2011 - Another Year for British Politics

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth_Asabrush, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    lol @ that link, especially the last paragraph. Are they aware that the recession deepened during Thatcher's first period in government and that their 'boom' was not the result of fiscal responsibility but coincided more with the return of Thatcher from monetarism (which she later would claim she had never subscribed to in the first place, lol) & that Thatcher actually ended up running further deficits which were compensated, not by higher tax-revenues but by the targeted (first pragmatic, then ideological) privatizations of state companies & property?
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    It also had a lot to do with the North Sea oil boom.

    There's a NYT article today about the great benefits of managed austerity for small businesses in Greece.
    Small businesses are closing one after another as Greek measures to combat the financial crisis have sliced profit margins and damped consumer demand.

  3. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Yep, which was state-run & privatized by Thatcher. ;) Which actually had to fun effect of making the British taxpayer pay for the development of the North-sea oil reserves but only letting them have a fraction of the further gains that were made from those areas.
  4. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I think Thatcher will be pleased with what her Conservative followers have done.

    The big fear here seems to be that we will end up with a very divided society with very poor areas with less educated people, rather than people in different wage brackets living side by side as we have now.
    With Universities allowed to raise tuition fees as much as they want to, poorer families will be priced out and those students that do get in will probably spend half their working lives paying the debt off. That is not helpful for the future minds of the country, getting a qualification to get a better job is no good if you spend most of your wages paying student debt.

    The benefits system here does need reforming because it gets abused too much, but the extent to which it has been cut is pretty severe.
  5. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    I am actually quite upset at Cameron's decision to do that, because it will egg on people over here who want to be able to raise tuition rates, which is something some people have been pushing for, for years. Furthermore, this is in contradiction with the The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the UK also signed, clearly stipulates in article 13, subsection 2:

    Eh, screw international obligations, right? Just fancy words during good times. Apparently Cameron & cohorts think a knowledge-based society creates itself ex nihilo.
  6. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    We must of course remember that what the UN considers "free" education still has to be paid for by someone, most often the taxpayer. In order to make more things accessible to all the tax rate has to increase and then people will complain.
    And the Conservatives have a love of privatisation because it saves the government money (just not the general public).

    Scotland has a system where nationals of the country do not pay tuition fees for University. I like that idea.

    Given our lower education is not so good in this country anyway, we shouldn't be preventing people from going to higher education and improving their knowledge.
    We have private schools that people with more money can take their kids to if they want to, if not they can go to state-run schools. Education is then not exclusive to the paying minority. Universities should have similar options available.
  7. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    It now appears as if there has been a U-turn on the tuition fees rise. Nick Clegg says ministers were not happy about the idea of unlimited fees suggested by the Browne report.

    This is good news if it is true, maybe the Lib Dems are pushing more for their ideas to be implemented.
  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Despite the looming Republican win in Congress, I will believe in the political will to cut Federal spending when I see it. For now the best analogy in the U.S. to Britain's "voluntary" and Greece's somewhat involuntary managed austerity is state government. State governors insist the states have already cut spending by 10%, with more certainly coming, e.g. Texas:

    Legislature likely to cut deep to meet possible $25 billion budget gap
    AUSTIN ? Texas faces a budget crisis of truly daunting proportions, with lawmakers likely to cut sacrosanct programs such as education for the first time in memory and to lay off hundreds if not thousands of state workers and public university employees.

    ..the hole in the next two-year cycle has grown in recent weeks to as much as $24 billion to $25 billion. That's about 25 percent of current spending.

    The bottom line: Public schools, college students and government employees, not just poor and needy Texans, might very well lose money, grants, benefits and even livelihoods during and after next year's legislative session.

  9. G-FETT Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    Jabba, whoever won the election there was going to be huge cuts. The only differance's between Labour and Conservative on this is whether to start cutting in 2010 or 2011 and what to cut. Labour would probably have taken slightly less off welfare and defence and a little more from the NHS. But overall our finances had got in such a state that there was going to be roughly the same amount of cuts whoever won - Even the previous Chancellor Alistair Darling said before the election that we would be facing "cuts worse than Thatcher" after the election.

    As one of the Labour treasury ministers wrote in his letter which he left for his successor, there is no money!

    We could not/can't go on increasing the deficit as we was. We was virtually at the point where our credit rating was going to be downgraded, everyone knew that we would have to begin cutting very soon within the lifetime of the 2010-2015 Parliament. That Labour now wishes to oppose pretty much all cuts without coming up with any realistic alternative is very depressing cuase we all know they would be doing pretty much exactly the same as the ConDems if they had got back in.

    Its incredible to think though that even with the cuts announced we only fall back to 2006 spending levels! :eek:
  10. lulwut Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2010
    star 1
    They can't cut enough, as far as I'm concerned. I'm sick of having to deal with the laziness and stupidity of public servants who seem to think they're owed a job. While they're so hopeless they would never be employed in the private sector, it will be cheaper for people who actually work for a living to keep them on the dole rather than have them remain in post on public funds.

    Cutting university funding does seem a terrible shame. Personally, I'd undo the idiocy of calling polytechnics universities and put a complete stop to those places covering academic subjects and push them back to the practical courses they sometimes taught well. Those that never taught anything well could be closed down with no great loss.

    As a side note, Keynes was a brilliant economist, but he recommended cutting spending during a boom. To come to a bust having increased spending during a boom to pursue bizarre police state-building lunacy, it seems a bit daft to start invoking Keynes.
  11. G-FETT Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    Well, whilst I wouldn't go so far as to say the more public sector workers that are sacked the better it is, because lets be honest these are human beings we're talking about and each one that loses their job is a personal blow for them, I must agree that the public sector has balooned out of control in the last 13 years. Obviously when the public sector starts to outstrip the private sector thats paying for it, your going to have problems. As indeed we have.

    Good point about Keynes, BTW. People talk about the Conservatives ignoring Keynes and doing their own thing, but the point Keynes is irrelevent to our situation because rather than doing what Keynes suggested and building up a surplus in the boom years, Labour actually built up a deficit in the boom years, which meant when the downturn hit we didn't have a surplus to use to help us through it.

    Keynes never suggested increasing spending in a recession with just borrowing and debt. You should also have a "war chest" that you've built up in the good times, to use in the bad times. Labour often seem to take the bits of Keynes they agree with, or rather the bits that agree with them and discard the rest.
  12. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    A good way to deal with big costs to society and in particular the NHS is to deal with increasing alcohol problems.

    A new study has just stated Alcohol is more harmful than Heroine.

    Quite a lot of anti-social behaviour issues and crime are down to alcohol. It is too cheap and easy to get these days.
  13. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    In terms of crime I offer a very simple yet novel solution. Enforce the existing laws. Punish the drunken louts who break the law not those of us who enjoy alcohol without causing any harm to others.

    As for the cost to the NHS, drinkers already pay very high rates of tax as it is.
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Quite a lot of anti-social behaviour issues and crime are down to alcohol. It is too cheap and easy to get these days.

    Has Britain tried a national ban on the manufacture, distribution, sale and purchase of alcoholic beverages? You really won't know if it works until you try it. Some would argue that Prohibition made America what it is today.
  15. G-FETT Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    star 7
    I think its daft to say alcohol is more harmful than heroin. I mean, obviously you have more problems with alcohol because its legal, cheap and extremely widely avaliable. But I'm sure if heroin was legal and as easily avaliable as alcohol, with millions and millions of people shooting up every single night of the week, you'd have even more trouble, health problems and deaths than you get with alcohol.

    Prof. Nutt seems to be a bit of a nut most of the time.[face_not_talking]
  16. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    It was calculated in terms of overall harm to the user and those around them. It doesn't suggest that heroin isn't as dangerous to the user, just that the more dangerou drugs don't have as much of an impact on wider society and those around the user as much as alcohol does.

    I don't think banning alcohol is the way to go, in moderation drink is fine. The French are great drinkers and they don't appear to have the same sorts of drink-related issues we have. It's about education and making it harder to obtain so as to discourage those who do it in excess. I do think allowing pubs to open much later was a mistake.

    Speaking of France, they seem happy with the co-operative defense plan despite the criticisms there have been about it here.
  17. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Business Secretary Vince Cable has apparently made efforts to block Rupert Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB, stating he feels it would lead to less press freedom.
    Murdoch already controls a third of the UK's newspapers.

    I like Cable, he has the right ideas.
  18. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Debtris (UK Version)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqOJTwI3oVQ

    Watched it? OK, Question time:

    Which, if any, political party would not have gone to war in Iraq and bailed out the banks and actually stood a chance of being elected to office?

    If we're being honest, the answer is none: Both parties, Labour and Conservatives, backed the war and both would have had to bail out the banks. Result? The big mess we're in.

    And it is for this reason I have no faith in politicians: It is not the failure of radical ideas because New Labour didn't do that, what they did was stick to the narrow political orthodoxy that has been in place for the last 30 years: Private sector better than public sector, privatise what you can, control local govt as much as possible - preferably with lots of strategies and action plans, support executive pay, always back the market - and it's all failed.

    Yet a big part of Labour's expansion of the state was that people said they wanted it and it had been neglected, it had shrank - the problem is they did the same sin as Thatcher, promised the earth at cheap price. The UK keeps deluding itself that it can have low taxes and great services, you can't - you have to choose one or the other, but no politician has the nerve to do that so we're forever stuck between the US and European models.

    The other thing I don't buy is that the public and private sectors are mutually opposed - it suits politicians to spin it as so, but the reality is they are inter-linked and there's a large part of the private sector that relies upon public sector contracts, many of which will be withdrawn. And then there's the efficiency drives, which tend to preclude any idea that will actually improve efficiency because the gods of senior management don't like that, real efficiency means they may actually have to do something.

    Meanwhile pay levels fall below inflation and executive pay goes up 55% in 2009-10...

    Heigh ho....
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    This is the lesson we forget in the U.S. Withdrawing government spending in a time of sluggish economic growth is a recipe for extending sluggishness.
  20. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    We should change the title of this thread, It's not 2010 anymore :p

    It is a big burden for the Private Sector to have to hold everything up while the Public Sector is heavily hit by government spending cuts. Cutting education & NHS services is bad for the long-term future of the country, those things should not be privatised and should be protected.

    We also have big problems fully privatising things when we do try to change them. The Railways in this country are ridiculous. Privatisation was rushed through by Tories and now we have some sort of public-private hybrid system where taxpayer money is still shelled out to pay for big railwork contracts even though it's meant to be privatised. A bank owns the trains and leases them to the companies which means they have to increase prices to pay for them and not invest in the railways themsevles. Either nationalise it or fully privatise it, don't do it half way because it's just a mess.
  21. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    We don't have privatisation, not really, what we've got is privatised profit and public risk which isn't how the private sector is supposed to work, the justification for reward being that you took the risk in the first place. Examples of this are the Metronet and Tubelines PPP companies.

    For all the talk of involving the private sectir, it misses the fundamental point that that sector is driven by profit/loss, government by its nature cannot do that but this doesn't mean there can't be improvements. Given how some private sector bodies harp on about the public sector, I can't help but wonder why they are so scared of it. It operates on a different basis, a different philosophy which isn't in competition with the private sector. If we got away from the dogma that sets both in opposition and developed each to their strengths, things wouold likely improve.
  22. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    If we have to privatise things then it needs to be done properly so that it isn't stupidly expensive. It will cost thousands of pounds to get a season ticket on various train routes this year and that could still increase. It's hard to promote train travel when it costs so much money to use them. I'd go to more places myself if tickets weren't so expensive.

    Surely privatisation is also meant to lead to competitive pricing which benefits the consumer as rival companies battle to get the most appealing deal. This doesn't seem to have happened in a lot of cases in the private sector.
  23. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Problem is the competitive model assumes there will always be competition, that there never will be an outright winner who gains a monopoly or that in a competition with a small number of players those players may effectively divide spoils because they have a captive market, transport being a good example of this. You don't have train companies competing on the same line for custom, nor do they handle infrastructure and the franchises are time-limited so there's no incentive to upgrade things properly.
  24. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Daivd Cameron's new "poll tax" is here, government plans to sell off public forests, up to 18% owned by the Forestry Comission.

    "Under the government's proposals, commercially valuable forests, such as Kielder, could be sold to timber companies on long leases, while communities, charities and even local authorities would have the opportunity to buy or lease other areas."

    This will no doubt be massively unpopular, Cameron would be wise to abandon this idea lest it be the end of him.
  25. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    I don't know. I'd agree there will be protests about this as people tend to be quite quiet about green space until talk starts about selling it off and restricting access, then it explodes very fast.

    But I'm not sure the protests will be on the level of the poll tax, which was due to its brutal unfairness and threatened to bring down the government had Thatcher not been given the boot.