekends. Totally against ďthe rulesĒ. Started out as a strong desire to surf the breaks we could see from the rooftop bar at the Hilton.
Most of my time there was spent in an armed convoy, moving from compound to compound.
Iíve spent a fair bit of time in places that were in the throws of Civil war or states of emergency.
Part of the reason Iím so aggressively, militantly, moderate, I guess.

Edit: I liked the Nigerians I met and talked to. Mostly they were sad, really. Iím fairly sure they were more worried about where the next meal was coming from than which mad general was in power at that moment.
6
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by seankenny on Today at 07:44:27 pm »

My view about democracy was massively influenced by chatting with a Nigerian guy at work. He was griping at what a state Nigeria was in. I commented that all Nigerians always seem to say that, so clearly loads of Nigerians want their country run better and they have elections there so why don't decent Nigerians join political parties, chose good candidates (or even stand themselves) and get the political paties into representing what they'd like to see. He explained to me that in Nigeria the political parties don't offer different ideological or political stances. They just represent lines of patronage. If a party gains power, it will reward its supporter base. The parties there are very resistant to change and basically do everything to protect their current insiders and patrons.

At the time, I felt very superior, thinking that Nigerians were incredibly remiss in letting their system fall into such disfunction. Now I can see all too clearly how hard it is to hold back such a slide out of democracy.

So a couple of things strike me about this post. Thereís a bit of I guess naivety around what people are telling you, which was also apparent in the comments about China above, with the key thing being that the people youíre talking to are not necessarily giving you the full picture: in a lot of developing countries politics is often very violent. Politicians may well have underworld links, elections can come with a big dose of rioting or civil disturbance, the members of civil society groups may be at risk of a beating or worse. It is unlikely that this is going to come out in a regular work chat, for all sorts of reasons - pride, embarrassment, the assumption that you knew this already, they may just not know you well enough. Iím guessing youíve never had a conversation in a restaurant or cafe where you ask a question and the other person looks around the room and quietly says ďI canít answer that in publicĒ, which certainly helps one make the mental leap - hard for English people - to imagine a world where expressing oneself means youíre followed, there are silent phone calls in the middle of the night, life at work suddenly gets a bit tougher, all that stuff. But you may be talking to someone who is used to giving perhaps only a partial picture when it comes to politics (in my experience many people from various sub-saharan African countries are often fairly direct in general).

I think using Nigeria as an example of the risks to the U.K. is also just a really poor comparison based on a kind of faulty analysis. If you look at something like the Economist Democracy Index, the U.K. is at number 18 with a score of 8.28, considered a full democracy, whereas Nigeria is at 104 with a score of 4.23. Itís classed as a ďhybrid regimeĒ:

ďThese nations commonly have governments that apply pressure on political opposition, non-independent judiciaries, widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anaemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.Ē

Now Iím sure there are plenty of political science-y critiques of the metrics, ranking, etc, but the point is - we are talking systems that are really miles apart. Britain is not a post-colonial nation which had a civil war and military rule within the last sixty years. Our politics really are not systems of patronage networks based on ethnic, linguistic or sectarian lines. If they were then the Conservatives would be doing just great, when to my mind part of their problem really is ideological.

In fact, itís telling that you wrote their system had ďfallenĒ - because in terms of democratic participation, this sort of thing is much better than rule by the generals. On the same Democracy Index you only have to go back to 2015 to find Nigeria classed as an authoritarian regime, one where ďpolitical pluralism is nonexistent or severely limitedĒ. So even to talk of ďa slide out of democracyĒ is to totally misunderstand whatís going on. Obviously Nigerian politics and society are far, far more complex and multilayered than can be gleaned from just a couple of numbers, and assessing any nationís politics is very difficult, never mind a country as large and as important as Nigeria. But Iím surprised that you can write about a country that had decades of military rule like this. Itís not as if Nigeria is a completely obscure place, it is an anglophone ex-colony.

In case anyone thinks Iím being down on NigeriaÖ where else would you find someone like William Onyeabor?

https://youtu.be/xyL4c_LDCl0?si=y18zXGqw4d2XtJtx
7
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by Oldmanmatt on Today at 07:17:29 pm »
How did that go?
In some ways, it went well for the SDP. They almost upset the nations politics. If Labour had done what the Tories are doing now, and pandered to their extreme wing, the momentum might have carried the SDP and the Liberals through and decimated the Labour movement. Labour then, as now, were pragmatic enough to flex in the wind.
8
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by Oldmanmatt on Today at 07:02:36 pm »
That "Liberal" step up in the 1980s was when a chunk of Labour split off as the SDP.
And?
That was exactly my point. Labour had lurched left (Foot etc), Thatcherism seemed to be working, Labour lost a fair chunk of itís base.
Hence the near flip.
The extreme of both Labour and the Tory party have never been their ďbaseĒ.
Which is why/how Blair saved Labour; by dragging it back into the centre, recapturing the loss.
Iím sorry Stone, the majority of people simply donít share your worldview. They donít and probably never will. If the Labour party today, ran on a platform that you could endorse, despite all that has happened with Tory rule, they would lose the up coming election.
Centrists win elections.

Edit: actually Iíll rephrase for accuracy. Moderates, moderates win elections. Moderates arenít afraid to switch, if the other side seems more sensible.
Ironically, this is because the British people are conservative ( donít like drastic change, as opposed to Tory).
9
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by Will Hunt on Today at 06:41:09 pm »
How did that go?
10
shootin' the shit / Re: UK General Election 2024
« Last post by stone on Today at 06:29:36 pm »
That "Liberal" step up in the 1980s was when a chunk of Labour split off as the SDP.
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