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Source: (consider it) Thread: Hypocrite Socialists
L'organist
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# 17338

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posted by Sober Preacher's Kid
quote:
The Viscountcy of Stansgate was created in 1942. It was a nice title, but I thought Tony Benn came by his money by being his father's designated heir by will; the viscountcy is an entirely separate thing entirely.
The money in the Benn family came viz his grandmother, a scion of the Wedgwood family *, and the publishing firm started by Tony's great-grandfather - so a fair bit of inherited wealth there.

And don't forget his grandfather was also a baronet, so not exactly run-of-the-mill.

<tangent> * Margaret Rutherford was also part of the same extended family>

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Gamaliel
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My granddad was a working class Tory. He grew up in a two-up, two-down back-to-back slum in Birmingham. He was one of 12 and two of his siblings were severely disabled. One died at 16, another in her 30s and my wonderful Great Aunt Nell had the worst case of cerebral palsy in the Midlands ...

He used to wear his sisters' hand-downs around the house and when he started school he was given some clothes 'on the parish' which were a kind of standardised uniform which immediately marked you out as even poorer than the other poor kids.

Yet he always voted Conservative, never took a day's sick-leave and never went on strike.

Sure, I don't understand it either but it's a position I respect. If you'd have known my Granddad and his feisty, salt-of-the-earth sisters then you'd have respected it too.

So yes, it's a position I respect.

Deano's position isn't. Deano I despise.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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Net Spinster
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

The money in the Benn family came viz his grandmother, a scion of the Wedgwood family *, and the publishing firm started by Tony's great-grandfather - so a fair bit of inherited wealth there.

And don't forget his grandfather was also a baronet, so not exactly run-of-the-mill.

<tangent> * Margaret Rutherford was also part of the same extended family>

He is certainly not a known descendant of the Josiah Wedgwood who founded the pottery firm. A footnote in the Wedgwood Pedigrees (written by a Wedgwood colleague of Tony Benn's father) speculates that Benn's ancestor Thomas Sparrow (18th century) had a mother who was a Wedgwood; Sparrow was a solicitor for the pottery firm and had some legal connections with another line of the family. However a kin relationship is pure speculation with no documentary evidence.

BTW I note the Wedgwood Museum collection has been saved from dispersal due to the bankruptcy of Waterford Wedgwood.

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Callan
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Originally posted by l'organist:

quote:
And don't forget his grandfather was also a baronet, so not exactly run-of-the-mill.
Wasn't it C. S. Lewis who defined an unimpeachably aristocratic pedigree as being "untainted by traitor, placeman or baronet"?

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toadstrike
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I suppose another way of looking at it is to put yourself in the shoes of the solicitor drawing up the will. He has to act in the interests of his client and also, in the case of a will, the client's heirs.

He has template wills and guidelines as to how to go about it to minimise tax. He probably doesn't know how not to and even if he did and even if his client insisted on it, there'd be hell to pay to the deprived heirs after the client died and what they would say was an unnecessarily large part of the estate went to the taxman.

Probably the solicitor would refuse to prepare a will that did not minimise taxes and he wouldn't get one who would do anything different.

That's not to defend Benn though, he was wrong on so many things I don't know where to begin. I'm not at all surprised that he had a lot to leave after years of being a socialist supposedly worrying about the deprived.

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rolyn
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Anyone who puts value on money becomes a hypocrite automatically, there seems no way of stopping it.
The only reason I take my hat off to a tory is because they make no apology for being money grabbers.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
My granddad was a working class Tory. He grew up in a two-up, two-down back-to-back slum in Birmingham. He was one of 12 and two of his siblings were severely disabled. One died at 16, another in her 30s and my wonderful Great Aunt Nell had the worst case of cerebral palsy in the Midlands ...

He used to wear his sisters' hand-downs around the house and when he started school he was given some clothes 'on the parish' which were a kind of standardised uniform which immediately marked you out as even poorer than the other poor kids.

Yet he always voted Conservative, never took a day's sick-leave and never went on strike.

Sure, I don't understand it either but it's a position I respect. If you'd have known my Granddad and his feisty, salt-of-the-earth sisters then you'd have respected it too.

So yes, it's a position I respect.

Deano's position isn't. Deano I despise.

Was there gravel and/or a lake involved in his upbringing?
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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
My granddad was a working class Tory. He grew up in a two-up, two-down back-to-back slum in Birmingham. He was one of 12 and two of his siblings were severely disabled. One died at 16, another in her 30s and my wonderful Great Aunt Nell had the worst case of cerebral palsy in the Midlands ...

He used to wear his sisters' hand-downs around the house and when he started school he was given some clothes 'on the parish' which were a kind of standardised uniform which immediately marked you out as even poorer than the other poor kids.

Yet he always voted Conservative, never took a day's sick-leave and never went on strike.

Sure, I don't understand it either but it's a position I respect. If you'd have known my Granddad and his feisty, salt-of-the-earth sisters then you'd have respected it too.

So yes, it's a position I respect.

Deano's position isn't. Deano I despise.

Was there gravel and/or a lake involved in his upbringing?
Or perhaps a shoebox in't middle o' t'road?

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

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Gamaliel
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Ah, but he was from the Midlands and not Yorkshire. So he never complained, he never made a big deal about any of this ... it's just the way things were.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Piglet
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
... Or perhaps a shoebox in't middle o' t'road?

You beat me to it, SS. [Big Grin]

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alto n a soprano who can read music

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HughWillRidmee
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quote:
Originally posted by deano:
......Let's put it this way, I'm morally more comfortable I have shares in BP than in Tony Benn! At least one doesn't pretend to be only interested in money, but openly admits to it!

Just wondering how someone who claims to be an Anglican (and therefore presumably regards themselves as a follower of the Christ) squares holding shares with Matthew 6:19/21 and ibid31/34 - but I'm sure there's a complete defence against any suggestion of hypocrisy.

Question - Given the content of the Bible - is it possible for a believer not to be seen as a pick-and-mix* Christian?

quote:
Originally posted by toadstrike:

That's not to defend Benn though, he was wrong on so many things I don't know where to begin. I'm not at all surprised that he had a lot to leave after years of being a socialist supposedly worrying about the deprived.

Back in the mid to later 1970s I worked quite closely with the guy who had been Tony Benn's election agent in Bristol.

He maintained that Tony Benn, having seen from the inside the misuse of the working class by those who constituted "The Establishment", genuinely sought the overthrow of those who wielded power. He also believed that Tony Benn's mistake was to seek to use the extreme left as a route to hasten such overthrow - TB thought the working classes would dump the extremists once the established order was gone. My friend believed that the left would have dumped TB and kept power for themselves (he eventually decided to eschew the Social Democrats and fight the extreme left from within the Labour Party).

One thing his agent was adamant about - TB was one of the most effective constituency MPs of modern times. For example - he said that Bristol SE's council tenants knew that if they had problems getting a leak fixed a visit to TB's surgery would produce immediate remedy. Unless you have better sources than I you might consider withdrawing "supposedly"?

*as in the "Woolies" of my childhood - I'll have a few sherbet lemons, a couple of chocolate limes, a few blackcurrant liquorice sweets and a handful of mixed toffee, but I don't like glacier mints or barley sugar, no acid drops (of course) and definitely, absolutely, no humbug.

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The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things.. but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them...
W. K. Clifford, "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

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L'organist
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Like so many things about Tony Benn you have to dig to get at the truth.

Education, for example: he did his best to hide his, getting references to his own schooling deleted from Who'e Who, etc.

His children have followed suit: you can look in vain for references to their attendance at Norland Place School - all three of them; Stephen and Hilary have done their best to erase mention of their time at Westminster Under School.

So reading TB you'd think his children went to state schools - not entirely true: all started in the private sector and the switch to state happened later - much later in the case of Stephen (for A levels) and Hilary (13), but of course they all only list Holland Park Comprehensive.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by HughWillRidmee:
One thing his agent was adamant about - TB was one of the most effective constituency MPs of modern times. For example - he said that Bristol SE's council tenants knew that if they had problems getting a leak fixed a visit to TB's surgery would produce immediate remedy. Unless you have better sources than I you might consider withdrawing "supposedly"?

When I was at Theological College back in the 80s, the local MP came in to give a talk. This was Bernard Weatherill, the (Conservative) Speaker at the time. Someone asked if there were any MPs he particularly admired, and he immediately answered by saying "Tony Benn", not specifically as a constituency MP but certainly as a great Parliamentarian. The two men would have been poles apart politically.
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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by HughWillRidmee:
One thing his agent was adamant about - TB was one of the most effective constituency MPs of modern times. For example - he said that Bristol SE's council tenants knew that if they had problems getting a leak fixed a visit to TB's surgery would produce immediate remedy. Unless you have better sources than I you might consider withdrawing "supposedly"?

When I was at Theological College back in the 80s, the local MP came in to give a talk. This was Bernard Weatherill, the (Conservative) Speaker at the time. Someone asked if there were any MPs he particularly admired, and he immediately answered by saying "Tony Benn", not specifically as a constituency MP but certainly as a great Parliamentarian. The two men would have been poles apart politically.
Weatherill and Benn were both vegetarians, so they had something in common at least. When the Secretary of State for Agriculture, John Selwyn Gummer, gave a speech to farmers denouncing vegetarianism as against the God given order of things, Benn popped up in the House, shortly after to say that it was a brave Minister who accused the Speaker of the House of unnatural practices!

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Alan Cresswell

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That would be John "excuse me while I force feed this burger to my children" Gummer. A real stranger to saying and doing really daft things. Not.

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Caissa
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There is a ton of false consciousness in the working class.
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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
That would be John "excuse me while I force feed this burger to my children" Gummer. A real stranger to saying and doing really daft things. Not.

That burger fortunately did Ben Gummer no harm. He is a really excellent MP locally - and I say that as someone who does not agree with his political views!

[ 04. November 2014, 15:30: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
That would be John "excuse me while I force feed this burger to my children" Gummer. A real stranger to saying and doing really daft things. Not.

That burger fortunately did Ben Gummer no harm. He is a really excellent MP locally - and I say that as someone who does not agree with his political views!
Aaaah but imagine what he'd be like having NOT had the burger stuffed into him. [As clear a public case of child abuse as I've ever seen .....]
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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
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Lots of children grow up into very decent human beings despite having a pillock for a father. Which is very good news, since all fathers are capable of being right pillocks at times.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Lots of children grow up into very decent human beings despite having a pillock for a father. Which is very good news, since all fathers are capable of being right pillocks at times.

Anyone quoting Philip Larkin gets it.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Like so many things about Tony Benn you have to dig to get at the truth.

This is different to other human beings, how exactly?

EDIT: I'm mentally going through the colleagues I've worked for years and trying to work out which of them have given me a detailed account of their schooling history. Not a one. Best start digging.

[ 04. November 2014, 21:58: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
That would be John "excuse me while I force feed this burger to my children" Gummer. A real stranger to saying and doing really daft things. Not.

That burger fortunately did Ben Gummer no harm. He is a really excellent MP locally - and I say that as someone who does not agree with his political views!
Aaaah but imagine what he'd be like having NOT had the burger stuffed into him. [As clear a public case of child abuse as I've ever seen .....]
I thought he gave the burger to his daughter. If he daughter is now Ben Gummer then the side-effects may be worse than we first thought...
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Curiosity killed ...

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The "warm up" chat before the live broadcast of Any Questions at the BBC (the summer shows) tends to be allocated to journalists and producers various. The audience is brought in and seated while the production team goes through the submitted questions to choose 10 or 11 for possible use and someone gets persuaded to go out front with a microphone and chat about the workings of the BBC.

One of these journalists chatted about Tony Benn who was a regular on the panel. Panellists get no notice of the questions, but Benn was always prepared because he would research anything he thought might come up. Apparently he would come clutching huge (100 page) wodges of his research.

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
That would be John "excuse me while I force feed this burger to my children" Gummer. A real stranger to saying and doing really daft things. Not.

That burger fortunately did Ben Gummer no harm. He is a really excellent MP locally - and I say that as someone who does not agree with his political views!
Aaaah but imagine what he'd be like having NOT had the burger stuffed into him. [As clear a public case of child abuse as I've ever seen .....]
I thought he gave the burger to his daughter. If he daughter is now Ben Gummer then the side-effects may be worse than we first thought...
Indeed. You're right: it was given to Cordelia. Phew!
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Lots of children grow up into very decent human beings despite having a pillock for a father. Which is very good news, since all fathers are capable of being right pillocks at times.

Anyone quoting Philip Larkin gets it.
It's taken as read.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Caissa
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# 16710

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An office mate of mine who was a member of the International Socialists was fond of saying that you can't opt out of capitalism.
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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by toadstrike:
I suppose another way of looking at it is to put yourself in the shoes of the solicitor drawing up the will. He has to act in the interests of his client and also, in the case of a will, the client's heirs.

He has template wills and guidelines as to how to go about it to minimise tax. He probably doesn't know how not to and even if he did and even if his client insisted on it, there'd be hell to pay to the deprived heirs after the client died and what they would say was an unnecessarily large part of the estate went to the taxman.

Probably the solicitor would refuse to prepare a will that did not minimise taxes and he wouldn't get one who would do anything different.

That's not to defend Benn though, he was wrong on so many things I don't know where to begin. I'm not at all surprised that he had a lot to leave after years of being a socialist supposedly worrying about the deprived.

That has many errors that need correction. A solicitor could not refuse to draw a will that did not conform with a client's instructions and still retain the client. Ultimately, the solicitor must make a choice between following the instructions (and a wise solicitor would get very clear written instructions setting forth the advice given) or ceasing to act. Most I know would take the first path.

As for the duty to heirs: I know that English law has gone on a frolic of its own in relation to negligence claims by heirs, but the position is still that the solicitor's duty is to follow instructions. A solicitor who did that, having given appropriate advice, could not be liable to heirs to an estate diminished by payment of duties.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
An office mate of mine who was a member of the International Socialists was fond of saying that you can't opt out of capitalism.

That sounds a bit like trying to have one's cake and eat it.
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Matt Black

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As a Will-writing solicitor, I have to say that Gee D is correct.

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

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
An office mate of mine who was a member of the International Socialists was fond of saying that you can't opt out of capitalism.

That sounds a bit like trying to have one's cake and eat it.
If I remember my seventies leftie politics correctly, the International Socialists used this as a counter to those who oppose the closed shop, ie mandatory union membership, which is indeed another exaample of getting many of the beneifits of union bmembership without being a member.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Caissa
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His argument was that capitalism can't be opted out of; it has to be smashed.
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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
His argument was that capitalism can't be opted out of; it has to be smashed.

I see. A proper Trotskyite!

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Doc Tor
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# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
An office mate of mine who was a member of the International Socialists was fond of saying that you can't opt out of capitalism.

That sounds a bit like trying to have one's cake and eat it.
That sounds a bit like you know nothing about socialism. Certainly, nothing on the relationship between capital and labour. Fortunately, your ignorance is easily remedied.

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Forward the New Republic

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
His argument was that capitalism can't be opted out of; it has to be smashed.

I see. A proper Trotskyite!
I remember, years ago, being present at a student unions hustings. The first question was to ask the candidates to tell a joke. The Green candidate came up with: "How many Socialists Workers does it take to change a lightbulb?"
"If it won't change; smash it".
Most of us fell about laughting and the SWPers burst into spontaneous applause.

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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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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Caissa:
An office mate of mine who was a member of the International Socialists was fond of saying that you can't opt out of capitalism.

That sounds a bit like trying to have one's cake and eat it.
That sounds a bit like you know nothing about socialism. Certainly, nothing on the relationship between capital and labour. Fortunately, your ignorance is easily remedied.
Hmmn. Point taken, but I'm not sure I'd have used the word "easily".

[A Catholic of my acquaintance used to observe that the world would be a different place, but for Martin Luther's piles and Karl Marx's facial carbuncles.]

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Baptist Trainfan
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[Or Oliver Cromwell's warts - perchance].
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Barnabas62
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Nice variation!

(I suspect there are several counter-reformation one-liners).

Link to Marx

[ 07. November 2014, 17:58: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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orfeo

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Ah yes, people don't have any kind of meaningful personality, just a reaction to their faulty biochemical processes.

There is of course some research suggesting fundamental differences between left-wing and right-wing brains.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Ah yes, people don't have any kind of meaningful personality, just a reaction to their faulty biochemical processes.

There is of course some research suggesting fundamental differences between left-wing and right-wing brains.

Though that might be qualified as being between the brains of people who a) self identify as left-wing or right-wing, AND b) submit themselves to be tested.
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Ah yes, people don't have any kind of meaningful personality, just a reaction to their faulty biochemical processes.

There is of course some research suggesting fundamental differences between left-wing and right-wing brains.

Such reductionism, orfeo! Tut tut!

Aches and pains and other kinds of physical problems have an influence on our psychological states. Which Marx kind of confessed, didn't he? But they don't necessarily determine them. There is this thing called self-control.

Of course some people are indeed just born irascible. Maybe Marx was? But maybe, just maybe, he actually understood this feature of his personality and the influence of his facial boils on his writing?

Or maybe he was just overstating, for a bit of fun?

Who knows?

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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L'organist
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Stephen Benn has taken up his hereditary Viscountcy and is expected to stand for the next vacant Labour hereditary seat in the House of Lords.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Stephen Benn has taken up his hereditary Viscountcy and is expected to stand for the next vacant Labour hereditary seat in the House of Lords.

I suppose it's the parliamentary equivalent of being inside the tent pissing out.

That said, this current House of Lords is a shambles. I'm undecided between a fully elected second house or no second chamber, just a pool of expertise independent of the House of Commons, to form committees that questions ministers and senior civil servants and reviews bills.

[ 12. November 2014, 14:25: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Stephen Benn has taken up his hereditary Viscountcy and is expected to stand for the next vacant Labour hereditary seat in the House of Lords.

I know, Passer linked to an article about the subject a couple of weeks ago.

In related news, do pass on to the Bach Family my condolences about the death of Johann Sebastian.

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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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L'organist
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Don't know what Passer linked to but it wasn't about that.

The Clerk to the Parliaments office in the House of Lords only got the request at the end of last week and the claim was only accepted by the Lord Chancellor on Monday ...

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by passer:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
Benn did give up his title but in common with most faux socialists (some of us are the real deal), he made sure to keep his cash.

He gave up his title??? How inconsiderate! I thought he just gave up his seat in The Lords.

Will no-one think of the children?

Here.

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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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L'organist
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You can petition all you like, doesn't mean you'll be given the nod.

And the nod came from the Party, via the four Labour hereditaries (I'm told some of the Labour life peers were distinctly queasy about the whole thing).

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Callan
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Clearly, I can see that Viscount Stansgate would have to ruthlessly elbow his way across the massed ranks of Labour hereditary peers.

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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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L'organist
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Not so snide: there are 20 hereditary peers nominated as 'Labour' peers: only four sitting.

So there is competition to become a sitting Labour hereditary.

It has been suggested that Stansgate should petition to sit on the crossbenches and then wait until one of the four labour hereditaries dies or retires, but seeing that he has already petitioned to be considered for a labour seat this won't be a shoo-in.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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