When dealing with propagandists, one trap that well-meaning campaigners often fall into is the adoption of the other side’s “framing” of an issue. Another is to repeat the claims of the liars as you attempt to debunk them. Both mistakes end up reinforcing the lie in the minds of many people.
Stacey Abrams had a fair claim that she was cheated. Her opponent was a secretary of state responsible for conduct of elections – and oversaw the purge from the rolls of tens of thousands of predominantly black voters. GOPers mocked her. But she had a case. Trump has noises. David Frum (@davidfrum) November 10, 2020
One lie that Republican misinformation merchants are currently peddling is that their noises about the election are no different to the complaints made by the Democrats in previous election cycles. The response is to say, “no that’s different because our claims are genuine.” That might be true, but it doesn’t persuade anyone.
Moreover, the crucial difference lies in the fact that vote fraud is not the same as vote suppression. Continue reading “The Difference Between Voter Fraud And Voter Suppression”
Don’t worry, I have not given up on this blog. I’ve been quiet here recently because I’ve been busy with other writing projects and study.
One would think that the recent US Presidential Election might have aroused me from blogging slumber. But I was content to let the events take their course, finding solace in the knowledge that there was nothing that a random blogger in the UK could say that would affect the outcome. On the night of the election itself I was content to listen to a few podcast episodes, and then retire to bed. By the time I properly started paying attention, the initial ‘scare’ that Joe Biden might lose had passed, as it became clear that any early deficits in his vote-count tally would be made up when the ‘blue’ urban counties started reporting.
Its only in the aftermath of the election that I have fallen into the trap of ‘doomscrolling’ social media, and find I have some thoughts to share.
Continue reading “Joe Biden Should Reach Out To Republicans — Its the Christian Thing To Do, And The Only Path Away From Partisanship”
One of the awful things about COVID-19 is that the moment of infection passes unnoticed. It’s the asymptomatic period that drives up the exponential spread and makes it so difficult to stop. This point by Christina Paget is chilling:
Those who die, do so after about two weeks in hospital on average. This means that almost all the people who are going to die from covid over the next four weeks already have covid.Christina Paget, ‘A circuit-break will save thousands of lives’ Politics.co.uk
There’s a marvellous line at the end of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently:
Continue reading “Rosencrantz, Guildernstern, Coronavirus Incubators and The Rule of Law Are All Dead”
GUILDENSTERN: There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said — no. But somehow we missed it.
This comment by David Allen Green on Monday has stuck in my mind.
David also notes that the solution to this constitutional wrecking is political, and the challenge is to make the public care. Continue reading “The Undermining the Rule of Law Bill”
This crazy story about a university claiming that posters in a window “break the law” is a good example of how chaotic and inconsistent law-making can lead to a denial of liberty. Quick thread. #
I’ve been doing some reading on the ‘chilling effect’ recently. It’s usually used with regards to freedom of expression, but it’s a term imported from US legal thought, and can be applied to any kind of liberty or lawful activity. #
Supreme Court Justice William Brennan warned of how a ‘chill’ can be “generated by vagueness, overbreadth and unbridled discretion” of laws/state powers used to curb speech. (Dissent in Walker v City of Birmingham, 388 US 307 in 1967) # Continue reading “Vagueness, Overbreadth and Unbridled Discretion in Law-making”
I have some mild coronavirus-like symptoms. Its probably nothing, but now everyone in our household needs a test. Life and work are on hold while we struggle to get an appointment, and then wait for the results.
Yesterday morning I spoke to Vanessa Feltz on the BBC Radio London Breakfast show about my frustrations. You can listen below or on SoundCloud. The full show is available on BBC Sounds for 30 days.
Continue reading “Talking About Coronavirus Testing Inefficiencies on the BBC”
For A Thing, I’ve been reading the court judgments in the controversial Brexit cases brought by Gina Miller.
The first of these was R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union  EWHC 2768 (Admin) and  UKSC 5.
The outcome of the case is well known. Theresa May wanted to send the Article 50 notification to Brussels, and believed she could do so without recourse to parliament, because the making and breaking of treaties is a prerogative power. The claimants disagreed, saying that parliament had created new domestic rights and a new source of law when it enacted the European Communities Act 1972, which only parliament could undo.
Continue reading “Cold Take: The EU Referendum Act should have included implementation provisions”
Last month, the government announced the membership of the panel who will undertake a ‘review of administrative law’ and published some terms of reference. The chair of the panel will be Lord Edward Faulks, who many fear has already made up his mind that the boundaries of judicial review have strayed too far into political matters: in February, he wrote an article for Conservative Home in which he suggested that the Supreme Court’s decision in Miller/Cherry  UKSC 41 (concerning the controversial prorogation of parliament) was “an assertion of judicial power that cannot be justified by constitutional law or principle.”
Judicial review is of crucial importance to any democracy. It allows the judicial branch of government to check the power of the executive branch of government, to ensure that elected and appointed officials do not exceed the powers given to them by the legislative branch of government. It is a means to prevent corruption and to protect the citizen against, as the Conservative Party manifesto put it [PDF, page 48], an “overbearing state.” Continue reading “Accessibility, Freedom of Information and the Faulks Reports (plural)”
Long time followers will be aware of my love of the writing of Jorge Luis Borges. A couple of this week’s news stories have a Borgesian flavour to them. Or rather, they give rise to old themes that Borges articulates very well. #
The first of these is ‘The Letter’ – an open letter signed by prominent writers and academics published in Harper’s Magazine, bemoaning the rise of cancel culture. It seems to have divided Twitter, with many people criticising the generic text based upon those who signed it. #
Continue reading “Borges, Maynard, Funes, Harper’s and Depp”