[Discussion] European Politics Discussion

European Politics discussion

Saw a poll a few days ago that truly underlined how badly the Tories may collapse whenever the UK election is. I think it had them getting literally single-digit seats.

Meanwhile...

Farmers threaten to bring Poland to a halt after police clashes

WARSAW, March 6 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of farmers and their supporters warned on Wednesday they would bring Poland to a standstill, after violent clashes with police outside the country's parliament in Warsaw.

The protesters had gathered at the prime minister's office in the Polish capital, burning tyres and throwing firecrackers as they demanded a halt to cheap imports and environmental regulations they say harm their livelihoods.

They then marched towards parliament, where a Reuters witness saw police using batons, pepper spray, tear gas and stun grenades against demonstrators, while some protesters hurled rocks, cobblestones and firecrackers at the security forces.

"Due to physical aggression against police officers by some of the people protesting ... it was necessary to use direct coercive measures," Warsaw police wrote in a post on X.

Poland's Interior Minister Marcin Kierwinski said in a post on X that "23 provocateurs have been detained". Local media footage showed several protesters forcing their way onto parliamentary grounds, before being subdued by police.

Tomasz Obszanski, a farmers' union leader and protest organiser told Reuters that police began blocking protesters from leaving as the demonstration ended.

"Everything was peaceful and suddenly the police came out of nowhere, there were loud bangs, the police started using (tear) gas and simply provoking people leaving the protest," said Obszanski, leader of the NSZZ RI Solidarnosc union for individual farmers.

Farmers across the European Union have been calling for changes to restrictions placed on them by the bloc's Green Deal plan to tackle climate change, and for the re-imposition of customs duties on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine that were waived after Russia's invasion.

Obszanski said that the farmers were leaving Warsaw empty handed after their request to meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was turned down and warned of further measures.

"After what happened today, there will be a blockade of the entire country ... Poland will come to a standstill, because a Polish farmer will not allow himself to be treated in such a way, to be batonned," Obszanski said.

Tusk has invited farmers leaders for talks on Saturday.

Obszanski estimated the number of protesters was in the high tens of thousands, while Warsaw city officials said they numbered about 30,000.

The farmers, who were making good on their promise to return to Warsaw after thousands of them marched through the city a week earlier, have been backed by Poland's biggest labour union NSZZ Solidarnosc, as well as hunters and forestry workers.

Earlier some protesters burned a coffin bearing a sign that read "farmer, lived 20 years, killed by the Green Deal" in the street in front of Tusk's office, blowing horns and holding Polish flags aloft before marching on parliament.

Television footage showed tractors on the outskirts of Warsaw being stopped from entering, while farmers blocked roads elsewhere in the country.

Tusk faces a delicate balancing act, seeking to address farmers' concerns while also maintaining its staunch support for Kyiv in a year where it faces both local and European elections.

He has said that market disruptions were not only caused by imports from Ukraine, but also from Russia and its ally Belarus and on Monday said Poland planned to ask the EU to ban imports of Russian and Belarusian agricultural products.

Kate photo: Princess of Wales seen after saying she edited Mother's Day picture

lol what is even going on anymore

The Princess of Wales has apologised "for any confusion" after she said she edited a Mother's Day photograph of her and her children.

Her statement was posted on Kensington Palace social media after five agencies retracted it over editing concerns.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing," Catherine said.

The image, taken by the Prince of Wales, was the first of Catherine to be released since her surgery in January.

PA, Getty Images, AFP, Associated Press (AP) and Reuters had removed the image. AP noted an "inconsistency in alignment of Princess Charlotte's left hand".

The Princess of Wales was seen on Monday being driven out of Windsor in a car with Prince William, as he travelled to the Commonwealth Day service which she did not attend.

I saw that as the top story on CNN and I was just like WTF, who cares??

LeapingGnome wrote:

I saw that as the top story on CNN and I was just like WTF, who cares??

Well I, a republican in the U.K, do. The British royal family are in a pitched battle to maintain relevancy and power in the U.K. We are in a window where the reassuring presence of the late queen is waning and the palace are increasingly attempting to legitimate William as the hopeful next Heir. This business with the picture is a weird misstep. These portrait photos the Royal Family release are usually entirely professionally shot and utterly banal. How this happened is pretty curious?

The Royal Family are most certainly not in a ‘pitch battle’. That’s very fanciful thinking - that’s not to say there aren’t a lot of questions about how they run themselves and the money they get from the state for sure, but ‘pitch battle’ is very wide of the mark.

This is all about the various agencies - who know they are used and manipulated by the royal family for their own PR purposes - wielding what very little power they have. The rampant speculation over Princess Katherine (‘Kate’) surgery and withdrawal from public life over the last several weeks has just exacerbated the whole situation and this first attempt to reintroduce her back into it has badly backfired.

As pointed out above, there’s just no way she took the photo herself, or edited herself. This is the work of some poor unfortunate intern who is now looking for work again and thanking their lucky stars the Royal Family PR machine decided that was the easiest way of defusing the whole situation.

Since Meghan returned to the US and largely out of reach of the various UK press agencies, they’re bored and needed to something to get exercised over. It also provides some distraction to the defection of noted insane MP Lee Anderson from the Tory party to Reform UK (Right Wing nut jobs formed from the remains of the Brexit party)

Prederick wrote:

Greece legalises same-sex marriage

Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage.

Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's vote.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a serious inequality".

But the legislation has divided the country, with fierce resistance being led by the powerful Greek Orthodox Church.

The bill needed a simple majority to pass through the 300-member parliament.

Mr Mitsotakis championed the bill but required the support of opposition parties to get it over the line, with dozens of MPs from his centre-right governing party opposed.

"People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us, and with them, many children will finally find their rightful place," the prime minister told parliament during a debate ahead of the vote.

"The reform makes the lives of several of our fellow citizens better, without taking away anything from the lives of the many."

There is no current US equivalent context, but this would be like if John McCain had won in 2008 and helped pass same sex marriage laws in 2010. I still have no idea how this happened. We're friends with the folks in Rainbow Families, the main group at Athens Pride for LGBT+ parents, many of whom spoke before the Greek parliament, one of whom IS an MP, but nobody expected this to work. And then it did.
Certain news programs and certain brands have been not subtly pro-LGBT and pro inclusion the last few years, but I would have thought this is decades away.
And not during the center right government.

Dutch anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders abandons PM bid

Dutch anti-Islam populist leader Geert Wilders has abandoned his bid to become prime minister, despite his party's dramatic victory in the 2023 elections.

"I can only become prime minister if ALL parties in the coalition support it. That was not the case," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

His Freedom Party (PVV) won the most votes last year - but needed support of other parties to form a coalition.

Marathon talks with three other parties look to have failed.

The negotiator leading the latest round of talks which concluded on Tuesday, is due to share his report with parliament on Thursday.

"I would like a right-wing cabinet. Less asylum and immigration. Dutch on 1. The love for my country and voter is great and more important than my own position," Mr Wilders wrote in his post on Wednesday evening.

Mr Wilders, 60, has spent months in talks with the centre-right VVD, New Social Contract (NSC) and BBB farmers' parties to try and form a coalition government.

The leaders of those three insisted this week that the only way they would be willing to move forward was if all four party leaders agreed not to take a role in the government, according to Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

It was not immediately clear if a compromise figure for the prime minister's post has emerged.

A parliamentary debate on the issue is expected on Thursday.

The PVV's victory last year not only shook Dutch politics, but had repercussions across Europe as the Netherlands is one of the founding members of what is now the European Union.

Diane Abbott: MP denied chance to speak during Commons race debate

Diane Abbott has accused the Commons Speaker of failing democracy by not allowing her to speak during a debate focused on remarks about her.

Alleged comments by a Tory donor that Ms Abbott made him "want to hate all black women" dominated Wednesday's half-hour Prime Minister's Questions.

The MP repeatedly tried to ask the prime minister a question but was not selected.

A spokesperson for the Speaker said he "ran out of time" to call Ms Abbott.

Rishi Sunak repeatedly rejected calls from MPs to pay back £10m in Tory donations from Frank Hester, who reportedly said Ms Abbott made him "want to hate all black women" and "should be shot".

The PM said Mr Hester's alleged comments were "wrong" and "racist" - but the businessman had apologised and his "remorse should be accepted".

Ms Abbott was on the opposition benches during the weekly session, but did not get a chance despite standing to catch the Speaker's eye at least 46 times.

In a social media post afterwards, Ms Abbott said Sir Lindsay Hoyle had failed both the Commons and democracy.

"I don't know whose interests the Speaker thinks he is serving," she added.

Writing in the Guardian later, Ms Abbott said of the Speaker: "He claimed there wasn't enough time after going through those listed on the order paper.

"But I'm not convinced - and, the truth is, he can call on whoever he likes."

MPs enter a ballot to ask a question at PMQs, which is seen as a highlight of the parliamentary week. But the Speaker also has discretion to choose additional MPs, who can rise - or bob - to signal they wish to pose the PM a question.

A spokesperson for the Speaker said: "During Prime Minister's Questions, the Speaker must select MPs from either side of the House on an alternating basis for fairness.

"This takes place within a limited time frame, with the Chair prioritising members who are already listed on the order paper. This week - as is often the case - there was not enough time to call all members who wanted to ask a question."

How.... do you not let the person being spoken about... speak? I feel like this qualifies as a unique circumstance that would call for a change to tradition?

Prederick wrote:

How.... do you not let the person being spoken about... speak? I feel like this qualifies as a unique circumstance that would call for a change to tradition?

While I am most certainly not a defender of either the Tory party nor the donor who made the comments about Diane Abbott, Abbott's situation in parliament at the moment isn't as - well, black and white - as some of this debate is making out.

She's currently without the Labour party whip due to comments she made last year which were themselves considered as racist.

She's a bit of odd politician Abbott - she's clearly been quite effective over the years in getting action on various causes that are very important, while at the same time being terrible at public relations and - in this sort of interview she game to LBC radio in the UK a couple of years back - really not very good at her day job.

While none of that counts against any of the racist abuse she has faced over the years, nor the specific comments from the donor in question, she has also said and done a lot of things that should be questioned, and that she should herself answer for. She tends not to do this.

Given the shambles that was the SNP motion on Gaza the other week, I also suspect that Hoyle didn't really want to give his enemies any more ammunition.

So there isn't really a, uh, rushing wind of racism in Parliament?

Prederick wrote:

Kate photo: Princess of Wales seen after saying she edited Mother's Day picture

lol what is even going on anymore

I just wasted 30 minutes on UK Twitter and my GOD y'all are having too much fun over there with this.

Soribical, I'd point out that Boris Johnson is as guilty as Diane Abbott in regards to those character flaws. How they are treated by almost every part of the UK state is revealing to me and reveals a lot. The rather pratronising nature that Hoyle treated Abbott and the SNP recently does remind me of an attitude that does exist in certain parts of English culture with regards to certain people on our Islands.

Funny thing is I experience it a whole lot less in the rugby community recently. We just love to hate each other as equals Great bunch of lads in fairness.

We are more than aware that constituency exists.

The context that the Channel 4 piece misses and most media does is that a militant far-right will only get so far in Ireland. Some people will have a late night visit or be hospitalised as we get closer to an general election and candidate will go very quiet on the campaign trail. You can be damn sure Sinn Fein are not going to allow far-right activists fish in their pond. They just about tolerate the main political parties doing it for entirely self-serving reasons. I don't like it but it's a reality.

There is a reason the far-right haven't gotten much of hold in Ireland and it's got nothing to do with anything unique with being Irish.

Prederick wrote:

I just wasted 30 minutes on UK Twitter and my GOD y'all are having too much fun over there with this.

Okay, now it's not fun anymore, everyone's too online and insane.

The princess’s whereabouts, and the more outlandish theories attached to that question, have been the subject of frenzied online speculation, as illustrated by data seen by the Guardian. According to BrandMentions, a company that monitors the spread of hashtags and keywords online, over the past seven days the hashtags #whereiskate #katebodydouble and #katemiddleton have been used on social media accounts and webpages with a total reach of 400 million people, as measured by factors such as account followers.

The hashtags were mentioned 5,400 times, with Instagram accounting for more than eight out of 10 mentions, followed by TikTok, which accounted for 5% of mentions. Posts with those hashtags have been shared 2.3m times and liked 2.2m times.

The speculation has been truly global, with the biggest reach for the three hashtags on Facebook coming from the India Today news magazine page, while one of the biggest reaches on Instagram is from the account of Diario Libre, a newspaper in the Dominican Republic, which has 1.8 million followers.

Some Spanish tabloid outlet published rumours that She was in a coma and it’s gone into overdrive since then for the royal family loyalists / conspiracy theory nuts. It should also be noted that outside of that very small group of people nobody else really cares.

Whatever she was in hospital for was clearly both important or highly personal (probably both) and nobody else’s business. I’m actually seriously impressed they’ve kept it quiet as long as they have.

I know cancer is such a absolutely terrifying diagnosis, especially when you're someone as famous as Kate.

But MY GOD did they botch the PR on this one. Because none of this nonsense happens if they'd been upfront about it from the jump.

Maybe I watched The Crown too much back in the day, but were they ever good at PR?

Prederick wrote:

I know cancer is such a absolutely terrifying diagnosis, especially when you're someone as famous as Kate.

But MY GOD did they botch the PR on this one. Because none of this nonsense happens if they'd been upfront about it from the jump.

Sorry Pred but you are 100% wrong on that. They've got 3 kids. You try telling your 3 kids that one of the parents might die. It's nobody's f*cking business but theirs, regardless of who they are. Everyone else can wait.

The "they" I'm referring to here is Kensington Palace, not Will & Kate, FWIW.

Why did the woman suffering cancer have to go under the bus for "dabbling with photoshop"?
Or why announce that she will definitely be back at work for Easter?

Just say she remains unwell and we will let you know when she is ready to return. It is 2024. It's not like the Duke of Burgundy is monitoring for any sign of weakness as a signal to invade.

Because "throwing suffering people under a bus" is what tabloid 'journalism' is all about?

Note: tabloid journalism is not limited to tabloids.

Bruce wrote:

Why did the woman suffering cancer have to go under the bus for "dabbling with photoshop"?
Or why announce that she will definitely be back at work for Easter?

Just say she remains unwell and we will let you know when she is ready to return. It is 2024. It's not like the Duke of Burgundy is monitoring for any sign of weakness as a signal to invade.

As I said earlier in the thread, this is all about power.

It’s about the tabloid press being cross about not being told why she was in hospital, getting very cross why they weren’t told afterwards and then making very clear how far they were willing to go to find out afterwards.

Are they used and manipulated by the Royal PR machine? Of course they are - it’s a quid pro quo situation at the end of the day - they get used when the Royal family wants a good story to come out, and they get a little it on the side the family won’t make too much of a fuss over.

However, it doesn’t take too much common decency to think that maybe this sort of information is private until someone wants to talk about it. These people are devoid of that. It’s their problem. Not the Royal Family’s, regardless of what you think about them.

This is where I think I differ. When every road in the country has potholes and public services are close to falling over, someone collecting millions of taxpayer money, doesn’t get to have a private life in that way. You can either be the embodiment of the state or you can be a private individual and you don’t get to keep living off state assets.

They could have just done the simple thing of announcing she is undergoing treatment for cancer and asking for privacy and that would have been the end of it. Instead they played silly buggers because they feel William’s legitimacy is under threat. Bad enough that he has allegedly been unfaithful to his wife, now he’s been allegedly unfaithful to his wife who has cancer.

This is what I mean by the continuous PR battle that the Royal Family have to wage where the tabloids are the Faustian monster that keeps the plebs onside for the price of access. If you don’t think the continued legitimacy of the Royal family isn’t dependent on the tabloids, I have a bridge to sell you.

Hilary Mantel has a wonderful essay on the Royals as a kind of panda ( Royal Bodies (the LRB) ). The too long; didn’t read, is that Royality and the publics relationship to it is cruel to the Royal Family and Royal Women is particular. I think they and we would be happier without it

When do you guys vote this dude out again?