Long Parkcasting

We’re all over the globe physically and all over the map topically this week as we cover the British elections with our guests Toby Young from The Spectator (read his take on the election here) and we’ve got the great Andrew McCarthy on Comey, the NSA, and Trump’s legal conundrums. Also, Rob is in a park in London. Yes, in a park. Now, that’s devotion.

Music from this week’s podcast: Werewolves Of London by Warren Zevon

The all new opening sequence for the Ricochet Podcast was composed and produced by James Lileks.

Yes, you should absolutely subscribe to this podcast. It helps! And leave a review too! And for Peter’s sake: JOIN RICOCHET TODAY. 

Please Support Our Sponsors!

Podcast listeners: Now become a Ricochet member for only $2.50 month! Join and see what you’ve been missing.

Members have made 21 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    James made that remark about the impossibility of severing global connections in hopes of inflaming the comments section. So I have to say, yeah, he was pretty much spot on.

    • #1
    • June 9, 2017 at 11:41 am
    • LikeLike
  2. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):
    James made that remark about the impossibility of severing global connections in hopes of inflaming the comments section. So I have to say, yeah, he was pretty much spot on.

    These waters have been pre-chummed for your convenience!

    • #2
    • June 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm
    • Like4 likes
  3. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Can someone explain the apparent normalcy of “snap elections” in Britain or Europe generally? Is there any good reason to reschedule an election (thereby cutting short lawful terms) except when a representative or leading candidate dies? I could perhaps understand if some dire and sudden circumstance merited voters’ direct input. But just because the leading party thinks the moment is favorable for picking up a few more seats?

    • #3
    • June 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm
    • Like3 likes
  4. Profile photo of Kevin Creighton Contributor

    Wha’ happen?

    Someone set us up the bomb.

    • #4
    • June 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm
    • LikeLike
  5. Profile photo of OccupantCDN Coolidge

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Can someone explain the apparent normalcy of “snap elections” in Britain or Europe generally? Is there any good reason to reschedule an election (thereby cutting short lawful terms) except when a representative or leading candidate dies? I could perhaps understand if some dire and sudden circumstance merited voters’ direct input. But just because the leading party thinks the moment is favorable for picking up a few more seats?

    In Canada, there is a tradition that when someone becomes Prime Minister without being elected (as she took over after Cameroon resigned last year) that they seek a mandate under their own leadership, rather than to serve out the term of the existing government. This has happened several times in recent Canadian history, for example 1984 – John Turner, took over from Trudeau. 1993 Kim Campbell took over from Mulroney – both examples the incumbent party failed re-election.

    So while the polling data may have influenced her timing the election, I think she felt the same need to get her own mandate.

    • #5
    • June 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm
    • Like5 likes
  6. Profile photo of BD1 Member
    BD1

    This is obstruction: “President Clinton’s secretary, Betty Currie, told investigators that Clinton sometimes met privately with Monica Lewinsky but coached Currie to say otherwise….”

    • #6
    • June 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm
    • Like3 likes
  7. Profile photo of Wolverine Coolidge

    Why is Siddiq Khan popular?

    • #7
    • June 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm
    • LikeLike
  8. Profile photo of You ain't no Eric Hoffer Inactive

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):
    Wha’ happen?

    Someone set us up the bomb.

    You have no chance to survive make your time.

    • #8
    • June 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm
    • Like1 like
  9. Profile photo of Spiral Coolidge

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    Why is Siddiq Khan popular?

    Perhaps London is a very Left Wing city?

    • #9
    • June 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm
    • LikeLike
  10. Profile photo of Wolverine Coolidge

    Spiral (View Comment):

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    Why is Siddiq Khan popular?

    Perhaps London is a very Left Wing city?

    But I thought he implied that he was popular across the country

    • #10
    • June 10, 2017 at 2:31 am
    • LikeLike
  11. Profile photo of Spiral Coolidge

    Wolverine (View Comment):

    Spiral (View Comment):

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    Why is Siddiq Khan popular?

    Perhaps London is a very Left Wing city?

    But I thought he implied that he was popular across the country

    I have heard that Saddiq Khan is not a radical Muslim in that he does not want British Muslim women to wear the veil. So, maybe Khan’s appeal is similar to the appeal of Bernie Sanders and less similar to the appeal of a Osama Bin Laden.

    • #11
    • June 10, 2017 at 4:41 am
    • Like2 likes
  12. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Can someone explain the apparent normalcy of “snap elections” in Britain or Europe generally? Is there any good reason to reschedule an election (thereby cutting short lawful terms) except when a representative or leading candidate dies? I could perhaps understand if some dire and sudden circumstance merited voters’ direct input. But just because the leading party thinks the moment is favorable for picking up a few more seats?

    There is no European tradition of snap elections. It is solely the privilege of the English Parliament–or rather the government. There were no fixed terms in English politics. Elections are called whenever a decision by the people is needed, to prepare for or sanction afterward a serious policy change.

    If you think about the fact that in the past, kings & aristocrats had serious powers, but the regime depended on popular consent, it makes sense that you can throw decisions to the people in elections. You cannot do that in America–all you have is lawful terms &, I guess, revelation by polls. There are strengths & weaknesses to both regimes-

    • #12
    • June 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm
    • Like1 like
  13. Profile photo of DHMorgan Coolidge

    Spiral (View Comment):
    Wolverine (View Comment):

    Spiral (View Comment):

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    Why is Siddiq Khan popular?

    Perhaps London is a very Left Wing city?

    US: George W. Bush→Barack Obama→Donald Trump

    London: Ken “Red” Livingstone →Boris Johnson→Siddiq Kahn

    Try to find consistency in any of this. Perhaps Londoners are as mercurial as are we.

    • #13
    • June 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm
    • Like1 like
  14. Profile photo of OccupantCDN Coolidge

    DHMorgan (View Comment):

    Spiral (View Comment):
    Wolverine (View Comment):

    Spiral (View Comment):

    Wolverine (View Comment):
    Why is Siddiq Khan popular?

    Perhaps London is a very Left Wing city?

    US: George W. Bush→Barack Obama→Donald Trump

    London: Ken “Red” Livingstone →Boris Johnson→Siddiq Kahn

    Try to find consistency in any of this. Perhaps Londoners are as mercurial as are we.

    I bet 2/3 of the presidents you listed where not popular in Washington or London.

    Washington Mayors: Adrien Fently(07-11) -> Vincent Gray (11-15) -> Muriel Bowser (15-present) All democrat. Interestingly Washington DC has never had a Republican mayor – ever.

    • #14
    • June 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm
    • LikeLike
  15. Profile photo of Miffed White Male Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    There is no European tradition of snap elections. It is solely the privilege of the English Parliament–or rather the government. There were no fixed terms in English politics. Elections are called whenever a decision by the people is needed, to prepare for or sanction afterward a serious policy change.

    I thought they had a five-year maximum interval between elections.

    [your comment is a little unclear because you switch back and forth between present and past tense. so maybe you’re referring to past practice.]

    • #15
    • June 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm
    • LikeLike
  16. Profile photo of Nick Baldock Member

    The UK had five-year maximum terms, with general elections held at the discretion of the governing party (technically the monarch had to grant the dissolution of parliament, but in reality this happened whenever the prime minister requested it). Then David Cameron changed it to fixed five-year terms, so the next election was scheduled for 2020. This could be overridden by parliamentary vote, as it was this year. In theory, the next election is now due in 2022.

    Sadiq Khan is popular because he’s a ‘good Muslim’ and because he’s a Labour mayor of a city that prides itself on being young, diverse and incredibly tolerant (it’s turning into New York!); this is my best guess as to why the Conservatives did so very, very badly in London. To be anti-Brexit is a badge of honour for young metropolitans.

    • #16
    • June 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    • Like1 like
  17. Profile photo of You ain't no Eric Hoffer Inactive

    DHMorgan (View Comment):
    US: George W. Bush→Barack Obama→Donald Trump

    London: Ken “Red” Livingstone →Boris Johnson→Siddiq Kahn

    Try to find consistency in any of this. Perhaps Londoners are as mercurial as are we.

    Say what? I’m not a Londoner, but there’s an enormous amount of policy continuity among those US Presidents. None of them want(ed) to touch entitlement spending, they’re all in favor of narrowing the income tax base, overseas bombings, subsidizing “families” (i.e. people with kids they can’t afford), and on and on. Many of their deep political differences are simply not things people care about (financial regulations, environmental policy, etc.), and anyway, elections are not decided by policy, but by campaigns.

    The superficial mercurial shifts is the result of there not being any major party with a center right social and center left economic platform. At the end of the day, your average Democrat voter is more supportive of the cops than they are of criminals, and your average Republican voter is more in favor of subsidies for the lower classes than they are of blunting the power of labor unions, or of eliminating inheritance taxes.

    Both parties have essential elements of their philosophy that the voting public have flatly rejected time and again, and a few of those are things that really energize certain voters.

    • #17
    • June 12, 2017 at 4:32 pm
    • Like1 like
  18. Profile photo of DHMorgan Coolidge

    You ain't no Eric Hoffer (View Comment):
    You ain’t no Eric Hoffer

    DHMorgan (View Comment):
    US: George W. Bush→Barack Obama→Donald Trump

    London: Ken “Red” Livingstone →Boris Johnson→Siddiq Kahn

    Try to find consistency in any of this. Perhaps Londoners are as mercurial as are we.

    Say what? I’m not a Londoner, but there’s an enormous amount of policy continuity among those US Presidents. None of them want(ed) to touch entitlement spending, they’re all in favor of narrowing the income tax base, overseas bombings, subsidizing “families” (i.e. people with kids they can’t afford), and on and on. Many of their deep political differences are simply not things people care about (financial regulations, environmental policy, etc.), and anyway, elections are not decided by policy, but by campaigns.

    Congratulations on covering some common threads that escaped my attention.

    • #18
    • June 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm
    • LikeLike
  19. Profile photo of Nick Baldock Member

    If I remember correctly, Rob has maintained for some time that he can’t see a generation raised on consumer-choice apps going all-in for state direction. I have (with great respect) thought he was wrong for some time, and the youth vote at the election – and for Bernie Sanders – tends, I think, to support my belief.

    I think that this period will be known to historians as the Age of Facility. Everything is very easy and very quick, and the easiest and quickest way to deal with the important stuff is to outsource it to the guys with most operational power, ie the government, leaving more time for the fun stuff. This also implies a universality of provision, a sort of nationalised virtue, which makes people feel good about that decision.

    In sum, the generation below mine want a government that provides what they need whilst providing as much freedom as possible, with no criticism, for any personal decision that falls under the broad heading of ‘self-realisation.’ That’s a fairly crude summation, but I think we’re going to see quite soon if it works in practice.

    The Grenfell Tower disaster, if and when it is determined that the blame lies with cost-cutting, sub-standard and careless work, will understandably feed the desire for more governmental oversight. (We should wait until the inquiry is actually complete; but, if my previous sentence is anywhere near correct, I would entirely sympathise with the wish to smash the workings of evil capitalism).

    • #19
    • June 20, 2017 at 12:05 pm
    • Like2 likes
  20. Profile photo of Titus Techera Contributor

    Nick Baldock (View Comment):
    If I remember correctly, Rob has maintained for some time that he can’t see a generation raised on consumer-choice apps going all-in for state direction. I have (with great respect) thought he was wrong for some time, and the youth vote at the election – and for Bernie Sanders – tends, I think, to support my belief.

    Yes, indeed–apps just make people needy, not empowered… Tech reminds people existentially of their vulnerability–you depend on the screen shielding you from life.

    I think that this period will be known to historians as the Age of Facility. Everything is very easy and very quick, and the easiest and quickest way to deal with the important stuff is to outsource it to the guys with most operational power, ie the government, leaving more time for the fun stuff. This also implies a universality of provision, a sort of nationalised virtue, which makes people feel good about that decision.

    It’s not that simple. People turn to the gov’t in fear, really, for their future–the fun is far more fake than the fear, though more visible most of the time. It’s also a question of dignity: People don’t really have anything to do with other people in a corporate fashion.

    In sum, the generation below mine want a government that provides what they need whilst providing as much freedom as possible, with no criticism, for any personal decision that falls under the broad heading of ‘self-realisation.’ That’s a fairly crude summation, but I think we’re going to see quite soon if it works in practice.

    The no-judgment part is right: Gov’t is your personal liberation from other human beings.

    • #20
    • June 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm
    • LikeLike
  21. Profile photo of Miffed White Male Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    In sum, the generation below mine want a government that provides what they need whilst providing as much freedom as possible, with no criticism, for any personal decision that falls under the broad heading of ‘self-realisation.’ That’s a fairly crude summation, but I think we’re going to see quite soon if it works in practice.

    The no-judgment part is right: Gov’t is your personal liberation from other human beings.

    To be fair, whoever it was who said “Hell is other people” had it right.

    • #21
    • June 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm
    • Like1 like