This is the New York Times’ expert on matters international

So Theresa May, the British prime minister who was not elected to her post,

No wonder absolutely every idea postured in the paper is wrong.

For those who don’t get it (say, New York Times reporters) we have a parliamentary system. Whoever gains control of a majority of MPs is PM. The usual method of that is that the parties have an election for who should be party leader. The Conservatives have such a majority in the Commons, May won the election to be party leader of the Conservatives.

We simply do not have, and never have had, a directly elected Prime Minister. And as I’ve pointed out before, the majority of modern PMs weren’t even party leaders at the General Election before their elevation.

41 comments on “This is the New York Times’ expert on matters international

  1. Someone posted a joke about Canada growing a ‘privacy hedge’ overnight along the Canadian/American border (Canadians are too polite and non-confrontational so the hedge is . . . never explain the joke).

    All the comments are about how ‘maybe Canada wants a real democracy for a neighbor and not one where the person who gets 3 million more votes can lose’.

    Except that the Canadian HoG a) isn’t a constitutional position (seriously, it exists only as a nod to British tradition but is not mentioned anywhere in their constitution), and b) is *appointed* by the Governor-General of Canada.

    And only from the largest party in government by tradition also – he could potentially appoint anyone.

    So, in all of Canada, exactly *one person’s vote counts*. But its us who are not the real democracy.

    KILLER FACT: The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen with the advice of the Prime Minister.

    Postscript – not hating on Canadians (who probably already knew the above), those comments were most likely written by some of my more moronic countrymen who couldn’t be bothered to spend 5 minutes on Wikipedia before hitting ‘submit’.

  2. She wants to achieve this by taking Britain out of the European Union, out of a single market of a half-billion people and into a new “embrace” of the world — excluding, of course, Spaniards, the French, Germans, Italians, Swedes and their ilk.

    I do not get where people keep thinking that you can’t trade with EU states unless you’re inside the EU. If anyone is going to be excluded, it will be because *they* chose to be. Not Britain.

    Its like RM and company screeching about high tariffs – if there are *any* tariffs, they’ll be because the UK government added them. And that government could choose to not do so. Tariffs are not written into the laws of physics, they are solely political.

  3. “What a pathetic little man is Roger Cohen.”

    Richard Cohen, at The Washington Post, is at least as bad – if not worse.

  4. As for Canada – in the Senate, Ontario and BC get 24 senate seats, so does Prince Edward Island (population 140k).

    One man one vote indeed.

  5. Meanwhile the top news stories on BBC are not about Trump’s inauguration but about the protests against it. FFS.

  6. It’s a splendid bêtise from a man who actually knows the meaning of ‘parochial’. Presumably it has never crossed his mind that it might apply to him.

  7. Everyone understands the meaning perfectly well. Cameron was party leader at the time of the general election, so we say he was elected Prime Minister. May was not, so she isn’t. There’s a general understanding that so-called unelected PMs are on borrowed time. More often than not they get the boot at the subsequent general election (Callaghan, Brown; Major scraped through with a much diminished majority).

    Is the best critique you have of a New York Times article? I presume this means they haven’t made any substantive errors?

  8. Off topic but i weep for my home city.

    The Bristol wood recycling centre is holding a course on:

    Learning to use power tools – for women, queers, trans and intersex.

  9. @Andrew M.

    It slips my mind for a moment the election Brown scraped into power with a much diminished majority. Could you remind me?

  10. Although I’d wager that May will make it 2 out of the last two PM’s who won their first election leading the party.

    And describing John Major as scraping in when he is the only leader to have ever led a party at a UK election which polled more than 14,000,000 voted seems a tad unfair. More than Thatcher and Blair in their prime.

  11. “We simply do not have, and never have had, a directly elected Prime Minister.”

    Not so hard to understand. I’d add that America does not have, and (under its present Constitution) never has had a directly elected President.

    The NY Times stumbles over that one, too.

  12. The more I think about it the more I’m convinced there’s something to be said for having non executive oversight of the executive. A good Monarch or HoL before Blair fucked about withi worked well. So maybe the Dominions’ having Queenie as the nominal head is State at least gives them pause for thought.

    Perhaps it’s not democracy in the popular sense but it seems to work.

    I don’t know if there’s any research but companies with executive Chaimen seen to me to be the ones that struggle.

  13. That, you see, is what it was all about: too many Poles and Romanians doing jobs nobody else wants.

    Yes, free movement so that we can use (presumably) desperate foreigners as a sort of skivvy under-class.

    Something not quite right in this.

  14. AndrewC – “The Bristol wood recycling centre is holding a course on:”

    That is a great name. And a good idea. From now on I am not going to say I support clear felling forests. I am going to say that I am investing in the re-purposing and recycling of timber.

    It used to be used for producing carbon dioxide. Now it is being repurposed as newsprint. Bit of a waste really.

  15. “so we say he was elected Prime Minister”: do we? I don’t. I don’t think I know anyone who would say that. Is it a yoof thing?

  16. @AndrewC

    Obviously course in question is only being offered to women, and various qwerty alphabet soup types because straight blokes are the only types clever enough to figure out how to use power tools by themselves (most of the time, it’s very easy, but I’m a straight white male engineer, so of course I’d say that!)

  17. May was elected an MP under current rules. As an MP she stood for the post of PM under her party rules when the existing PM resigned.
    All other contenders dropped out – so she became PM because it would be a waste of money asking party members to vote for her or not vote for her when she is the only choice.
    Prior to her the Conservative leadership contest ended up being between two blokes called David and the party members voted on who should be party leader.
    Its a system that works.

    Just trying to think of countries in the West that have presidents or prime ministers elected by popular vote only. Certainly not the UK or US who have never done that.

  18. 20 comments in, and no one else has pointed out the howler above about the Canadian Senate, so here goes: PEI has only four Senators, it’s the Maritime provinces as a group that have 24. Yes, it’s still disproportionate, but it’s not madly so, considering that in 1867 PEI was one of the four founding provinces and nobody then knew that its population would stay relatively tiny.

  19. Most of the people bleating about unelected Prime Ministers have and had no problem with the idea of binding us permanently into the EU through signing up to more and more agreements. Not constitutional at all to bind future governments by your decisions.

    They don’t really care about the fact that May hasn’t won a general election. Their real hope is that a general election would result in more seats for someone like the turd Farron, such that it could be blocked or watered down.

  20. From the same ridiculous article………..

    I wonder if May, who studied geography at Oxford University, has ever taken a stroll round London, that inward-looking city where you never hear a foreign tongue. After 43 years in what is now called the European Union, the British capital has become insufferably insular. Its cuisine lacks variety. Its financial institutions have no international heft. Its skyline speaks of stunted ambition. Its culture is provincial, its theater hidebound and its worldview small-minded.

    One things for sure he certainly has not been to the London I know and that I am sure most people know.

  21. @ wiggia, I think that was an attempt at sarcasm.
    But for the Lib-Dems FTPA, I’m pretty sure we’d have had a general election election by now. Said act makes that difficult to engineer.

  22. @wiggie
    The guy was in full /sark mode when he wrote that. But I don’t know what he thought he was trying to prove. I know London pretty well, being a Londoner – born & bred. Last address I had, before I fled the country in despair, was Bayswater. I could shop from one end of Queensway to the other without encountering a single Brit. Or anyone from the EU, either. Mostly middle eastern – there’s an excellent Lebanese eatery hidden away in the depths of Queensway Market, patronised by the stallholders. A lot of East Asians. The girls downstairs were Thai. Independent businesswomen of some description. And McDonalds seemed to staffed exclusively by Russians.
    Yes. London’s an international city. But, in that sense, it’s hardly a European city. Probably less so than any city in Europe.

  23. Yeah, he’s trying to pretend that London is a world city because we’re in the EU.

    I have wondered if the disinclination to give capitalism / Thatcher any credit for anything is a motivating factor behind Leftie EU worship. They can tell things have got better but don’t want to admit that it’s in large part because we abandoned the post war consensus.

    Anyway, this bloke is clearly just parroting Guardian talking points.

  24. @Andrew M, just to be pedantic but although Major ascraped through with a reduced majority he did get more votes (over 14 million) than any party leader has received in any general election either before or since.

  25. I wonder if May, who studied geography at Oxford University, has ever taken a stroll round London, that inward-looking city where you never hear a foreign tongue. After 43 years in what is now called the European Union, the British capital has become insufferably insular. Its cuisine lacks variety. Its financial institutions have no international heft. Its skyline speaks of stunted ambition. Its culture is provincial, its theater hidebound and its worldview small-minded

    No surprise this was in the NYT. It is an interesting insight into how people like this think. Cuisine, theatre – who cites these as important and must have benefits of mass immigration?

  26. Rob – “Cuisine, theatre – who cites these as important and must have benefits of mass immigration?”

    Fat Gays?

    Rob
    January 22, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I wonder if May, who studied geography at Oxford University, has ever taken a stroll round London, that inward-looking city where you never hear a foreign tongue. After 43 years in what is now called the European Union, the British capital has become insufferably insular. Its cuisine lacks variety. Its financial institutions have no international heft. Its skyline speaks of stunted ambition. Its culture is provincial, its theater hidebound and its worldview small-minded

    Seriously? Who could describe London this way? Still, if 43 years in the EU has done this, it is obviously time to leave before it gets worse.

  27. Andrew C, Rosscoe,

    Fair points, and yes May will probably win in 2020 too.

    I’m just disappointed with our Timmy: here’s an article from the NYT, no doubt full of all sorts of logical fallacies, but all he singles out is a minor piece of pe(n)dantry. That’s like the Mirror complaining about Theresa May’s wardrobe: it implies there are no substantive criticisms.

  28. It is of course the most tactical and cynical of political criticisms, deployed by both sides and believed by neither.

  29. We have parliamentary system in which: Parliament is over ridden by a comical plebiscite , that’s serves up am menu of UKIP in blue lipstick of the Communist Party and is chiefly answerable to about 6000 mentally feeble octogenarian blimps aka members of the Conservative Party
    The history of 19th century constitutional progress on this country was the history of judiciously withholding decisions form the collection of morons known as the general public a
    But you know what lets go this this whole democracy thing Tim,. Next tioe you need your colkon irrigated instead of the “Expert “opinion of your doctor we`ll just poll the nearest imbeciles and they will probably decide that as they are cross about the state of their egg for breakfast you need to be thrown in the incinerator . Respect the decision mate
    What we are currently experiencing is mob rule ethnic unrest and consequent relapse into idiot protectionist collectivism .
    You are on the wrong side for god`s sake wake up

  30. Rob,

    “Cuisine, theatre – who cites these as important and must have benefits of mass immigration?”

    Not I.

    When was the last time anyone made a great play? When was the last time the stage had anyone like Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams writing for it? I’d say probably David Mamet, and even he switched to film in the mid-80s.

    If I want to watch foreigners doing theatre, I’ll watch a movie. Plenty of good stuff coming out of Korea and South America. A few of them even come over here and work in making films here, which is just fine. The people strongly favouring Brexit aren’t bothered about Alfonso Cuaron coming over here, making Gravity and Children of Men.

    And as for cuisine, Waitrose seem to have got to a point with ready meals where I can get a damn good curry, thai or chinese meal from a factory in Stockport or Tipton.

  31. Ironman – “Hello Arnald, I for one have missed you.”

    Really? You are tired of being the biggest buffoon on this blog? Well maybe our village idiot is back. But I don’t think that is going to help you any.

  32. Don’t I remember a “newmania” from early Biased-BBC/ Guido days? If so, hi Paul! But my how you’ve changed. Don’t remember you being so pro-establishment..

  33. And it’s worth visiting this “Expert” thing. Sure, if you want surgery, or your car repaired, you really need an expert. But what exactly are these clowns supposed to be “expert” in? Apart from feathering their own fucking nests, that is. Results would indicate they very little useful expertise in the fields they’re so keen to pronounce on. Or they wouldn’t contrive quite so many glorious fuck-ups.

  34. I don’t think Newmania is Arnald. Arnald was rather more literate. Newmania’s posts read like he’s mashing his forehead against a tablet.

  35. The Left love to wheel out Gove’s “we’ve had enough of experts” – “so, if you have a heart op, would you prefer it was done by a non-expert?” Of course, they’re hugely truncating the quote (Faisal Islam who was doing the interview at Sky ranted over it), rather as they’re inclined to do with Maggie’s “no such thing as society”. Here it is in full:

    “the people of this country have had enough of experts from organizations with acronyms saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

    With which sentiment few rational people could disagree.

  36. “So Theresa May, the British prime minister who was not elected to her post,…”
    Like Winston S. Churchill (10/05/1940) and

    Lloyd George (WWI)

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