Thread: Purgatory: And they're off - UK election rant Board: Limbo / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Yesterday's debate between the chancellor of the exchequer and his conservative and lib dem shadows is generally seen as the starting gun for the election. So it seems good to me to indulge myself with the rant that's been building over the past few years...

In the red, socialist corner, cowering desperately away from the title and pretending that they aren't the heirs of real socialists, we have the Labour party. Elected 13 years ago, the joys of office slowly but surely soured the early years of significant positive change, and the recent debacle of the recession and the sight of chickens coming to roost leaves them looking deeply flawed. The argument that 'we screwed it up last time, but this time we'll do better' is one that is not generally accepted from alcoholics, and the evidence of intoxication separating them from reality is easy to see. The failure to constrain public expenditure, instead hiding the true cost by failing to allow for either the pensions implicit in the 'investments' or the true cost of the PFI (Public Finance Initiative - a blatant effort at postponing the cost with an inevitable higher expenditure later) is wholly culpable. The wars in Iraq and especially Afghanistan were entered into without a full accounting of the real cost, leaving our soldiers to pay the price. And of course this government was in charge when the expenses scandal broke; whatever the rights or wrongs, their failure to be willing and enthusiastic about being open when it comes to bite them is perhaps inevitable, but still sickening. Meanwhile they are seriously proposing replacing the House of Lords with elected politicians. Whatever recent years have shown, the need for a group with the power to point to the lack of clothing of the elected ones is blatant; surely part of Italy's problem is this very lack.

Meanwhile, in the blue corner, we have a Tory party equally ill at ease with its ideological legacy, offering rather the prospect of better management of the country and the economy. One might hope that their privileged status and relative wealth would leave them less subject to the temptations of the expenses feeding trough, but instead many did succumb. This gave the leader the chance to purge a few whom he found problematic, whilst largely protecting his own elite. A brief display of candour about the need for 'swingeing cuts' led to polling discouragement, so convenient half truths were retreated to, not without indulging a populist cut of a proposed tax increase that is desperately needed. Meanwhile David Davis, who was willing to resign and stand again in a bye-election to highlight the growing loss of freedom in this country, was forced out of the shadow cabinet and left to fester on the back benches.

Sadly these are the only likely victors in the forthcoming election. Living as I do in a Lib Dem / Labour marginal, I shall hold my nose and vote Lib Dem on the grounds that regular change is probably better than endorsing a self perpetuating elite. But it is hard to rouse enthusiasm for the prospect of voting for a party that proposes introducing Proportional Representation. This will take the power of choosing the government from the hands of 40% of the electorate and handing it to 20% or less and allow special interests to wangle bribes for their people (as the Scots Nationalist are clearly already salivating at the prospect of being able to do in a hung parliament).

What of the alternatives? The BNP's emergence is a symptom of the failure of the present system; their overt racism has the virtue of honesty - at least they clearly believe in something, unlike the parties likely to win. But I'm obviously not going to vote for the racists...

Or indeed for UKIP; the hard question is to know whether they are really 'the BNP in blazers' or a truly non-racist party. Their emphasis against the EU is clearly sound; the idea that power should be transferred from people who you can sack at an election to those who are wholly unaccountable in any meaningful sense is logic of the authoritarian, though as a solution to the ability of voters to demand the irreconcilable, perhaps it has something to offer. And it's easier than changing the electorate, and if the electorate really get it wrong, they can be told to try again until they get it right - as the Irish found out over the Lisbon referendum...

Respect as a coherent party has the logic of the US Republicans: an untidy coalition of the religiously motivated, (in this case largely Islamic conservatives), with a group of political ideologues, in this case hard left socialists. At present however they are such a small group that their only effect is to distract a few activists from their natural home; the prospect of their giving the election to the right in the same way as third party candidates did in the US in 2000 can only raise a mild sigh of despair.

And meanwhile out on the fringe we have the Greens. For a moment at the time of the economic boom and the prospect of climate change being fought from a position of strength, there was a slight chance that their agenda would be seriously considered. Now however the pain of the recession and the self inflicted wounds of Emailgate have damaged their credibility at least for this election...

The lesson of the hype surrounding Blair and Obama when they first won, and the subsequent realisation that no one person can actually achieve mega change, is surely that we need to refrain from unrealistic expectations; human nature is flawed - so we can't really expect politicians to prove to be otherwise. The prospect of the anti-Christ, clearly prophesied in the New Testament, is a reminder that expecting too much from them is a recipe for total disaster; let's try rather to be faithful in praying for them and offering them support when they do well, not merely criticism when they cock up - as whoever gets in surely will...

[ 07. October 2010, 14:49: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Yorick (# 12169) on :
 
Yawn.

I hope the peanut gallery comes good on this one.
 
Posted by Yonatan (# 11091) on :
 
That's not a rant, that's an essay. I did like the comedy line though about the BNP's honesty regarding being racist.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
Can we just get the line in early about "They're all as bad as each other", and take it as read for the rest of the thread?
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
[Snore] I watched 30 seconds of the debate and switched channels.

We need a 'none of the above' choice on Ballot forms.

[Snore]
 
Posted by shamwari (# 15556) on :
 
else spoil the ballot paper
 
Posted by Dal Segno (# 14673) on :
 
If you wish to register a protest vote, then spoiling your ballot paper will not do it.

You need to vote Green or UKIP or Monster Raving Loony (YMMV) to register a decent protest.

The long way to make a change is to join a party, canvas for policy changes, stand for parliament and, in maybe 20 years time, become a cabinet minister.
 
Posted by The Great Gumby (# 10989) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
But it is hard to rouse enthusiasm for the prospect of voting for a party that proposes introducing Proportional Representation. This will take the power of choosing the government from the hands of 40% of the electorate and handing it to 20% or less and allow special interests to wangle bribes for their people (as the Scots Nationalist are clearly already salivating at the prospect of being able to do in a hung parliament).

Maybe I've missed something, but this is all just bollocks, isn't it? You might conceivably have a point about some systems of PR favouring third parties as "kingmakers" (although it's very unlikely that we'd adopt one of those systems, and the great benefit of systems like that is that even small parties can win seats, offering a perfect solution to your perceived lack of choice), but everything else is way off the mark.

You talk about a government elected by 40% of the electorate as if that's a good thing (hah!), and contrast it with your strange idea that PR would result in a government chosen by 20%. WTF? First, you need to define your terms. There's PR, and there's PR. The most likely form of PR in this country is STV, which is weak and not very proportional, and would merely have the effect of better representing everyone's views and preferences within the existing constituency system without the need for tactical voting and vote-swapping. If that bothers you, you need to get some perspective.

Second, you need to explain why a coalition government between parties polling 40% and 20% would result in the party polling 20% calling all the shots as you imply, why the 40% party would agree to a coalition on those terms, why their voters wouldn't turn elsewhere rather than continually voting for a party which has reasonable policies but bends over and spreads its cheeks at the first whiff of coalition, and why dictatorship by 40% is better than constructive compromise by 60%.

Third, you need to realise just how few votes actually matter in any election at the moment, how carefully the parties tailor their policies to appeal to the swing voters in their target constituencies, and how this relates to the lack of choice you were complaining about.

The rest of your rant was unintentionally amusing as well, but complaining that only two, virtually identical parties can win the election, while fainting in horror at the mere suggestion of some form of PR at some point in the future is spectacularly contradictory.
 
Posted by Adeodatus (# 4992) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
[Snore] I watched 30 seconds of the debate and switched channels.

We need a 'none of the above' choice on Ballot forms.

[Snore]

I agree, but the problem arises: what if None Of The Above wins?
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
Why be scared of a Minority Government, aka Hung Parliament? We've had three in a row here in the Land of Ice and Snow and it hasn't been the end of the world. It's even been mildly entertaining.
 
Posted by GreyFace (# 4682) on :
 
I have been known to spoil a ballot paper or even (shock) deliberately fail to vote. But then a friend pointed out that in doing so, I'm effectively saying that as I won't vote for one of the people willing to stand, and government is going to happen whether I like it or not, I'd prefer it if I was governed by somebody who wasn't elected.

Having said that, elected politicians sometimes need reminding that all that can really be said in terms of mandate to govern is that the electorate thought you were the least incompetent of those who actually bothered to apply for the job.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
Although I used to be a Labour party member (resigned over the loss of Caluse 4) I shall vote LibDem because the candidate, currently my MP, is a friend of mine.

But also because I like a 'well-hung' parliament.
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
The million and one irritations and directives emanating from Brussels mean that the Westminster Parliament is hardly worth bothering to vote for.

If UKIP weren't as mad as a box of frogs, they might be worth voting for to stem or even reverse the tide.

The West Lothian question hasn't been heard for a while. Any party got any good ideas on that one? Scottish MPs not allowed to vote on England (and/or Wales) only measures? Haven't checked the manifestos, but it's not making headlines.

[Disappointed] [brick wall] leads to: [Snore]
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Traveller:
The West Lothian question hasn't been heard for a while. Any party got any good ideas on that one? Scottish MPs not allowed to vote on England (and/or Wales) only measures? Haven't checked the manifestos, but it's not making headlines.

I think that's because in comparison to economic Armageddon and the complete destruction of our public services, banking industry, armed forces and civil liberties, whether or not a few Scottish MPs get to vote on certain matters is pretty small beer.

Edited to add: The very fact that you're bothered to bring that issue up speaks volumes about your own priorities.

[ 30. March 2010, 17:22: Message edited by: Imaginary Friend ]
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
The Conservatives have suggested (I think) altering the voting rights of Scottish MPs on English bills at certain stages of the the bill's progress through parliament (so, say, the whole House can vote on it except at Committee stage, when English MPs only vote).

Also, the Conservatives want to reduce the number of MPs in Parliament. I would imagine that the number of Scottish MPs would be reduced further if this were to occur.

I suppose the importance of the West Lothian question will depend on the results of the next election.
 
Posted by Avila (# 15541) on :
 
Judging from the leafleting from all parties I thought the starting gun was irrelevant as they have been running laps already. [Roll Eyes]

churches here have set up a local hustings to encourage people to meet candidates face to face and question them - I have the 'joy' of chairing the meeting [Help]

What feels odd is that a certain red corner aren't even putting up a candidate here [Confused]
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
No Labour candidate? Impossible, surely?
 
Posted by Avila (# 15541) on :
 
Not yet declared and I have hunted links, emailed via national website, neighbouring party contacts on web... not a hint! (or even any reply!)

I grew up where it was said any donkey with a red rosette would get in, but we always had a blue candidate... and yellow, and locals.
 
Posted by Benny Diction 2 (# 14159) on :
 
I am just fed up with how pathetic they all are. One party makes a policy statement and then the others are abusive. Like kids in the play ground.

And forgive me for using vile language but George Osborne is just a smug ... (no I'll be good and not call him a ...)
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
Have you noticed how he and Cameron have some very similar little nuances in their speech? The way the sound consonants (especially b and p) at the end of words, for example. Perhaps they have the same voice coach.

One other interesting thing from the debate yesterday was how often Osborne referred to Cameron (it must have been something like a dozen times) compared to how often Darling referred to Brown (I don't remember him doing so). Says a bit about who wears the trousers in each of those relationships, doesn't it?
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
One other interesting thing from the debate yesterday was how often Osborne referred to Cameron (it must have been something like a dozen times) compared to how often Darling referred to Brown (I don't remember him doing so). Says a bit about who wears the trousers in each of those relationships, doesn't it?

I wonder whether Osborne makes reference to Cameron because Cameron is the more high-profile and popular politician and Darling doesn't refer to Brown because he loathes Brown (Brown nearly sacked Darling and it is rumoured that, should Labour win the next election, Darling will be sacked in favour of Ed Balls).
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
I've started a thread on PR in purgatory.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Thank God, my eyeballs were melting.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
My sympathy to all those in the UK who are saddled with the prospect of either Brown or Cameron as PM.

We in the US have our problems, but at least we still have some hope . . . for now at least.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Picks up thread and examines it closely:

Hmmm, *prod*, flabby vestigial rant, *prod*, no bile production, *prod*, intermittent production of lumps of reason. This is purgatorial animal using faux hellish colouring to deter predatory debaters ...

Throws thread over the fence into Purgatory

Now remember, the rules of Purgatory are different ,,,,

Think²
Phasing Hell Host
 
Posted by Traveller (# 1943) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by Traveller:
The West Lothian question hasn't been heard for a while. Any party got any good ideas on that one? Scottish MPs not allowed to vote on England (and/or Wales) only measures? Haven't checked the manifestos, but it's not making headlines.

I think that's because in comparison to economic Armageddon and the complete destruction of our public services, banking industry, armed forces and civil liberties, whether or not a few Scottish MPs get to vote on certain matters is pretty small beer.

Edited to add: The very fact that you're bothered to bring that issue up speaks volumes about your own priorities.

I agree that there are lots of issues. I can and do rant about all the ones you raise and I can give you others:

G. Brown's raid on the reclaim of Advance Corporation Tax by organisations with no Corporation Tax obligations (i.e. pension plans). At a stroke, it changed the funding arrangement of (private sector) pension schemes and changed contribution holidays (remember those?) to huge deficits in funded schemes.

Complete lack of spine about discussing the EU among all three political parties. How about a promise to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty? Oh, sorry, I did mention Europe in my earlier post, you just didn't quote it.

Energy policy. Gold plating the EU requirements around renewable energy sources and completely failing to plan for the scheduled retirement of much of the UK's current generating capacity. Legislating that new generating capacity must use "carbon capture", a technology that is an idea, not a proven engineering method. All political parties voted in favour, one vote against. Likely result in five years time - power cuts or a means to restrict consumer's use. Start knitting wooly jumpers now.

I could go on, but my blood pressure is rising alarmingly! My kids already refer to me as the Grumpy Old Man.

My point about the West Lothian question was that the election will have many factors which some people will give differing weight in their reckoning of who to vote for. When push comes to shove and the main issue is "It's the economy, stupid" and nearly everyone feels worse off, the Barnett formula* and the equally unjust favourable treatment of Scots in the West Lothian question may just register on voters lists of priorities.

* For cross-pond readers. Public spending has for four decades been allocated between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by a (supposedly temporary) formula named after a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Joel Barnett. Average spending per capita in Scotland in 20% more than in England, with Wales at 14% more and Northern Ireland 31% more. Read more about this wonderful (for the non-English residents) system in the Wiki Article.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
The problem with the "West Lothian Question" is that apart from a handful of sad political process geeks, no-one in England cares a fart about it.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Just to clarify, the Australian system for federal and I suspect for other elections is not STV but Alternative vote; this allows the elector to rank candidate in a SINGLE member constituency in order of preference - STV has multimember constituencies. This ensures that every MP is the least disliked candidate, with the result that the centre is likely to benefit over extremes.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
The problem with the "West Lothian Question" is that apart from a handful of sad political process geeks, no-one in England cares a fart about it.

I'm not sure that's true. I rather suspect that an awful lot of people in England don't actually know about it.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
The problem with the "West Lothian Question" is that apart from a handful of sad political process geeks, no-one in England cares a fart about it.

I'm not sure that's true. I rather suspect that an awful lot of people in England don't actually know about it.
Indeed. There are in general two groups of people who know about it.

One is very well-informed Labour (centre-left) intellectuals. Who much as they might dislike the inconsistency of the current reality know that the only logical solution would benefit the Conservative Party in England, and probably the Nationalists in Scotland too. Thus they don't make too much of it.

The other is the well-informed Conservative who historically were strong Unionists as well. Thus they satisfied their unionist soul by surrendering a few votes. What has happened over the past few years is a growth of English Nationalism within the Conservative tent which is not so wedded to the union. They are the group who run with it.

The result by national popular vote in the next General Election will be a narrow win for Conservatives in England, huge wins for Labour in Scotland and Wales and for the Unionists in Northern Ireland. The overall UK result lies in the weighted average of those results by constituency turnout and celtic over-representation!
 
Posted by Touchstone (# 3560) on :
 
Originally quoted by St Punk the pious:

quote:
My sympathy to all those in the UK who are saddled with the prospect of either Brown or Cameron as PM.

We get the politicians we deserve. One is the result of the incumbent party being too wet to depose their gaffe-prone leader because he'll have a hissy fit and shout at them. The other is the product of a desperate opposition copying the other lot by getting themselves a Blair clone. ("Well, it worked for them..."). Politically at least, Britain is currently a rather spineless nation that has run out of ideas.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
To be fair, that's not the only reason why Brown is still Labour's leader. Another big factor is that nobody wants the poisoned chalice of having to fight this election and the inevitable blame when it is lost.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Traveller:
* For cross-pond readers. Public spending has for four decades been allocated between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by a (supposedly temporary) formula named after a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Joel Barnett. Average spending per capita in Scotland in 20% more than in England, with Wales at 14% more and Northern Ireland 31% more. Read more about this wonderful (for the non-English residents) system in the Wiki Article.

But were Wales funded as an English region it would do better than under the current system! Which shows that there's large variation within the countries too. Straight per capita doesn't work because deprivation and rurality mean some things cost more in some places than others.

Carys
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
If Wales had the same electoral quota as an English region it would lose about 7 or 8 MPs.
 
Posted by EtymologicalEvangelical (# 15091) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Touchstone:
Politically at least, Britain is currently a rather spineless nation that has run out of ideas.

And the nation that has not run out of ideas is.....?? [Confused]

Please enlighten me. I would be most fascinated to know where you think political inspiration is currently likely to be found.
 
Posted by Touchstone (# 3560) on :
 
I'm not claiming Britain is any better or worse than anywhere else. Perhaps we're witnessing a general exhaustion of capitalist democracy, to be followed by...what, exactly? Chinese style totalitarianism? Scarey thought.

I seem to remember many of us having high hopes of a certain B. Obama a couple of years back, hopes which may not have been entirely misplaced.
 
Posted by EtymologicalEvangelical (# 15091) on :
 
The OP on this thread seems to wallow in the slough of despond, as if the sudden realisation has hit that, in the UK, we don't seem to have a political system that can deliver peace, joy, happiness, inspiration and all that is good in life. But what I would like to know is this: what political system could ever achieve such a thing? Putting my "evangelical cap" on, I am mindful of the reality of human nature, which will exploit and abuse any system, no matter how finely tuned and intelligently managed.

Now that is not to say that we should not try to create the best possible system, which is most effective at holding evil in check. But the idea that any external system could really deliver "The Good" is, to my mind, rather dehumanising, as if humans only need to be managed - like chickens in a coop - in order to attain contentment and prosperity.

All the ranting and raving about politics that our society currently indulges in, is really a longing for a state of affairs, which is not even desirable. Let's get politics and economics in its proper perspective. The quality of any political system cannot rise any higher than the moral quality of the people both running it and for whom or "on whom" it is run. For example, it is impossible for society to function without an atmosphere of trust - a state of affairs which can only be influenced by legislation to a limited extent.

I also wonder whether a lot of the cynicism about the election is due to information overload. If professional economists are engaged in a continual - and resolution defying - debate about the rights and wrongs of Keynsianism versus neo-liberalism, then what hope is there for the rest of us? And how many of us can really get our heads round the intricate maze of financial speculation? We are bombarded with all this stuff, and expected to have an opinion. Well, my opinion is that government intervention works in some situations but not in others. Therefore there is a need for pragmatism.

But how can political parties campaign on the basis of pragmatism? They all need their brand and pitch - and thus their messages are reduced to slogans, pleas for personal trust and short-term promises. The alternative is an in-depth debate on issues that even the best minds cannot agree on.

quote:
Originally posted by The Great Gumby:
Second, you need to explain why a coalition government between parties polling 40% and 20% would result in the party polling 20% calling all the shots as you imply, why the 40% party would agree to a coalition on those terms, why their voters wouldn't turn elsewhere rather than continually voting for a party which has reasonable policies but bends over and spreads its cheeks at the first whiff of coalition, and why dictatorship by 40% is better than constructive compromise by 60%.

I have had my doubts about PR - due to the power available to smaller parties - but I think your comment is extremely valid. No system is perfect, of course, but it cannot be right that, in the forthcoming election, the vast majority of votes will not really make any difference under the current system, as they will be cast in safe seats. I'm coming round to supporting electoral reform, as I think the frustration generated by the current system is a greater evil than the possible horsetrading of PR or some such variant, such as STV (cumbersome though the latter system is). I take the view that representation is more desirable than the kind of stability it is claimed only one party can achieve.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
The OP on this thread seems to wallow in the slough of despond, as if the sudden realisation has hit that, in the UK, we don't seem to have a political system that can deliver peace, joy, happiness, inspiration and all that is good in life. But what I would like to know is this: what political system could ever achieve such a thing?

But democracy has produced great social reformers - otherwise we would still be living in the same social conditions as in the nineteenth century.
 
Posted by watfordpete (# 14797) on :
 
The OP asks if UKIP is truly non-racist... other posters seem to imply that voting for them is OK... here's an extract from their policy statements:

A significant proportion of immigrants and their descendents are neither assimilating nor integrating into British society. This problem is encouraged by the official promotion of multiculturalism which threatens social cohesion.

Might not be racist per se but it's pretty intolerant.

{edited for minor typo]

[ 08. April 2010, 09:45: Message edited by: watfordpete ]
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by watfordpete:
The OP asks if UKIP is truly non-racist... other posters seem to imply that voting for them is OK... here's an extract from their policy statements:

A significant proportion of immigrants and their descendents are neither assimilating nor integrating into British society. This problem is encouraged by the official promotion of multiculturalism which threatens social cohesion.

Might not be racist per se but it's pretty intolerant.

{edited for minor typo]

I cannot see anything intolerant in that statement - it is a statement of fact and one I doubt whether any of the other parties would deny if they were honest enough to debate the issue.
 
Posted by watfordpete (# 14797) on :
 
I'm sorry but the statement that promotion of multiculturalism threatens social cohesion does not strike me as a statement of fact. I suppose it might depend on what is meant by 'multiculturalism' but I see it as meaning understanding of different cultures, and cultural roots, within society. That to me seems like a way of developing social cohesion rather than threatening it.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by watfordpete:
I'm sorry but the statement that promotion of multiculturalism threatens social cohesion does not strike me as a statement of fact. I suppose it might depend on what is meant by 'multiculturalism' but I see it as meaning understanding of different cultures, and cultural roots, within society. That to me seems like a way of developing social cohesion rather than threatening it.

What we have had in this country for some time is what multiculturalism is: different cultures moving here and establishing themselves alongside the indigenous culture. So far as I'm aware, multiculturalism is not integrationist and certainly isn't assimilist. It is more separatist: that each culture should be retained as a whole and be tolerated.

In the Times Educational Supplement about three weeks ago there was an article on an attempt being made to federate two high schools in Rochdale. One high school had a majority of Asian students; the other European (since I'm defining on continental grounds!). In the article it stated that Rochdale has the reputation of being the most segregated town in the UK and there were race riots there a few years back. This federation of schools was in response to those riots. However, the plans had broken down because agreement could not be reached between the two communities (and included in that were teaching and non-teaching members of the communities).

I think it was last year when I watched a programme which might have been Dispatches or it might have been something else, but it followed two taxi drivers around their beat in Burnley. One half of Burnley is predominantly Asian; the other, predominantly European. And the two just don't seem to cross over, according to what was shown on that programme.

The integration of immigrant people in this country has not been managed very well IMO. I'm sure there are many reasons why that is the case but clearly there is evidence to suggest, in many towns and cities throughout the country, where there are separate communities co-existing in the same area, that multiculturalism threatens social cohesion. It certainly does nothing to promote it. What the solution is I have no idea, but I think it is a shame the way things have turned out.
 
Posted by watfordpete (# 14797) on :
 
I think, therefore, that is primarily a statement of how one views multiculturalism. I live in Luton. Many media reports would, and do, portray it as a divided town. It makes a good media story.

I don't happen to see it that way. There are many 'cultures' represented in the town. They live alongside and with each other. It is a vibrant place with many 'cultures' providing elements to that social mix. Some elements of each 'culture' take it in themselves to look for opportunities to undermine social cohesion.

That the few undermine it for the many is not, in my opinion, reason for basing a policy of stopping (controlled) immigration.

And yes, people do come in and fit into their own culture - we have, amongst others, large Irish, Polish, Jamaican and various Asian and African communities. They are identifiable as having a distinct identity.

Over the years though they are becoming, or will become, assimilated... there is no longer a very distinctive Italian community in the town, for example. The descendents (to refer back to UKIP) of the Italian migrants of the 40s/50s have integrated.

And as for places like Burnley and Rochdale having no go areas for different community groups - the same can be said of all-white estates in Glasgow or Manchester or London. And those examples have nothing to do with immigration.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
If you want to get the measure of UKIP's tolerance, look at the asylum policy. It's got one paragraph on protecting victims of persecution, and seven on why asylum seekers are mostly cheats and terrorists but the EU won't let us do anything about it.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
If you want to get the measure of UKIP's tolerance, look at the asylum policy. It's got one paragraph on protecting victims of persecution, and seven on why asylum seekers are mostly cheats and terrorists but the EU won't let us do anything about it.

For the record, the equivalent rankings for the other parties are:

Labour: One paragraph on "why a faster system is a more compassionate system", one paragraph on "isn't it good that people aren't claiming asylum here", and one on preventing human trafficking (here).

Conservatives: I can't find any actual policy statements, but some digging round brings up this pdf, containing twenty proposals, all twenty of which are about cracking down on false claimants.

As a comparison, imagine a policy on "support for victims of crime" which consisted solely of "check they're not making it up, the lying bastards".

The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, have a policy saying almost nothing about false claimants.

[ 08. April 2010, 17:10: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
If you want to get the measure of UKIP's tolerance, look at the asylum policy. It's got one paragraph on protecting victims of persecution, and seven on why asylum seekers are mostly cheats and terrorists but the EU won't let us do anything about it.

UKIP insist that “a significant proportion of immigrants and their descendents in Britain are neither assimilating nor integrating into British society”. They oppose multiculturalism and political correctness, and promotes uniculturalism - aiming to create a single British culture embracing all races and religions”.

They want schools to “teach about Britain's contribution to the world, such as British inventions, promoting democracy and the rule of law and the role of Britain in fighting slavery and Nazism”. They do not envisage that there might be anything negative in Britain’s history.

They would repeal the Human Rights Act.

In fact, their policies are very similar to the BNP.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
The OP on this thread seems to wallow in the slough of despond, as if the sudden realisation has hit that, in the UK, we don't seem to have a political system that can deliver peace, joy, happiness, inspiration and all that is good in life.

My OP was originally written for Hell and never intended as a starter to a more serious contribution seeking to suggest ways forward: it was intended to highlight rather the degree to which there is a major problem in this country. My personal belief at the moment is that the best solution would be a shortening of duration of parliaments from the current 5 years to 3 - as in Oz and New Zealand - or even shorter. This is in the hope that the traditional game of politicians of fudging the truth to get elected and doing the nasty stuff early on despite the cries of pain and being nice towards the end to then repeat the exercise might finally cease and instead we see leaders being honest about the reality that we face. At the moment politicians know that they can get away with large amounts of flannel because in fact people do forget it all by the next election; instead they should be offered the hard choices and encouraged to make clear decisions. One of the problems of PR is that the degree of choice is even more removed - instead the same elite is offered with some marginal changes but no real change; at least FPTP offers clear choices - though in practice elections are times when these are blurred for the most part.
 
Posted by New Yorker (# 9898) on :
 
As an American, might I ask my British shipmates a question about election politics? If I understand correctly, one of Labor/Labour's policy points is a fully elected House of Lords. But wouldn't that end the idea of parliamentary supremacy?
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
One of the problems of PR is that the degree of choice is even more removed - instead the same elite is offered with some marginal changes but no real change; at least FPTP offers clear choices - though in practice elections are times when these are blurred for the most part.

But it doesn't. If you live in a safe seat then the Party elite can put up whomsoever it likes and they will be elected. That's why there are jokes about a donkey winning if nominated by the dominant party. Admittedly, it occaisionally doesn't work -- the Tories took Southport to be a safe seat in 1987 and parachuted in a candidate failing to recognise that Sandgrounders are parochial over tribally conservative so a local LibDem won (but LibDems had councillors in some wards anyway). But I'd say that was the exception rather than the rule (and I only know about it because I lived there)*

The seat I currently live in has 50% of the vote for one candidate. Admittedly, the student vote is part of that and its now an almost entirely different cohort, but LibDems do do well amongst students.

At least at the Assembly Elections, I get my second vote where the vote for my party actually counts and means that there are two Plaid AMs for my region.

Carys
*In 1992 it reverted to Tory when they selected someone with a local wife.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
As an American, might I ask my British shipmates a question about election politics? If I understand correctly, one of Labor/Labour's policy points is a fully elected House of Lords. But wouldn't that end the idea of parliamentary supremacy?

The pattern for most parliamentary systems is that the second house has a revising role, and one chamber can overrule the other when push comes to shove. Thus in Germany a majority in the Bundestag can overrule a majority in the Bundesrat, although it can't overrule a 2/3 majority in the Bundesrat. It's my understanding that the Labour proposals for the Lords has some such approach; personally I can't see them surviving the question 'Do we want more elected politicians when we all know what they've been up to recently?' Or at least I hope so - the Lords is one of the best parts of the UK constitution, and Labour's willingness to destroy it is one of their worst features.

On the election generally, I'm very taken with the Economist's editorial this week:
quote:
Voters deserve a more radical vision than the timid and uninspiring policies all parties have put forward so far
from here
 
Posted by phil2357 (# 15431) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
As an American, might I ask my British shipmates a question about election politics? If I understand correctly, one of Labor/Labour's policy points is a fully elected House of Lords. But wouldn't that end the idea of parliamentary supremacy?

The strict answer to your question is "no". Parliament is composed of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Crown. These three bodies together form the country's law-making body. As I understand it, "parliamentary supremacy" refers to the fact that Parliament can enact any law it pleases, with few consitutional restraints.

But I'm guessing that you are asking about how Labour's proposed reforms would affect the power of the House of Commons? I would be interested to see how the proposed changes affect the powers the House of Commons gained under the 1911 Parliament Act. With broad brush strokes, if a Bill is introduced to, and approved by, the House of Commons then the House of Lords can only delay its becoming law, rather than prevent it becoming law. I have not heard about Labour's plans in great detail, and it could be that their current plans aren't very detailed. From what I understand, Labour are proposing that we adopt something akin to the Senate/House of Representatives system in the US. Am I correct in understanding that a Bill must get Senate approval to become law?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Only the way people enter the House of Lords would change, ie, they would be elected as opposed to appointed (as is the case now) or entitled by birth (as was the case with the hereditary peers). Parliamentary supremacy (ie, supreme lawmaking power) would not be affected.

Tangent: it's worth noting that until recently the UK's highest appellate court was also the House of Lords. Law lords did not involve themselves in the legislative process purely by convention, and the Lord Chancellor had a foot in Britain's executive, legislative and judicial branches insofar that they are separate.
 
Posted by Benny Diction 2 (# 14159) on :
 
I've just been listening to David "Call me Dave" Cameron on Radio 4's Today programme.

As smooth as a snake oil salesman. And people said Blair was slick!

And this morning the Tories have said "more" about how they will fund not putting National Insurance up. By efficiency savings in local and central government. 40,000 jobs will go. But not through redundancy but through not replacing people who leave. Fair enough you may say. But when pressed on this being only the start he ducked and dived.

Which jobs Dave? Social Workers dealing with child protection?

No doubt the Tories' grand idea is to bring in the private sector to deliver cost savings through managing back office functions for example. I saw this in operation at South Glos Council when I worked there and it happens here in Magic Roundaboutland. It is not all it is cracked up to be.

There needs to be a change in government. I don't think it is good for one party to be in government too long. But why should that mean Labour or Tory take it in turns. A hung Parliament would be an interesting change.
 
Posted by otyetsfoma (# 12898) on :
 
I agree with the desirability of a hung parliament, but there is no way to vote for it. If too many people vote "strategically", they may end up by FPTP with a party they wanted to curtail, or even a party they don't like. That's why we need STV.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Benny Diction 2:
I've just been listening to David "Call me Dave" Cameron on Radio 4's Today programme.

As smooth as a snake oil salesman. And people said Blair was slick!

And this morning the Tories have said "more" about how they will fund not putting National Insurance up. By efficiency savings in local and central government. 40,000 jobs will go. But not through redundancy but through not replacing people who leave. Fair enough you may say. But when pressed on this being only the start he ducked and dived.

Which jobs Dave? Social Workers dealing with child protection?

No doubt the Tories' grand idea is to bring in the private sector to deliver cost savings through managing back office functions for example. I saw this in operation at South Glos Council when I worked there and it happens here in Magic Roundaboutland. It is not all it is cracked up to be.

There needs to be a change in government. I don't think it is good for one party to be in government too long. But why should that mean Labour or Tory take it in turns. A hung Parliament would be an interesting change.

The general view is that a hung parliament would mean that a coalition government would be unwilling to make the necessary cuts to reduce the £trillion or so public debt which has balooned under Brown and Labour. Without measures to control this the cost to the government of financing the debt would also baloon (if the markets were indeed willing to continue on that path) and as more and more public expenditure went towards servicing the debt then less and less would be available to support essential services.

To the extent that Cameron has given some indication that he would take steps to cut public expenditure he is at least being truthful. Brown on the other hand is in complete denial that there is a debt problem and talks about "investment" when he means spending. The loss of control of public spending during Labour's tenure was well in advance long before the credit crunch hit and commentators have been pointing out the dangers of allowing public debt to rise at the rate it has been for several years now but unfortunately Brown, who is delusional about his own abilities, refused to take heed of these warnings.

If you want to see what happens when national governments avoid making these decisions look at the state of Greece a country which may well shortly become bankrupt and where currently government borrowings costs 4% more than the equivalent rates in Germany. The effects on public services as well as taxes would then be catastrophic.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
UKIP insist that “a significant proportion of immigrants and their descendents in Britain are neither assimilating nor integrating into British society”. They oppose multiculturalism and political correctness, and promotes uniculturalism - aiming to create a single British culture embracing all races and religions”.

So which part of that - if any - do you disagree with?

The idea that anyone is free to become British is an uncontraversial one, surely?

quote:
They want schools to “teach about Britain's contribution to the world, such as British inventions, promoting democracy and the rule of law and the role of Britain in fighting slavery and Nazism”. They do not envisage that there might be anything negative in Britain’s history.
Why shouldn't they teach about the great things this country has done? Are you saying they should instead teach our children to be ashamed of their country and go round with heads hung in shame at their hideous heritage?
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
UKIP insist that “a significant proportion of immigrants and their descendents in Britain are neither assimilating nor integrating into British society”. They oppose multiculturalism and political correctness, and promotes uniculturalism - aiming to create a single British culture embracing all races and religions”.

So which part of that - if any - do you disagree with?

The idea that anyone is free to become British is an uncontraversial one, surely?

quote:
They want schools to “teach about Britain's contribution to the world, such as British inventions, promoting democracy and the rule of law and the role of Britain in fighting slavery and Nazism”. They do not envisage that there might be anything negative in Britain’s history.
Why shouldn't they teach about the great things this country has done? Are you saying they should instead teach our children to be ashamed of their country and go round with heads hung in shame at their hideous heritage?

Because this flies in the face of one of the main tenets of multiculturalism: the right of any minority group to have the status of victims.
 
Posted by blackbeard (# 10848) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
[QUOTE]... To the extent that Cameron has given some indication that he would take steps to cut public expenditure he is at least being truthful. ...

Well, to that extent, yes. Where he isn't being truthful (and you can translate that into more basic English if you like) is in pretending that this can be done simply by increased efficiency, without actually hurting public services. I think we all know what happens when "increased efficiency" is achieved by politicians.

We have hard, hard choices to make. Deliberate deceit is not going to help us make the right choices.

Blackbeard is having some difficulty in maintaining any degree of respect for any of the players in the forthcoming election, and he's probably not alone in this.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
I agree with you in that he should frame it as the need to make severe cuts to put right the destabalisation of the public finances caused by Labour's imprudence.

The problem he has is that a significant proportion of the population want to bury their head in the sand about this and are willing to believe Brown's lies about spending our way out of recession so that when Osbourne made such noises the Tories polling figures plunged.
 
Posted by uncletoby (# 13067) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The general view is that a hung parliament would mean that a coalition government would be unwilling to make the necessary cuts to reduce the £trillion or so public debt which has balooned under Brown and Labour. Without measures to control this the cost to the government of financing the debt would also baloon (if the markets were indeed willing to continue on that path) and as more and more public expenditure went towards servicing the debt then less and less would be available to support essential services.

To the extent that Cameron has given some indication that he would take steps to cut public expenditure he is at least being truthful. Brown on the other hand is in complete denial that there is a debt problem and talks about "investment" when he means spending. The loss of control of public spending during Labour's tenure was well in advance long before the credit crunch hit and commentators have been pointing out the dangers of allowing public debt to rise at the rate it has been for several years now but unfortunately Brown, who is delusional about his own abilities, refused to take heed of these warnings.

If you want to see what happens when national governments avoid making these decisions look at the state of Greece a country which may well shortly become bankrupt and where currently government borrowings costs 4% more than the equivalent rates in Germany. The effects on public services as well as taxes would then be catastrophic.

This analysis greatly exaggerates the scale of Britain's public debt problem. First, Brown had not "lost control" of borrowing before recession struck. In my opinion, he was borrowing too much, and his pro-cyclical fiscal policy was clearly a contributory factor to the economic problems we now face. Nevertheless, Britain's public debt before the start of the recession was 46% of GDP, lower than that of France (58%), Germany (61%), Italy (104%), Japan (88%) and even the USA (48%).

Looking at the 2009 figures, Britain's public debt stood at 62% of GDP, less than Ireland (64%), France (67%), Germany (70%), Italy (113%) and Japan (105%), not to mention Greece (120%).

Far more worrying, in my opinion, is Britain's high level of private debt, which stands at over 100% of GDP. Borrowers in the UK account for about one third of all unsecured debt in Western Europe. I would love to hear from the Tories, or anyone else, whether they think that an economy based primarily on shopping is sustainable, and if not, what they plan to do to build some other sort of economy.

No-one is arguing that Britain's public borrowing is not a problem - all main parties accept this. But it is a problem faced by almost every industrialised country, rather than a problem created by Gordon Brown, as the Tories (and Aumbry) would have it. The Conservative Party's ability to distract the electorate from the bankruptcy of the kinds of economic policies that they have advocated for the last thirty years by making public sector debt the main issue of the election is so astonishing that I suspect black magic must be involved.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
A correspondent on BBC radio made the interesting point that when the Tories began to talk about the need for austerity etc, they went down in the polls. He also noted that whereas the Tories maintain cuts need to be made soon, Labour say 'not yet', and this appears to be playing well too. Honesty is all very well. Unfortunately, it appears that the Tories could kill their election campaign by indulging in it.
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by uncletoby:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
The general view is that a hung parliament would mean that a coalition government would be unwilling to make the necessary cuts to reduce the £trillion or so public debt which has balooned under Brown and Labour. Without measures to control this the cost to the government of financing the debt would also baloon (if the markets were indeed willing to continue on that path) and as more and more public expenditure went towards servicing the debt then less and less would be available to support essential services.

To the extent that Cameron has given some indication that he would take steps to cut public expenditure he is at least being truthful. Brown on the other hand is in complete denial that there is a debt problem and talks about "investment" when he means spending. The loss of control of public spending during Labour's tenure was well in advance long before the credit crunch hit and commentators have been pointing out the dangers of allowing public debt to rise at the rate it has been for several years now but unfortunately Brown, who is delusional about his own abilities, refused to take heed of these warnings.

If you want to see what happens when national governments avoid making these decisions look at the state of Greece a country which may well shortly become bankrupt and where currently government borrowings costs 4% more than the equivalent rates in Germany. The effects on public services as well as taxes would then be catastrophic.

This analysis greatly exaggerates the scale of Britain's public debt problem. First, Brown had not "lost control" of borrowing before recession struck. In my opinion, he was borrowing too much, and his pro-cyclical fiscal policy was clearly a contributory factor to the economic problems we now face. Nevertheless, Britain's public debt before the start of the recession was 46% of GDP, lower than that of France (58%), Germany (61%), Italy (104%), Japan (88%) and even the USA (48%).

Looking at the 2009 figures, Britain's public debt stood at 62% of GDP, less than Ireland (64%), France (67%), Germany (70%), Italy (113%) and Japan (105%), not to mention Greece (120%).

Far more worrying, in my opinion, is Britain's high level of private debt, which stands at over 100% of GDP. Borrowers in the UK account for about one third of all unsecured debt in Western Europe. I would love to hear from the Tories, or anyone else, whether they think that an economy based primarily on shopping is sustainable, and if not, what they plan to do to build some other sort of economy.

No-one is arguing that Britain's public borrowing is not a problem - all main parties accept this. But it is a problem faced by almost every industrialised country, rather than a problem created by Gordon Brown, as the Tories (and Aumbry) would have it. The Conservative Party's ability to distract the electorate from the bankruptcy of the kinds of economic policies that they have advocated for the last thirty years by making public sector debt the main issue of the election is so astonishing that I suspect black magic must be involved.

All very well but you fail to take into account the rapid rate of deterioration of the public finances which following trend will push Britain way above even Italy in terms of public borrowing.

You have been trotting out these complacent views for some time now.
 
Posted by uncletoby (# 13067) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
All very well but you fail to take into account the rapid rate of deterioration of the public finances which following trend will push Britain way above even Italy in terms of public borrowing.

You have been trotting out these complacent views for some time now.

I'm not complacent at all - in fact I'm deeply pessimistic about Britain's political and economic future. But I'm also suspicious of tribal political narratives that float free from facts.

The idea that the Tories can solve Britain's economic problems just by cutting public sector borrowing slightly more and slightly sooner than Labour plan to is nonsense, and all the attention that is being given to the public debt issue is crowding out other important economic issues such as: how do we create the right regulatory environment to avoid further banking crises? how do we try to wean the British public off credit cards? how can we deflate the housing bubble, and increase the supply of homes, without causing another economic crisis? how can we reduce our reliance on the financial services sector? how can we end the absurd situation of relying on the immigration of large numbers of foreign workers whilst millions of British citizens languish on state benefits?
 
Posted by New Yorker (# 9898) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by phil2357:
Am I correct in understanding that a Bill must get Senate approval to become law?

Yes. The Senate and the House are equal. The Senate must approve appointments to certain offices and must ratify treaties. Money bills must start in the House. Other than those minor differences both Houses must approve a bill for it to become a law. (And the president must sign it or, if he vetos it, the House and Senate must override his veto.)

I don't think the British would want a US style House & Senate. I may be wrong of course.

I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically. Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative or UKIP?
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
quote:
Originally posted by phil2357:
Am I correct in understanding that a Bill must get Senate approval to become law?

Yes. The Senate and the House are equal. The Senate must approve appointments to certain offices and must ratify treaties. Money bills must start in the House. Other than those minor differences both Houses must approve a bill for it to become a law. (And the president must sign it or, if he vetos it, the House and Senate must override his veto.)

I don't think the British would want a US style House & Senate. I may be wrong of course.

I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically. Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative or UKIP?

or BNP? [Snigger]

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

BTW, I notice Cameron is reaching out to social conservatives with his call for lowering the abortion time limit and opposing assisted suicide.

I've said that if I were UK, I would vote UKIP. I may have to revise that if Cameron continues to sound like he won't just be Labour Lite.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically. Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative

Yo.
 
Posted by blackbeard (# 10848) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
I agree with you in that he should frame it as the need to make severe cuts to put right the destabalisation of the public finances caused by Labour's imprudence.

The problem he has is that a significant proportion of the population want to bury their head in the sand about this and are willing to believe Brown's lies about spending our way out of recession so that when Osbourne made such noises the Tories polling figures plunged.

Ah, so we agree that parties should frame their policies honestly.
Yes, of course a significant proportion of the population want to bury their heads in the sand. Deeply regrettable. And of course it's a problem for politicians. However I don't think that our policies should be framed or driven by ostriches although I do have doubts about MPs sometimes.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically. Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative?

Yup.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by uncletoby:
I would love to hear from the Tories, or anyone else, whether they think that an economy based primarily on shopping is sustainable, and if not, what they plan to do to build some other sort of economy.

The Lib-Dems have argued that if the Tories scrap the NI rise they'll have to make up for it by raising VAT.

If the Lib-Dems are correct, the Tories would in effect be replacing a tax on jobs with a tax on shopping, which might indeed have the effect you suggest.

(Though some economist will be along shortly to explain why I'm wrong.)
 
Posted by phil2357 (# 15431) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
Yes. The Senate and the House are equal. The Senate must approve appointments to certain offices and must ratify treaties. Money bills must start in the House. Other than those minor differences both Houses must approve a bill for it to become a law. (And the president must sign it or, if he vetos it, the House and Senate must override his veto.)

Thank you!
quote:
I don't think the British would want a US style House & Senate. I may be wrong of course.
To be honest, there hasn't been much of a public debate about the issue. As you've probably guessed from this thread, the public purse seems to be the issue of the day.
quote:
I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically. Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative or UKIP?
Probably Conservative.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically.

Yes. Thankfully, the board isn't representative of the people of Britain. [Smile]

quote:
Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative
Yes.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
As an American, might I ask my British shipmates a question about election politics? If I understand correctly, one of Labor/Labour's policy points is a fully elected House of Lords. But wouldn't that end the idea of parliamentary supremacy?

As phil2357 said, I think your question is about the power of the House of Commons. It seems to me that there is a potential for an almighty constitutional bust-up if Labour's plans are enacted. The House of Lords is a revising chamber but, because it lacks democratic legitimacy, it does its muscles infrequently. It is clear that the House of Commons is the voice of the people and has the sole democratic mandate in Parliament.

If the Lords is elected, who speaks for the people of Britain? If the Commons and Lords take a different view on the same matter, they will be on a collision course.

I suppose those in favour of 'reform' will say that this happens all the time in the United States and in other places, but it will be unusual for Britain and in my view a wholly unnecessary distraction.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Anglican't, I think you understate the traditional importance of the House of Lords. It has always had the legal power to reject bills, not merely revise them, and it has used this power on many occasions up to the present.

Shipmates might be interested to know that New Zealand has a unicameral Parliament. This has, in the view of many, allowed poorly drafted, and conceptually weak legislation onto the statute books. It seems to me that a chamber with merely the power to revise would not avoid this problem: the mechanic who has to repair a badly-made machine cannot right all its wrongs. A second chamber should have power to rip up a bill and start again.
 
Posted by blackbeard (# 10848) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Anglican't, I think you understate the traditional importance of the House of Lords. It has always had the legal power to reject bills, not merely revise them, and it has used this power on many occasions up to the present. ....

But, as I understand it, the Commons can always, eventually, over-ride the Lords.
I agree there should be a second Chamber, if possible one not unduly influenced by party politics and having, as its members, men and women who have made a substantial and positive contribution to the life and well-being of the nation. But I despair of the House of Lords; attempts to reform it have always been flawed.

I'm not convinced that an elected second chamber is going to be helpful; if its members are elected in the same way as the members of the Commons then it's just going to be a pale shadow of the Commons. I don't see the point.

If members are to be appointed then there has to be an agreed criterion and procedure for appointment. Should be possible in principle, but could be beyond the capabilities of party politicians.

Since this thread is supposed to be a rant, here goes:
It scarcely seems possible, but is attested by reliable witnesses, that from time to time appointments to the House of Lords have been somewhat influenced by funds donated to political parties. How this might be possible with politicians who are all - aren't they? - men and women of integrity devoted to serving their country, isn't immediately clear. What is clear is that if this rot is not stopped, then the House of Lords cannot command respect and has, therefore, no reason for its continued existence. Obviously, if any current members of the House of Lords can be shown to have entered by this route then they should return to the ranks, so to speak; and any politicians who can be shown to have betrayed the democratic institutions of their country should be immediately, totally and permanently barred from holding any public office. Nothing less will do. If we can't ensure even that much then the House of Lords has nothing to contribute to the country, unless of course we go to the entirely elected second chamber which would at least be a relatively honest and open method of appointment. But see above.

It could be worse. For much of English history, earls and barons were heavily armed gang leaders whose might meant right. At least we have come on a little from there.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Blackbeard,

You are correct in that the House of Commons can use the Parliament Acts to override the Lords in limited circumstances. The fact remains that the Lords have the power to throw out a bill - indeed, that must happen before the Parliament Acts can be invoked.

I agree that a pale shadow of the Commons would not be very useful (but still better than nothing). Given, however, your comments about appointments without donations (a horrific scandal, I agree, and far worse than the corruption demonstrated by MPs through their expense claims) I wonder if there is a better alternative electing the second chamber.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
For me, I see a certain value in the current system because you get voices of experience in the Lords who can play minor roles in the legislative process, and can on occasion serve in the Cabinet. I would like to see that maintained in any new system, if possible.

But also, the current system of directly appointing people to the Lords is not wholly desirable. So how about a compromise? A cross-party Commons committee makes a list of nominees, and the electorate can then vote from that list. For example, if ten seats are open, the committee could nominate approximately twenty people. Each voter can then vote for (say) five people on the list, and the ten nominees with the most votes are elected. What do you think?
 
Posted by Mr. Spouse (# 3353) on :
 
Does anyone think there should be a 'Election Mailing Preference Service' along the lines of the junk mail one? Today I received my third envelope from CCHQ (Tories) and my first from "The Office of Gordon Brown", to go with a couple from the Labour candidate and one from the Lib Dems.

I really don't want them. Despite being in a 'new' constituency following boundary changes it's going to be a two horse race and I know which of the horses I definitely DON'T want to vote for. So there is no point sending me stuff, people. [Mad]

Rant over. Thank you for your time.

[ 10. April 2010, 17:14: Message edited by: Mr. Spouse ]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
Re: Lords Reform.

(1) There's a big difference, which folks are forgetting, between the legal sovereignty of Parliament (i.e. an Act of Parliament is supreme law) and the political supremacy of the House of Commons (i.e. the fact that the Government must have a majority in the Commons, and that the Commons has the last word on legislation). Reform of the House of Lords, as currently proposed, would change neither of these.

(2) Any sensible reform would have to think about what the Lords is actually for. Is it a democratic check on the government - a substantial chamber of restraint, review and reflection? Is it a chamber of territorial representation? Is it a powerless (but maybe influential) chamber of experts? Only once this question is answered can an appropriate composition be decided, and the right form of election and/or appointment found.

(3) Only when you've worked out what it's for can you decide what powers it should have. Personally, I think that as part of the role of the upper house is to act as a check against the government of the day, the powers of the Lords (or Senate, or whatever we call it) should be increased, so as to provide a genuine check on the Government's majority in the Commons. For example, a bill defeated in the Lords should be capable of being overturned only by a two-thirds majority vote of the Commons (i.e. Govt and Opposition agreeing), or by a referendum. That would provide a fair balance of power.

(4) There are other subsidiary matters to consider. Should members of the upper house be capable of being Ministers? (I'd say no). Should the upper house have any particular role in, say, the appointment of judges and ombudsmen, and the ratification of treaties (I'd say yes).

(5) Reform of the Lords needs to be put into its wider constitutional setting. For example, the responsibility of the Government to the Commons is only a matter of convention. With an elected upper chamber, it would be necessary to state, legally and constitutionally, that the Government is not drawn from, nor responsible to, the upper house.

(6) There are plenty of examples of how this could be done. The Spanish Senate is an example of a relatively weak, territorial second chamber, which nevertheless has important balancing functions. The German Bundesrat is an example of a strong and indirectly-chosen second chamber. Unfortunately, we in Britain tend not to bother learning from foreigners who smell of garlic and cabbage.

Unfortunately, none of the parties seem to have thought it through even this far. It's all being done on the back of a fag packet, with more of an eye to quick electoral fixes than good constitutional design.

[ 10. April 2010, 17:34: Message edited by: RadicalWhig ]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
This site is fun (it's a "who should you vote for" thing).

For what it's worth (not much) it recommends that I should vote Green, followed by LibDem. If I were in England, that's exactly what I'd do (i.e. vote Green in a seat where they had some vague chance of winning, otherwise vote LibDem). However, the most important question, from my point of view, is "Should Scotland become an independent State?" That question is not even on their list. Neither is the SNP included in their list of parties.*

*(Typical! Hello, London, we exist! It's always like this. Can you see now why we are fed up and want our own pool to paddle in?)
 
Posted by Eigon (# 4917) on :
 
That was interesting - I came out as Lib Dem, closely followed by Green.
A couple of nights ago, all the local candidates squeezed onto a little stage at a local venue so the electorate could quiz them (including Lord Offa of the Dyke for the Monster Raving Loony Party, who was quite sweet really). Our sitting MP is Lib Dem, but I was more impressed by the Green and the Plaid Cymru candidates (Plaid also doesn't seem to exist on the quiz).
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
The Times leads the charge to the bottom of the food-chain by using dodgy reporting to manufacture fake stories.

Today they asserted that the Labour Party somehow got hold of personal medical records in order to send electioneering material to people who have had cancer. Their fake "evidence" for this is a handful of people who have cancer and were upset to get the junk mail and so assumed it was targeted at them.

Do the sums. A quarter of a million of these mailings were sent out. One person in fifty in this country has had cancer. Almost all of them are over fifty years old. A mailshot sent to a quarter of a million over-fifty women will be recieved by THOUSANDS of women who have been diagnosed with cancer, just at random.

The Times report is a heap of shit. Send the editors back to school to learn some basic statistics.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eigon:
That was interesting - I came out as Lib Dem, closely followed by Green.
A couple of nights ago, all the local candidates squeezed onto a little stage at a local venue so the electorate could quiz them (including Lord Offa of the Dyke for the Monster Raving Loony Party, who was quite sweet really). Our sitting MP is Lib Dem, but I was more impressed by the Green and the Plaid Cymru candidates (Plaid also doesn't seem to exist on the quiz).

Now I'm trying to think which constituency Hay is in and therefore who our candidate is but I'[m not sure where the boundary between the two Powys constituency is.

This isn't the first quiz that's omitted Plaid and the SNP. Vote for Policies does too, but Vote Match gets devolution and has tailored the questions to which country your in, but I'm not sure they've got Plaid policy right on everything, but at least we're there.

Carys
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
Agreed, Ken. As a Tory, I'll take every chance to jump on a passing anti-Labour bandwagon but I agree that this story doesn't really add up, mainly because I received one of those leaflets. I'm in my late twenties, I've never had cancer and I'm not a woman. (Unless the Labour Party knows something that I don't).

[ 11. April 2010, 20:32: Message edited by: Anglican't ]
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
South East Wales border constituencies
 
Posted by Yonatan (# 11091) on :
 
I received this from a friend this morning. Made me smile.

While walking down the street one day a "Member of Parliament" is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

'Welcome to heaven,' says St. Peter.. 'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'

'No problem, just let me in,' says the man.

'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'

'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the MP.

'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.'

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises....

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

'Now it's time to visit heaven.'

So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

'Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.'

The MP reflects for a minute, then he answers: 'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.'

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. 'I don't understand,' stammers the MP. 'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time.. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

What happened?'

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, 'Yesterday we were campaigning... ...


Today you voted.'
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
So, Labour published its manifesto today (and a copy can be read here). In the introduction, it says:
quote:
As we more than halve the fiscal deficit over the next four years, we will ensure that we do so in a fair way with a combination of a return to economic growth, cuts to lower priority programmes and fair tax rises. Responsibility at the top means people paying their fair share and we believe it is right that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden of paying down the deficit.
This brings me back to a question that I asked a while ago and never got a decent answer to. It seems to me that Labour are saying that they aren't going to make any effort to reduce the size of Britain's debt, but only reduce the rate at which the debt is increasing. Have I interpreted this paragraph directly? If this is so, what does the final phrase "paying down the deficit" actually mean?
 
Posted by Deckhand (# 15545) on :
 
quote:
[/QB]Originally posted by New Yorker:
I'm curious. It appears to me that most on board the Ship are left of center politically. Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative or UKIP? [/QB]

Me too.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
I came out as LibDem followed by Green. No figures for Labour and Tories were a definite no no.

I was irked by a small UKIP rating - I would rather swallow my own vomit than vote for them.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
The Times leads the charge to the bottom of the food-chain by using dodgy reporting to manufacture fake stories.

Well spotted. I'm reminded of a well-known moment in The Simpsons when a spoof news ticker reads 'Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at foxnews.com'? It must be just a coincidence that Fox News and the London Times have the same owner ...

My guesses for news headlines on election day ...

Daily Mail: "Gordon Brown would use tax-payers' money to provide free 5-bedroom houses in Surrey for asylum seekers who cause cancer in hard-working families"

The Guardian: "If David Cameron wins today, will the last person to leave Britain turn off the solar-powered ciabatta bread machine?"
 
Posted by Mr. Spouse (# 3353) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I was irked by a small UKIP rating - I would rather swallow my own vomit than vote for them.

I got -32 for UKIP. Should have been lower... [Two face]
 
Posted by Eigon (# 4917) on :
 
Carys - Hay-on-Wye is in Brecon and Radnor constituency - our MP is Roger Williams - who hasn't had his snout in the trough as much as some of the others, but still....
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
So, Labour published its manifesto today (and a copy can be read here). In the introduction, it says:
quote:
As we more than halve the fiscal deficit over the next four years, we will ensure that we do so in a fair way with a combination of a return to economic growth, cuts to lower priority programmes and fair tax rises. Responsibility at the top means people paying their fair share and we believe it is right that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden of paying down the deficit.
This brings me back to a question that I asked a while ago and never got a decent answer to. It seems to me that Labour are saying that they aren't going to make any effort to reduce the size of Britain's debt, but only reduce the rate at which the debt is increasing. Have I interpreted this paragraph directly? If this is so, what does the final phrase "paying down the deficit" actually mean?
Nations rarely actually "pay down their debt" in nominal terms. The real comparison is debt to national income, aka GDP. A nation can still be a net borrower, but if economic growth means that it's debt/GDP ratio declines, then its debt load declines too.

If over a period of 5 years an national economy grows 20%, but national debt only grows 10%, it seen as equivalent to paying down 10% of national debt. This is a Good Thing.
 
Posted by Alicïa (# 7668) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
This site is fun (it's a "who should you vote for" thing).

For what it's worth (not much) it recommends that I should vote Green, followed by LibDem. If I were in England, that's exactly what I'd do (i.e. vote Green in a seat where they had some vague chance of winning, otherwise vote LibDem).

Thanks for the link.

I have been leaning towards Liberal Democrats for a while, and thats just helped me realise I should take a closer look at the Greens as well. Greens first Lib Dems seconds according to the results.

As for any kind of tactical vote, I have come to a different conclusion. I'm so disillusioned with politics that I no longer really care if they have any chance of winning, I am just going to vote for who I want to. Probably LibDem.

Nick Clegg was excellent on the Paxman interview last night I thought. Did anyone else here see that?
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
I just watched it on YouTube. Paxman is a tool sometimes, but I thought Clegg handled him relatively well. He has a slightly patronising habit of asking "alright?" half-way through a sentence, which I found rather annoying. Perhaps he has to talk like he's addressing a toddler when Jeremy is being deliberately obtuse.
 
Posted by iGeek (# 777) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
Is there any British shipmate who plans on voting Conservative

Of course a British Conservative ain't nothing like a US Conservative.

quote:
"We are the party of the National Health Service today because we not only back the values of the NHS, we back its funding and we have a vision for its future."
As Andrew Sullivan notes, it "makes Obamacare look like a Tea Party project."

The center is relative.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
One has to remember that there's quite a bit of nuance to be put on top of that statement. (I assume it was Cameron who made it.) There is no way any politician would get elected in the UK if they didn't say those words. However, when you look at some of the detail, it turns out that the Tories want to move the method of funding to something much closer to a single payer system. That actually represents a pretty major shift in the ethos of the NHS, and would probably be more controversial if more people knew about it.

Of course, he doesn't phrase it like that. He talks about vouchers and "choice" and other nice-sounding words, but the long and short of it is that he wants to take money out of the NHS and use it to subsidise middle class people who want to go to private hospitals for their treatment.

Yet another reason why a Conservative majority would be a very Bad Thing™: The devil is in the detail.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
What's controversial about it? As I understand it, Labour have been using NHS money to send people to private hospitals.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
That may be: I haven't heard. Do you have a link?
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
I'm afraid I don't, but I seem to recall reading something to that effect a couple of years ago.

There has been a lot of private sector money pouring into the NHS. I imagine that involvement of the private sector is designed to improve efficiency (which I imagine is woefully lacking in the NHS). I can't say that is really a problem, if the service for patients is still free at the point of use.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
Well, there's at least two places where private companies have been used: Firstly (obviously) with PPP. But that's about getting hospitals built and not directly about providing care. Also, contractors have been used extensively for cleaning, catering and other non-medical tasks.

But those things are both fundamentally different from directly using NHS money to pay for care in a private hospital.

Now, I take your point about it still being free at the point of use, and I am not opposed to a single payer system on principle. But I think the Tories are being rather underhand in that they are trying to implement this by the back door, and only for those who are rich enough to be able to pay the difference in cost. That is fundamentally unfair, and comes across (to me at least) as pandering to the upper half of middle England, who are a large part of his core vote.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
But I think the Tories are being rather underhand in that they are trying to implement this by the back door, and only for those who are rich enough to be able to pay the difference in cost. That is fundamentally unfair, and comes across (to me at least) as pandering to the upper half of middle England, who are a large part of his core vote.

I'm not sure exactly what you have in mind here, but we had a situation a little while ago where some hospital patients weren't not given some drugs and, when they offered to pay for them, were told that buying them privately would disqualify them from any NHS treatment. That struck me as terribly unfair.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
Specifically, I was referring to the 'Patient Passports' that the Tories were talking about a while back. They seem to have dropped that phrase from their manifesto, but it does say:
quote:
So we will give every patient the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices. This includes independent, voluntary and community sector providers. We will make patients’ choices meaningful by:
This amounts to pretty much the same thing.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
I don't see why this is a bad thing. If the NHS is a monopoly supplier of healthcare (which it virtually is) then I imagine the whole system becomes inefficient. Allowing patients to go to a health care provider of their choice presumably introduces a kind of quasi-competition which improves NHS efficiency?

Labour came to power in 1997 with a pledge to abolish the Tories' 'internal market' but didn't they end up essentially re-introducing it because it actually worked?
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
I've been to a private hospital for an NHS ordered investigation - so it has happened in the past, and I suspect it is still an option. What is certainly a feature of the NHS is that it has contracted out a load of routine operations to some private health care providers in the expectation that this would be more efficient.

My own preference for the NHS is that the money would be given to local authorities to pay whatever supplier they felt like, providing whatever services the local authority, as a democratically elected unit, believed was right for their area. Of course this would lead to more cries of 'post code lottery' - but those need to be faced down. At the moment we have the money provided to Primary Care Trusts - which are QUANGOs appointed by central government - largely paying money to central government owned hospitals. This minimises the freedom of PCTs to do things really relevant to their area. It also means that half the budget for 'care' comes from the NHS and the other from Local Authority Social Services - a particularly unnecessary cause of conflict.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I don't see why this is a bad thing. If the NHS is a monopoly supplier of healthcare (which it virtually is) then I imagine the whole system becomes inefficient. Allowing patients to go to a health care provider of their choice presumably introduces a kind of quasi-competition which improves NHS efficiency?

Insofar as your point goes, I can't disagree. Like I said before, I don't have an issue with a transparent single payer system. The problem that I have with patient passports is that there is an inherent inequality in the system. If there is a price difference between what your procedure would cost in an NHS facility, and the price in the facility that you go to, then you have to pay that difference. That immediately prices out a lot of people with lower incomes from using those facilities, and (probably) from 'jumping the queue'.

I'm aware that this is what already happens with private healthcare, but I think it is wrong for a government to endorse and enhance this inequality. I also agree with you that there was a time when public money was used to pay for people to have treatment in private facilities in a bid to get waiting lists down. So far as I'm aware* there was no additional cost to the patient in these cases, and the patient's financial position was not a factor in determining where they would be treated. In essence, it was a fair system.

What bugs me about the Tories is that they appear to be pandering to middle England, not helping those at the bottom of the ladder. In my opinion, health care is not the only place where this charge can be put, and this is why I cannot see myself voting for them.

* and I'm not an expert, so will gladly be corrected on this if I'm wrong.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
How does it increase inequality?

Let's say 10 people have cancer and the NHS is prepared to spend £5,000 per head on cancer treatment. Three of those people take their £5,000, add £1,000 of their own money, and go to a private hospital.

How are the remaining seven worse off? If anything, aren't they better off because the other three won't be using the NHS hospital (and are therefore off the waiting list)?

As long as the seven in the NHS hospital have a decent level of care, I don't see the problem.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I should have thought it also reduces the inequality insofar as it opens up the possibility of private healthcare to many more people even when it costs more than the NHS will pay for.

e.g. In the scenario outlined by Anglican't, suddenly private cancer treatment is available to people with £1000 to spend, instead of requiring £6000+.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
The times does better: JK Rowling on irrelevance of Tory policy from the point of view of single mothers.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
How does it increase inequality?

It doesn't increase inequality: It is inherently unequal. Privately provided healthcare is often 'better' than the equivalent on the NHS*. It is offensive to me that some people get access to a better standard of healthcare purely on their ability to pay for it. As I said before, I understand that this happens already, and there is nothing that can be done about it**. But I think it's morally wrong for the government to endorse that inequality by partially paying for it.

* At least in the sense of shorter waiting time, more comfortable conditions in the hospital, and perhaps better (or at least, higher paid) doctors.

** I would not advocate the banning of private healthcare.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
Privately provided healthcare is often 'better' than the equivalent on the NHS*.

* At least in the sense of shorter waiting time, more comfortable conditions in the hospital, and perhaps better (or at least, higher paid) doctors.

I'm glad you qualified your statement. Because, particularly where cancer care is concerned, the only difference between NHS and private healthcare systems will be the comfortable conditions of the hospital and the quality of the food. Oh, and whether you have your own room with TV in it, etc, etc. I doubt very much that private healthcare offers better quality medical care in this country. What people who can afford it are paying for are the luxuries, not the necessities. I would imagine it would be far better for those who can afford the luxuries to go off and do so while those who cannot, are provided with the necessities more quickly.
 
Posted by NJA (# 13022) on :
 
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

I suspect this kind of language will alienate many people who don't want it in public life, it makes UK people look like crude half-wits.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
Privately provided healthcare is often 'better' than the equivalent on the NHS*.

* At least in the sense of shorter waiting time, more comfortable conditions in the hospital, and perhaps better (or at least, higher paid) doctors.

I'm glad you qualified your statement. Because, particularly where cancer care is concerned, the only difference between NHS and private healthcare systems will be the comfortable conditions of the hospital and the quality of the food. Oh, and whether you have your own room with TV in it, etc, etc. I doubt very much that private healthcare offers better quality medical care in this country. What people who can afford it are paying for are the luxuries, not the necessities. I would imagine it would be far better for those who can afford the luxuries to go off and do so while those who cannot, are provided with the necessities more quickly.
Private Healthcare is generally not better, but in often worse. Nice rooms, food etc. but not necessarily the same standard of care.

Talk to any surgeon or anaethetist. All of my colleagues who I've had this conversation with say the same thing. ONLY for something very minor and very straight forward would they go private.

AFZ
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

I suspect this kind of language will alienate many people who don't want it in public life, it makes UK people look like crude half-wits.

Yes - it elegantly summaries the attitude of a large proportion of the population, in the same way that the Sex Pistols crudities did when they were in fashion... I doubt most people would raise an eyebrow, let alone worry that ' it makes UK people look like crude half-wits'.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

I suspect this kind of language will alienate many people who don't want it in public life, it makes UK people look like crude half-wits.

Yes - it elegantly summaries the attitude of a large proportion of the population, in the same way that the Sex Pistols crudities did when they were in fashion... I doubt most people would raise an eyebrow, let alone worry that ' it makes UK people look like crude half-wits'.
Did the Sex Pistols really summarise the attitude of a "large proportion of the population"? I don't know where you were in 1976 but while any number of 13-25 year-olds loved it they weren't desperately popular with everyone else. Heck I was 18 when they appeared on TV with Bill Grundy and wrecked his career, and I thought they were yet another bunch of self-indulgent galoots. Were it not for Malcolm Maclaren no-one would have heard of them.

btw, aren't UKIP simply another variety of the sods they despise?
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

I suspect this kind of language will alienate many people who don't want it in public life, it makes UK people look like crude half-wits.

From my experience it more or less encapsulates perfectly the view the vast majority of the British public have of the political class who have served this country so poorly.

I can only imagine you are living in a home for bewildered gentlefolk if you find that offensive.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
btw, aren't UKIP simply another variety of the sods they despise?

No, because they stand up for the traditional British right to smear children in lard and boil Frenchmen in chipfat, or whatever else the despicable sods on the Brussels sauce béarnaise train trying to ban this week.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

I don't know about 'rationale' but it makes them sound like the drunk down the pub who's spent the last half-hour explaining some convoluted conspiracy theory that noone else believes: "Sod the lot of you", he'll say as he staggers towards the gents in a storm of half-faked petulance.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

Yes. Its a direct appeal to the notion that a the slimy liberals who run all the main political parties won't admit what everyone really secretly knows, which is that its all been taken over by immigrants, but the Race Relations Industry and Political Correctness stops anyone saying it in public.

If they were one notch more xenophobic they'd be saying stuff like "The White Man has no rights in His Own Country". Though they probably have the sense to leave that up to the BNP.

They depend on taking Tory votes by making the Tories seem soft on immigrants, foreigners, the EU and suchlike. So they blow it if they come out too far. Though that might have the pleasant side-effect of taking a few possible BNP votes.

I doubt if there is much they can do to increase the almost certainly risible small vote they will get next month - they are on their way to contesting for sixth or seventh place & vanishing from both the opinion polls and the bookies odds - but they may be able to influence whether that tiny vote comes mostly from the Tories or the BNP. If (as seems to be the case) they are getting less secretive about their underlying racism it probably means they will take fewer Tory votes and more potential BNP ones.

You can see where they are coming from from this news - last week's headline was London UKIP election candidate in racism row - but that seems alright by their party leadership. This week the same candidate said bad things about the queen and got the boot. Racism is OK by them, anti-monarchism isn't.

(Supposedly he said she was a German bitch who sold us out to Europe - but I haven't seen that on his website myself)
 
Posted by aumbry (# 436) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by NJA:
It there any rationale behind the UKIP election slogan?

I doubt if there is much they can do to increase the almost certainly risible small vote they will get next month - they are on their way to contesting for sixth or seventh place & vanishing from both the opinion polls and the bookies odds......
Isn't this the party that came third in the Euro-elections and narrowly missed beating Labour to second place? They certainly beat the LibDems into fourth place.

If they come sixth in this poll (and I suspect that all the minor parties will end up doing much better than predicted) then that would be more of a reflection of the distorting effect of the first past the post voting system than an indication of their popularity.

Ken - your favourite political ploy is to attack others as racist although there is nothing in the UKIP agenda that falls into that category - so it is just a lazy smear. It didn't of course stop you from supporting Ken Livingstone in the London Mayoral elections whose record on making antisemitic remarks was very dubious.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
Isn't [UKIP] the party that came third in the Euro-elections and narrowly missed beating Labour to second place? They certainly beat the LibDems into fourth place.

If they come sixth in this poll (and I suspect that all the minor parties will end up doing much better than predicted) then that would be more of a reflection of the distorting effect of the first past the post voting system than an indication of their popularity.

It would be more to do with the fact that UKIP are very much a single-issue party, namely "get Britain out of the EU". They always get more support in European elections where their single issue is very relevant than in general elections where it is but one issue among many, and not the most important one by a long shot.

It's also to do with the fact that European elections as virtually irrelevant, making them safer venues for an idealistic or protest vote. In general elections, voters tend to play it safe and gravitate to the three main parties. The Green and BNP shares of the vote will fall compared to the European elections, as well as that of UKIP.

To cut a long story short, UKIP won't come sixth or lower because of FPTP, they'll do so because less people will vote for them in a serious election that isn't about their primary policy.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
Isn't this the party [UKIP] that came third in the Euro-elections and narrowly missed beating Labour to second place? They certainly beat the LibDems into fourth place.

UKIP came came second in the 2009 European Elections. Labour was narrowly beaten into third place.

In the South East of England, Labour came fifth. As was the case in the South West.

(You'll have to look up the links for yourself. The HTML tags contain parentheses, which are apparently forbidden on here).
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
On another note, anyone going to watch the debate tonight?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:

Ken - your favourite political ploy is to attack others as racist

Yah boo sucks to you! See what I care [Razz]

If you can read what UKIP have been saying and not realise they are essentially about xenophobia then you are looking at them through very very tinted glasses.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
In general elections, voters tend to play it safe and gravitate to the three main parties. The Green and BNP shares of the vote will fall compared to the European elections, as well as that of UKIP.

To cut a long story short, UKIP won't come sixth or lower because of FPTP, they'll do so because less people will vote for them in a serious election that isn't about their primary policy.

Yes, exactly.

The top three parties in terms of total votes nationwide are almost certain to be Tory, Labour, Liberal, and almost certain to be in that order.

After them Green, UKIP, BNP for places 4 5 & 6 in terms of total vote and I have no idea in which order they will come (I'd hope that one of course, but I have no real idea)

I'd be mildly surprised if the Greens win even one seat, and astonished were they to win more than two or three. BNP and UKIP are likely to win none at all, if either of them does its more likeley to be BNP even if they get fewer votes nationally, because their vote is likely to be more concentrated.

The main nationalist or regional parties such as SNP, the Democratic Unionists, Plaid Cymru and Sinn Féin (though probably not the Ulster Unionists or SDLP any more, much as I would prefer them to still be in the running) will each get more seats than Green/UKIP/BNP put together, and the SNP will probably get more total votes than one or two or even all three three of them (separately rather than together in this case).

So in total votes cast the UK picture is likely to be something like:

1. Tory
2. Labour
3. Liberal
[...big gap...]
4. Green
5. SNP
6. UKIP
7. DU
8. SF
9. BNP
10. PC
11. UU
12. SDLP

The order of things in the middle part of the list, say places 4-10, is very unpredictable. But it is extremely unlikely that any of those parties will end up anywhere near the top three or that they will drop below tenth place. Does anyone here, even Aumbry, seriously not believe that that is the likely outcome of the election for the minor parties? If so why not put money on it? You will get very good odds.

And in seats in Parliament is probably going to be something like:

1. Tory
2. Labour
[...big gap...]
3. Liberal
[...another big gap...]
4 DU
5. SNP
6. SF
7. PC

With UU, Green, Independent and SDLP struggling for even one or two seats each and everyone else probably nowhere. The exact order of the regional parties depends heavily on the political mood in Northern Ireland which might be rather volatile of course. There is an electoral pact between the Unionists and the Conservatives which could push other parties in or out of the frame - no-one knows yet.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I should have thought it also reduces the inequality insofar as it opens up the possibility of private healthcare to many more people even when it costs more than the NHS will pay for.

It does so at the cost of taking money out of the NHS. Saying that it relieves pressure on the NHS is quite wrong. The pressure on the NHS isn't due to lack of facilities: most hospitals have more than enough material beds and wards. What the NHS doesn't have at the moment is enough trained staff. This is because the NHS is already subsidising the private sector by paying for the training of the private sector's doctors and nurses. (The NHS is also subsidising the private sector by taking over the treatment of emergency cases and operations that go wrong.)

It also means that the NHS becomes a default second-class service and seen as such: the politicians and people running the NHS see it not as striving for excellence but as a safety net for people who can't afford anything else. That is not good for the NHS as a whole.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
Broadly agree with Ken's placings.

Two independent unionists likely to win seats in Northern Ireland.

Greens are now odds on to get one seat (Brighton Pavilion.)

SNP seat numbers I find quite difficult to predict. They have a potential upside they haven't achieved for 25 years, but maybe this time.

Quite likely there will be some sort of pact at Westminster between SNP, PC and Greens.

The UKIP leader is challenging the Speaker seeking re-election in Buckingham. If they had a chance of winning a seat 'normally' then they wouldn't be pulling stunts like that.
 
Posted by Alicïa (# 7668) on :
 
Brilliant debate tonight!

youGov says that Nick Clegg won the debate tonight by a country mile. Bring it on!

Clegg 51% Cameron 28% Brown 19%

Also see The Guardian

[ 15. April 2010, 21:51: Message edited by: Alicïa ]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
SNP seat numbers I find quite difficult to predict. They have a potential upside they haven't achieved for 25 years, but maybe this time.


Difficult; the BBC and the London-based parties have stitched it up by excluding the SNP from the leaders' debates and by minimising their media coverage. They'll be lucky to get 10 seats - much less than their share of the vote would warrant, but the electoral system skews things heavily in favour of Labour.

quote:

Quite likely there will be some sort of pact at Westminster between SNP, PC and Greens.

Certainly SNP and PC are planning to co-operate to maximise their coalition potential; not sure about whether the Greens would be in.

[ 15. April 2010, 21:52: Message edited by: RadicalWhig ]
 
Posted by The Revolutionist (# 4578) on :
 
No big revelations - I thought that Brown had the most content and substance, with Clegg being the most personable and relaxed. Not particularly in-depth, but I wasn't expecting it to be.

My first reactions in more detail are on my blog. It hasn't really helped me make my mind up, to be honest - the Welsh debate on Tuesday might help.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
It's also to do with the fact that European elections as virtually irrelevant, making them safer venues for an idealistic or protest vote.

Given the quantity of legislation that is the responsibility of Europe, not Westminster, the fact that the people and even MtM believe this is yet another failure of our ruling class to communicate the truth.
 
Posted by Jigsaw (# 11433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Revolutionist:
No big revelations - I thought that Brown had the most content and substance, with Clegg being the most personable and relaxed. Not particularly in-depth, but I wasn't expecting it to be.

Brown talked hard sense with substance, but looked ugly and awkward. Clegg looked lively and attractive, made some good points, but couldn't match Brown for a real grasp of the issues. Clegg seems to have won the popular vote by a long chalk. I thought that introducing party leader debates into UK election campaigns was a Good Thing, but I do worry that it's just going to be a charm contest.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Clegg easily won it last night, with Cameron second and Gordon a poor third (IMO). Cameron missed opportunities to clarify the water between him and Brown, in particular on the whole big -v- small government debate; the nearest he got to a soundbite was his "cut the waste to stop the jobs tax" quote, and he should have made more of that. Brown just came across as wooden, mechanical and clunky, and did himself no other favours by smirking inanely whilst the other two were talking.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Given the quantity of legislation that is the responsibility of Europe, not Westminster, the fact that the people and even MtM believe this is yet another failure of our ruling class to communicate the truth.

I've been pondering this perception, trying to work out what it actually means.

What statistical basis is being used to make this calculation? Are we counting by word, section or complete act?
 
Posted by Jonathan Strange (# 11001) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jigsaw:
I thought that introducing party leader debates into UK election campaigns was a Good Thing, but I do worry that it's just going to be a charm contest.

I just hope it doesn't confuse voters into thinking we have a presidential system.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
A hung parliament?

I suppose Broon was bound to get caned in the vox-pop polls about who did best. It's a bit hard to charm when you're charmless.

Reminded of a line from Eliza Bennet, contrasting Mr Wickham and Mr Darcy. Something like "One has all the appearance of it, the other has it. And for my part it's all Mr Darcy's". For all his charmlessness, IMO Broon has more substance than the other two put together.

Alas poor Gordo. When it comes to politics, this is a pretty superficial age. He can't win either a beauty contest or a charm contest.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
It's also to do with the fact that European elections as virtually irrelevant, making them safer venues for an idealistic or protest vote.

Given the quantity of legislation that is the responsibility of Europe, not Westminster, the fact that the people and even MtM believe this is yet another failure of our ruling class to communicate the truth.
Even if that were true, rather than debatable, the simple fact that whomever the UK votes for in European Elections makes no difference to the overall continent-wide result is what I'm referring to. The French/German/Spanish parties are the ones that set the agenda.

Even if every single British seat in the European Parliament was filled by a member of Labour, or Conservative, or the Monster Raving Looney Party, nothing would change. We simply don't have enough seats to make a difference. It follows that who we vote for doesn't make a difference, which means European elections are irrelevant.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Even if that were true, rather than debatable, the simple fact that whomever the UK votes for in European Elections makes no difference to the overall continent-wide result is what I'm referring to. The French/German/Spanish parties are the ones that set the agenda.

Even if every single British seat in the European Parliament was filled by a member of Labour, or Conservative, or the Monster Raving Looney Party, nothing would change. We simply don't have enough seats to make a difference. It follows that who we vote for doesn't make a difference, which means European elections are irrelevant.

Well - Channel 4's fact check blog tends to agree with you, against the opinion of a UK government minister, let alone a former German President; once more we must learn to stop taking politicians declaring facts too seriously. However it is still significant. And your claim that UK MEPs can't influence the legislation is surely deeply flawed; the assumption that a conspiracy of Germany, France and Spain are forcing through legislation despite having less than third of the seats (244 out of 750) suggests a degree of paranoia, whilst the assumption that a well presented rational case will always be ignored is equally improbable.

Personally I would like to see the Eurosceptic party grouping which the Conservatives MEPs have joined stand in the whole of the EU - especially France and Germany - and see how solidly pro-European those countries' right wing voters really are [Big Grin]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan Strange:
quote:
Originally posted by Jigsaw:
I thought that introducing party leader debates into UK election campaigns was a Good Thing, but I do worry that it's just going to be a charm contest.

I just hope it doesn't confuse voters into thinking we have a presidential system.
Sadly, I think many think that already. How many times have you heard someone say, "I've voting for Brown/Cameron/Clegg"? Of course, in effect we have a Prime Ministerial system, which is neither presidential (although it acts a bit like it) nor parliamentary (although it pretends to be).
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Given the quantity of legislation that is the responsibility of Europe, not Westminster, the fact that the people and even MtM believe this is yet another failure of our ruling class to communicate the truth.

I've been pondering this perception, trying to work out what it actually means.

What statistical basis is being used to make this calculation? Are we counting by word, section or complete act?

No actual source, but in an article in last week's Economist (which is hardly noted for its pro-European editorial line) on how a Tory victory might affect the UK's relationship with the rest of the EU, had this to say about this question (emphasis mine):

quote:
Making things worse is a profound ignorance of what the EU does and how it works. The mistaken belief that the EU is repsonsible for as much as 80% of all legislation in Europe (it is no more than 50%) and a lack of understanding of the role of national governments [...] in passing EU laws, have fostered the belief that an unaccountable and undemocratic machine in Brussels is somehow usurping the ancient role of Parliament. The media reinforce this belief...

 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Cameron missed opportunities to clarify the water between him and Brown, in particular on the whole big -v- small government debate; the nearest he got to a soundbite was his "cut the waste to stop the jobs tax" quote, and he should have made more of that.

I wish he'd stop calling it a "jobs tax". It's as if he thinks NICs didn't exist before! Like the "death tax", I think that kind of language is mildly dishonest, and I'm surprised that Labour hasn't picked him up on that.

I find the Conservative position that there is an additional £6 billion of efficiency savings to be made in the next nine months above what the government has already said it will do to be rather implausible. Cameron talks about not raising the pay of a few at the top of the health service, and a few other bits here and there, but how can he seriously think this can be done (especially if NHS spending is 'ringfenced')?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
[QB]And your claim that UK MEPs can't influence the legislation is surely deeply flawed; the assumption that a conspiracy of Germany, France and Spain are forcing through legislation despite having less than third of the seats (244 out of 750) suggests a degree of paranoia, whilst the assumption that a well presented rational case will always be ignored is equally improbable.[QB]

The party groupings in the European parliament are huge, and each is dominated by the "classical EU" block of countries. We don't (and can't) have enough members of any grouping to even influence what it does, never mind what the whole parliament does.

To compare it to the House of Commons: it's like the entire UK is equivalent to Plaid Cymru. Sure they're there, but it's not like they're going to significantly affect policy in any meaningful way. They could vote however they bloody well liked in any given election and it would still turn out the same.
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
Admittedly I only caught five minutes of it before deciding that re-reading the Hobbit was a better use of my time but it sounded as if Cameron was arguing that by dropping the NI increase there would be more money to spend on the NHS. Which makes less sense than demanding Clegg and Brown tell him what he has got in his pocketses.

My impression, given the starting presuppositons that Dave is lovely, Gordon is the bogeyman and that other bloke is a bit of a non-entity is that Brown was playing a straight bat and doing OK, Cameron wasn't doing as well as some might have hoped and Nick Clegg was cooking on gas. I woke up this morning to find that this is now the conventional wisdom. So I was almost certainly mistaken. [Big Grin]

[x-posted with Marvin.]

[ 16. April 2010, 11:32: Message edited by: Gildas ]
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:
.. it sounded as if Cameron was arguing that by dropping the NI increase there would be more money to spend on the NHS. Which makes less sense than demanding Clegg and Brown tell him what he has got in his pocketses.

He was claiming that, and in a certain way he's right. The NHS has to pay NICs for its employees, so putting up the rate of National Insurance (the Labour policy) will cost the NHS money. But the Tories have neatly 'ringfenced' NHS spending, so the impact of not putting NICs up (Tory policy) will not affect spending on health (although clearly it has to affect something, somewhere). Now, I think this argument is so myopic that it's laughable, but I would say that, wouldn't I?!
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Cameron missed opportunities to clarify the water between him and Brown, in particular on the whole big -v- small government debate; the nearest he got to a soundbite was his "cut the waste to stop the jobs tax" quote, and he should have made more of that.

I wish he'd stop calling it a "jobs tax". It's as if he thinks NICs didn't exist before! Like the "death tax", I think that kind of language is mildly dishonest, and I'm surprised that Labour hasn't picked him up on that.


An increase in NICs is effectively a tax on jobs and takes money out of the economy, so I don't think he was being dishonest there.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
I HATE! HATE! HATE! NICs!

Taxation is necessary, so why not come clean and increase income tax. That at least affects everyone. It all goes into the Treasury's pot to be doled out at the chancellor's whim. The advantage of NIC increases is that it doesn't affect unearned income (savings, dividends, pensions) so they won't lose the grey vote.

I'd rather scrap NICs, increase income & corporation taxes to make up the shortfall and increase personal allowance so that the only old folks who do lose are on a pretty good income already (like retired civil service mandarins).
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
An increase in NICs is effectively a tax on jobs and takes money out of the economy, so I don't think he was being dishonest there.

To clarify - because the employer's side is an invisible tax for most of us - NI contributions come from both the employer AND the employee. An increase in the rate, as proposed by labour, of the rate that employers pay IS a tax on jobs - because the employer will have to pay more cash to the government for every employee that they have - surely the definition of a 'Tax'.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
Turns out I wasn't the only one asking the question.

ISTM that Nick Clegg "won" last night's debate because it finally caused people to say "Oh, that's who he is!" as opposed to "I thought Vince Cable was in charge of the LibDems".
 
Posted by Pooks (# 11425) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

Alas poor Gordo. When it comes to politics, this is a pretty superficial age. He can't win either a beauty contest or a charm contest.

Aye. I am slightly bemused by the clamour to rate the debaters. With the media focus so much on the leaders themselves and their performance, there is a danger that the policies become secondary to any reason to vote for a particular party. Given that the parties can change their leaders at any time, I think some voters might feel short changed if that were to happen. But that's what happens if we are not clear in our mind that we are voting for a party, not a personality.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
What is the point of a studio audience which cannot clap, laugh, boo, jeer, or shout?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
What is the point of a studio audience which cannot clap, laugh, boo, jeer, or shout?

Well, if they could it would be unseemly and rude and . . . . a bit like Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons I suppose.

Maybe Hon. Members should be asked to sit down and shut up at PMQ's?
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
An increase in NICs is effectively a tax on jobs and takes money out of the economy, so I don't think he was being dishonest there.

To clarify - because the employer's side is an invisible tax for most of us - NI contributions come from both the employer AND the employee. An increase in the rate, as proposed by labour, of the rate that employers pay IS a tax on jobs - because the employer will have to pay more cash to the government for every employee that they have - surely the definition of a 'Tax'.
Agreed. And because the public sector employers (chiefly the NHS) have huge NI bills, increasing NI is in fact a public sector spending cut by another name. I think this is really underhand.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
Agreed. And because the public sector employers (chiefly the NHS) have huge NI bills, increasing NI is in fact a public sector spending cut by another name. I think this is really underhand.

Indeed.

Say, for the sake of argument, the public sector pays £100m on wages - if NI employer contributions are set at 4%, the public sector "spends" £104m (we'll ignore pensions for now) and is given this amount by the Treasury, who get £4m of it back - thus the net public spend is £100m.

Now, say the government achieves savings which means the public sector only gets £104m - no rise in the headline rate for wage costs, but how that £104m has got to account for a 5% contribution rate - that means the wage bill has to fall to roughly £99.1m to hit this budget, the Treasury gets £4.9m back in.

The private sector can put prices up to recoup some of the amount which, of course, will also mean an increase the actual amount of VAT paid on an item by the consumer - so more revenue for the Treasury, to put against reducing the debt.

In this scenario, a party pledging to reverse the NIC rise would have to increase public spending by .9% in order to pay for the loss to the Treasury of the benefit it gains from the public sector, and the private setor, having recovered most of its losses by raising prices, will then benefit further from a decrease in NIC which, of course, they would not pass onto the consumer (because they don't have to) who is then paying more VAT because the prices have gone up.

And in the end everybody goes back to tacitly acknolwedging that a modern, democratice society with the type of services that most people think we should have requires about 37% of GDP to be pooled for the common good, however you extract it.

Entirely unrelated topic - if the Tories get in but with a minority requiring an alliance with the DUP, does that mean the latter will screw the country for everything its got in order to dismantle the Irish peace process?
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
An increase in NICs is effectively a tax on jobs and takes money out of the economy, so I don't think he was being dishonest there.

I'm not disagreeing with the content of your statement, but when Cameron says "Labour are going to introduce a jobs tax", or even "Labour's tax on jobs" he makes it sound like something new. That is extremely disingenuous. If the rate increase is that bad an idea, why not argue that on its merits rather than bandying around an emotive name.

And people don't trust politicians to be straight with them. Hardly surprising, really. [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
What is the point of a studio audience which cannot clap, laugh, boo, jeer, or shout?

Well, if they could it would be unseemly and rude and . . . . a bit like Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons I suppose.

Maybe Hon. Members should be asked to sit down and shut up at PMQ's?

Good point well made.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
I thought Clegg was by far the best with Gordon brown a poor but solid second.

Cameron? Useless, vacuous deceiver.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I thought Clegg was by far the best with Gordon brown a poor but solid second.

Cameron? Useless, vacuous deceiver.

Funny, I thought Brown was the useless, vacuous deciever. Agree on Clegg though.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
I disagree, because at least you know what you're getting with Brown. For better or worse, his record as Chancellor and PM speaks for itself. There's no reason to think he'd be much different after an election.

But Cameron is harder to read. I still fear that he's old-school Tory with a nice smile, and I fear that his actions in Number 10 would benefit the Tory faithful rather than the whole country. I don't even really mean the flagship stuff that everybody is talking about: I mean the behind-the-scenes stuff. The detail of exactly what gets cut, the fine print of his 'emergency budget', increased power on committees for his MPs, control of the legislative agenda, and so on. Dyed-in-the-wool Tories with that kind of power is not a good thing, IMNVHO.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:

Entirely unrelated topic - if the Tories get in but with a minority requiring an alliance with the DUP, does that mean the latter will screw the country for everything its got in order to dismantle the Irish peace process?

No, why would they want to do that, given they have the First Minister position in Northern Ireland?

They would obviously hope for some economic dividends for Northern Ireland and their electorate, but it would be like a US Senator getting a hydro-electric plant in North Dakota in exchange for his support on welfare reform.

And the government could get it through on socio-economic grounds as well as the Peace Process.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
I agree with Imaginary Friend: there's a lot more to the Conservatives than Cameron, and they are keeping that well-hidden behind the smile. That includes some "Red Tories" (who I want to like, but still can't quite get the measure of) and lots of doctrinaire Thatcherites. I cannot bring myself to believe for a moment that the Conservatives would do much for anyone who lives north of Oxford and/or makes less than fifty grand a year (except, perhaps, pandering to their fears and prejudices).

I don't trust the Conservative's instincts. I've been to the Home Counties, seen the prosperous Tory towns with their nice gardens. From that perspective, life is pretty swell. All it needs is some fine tuning by the "Natural Party of Government". But I've also been to Carluke, Cumbernauld, Motherwell and Renton, and I know that life is far from swell. I don't trust Labour either, mind you, but many Tories just seem to have no idea what's going on outside of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Also, it seems that, for many Tories, its all a game - and a jolly fun one - the aim of which is to enjoy oneself immensely while protecting one's own interests and privileges.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
I cannot bring myself to believe for a moment that the Conservatives would do much for anyone who lives north of Oxford and/or makes less than fifty grand a year (except, perhaps, pandering to their fears and prejudices).

I don't trust the Conservative's instincts. I've been to the Home Counties, seen the prosperous Tory towns with their nice gardens. From that perspective, life is pretty swell. All it needs is some fine tuning by the "Natural Party of Government". But I've also been to Carluke, Cumbernauld, Motherwell and Renton, and I know that life is far from swell. I don't trust Labour either, mind you, but many Tories just seem to have no idea what's going on outside of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
.

But those aren't the constituencies where the Conservatives need to pick up votes and seats. And they aren't the voters that Thatcher was succcesful in attracting from Labour in 1979.

They need to win those earning closer to £20,000 in places like: Vale of Clywd, Wirral South, Lancashire West, Carlisle, Barrow & Furness, Tynemouth, Stockton South, Stirling, Edinburgh South, Dumfries & Galloway.

Now I know Stirling isn't Motherwell, but it isn't Tunbridge Wells either. But without those sort of Conservative seat gains the most likely government is a minority Labour administration receiving support from the Lib Dems or the Nationalists.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
Yes, Free Jack, that's where they need to win seats (Stirling is my constituency, btw: it was Labour by about 4,800 votes in 2005, but the SNP took the Scottish Parliament seat from Labour in 2007 by about 500 votes). But having won those seats, will their heart and soul still lie in the Home Counties (and the upper-middle class), and can they be counted on to really serve all the the people, even those with funny accents and less than perfect clothes?
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
Well if they don't, then they will lose those seats again and probably be out of them for another decade after that.

The public level of trust of serving politicians (of all major parties) is not exactly high at the moment. I would have thought that any new MP (of whatever party) is going to be very aware of that. Most new MPs would like to retain their seats.

Obviously a Conservative MP is more likely to have an overall approach to socio-economic policy to the right of a Labour MP on average. But I don't think you can automatically equate that to a Home Counties based philosophy.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
Obviously a Conservative MP is more likely to have an overall approach to socio-economic policy to the right of a Labour MP on average. But I don't think you can automatically equate that to a Home Counties based philosophy.

This is true, but they're not all exactly cycle-to-work, hug-a-hoody, X-Factor-inspiring love-muffins either, are they?!
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Southern England, and the South East are certainly the Tory heartlands (leastways outside London).

The Tories can't, however, afford to take the locals of those areas for granted in the same way that Labour has done in its traditional heartlands. South West England would turn yellow in a flash. And even though Labour poll third behind the Lib Dems in southern England overall, they can also take a swathe of constituencies.

I get the impression that voters round there aren't used to being ignored, and will use their votes very quickly to indicate their displeasure.

Consequentially, the Tories will remain as they have been for decades - a party of the South East, with a few spin-offs for folks further north and west.

As an aside, it's interesting to compare recent results with those of 1918: the blue areas decrease as one looks away from the South East.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
Actually I think they can this time round.

Because most Tories in the South East loathe Brown (and Mandelson and the like) so much, that they would let Cameron change the Tories to the point of national electability, even if they become slightly less important fish in the bigger pond. This time round there have been virtually no high profile defections from Lt. Col. Disgusted (retd.) of Tunbridge Wells to UKIP.

It's a Lancashire-centred election. And even a London one (but not a Surrey or Bucks. one.)
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Well there is some active support for tactical voting.

That is always more likely to benefit the liberals, because they are closer to each of the other parties. Together with Nick Clegg's performance on the debate - this may be a very good result for the Lib Dems.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Well there is some active support for tactical voting.

That is always more likely to benefit the liberals, because they are closer to each of the other parties.

But there are some pretty massive differences between the Lib Dems and the other two parties as well. Off the top of my head, a list of distinctive policies includes: Not replacing Trident, the tax on banks' profits, scrapping ID cards and the second phase of biometric passports, serious commitment to electoral reform, a stated desire to be more integrated into the EU and to enter the Euro.

There are a number of things in that list that neither the Tories nor Labour come close to signing up to, and supporters of the two big parties who choose to vote tactically should remember that, especially if the current bump in their poll numbers carries through to the ballot box. A vote for the Lib Dems ought to be a vote for the Lib Dems, but I'm sure they'll take any not the other guy votes they can get!
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
I have just bothered to re-join the labour party - but in my constituency we were third at the last election about 13500 votes behind the tories and 5000 behind the liberals. Realistically, who should I vote for ?
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
Like I said, I'm sure the Lib Dems will take whatever votes they can get. [Biased]
 
Posted by Touchstone (# 3560) on :
 
Apparently two polls in the papers tomorrow will show the libDems neck-and-neck with Labour, with Tories slipping to sub-35%. Clegg has clearly seized the opportunity of the TV debates with both hands - can he now get his bandwagon into overdrive and portray his party as serious contenders for government, or at least equal partners in a coalition?

As has been remarked, their manifesto is pretty radical stuff, somewhat to the left of labour. Is Britain ready to abandon the independent deterent and roll back the Big Brother state? (I for one certainly hope so.) Their economic policies will involve a lot of pain for a lot of people - increasing tax allowances to £10K will only be the sugar on the pill. Will the electorate shrink back when the threatened "scrutiny" from Dave 'n' Gordon occurs? (possibly at the next debate) This previously dull-as-ditchwater election is suddenly starting to look interesting. Clegg obviously understands very well that as the underdog, he has to roll the dice, and this is probably the best chance he will ever have.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Oh please be true - the idea of a Tory government in this situation is horrifing.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
I think the Lib Dem poll numbers will likely just be a bump, and that they're going to have to work really hard now that scrutiny of their policies will (rightly) be intensified. I suspect that a lot of marginals which the Lib Dems are fighting will come down to local issues and the individual PPCs as well as impressions of the national parties and it will be very hard to predict how they will go from national polling data.

I would also contend that their manifest is not all that radical. It's just a little more progressive and (dare I say it?!) a little more honest than the other two main parties'.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
Actually I think they can this time round.

Because most Tories in the South East loathe Brown (and Mandelson and the like) so much, that they would let Cameron change the Tories to the point of national electability, even if they become slightly less important fish in the bigger pond. This time round there have been virtually no high profile defections from Lt. Col. Disgusted (retd.) of Tunbridge Wells to UKIP.

It's a Lancashire-centred election. And even a London one (but not a Surrey or Bucks. one.)

On the other hand, on a quick count the following southern Tory constituencies would fall to the Lib Dems if the latter's vote rose by 8% (which current opinion polls suggest is possible): Dorset West (bye bye Letwin), Eastbourne, Guildford, Meon Valley, Totnes, Bournemouth West, Dorset North, Weston-Super-Mare, Wells, Devon Central, Devon West & Torridge, Newbury. This is a reflection of the fact that just about no constituencies in the south return Tories with the super-high majorities that Labour candidates recieve in the Welsh valleys, Liverpool, Newcastle, South Yorkshire and so on. The uncertainty in these constituencies, from a Tory perspective, is increased by the fact that many have a high third-placed Labour vote (of approx 20%) which could be squeezed by the Lib Dems.

I take the point that local issues will, of course, have their place.

Imaginary Friend:-

quote:
I would also contend that their manifest is not all that radical. It's just a little more progressive and (dare I say it?!) a little more honest than the other two main parties'.
I haven't read the Lib Dem manifesto, but I agree that their policies don't strike me as particularly radical. Even their European policy, which the Tories and Labour might expect to make mileage out of, is not particularly pronounced. Regarding the Euro, they make no commitment to join immediately, but only when the time is right - essentially no different from Labour circa 1997 - and even then, only after a referendum.

This will be the last UK election in which I will be entitled to vote, so I will be glad to cast my vote for the Lib Dems one last time.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
The Tory-Lib Dem battle in the South West of England is certainly interesting, but given that it is Labour that starts from government it is second order until Labour loses their majority and largest party status. (The second and third place party nationally taking a few seats off each other where the first place nationally is third locally has no effect on government majority.)

I would guess that they end up being battles in individual constituencies and counties. Probably a few gains on each side. Difficult to judge the swing in the regional context from the rather different national context. (If say the Conservatives and Lib Dems both take 4 points off Labour nationally, then it would have no effect on most of those SW seats on a uniform swing. But they would both take seats off Labour in the North, the Tories in the rural NW, the Lib Dems in the cities - though probably not many.)
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
This is a reflection of the fact that just about no constituencies in the south return Tories with the super-high majorities that Labour candidates recieve in the Welsh valleys, Liverpool, Newcastle, South Yorkshire and so on.

...

This will be the last UK election in which I will be entitled to vote, so I will be glad to cast my vote for the Lib Dems one last time.

Your fact is not a fact. There are plenty of huge majority Conservative seats in the South of England. They talk about monkeys with blue rosettes in Buckinghamshire winning...

I take it you have been out of the country for nearly 20 years then?
 
Posted by Robert Armin (# 182) on :
 
Does anyone know how to apply for a postal vote? For those of us who will be out of the country on May 6th?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
This is a reflection of the fact that just about no constituencies in the south return Tories with the super-high majorities that Labour candidates recieve in the Welsh valleys, Liverpool, Newcastle, South Yorkshire and so on.

...

This will be the last UK election in which I will be entitled to vote, so I will be glad to cast my vote for the Lib Dems one last time.

Your fact is not a fact. There are plenty of huge majority Conservative seats in the South of England. They talk about monkeys with blue rosettes in Buckinghamshire winning...
You should check the facts before denying them. The Tories don't even hold every Buckinghamshire constituency, and only polled more than 50% in two.

Compare Labour MP's majorities in Liverpool.

quote:
I take it you have been out of the country for nearly 20 years then?

Somewhat less... but it feels like only five weeks.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Armin:
Does anyone know how to apply for a postal vote? For those of us who will be out of the country on May 6th?

Try www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

Hurry up though: I think the deadline is days away.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Even [Lib Dem] European policy, which the Tories and Labour might expect to make mileage out of, is not particularly pronounced. Regarding the Euro, they make no commitment to join immediately, but only when the time is right - essentially no different from Labour circa 1997 - and even then, only after a referendum.

What is Labour policy towards the Euro these days?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
What is Labour policy towards the Euro these days?

Keep quiet and hope it goes away.

Not the Eurozone itself of course, but the suggestion that UK might soon join it. Any Cabinet Minister who seriously planned for joining would probably end up at the bottom of the Humber wearing metaphorical concrete overshoes.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
You should check the facts before denying them. The Tories don't even hold every Buckinghamshire constituency, and only polled more than 50% in two.

At the last General Election in 2005, the Conservatives won all of the five constituencies in the area of Buckinghamshire County Council, four of them with a majority of over 10,000, three of them with 50%+ votes.

Bucks Facts!

The two Milton Keynes seats were part of the historic county, but are very different in demography now and have a separate unitary council. Though the Conservatives won the more rural MK NE seat last time. That Mr Bercow was subsequently elected Speaker does not change the underlying strength of the Tory party in the county. Neither does boundary change really make much difference either.

I am not saying that Labour aren't slightly stronger numerically in parts of Liverpool but the feeling of safeness is broadly the same.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
You should check the facts before denying them. The Tories don't even hold every Buckinghamshire constituency, and only polled more than 50% in two.

At the last General Election in 2005, the Conservatives won all of the five constituencies in the area of Buckinghamshire County Council, four of them with a majority of over 10,000, three of them with 50%+ votes.

Bucks Facts!

Aylesbury - 49.1
Buckingham - 57.4
Chesham - 54.4
Beaconsfield - 55.4
Wycombe: 45.8

OK, I left out Beaconsfield by mistake (thought it was Berks, mea culpa), but I make that three, not five. So, the Tories don't even poll a majority of votes cast in their heartland.

quote:
The two Milton Keynes seats were part of the historic county, but are very different in demography now and have a separate unitary council. Though the Conservatives won the more rural MK NE seat last time. That Mr Bercow was subsequently elected Speaker does not change the underlying strength of the Tory party in the county. Neither does boundary change really make much difference either.


I see. So the 'true' Buckinghamshire is the bit that votes Tory. Eh? Eh? (nudge) [Smile]

Milton Keynes North: 39.3 (Tory gain from Labour)
Milton Keynes South West: 35.2 (Labour hold)

quote:
I am not saying that Labour aren't slightly stronger numerically in parts of Liverpool but the feeling of safeness is broadly the same.
Numerical strength is surely the best reflection of safeness. Compare Liverpool:-

Garston: 54.0
Riverside: 57.6
wavertree 52.4
Walton: 72.8
West Derby: 62.8

Note also the low turnout (between 41 and 51%) and the lack of anything like a strong challenge except in Garston and Riverside.

source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/vote_2005/default.stm

Finally, I don't think local election results are a helpful guide. They often buck the trend. The Conservatives, as I recollect, actually polled strongly in 1997, on the very day that they were being wiped out in Parliament.

So I think my basic point (ie, the Tories remain a party of the South East, because if they displease their core vote down there, they lose seats) is a good one. By contrast, in the Labour heartlands I have mentioned, only the Lib Dems were even beginning to emerge as a potential alternative, and even then in precious few seats. In Tory heartlands, voters do turn to Labour or Lib Dem at parliamentary elections. In Labour heartlands, they are far more likely to swing between Labour and stay-at-home. Labour can therefore afford to ignore (and, IMHO has ignored) the voters in those areas.

Consequentially, if the Tories don't make headway against the Lib Dems, and regain at least some of the southern seats that the Lib Dems took off them in 97, 01 and 05, they are in big trouble. They are in bigger trouble if the Lib Dems actually achieve a swing against them in those areas.

(as an aside, I understand that it is the mixture of Lib Dem seats in traditional Tory areas and low turnout in seats that Labour win that makes the constituency system seem so skewed against the Tories right now.)
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
(as an aside, I understand that it is the mixture of Lib Dem seats in traditional Tory areas and low turnout in seats that Labour win that makes the constituency system seem so skewed against the Tories right now.)

Indeed. I saw somewhere (and I can't remember where it was so I'm afraid I can't give you a link) that Labour would probably win the most seats even if nationally their share of the vote was 6 or 7 percentage points behind the Tories. You've got to wonder why the Conservatives aren't more open to PR! [Biased]
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Originally posted by Radical Whig:

quote:
the BBC and the London-based parties have stitched it up by excluding the SNP from the leaders' debates and by minimising their media coverage.
I think this may be an own goal. Quite a few people I know are sufficiently riled at the exclusion as to be favouring a vote for the S.N.P.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
I thought the beeb were doing debates with the nationalist party leaders ?
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Numerical strength is surely the best reflection of safeness. Compare Liverpool:-

Garston: 54.0
Riverside: 57.6
wavertree 52.4
Walton: 72.8
West Derby: 62.8

Note also the low turnout (between 41 and 51%) and the lack of anything like a strong challenge except in Garston and Riverside.

Though this time round the Lib-Dems are making a concerted effort to grab Wavertree. Largely because the current MP is retiring and Labour had the temerity to parachute in a replacement candidate from London - someone who committed the supreme crime of not knowing who Bill Shankly is! [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!] [Eek!]

The thing is, Liverpool council has been under Lib-Dem control for years - IIRC Labour got chucked out of Liverpool City Council at the same time as they got into Government - so Scousers are capable of voting for someone else, despite all appearences to the contrary.

[ 18. April 2010, 20:11: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
I disagree, because at least you know what you're getting with Brown. For better or worse, his record as Chancellor and PM speaks for itself. There's no reason to think he'd be much different after an election.


Which is every reason to kick him into the long grass...
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
can they be counted on to really serve all the the people, even those with funny accents and less than perfect clothes?

About as much as Labour can, yes.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
can they be counted on to really serve all the the people, even those with funny accents and less than perfect clothes?

About as much as Labour can, yes.
I.e. Not much?
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Numerical strength is surely the best reflection of safeness. Compare Liverpool:-

Garston: 54.0
Riverside: 57.6
wavertree 52.4
Walton: 72.8
West Derby: 62.8

Note also the low turnout (between 41 and 51%) and the lack of anything like a strong challenge except in Garston and Riverside.

Following my previous post - it's also worth pointing out that West Derby is held by Bob Wareing, who has since resigned the Labour whip because he thought the New Labour Mafia were picking on him - so in a sense Labour has already lost one Liverpool constituency.

Similarly, the extremely high support in Walton is almost certainly for Peter Kilfoyle rather than Labour per se. As Kilfoyle is standing down in this election, even Walton can't be taken for granted.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Originally posted by Radical Whig:

quote:
the BBC and the London-based parties have stitched it up by excluding the SNP from the leaders' debates and by minimising their media coverage.
I think this may be an own goal. Quite a few people I know are sufficiently riled at the exclusion as to be favouring a vote for the S.N.P.
I'm not sure their objections have any merit. The debate was supposed to be between those who intend to form the next government. Obviously the Welsh and Scottish nationalists aren't putting up enough candidates to do that.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Ricardus,

Your points are well made, and it will be very interesting to see what happens in Liverpool this time round.

Good grief: not knowing who Bill Shankly was. Another example of Labour taking Liverpool for granted?
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
Well, the miscarriage of justice that was the trial of (Liverpool fan) Michael Shields was finally put right by Straw, and it was Burnham who pushed forward a (long awaited) inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster, so in some ways the Labour party are doing well for Liverpool.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
Well, the miscarriage of justice that was the trial of (Liverpool fan) Michael Shields was finally put right by Straw.

Well, there are two possible interpretations of that:

  1. Michael Shields was genuinely innocent, and Jack Straw through laziness or prejudice let him remain maligned in jail for months and years longer than was necessary, and could only be nudged into action by an unprecedented campaign of support that should never have been necessary - as this article suggests,;
  2. Michael Shields was as guilty as Hell, but Jack Straw let him out because it was politically expedient to do so (slandering the process the judicial process of an entire country, not to mention the European Court of Human Rights) - as this other article suggests.

I don't want to take sides, but either way it doesn't reflect well on Mr Straw ...

[ 20. April 2010, 19:55: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
As just as the pardon was (according to, say Human Rights Watch) it was a strange decision, in that Straw referred to new evidence, which possibly was a statement given by the parents to Straw about the Starkey confession. I say strange, because this information was out months before Straw find out about it. I was surprised with the pardon, to tell the truth, as it was unprecedented.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
(Executive summary: Labour stinks, especially in Liverpool.)
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
As just as the pardon was (according to, say Human Rights Watch) it was a strange decision, in that Straw referred to new evidence, which possibly was a statement given by the parents to Straw about the Starkey confession. I say strange, because this information was out months before Straw find out about it. I was surprised with the pardon, to tell the truth, as it was unprecedented.

The whole thing stinks, and Straw, Anderson (leader of the Labour group on Liverpool Council) and Ellman and Eagle (local Labour MPs) have made it stinkier.

The Michael Shields campaign bases its case primarily on a confession made by Graham Sankey. This despite the fact that a.) Sankey refused to make his confession in Bulgaria; b.) Sankey's confession did not tally with what happened (source), c.) Sankey retracted his confession afterwards (source), d.) it is alleged that Sankey was intimidated into making the confession (source).

None of Michael Shields' defenders, to my knowledge, have even attempted to address these points. Possibly Anderson, Ellman, and Eagle have some startling evidence that overcomes difficulties a)-d) and thus proves Sankey guilty. Otherwise, they are doing exactly what they get so outraged about the Bulgarian courts doing - viz., accusing an innocent man of thuggery.

If they do have such evidence, then they and Straw should present it to the public. If they have evidence that genuinely clears Shields, and they withhold it, then they leave him permanently under suspicion from bastards like me.

Incidentally, do you have a source for Human Rights Watch's support? Because I can't find anything on their website.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Originally posted by Radical Whig:

quote:
the BBC and the London-based parties have stitched it up by excluding the SNP from the leaders' debates and by minimising their media coverage.
I think this may be an own goal. Quite a few people I know are sufficiently riled at the exclusion as to be favouring a vote for the S.N.P.
I'm not sure their objections have any merit. The debate was supposed to be between those who intend to form the next government. Obviously the Welsh and Scottish nationalists aren't putting up enough candidates to do that.
The question is not just who is going to govern us, but how we are to be governed, and by what authority. To exclude the SNP and Plaid Cymru is to attempt to bury these more pertinent questions.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
How we are to be governed depends upon who forms the government. Obviously that is not going to be the leader of the Welsh or Scottish nationalists.

If this is so important to them, they should arrange their own leaders' debates in their respective areas. That said, as this is a Westminster, rather than a devolved election, there is no reason even for the Welsh or Scottish media to give them equal coverage as the national (as opposed to nationalist) parties.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
Meanwhile, the momentum for the Liberal Democrats following Nick Clegg's perceived win in the 'Prime Ministerial debate' led to this comment by former Sun editor David Yelland. Yelland's point is that parts of the media are personally committed to a Conservative Government; they have cultivated strong connections with Conservatives while ignoring the Lib Dems.

If Yelland is right, we would expect to see personal attacks on Nick Clegg in those parts of the media. Is it just a coincidence, then, that the Mail on Sunday printed this attack, all about Clegg's "exotic lineage and cosmopolitan lifestyle [that is] is a world away from his gritty Yorkshire constituency" (is this a similar style of attack to the reported attacks on Senator John Kerry during the 2004 US Presidential election when he was called a 'metrosexual'?)

On a similar theme, there's today's front page shock 'news' in the Sun that Clegg was 'coached' for the TV debate; what next, the breaking news that surgeons are 'trained' for the operations that they do, or that airline pilots have 'learned' how to fly planes?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
May I point out that Northern Ireland, to a greater extent than Wales or Scotland, has a distinct political identity. Should the leaders of the dominant Unionist and Nationalist political parties be included, along with the leaders of Plaid Cymru and the SNP?

Note that at the moment those parties are the DUP (Democratic Unionists) and Sinn Fein.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Don't forget Mebyon Kernow.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
...what next, the breaking news that surgeons are 'trained' for the operations that they do, or that airline pilots have 'learned' how to fly planes?

[Eek!]
Shhhh it's a secret. Don't tell anyone!
[Biased]
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Don't forget Mebyon Kernow.

Also from Cornwall:

David Cameron is struck by an egg

I bet the Tories go up in the polls as a result!? In this substance-free campaign one egg could make the difference.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
Meanwhile, the momentum for the Liberal Democrats following Nick Clegg's perceived win in the 'Prime Ministerial debate' led to this comment by former Sun editor David Yelland. Yelland's point is that parts of the media are personally committed to a Conservative Government; they have cultivated strong connections with Conservatives while ignoring the Lib Dems.

The piece by Yelland was very interesting, not just because it partially confirms media bias against the Lib Dems (at least in terms of the amount of coverage given), but also because it illustrates the blurred line between news reporting and commentary. Personally, I would like to see a much clearer distinction between news and opinion, but I know that's not likely to happen.

As for the Mail on Sunday, I think that article says as much about that paper's jingoistic and xenophobic leanings as anything else. Such petty and small-minded criticism is really stupid because in some ways, Clegg's CV shows that he has a lot of relevant experience for political life, especially since Britain's relationship with Europe is likely to be a big issue in the next decade or so. But no: He speaks foreign languages, had the gall to work in Brussels, gave his kids Spanish names and doesn't prostrate himself in front of St George's cross every morning. Disgraceful.

In other news, senior Conservatives are starting to brief against Cameron, and in particular his 'Big Society' idea. To quote (from the article) a senior Tory:
quote:
The 'big society' is bollocks. It is boiled vegetables that have been cooked for three minutes too long. It tastes of nothing. What is it?
Excellent question!
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
brief against Cameron, and in particular his 'Big Society' idea. To quote (from the article) a senior Tory:
quote:
The 'big society' is bollocks. It is boiled vegetables that have been cooked for three minutes too long. It tastes of nothing. What is it?
Excellent question!
So let me get this straight:

Historical Conservative leader says there's no such thing as society*, and people still bring it up over twenty years later to criticise them.

Modern Conservative leader says not only that there is such a thing as society, but that it should be bigger and more involved in how the country is run, and people criticise them.

Am I missing something here?

.

*= I'm ignoring the fact that that statement was taken out of context and misinterpreted for the purposes of this post.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
Personally, I'm not making a link between 'Big Society' and anything Thatcher said.

The context of the comment quoted is that 'Big Society' is proving to be a tough sell on the doorstep. It's an idea which sounds appealing, but the lack of meat on the bones of the idea makes it hard to picture what the idea means from a practical point of view. If you watch the video at the top of the report I linked to, you'll see some examples of that*.

So my criticism is not with an apparent departure from something a Tory said 25 years ago (as if parties aren't allowed to change their minds!) but that this idea is mere veneer, fluff, and PR. And now that Cameron is in a fight (who would have predicted that even a few weeks ago?) the veneer is cracking as discontentment rises in the Tory ranks.

* In particular, one lady says that the first thing she would do if she could set up her own school is make it exclusively for white children. That is certainly not what Letwin and Cameron were intending with this idea, but it is a nasty unintended consequence. More mundanely, when the journalist tried to explain the idea to people, the main responses were "I don't have time" and "leave it to the professionals". Both fair comments, really.
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
In the latter instance it appears to be members of the Shadow Cabinet who are criticising Mr Cameron. Having an anonymous pop at the leader one's party and his big idea during a General Election campaign might be regarded as an innovative strategy, but not, I think, one which indicates a great deal of confidence in him.

May 6th is almost upon us. Governments in waiting are not supposed to be getting attacks of the jitters at this stage of the game.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
More mundanely, when the journalist tried to explain the idea to people, the main responses were "I don't have time" and "leave it to the professionals". Both fair comments, really.

It is very much fair comment. Put it like this: would you trust your child's schooling to someone who currently has enough free time to engage in all the complexities of starting up a new school?

I'm busy enough as it is, househusbanding, looking after my two kids, writing, building projects I can't afford to pay other people to do, and in what 'spare time' I do have, I do two afternoons a week at my local primary.

Those with the expertise have volunteered - frankly, a lot of us are already over-committed with community and church stuff. 'Big Society' just seems to be an attempt to get public services done on the cheap by people who are running to stand still.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
'Big Society' just seems to be an attempt to get public services done on the cheap by people who are running to stand still.

You may not have noticed, but the country isn't exactly flush with cash right now. Cuts are inevitable, which means "doing it on the cheap" is inevitable. At least the Conservatives are trying to do something about it that won't require unsustainable tax rises or sums that don't add up.

But part of me thinks that's irrelevant. Part of me thinks that if Labour had come up with exactly the same idea it would have been hailed as a socialist triumph putting vital services back in the hands of the people.

What exactly do you people want? You've spent the last 20 years bitching about the Tories thinking society doesn't exist, then as soon as they ask society to be more prominent it's all "you can't expect society to do that". Make up your bloody minds.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
The big society idea is championed by Philip Blond's respublica movement, which is trying to act as a bridge between the academic world (in which these ideas have been growing and circulating since the 1980s) and the world of party-politics (where Cameron - I think rather cynically and opportunistically - is trying to get on the band-wagon).

"Big society" has been badly communicated and not properly worked through in policy terms. But as set of basic ideas, values, and principles, it has quite a strong (and to my mind attractive) pedigree.

The gist of it is that neither the individualist / contractarian / market-based system, nor the collectivist / bureaucratic / state-based system, works very well. Both neglect the value of fraternity, and both tend squeeze out the communitarian / mutualist / civic-based realm - the realm in which people are integrated with other people in the common and spontaneous organisation of their mutual affairs. The "Big society" seeks to overcome alienation and atomisation by freeing people up to be together - for example, by making it easier to start a community group to deliver a service which is not provided by either the State or the market. It is linked to the idea of the state not merely as a neutral defender of rights, but as an active promoter of public or common goods - albeit delivered indirectly in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Other things coming out of the Tories - such as a renewed emphasis on "character" are all part of the same idea, although I'm not sure whether that is communicated very well to most people.

I started to write a paper on this "Red Tory" phenomenon a few months back. I was trying to analyse it in terms of three more well-known ideological categories: Christian Democratic, Civic Republican, and Traditional Toryism. However, it was overtaken by other more urgent (and more directly relevant) projects. I might get back to it after the election, if by then we have some more concrete indications of how it will all pan out. For now, this article sums it up much better than I can.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So let me get this straight:

Historical Conservative leader says there's no such thing as society*, and people still bring it up over twenty years later to criticise them.

Modern Conservative leader says not only that there is such a thing as society, but that it should be bigger and more involved in how the country is run, and people criticise them.

Am I missing something here?

Yes - the Tories are still the nasty party.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
'Big Society' just seems to be an attempt to get public services done on the cheap by people who are running to stand still.

You may not have noticed, but the country isn't exactly flush with cash right now. Cuts are inevitable, which means "doing it on the cheap" is inevitable.
Yes: cuts are inevitable. However, how is creating more schools a response to this?

Furthermore, society already has a perfectly adequate mechanism for training self-motivated members interested in teaching, nursing, social work etc to a level where they are competent and able to discharge their duties in a professional manner.

Which part of teaching, nursing or social work training do you think should be missed out? Or do you just think semi- or untrained people can do the job of a teacher, nurse or social worker?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:

"Big society" ...[snip]

The gist of it is that neither the individualist / contractarian / market-based system, nor the collectivist / bureaucratic / state-based system, works very well. Both neglect the value of fraternity, and both tend squeeze out the communitarian / mutualist / civic-based realm - the realm in which people are integrated with other people in the common and spontaneous organisation of their mutual affairs.

The starting point of Thatcherism, as I remember it, was that the state should not interfere, and that people should take responsibility for their own affairs. I also recollect that this tended to be more true for economic rather than social matters (Thatcher was quite authoritarian re the latter).

I understand Cameron's 'big society' idea to be that local people in local communities should take responsibility for their own affairs and those of each other. How is this different from classic 'roll back the frontiers of the State' Thatcherism?

My recollection is that Thatcherism held that where the State got out, individuals would fill the vacuum. In fact, I don't recollect this happening at a local / civic level. So I wonder how Cameron has any plan for making such a thing happen.

I recognise this 'big society' far more in NZ than the parts of the UK where I grew up. But it is noteworthy that the Government and local councils are quite heavily involved in organising or subsidising such things, ie, the state has a tradition of offering support whilst being very unprescriptive about how local people should use that help. This sounds far more Lib Dem than Tory and I wonder if Cameron would go that far.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
What exactly do you people want? You've spent the last 20 years bitching about the Tories thinking society doesn't exist, then as soon as they ask society to be more prominent it's all "you can't expect society to do that". Make up your bloody minds.

You seem to be accusing the Conservative's critics of being inconsistent and unfair.

To be fair to David Cameron, he has explained what he means by the Big Society. In his interesting Big Society speech he said:

"I will tell you what I'm going to do, I am going to redouble the positive, I am going to accentuate everything positive we want to bring to this country, I am going to make sure everything we do is about the positive vision we have for the future of our country ..."

Coincidentally, today's Daily Mail headline news:

"Clegg's Nazi slur on Britain"

What was that about being 'consistent' and 'fair'? At least in the US, with its paid-for political TV advertising, when one party goes full-tilt negative, they know that the other side will do the same thing - a kind of Mutually Assured Destruction. Cameron has the right-wing tabloids to go full-tilt negative for him, with no apparent downside.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
If the Daily Mail's attack on Nick Clegg is a "Nazi Slur" then I'm a Dutchman. If you read beyond the two words "Nazi Slur" it's clear that Clegg has stated an outright truth, but an unpalatable one, even an unacceptable one. The ++ABC does the same from time to time.

It's early in a campaign to invoke Godwin's Law - how do you raise the ante from here?

Still, the Tories and their friends in the press are taking Clegg and the Lib Dems seriously now, which will take the heat off Brown and Labour.
 
Posted by Blue Scarf Menace (# 13051) on :
 
Well if anyone is able to recognise a Nazi it's the Daily Mail. What is unusual is that this time they are not gushing with admiration. Perhaps Clegg needs to grow a moustache - it worked for Thatcher.

And isn't Cameron's Big Society just warmed up left overs from Blair's "Stakeholder Economy"? Could someone explain the difference.

[ 22. April 2010, 08:10: Message edited by: Blue Scarf Menace ]
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
It's pleasing to note that the top-rated comment on that article supports Clegg.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So let me get this straight:

Historical Conservative leader says there's no such thing as society*, and people still bring it up over twenty years later to criticise them.

Modern Conservative leader says not only that there is such a thing as society, but that it should be bigger and more involved in how the country is run, and people criticise them.

Am I missing something here?

Yes - the Tories are still the nasty party.
So no matter what policies they advocate - even if they're exactly the ones you were screaming for earlier - you'll always hate them? Hmm, there's a word for that...
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Yes: cuts are inevitable. However, how is creating more schools a response to this?

More privately-run schools = less kids in publically-run ones = more money per child in publically-run ones.

Alternatively, less kids in publically-run schools = less money required.

quote:
Furthermore, society already has a perfectly adequate mechanism for training self-motivated members interested in teaching, nursing, social work etc to a level where they are competent and able to discharge their duties in a professional manner.

Which part of teaching, nursing or social work training do you think should be missed out? Or do you just think semi- or untrained people can do the job of a teacher, nurse or social worker?

As far as I can tell, encouraging people to group together to create new schools doesn't mean they become the teachers, it means they become the governors.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
You seem to be accusing the Conservative's critics of being inconsistent and unfair.

Yes, I am. In evidence I offer leo, who has demonstrated amply that such criticism isn't even rooted in policies, but in personal antipathy.

quote:
Cameron has the right-wing tabloids to go full-tilt negative for him, with no apparent downside.
So you're calling Cameron a hypocrite because he says one thing and someone completely unrelated to him does another? Riiight.

Of course, if such comments are to be deemed fair I'll just point out that the Guardian and Mirror do exactly the same thing for Labour.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
The media, completely unrelated to political parties? Come on, Marvin!
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
More privately-run schools = less kids in publically-run ones = more money per child in publically-run ones.

Alternatively, less kids in publically-run schools = less money required.

I'm willing to be corrected on this, but I was led to believe 'setting up schools' in this context didn't mean private, fee-paying independent schools - of which there are already plenty around to take your money if you wish. Rather, these were to be state-funded Academy-style schools outside the control of the LEA.

quote:
As far as I can tell, encouraging people to group together to create new schools doesn't mean they become the teachers, it means they become the governors.
Don't all state schools already have to have governors? If someone wants to be a school governor, there are plenty of schools to choose from. Some of them don't even have elections to be a governor as there are vacant spaces.

Cameron is promising us something we already have. Clearly putting the con into conservative.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
The media, completely unrelated to political parties? Come on, Marvin!

Unless you're suggesting that Cameron has direct control over the editorial policy of the Mail, you can't suggest that he's being hypocritical by saying he'll focus on the positive then letting the Mail do the attacking for him. He is not responsible for what they publish.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
I suggest you go away and read Yelland's excellent article in the Grauniad, which confirmed what any intelligent observer has known for years: that political parties do Faustian pacts with the press. It's rather obtuse to assert that the Conservatives, a party that Cameron leads, have no influence over a newspaper's editorial policy.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I'm willing to be corrected on this, but I was led to believe 'setting up schools' in this context didn't mean private, fee-paying independent schools - of which there are already plenty around to take your money if you wish. Rather, these were to be state-funded Academy-style schools outside the control of the LEA.

It's perfectly possible that I'm mistaken.

quote:
Cameron is promising us something we already have. Clearly putting the con into conservative.
Let's look at what Cameron has actually said on this subject.

quote:
(From the speech linked to earlier):

We'll only get really good schools when we say to families: you've got to get involved with your school, you've got to help back up the teachers, you've got to make sure you bring up your children properly, and also when we break open the monopoly of education and say to the social enterprises, the charities and the churches and the other organisations: come on in. In our Big Society, everyone's welcome. Come on in and set up a great school in the state system so we can get the competition, the choice, the excellence, the diversity that we have in the private system. That's what the Big Society is all about.

So it's a mix of individuals being more involved in schools (through bringing their kids up right, becoming governors, volunteering, etc) and charities becoming involved in schools (by investing in/setting up their own schools).

So yes, it's partly what we have now but - significantly - we aren't using. And it's partly new stuff. Hardly a con though.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Let's look at what Cameron has actually said on this subject.

quote:
(From the speech linked to earlier):

We'll only get really good schools when we say to families: you've got to get involved with your school, you've got to help back up the teachers, you've got to make sure you bring up your children properly, and also when we break open the monopoly of education and say to the social enterprises, the charities and the churches and the other organisations: come on in. In our Big Society, everyone's welcome. Come on in and set up a great school in the state system so we can get the competition, the choice, the excellence, the diversity that we have in the private system. That's what the Big Society is all about.

So it's a mix of individuals being more involved in schools (through bringing their kids up right, becoming governors, volunteering, etc) and charities becoming involved in schools (by investing in/setting up their own schools).

So yes, it's partly what we have now but - significantly - we aren't using. And it's partly new stuff. Hardly a con though.

So, yes. You are mistaken.

All the opportunities are already there. Those who are committed to these things are already over-committed. Those who couldn't give a toss still won't give a toss.

What would actually make a difference would be for employers to allow employees to use a set number of hours each month to help run community projects, work in schools, visit hospitals and care homes, clear rivers and waste ground - and still receive their wage. Motivated people don't lack commitment. They lack time. Unless Cameron is proposing a 30 hour day in some massive geoengineering project, his proposal is just hot air.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
More privately-run schools = less kids in publically-run ones = more money per child in publically-run ones.

Alternatively, less kids in publically-run schools = less money required.

I'm willing to be corrected on this, but I was led to believe 'setting up schools' in this context didn't mean private, fee-paying independent schools - of which there are already plenty around to take your money if you wish. Rather, these were to be state-funded Academy-style schools outside the control of the LEA.

quote:
As far as I can tell, encouraging people to group together to create new schools doesn't mean they become the teachers, it means they become the governors.
Don't all state schools already have to have governors? If someone wants to be a school governor, there are plenty of schools to choose from. Some of them don't even have elections to be a governor as there are vacant spaces.

Cameron is promising us something we already have. Clearly putting the con into conservative.

Hmm, Academies and governors: a bit of an issue to put it mildly.

Back in the bad old days before Local Management of Schools, too many governors were appointed by the LEAs. Now there are some staff governors (including the Head), the LEA appoint some, some are elected by parents and there are community governors appointed (or more often cajoled into it) by the existing governors. The proportions maintain a balance although it can cause tensions as no "group" has a majority.

The terms of reference for Governance of Academies for a couple I have looked at appear to emphasise the role of Sponsor Governors and those appointed by the LEA. The role of parents, the community and staff seems to have been reduced and I'll go for almost anything which reverses the corporatist trend that the governance of academies appears to represent.

If there are any teachers out there with experience of academy governance, please let me know: I'm looking from the outside but I don't like it.

[a wee bit of x-posting there . . .]

[ 22. April 2010, 10:39: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
So, yes. You are mistaken.

It would seem so.

quote:
All the opportunities are already there. Those who are committed to these things are already over-committed. Those who couldn't give a toss still won't give a toss.
Maybe there are a large number of people in the middle of those two categories - it's not just "over committed" or "couldn't give a toss". Maybe there are those who don't know the opportunities are there - I certainly wasn't aware that I could directly influence my local school's policies. Maybe, just maybe, he's trying to get a few of the couldn't-give-a-tossers to start giving a toss after all.

What's so wrong with trying to encourage increased participation by the public? Is it better that they all sit back with their McDonalds and their PlayStations and let the State take care of everything?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
I feel like creating a parallel to the Phelpsian thread for the foaming-at-the-mouth ramblings of the BNP but their unauthorised use of the Marmite and the slug's subsequent statement that it was a "spoof" shows their level of sophisticatication.

It's on a par with their use of a stock photograph of a Spitfire illustrating the BNP "Fighting the Battle for Britain". The plane was part of 303 squadron of the RAF, which was almost entirely Polish.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Unless you're suggesting that Cameron has direct control over the editorial policy of the Mail, you can't suggest that he's being hypocritical by saying he'll focus on the positive then letting the Mail do the attacking for him. He is not responsible for what they publish.

You have a point. You're right, I imagine, that Cameron didn't personally write today's Mail headline.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So you're calling Cameron a hypocrite because he says one thing and someone completely unrelated to him does another? Riiight.

However, when you suggested that Cameron is "completely unrelated" to the Mail's attacks on his political opponents, you seem to over-state your case.

Is it accurate to say that Mr Cameron is "completely unrelated" to right-wing journalists? There are strong connections between the Conservatives and the right-wing media - connections that are intentionally fostered by both sides, as David Yelland's piece makes clear. Who knows more about tabloid connections with the Conservatives - you or a former editor of the Sun?

When Mr Cameron became party leader, his office team discussed the idea of hiring someone to "liaise with opinion formers - editors, comment editors and columnists ... Cameron [and others ... ] set about finding a suitable candidate" (source: Francis Elliott & James Hanning "Cameron: The Rise of the New Conservative" (Harper Perennial, 2009) p. 312. Who did Cameron and others ask to work for the Conservatives, liaising with the media? They included Trevor Kavanagh (editor, Sun] and Sarah Sands (who declined the job to take a job with the Daily Mail) (source: Elliott & Hanning 2009, p. 312). Who did they appoint for the role? Andy Coulson (previously editor of the News of the World), whose current job is Mr Cameron's director of communications.

It seems difficult to defend the view that that Mr Cameron is "completely unrelated" to the right-wing tabloid media.

You're probably right that Labour have links to left-wing journalists too. However, my point about fairness was about the Lib Dems. The Conservatives have several tabloids willing to go full-tilt negative for them - the Lib Dems don't.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
Clegg is such an Israel-bashing anti-semite prat, he deserves to be called a Nazi.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
The people on this thread (and there are a few of you) who seem to think that David Cameron personally controls the content of the Daily Mail seem to overlook the fact that Paul Dacre, the Editor of the Daily Mail, has been very chummy with Gordon Brown of late. Indeed he said in 2007 that the Conservatives cannot be guaranteed the paper's support in the 2010 election. Not sure if that is quite still the case.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
Is it accurate to say that Mr Cameron is "completely unrelated" to right-wing journalists? There are strong connections between the Conservatives and the right-wing media - connections that are intentionally fostered by both sides, as David Yelland's piece makes clear. Who knows more about tabloid connections with the Conservatives - you or a former editor of the Sun?

That piece makes it emphatically clear that the papers court the parties in order to gain an influence. What it does not say is that the parties court the papers in the same way.

So the Mail (and others) may well be going on the offensive because they want Cameron to win, and to feel a sense of gratitude towards them for helping him to do so. But that still doesn't make Cameron himself, or the Conservative party, liable for anything they print.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
Clegg is such an Israel-bashing anti-semite prat, he deserves to be called a Nazi.

There are many Jews who criticise the State of Israel. Are they Nazis too?
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
Clegg is such an Israel-bashing anti-semite prat, he deserves to be called a Nazi.

There are many Jews who criticise the State of Israel. Are they Nazis too?
Among other things, Clegg talks of Israel "imprisoning" the Palestinians. That rubbish goes beyond criticism.

Someone needs to tell him he's not the BNP leader.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
Clegg is such an Israel-bashing anti-semite prat, he deserves to be called a Nazi.

I think Nick Clegg may have suggested that the Merkava tank (70 tons plus, 100mm gun, 2 machine guns and room for a six man snatch squad) is a rather excessive police car. He may also have had something to say about land grabs and restricting the water supply to one of the most crowded places on earth.

btw, most Arabs are Semites too, but don't let that worry you.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

Yes - the Tories are still the nasty party. [/qb][/QUOTE]So no matter what policies they advocate - even if they're exactly the ones you were screaming for earlier - you'll always hate them? Hmm, there's a word for that... [/QB][/QUOTE]
Yes - the word is insight.

Whatever they say about their new idea, they are going to allow people to take over schools without any prior experience - so fundamentalist creationists can indoctrinate children.

They want to encourage local volunteering with no conception of the cost of CRB checks for all of them

They want to give 3 per week to married/civilly partnered couples, thus penalising unmarried mothers/fathers.

They want to make swinging cuts which will lead us back to thatcher's 198s with high unemployment and double-dip recession.

They claim to be enlightened about lesbians and gays yet some of their senior spokespeople have said that the age of consent is too low, that gays spread HIV and that their lives are more dangerous than those on the front line in the army, that B&Bs should be allowed to discriminate. There is a brilliant videoclip of Cameron asking people to stop filming during an interview because he was completely flawed and unable to discuss this issue.

They are misleading people over the availability of cancer drugs.

They support Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory.

They want to build more roads instead of investigating in public transport.

Despite claiming to be green, they never mention wind turbines and the like: vote blue, screw green.

When they were campaigning against the Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer, they were repeatedly told to emphasize she was an “outsider” and a “foreigner.” Horne asked what it meant, and he was told: “She’s a Jewess, but we aren’t allowed to say that… So all we can say is that she got off the train from Hungary.”

Ian Oakley, who was selected to be Tory candidate for Watford, bragged: “Last year it was all green this, and all green that… all that bollocks. People just want lots and lots and lots of cheap petrol. And we are going to give it to them.” He then boasted that he planned to make many trips to Israel where he would take a machine gun and a flame-thrower to destroy Palestinian villages.

When Joanne Cash – a pregnant woman – was imposed on the constituency of Westminster North, there was a rebellion by the local party that forced Cash to resign. They said she wouldn’t be able to have a child and work at the same time. The local party agent Jonathan Fraser-Howells was reported as having commented: "It makes me sick seeing pregnant stomachs around".

If all that isn't nasty, what is?
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
May I point out that Northern Ireland, to a greater extent than Wales or Scotland, has a distinct political identity. Should the leaders of the dominant Unionist and Nationalist political parties be included, along with the leaders of Plaid Cymru and the SNP?

Note that at the moment those parties are the DUP (Democratic Unionists) and Sinn Fein.

No, because the situation in NI is so different that the debate is basically completely irrelevant there. There are no LibDems or Labour candidates in Northern Ireland and the Tories are only there by being in an electoral pact with the UUP.

The danger is that Plaid's exclusion from the debate will cost seats -- specifically Ceredigion. LibDems took it in 2005 with a 219 majority. Currently spike of LibDem support following the ITV debate gives them an unfair advantage in that constituency.

Added to which the UK debates are in many ways English debates. The ITV one had the theme of domestic affairs, many of which are devolved, but unfortunately most non-anoraks don't know this. But liking the LibDems manifesto promises on education is fine for a Welsh person, but they don't actually apply to schools in Wales.

Carys

[ 22. April 2010, 14:59: Message edited by: Carys ]
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:

They want to encourage local volunteering with no conception of the cost of CRB checks for all of them

So the most expensive part of setting up a school or community organisation is complying with CRB checks? I wouldn't have thought so.

quote:
They want to give 3 per week to married/civilly partnered couples, thus penalising unmarried mothers/fathers.
The unmarried won't be penalised - they will be no worse off than they are now.

quote:
They want to make swinging cuts which will lead us back to thatcher's 198s with high unemployment and double-dip recession.
It may have escaped your attention, but all three parties are talking about massive cuts. (It was Clegg, I think, who used the word 'swingeing').

quote:
They claim to be enlightened about lesbians and gays yet some of their senior spokespeople have said that the age of consent is too low, that gays spread HIV and that their lives are more dangerous than those on the front line in the army, that B&Bs should be allowed to discriminate. There is a brilliant videoclip of Cameron asking people to stop filming during an interview because he was completely flawed and unable to discuss this issue.
If the Tories are returned to power at the next election with a small majority, they will have the largest number of openly gay and lesbian MPs in a single UK parliamentary party, ever.

In the Gay Times interview, to which you refer, Mr Cameron asked for filming to be stopped because he was giving a print interview and a TV interview at the same time. As I understand it, the two really progress in different ways and doing both at the same time is difficult.

His stumbling came when he was asked about a Lithuanian law on teaching in schools. I would suggest that this measure isn't really at the top of any British voter's agenda.

quote:
They are misleading people over the availability of cancer drugs.
Are they? In any event, not as bad as the 'vote Labour or you'll die of cancer' leaflet I got through my letterbox.

quote:
They support Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory.
I think the Kool Aid is really working now.

quote:
They want to build more roads instead of investigating in public transport.
Is building roads an intrinsically bad thing?

quote:
Despite claiming to be green, they never mention wind turbines and the like: vote blue, screw green.
Aren't a lot of turbines useless? I would've thought a good way to reduce carbon would be to build a couple of nuclear power stations, although I have to say I don't know whether the Tories plan to do this.

quote:
When they were campaigning against the Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer, they were repeatedly told to emphasize she was an “outsider” and a “foreigner.” Horne asked what it meant, and he was told: “She’s a Jewess, but we aren’t allowed to say that… So all we can say is that she got off the train from Hungary.”
You seem to be quoting some grass-roots activists here. Some nutters can be found in the grass-roots of all parties.

At least the Tory candidates in Richmond Park haven't launched a 'Save Our Hospital' campaign for a hospital that isn't under the threat of closure, unlike, er, Susan Kramer.

quote:
Ian Oakley, who was selected to be Tory candidate for Watford, bragged: “Last year it was all green this, and all green that… all that bollocks. People just want lots and lots and lots of cheap petrol. And we are going to give it to them.” He then boasted that he planned to make many trips to Israel where he would take a machine gun and a flame-thrower to destroy Palestinian villages.
Ian Oakley isn't the candidate for Watford any more. He is, admittedly, a very odd and twisted guy.

quote:
When Joanne Cash – a pregnant woman – was imposed on the constituency of Westminster North, there was a rebellion by the local party that forced Cash to resign. They said she wouldn’t be able to have a child and work at the same time. The local party agent Jonathan Fraser-Howells was reported as having commented: "It makes me sick seeing pregnant stomachs around".
Again, one person's view doesn't represent the entire Westminster North Conservative Association's view.

quote:
If all that isn't nasty, what is?
To be honest, none of this beats the Rose Addis story.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
However, when you suggested that Cameron is "completely unrelated" to the Mail's attacks on his political opponents, you seem to over-state your case.

No Marvin the Martian is entirely correct. Of course, there are relationships between the parties and the press - formal and informal. These cut across political divides. The idea that the headlines in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph today had anything to do with the Tory party is ridiculous though. If anyone found out that the Tories had commissioned/suggested such attacks they'd be finished. But the default relationship between politicians and journalists is edgy and difficult. Furthermore, there is a real divide on the right between the old guard and the modernisers - relationships between the Cameron/Osborne axis and the Mail/Express/Telegraph are not currently at their best.

It strikes me that right-wing newspapers are independently dismayed about the lib-dem surge. They would rather a Tory government than any other, even a Cameron one. So they've gone on the attack.

Furthermore, Clegg was due such a campaign. Every other prominent politician is scrutinised in the same way with remarks from the past revisited and they've had their expenses and career examined in much detail. The Telegraph story was quite legitimate and routine - I haven't seen the Express, or Daily Mail.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
... If anyone found out that the Tories had commissioned/suggested such attacks they'd be finished.

Really? When Alastair Campbell explained how he manipulated the media for New Labour in The Blair Years, the Labour Party weren't 'finished.'

Wouldn't the Conservatives just say that they were 'shocked, shocked to find that there was spin-doctoring going on in this election!' Or they might say that sowing good news for your side and bad news for the other side is part of a spin-doctor's job description.

Surely Mr Cameron understands that. As a rising star at Conservative Central Office, he told a reporter from the Sunday Telegraph that he was "in charge of stories" at Conservative Central Office (Elliott & Hanning 2009, p. 91)
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
Really? When Alastair Campbell explained how he manipulated the media for New Labour in The Blair Years, the Labour Party weren't 'finished.'

You really are naive aren't you? You pick up only one of the points I made (and probably the weakest) and come back to me on that basis. The fact is that Alistair Campbell didn't do a very good job of manipulating the media because we all knew about it - the newspapers openly complained and bitched about him ad nauseam for years. This sort of point is elementary. Anyway who tries to manipulate gets their hands burned.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
Really? When Alastair Campbell explained how he manipulated the media for New Labour in The Blair Years, the Labour Party weren't 'finished.'

You really are naive aren't you? You pick up only one of the points I made (and probably the weakest) and come back to me on that basis. The fact is that Alistair Campbell didn't do a very good job of manipulating the media because we all knew about it - the newspapers openly complained and bitched about him ad nauseam for years. This sort of point is elementary. Anyway who tries to manipulate gets their hands burned.
Quite. How true. One must learn to persuade, or influence.
 
Posted by IconiumBound (# 754) on :
 
As an interested lurker on this thread, I have skimmed the replies looking for trends and hoping I might see things that were opposite of the US campaign charges, counter-charges and nastiness.

So far, I havent seen much that would suggest reasonableness so I must apologise for having let our colonial attitudes infect the UK.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by IconiumBound:
As an interested lurker on this thread, I have skimmed the replies looking for trends and hoping I might see things that were opposite of the US campaign charges, counter-charges and nastiness.

So far, I havent seen much that would suggest reasonableness so I must apologise for having let our colonial attitudes infect the UK.

Oh yeah, the US invented politics? You might be able to take responsibility for some things, but the Old World gave you bloody-minded, violent, boring and pathetic politics.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
In the Gay Times interview, to which you refer, Mr Cameron asked for filming to be stopped because he was giving a print interview and a TV interview at the same time. .....You seem to be quoting some grass-roots activists here. Some nutters can be found in the grass-roots of all parties.

1. Have you seen the video clip or read the interview? He was, still on camera, completely ignorant of some of the issues raised in the questions and that is why he stopped - he said he was stopping in order to get more info., not because of any other engagement.

As for 'nutters' - they are the people who are the backbone of the party, who do all the work. Theirs are the attitudes held by most Tory supporters, regardless of how far Cameron tries to whitewash them out.

That is why I believe the Tories are the nasty party.

If they get into power, I shall be proved right. However, I sincerely pray - yes pray - that they won't be returned to form a government. That way will lie disaster for this country and, more imporantly, for Christian values.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
]Yes - the Tories are still the nasty party.

But with a lot more votes than five years ago.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
That is why I believe the Tories are the nasty party.

I don't understand why you think the Tories are the 'nasty party'. Is it something to do with gay people? (I base that on what you refer to in the post I've quoted from)

As for Cameron's ideas on education: I rather like them. I'm not sure there would be many third sector organisations able to turn back the clock and establish schools but if the opportunity for them to do so is there then that is a good thing IMO.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
1. Have you seen the video clip or read the interview? He was, still on camera, completely ignorant of some of the issues raised in the questions and that is why he stopped - he said he was stopping in order to get more info., not because of any other engagement.

Yes, I have seen the video. I didn't say that he had another engagement. What I mean to say is that the way in which one behaves in a print interview is not the same way in which one behaves in a TV interview. DC was being asked to do both at the same time and he was uncomfortable with that. I don't think that was entirely unreasonable.

He struggled to answer a question about free votes, because he wanted to craft a precise answer, and he struggled to answer a question about some Lithuanian legislation because he didn't have the information / facts to hand. As I've said before, I don't really think that the internal politics of Lithuania should be a priority for HM Leader of the Opposition or is a priority for any British voters.

quote:
As for 'nutters' - they are the people who are the backbone of the party, who do all the work. Theirs are the attitudes held by most Tory supporters, regardless of how far Cameron tries to whitewash them out.
The grassroots of all parties contain the occasional nutter but I don't think that you can say that they are representative or will in any influence how a government behaves. It's like saying that a Liberal Democrat administration would result in compulsory sandal-wearing, pornography for 16 year olds and marijuana for all.


quote:
However, I sincerely pray - yes pray - that they won't be returned to form a government. That way will lie disaster for this country and, more imporantly, for Christian values.
Wow. I don't know to respond to this silly bile.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
he struggled to answer a question about some Lithuanian legislation because he didn't have the information / facts to hand.

That's absolutely not true! He struggled to answer that question because it involved directly contradicting something that he had just said! His pretend policy in Westminster was in direct opposition to his actual policy in Strasbourg. When the interviewer showed this, Cameron was unable to get out of the hole he'd dug himself and terminated the interview.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
That's absolutely not true! He struggled to answer that question because it involved directly contradicting something that he had just said! His pretend policy in Westminster was in direct opposition to his actual policy in Strasbourg. When the interviewer showed this, Cameron was unable to get out of the hole he'd dug himself and terminated the interview.

That's not the case at all.
Here is the video of the interview. The first part (from the beginning to about 2:24) deals with the Lithuania question. He basically says that he doesn't whip or have any day-to-day control over what his MEPs do and therefore is unaware of this Lithuanian law. As I say, it's unlikely to be a priority for British voters and it's very unlikely to be a priority for HM Leader of the Opposition.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
[QUOTE]

The danger is that Plaid's exclusion from the debate will cost seats -- specifically Ceredigion. LibDems took it in 2005 with a 219 majority. Currently spike of LibDem support following the ITV debate gives them an unfair advantage in that constituency.

How is that any more unfair to Plaid Cymru than to, for example, UKIP or the Greens who, unlike Plaid Cymru, are standing candidates across the country?

Also, it occurs to me that perhaps many voters in Wales who would vote PC for Welsh Assembly elections vote Lib Dems for Westminster as the latter will have far more clout, rather than because of a televised debate. This would reflect what has already happened in Scotland.

quote:
Added to which the UK debates are in many ways English debates. The ITV one had the theme of domestic affairs, many of which are devolved, but unfortunately most non-anoraks don't know this. But liking the LibDems manifesto promises on education is fine for a Welsh person, but they don't actually apply to schools in Wales.

I'm not quite sure what your objection is here. Are you suggesting that matters concerning England only should be excluded from the debate?

It's worth adding that the Welsh Assembly (and for that matter the Scottish Parliament) are the creations of the Westminster Parliament, which can add to, subtract from, or override their powers. Therefore, whoever gets control of it is surely relevant to voters outside England.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
It's worth adding that the Welsh Assembly (and for that matter the Scottish Parliament) are the creations of the Westminster Parliament, which can add to, subtract from, or override their powers. Therefore, whoever gets control of it is surely relevant to voters outside England.

I said earlier on this thread that this election is not about just "Who governs us", but "how we are governed" and "by what authority".

The last two of these questions depend, to a large extent, on the structure of government. You might not get this, but it matters to many of us. We don't want this party or that party ruling us from Westminster and Whitehall through the creaking mechanisms of the Hanoverian State. We either want to remake the British State from top-to-bottom (LibDem policy - or at least it always used to be) or to get out of the British State altogether and create our own (SNP and Plaid Cymru policy*).

You dodged that one, as if structure was a given or a fixity and the only question was how those entrusted with the management of the Hanoverian State would use their authority. Now you are saying that the outcome of the election will determine the structure, because devolution gives no guarantee against the wiles of the Westminster Parliament (Well done, have a biscuit, this is exactly what we've been saying all along).

But then you go on to imply that this is a matter for the majority in the Westminster Parliament to decide. No. This is a matter for the people of Scotland and Wales to decide. Y Basta. This is actually a contest between two visions of sovereignty: does sovereignty rest in the Crown-in-(Westminster) Parliament, as the two main London-based parties and the common lawyers believe, or does it rest in the people of each of these nations? As Lord North and George I discovered in 1776, this is a revolutionary question, which the British State does not know how to answer, except through force, fraud, and coercion.

Of course, the two major UK parties are trying to prevent these fundamental issues from arising, but ultimately they will not go away. What authority does a UK Government have in Scotland, if only a minority of Scots have voted for it, and if the structure of authority upon which it rests has never been subject to a fair electoral test? These are hypothetical and rather abstract questions now, but just wait until the cuts start - then you'll see.

Now, if, as you rightly say, Westminster has the power to change the devolution arrangement, and, indeed, to overrule the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly on any matter, then surely it is even more necessary that the SNP and Plaid Cymru be given a fair electoral hearing in the debates, and be allowed to put across their view that this arrangement is unacceptable.

You can't have it both ways.

* (Plaid might be a bit more lukewarm about full independence than the SNP is, but as I understand it independence within the EU is their eventual aim - or at least, they wouldn't object to it).
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Radicalwhig,

I will restate the primary issues here, because I fear that much of what you say is (unintentionally, I'm sure) quite irrelevant.

This is a leaders' debate, ie, it is between those who might form a government based upon a Parliamentary majority. The leaders of the parties standing can be divided into two categories. In the first category, we have the Tories, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the BNP and the Greens. All these parties are, to my knowledge, standing sufficient candidates to win a majority of seats. The essential difference between the former three and the latter three is the likelyhood of winning that majority.

In the second category, we have the Welsh and Scottish nationalists, and Mebyon Kernow, and perhaps Peter Law and the bloke from Kidderminster. It is not possible for their parties to win a majority because they have not stood sufficient candidates to achieve one.

Now, I am aware that I have laboured the point somewhat, but I think once it is clear, the fallacies in your argument become more obvious. First you say 'we' (whoever that may be) don't want 'this party or that party ruling us from Westminster'. Until and unless Scotland and Wales leave the Union, that is precisely what will happen. I was not stating a preference so much as a fact. Then you say that 'we' want to remake the British state or get out of it. Once again, that is besides the point.

Behind the rhetoric, what I understand you to maintain is that whoever wins the election should a mandate in Scotland or Wales to govern those places, and therefore the Welsh and Scottish nationalists need to be heard at a UK-wide level. As a matter of law, that is certainly false: a majority of Westminster seats is all that counts. As you have represented yourself to have a legal training I assume you know this. Where a party wins a majority of seats or votes is no more relevant to Scotland than the South East. As a matter of politics, it remains false for the same reason: this is a UK-wide election, and the mandate comes from the UK as a whole: it is no more appropriate for parts of the UK to hold the rest to ransom than it is for smaller parties to do the same to larger parties.

Now, I know this leads to the nationalist argument that England is so big that Scotland and Wales get ignored. Whether or not this is more true than for any other part of the UK is a matter of much debate, and not one I propose to address. Let us assume it is true. The solution is to advocate leaving it, as the SNP propose. Once again, however, the SNP, Plaid Cymru (and Mebyon Kernow) have ruled this out of being a relevant issue for the leaders' debate because they cannot form a government at Westminster that will achieve it. This would have been different had the Welsh and Scottish nationalists allied themselves with an English equivalent. However, they haven't, and that is an end of it.

As you might recall from my previous posts I have no particular liking for nationalist parties because I have no liking for nationalism. But that is quite clearly not my logic here. You might well be correct that the best deal for Scotland, and the most democratically legitimate outcome for Scotland is independence. That does not detract from the point that this debate was between the leaders who are at least capable of forming a government at Westminster. I really don't see how this is having anything both ways, and I would appreciate if you could explain that point without hyperbole.

The reality behind the objections is the SNP and Plaid Cymru claim to be the only parties 'speaking' for scotland and Wales respectively. I'm sure that by their own standards that claim is true. Unfortunately for them, that is not the standard that counts.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
Point of Interest:

The Bloc Quebecois, the separatist Quebec-based party at the federal level in Canada has always participated in federal leader's debates here in Canada since it became a political factor in the 1993 Federal General Election. It only fields candidates in the 75 Quebec ridings, as opposed to the Liberals, Tories and NDP which field 308 candidates, one for every riding in the country.

There are always English and French language debates, and the Bloc leaders have always treated the English debate as a bit of a joke.

As we are now on our third minority government or hung parliament in a row, they do have significant influence since the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc can pass a bill by voting with the governing Tories.

Plus if anyone is annoyed by the SNP's rhetoric, please be aware that it appears to have been copied verbatim from the Bloc/Parti Quebecois here in Canada. It's just as silly in French as it is in English. [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
I will restate the primary issues here, because I fear that much of what you say is (unintentionally, I'm sure) quite irrelevant.

I will do the same, by responding point-by-point, as I fear that much of what I say is (unintentionally, I'm sure) being ignored, sidelined, and misunderstood.

quote:
This is a leaders' debate,

Err, no. It was going to be a leaders' debate - for party leaders - and then, when they realised that there were other parties with leaders besides the three "main" London-based parties, they changed the name to a "Prime Ministerial Debate".

quote:
ie, it is between those who might form a government based upon a Parliamentary majority.
We are talking here about a UK Government based on a majority in the UK House of Commons (remember, the word Parliament no longer has just one meaning). As long as that is the case, and as long as we remain in the UK, the views of those of us in the 20% of the UK which is not England, ought to be fairly heard and represented.

quote:
The leaders of the parties standing can be divided into two categories. In the first category, we have the Tories, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the BNP and the Greens. All these parties are, to my knowledge, standing sufficient candidates to win a majority of seats. The essential difference between the former three and the latter three is the likelyhood of winning that majority.

In the second category, we have the Welsh and Scottish nationalists, and Mebyon Kernow, and perhaps Peter Law and the bloke from Kidderminster. It is not possible for their parties to win a majority because they have not stood sufficient candidates to achieve one.



This shows the inability of the devolved system to deal with its own inconsistencies. In the UK as a wgike, the three big parties are Lab/Con/LibDem. But in Scotland, the two big parties are Lab/SNP, with Con/LibDem in the second rung, and then the Greens etc. The fact is that different parts of the UK have developed their own party-systems, and one-size does not fit all. This being a UK-wide election doesn't change that. If all parts of the UK are to elect representatives, the debates must fairly reflect the principal parties in each part. Otherwise it does come across as a bit of a stitch-up by the London-based parties.

quote:
Now, I am aware that I have laboured the point somewhat, but I think once it is clear, the fallacies in your argument become more obvious. First you say 'we' (whoever that may be) don't want 'this party or that party ruling us from Westminster'.

See the signature for a clue what "We" might mean. And there are quite a few of us - perhaps not a majority in Scotland, but a fairly big minority - who question not just who wins, or who should win, but the fairness, adequacy, and legitimacy, of the whole "Hanoverian" system. Gordon Brown was one of them, back in 1989 when he signed the Scottish Claim of Right, which proclaimed "the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs".

quote:
Until and unless Scotland and Wales leave the Union, that is precisely what will happen. I was not stating a preference so much as a fact. Then you say that 'we' want to remake the British state or get out of it. Once again, that is besides the point.

No, it's very much on the point. This is the point that needs to get a fair hearing.

quote:
Behind the rhetoric, what I understand you to maintain is that whoever wins the election should a mandate in Scotland or Wales to govern those places, and therefore the Welsh and Scottish nationalists need to be heard at a UK-wide level.

That's exactly what I'm a saying.

quote:
As a matter of law, that is certainly false: a majority of Westminster seats is all that counts.

Correct. That's what I'm objecting to. Do you get it now?

quote:
As you have represented yourself to have a legal training I assume you know this.

I'm not a lawyer. I'm a political scientist specialising in the comparative study of Constitutions. (Sometimes this means I have to pick English lawyers out of my teeth, as most of them wouldn't recognise a good Constitution if it fell on their head.)

quote:
Where a party wins a majority of seats or votes is no more relevant to Scotland than the South East. As a matter of politics, it remains false for the same reason: this is a UK-wide election, and the mandate comes from the UK as a whole: it is no more appropriate for parts of the UK to hold the rest to ransom than it is for smaller parties to do the same to larger parties.

(i) If by "holding to ransom" you mean extracting concessions, then it is perfectly legitimate - this is a UK Parliament, remember - and we are in the UK, remember - so we get to play by your silly UK rules - and that means we can kick up a fuss if we want to.
(ii) If by "holding to ransom" you mean leaving the UK, then I don't see how that infringes the legitimate interests of anyone else.

quote:
Now, I know this leads to the nationalist argument that England is so big that Scotland and Wales get ignored. Whether or not this is more true than for any other part of the UK is a matter of much debate, and not one I propose to address.

I tend to think of this as a peoples-vs-Crown issue, rather than an English-vs-Scottish/Welsh issue. It's not just about the size of England compared to the other parts of the UK. It's also about how the UK structures its decision-making processes so that Whitehall/Metropolitan/City interests are always dominant.

quote:
Let us assume it is true. The solution is to advocate leaving it, as the SNP propose.

Yes.

quote:
Once again, however, the SNP, Plaid Cymru (and Mebyon Kernow) have ruled this out of being a relevant issue for the leaders' debate because they cannot form a government at Westminster that will achieve it. This would have been different had the Welsh and Scottish nationalists allied themselves with an English equivalent. However, they haven't,

By your argument, the SNP can't get independence for Scotland unless they can first win a majority in the UK Parliament by winning lots of English seats. That's the best catch-22 yet.

quote:
and that is an end of it.

It's not even a start.

quote:
As you might recall from my previous posts I have no particular liking for nationalist parties because I have no liking for nationalism.

Well, I don't know what you mean by "nationalism" (which is a pretty big and varied concept), but I'm not much of a nationalist myself, either. Do you think I want independence for the sake of nationalism? Is it so that I can cover myself in woad and run claymore-wielding through the glens? No. It's not primarily about nationalism - at least, not that sort of nationalism. It's about democracy, constitutionalism, good government, civic renewal, and sensible, well-tailored policies which are fit for a small, northern European country of 5 million people, so that we can begin to realise our potential, and can overcome the legacy of three or four centuries of neglect by an absentee landlord (and by her oh-so-keen, and well-fattened, Scottish factors).

quote:
You might well be correct that the best deal for Scotland, and the most democratically legitimate outcome for Scotland is independence.

Aye, I might well be.

quote:
That does not detract from the point that this debate was between the leaders who are at least capable of forming a government at Westminster.

Again, why should it be a debate only between leaders who are capable of forming a government? I challenge your view that the sole purpose of a parliamentary election is to chose a Government. That is ONE purpose. There are others - like to chose representatives, who, although they will not form a Government, might be in a position to influence the agenda or outcomes, and protect certain interests. The debates ought to reflect that, and to include those who might not form a government at Westminster.

quote:
I really don't see how this is having anything both ways, and I would appreciate if you could explain that point without hyperbole.

Way One: The SNP aren't significant because they will not form a government at Westminster.
Way Two: Westminster is of paramount importance, even in devolved countries, because it can change the terms of devolution.

If the second of these is true (which it is) then the SNP, who have a pretty strong view on Scotland's future, ought to be fairly represented, even if they will not form the next Government. Likewise Plaid Cymru should have a fair say in Wales.

quote:

The reality behind the objections is the SNP and Plaid Cymru claim to be the only parties 'speaking' for scotland and Wales respectively. I'm sure that by their own standards that claim is true. Unfortunately for them, that is not the standard that counts.


Not in the least. Of course we recognise that other parties have significant support too. But the SNP and Plaid Cymru are important, and do speak for very many. To exclude them is a gross disservice which reflects very badly on the London-based decision-makers, revealing the fact that their outlook is not broad enough to accommodate the diversity of this kingdom which, for some strange reason, they seem very intent on holding together.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
You really are naive aren't you? You pick up only one of the points I made (and probably the weakest) and come back to me on that basis.

So you don't like my debating style, and you're raising the tone of the debate with mild name-calling?

Your defence of the view that Mr Cameron is "completely unrelated" to attacks on his political opponents in conservative tabloids, even though Mr Cameron recruited an ex-tabloid journalist to "liaise with editors, comment editors and columnists", seems to rely on either of two possibiliies:

1. That, when he talks about his 'positive' message, Mr Cameron doesn't know that his spin doctor is engaging in negative campaigning, or
2. That Conservative spin doctors, unlike their opponents, don't try to 'spin' negative stories in the media ...

... and you're accusing me of being naive!

[ 23. April 2010, 07:06: Message edited by: Alwyn ]
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
You really are naive aren't you? You pick up only one of the points I made (and probably the weakest) and come back to me on that basis.

So you don't like my debating style, and you're raising the tone of the debate with mild name-calling?
And you're guilty of the most appalling hypocrisy. You can't see that you're smearing in exactly the same way as the tabloids - no evidence just association, and assumptions.

But you also haven't a clue how the tabloids work. Of course they were going to attempt to bring Clegg down to size - that's simply what the tabloids do. Furthermore, the Telegraph had the dodgy expenses evidence about Clegg in a filing cabinet and were going to use it to maximum effect. This was all absolutely predictable and needed no collusion from the Tories. Furthermore, the fact that Coulson is a poacher turned gamekeeper, doesn't mean that he has any influence still even at News of the World. Nice try, but it just reads like conspiracy theory.

And your point about negative campaigning tactics? Are you trying to tell me that this is a uniquely conservative vice? That would be truly ridiculous.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
And you're guilty of the most appalling hypocrisy. You can't see that you're smearing in exactly the same way as the tabloids - no evidence just association, and assumptions.

Mr Cameron claimed to focus on 'positive' messages - I didn't. Believing that Mr Cameron's spin doctor is doing the job that he was hired to do doesn't sound like a big 'assumption' to me. YMMV.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
And your point about negative campaigning tactics? Are you trying to tell me that this is a uniquely conservative vice? That would be truly ridiculous.

Yes, that would be ridiculous. If I didn't think that other parties engaged in spin, I'd hardly have referred to Alastair Campbell's book, would I, Spawn? Be reasonable.

My point wasn't that 'only the Conservatives engage in negative spin' - if you want to defend your implication that I said that, please provide a quote or link to the relevant post.

My point was that Mr Cameron was claiming to be positive, while having hired a spin doctor to do his negative campaigning for him - and that the Conservatives have an advantage over the Lib Dems because of (unlike the Lib Dems) they have conservative tabloids ready and willing to publish negative attacks.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
FWIW, Spawn, I feel that our conversation is generating more heat than light and I'm at least as responsible for that as anyone else. Is there a chance of talking about this in a different way?

I can see where Marvin the Martian was 'coming from' when he talked about the apparent inconsistency of attacks on the Conservatives when Mr Cameron talked about the Big Society. I imagine that Conservatives feel that they're 'damned if they do, damned if they don't'.

I wasn't being sarcastic when I said that Mr Cameron's Big Society speech is 'interesting' (as in, worthy of thought and reflection). I don't buy the criticism of Mr Cameron that he's 'just a PR man' - he'd hardly have graduated with a First from Oxford - and been described by constitutional scholar Vernon Bogdanor as among the brightest 5 per cent of students he had ever taught (Elliott & Hanning 2009, p. 51) - if he didn't have serious intellectual strength.

I wasn't being sarcastic, either, when I agreed that Marvin had a good point that Mr Cameron bears no direct responsibility for a negative story in the Mail. That did weaken my argument. Instead of arguing that 'Mr Cameron is responsible because he did X', I'm arguing that 'Mr Cameron is responsible because he hired Y, knowing that Y was likely to do X.'

You're right, I imagine, that the right-wing media don't agree with Cameron's inner circle on everything. I agree that there's a lot that I don't know about the media. You're also correct that the right-wing tabloids would have their own reasons for wanting to attack Labour the the Lib Dems.

I hope that helps a bit.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
- he'd hardly have graduated with a First from Oxford - and been described by constitutional scholar Vernon Bogdanor as among the brightest 5 per cent of students he had ever taught - if he didn't have serious intellectual strength.

Hmm. Another reason not to trust Cameron on "reforms"; if Bogdanor rates him, he must be very seriously confused! (Or - shock horror - a bit of an unreconstructed Tory!) [Big Grin]

And I suppose Broon, for all his many faults, at least had the decency to go to a good university and get hit on the head by John Knox's breeks.

[ 23. April 2010, 10:30: Message edited by: RadicalWhig ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Whatever they say about their new idea, they are going to allow people to take over schools without any prior experience - so fundamentalist creationists can indoctrinate children.

One imagines some form of national curriculum will still apply.

quote:
They want to encourage local volunteering with no conception of the cost of CRB checks for all of them
So you don't think more people volunteering would be a good thing? I suppose they should all sit back and wait for nanny to take care of the problems for them, right?

quote:
They want to give 3 per week to married/civilly partnered couples, thus penalising unmarried mothers/fathers.
Giving one person a bit more does not penalise anyone else. And besides, I'd have thought you'd like policies that promote the institution of marriage?

quote:
They want to make swinging cuts which will lead us back to thatcher's 198s with high unemployment and double-dip recession.
Whoever gets in at the next election, the cuts are going to happen anyway. They've already started.

Unemployment is the highest it's been in 15 years (though the Independent claims it's 16) - it was lower under the last Conservative government.

As for recession, we were taken into this one by the same man who promised that he had put an end to boom and bust. You seriously think he is the right person to get us out of it?

.

After those quotes, you start with all the little anecdotes and rumours about various party members, with nothing but your good word to back them up. I shan't dignify such mud slinging with a reply.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
They want to give 3 per week to married/civilly partnered couples, thus penalising unmarried mothers/fathers.


Anglicant and Marvin have answered your other points, but just on this one, the present tax and benefits system de facto penalises married and civil couples with children; this reform would go some way to redressing the balance and creating more of a level playing field.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Anglicant and Marvin have answered your other points, but just on this one, the present tax and benefits system de facto penalises married and civil couples with children; this reform would go some way to redressing the balance and creating more of a level playing field.

How so?

Child benefit (usually paid to the mother/non-working parent), Working Families Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits don't penalise married/partnered couples, unless you take a very creative view of the word penalise.

The benefit system, yes, in that people with live-in partners get less per household than if they lived apart. That should be changed - the money goes with the person, and the state should have no say in the living arrangements thereafter.

And for sure, it would have been good for me and Mrs Tor to transfer my unused personal allowance to her. But totally transferable allowances is not what Cameron is promising.

So I'd be interested on how you'd justify your assertion.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
They want to give 3 per week to married/civilly partnered couples, thus penalising unmarried mothers/fathers.

Actually the proposals on allowances seem to be quite progressive in that the concession is to be targeted at lower earning couples. Only a proportion of unused allowances could be transferred of course, but that's better than the current position by which the tax allowances of a partner who doesn't work are entirely wasted. A more generous concession would be lovely (especially if it were to be drawn widely enough for me to share in the bounty too) but would probably be impossible for the economy to sustain.

To prevent obvious abuse the facility has to be limited to arrangements with a demonstrable degree of permanence, and the tests proposed seem to be the best that could be expected. Subject to the earnings limit, as I understand it couples would qualify for this if they had any kind of formal and verifiable civil union, whether or not they were also married in a religious sense and whether they are straight or gay. Couples who live together in loving and permanent relationships but who prefer never to fomalise their relationship in any way that the civil law recognises would forego the benefit, but that's their choice. It's essential that the line is drawn in a way that is unambiguous and practical for administration purposes otherwise it is going to cost too much to administer, in which case the benefits wouldn't be available to anyone.

In the same way, cutting off this facility abruptly if the working partner reaches a particular salary level (in the case of this proposal the level at which higher rate tax cuts in) is arbitrary. But again there has to be a cut-off point somewhere and it would cost too much to police and administer the benefit if it didn't have simple and easily identified triggers.
 
Posted by Carys (# 78) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:


The danger is that Plaid's exclusion from the debate will cost seats -- specifically Ceredigion. LibDems took it in 2005 with a 219 majority. Currently spike of LibDem support following the ITV debate gives them an unfair advantage in that constituency.

How is that any more unfair to Plaid Cymru than to, for example, UKIP or the Greens who, unlike Plaid Cymru, are standing candidates across the country?
It is unfair to UKIP and the Greens, but they won no seats in the last General Election. Plaid and the SNP did. Thus it is arguably more unfair to Plaid and the SNP. But having said that if you were to limit it to those who already had seats, it could be seen as keeping the Westminster club closed.

Basically, the concept is flawed!

quote:

Also, it occurs to me that perhaps many voters in Wales who would vote PC for Welsh Assembly elections vote Lib Dems for Westminster as the latter will have far more clout, rather than because of a televised debate. This would reflect what has already happened in Scotland.

Perhaps. But this is an attitude Plaid is challenging. And then there is the opinion of the Independent Columnist who cited Plaid's 3MPs as having had more influence in the last Parliament than all of the LibDems put together!

quote:

quote:
Added to which the UK debates are in many ways English debates. The ITV one had the theme of domestic affairs, many of which are devolved, but unfortunately most non-anoraks don't know this. But liking the LibDems manifesto promises on education is fine for a Welsh person, but they don't actually apply to schools in Wales.

I'm not quite sure what your objection is here. Are you suggesting that matters concerning England only should be excluded from the debate?
The big problem is that under the current constituntional settlement Westminster functions both as the English Parliament and as the UK. Then because of the media bias to England (well London!) and the large population of England means that all to frequently matters that only affect England are talked about as though they affected the whole UK.

The broadcasters ought to have been able to come up with a system that dealt with this issues. BBC and ITV have regions and so a debate on matters that are devolved could have been broadcast by them in England only (with the major parties in England, however defined). Then debates with representation from all major parties could have been broadcast on non-devolved issues. Admittedly there are issues in that Criminal Justice (for example) is devolved in Scotland but not in Wales). Northern Ireland gets its own debates because it basically (ignoring the Conservative UUP pact) has entirely separate parties.

quote:

It's worth adding that the Welsh Assembly (and for that matter the Scottish Parliament) are the creations of the Westminster Parliament, which can add to, subtract from, or override their powers. Therefore, whoever gets control of it is surely relevant to voters outside England.

That and the fact that certain matters are not devolved/reserved. Defence is an example of this and here Plaid and the SNP oppose any replacement of Trident unlike Labour and Tories (pro like for like replacement) and LibDems (pro some sort of replacement but not like for like IIRC).

Carys

[ETR extraneous QUOTE code]

[ 23. April 2010, 13:06: Message edited by: Carys ]
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Alwyn:
FWIW, Spawn, I feel that our conversation is generating more heat than light and I'm at least as responsible for that as anyone else. Is there a chance of talking about this in a different way?

Apologies myself for ratcheting up the heat.

I still don't think that the appointment of Coulson per se means that Cameron has given permission for negative campaigning. Ex-tabloid editors quickly pass their sell-by-date as far as influence is concerned, but can turn from poacher into gamekeeper pretty effectively. I suspect he was brought in because he understands the press, is skilled at coming up with sound-bites, has contacts, and can place stories.

On the election in general terms, I'm finding myself thoroughly bored. I just listened to Cameron on the World at One and he's not saying anything beyond what I've already heard many times - I think the same is true for the other two leaders. The problem with having the debates so early in the election campaign is that there is now very little opportunity during the campaigns for the parties to draw out particular priorities and policies in their manifestos in more gradual and focussed ways.

I'd much prefer to have seen all three debates in the final week of campaigning. But there again, I know exactly who I'm voting for, so it's all over until polling day.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
Thank you - I apologise too for raising the temperature. Your argument sounds plausible. Oliver Burkeman in today's Guardian agrees with you:

"To the untrained eye, yesterday's unprecedented wall-to-wall assault on Nick Clegg in the pages of Britain's right-wing newspapers might have looked like an orchestrated attack by a Tory media machine [...] But the truth, according to those with knowledge of the editors and newspapers involved, was far more visceral and chaotic."

I admit having 'untrained eyes' on this subject. Lord Ashdown has reportedly said that the Conservatives "co-ordinated" the attacks on Mr Clegg, so I wasn't the only person to suspect their involvement - but he (and I) may be wrong. I guess we won't know for sure, either way, until Mr Cameron and Mr Coulson's memoirs are published, years from now.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Whatever they say about their new idea, they are going to allow people to take over schools without any prior experience - so fundamentalist creationists can indoctrinate children.

One imagines some form of national curriculum will still apply.
No - just like academies and independent schools, no national curriculum (sadly also a LibDem policy to 'free them from the constraints....'
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Anglicant and Marvin have answered your other points, but just on this one, the present tax and benefits system de facto penalises married and civil couples with children; this reform would go some way to redressing the balance and creating more of a level playing field.

How so?

Child benefit (usually paid to the mother/non-working parent), Working Families Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits don't penalise married/partnered couples, unless you take a very creative view of the word penalise.

The benefit system, yes, in that people with live-in partners get less per household than if they lived apart. That should be changed - the money goes with the person, and the state should have no say in the living arrangements thereafter.

And for sure, it would have been good for me and Mrs Tor to transfer my unused personal allowance to her. But totally transferable allowances is not what Cameron is promising.

So I'd be interested on how you'd justify your assertion.

A couple of articles here and here should get you going.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
A couple of articles here and here should get you going.

Get me going? Hell yes.

The only figure - the only figure quoted was the woman who lost her child care allowance when she got married. The rest is just assertion without attribution.

Seriously, I'd like some actual facts. How am I worse off being married?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Putting it simply, if you are married with children and one of you stays home to look after the children, it used to be the case that part of the stay-at-home partner's tax allowance could be transferred to the working partner. Cameron and Co are proposing a limited re-introduction of this. All other things being equal, beyond child benefit, the stay-at-home partner doesn't get any state benefit. If you split up however, the non-working parent does become entitled to significantly higher levels of benefit.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No - just like academies and independent schools, no national curriculum (sadly also a LibDem policy to 'free them from the constraints....'

Having previously bashed Labour, I feel obliged to bash the Lib Dems by pointing out that Clegg's claim that "it's what they do in Sweden" is actually false:
quote:
From this Telegraph article:
Claim:

Mr Clegg said: "Our National Curriculum is 600 pages. The curriculum in Sweden, which has generally got fairly good education system, is 16 pages."

Truth:

According to the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, which oversees the curriculum, the primary curriculum in English schools is 181 pages long and the secondary curriculum is 200 pages long, a combined total of 381 pages. The Swedish curriculum is 135 pages long but is being revised because it isn't considered detailed enough.

Ingrid Lindskog, of the Swedish National Agency for Education, said: "That is a big misunderstanding. The overview to the curriculum is 16 pages, but the whole curriculum is much longer. In fact, it's being revised so that it should be around 250 pages because the current one is not detailed enough."

Anyone who is very bored can see the Swedish curriculum here.
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
250 pages because the current one is not detailed enough."

Anyone who is very bored can see the Swedish curriculum here. [/QUOTE]

I'm not bored enough to read it, but I am impressed (bemused?) (strangely worried?) that they have gone to the trouble of translating the whole thing into English? Do they think that English-speakers are sufficiently dull and worthy to read this stuff? Don't they know that we'd probably turn it into paper airplanes or silly hats, or pass it around with rude notes on?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Putting it simply, if you are married with children and one of you stays home to look after the children, it used to be the case that part of the stay-at-home partner's tax allowance could be transferred to the working partner. Cameron and Co are proposing a limited re-introduction of this. All other things being equal, beyond child benefit, the stay-at-home partner doesn't get any state benefit. If you split up however, the non-working parent does become entitled to significantly higher levels of benefit.

Okay - so what you're saying is that before I got married, the transfer of tax allowances between married partners was withdrawn, but now a (very) limited reintroduction would make me (up to) £3 a week better off.

So in the first instance, I'm not actually worse off being married because I got married after the transfer was abolished.

In the second, I can see how my wife would be better off leaving me and the kids, but I'm reasonably confident the state benefits I'd receive being a barely-employed single dad with two school age children wouldn't cover the shortfall. I'm sure I've seen stats that say one of the major causes of poverty in this country is divorce. If it didn't cause a massive financial hit, but instead allowed the accruing of significant state benefits, that wouldn't be the case, would it?

I don't mind Cameron engaging in some token gesture to say "marriage is a good idea", but let's not get carried away with either the extent of his largesse or the penury in which married couples live.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:

I'm not bored enough to read it, but I am impressed (bemused?) (strangely worried?) that they have gone to the trouble of translating the whole thing into English

No - it's so that the true rulers of this world, the English speaking Illuminati, can check they've got it right [Big Grin]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
Clegg is such an Israel-bashing anti-semite prat, he deserves to be called a Nazi.

There are many Jews who criticise the State of Israel. Are they Nazis too?
Among other things, Clegg talks of Israel "imprisoning" the Palestinians. That rubbish goes beyond criticism.
Similar words are used by Christian Aid (who have volunteers monitoring the so-called security fence an the Palestinians who have to queue for 3 hours every morning to get to their farmland.) and by the United Nations.

[ 23. April 2010, 18:07: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:

They want to encourage local volunteering with no conception of the cost of CRB checks for all of them

So the most expensive part of setting up a school or community organisation is complying with CRB checks? I wouldn't have thought so.
Can these volunteers afford the £64 each of the will have to pay for a CRB check?

What sort of people will volunteer? I am worried that well-meaning do-gooders from sheltered, middle class backgrounds will alienate the people they are supposed to help. Will the work of these do-gooders be ‘joined up’ i.e. with social services, p0olice etc., so as to enable multi-agency expertise?

Can a 'top-down' government initiative encourage people to 'be good' ?

Where are these volunteers going to come from? (People are going to work longer hours and retire later) Will they be people with their own agenda? ‘Loonies’ with time on their hands? Churches and voluntary groups like the Brownies tend to be chasing an ever-decreasing number of people for help.

And why divert £50million from anti-extremism funding to pay for voluntary three-week character-building summer courses for 16-year-olds?

The poll Ipsos Mori shows that while almost half (43 per cent) of the public said they would like to get more involved in their local area in principle, only five per cent said they would seek active involvement in local services and decision making.

According to Phil Hope, minister for the 3rd sector: "The Tory attitude towards the third sector is patronising and dangerous. Their plans show they would leave charities to deal with some of society's most difficult problems without the money needed to do it, hoping for hand-outs rather than being funded properly to do their important work."

According to The Spectator (hardly a left wing rag!): One intriguing aspect of the scheme is that the Tories say they are particularly keen for it to reach ‘people who have been through the criminal justice system.’ One could argue that this is sensible, that these people are particularly in need of an experience that would teach them self-discipline and respect for others. But one can imagine that some parents might not be so keen to send their children away with a youth offender.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Can these volunteers afford the £64 each of the will have to pay for a CRB check?

Irrelevant. Volunteers do not have to pay for CRB checks.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:

The broadcasters ought to have been able to come up with a system that dealt with this issues. BBC and ITV have regions and so a debate on matters that are devolved could have been broadcast by them in England only (with the major parties in England, however defined). Then debates with representation from all major parties could have been broadcast on non-devolved issues. Admittedly there are issues in that Criminal Justice (for example) is devolved in Scotland but not in Wales). Northern Ireland gets its own debates because it basically (ignoring the Conservative UUP pact) has entirely separate parties.

I think given enough time and support from the parties the broadcasters could and would have done it. It was a huge task for the broadcasters to persuade all three party leaders to take part in three debates as it was, with what looked like a ridiculous rule book and where any of the three of them could have pulled out at any moment and scuppered the whole thing. It sets the groundwork for the next election to consider other issues.

So just as there was also a 4th 'Chancellors' debate, there could also be a 5th 'Welsh & Scottish' debate with the PC / SNP leader / deputy leaders and one person from the three largest UK parties, initially taken on by one of the local ITV companies and then rebroadcast. Obviously slight problems with the tv company boundaries and what and when to broadcast to most of England, but these are not insoluble.

I would have thought some sort of deal could be done for the next election.

One of the concerns the major parties had is not so much PC / SNP, but UKIP / Green / BNP using that as a foothold for a debate with the Prime Minister. What should be the national / regional cut-off for support to get tv coverage?
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Can these volunteers afford the £64 each of the will have to pay for a CRB check?

What Freejack said and also, £64 per volunteer is small beer compared to, say, acquiring new land for a school or building a school.

quote:
What sort of people will volunteer? I am worried that well-meaning do-gooders from sheltered, middle class backgrounds will alienate the people they are supposed to help. Will the work of these do-gooders be ‘joined up’ i.e. with social services, p0olice etc., so as to enable multi-agency expertise?
I don't know what sort of people will volunteer but I don't believe that middle-class people are 'sheltered' (aren't we all middle class now? Labour likes to think we are) or in any way ineffectual.

quote:
Can a 'top-down' government initiative encourage people to 'be good' ?
Isn't this the opposite of 'top-down'? It's designed to encourage people to set up their own projects.

quote:
Where are these volunteers going to come from? (People are going to work longer hours and retire later) Will they be people with their own agenda? ‘Loonies’ with time on their hands? Churches and voluntary groups like the Brownies tend to be chasing an ever-decreasing number of people for help.
A fair point, but I'd like to think that people will come forward.

quote:
And why divert £50million from anti-extremism funding to pay for voluntary three-week character-building summer courses for 16-year-olds?
I don't know anything about this 'anti-extremism funding' but I have doubts about whether £50 million is going to stop someone stuffing semtex down their trousers and wandering on to the tube.

quote:
The poll Ipsos Mori shows that while almost half (43 per cent) of the public said they would like to get more involved in their local area in principle, only five per cent said they would seek active involvement in local services and decision making.
I calculate 5% of the population as 3,000,000 people. More than enough to run the nation's schools and voluntary groups, I would've thought.

quote:
According to Phil Hope, minister for the 3rd sector: "The Tory attitude towards the third sector is patronising and dangerous. Their plans show they would leave charities to deal with some of society's most difficult problems without the money needed to do it, hoping for hand-outs rather than being funded properly to do their important work."
When it comes to the Conservatives' plans, I'm not going to take the views of a Labour politician, defending a very marginal seat, in the middle of a general election campaign, at all seriously.

quote:
According to The Spectator (hardly a left wing rag!): One intriguing aspect of the scheme is that the Tories say they are particularly keen for it to reach ‘people who have been through the criminal justice system.’ One could argue that this is sensible, that these people are particularly in need of an experience that would teach them self-discipline and respect for others. But one can imagine that some parents might not be so keen to send their children away with a youth offender.
I don't understand the quote. Are they saying that they hope those who have been in the criminal justice system will benefit from the schemes or be involved in them? Do you have a link to the Speccie article?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Hi Carys and RadicalWhig - thanks for your replies - just to let you know that I will respond in due course but can't do so properly at present because my house is overrun by guests and children, and I am rushed off my feet.

As a preliminary and having read your replies I think (RadicalWhig) that while Scottish independence is an issue worth debating, it is not and cannot be an issue that defines this election. Carys - there are other parties that poll as heavily as Plaid Cymru, and the fact that their support is distributed more widely stikes me as a poor reason for treating them as less important. I think it is quite clear that a more elegant and appropriate solution is for the party leaders in Wales and Scotland to hold their own debate if they so choose. Anyway, I will respond properly when I have cleaned up the last vestige of birthday party jelly.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
A glimpse behind the scenes in the Press Room at the second leaders' debate. I find it mildly scary how the Press has to simultaneously report and maintain relationships with the politicians so that they can report in the future. Isn't that something of a conflict of interest?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
A glimpse behind the scenes in the Press Room at the second leaders' debate. I find it mildly scary how the Press has to simultaneously report and maintain relationships with the politicians so that they can report in the future. Isn't that something of a conflict of interest?

That's pretty much how the reporting of political events and government at very level has always been. The relationship between Ministers, MPs, Lords and senior civil servants on one hand and the reporters in the "Parliamentary lobby" is another constitutional curiosity. It is probably much worse at the local level where council proceedings can do unreported if the local paper doesn't have the resources and the council excludes the press at every opportunity.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
If you split up however, the non-working parent does become entitled to significantly higher levels of benefit.

When my wife left me for another man and I had to move out my disposable income fell by well over five hundred pounds a month. So I am pretty bloody sure you are talking nonsense.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RadicalWhig:
....I am impressed (bemused?) (strangely worried?) that they have gone to the trouble of translating the whole thing into English?

All Swedish official educational materials are translated into English. In secondary schools they even sometimes use English textbooks for science subjects. You can't attend a Swedish university unless you are proficient in both Swedish and English.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
A glimpse behind the scenes in the Press Room at the second leaders' debate. I find it mildly scary how the Press has to simultaneously report and maintain relationships with the politicians so that they can report in the future. Isn't that something of a conflict of interest?

Do not underestimate the level of co-ordination between political campaigns and the newspapers in Britain. There are, at least sometimes, meetings between newspaper people and representives of the party they support where the papers give advance warning of upcoming news and the parties give them stories to print. And yes, there have been occasions when UK newspapers have printed front-page stories at the request of political parties. And supposedly independent journalists have given advice to parties on media presentation and even advance warning of the questions they intend to ask. At the extreme the parties and the papers develop political strategies together.

I do not know how often that happens but I know it has happened in the past, and not just tabloids either, serious daily and weekly papers have been involved.

Obviously I don't know the details this time round but I would be pretty sure that the Mail and possibly the Telegraph are entirely in bed with the Tories, and its very likely that the Murdoch papers (including the Times and the Sun) have at least close informal dealings with them as well. Same applies to the weekly Spectator. No-one really cares about the Express any more, but it is almost certainly also committed to support the Tories.

Political news in those newspapers during an election campaign is in effect party propaganda and to be read with the same skepticism as the any other campaign literature. I mean, quite seriously, when the editors of the Daily Mail are deciding which stories to put on the front page they will include the Tory party in their discussions and may well exclude any news item that might discredit the Tories.


The Liberals will probably be supported by the rather misnamed Independent and will at least get a sympathetic ear from the Guardian and Observer and maybe the weekly Economist (though they overtly and covertly supported the Tories in Thatchers time) Coming from different sides of the fence the Grauniad and its stablemates, and the Economist and Financial Times are the only UK national newspapers likely to remain politically independent in news reporting during the election.

Labour will probably only be supported by the Mirror and the low-circulation weekly New Statesman (News International probably employ more people than read the Staggers!)

NB I'm not talking about editorial and opinion pages of the newspapers - almost all of them take sides and let you know what side they are on. And all of them - even the Sun and the Mail regularly give space to writers who oppose the line of the paper (though maybe not the day before the election!)

Nor am I talking about outright lies - though in the final week the Mail may well knowingly print lies on the front page - they have often done it before - but they are the only British paper with a big history of that.

It is basically about filtering the news. Printing stories that talk about the things your party wants to talk about. Relegating other stories to the bottom of page seven or the week after the election. Making up shock headlines that do not adequatly describe the contents of the article (The most egregious so far was the Mail's CLEGG IN NAZI SLUR ON BRITAIN which existed purely as a headline - the story underneath so inconsequential its hard to see how the staff could stay awake long enough to set it. And of course choosing which of the dozens of opinion polls to mention today in order to talk up your party and talk down the others.

One of the reasons I rarely read newspapers any more. And why all British people should thank God for the BBC. (And vote for party that is not going to gut the BBC and sell the offal to Murdoch's bottom-feeding lampreys)
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
The Liberals will probably be supported by the rather misnamed Independent and will at least get a sympathetic ear from the Guardian and Observer and maybe the weekly Economist (though they overtly and covertly supported the Tories in Thatchers time) Coming from different sides of the fence the Grauniad and its stablemates, and the Economist and Financial Times are the only UK national newspapers likely to remain politically independent in news reporting during the election.

The Guardian looks likely to throw in a vote for a Lib Dem leaning hung parliament. But it's being transparent about it.

A reading from the 30529th Letter of Ken to the Shipmates:

quote:
And why all British people should thank God for the BBC. (And vote for party that is not going to gut the BBC and sell the offal to Murdoch's bottom-feeding lampreys)
Amen.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Obviously I don't know the details this time round but I would be pretty sure that the Mail and possibly the Telegraph are entirely in bed with the Tories, and its very likely that the Murdoch papers (including the Times and the Sun) have at least close informal dealings with them as well. Same applies to the weekly Spectator. No-one really cares about the Express any more, but it is almost certainly also committed to support the Tories.

This comment is oblivious to the fact that Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, is a chum of Gordon Brown and has said before that support for the Tories by the Mail is not guaranteed. It also ignores the anti-Tory headlines in the Daily Telegraph recently.

quote:
I mean, quite seriously, when the editors of the Daily Mail are deciding which stories to put on the front page they will include the Tory party in their discussions and may well exclude any news item that might discredit the Tories.
I think you're in danger of getting into tin foil hat territory here.


quote:
Nor am I talking about outright lies - though in the final week the Mail may well knowingly print lies on the front page - they have often done it before - but they are the only British paper with a big history of that.
Were you caught out by the Daily Mail at some point in your life? You seem to have something personal against them. I don't care for the Mail, but they don't have the history of altering photographs to create stories, which the Sun and the Mirror have.

quote:
Making up shock headlines that do not adequatly describe the contents of the article (The most egregious so far was the Mail's CLEGG IN NAZI SLUR ON BRITAIN which existed purely as a headline - the story underneath so inconsequential its hard to see how the staff could stay awake long enough to set it. And of course choosing which of the dozens of opinion polls to mention today in order to talk up your party and talk down the others.
I agree that the headline was daft, but the comments made by Nick Clegg - who after all wants to be our Prime Minister at the moment - were worthy of scrutiny.

quote:
And why all British people should thank God for the BBC. (And vote for party that is not going to gut the BBC and sell the offal to Murdoch's bottom-feeding lampreys)
Fortunately for you, Ken, no leading political party is planning to do this.
 
Posted by Makepiece (# 10454) on :
 
Ken is absolutely right about the daily mail's lies, they are more sophisticated than the sun and the mirror which is what makes their lies mroe deceitful. The mail wilfully puts forward false pictures of reality. For example, on one of the few occasions that I read the paper, they described an injunction that prevented the press from revealing details of Maxine Carr's new address as 'draconian'. That was an absurd suggestion. What would be the point in giving Maxine Carr a new address if the press were able to give the public details of it?

The mail will also pick out one example of an asylum seeker who has committed a crime and then write in a tone which suggests that all asylum seekers are likely to behave in the same way. That is lying because it attempts to portray as true something which is clearly false.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
Ken, you say it all with such certainty. But in reality you are merely a purveyor of left-wing conspiracies and fantasies. After all, it really is an epic fantasy to pretend that the Guardian is editorally independent or the BBC impartial. Furthermore the idea that the Daily Mail is inviting conservative participation in their editorial decisions betrays a massive amount of ignorance about the reality of the difficult, testy and anxious relationships that exist between politicans and the press.

I daresay that there have been all sorts of types of collusion between political parties and the press at various times, but less recently times I think. The fact is that the Telegraph and the Mail despise Cameron's modernising tendencies though of course they still want a Conservative victory.

The truth is that the newsppaers are all pretty open about their editorial biases and for the most part the readers either don't even notice it or manage to ignore it entirely.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
... a massive amount of ignorance about the reality of the difficult, testy and anxious relationships that exist between politicans and the press.

But it there has certainly been collusion in the past. And just look at the Mail's front pages!
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
... a massive amount of ignorance about the reality of the difficult, testy and anxious relationships that exist between politicans and the press.

But it there has certainly been collusion in the past. And just look at the Mail's front pages!
Well, the Daily Mail's agenda is hardly a secret but that doesn't mean they like Cameron. And yes, there has been collusion in the past between News International and Tony Blair to take but one example, but I strongly doubt that's ever gone as far as the Newspapers inviting day-to-day interference in editorial decisions by a politician.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Like many labour supporters, (I suppose), I was considering tactical voting lib dem to oppose my sitting tory MP - flipped his house, is the antithesis of everything I believe in etc plus labour was third in this consituency at the last election.

Nick Clegg has now said unambiguously that if labour share of the national vote fell to third he would not consider an alliance. Given as I would be voting lib dem to keep the tories out, and my voting lib dem wuld lower the labour vote share - I will be voting labour.

I wonder how many other votes he will have lost.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
Spawn,

Whilst you may have a point about the Mail's misgivings about Cameron, it is ridiculous in the extreme not to acknowledge the extreme dishonesty of Mail reporting - all in order to serve a specific agenda. There are countless examples but here's a short article from an author I trust [Biased] Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

AFZ
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Like many labour supporters, (I suppose), I was considering tactical voting lib dem to oppose my sitting tory MP - flipped his house, is the antithesis of everything I believe in etc plus labour was third in this consituency at the last election.

Nick Clegg has now said unambiguously that if labour share of the national vote fell to third he would not consider an alliance. Given as I would be voting lib dem to keep the tories out, and my voting lib dem wuld lower the labour vote share - I will be voting labour.

I wonder how many other votes he will have lost.

I'm in a similar position. Gonna have to think very carefully about that.

AFZ
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
If we actually already had PR (which incidentally I am in favour of) it would be different. But surely alot of people both labour and tory do vote lib dem as a tactical vote - because of the vagaries of the current system.

I assume that Clegg (if this is genuinely a point of principle) would hold the same position in respect of the Tories.

Surely there is a risk they will lose a substantial number of tactical voters like myself ?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Like many labour supporters, (I suppose), I was considering tactical voting lib dem to oppose my sitting tory MP - flipped his house, is the antithesis of everything I believe in etc plus labour was third in this consituency at the last election.

Nick Clegg has now said unambiguously that if labour share of the national vote fell to third he would not consider an alliance. Given as I would be voting lib dem to keep the tories out, and my voting lib dem wuld lower the labour vote share - I will be voting labour.

I wonder how many other votes he will have lost.

I'm in a similar position. Gonna have to think very carefully about that.

AFZ

It was a silly thing to say, but I think it has its roots in the mutual dislike between Clegg and Brown. Clegg would get on far better with Alan Johnson and if Brown can't form a government but Labour is the largest party in a hung parliament, that could be proposed. What a mess that would be though, as the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party has to be elected from within the Labour Party!
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
In my fantasy world; people would vote for what they thought was best for the country as a whole rather thn their personal self-interest (and politicians would recognise this an electioneer on that basis), and politicians would make decisions based on the good of the country rather than their personal likes and dislikes.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
I think there would be uproar if Gordon Brown led Labour to a third place defeat and Nick Clegg agreed to prop up a Labour government. By ruling out a coalition in those circumstances, I don't think he hasn't said anything unreasonable.

Clegg's statements over the weekend are unclear as to whether or not he would form a coalition with Labour after the election.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
I think the specific question was if labour had the mps but not the vote share.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
Spawn,

Whilst you may have a point about the Mail's misgivings about Cameron, it is ridiculous in the extreme not to acknowledge the extreme dishonesty of Mail reporting - all in order to serve a specific agenda. There are countless examples but here's a short article from an author I trust [Biased] Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

AFZ

No I don't think there is anything intrinsic about the Daily Mail's reporting that makes it worse than other newspapers. The Daily Mail is a kneejerk target of scorn by people who seldom or never read it, but its driving assumptions and cultural standpoint are simply rather alien to those who find it most offensive.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
I think the specific question was if labour had the mps but not the vote share.

Because of the way the constituency boundaries are drawn at the moment, if Labour managed only third place in the polls, it might have the second highest number of seats in the Commons. In that scenario, as I said before, I think there would be uproar if Clegg propped up a Labour government.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
I think the specific question was if labour had the mps but not the vote share.

Because of the way the constituency boundaries are drawn at the moment, if Labour managed only third place in the polls, it might have the second highest number of seats in the Commons. In that scenario, as I said before, I think there would be uproar if Clegg propped up a Labour government.
No, it's worse than that; the present arrangement of constituencies offers the prospect of Labour getting the third highest number of votes but the most seats; i.e. more seats and less votes than both Tories AND Lib Dems. In 1974 they had more seats but less votes than the Tories in the February election, but were allowed to get away with becoming the government. Clegg seems to have decided he won't tolerate a repeat of that - at least with Gordo as PM, as a precise reading of his comments suggests that he might allow a Labour PM other than Gordo.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
I think the specific question was if labour had the mps but not the vote share.

Because of the way the constituency boundaries are drawn at the moment, if Labour managed only third place in the polls, it might have the second highest number of seats in the Commons. In that scenario, as I said before, I think there would be uproar if Clegg propped up a Labour government.
I've been playing with the vote share calculators on the BBC Election website and it is quite possible for Labour to come third across the country but still have the highest number of seats! They can't quite maintain an overall majority if they poll less than the LibDems and Tories, but it's close. Something to do with lower turn-outs in Labour seats and smaller constituencies in Wales and Scotland I believe.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
If you split up however, the non-working parent does become entitled to significantly higher levels of benefit.

When my wife left me for another man and I had to move out my disposable income fell by well over five hundred pounds a month. So I am pretty bloody sure you are talking nonsense.
Were you a non-working parent though?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
Spawn,

Whilst you may have a point about the Mail's misgivings about Cameron, it is ridiculous in the extreme not to acknowledge the extreme dishonesty of Mail reporting - all in order to serve a specific agenda. There are countless examples but here's a short article from an author I trust [Biased] Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

AFZ

No I don't think there is anything intrinsic about the Daily Mail's reporting that makes it worse than other newspapers. The Daily Mail is a kneejerk target of scorn by people who seldom or never read it, but its driving assumptions and cultural standpoint are simply rather alien to those who find it most offensive.
Agreed; it's not worse than the Grauniad from the other side of the socio-political spectrum.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
OK, RadicalWhig - now I can reply properly.

Your objections, in essence, can be reduced to the presumption that the nationalists speak best for Scotland, and justice therefore dictates that they be heard at the debate in a particular way. I was going to respond to you point-by-point, but that would result in too long-winded a post.

Basically, my point is that this is a Westminster election held across the UK, not four separate elections. The purpose of the debates being to put the leaders of the strongest parties head-to-head, it was quite proper to exclude the leader of any party incapable of winning it.

That is one reason for excluding the SNP, and I don't think I need to add to it. But then there is the additional point you raise, ie, that the Scots have the right to be governed as they see best, and therefore their voice should be heard at the debates. But this is quite obviously false for the following reasons.

Firstly, it seems rather obvious to point out that one of the participants was Scottish, and secondly, quite clear that it is restrictive to say that only the SNP can speak for Scotland. More pertinently, however, it is strange to say that the presence of the SNP on the panel was necessary for Scots to be properly represented. The audience would be a more appropriate place for that, rather than amongst the people pitching for their votes.

Furthermore, Alex Salmond himself has said that he does not wish to influence how English votes are cast. Why then, would he, or any other SNP politician want to be on the panel?

Your next slew of points are basically to do with the fact that the current system is unfair. Be that as it may, Scotland is still part of it for this election. The only really relevant point you raise is the following, and I quote it for clarity:-

I said:-

quote:
Once again, however, the SNP, Plaid Cymru (and Mebyon Kernow) have ruled this out of being a relevant issue for the leaders' debate because they cannot form a government at Westminster that will achieve it. This would have been different had the Welsh and Scottish nationalists allied themselves with an English equivalent. However, they haven't...


and you responded:-

quote:
By your argument, the SNP can't get independence for Scotland unless they can first win a majority in the UK Parliament by winning lots of English seats. That's the best catch-22 yet.
Not at all. I have yet to be told why the SNP chose not to ally with any English nationalist / separatist party over the border. They have only allied with Plaid Cymru. Perhaps English separatists are, somehow, dirty. At any rate, the break-up of the UK seems rather obviously a matter for the whole of the UK, but whether it is or isn't is not an issue to be decided by this election.

The only other point that I understand you to raise is that the SNP should be included because of its disproportionate regional support, ie, it should be distinguished from, say, UKIP because it polls heavily in Scotland (as it happens, the Lib Dems outpolled the SNP in 2005). What this amounts to is that Scotland should be preferentially to from other areas where there is a regional variation, and / or parties with a strong regional support should be favoured over those who receive as many votes over a greater area. This doesn't make any sense without begging the question.

Additionally, you accuse me of having my cake and eating it:-

quote:

Way One: The SNP aren't significant because they will not form a government at Westminster.
Way Two: Westminster is of paramount importance, even in devolved countries, because it can change the terms of devolution.

If the second of these is true (which it is) then the SNP, who have a pretty strong view on Scotland's future, ought to be fairly represented, even if they will not form the next Government. Likewise Plaid Cymru should have a fair say in Wales.



It's no good using comments like 'fairly represented' because it allows you to suggest that my argument is unfair, simply because it disagrees with yours.

In any event, it falls into the same fallacy of assuming Scottish representation to mean an SNP politician on the panel rather than Scots on the audience.

The SNP are a Scottish party, campaigning on Scottish issues for Scottish votes. Plaid Cymru are identical for Wales. The appropriate solution is to have a debate amongst the party leaders in those places, rather than the inelegant (and I think more unfair) solution of lumping them in with Clegg, Brown and Cameron.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
It is unfair to UKIP and the Greens, but they won no seats in the last General Election. Plaid and the SNP did. Thus it is arguably more unfair to Plaid and the SNP. But having said that if you were to limit it to those who already had seats, it could be seen as keeping the Westminster club closed.

Basically, the concept is flawed!

I am inclined to agree with this [Smile]

quote:
Perhaps. But this is an attitude Plaid is challenging. And then there is the opinion of the Independent Columnist who cited Plaid's 3MPs as having had more influence in the last Parliament than all of the LibDems put together!
A bold claim, given Vince Cable's efforts in the last year.

quote:
The big problem is that under the current constituntional settlement Westminster functions both as the English Parliament and as the UK. Then because of the media bias to England (well London!) and the large population of England means that all to frequently matters that only affect England are talked about as though they affected the whole UK.
I can see your point, although I did notice the presenter of the first debate noting that certain matters were devolved, when the discussion moved onto that point. Doesn't that seem the best solution?

quote:
The broadcasters ought to have been able to come up with a system that dealt with this issues. BBC and ITV have regions and so a debate on matters that are devolved could have been broadcast by them in England only (with the major parties in England, however defined). Then debates with representation from all major parties could have been broadcast on non-devolved issues. Admittedly there are issues in that Criminal Justice (for example) is devolved in Scotland but not in Wales). Northern Ireland gets its own debates because it basically (ignoring the Conservative UUP pact) has entirely separate parties.
I think the best solution is for Wales and Scotland to have its own equivalent debates. There is a certain asymmetry here, as England wouldn't have one - but that merely reflects devolution itself.

quote:
That and the fact that certain matters are not devolved/reserved. Defence is an example of this and here Plaid and the SNP oppose any replacement of Trident unlike Labour and Tories (pro like for like replacement) and LibDems (pro some sort of replacement but not like for like IIRC).

Carys

Indeed, but it doesn't follow that PC and the SNP should be heard on those specific matters unless they should be heard generally.
 
Posted by Yorick (# 12169) on :
 
Well, I'm gonna cut out my MP, and vote for myself.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
No, it's worse than that; the present arrangement of constituencies offers the prospect of Labour getting the third highest number of votes but the most seats; i.e. more seats and less votes than both Tories AND Lib Dems. In 1974 they had more seats but less votes than the Tories in the February election, but were allowed to get away with becoming the government.

Can anyone explain in words of one syllable, why in the light of this, Cameron is so set against PR?

[relevant pedantic tangent] 'less' votes are presumably those for the Tories in Labour safe seats, and vice versa. In the above context you mean 'fewer', surely? [/relevant pedantic tangent]
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
No, it's worse than that; the present arrangement of constituencies offers the prospect of Labour getting the third highest number of votes but the most seats; i.e. more seats and less votes than both Tories AND Lib Dems. In 1974 they had more seats but less votes than the Tories in the February election, but were allowed to get away with becoming the government.

Can anyone explain in words of one syllable, why in the light of this, Cameron is so set against PR?

[relevant pedantic tangent] 'less' votes are presumably those for the Tories in Labour safe seats, and vice versa. In the above context you mean 'fewer', surely? [/relevant pedantic tangent]

<my itals> No one party would ever again have an outright majority in the House of Commons. Party power would be reduced.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
Two reasons, I think.

Firstly, the Tories see themselves as 'the natural party of government'. It's only us uppity voters that are denying them their true birthright, and once we see sense, they can have their 1000 year reign.

Secondly, Cameron blocked (along with Labour) every attempt to reform the voting system during the last parliament. He can hardly volte face now, when it looks like the very system he champions will deny him victory.

And on the third hand, he's probably worried that there are more than enough people in the country who would vote Anything But Tory. Under something like STV in a single member constituency, the Tories could lose all their seats where they don't get 50% of the first preference votes.

YMMV
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Two reasons, I think.

Firstly, the Tories see themselves as 'the natural party of government'. It's only us uppity voters that are denying them their true birthright, and once we see sense, they can have their 1000 year reign.

I recognise you're being facetious rather than making a serious point but I'll respond. There is a genuine principle involved here. The fact is that both Labour and Conservative currently believe (and I tend to agree with them) that a two-party system remains the prevailing model. Labour's conversion to electoral reform is clearly a fairly cynical tactic rather than a genuine conversion given the fact that Brown has blocked such policy change every step of the way. I suspect that if it were proved by the final election results that we are in a multi-party situation then the Conservatives may have to look again at their opposition to all but the most limited electoral reform.

As it is Libdem popularity is showing signs of being shortlived the more people are exposed to their flaky policies, opportunism and conniving bitchiness. In my experience, at least in local politics they tend to be the 'nasty' party.

I think the election results will surprise us in 10-days-time.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:

Were you a non-working parent though? [/QB][/QUOTE]

Neither are most single parents.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
No I don't think there is anything intrinsic about the Daily Mail's reporting that makes it worse than other newspapers. The Daily Mail is a kneejerk target of scorn by people who seldom or never read it, but its driving assumptions and cultural standpoint are simply rather alien to those who find it most offensive.

quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Agreed; it's not worse than the Grauniad from the other side of the socio-political spectrum.

[Killing me] Matt, do you seriously believe this? Really?

For the record, I do read the Mail most days and it is in many ways incomparable to any other paper. You could reasonably claim that the Guardian was comparable with the Telegraph. I don't object to the Telegraph - I don't agree with thier political perspective but that's fine. The problem with the Wail is it's constant (probably cynical) insidious falsehoods in pursuit of its agenda. For the record, here's another example: Comment on Daily Mail Article "NHS Betrays 20,000 Cancer Patients"

Furthermore, it's not just me that says the Mail is dishonest, the PCC has some interesting statistics. Tabloid Watch Article on PCC Statistics

Which is even more surprising when you reflect on the fact that Paul Dacre holds office within the
PCC.

So please, let us not pretend that the Mail is just a right-wing-Guardian.

AFZ
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
Labour are not recent converts to changing the voting system, as anyone who's voted in the EU or Welsh Assembly elections can tell you.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't [in reply to what I said about the Daily Mail
I think you're in danger of getting into tin foil hat territory here.

Tin-foil hat territory? It wasn't me that wrote the headline How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer!!!! Nor previous articles claiming that being left-handed, bubble bath, calcium, candles, chocolate, colds, curry, hair dye, menstruation AND the menopause AND hormone replacement therapy (so you just can't win even if you are a woman), mouthwash, oral sex, sex, soup, talcum powder, tea, the Internet, vitamin E, work AND retirement AND unemployment (so you can't win even if you aren't a woman, Prince Charles, and Worcester Sauce all cause cancer.

Nor me who embroiled the Daily Mail in a years-long scaremongering campaign of obfuscation and innuendo about Autism and vaccinations. That paper is at the heart of tinfoil hat territory. Don't just take my word for it - look them up in Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" blog or on Language Log (they also have it in for the BBC's crap science reporting, just in case you think I am biased

quote:
Nor am I talking about outright lies - though in the final week the Mail may well knowingly print lies on the front page - they have often done it before - but they are the only British paper with a big history of that.
Were you caught out by the Daily Mail at some point in your life? You seem to have something personal against them. I don't care for the Mail, but they don't have the history of altering photographs to create stories, which the Sun and the Mirror have. .[/QB][/QUOTE]

The Mail does have a well-documented history of outright falsehood, going back decades. It is plainly true that they are more likely to use their news reporting for propaganda than the other papers are..

My little rant wasn't really about that though , that was just an aside - I was complaining that ALL the British papers are partisan and they ALL indulge in filtering and manipulating the news to support their favoured parties


quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
No I don't think there is anything intrinsic about the Daily Mail's reporting that makes it worse than other newspapers. The Daily Mail is a kneejerk target of scorn by people who seldom or never read it, but its driving assumptions and cultural standpoint are simply rather alien to those who find it most offensive.

This is not what I'm talking about at all. One of the reasons the Mail is worse than the other papers is precisely because it is, on the whole, a good paper. Its visible cultural assumptions are pretty much those of the southern English middle class and really not that far from those of the the Guardian and their readership has more in common than you might suppose. (Guardian readers may not read the Mail much but their aunts do). Its mostly a pretty good paper (a very good paper by British tabloid standards, which is perhaps not hard) which makes its political bias so potentially harmful. No-one much takes the Sun or the News of the World seriously as a source of in-depth political news. Not even Sun-readers. Especially Sun-readers. The Mail is a much weightier, and mostly much worthier, paper (as well as being much more interesting to read for anyone who has more than a 15 minute fag break to read it in) so its political bias can more easily sneak in under the radar.

Which is the real point. Newspapers and broadcast media do not (on the whole) influence politics by telling people who to vote for. Voters aren't that stupid. Nor by telling lies or by smear campaigns (though that doesn't stop them trying sometimes and the Mail is usually worse than the others). They do it by deciding what counts as news, by trying to set the agenda.

quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Agreed; it's not worse than the Grauniad from the other side of the socio-political spectrum.

Matt, if you really believe that then I have a bridge to sell you.

Its not a simple left-right thing. Nor a cultural tabloid vs. "serious" paper thing.The Sun and the News of the World have both supported Labour on occasions. Neither is as egregiously dishonest as the Mail so often is. Though both have pushed the boat out a bit, as has the Mirror. The Telegraph is a far more Tory paper than the Times but it has also (in recent years) been far more honest and neutral in its reporting - on the whole, like the Guardian it manages to keep its political bias to the comment pages, and out of the news pages. As, on the whole, do all the broadcast media, because (unlike newspapers) they have a legal obligation to be fair.

And its not a matter of two equal "sides" either - the British press as a whole is heavily biased towards the Tories and has been for over a century.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
No I don't think there is anything intrinsic about the Daily Mail's reporting that makes it worse than other newspapers. The Daily Mail is a kneejerk target of scorn by people who seldom or never read it, but its driving assumptions and cultural standpoint are simply rather alien to those who find it most offensive.

quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Agreed; it's not worse than the Grauniad from the other side of the socio-political spectrum.

[Killing me] Matt, do you seriously believe this? Really?


So please, let us not pretend that the Mail is just a right-wing-Guardian.

AFZ

Maybe it looks that way from the liberal-leftist perspective, but most of the people I know get the Mail because they agree with it, by and large, and have similar views of the Guardian as you do to the Mail. Are these people thick, dishonest, or raving nutters? Not really; most of them are reasonably successful (at least until the recession) business people with university degrees. I would say that Telegraph = Independent is more accurate.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Maybe it looks that way from the liberal-leftist perspective, but most of the people I know get the Mail because they agree with it, by and large, and have similar views of the Guardian as you do to the Mail. Are these people thick, dishonest, or raving nutters? Not really; most of them are reasonably successful (at least until the recession) business people with university degrees. I would say that Telegraph = Independent is more accurate.

Oh dear Matt. Have you read any of my links?

What Ken said.

AFZ
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Maybe it looks that way from the liberal-leftist perspective, but most of the people I know get the Mail because they agree with it, by and large, and have similar views of the Guardian as you do to the Mail. Are these people thick, dishonest, or raving nutters? Not really; most of them are reasonably successful (at least until the recession) business people with university degrees. I would say that Telegraph = Independent is more accurate.

I doubt that your friends are thick, dishonest or nutters, raving or otherwise. I would suggest that they, like most of us, like to be confirmed in our prejudices (like me apropos golfers, drivers of silver German cars and, yes, Daily Mail readers) but the Daily Mail itself has a long and dishonourable history, going right back to pre-Great War jingoism and the Zinoviev letter, a deliberate forgery calculated to bring down the first Labour government.

Your friends aren't dishonest but the Daily Mail is, was and will be.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by leo:
[qb] In the Gay Times interview, to which you refer, Mr Cameron asked for filming to be stopped because he was giving a print interview and a TV interview at the same time. As I understand it, the two really progress in different ways and doing both at the same time is difficult.

His stumbling came when he was asked about a Lithuanian law on teaching in schools. I would suggest that this measure isn't really at the top of any British voter's agenda.

I have now got hold of the text of the interview. It was made clear 10 days before the interview date that they wanted to film it. The interview with Gordon Brown was also filmed. David Cameron explained that he found it difficult giving answers for a magazine interview which was also being filmed.

It wasn’t just the Lithuania question. Cameron was nervous and ignorant throughout. For example (I = Interviewer, DC = David Cameron)

His ignorance about IVF issues:

DC I haven’t looked recently at the whole legal framework for IVF, but I mean I haven’t — we haven’t got any plans to change it……You see I haven’t — I’m not an expert on, on IVF issues. …..Well look, 1 mean I don’t. I haven’t. You know I haven’t got any. What can I say? Well I can only answer the question the way I can.

On his dogy allies in Europe:

I The fact that you’ve aligned yourself with particular parties in the European parliament. Some parties which some people perceive to be anti-Semitic and anti-gay. Today a law comes in force in Lithuanian which has been described as their Section 28. It’s been condemned by Amnesty International….

DC I don’t know about that particular vote…..And of course we would never ally with I parties whose views stepped beyond the pale…..Um, well I don’t — I mean the trouble is you’re — I mean I’ll have to go back and look at this particular — this particular law. . Sorry it’s not a very good answer, I’ll have to go land look at this particular vote in the European parliament.

About civil partnerships in places of worship:

DC I do, I do. Do you know — can we stop for a second? I really — I really want to answer these questions. I’m really — either can we do a television interview or can we do a press interview? I’m finding — I’d almost like to start completely from scratch…..As I understand it there is some very heavyweight legal advice that says there are some problems, which is if you had a permissive piece of legislation that basically said, if a religious organisation, like the Quakers, or others (want to do it, would that eventually lead to all churches through the legal process being compelled to have civil partnerships even if they didn’t want it? So there’s a problem. I think it’s very good the debate is taking place…. No of course it doesn’t but the question is whether the heavyweight legal advice is that although the amendment doesn’t compel, through legal cases it could become compulsory. I think there’s more debate and discussion needs to be had before taking this step.
 
Posted by Alicïa (# 7668) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
I think the specific question was if labour had the mps but not the vote share.

He hasn't said he won't work with Labour, just hinted that he wouldn't work with Gordon Brown in that specific scenario (of Labour coming 3rd in the popular vote) because the usual convention is for the Prime Minister to stay.

In an interview today, he has been a bit clearer on the subject.
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Clegg via the Independent:

"I think, if Labour do come third in terms of the number of votes cast, then people would find it inexplicable that Gordon Brown himself could carry on as Prime Minister, which is what the old convention would dictate."

"As for who I'd work with, I've been very clear - much clearer than David Cameron and Gordon Brown - that I will work with anyone, I will work with a man from the moon, I don't care, with anyone who can deliver the greater fairness that I think people want."

not Gordon Brown?

he said: "I don't think Gordon Brown - and I've got nothing personal about him - I just don't think the British people would accept that he could carry on as Prime Minister, which is what the convention of old politics dictates when, or rather if, he were to lose the election in such spectacular style."

alternative Labour figures such as Alan Johnson or David Miliband?

"I will seek with whomever else to deliver those big changes that I want, in the way the economy is run, the way the tax system works, the way our education system works and, of course, cleaning up politics from top to toe."


 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
His ignorance about IVF issues:

DC I haven’t looked recently at the whole legal framework for IVF, but I mean I haven’t — we haven’t got any plans to change it……You see I haven’t — I’m not an expert on, on IVF issues. …..Well look, 1 mean I don’t. I haven’t. You know I haven’t got any. What can I say? Well I can only answer the question the way I can.

The party doesn't have any specific policies about IVF, other than "keep things as they are". Is that a problem for you?

They probably don't have any policies about planning permission for people to put up a new conservatory either. Would you regard it as "ignorance" if someone randomly came up with a question about that key issue and Cameron didn't have an answer immediately to hand? Yes, you probably would.

Of course, Gordon Brown can answer any question on any subject with absolute authority due to his superheroic intellect and knowledge of every single thing there is to know. That's why he's doing so well in the televised debates. Oh, wait...

quote:
On his dogy allies in Europe:

I The fact that you’ve aligned yourself with particular parties in the European parliament. Some parties which some people perceive to be anti-Semitic and anti-gay. Today a law comes in force in Lithuanian which has been described as their Section 28. It’s been condemned by Amnesty International….

DC I don’t know about that particular vote…..And of course we would never ally with I parties whose views stepped beyond the pale…..Um, well I don’t — I mean the trouble is you’re — I mean I’ll have to go back and look at this particular — this particular law. . Sorry it’s not a very good answer, I’ll have to go land look at this particular vote in the European parliament.

Some random, no-mark, irrelevant party from a desolate backwater of Europe comes up with a half-baked law and you expect Cameron to know all about it? I'd be surprised if anyone outside Lithuania knows about it, muck-raking journalists aside.

Of course, every single party in the same European alliance as Labour is completely above reproach.

quote:
About civil partnerships in places of worship:

DC I do, I do. Do you know — can we stop for a second? I really — I really want to answer these questions. I’m really — either can we do a television interview or can we do a press interview? I’m finding — I’d almost like to start completely from scratch…..

OK, so he's having some problems with the format. Ooh, how terrible he is.

Of course, Gordon Brown never struggles under any circumstances - he's always prefectly on message and unflustered no matter how many people are deliberately trying to trip him up.

quote:
continues...

As I understand it there is some very heavyweight legal advice that says there are some problems, which is if you had a permissive piece of legislation that basically said, if a religious organisation, like the Quakers, or others (want to do it, would that eventually lead to all churches through the legal process being compelled to have civil partnerships even if they didn’t want it? So there’s a problem. I think it’s very good the debate is taking place…. No of course it doesn’t but the question is whether the heavyweight legal advice is that although the amendment doesn’t compel, through legal cases it could become compulsory. I think there’s more debate and discussion needs to be had before taking this step.

If this is the actual transcript of the interview, I don't think transcriber was doing a very good job. Where is the question he's answering with "No of course it it doesn't"?

Beyond that, what exactly is so wrong with saying that there could be problems and it's good that the debate is happening?
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Some random, no-mark, irrelevant party from a desolate backwater of Europe comes up with a half-baked law and you expect Cameron to know all about it?

What have you Tories got against Lithuania? I mean, Cameron pissed them off as well.

I'd expect a leader to be careful about who he is allies with, myself. I mean, Ken Livingston rightly got all sorts of bother for his homophobic friends.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
What have you Tories got against Lithuania?

Nothing. It's not important enough to bother holding grudges against.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
Meanwhile, Pepa Pig is not a pinko.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
... the present arrangement of constituencies offers the prospect of Labour getting the third highest number of votes but the most seats; i.e. more seats and less votes than both Tories AND Lib Dems. In 1974 they had more seats but less votes than the Tories in the February election, but were allowed to get away with becoming the government. Clegg seems to have decided he won't tolerate a repeat of that - at least with Gordo as PM, as a precise reading of his comments suggests that he might allow a Labour PM other than Gordo.

Um....I thought you had a parliamentary democracy over there still?

You know...where they elect MP's that decide who is going to be the PM?


Since when did ya'll move to a republican system based on % of the total vote? I must have missed that switch.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
It is likely that PR would transform voting patterns in Britain. It would cause more than simply requiring coalition governments.

An example from NZ, which has a Westminster parliamentary system, and which adopted PR in the 1990s. Prior to its introduction, there were two main parties: Labour and National, plus a third smaller party, Social Credit. Post introduction of PR, all governments have been formed in the main by those two main parties with one or more minor parties, either by formal coalition, or agreements to supply.

The big losers, interestingly enough, were Social Credit, who no longer exist. Approximately three parties vie for third place: the Greens, NZ First (a nationalist party) United Future (family values) and ACT (free market libertarians).

What this suggests is that the Lib Dems have the most to lose from PR, not the most to gain. PR might militate against them at Westminster elections, but the playing field is level insofar that if they were to poll +40%, they would be about as likely to be able to form a government as Labour or the Tories.

Furthermore, barring a complete meltdown, the Lib Dems' position as third party in British politics is assured: there might be a sea between the Lib Dems and the biggest two, but there is an ocean between the Lib Dems and, for example, the Greens and UKIP. Under PR, these latter two parties could outflank the Lib Dems and cut into their vote as has happened at, for example, European elections. It is also worth noting that the Lib Dem vote has not risen in Welsh or Scottish elections.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:

As it is Libdem popularity is showing signs of being shortlived the more people are exposed to their flaky policies, opportunism and conniving bitchiness. In my experience, at least in local politics they tend to be the 'nasty' party.

I think the election results will surprise us in 10-days-time.

We can quibble about the details, but in the polls they remain at about 30%.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Just to add another observation based upon NZ's system.

Now, I'm no fan of PR, but Cameron's blather about a hung parliament resulting in paralysis is ridiculous scaremongering. Every parliament in NZ since the mid 1990s has been 'hung', but the country has had sufficiently stable government in every one of those years. I don't quite see what Cameron's reasons are for believing that the situation in Britain would be any different. Down here, it is not true, for example, that smaller parties hold the larger parties to ransom. Rather, politicians behave sensibly in negotiating varied agreements ranging from outright coalition to agreements to support on certain issues. As a Guardian columnist rightly pointed out, Cameron's comments reflect poorly on his abilities as a negotiator.

On another subject: can anyone provide me with any details as to the SNP's court action today?
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
We can quibble about the details, but in the polls they remain at about 30%.

I don't actually believe they will get 30%.

It will be ground-breaking if they do.

It will be embarrassing for the pollsters if they don't. They got the 1992 election wrong and changed their methods to try and stop it happening again.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
We can quibble about the details, but in the polls they remain at about 30%.

I don't actually believe they will get 30%.

It will be ground-breaking if they do.

It will be embarrassing for the pollsters if they don't. They got the 1992 election wrong and changed their methods to try and stop it happening again.

It already seems to be going that way in the opinion polls and, even if the third leaders debate goes well for Nick Clegg, the Tory vote is more likely to turn out - this is problem with polls: the pollsters come to you but on the day people have to go to the voting booths.

I reckon it will end up 38% Tory, 32% Labour and the Lib Dems around 22%, which is where the latter were in 2005 but with fewer seats! That, according to the BBC's number cruncher, puts the Tories and Labour neck-and-neck, with Lib Dems potentially a partner with either in a coalition government.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Whatever they say about their new idea, they are going to allow people to take over schools without any prior experience - so fundamentalist creationists can indoctrinate children.

One imagines some form of national curriculum will still apply.
I have just returned from a meeting with my untion chief secretary who asked Michael Gove about this. Gove's response was 'They can follow whatever curriculum they want'. So they can choose to do Christian RE without any reference to other religions - so much for social cohesion.

He also said that they are going to introduce a new national curriculum in 50 days, without consultation nor further change, that well EXCLUDE art, dance, creativity and vocational subjects.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
What have you Tories got against Lithuania?

Nothing. It's not important enough to bother holding grudges against.
Typical Tory attitude towards:

a) Europe

b) Human rights

i.e. they're not important.

The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

[ 27. April 2010, 20:43: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
His ignorance about IVF issues:

DC I haven’t looked recently at the whole legal framework for IVF, but I mean I haven’t — we haven’t got any plans to change it……You see I haven’t — I’m not an expert on, on IVF issues. …..Well look, 1 mean I don’t. I haven’t. You know I haven’t got any. What can I say? Well I can only answer the question the way I can.

The party doesn't have any specific policies about IVF, other than "keep things as they are". Is that a problem for you?

They probably don't have any policies about planning permission for people to put up a new conservatory either. Would you regard it as "ignorance" if someone randomly came up with a question about that key issue and Cameron didn't have an answer immediately to hand? Yes, you probably would.

Of course, Gordon Brown can answer any question on any subject with absolute authority due to his superheroic intellect and knowledge of every single thing there is to know. That's why he's doing so well in the televised debates. Oh, wait...

To equate IVF with conservatory issues shows how little you know of or care for Christian ethical concerns.

Gordon Brown has statistics at his fingertips in those debates whereas Cameron makes uncosted promises which he cannot afford to keep.

[ 27. April 2010, 20:46: Message edited by: leo ]
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
He also said that they are going to introduce a new national curriculum in 50 days, without consultation nor further change, that well EXCLUDE art, dance, creativity and vocational subjects.

So the national curriculum is to be cut back to what it should be - a minimal core on which the professionals / local schools can build appropriately? If the Conservatives have a big idea this election, it is to leave the detail to the people on the ground, not micromanage from Whitehall. This sounds like an encouraging example of precisely that policy in action.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:

The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

The reality is that the Tories will probably get more votes from active churchgoers than they will from the population at large, and more than any other party.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
A lot of leo's bile suggests that he's been out in the spring sunshine for too long. I don't really understand his thing about IVF, though. Is his complaint that the Conservative party isn't funding it for certain people?

I've never really thought that people have the right to a child and certainly don't have a right for the state to help them have a child. A lot of people may well disagree with that view but I don't see how a belief that the state shouldn't pay for IVF is 'Christian' or 'un-Christian'.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
A lot of people may well disagree with that view but I don't see how a belief that the state shouldn't pay for IVF is 'Christian' or 'un-Christian'.

There are lots of Christians who seem to believe that the State is the 'good samaritan', or that the best way to show love of your neighbour, or care for the needs of the poor and oppressed is through the public sector. Broadly speaking, Conservatives will agree that the state is a safety net for those who hit hard times, but does not replace taking care of your own family and community, or using your own talents for individual betterment and encouraging a society of 'good samaritans' through voluntarism, giving and acts of caring. It's a shame that David Camneron hasn't been banging on about the 'big society' for long enough for people to understand the concept, but it is what conservative philosophy is all about.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
We can quibble about the details, but in the polls they remain at about 30%.

I don't actually believe they will get 30%.

It will be ground-breaking if they do.

It will be embarrassing for the pollsters if they don't. They got the 1992 election wrong and changed their methods to try and stop it happening again.

It already seems to be going that way in the opinion polls and, even if the third leaders debate goes well for Nick Clegg, the Tory vote is more likely to turn out - this is problem with polls: the pollsters come to you but on the day people have to go to the voting booths.

I reckon it will end up 38% Tory, 32% Labour and the Lib Dems around 22%, which is where the latter were in 2005 but with fewer seats! That, according to the BBC's number cruncher, puts the Tories and Labour neck-and-neck, with Lib Dems potentially a partner with either in a coalition government.

First, recent polls indicate that Lib Dem support is stablising at 29-30%, in other words, exactly where they were after the first debate.

See: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/voting-intention

Second, while polls (most famously in the 1992 election) have sometimes underestimated Tory support, they have not overestimated Lib Dem support. In 2005, for example, they received half a percent of votes above the exit poll.

Third, support for the Lib Dems tends to increase during election campaigns. They went into the 1997 campaign on 9%. It would be unusual for their vote to fall back close to 20%, which is what it was when the election was called.

In short, the Lib Dems' support appears to be quite robust.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Meanwhile, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has reminded the Big Three of the elephant in the drawing room of the massive budget deficit and the fact that no-one so far has come totally clean about what they will cut...
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Meanwhile, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has reminded the Big Three of the elephant in the drawing room of the massive budget deficit and the fact that no-one so far has come totally clean about what they will cut...

You're surprised?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
But surely politicians should lead the public on such issues not the other way round...?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
What have you Tories got against Lithuania?

Nothing. It's not important enough to bother holding grudges against.
Typical Tory attitude towards:

a) Europe

b) Human rights

i.e. they're not important.

Typical Labour spin. I said nothing about Europe and nothing about human rights, but spin, spin and spin again until it looks like I did.

It's pathological lies and spin like this that are why I don't think anybody should trust Labour with running a tombola stall, never mind the country.

quote:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.
Since the latter is a fabrication that you have created, it follows that there is no reason any Christian shouldn't vote for the party that advocates community, society, charity and public involvement in service provision over the one that advocates a centralised nanny state directly controlling everything.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
To equate IVF with conservatory issues shows how little you know of or care for Christian ethical concerns.

I'm well aware of such issues. The point is that there is no reason to expect Cameron to be totally clued up on IVF, because it's not something that is important to this election.

The conservatory illustration was intended to show that there are any number of other "issues" that it would be ridiculous to expect the party leaders to be fully clued up on. Though I should have guessed it would be spun and spun until you could use it to imply something bad about me - it's what Labour do.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Meanwhile, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has reminded the Big Three of the elephant in the drawing room of the massive budget deficit and the fact that no-one so far has come totally clean about what they will cut...

Of the three only Labour has much idea of the true state of the economy. The Conservatives and the Lib Dems can see the figures and have had pre-election briefings with the senior civil servants at the Treasury but they will get rather less information from them than Labour have, because of limited time if nothing else.

Whatever happens I expect cuts - but the easy cuts are in capital projects, like shiny kit for the armed forces, the ID card project (already scaled down) and the unified NHS systems. Problems come when you try to reduce things year on year but with something like 2.5 million registered unemployed, many of whom are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, free prescptions, school meals for their children and much besides, a serious program to create work, not merely jobs, would be welcome.

For a start how about fixing up some of the 840,000 empty homes that exist around Britain? Some will be temporarily vacant, others will be beyond repair but for hundreds of thousands of homes that could house some of the millions on waiting lists this would be useful work, increases the value of assets and is of social benefit. Can an economist tell me why no party has latched onto this - it looks such a great idea?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
To equate IVF with conservatory issues shows how little you know of or care for Christian ethical concerns.

I'm well aware of such issues.
Actually, I'm going to expand on this.

I'm well aware that some Christians have issues with IVF. Many others do not have any such issues.

The way you state "Christian ethical concerns" in your post implies that every single Christian agrees with you and/or that anyone who disagrees isn't a True Christian. I feel compelled to point out that that is NOT TRUE, lest my initial reply is taken as tacit agreement with the implication.

After all, I don't want to give any more ammunition to the ridiculous campaign to declare that Labour are the only party that a True Christian can ever countenance voting for.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
For a start how about fixing up some of the 840,000 empty homes that exist around Britain? Some will be temporarily vacant, others will be beyond repair but for hundreds of thousands of homes that could house some of the millions on waiting lists this would be useful work, increases the value of assets and is of social benefit. Can an economist tell me why no party has latched onto this - it looks such a great idea?

I'm not an economist, but I imagine a large part of it would be the extra cost. There are loads of things that it would be great to do and that would create (public sector) jobs - high speed rail, housing projects, extra schools and hospitals - but the government needs to cut spending, not increase it!
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Can an economist tell me why no party has latched onto this - it looks such a great idea?

I suspect because they fall into three categories:
1) Houses which are in the process of being sold
2) Houses where nobody wants to live (e.g. western Newcastle on Tyne)
3) Houses that are awaiting demolition

The underlying assumption of this idea is that someone is acting wholly irrationally by holding onto an empty house despite the fact that its value is declining all the time. Given that few people are so irrational, it's unlikely that these reflect a meaningful source of real opportunity. Where there is such wasted, local authorities do have the power to take control of such houses and rent them out, though it's a power they've seldom exercised; an issue for you to raise with your council candidates, not national.

That said the housing crisis, substantially aggravated by the level of immigration, is one that is another elephant in the room, though one that politicians are even less willing to talk about, requiring as it does large amounts of government expenditure to resolve.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:

2) Houses where nobody wants to live (e.g. western Newcastle on Tyne)

The two main reasons, ISTM, why 'nobody wants to live' in such areas are [a] shortage of jobs, and [b] the problems of a semi-derelict environment.

[a] is largely a consequence of the overheated south-eastern economy compared to the rest of the country, which it is surely a government's responsibility to try to counteract. [b] would solve itself if people began to move back into such areas.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
That said the housing crisis, substantially aggravated by the level of immigration, is one that is another elephant in the room, though one that politicians are even less willing to talk about, requiring as it does large amounts of government expenditure to resolve.

Bullshit.

The reason we have a housing crisis is because, as a nation, we have built substantially fewer houses than we need, year after year after year. The reasons for this are several, but amongst which are our tortuous planning regs, rampant nimbyism and blatant profiteering by both builders and landowners.

If you couple this with the fact that if we have a massive housebuilding/renovation scheme, the value of existing properties will go down as the law of supply and demand swings the other way. Tens of thousands of mortgage payers will find themselves in negative equity and will squeal like piggies.

So no, yet another thing immigrants aren't to blame for. The problem is entirely homegrown.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.

Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
For a start how about fixing up some of the 840,000 empty homes that exist around Britain? Some will be temporarily vacant, others will be beyond repair but for hundreds of thousands of homes that could house some of the millions on waiting lists this would be useful work, increases the value of assets and is of social benefit. Can an economist tell me why no party has latched onto this - it looks such a great idea?

I'm not an economist, but I imagine a large part of it would be the extra cost. There are loads of things that it would be great to do and that would create (public sector) jobs - high speed rail, housing projects, extra schools and hospitals - but the government needs to cut spending, not increase it!
My understanding is that it is borrowing that needs to be reduced, not simply spending. If that can be done without direct spending cuts, that is OK. If people move into employment that saves on the welfare budget (which is about £200 billion of a total public sector budget of about £700 billion), brings in NICs and Income tax, enables people to buy things with VAT and excise duty on (booze, tobacco and petrol) and generally gees up the economy.

Yes, I'm advocating getting people off welfare, but not by bullying them or disqualifying them from benefit (which will push some into the black economy, from which the government gets nothing) but in this instance by helping local councils fund the repair and refurbishment work. At the moment these councils cannot set a deficit budget so they find it very difficult to finance projects of any size. If the government were to come up with a scheme under which councils could get hold of the homes, have contractors paid to fix them then collect rent in the future to pay off the funds needed, it would make a difference. There. That is in just one area of the economy.

Ender's Shadow: From looking around Newport there are plenty of empty homes that are in decent order. Many are owned by developers who are waiting for the market to buck up before they lift a finger. A school was built under the hated PFI and the firm that had the contract to build homes on the site of the old school pulled out for much the same reasons. The old Tech College has been empty for twenty years and has had at least three owners who were definitely going to develop it. Same story. Eventually the council slapped on a "fix it or we'll do it for you" order and, lo and behold, some work is now being done. You're right, they aren't irrational, just plain greedy.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
My understanding is that it is borrowing that needs to be reduced, not simply spending. If that can be done without direct spending cuts, that is OK. If people move into employment that saves on the welfare budget (which is about £200 billion of a total public sector budget of about £700 billion), brings in NICs and Income tax, enables people to buy things with VAT and excise duty on (booze, tobacco and petrol) and generally gees up the economy.

If people are moving into private sector employment that is true. But when people move into public sector employment the maths is somewhat different: what the public purse gains through a reduced welfare bill has to be offset against losses through increased wage and NI bills.

On the grounds that even the minimum wage adds up to more than the dole, I suspect that increasing the number of public sector jobs in order to reduce the welfare bill would be completely self-defeating, as the Treasury would be spending more than it was before.

The tangential benefits to the economy (increased spending, more VAT/excise income, etc.) would make up some of the difference, but I have to say that with our current financial situation I don't know if we can afford it.

It would probably be cheaper for the government to promise to buy any renovated houses from the developer at market value, thus achieving the double whammy of stimulating private investment in doing them up (and thus creating new private sector jobs) while at the same time creating a fresh stock of social housing [Smile] .
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
He also said that they are going to introduce a new national curriculum in 50 days, without consultation nor further change, that well EXCLUDE art, dance, creativity and vocational subjects.

So the national curriculum is to be cut back to what it should be - a minimal core on which the professionals / local schools can build appropriately? If the Conservatives have a big idea this election, it is to leave the detail to the people on the ground, not micromanage from Whitehall. This sounds like an encouraging example of precisely that policy in action.
The national curriculum is an entitlement. Are children not entitled to art, creativity?

As for 'leaving the detail to the people on the ground', that really means abandoning them.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
As for 'leaving the detail to the people on the ground', that really means abandoning them.

So you have no confidence in the head teachers, school governors or local education authorities to do the right thing, only that bureaucrats in London will? [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.

Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.

You'll have to do better than just sloganising. The year of Jubilee is not a manifesto. It's an important part of the theological resources for informing a Christian conscience on social and political issues. But you can't make it into a manifesto.

Furthermore, I thought the good news was for everyone, including the poor. Given Labour's record on inequality, it's hardly a black and white judgement as to which party's policy actually benefits the very poorest.
 
Posted by Wesley J (# 6075) on :
 
I see that Gordon Brown has spoken his mind and first gained, and then lost one voter. But anyway, she's just 'a bigoted woman'. [Big Grin]


<hums Santana's 'Black Magic Woman', strolls off>
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The national curriculum is an entitlement.

That's a funny way of putting it. I'd have said it was a minimum requirement rather than an exhaustive list.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

The reason we have a housing crisis is because, as a nation, we have built substantially fewer houses than we need, year after year after year.

Not really. We have built substantially fewer houses than are needed in the places where, through population shifts (and immigration as it happens) the demand for housing has become most intense. In principle there is no shortage of housing stock in many parts of the country outside the South East, though in practice there are actual shortages in lots of places. For instance, in many places the housing stock, though available, may be beyond the reach of a substantial number of locals because the local economy is weak and they can't earn enough to be able to afford those properties.

None of the main political parties has failed to analyse this problem correctly, but it isn't easy to fix. In the places where there is a great shortage of housing it is disproportionately costly to develop more. This is not just because the shortage of suitable sites for more building has driven up the land prices. It's also because these areas are already crowded and so to meet realistic standards for new houses to have acceptable public services, highway access and so forth (all of which is policed through the planning system) development requires a lot of additional investment to be acceptable.

The problem is indeed homegrown, albeit that Ender's Shadow is right to make the point that large scale immigration has aggravated it for the obvious reason that immigrants are themselves disproportionately attracted to those same - overcrowded - parts of the country with the greatest existing demand for housing. But it's too simplistic to attribute the problem to greedy landowners, jealous nimbys, rapacious developers and other stereotypical targets from the opinion pages of the Guardian.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Marvin the Martian said of the National Curriculum:
quote:
I'd have said it was a minimum requirement rather than an exhaustive list.
In principle it is. In practice, because the SATS tests on core subjects are so important for (primary) schools, any subject that isn't specifically in the National Curriculum is in danger of being squeezed out altogether. The increasing research evidence - as reported here , for example - suggests that this would be a Bad Thing, because music, art and other creative subjects can boost learning in other areas too.

Of course, things may be different this time round. But the National Curriculum was originally expanded beyond the original core subjects (English, Maths, Science) to safeguard teaching time for other subjects.

If the Tories are really sincere about wanting to give more power to local teachers, perhaps they should just abolish the National Curriculum entirely and trust teachers and governers to do their jobs properly. I find it difficult to believe that they will do something like that; let's not forget they were the ones who originally introduced it.

Jane R
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wesley J:
I see that Gordon Brown has spoken his mind and first gained, and then lost one voter. But anyway, she's just 'a bigoted woman'. [Big Grin]


<hums Santana's 'Black Magic Woman', strolls off>

Yes, Gordon lets the truth out of the bag: he believes the Leftist meme that if you are concerned about immigration, you are a bigot.

Also, he reveals that he is a jerk. But we already knew that.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Very damaging. Mainly because of the "one thing in public, another in private" effect.

And also stoopid.

I don't think this will blow over - more likely it will be seen as a defining moment. Broon's career looks to me to be in the bin.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Very damaging. Mainly because of the "one thing in public, another in private" effect.

And also stoopid.

I don't think this will blow over - more likely it will be seen as a defining moment. Broon's career looks to me to be in the bin.

Very unfortunate. Brown has been seen in his car with his head in his hands. While it was attached to his body physically I think it may have been severed in political terms. Worst of all, it's probably given the BNP a huge boost right in one of their target areas. I can take the Tories gaining as a result, but if the next opinion polls show "Others: 15%" we'll know what's going on.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Very damaging. Mainly because of the "one thing in public, another in private" effect.

And also stoopid.

I don't think this will blow over - more likely it will be seen as a defining moment. Broon's career looks to me to be in the bin.

I suspect you are right.

I note that Clegg declines to comment. No doubt because he secretly agrees with Brown that those who question current immigration policies are bigots.
 
Posted by Wesley J (# 6075) on :
 
From the same BBC article as linked above, now expanded:

quote:
The Conservatives said Mr Brown's comments spoke for themselves.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "That's the thing about general elections, they do reveal the truth about people."

I don't believe a word the Tories are saying. I consider them far greater bigots than Labour or possibly LibDem.

Rather a daft leftie than a slick rightie whose smooth words just pull up a smoke screen for what they're really after: their own wealth and benefits. It's Tory tradition. And it should also be noted that the LibDems, with all their shortcomings, are the only party currently in favour of a reform of the electoral system. And, according to news reports, that the Tories are in case of some sort of an alliance with the LibDems most eager indeed to have them abolish all such desires.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
In practice, because the SATS tests on core subjects are so important for (primary) schools, any subject that isn't specifically in the National Curriculum is in danger of being squeezed out altogether.

The answer to that is to abolish (or severely downgrade) SATS, not to rigidly define every single subject that has to be taught in schools.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wesley J:
I don't believe a word the Tories are saying. I consider them far greater bigots than Labour or possibly LibDem.

Except nobody's saying Labour or Lib Dem are bigots. That's the word the left uses to marginalise anyone that disagrees with it.
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
Funny, I distinctly recall Nick Clegg being described as a Nazi earlier in this thread. Were the Nazis not bigots?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
As for 'leaving the detail to the people on the ground', that really means abandoning them.

So you have no confidence in the head teachers, school governors or local education authorities to do the right thing, only that bureaucrats in London will? [Roll Eyes]
No, no, no, you've got it wrong: only unaccountable Whitehall bureaucrats know what's right for everyone - didn't you get the memo?
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.

Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
All laudable virtues, but why should they be arrogated to (primarily) the people who rule us?
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
As for 'leaving the detail to the people on the ground', that really means abandoning them.

So you have no confidence in the head teachers, school governors or local education authorities to do the right thing, only that bureaucrats in London will? [Roll Eyes]
No, no, no, you've got it wrong: only unaccountable Whitehall bureaucrats know what's right for everyone - didn't you get the memo?
I'm being entirely serious here. Thanks to the Parliamentary Select Committees the mandarins, like ministers, have to show up and answer some pretty serious questions from backbench MPs. They don't like it, and they can wriggle all they like but they still have to do it.

So they are accountable, in word and fact.
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Very damaging. Mainly because of the "one thing in public, another in private" effect.

And also stoopid.

I don't think this will blow over - more likely it will be seen as a defining moment. Broon's career looks to me to be in the bin.

Very unfortunate. Brown has been seen in his car with his head in his hands. While it was attached to his body physically I think it may have been severed in political terms. Worst of all, it's probably given the BNP a huge boost right in one of their target areas. I can take the Tories gaining as a result, but if the next opinion polls show "Others: 15%" we'll know what's going on.
I wouldn't bet on it. The BNP did well in the Euros but everyone knows that people who vote in European elections are hobbyists and weirdos who are out to give the government of the day a bloody nose and not too fastidious about the implement they use. Electing her Brittanic Majesty's Government is a bit different.

Apparently, the lady in question asked our Gordo "where do all those Eastern European immigrants come from?" He's clearly a man who doesn't suffer fools easily, which must be a disadvantage when managing the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Whose bright idea was it to have our Gordon out being the man of the people and meeting the ordinary voters, anyway. Oh, yes Gordon's. His minders must be completely bald from tearing their hair out.
 
Posted by pete173 (# 4622) on :
 
Gordon's stuff at lunchtime was a complete disaster - makes me ashamed of my party. And I think this will play for a good few days of the campaign. Arrogant, bigoted and contemptuous - all the things that politicians in Government are accused of becoming - and Gordon demonstrated them in spades.
 
Posted by lowlands_boy (# 12497) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:

Apparently, the lady in question asked our Gordo "where do all those Eastern European immigrants come from?"

Hmmm - I think there's a clue in the question. I'd hazard a guess that most Eastern European immigrants come from Eastern Europe....
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

The reason we have a housing crisis is because, as a nation, we have built substantially fewer houses than we need, year after year after year.

Not really. We have built substantially fewer houses than are needed in the places where, through population shifts (and immigration as it happens) the demand for housing has become most intense. In principle there is no shortage of housing stock in many parts of the country outside the South East, though in practice there are actual shortages in lots of places. For instance, in many places the housing stock, though available, may be beyond the reach of a substantial number of locals because the local economy is weak and they can't earn enough to be able to afford those properties.
Er, okay. According to you, house prices remain high in areas where there is plenty of spare housing and the economy is weak. Whereas house prices are high in areas where there is a high demand for houses and the economy is strong.

You do realise you're talking complete arse, don't you?

I've seen it first hand at both ends of the spectrum: my dad is the chair of planning for his parish council (average house price ~£450,000). He's fought tooth and nail to restrict development inside the village envelope for the past 20 years, but we had a good long chat last time I was down, and he's starting to think the whole strategy was nothing less than a catastrophe in slow motion. Whereas, here I am in the North East, we're losing population. Schools are closing because of falling rolls. House prices here are still well over 3x income - we also have developers sitting on massive land banks and not building.

One thing that would help encourage people north are fast transport links to the south, but in order to do that, they have to go through the south to get to us. Nimby much?
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
For the record, Clegg has now commented:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: 'Everybody in every walk of life will mutter things underneath their breath they wouldn't want people to know about.'

'In an election campaign, you have got to give as good as you get but treat whatever questions you receive with the respect they deserve. I think saying something clearly fairly insulting to the lady in question is not right, it's not right at all.'

 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
As for 'leaving the detail to the people on the ground', that really means abandoning them.

So you have no confidence in the head teachers, school governors or local education authorities to do the right thing, only that bureaucrats in London will? [Roll Eyes]
No, no, no, you've got it wrong: only unaccountable Whitehall bureaucrats know what's right for everyone - didn't you get the memo?
I'm being entirely serious here. Thanks to the Parliamentary Select Committees the mandarins, like ministers, have to show up and answer some pretty serious questions from backbench MPs. They don't like it, and they can wriggle all they like but they still have to do it.

So they are accountable, in word and fact.

Point conceded. The debate of local -v- national/central still stands.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Typical Tory attitude towards:

a) Europe

b) Human rights

i.e. they're not important.

The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Quite right. Unlike, of course, Labour, whose clear condemnation of the House of Saud is a shining example to us all.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
In practice, because the SATS tests on core subjects are so important for (primary) schools, any subject that isn't specifically in the National Curriculum is in danger of being squeezed out altogether.

The answer to that is to abolish (or severely downgrade) SATS, not to rigidly define every single subject that has to be taught in schools.
On that we agree.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.

Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
All laudable virtues, but why should they be arrogated to (primarily) the people who rule us?
They don't rule us. They govern on our behalf.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
For the record, Clegg has now commented:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: 'Everybody in every walk of life will mutter things underneath their breath they wouldn't want people to know about.'

'In an election campaign, you have got to give as good as you get but treat whatever questions you receive with the respect they deserve. I think saying something clearly fairly insulting to the lady in question is not right, it's not right at all.'

Somebody has a good spin team behind them and ain't Brown.

Over here, I'd give it a day until a leftist paper goes after her for something, digging up some dirt...not sure about in the UK but the reputation of the papers there indicates probably a front page expose spread tomorrow?
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
A lot of leo's bile suggests that he's been out in the spring sunshine for too long. I don't really understand his thing about IVF, though. Is his complaint that the Conservative party isn't funding it for certain people?

I've never really thought that people have the right to a child and certainly don't have a right for the state to help them have a child. A lot of people may well disagree with that view but I don't see how a belief that the state shouldn't pay for IVF is 'Christian' or 'un-Christian'.

I was not saying that IVF was a human rights issue.

I cited IVF and human rights as two separate issues.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Er, okay. According to you, house prices remain high in areas where there is plenty of spare housing and the economy is weak. Whereas house prices are high in areas where there is a high demand for houses and the economy is strong.

You do realise you're talking complete arse, don't you?

I've seen it first hand at both ends of the spectrum: my dad is the chair of planning for his parish council (average house price ~£450,000). He's fought tooth and nail to restrict development inside the village envelope for the past 20 years, but we had a good long chat last time I was down, and he's starting to think the whole strategy was nothing less than a catastrophe in slow motion. Whereas, here I am in the North East, we're losing population. Schools are closing because of falling rolls. House prices here are still well over 3x income - we also have developers sitting on massive land banks and not building.

One thing that would help encourage people north are fast transport links to the south, but in order to do that, they have to go through the south to get to us. Nimby much?

I do talk arse for a living - having been a property lawyer for 25 years I can't really help myself. But I don't necessarily accept that I'm doing so in this case despite the emotive power of your anecdotage.

Perhaps I was a little obscure or took too much for granted.

1. Yes, house prices tend to remain high in places where the economy is strong because lots of people want to live there and that pushes up demand.

2. And yes, house prices can also be high in some places even if the local economy is weak, so long as there's some other reason why lots of people want to live there anyway. That's particularly an issue in rural or other scenic places.

3. But in places where the economy is weak and there's no other reason why lots of people want to live there then house prices tend to fall, or at least to rise more slowly. Houses in those places are harder to sell because there's lower demand and a greater number of them stand empty than in places where the demand for housing is higher. There's little incentive for anyone to build more houses in these places even though there may well be more available land and more capacity in the existing local infrastructure than in places which fall within paragraphs 1 and 2.

4. Looking at the country as a whole there are at least as many places in paragraph 3 as there are in paragraphhs 1 and 2 which is why it was not really accurate to assert that:

quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

The reason we have a housing crisis is because, as a nation, we have built substantially fewer houses than we need, year after year after year.

What would make a difference to places where the economy is weak is investment in the local economy. It doesn't matter that much how many express trains there are between (say) Sunderland and London. What will make it practicable and attractive for people to live there (and thus do something to even out the demand for and availability of housing units across the country) will be decent jobs in all those places where demand is currently low.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
I'm being entirely serious here. Thanks to the Parliamentary Select Committees the mandarins, like ministers, have to show up and answer some pretty serious questions from backbench MPs. They don't like it, and they can wriggle all they like but they still have to do it.

So they are accountable, in word and fact.

I'm not claiming that they aren't accountable, I'm suggesting that the perspective from Whitehall (or even Westminster) is inevitably imperfect compared with the understanding of the local people. It comes to a question of whether you believe that local government is a means of real accountability or not.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.

Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
All laudable virtues, but why should they be arrogated to (primarily) the people who rule us?
They don't rule us. They govern on our behalf.
Er...wake up and smell the coffee....
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
What would make a difference to places where the economy is weak is investment in the local economy. It doesn't matter that much how many express trains there are between (say) Sunderland and London. What will make it practicable and attractive for people to live there (and thus do something to even out the demand for and availability of housing units across the country) will be decent jobs in all those places where demand is currently low.

The problem is that this has been part of government policy for the last 45 years that I am aware of, and it hasn't worked very well, with a very few exceptions (I have to admit the regeneration of Manchester has been a success...) It's a hard thing to do, and our persistent failure suggests that it may be better to think more radically.
 
Posted by phil2357 (# 15431) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
They don't rule us. They govern on our behalf.

But the fact still remains that if I give taxation money to a government it is not me who decides what is done with it. I may influence who governs the country through my vote, but the actual decisions about how public money is spent are not made by me. Hence I cannot claim moral responsibility for them.

Or take a different line of reasoning: I live not too far away from a new hospital that is being built. I take it you are saying that we should see this as the government expressing our neighbourly concern for one another on our behalf. OK, but what about the public money spent on the war with Iraq? Are you prepared to take some personal responsibility for that?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
What would make a difference to places where the economy is weak is investment in the local economy. It doesn't matter that much how many express trains there are between (say) Sunderland and London. What will make it practicable and attractive for people to live there (and thus do something to even out the demand for and availability of housing units across the country) will be decent jobs in all those places where demand is currently low.

Two points: firstly, it does matter how many express trains there are between Sunderland and London. Those towns stuck at the end of a branch line, like Sunderland, are at a serious economic disadvantage compared to their neighbours who aren't. Add to that the poor road links north and south from the North East, and we start to see why investment in the region isn't as it ought to be.

Secondly, your sums still don't add up. Unless we build more houses that people want to live in, and lots of them, they will remain unaffordable to most. When me and Mrs Tor bought our gaff back in '92, it cost us 3x Mrs Tor's reasonable salary. Now she's on more than reasonable, the multiplier is 4x, and for someone on an average wage, over 7x. This situation cannot be right, and unless UK government is prepared to subsidise the housing market, the only thing that can rectify the imbalance is more houses to drive the average price down.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
What would make a difference to places where the economy is weak is investment in the local economy. It doesn't matter that much how many express trains there are between (say) Sunderland and London. What will make it practicable and attractive for people to live there (and thus do something to even out the demand for and availability of housing units across the country) will be decent jobs in all those places where demand is currently low.

The problem is that this has been part of government policy for the last 45 years that I am aware of, and it hasn't worked very well, with a very few exceptions (I have to admit the regeneration of Manchester has been a success...) It's a hard thing to do, and our persistent failure suggests that it may be better to think more radically.
I find it difficult for cultural reasons to say anything nice about Manchester, but I take your point. Some of the post war new towns have also been moderately successful. None of the mainstream parties has failed to appreciate this issue, though they are also prone to blame it on whichever of the soft targets (greedy nimbys, petty local bureaucrats, wicked developers) works best with their spin. But I don't think there's anything especially radical about any of their proposals to address it. Throwing money at the problem isn't an option in these times obviously, but that hasn't always succeeded anyway.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
quote:
Originally posted by Wesley J:
I see that Gordon Brown has spoken his mind and first gained, and then lost one voter. But anyway, she's just 'a bigoted woman'. [Big Grin]


<hums Santana's 'Black Magic Woman', strolls off>

Yes, Gordon lets the truth out of the bag: he believes the Leftist meme that if you are concerned about immigration, you are a bigot.

Also, he reveals that he is a jerk. But we already knew that.

You know, having watched The Thick of It, I am astounded at the level of politeness of that. I thought "what a fucking disaster, why did anyone let that stupid bitch anywhere near me" is the sort of thing they all said in cars.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Marvin the Martian (re pressure on the National Curriculum)
quote:
The answer to that is to abolish (or severely downgrade) SATS, not to rigidly define every single subject that has to be taught in schools.

Well, yes, I agree that would be desirable. Whether the new government will have the self-discipline to back away from micromanaging every aspect of education and abolish the SATS is another matter. They all want power; that's why they're in politics. Giving it up when you don't have to is hard.

Jane R
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Two points: firstly, it does matter how many express trains there are between Sunderland and London. Those towns stuck at the end of a branch line, like Sunderland, are at a serious economic disadvantage compared to their neighbours who aren't. Add to that the poor road links north and south from the North East, and we start to see why investment in the region isn't as it ought to be.

Secondly, your sums still don't add up. Unless we build more houses that people want to live in, and lots of them, they will remain unaffordable to most. When me and Mrs Tor bought our gaff back in '92, it cost us 3x Mrs Tor's reasonable salary. Now she's on more than reasonable, the multiplier is 4x, and for someone on an average wage, over 7x. This situation cannot be right, and unless UK government is prepared to subsidise the housing market, the only thing that can rectify the imbalance is more houses to drive the average price down.

I'm at a disadvantage discussing your personal circumstances in a void, but compared to average figures your situation seems particularly gloomy and perhaps that's why you're so exercised about it. The table in this report for the north east of England (Table 3) shows the ratio of average house prices to average wages in 1992 as 2.7 and having peaked in the mid 2000s (the height of the boom) at 3.9. comparable figures for London (Table 9) were 2.9 and 4.8.

Anyway, just on the principle of those two points:

Much more and better infrastructure - yes that would make it more likely that investors would be willing/able to generate jobs and business in these places and that would increase demand for housing there. Then it would become worthwhile for people to invest in building more of them in such places. And on average doing so would be cheaper than building more homes in the South East (because of the issues around land availability and price, infrastructure pressure and so forth mentioned in my previous post). It's a really big ticket solution though, and accordingly isn't going to be feasible as far into the future as anyone can predict regardless of who wins the election.

It's possible that if you make housing cheap enough by subsidising its development on a huge enough scale in places where it would otherwise be uneconomic (due to inadequate current demand) you could actually generate demand ("build it and they will move here"). If it were to be done by means of public sector development as was done after the War the problem is that there's no budget for it. Private sector developers might be able to do so, but they need to be able to make some money from what they do in order to stay in business and it's hard to see how they would justify building houses speculatively in huge numbers in places where currently demand for housing is low. With a big enough subsidy it might become viable for them to try, but that makes it another big ticket solution of course.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Pottage, by 'average wage' do you mean an individual person's wage, or average family income?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
I think we can add the refusal (of successive governments, Labour and Tory) to invest in infrastructure projects that increase the connectivity of the north with the south to my list of complaints.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that taxes should subsidise the house market - the moves on Stamp Duty and 'co-ownership' are blind alleys which both perpetuate and ignore the real problem, which is the disproportionate cost of housing in much of the UK compared with the average wage. I could bang on here about the Tories' council house sell-off that made the situation ten times worse than any amount of immigration, but I'd rather look ahead as to what can be done to solve the problem.

Turning building land over to non-profit housing co-ops, who'd then be able to sell the houses on at a decent price. I've seen figures which suggest the actual cost, minus land, of a three bed-semi with garage is in the region of £70k. That'd be the same whether it was built in Newcastle or Newbury.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
First, recent polls indicate that Lib Dem support is stablising at 29-30%, in other words, exactly where they were after the first debate.

See: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/voting-intention

Second, while polls (most famously in the 1992 election) have sometimes underestimated Tory support, they have not overestimated Lib Dem support. In 2005, for example, they received half a percent of votes above the exit poll.

Third, support for the Lib Dems tends to increase during election campaigns. They went into the 1997 campaign on 9%. It would be unusual for their vote to fall back close to 20%, which is what it was when the election was called.

In short, the Lib Dems' support appears to be quite robust.

A lot of their new support is apparently from younger voters, who are less likely to vote in practice. Some of the polling companies adjust for that in their results, others less so.

So that is the main risk to the Lib Dems getting the sort of numbers they have had in their best polls is of getting younger voters out, perhaps for the first time. It can be done, but we won't know until the day itself, because you can't accurate sample for non-sampling errors! And difficult to keep a 'Yes, we can' movement going when third place is still quite likely.

The Lib Dems have had a fantastic campaign, but I am not yet sure they will get the rewards in the real ballot boxes and the actual House of Commons.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
Pottage, by 'average wage' do you mean an individual person's wage, or average family income?

The measure taken by the report I linked to is an average generated from the pre-tax salary (excluding bonuses) of people applying for a mortgage, and the average price they gave for the house they wanted the mortgage for. The information is derived from statistics collected by banks and other lenders. That's the usual measure cited, and because those figures have been collected in the same way for a long time you are able to compare like with like over a long enough period for meaningful trends to emerge.

quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I think we can add the refusal (of successive governments, Labour and Tory) to invest in infrastructure projects that increase the connectivity of the north with the south to my list of complaints.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that taxes should subsidise the house market - the moves on Stamp Duty and 'co-ownership' are blind alleys which both perpetuate and ignore the real problem, which is the disproportionate cost of housing in much of the UK compared with the average wage. I could bang on here about the Tories' council house sell-off that made the situation ten times worse than any amount of immigration, but I'd rather look ahead as to what can be done to solve the problem.

Turning building land over to non-profit housing co-ops, who'd then be able to sell the houses on at a decent price. I've seen figures which suggest the actual cost, minus land, of a three bed-semi with garage is in the region of £70k. That'd be the same whether it was built in Newcastle or Newbury.

Historic underinvestment in infrastructure goes back at least to the early 1960s. In terms of the 2010 election it's everyone's fault, and no-one's, and nothing much can be done about it now anyway.

If the government "gives" land to people on condition they build on it that IS a subsidy of course. If you are going to make me a gift I'd prefer hard cash, but I'll settle for a few acres of building land if that's all you've got.

Mind you, that's not a new idea either, with precedents in the UK from the New Towns Act to the current Kickstart programme. If you think that the subsidised sale of council houses was disastrous then allowing publicly owned land to be taken up by commercial developers for free or very cheaply should also make you uncomfortable, shouldn't it?

Of course getting hold of the land is only a part of the story. Costs of construction vary depending on what you're building, and where. Materials and wages costs vary across the country, building conditions are more or less challenging depending on the ground you've got to work with, the availability of roads, how far it is to the nearest grid connections for services etc. Whether you can get consent from the local authority to build on your piece of land may depend on whether the nearby road network can support the traffic you will generate, whether all the families you hope to lure into your new homes will swamp the local school etc. Sorry that I seem to be responding to all of these suggestions with endless variations of "it's not quite as simple as that", but if it WAS easy the manifestos would be full of brilliant ideas, wouldn't they.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
If the government "gives" land to people on condition they build on it that IS a subsidy of course. If you are going to make me a gift I'd prefer hard cash, but I'll settle for a few acres of building land if that's all you've got.

It's only a subsidy in the light of the land speculation we currently have. It's not uncommon for plots with or without planning permission to change hands for every increasing amounts without anything ever getting built. Buyer and seller both win until the bubble bursts, and still no houses get built. It's ludicrous. A non-profit (which stymies your later argument about commercial developers. They're part of the problem) wouldn't be able to do that, and would want to build houses.

I appreciate that it's not as simple as all that: I know all about the schools, the roads, the sewage works etc. But the answer is to find solutions and not to be so, er, conservative. The reason people like me blame nimbys, massive land banks and potty planning regs for the current situation is because they are actually, in part, to blame. The status quo is unsustainable.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
Don't be so hard on construction companies. They're not generally my favourite clients, I confess, but remember that they acquire land to build on it. That's how they pay their bills and buy themselves ostentatious cars. If they bank the land for the future, or sell it on to someone else it's because they can't afford to build on it, or because it's not feasible to build on it (for example because there's no market for the houses), or because someone else has a better scheme than theirs.

There are lots of reasons why they might sell undeveloped land on at a profit without making the baby Jesus sad. For instance by their efforts and expertise they may have added to its value. They might have bought in other nearby bits of land as well which when assembled will enable something bigger and better to be built (but which perhaps they themselves aren't equipped to handle). They may have invested a lot of time, money and expertise in satisfying the council's concerns over ground conditions, ecology and so on which mean the land can now be built on immediately whereas previously that was only a possiblity.

But I'm afraid that giving public assets to someone for free, or at less than a full price, so as to help them to carry on their business IS a subsidy. The definition of "subsidy" doesn't alter depending on:

(a) whether the recipient is in business to make a fat smelly profit rather than being a terribly worthy charity, or

(b) whether the asset disposed of is a chunk of real estate or a chunk of money.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
The definition of "subsidy" doesn't alter depending on:

(a) whether the recipient is in business to make a fat smelly profit rather than being a terribly worthy charity, or

(b) whether the asset disposed of is a chunk of real estate or a chunk of money.

But in this case, private land ends up benefiting the public. Which is important.

(goes off whistling The World Turned Upside Down )
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
No, it's public land in all the circumstances we've been talking about. It requires conceptually that something we all own is given away to someone for them to use.

That someone might be a builder who would not otherwise be able to afford to develop some housing and who undertakes to do so, or it might be a charity whose aim is to bring disused houses into use or something similarly worthy. Subsidies aren't always a Bad Thing.

But they require a decision to be made, and preferably an informed decision based on facts and stripped of dogma and prejudice. The public money (or publicly owned asset that is worth money) given away is never going to be available for the public to use for any other purpose. If the subsidised sale of housing stock to council house tenants is something that you look back upon as one of the great disasters of 20th century public policy then I'd expect you to be quite uncomfortable with the solution that has recommended itself to you.

Billy Bragg would surely weep at the prospect. Or worse, sing.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
All I hear you saying is no, no, no.

The housing market is broken. The good, capitalist, supply-and-demand solution is to build enough new houses that the price of existing ones falls far enough that ordinary people can afford them again. Except all the good capitalists have got the laws and the land sewn up for their own benefit.

I appreciate you have a vested interest in keeping things as they are, but I worry not just for my children, but for the whole of their generation who'll end up buying into the two-jobs, work-all-hours, teeter-on-the-edge-of-disaster, pray-the-interest-rates-stay-down sort of life. It is unsustainable and wrong, and it needs to be changed.

(Apparently the Bard of Barking is voting LibDem this time around. Bit of a turn-up for the books.)
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

(Apparently the Bard of Barking is voting LibDem this time around. Bit of a turn-up for the books.)

As he said he would years ago even when he was campaigning for Labour - he was a strong proponent of voting for the non-racist candidate most likely to keep the Tories out. Where he lived then (& presumably now) that was the Liberal
 
Posted by Emma Louise (# 3571) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

I appreciate you have a vested interest in keeping things as they are, but I worry not just for my children, but for the whole of their generation who'll end up buying into the two-jobs, work-all-hours, teeter-on-the-edge-of-disaster, pray-the-interest-rates-stay-down sort of life. It is unsustainable and wrong, and it needs to be changed.

You mean this isn't "normal"...... [Frown]
 
Posted by RadicalWhig (# 13190) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I worry not just for my children, but for the whole of their generation who'll end up buying into the two-jobs, work-all-hours, teeter-on-the-edge-of-disaster, pray-the-interest-rates-stay-down sort of life. It is unsustainable and wrong, and it needs to be changed.

Amen and hallelujah to that. [Overused]

One of the saddest things about aggressive capitalism is that, in the race to satisfy our desires through ceaseless competition, it ends up making us all anxious, exhausted, stressed, and losing out on the things that matter in life - the things that you cannot quantify on a balance sheet.

A good start would be to reject "growth", at least as measured in terms of GDP/GNP, and to focus on "slowth" - slowing down the way we live. E.g. If we were to cook food rather than buy it ready made and full of salt from the supermarket, growth and profits would decrease, but quality of life, creativity and health would increase. If we were to lend our lawnmower to the neighbours, and they lend us their strimmer, then growth and profits (not to mention use of metals, plastics etc) would decrease, but peace and security would increase (by the building up of social bonds through reciprocal gift-relationships).
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Turning building land over to non-profit housing co-ops, who'd then be able to sell the houses on at a decent price.

Sell them on to whom? I'd have thought that, once they enter the open market, all the problems of property speculation will sooner or later come into play - as Pottage points out, and as they did after the sale of council housing.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by phil2357:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
They don't rule us. They govern on our behalf.

But the fact still remains that if I give taxation money to a government it is not me who decides what is done with it. I may influence who governs the country through my vote, but the actual decisions about how public money is spent are not made by me. Hence I cannot claim moral responsibility for them.

Or take a different line of reasoning: I live not too far away from a new hospital that is being built. I take it you are saying that we should see this as the government expressing our neighbourly concern for one another on our behalf. OK, but what about the public money spent on the war with Iraq? Are you prepared to take some personal responsibility for that?

The hospital - yes, very much so.

The war - no - the public mood was very much against it, as shown in demonstrations.

No government is going to get it right on every issue and no political party is going tick all the boxes - so a Christian has to support the party with the most boxes ticked, even if there are some policies that seem unChristian.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."

To a certain extent I actually agree, but what political party

a.) consistently opposes market forces as the driving-force of our economy; and
b.) has some coherent alternative to offer?
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The war - no - the public mood was very much against it, as shown in demonstrations.

No - all the demonstration showed is that there was a loud, highly motivated group that opposed it. That doesn't prove that 'the public' opposed it - unless the crowd calling for Jesus' death is sufficient to prove that 'the Jews' choose to execute Jesus.

Remember that the war had the support of the Conservatives. Admittedly they were probably misled about the evidence, as we all were, but they, and many of the newspapers, were in favour. Whatever the 1970s and 1980s should have taught us, it should include that there being a loud minority for something doesn't prove that the majority wants it.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
No - all the demonstration showed is that there was a loud, highly motivated group that opposed it.

Quite. Any photograph of an Iraq War protest will almost certainly show several Socialist Worker placards.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
No - all the demonstration showed is that there was a loud, highly motivated group that opposed it.

Quite. Any photograph of an Iraq War protest will almost certainly show several Socialist Worker placards.
Very true, the SWP was there in force and almost in its entirety: about 300 of them. They cunningly produced many of the placards, which is an old Broad Left trick but the SWP didn't make up much of the protest however: even the Plod admits to 750,000 being present in London with substantial protests in Cardiff and Glasgow besides.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
I'm not saying there weren't a lot of people there. I'm not suggesting they were all SWP. What I'm saying is that there is no evidence that a majority of the population was opposed to the war. There are 60 million people in the UK. 2 million protested against it. Therefore - discounting 20m for children, OAPs and others unable to protest - we have 2 out of 40 protesting against. That's 5%. Rather less than the BNP polls [Smile]

As the recent events in Thailand are showing, a large street demonstration does not form a good basis for government...
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Turning building land over to non-profit housing co-ops, who'd then be able to sell the houses on at a decent price.

Sell them on to whom? I'd have thought that, once they enter the open market, all the problems of property speculation will sooner or later come into play - as Pottage points out, and as they did after the sale of council housing.
Would you buy a house for £250k that would be likely to be worth £150k in a few years time?

The whole idea of the project is to create a virtuous circle of descending house prices, by building more than the demand. Capitalist economics shouldn't be subject to speculation unless there are cartels (illegal), monopolies (likely to be broken up), or the commodity is scarce (last time I looked, neither bricks nor labour were in short supply).

Average prices have just gone up 10% in the last 12 months. How is this possible if the system is working to serve the consumers?
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
What I'm saying is that there is no evidence that a majority of the population was opposed to the war. ...

I take your point that the size of the protest on 15 February 2003 doesn't by itself prove that a majority of people in the UK opposed the war.

Ipsos Mori
, however, found that "The final polls to be published before the war in Iraq started [...] all found a shift in public opinion in favour of British involvement in the war but still found a majority disapproving, both of military action and of Tony Blair's handling of the Iraq crisis."
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Nice idea Doc Tor; the problem is that the scale of new housing required is in practice inconceivable on this crowded island. The cities such as London and Manchester are pretty much full. The countryside immediately around them is valued for its recreational value. There's also the idea that we might want to keep a few farms going. There is probably a case for landing some more cities like Milton Keynes around the countryside - though there's a major challenge in getting employers to move such locations rather than take the logical step of relocating overseas if they are going to move at all. Even the US, with plenty of land, has seen house prices rise recently.

But overall you seem to be assuming there is a simple answer which noone has seriously considered, whereas of course there has been extended discussion of these issues in 'Housing Economics' for decades. That said, there is IMHO a good case for a big increase in council tax on larger premises and the ending of the discount for second homes (granted on the basis that they use less services, which is true).
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Nice idea Doc Tor; the problem is that the scale of new housing required is in practice inconceivable on this crowded island. The cities such as London and Manchester are pretty much full. The countryside immediately around them is valued for its recreational value. There's also the idea that we might want to keep a few farms going.

Nice try. How about some facts?

"If the whole of England is a football pitch, all the built up land is the penalty area. Most of this is made up of gardens, roads, paths and railways. Housing would cover just a third of the centre circle." (from here )

So your use of 'crowded' and 'full' are particularly creative in this context.
 
Posted by Marama (# 330) on :
 
Would you all believe that I am sitting in the middle of the South Pacific watching the last British election debate on Aljezeera? Funny all world, isn't it.

Where are they holding it - it looks like a Town Hall and I gathered they were in Birmingham - but it looks a bit too colourful! Or is that just clever lighting?
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
Birmingham University's Great Hall.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Nice try. How about some facts?

"If the whole of England is a football pitch, all the built up land is the penalty area. Most of this is made up of gardens, roads, paths and railways. Housing would cover just a third of the centre circle." (from here )

So your use of 'crowded' and 'full' are particularly creative in this context.

But that's the whole point; we can't build large, high density suburbs anywhere without access to existing cities. So the area available to build those suburbs is in the immediate vicinity of the penalty area, and not far beyond. You claim to live in Ultima Thule; which implies you have no experience of the realities of urban existence on a day to day basis...
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
we can't build large, high density suburbs anywhere without access to existing cities. So the area available to build those suburbs is in the immediate vicinity of the penalty area, and not far beyond.

Well, duh. Where else are you going to put the houses? That's why I'm also arguing for better transport links, or did you miss that bit?

quote:
You claim to live in Ultima Thule; which implies you have no experience of the realities of urban existence on a day to day basis...
Tyneside. Urban enough for you, Tory boy? [Razz]
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
we can't build large, high density suburbs anywhere without access to existing cities. So the area available to build those suburbs is in the immediate vicinity of the penalty area, and not far beyond.

Well, duh. Where else are you going to put the houses? That's why I'm also arguing for better transport links, or did you miss that bit?

Not a solution; the problem is that commuting times in the urban areas of Britain - with the probable exception of Newcastle - are already uncomfortably high. The idea of building suburbs further out and therefore requiring more commuting is not attractive. The fact that commuting times in London are higher can be sustained by the higher wages down there...
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
You claim to live in Ultima Thule; which implies you have no experience of the realities of urban existence on a day to day basis...

Tyneside. Urban enough for you, Tory boy? [Razz]
Nope - not urban enough for me. Newcastle is a small city compared with the real LARGE cities of the UK, and it's problems are very different because of its history. So I stand by my claim that you don't know enough to comment. After all there are houses being demolished in Western Newcastle because NOBODY WANTS TO LIVE THERE; an concept inconceivable in any other urban area that I'm aware of.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Not a solution; the problem is that commuting times in the urban areas of Britain - with the probable exception of Newcastle - are already uncomfortably high. The idea of building suburbs further out and therefore requiring more commuting is not attractive. The fact that commuting times in London are higher can be sustained by the higher wages down there...

Same old same old. You clearly know jack shit about Tyneside, about the problems of simply getting across the river. You say that building 'burbs further out isn't the answer because of the commuting time - then you make the commute easier. You build in the centres of towns and cities. You invest in light railways, buses, dedicated cycle routes. You look for creative solutions. Solutions that are tailored for local use.

I've lived in the south-east (where my parents still live), I've lived in Sheffield, I'm a regular visitor to Manchester and Liverpool. You'll be suggesting I don't have experience of what it's like to live in a big city even if I claimed I spent 10 years on Trantor. You're just unable to come up with any sort of solution up to and including denying there's a problem.

Oh yes, and:
quote:
After all there are houses being demolished in Western Newcastle because NOBODY WANTS TO LIVE THERE; an concept inconceivable in any other urban area that I'm aware of.
I'd do some googling on "shrinking cities" to fill the yawning gaps in your awareness.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
All I hear you saying is no, no, no.

The housing market is broken. The good, capitalist, supply-and-demand solution is to build enough new houses that the price of existing ones falls far enough that ordinary people can afford them again. Except all the good capitalists have got the laws and the land sewn up for their own benefit.

I appreciate you have a vested interest in keeping things as they are, but I worry not just for my children, but for the whole of their generation who'll end up buying into the two-jobs, work-all-hours, teeter-on-the-edge-of-disaster, pray-the-interest-rates-stay-down sort of life. It is unsustainable and wrong, and it needs to be changed.


Then you're not listening. If you've got an alternative to the current arrangements that isn't pie in the sky I'll be all for it. But everything you propose carries a price tag in the hundreds of billions. Money that doesn't exist and would have many other worthy claims on its use if it did.

Trying to suggest that my objection to this daydreaming is based on my self interest is all very well I suppose, as a debating tactic at least. But from my perspective it isn't actually a solution, it's just posturing.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
I'll take the hit on shrinking cities - I was only thinking of the UK. [Hot and Hormonal]

The issue is whether it is physically possible for there to be substantial population growth within sensible commuting distance of the city centre. I don't believe that is possible in our major urban areas except Newcastle. The provision of upgrades to the transport system may help. but not enough to alter the direction of house prices: as a result growing economic prosperity will lead to people throwing more money at their housing needs, with the result that prices will tend to continue to rise as growing demand faces stagnant supply.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
Pottage - you seem to be stuck with the idea that this would be a massive net cost: what it would mean is less profit. I'm willing to take the consequences of the price of my house falling by a quarter or a half or more, if it means families can have somewhere decent to live without beggaring themselves and spending all their time away from their home trying to pay for it.

Ender - oh, it's worse than that. Your own city once contained 766,000 people (1931 census). The 2001 census counted 392,000. Now, I haven't looked at figures for the Greater Manchester region, just Manchester City, but I'm guessing nearly halving the population of an urban area in just 70 years means that it's a damn sight emptier than it could be.

You're right about the stagnant supply, but better transport links do make a big difference. Where there's a Metro station within easy walking/bus/cycling distance, the house prices are higher than in comparable areas without. I know that's the same in Manchester. The answer is to extend the network (and put on more frequent/longer trains at peak hours - and stagger peak hours, too) to cover a wider area. Not just in distance, either - part of the problem with the west end of Newcastle is the absence of the Metro: places that are further out are thriving simply because of this.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The latter is the reason why I don't think any Christian can support the Tories without leaving his/her faith entirely out of the equation.

Hang on a second. I don't see how human rights are at stake in this General Election - though it would be good to see politicians emphasising the other side of the equation 'responsibilities' and also having a serious look at how we negotiate the collision of competing rights.

Your remark about Christians voting Conservative is frankly bizarre. The fact is that unless you see the Bible as some sort of party political manifesto you don't have a leg to stand on.

Not the bible but Christ, whose manifesto was the year of Jubilee - good news to the poor etc.
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
Hmmm...I fail to see how allowing a culture of welfare dependency to develop, where individuals are in hock to the almighty state, is doing 'the will of God' or can be remotely Christian.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Your own city once contained 766,000 people (1931 census). The 2001 census counted 392,000. Now, I haven't looked at figures for the Greater Manchester region, just Manchester City, but I'm guessing nearly halving the population of an urban area in just 70 years means that it's a damn sight emptier than it could be.

This is easily accounted for by the long term decline in household size and the increase in prosperity leading to people wanting more space. Without a vastly more massive increase in the number of people living in blocks of flats - which has happened in the city centre to an extent that would have surprised planners from 20 years ago - there's no way we could get anywhere near the population of the 1930s.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."

That sounds cute until you actually work out what it means on the ground: it means that state licenced suppliers of goods will have a monopoly of the market at state determined prices and the only innovations that are allowed are ones that don't endanger people's jobs. So no motor cars because train drivers will be made redundant. The Soviet Union tried this approach... [Projectile]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
The whole idea of the project is to create a virtuous circle of descending house prices, by building more than the demand. Capitalist economics shouldn't be subject to speculation unless there are cartels (illegal), monopolies (likely to be broken up), or the commodity is scarce (last time I looked, neither bricks nor labour were in short supply).

Houses aren't just a commodity though - they're also an investment. Any project to drastically reduce prices would lead to severe financial hardship and/or bankrupcy for millions of homeowners, just as any project to drastically reduce prices on the stock market would have the same effect.

Though I suppose the ideal solution for socialists would be to have everybody living in council houses, forever in thrall to the almighty state...

.

On the issue of last night's debate, one thing struck me more than anything else. In their final statements, both Cameron and Clegg made positive statements about what they would do to improve the country. Brown, on the other hand, said nothing about what he would do - he just launched an attack on the other two parties. He's completely run out of ideas, hasn't he? The only basis he has left for seeking our vote is that he's bad, but the other guys are worse. Well sorry Gordo, but I'm not buying it and I'll be very surprised if anyone but the hardcore "I'd rather die than vote for anyone but Labour" crowd does.

Very impressed with Clegg and his economic policies though. For the first time in a long time I'm actually having to have a serious think about who to vote for...
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Matt Black said:
quote:
where individuals are in hock to the almighty state,
Why is it better to be in hock for most of your life to a building society or bank?

I don't really own my house. I own about two bedrooms; the rest of it belongs to the building society, who graciously allow me to use it until such time as I am able to pay off the mortgage.

And it's only an investment if you don't have to live in it, or are willing/able to trade down into a cheaper house when you sell it. Otherwise the 'value' of your house is just a number.

Jane R

[ 30. April 2010, 10:09: Message edited by: Jane R ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
You ask 'why is it better?' Firstly, because you have to a degree at least a choice of supplier of your finance (less so admittedly than you did this time three years ago) which you certainly don't have with the state. Secondly, presuming that you have a repayment mortgage, the idea is that in due course you will progressively own more than just two bedrooms, indeed ultimately you will own the whole property. Thirdly, everyone has to live somewhere and thus be in hock to either a landlord or a mortgage lender, whatever the degree of state involvement - why does that make state interference in our lives a 'desirable extra'?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Houses aren't just a commodity though - they're also an investment. Any project to drastically reduce prices would lead to severe financial hardship and/or bankrupcy for millions of homeowners, just as any project to drastically reduce prices on the stock market would have the same effect.

Two things here: houses are an investment only because they are artificially scarce. Very few other 'things' increase in value by simply being left alone. A car depreciates. A computer depreciates. Things wear out and we replace them.

Secondly, explain how paying say, £180,000 for a house that then falls in value will lead to hardship/bankruptcy. Presumably you could afford an 90% mortgage on the asking price when you bought it. Ten years down the line, when you've lived in your house for ten years and it's now worth £120,000, you can still afford it. I don't bitch on about how my car is now worth a fraction of what I paid for it new 4 years ago: I just paid the same amount every month until I'd completed the loan.

Yes, cars are different from houses. That's because people actually build new cars, which drives the price of the old ones down.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
You're assuming everything else remains constant in your model. It doesn't. Suppose interest rates go up or you lose your job so you can't afford to pay the mortgage. So you have to sell up and downsize, except that you can't because your house (in your model) is now worth significantly less than your mortgage.

[ETA - cars also depreciate due to wear and tear and because ultimately they have a limited lifespan, unlike houses.]

[ 30. April 2010, 10:38: Message edited by: Matt Black ]
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
You're assuming everything else remains constant in your model. It doesn't. Suppose interest rates go up or you lose your job so you can't afford to pay the mortgage. So you have to sell up and downsize, except that you can't because your house (in your model) is now worth significantly less than your mortgage.

If interest rates went up (and they can only go up now) or you lost your job, you'd risk losing the house anyway. I take the point about downsizing - but that's partly, if not mostly, about the size of the loans and the cost of housing being wildly disproportionate to the average income.

The reason we're in the position we are, with houses costing so much, is because of the historical lack of house building. We've made the bubble, and as I keep on pointing out, it's unsustainable. Those of us who see our house as a home, and not as an investment, are unwilling participants in this lunacy.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
The reason we're in the position we are, with houses costing so much, is because of the historical lack of house building. We've made the bubble, and as I keep on pointing out, it's unsustainable. Those of us who see our house as a home, and not as an investment, are unwilling participants in this lunacy.

I have nothing in principle against lowering house prices, as long as I and the millions of other homeowners in the country are compensated for the loss of equity.

When I bought my house it was not with the intention of living here all my life. I'd like to be able to upgrade (including moving to a better school area) once kids start coming along, for one thing.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I have nothing in principle against lowering house prices, as long as I and the millions of other homeowners in the country are compensated for the loss of equity.

Herein lies the problem - and I'm in danger of agreeing with Doc Tor!!

There are two ways for the housing market to work: pre 1970 and post 1970 (approx date..).
In the pre 1970 model prices are stable and the cost of upgrading is sensible.
Post 1970, when house prices started rising rapidly, the model was that you got on the ladder and gained equity that you were then able to trade in for the necessary next upgrade combined with an increase in your mortgage. This is ultimately a bubble, because eventually house prices won't be able to keep rising. However in the process people do achieve their housing needs, a lot of us benefit from inheriting houses that we can sell (thanks Mum!) and the plates keep spinning. And whilst the plates are spinning the only alternatives are to join the manic dance - 'get on the housing ladder' - or rent. Renting does appear to be becoming more realistic as a long term provision of housing need, but it offers a different set of issues in terms of insecurity.

We need to let the air out of the bubble - but the trick would be to achieve zero housing price rises without causing precipitate falls; somehow I doubt this can be achieved... However the approach of substantially increasing council tax, especially at the higher end, may provide a useful way forward, removing capital value from householders and moving it to the government as an income flow. Unfortunately the very visibility of council tax - it's the only tax you are specifically reminded of every year when the bill comes through the door - makes it a hard one to increase, and that combined with the inevitable tales of property rich but cash poor OAPs make it a 'courageous policy', as Sir Humphrey would say.
 
Posted by phil2357 (# 15431) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I have nothing in principle against lowering house prices, as long as I and the millions of other homeowners in the country are compensated for the loss of equity.

What sort of compensation would you be talking about, and who would owe it to you?
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I have nothing in principle against lowering house prices, as long as I and the millions of other homeowners in the country are compensated for the loss of equity.

That's capitalism, baby!
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Pottage - you seem to be stuck with the idea that this would be a massive net cost: what it would mean is less profit. I'm willing to take the consequences of the price of my house falling by a quarter or a half or more, if it means families can have somewhere decent to live without beggaring themselves and spending all their time away from their home trying to pay for it.

No, I'm not talking about lost profit for developers or landowners, or people's existing homes declining in value because we generate a massive over-supply so as to shatter the market.

I'm talking about the actual cost of building all the hundreds of thousands of houses you envisage. And the actual cost of acquiring the land, and building the infrastructure to make that possible. And the actual cost, having put tens of thousands of people into a part of the country that was previously empty of finding things for them to do to earn a living there.

That's what makes this so much pie in the sky.
 
Posted by Choirboy (# 9659) on :
 
No need for y'all to build houses - we have tons of empty foreclosures over here. Just don't buy in Arizona - they might mistake you for an immigrant.

[ETA grammar. And to point out that as bad as things are over there, they could always get worse....]

[ 30. April 2010, 21:10: Message edited by: Choirboy ]
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
No, I'm not talking about lost profit for developers or landowners, or people's existing homes declining in value because we generate a massive over-supply so as to shatter the market.

Well, neither am I. 'Lost' profit is less than they'd get with the current unsustainable speculation, but still a profit. And I'm suggesting not over-supply, but you know, actually trying to meet demand. Capitalism, and all that jazz.

quote:
I'm talking about the actual cost of building all the hundreds of thousands of houses you envisage. And the actual cost of acquiring the land, and building the infrastructure to make that possible. And the actual cost, having put tens of thousands of people into a part of the country that was previously empty of finding things for them to do to earn a living there.
At the risk of Fisking your post: people do have the money to buy a house, at cost plus a profit for the builder - just not the money to pay the stupid prices we have at the moment because we have a historic shortfall in supply. The actual cost of acquiring the land would be driven down simultaneously - land speculation is one of the driving forces of house speculation. And the infrastructure is just one of those things we're going to have to suck up, because we haven't invested in that, either.

And nowhere did I suggest stranding tens of thousands of people in the Grampians or the Brecon Beacons. Despite Ender's assertions to the contrary, Manchester is not full, and neither are any of the other cities in the UK.

quote:
That's what makes this so much pie in the sky.
Hmmm. Pie.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
Perhaps I'm not making myself clear. The price of land, of houses and all of that stuff won't fall because you close your eyes and wish really hard. It will fall when you have created many hundreds of thousands of houses and the vast oversupply of them has pushed down the prices. But how do we get from here to there? Someone has first to buy all the land (at current prices), build all the roads and sewers and dull stuff like that which makes housebuilding work, then put up the houses (not necessarily in the deepest countryside but obviously and necessarily not where there are already communities). Where does the money come from to pay for that?
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
George Lansbury summed it up: Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith.d betray and make of no effect the "will of God."

That sounds cute until you actually work out what it means on the ground: it means that state licenced suppliers of goods will have a monopoly of the market at state determined prices and the only innovations that are allowed are ones that don't endanger people's jobs.
No, it doesn't mean that. If you really think it does then that is proof that you aren't listening to what is being said but just stuck in the groove of conservative propaganda.

And as for Soviet-style central planning, the only serious party that is pushing for that is the Tories with their absurd pretence that government can decide how many workers are needed for each industry and set a quota for immigrants depending on that.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Nice idea Doc Tor; the problem is that the scale of new housing required is in practice inconceivable on this crowded island. The cities such as London and Manchester are pretty much full.

No, they aren't. Nowhere near. Both have fewer inhabitants than they did 80 years ago (as does Glasgow).

quote:


Even the US, with plenty of land, has seen house prices rise recently.

Which is complete proof that the high land prices that are crippling our econmy are NOT due to high population density or lack of usable land.

quote:


The idea of building suburbs further out and therefore requiring more commuting is not attractive.

Which is one of the many reasons why we need to increase population density in cities - as is happening in London, but unfortunately, because the large private developers have a lock-in on new building, not quite fast enough to reduce house prices, which is what is needed.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
The reason we're in the position we are, with houses costing so much, is because of the historical lack of house building. We've made the bubble, and as I keep on pointing out, it's unsustainable. Those of us who see our house as a home, and not as an investment, are unwilling participants in this lunacy.

I have nothing in principle against lowering house prices, as long as I and the millions of other homeowners in the country are compensated for the loss of equity.


You didn't read the bit about investments may go down as well as up? And I thought you were a capitalist!

Actually, I wouldn't despair. Land prices have always risen in the long run, even if there are temporary dips. You'll just have to plan your moves for the right moment, and hope the kids come along at a financially propitious time!
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
I think what the electorate really wants is a well-hung parliament. Where the politicians have their heads banged together to co-operate to sort out the country's problems.

Whether we'll get that remains to be seen. Interesting times...
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
I think what the electorate really wants is a well-hung parliament.

All the polls on this subject say they don't want a hung parliament. Tehy might vote for one but they don't want it. I am a tory supporter this time round and I think I would like a lib lab pact with a wafer thin majority have to bring forward the spending review this Labour government have run from. This will lead to large cut backs and a collapse of the pact and then a healthly conservative majority.
In other wards I think the winner of this election will end up being the loser.
 
Posted by Clint Boggis (# 633) on :
 
Funny, most Tories I've heard are calling for a "decisive result", "a mandate to govern"; they are willing to accept that it will be really tough on them if they get their wish, but it's an honourable position. You Nightlamp are hoping for a weak ineffective government, doomed to fail just so your party can get into power later.

It sounds like you care more about (delayed) power for your party than the good of the country.
.
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:

It sounds like you care more about (delayed) power for your party than the good of the country.
.

I think the other likely outcome is a wafer thin conservative government or minority conservative government and this will collapse in about 2/3 years time followed by a series of weak governments.
Although Cameron could invite the IMF in to do an audit of the books present this to the country and call another election and say who do you want to sort this mess out?

I would prefer a strong 25/40 seat majority conservative government but I cannot see that happening.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:
Funny, most Tories I've heard are calling for a "decisive result", "a mandate to govern"; they are willing to accept that it will be really tough on them if they get their wish, but it's an honourable position. You Nightlamp are hoping for a weak ineffective government, doomed to fail just so your party can get into power later.

It sounds like you care more about (delayed) power for your party than the good of the country.
.

The good of the country depends upon the ability of politicians to work together, rather than the Tory baloney of decisive mandates etc. Most other democracies manage. It seems that the Tories have no faith in their ability to deal with anyone but themselves.
 
Posted by Spike (# 36) on :
 
Just for fun, I've started a poll in The Circus

Please cast your vote!
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Originally posted by Nightlamp:

quote:
All the polls on this subject say they don't want a hung parliament
A show of hands at the Scottish leaders debate last night was approx 2/3 in favour of a hung parliament, 1/3 against.

This could be because the best outcome for the SNP would be a hung parliament, in which they could exert influence, but I think it's more likely to be because we've had a hung parliament in Scotland and it doesn't appear to have been disasterous.
 
Posted by Touchstone (# 3560) on :
 
How about this (nightmare) scenario:

Tories win most seats, some way short of a majority. GB goes to the palace and Advises Her Madge to invite DC to form a minority government. Then he goes away on a long holiday. (He'll also have to win an internal Labour power struggle with those who want to depose him and do a deal with Clegg. However, one thing that Gordo is good at winning is Labour Party power struggles.)

GB comes back in the autumn, itching to knock seven bells out of Cameron's government, which shouldn't be difficult as by then it will already be hugely unpopular. Some time next year Cameron throws in the towel, or loses a confidence vote, and there is a fresh election. The Lib Dem surge is long gone and GB gets back in with a slender majority. We are then set for a decade or two of weak and unpopular governments.

(Apologies if this has been discussed before, I have been skimming a lot of this very long thread)
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
An interesting scenario. At the moment, Labour is almost bankrupt and I don't see that situation changing any time soon. (This is the reason why the whole debate about the election date was a lot of rubbish - Labour couldn't afford to fight a general and local elections on different days).

The Lib Dems never have a lot of money, which makes the Tories relatively better off.

If the Tories don't get an overall majority, Mr Cameron can call a general election at any time in the next 12 months knowing that the Tories are better equipped to fight it.

Edit: Also, in this scenario, Labour wouldn't have the government's advertising budget at its disposal, which it has at the moment.

[ 03. May 2010, 18:24: Message edited by: Anglican't ]
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
I read the interesting comment that a Tory win might actually undermine the SNP, on the basis that Labour would revert to being the party of opposition for Scotland. I don't see it myself, but an interesting point nevertheless.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
If there is a Conservative minority government next week, then we could see some interesting votes in the House of Commons in the next Parliament.

I would think that we could see a lot of abstentions from the other parties to avoid defeating the government on a vote of confidence which would result in another general election.

The last thing that the Lib Dems want is to bring down a minority Conservative administration, in a House where they are their most powerful for a generation / lifetime. They can't afford another election, and not clear they could do any better, and could easily be punished by the electorate. So although the LibDems will have a lot of power, they won't really be able to use it freely.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Freejack,

I think it would depend upon what issue the Lib Dems used to bring down the government, and whether the public perceived it as being worthwhile. That is what tends to happen down here. The Lib Dems might even be able to get away with propping up a Tory government in a manner inconsistent with their manifesto commitments on the basis that it would be irresponsible to do otherwise. It all depends upon the public's likely response.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
Well true public perception is key in the 'game of hung parliament chicken', but it also depends on how keen the public is to have another election in say July or October this year, rather than say May in a year or two.

Say the House of Commons looks like:

Con 310
Lab 230
L.D 75
Oth 35 (o/w DUP 10)

So only real option is Conservative minority government with some sort of DUP support.

Gordon Brown would resign on Friday, David Cameron would form a government by Monday.

If Labour, Lib Dems, SNP+PC+SDLP (+Green+Ind?) all voted down the Queen's speech or the mini-budget there would have to be an immediate general election. There would be no real prospect of any sustainable government - any red-yellow-green coalition would just be too fragile, and the leader of the Labour Party would already have failed to form a government.

One could construct a different result where the Lib Dems held power over Labour, particularly if they were very close in the national poll result even if not seats.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Some very perceptive posts here, on the subject of "What happens after election day".

I wouldn't be surprised if the Conservatives got a majority on Thursday. For one thing, the weather forecast doesn't look too good, and traditionally the Labour vote suffers disproportionately if it rains. That said it might be a very slim majority and if, as seems likely, there is an Emergency Budget with cuts all over the place, I'm not sure there would be any of the customary arrangements to cater for absent MP's. That could make things very tight.

So while the Queens' Speech might be passed there may be trouble for a Conservative government that has a majority in single figures.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
You didn't read the bit about investments may go down as well as up? And I thought you were a capitalist!

Normal market forces driving prices down (as recently happened) is one thing. A deliberate government policy to artificially do so is another thing altogether.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Nice idea Doc Tor; the problem is that the scale of new housing required is in practice inconceivable on this crowded island. The cities such as London and Manchester are pretty much full.

No, they aren't. Nowhere near. Both have fewer inhabitants than they did 80 years ago (as does Glasgow).

As I pointed out earlier the decline in the population of our large cities is a function of the decline in household size and rise in demand for accommodation size. If Manchester were to move towards London's population density, it would need the quality of infrastructure - such as underground lines - that we don't at present have. Such expenditure would be HUGE. And the idea of yet more people travelling ever farther to work is deeply unattractive; I write as one who fled the South after graduation because I saw a high density lifestyle and daily commutes of an hour each way to be a sign of irrationality, not a rite as passage as my mother did [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Matt Black said:
quote:
Firstly, because you have to a degree at least a choice of supplier of your finance (less so admittedly than you did this time three years ago) which you certainly don't have with the state. Secondly, presuming that you have a repayment mortgage, the idea is that in due course you will progressively own more than just two bedrooms, indeed ultimately you will own the whole property. Thirdly, everyone has to live somewhere and thus be in hock to either a landlord or a mortgage lender,
Thank you, I do understand the terms of my mortgage.

However...

If I have a council house, the rent I pay covers the cost of maintaining the property and (presumably) part of the cost of building it. The primary aim of the government in providing it is the welfare of its citizens, so in a housing shortage the people with the greatest need (eg families with young children) will be first in the queue.

If I have a mortgage, the monthly payments cover the cost to the bank or building society of lending the money to me, together with a Certain Amount of profit (as much as they can get away with) for the shareholders of the company. If I am lucky enough to have a mortgage with one of the few remaining mutual societies, I will be one of those shareholders, but probably I'm not. I will also be required to have life assurance (or in other words, a sucker bet with someone that I won't die before the term of the mortgage is up) so that there is no risk to the mortgage company if I drop dead before I've finished paying them back. I am also responsible for all maintenance costs on the property (there are sucker bets for this, too, known as buildings insurance). In this system, people who have the money to buy a house are first in the queue. The primary aim of everyone involved (except me; I'm just looking for somewhere to live) is to make a profit.

I can see why the second option is better for the economy - all those extra opportunities to make a profit! - but not why it's better for the householder.

Jane R
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
For what its worth, my own reasons for intending to vote Labour are here

(seemed a bit pointless to crosspost the whole rant, but if anyone wanted to reply to any of it feel free to copy any parts of it here)
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
From the Canadian experience, if you get a minority:

The tea leaf reading and discussion of minute details of government will happen daily as the media discuss the next election from day 1.

&

After the first few years, and maybe another hung parliament, somebody will figure out it is possible to govern with a minority and get through legislation based on consenus. As you seem to have a parliament with a bit less strong a whip then we have here, your government might actually get a lot done, if the chatting political classes will let them.

People actually like minority government as it keeps a check on the more aggressive natures of the ideologues.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Matt Black said:
quote:
Firstly, because you have to a degree at least a choice of supplier of your finance (less so admittedly than you did this time three years ago) which you certainly don't have with the state. Secondly, presuming that you have a repayment mortgage, the idea is that in due course you will progressively own more than just two bedrooms, indeed ultimately you will own the whole property. Thirdly, everyone has to live somewhere and thus be in hock to either a landlord or a mortgage lender,
Thank you, I do understand the terms of my mortgage.

However...

If I have a council house, the rent I pay covers the cost of maintaining the property and (presumably) part of the cost of building it. The primary aim of the government in providing it is the welfare of its citizens, so in a housing shortage the people with the greatest need (eg families with young children) will be first in the queue.

If I have a mortgage, the monthly payments cover the cost to the bank or building society of lending the money to me, together with a Certain Amount of profit (as much as they can get away with) for the shareholders of the company. If I am lucky enough to have a mortgage with one of the few remaining mutual societies, I will be one of those shareholders, but probably I'm not. I will also be required to have life assurance (or in other words, a sucker bet with someone that I won't die before the term of the mortgage is up) so that there is no risk to the mortgage company if I drop dead before I've finished paying them back. I am also responsible for all maintenance costs on the property (there are sucker bets for this, too, known as buildings insurance). In this system, people who have the money to buy a house are first in the queue. The primary aim of everyone involved (except me; I'm just looking for somewhere to live) is to make a profit.

I can see why the second option is better for the economy - all those extra opportunities to make a profit! - but not why it's better for the householder.

Jane R

<Shrug> It's a trade-off, isn't it, between rights and responsibilities: if you want the right (ultimately) to own the roof over your head, then you have to take the responsibilities (insurance* and maintenance of said home, life cover for your dependants*) too; if you don't, you don't. Personally, I'd rather have the rights and responsibilities of ownership.

*Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be suggesting that you should only have such insurance if you have a mortgage? Whilst you may be required to have buildings insurance if you have a mortgage, it would be silly to not have it even if you didn't have a mortgage, eg: in case it burned down. Ditto to a lesser extent with personal insurance (life, critical illness, redundancy protection etc). It's about providing as best you can those 'shit happens' events.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
For what its worth, my own reasons for intending to vote Labour are here

(seemed a bit pointless to crosspost the whole rant, but if anyone wanted to reply to any of it feel free to copy any parts of it here)

Thanks, good solid stuff and more coherent than Messrs Balls and Hain on the "Vote intelligently" issue. It explains why I voted Labour in 1997 and 2001.

We too get the Lib Dems and Tories saying they came second and we have Plaid Cymru to add to the fun. Remember that we have four elections here: for the local council, Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the European Parliament: The Lib Dems can claim they very nearly won once and the Tories that they nearly won on another occasion! PC point to wins in council wards and the Tories and Lib Dems to similar in some pretty unlikely neighborhoods. No wonder a lot of shoe leather is being worn though.

Newport East will definitely be worth a look on Friday morning. A sizable swing is needed but the last European and council elections show anything is possible.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Weird stuff from the Public Service front-line.

It looks like there will be capital spending cutbacks, quite possibly starting on Monday next week! Why therefore did my managers get together this very day with the user IT rep's to prepare a prioritized list of projects to be done.

Actually, I know damn well what is going on. There isn't anything resembling a programme for change, just a wish-list, so if the Powers That Be decide to cut then they can strike that through, as it is of no consequence, and the cuts will have to be borne by the relatively few ongoing activities. If on the other hand there is a umpteen man-year multi-million pound programme of seven or eight hefty identifiable items, we may get away with keeping everything that now exists and lose only part of the programme that was cobbled together just today, two days before the election!

Sir Humphrey would be proud of you.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Matt Black said:
quote:
*Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be suggesting that you should only have such insurance if you have a mortgage? Whilst you may be required to have buildings insurance if you have a mortgage, it would be silly to not have it even if you didn't have a mortgage, eg: in case it burned down. Ditto to a lesser extent with personal insurance (life, critical illness, redundancy protection etc). It's about providing as best you can those 'shit happens' events.

Fair point. Though if you are a tenant, it's the landlord's job to arrange buildings insurance, not yours (so the cost of it is 'hidden' in the rent).

I am playing devil's advocate to a certain extent here - I think we need more council houses for those who'll never be able to buy their own, but I also think we need more housing in the private sector for the reasons already stated by Doc Tor.

I think the present housing situation, where even fairly well-paid people in their late twenties have no hope of buying a house in many areas, is unjust and needs to be corrected. Without overloading the already creaking infrastructure or further reducing the amount of green space, if possible.

And just for the record... I didn't get compensation for the money I lost in the 1990s crash, so do not expect to be compensated for any (notional) value of my house that gets wiped out in this one, either.

Jane R
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
For what its worth, my own reasons for intending to vote Labour are here

I can't possibly vote labour because they destroyed my pension, they spent to much during the boom years (remember PFI)and when the bust years came they mortgaged the country to the hilt.
Who ever is in power will have to bring in massive cutbacks over the next 18 months and probably sooner because the Bond market might get annoyed with the UK. The public sector has had it's boom and is about to enter Browns bust.

The only reason I can think for voting Labour in is so they can get the credit for sacking hundreds of people, giving people 10% reductions in pay and taxing all those very nice public pension pots.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
I couldn't possibly vote Labour because they're a bunch of control freaks and always have been. There is an assumption that Lib Dem voters sympathise with Labour. This one doesn't.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
labour ... destroyed my pension*, they spent to much during the boom years (remember PFI**)and when the bust years came they mortgaged the country to the hilt***.

* a system already under pressure because of (a) the Tories allowing firms "pension holidays" and (b) pension funds' dependence on the deregulated financial system created by the Tories.

** a system invented by the Troies and dependent on a deregulated system created by the Troeis

*** in pursuit of the ethos that underpinned the Tories' system - making credit available will increase people's ability to take risk. The consequence of some of those risks are now being felt.

Blaming one party for the current situation, which is the result of the lazy and greedy consensus of the last 20 years, marks a failure to truly undertsand that governments aren't really in charge of anything anymore. The irony is tht the Euroseptics and UKIP are half right - sovereignty has been given away, but not to the peopple they say - it's gone to the market. And the market believes in profit, even if it requires the bankrupting of a few countries along the way.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
For what its worth, my own reasons for intending to vote Labour are here

I can't possibly vote labour because they destroyed my pension, they spent to much during the boom years (remember PFI)and when the bust years came they mortgaged the country to the hilt.
Who ever is in power will have to bring in massive cutbacks over the next 18 months and probably sooner because the Bond market might get annoyed with the UK. The public sector has had it's boom and is about to enter Browns bust.

The only reason I can think for voting Labour in is so they can get the credit for sacking hundreds of people, giving people 10% reductions in pay and taxing all those very nice public pension pots.

[Overused] And Brown wants us to give him anopther five years..??? [Killing me]
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
The only reason I can think for voting Labour in is so they can get the credit for sacking hundreds of people, giving people 10% reductions in pay and taxing all those very nice public pension pots.

Indeed there is a scary logic for Labour voters to vote Tory to let them take the hit for doing the necessary. Which says something deeply depressing about human nature, but if it comes as a surprise we are very wet behind the ears...
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
labour ... destroyed my pension*...

* a system already under pressure because of (a) the Tories allowing firms "pension holidays" and (b) pension funds' dependence on the deregulated financial system created by the Tories.
I believe Nightlamp is talking about the tax raid on pension funds perpetrated by Brown when he was Chancellor.

If he gets back in this time he'll probably help himself to half our savings accounts as well. Labour policy has always been to keep people as poor as possible so that they're dependent on the Almighty State.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Labour policy has always been to keep people as poor as possible so that they're dependent on the Almighty State.

Your nuanced understanding of their policies are noted.
 
Posted by kentishmaid (# 4767) on :
 
Speaking of keeping people poor, I found Johann Hari's article in today's "viewspaper" section of the Independent both illuminating and scary.
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Labour policy has always been to keep people as poor as possible so that they're dependent on the Almighty State.

Deary me.

[ 05. May 2010, 12:53: Message edited by: Rosa Winkel ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Labour policy has always been to keep people as poor as possible so that they're dependent on the Almighty State.

Your nuanced understanding of their policies are noted.
Is it any more nuanced than certain posters' understanding of Tory policy?
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
You were complaining about leo's prejudice about the Tories, while you have just displayed your own about Labour. You're no better than what you decry.
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
[qb] labour ... destroyed my pension*, they spent to much during the boom years (remember PFI**)and when the bust years came they mortgaged the country to the hilt***.

* a system already under pressure because of (a) the Tories allowing firms "pension holidays" and (b) pension funds' dependence on the deregulated financial system created by the Tories.
Then along came Gordon Brown in 1997 and literally destroyed the private pension schemes by the abolition of Advanced Corporation Tax by taking £100 billion out of private pensions.

quote:

** a system invented by the Troies and dependent on a deregulated system created by the Troeis he

Yet industrialised and perfected by Labour. Indeed I voted labour because I thought they might end PFI. Little did I realise they would behave even worse.


quote:

Blaming one party for the current situation, which is the result of the lazy and greedy

I don't blame Gordon Brown for everything yet Gordon Brown did destroy private pensions, and he spent far more than was sensible in the boom years, he over complicated the Tax credit system, he did announce the end of boom and bust. I blame him for what he did as probably the worst chancellor this country has ever hence I could never vote labour whilst he remains as leader. He was inspired at times like the introduction of the 10% Tax rate but then stupid when he took it away.
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
probably the worst chancellor this country has ever

That award goes to Nigel Lawson. Or Norman Lamont.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
You were complaining about leo's prejudice about the Tories, while you have just displayed your own about Labour. You're no better than what you decry.

Well spotted!
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
probably the worst chancellor this country has ever

That award goes to Nigel Lawson. Or Norman Lamont.
The office goes back centuries so the competition is severe. But even if we limit ourselves to living memory I suggest Denis Healey has a greater claim than any of these?
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
labour ... destroyed my pension*...

* a system already under pressure because of (a) the Tories allowing firms "pension holidays" and (b) pension funds' dependence on the deregulated financial system created by the Tories.
I believe Nightlamp is talking about the tax raid on pension funds perpetrated by Brown when he was Chancellor.

If he gets back in this time he'll probably help himself to half our savings accounts as well. Labour policy has always been to keep people as poor as possible so that they're dependent on the Almighty State.

It is this kind of rhetoric that really fucks me off during elections. Do you really believe that is what the labour cabinet has been thinking ? Really ?

I certainly don't believe that Cameron is thinking, "how can I really fuck over the welfare state" or "I really want to run the country for the richest business leaders and the devil take the hindmost". I think that is the outcome of his polices not the intention.

Similarly, a politician saying - "I can do x" - is not a lie, unless he knew for damn sure he couldn't when he said it. I don't think Clegg is lying when he says that a £10,000 personal allowance will create all sorts of wonderful effects, I just think he is wrong.

What happened to mistaken, misguided, badly advised, or even I think there is more evidence for economic theory x than economic theory y ?
 
Posted by Edward Green (# 46) on :
 
I will be voting Labour as I believe theologically that in principle private property is immoral.

Conservatives and Lib Dems don't seem to even begin to engage with this. But some in the Labour party will.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
A couple of weeks or so ago I got bolloxed here for posting my opinions on the political lines taken by UK newspapers, including this:

quote:
Originally posted by ken:

The Liberals will probably be supported by the rather misnamed Independent and will at least get a sympathetic ear from the Guardian and Observer and maybe the weekly Economist (though they overtly and covertly supported the Tories in Thatchers time) Coming from different sides of the fence the Grauniad and its stablemates, and the Economist and Financial Times are the only UK national newspapers likely to remain politically independent in news reporting during the election.

Labour will probably only be supported by the Mirror and the low-circulation weekly New Statesman (News International probably employ more people than read the Staggers!)

[...]

It is basically about filtering the news. Printing stories that talk about the things your party wants to talk about. Relegating other stories to the bottom of page seven or the week after the election. Making up shock headlines that do not adequately describe the contents of the article (The most egregious so far was the Mail's CLEGG IN NAZI SLUR ON BRITAIN which existed purely as a headline - the story underneath so inconsequential its hard to see how the staff could stay awake long enough to set it. And of course choosing which of the dozens of opinion polls to mention today in order to talk up your party and talk down the others.

One of the reasons I rarely read newspapers any more. And why all British people should thank God for the BBC. (And vote for party that is not going to gut the BBC and sell the offal to Murdoch's bottom-feeding lampreys)

Well, surprise, surprise. It turns out that the Economist and Financial Times have both come out in favour of the Tories, as have ALL the other national papers apart from the Mirror (and the Staggers if you caount that) for Labour and the Independent, the Guardian and Observer who went for Liberals.

Who would've thunk it? [Roll Eyes]

Oh and the Mail's top three online headlines today - the day before an election - are £20,000 benefits so father of seven can keep his children in video games... and pay his huge booze bill because he's 'too moody to work and Father has face sliced open in 'racial attack' as his son, 5, watches in horror and Bulgarian family with 'pickpocket map' of London hotspots stole £100,000 from commuters. News, yes. But front page news in a national paper? During an election? Nothing about the economy, or global warming, or the national debt or the possibilities of constitutional change? Really??

Their most prominent online political headline was: 'We have 24 hours to save Britain': Cameron in last gasp bid to oust Brown as four in 10 voters as still undecided and their comment column is headed MAIL COMMENT: Why we must vote DECISIVELY to stop Britain walking blindly into disaster . . . and give the Tories their chance Fair enough - its the filtering of the news that I object to. Their endless venomous drip drip drip attempt to make people angry and afraid.

On past form (going back decades) I reckon there is about a 2/3 chance that tomorrow's main headline in the Daily Mail will be something they have saved up to seem damning of the Labour Party (if not it'll be some more saloon-bar "Britain is Broken" scaremongering). And if its an anti-Labour piece there will be about a 1/3 chance that it will later turn out to have been a lie.

Not all the Tory press is like this - the Telegraph's website leads on the Athens riots, the ash cloud, and a problem with Facebook security. Seriously defensible choices. Times online top stories are about Gordon Brown, the volcanic ash, Greece, and the Louisiana oil leak. Even the Sun, the tabloid of tabloids, after putting a recommendation to vote Tory from Simon Cowell (!!!!!!) at the top, has a human interest story from China, tonight's Spurs/Man City match, and the Greek situation.

There is no left-wing mass-consumption press in the UK. But the Grauniad - the only national newspaper that is not pitched politically to the right of the average Brit - leads with EU warning: UK to overtake Greece for worst deficit (if anything a story that tends to help the Tories), an reasonably neutral election news roundup, volcanic ash, and the oil leak. The Mirror, as usual these days, floods its web page with celebrity and football gossip - the only political story is a claim that Simon Cowell's endorsement of the Tories has backfired. A bit pathetic really.

The usually utterly middle-of-the-road Independent's website leads with an appeal to vote Liberal, followed by a story about the SAS in Afghanistan, then the volcano, the oil spill, and Greece. Though they did publish Johann Hari's "Cameron Land" which is perhaps the most twittered and blogged about news item of the last day of the campaign - almost displacing Philippa Stroud from the Twitter trends. (Both those links are well worth a read incidentally - though probably proof that the political Twitterati are on average as far to the left of the average Brit as the newspapers are to her right.)
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
probably the worst chancellor this country has ever

That award goes to Nigel Lawson. Or Norman Lamont.
The office goes back centuries so the competition is severe. But even if we limit ourselves to living memory I suggest Denis Healey has a greater claim than any of these?
Come Friday, the title of "the worst chancellor this country has ever seen" will surely belong to Osborne...
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
I will be voting Labour as I believe theologically that in principle private property is immoral.

This economic theory has been tried for countries like China and Russia and it wasn't that successful at bringing people out of poverty
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Come Friday, the title of "the worst chancellor this country has ever seen" will surely belong to Osborne...

To be fair, I think you have to assume that it'll take longer than 24 hours to establish a workable minority government and appoint ministers. And if he gets the nod over Cable, then in fairness Osborne has to be allowed at least a few months to wreck things before he could be expected to hold his head high in ompany like that.
 
Posted by Edward Green (# 46) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
I will be voting Labour as I believe theologically that in principle private property is immoral.

This economic theory has been tried for countries like China and Russia and it wasn't that successful at bringing people out of poverty
Neither I suspect is Capitalism on a global scale.

We have to live in the system. But that doesn't mean we have to accept that it isn't evil.
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
I will be voting Labour as I believe theologically that in principle private property is immoral.

This economic theory has been tried for countries like China and Russia and it wasn't that successful at bringing people out of poverty
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer. They hope that enough of the aspiring poor will make money to prevent them from rebelling. And the rest can rely on charity, a leisure activity for the rich to keep their conscience clear while they enjoy the trappings of wealth.

A bit of a simplistic view I know but I'm old enough to remember 18 years of Tory government, including Thatcher. We muddled through but a lot of people got hurt. That's why I'll be voting Labour.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer.

This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour. The Inheritance tax threshold used to be in the region of £250,000. When the Conservatives pledged to raise the threshold to £1 million Labour cancelled their planned election campaign and began to increase the threshold (although that has been delayed recently).

I won't go on to the fact that the gap between rich and poor has actually widened under Labour.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
I will be voting Labour as I believe theologically that in principle private property is immoral.

This economic theory has been tried for countries like China and Russia and it wasn't that successful at bringing people out of poverty
Neither I suspect is Capitalism on a global scale.

We have to live in the system. But that doesn't mean we have to accept that it isn't evil.

Strengthening property rights is the best means towards poverty reduction says the World Bank...

but don't let hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indian people's experience of being raised out of poverty undermine your ideology [Help]
 
Posted by redderfreak (# 15191) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer.

This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour. The Inheritance tax threshold used to be in the region of £250,000. When the Conservatives pledged to raise the threshold to £1 million Labour cancelled their planned election campaign and began to increase the threshold (although that has been delayed recently).

I won't go on to the fact that the gap between rich and poor has actually widened under Labour.

My point is that how ever bad you think things are under Labour (and I think they're quite good), they would have been a whole lot worse under the Tories. Be careful what you wish for.
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
What Ken Said.

Cameron must be stopped.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
What I wish for is sadly not available under liberal Cameroonian Toryism.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
What Ken Said.

Cameron must be stopped.

I don't find Cameron especially worrying. He's basically "Blair - The Sequel" so the Tories have wisely kept most of the erstwhile shadow cabinet under wraps. Labour may be short of talent but can we take seriously the likes of Christopher Grayling (Home Office), Andrew Lansley (Health) and Theresa May at DWP? Oh, and Osborne at the Treasury. Hague will wow them in Washington.

Sod the policies, someone has to carry them out and I have no faith at all in that shower.
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Labour may be short of talent but can we

Ah yes, Brown as Prime Minister is there main weakness followed by Bob Ainsworth. I actually think Darling as been an OK chancellor every so often he has told the truth before the spin doctors got to him. If you are voting Labout to avoid the cuts well think again. Unfortunately for Darling his predecessor completely boloxed the economy and he will probably take some of the blame.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society.

Replace "at heart" with "within living memory", and replace "stands" with "stood", and I might agree with you.
 
Posted by Clint Boggis (# 633) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer.

This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour.
You can dismiss it but do remember there are quite a lot of Christians here and we tend to to accept what that Jesus chap said about God and the poor. It's much harder for us to reconcile what he said with the usual Tory attitude to money: 'every man for himself'.
.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour.

Actually its a fucking good reason to vote Labour. Hard to think of a better one.
 
Posted by Robert Armin (# 182) on :
 
quote:
I'm old enough to remember 18 years of Tory government, including Thatcher. We muddled through but a lot of people got hurt. That's why I'll be voting Labour.
Absolutely. As Ken said on his blog, the only reason not to vote Labour is if another candidate in your constituency has a better chance to beat the Tories.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
A couple of weeks or so ago I got bolloxed here for posting my opinions on the political lines taken by UK newspapers [...]

Though they did publish Johann Hari's "Cameron Land" which is perhaps the most twittered and blogged about news item of the last day of the campaign - almost displacing Philippa Stroud from the Twitter trends. (Both those links are well worth a read incidentally [...]

You were right. Yes they are.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer.

This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour.
You can dismiss it but do remember there are quite a lot of Christians here and we tend to to accept what that Jesus chap said about God and the poor. It's much harder for us to reconcile what he said with the usual Tory attitude to money: 'every man for himself'.
.

I wasn't aware that that Jesus chap was a socialist and the Gospels were a call for the state to take over responsibility from people for the welfare of the disadvantaged. I missed that bit.
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Is it any more nuanced than certain posters' understanding of Tory policy?

Despite his obvious bigotries, Sibling Ken's (to whom I presume you are referring) rants come with the balm of being (a) quite entertaining and (b) sometimes correct.

[ 06. May 2010, 08:14: Message edited by: dyfrig ]
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
My point is that how ever bad you think things are under Labour (and I think they're quite good), they would have been a whole lot worse under the Tories.

I doubt it Tories are pro people saving for retirement whilst labour isn't.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer.

This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour.
You can dismiss it but do remember there are quite a lot of Christians here and we tend to to accept what that Jesus chap said about God and the poor.
Yes, and this is one such Christian. But I don't recall Our Lord and Saviour extolling the virtues of an overwheening intrusive nanny state nicking money off people who've worked hard to earn it in order to supposedly achieve* that goal.

*Because that's bloody worked, hasn't it? Not.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I wasn't aware that that Jesus chap was a socialist and the Gospels were a call for the state to take over responsibility from people for the welfare of the disadvantaged.

When conservatives like Mr Cameron (in his 'Big Society' speech) say that they want to help the disadvantaged, I believe them. At the same time, I cannot close my eyes to the results of their policies. When someone's words and actions differ, I tend to focus on their actions - and the consequences.

Mr Cameron said that he "proud" of the Conservative council in Hammermith and Fulham, as they provide a 'model' of compassionate conservativism.

These compassionate conservatives reportedly closed 12 shelters for the homeless. These compassionate conservatives refused permission for the charity Crisis to provide a night shelter at Christmas. These compassionate conservatives refused to provide emergency shelter to a young pregnant woman, who fled a violent boyfriend. They left her to sleep in a local park, in what the Local Government Ombudman called "maladministration."

These compassionate conservatives were apparently described by George Osborne as a "model" for a Conservative government. May God protect the disadvantaged from compassionate conservatism.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by redderfreak:
At heart Labour stands for the poor and underpriveleged in society. The Tories stand for the rich and the elite. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich (for example, inheritance tax) so that they can get richer.

This is a rather weak reason to vote Labour.
You can dismiss it but do remember there are quite a lot of Christians here and we tend to to accept what that Jesus chap said about God and the poor.
Yes, and this is one such Christian. But I don't recall Our Lord and Saviour extolling the virtues of an overwheening intrusive nanny state nicking money off people who've worked hard to earn it in order to supposedly achieve* that goal.

*Because that's bloody worked, hasn't it? Not.

Indeed. Labour's legislative hyperactivity over the last thirteen years reveals this.

Furthermore, allowing the City of London to cut loose, ruining public finances, and creating a economic bubble seems like a curious way to help the poor. It looks more like Toryism to me.

When Nick Clegg says that 'it's time for a change', the response is 'well, he would say that, wouldn't he'. To my mind, however, it happens to be true.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
There is a good chance, if we get a hung parliament, that we might end up with David Miliband as PM on Monday. Now he makes even George Osborne look experienced...
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:

When Nick Clegg says that 'it's time for a change', the response is 'well, he would say that, wouldn't he'. To my mind, however, it happens to be true.

But is the change good? for instance they intend to introduce road pricing . This is hugely expensive way to collect tax and control cars (why not increase the price of petrol instead?). It will cause 'Rat runs' down minor roads. Every car in the coutnry will need to be tracked. What does this say about civil liberties?
Not only do they have a mad Transport policy they have a lunatic economic policy.
Yes Nick clegg and Vince Cable are nice people and very bright it's just that the Liberal Democrat party policy will take the country into a left turn onto the road to ruin.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
The other thing is 'change to what?'. Lib Dem policy on a lot of things appears to change from week to week and region to region.

Sometimes joining the Euro is a good long-term goal, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes giving an amnesty to 600,000 illegal immigrants is a bold but sound idea, sometimes that figure is denied. Sometimes a coalition with Gordon Brown is out of the question, sometimes it is quite possible.

It would be a start if they could actually be pinned down on some of this stuff before then deciding whether they represent a change for the better.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
What Nightlamp says abour road pricing. It will be expensive to introduce and enforce while a petrol price increase, to replace VED and additional tax road use, is damn near unavoidable.

Part of the problem the LibDems have had is that they don't have the discipline of the Old Firm. Giving your supporters freedom to express preferences is one thing, as is giving yourself room to manoever and acknowledging that changing circumstances require a different response, but many voters do like the illusion of certainty.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
for instance they intend to introduce road pricing . This is hugely expensive way to collect tax and control cars (why not increase the price of petrol instead?). It will cause 'Rat runs' down minor roads. Every car in the coutnry will need to be tracked. What does this say about civil liberties?

There are other ways to introduce effective congestion charging without such issues e.g. require an additional licence (cost ~£1000) to drive within certain designated built up areas before a given time. Perhaps with the option of a day licence purchasable on the internet. The big virtue of this is that it doesn't penalise people in areas where there is no significant congestion by raising the price of petrol still higher, the easy, but highly destructive of the rural lifestyle, option.

(I write as a non car driver who for 15 years rode a bicycle some 4 miles to work and lives in an area with plenty of buses. There alternatives - let's incentivise people to use them and to resist the easy solution of just jumping in their car).
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
You were complaining about leo's prejudice about the Tories, while you have just displayed your own about Labour. You're no better than what you decry.

Isn't it funny how all the anti-Tory prejudice is so gleefully accepted by people here, though? Someone can say "the Tories' only reason for existing is to fuck the poor" and they will be applauded, regardless of the truth of that statement. I give you a little taste of it back, and am jumped on.

Are you sure your eyes are completely mote-free?
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Is it any more nuanced than certain posters' understanding of Tory policy?

Despite his obvious bigotries, Sibling Ken's (to whom I presume you are referring) rants come with the balm of being (a) quite entertaining and (b) sometimes correct.
ken was one to whom I was referring, but there are others. There is a large vein of "Tories are second only to Satan himself" prejudice on these boards.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
And "how can you be a Christian and vote Tory" comments.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
And "how can you be a Christian and vote Tory" comments.

I expect everyone with a political affiliation and a faith gets the same. I was asked "How can you be a Christian and LibDem?" harking back to David Steel piloting the 1967 Abortion Act through Parliament as a Private Member's Bill.

eta: I can also remember being asked "How can you be a Socialist and a Christian?" by, I think, a convinced Marxist-Leninist who thought any faith incompatible with The One True Socialism.

[ 06. May 2010, 11:40: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]
 
Posted by dyfrig (# 15) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
ken was one to whom I was referring, but there are others. There is a large vein of "Tories are second only to Satan himself" prejudice on these boards.

You should try being his facebook friend.

I suggest you challenge it with fact and analysis. The comment about the All Powerful State to which I* responded had the distinct disadvantage of being neither accurate nor insightful nor particularly amusing.

* this "I" not intending to vote Labour today, therefore not defending them out of a sense of partisan duty.

[ 06. May 2010, 11:53: Message edited by: dyfrig ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
ken was one to whom I was referring, but there are others. There is a large vein of "Tories are second only to Satan himself" prejudice on these boards.

You should try being his facebook friend.
I am.

quote:
I suggest you challenge it with fact and analysis. The comment about the All Powerful State to which I* responded had the distinct disadvantage of being neither accurate nor insightful nor particularly amusing.
Well, Labour is the party of statism and central control, be it in their erstwhile socialist way or their current Blairist way. I speculate that the only reason they haven't renationalised everything is it would be political suicide.

quote:
* this "I" not intending to vote Labour today, therefore not defending them out of a sense of partisan duty.
I have to confess, despite my mentioning virtually every party but one on the "parties you won't vote for" thread my mind is still not 100% made up between Tory and Liberal.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I have to confess, despite my mentioning virtually every party but one on the "parties you won't vote for" thread my mind is still not 100% made up between Tory and Liberal.

I tend to think from what you post here that our politics are not dissimilar. I opted for Lib Dem this morning as I believe the Lib Dem candidate will do a better job of representing local people, and that she will be receptive to informed views from her constituents.

I think you can certainly be a Christian and support Conservative economic and fiscal policy. The model of the individual being motivated to earn (c.f. Martin Luther on God's reason for creating avarice) and thus being able to be generous with those in need seems to me to be more truly in line with the Gospel than the model of the individual being heavily taxed and having no choice over how that is spent (as well as no genuine impulse to give freely - paying tax ia not a loving act).

However right now (as you know from other threads) I struggle with aspects of Conservative social policy, including immigration.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
I tend to think from what you post here that our politics are not dissimilar. I opted for Lib Dem this morning as I believe the Lib Dem candidate will do a better job of representing local people, and that she will be receptive to informed views from her constituents.

It is exactly for this reason that I'm considering a split vote - Conservative for Westminster, Lib Dem for the local council.

quote:
I think you can certainly be a Christian and support Conservative economic and fiscal policy. The model of the individual being motivated to earn (c.f. Martin Luther on God's reason for creating avarice) and thus being able to be generous with those in need seems to me to be more truly in line with the Gospel than the model of the individual being heavily taxed and having no choice over how that is spent (as well as no genuine impulse to give freely - paying tax ia not a loving act).
Quite so.

quote:
However right now (as you know from other threads) I struggle with aspects of Conservative social policy, including immigration.
No party is perfect. If it weren't for two reasons - their policy on joining the Euro and their virtually guaranteed propping up of a Labour government in any hung parliament - I'd be a lot more certain to vote Lib Dem.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by dyfrig:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Is it any more nuanced than certain posters' understanding of Tory policy?

Despite his obvious bigotries, Sibling Ken's (to whom I presume you are referring) rants come with the balm of being (a) quite entertaining and (b) sometimes correct.
ken was one to whom I was referring, but there are others. There is a large vein of "Tories are second only to Satan himself" prejudice on these boards.
I admit to being prejudiced against the Tories, if indeed it is prejudiced to have developed a real hatred of them during the Maggie Thatcher years (when I was about your age) so that I absolutely cannot bring myself to put a cross next to the Tory candidate on the ballot form!

I'm pretty sure that with what we earn as a couple, ShadoK and I would be much better off under a Tory government, but I just can't do it! On the other hand, we work in the public sector (as do you, I believe) so we may not even have jobs this time next year!
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
You were complaining about leo's prejudice about the Tories, while you have just displayed your own about Labour. You're no better than what you decry.

Isn't it funny how all the anti-Tory prejudice is so gleefully accepted by people here, though? Someone can say "the Tories' only reason for existing is to fuck the poor" and they will be applauded, regardless of the truth of that statement. I give you a little taste of it back, and am jumped on.

Are you sure your eyes are completely mote-free?

You're lumping us all together. I haven't said generalised statements about the Tories, myself. I posted at some time that I in fact know some decent Tories, so don't have a prejudice about them.

They are not, by the way. I am just highlighting that you are complaining about party prejudice, when you do it yourself. You're the one throwing stones.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
I admit to being prejudiced against the Tories, if indeed it is prejudiced to have developed a real hatred of them during the Maggie Thatcher years (when I was about your age) so that I absolutely cannot bring myself to put a cross next to the Tory candidate on the ballot form!

I was a schoolboy at the time, but can vividly remember that Labour wanted to shut my grammar school down. A real hatred was developed, and so it goes...

quote:
I'm pretty sure that with what we earn as a couple, ShadoK and I would be much better off under a Tory government, but I just can't do it!
If their tax plans are to be believed, there's a good chance that we'd both be better off under the Lib Dems!

quote:
On the other hand, we work in the public sector (as do you, I believe) so we may not even have jobs this time next year!
(English) Universities are only public sector in as much as they receive funding from the government through HEFCE. Funding which has already been dramatically cut. Twice. To be honest, I can see us going more and more towards the private sector, with much higher tuition fees (the Browne report is keenly awaited in this particular corner of the Russell Group) and much less central funding - a move towards the American system, basically.

Not all the universities might make it through such a change, but I'm pretty sure the one I'm working for will!
 
Posted by Jolly Jape (# 3296) on :
 
quote:
originally posted by MtM
Because that's bloody worked, hasn't it? Not.

Well, actually it has, rather. Of course, the poor we have with us always, but, even if you strip off the hyperbolic rant, anyone who thinks that a public funded welfare state has failed ought to speak to people like my mum, (b. 1915 and still going strong) who grew up in an environment where no such provision was available.

[ 06. May 2010, 14:31: Message edited by: Jolly Jape ]
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
There is a good chance, if we get a hung parliament, that we might end up with David Miliband as PM on Monday. Now he makes even George Osborne look experienced...

Actually, there's not a lot to choose betwen them in the length of their political and quasi-political ideas. However, Miliband has been doing senior jobs for longer (Secretary to Borrie Commission in 1992-4, head of Downing St Policy unit from 97, and ministerial jobs since about 2003)- and perhaps more importantly, he has a reputation for knowing the areas where he has to learn. I know Miliband looks like he's about 14, but he's not the worst we could do, by a long chalk.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
originally posted by MtM
Because that's bloody worked, hasn't it? Not.


Actually, Matt posted that.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Wheras we are into part-time adult education and so our funding is even dodgier. [Frown]


But it is a lovely, warm, breezy, sunny spring day and apparently there is a high turnout building. Which conventional wisdom has it is good for Labour. So I suspect we are going to do better in the local council elections than last time.

As for Parliament - anybody's guess.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
apparently there is a high turnout building.

Regardless of who they're voting for, if this proves to be true it will be a fine day for democracy in this country [Smile]
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:

I'm pretty sure that with what we earn as a couple, ShadoK and I would be much better off under a Tory government, but I just can't do it! On the other hand, we work in the public sector (as do you, I believe) so we may not even have jobs this time next year!

Under the Labour government your pension has been very nice whilst mine has been decimated and public pay has rocketed over the last 10 years. I guess you are voting for what is good for your pocket.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
apparently there is a high turnout building.

Regardless of who they're voting for, if this proves to be true it will be a fine day for democracy in this country [Smile]
It is a Good Thing™ indeed. The only wasted vote is an unused vote. Go to it, people.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Edward Green:
I will be voting Labour as I believe theologically that in principle private property is immoral.

Conservatives and Lib Dems don't seem to even begin to engage with this. But some in the Labour party will.

Wow. I used to belong to the Labour Party for that very reason.

Then I inherited my late mother's stocks and shares - many of them in apartheid South African dodgy businesses. Morally, I should have given the money to charity while continuing to pay rent to a landlord who used the money to send his child to a private school.

Instead, I bought a house.

Then Labour abolished Clause Four so I resigned.

I have just voted LibDem on a personal ticket. The sitting MP is a LibDem who is also midway between an aquaintance and a friend of mine,
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:

I'm pretty sure that with what we earn as a couple, ShadoK and I would be much better off under a Tory government, but I just can't do it! On the other hand, we work in the public sector (as do you, I believe) so we may not even have jobs this time next year!

Under the Labour government your pension has been very nice whilst mine has been decimated and public pay has rocketed over the last 10 years. I guess you are voting for what is good for your pocket.
My pension is not worth much as I worked part time for a very long time whilst my children were small. ShadoK's pension may indeed be quite good, if it isn't decimated by the next government of whatever colour. We haven't worked in the public sector all our lives, so neither of us has the full quota of years. I feel for you with a private pension - my parents were self-employed, and theirs came to about half of what was predicted, and now their savings are making no money.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
originally posted by MtM
Because that's bloody worked, hasn't it? Not.

Well, actually it has, rather. Of course, the poor we have with us always, but, even if you strip off the hyperbolic rant, anyone who thinks that a public funded welfare state has failed ought to speak to people like my mum, (b. 1915 and still going strong) who grew up in an environment where no such provision was available.
I was talking more about the last 13 years.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
Under the Labour government your pension has been very nice whilst mine has been decimated and public pay has rocketed over the last 10 years. I guess you are voting for what is good for your pocket.

You seem to assume that public sector pensions are automatically more generous than private sector ones.

When I moved from private sector employment to public sector about ten years ago my pension got a lot worse on paper. I say "on paper" because in practice my extremely good fund from the other place turned out to be worth about a quarter of what it had been said to be before because of incompetent management. My current pension is doing better because the investments are better chosen. Even so, if I retire at 65 it won't give me enopugh money to pay the mortgage - and I will probably still have one then because the private sector endowment fuind that was supposed to pay it off will be nowhere near able to. So I expect to have to continue in full-time work after I am 65. And I have expected that for the last ten years or more.

The reason pensions are doing badly are nothing to do with the government. They are the property bubble, incompetent fund mangement, and the aging population. None of them is going to change soon, so the value of pensions as a share of the total economy is going to fall. Whoever is in government. Deal with it.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Pay in the public sector is not better than the private sector (even *after* the pay rises), and is frequently less than you'd make for an equivalent level of responsibility and length of training in the private sector.

All people at my grade make decisions about managing risk related to potential fatalities. I have spent 7 years training, as well as doing 2.5 years of what were essentially jobs designed to prepare me for this job. I earn slightly more than an experienced joiner. Slightly less than an experienced manager of a McDonalds restaurant. And the majority of NHS staff earn less than I do.

The pension is about the only finanicially attractive bit of it, and it is that that keeps many in the job when dealing with very difficult working conditions. In my line of work I have been assaulted more than once and I know it will happen again, I am also likely to get stalked at some point. And I am relatively at less risk than many frontline staff in acute care. With out the pension and decent terms and conditions it would be extremely difficult to retain staff in the longer term, because why stay and put up with all the shit when you could do something else better paid. A sense of vocation takes you only so far.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Stick neck out time and predict.

My guess is a small but workable Tory majority of ten to twenty seats in the House of Commons. I'd love to see a hung parliament - love it trebly of they could do a deal on some serious constitutional reform - but I think the Tories will sneak in again. So we will yet again have a government to the Right of the average British voter (as we have has consistently since at least the 1960s if not the 1940s) They won't get 40% of the popular vote but they could easily get 35-36% and 38-39% is not beyond the bounds of reason.

Labour will have over 200 seats, maybe over 230, but I'd be very surprised if we get as far as 250 (even though we could probably do that on less than 30% of the vote the way the geography works) and stunned if it was as many as 270 (which gets into minority government territory)

Liberal share of the vote will be smaller than Labour, but only just. Maybe no much more than a percent in it. And it will be remarkably ineffective. A lot of it is "soft" protest vote that goes back to Tory in a close call, so in seat after seat they will seem to be coming close to winning but not quite get there. So they will get even fewer seats than electoral geography predicts. Perhaps no more than they have now. Certainly nowhere near 100 - my guess is 60-70. If they pick up seats its more likely to be from Tories than from Labour. This prediction fails if Tories start doing the kind of intelligent voting that anti-Tories have been doing since the 1990s in the comparatively few Lib-Lab marginals, or if the Labour vote falls below about 27-28%

I'd love to be wrong. Again and again since the 1960s I've heard left-wing Labour supporters clutch at the straw of a "Liberal revival" which would head off a feared Tory victory and ideally lead to a hung Parliament, a Lib-Lab coalition, and that longed-for electoral reform (whatever the leadership of the Party say, Labour activists mostly want preferential ballots, not FPTP) And again and again it hasn't happened. Maybe this time.


Regional and national parties:

Plaid will yet again do worse than before [Frown] though if the Labour vote falls even faster they might pick up two more seats. But I suspect Wales will regress back towards Labour-Tory battles. Conservatives will pick up a few seats, but on the whole Wales will not be blue.

IN NI DUP to do well, UUs to do badly - the alliance with the Tories hurts them, and now the Tories are talking about betraying them, so it doesn't matter anyway. SDLP seem to be a spent force (unfortunatly) so Republican-majority areas will be Sinn Fein.

SNP to do well in Scotland, at the expense of the Tories who will yet again get almost nowhere north of the border, and also Labour might lose one or two to SNP and maybe one or two to the Tories as well.


Minor Parties:

BNP will win no seats and Nick Griffin will be humiliated into third or fourth place in Barking. They will do better in the North of England than the South, and really quite badly in London. There will, unfortunately be quite a few constituencies where they get more than a thousand votes, and a handful where they get four or five thousand, so their total popular vote will be quite big - maybe larger than ever before (that partly depends on UKIP)

Greens may win Brighton Pavilion - but in face of a Tory swing they might also manage to give it back to the Tories. Labour quite likely to be third place there. The Green target seat in Norwich will turn out to be unattainable. And Deptford will just have been wishful thinking - a lot of their votes there will vanish and Labour will win by a large majority, though the intensity of their campaigning there might help them keep some of their council wards against what is likely to be a swing to Labour in inner London council elections. On the other hand the Greens will easily beat the BNP nationwide, and probably beat UKIP too.

(In the other Brighton seats I think Labourt might keep Kemp Town - there has been demographic change making it a more Labour sort of place. I can't believe Labour can win Hove again. But then I didn't believe they would win it in the first place.)

Celebrity vehicles:

The UKIP Farago will win nothing even though they will get a few hundred thousand votes nationwide. Esther Ranzen won't get in in Luton. Respect will vanish without trace apart from George Galloway whose fan-club will not quite get him back into Parliament but might keep out his Labour opponent - a possible surprise Liberal win in Poplar?

London Boroughs:

A tale of three cities. With a high turnout and a boost from the General Election, Labour might actually win back some councils they lost last time and will improve their representation in most, if not all, inner London boroughs. But I suspect that some outer London boroughs will swing heavily Tory, and the LD hold on SW London will get stronger. So the map of London local councils will even more resemble red jam in a blue doughnut with a yellow wedge shoved into the bottom left-hand corner.

I have no basis to call the handful of directly elected mayors on.

Again, I'd love to be proved wrong. So go out and vote against the Tories if you haven't yet!
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Forgot to add, I have five years fulltime experience - *after* the ten years of education, training and preparatory jobs.

(And I have never struggled to pay the mortgage because I have never earned enough to remotely consider trying to buy a house in the area where I live.)

[ 06. May 2010, 18:00: Message edited by: Think² ]
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
You seem to assume that public sector pensions are automatically more generous than private sector ones.

Not necessarily, obviously, and not in all cases, but in fact this is not some sort of urban myth. In particular, traditional final salary pension schemes (as opposed to money purchase ones) now benefit no more than 15% of the private sector workforce, whereas a whopping 78% of public sector employees (five million people) still have that anachronistic and fundamentally unaffordable benefit.

It's often argued that having a lovely, generous pension is in some way a compensation for public sector staff earning averagely less than those in the private sector. That IS true at some senior grades, but otherwise it's quite inaccurate these days (if it was ever true). According to the Office for National Statistics the current average salary in the private sector is £21,528, and in the public sector it is £23,660.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Thanks for sticking your neck out Ken - the alarming thing is that I think I agree with most of your predictions, though I suspect you are over optimistic about Griffen being dumped into third place.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Just voted: Tory nationally and Lib Dem locally. Lots of people out this evening voting it would seem.
 
Posted by Thurible (# 3206) on :
 
Lib Dem both locally (no-one bothered to stand as a Labour candidate) and nationally. The latter made me feel slightly sick, to be honest (I really don't like tactical voting), but I thought it important to try and, well, keep the Tories out of this constituency at least.

ETA that which I was originally going to say: I've never had to queue for 20 mins to get into the polling station before. Quite splendid.

Thurible

[ 06. May 2010, 18:51: Message edited by: Thurible ]
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
You seem to assume that public sector pensions are automatically more generous than private sector ones.

Not necessarily, obviously, and not in all cases, but in fact this is not some sort of urban myth. In particular, traditional final salary pension schemes (as opposed to money purchase ones) now benefit no more than 15% of the private sector workforce, whereas a whopping 78% of public sector employees (five million people) still have that anachronistic and fundamentally unaffordable benefit.

It's often argued that having a lovely, generous pension is in some way a compensation for public sector staff earning averagely less than those in the private sector. That IS true at some senior grades, but otherwise it's quite inaccurate these days (if it was ever true). According to the Office for National Statistics the current average salary in the private sector is £21,528, and in the public sector it is £23,660.

That genuinely surprises me. When I started in the NHS in 2002, with previous experience and a degree I was earning £4000 less than a trainee business manager with McDonalds. Graduates going into IT were earning a lot more than us. Health care assistants were on £11000 and £12000. Most HCAs I knew were working two jobs and additional bank shifts to make ends meet. Nowadays, a bank clerk (non-graduate skilled occupation) earns about the same as an experienced HCA or slightly more. A junior staff nurse would be on around £20,000.

Figures in the health service are probably somewhat skewed by very high medical salaries - and the director level salaries. Mind you the CEO of an NHS trust with a yearly budget of just over 100 million would be earning about £147,000. I don't know what the private sector equivalent would be.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
According to the Office for National Statistics the current average salary in the private sector is £21,528, and in the public sector it is £23,660.

That's because many (most?) low-paid jobs that were formerly in the public sector (cleaners, dinner ladies etc) have been hived off to the private sector.
 
Posted by rufiki (# 11165) on :
 
[Cross-post]

quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
It's often argued that having a lovely, generous pension is in some way a compensation for public sector staff earning averagely less than those in the private sector. That IS true at some senior grades, but otherwise it's quite inaccurate these days (if it was ever true). According to the Office for National Statistics the current average salary in the private sector is £21,528, and in the public sector it is £23,660.

[Paranoid]

It's always useful to think about details behind any sets of statistics. Here are a few:


rufiki (who would probably be on double her current salary if she'd become an accountant as the careers ladies had told her)

[ 06. May 2010, 20:10: Message edited by: rufiki ]
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
There is a good chance, if we get a hung parliament, that we might end up with David Miliband as PM on Monday. Now he makes even George Osborne look experienced...

Maybe. However he doesn't make George look intelligent or capable or reasonable. To be fair though, I'm not sure who would...

quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
According to the Office for National Statistics the current average salary in the private sector is £21,528, and in the public sector it is £23,660.

That's because many (most?) low-paid jobs that were formerly in the public sector (cleaners, dinner ladies etc) have been hived off to the private sector.
Good point. This blanket assumption that the public sector is well paid is thoroughly annoying. A simple mean for both is not likely to be helpful - because there is a disproportionate number of certain types of job in each sector. Virtually all doctors work in the public sector, all high court judges... and many of the lowest paid jobs done in the public sector are now done by private sub-contractors. A proper like-for-like comparison of training, workload, experience and responsibility may reveal a very different picture. For example, if I take out your appendix, I, in effect get paid £8 for doing so. Furthermore, I just been on a course which is professionally necessary for me which I had to pay for myself and which I am told by HMRC is not tax-deductible either. Oh, and my generous pension - that I have to pay for too.

I'm not complaining that I'm hard up - no doctor in this country is poor. It's just insulting to be told I'm overpaid - come follow me around for a week and then tell me what you think. Oh and meet some of the nurses I work with and try to tell them they're overpaid.

Sorry, rant over.

AFZ

[ 06. May 2010, 20:27: Message edited by: alienfromzog ]
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Thurible:
Lib Dem both locally (no-one bothered to stand as a Labour candidate) and nationally. The latter made me feel slightly sick, to be honest (I really don't like tactical voting), but I thought it important to try and, well, keep the Tories out of this constituency at least.

ETA that which I was originally going to say: I've never had to queue for 20 mins to get into the polling station before. Quite splendid.

Thurible

Well done!

My polling station person (from my church) said it was the busiest poll ever (in his 30 years of doing it).

I am going to bed early after a malt whiskey or 4 - would be too depressing to stay up and watch Cameron.

Then again, if Clegg can pull a similar stunt when Brown is out of the way and the Tories are seeking a larger mandate - that will be intrersting.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
...

Say the House of Commons looks like:

Con 310
Lab 230
L.D 75
Oth 35 (o/w DUP 10)

So only real option is Conservative minority government with some sort of DUP support.
...

Let's see how this fares!
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
...

Say the House of Commons looks like:

Con 310
Lab 230
L.D 75
Oth 35 (o/w DUP 10)

So only real option is Conservative minority government with some sort of DUP support.
...

Let's see how this fares!
Well - the Conservatives in Canada have survived remarkably well as a minority government with a similar sort of distribution of seats, so there's reason to think that that may be the pattern for us too if that arises.

Back from voting and a restaurant meal. Went early to vote - but the queue was so long that I had to bail and go back after the meal. Apparently there had been a queue from 530 till 930 - when I was in it, it seems to be mostly young (20-35) adults, so it does seem that this campaign has caught fire for that age group for the first time; one can only assume that is the impact of the TV debate. My guess is that will swing it towards the Lib Dems...
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
Excerpted Call from the Palace:


HM The Queen calling the Governor General of Canada.

Brenda: Hello Rideau Hall? Buck House here.

GG: 'Zup Your Majesty?

Brenda: Could you please second an advisor or three ASAP? The Westminster Parliament just hung itself like yours has.

GG: I recommend a stiff drink.
 
Posted by Hairy Biker (# 12086) on :
 
quote:
First past the post is on it's last legs
Peter Mandleson on the BBC just now. There's a turn-up for the books!

Given that the Tories have come out against electoral reform, are we going to see a Lib-Lab pact based on achieving the reform the 3rd party have been pushing for since I've been a voter
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
My polling station was as deathly quiet as it is every time I darken its doorstep but it's good to hear that elsewhere there has been a healthy turnout. The silence here probably has something to do with the fact that if Labour fielded a monkey most people would vote for it so I'm probably wasting my time voting Tory. Still, it's what I voted and I didn't have a single doubt about doing so.

I hope there isn't a hung parliament. I have no desire for the likes of the SNP holding the balance of power in the UK. I want Labour back in like I want an attack of vomiting but I would rather endure that than a hung parliament.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
I don't suggest those figures are the last word on the point obviously, just that statistics based upon the circumstances of many millions of people might be a better basis for discussion than the personal circumstances of one or two individual shipmates. In particular, the assumption that - on average - public sector pensions are more generous than private sector ones IS a valid and accurate assumption, even if there are individuals of whom that might not be true.

It's true of course that the private sector includes many people who have low paid jobs, but it also includes all the fat cats in the City, most of the country's lawyers, accountants and other traditionally well-paid professionals. And it's certainly not true to say that the public sector has entirely stripped itself of people with low skilled and low-earning jobs.

These statistics are from ONS not some dodgy political hack. Surely the fact that they seem counter intuitive is grounds for considering their implications rather than using a few personal anecdotes and gut-instinct assumptions to dismiss them?
 
Posted by alienfromzog (# 5327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
I don't suggest those figures are the last word on the point obviously, just that statistics based upon the circumstances of many millions of people might be a better basis for discussion than the personal circumstances of one or two individual shipmates. In particular, the assumption that - on average - public sector pensions are more generous than private sector ones IS a valid and accurate assumption, even if there are individuals of whom that might not be true.

It's true of course that the private sector includes many people who have low paid jobs, but it also includes all the fat cats in the City, most of the country's lawyers, accountants and other traditionally well-paid professionals. And it's certainly not true to say that the public sector has entirely stripped itself of people with low skilled and low-earning jobs.

These statistics are from ONS not some dodgy political hack. Surely the fact that they seem counter intuitive is grounds for considering their implications rather than using a few personal anecdotes and gut-instinct assumptions to dismiss them?

Reasonable point. Except that a simple mean doesn't really tell you anything. You need much more detailed figures.

Remember, the vast majority of people have an above average number of legs...

AFZ

[ 06. May 2010, 22:44: Message edited by: alienfromzog ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
What are the odds on there being legal challenges to results based on voters being turned away? Are we looking at the UK equivalent of the 2000 US general election? (Never mind about who has the most MPs, who has the most lawyers?)
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
Depends on how marginal the constituency and the Commons is at the end.

There was an appeal in Winchester a few elections back. The party that appealed lost even more in the by-election - it can look like sour grapes.

There may be legal challenges, but for them to get anywhere they would have to convince the Commons and the public that there was the 'wrong result' as opposed to a 'mistake' from which lessons must be learned.

Suppose 200 people were turned away due to a returning officer error and the majority was 20 then there is a reasonable probability of a successful appeal and by-election. The other way round - doesn't matter.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
What are the odds on there being legal challenges to results based on voters being turned away? Are we looking at the UK equivalent of the 2000 US general election? (Never mind about who has the most MPs, who has the most lawyers?)

It's a bloody shambles. The Electoral Commission has already issued an apology and has said it will undertake a review but otherwise it is hiding behind the rules - but the action taken by returning officers that administer the rules appears to vary!

It's even worse in City of Chester, where I have heard that a polling station ran out of ballot papers.

I don't think it matters a damn how few voters were deprived of a chance to vote: if you show up on time, you should get a vote.
 
Posted by iGeek (# 777) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
And "how can you be a Christian and vote Tory" comments.

Wow. It's like 'mericuhn politics in negative.

"how can you be a Christian and vote Democrat"
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Chester's marginal, isn't it? Could make a big difference there...
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Chester's marginal, isn't it? Could make a big difference there...

If people aren't able to vote, every seat is a marginal.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
True. But the challenges are more likely to result from marginals.

Meanwhile, I'm taking Leo's advice and nursing a single malt in front of the telly. [Smile]
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

I don't think it matters a damn how few voters were deprived of a chance to vote: if you show up on time, you should get a vote.

Of course it matters. The hand counting is rarely accurate to the nearest vote, and could be out by as much as 50 votes. If the majority is 10,000+ it doesn't really matter. Even with second recounts in close seats the numbers can move by 5 or 10 votes.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
It looks like the Greens have taken Brighton Pavilion...
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

I don't think it matters a damn how few voters were deprived of a chance to vote: if you show up on time, you should get a vote.

Of course it matters. The hand counting is rarely accurate to the nearest vote, and could be out by as much as 50 votes. If the majority is 10,000+ it doesn't really matter. Even with second recounts in close seats the numbers can move by 5 or 10 votes.
OK then, it might not matter as far as determining the result is concerned but it may well discourage people from voting in the future. All the politicians agree that every vote counts and they want to encourage voting, so it is vital that everyone who wants to cast a vote gets a chance to do so.
 
Posted by birdie (# 2173) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:

There was an appeal in Winchester a few elections back. The party that appealed lost even more in the by-election - it can look like sour grapes.

<snip>

Suppose 200 people were turned away due to a returning officer error and the majority was 20 then there is a reasonable probability of a successful appeal and by-election. The other way round - doesn't matter.

That's pretty much how it happened in Winchester, as I recall. I was a student there at the time. They recounted and recounted, and finally declared, late the following day I think, a Lib Dem victory with a majority of 2.

The Tories (it had previously been considered a safe Tory seat) immediately went round producing little old ladies who would have voted Tory if only they could have got out to vote. So the Tories appealed and then lost spectacularly at the by-election. Lib Dem majority of 21500. It was wonderful. [Smile]
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
It looks absolutely third world banana republic. It is unacceptable, and heads must roll at the relevant councils and Electoral Commission.

It would appear that many of the councils who broke the rules and had inadequate resources were run by Labour or the Lib Dems. The central rules and commission were set up by the Labour Government. It is quite likely that a number of the excess votes lost would have been drummed up by Labour canvassers. So at least it is cock-up not conspiracy in terms of political bias.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
It's getting worse. From the BBC election feed:

0043 BBC reporter Danny Carpenter in York says hundreds of postal ballots have gone missing in the city. The problems are being blamed on a printing error and a temporary closure at the local postal sorting office. In York Outer, the Lib Dems had a notional majority of just 203, meaning the missing votes could have a significant impact and pave the way for a losing party to challenge tonight's result in the courts.

What a five-star, ocean-going fuck-up. It reminds me of the "hanging chads" of G W Bush, 2001.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
[qb]
When Nick Clegg says that 'it's time for a change', the response is 'well, he would say that, wouldn't he'. To my mind, however, it happens to be true.

But is the change good? for instance they intend to introduce road pricing . This is hugely expensive way to collect tax and control cars (why not increase the price of petrol instead?). It will cause 'Rat runs' down minor roads. Every car in the coutnry will need to be tracked. What does this say about civil liberties?[/qb
I would have thought that economic meltdown and Matrix-like government databases were perhaps more important. But it's good to know that you have your own priorities.

quote:
Not only do they have a mad Transport policy they have a lunatic economic policy.
Yes Nick clegg and Vince Cable are nice people and very bright it's just that the Liberal Democrat party policy will take the country into a left turn onto the road to ruin.

Not a very good point, given the state that the British economy is in. It's actually quite easy to run an economy without letting the banks run away with it. Ask the NZ government.

On reflection, I find this election campaign to have been profoundly depressing. What one might expect to be the most important issues - the economy and Europe - have hardly been debated. All we have learned is that politicians should look straight into the camera if they want to increase their vote.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
The other thing is 'change to what?'. Lib Dem policy on a lot of things appears to change from week to week and region to region.

Sometimes joining the Euro is a good long-term goal, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes giving an amnesty to 600,000 illegal immigrants is a bold but sound idea, sometimes that figure is denied. Sometimes a coalition with Gordon Brown is out of the question, sometimes it is quite possible.

It would be a start if they could actually be pinned down on some of this stuff before then deciding whether they represent a change for the better.

You've just picked an example of a long-term LD policy. I imagine that, in the long run, Euro entry is still a good idea*, and I have no doubt that the Lib Dems have not made entry a manifesto commitment, because they know that the voters will not want it.

(speaking for myself, I favour it - during the global stockmarket crash, it was interesting to watch sterling slide - it is no longer a major world currency)
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
It's getting worse. From the BBC election feed:

0043 BBC reporter Danny Carpenter in York says hundreds of postal ballots have gone missing in the city. The problems are being blamed on a printing error and a temporary closure at the local postal sorting office. In York Outer, the Lib Dems had a notional majority of just 203, meaning the missing votes could have a significant impact and pave the way for a losing party to challenge tonight's result in the courts.

What a five-star, ocean-going fuck-up. It reminds me of the "hanging chads" of G W Bush, 2001.

Bloody debacle!
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
Christine Russell in Chester had a majority of about 900 votes.

Used to live there. In 1997 I was getting out the vote.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
So a by-election's pretty mandatory there.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
So a by-election's pretty mandatory there.

I think it would be better to wait and see the result and if there is an election petition first. A by-election as a result is still relatively unlikely.

The whole Parliament might have collapsed before there is any time for that!
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Conservatives have 'won' Chester on the face of it.
 
Posted by Michael Astley (# 5638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
It's a bloody shambles. The Electoral Commission has already issued an apology and has said it will undertake a review but otherwise it is hiding behind the rules - but the action taken by returning officers that administer the rules appears to vary!

Their spokeswoman on the Beeb certainly appeared to be hiding behind the rules with the strict 10 o' clock closure policy. So it seems that results may be challenged both because people were not allowed to vote in some places and because they were allowed to vote in others, (where objections could be raised that extending the voting time meant that a) rules were broken and b) the voters were potentially exposed to the exit poll result broadcast).

quote:
It's even worse in City of Chester, where I have heard that a polling station ran out of ballot papers.
I think it's Liverpool (among others) that ran out of ballot papers. Chester is, IIRC, where people who had registered to vote were refused their right to do so because nobody had bothered to update the list used at the polling stations. The voters were just turned away.

quote:
I don't think it matters a damn how few voters were deprived of a chance to vote: if you show up on time, you should get a vote.
I agree. There is absolutely no excuse for what has happened.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Conservatives have 'won' Chester on the face of it.

There is no 'won' about it.

The Returning Officer declared the result with a majority of 2,583. The second place candidate and agent would have had an immediate opportunity to appeal or ask for a recount, and it would appear that they have not done so if we have a result before 3am.

I would be very surprised if there is a formal petition supported by that candidate which finds 2,584 missing votes. Until and unless that position changes it is an unqualified win.
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
I know some good Labour people who I've fought on the streets with, people who work hard for their communities. I feel sorry for them.

I expected it, though. The Tories needed a minor swing.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
I have a question. I've seen different bits of information but nothing definite.

It is being reported over here that exit polls indicate the Conservatives will not have a majority. Now, as I understand it, the Queen technically appoints the PM. She has to appoint the person who gains the support of parliament. One source says that the incumbent PM gets the first opportunity to form a government. Another source says the Queen is most likely to ask the leader of the party with the most seats to form a government. In this case, they are two different people. So, which is right? Does the Queen really actually get to decide who has first crack at being PM?

Plus, if the exit polls are correct, Labor and Lib-Dems do not have enough combined seats to reach a majority. The Conservatives only need 20 or so votes. If they are to form a government, where would they get them? I'm not even sure if that's how it works.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
In the event of a hung parliament, the incumbent Prime Minister stays in office until he resigns or loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

If he goes, then the Queen would invite the person most likely to be able to form a government that could have the vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

Normally that would be the Leader of the largest party, not yet invited, unless it would be clear that he could not. Exceptionally, it might be someone else.

The Queen should not be put in an awkward position of having to make a choice. So the Cabinet Secretary would negotiate with the Privy Councillors involved to try and resolve the issue before that situation arises.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
Strictly speaking, in a minority situation, the sitting Prime Minister can choose to remain Prime Minster. This is known as "Meeting the House". This mean that Gordon Brown expects to assemble a working majority by the time Parliament convenes.

A "Working Majority" can constitute one of two two things. First, it can be a formal coalition where two parties sit as the government, and the Cabinet consists of members from both parties. The Canadian province of British Columbia has had this in the past and the federal Parliament of Australia regularly features this with the the Liberal/National Coalition.

Alternatively Labour can rely on a second party for support during confidence votes, usually by agreeing to a stated legislative agenda, but without being a formal coalition with a coalition cabinet. This happened in Ontario in 1985. The Progressive Conservatives won a minority, met the Legislature, and were forced out by the combined votes of the Liberals and NDP. The Liberals/NDP had an agreement on a legislative agenda but no formal coalition. The Lieutenant Governor allowed the transition without a second election.

Thirdly, Gordon Brown can concede victory to David Cameron and leave all the problems of finding a working majority to him.

Constitutionally, it is Brown's choice as to whether he will resign the Ministry tonight or not. Under normal circumstances this is a no-brainer, but not this time.

If David Cameron is unhappy if Gordon Brown does not resign he can't declare himself Prime Minister (yet), his only recourse is to meet the House of Commons and bring down the Government at the first opportunity. The first Money Bill or Supply Day would provide this opportunity. Money Bills are confidence matter by definition, and Supply Days allow the Opposition to set the agenda and bring forth a Confidence Motion.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
In the event of a hung parliament, the incumbent Prime Minister stays in office until he resigns or loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

If he goes, then the Queen would invite the person most likely to be able to form a government that could have the vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

Normally that would be the Leader of the largest party, not yet invited, unless it would be clear that he could not. Exceptionally, it might be someone else.

The Queen should not be put in an awkward position of having to make a choice. So the Cabinet Secretary would negotiate with the Privy Councillors involved to try and resolve the issue before that situation arises.

The advice of who to invite is given by the outgoing Prime Minister. The Cabinet Secretary as a Civil Servant should not be involved in such a political decision. That would be a clear breach of Responsible Government.

You are right about the list of usual suspects, but the key question is not really who is to be invited, it is whether that person can form a Government that will survive a Vote of Confidence. Remember every money bill is a Confidence measure. The fate of the Government lies not in Buck House but on the floor of the Commons.
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
I know some good Labour people who I've fought on the streets with, people who work hard for their communities. I feel sorry for them.

I expected it, though. The Tories needed a minor swing.

Without sleep and with vodka, I forgot to mention that I was talking about Chester.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
BBC talking to Jack Straw right now, apparently Gordon Brown "is the Prime Minister" and will be "talking to advisors" in the morning.

Looks like he's chosen to Meet the House.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
In the event of a hung parliament, the incumbent Prime Minister stays in office until he resigns or loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

If he goes, then the Queen would invite the person most likely to be able to form a government that could have the vote of confidence in the House of Commons.

Normally that would be the Leader of the largest party, not yet invited, unless it would be clear that he could not. Exceptionally, it might be someone else.

The Queen should not be put in an awkward position of having to make a choice. So the Cabinet Secretary would negotiate with the Privy Councillors involved to try and resolve the issue before that situation arises.

The advice of who to invite is given by the outgoing Prime Minister. The Cabinet Secretary as a Civil Servant should not be involved in such a political decision. That would be a clear breach of Responsible Government.

You are right about the list of usual suspects, but the key question is not really who is to be invited, it is whether that person can form a Government that will survive a Vote of Confidence. Remember every money bill is a Confidence measure. The fate of the Government lies not in Buck House but on the floor of the Commons.

This is the United Kingdom not Canada. The situation is not identical.

The key confidence vote will be on the Queen's Speech debate, which is on 25 May.

The Cabinet Secretary has perfectly properly offered to facilitate the process of negotiation.

Events will take their course over the weekend. Real politics may trump the constitutional niceties.
 
Posted by Duo Seraphim (# 256) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:
BBC talking to Jack Straw right now, apparently Gordon Brown "is the Prime Minister" and will be "talking to advisors" in the morning.

Looks like he's chosen to Meet the House.

I think that might be a little premature to call that. But it is looking like a hung Parliament, with the Conservatives falling 21 or so seats short of outright majority.

The Lib Dems will play a central role in the next few days and in the lead up to May 25. But they have also lost seats to the Conservatives - including to my surprise my old home of Harrogate and Knaresborough. That's been Lib Dem for some time - indeed IIRC it was lost (deservedly) for the Conservatives by Norman Lamont.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
Green Party just took Brighton Pavilion [Smile]
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
... and the BNP didn't take Barking [Smile]

[ 07. May 2010, 04:58: Message edited by: Alwyn ]
 
Posted by Trisagion (# 5235) on :
 
It was worth staying up just to see Paxo interview Evan Harris.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
I'm up after too little sleep. And I still have no idea what just happened. Or what's happening now.

At least Radio 4 seems to share my confusion. [Ultra confused]
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
As someone on Radio 4 said this morning, "The people have spoken. We’re just not sure what they've said."

What a night, what a morning - we've had a general election and nobody has won.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Safe in the knowledge that my opinoin will make no difference what I think they should do is:

The second election will almost certainly lead to a Tory government. But having passed the budget through the house should allow for a consensus - however forced - so that we have the stability of economic planning needed for the financial markets.

Also, these solutions would ultimately favour the conservatives - all parties take responsibility for the cuts and then they get the benefit of the increase in the share of the vote.
 
Posted by Malin (# 11769) on :
 
It's not often you wake up and find you haven't missed the end of the election. So close in places.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Labour, liberal and the nationalists do we think ? After all, Labour did deliver devolution ...
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Humble pie consumption time - I am comforted by the fact that Ken and I are both eating from the same dish having both made the same wrong prediction [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Malin (# 11769) on :
 
Of the remaining seats does anyone know which way they are expected to go? Are they marginals or mostly huge majorities?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
As someone on Radio 4 said this morning, "The people have spoken. We’re just not sure what they've said."

That was David Milliband. A great quote.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Re forming a government, my understanding that Gordon Brown remains Prime Minister until relieved of office, and so he has first dibs at attempting to form a government.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Humble pie consumption time - I am comforted by the fact that Ken and I are both eating from the same dish having both made the same wrong prediction [Hot and Hormonal]

I predicted wrongly that there would be a wafer-thin Conservative majority.

As for the message from the voters - there isn't one single message. We are a deeply divided society and that is what the election results indicate.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
Cod, yes apparently.

Three possibilities IMO:

A) A 'rainbow coalition' of the Labour, the Lib Dems, various nationalists and Caroline Lucas (the Greens' have taken Brighton).

B) A Tory/Lib Dem coalition

C) Tory minority government propped up by the DUP.

The likelihood of A is increased by the fact that Labour gets first go at cobbling together a coalition. It would be horribly unwieldy though and would involve buying off lots of small interest groups. B is what we'll probably get. C would be horrible (from my leftish point of view anyway).

The BNP have got nowhere (no surprise). Caroline Lucas wasn't that much of a surprise either, though I don't think its as big a deal as the Greens will make out. Its an unusual constituency and they're still pretty marginal across the UK (admittedly I'm biased...the Greens are powerful on my local city council and haven't exactly been good for the city).
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
Cod, yes apparently.

Three possibilities IMO:

A) A 'rainbow coalition' of the Labour, the Lib Dems, various nationalists and Caroline Lucas (the Greens' have taken Brighton).

B) A Tory/Lib Dem coalition

C) Tory minority government propped up by the DUP.

The likelihood of A is increased by the fact that Labour gets first go at cobbling together a coalition. It would be horribly unwieldy though and would involve buying off lots of small interest groups. B is what we'll probably get. C would be horrible (from my leftish point of view anyway).

The BNP have got nowhere (no surprise). Caroline Lucas wasn't that much of a surprise either, though I don't think its as big a deal as the Greens will make out. Its an unusual constituency and they're still pretty marginal across the UK (admittedly I'm biased...the Greens are powerful on my local city council and haven't exactly been good for the city).

Whatever happens we'll be voting in another General Election in the next few years. My guess and preference is for Conservative minority rule but not with any substantial handouts to Northern Ireland - that would simply be unjust when swingeing cuts of our bloated public sector are in order for the rest of the UK.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
I think a) is not made so unlikely, as the parties concerned do have a fair bit in common. Also, the smaller parties would be sensible not to forgo the chance of government simply by riding a hobby horse too hard. I think, however, Clegg has boxed himself in somewhat by saying that he can't work with Gordo.

Perhaps Millipede as PM with Vince Cable as Chancellor?

b) sounds a non-starter, given that the Tories are (predictably enough) not interested in electoral reform.

Perhaps we will have a small dose of c) while Cameron attempts to get his ratings up, whereupon he will call another election to get a working majority.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I think "first past the post" is now a "bust", which is probably the best thing to have come out of last night. I think Cameron will become PM with LibDem acquiescence, provided they find the right form of words and promises re electoral reform. If that can't be done, it's a bit of a mess.

But I reckon it can be. All Cameron has to do is pick up the phone. If Clegg has any sense, he'll resist the "temptation" to go for a LibLab pact, which would probably be seen as a coalition of the night's losers - and cause losses next time. Better to let Cameron pick up the "poisoned chalice". Game on.

I'm also wondering if some of the voting shambles (which seems likely to produce a few re-runs) might be an x-factor in all of this. The numbers are very close, even when one looks at possible coalitions.
 
Posted by The Exegesis Fairy (# 9588) on :
 
The DUP won 8 seats (Sinn Fein have either 4 or 5, depending on this recount). That's not enough for a Con/DUP majority, unless the Conservatives win all the remaining seats available.

Plus the DUP will wring crippling concessions out of them. Northern Ireland is an expensive proposition.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Cameron's problem with Clegg is that he can't carry his party to do a deal on electoral reform, which places him in a weak position re negotiating with the Lib Dems. The alternaive is a 'coalition of the losers' which is more unpalatable morally but I regret to say is the more likely outcome, albeit with Other Dave (Miliband) as PM rather than Gord-help-us.

Worst possible outcome for business and the economy.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
An Israeli perspective. Note that last paragraph:
quote:
And there is also some agreement that the British system, as Lord Mandelson said on Friday morning, “is on its last legs.” Ironically, he and other political leaders are looking to proportional representation as a panacea. We here, of course, know better.


 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I agree with The Exegesis Fairy. I'm not sure Cameron should go courting Welsh, Scottish and/or Irish parties - they'd want economic preference deals which would play very badly for the Tories, given their huge gains in England.

Nope, I reckon it's a "no-brainer" for him to seek some accommodation with the LibDems - and give away as little as possible. Matt, you're right that it might not win, given the constraints on Cameron - but I'm sure he's got to try. Heck, the Tories are huge winners on the popular vote front. The only way to lose next time is to be seen to lack the will to accommodate.

[ 07. May 2010, 08:49: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by The Exegesis Fairy (# 9588) on :
 
Then again, Barnabas, he's going to have to give SOMETHING. It's within the power of the Conservatives to command a majority, but it's in their hands. Don't give the little'uns what they want? Oh...well, sorry. Never mind. Lib/Lab coalition it is...

The question is, how much are the Conservatives prepared to give for a chance at governing? Pretty much any coalition government is going to include the Lib Dems. (Is that electoral reform I hear knocking? Probably not, but I'd like it if it were. More likely it's crazy Aunt Ethel).
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
I think a) is not made so unlikely, as the parties concerned do have a fair bit in common. Also, the smaller parties would be sensible not to forgo the chance of government simply by riding a hobby horse too hard. I think, however, Clegg has boxed himself in somewhat by saying that he can't work with Gordo.

Perhaps Millipede as PM with Vince Cable as Chancellor?

I'm not sure the Lib Dems have boxed themselves in. Gordon's Brown's so unpopular that they couldn't possibly be seen to put him back in power anyway. It will be interesting to see if a Lib-Lab pact with Plaid Cymru, Caroline Lucas and suitable Northern Irish MPs (i.e. the SDLP, the one independent liberal unionist MP and the Alliance Party) would give them a majority. It just about might.


quote:
b) sounds a non-starter, given that the Tories are (predictably enough) not interested in electoral reform.

I'm not sure. The Tory alternative would be to govern by the skin of their teeth with DUP support. There's a few problems with this. Firstly, the DUP have already named their price (complete Northern Irish immunity from cuts) which would be very very hard to sell to the rest of the UK. Secondly, a coalition with the party of Paisley would hurt Cameron's attempts to modernise the Tories. Thirdly the Tories are already united to a rival unionist party (the UUP). Clegg and Cameron on the other hand could both sell compromise with each other as necesary for the greater good (they are the only two parties capable of forming a stable coalition). And on certain issues (civil liberties, the enviroment) the Cameron modernisers aren't that far from the Lib Dems anyway.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
ES, Israel's hardly a typical representative democracy though is it?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
If Clegg has any sense, he'll resist the "temptation" to go for a LibLab pact, which would probably be seen as a coalition of the night's losers - and cause losses next time. Better to let Cameron pick up the "poisoned chalice". Game on.

I think either way there are going to be Lib Dem losses at the next election.

Scenario 1. The Conservatives form a minority government. They go into campaign mode and and insist that the country's finances are in such a mess (which they are) that only their medicine will cure it (I suspect many will swallow this one). Cameron then calls an election. The Conservatives' vote increases and they are re-elected having taken a swathe of seats lost to the Lib Dems in 97, 01 and 05. Other Lib Dem voters swing back to Labour, and leave the Lib Dems were they were in the 1970s - 16% of the vote and about fifteen seats or less. Electoral reform goes off the agenda for the next fifty years.

Scenario 2: Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and possibly Alliance NI cobble together a coalition. The junior partners insist on electoral reform. They all get smashed at the next election in terms of the popular vote, but remain with as many or more seats in Parliament under AV+. In time, their vote share recovers.

Clegg should go with Labour.

[ 07. May 2010, 08:52: Message edited by: Cod ]
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
But, Barnabas, what could Cameron possibly offer Clegg to tempt him except a committment to electoral reform?
 
Posted by The Exegesis Fairy (# 9588) on :
 
Argh, edit window.

Sorry Barnabas, you made most of my points already, but half your post didn't appear on my screen. Oops.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
With 290 Conservative seats, 35 seats left to declare and the need to achieve 326 seats to win, a hung Parliament now seems certain.

In July 2007, there were serious negotiations between the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats about forming a coalition in the Welsh Assembly. But they could not agree on issues such as the introduction of proportional representation (for local elections). Apparently, the Welsh Conservatives and David Cameron were willing to consider this proposal but the Shadow Cabinet wouldn't accept it (source: Vernon Bagdanor, 'The New British Constitution').

I don't think that the Conservatives would accept PR for Westminster elections. Would it be safe to assume that PR would be the price of a formal Conservative-Lib Dem coalition? In the absence of a coalition, will there be an informal understanding between them, or something else?
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by alienfromzog:
Reasonable point. Except that a simple mean doesn't really tell you anything. You need much more detailed figures.

Remember, the vast majority of people have an above average number of legs...


Actually, in context a simple mean can tell you plenty. If someone is arguing from a particular instance (the experience of their own employment history or the performance of their own pension for example) on the implicit basis that this is representative of the situation for most people, a mean derived from the circumstances of millions of people might show that this is inaccurate.

Anyway, back to the fallout. If it can be put together, I think the least bad outcome would be a Conservative/LibDem pact. Only two partners' differing aspirations would need to be balanced which is potentially no more fractious than some individual parties with disparate wings and power bases. There's the possibility that such a government might be able to hold itself together for a while before unravelling over their inherent incompatibility and resulting in a further election. A minimum of a full fiscal year before we have to go through another election would be useful in terms of stability.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
ES, Israel's hardly a typical representative democracy though is it?

There's PR and there's PR. I'd be quite happy with single member constituencies elected by transferable vote. I don't want lists, as they disconnect voters from representatives, and favour party patronage.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
Doc Tor,
Agreed. Lists etc are horrible. I grew up with the Irish system of PR, which works well (IMO), doesn't involve lists and was (ironically enough) invented for us by the British as part of the settlement leading to Irish independence back in 1922. Maybe you guys could have it back...
 
Posted by Uriel (# 2248) on :
 
My first post on this thread. I was acting as presiding officer on a polling station all of yesterday. Regarding the queues and people being turned away in a few seats, the law is quite simple - the polling station closes at 10pm, and anyone not issued with a vote at 10pm (even if they are in the polling station) cannot vote. It is not for presiding officers to arbitrarily change the law according to extraordinary local circumstances as and when they see fit - that really would leave the results open to legal challenge.

However, if I had seen a long queue and knew that I couldn't process everyone in time for the 10 o'clock deadline then I would do the following:
- tell everyone in the queue that they will be given a ballot paper and they should come into the polling station.
- Lock the polling station doors at 10 o'clock
- give everyone a voting paper but announce that it may only be cast once they have also been checked on the electoral register
- only let the voters cast their vote after they have been double checked that they are on the electoral register. It is this checking that takes the time, especially if the voter hasn't brought their polling card.
- anyone who isn't on the electoral register for that polling station (e.g. they turned up to the wrong polling station or didn't register in time) will have to return the voting paper issued to them which is then cancelled as a spoilt ballot.
- Everyone else would have to wait patiently while the checking process is gone through, but they will at least have been given their voting paper legally and be able to cast it legally.

I didn't have to resort to this irregular if legal measure as we only had 3 voters in the last half hour, despite a strong turnout overall. No student population surging out of the bars to vote in the last hour...

As for reports that some stations ran out of ballot papers, that is just poor management. I have always had enough ballots in case of 100% turnout, and a few to spare in case of re-issues for spoilt ballots.

Cheers,

Uriel
(Who is knackered after a 16 hour day at the polling station, followed by staying up to watch results come in).
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
But, Barnabas, what could Cameron possibly offer Clegg to tempt him except a committment to electoral reform?

A referendum this year on electoral reform? Even if the Tories said "we'll vote against" (which they probably would), the general "let the people decide" would be a popular line. Clegg might buy that. Maybe with a few sweeteners thrown in?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
(to Uriel)

God bless you, sir. [Overused]

Get some kip in, as we may be doing it all again sooner than usual.

[ 07. May 2010, 09:05: Message edited by: Doc Tor ]
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
Doc Tor,
Agreed. Lists etc are horrible. I grew up with the Irish system of PR, which works well (IMO), doesn't involve lists and was (ironically enough) invented for us by the British as part of the settlement leading to Irish independence back in 1922. Maybe you guys could have it back...

Actually it was pioneered in Australia in the nineteenth century.
 
Posted by Malin (# 11769) on :
 
Do you think they have all their scenarios planned out in the backrooms? Surely they must have seen a hung result as possible/probable? I know they can't choose a path until the final count is in but there must be war games on all this?

Just wondering how long it will be until there is clear leadership and enough stability for the markets.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
It feels as though I was part of a different election north of the Border. Labour were actually increasing their majority in some Scottish seats, although the oft-predicted scenario of no Scottish Conservative MPs hasn't happened - Mundell remains our single Tory.

Obviously, it's annoying for Scotland to vote for a left wing party and end up with a right wing one, but it must also be annoying for English right wingers that they're stuck with a solid block of Scottish Labour MPs.

Currently the situation in Scotland is: 41 Labour, 10 Lib Dem (expected to be 11 once the Argyll declares), 6 SNP, 1 Conservative. Take Scotland out of the equation, and there would be a clear Conservative majority.

How frustrating is this for English Conservatives?
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
Nick Clegg is saying that the Conservatives deserve the first opportunity to seek a coalition with the Lib Dems (BBC).
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
As someone on Radio 4 said this morning, "The people have spoken. We’re just not sure what they've said."

That was David Milliband. A great quote.
No, it was Ashcroft.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Smart speech by Clegg. The ball is in Cameron's court. Any "LibLab pact" can only now follow a prior failure of the Tories to get the LibDems onside. A failure by Cameron to have "meaningful negotiations" with the LibDems would probably rebound on the Tories, rather than the LibDems. Clegg got the word out first, and the word confirmed what he said before the results were out.

[ 07. May 2010, 09:52: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
How frustrating is this for English Conservatives?

Hugely. West Lothian rears its head again.

Frankly, I think the best outcome for Britain now would be for Brown to attempt to cling onto power by his grubby little fingertips for as long as he can, and despite the clear statement from the voters that we want him gone. The popular backlash in the inevitable repeat election that would happen no more than a year later would take the Conservatives to a clear victory, and a clear mandate for change.

What a mess though. I can't understand how so many people in this country choose to believe scare stories, spin and propoganda over the actual evidence - lies, corruption, bureaucracy, centralisation and the constant assault on freedoms and liberties - we've all seen in the last 13 years.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Or perhaps Ashdown? (I'm sure I saw it attributed to Milliband, but it's more an Ashdown thing to say).

Nice to see, on the same blog, a comment from Ashcroft saying that he will step down from the Tories. Good riddance.
 
Posted by The Exegesis Fairy (# 9588) on :
 
My favourite moment (born and bred in Northern Ireland as I am) was when the DUP leader was ousted by the ALLIANCE party, winning their first-ever seat. Brilliant moment, seriously.

(The Alliance party: not unionist or nationalist, more, 'Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was nice'. Basically the LibDems in Northern Ireland.)
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
How frustrating is this for English Conservatives?

Hugely. West Lothian rears its head again.

Frankly, I think the best outcome for Britain now would be for Brown to attempt to cling onto power by his grubby little fingertips for as long as he can, and despite the clear statement from the voters that we want him gone. The popular backlash in the inevitable repeat election that would happen no more than a year later would take the Conservatives to a clear victory, and a clear mandate for change.


Much as I'd like to see a Conservative majority, I think the scenario you've outlined will be disastrous for the economy.
 
Posted by +Chad (# 5645) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
(to Uriel)

God bless you, sir. [Overused]

Hear, hear. Common sense and sanity.

quote:
Get some kip in, as we may be doing it all again sooner than usual.
[Eek!] but I fear you are right.
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
I think it's worse for the Scottish Tories. They had a very bad night.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Much as I'd like to see a Conservative majority, I think the scenario you've outlined will be disastrous for the economy.

Sadly, I don't think there's much that can be done about that now. Whichever coalition ends up running the show, there will be so much horse trading and behind-closed-doors machinations that market confidence may struggle to recover.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Smart speech by Clegg. The ball is in Cameron's court. Any "LibLab pact" can only now follow a prior failure of the Tories to get the LibDems onside. A failure by Cameron to have "meaningful negotiations" with the LibDems would probably rebound on the Tories, rather than the LibDems. Clegg got the word out first, and the word confirmed what he said before the results were out.

It wouldn't necessarily rebound on the Conservatives, if the LibDems insisted on PR (a secondary issue) while the economy (the only thing that really matters) was going down the pan. The markets will punish even a few days inaction.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
ES, Israel's hardly a typical representative democracy though is it?

No but it's negative experiences with PR have been replicated in both France and Italy which have both moved away it (See here for the Italian History and the French and elsewhere 2 round system).

One scenario for the future:
Brown meets the House and loses a vote of no confidence. Cameron is invited to form a government and fails to gain support, so a Labour minority returns to power, makes serious proposals for cuts and is ejected, leading to a Conservative majority i.e. Cameron should play the long game. The Lib Dems can't support a Labour government headed by Brown, but on his resignation Cameron must have the next try - Labour can't expect to be invited to try for a new government if Brown resigns as leader, which is the minimum Clegg can agree to, having committed himself to wanting change if Labour lost both the popular vote and the number of seats.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Spawn

I've no doubt that calculation is exercising David Cameron and his advisers right now. Alligators and swamps? Of course Clegg and Cameron will find some ways of agreeing on an emergency budget - else they will both lose. But Cameron cannot afford to lose the "meally-mouthed" contest. And being "mean" on electoral reform would, I think, look like that. The promise of a referendum would be a small, swamp-draining, price to pay for tackling the alligators together. Clegg could concede a lot on an emergency budget in exchange for that, and still come out looking good.
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Exegesis Fairy:
My favourite moment (born and bred in Northern Ireland as I am) was when the DUP leader was ousted by the ALLIANCE party, winning their first-ever seat. Brilliant moment, seriously.

(The Alliance party: not unionist or nationalist, more, 'Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was nice'. Basically the LibDems in Northern Ireland.)

Hilarious. The Alliance Party for years have been the party of opposition to sectarianism and terrorism and therefore no-one took them seriously. The Tories even introduced PR into Northern Ireland in order to give them a leg up with absolutely no discernable effect whatsoever.

Then the whole coo-coo-ca-choo Mrs Robinson thang kicks in and suddenly they've defenestrated the leader of the DUP.

As the Alliance Party are part of the Liberal International and would, presumably, sit and vote with the Damn Libs there is a distinct possibility that Mrs Robinson's indiscretion has not merely propelled Ms Long into the House of Commons but quite possibly onto the government benches.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
Sorry - should have explained that the French system replaced the PR which was blamed for the weakness of the 3rd and 4th Republic governments from 1870 until 1958
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Spawn

I've no doubt that calculation is exercising David Cameron and his advisers right now. Alligators and swamps? Of course Clegg and Cameron will find some ways of agreeing on an emergency budget - else they will both lose. But Cameron cannot afford to lose the "meally-mouthed" contest. And being "mean" on electoral reform would, I think, look like that. The promise of a referendum would be a small, swamp-draining, price to pay for tackling the alligators together. Clegg could concede a lot on an emergency budget in exchange for that, and still come out looking good.

mmm, having lost MPs, I'm not sure that the LibDems are in as strong a negotiating position as people seem to think.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
... market confidence may struggle to recover.

quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
... The markets will punish even a few days inaction.

'The markets'? Are they totally unrelated to the people who crashed our economy into a wall and demanded an £850 billion bailout, leaving us with £799 billion in government debt?

We don't talk about health or education workers as 'the health' or 'the education' and let them dictate how our political leaders should respond to a hung Parliament. Maybe it's time to stop talking about City traders as if they were some sort of natural, neutral and impersonal force? Maybe someone should tell 'the markets' that they had one vote each, the same as everybody else.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
They're also the engine that may (or may not, depending on what sort of government is formed) create the jobs and business that is so badly needed by the economy.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
mmm, having lost MPs, I'm not sure that the LibDems are in as strong a negotiating position as people seem to think.

Despite gaining votes? No, the paradox of this is that with an increased share of the vote coupled with a loss of seats, Clegg looks to have good case for electoral reform. And I think the TV debates helped him as well. And he did look pretty statesmanlike and grown up this morning.

On BBC TV "Paxo" has just had a hilarious conversation with Boris Johnson, suggesting that some electoral reform concession would be a small price to pay. Boris produced some great metaphors about meccanos and sausages, but in the process produced a comment that the result was the electorate's way of punishing Labour, Tories and LibDems! Not bad. A certain humility is required. And given that, as Boris put it, most of the meat in the government sausage will be Tory meat, they are going to have to give something, however painful they might find that. If Clegg plays his cards right, he'll get something good out of this.
 
Posted by Alwyn (# 4380) on :
 
Fair point - yes, what City workers do has great value. I have no problem with listening to them about the economic effects of a delayed process. Their views deserve to be given appropriate (but not excessive) weight.

I do have a problem, with City workers demanding a quick outcome, if that leads to rushed, bad decision-making by party leaders in their current state of crumpledness.

Mr Cameron is bright and energetic, but he just campaigned through the night. I imagine that all the party leaders are totally worn out. Would you want to make vitally important decisions about your own life when you were totally exhausted? What about making decisions that will affect the lives of millions of other people for years to come?
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Sorry - should have explained that the French system replaced the PR which was blamed for the weakness of the 3rd and 4th Republic governments from 1870 until 1958

To be fair those governments would have been pretty weak for reasons that had nothing to do with PR. For example the 3rd Republic was deeply divided (Catholics/monarchists v republicans plus the rise of socialism and a range of anarchists and nutty rightists) and had just lost a war and two provinces to Berlin. One problem with assessing the impact of PR is separating it out from all the other factors at work. The Irish Republic is an example of a country that has remained remarkably stable under PR, despite the destabilising effects of the Northern Ireland troubles, relative poverty for most of the 20th century and a nasty civil war in the 1920s which divided the country for half a century. Italy is an example of a country that hasn't. In both cases deeper forces were probably at work stabilising or destabilising the situation. The question isn't how PR has worked in country X or Y. Its how it would work in the UK.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Despite gaining votes? No, the paradox of this is that with an increased share of the vote coupled with a loss of seats, Clegg looks to have good case for electoral reform. And I think the TV debates helped him as well. And he did look pretty statesmanlike and grown up this morning.

He hasn't gained many votes. LibDems had about 22 per cent in 2005 and is just shy of 23 per cent on the results so far.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
I was (regrettably) right about the Lib Dem vote not holding out at the end of the campaign: I think it got squeezed and some of those who had said "don't know" when polled before the vote may have made their mind up. If Nick Clegg hadn't boosted the vote as a result of the first leaders' debate they could have done worse.

Plenty of good news though: the BNP opposed resolutely on the issues and defeated, Green Party representation, the Alliance win in Northern Ireland and the "Respect" candidates including George Galloway, trailing in third in Bethnal Green & Bow and Poplar & Limehouse.

Meanwhile Jack Dromey MP is being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman and he really is saying that the Conservatives are the "big losers!" Horseshit!
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
Meanwhile Jack Dromey MP is being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman and he really is saying that the Conservatives are the "big losers!" Horseshit!
It is, but the Tories aren't clear winners either. They haven't been able to win a clear majority even when faced with Labour (deeply unpopular & in office since forever) and the Lib Dems (weak) and boosted by a recession. They're only 7% ahead of Labour on the popular vote, which isn't terribly impressive. In fact the popular vote has pretty much gone to the left of centre, which has 52% compared with Cameron's 36%, and thats without counting the nationalist parties and the Greens.
 
Posted by Rosa Winkel (# 11424) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
quote:
Meanwhile Jack Dromey MP is being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman and he really is saying that the Conservatives are the "big losers!" Horseshit!
It is, but the Tories aren't clear winners either. They haven't been able to win a clear majority even when faced with Labour (deeply unpopular & in office since forever) and the Lib Dems (weak) and boosted by a recession. They're only 7% ahead of Labour on the popular vote, which isn't terribly impressive. In fact the popular vote has pretty much gone to the left of centre, which has 52% compared with Cameron's 36%, and thats without counting the nationalist parties and the Greens.
Very good point.

Plus, the racist parties did terribly.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
Plus, the racist parties did terribly.

If only. That's an aspect of the results that I've found disquieting. As I am making this post 632 of the 650 results have been tabulated by the BBC and they record a current total of 549,679 votes cast for the BNP's candidates and another 887,881 for UKIP (or BNP-Lite as someone at work called them the other day). In round figures that's getting on for 1 in 20 of all the votes cast. In 2005 BNP only polled about 190,000 votes altogether and UKIP about 600,000.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
Humble pie consumption time - I am comforted by the fact that Ken and I are both eating from the same dish having both made the same wrong prediction [Hot and Hormonal]

Actually my prediction was *almost* accurate. The Tories did a bit worse than I expected (or the polls predicted) Its very labile when there is a three-way split - a small change in votes can lead to a big change in outcomes. Well, that's my excuse!
 
Posted by Pre-cambrian (# 2055) on :
 
On the problems at the polling stations I would hope there would be an informed debate, but from what I heard last night informed wasn't part of it.

There was a lot of talk about the turnout being exceptional. It wasn't. In seats counted so far it's around 65% which is the second lowest since WW2. It's higher than 2005 but in every other election it was over 70% and over 80% in 1950 and 1951. And the considerable increase in postal votes means that even fewer would have been passing through the polling stations.

The head of the Electoral Commission said the problem was a Victorian system designed for a much reduced franchise, which is historically uninformed. It's coped fine with universal franchise since 1918 with considerably higher turnouts than yesterday(see above).

So the first question needs to be what was different in 2010?, not to junk the system straight off. Some speculations on contributory factors:
Polling stations not having enough ballot papers or the most up-to-date electoral roll is unacceptable full stop.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Despite gaining votes? No, the paradox of this is that with an increased share of the vote coupled with a loss of seats, Clegg looks to have good case for electoral reform. And I think the TV debates helped him as well. And he did look pretty statesmanlike and grown up this morning.

He hasn't gained many votes. LibDems had about 22 per cent in 2005 and is just shy of 23 per cent on the results so far.
Labour 29% = 260ish seats

LibDem 23% = 55ish seats

Of course it's a characteristic of first past the post - but you end up with a little under one quarter of the voters represented by less than 9% of the MP's. I've just heard David Butler (veteran psephologist) say he's "ambivalent" about this. It's a proper issue for discussion since the Liberal vote has been well above 20% for several years now. It's also a proper issue for discussion whether we should have majority governments receiving well under half the votes.

It's not just a "loser's complaint". There are issues of equity here, which are just as important as the need for strong elected governments.
 
Posted by Spawn (# 4867) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Of course it's a characteristic of first past the post - but you end up with a little under one quarter of the voters represented by less than 9% of the MP's. I've just heard David Butler (veteran psephologist) say he's "ambivalent" about this. It's a proper issue for discussion since the Liberal vote has been well above 20% for several years now. It's also a proper issue for discussion whether we should have majority governments receiving well under half the votes.

It's not just a "loser's complaint". There are issues of equity here, which are just as important as the need for strong elected governments.

It's a proper issue for discussion, but there are other ways of solving some of these disparities (which favour Labour disproportionately) by balancing out the size of constituencies. This would give all the parties a level playing field in a first past-the-post system.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Maybe a separate thread, Spawn? I'm pretty sure you're wrong. I think the current system is inequitable to some degree because of electoral boundaries, but "first past the post" is incurably structurally inequitable with a third party polling, consistently, nearly a quarter of the votes.

Anyway, Brown has just played his last card and I'm pretty sure it will not work. Cameron needs a deal to get a Queen's speech through, and some accommodation will no doubt emerge. But without confidence that a Queen's speech can be got through the House, Cameron cannot be confident that he will be able to provide a reasonably stable government, and therefore take over as PM. That's the reality. "I'm going forward, come and join us if you like" is not going to work." Brown, as PM, will ask the question "on behalf of the Queen" and there needs to be a believable answer. That's the constitutional process.
 
Posted by New Yorker (# 9898) on :
 
Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Second question: If, for example, the Conservatives won a clear majority, Brown would resign and Cameron would be appointed PM. This would happen immediately after the results were known, right? On a practical level how does an outgoing PM move out of Number 10 so fast? Here, the move in/out of the White House happens during the inauguration, but the outgoing president has had a few months to pack!
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Labour were actually increasing their majority in some Scottish seats

And in London. Many London seats had a swing to Labour, and even safe Tory ones often saw the Conservative vote fall slightly.


quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
It wouldn't necessarily rebound on the Conservatives, if the LibDems insisted on PR (a secondary issue) while the economy (the only thing that really matters) was going down the pan.

Trouble is it looks like the voters think electoral reform IS a big issue. That's one of the reasons the Tories didn't win the majority that the buggins-turn system was expected to give them.

quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
The alternaive is a 'coalition of the losers' which is more unpalatable morally ...

Tory-DUP represent less than 37% of the total vote

Lib-Lab-Nat about 57% - far from morally dubious

Arguable that many voters actually WANT coalition government and constitutional reform

Libs can do that deal with Labour - after all Labour already have a referendum on the voting dsystem in their manifesto and have already introduced various novel systems in other elections.

If Labour dance to the Liberal tune on this they will be going a little further along a road they have already set out on. For the Tories it would be a U-turn.

But there might not be enough MPs to swing it. Labour + SDLP (who more or less function as Labour when in Westminster) have 257 MPs. If LD went in with them that goes up to 308. SNP and Plaid have 10 between them so far. The single Green and Alliance MPs will in practice vote for them. There are a couple of undeclared seats that will go Liberal or SNP but its hard to see the whole show going much above 320. Sinn Fein won't play ball (and if they did they would demand things no-one wants to give them). So it looks like no-one can form a majoity coalition without DUP. So minority government.

Minority government might not be a bad thing. It means that every Bill needs to be argued on its merits and MPs need to be persuaded to vote. Lots of people have said that they want to see power move back towards the House of Commons and away from the Government. If the House is willing to excercise power, they have it in their hands.

I'm all in favour but then I woudl be. I think the British poeople need to be weaned out fo their deferential attachment to strong government and leadership. Armies need leaders, governments don't. Governments need negotiators. This is politics, not war.


quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
ES, Israel's hardly a typical representative democracy though is it?

No but it's negative experiences with PR have been replicated in both France and Italy which have both moved away it (See here for the Italian History and the French and elsewhere 2 round system).

Which is why both Liberals and Labour are pushing for some form of preference voting and NOT the list system (true PR which almost no-one sensible wants) or the two-round system.

quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

Meanwhile Jack Dromey MP is being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman and he really is saying that the Conservatives are the "big losers!" Horseshit!

As I overheard someone say in a cafe over breakfast this morning:
quote:

If I was that David Cameron I'd shoot myself. Iraq war, credit crunch, MPs expenses, and they STILL can't win a bloody election. Total failure. Ought to commit hara-kiri on television.

By rights this is the Tories Kinnock moment. Their 1992.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Second question: If, for example, the Conservatives won a clear majority, Brown would resign and Cameron would be appointed PM. This would happen immediately after the results were known, right? On a practical level how does an outgoing PM move out of Number 10 so fast? Here, the move in/out of the White House happens during the inauguration, but the outgoing president has had a few months to pack!

Back in the 1950s, the Conservatives routinely got half the vote in Scotland. They've been squeezed by the other parties and the de-industrialisation of the 1970s/1980s is said to have hit Scotland particularly hard.

In a 'normal' election, the outgoing PM leaves the day after the election. Stuff is packed, the removal vans arrive in Downing Street load the Prime Minister's things in to the back and carts it off in the morning. The PM then goes to the palace and offers the Queen his resignation. The Leader of the Opposition the goes to the Palace in mid-morning, is asked to form the government and moves into Downing Street.

All very quick, all very brutal.
 
Posted by Sparrow (# 2458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:

Second question: If, for example, the Conservatives won a clear majority, Brown would resign and Cameron would be appointed PM. This would happen immediately after the results were known, right? On a practical level how does an outgoing PM move out of Number 10 so fast? Here, the move in/out of the White House happens during the inauguration, but the outgoing president has had a few months to pack!

That's correct and yes it does happen very quickly. I understand removal firms are on standby if needed, but I believe there has been embarrassment in the past when a result was not the expected one and the removal vans turned up and the departing incumbent had to pack up in a hurry!
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
Some reflections from lunchtime conversation over the papers and a beer with my workmates:


 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
Good to see that Poppy has her eye on international affairs when so many eyes are on domestic events.
 
Posted by New Yorker (# 9898) on :
 
Back on my practical question about moving in/out of Downing Street: is it correct to assume that PMs do not bring as much of their personal things as (I think) US presidents do? (e.g., furniture especially)?

Another question: what is the liklihood of another election to solve the hung parliament question? If that is the outcome will it be six weeks off or is there a shorter campaign period for such circumstances?

From what I can tell, it appears that the Liberal Demmocrats have more in common with Labour than with the Conservative party. Is that correct?

Thanks.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
From what I can tell, it appears that the Liberal Demmocrats have more in common with Labour than with the Conservative party. Is that correct?

Broadly speaking, yes. There are areas of policy where they're closer to the Conservatives though.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
Back on my practical question about moving in/out of Downing Street: is it correct to assume that PMs do not bring as much of their personal things as (I think) US presidents do? (e.g., furniture especially)?

I don't think the PM and the Chancellor are abl to move much in. No's 10 and 11 Downing Stret are basically offices with a flat over.
quote:


Another question: what is the liklihood of another election to solve the hung parliament question? If that is the outcome will it be six weeks off or is there a shorter campaign period for such circumstances?

Having just heard David Cameron, and Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg earlier, I think the leaders are keen to avoid another election for at least a year. It could happen, most probably if the LibDems do a deal and then claim that the Tories have ratted on it.
quote:

From what I can tell, it appears that the Liberal Demmocrats have more in common with Labour than with the Conservative party. Is that correct?

Thanks.

In political terms they do but they are probably less centralist and statist than Labour OR the Conservatives. The LibDems and Conservatives have converged on economic issues in the last few years.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Cameron's made a strong speech IMO but whether it will be enough to win the Lib Dems over remains to be seen.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Cameron's made a strong speech IMO but whether it will be enough to win the Lib Dems over remains to be seen.

I thought his speech was designed to reassure his supporters! I'm sure negotiations are underway as we speak.
 
Posted by Petaflop (# 9804) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:

Which is why both Liberals and Labour are pushing for some form of preference voting and NOT the list system (true PR which almost no-one sensible wants) or the two-round system.

The Jenkins Commission's Alternative Vote Topup system (AV+) looks pretty good to me (not the AV system Brown was proposing, which can be less proportional than FPTP). Fairly close to what we have at the moment, but with a good degree of proportionality.

But I'd be happy with STV multi-seat constituencies.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
Latest rumours are that he's prepared to offer a referendum on electoral reform.
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
[DP] Bloody hell, Daniel Hannan's bigging up the Lib Dems - a deal must surely be on the cards; either that, or I can hear the thundering of apocalyptic hooves...
 
Posted by Leprechaun (# 5408) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Cameron's made a strong speech IMO but whether it will be enough to win the Lib Dems over remains to be seen.

I thought his speech was designed to reassure his supporters! I'm sure negotiations are underway as we speak.
I don't really like D-Cam, but I thought it was quite a good speech: respecting that there is an appetite for co-operation in the country and yet reassuring activists about key commitments. I think a government of Tories with some bright Lib Dems could be quite good. Although no doubt some rather heated cabinet meetings!

But maybe I'm just an old idealist.
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Cameron's made a strong speech IMO but whether it will be enough to win the Lib Dems over remains to be seen.

I thought his speech was designed to reassure his supporters! I'm sure negotiations are underway as we speak.
I don't really like D-Cam, but I thought it was quite a good speech: respecting that there is an appetite for co-operation in the country and yet reassuring activists about key commitments. I think a government of Tories with some bright Lib Dems could be quite good. Although no doubt some rather heated cabinet meetings!

But maybe I'm just an old idealist.

I thought he was trying to make it sound like he was offering them half his kingdom, but without actually offering it.

Lib Dems are in between a rock and a hard place. If they prop up Gordon, they're likely to get electoral reform if the government lasts that long, but will the country forgive them for propping up an unpopular government? If they go in with Cameron, will they get electoral reform, and will their more left-wing suppoters defect straight back to Labour?
 
Posted by New Yorker (# 9898) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
[DP] Bloody hell, Daniel Hannan's bigging up the Lib Dems - a deal must surely be on the cards; either that, or I can hear the thundering of apocalyptic hooves...

Translation request: "Bigging Up?"
 
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on :
 
=Praising them
 
Posted by Moth (# 2589) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
[DP] Bloody hell, Daniel Hannan's bigging up the Lib Dems - a deal must surely be on the cards; either that, or I can hear the thundering of apocalyptic hooves...

Translation request: "Bigging Up?"
Praising, extoling.

Funny, I always thought it was an Americanism!
 
Posted by Gildas (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Cameron's made a strong speech IMO but whether it will be enough to win the Lib Dems over remains to be seen.

Nah, that was for the benefit of his own troops and the Tory Press which will doubtless be proclaiming it to be the greatest rhetorical triumph since Queen Elizabeth's feisty little number at Tilbury on tomorrow morning's front pages. Young Nick, hitherto a dangerous flake who wants to scrap Trident and blow the savings on Pina Coladas for immigrants and paedophiles will suddenly be bigged up as a potentially great politician if he can seize the moment and accept the job of Secretary of State for Education in a Cameron administration in exchange for a mess of pottage.

The winning over the Lib Dems will done behind closed doors in the first instance and then young master Nicholas will have to go out and persuade his MPs that coalescing with the party of obscurantism and reaction is the way to go. The only way that is going to happen is if the Tories offer them a serious deal on PR. Which need not, contra the stuff about a progressive majority in the UK, be an insuperable obstacle. The Christian Democrats in Germany have done pretty well out of PR, notwithstanding the inconveniences of having to do deals with the Free Democrats. Let's face it, the Tories have survived rather more drastic changes to the electoral system than abandoning first past the post.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
Translation request: "Bigging Up?"

Praising, extoling.

Funny, I always thought it was an Americanism!

It's a barbarism.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker: Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Partly. But its more that the Tories are seen as a specifically English party. Also the Thatcher assault hit Scotland harder than England.

quote:

On a practical level how does an outgoing PM move out of Number 10 so fast? Here, the move in/out of the White House happens during the inauguration, but the outgoing president has had a few months to pack!

The transition in government can be almost instantaneous as well. When a new Minister is appointed they go round to their new office and the old one has often left before they get there.

Not as disruptive as it sounds and there are very few political appointees in most government departments, nearly everyone apart from the Minsters themselves and a handful of PR people and researchers will be permanent civil servants.

Also there is an official Opposition with shadow ministers and they liase with civil servants in the department they are shadowing. (Including secret security briefings) So there is nearly always someone in incoming party who is already working with each department, and it is often (though not always) the person who is chosen to be the new minister.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Some councils got it right. For example:

quote:

A Lewisham Council spokesman said: In our preparations we had anticipated a large number of people might arrive late in the evening to vote. Presiding officers had been advised to make sure that all people queuing were brought onto the polling station and issued with ballot papers prior to 10pm.

This meant we were able to comply with legal provisions and make sure people were not disenfranchised.

Two of our polling stations experienced late queues, but we were able to find a pragmatic solution to allow people to vote while remaining within the law.


 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
quote:
Originally posted by Rosa Winkel:
Plus, the racist parties did terribly.

If only. That's an aspect of the results that I've found disquieting. As I am making this post 632 of the 650 results have been tabulated by the BBC and they record a current total of 549,679 votes cast for the BNP's candidates and another 887,881 for UKIP (or BNP-Lite as someone at work called them the other day). In round figures that's getting on for 1 in 20 of all the votes cast. In 2005 BNP only polled about 190,000 votes altogether and UKIP about 600,000.
I wouldn't worry too much about 1 in 20. First off calling UKIP racist is (much though I loathe them) somewhat off the mark. Anti-EU sentiment and anxiety over immigration isn't necessarily straightforward racism. As for the BNP, 550,000 votes out of a UK population of 61 million is more like 1 in 120 and I don't think there are really 550,000 committed far rightists in the UK, more like 400,000 stupid vaguely right-wing protest votes plus 100,000 nutters. For a multicultural country with high levels of immigration the UK is amazingly un-racist...the UK far right is miniscule by continental standards. I hope the BNP's miserable performance will encourage the media to stop giving them the oxygen of publicity by over-estimating their importance.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
I take it back. I miscoutned the uncounted seats (IYSWIM) there were more liberals & SNP in there than I realised.

So Lab+SDLP+Lib+SNP+PC is, just, a majority. They could even afford to have the odd sick day if the Alliance and Green MPs joined.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
I hope the BNP's miserable performance will encourage the media to stop giving them the oxygen of publicity by over-estimating their importance.

To give the media their due, I don't think it's ever been about the BNP's importance. It's about their significance, which is something else entirely.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
I hope the BNP's miserable performance will encourage the media to stop giving them the oxygen of publicity by over-estimating their importance.

To give the media their due, I don't think it's ever been about the BNP's importance. It's about their significance, which is something else entirely.
Whats the difference?
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
I wouldn't worry too much about 1 in 20. First off calling UKIP racist is (much though I loathe them) somewhat off the mark. Anti-EU sentiment and anxiety over immigration isn't necessarily straightforward racism. As for the BNP, 550,000 votes out of a UK population of 61 million is more like 1 in 120 and I don't think there are really 550,000 committed far rightists in the UK, more like 400,000 stupid vaguely right-wing protest votes plus 100,000 nutters. For a multicultural country with high levels of immigration the UK is amazingly un-racist...the UK far right is miniscule by continental standards. I hope the BNP's miserable performance will encourage the media to stop giving them the oxygen of publicity by over-estimating their importance.

I sort of agree about UKIP. The tag "BNP-Lite" is true only of a proportion of their diverse bunch of adherents. And you're right of course that the hard right is stronger and more likely to have electoral success in many continental countries than in the UK. But I'm a little more uncomfortable than you are to note that the BNP vote has trebled since the 2005 election. I'm afraid they certainly won't see that as "a miserable performance".

And I'm afraid I don't think you're comparing like with like when you measure the votes polled for BNP as a proportion of the entire population of the UK. It wouldn't even be fair to measure it as a proportion of the adult population that could have voted. As a proportion of the population that did vote the ballots cast for the overtly racist BNP equate not to 1 in 120 but to about 1 in 50.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Originally posted by ken:

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by New Yorker: Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Partly. But its more that the Tories are seen as a specifically English party. Also the Thatcher assault hit Scotland harder than England.

They are now seen as a specifically English party. It used to be that they did well in rural farming areas (Perthshire/ Borders) whilst Labour did well in the industrial / city areas.

Thatcher was seen as "anti-Scottish" The Poll Tax was disasterously introduced into Scotland a year before it was introduced into England. It was very, very badly done and left a lot of Scots very angry. By the time it was introduced into England, a lot of the teething troubles had been sorted, but it was still unpopular there. But we had the teething troubles as well as the general unpopularity.

Also, a lot of the current Conservatives are just "different" to the average Scot. We have a fairly low level of private education; most Scots are educated in public comprehensive schools. The whole Eton/ Bullingdon thing is alien to most Scots, so it's harder for Scots to relate to the top Tories.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
I am pleased to see that Dr. Death, Evan Harris, got beat in Oxford West.

The Lib Dems deserve to lose if they run extremist prats like him.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
I'm afraid they certainly won't see that as "a miserable performance". And I'm afraid I don't think you're comparing like with like when you measure the votes polled for BNP as a proportion of the entire population of the UK. It wouldn't even be fair to measure it as a proportion of the adult population that could have voted. As a proportion of the population that did vote the ballots cast for the overtly racist BNP equate not to 1 in 120 but to about 1 in 50.
I'm not sure why taking it as a proportion of votes is 'fairer' than as a proportion of the population. Ultimately 119 people out of 120 in the UK didn't vote for them. Even the joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism has described their vote as "paltry". If they can come no better than 3rd in places like Barking (poor area with lots of anti-immigrant sentiment) they aren't going to be winning seats any time soon.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Also, a lot of the current Conservatives are just "different" to the average Scot. We have a fairly low level of private education; most Scots are educated in public comprehensive schools. The whole Eton/ Bullingdon thing is alien to most Scots, so it's harder for Scots to relate to the top Tories.

They related to Tony Blair. Is Fettes that much different from Eton?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
I read a wonderful quote from a Tory MP to the effect that if the Conservatives can't scrape up a majority, he might have to vote on the issues! Horrors!
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
If they can come no better than 3rd in places like Barking (poor area with lots of anti-immigrant sentiment) they aren't going to be winning seats any time soon.

That's assuming that potential voters for them aren't hiding in the woodwork who will come out when a PR system raises the chance of one being a winner. And a party list system of PR raises the prospect of their getting representation AS THEY DID IN THE EUROPEAN ELECTIONS, making AV or STV more desirable as a way of marginalising them.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Also, a lot of the current Conservatives are just "different" to the average Scot. We have a fairly low level of private education; most Scots are educated in public comprehensive schools. The whole Eton/ Bullingdon thing is alien to most Scots, so it's harder for Scots to relate to the top Tories.

They related to Tony Blair. Is Fettes that much different from Eton?
I don't think Fettes ever had its own pack of beagles, nor quite so silly a society as "Pop". Heck, where do you think the "Upper Class Twit of the Year" sketch originated?

It's a social thing. There are Scottish aristocrats and their sons will probably go to Eton, not Fettes.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Did we relate to Tony Blair particularly? Or just because he was part-and-parcel of the Labour party?

There seems to be a whole swathe of public-schoolboys in the current Conservative party.
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
I'm not sure why taking it as a proportion of votes is 'fairer' than as a proportion of the population. Ultimately 119 people out of 120 in the UK didn't vote for them. Even the joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism has described their vote as "paltry". If they can come no better than 3rd in places like Barking (poor area with lots of anti-immigrant sentiment) they aren't going to be winning seats any time soon.

As I say, you seem more sanguine than I am about their vote having trebled since the last time there was a comparable poll. Other than UKIP and the Big Three, they polled more votes than anyone else, fortunately spread so widely across the constituencies that nowhere did they come close to actually being elected.

Your 119 non-BNP voters include about 40 people not entitled to participate in the process at all and around 30 more whose views are unknown because they chose not to voice them. That's torturing the statistics a bit for me to feel comfortable with it - YMMV
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gildas:

The winning over the Lib Dems will done behind closed doors in the first instance and then young master Nicholas will have to go out and persuade his MPs that coalescing with the party of obscurantism and reaction is the way to go. The only way that is going to happen is if the Tories offer them a serious deal on PR. Which need not, contra the stuff about a progressive majority in the UK, be an insuperable obstacle.

I agree. It's probably one of these "who blinks first" negotiations. If I were Clegg it would be my "bottom line" card, not replaceable by a Cabinet job for me or a friend or two.

"Mess of pottage" was rather good, BTW! Compromise is not the same as soul-selling - not if you have any sense it isn't. Problem is the press are going to "big up" a ConLib deal as the "best for the country", carefully glossing over the fact that it is the detail of any deal which will determine whether it's "best for the country" or not. We're going to find out what Nick Clegg is made of - I hope it's good stuff. For the sake of the country.

[And this will probably be my last contribution to this thread - as I said in the Styx I'm off to Devon tomorrow. We live in interesting times.]

[ 07. May 2010, 16:39: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
They related to Tony Blair. Is Fettes that much different from Eton?

Blair is Scottish himself though!
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Originally posted by Sioni sais:

quote:
There are Scottish aristocrats and their sons will probably go to Eton, not Fettes.

I was at school (public comprehensive) in the 1980s with the family of a lord who is now an Earl (and a Lib-Dem peer in the House of Lords.)

And when I was in hospital aged 11, (NHS) the girl having her tonsils out in the next bed was the daughter of another aristocrat. AFAIK that family went to their local comprehensive, too.
 
Posted by ken (# 2460) on :
 
Meanwhile, all over the country, overlooked by the national hype machine, newly-elected Labour councillors are taking over formerly Tory local authorities...


... and if there is one thing this election DOES prove it is that they days of TV dominance of the media are over.. All those much-vaunted debates made no difference at all. Clegg supposedly "won" them yet his party did worse than last time. Brown was unversally said to have "lost" the debates but his party did consistently better than the opinion polls suggested.

This is Britain. We do not have a presidential system, and the TV personae of the so-called "leaders" are genuinely less important than the self-aggrandising TV commentary beleives.
 
Posted by Og, King of Bashan (# 9562) on :
 
The lighter side of a hung parliament. Don’t kill me for the source, funny is funny.
 
Posted by Yerevan (# 10383) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
I'm not sure why taking it as a proportion of votes is 'fairer' than as a proportion of the population. Ultimately 119 people out of 120 in the UK didn't vote for them. Even the joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism has described their vote as "paltry". If they can come no better than 3rd in places like Barking (poor area with lots of anti-immigrant sentiment) they aren't going to be winning seats any time soon.

As I say, you seem more sanguine than I am about their vote having trebled since the last time there was a comparable poll. Other than UKIP and the Big Three, they polled more votes than anyone else, fortunately spread so widely across the constituencies that nowhere did they come close to actually being elected.

Your 119 non-BNP voters include about 40 people not entitled to participate in the process at all and around 30 more whose views are unknown because they chose not to voice them. That's torturing the statistics a bit for me to feel comfortable with it - YMMV

So that leaves 1 in 80....I expect I could find 1 in 80 people in the UK who think they've been abducting by aliens or that the royal family are really lizard people [Razz] . The absolute worst case scenario re the BNP is that they MIGHT get ONE seat in Westminster in the next ten or fifteen years, and judging by their inability to come close to winning even in deprived areas with high levels of racial tension there isn't much chance of that happening. IMO every democracy has an irreducible core of unpleasant extremists of the right...the UK is blessed in having very few. I'm more worried about the sometimes inhumane immigration policies of the mainstream non-racist parties personally.
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
There seems to be a whole swathe of public-schoolboys in the current Conservative party.

I think you'll find there are as many in the leadership of the Labour party... The freedom of the left to take pot shots at people for the way their parents choose to educate them has always struck me as as viscous a form of behaviour as racism; the fact that they are better able to cope doesn't detract from the fact that it is still wrong.

And if the education which they received makes them better able to serve the country as ministers, then the case for the prejudice is even less well placed...
 
Posted by Pottage (# 9529) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
So that leaves 1 in 80....I expect I could find 1 in 80 people in the UK who think they've been abducting by aliens or that the royal family are really lizard people [Razz] . The absolute worst case scenario re the BNP is that they MIGHT get ONE seat in Westminster in the next ten or fifteen years, and judging by their inability to come close to winning even in deprived areas with high levels of racial tension there isn't much chance of that happening. IMO every democracy has an irreducible core of unpleasant extremists of the right...the UK is blessed in having very few. I'm more worried about the sometimes inhumane immigration policies of the mainstream non-racist parties personally.

70 from 119 doesn't leave 80 (except possibly to some advertising executives), but I'm going to leave this I think. We differ. But in the scheme of things it doesn't matter much to either of us.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
The lighter side of a hung parliament. Don’t kill me for the source, funny is funny.

So, will James Bond or Sherlock Holmes be aiding Roscoe P. Coletrain in apprehending the Duke boys?
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
I am pleased to see that Dr. Death, Evan Harris, got beat in Oxford West.

Only just, though. He lost by just 176 votes.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Ender's Shadow, have I taken a pot-shot, or have I said that their education makes them seem "different" to the average Scot?
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Ender's Shadow, have I taken a pot-shot, or have I said that their education makes them seem "different" to the average Scot?

The question is why do people feel free to mention it at all - in the same way that people don't feel the need to point out that X is from a particular racial group?

The presence on the Guardian web site of an offer by the Guardian of a tee shirt showing Gordo saying something like 'Outside now, Posh Boy' is playing to the same stereotypes...
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Fair enough, Enders Shadow. I think it is relevent to me, because I am the parent/aunt/godmother to lots of children, who are important to me. I was concerned about Cameron's talk of introducing some sort of compulsory scheme for 16 year olds. I don't want my kids to be forced into some scheme dreamed up by people whose concept of being 16 is based on an upbringing entirely different to those of my precious kids.
 
Posted by Ariel (# 58) on :
 
I was interested to discover that Nick Clegg is also an ex-public school pupil (Westminster School) and went to Cambridge. His grandmother was a Russian baroness. That's one up on Cameron in the poshness stakes, surely.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
I was interested to discover that Nick Clegg is also an ex-public school pupil (Westminster School) and went to Cambridge. His grandmother was a Russian baroness. That's one up on Cameron in the poshness stakes, surely.

He is also exceptionally rich, I believe.
 
Posted by Clint Boggis (# 633) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
There seems to be a whole swathe of public-schoolboys in the current Conservative party.

I think you'll find there are as many in the leadership of the Labour party... The freedom of the left to take pot shots at people for the way their parents choose to educate them has always struck me as as viscous a form of behaviour as racism; the fact that they are better able to cope doesn't detract from the fact that it is still wrong.

And if the education which they received makes them better able to serve the country as ministers, then the case for the prejudice is even less well placed...

I doubt there are very many privately educated Labourites in terms of proportion but surely it's more fun and helps you land a blow when the stereotypes turn out to have more than a little truth in them! Wasn't a slur made in the past about 'Grammar School Boys' as though they were not really up to positions of importance due to their lowly backgrounds? Wasn't that equally unfair?

Two wrongs don't make a right, of course, but Labour starts with a few disadvantages, such as having limited funding for their campaigning (no sugar daddies) and almost the whole print media spinning lies against them? Whining because they mock the privileged education enjoyed by their opponent seems pretty small beer to me. And the fact that they enjoy an expensive education which grooms them to presume they're members of the governing classes - rather than 'ordinary people' who have to struggle to come out on top.

[PS: Is viscosity relevant? I blame the schooling.]
.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
The presence on the Guardian web site of an offer by the Guardian of a tee shirt showing Gordo saying something like 'Outside now, Posh Boy' is playing to the same stereotypes...

Oh for goodness' sake, that was an April Fools' joke that caught on because it was funny. It's not a left-wing anti-toff conspiracy.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker: Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Partly. But its more that the Tories are seen as a specifically English party. Also the Thatcher assault hit Scotland harder than England.
Rubbish. Whole swathes of northern England were left as economic rubble at the time.
 
Posted by St. Punk the Pious (# 683) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
I am pleased to see that Dr. Death, Evan Harris, got beat in Oxford West.

Only just, though. He lost by just 176 votes.
True. But that's good enough for me. [Smile]
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker: Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Partly. But its more that the Tories are seen as a specifically English party. Also the Thatcher assault hit Scotland harder than England.
Rubbish. Whole swathes of northern England were left as economic rubble at the time.
Looked at an electoral map of the north-east recently?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Looked at an electoral map of the north-east recently?

Yes. The further north you go, the fewer Conservative districts there are and the more Labor and LibDem. What did you want me to see when I looked?
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
One thing is certain after this election: The Tories can't claim to be a British party. They've only got one seat in Scotland, they didn't get anything like the national swing in Wales, they were soundly beaten (relative to expectations) in the Midlands and the North, and their deal the UUP was a disaster.

Essentially, they are the party of the rural South. And yet they claim that the British people have given the a mandate for change. It's laughable, really.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
Rejoice! Rejoice!

Others have mentioned that the BNP haven't made much progress in the Parliamentary elections. Better still is that in the local council elections in England (the bodies that supply social services, education and take away your trash) they have been, well, taken away with the trash.

All 12 BNP councillors on Barking and Dagenham have been thrown out, two of four at Burnley, three of four at Epping Forest and two of seven in Stoke. It's a similar story elsewhere (Leeds, Sandwell etc)

Some results are still to come in but it looks like the BNP has nothing to crow about anywhere. Keep going everyone, wipe them out and let's make racism as acceptable as slavery.
 
Posted by FreeJack (# 10612) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
One thing is certain after this election: The Tories can't claim to be a British party. They've only got one seat in Scotland, they didn't get anything like the national swing in Wales, they were soundly beaten (relative to expectations) in the Midlands and the North, and their deal the UUP was a disaster.

Essentially, they are the party of the rural South. And yet they claim that the British people have given the a mandate for change. It's laughable, really.

The Conservatives did get the same swing in Wales as in England.

They did pretty well in the West Midlands and North West (outside the cities).

Their only real problem is Scotland.

The opposite way of phrasing your point is that New Labour were nearly wiped out in the southern half of England, where a continuing Labour government run by a Scotsman has about as much legitimacy as Maggie in Scotland did.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
I watched some of the BBC coverage (2-4:30 your time) over the net.

Gosh that was combative...and white...and mostly male.

I saw two women who seemed to be thrown the bones of a minute an hour of coverage, with one of them working a silly touch machine that stopped working and the other relegated to headlines. I think I saw one female correspondent and not a single non-white person outside of the one Labour Lord, who got shouted down in about 10 seconds by that buffoon up on a gantry in front of the couch of Lord types (does he have ADD or something?).

I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

What, did all the non white people leave for Al-Jezzera English?
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:
I doubt there are very many privately educated Labourites in terms of proportion

There are quite a few in the Cabinet, including Alastair Darling, Harriet Harman (same school as George Osborne), Jack Straw, Ed Balls, Shaun Woodward, Tessa Jowell, Peter Hain and Lord Drayson. Others probably did as well.

quote:
Two wrongs don't make a right, of course, but Labour starts with a few disadvantages, such as having limited funding for their campaigning (no sugar daddies)
Er, trades unions anyone?

quote:
Whining because they mock the privileged education enjoyed by their opponent seems pretty small beer to me. And the fact that they enjoy an expensive education which grooms them to presume they're members of the governing classes - rather than 'ordinary people' who have to struggle to come out on top.

Given the above, it's simply hypocrisy. The only thing a lot of Labour grandees have struggled to do is lose their upper class accents in an attempt to sound like their electorates.
 
Posted by Imaginary Friend (# 186) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I think I saw one female correspondent and not a single non-white person outside of the one Labour Lord, who got shouted down in about 10 seconds by that buffoon up on a gantry in front of the couch of Lord types (does he have ADD or something?).

Shouting people down is Paxman's schtick. Not pretty, but it can be entertaining on occasion.

quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

What, did all the non white people leave for Al-Jezzera English?

The BBC's news and current affairs team has always been that way (apart from a couple of tokens such as Moira Stuart). Establishment Britain at it's finest. [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I watched some of the BBC coverage (2-4:30 your time) over the net.

Gosh that was combative...and white...and mostly male.


I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.


Yes, but Britain is 93% white so it's really no surprise that you saw overwhelmingly white faces on television.

If you carried on watching you may have seen the BBC cover the fact that two Conservative candidates, Shaun Bailey and Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, unfortunately failed to win their seats.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
Oh, I have no doubt there are non-white people running in most parties over there.

I've been watching election night coverage in the US and Canada since 1976, when a wee lad of 12 and was looking forward to this. This is my first time watching such coverage in the UK and I was expecting the swing thing and some of the over the top stuff. Heck, I even noticed Cameron shaking the hand of the Raving Loony guy beside him, which was a nice touch by the way.

It took me about 5 minutes to figure out why I felt so weird watching it. I havnt' seen something that non nuanced and lacking in diverstiy ever..even ABC had Barbara Walters back in 1976. The roles given to women were something out of the 60's...the equivalent of the Ladies section of the newspaper.

When they interviewed Bill Wyman, I suppose I should have known I was in cuckoo land....for Pete's sake, he dated a 13 year old. Wouldn't that have at least given some woman on the show the creeps?

All just very weird...I suppose next time I'll look for the non-BBC coverage to compare?

We are 80% non-visual minority here, BTW.

[ 07. May 2010, 19:28: Message edited by: Og: Thread Killer ]
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
Originally posted by Og: Thread killer

quote:
I watched some of the BBC coverage (2-4:30 your time) over the net.

Gosh that was combative...and white...and mostly male.


I'd have to watch again to be sure, but I was watching the BBC Scotland coverage and that wasn't my impression.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker: Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Partly. But its more that the Tories are seen as a specifically English party. Also the Thatcher assault hit Scotland harder than England.
Rubbish. Whole swathes of northern England were left as economic rubble at the time.
Looked at an electoral map of the north-east recently?
And your point is?
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

That's a very strange statement. What did you expect to see?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Women and non-whites, I think is what is meant.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
I can't recall any non-white presenters or commentators on BBC Scotland's coverage, but one of the main commentators was Prof Alice Brown, who is, or was, professor of politics at the University of Edinburgh. Also several female MSPs, including Nicola Sturgeon and Annabel Goldie were in the studio and commenting at various points.

In terms of non-white candidates, Anas Sarwar won Glasgow Central for Labour, a seat previously held by his father, Mohammed Sarwar. The SNP candidate in that consituency was Osama Saeed. My husband tells me Anas was interviewed after his visctory, but I was asleep by then.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:


I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

What, did all the non white people leave for Al-Jezzera English?

Our country does have some non-white people in it, but not as many as some of our politicians and commentators would have you believe. We do however have a lot of diversity within the "White British male" community. Welsh and Scots have held the offices of state and led political parties disproportionately and believe me, they are different, in education and outlook, to the English. Then there are the Northern Irish who are different, only more so. Note that if Gordon Brown resigns while he is Prime Minister then Harriet Harman, as deputy leader of the Labour Party, will temporarily become Prime Minister.

I'm intrigued that you mention Al-Jezeera: the staff of that did indeed join from the BBC World Service's Arabic language TV station, which was closed following censorship demands from its Saudi co-owners.

[ 07. May 2010, 20:48: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]
 
Posted by Jahlove (# 10290) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I think I saw one female correspondent and not a single non-white person outside of the one Labour Lord, who got shouted down in about 10 seconds by that buffoon up on a gantry in front of the couch of Lord types (does he have ADD or something?).



UK election coverage is modelled on It's A Knockout - i.e. it's a huge joke [Smile]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Yerevan:
I hope the BNP's miserable performance will encourage the media to stop giving them the oxygen of publicity by over-estimating their importance.

To give the media their due, I don't think it's ever been about the BNP's importance. It's about their significance, which is something else entirely.
Whats the difference?
"Importance" would imply they were likely to affect the government itself. Even with one or two seats, no-one would ever work with them so that won't happen.

"Significance", as in the fact that their vote is growing, however minutely, shows that there are some major issues within certain areas of the electorate.

The BNP aren't important as a party, they're significant as a barometer of public feeling.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jahlove:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I think I saw one female correspondent and not a single non-white person outside of the one Labour Lord, who got shouted down in about 10 seconds by that buffoon up on a gantry in front of the couch of Lord types (does he have ADD or something?).



UK election coverage is modelled on It's A Knockout - i.e. it's a huge joke [Smile]
And for those of you who remember Jeux Sans Frontieres*, they did it much better on the continent. No change there then.

*the international edition. My mum reckoned it was a Plot by the Wilson and Heath governments to popularise the Common Market!
 
Posted by TurquoiseTastic (# 8978) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker: Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

Partly. But its more that the Tories are seen as a specifically English party. Also the Thatcher assault hit Scotland harder than England.
Rubbish. Whole swathes of northern England were left as economic rubble at the time.
Looked at an electoral map of the north-east recently?
And your point is?
The point is that your point actually backs up ken's thesis - industry in the North East was decimated in the 80s just like it was in Scotland, and so the Conservatives have been virtually extinguished in the North East, just as they have been in Scotland.

I don't think it's the whole story though. Not even well-heeled, middle class Scottish constituencies return Conservatives nowadays.
 
Posted by Clint Boggis (# 633) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Clint Boggis:
I doubt there are very many privately educated Labourites in terms of proportion

There are quite a few in the Cabinet, including Alastair Darling, Harriet Harman (same school as George Osborne), Jack Straw, Ed Balls, Shaun Woodward, Tessa Jowell, Peter Hain and Lord Drayson. Others probably did as well.

quote:
Two wrongs don't make a right, of course, but Labour starts with a few disadvantages, such as having limited funding for their campaigning (no sugar daddies)
Er, trades unions anyone?

quote:
Whining because they mock the privileged education enjoyed by their opponent seems pretty small beer to me. And the fact that they enjoy an expensive education which grooms them to presume they're members of the governing classes - rather than 'ordinary people' who have to struggle to come out on top.

Given the above, it's simply hypocrisy. The only thing a lot of Labour grandees have struggled to do is lose their upper class accents in an attempt to sound like their electorates.

'Hypocrisy' is a bit strong. I'd agree that it's a little unfair if a number of their own were privately educated. OTOH the Tories have the very significant advantages of being well funded by rich benefactors and media support so if they cry 'unfair' about this tiny issue they just seem like whiners.

And in what possible sense are wealthy individual supporters at all similar to a very large number of ordinary people in unions giving very modest amounts? More misplaced cries of 'unfair' falling on deaf ears.
.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
If the Thatcher years were anything like the Reagan years, the trade unions have been decimated and their power is largely illusory.
 
Posted by Pre-cambrian (# 2055) on :
 
And on union funding, any member of a union can opt out of contributing to the union's political fund for the Labour party. However, no shareholder in a company can opt out of the company's decision to give funds to the Tory party. Not surprisingly it was the Tories who introduced that bit of one-sidedness.
 
Posted by Og: Thread Killer (# 3200) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

That's a very strange statement. What did you expect to see?
Diversity among the commentators, or at least a woman doing more then being asked to kick an enlarged IPAD or do highlights once an hour. As I said, I'm so used to it now on both US and Canadian election coverage I found it strikingly weird.

Given the amount of strong women characters in British politics, you'd think the BBC would consider maybe some women can do political analysis rather then a bunch of guys?

Looked like an old boys network, or a big glass ceiling is in place.
 
Posted by Yangtze (# 4965) on :
 
Yup, some of us spotted it as well. I spent a lot of the night saying things to the telly (and assorted people watching it) like "oh good, just what we needed, another middle aged white man telling us things"

And despite how much I heart David Mitchell the Channel 4 Alternative Election Night coverage was just as bad - guess what, 3 almost middle aged white male comedians. I was yelling at that before it even started.

Sigh, we truly are heading back to the 80s
 
Posted by Auntie Doris (# 9433) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Yangtze:

Sigh, we truly are heading back to the 80s

Better fish out your shoulder pads dear.

Auntie Doris x
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If the Thatcher years were anything like the Reagan years, the trade unions have been decimated and their power is largely illusory.

Actually, Thatcher was more like Clinton. If a third of registered Republicans in the United States moved to the UK and became citizens, the next election would see a UKIP government... possibly a Conservative-UKIP coalition.

The political spectrum just isn't similar. That's why I think a Red Tory Party under a different name would fill a void in the United States.
 
Posted by Clint Boggis (# 633) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
quote:
Originally posted by Sleepwalker:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

That's a very strange statement. What did you expect to see?
Diversity among the commentators, or at least a woman doing more then being asked to kick an enlarged IPAD or do highlights once an hour. As I said, I'm so used to it now on both US and Canadian election coverage I found it strikingly weird.

Given the amount of strong women characters in British politics, you'd think the BBC would consider maybe some women can do political analysis rather then a bunch of guys?

Looked like an old boys network, or a big glass ceiling is in place.

They certainly had a fair few female politicians and asked some female journalists for their views, but you're right that the core team were almost exclusively white and male, though I hadn't noticed.

Most BBC news programmes seem to use a male/female pairing and their reporters and correspondents seem to me to represent gender and ethnicity fairly. Channel 4 news seems to have a higher proportion of non-white reporters than in the general population. The top ITV news reader for many years was black (now retired) and I haven't noticed male bias though I can't tell you about representative ethnicity.

So I wouldn't say your observation is wrong, just that you shouldn't read too much into one programme.
.

[ 07. May 2010, 23:51: Message edited by: Clint Boggis ]
 
Posted by piglet (# 11803) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Auntie Doris:
quote:
Originally posted by Yangtze:

Sigh, we truly are heading back to the 80s

Better fish out your shoulder pads dear.
Fire up the Quattro! [Big Grin]

As I've said on another thread, I was quite riveted by the election coverage (BBC World - the same coverage that was on the interweb), and once again reminded of how much better the Beeb is than North American television. To be honest, I didn't even think about the gender or colour of the presenters or politicians; I was more likely to say "blimey, he's aged a bit" as it's the first time since leaving the UK that I've really watched much of politics on TV.
 
Posted by Sober Preacher's Kid (# 12699) on :
 
What!?!

The Beeb show was no better or worse than what the CBC puts on every election.

And might I remind you that we count quicker? I was one of the elves last time who made the Election work. From my hand to Peter Mansbridge's mouth....
 
Posted by daviddrinkell (# 8854) on :
 
I agree with piglet. The BBC does things better than anyone else. Learned but not stuffy, entertaining but not overloaded with razzmattazz.

[ 08. May 2010, 03:10: Message edited by: daviddrinkell ]
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Certainly less obvious spin than any major US outlet - except maybe NPR. But then maybe I don't see the spin on NPR -- people say it's liberal and I'm pretty liberal. But does Fox interview people from the left and let them have their say without shouting them down? Like fuck.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
I feel as though I was part of a different election. BBC Scotland's election coverage had two middle-aged, white male anchors - the jovial Brian Taylor and the other one; but the first panel of commentators comprised Prof. Susan Deacon, Prof. Tom Devine and Margo McDonald, MSP, and when their shift ended we had Prof. Alice Brown. Yes, they were all middle-aged and white but no gender issues that I could see.

Why would the Scottish coverage include so many senior academics, if, as has been claimed, the main BBC coverage resembled "It's a Knockout"? Perhaps the Scottish budget only stretched to academics??
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
We are 80% non-visual minority here, BTW.

What does this mean? 80% of people can't be seen? What's wrong with them, are they transparent?
 
Posted by Ender's Shadow (# 2272) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:
The presence on the Guardian web site of an offer by the Guardian of a tee shirt showing Gordo saying something like 'Outside now, Posh Boy' is playing to the same stereotypes...

Oh for goodness' sake, that was an April Fools' joke that caught on because it was funny. It's not a left-wing anti-toff conspiracy.
Hmm - interesting how the left is recycling all the excuses trotted out in the past to justify sexism / racism...

There was a Channel 4 documentary recently where a white South African whose parents had brought him as a teenager to the UK in the 70s went back to find the maid who'd been his second mother. One of the things he mentioned was the prejudice he experienced exemplified by the 'Spitting Image' song I've never met a nice South African, particularly ironic when his very presence in England was an attempt by his parents to separate from those attitudes. Either be serious about diversity, or get honest and admit the political correctness is about point scoring against political opponents.
 
Posted by Michael Astley (# 5638) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
I watched some of the BBC coverage (2-4:30 your time) over the net.

Gosh that was combative...and white...and mostly male.

I saw two women who seemed to be thrown the bones of a minute an hour of coverage, with one of them working a silly touch machine that stopped working and the other relegated to headlines. I think I saw one female correspondent and not a single non-white person outside of the one Labour Lord, who got shouted down in about 10 seconds by that buffoon up on a gantry in front of the couch of Lord types (does he have ADD or something?).

I thought your country had some non-white people in it? Some of them might have voted? I saw a few women and non-whites ran, voted, counted, gave results etc. Funny how a lot of white guys were the one interpreting it all.

What, did all the non white people leave for Al-Jezzera English?

I fail on being male, but certainly non-white.

It would never even have occurred to me to think about it like that. The people who were there were presumably there because of what they do and who they are, not because of their sex or skin colour. That's of no interest to me as far as election reporting goes. Why would it be? [Confused]

Besides, if anyone were to complain here about groups being "excluded" (not that I think you can claim exclusion just because a particular group happened not to be there), it would likely be from north of the border or west of the other border. Every country has its own pet issues and they won't be the same as those of other countries.

Please don't knock the Pax-man. He's splendid, and was on top form - especially the comment about getting into bed with Peter Mandelson. I was in stitches.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
One particular minority was much in evidence: those who can survive for nigh on 24 hours without sleep. Nick Robinson was beginning to wilt a bit by the ten o'clock news yesterday, but I can't imagine how he kept going so long. The drug squad might have gained some interesting victims if they'd sniffed around the TV studios.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
And 71-year old David Dimbleby managed an 18-hour stint on television without looking tired: he was still quite chipper at 3.45 pm on Friday. Puts a lot of younger men to shame.
 
Posted by sanityman (# 11598) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by daviddrinkell:
I agree with piglet. The BBC does things better than anyone else. Learned but not stuffy, entertaining but not overloaded with razzmattazz.

Agreed - we seem very capable of forgetting that in this country. One hope the nice Mr Cameron is of that opinion when Spawn of Murdoch starts humping his trouser leg.

- Chris.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Certainly less obvious spin than any major US outlet - except maybe NPR. But then maybe I don't see the spin on NPR -- people say it's liberal and I'm pretty liberal. But does Fox interview people from the left and let them have their say without shouting them down? Like fuck.

As opposed to MSNBC's election coverage with Olberman and Matthews? If I didn't know better, I would have thought Rachael Madow was supposed to be the objective one. And they never shouted Buchanan down? I don't know about NPR. I like Garrison Keilor. The rest of it is a bit to pretentious for me. If we were across the pond, I might even call it "posh." Clearly intended for the liberal elite or if we were across the pond, those evil public school educated Tories who hate poor people. [Killing me]

[ 08. May 2010, 14:02: Message edited by: Beeswax Altar ]
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
At the moment there are a thousand protestors outside the lib dem meeting, calling for voting reform, chanting "you serve us".

(They seem to be from this organisation.

[ 08. May 2010, 14:30: Message edited by: Think² ]
 
Posted by DWJaddict (# 13866) on :
 
Biblical™ Punk
# 683

- Posted 07 May, 2010 17:08 Profile for St. Punk the Pious Author's homepage Email St. Punk the Pious Send new private message Edit/delete post Reply with quote "I am pleased to see that Dr. Death, Evan Harris, got beat in Oxford West.

The Lib Dems deserve to lose if they run extremist prats like him."

He has been an excellent MP for my area for 13 years - greatly respected and conscientious, and it is a great injustice - something I'm assured by the Bible that God hates- that he has been hounded by self- righteous bigots who cannot distinguish between assisted dying for terminally ill people of sound mind and euthanasia, and because he knowledgeably supports potentially life saving scientific research.

The viciousness and determined ignorance of the leaflets we had though our door from 1. Lynda Rose and even worse 2. A convicted arsonist Animal rights nutter called Mann was appalling.
They decided me to certainly vote for him and I will do so in the next election too, however soon that is.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
At the moment there are a thousand protestors outside the lib dem meeting, calling for voting reform, chanting "you serve us".

(They seem to be from this organisation.

Looking at their website, one of Unlock Democracy's predecessor organisations is the Communist Party of Great Britain. Not really my idea of a democracy (and the sort of people who, arguably, should be locked up).
 
Posted by The Exegesis Fairy (# 9588) on :
 
There was a Take Back Parliament protest today in Trafalgar Square, I believe (their thing is electoral reform, and as far as I can tell that's their only thing).

Ah...no, wait, the protest was organised by those people, who are a coalition of different groups including Unlock Democracy.

Wonder how many turned up?
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
It was the same thing, the police wouldn't let them rally in Trafalagar Square, so they moved on then ended up going to Smith Square (? wherever the lib dems were meeting).

They were variously said to be power2010, takebackparliament and Unlock Democracy. Presumably they were working together.

[ 08. May 2010, 16:08: Message edited by: Think² ]
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
[one of Unlock Democracy's predecessor organisations is the Communist Party of Great Britain. Not really my idea of a democracy (and the sort of people who, arguably, should be locked up). [/QB]

If that is even a half-serious comment as opposed to a feeble attempt at a joke, it has me worried for Britain under the Tories. So much for free speech.

For what it's worth, Unlock Democracy - about which I knew nothing until two minutes ago - is a merger between Charter 88 (by no means a far left pressure group) and the successor body to CPGB. I can't see what's wrong with supporting a good idea whoever else might agree with you.

Otherwise I'd object when the sun shines if Nick Griffin happened to say he liked warm weather.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
Yes, of course it was a joke. Communists shouldn't be locked up just for being communists.

That said, I don't regard PR as more democratic than the current system. If anything, it's worse.
 
Posted by +Chad (# 5645) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
I am pleased to see that Dr. Death, Evan Harris, got beat in Oxford West.

Only just, though. He lost by just 176 votes.
He had a 7683 majority. There was a 6.9% swing against. That sounds like a pretty stiff kicking to me.

DWJaddict posted in Dr Harris' defence:
quote:
He has been an excellent MP for my area for 13 years - greatly respected and conscientious
Ian Paisley Sr's constituents would have said the same of him, but, it didn't prevent him from being an old bellows full of angry wind.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseTastic:
The point is that your point actually backs up ken's thesis - industry in the North East was decimated in the 80s just like it was in Scotland, and so the Conservatives have been virtually extinguished in the North East, just as they have been in Scotland.

No, ken said that Scotland had been hit harder. I was saying that was rubbish. How am I backing up ken's 'thesis'?

quote:
I don't think it's the whole story though. Not even well-heeled, middle class Scottish constituencies return Conservatives nowadays.
That's probably because they want to be well-heeled, middle class Scots these days, rather than Brits, and the Tories are the party of the United Kingdom. Scotland should have full independence and the respective MPs removed from Westminster. That way, England would be fairly represented in its own system and the Scots could do what they heck they like.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
Diversity among the commentators, or at least a woman doing more then being asked to kick an enlarged IPAD or do highlights once an hour. As I said, I'm so used to it now on both US and Canadian election coverage I found it strikingly weird.

That's just because it wasn't what you're used to seeing. However, there are women all over the BBC. There isn't a day that goes by without a woman presenter in some guise or another. Ethnic minority presenters are rarer but then that may reflect their percentage of the population and/or the degree of aspiration among ethnic minority groups to become TV presenters (of any description).

quote:
Given the amount of strong women characters in British politics, you'd think the BBC would consider maybe some women can do political analysis rather then a bunch of guys?
There aren't a huge number of 'strong women characters' in British politics. It's still a male-dominated area. But just because women are politicians doesn't mean to say that women want to be political pundits. However, if they want to be and they are considered good enough, they are free to be. Black, white or otherwise.

quote:
Looked like an old boys network, or a big glass ceiling is in place.
You mean our telly looks different from yours? Good. That makes life interesting. I hate standardisation.
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
In addition to Sleepwalker's comments, it should be noted that the BBC's election coverage marginalises many high-profile presenters, regardless of their sex or ethnicity. The main stuff is done by only three people: David Dimbleby (who's been in the main chair since 1979), the BBC's political editor (who happens at the moment to be Nick Robinson) and one other person to do the interviews (who this time was Jeremy Paxman).

Everyone else has a rather secondary role, which is why you would have seen fairly high profile BBC correspondents stuck out in the provinces reporting on events.
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Actually they aren't the first to notice this and its not the normal PC crowd who are saying it either. Apparently it is across the media too not just political commentators although worse there.

Jengie
 
Posted by John Holding (# 158) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by DWJaddict:
Biblical™ Punk
# 683

- Posted 07 May, 2010 17:08 Profile for St. Punk the Pious Author's homepage Email St. Punk the Pious Send new private message Edit/delete post Reply with quote "I am pleased to see that Dr. Death, Evan Harris, got beat in Oxford West.



[text deleted]

[Welcome to the Ship. Please take a look at the code thread in Styx, which should help you with how to quote using UBB. - John, Purg Host}

[ 08. May 2010, 18:19: Message edited by: John Holding ]
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
Actually they aren't the first to notice this and its not the normal PC crowd who are saying it either. Apparently it is across the media too not just political commentators although worse there.

I think she sounds rather bitter, actually. I thought this bit was quite funny:

Another is that there is, at the moment, a generation of younger male political pundits who have formed a peculiarly tight boys’ club: they plug each other, argue with one another in print, give each other name checks on their rounds of the broadcasting studios and generally engage in mutually congratulatory self-promotion. This atmosphere has been fuelled to an extent by the blogosphere which is dominated by male aggression of a particularly puerile kind and which either ignores women altogether or treats them to the sort of abuse that most of us left behind in the primary school playground. The blogging scene might still be a minority interest but its tone is beginning to influence the expectations of those who follow political debate.

What's new about that, exactly?

If she is worried about women only getting 'soft' issues and this has been something of a trend over the last few years, then maybe she might want to write about (in a suitably assertive fashion) the attitudes of women over the last few years. The two might even be connected.

She might then want to go and throw all pink phones in the bin, all pink girls' clothes, all Playboy stuff from W H Smiths, all mothers who wanted to buy padded bras from Primark for their pre-pubescent daughters; all women who want to be Miss World; in short, all the women who have, over the last few years, threatened to undo all the good work done in a previous generation to get us women taken seriously in the first place. There are a lot of women out there, especially younger women, who are seriously in the business of reinforcing stereotypes. It's time someone took some serious action around here.

Not least because I bloody hate pink.
 
Posted by Think² (# 1984) on :
 
Preach it, sister !
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by daviddrinkell:
I agree with piglet. The BBC does things better than anyone else. Learned but not stuffy, entertaining but not overloaded with razzmattazz.

In the short period I watched it I hated it when they visited the boat party which I really didn't get. I think they should have broken it up with an episode of yes prime minister.

I expect we will be having another election sometime before the end of the year. Hopefully without the boat.

[ 08. May 2010, 20:24: Message edited by: Nightlamp ]
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Most people who hit a glass ceiling tend to be bitter in my experience. The fact is she is trained political pundit who is not asked to talk about anything but women's issues yet expertise is largely elsewhere.

Jengie
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Think²:
Preach it, sister !

[Big Grin]
 
Posted by Jengie Jon (# 273) on :
 
Just to add

I just glad my neice is a skilled social operator* who at the age of six has seen through the pink thing and gone onto yellow instead. Of course it is a pain to buy her things but at least she has taste.

Jengie

*Not based on this alone, that gal is seriously socially aware.
 
Posted by Angloid (# 159) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by daviddrinkell:
I agree with piglet. The BBC does things better than anyone else. Learned but not stuffy, entertaining but not overloaded with razzmattazz.

In the short period I watched it I hated it when they visited the boat party which I really didn't get.
It would have been OK without Andrew Neil.
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
Just to add

I just glad my neice is a skilled social operator* who at the age of six has seen through the pink thing and gone onto yellow instead. Of course it is a pain to buy her things but at least she has taste.

Very good taste!

[ 08. May 2010, 20:39: Message edited by: Sleepwalker ]
 
Posted by Anglican't (# 15292) on :
 
Andrew Neil has had a very good election so far. The boat thing was too expensive and rather insensitive given that i) the BBC is supposed to be strapped for cash and ii) (and more importantly) the nation isn't too economically healthy at the moment.

I don't know whether all the guests were interviewed but I'm not sure why we really want to hear the political analysis of Ben Kingsley, Bruce Forsyth, David Baddiel, Richard Madeley or Richard Madeley's daughter.
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
equate not to 1 in 120 but to about 1 in 50.

That equals to about 13 MPs in a pure PR list system. Making certain that Nick Griffin would be a permanent fixture in parliament.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
In Scotland we have the additional member system. We've had it for about nine years now, it works well. It's particularly good at redressing the problems which FPTP causes, because the parties which do badly on the FPTP proportionately recoup their fortunes on the regional list. The one hiccup with the system was caused by a very badly designed second ballot paper at the last election, and that has been fixed now.

You have both a constituency MSP and choice of list MSPs in the larger region, which actually works very well, as if your constituency MSP doesn't share your views, there's usually a regional list one who does, who you can choose to write to.

No Nazis or BNP have been elected. In the first parliament under the system, we did get quite a few MSPs from smaller parties (like the Senior Citizens Party and Scottish Social Party) but now the novelty has worn off, we just have SNP, Lib, Lab, Conservative and Greens and an independent - fewer parties than you'll see at Westminster. We've had either government by coalition or minority government, since the system started and the sky hasn't fallen.

It's really very weird to hear some of the scaremongering about PR from south of the Border.

L.
 
Posted by Nightlamp (# 266) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:

It's really very weird to hear some of the scaremongering about PR from south of the Border.

Indeed but then the Scots don't use a a pure PR system as you have just said. If the scottish system were adopted in the UK there might be one or two BNP people if that. I have no idea what the Lib Dems support I always assumed it was a pure PR list.
I really dislike the idea of a hated politician getting chuked out by the local people but to return like the living dead via a regional list.

Personally I support a PR system for the upper house where a person can sit for a maximum of 2 terms (8 years?) but also their party has to show a certain level of support (5%?) before the party is eligible for a seat in the upper house.
 
Posted by Louise (# 30) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
Indeed but then the Scots don't use a a pure PR system as you have just said. If the scottish system were adopted in the UK there might be one or two BNP people if that. I have no idea what the Lib Dems support I always assumed it was a pure PR list.
I really dislike the idea of a hated politician getting chuked out by the local people but to return like the living dead via a regional list.


They are for STV in multi-member constituencies which isn't a party list system. It's not a bad system either, however the system used in Scotland and Wales has been tested and works well, and I cant see why that couldn't be used in England as well. It would certainly tackle the problem of what happens to third parties, but without losing the good side of having truly local constituency MPs.

As for 'hated politicians' returning via the list, I haven't seen that but I have seen the opposite. When parties deselect popular politicians they can make a comeback via putting themselves as individuals on the regional lists - Margo Macdonald being a good example in my area.

L.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Another question from across the pond.

As best as I can tell, the Lib-Dems are somewhat of a coalition themselves. Wouldn't it cause something of debate among themselves about acceptable terms for a coalition? I'm still not entirely sure what separates the Lib Dems from the other parties. Granted, I've only read the web sites and wikipedia articles.
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
Here is a short article from the BBC about the effect of PR on New Zealand politics. It is interesting to note that smaller parties know not to push their agenda too hard, and the electorate recognise that fact.

Parties here - major and minor - still fall on the left or right of the spectrum. The big two under FPTP - Labour and National - are still with us. There are also, however left and right-wing alternatives. Voting here is rather like choosing one's ice cream, and then choosing a topping to go with it.

The Lib Dems should note that a radical centrist party existed under FPTP, but it did not survive the change to PR.
 
Posted by Beeswax Altar (# 11644) on :
 
Wouldn't the same thing be accomplished with a Single Transferable Vote system?
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by New Yorker:
Question from an American: Why so few Conservative MPs from Scotland? Is Scotland just that more left wing?

quote:
Anglican't's reply:Back in the 1950s, the Conservatives routinely got half the vote in Scotland. They've been squeezed by the other parties and the de-industrialisation of the 1970s/1980s is said to have hit Scotland particularly hard.
Having lived in Scotland in the 1990s (where I studied Scottish history), my opinion is that the Conservatives are seen as an English party, or more specifically, a party that represents the British establishment, which Scots have never been entirely aligned to, and in recent years have become increasingly detached from.

It is more or less true, as Anglican't says, that the Conservatives got close to half the vote in Scotland in the 50s (in fact, they outpolled the Labour Party in every election in that decade). That was, however, a high-water mark. They generally did worse in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, and, of course, their share of the Scottish vote has consistently declined since the 50s.

In short, in England, the Conservatives were (and perhaps are still) the party of the traditional establishment. In Scotland, they were (and are) a party that stands for another country's continued link to it. I think they have always been slightly foreign. Perhaps their strong performance in the 1950s is because they had recently swallowed bits of the Liberal Party, who tended to be stronger in Scotland.

I think it must be true that Scotland is overall more left-wing than England (although this is a gross generalisation) as despite the Conservatives' low support, no centre-right alternative has emerged to threaten them (NB: I have heard that the SNP were originally right-wing and nicknamed the Tartan Tories, but I understand that they were very much a fringe party then).
 
Posted by Cod (# 2643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Another question from across the pond.

As best as I can tell, the Lib-Dems are somewhat of a coalition themselves. Wouldn't it cause something of debate among themselves about acceptable terms for a coalition? I'm still not entirely sure what separates the Lib Dems from the other parties. Granted, I've only read the web sites and wikipedia articles.

The party stands for liberty of the individual. Obviously, that creates a tension between those who see the State as having a role in empowering individual liberty, and those who think such a belief is an oxymoron.

The party itself was created by a merger of the SDP (an offshoot of the Labour Party, and which tended to the former) and Liberal Party (who tended to the latter), and if one looked closely, one could see that the party still retained those two distinct wings.

So yes, I'm absolutely sure that a furious debate is taking place in the Lib Dem rank and file. When I was an active party member, coalition with the Tories would have been unthinkable: but that was partly because they were considered such a bunch of arseholes at the time.

[ 09. May 2010, 04:09: Message edited by: Cod ]
 
Posted by Sleepwalker (# 15343) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nightlamp:
quote:
Originally posted by Pottage:
equate not to 1 in 120 but to about 1 in 50.

That equals to about 13 MPs in a pure PR list system. Making certain that Nick Griffin would be a permanent fixture in parliament.
He could even hold the balance of power, which is a scary thought.
 
Posted by North East Quine (# 13049) on :
 
I think Cod's analysis of the Conservative situation in Scotland is spot on.

As someone who lived in Scotland during the 1980s, my personal impression is that the Poll Tax debacle did a lot of harm. It was tested out in Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK and was done in a very ham-fisted way. The regulations hadn't been properly drafted and difficulties were being ironed out on the hoof as it were.

For instance, the regulations made one "person" in each "household" the responsible person for the whole "household" In student halls of residence the person whose surname came first alphabetically was "responsible" for everyone in the Halls. This not only fomented student unrest, it horrified the parents of students, who tended to be the sort of middle-aged well-to-do people who might have been right-of-centre politically themselves.

In my own case my landlord was "responsible" for me because I was renting out the flat above his business. I had dutifully given him all my details but, as I didn't have a middle name, I'd left the "middle-name" bit blank. The form was bounced back and he was given a short period of time to either fill in a middle name for me, or confirm definitely that I didn't have one. Unfortunately I was on holiday and he couldn't contact me. He was told that he would be fined if he didn't provide the information before I returned from holiday. He was able to contact one of my friends, who didn't know either, but she was able to ask around other friends. I came back from holiday to find lots of people dismayed that my landlord had been threatened with a fine.

I could list lots of similar situations within my own knowledge.

Lots of law-abiding, mildly a-political Scottish people found themselves threatened with fines etc under the Poll Tax. I think it changed something in the political consciousness. There was a Spitting Image sketch of Maggie Thatcher raking her nails down a map of Scotland, calling it "the testing ground."

I think the ironing out of the Poll Tax legislation in Scotland alienated a lot of Scots who might not have had particularly strong views re the Conservatives prior to that.
 
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Another question from across the pond.

As best as I can tell, the Lib-Dems are somewhat of a coalition themselves. Wouldn't it cause something of deba