Goldsmith’s Folly

This post first appeared on our Facebook page.

Zac Goldsmith has resigned as Tory MP with the intent of making the by-election a referendum on the unpopular Heathrow expansion. Although such a ‘referendum’ would be informal and abstract, it’s unlikely to be the major factor when locals decide where they will cast their vote.

The Tory Party will not stand a candidate, and it appears that UKIP will not either. This leave’s Goldsmith’s main opponents as Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, all of whom share Goldsmith’s opposition to Heathrow. If there is no pro-expansion option on the ballot, how can the by-election possibly be a referendum on the Tory Party’s policy of Heathrow expansion?

The Errors and Xenophobia of Theresa May

Here at 224 we try to be politically open-minded. Though we are very definitely lefties, we consider it important to be patient and understanding when in discussion with those we disagree with. But right now, we are very, very, very angry. It’s been a rough time for Britain’s reputation as a tolerant, intelligent, outward looking nation. Two recent pieces of Tory policy stand out as being particularly horrific.

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Newspaper headlines, October 5th, 2016

Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced plans to publish the proportion of foreign workers a company employs, in order to shame them into employing more British workers. But if the government plans to encourage a sense of shame at employing foreigners, then they will create an environment where managers strongly consider hiring less qualified British workers over their more qualified immigrant rivals. The solution to underemployed British workers is not to rig the hiring process in their favour, but to invest in opportunities for British talent to be trained, to be able to compete with foreign workers on an even basis. The problem needs to be addressed at the root. That takes patience, intelligence, and money.

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Nothing Bad Happened on Tuesday, and the Pound Dropped Two Percent

One of our co-writers also writes for Evolve Politics, one of the bigger emerging political news sites. This first appeared there.
British political discussion since June 23rd has been dominated by the effect Brexit will have on the economy, and Tuesday’s stock market reaction has given us reason to be very fearful.
The exchange rate of the pound against the dollar dropped from just over $1.23 per £1 at 13:15 UTC on Tuesday, to hovering just above $1.21 per £1 between 17:10 and 21:40.
value-of-pound-against-dollar-2016-week

Tuesday’s headlines did include figures on the amount of tax revenue expected to be lost when the UK does exit the EU. While the £66 billion figure made a lot of headlines, it won’t have been newsworthy to the majority of professional investors – as Duncan Weldon, Head of Research at the Resolution Group investment firm has pointed out, this was a rehash of the pre-vote Treasury report, and as a result “shouldn’t move currency that much”.

Read the full article at Evolve Politics

We’ve Changed our Name

We’ve had a minor re-brand, changing our name from ‘Politics For Beginners’ to ‘2 2 4 Politics’.

It’s been pointed out to us that our original name implies that content would be more neutral and less opinionated than some of our writing has been. Our intent was always to write straightforward, accessible political content, respectful of differing points of view. But we have a definite perspective of our own.

Our new name is a reference to a line 1984’s Winston Smith writes in his diary – “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

We believe that political debate is best enhanced not by the false ‘fairness’ of reporting that some people believe two plus two make four and others believe that two plus two make five, but trying to respectfully explore which of those statements is factually correct.

There won’t be a change in the tone of our posts, but we feel that this new name better suits the style of political writing we’ve been writing.

This change is also an opportunity to standardise our usernames across platforms – you can find us under 224Politics on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, Tumblr, WordPress and Medium.

Arriva’s Romanian Scapegoats

This mini-rant first appeared on our Facebook page

One of the ‘trending topics’ on Facebook is that an applicant for a job driving buses for Arriva was refused an interview because he’s not Romanian.

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Arriva Dart / Pointer on Burton on Trent route 3B, February 2011 by Dan Sellers.

If you’ve noticed this story superficially, it’s generally portrayed as Brits being treated as second class citizens in their own country, preference given to the foreigners, etc. You can predict who’s selling this version – the usual suspects such as the Daily Mail, Express, Breitbart and so on.

But when you look deeper into the story, it seems that Arriva have been overcharging the immigrant drivers for the housing they’ve arranged, with 7 people living together in a 3 bedroom house. Between the 7 of them, they were paying £700 a week for a 3-bedroom house, back to an agency that Arriva had arranged a deal with.

Foreign workers are not the enemy. Exploitative bosses are.

Further reading: Bus drivers in Hemel are ‘living in cramped conditions and can’t speak basic English’

A Few Simple Questions for the Labour NEC (12/07/2016)

This first appeared on the Facebook page.

A few simple questions for the ‪#‎LabourNEC‬.

* Why was the motion to prevent members who’ve been with the party less than six months not on the agenda?
* Did the proposer of the motion deliberately wait until Corbyn and allies had left the room before proposing it?
* Has whoever brought the motion looked into the legal implications of taking £4.5m in members’ fees in the last week, then denying those members a vote on the leadership – one of the advertised features of membership?
* Why is an exception to be made for those who can afford a £25 fee?
* Is this exception deliberate, to encourage the ‘right type’ of member?
* If so, is this motion an acknowledgment that, contrary to centrist propaganda, Corbyn is the candidate more likely to appeal to the desperate and poor?

Please share this, and answer any questions (politely and with evidence) if you can.

Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum

This first appeared on the Facebook page

There’s still two months until we vote, but the EU Referendum has been an absolute mess. Rather than a broad, fact-based debate about the role we play in the European Union, we’ve had personality politics and childish insults.

This weekend Boris Johnson has claimed that the American president’s Kenyan ancestry motivates a hatred for Britain, and followed it up by calling Obama ‘weird’. This isn’t so much the pot calling the kettle black as the pot calling the dinner-plate black.
Johnson is not alone in his indifference for facts.
Dominic Cummings, apparently notorious for his previous role at the Department for Education is now the campaign director of Vote Leave. When testifying before a House of Commons select committee he said that “I don’t think it’s Vote Leave’s job to provide figures”.
When told that “Vote Leave quotes numerous figures on its website … most of them misleading or inaccurate”, Cummings responded that: “Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies.”

Continue reading “Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum”