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Liberal Democrat manifesto – libdems.org.uk

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Liberal Democrat manifesto – libdems.org.uk

Letter to the editor: Liberal Press Herald in no position to say that Sinclair Broadcasting is biased – Press Herald

I must say, I was amused to read, in the Maine Sunday Telegram, an article criticizing another news media company, Sinclair Broadcasting, basically for being biased in this case, conservatively, which you accurately point out (Pro-Trump commentary tunes out critics, Page B1, July 30).

However, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram certainly doesnt have to take a back seat to anyone in terms of slanting the news in your case, obviously to the liberal side.

I thought it was particularly poignant that the article was right next to Bill Nemitzs usual objective column.

Pete Martin

Kennebunkport

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Letter to the editor: Liberal Press Herald in no position to say that Sinclair Broadcasting is biased – Press Herald

Political theater: Richmond’s ‘Progressive Liberal’ riles them up from inside the wrestling ring – Roanoke Times

LURAY Jeff X was writhing, the victim of a backdrop slam that left the diminutive wrestler from Coeburn sprawled on the mat. His opponent, all 6-foot-5, 240 pounds of him, turned to face the crowd, a sea of people liberally speckled with camouflage and Hemi Orange, then flexed both biceps in triumph.

Hillary! shouted Dan The Progressive Liberal Richards, straining to be heard over the rockabilly band playing on the nearby stage, the blat of monster truck exhaust notes from across the grounds and, maybe loudest of all, the boos of the audience.

#Impeach was printed across the front of his blue trunks. Dump Trump was on the back.

Build the wall, someone shouted back.

The show last weekend was part of Cooters Last Stand billed as the last of the series of Dukes of Hazzard fan festivals organized by Ben Jones, the former congressman and actor who played the Duke boys favorite mechanic on the television show.

For the unfamiliar, this brand of wrestling is probably best understood as sweaty theater rather than a traditional athletic contest. Sports entertainment, they call it in the big leagues.

Most shows feature a babyface or, simply, face the wrestler the crowd is supposed to root for, and a bad guy, called a heel.

There was no doubt who was who at Cooters Place, where some 20,000 people were expected over the course of the two-day event in Luray.

Pickups parked in the fields across U.S. 211 sported stickers like Dont steal, the government hates competition, We the people have had enough, and Republican: Because everyone cant be on welfare.

Page County went 73 percent for President Donald Trump, and Hazzard Nation may be an even bigger backer of the first member of the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame to serve as commander in chief.

Who voted for Trump? Jeff X asked the crowd after trotting into the ring to cheers, drawing a lusty chorus of whoops.

A crazy dream

Richards, a 37-year-old real estate agent from Richmond whose real name is Daniel Harnsberger, was met with a torrent of invective as he ambled into the ring, wearing knee-pads featuring a parody of the Ghostbusters logo with Trumps face.

Vote Democrat, he shouted.

For Harnsberger, who has been drawing national and international media attention for the past month for the wrestling persona hes been developing since 2015, it was another perfect venue. Hes made a name as a down-talking D.C. elitist tailor-made to taunt the wrestling fans of Appalachia, whom he calls hilljacks that live in hollows, not hollers.

We had people try to fight him earlier, said Beau James, a longtime wrestler and promoter from Kingsport, Tenn.

James, who has known Harnsberger since shortly after he started wandering into matches while attending Concord University in Athens, W.Va., is something akin to the Liberals strict wrestling sensei.

Theres no praise for doing your job. But there is a boot in your ass for not doing your job, James said.

James helped Harnsberger fine-tune The Progressive Liberal, feeding him a few lines at a show in Racine, W.Va., about a year ago. One mentioned Hillary Clinton coming for the crowds guns once she won the election.

A guy walked up with a pistol on his hip and begged us to try to take it from him, James said. We knew we had something.

Harnsberger, a 1999 graduate of Midlothian High School and a former college basketball player with a communication degree, had wrestled on and off for the better part of the past 14 years in one-offs and small-time circuits.

He once took a five-year break because he realized he wasnt doing himself or the business any favors.

I told Dan: Youve got to find yourself, James said.

Before a Deadspin piece at the end of June that hoisted him out of obscurity, the biggest thing in Harnsbergers life was a career move: from regional manager for a courier company to newly licensed real estate agent looking to start a property management business.

Instead, his summer has been a whirlwind series of interviews, from rolling on the mat with a Vice News reporter to amicable verbal sparring with Fox News Tucker Carlson, squeezing in Sports Illustrated, CBS, the BBC and dozens of other outlets in between.

This whole thing has just been a crazy dream, said Harnsberger, who also got billing in promotional materials for the Luray show alongside WWE Hall of Fame tag-team duo The Rock n Roll Express and Jimmy Valiant, also known as The Boogie Woogie Man.

Its unlike anything I would have expected, he said. Truthfully I dont want it to end. Its a high: the attention and the recognition.

Out here, its brave

I didnt like that guy at all, said Jennifer Purvis, 37, of Luray, a wrestling devotee who was ringside for many of the two-day matches at Cooters, spending much of the time screaming at Harnsberger.

To put Dump Trump on his rear end? Ive never seen anything like it.

But even in deepest Trump country, there was also some knowing admiration for his heel performance.

After Harnsberger eventually pinned a determined but overmatched Jeff X, then mounted the turnbuckles and screamed, Im a winner to the crestfallen crowd, a tall man in the audience with a little girl on his shoulders shook his head and chuckled to himself.

Best gimmick Ive seen in a while, he said to no one in particular before herding his kids off toward the massive lines where fans patiently waited for autographs from Dukes of Hazzard cast members like Catherine Bach, who played Daisy Duke.

There were even a few who liked his brand of politics.

Its ballsy. Out here, its brave, Naomi Baez, 21, of Norfolk, said of Harnsbergers character.

Her father, David Baez, 48, also of Norfolk, said he didnt quite grasp the concept until he saw the crowd.

I thought hed be the good guy. We have to remember where we are, he said. I know this is a shtick he does, but we love it.

The Progressive Liberal is indeed a gimmick, but only in the wrestling sense of the term, in that its a calculated, amplified persona designed to rile up the crowd. Harnsberger insists the character is a reflection of his real-life politics and beliefs, if not necessarily his personality.

Out of the ring, Harnsberger comes off as almost bashful for someone who delights in getting half naked and exchanging verbal abuse with crowds of strangers. He tends to look away when he talks about himself. He repeatedly references his need for more ring time to improve his wrestling.

And although he exhorted the crowd to look at his beautiful liberal body minutes earlier, outside the small tent that passes for a dressing room and rest area for the wrestlers at the event, he laments legs that he says are too skinny.

But a guy who knows a thing or two about wrestling thinks Harnsberger is the total package.

Hes a beautiful kid. Hes got it all, said Valiant, who has a wrestling school near his home in Shawsville, near Blacksburg.

Youve got to have everything going for you to make it in business, especially our business. A lot of guys, if you dont get it in 10 years, youll never get it. … Hes really sincere and wants it. So many kids want it, but most dont want to work for it.

For all of the attention Harnsberger is getting, life in regional wrestling remains a grind. He and many of the wrestlers at the Luray show had wrestled the night before at the New River Valley Fair in Dublin. They packed up that night and drove more than 180 miles up Interstate 81, slept at their motel in Harrisonburg for few hours, and were at Cooters bright and early to set up.

Everyone thinks its super-glamorous, said Harnsberger, who is single, has no children and has never been married. Its not always. You pay a lot of dues. … It doesnt make sense why anyone would love it; you just do. If theres one reason, its the rush of getting a reaction from the crowd.

In between matches, while attempting to sell a few autographed photos, he waits for a food voucher from the organizers, eventually spending it on a sad-looking, burnt double burger and soggy fries.

Its awful, he says between bites. Sooooo terrible.

A decent meal will have to wait until he, James and some of the other wrestlers commandeer a table near a corner at the Golden China buffet in Harrisonburg after the days show.

Far left, like me, he texts a reporter coming to meet him. Much of the meal is off-the-record to avoid breaching kayfabe, a wrestling term that refers to the portrayal of the characters, storylines and feuds as genuine.

There is one major revelation, though. Harnsberger, who has just spent the day in an unbridled Dukes of Hazzard extravaganza, has never seen the show, nor any of the other 70s and 80s programs the other wrestlers regard as cultural touchstones.

And its hard to get a sense of what Harnsbergers fellow wrestlers make of The Progressive Liberal and his newfound celebrity.

Its an example of good things coming to people that work hard, said Kacee Carlisle, who grew up in San Francisco, lives in Northern Virginia and said she fell in love with wrestling at age 8. Hes handling it well.

Stan Lee, another wrestler from Tennessee who has been wrestling with Harnsberger, occasionally as his tag-team partner, said he wasnt initially sure about the persona and his pro-Clinton attire.

The elections over, he told Harnsberger. I dont think anybodys going to care anymore. … When he came out with that shirt, people hate that. And they hate the character.

Whether its love or hate isnt important, as long as a wrestler gets the crowd to react.

That is the hardest and most important part of wrestling, becoming somebody people care about, said Adam Hangman Page, a 26-year-old wrestler from South Boston, who was born Stephen Woltz.

Page had spent the previous five years teaching high school in Halifax County and wrestling on the side until he made the jump to full-time grappler last year, splitting his time between Ring of Honor Wrestling in the United States and New Japan Pro-Wrestling overseas.

He has never met Harnsberger, but cant escape stories about him on social media and wrestling and news sites.

Hes not wrestling for any of these huge national companies, but I see his name every time I turn around, Page said. Hes found a bit of a niche for himself. … No matter where he is, people are going to have an opinion about him the second they see him. And thats good.

Kelly Fuller, 47, of Midlothian, was raised in a family of wrestling fans and in a room covered with posters of wrestlers.

I planned to marry Ricky Steamboat when I grew up, she said. That didnt happen.

Her son, Charles, 13, has spent much of life in and out of hospitals and doctors offices for grueling hemophilia treatments. A bright spot has been the Make-a-Wish-Foundation and the chance to meet his wrestling heroes, including big names like Brock Lesnar. His Make-a-Wish T-shirt has dozens of wrestlers signatures.

In Luray on Sunday, it got one more from Harnsberger, who added a bumper sticker that he inscribed with When you turn 18, vote Democrat.

Dont take that, Charles mom said jokingly. Were Republicans.{/span}

Its the last day of Cooters Last Stand, and Harnsberger is surprised at the gimmick money autographed photos and similar merchandise that he is making from a crowd that has overwhelmingly booed him.

But any cordiality at Cooters, where Uncle Jesses Rules against cussin and fightin? have largely held sway, is about to disappear.

Harnsberger is about to face off against James, his friend and mentor, for his final match. He hints that he has something special planned and might not be around for an interview afterward.

He enters the ring with his standard taunts Im going to turn this town into a sanctuary city before pulling a trash bag out of his trunks.

Then, at a venue where Ben Cooter Jones himself warned potential guests, If you dont like rebel flags, please dont come; where there are Confederate battle flag oversized dice hanging from rear-view mirrors; where replica General Lee Dodge Chargers with rebel flags on the roof are parked as far as the eye can see; and where Confederate soldier re-enactors stand in the audience, Harnsberger performs a move that draws a genuine gasp or two from the crowd.

He pulls a rebel battle flag from his trunks, wipes his backside and crotch with it, spits on the ensign, and stuffs it in the garbage bag, eliciting howls of rage before James knocks him to the canvas from behind. Much of the match revolves around rescuing or stuffing the flag back into the trash bag, but James is getting the worst of it, including getting strangled at one point with Harnsbergers Hillary Clinton T-shirt.

The audiences despair is mounting, along with calls for Harnsberger to get hit with a chair. Finally someone throws one into the ring.

And though James has already secured the upper hand by grabbing the hammer used to ring the bell and clobbering Harnsberger with it, he delivers the coup de grace with a folding chair, stretching Harnsberger out on the canvas.

Then, to the crowds delight, he pulls the trash bag over Harnsbergers head. The Progressive Liberal squirms around inside before tearing a hole and sticking his head through. He leaves the ring, still wearing the bag, to jubilant jeers.

The South is avenged.

A few minutes after the match, Harnsberger sent a text.

I am in the tent. We can talk outside of it. Should be safe, he wrote.

One little kid gives him a high-five, and he banters with a few others. But then he gets a dose of the undercurrent of ugliness that colored much of the 2016 presidential campaign.

A big man, though he still has to look up at Harnsberger, with a young girl in tow makes a remark about the absurdity of a woman president.

Harnsberger replies that other advanced countries have had female leaders. The argument devolves, but the man eventually compliments the idea of the character and walks away.

That kind of exchange doesnt bother Harnsberger, but, to borrow a favorite pejorative of Trumps, he said he does find it sad. He says he tries to engage with the people at his shows in a constructive way.

There are reasons why people vote for Trump, and I think when youre having a political conversation its good to understand someone elses thinking on the other side, he said. Maybe you can have a more productive discussion, whether you change someones mind or not.

Then, a kid waiting in line for an autograph from one of the Dukes of Hazzard cast members yells out: Snowflake!

No one asked you punk, so go away. Im talking to a reporter, Harnsberger said. Whos a snowflake now? Youre backing up.

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Political theater: Richmond’s ‘Progressive Liberal’ riles them up from inside the wrestling ring – Roanoke Times

Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal party feels a dread chill – The Australian Financial Review

It’s not just a penchant for larrikin humour that explains former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett’s comment that he’s so disillusioned by the Liberal Party under Malcolm Turnbull he wants to drink whisky before 9 am.

A creeping chill threatens to paralyse a Party already in crisis. According to one Liberal insider, the position is “unsustainable.”

What he means is that a Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is so riven by attacks from Turnbull’s predecessor, Tony Abbott, and Turnbull’s flat-lining in the polls, there will be a major eruption by Christmas.

If this scenario is born out, the “never again” mantra about another change in the Liberal Party leadership will metastasise into “here we go again.”

There are no current plans to topple Turnbull, but plenty of “hypothetical” discussions. Two names that crop up are long-time Party deputy and Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, as leader, and Health Minister, and Victorian MP, Greg Hunt, as Bishop’s deputy.

Neither have expressed interest privately or publicly in such a scenario. So at this stage it is no more than talk.

Moreover, Party insiders acknowledge any significant improvement in Turnbull’s opinion poll standing over coming months would result in leadership spill talk disappearing as quickly as a Scotch down a thirsty gullet.

But these conversations re-surfaced among Liberal MPs and Party supporters after Malcolm Turnbull’s recent London speech. This sparked internal unrest because it included a shaman-like invoking of the name of the Party’s founder, Sir Robert Menzies, to support Turnbull’s position as a centrist.

The unrest is likely to become pointed during a special NSW Liberal Party “Futures Convention” to be held in Rosehill, Sydney, from July 21-23. It will debate a right wing push to “democratise” pre-selections. This originated in the electorate held by the man Turnbull bulldozed out of the prime ministership Tony Abbott.

The Warringah motion calls for pre-selections in “open” federal and state seats that is, electorates without a sitting Liberal MP, or where he/she is retiring to be done with full plebiscites of Party members.

Through its proximity to Mr Abbott, this push has been identified as a key element in the destabilising proxy war between Abbott and Turnbull. The complication is that Turnbull has also backed the reform bandwagon, with the significant caveat that he will not, in the end, necessarily back the motion from Abbott’s Warringah Federal Electorate Council (FEC).

A more likely prospect is a series of 20 motions which in effect support plebiscites, but where respective Federal Electorate Councils (FEC) set the rules governing the conduct of those plebiscites. These will be put to the special State Council meeting by the successful Fox Valley branch of the NSW Liberal Party which lies in the seat of Berowra, held by a leading NSW Liberal moderate, Julian Leeser.

But even if the Fox Valley approach wins through it will not be a comfortable experience for Malcolm Turnbull who will be addressing the “Futures Convention” next Saturday morning. One interested attendee will be Peter King, the onetime Liberal MP for Wentworth until Turnbull toppled him in the mother of all Liberal Party pre-selection battles in 2003.

Mr King also mouths the mantra of Party reform, and is not re-entering federal politics. He has put his own motion forward for the special NSW Liberal Party Convention, but expects the Warringah motion, or the one identified with Tony Abbott, to win through.

No matter which motion emerges from the NSW Liberal Party “Futures Convention”, the paradox is that the catalyst for this latest instability is a speech by Turnbull which, despite the spin by opponents, contained nothing exceptional, surprising, original, or even overtly provocative.

Turnbull pointed out that when Robert Menzies founded the Liberal Party in 1944, he “went to great pains not to call his new political party … conservative, but rather the Liberal Party, which he firmly anchored in the centre of Australian politics.”

“He wanted to stand apart from the big money, business establishment politics of traditional conservative parties of the right, as well as from the socialist tradition of the Australian Labour Party, the political wing of the union movement,” Mr Turnbull said when receiving the Disraeli Prize from the influential conservative London think tank, the Policy Exchange.

“The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be.”

Turnbull’s London comments broadly accord with the views reflected in a 70-page report prepared for Menzies in 1944 as a political road-map for his new Liberal Party. It was written by the economic adviser to the powerful Institute of Public Affairs, Charles Kemp, father of David Kemp, Education Minister and Environment Minister in the Howard Liberal government.

Called Looking Forward, Charles Kemp’s report was, writes Menzies’ biographer Allan Martin, “a businessman’s argument about the virtues of free enterprise”. It was “not hostile to the state, but demanded agreed lines between when governments should attempt to thrust themselves forward and where they were being intrusive. What was essential, it said, was a kind of middle way.”

Seventy-three years after Menzies founded the Liberal Party on the basis of that Institute of Public Affairs report, the current head of the IPA, John Roskam, says the “issue is what is his [Turnbull’s] definition of what the progressive centre means.” He answers that Turnbull’s interpretation of the term “centre” means “bigger government” and an “excuse for higher taxes and bigger regulations.”

The Turnbull government’s economic policy stance contrasts with “everything he said he was going to do before becoming Prime Minister. He spoke about the evils of the mining tax. Now he is embracing something worse than that and that is the bank tax.”

“That’s how I see it,” says Roskam

Historian Ian Hancock, who has written biographies of former Liberal prime minister John Gorton and former Liberal Attorney General Tom Hughes (father of Lucy Turnbull) points out that while Malcolm Turnbull refers to the terms “liberal” and “conservative” in his speech, “he never defines them. ”

“He’s like all Libs he’s going back to Menzies and treating his statements as some kind of Holy Grail. But Menzies delivered” he was Prime Minister for a record 16 and a half years “because he was a pragmatist, not a philosopher.”

“Menzies was never consistent” so “various factions of the Liberal Party can find support in various phrases.”

Asked if Menzies would like Turnbull, Hancock replied: “If he was in a good mood he would probably say: ‘Good luck to him’. He would probably approve that [Turnbull] is someone with a high background and appears to rise above everybody else.”

Turnbull is, like Menzies was, a “loner, with few friends in politics. If Menzies was being honest he would probably have a degree of sympathy with someone who people on the backbench didn’t like. That’s something that Menzies went through himself,” Hancock said.

But there are differences. Menzies was a social conservative; Turnbull is more liberal, and has supported same-sex marriage. Above all, Menzies was a devoted monarchist “I did but see her passing by, but I will love her till I die,” he once intoned to Queen Elizabeth in a speech in Canberra.

Malcolm Turnbull is, or was, Australia’s Mr Republic.

Originally posted here:

Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal party feels a dread chill – The Australian Financial Review

The crisis of confidence that’s roiling liberalism – The Washington Post – Washington Post

Asked what he thought of Western civilization, Mohandas Gandhi is said to have answered that it would be a good idea. Debate about liberal democracy in the Trump era is suffused with similar pessimism about Western achievement, bordering on self-damaging despair. The liberal mix of capitalism and democracy is denounced for yielding social inequality, cronyist kleptocracy and sheer governmental incompetence failings that opened the door to Donald Trumps dispiriting presidency and that may be entrenched by it in turn. In the wake of the recent Group of 20 summit, some went so far as to claim that the chief threat to Americans was not from the aggressively illiberal despots of Russia, North Korea, China or the Islamic theocracies. Rather, it was from Trump which is to say, from the perverse fruit of our own system. The enemy is us.

This intellectual bandwagon needs to be stopped. Liberalism faces two challenges on the one hand, external enemies; on the other, an internal crisis of self-confidence and it is time we all acknowledged that the external threat is more severe. However bad Trump may be, he is not Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un. And although it is true that liberalism faces an internal crisis Ive done my bit to contribute to the alarmism it is worth remembering how liberalism got started two centuries ago.

As Edmund Fawcett has argued in his magisterial history of liberalism, the creed originated as a set of principles for managing bewildering change. For most of human history, economic growth and social evolution proceeded at a snails pace, but between 1776 and the first decades of the 19th century, revolutions both political and industrial caused everything to speed up. Liberalism skeptical of central power, respectful of diverse beliefs, comfortable with vigorous disagreement offered a means of handling the resulting tumult. If headlong technological and economic dislocation made political conflict unavoidable, humanity needed a way to contain it, civilize it a way to hang on to timeless standards of humanity while providing an escape valve for argument and change.

Seen in this light, todays technological and economic convulsions the part-time jobs of the gig economy, the menacing shadow of the robots are not signs that the liberal system is in crisis. To the contrary, they are signs that liberalism is more essential than ever. We are in the midst of another industrial revolution, which will create winners and losers and bitter political arguments and Trump is testament to that. Liberalism will not end these conflicts; only absolutist doctrines create political silence. But liberalism will set the rules of the game that allow the conflict to be managed. For now, Trump is expressing the frustration of a part of the country, but liberal checks and rules of process are containing the impact.

In its long history of facilitating clamorous argument, liberalism has succumbed, unsurprisingly, to repeated neuroses. In 1956 Nikita Khrushchev boasted of the superiority of state-directed industrialization, telling a group of Westerners, we will bury you; some in the West made the mistake of believing him, especially when the Soviet Union launched the first-ever space satellite the following year. In the 1960s, U.S. democracy was rocked by political assassinations, violence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and a bubbling up of radical challenges to the system. Amid the stagflation of the 1970s, a business school dean sounded a warning about an end-to-Western-capitalism syndrome; and no less a figure than the U.S. president lectured the nation on its moral turpitude. All these episodes generated existential crises, just as Trump today leads people to doubt the resilience of our system. But pessimists should note that liberalism emerged robustly from those moments of self-doubt.

Whats more, pessimists should remember that, if a few dice had settled differently, the current conversation would be completely different. Absent strong proof to the contrary, Trumps election must be accepted as legitimate, but a small swing in a few places would have put the status quo candidate in the White House. Similarly, Britains Brexit referendum was decided 52 to 48 percent; and a recent poll suggested that the voters now have doubts. In France, to cite a contrary example, the ambitious liberal Emmanuel Macron was lucky to face a bevy of weak opponents, and France was even luckier that Macron emerged out of nowhere, clad in white. The point is that political outcomes often hinge on quirks of fortune. None of these events should be interpreted as durable signals that liberalism is either moribund or resurgent.

Finally, it pays to remember that the two disasters that discredited the liberal establishment the 2008 financial crisis and the Iraq War were not errors that flowed from liberalism itself. There was nothing liberal about taxpayer backstops for private financial risk-taking, nor about the failure to temper the objective of Iraqi regime change with a sober calculation of available resources. These episodes do hold lessons for our democracy avoid cronyism, avoid hubris but they absolutely do not show that liberalism is wanting. To the contrary, liberalism arose during the first industrial revolution. We need it to navigate the second industrial revolution as it roils around us now.

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The crisis of confidence that’s roiling liberalism – The Washington Post – Washington Post

Can Democrats Make Nice with the ‘Deplorables’? – National Review

Editors Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission.

Since early June, when voters in Georgias sixth congressional district rubbed yet more salt in their 2016 election wounds, Democratic pols and sages have been pondering why, as Ohio congressman Tim Ryan put it, our brand is worse than Trump. Thats a low bar, given the presidents nearly subterranean approval ratings, but so far the blue party has mostly been turning to an inside-the-box set of policy and political memes: jobs programs, talk of a mutiny against House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, and better marketing or, in Ryans words, branding of the Democratic message.

Whats missing from this list is the most important and most challenging item of all: solving the liberal deplorable problem. The white working class that hoisted Donald Trump to an unexpected victory may not always admire the man, but they know that he doesnt hate people like me, in the pollsters common formulation. And they have good reason to think that Democrats, particularly coastal and media types, do hate them: Consider Frank Richs snide and oft-cited article, No Sympathy for the Hillbilly. Its possible that white working-class voters would back a party filled with people who see them as racists and misogynists, with bad values and worse taste, because they all want to raise taxes on Goldman Sachs executives, but it seems a risky bet.

So its worth noting that a few prominent liberal writers have been venturing out of the partisan bunker and calling attention to the deplorable issue over the past few months. In late May, for instance, progressive stalwart Michael Tomasky, former editor of Guardian America and now of Democracy, published an article frankly titled Elitism is Liberalisms Biggest Problem in the New Republic. The West Virginia native called the chasm between elite liberals and middle America…liberalisms biggest problem. The issue has nothing to do with policy, Tomasky writes. Its about different sensibilities; bridging the gulf is on us, not them. To most conservatives, Tomaskys depiction of Middle Americans will seem cringingly obvious. The group tends to be churchgoers (Not temple. Church), they dont think and talk politics from morning till night, and, yes, theyre flag-waving patriots. Mother Jones columnist Kevin Drum, an influential though occasionally heterodox liberal, seconded the argument.

A more complex analysis of liberal elitism comes from Joan Williams, a feminist law professor whose best-known previous book is Unbending Gender. In White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, Williams takes her fellow liberal professionals to the woodshed for their indifference to the hard-knock realities of working-class life and for their blindness to the shortcomings of their own cosmopolitan preferences. Married to the Harvard-educated son of a working-class family, Williams is astute about the wide disparities between liberal and white-working-class notions of the meaning of work, family, community, and country. One of her proposals for solving class cluelessness is a conservative favorite: reviving civics education.

A final recent example of deplorable-dtente comes from Atlantic columnist Peter Beinarts How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration. Noting that the unofficial open-borders philosophy of the Democratic party is far more radical than the restrictionist immigration policy it espoused just a few decades ago, the former New Republic editor acknowledges that there is more than nativist bigotry behind white-working-class immigration concerns. He concedes that mass immigration may have worked to the disadvantage of blue-collar America by lowering wages for low-skilled workers and undermining social cohesion. Beinart concludes by dusting off a concept that liberals currently hate: assimilation. Liberals should be celebrating Americas diversity less, and its unity more, he writes.

These writers are engaging in healthy critical self-reflection, but in the course of describing the Democrats class dilemma, the liberal truth-tellers unwittingly show why a solution lies out of reach. They understate Democrats entanglement with the identity-politics left, a group devoted to a narrative of American iniquity. Identity politics appeals to its core constituents through grievance and resentment, particularly toward white men. Consider some reactions to centrist Democrat John Ossoffs defeat in Georgias sixth district. Maybe instead of trying to convince hateful white people, Dems should convince our base ppl of color, women to turn out, feminist writer and Cosmopolitan political columnist Jill Filopovic tweeted afterward. At some point we have to be willing to say that yes, lots of conservative voters are hateful and willing to embrace bigots. Insightful as she is, even Williams assumes that all criticisms of the immigration status quo can be chalked up to fear of brown people.

No Democrat on the scene today possesses the Lincolnesque political skills to persuade liberal voters to give up their assumptions of white deplorability, endorse assimilation, or back traditional civics education. In the current environment, a Democratic civics curriculum would teach that American institutions are vehicles for the transmission of white supremacy and sexism, hardly a route to social cohesion. As for assimilation, Hispanic and bilingual-education advocacy organizations would threaten a revolt and theyd only be the first to sound the alarm.

Appeasing deplorables may yet prove unnecessary, though. Democrats strategy of awaiting inevitable demographic change in the electorate, combined with the hope that Trump and the Republican Congress will commit major unforced errors, may allow the party to regain control of the country without making any concessions to the large portion of the U.S. population whom they appear to despise.

READ MORE: A Democratic Blind Spot on Culture The Democrats Resistance Temptation Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Shrinking Democratis Brand

Kay S. Hymowitzis aCity Journalcontributing editor, the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the author ofThe New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring a City Back.

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Can Democrats Make Nice with the ‘Deplorables’? – National Review

Liberal MP says people will die of cold because renewable energy drives up fuel prices – The Guardian

Craig Kelly spoke ahead of a meeting of state and federal energy ministers to discuss the clean energy target (CET) proposed in the Finkel review. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

Renewable energy will kill people this winter, Craig Kelly, the chair of the Coalitions backbench environment and energy committee has claimed.

Kelly, a Liberal backbencher, said the deaths would be caused by people not being able to afford to heat their homes in winter. He blamed rising fuel costs on the governments renewable energy target.

People will die, he told ABC radio on Thursday.

Kelly, MP for Hughes in New South Wales, cited recent reports that one-in-four Australian households this winter will be frightened to turn on the heater due to high power prices. He also said the World Health Organisation has made it clear that winter mortality rates increase if people cant afford to heat their homes.

Most of that research, however, was done in Europe, where winters can be much colder. Some work done in Australia by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare found that at least some of the excess deaths in winter in Australia were caused by heating.

There are $3bn this year being paid in subsidies for renewable energy, that pushes up the price of electricity to the consumer, Kelly said.

That claim, however, is contradicted by the Abbott governments Warburton review of the renewable energy target which found the scheme was putting downward pressure on prices.

And it contradicts the conclusion of most industry groups, the Finkel review and many other reports finding the key driver of high power prices is policy uncertainty, which is driving down investment in new generation and allowing expensive gas-fired power plants to dominate the market.

Labors energy spokesman, Mark Butler, accused Kelly of scaremongering.

This is another appalling intervention, not just by a backbencher, but by the chair of the Coalitions energy policy committee.

Butler conceded households and businesses are facing high power and gas bills, but he put that down to policy paralysis at the national level.

Kellys comments come ahead of a meeting of state and federal energy ministers in Brisbane on Friday to discuss recommendations for change from the chief scientist, Prof Alan Finkel.

Every state in the national electricity market has either expressly stated their support, or hinted at their support, for the clean energy target (CET) proposed in the Finkel review but the federal minister for energy and the environment, Josh Frydenberg, has said the government will not support the CET at Fridays meeting.

Victoria and South Australia have said that if the federal government doesnt provide leadership, the states might go ahead and try to implement the CET without them.

Modelling shows the CET would put significant downward pressure on the price of electricity, specifically by introducing a lot of cheap renewable electricity, along with enough storage.

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Liberal MP says people will die of cold because renewable energy drives up fuel prices – The Guardian

Xi Jinping, New Defender of Liberal Order, Lets Chinese Dissident Die – The American Interest

Seven years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Chinas most famous political prisoner has died, locked away under the heavily guarded watch of the Chinese state. The New York Times:

Liu Xiaobo, the renegade Chinese intellectual who kept vigil on Tiananmen Square in 1989 to protect protesters from encroaching soldiers, promoted a pro-democracy charter that brought him an 11-year prison sentence and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2010 while locked away, died on Thursday. He was 61. []

The Chinese government revealed he had liver cancer in late June only after it was virtually beyond treatment. Officially, Mr. Liu gained medical parole. But even as he faced death, he was kept silenced and under guard in a hospital in northeastern China, still a captive of the authoritarian controls that he had fought for decades.

As Bill Bishop points out in hisSinocism newsletter, Lius death will be difficult for even Beijings most dedicated apologists to spin. The last Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to be effectively killed by his own government was Carl Ossietsky, in Germany in 1938, Bishop notes. Does Xi care that the the likely precedent here for Beijing will be pre-World War II Nazi Germany?

Another question follows from that one: will the Wests newfound defenders of Xi Jinping care that the man they have anointed in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as the champion of the liberal world order drove a courageous dissident to his death? Or will they persist in the delusion that Xi is a liberal darling, content to overlook his human rights abuses so long as he delivers rhetorical paeans to globalization and needles Trump on the world stage?

Sadly, the answer is not clear. Many in the West have already proven easy marks as Xi has tried to reinvent himself as a principled defender of international values. All it took was a single speech at Davos for the plaudits to pour in: China has become the global grown-up, claimed the front cover of The Economist.Beijing would now be seen as the linchpin of global economic stability, raved Bessma Momani in Newsweek,while Trumps America [would] no longer play the role of enforcing the liberal rules and norms the country once coveted and benefited from.Susan Shirk, a former China hand in the Clinton administration, perhaps went the furthest in singing Xis praises toThe Guardian:

Lets lavish praise on them I think it was super-smart of Xi Jinping to go to Davos and give the speech More credit to him, really. []

I believe the United States actually has sponsored Chinas emergence as a constructive global power not just allowed it but really, actively encouraged it and I dont see anything bad about that. The only bad thing is that the United States is not just sitting by the sidelines, but actively subverting [the status quo].

Liu Xiaobos death should be a sobering reminder that this kind of thinking is nonsense. China is a dictatorship and a revisionist power, not a defender of liberal values or a responsible stakeholder. As the world pays tribute to Lius brave legacy of speaking truth to powerand his family remains under house arrest in China, unable to speak outacknowledging that reality is the very least we can do.

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Xi Jinping, New Defender of Liberal Order, Lets Chinese Dissident Die – The American Interest

liberalism | politics | Britannica.com

Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others; but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. As the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine expressed it in Common Sense (1776), government is at best a necessary evil. Laws, judges, and police are needed to secure the individuals life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against him. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power.

The problem is compounded when one asks whether this is all that government can or should do on behalf of individual freedom. Some liberalsthe so-called neoclassical liberals, or libertariansanswer that it is. Since the late 19th century, however, most liberals have insisted that the powers of government can promote as well as protect the freedom of the individual. According to modern liberalism, the chief task of governmentis to remove obstacles that prevent individuals from living freely or from fully realizing their potential. Such obstacles include poverty, disease, discrimination, and ignorance. The disagreement among liberals over whether government should promote individual freedom rather than merely protect it is reflected to some extent in the different prevailing conceptions of liberalism in the United States and Europe since the late 20th century. In the United States liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies (see below Contemporary liberalism).

This article discusses the political foundations and history of liberalism from the 17th century to the present. For coverage of classical and contemporary philosophical liberalism, see political philosophy. For biographies of individual philosophers, see John Locke; John Stuart Mill; John Rawls.

Liberalism is derived from two related features of Western culture. The first is the Wests preoccupation with individuality, as compared to the emphasis in other civilizations on status, caste, and tradition. Throughout much of history, the individual has been submerged in and subordinate to his clan, tribe, ethnic group, or kingdom. Liberalism is the culmination of developments in Western society that produced a sense of the importance of human individuality, a liberation of the individual from complete subservience to the group, and a relaxation of the tight hold of custom, law, and authority. In this respect, liberalism stands for the emancipation of the individual. See also individualism.

Liberalism also derives from the practice of adversariality in European political and economic life, a process in which institutionalized competitionsuch as the competition between different political parties in electoral contests, between prosecution and defense in adversary procedure, or between different producers in a market economy (see monopoly and competition)generates a dynamic social order. Adversarial systems have always been precarious, however, and it took a long time for the belief in adversariality to emerge from the more traditional view, traceable at least to Plato, that the state should be an organic structure, like a beehive, in which the different social classes cooperate by performing distinct yet complementary roles. The belief that competition is an essential part of a political system and that good government requires a vigorous opposition was still considered strange in most European countries in the early 19th century.

Underlying the liberal belief in adversariality is the conviction that human beings are essentially rational creatures capable of settling their political disputes through dialogue and compromise. This aspect of liberalism became particularly prominent in 20th-century projects aimed at eliminating war and resolving disagreements between states through organizations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice (World Court).

Liberalism has a close but sometimes uneasy relationship with democracy. At the centre of democratic doctrine is the belief that governments derive their authority from popular election; liberalism, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with the scope of governmental activity. Liberals often have been wary of democracy, then, because of fears that it might generate a tyranny by the majority. One might briskly say, therefore, that democracy looks after majorities and liberalism after unpopular minorities.

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Like other political doctrines, liberalism is highly sensitive to time and circumstance. Each countrys liberalism is different, and it changes in each generation. The historical development of liberalism over recent centuries has been a movement from mistrust of the states power on the ground that it tends to be misused, to a willingness to use the power of government to correct perceived inequities in the distribution of wealth resulting from economic competitioninequities that purportedly deprive some people of an equal opportunity to live freely. The expansion of governmental power and responsibility sought by liberals in the 20th century was clearly opposed to the contraction of government advocated by liberals a century earlier. In the 19th century liberals generally formed the party of business and the entrepreneurial middle class; for much of the 20th century they were more likely to work to restrict and regulate business in order to provide greater opportunities for labourers and consumers. In each case, however, the liberals inspiration was the same: a hostility to concentrations of power that threaten the freedom of the individual and prevent him from realizing his full potential, along with a willingness to reexamine and reform social institutions in the light of new needs. This willingness is tempered by an aversion to sudden, cataclysmic change, which is what sets off the liberal from the radical. It is this very eagerness to welcome and encourage useful change, however, that distinguishes the liberal from the conservative, who believes that change is at least as likely to result in loss as in gain.

Although liberal ideas were not noticeable in European politics until the early 16th century, liberalism has a considerable prehistory reaching back to the Middle Ages and even earlier. In the Middle Ages the rights and responsibilities of the individual were determined by his place in a hierarchical social system that placed great stress upon acquiescence and conformity. Under the impact of the slow commercialization and urbanization of Europe in the later Middle Ages, the intellectual ferment of the Renaissance, and the spread of Protestantism in the 16th century, the old feudal stratification of society gradually began to dissolve, leading to a fear of instability so powerful that monarchical absolutism was viewed as the only remedy to civil dissension. By the end of the 16th century, the authority of the papacy had been broken in most of northern Europe, and each ruler tried to consolidate the unity of his realm by enforcing conformity either to Roman Catholicism or to the rulers preferred version of Protestantism. These efforts culminated in the Thirty Years War (161848), which did immense damage to much of Europe. Where no creed succeeded in wholly extirpating its enemies, toleration was gradually accepted as the lesser of two evils; in some countries where one creed triumphed, it was accepted that too minute a concern with citizens beliefs was inimical to prosperity and good order.

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The ambitions of national rulers and the requirements of expanding industry and commerce led gradually to the adoption of economic policies based on mercantilism, a school of thought that advocated government intervention in a countrys economy to increase state wealth and power. However, as such intervention increasingly served established interests and inhibited enterprise, it was challenged by members of the newly emerging middle class. This challenge was a significant factor in the great revolutions that rocked England and France in the 17th and 18th centuriesmost notably the English Civil Wars (164251), the Glorious Revolution (1688), the American Revolution (177583), and the French Revolution (1789). Classical liberalism as an articulated creed is a result of those great collisions.

In the English Civil Wars, the absolutist king Charles I was defeated by the forces of Parliament and eventually executed. The Glorious Revolution resulted in the abdication and exile of James II and the establishment of a complex form of balanced government in which power was divided between the king, his ministers, and Parliament. In time this system would become a model for liberal political movements in other countries. The political ideas that helped to inspire these revolts were given formal expression in the work of the English philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. In Leviathan (1651), Hobbes argued that the absolute power of the sovereign was ultimately justified by the consent of the governed, who agreed, in a hypothetical social contract, to obey the sovereign in all matters in exchange for a guarantee of peace and security. Locke also held a social-contract theory of government, but he maintained that the parties to the contract could not reasonably place themselves under the absolute power of a ruler. Absolute rule, he argued, is at odds with the point and justification of political authority, which is that it is necessary to protect the person and property of individuals and to guarantee their natural rights to freedom of thought, speech, and worship. Significantly, Locke thought that revolution is justified when the sovereign fails to fulfill these obligations. Indeed, it appears that he began writing his major work of political theory, Two Treatises of Government (1690), precisely in order to justify the revolution of two years before.

By the time Locke had published his Treatises, politics in England had become a contest between two loosely related parties, the Whigs and the Tories. These parties were the ancestors of Britains modern Liberal Party and Conservative Party, respectively. Locke was a notable Whig, and it is conventional to view liberalism as derived from the attitudes of Whig aristocrats, who were often linked with commercial interests and who had an entrenched suspicion of the power of the monarchy. The Whigs dominated English politics from the death of Queen Anne in 1714 to the accession of King George III in 1760.

The early liberals, then, worked to free individuals from two forms of social constraintreligious conformity and aristocratic privilegethat had been maintained and enforced through the powers of government. The aim of the early liberals was thus to limit the power of government over the individual while holding it accountable to the governed. As Locke and others argued, this required a system of government based on majority rulethat is, one in which government executes the expressed will of a majority of the electorate. The chief institutional device for attaining this goal was the periodic election of legislators by popular vote and of a chief executive by popular vote or the vote of a legislative assembly.

But in answering the crucial question of who is to be the electorate, classical liberalism fell victim to ambivalence, torn between the great emancipating tendencies generated by the revolutions with which it was associated and middle-class fears that a wide or universal franchise would undermine private property. Benjamin Franklin spoke for the Whig liberalism of the Founding Fathers of the United States when he stated:

As to those who have no landed property in a county, the allowing them to vote for legislators is an impropriety. They are transient inhabitants, and not so connected with the welfare of the state, which they may quit when they please, as to qualify them properly for such privilege.

John Adams, in his Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787), was more explicit. If the majority were to control all branches of government, he declared, debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on others; and at last a downright equal division of everything be demanded and voted. French statesmen such as Franois Guizot and Adophe Thiers expressed similar sentiments well into the 19th century.

Most 18th- and 19th-century liberal politicians thus feared popular sovereignty; for a long time, consequently, they limited suffrage to property owners. In Britain even the important Reform Bill of 1867 did not completely abolish property qualifications for the right to vote. In France, despite the ideal of universal male suffrage proclaimed in 1789 and reaffirmed in the Revolutions of 1830, there were no more than 200,000 qualified voters in a population of about 30,000,000 during the reign of Louis-Philippe, the citizen king who had been installed by the ascendant bourgeoisie in 1830. In the United States, the brave language of the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding, it was not until 1860 that universal male suffrage prevailedfor whites. In most of Europe, universal male suffrage remained a remote ideal until late in the 19th century. Racial and sexual prejudice also served to limit the franchiseand, in the case of slavery in the United States, to deprive large numbers of people of virtually any hope of freedom. Efforts to extend the vote to women met with little success until the early years of the 20th century (see woman suffrage). Indeed, Switzerland, which is sometimes called the worlds oldest continuous democracy, did not grant full voting rights to women until 1971.

Despite the misgivings of men of the propertied classes, a slow but steady expansion of the franchise prevailed throughout Europe in the 19th centuryan expansion driven in large part by the liberal insistence that all men are created equal. But liberals also had to reconcile the principle of majority rule with the requirement that the power of the majority be limited. The problem was to accomplish this in a manner consistent with democratic principles. If hereditary elites were discredited, how could the power of the majority be checked without giving disproportionate power to property owners or to some other natural elite?

The liberal solution to the problem of limiting the powers of a democratic majority employed various devices. The first was the separation of powersi.e., the distribution of power between such functionally differentiated agencies of government as the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. This arrangement, and the system of checks and balances by which it was accomplished, received its classic embodiment in the Constitution of the United States and its political justification in the Federalist papers (178788), by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Of course, such a separation of powers also could have been achieved through a mixed constitutionthat is, one in which power is shared by, and governing functions appropriately differentiated between, a monarch, a hereditary chamber, and an elected assembly; this was in fact the system of government in Great Britain at the time of the American Revolution. The U.S. Constitution also contains elements of a mixed constitution, such as the division of the legislature into the popularly elected House of Representatives and the aristocratic Senate, the members of which originally were chosen by the state governments. But it was despotic kings and functionless aristocratsmore functionless in France than in Britainwho thwarted the interests and ambitions of the middle class, which turned, therefore, to the principle of majoritarianism.

The second part of the solution lay in using staggered periodic elections to make the decisions of any given majority subject to the concurrence of other majorities distributed over time. In the United States, for example, presidents are elected every four years and members of the House of Representatives every two years, and one-third of the Senate is elected every two years to terms of six years. Therefore, the majority that elects a president every four years or a House of Representatives every two years is different from the majority that elects one-third of the Senate two years earlier and the majority that elects another one-third of the Senate two years later. These bodies, in turn, are checked by the Constitution, which was approved and amended by earlier majorities. In Britain an act of Parliament immediately becomes part of the uncodified constitution; however, before acting on a highly controversial issue, Parliament must seek a popular mandate, which represents a majority other than the one that elected it. Thus, in a constitutional democracy, the power of a current majority is checked by the verdicts of majorities that precede and follow it.

The third part of the solution followed from liberalisms basic commitment to the freedom and integrity of the individual, which the limitation of power is, after all, meant to preserve. From the liberal perspective, the individual is not only a citizen who shares a social contract with his fellows but also a person with rights upon which the state may not encroach if majoritarianism is to be meaningful. A majority verdict can come about only if individuals are free to some extent to exchange their views. This involves, beyond the right to speak and write freely, the freedom to associate and organize and, above all, freedom from fear of reprisal. But the individual also has rights apart from his role as citizen. These rights secure his personal safety and hence his protection from arbitrary arrest and punishment. Beyond these rights are those that preserve large areas of privacy. In a liberal democracy there are affairs that do not concern the state. Such affairs may range from the practice of religion to the creation of art and the raising of children by their parents. For liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries they also included most of the activities through which individuals engage in production and trade. Eloquent declarations affirming such rights were embodied in the British Bill of Rights (1689), the U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776) and Constitution (ratified 1788), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the basic documents of countries throughout the world that later used these declarations as their models. These documents and declarations asserted that freedom is more than the right to cast a vote in an occasional election; it is the fundamental right of people to live their own lives.

If the political foundations of liberalism were laid in Great Britain, so too were its economic foundations. By the 18th century parliamentary constraints were making it difficult for British monarchs to pursue the schemes of national aggrandizement favoured by most rulers on the Continent. These rulers fought for military supremacy, which required a strong economic base. Because the prevailing mercantilist theory understood international trade as a zero-sum gamein which gain for one country meant loss for anothernational governments intervened to determine prices, protect their industries from foreign competition, and avoid the sharing of economic information.

These practices soon came under liberal challenge. In France a group of thinkers known as the physiocrats argued that the best way to cultivate wealth is to allow unrestrained economic competition. Their advice to government was laissez faire, laissez passer (let it be, leave it alone). This laissez-faire doctrine found its most thorough and influential exposition in The Wealth of Nations (1776), by the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith. Free trade benefits all parties, according to Smith, because competition leads to the production of more and better goods at lower prices. Leaving individuals free to pursue their self-interest in an exchange economy based upon a division of labour will necessarily enhance the welfare of the group as a whole. The self-seeking individual becomes harnessed to the public good because in an exchange economy he must serve others in order to serve himself. But it is only in a genuinely free market that this positive consequence is possible; any other arrangement, whether state control or monopoly, must lead to regimentation, exploitation, and economic stagnation.

Every economic system must determine not only what goods will be produced but also how those goods are to be apportioned, or distributed (see distribution of wealth and income). In a market economy both of these tasks are accomplished through the price mechanism. The theoretically free choices of individual buyers and sellers determine how the resources of societylabour, goods, and capitalshall be employed. These choices manifest themselves in bids and offers that together determine a commoditys price. Theoretically, when the demand for a commodity is great, prices rise, making it profitable for producers to increase the supply; as supply approximates demand, prices tend to fall until producers divert productive resources to other uses (see supply and demand). In this way the system achieves the closest possible match between what is desired and what is produced. Moreover, in the distribution of the wealth thereby produced, the system is said to assure a reward in proportion to merit. The assumption is that in a freely competitive economy in which no one is barred from engaging in economic activity, the income received from such activity is a fair measure of its value to society.

Presupposed in the foregoing account is a conception of human beings as economic animals rationally and self-interestedly engaged in minimizing costs and maximizing gains. Since each person knows his own interests better than anyone else does, his interests could only be hindered, and never enhanced, by government interference in his economic activities.

In concrete terms, classical liberal economists called for several major changes in the sphere of British and European economic organization. The first was the abolition of numerous feudal and mercantilist restrictions on countries manufacturing and internal commerce. The second was an end to the tariffs and restrictions that governments imposed on foreign imports to protect domestic producers. In rejecting the governments regulation of trade, classical economics was based firmly on a belief in the superiority of a self-regulating market. Quite apart from the cogency of their arguments, the views of Smith and his 19th-century English successors, the economist David Ricardo and the philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill, became increasingly convincing as Britains Industrial Revolution generated enormous new wealth and made that country into the workshop of the world. Free trade, it seemed, would make everyone prosperous.

In economic life as in politics, then, the guiding principle of classical liberalism became an undeviating insistence on limiting the power of government. The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham cogently summarized this view in his sole advice to the state: Be quiet. Others asserted that that government is best that governs least. Classical liberals freely acknowledged that government must provide education, sanitation, law enforcement, a postal system, and other public services that were beyond the capacity of any private agency. But liberals generally believed that, apart from these functions, government must not try to do for the individual what he is able to do for himself.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Bentham, the philosopher James Mill, and Jamess son John Stuart Mill applied classical economic principles to the political sphere. Invoking the doctrine of utilitarianismthe belief that something has value when it is useful or promotes happinessthey argued that the object of all legislation should be the greatest happiness of the greatest number. In evaluating what kind of government could best attain this objective, the utilitarians generally supported representative democracy, asserting that it was the best means by which government could promote the interests of the governed. Taking their cue from the notion of a market economy, the utilitarians called for a political system that would guarantee its citizens the maximum degree of individual freedom of choice and action consistent with efficient government and the preservation of social harmony. They advocated expanded education, enlarged suffrage, and periodic elections to ensure governments accountability to the governed. Although they had no use for the idea of natural rights, their defense of individual libertiesincluding the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assemblylies at the heart of modern democracy. These liberties received their classic advocacy in John Stuart Mills On Liberty (1859), which argues on utilitarian grounds that the state may regulate individual behaviour only in cases where the interests of others would be perceptibly harmed.

The utilitarians thus succeeded in broadening the philosophical foundations of political liberalism while also providing a program of specific reformist goals for liberals to pursue. Their overall political philosophy was perhaps best stated in James Mills article Government, which was written for the supplement (181524) to the fourth through sixth editions of the Encyclopdia Britannica.

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liberalism | politics | Britannica.com

France’s liberal strongman – POLITICO.eu

Europe at Large

The emerging style of Emmanuel Macron carries echoes of the overmighty imperial presidency.

By Paul Taylor

7/3/17, 4:04 AM CET

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has displayed ruthless opportunism during his six weeks in office | Thibault Camus/AFP via Getty Images

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has displayed ruthless opportunism during his six weeks in office | Thibault Camus/AFP via Getty Images

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France’s liberal strongman – POLITICO.eu

Vince Cable pledges to fight the ‘irrational cult of youth’ in Liberal Democrat leadership bid – The Independent

Sir Vince Cable has said he plans to tackle the irrational cult of youthas he attempts to become the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The 74-year-old described his age and experience as an asset, adding thatBritain’s current “sober mood” meansnow is the time for an older leader.

His political opponentsJeremy Corbyn and Theresa May are aged 68 and 60 respectively and the former Business Secretary believes age is no longer important.

I think there was an irrational cult of youth at one point in our political cycle, Sir Vince told The Times.

There are occasions when you get some young and exciting politician that is exactly right. Obama was exactly right and you could argue the same of Tony Blair and there are periods of history where thats the public mood.

There is now a more sober mood and one that values experience, and there is nothing to stop older people being radical in their views. Its the mood of the age, where the age you have is much less important than what you feel and what you can do with it.

Sir Vince has so far suggested he would attempt to rebrand the partys image in an attempt to win back the voters the party lost after going into coalition with the Tories.

We stand for things which millions of people in Britain want who dont currently vote for us, he said.

We are a moderate pro-business, pro-enterprise party but also we are committed to the welfare state… The space which we could occupy is potentially enormous.

The comments come as Sir Vince claimed scrapping university tuition fees would be “very dangerous and stupid” on Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News.

He described the policy as a “cheap populist gesture” and claimed it would create an unfair system.

He said: “If you don’t have any form of fees, I mean who pays for universities?

“How do you end this discrimination between the 40 per cent of students who go to university and would be subsided as opposed to the 60 per centwho don’t? That would be highly inequitable.”

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Vince Cable pledges to fight the ‘irrational cult of youth’ in Liberal Democrat leadership bid – The Independent

Meet the guerrilla artist plastering a liberal metropolis with pro … – Washington Post

Look, its Sabo, the conservative guerrilla artist of Los Angeles. A rare sighting. Sort of.

Hewas spotted this weeksmotheringrent-a-bike baskets withMake America Great Again stickers in one of the most liberal cities in the country. On a wall between two movie ads, heslapped upposters of President Trump in the lotus position, serenely raising two middle fingers to whomever.

And stuckto a sidewalk bench, before Sabodisappeared back into semi-anonymity: REPUBLICANS ARE THE NEW PUNK.

The news profiles saySabo, 49,works under darkness adorninga city that overwhelmingly wantedHillary Clinton forpresidentwith posters of her wearingan ill-fitting thong, tattoos and nothing elsebefore the election; andportraying the transgender icon Caitlyn Jenner as a monster clownfrom the movie Itearlier this year.

But Mondays spottingtook place in broad daylight, so afilm crew couldfollow Saboaround.

Peopleused to doubt Sabo even existed, so novel wasstreet art with conservativepolitics,David Weigel wrotefor The Washington Post in 2015.

He rosefrom obscurity on the streets ofLos Angeles to become a minor starin 2015 by encouraging Sen. Ted Cruz to run for president.

The artist had portrayedCruz asa muscled rebel against conventional politics, covered in prison tattoos.

The Texas Republican did run for president, and Sabo a retired Marine who named himself after a round of ammunition lent the candidate his urbanstreet cred, absorbing fame in exchange.

Sabowas then all over Fox News and CNN, and ever since has stoked his celebrity with artwork perfectly synced to the spasms of national politics.

[How Ted Cruzs street artist gets it done]

Sabo hasmanaged this evenafter some of hisracial-slur-filled tweets made newsin early 2016, promptingCruz to stopselling his works.

But the artist would go on to find other muses.

Saboslatest round of attention a short documentary withRuptly and a profile in the Guardianlast month follows him as he plasters Los Angeles in pro-Trump art, his latest guerrilla campaign.

At the beginning of his fame,heopenly despised Trump.

Hes a circus clown, the artist told the Daily Beastin early 2016, when he began selling posters ofTrump as Il Douchin military garb The Reich Choice.

Despite his early disdain for the man who is now president I just didnt think we had the luxury of taking a chance of electing a reality star, he told The Post Sabo used the Republicanslikeness to poster-bomb an L.A. art showsupporting Democratic candidate Bernie Sandersin January of that year.

In Sabos imagination and the walls around the gallery Trump was depicted asa human finger, rising from the center of a disembodied fist.

Trump-as-middle-finger was not an ambiguous statement, Sabo told The Post. It was asymbol of contemptfor the art world.

More than any ephemeral political fury, Sabo is fueled by disdain for his fellow artists. Hesettled in Californiaafter a stint in the Marines in the 1980s, he told The Post, and studied art in Pasadena before moving to Los Angeles, where the liberal culture scene turned his stomach.

For eight years, Obama was dropping missiles on wedding parties, he said. A lot of these artists in L.A. were doing pretty pictures. They werent doing anything.

Prime example: Shepard Fairey, whose art essentially became Obamas campaign poster. AndSabo is more often compared to Banksy a conservative inversion of that world-famous street artist and his progressive causes.

[Banksys striking new mural imagines Steve Jobs as a Syrian refugee]

But Banksy works in true anonymity; the world has never seen his face.

Sabos face wasfully visible graying beard and calm smile in a photo that ran above aCNN story on Election Day, when the artistdeclared he would be voting for theman he once calledIl Douch.

One thing Trump consistently did was attack the media and attack liberals, Sabo explained toThe Post. I fell in love with the guy the minute I realized.

His conversiondidnt seem to hurt his credibility. Sabo appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson in February, after plastering Hollywood with posters attacking the Oscar lineup as unwatchable movies from unreadable books.

Carlson called it a pretty coherent critique of Hollywood.

But two months later, Sabo would be poster-bombing the same Fox News host asCarlson prepared to interview Caitlyn Jenner about transgender rights under President Trump.

Sabo put upfake movie posters around the studio:Tonight on Tucker Carlson. IT.

And so it goes: a cycle of bombastic street art, offensive tweets and surprisingly polite interviews with the same media that Sabo says he loves Trump for attacking.

Heis no longer the only conservative street artist in Los Angeles,the Guardian noted when it profiledhim last week,and some on the right consider Sabo a showboater.

For his part, he portrayed himself to the magazine as more introspective than his art suggests.

The blacks, the Jews, the underdogs no one has a bigger heart for them than me, Sabo told the Guardian.

On the phone with The Post, Sabo said he told the same Guardian reporter that he would happily kill liberals along with militant Muslims when the great culture war came.

That line wasnt inthe profile.

Anyway, Sabo is pushing up on 50 now, a little tired of the media rounds, he says, and he no longer stalks the streets of Los Angeles every single night.

Hes thinking of taking a few months off to study up on the latestPhotoshop techniques, he said.

The artistsanonymity has withered a bit under all the media attention, too. His neighborsall pretty much know who he is, he said.

The girls upstairs are probably social justice warriors, Sabosaid. A Mexican-Mexican Latina chick, and a blue-haired writer, both super liberal. They both tolerate me. We just wont talk politics that much.

And looking back onall his artwork, he is not without second thoughts about some pieces.

The posters depicting Jenneras a monster, for instance.

I thought it was a funny idea, but I knew it was hurtful, he said.I dont care if youre gay. I dont look down upon you or anything like that.

Sabohas since designeda sequel to that series. Restroom woman symbols, he explained, with male genitals coming out of the figures dress.

IT, the stickersread.

Sabohasnt put them on display yet; heisnt sure he has the heart. A tweet from last week suggests otherwise. And anyway,youcanbuy them on his Web store.

More reading:

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10 years after his graffiti campaign, the artist known as Borf paints a new life

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Original post:

Meet the guerrilla artist plastering a liberal metropolis with pro … – Washington Post

‘There’s a fight on’: Tony Abbott launches latest criticism of Liberal leadership – The Sydney Morning Herald

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has warned the Liberal Party is “haemorrhaging members” and needs to change, calling for the party’s membership to be “liberated” from factional powerbrokers.

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There’s no sign of the public spat between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott abating with the former PM continuing his criticism of the party and the PM.

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Former chauffeur, Gordon Wood, is pursuing damages against the state of NSW, claiming he was wrongfully convicted of the murder of model Caroline Byrne.

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A man has been killed and another injured in a shooting on the Central Coast. Vision: Seven News

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In March, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced new financial incentives to encourage more parents to adopt foster children.

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A document obtained by the opposition reveals the WestConnex motorway has attracted over $1 billion in compensation claims.

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A man is left with critical injuries after being shot during an altercation in the foyer of a motel in Coburg. Vision courtesy Seven News Melbourne.

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A man, believed to be in his 60s, is found dead after fire tore through a unit south of Brisbane. Vision courtesy Seven News Melbourne.

There’s no sign of the public spat between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott abating with the former PM continuing his criticism of the party and the PM.

With party tensions on show over the past week thanks in part to the former prime minister’s frequent interventions senior frontbencher and close Turnbull ally Arthur Sinodinos conceded the party could notcontrol him.

“If you’re the government you can only control what you control. I can’t control Tony Abbott,” Senator Sinodinos said.

On Monday,Mr Abbott continuedhis campaign of media appearances and speeches with an interview withSydney radio station 2GB.

“It’s a simple truth that we are hemorrhaging members,” he said.

“We’rehaemorrhagingmembers in every state but it’s a particular problem in NSW because we’ve got this dreadful situation where we have got factionalists and lobbyists who seem to be controlling the party. The best way to liberate our partyfrom factional control, the best way to liberate our part from the lobbyists, is to give every single member a vote.

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He batted away the suggestionhe was helping the Labor Party get elected, saying he wanted the government “to be the best possible government”.

“There’s a fight by themembership, by the rank and file, totake back what is rightly theirs, control over the lay party.

“And then there’s a fight for the kind of policy which a Liberal-National government should be on about. Now,traditionallywhat we’ve been on about is lower taxes, smaller government, greater freedom.”

Asked on Monday if Mr Abbott was deliberately agitating for change to take oxygen from the first anniversary of an elected Turnbull government, Senator Sinodinos demurred.

“You’d have to ask him whether it was deliberate or not,” he told ABC radio.

OnSunday, Prime Minister MalcolmTurnbull used the July 2 anniversary to reveal he would walk away from politics if he lost the top job.

“When I cease to be prime minister, I will cease to be a member of parliament,” he told News Corp.

“I am not giving anyone else advice but I just think that’s what I would do.”

But on Monday, Mr Turnbull declared he would remain in the top job for a “very long time” and would emerge victorious from the 2019 election.

“I can assure you I will be prime minister for many, many years to come,” he said.

“So that’s my commitment.”

– with AAP

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‘There’s a fight on’: Tony Abbott launches latest criticism of Liberal leadership – The Sydney Morning Herald

Appalachian Wrestling’s Greatest Villain: ‘The Progressive Liberal’ – NPR

When Daniel Harnsberger leaves his home on the East Coast and drives into Appalachia, he usually packs a T-shirt covered in Hillary Clinton faces and spandex wrestling briefs that say “Progressive Liberal.”

That’s his wrestling persona and his costume. And most weekends, Harnsberger dons it to work in semipro regional circuits as a stereotypical coastal elite who trolls in Donald Trump country. (He sometimes also wears a shirt that says “Not My President.”)

He’s wrestled for years until recently, without the left-leaning political tilt in conservative corners of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s a grind. These are small gigs, often in high school gyms or on county fairgrounds. On these regional circuits, wrestlers often schedule a match at a time.

“I was wrestling for $5 and a hot dog and a soda,” Harnsberger tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “There were times I didn’t get paid at all.”

But two years ago just after Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign Harnsberger made politics part of his act.

He was wrestling in a small town in West Virginia. As Harnsberger recalls, the promoter told him to “be the biggest heel you can be.” That was easy for Harnsberger, who’s always been a fan of wrestling heels cartoonish bad guys whose job is to rile up the crowd.

So he took the microphone and brought some of Trump’s campaign rhetoric into the ring: “I said, ‘I hope Trump doesn’t build a wall around Mexico. Instead I hope he builds it around this town so you people can’t infiltrate the population.’ And that got a heated reaction.”

And his shtick kept getting that reaction. He honed it into a character named Dan Richards, The Progressive Liberal, that he kept playing throughout the election. When Trump won in November, crowds hated Dan Richards even more.

In character, Harnsberger tells crowds he’ll take their guns. He says he wants to “reprogram” Trump supporters to make them favor renewable energy over coal.

“I know how you stupid Trump voters think,” the Liberal Progressive says in one video for Appalachian Mountain Wrestling. “Allow me to illustrate: dur-dur-dur, I love coal. Dur-dur-dur, I love mountains.”

And in the ring, he finishes off opponents with a move called the “Liberal Agenda” he described recently to Sports Illustrated:

“It’s just a cross-arm neckbreaker, so if I’m standing in front of you, I’m grabbing each of your wrists, crossing your arms, then twisting you for a standard neckbreaker. I call that the Liberal Agenda so then the announcer says, ‘Oh, he hit him with his Liberal Agenda!’ ”

Wrestling fans seem to eat it up. In one video, a gym full of spectators boos Harnsberger as he makes his entrance before a match; a group of kids scream at him from just a few feet away. In another video, Harnsberger gets into a shouting match with a fan. The man calls him “D.C. girl” and starts a chant of “Bye, bye, Hillary!”

Harnsberger goes out of his way to make wrestling fans hate his character. Turns out the left-wing views of the Progressive Liberal aren’t an act.

“I’m the progressive liberal in real life,” he says, “so I think this would generate a reaction from fans, especially the places I was going.”

And that’s probably what makes Harnsberger such a good villain. A great heel, he says, is one who “believes what they’re saying and feels justified in their actions.”

More here:

Appalachian Wrestling’s Greatest Villain: ‘The Progressive Liberal’ – NPR

No-confidence vote for British Columbia Liberals delivers blow to pipeline project – The Guardian

British Columbia premier-designate John Horgan prepares to make a statement following a non-confidence vote in Victoria. Photograph: Kevin Light/Reuters

British Columbias Liberal government has been defeated in a non-confidence vote, as expected, paving the way for the left-leaning New Democrats to rule the western Canadian province for the first time in 16 years.

Such a prospect has unnerved investors in Canadas third-most populous province, not least owners of oil and gas projects, such as Kinder Morgan Incs C$7.4bn (US$5.7bn) Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which the New Democratic party (NDP) has vowed to halt.

But an NDP government, which has to be propped up by the third-place Green party to achieve a slim parliamentary majority of one, is fragile, and few expect it to survive the four-year term.

On Thursday, seven weeks after a knife-edge election, NDP and Green lawmakers used their 44 votes in the 87-member legislature to pass a non-confidence amendment to the Liberal governments Throne Speech.

After the vote, NDP leader John Horgan told reporters he had met the provinces nominal head, Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, and that she had invited him to form a new government, making him British Columbias next premier.

Well have access to government documents tomorrow to start working on a transition, Horgan said. I cant predict when that (transition) will be, but its going to be soon.

Incumbent premier Christy Clark told media she offered her resignation to Guichon, but asked for a dissolution of the legislature, which the lieutenant-governor did not grant.

Dissolution would trigger another election. While Guichon technically has that power, such a move would go against convention for the largely ceremonial leader.

Guichon said in a statement she will accept Clarks resignation.

The NDP and Greens struck an agreement last month to oust the right-leaning British Columbia Liberal party unaffiliated with the left-leaning federal Liberal party of prime minister Justin Trudeau after a 9 May election reduced Clarks party to a minority.

The NDP and Greens, which will form the provinces first minority government in 65 years, have accused the Liberals of trying to retain power after the election by stealing their election promises and introducing them as last-minute legislation to delay being voted out.

Yet those same promises could be hard to deliver under an NDP government, which needs Green cooperation and every legislator to be present for every vote to pass laws, said University of British Columbia political science professor Hamish Telford.

The NDP may decide on its own accord that it needs to have a fresh election, he said.

Excerpt from:

No-confidence vote for British Columbia Liberals delivers blow to pipeline project – The Guardian

John Roskam blasts ‘lazy, self-indulgent’ Liberal Party facing ‘existential crisis’ – The Sydney Morning Herald

The “lazy” and “self-indulgent” Liberal Party is facing an existential crisis after a horror week that exposed deep wounds from which it may never recover, the head of the influential Institute of Public Affairs think tank has warned.

John Roskam, who on Tuesday hosted Tony Abbott for a speech in which he directly challenged Malcolm Turnbull’s policy agenda, on Friday blasted both men for failing to deliver philosophical direction to the party, and took aim at “so-called conservatives” Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann.

He said the significance of frontbencher Christopher Pyne’s leaked comments was seismic because they addressed “the elephant in the room” of factional warfare and “let loose” the boiling tensions between moderates and conservatives.

While Mr Turnbull on Sunday clocked up one year since his narrow election victory, Mr Pyne’s boasts of factional dominance and the promise of same-sex marriage “sooner rather than later” has sparked a furore over the direction of the government, the party and its leadership.

One minister privately predicted Malcolm Turnbull could face a leadership spill by Christmas – though that view is not widely shared, and even conservative members of cabinet believe sticking with the prime minister is the best option.

“What the Liberal Party faces is verging on an existential crisis. How this resolves itself, no-one knows,” Mr Roskam said on Friday.

“When the Liberal Party raises taxes, increases government spending, imposes extra regulations and red tape and does not stand up on key cultural questions you must ask the question: is the Liberal Party as we’ve known it since the 1940s exhausted?”

Time would tell if the party would survive, he said, but it “has had too big a monopoly on centre-right thinking in Australia for too long” and “at times it has been lazy and self-indulgent”.

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The IPA has deep links with the Liberal Party and Mr Roskam is well connected with MPs, but they have had major disagreements over superannuation, free speech and Mr Roskam’s repeated failure to win preselection in Victoria.

He principally blamed “Turnbull and the cabinet” for the party’s problems, and was critical of Mr Dutton and Mr Cormann, declaring “the so-called conservatives in cabinet have been completely ineffectual when it comes to economics” and labelling Mr Dutton’s citizenship reforms “tokenistic”.

Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull will use Sunday’s 12 month election anniversary to emphasise his policy achievements, including company tax cuts, childcare changes, Snowy Hydro 2.0 and intervention in the gas market.

In a social media message, Mr Turnbull will claim to have delivered “real results [and] strong outcomes, not just headlines and press statements”. “I’m not interested in politics, or the personalities of politics,” he will say.

But the political drama of this week meant even the government’s major victory on Gonski 2.0 was short-lived. Mr Roskam described the $23 billion school funding injection as “a complete capitulation to the left” and “nothing other than political expediency”.

Right-wing voters would be entitled to seek refuge in David Leyonhjelm’s Liberal Democrats and Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives, he said, and fighting off that challenge “requires a great degree of leadership which frankly so far has been lacking”.

Asked about his own role in giving Mr Abbott a platform to stir leadership strife, Mr Roskam said it was “essential” to air an alternative policy manifesto. But he echoed ministers’ criticism that the former PM never implemented those ideas while he was in power.

One minister told The Sunday Age it was inconceivable Mr Abbott had not planned the timing of this week’s white-anting by lining up speeches at think tanks amid his usual spots on talkback radio.

Asked to gauge how widespread the malaise was within the Liberal party room, Mr Roskam said: “A lot of MPs actually don’t want to face these questions. When they take more than a few moments to think about it, the truth is perhaps too confronting to be contemplated.”

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John Roskam blasts ‘lazy, self-indulgent’ Liberal Party facing ‘existential crisis’ – The Sydney Morning Herald

Why Angela Merkel, known for embracing liberal values, voted against same-sex marriage – Washington Post

Friday’s parliamentary vote in Berlin to recognize the right of same-sex couples to wed was a long-awaited victory for German liberals.Butthe vote was a defeat for the womanwhoseemed to haveemerged as one of the country’s most popular icons of liberalism: German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She welcomed over 1 million refugees, abandoned nuclear energy over safety fears and has urged President Trump to respect human rights.

On Friday, however, Merkelvoted against same-sex marriage, despite having paved the way to its recognition only days earlier.

Theanti-marriage-equality party line of Merkel’sChristian Democratic Union (CDU) had long prevented the law from being passed. But on Monday, the German chancellorclearedthe way for the issue to win approval in the German Parliament by allowing lawmakers to choose according to their personal convictions after being pressured into a vote by the Social Democratic Party. I would like to steer the discussion more toward the situation that it will be a question of conscience instead of me forcing something through by means of a majority vote, Merkel said earlier this week.

German lawmakers vote by a wide margin to legalize gay marriage, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had voted against it. (Reuters)

What she did not say at the time was that shewouldoppose the law.Merkel’sFriday voteagainst marriage equality may have come as a surprise to international observers who consider her an increasingly influential liberal icon or evenleader of thefree world.At home in Germany, not everyone was equally surprised.

[Decades of yearly portraits show how power has transformed Angela Merkel]

Herseemingly inconsequentialvote encapsulates some of the opposing forces tugging at Merkel, said Robert Beachy, the author of Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity. She is at once an exponent of a liberal Western vision and the leader of a country, and party, tied to more conservative values.

It occurs to me that Merkel is feeling increasingly exposed because she certainly wants to align herself with a progressive E.U. culture and tradition, and shes in some ways the leader of that now, Beachysaid. It made the absence of same-sex marriage in Germany that much more glaring.

Thedaughter of a Protestant pastor, Merkel has long sided with the right ofher party on the issue. In 2015, the chancellor said: For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together. She repeated those comments almost word for word Friday. What has since changed, however, is Merkel’s stance on the right of same-sex couples to adopt children, which she now appears to be in favor of.

Her ambiguity on the issue fits a common pattern that has shaped much of her 12 years as German chancellor: Merkel hardly defines her role in an ideological sense. As chancellor, Merkel has repeatedly turned her back on herself and her own party when she deemed it necessary to adjust to the political winds.

[Angela Merkel predicts showdown with U.S. over climate at G-20]

On other subjects, her party and supportershave willingly followed suit. In contrast, same-sex marriage has proved to be a more difficult challenge for the chancellor, as many members of her party remain staunchly opposed to it even as most Germanssupportmarriage equality.

Since 2001, Germanyhas allowed same-sex couples to registercivilpartnerships, which afford some but not all of the benefits accruing to married couples. Unlike in other Western European nations, such as France or Spain, same-sex marriage remained a red line for many Christian conservatives.

That red line would have been challenged sooner rather than later.All major parties Merkel’s CDU could form a coalition with after the general elections in September arein favor of same-sex marriage. From a tactical perspective, there was no way around marriage equality.

By allowing the law to pass beforethe elections despiteopposing it, Merkel appealedto the majority of voters but might have avoided the angerof much of her party following Merkel’s long-standing rationale of trying to make the least enemies whenever possible.I hope that with todays vote not only that mutual respect is there between the individual positions, but also that a piece of social peace and togetherness could be created, Merkel said after the Friday vote.

She likely knew that her personal opposition would matter to her party but not make a difference overall, given that the German parliament voted393-226 in favor of modifying the countrys civil code.

Isaac Stanley-Becker contributed from Berlin.

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Germanys far right preaches traditional values. Can a lesbian mother be its new voice?

The state of gay rights around the world

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Why Angela Merkel, known for embracing liberal values, voted against same-sex marriage – Washington Post

Pope Francis drops conservative German Cardinal Mller for more liberal option – Deutsche Welle

Pope Francis shook-up the Vatican’s administration Saturday by replacing the church’s top theologian with whom he often clashed.

Pope Francis chose not to renew the five-year term of 69-year-old German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mller, who headed the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, which is responsible for defending Catholic doctrine.

Instead, the pope has turned to the department’s deputy, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer. Like Francis, Ladaria is a Jesuit with a more liberal view of theology.

The pope has upset conservatives by suggesting that a ban on remarried divorcees taking Holy Communion could, in carefully scrutinized circumstances, be overcome without the traditional annulment. Mller, one of the pontiff’s chief critics, said such an approach undermined Catholic dogma on the permanent natureof marriage.

In 2015 Mueller was among 13 cardinals who signed a secret letter to the pontiff complaining that a meeting of bishops discussing family issues was stacked in favor of liberals. The letter was leaked to the media, embarrassing the signatories.

Pope,cardinal spar

German theologian Wolfgang Beinert said Mller and Francis never got along.

“They are chemistry-wise two different people who are incompatible by nature,” he said. Beinert described the pope’s decision to cut ties with Mueller as a “punishment.”

A priest, who works at the Vatican, and knows both Mller and his replacement, Ladaria, said the latter will get along with Pope Francis much better.

“They speak the same language and Ladaria is someone who is meek. He does not agitate the pope and does not threaten him,” said the priest, who didn’t want to be identified.

Since becoming pope in 2013, Francis has given hope to more progressive voices inside the church who want him to push ahead with his vision for a more tolerant church that focuses more on mercy than on a strict enforcement of rigid rules, which they see as outdated.

Mller’s ouster was the second major shakeup at the Vatican this week. On Thursday, Francis granted Vatican hardliner Cardinal George Pella leave of absence to return to his native Australiato face trial on sexual assault charges.

The absence of Mller and Pell, the two most powerful cardinals in the Vatican, after the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will likely create a power vacuum for the conservative wing in the Holy See hierarchy.

Mller was also allegedly lax in addressing sexual abuse cases that have come before the Vatican. During his tenure victims from Latin America, Europe and beyond came forward to press their cases.

Last year the pope confirmed there was a 2,000-case backlog, and he set about naming new officials in the congregation’s discipline section to process the overload.

bik/jm (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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Pope Francis drops conservative German Cardinal Mller for more liberal option – Deutsche Welle

How Liberal Portland Became America’s Most Politically Violent City – POLITICO Magazine

On a cloudy day in early November 1979, a caravan of Nazi and Ku Klux Klan members careened into Greensboro, North Carolina, winding toward a local Communist Workers Party protest that had gathered in the city to march against the states white supremacists. The communists, wearing berets and hard hats, spotted the fleet and taunted the new arrivals with chants of Death to the Klan! The KKK convoy slowed, and stopped. Far-left protesters, bearing both wooden planks and concealed pistols, began surrounding the motorcade, beating the doors. As TV cameras rolled, the trunk of a Ford Fairlane, stuffed with shotguns and rifles, popped open. Someone yelled from one of the cars, You asked for the Klan! Now you’ve got em!

Eighty-eight seconds and 39 shots later, five communists lay dead. Eight other demonstrators were wounded, some permanently paralyzed. For a brief moment, the Greensboro Massacre became one of Americas most notorious acts of political blood-letting. And yet, unlike Wounded Knee or Selma before it, Greensboro has over the decades largely faded from memory.

Story Continued Below

Except in Portland.

Among the fringe political groups currently waging battle in the City of Roses, Greensboro is well-remembered, even idealized. It is increasingly seen as the inevitable end of the escalating violence that has rocked this city since President Trumps election in November. Leftwing antifas, wearing red bandana masks alongside other far-left protesters, have rioted multiple times and caused millions of dollars of damage, with threats from leftwing groups even forcing the cancellation of a parade because it featured a float from the local Republican Party. Eager to push back against the opposition, white nationalists have begun mixing with anti-government militia members for free speech rallies. A man who attended one of these rallies would later stab to death two men on a train when they intervened to stop his anti-Muslim rants against two young women. The norms of protest and counterprotestmostly verbal shouting and sign-wavingare quickly crumbling in Portland. The leftwing antifa have even threatened pre-emptive violence in the name of the defending the city from groups they say promote violence.

In Portland, Greensboro isnt a past mistake to be avoided, but a future clash to be courted. Both sides mention Greensboro in conversation. Both sides know the details and the death toll. And both acknowledge Greensboro as an event that may well serve as a model for whats just around the corner. My big concern is sooner or later is that were going to have another Greensboro Massacre type of event, Mark Pitcavage, who researches domestic political extremism with the Anti-Defamation League, added. This is so unlikely to end well.

***

The fact that Portland erupted as the epicenter in Trump-era political violence in the U.S. is, in a certain sense, surprising. A liberal nirvana, a crunchy, weed-and-hops city where Republicans and plastic bags alike have been all but evicted, Portland has embodied and outpaced many of the urban trends of the early 21st century: gentrification and co-ops, food trucks and foot-bridges, transitions to a bike-and-pedestrian economy. It is, as a conspicuous show has encapsulated, a progressive paradise.

And yet, as many within and without the city have begun realizing, Portland is a town leavened with a history of rampant racial strife. As the whitest major American city, Portland blossomed in the lone state that constitutionally barred blacks from living there through the 19th century, that acted as one of the primary concentration centers for incarcerating American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II, that redlined as severely as any major metropolis elsewhere. That in 1922 saw its chief of police posing alongside hooded Ku Klux Klan members. That brought Jim Crow to the Pacific shoreline.

Its the type of legal legacy, the type of nod-and-wink encouragement of white supremacy, that not only welcomed any number of Confederate families to relocate to the region in the aftermath of the Civil War, but that, toward the close of the 20th century, saw neo-Nazi and skinhead groups begin to extend their tendrils through the area. Before Portlandia, there was Skinhead City. In the mid-1980s, skinheads began marching through downtown, hauling bats, pipes, and axes. Not long after, the city birthed Volksfront, a neo-Nazi contingent that eventually expanded internationally. In 1988, a trio of skinheads bashed Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student, to death; the three all received prison sentences, with one tabbed as a prisoner of war by other white supremacy groups.

Locals began pushing back. In 2007, a group called Rose City Antifa took form, borrowing the shortened form of antifascist for its name. The crew pointed to similar European movements, which had, in places like Germany and Italy, arisen in response to the fascist movements that would eventually crater Europe in World War II. It also tapped into regional currents of anarchism and latent communism. These were the political strains that had sparked, among other things, the 1999 Battle of Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization, which resulted in millions of dollars worth of property damage in the city.

From its inception, Portlands antifa contingent cloaked itself in anonymity; as a 2009 story in Portlands Willamette Week noted, Little is known publicly about Rose City Antifa. And little seems to have changed in the decade since. Its unofficial uniform comprises blood-red and black bandanas and hoods, but the group doesnt keep any official membership rolls, let alone share last names with anyone outside of its circle. Why do we wear masks? Because [of] instances of antifa people [who] have been assassinated, says David, a member of Rose City Antifa who, like all group members before him, declined to share his last name with POLITICO Magazine. The historical examples are not recent, but they are well-known in the group: Skinheads murdered a pair of anti-racist activists in Nevada in 1998, luring them to the desert outside Las Vegas, and local antifa have claimed that a 2010 incident in Portlanda shooting that left a self-described anti-racist skinhead in critical conditionwas also politically motivated.

For much of its existence, the group largely relied on shout-downs and public displays of force as their primary tactics. Recently theyve added the cyber weapon of doxxingexposing personal information such as addresses, places of employment, and dates of birth and schools, even if it means innocent families mistakenly targeted by antifa begin receiving threats. Such tactics have been effective because they raise the cost of participation, Stanislav Vysotsky, who researches political extremism with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, told POLITICO Magazine.

But now, for antifa, its not enough to simply out-scream their opposition; rather, those far-right forces must, in a bizarre nod to the Bush Doctrine, be preemptively denied a voice from the outset. We are unapologetic about the reality that fighting fascism at points requires physical militancy, Rose City Antifas Facebook page reads. Anti-fascism is, by nature, a form of self-defense: the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings. The group does not specify what physical militancy means, but their page makes clear that the definition includes any means necessary.

Were seeing more people be like, Whats antifa actually about? Do you just like going and smashing Starbucks windows? David says. And no, we dont smash Starbucks windowsmost of the time. Or as one of the Rose City Antifas Facebook profile pictures read, Set phasers to kill.

***

Unsurprisingly, antifas assault-related tactics, despite their continued usage, have proven less than effective, according to those who closely follow political extremism in the U.S.

It just makes [antifa] feel goodthey think they made a point, the ADLs Pitcavage said. But their tactics are counterproductive. They havent made any dent over the years with those tactics. And it gives the white supremacists an unbelievable amount of publicity. After all, a lack of anti-Nazi brawl-and-bash protests werent the reasons fascists rose to the fore in Germany and Italyand theres little reason to think that depriving neo-Nazis of their First Amendment rights will prove any more successful than the myriad pre-WWII street brawls that failed to slow the rise of fascism in Europe. Pitcavage points out that the far-right has been far deadlier, far more corrosive, than any American antifa contingents over the past few decadesbut antifa tactics have only exacerbated and inflamed far-right rosters: All the antifa tactics do is give extremists more attention, make extremists feel good, feel like warriorsand give them an opportunity to recruit.

Its impossible to tell whether the antifa protests have boosted the recruitment efforts of nationalists and white supremacists, but the groups tactics have not endeared them to mainstream critics on either the right or left. Shortly after Trumps election, anarchist and far-left protesters rioted in Portland, bringing at least a million dollars worth of damageand resulting, in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security, in domestic terrorism. Further riots followed Trumps inauguration, and more in the months thereafter. Their actionsconducted anonymously but brutallyshow them to be punk fascists, wrote an editorial in The Oregonian, slamming those leading the greatest political violence Portland had seen in a generation.

Then, in late April, organizers behind the 82nd Avenue of Roses Paradea spectacle through one of the more multi-racial neighborhoods in Portlandreceived an email ratcheting tensions even further. Sent from an anonymous account, the email targeted the inclusion of a Multnomah County Republican Party float: You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely. This is non-negotiable. Shaken, organizers canceled the parade; The Atlantics Conor Friedersdorf wondered who this faction on the left will next label a Nazi or a fascist in order to justify their own use of fascistic tactics. Or as James Buchal, the Multnomah County Republican Party chair, told POLITICO Magazine, The real concern going forward is that its a totalitarian sort of mindset, where basically [theyre] not going to tolerate Republicans in our city.

When asked about the threats made to parade organizers, Rose City Antifa didnt blame right-wing provocateurs posing as local leftists, although they did note that no one knows who sent [the email]. Rather, the groups spokesman characterized the cancellation as an overreaction. The email had some sort of oblique promise of some sort of altercation, they shut down the entire parade, and then acted as if it was a whole big deal, David says.

Shortly thereafter, alt-right actors organized a free speech rally near the parades canceled routea rally attended by a man, Jeremy Christian, who donned an American flag cape, gave Nazi salutes to passers-by, and, a few weeks thereafter, allegedly killed two Portlanders defending a pair of teenagers from Christians Islamophobic slurs on a train.

The stabbings of Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, only emboldened the antifa protesters, who saw Christians ability to speak publicly as a precursor to his violence. Having a place where you can feel free to express these sorts of racist, bigoted beliefs enables you to go and make rants on a train, David claimed. It makes you want to defend yourself when people in the community step up against you.

One week after the murders, antifa and far-right actors clashed once more, this time at a Trump Free Speech rally. Epithets soon transformed into the kind of physical violence antifa had advocated earlier: Portland police said that counter-protesters at the alt-right rally sparked the violence by slingshotting bricks, rocks, and feces alike, forcing officers to unleash pepper spray on the crowd. As Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told local Willamette Week in late May, It’s never been as vocal as it has been in recent months. While they’re not street gangs, the threat of violence is there. Or as Kyle Chapman, one of the alt-right spokesmen at the rally, said about the possibility of advocating violence, Its not such a bad idea, is it? This, after Chapman Tweeted that it was open season on antifa.

And the likelihood of a confrontation may increase if Buchal, the head of the local GOP, follows through on his plans to hire militiasOath Keepers and Three Percentersas security at future events, a development he told POLITICO Magazine hes still considering. What were really seeing are these very strong alliances being forged between Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and white supremacists and white nationalists, Vysotsky said. Added Pitcavage, the Oath Keepers especially have really, really come on strong against the antifa. So now into the equation you not only have antifa versus white supremacists, but now you have antifa versus a much larger swath of the far-right, which really increases the possibility for all sorts of things going on.

As of now, any possibilities of dialogueof a negotiated off-ramp to de-escalate tensionsseem negligible. When somebody is threatening you with bodily harm, as many of these groups are, sitting down for a conversation is not really something you want to do with somebody like that, David said. Thats the unfortunate truth.

Meanwhile, the next round of protest is scheduled for Friday in downtown Portland. The right-wing Patriot Prayer group has organized a freedom march that is expected to attract white nationalists, neo-Nazis, militia and white supremacists. The antifa have pledged to block them. The Rose City Antifa wrote on its Facebook page, that, this time, enough is enough.

Casey Michel is a writer living in New York, and can be followed on Twitter at @cjcmichel. This article is adapted from a forthcoming report, entitled The Rise of the Traditionalist International: How Moscow cultivates American white nationalists, domestic secessionists, and the Religious Right, from People For the American Way.

Originally posted here:

How Liberal Portland Became America’s Most Politically Violent City – POLITICO Magazine

How pop music built liberal Britain – The Guardian

British Conservatism with both a big and small c is once again feeling the pangs of crisis. Tory optimists might be hanging on to the fact that their party has just scored its highest vote share since 1983; as Brexit grinds uncertainly on, Britain remains in the grip of an avowedly rightwing vision. But the last time a Tory government was elected with a convincing majority was 1987. The UKs big cities seem more impervious to Conservative politics than ever. The fact that the Tories did so badly among people under the age of 45 55% of whom backed Labour, while only 29% voted Conservative underlines the sense of slowly gathering twilight.

What has happened? Conventional political commentary quite rightly points to the aftershocks of the EU referendum, and younger remain voters being shocked into action. But beneath that immediate development are much deeper factors, bound up with 50 years of cultural change, and millions of peoples embrace of the permissive, live-and-let-live set of values highlighted by this weeks publication of the latest British Social Attitudes Survey.

Moreover, in what the survey said about peoples views of the welfare state and public spending, there was a sense of something equally important: a fuzzy collectivism that stops well short of any kind of hardened socialism, but that defines a whole swath of the country that has not soaked up Thatcherism and its legacy to anything like the extent that the Tories would have liked.

On the face of it, it should not be beyond the wit of modern Conservatives to embrace those shifts. But ingrained Tory instincts seem to always get in the way: the overriding tendency of the partys individualism to turn cruel and cold; its attachment to moralism and the manipulation of base prejudice; and, in the case of Theresa May, a fusty, back-to-the-1950s spirit that arguably sealed her electoral fate (and is now symbolised by the governments dependence on the reactionary DUP).

Meanwhile, despite the support for the Tories politics from the Mail and the Sun, something much more powerful seems to be driving Britain somewhere else: the onward march of post-Elvis pop culture, and the way it now sits at the heart of a majority of peoples lives, along with a set of values that Conservatism still seems unable to convincingly accommodate.

Clearly, the country we live in is no idyll. Inequality is rampant; racism and bigotry have hardly gone away; there is a coarseness and impatience at the heart of everyday living that was not there 30 years ago. The country that voted for Brexit is hardly at ease with itself. But at the same time, when I think back to my early upbringing in the 1970s when the second world war was still a conversational commonplace, and my grandparents hung on to an essentially Victorian view of the world and compare Britain then and now, the sense of a quiet revolution seems pretty much inarguable.

Again, this is less about politics than values. British people are more liberal on such issues as same-sex relationships and abortion than they have ever been. At the last count, one in 10 people in couples in England and Wales were in what the official statistics call an inter-ethnic relationship. Cannabis smoke regularly wafts around our town and city centres; Glastonbury is as much a part of the national calendar as Wimbledon or the Grand National. And throughout our waking hours, there is one constant above all others: what the dictionary still calls pop music, probably the most potent means of communication human beings have ever come up with, now the lingua franca of all but the oldest generations, defined by a tangle of non-conservative ideas, and right at the centre of our everyday experience.

Cynics might point to the times when pop culture has seemed anything but progressive, from the time when Britpop spawned the oafishness of lad culture, back through the flimsy materialism that ran through the 1980s (watch any Duran Duran video for the proof), to the thuggish, nasty turn quickly taken by punk rock. But by far the strongest philosophical thread in pop culture has been there for around six decades, and steadily moved from the countercultural fringe to the very heart of national life. It is internationalist, open, permissive, implicitly anti-racist and, as evidenced by the modern festival crowd, as much communal as individualist.

By way of proof of all this, after years of people proclaiming the death of ideology, pop still steers well away from the political right. Aside from Gary Barlow of Take That, I cannot think of a single high-profile modern musician who has officially endorsed the Tories, nor of any moment in the past 10 years when a Tory politician appearing at Glastonbury would have been greeted with anything other than boos.

Clearly, attitudinal shifts do not happen by accident. Our culture has long privileged musicians with a pre-eminent importance, to the point that their views still make headlines. Fifty years ago, the Beatles played a huge and leading role in pulling down the walls of class-based deference. A little later, David Bowies defiance of the conventions of gender and sexuality changed tens of thousands of lives. The arrival after punk of 2 Tone, the genre-cum-movement that made a stand against insurgent racism via the simple idea of black and white musicians updating Jamaican ska, was another huge breakthrough. And so the list goes on: the global sensibilities embodied by Live Aid; more recently, the anthems to confidence and assertiveness that have made Katy Perry the latest embodiment of pop feminism (or, as the Spice Girls used to call it, Girl Power).

Thirty years after it first stirred, we also need to talk about acid house, which began on the fringes in the late 1980s, symbolised a massed upending of that decades individualist attitudes, and then bled out into everyday life. Matthew Collins definitive book on the subject, Altered State, rightly says that acid house was the most vibrant, diverse and long-lasting youth movement that Britain had ever seen, built on deeply felt desires for communal experiences. For all that it also involved the cheap and nasty entrepreneurialism that inevitably came with illegally organised parties and drug dealing, its legacy was pretty obvious: the imperative, simply put, to be nice kind, caring, open, accepting.

Earlier this week, the Daily Telegraph published a letter from Marianna, Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley. She furiously claimed that Jeremy Corbyns appearances at Glastonbury were an utter disgrace, little realising that the festival is the perfect example of the way that ideas that are still anathema to far too many Conservatives have gone from the countercultural margins into the mainstream, and that Corbyns presence made perfect sense.

I first went 27 years ago, when the Pyramid Stage was adorned with a huge CND symbol, the organisers would not let the police in, the BBC was nowhere to be seen, and there was a clear break between the outside world and the festivals licentious wonders. These days, by contrast, one blurs into the other, which highlights the Tories big problem: the fact that even when the tents have been packed up and the comedowns have kicked in, millions of us still live in a reality in which the politics of parochialism, nostalgia and moralism make precious little sense.

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How pop music built liberal Britain – The Guardian


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