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September 08, 2019


Ralph Musgrave

" Johnson wants to frame the election in terms of . . xenophobia . . .". Any chance of some actual QUOTES from Johnson speeches which display his alleged hatred of foreigners??


"This highlights another paradox about politics – that sometimes, failure succeeds. For example, anti-immigration politicians need to keep migration in the public eye, which means failing to control it. Politicians who use crime and terrorism to justify curbing freedom need to keep alive the threat of terrorism. Parties who draw their support from the poor need to maintain poverty. And so on."

I was recently thrilled to discover this is called the Curley Effect.


Kevin Carson

Johnson accused Muslim women of "looking like letterboxes" and "looking like a bank robber." And then there's "watermelon smiles," "pickaninnies".... I'd rather be a "leftard" than a disingenuous troll.


Kevin you missed Obama's "Kenyan heritage" and " ancestral dislike" of Britain.
Trump and Johnson, normalising bigotry for the 21st century.


"This week, 82 academics wrote to the FT defending Labour’s economic policies. It is difficult to imagine a similarly large and eminent group defending Tory policies. "

As it would be difficult to find 82 academics of any discipline who would be prepared to even speak neutrally of the Tories, I think your statement says more about the monolithic intellectual state of universities than anything else.


To say “neoliberalism has triumphed” is to assert that Wagner’s Law has gone into sustained reverse. There’s just one problem. It hasn’t.



Yes, the Curley Effect. I don’t think you’ve fully understood it.

At the end of the Cold War it was discovered that the CIA had systematically overestimated the USSR’s GDP, in order to make the Soviet threat seem more terrifying than it really was, and extract more defence dollars from Congress. Politicians and interest groups often engage in that kind of alarmism. But the Curley Effect is a bit different. It’s about how bad policies can change the electoral demographics to the advantage of the bad policy instigator.

Curley was the Democrat Mayor of Boston. He apparently realised that, if he made Boston a worse town to live in, the first people to flee the place would be the well-off, who usually voted Republican. So the worse he made things, the bigger his electoral majority.

An obvious UK parallel would be Sadiq Khan’s London. In theory Khan’s failure to reduce knife crime should make more Londoners vote Conservative, to get rid of him. In practice, it might increase his majority, by accelerating the tendency of would-be Conservative voters to leave London altogether.

Robert S Mitchell

Friedman keeps getting quoted, stagnation leads to reaction and intolerance." But the 1920s US was expanding and yet had 30 Ku Klux Klan Congressmen. The 1930s US was stagnating yet saw black-originated jazz music become popular. Friedman seems wrong.

"At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million people nationwide."


Roslia Santamaria

Thank you so much for sharing the valuable post.


@ Kevin Carlson

Johnson didn't say Muslim women looked like letter boxes. That's a lie. Unless you think that wearing a Burkka is intrinsic to the muslim religion, which it isn't.

his 'Watermelon smiles' was a satirical comment on Blair.

If context doesn't matter, then you just said muslim women looked like letter boxes.

Ralph Musgrave

Re Muslim women looking like letterboxes, first they do. Second, Muslim does not equal “foreigners”: there are Muslim women in the UK (revelation of the century that). Third, fully covering your face is a bizarre custom. There was nothing like in in Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt etc etc. Fourth, it indicates dishonesty: being able to read other people’s faces shows what they are feeling. I.e. people who cover their faces are arguably out the same mould as those who do not look you in the eye. Fifth, several European countries have banned or partially banned the Burka. Sixth, what on Earth is wrong with criticising or mocking a religion or members of the religion? Absolutely nothing! People mock Tories and Labour Party members. There is no reason religions should have any greater protection from criticism than political parties.

Re Obama’s Keynian heritage, he DOES HAVE Keynian heritage: his father was a Keynian economist. Re his “ancestral dislike” of Britain, he actually did have a dislike of Britain and on the very good grounds that Brits badly mistreated Kenyans during their fight for independence.



It’s widely accepted that Vladimir Putin has a primal loathing of Estonia, based on his father’s wartime experiences there. And this loathing apparently explains some of his political actions. The idea of Obama loathing the UK because of his father’s experiences during the Mau Mau emergency is no more or less plausible than Putin/Estonia.

Have you heard of Nurbanu Sultan? She was chief consort of the Ottoman Sultan during the 16th century. A ravishingly beautiful Venetian woman, enslaved during the Third Ottoman-Venetian War, she became the favourite concubine of Sultan Selim II. Such was her influence, she persuaded him to pursue an almost comically pro-Venetian foreign policy. Any country which was a threat or merely a rival to the Venetian Republic would suddenly find itself at war with the entire might of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans wasted a lot of blood and treasure fighting wars against Venice’s main Italian rival, Genoa, to no Ottoman advantage. It’s widely believed that Nurbanu died from poisoning by a Genoese spy, trying to stop her from launching yet another Ottoman attack.


"For example, anti-immigration politicians need to keep migration in the public eye, which means failing to control it."

A friend said to me, "Discuss, with reference to Japan". Okay, here goes.

1) Japanese people don’t want West European or American levels of immigration.
2) Therefore the Japanese government doesn’t permit West European or American levels of immigration.
3) Therefore immigration is mostly not an issue in Japanese politics.


I agree with about a third of the article above. Trust me the neo-liberal wing intend to turn the subject back to economics as soon as Brexit is 'done'.


BOJO and his defenders are crassly disingenuous. He both panders to bigotry around race and religion and then pretends he is an ultra liberal who is very tolerant. Some one is being duped... I wonder who? Are you thinking what I'm thinking? wink wink....

Kevin Joyce

Extremely silly article. The biggest problem is that the Conservative Party is no longer conservative.

wally jumblatt

82 academics (or economists) are always wrong.

I defy you to find 82 anybodys that could agree on the exact wording of any paragraph more than 41 words long.

(see -you can't even agree on the 41)


You're right about one thing - parties who draw their support from the poor (i.e Labour) need to maintain poverty.
Just take a look at all the areas that have consistently voted Labour for the past century and you will see the truth of that statement.

Andrew Lale

That's a helluva lot of cliches in one place. Good job, Stumble.


""As Ben Friedman showed, stagnation leads to "reaction and intolerance."

You don't think 'reaction and intolerance' having anything to do with your sick race politics, demographically replacing the native population at the same time as covering up the mass rape of their children?


''the Tories don’t want to talk about the economy. Their best hope is to shift the debate onto cultural and identity politics.'

Kind of reminds us of when the Left abandoned the working class in the 80s - as Thatcher was banjoing the Unions - and turned to cultural subversion.

Even though that gambit was actually financed by Wall Street, the Ford Foundation etc.

What a joke the Left are.

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