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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: And they're off - UK election rant
RadicalWhig
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It's a good plan. On paper, I like it. We will see how it works out, but the general thrust and direction are very appealing. For the first time in my adult life, my concerns are not totally ignored by Westminster politics. The political reform and civil liberties elements are like nectar to my soul.

[ 12. May 2010, 22:12: Message edited by: RadicalWhig ]

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:

I do like the civil liberties stuff. Oh, but it feels good to have a government who want to 'roll back' state control.

Like the Schools Secretary who wants to ensure that every school pupil wears a tie and bring ex-soldiers into schools to 'impose discipline'?
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Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
Does anybody have a full copy of the coalition agreement - this seven page document that everyone is talking about. Is it available online anywhere? I need to read it!

You mean the one I already linked to here.

I am begining to feel like that woman in the fast show sketch who offers information the men don't appear to have heard, until they repeat it word for word.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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RadicalWhig
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Sorry, Think2 - In my extravagant haste I didn't notice your earlier post. Apologies.

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Radical Whiggery for Beginners: "Trampling on the Common Prayer Book, talking against the Scriptures, commending Commonwealths, justifying the murder of King Charles I, railing against priests in general." (Sir Arthur Charlett on John Toland, 1695)

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Cod
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:

I do like the civil liberties stuff. Oh, but it feels good to have a government who want to 'roll back' state control.

Like the Schools Secretary who wants to ensure that every school pupil wears a tie and bring ex-soldiers into schools to 'impose discipline'?
A good point. It's also necessary to point out any waterboarding of naughty pupils should certainly be carried out by the State.

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Matt Black

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On that point, I thought David Laws looked like Osborne's housemaster when they gave that joint interviiew; I half-expected the former to say, "Yes, George can be Chancellor, but only as a summer job; for the moment he has to go back to school and sit his A-Levels."

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:

I do like the civil liberties stuff. Oh, but it feels good to have a government who want to 'roll back' state control.

Like the Schools Secretary who wants to ensure that every school pupil wears a tie and bring ex-soldiers into schools to 'impose discipline'?
A good point. It's also necessary to point out any waterboarding of naughty pupils should certainly be carried out by the State.
I remember Michael Gove when he was an undergraduate and at that time, if his reputation was anything to go by, the thought of ex-soldiers imposing discipline might have been expected to please him very much indeed. He was certainly plumper, much camper, and IIRC rather more Scottish then than his is now.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
On that point, I thought David Laws looked like Osborne's housemaster when they gave that joint interviiew; I half-expected the former to say, "Yes, George can be Chancellor, but only as a summer job; for the moment he has to go back to school and sit his A-Levels."

Chief Secretary of the Treasury is like that. However smart the Chancellor is (and they need to be) the Chief Sec has to do the difficult sums and all the dirty work. It's also his job to say "Mr Chancellor, that's horseshit".

With Vince Cable also involved at times, some aspects of financial decision making could get very tense. It's the one are where the LibDems can make an impact - which might be a bit of low cunning by Cameron as the Treasury will surely be the focus of unpleasantness in the year or so to come. Apart from the Home Office that is, where unpleasantness is the modus operandi.

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Callan
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Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

quote:
It's the one are where the LibDems can make an impact - which might be a bit of low cunning by Cameron as the Treasury will surely be the focus of unpleasantness in the year or so to come. Apart from the Home Office that is, where unpleasantness is the modus operandi.
If it all goes horribly wrong the Lib Dems won't be able to say 'not me guv'nor we was kept out of the loop as far as cuts and spending was concerned'.

Broadly speaking it looks like everyone has got their eye on the next election. Cameron is going to do all the horrible things that need to be done PDQ so that by the time the next election rolls round he can offer some modest tax cuts and sweetners in public spending whilst using the Liberals to neutralise the Tory right. I notice that young Grayling has been dispatched into the political wilderness after his faux pas over the B & Bs and been replaced by Teresa May who famously told the Tory Conference that they were in danger of becoming the nasty party. I note also that the Liberals get to abstain on the married couples tax allowance. So the British evangelical right are going to learn in short order what the American evangelical right have yet to notice. That their job is to deliver the maximum number of votes for the minimum number of concessions.

Labour will have their knives out for the Lib Dems and will be saying on the door step that the only way to stop the Tories is to vote for them (which is why they had no enthusiasm for a deal). The object of the exercise is to unite the centre left around David Milliband or Ed Balls. (Stop snickering at the back.)

The Lib Dems have the trickiest bit. They will lose votes as a result of this deal (although they should pick up some stray Tory votes in Liberal/ Labour marginals). So they key bit for Cleggy is twofold. Firstly there is the alternative vote. Currently the Liberals got 23% of the vote and 7% of the seats. If next time round they drop to 11% of the vote and 11% of the seats then they are ahead of the game. Then there is the 10K tax threshold. This will be genuinely popular - a kind of 10p tax band fiasco in reverse - and it was all the Liberals idea. So the Liberal message on the doorsteps will be 'Yes we did a deal with the Tories and we know that a lot of you are angry about that. But look what we delivered with 57 MPs. When Labour were in and had a thumping great majority they abolished the 10p tax band. We brought in the 10k threshold. So who are you better off with?' This is a very high risk strategy - if it goes wrong they'll be down to 1950s levels of parliamentary representation - but the stakes are worth it.

Incidentally, how long before someone puts a mashup of the press conference on Youtube to the tune of 'Let's Face the Music and Dance'?

There may be trouble ahead, but where there's music and love and romance...

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Michael Gove ... was certainly plumper, much camper, and IIRC rather more Scottish then than his is now.

You'd have thought that he, and any other Tories with the slightest Scottish connections (Cameron??) would want to make the most of it seeing as Scottish Tories are rarer than hen's teeth.

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Crowd: We're all individuals!
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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Michael Gove ... was certainly plumper, much camper, and IIRC rather more Scottish then than his is now.

You'd have thought that he, and any other Tories with the slightest Scottish connections (Cameron??) would want to make the most of it seeing as Scottish Tories are rarer than hen's teeth.
But if you are fondly endeavouring to cash in on English ressentiment at the number of Scots in the government, as the Tories did for much of the noughties, then it really doesn't do to have the Shadow Spokesman for Education turning up on Newsnight sounding like he'd just stepped off the set of Hamish MacBeth.

Besides, if one is an ambitious young MP trying to get in with the Bullingdon set one hardly wishes to address one's peers in the accent that they generally only hear when exchaning pleasantries with their ghillie.

[ 13. May 2010, 09:52: Message edited by: Gildas ]

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Thurible
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quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
Then there is the 10K tax threshold. This will be genuinely popular - a kind of 10p tax band fiasco in reverse - and it was all the Liberals idea. So the Liberal message on the doorsteps will be 'Yes we did a deal with the Tories and we know that a lot of you are angry about that. But look what we delivered with 57 MPs. When Labour were in and had a thumping great majority they abolished the 10p tax band. We brought in the 10k threshold. So who are you better off with?'

This article makes very interesting reading on this subject.

Thurible

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Pottage
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quote:
Originally posted by Thurible:
quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
Then there is the 10K tax threshold. This will be genuinely popular - a kind of 10p tax band fiasco in reverse - and it was all the Liberals idea. So the Liberal message on the doorsteps will be 'Yes we did a deal with the Tories and we know that a lot of you are angry about that. But look what we delivered with 57 MPs. When Labour were in and had a thumping great majority they abolished the 10p tax band. We brought in the 10k threshold. So who are you better off with?'

This article makes very interesting reading on this subject.

Thurible

This article discusses the same points but without the overt (and understandable) points scoring which mars the credibility of the Left Foot Forward piece. Helpfully it also gives a couple of examples of how an increase in tax allowances would interact with benefits and allowances for those people who need to balance the two in order to be any better off.

Here's an alternative link to Left Foot Forward that's accessible without logging into facebook.

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Thurible
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Thanks, pottage. I hadn't realised one had to log into facebook to see it.

I'll have a look at the other article too.

Thurible

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Matt Black

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
On that point, I thought David Laws looked like Osborne's housemaster when they gave that joint interviiew; I half-expected the former to say, "Yes, George can be Chancellor, but only as a summer job; for the moment he has to go back to school and sit his A-Levels."

Chief Secretary of the Treasury is like that. However smart the Chancellor is (and they need to be) the Chief Sec has to do the difficult sums and all the dirty work. It's also his job to say "Mr Chancellor, that's horseshit".


"And if he gets his sums wrong, I'll give him a damn good thrashing!"

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
I think that the education sector ought to be very, very afraid.

Tell it to all the school leavers who, despite having perfectly good grades, won't get university places this year thanks to Labour cuts.

Speaking as someone in the education sector who has just had to do a lot of work to help balance our books after several million quid's worth of cuts at the end of last year and the start of this (comedy moment: the brainless suggestion by Mandelson that we make savings by teaching undergraduate degrees over two years rather than three), I'm not even slightly scared about the new government. It's pretty much impossible for them to be worse.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
This article discusses the same points but without the overt (and understandable) points scoring which mars the credibility of the Left Foot Forward piece. Helpfully it also gives a couple of examples of how an increase in tax allowances would interact with benefits and allowances for those people who need to balance the two in order to be any better off.

And I note that it concludes that those people will indeed be better off as a result. Not by as much as you'd think, but I'd certainly be happy with any amount of extra cash in my back pocket.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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aumbry
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People keep talking about the Conservatives and Liberals getting the ire of the public when the spending cuts come through.

The public know fully well that the spending cuts are the product of Labour's economic mismanagement so I think it unlikely that either of the coalition parties will be blamed.

Where they will probably come unstuck is in dealings with the EU.

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dyfrig
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quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
I do like the civil liberties stuff. Oh, but it feels good to have a government who want to 'roll back' state control.

Well, we heard that before, in 1979 - it did not so much roll back as move to all the Quangos created and filled by appointment and needing staff to run them. It's not about rolling back anything, but about concentrating power in or dispsering it to where it will bolster your policies. Push it down to the smallest unit or one dependent on your patronage, and you reduce the risk of effective alternative power basis. "Localism" is as much a divide-and-rule policy as it is an ideology of "freedom".

Ofsted will need an entirely new department of inspectors and accountants to make sure the public purse is getting value for money out of all these private/parent/charity-run schools. And local authorities will have to find someone to do the economic development work that will fall to them when the RDAs are killed off* - taking here as an example, up to 40 new economic development departments paid for out of Council Tax, replacing one RDA.

* Declaration of interest - I work for one.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
People keep talking about the Conservatives and Liberals getting the ire of the public when the spending cuts come through.

The public know fully well that the spending cuts are the product of Labour's economic mismanagement so I think it unlikely that either of the coalition parties will be blamed.

Where they will probably come unstuck is in dealings with the EU.

Everyone is in favour of public expenditure cuts except when it hits them. The Navy wants its ships, the Army wants helicopters and better personal protection and the RAF doesn't want any cuts on Typhoon or JSF procurement. I bet many sailors, soldiers and airmen would support cutting JSA to those who have been out of work for six months or more (unless I suppose, if their last job was in the armed forces).

Note: I'm not knocking the armed forces at all, it's an illustration of the culture of "Me? I'm a special case, everybody else can take a cut".

I don't think the EU will be a problem to the coalition: it's a problem for the European Commission and especially the Eurozone for now. I reckon by-elections could cause tension.

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Yerevan
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quote:
Where they will probably come unstuck is in dealings with the EU.
I don't think it will be either. Given that the euro's in trouble and the 'European Project' has run into the sand (IMO) the Con-Dems probably won't have too much to disagree about. Even if the Lib Dems were governing on their own I can't imagine them wanting to take the UK into the eurozone any time soon.
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Adeodatus
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I see unemployment's up.

I blame the Tory government.

[Snigger]

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Moth

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
I think that the education sector ought to be very, very afraid.

Tell it to all the school leavers who, despite having perfectly good grades, won't get university places this year thanks to Labour cuts.

Speaking as someone in the education sector who has just had to do a lot of work to help balance our books after several million quid's worth of cuts at the end of last year and the start of this (comedy moment: the brainless suggestion by Mandelson that we make savings by teaching undergraduate degrees over two years rather than three), I'm not even slightly scared about the new government. It's pretty much impossible for them to be worse.

There is of course, a university that does provide undergraduate degrees over two years - the private University of Buckingham. I used to work there, and it was quite possible. It is very popular with students, and has established a good name for itself.

It's worth remembering that the UK exports education, particularly through universities, which bring in a lot of money (£8 billion per annum, I believe).

Marvin, you should have been working in universities under the Tories. I've been here under both, and I think you're in for a shock!

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I see unemployment's up.

I blame the Tory government.

[Snigger]

And someone was stabbed yesterday. The Government's lost control of crime already...!

[Eek!]

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The public know fully well that the spending cuts are the product of Labour's economic mismanagement so I think it unlikely that either of the coalition parties will be blamed.

Yes, let's perpetuate the lie that the world-wide economic and banking crisis is all Labour's fault. Oh and the structural deficit? That can't have anything to do with how massive underinvested in the the public sector was in the 80's could it?

Oh and which party oppossed Gordon Brown when he reduced the national debt in the 1990s?

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Dinghy Sailor

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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The public know fully well that the spending cuts are the product of Labour's economic mismanagement so I think it unlikely that either of the coalition parties will be blamed.

Yes, let's perpetuate the lie that the world-wide economic and banking crisis is all Labour's fault. Oh and the structural deficit? That can't have anything to do with how massive underinvested in the the public sector was in the 80's could it?

Oh and which party oppossed Gordon Brown when he reduced the national debt in the 1990s?

AFZ

I only stopped hearing, "It's all the fault of the last Tory administration" a couple of years ago, and it's popped up once or twice since then. It's your turn now, so suck it up.

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Preach Christ, because this old humanity has used up all hopes and expectations, but in Christ hope lives and remains.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
There is of course, a university that does provide undergraduate degrees over two years - the private University of Buckingham. I used to work there, and it was quite possible. It is very popular with students, and has established a good name for itself.

For sure. My point was that it's a laughable idea in terms of saving money - it would mean receiving a third less in tuition fees per student, thus dramatically reducing university income.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
Yes, let's perpetuate the lie that the world-wide economic and banking crisis is all Labour's fault.


No-one is saying that. What we're saying is the seriousness of the effect it's had on Britain is Labour's fault.

quote:
Oh and the structural deficit? That can't have anything to do with how massive underinvested in the the public sector was in the 80's could it?
Let's be fair, the reasons for this are twofold: World War 2 and Unions.

World War 2, because it didn't quite destroy the country to the extent that we'd have had to completely rebuild, as it did to Germany and France. Instead we were able to "make do and mend", which was cheaper at the time but has left us operating with a lot of infrastructure that was outdated even in the forties and a culture of preferring to patch up the cracks in failing systems rather than completely rebuilding them.

The Unions, because they've seen to it that most increases in public service spending go straight into the pockets of the workers rather than into structural improvement works where the benefits would be felt for generations to come.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
quote:
Where they will probably come unstuck is in dealings with the EU.
I don't think it will be either. Given that the euro's in trouble and the 'European Project' has run into the sand (IMO) the Con-Dems probably won't have too much to disagree about. Even if the Lib Dems were governing on their own I can't imagine them wanting to take the UK into the eurozone any time soon.
Sarkozy thinks
he can cure Cameron's Europhobia.

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Moth

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
There is of course, a university that does provide undergraduate degrees over two years - the private University of Buckingham. I used to work there, and it was quite possible. It is very popular with students, and has established a good name for itself.

For sure. My point was that it's a laughable idea in terms of saving money - it would mean receiving a third less in tuition fees per student, thus dramatically reducing university income.
Well, you could to charge more, which would be justified by the extended teaching time (Buckingham has four terms per year, and teaches over the calendar year rather than the academic year). Actually, Buckingham now charges £8000 a year. In theory the student can still be better off because they have to keep themselves for a year less, but that's offset by the inability to work over the summer. It's certainly attractive to mature students who only spend two years out of employment rather than three.

But anyway, why would it mean less money for unis even if you charge the same? They pay for only two years, but each year you get have the same number of students in, so the throughput is faster. Surely you would have just as many students at any one time, all paying the same as they do now?

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"There are governments that burn books, and then there are those that sell the libraries and shut the universities to anyone who can't pay for a key." Laurie Penny.

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Imaginary Friend

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
I think that the education sector ought to be very, very afraid.

Tell it to all the school leavers who, despite having perfectly good grades, won't get university places this year thanks to Labour cuts.
That's a rather narrow view of the education sector, don't you think?!

Personally, I'm far more worried that any person with a bee in their bonnet will be able to set up a school and indoctrinate children with whatever wacky, religiously-motived, racist* nonsense they want. Well, okay, that's rather hyperbolic, but Gove's ideas are emphatically not going to enhance equality of opportunity, but only cream off funding to a certain part of society.

* See from about 7"30 in the video

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
So the British evangelical right are going to learn in short order what the American evangelical right have yet to notice. That their job is to deliver the maximum number of votes for the minimum number of concessions.

What evangelical right? Rumour hath it that Ms May is an Anglo-Catholic, of FiF persuasion.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Rumour hath it that Ms May is an Anglo-Catholic, of FiF persuasion.

Really? I didn't know that. My very low view of her has risen somewhat.

Do you have any evidence of that at all?

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Dinghy Sailor

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quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
But anyway, why would it mean less money for unis even if you charge the same? They pay for only two years, but each year you get have the same number of students in, so the throughput is faster. Surely you would have just as many students at any one time, all paying the same as they do now?

This whole line of reasoning ignores the fact that universities aren't meant to be solely teaching institutions. If you grind the staff's noses to the lecture theatre wall all year round, they'll never get to do any research.

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Preach Christ, because this old humanity has used up all hopes and expectations, but in Christ hope lives and remains.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Ender's Shadow
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quote:
Originally posted by Dinghy Sailor:
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
But anyway, why would it mean less money for unis even if you charge the same? They pay for only two years, but each year you get have the same number of students in, so the throughput is faster. Surely you would have just as many students at any one time, all paying the same as they do now?

This whole line of reasoning ignores the fact that universities aren't meant to be solely teaching institutions. If you grind the staff's noses to the lecture theatre wall all year round, they'll never get to do any research.
Isn't it time for universities to radically reconsider how they operate? Particularly, wouldn't it be better to have national examinations for BA and BSc degrees at least in mainstream subjects (Chemistry, English, French, Medicine, Nursing etc) supported by internet broadcast lectures by a single or perhaps a pair of lecturers for each course (i.e. two versions available) while the rest of the teaching staff are available to be consulted / run small seminars to deal with issues that the students are finding difficult. A bonus of this is that there would be an end to grade inflation as different universities compete standards down...

--------------------
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

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Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells
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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Isn't it time for universities to radically reconsider how they operate? Particularly, wouldn't it be better to have national examinations for BA and BSc degrees at least in mainstream subjects (Chemistry, English, French, Medicine, Nursing etc)...

I would imagine Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, etc. are vast areas of study with a multitude of possible undergraduate courses. You want national exams set for every possible course?
quote:
...supported by internet broadcast lectures by a single or perhaps a pair of lecturers for each course (i.e. two versions available)...
Hmmm... having sat through a few internet broadcast lectures, I think I prefer face-to-face lecturing.
quote:
...while the rest of the teaching staff are available to be consulted / run small seminars to deal with issues that the students are finding difficult.
What happens if a maths department has no one with training in Algebraic Number Theory? Would a student in that department still be able to take a course in the subject?

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was phil2357

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Dinghy Sailor:
I only stopped hearing, "It's all the fault of the last Tory administration" a couple of years ago, and it's popped up once or twice since then. It's your turn now, so suck it up.

No.

I will suck it up when conservatives stop pretending that the world-wide economic crisis was all Gordon Brown’s fault. Whilst there is no doubt that the government could have regulated the banks more – it is ridiculous to hear this from the party that spend the entire decade complaining about over regulation.

I will suck it up when the conservatives stop lying about the national debt. They know it’s totally misleading they talking about ‘doubling the national debt.’ The classic cash fallacy. In the same terms the previous Conservative Government quadrupled the national debt. We have gone from one of the lowest national debts as a proportion of GDP to somewhere in the middle (Amongst the G8). Oh and which party opposed Gordon Brown in 2000 when he used the £22Bn from G3 mobile phone licences to pay off the national debt.

I will suck it up when the conservatives start telling the truth about the NHS improvements. Look at the King’s Fund reports for independent information.

I will suck it up when we have a Health Secretary who doesn’t say he wants to remove political interference from the NHS (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think this is a good idea) and then say that he will create a special fund to pay for the cancer drugs that NICE have rejected because they don’t work very well.

I will suck it up when conservatives stop lying about Crime. The British Crime Survey shows actual crime at historically low levels. A rise in recorded crime is a good thing! I want to see recorded crime equal to the BCS levels. It’s very disappointing how poor the debate is. [If you want to say that crime is up, that’s clearly ridiculous – alternatively if you want to tell me that the government can’t take credit for the drop in car crime because better technology makes cars harder to break into, then I’m interested.]

I will suck it up when conservatives who think we’re soft on Asylum seekers go and spend some time in one of the camps and discover just how appalling things are for those fleeing persecution.

I will suck it when conservatives who think our immigration policy isn’t working actually talk to someone who’s been through the process and discover just how hard it is to get into Britain. I work with some doctors who were recruited from India because we needed them and still they had to wait 2 months to get their visas sorted.

I will suck it up when we have a Prime Minister who doesn’t say he wants a ‘new politics’ and at the same time introduced a bill to make a no-confidence vote need to be 55% making it impossible to remove him as Prime Minister.

Oh and I’d be more likely to suck it up if the previous Conservative government hadn’t blamed everything of the Labour Party of the 1970’s right up to 1997.

AFZ

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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells
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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
I will suck it up when we have a Prime Minister who doesn’t say he wants a ‘new politics’ and at the same time introduced a bill to make a no-confidence vote need to be 55% making it impossible to remove him as Prime Minister.

AIUI, Cameron would need 55% of Commons support to dissolve Parliament. Nothing to do with confidence motions. If a simple majority vote against the government on a confidence motion then a general election has to be called.

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was phil2357

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Matt Black

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Yes, the 55% thing is to stop the Tories being able to pull the plug on the coalition anytime they feel that it isn't going their way.

[ETA - And, AFZ, the massive deficit we have- and the resulting necessary painful cuts that we're now going to 'enjoy'- is largely Brown's fault, in that he ran up a pretty humungous deficit during the boom times, which left us with a large minus of sod all when the shit hit the fan.]

[ 14. May 2010, 08:23: Message edited by: Matt Black ]

--------------------
"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Yes, the 55% thing is to stop the Tories being able to pull the plug on the coalition anytime they feel that it isn't going their way.

No it's not. As Simon Hughes (LibDem) explained on Radio 5 Wed night it means that a simple majority of 326 would not be enough to bring down the government, i.e. If Cameron loses the support of the commons he can remain PM if his party wants him to... if the Tories had won only 40% of the seats would it be a 60% majority, I wonder?

[ETA - And, AFZ, the massive deficit we have- and the resulting necessary painful cuts that we're now going to 'enjoy'- is largely Brown's fault, in that he ran up a pretty humungous deficit during the boom times, which left us with a large minus of sod all when the shit hit the fan.] [/QB][/QUOTE]

Just coz you keep saying that, doesn't make it true. Show me the numbers!

AFZ

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Matt Black

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# 2210

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Er...other than Zog, which planet have you been living on?

--------------------
"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Er...other than Zog, which planet have you been living on?

Show me the numbers. They're all in the public domain.

AFZ

[ 14. May 2010, 08:43: Message edited by: alienfromzog ]

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Particularly, wouldn't it be better to have national examinations for BA and BSc degrees at least in mainstream subjects (Chemistry, English, French, Medicine, Nursing etc) supported by internet broadcast lectures by a single or perhaps a pair of lecturers for each course (i.e. two versions available) while the rest of the teaching staff are available to be consulted / run small seminars to deal with issues that the students are finding difficult.

That's the Open University. You can join it any day you want. They are an excellent institution.

Meanwhile, back in the rest of the world, the national curriculum idea doesn't even work at secondary school level. The total field that needs to be taught in each subject is too big. If every one teaches to the same curriculum there will be large parts of each subject that are never taught. It is necessary that people learn different things from each other so that someone, somewhere, is studying each aspect of the subject.

That is so even in mainstream secondary school. There are things I was taught at O-level in history that no-one studies at school now in tis country. There are things I studied in biology at O-level that no-one studies at that level now in this country. (There were things we did at A-level that Americans don't even do in undergradiate degrees - one reason that this country to reprduce a cliche, still "punches above its weight" in scientific research)

Also diversity is strength. Certainly intellectual strength, and technological strength. Research, and development, asnd scholarship, need people who know all sorts of different things - if everyone works to a common curriculum as undergraduates then either we need to waste years of postgraduate education catching up and specialising (as already happens in medical education and in science in America) or else we import specialists and researchers from other countries (currently Britain *exports* higher education, both because our academics emigrate, and because people come from all over the world to study here - and part of the reason is the breadth and depth and diversity of our university system and we are already at risk of losing that as the accountants and the managers continue to take over)

Also many - probably most - university subjects involve disputes. Certainly the one I have studied most, biology. Even at A-level we often were told that some people think one thing and others another - and occasionally that the textbooks were wrong and know we knew better. By the time I got to university you could get a degree my merely reproducing what you were taught but to get a good degree you needed to be able to argue your case. (Trust me on this - I got a very bad degree the first time I did it then I went back years later & got a very good one so I know the difference!)

Anyway, if you have one curriculum you have one view of a subject. Or at best potted definitions of two or three standard party lines. What we need is university teachers who know their own specialistation in detail. One of the wonderful things about both the universities I have studied in is that I was taught by, and met, people who did real research. Scientists who knew more abut some tiny facet of the natural world than anyone else in the world. (Hey, there was even one little thing I found out that I suspect no-one else knew at the time)

The university system is also, among other things, a mechanism for communicating recent research to undergraduates. In the part-time degree I did between 1997 and 2004 in many of the course modules I did, for example in moecular biology, I wrote essays that had no references beore 1990 (not all of them - a couple of essays I did for palaeontology or the history of ecology had references from the 19th century). Some of the references were from papers published after I course started the course. Some of that works because the lecturers were keeping up with their own subject. No national curriculum can move fast enough for that.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ender's Shadow
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quote:
Originally posted by phil2357:
If a simple majority vote against the government on a confidence motion then a general election has to be called.

No - the government has to resign and someone else be given the chance to form a government. It is, for example, possible that enough by-elections will have occurred that a saner rainbow coalition would be able to form a majority. Personally I would much prefer the German constructive no confidence system - a new Chancellor must be elected to replace the one losing the no confidence motion - but that's too much to hope for.

As far as my comments about reforming universities are concerned: the same issues arise at the moment in terms of what any particular university can or can't offer based on what its staff know... I think the issue arises from the massive expansion of knowledge since the universities really got going in the 19th century; back than a three year course could realistically expect to cover ALL a subject in a way that is inconceivable these days. These days - not a chance. So my question is whether it makes any sense whatsoever for tens of universities all to have first year courses in Inorganic Chemistry, Nuclear Physics or Microeconomics or 19th century English Literature, all separately examined and marked to differing standards. Why not have a single curriculum, lecture course and exam on these basic components of a degree? Admittedly my experience of lectures at uni was that they were non-interactive - older guy walks in, talks for an hour and walks out with no expectation of questions. But the Open University model seems to work well - this is really an extension of that.

--------------------
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

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Matt Black

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# 2210

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quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Er...other than Zog, which planet have you been living on?

Show me the numbers. They're all in the public domain.

AFZ

Would you accept them if I did?

--------------------
"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Would you accept them if I did?

Show me the numbers.

Then we can discuss, 'humongous' and structural deficit and national debt as a proportion of GDP and public sector investment and necessary public spending.

Or you could just restate your point endlessly.

AFZ

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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Ender's Shadow
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I cross posted with Ken's response... I see his point, but I suspect he is applying his biological and molecular biological perspective, where things were still moving in the 1990s, to subjects where things are now very set - at least at the 1st year undergraduate level. I write as someone who has done both a normal degree and some OU courses: there's plenty of space in the OU approach to develop the ability to argue the issues, and in the context of more online access to different points of view, this might be able to produce a viable option. I take his point about curriculum narrowing and accountants; there is a problem there...

--------------------
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

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Matt Black

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Well,AFZ, here's a good starting point from the ONS - before the recession ie: in the boom times, government debt already exceeded 40% of GDP. Now, fiscal wisdom would say that one should in an ideal world be looking to accumulate a surplus in good economic times (like Mr Brown's much-vaunted 'war-chest' of c.2000 - I wonder what happened to that), not a debt, still less a whopping great 40% plus of GDP (which, incidentally, broke Gordon's own 'Golden Rule'), and that's before you even factor in so-called 'off balance' items like PFI...

Now, are you going to accept those figures or continue to deny the elephant in the drawing room and the consequent frightful prospect now facing this country?

[ 14. May 2010, 09:02: Message edited by: Matt Black ]

--------------------
"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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alienfromzog

Ship's Alien
# 5327

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Well,AFZ, here's a good starting point from the ONS

Yep, I've read that page too.

Have you looked at the longer trends? Up until 2008. The national debt as a proportion of GDP was lower every year than it was in 1996.

But that's not what you said, anyway. You told me that Brown ran 'humongous' deficits.

Try this page for starters, although it doesn't have the longer-term data. Table M7 is interesting; deficits as a proportion of GDP:
1994/5 - 6.6
1995/6 - 5.2
1996/7 - 3.9
1997/8 - -0.3
1998/9 - -1.2
1999/0 - -3.7
2000/1 - 0.3
2001/2 - 2.6
2002/3 - 3.3
2003/4 - 3.6
2004/5 - 3.1
2006/7 - 2.7
2007/8 - 2.8
2008/9 - 6.8

So which one is the humongous deficit prior to 2008/9?

AFZ

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

An Alien's View of Earth - my blog (or vanity exercise...)

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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Well,AFZ, here's a good starting point from the ONS - before the recession ie: in the boom times, government debt already exceeded 40% of GDP. Now, fiscal wisdom would say that one should in an ideal world be looking to accumulate a surplus in good economic times (like Mr Brown's much-vaunted 'war-chest' of c.2000 - I wonder what happened to that), not a debt, still less a whopping great 40% plus of GDP (which, incidentally, broke Gordon's own 'Golden Rule'), and that's before you even factor in so-called 'off balance' items like PFI...


The notes to this table state: "The Maastricht Treaty's Excessive Deficit Procedure sets deficit and debt targets of 3 per cent and 60 per cent respectively for all EU countries" (emphasis mine) The table shows that only in 2009 did the UK miss this target in the four years shown in the chart. So one man*'s humungus debt appears to be another's successfully staying well below the limit.

* and woman's, these days.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt

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