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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

freedom!! in miniskirts, swearing and lying on benches

that place in Italy where they banned miniskirts is mental. not happy with that at all. personally, i think people should be allowed to wear whatever they want. i'm personally more in favour of personal freedom than societal moral outrage

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Johann Hari: A colder, crueller country - for no gain - Johann Hari

These attitudes have real consequences. We're not in this together. Who isn't in it with us? Them, their friends, and their families. They were asked to pay nothing more in this CSR. On the contrary: they are being let off left, right and centre. To pluck a random example, one of the richest corporations in Britain, Vodafone, had an outstanding tax bill of £6bn - but Osborne simply cancelled it this year. If he had made them pay, he could have prevented nearly all the cuts to all the welfare recipients in Britain. You try refusing to pay your taxes next time, and see if George Osborne shows the same generosity to you as he does to the super-rich.

There is one stark symbol of how unjust the response to this economic disaster caused by bankers is. They have just paid themselves £7bn in bonuses - much of it our money - to reward themselves for failure. That's the same sum Osborne took from the benefits of the British poor yesterday, who did nothing to cause this crash. And he has the chutzpah to brag about "fairness."

If true that really is shocking.
While some will argue that Vodaphone, for example, will contribute jobs (and we need plenty of those given Ozzy's Axe), they must pay their bill. That £6million could have saved massive welfare payments. I think it's important to get people into work so I would cut national insurance and get the money from income tax.
As for bankers bonuses, it's beyond obscene.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

bearded socialist on the defcit and the CSR

ok, what gets me is that the deficit is about £150 billion. The cost of bailing out the banks is well over £100 bn. The deficit excluding the bank bailout is about £30bn, which is nothing compared to just about any other country. still too large i'd argue, but not really significant comparitvely (SP?).

the defcit is due to bailing out the banks, which admittedly the Tories opposed, but would have left us without an economy. Waste, bureaucracy and benefits cheats did not lead to the deficit we currently have. sadly, i honestly do think the coalition have done what they wanted to do for purely ideological reasons i.e. shrink the state. that's an arguement, fair enough. but a marginal increase or decrease in the size of the state is a completely different thing from the deficit we have at the moment which was caused by bailing out the banks, not public sector pay rates

Elton John on TV

"Also I don't want to be on television. It's become boring, arse-paralysingly brain crippling

a fair discription of the X factor. certainly all the crap in the media that surrounds it, i've never watched it and i'm glad

My own personal Spending Review

the coalition government has used the comparison with household budgets to make the case for its own cuts.

Which is plainly bollocks, but something the right are very fond of trotting out

George Osborne is skating on thin ice

What Osborne and his fellow toilers in the coalition can be sure of is abuse from ungrateful voters who are too busy watching reality shows on TV, defrauding insurance companies (can 40% of all claims really be fake?) or making their bodies a drain on the NHS, not least by devouring crisps, Coke and fags - as one friend put it after visiting a northern maternity unit at the weekend.

interesting Mr White

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Alan Johnson's first time facing George Osborne in the commons as Shadow Chancellor

Alan Johnson: Osborne says the deficit was
wrong and his emergency budget measures were unavoidable. Actually I
believe it was the other way round.

i like that a lot

Ed Miliband's first PMQs

Personally, I was a little underwhelmed. I thought Cameron swatted Miliband aside with the supreme arrogance you expect from a Prime Minister.
Some people say Cameron doesn't do detail, but i hardly think he would have got through a top, top uni, worked at the Treasury, made the shadow cabinet in 3 years, written the manifesto, lead his party and become prime minister if he couldn't do detail. he can.

some people preferred Ed Miliband's measured approach, but i thought Cameron's swatting him aside made him look more impressive. I don't tend to think of arrogance as a bad thing at that level, I'd sure as hell be arrogant if i was a top ranker in any line of work.

it will be interesting to see which side the public takes, if they care at all. once the cuts start to bite, or the government start going back on their slash and burn rhetoric, then people will form a clearer idea. if the Tories implement these awful cuts which people blame Labour for, then the Tories will win the election. if people blame the Tories, then they are royally fucked.

on the deficit, Gordy fucked up in that he spent too much before the crash. however, the larger (largest?) part of the deficit was due only to bailing out the banks. if i am wrong i take it back, but such is my understanding having looked at the (or some, not sure) figures. if i'm right, banks should be paying it back in windfall taxes and direct tax on incomes and bonuses. the whole banking and financial system benefitted from the bail out, even those not directly bailed out. they should be where the money comes from. the structural debt, i.e. that Labour spent not on the deficit should be filled, i have no problems with that. some would do it through cuts, i'd do it through income tax on richer people. if that means they leave then the middle might face some pain which is unfortunate. but i would rather have a country re-balanced more fairly than the rich running riot.
i would look at benefits and the public sector, but i very much doubt anyone goes into politics wanting to reward those who don't deserve it while the hard working foot the bill. i think it is an unfortunate side-effect of the system, and one cheap stunts and harsh rhetoric won't solve.
i think the structural deficit and the money spent bailing out the banks should be dealt with separately.
the deficit issue needs a long bit because it's the defining issue of our times and any opposition to what the government does can be met with "it's all Labour's fault, what would you cut?"

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


The Mail has a go at someone for looking unhappy:

"Really, what has she got to be so sullen about?

Kristen Stewart is dating one of the hottest guys in Hollywood, has a stellar career and millions of dollars in the bank."

of those things i can only see a career as being a source of happiness. *get's all old man and ranty* and that's the problem with this country, too many people who value happiness in terms of how good looking is the person they are going out with and money. there's more to life.

also, i don't fancy whatshisname so that wouldn't really do much for me

Big Society gone quiet

"Expect the words "big society" to be banished to the realms of satire: already Cameron's town hall meetings planned to stir up big society action have been cancelled, after the first one in Stockport was filled with desperate voluntary organisations complaining about lost grants and contracts. "
ha, could have told you that.

i'm betting they won't be banished though, it's proper political philosophy which is why the Tories have been able to get a message to people far better than Labour for the last year or so

Martin Wolf agrees with Bearded Socialist Again Part II of many, many, many

"Taxation of property should be heavier, not lighter. But it should also be less regressive"

"Property taxes are economically desirable, though the best such tax is on site value, rather than on completed development. What makes such taxes attractive is that they bear not on effort, but on “rent” – value over and above the economic costs of production. Income tax, by contrast, bears on successful effort."
could not put it better myself

Cable says tuition fees rise is 'on the right lines'‏

Once again, when the tough decisions are needed the Lib Dems have rolled over to have their tummies tickled in the face of power. The speed with which they have abandoned just about everything they stood for at the election is really staggering. They give two-faced turn coats a bad name.

and when Cable announced it, "No-one in his party stood up to protest".

I personally think fees should be scrapped and replaced by funding through the direct tax system, the only way to make it fair.
I think the introduction of competition is the worst thing when coupled with fees as those who are poorer or looking to get less-highly paid jobs may see the better option as going somewhere cheaper and accepting a cut-price education rather than fulfilling their potential, while those who can afford a better education will get one, squeezing out more able but less wealthy competitors, for that is what students are to become to each other.
Perhaps not surprising that selective education based on wealth is the favoured route given the backgrounds of Clegg, Cameron, Osborne etc.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Martin Wolf

Isn't it strange when people you used to think were mental turn their theories around and end up supporting what you said all along?
When I read Martin Wolf stuff like Why Globalisation Works, i though the bloke was a real dogmatic so n so, blindly wedded to right-ist ideology I could not at all see working. Now almost everything he says I agree with. I have changed my views, and so has he. That in itself is impressive pragmatism. Fair play to the lad

Friday, 8 October 2010

my chances of election have taken a further blow with this:
when faced with a long list and a lot of choices some voters can’t be arsed going down the full list.

Five reasons why Conservatives should fear Ed (and more than David) By Lewis Sidnick.

1) He is new: No matter how important he was to New Labour in Government, and no matter how many years he worked for Gordon Brown and served as a Cabinet Minister – the public hardly know him. They don’t recognise his association to the past Blair/Brown years. Unlike his brother, to the vast majority of the public he is a fresh new face at the top of British politics.

2) He’ll have a centre ground agenda, but with a splash of left policy which could work well. Ed Miliband will know the dangers of presenting a left of centre agenda and come the General Election, the main strands of his policies are bound to be centre ground. But during a period of cuts and pain, lower disposable income, falling property prices and general financial insecurity a splash of more “caring” left policies will work well for the next 2/3 years. Blair said to move an inch to the left would be a disaster for Labour. He was right but he isn’t now. During his period as Leader, with a growing economy and rising levels of wealth, moving to the left would have been ideal for the Conservatives. However, a light short term left of centre policy approach, but fading away as the election approaches could be a sensible strategy.

3) He will be able to ditch the broken New Labour brand: As a result of points 1 and 2 above, he (and not David) will be able to ditch the New Labour past and move the Party on (regardless of whether policies change or not).

4) He is normal: Despite his education and years growing up in a posh area in north London, he comes across both as normal and also successful and competent. Most importantly he can communicate in everyday language, sound knowledgeable and not out of touch (a frequent criticism was that David could not).

5) He is a winner. His success story is quite remarkable. He became an MP in 2005, then a Cabinet Minister and now Leader of the Opposition. How many people can compete with that? Well, maybe only Cameron and Clegg can and look where they are now.
the parallel is Cameron. Both wrote the loosing manifesto then were able to shed it so Cameron probably can't bring it up.

i think he got in because he's not his brother. Many people are big supporters of his, but we all know who the MPs voted for, and who the unions members voted for. i'm a bit unsure where he will go, but ever so slightly to the left is my guess

true. when in doubt, brand

only as far as politicians go

can't argue with that, and i don't think he's throw that away to tack miles to the left

The new shadow cabinet: A smart use of resources

it's also about having a high profile Blair-ite in the role which makes some sense and shows a strong move to the centre. odd phrasing i know, how can anyone move TO the centre if they've never left the centre. but you know what i mean.

also, Balls' economic theory does attempt to reduce the deficit, but through growth and investment. a sort of bringing it down by other means. which i'd love to see work

i now have a twitter


Thursday, 7 October 2010

How to win back the south.

It's a fact that Labour did awful in the south in the 2010 election.
Liam Byrne, of whom i'm a big fan, has some harsh facts. Some others have been added:
At the 2010 general election, Labour suffered its worst losses in the south and middle of England, winning just 49 out of 302 seats in those regions. Choose your route carefully, says Liam Byrne, a former Treasury minister, and you can drive from Edmonton in north London to the banks of the Humber at Grimsby before hitting a Labour seat. After this wipeout, Policy Network, a think-tank, commissioned a poll of southern voters. It found they trusted the Conservatives to run the economy by a margin of 44% to 16% over Labour. Most damningly, 47% of southerners thought public spending under Labour had been largely wasted. Such voters no longer see Labour as “fair” to working families, calling it a party for benefit claimants, unions and immigrants.

And that's a problem. Of course, these people tend to read the tabloids, which have these very headlines and stories every day and, as far as i'm concerned are not always tight with the truth.
But that's the story people believe, even if I don't. My mum, dyed in the wool Thatcherite, even believes that hospitals and the like are much, much better under Labour and that the money was well spent. Far, far too few agree with her for us (Labour) to win the kind of southern voters we need to form a government.

The crunchiest debates in Manchester involved the survivors of Labour’s southern wipeout. In fringe meetings far from the fuchsia-pink main stage they shared tales of doorstep rage from voters convinced that Labour largesse had passed them by. Mr Byrne, a Birmingham MP, quoted couples who told him they worked crushing hours, paid their dues, but earned just too much to receive state help—then pointed with rage to feckless neighbours “doing nothing and getting everything”. Such voters feel they are the victims of overlapping systems of selfishness, said Mr Byrne: above them, bankers and politicians looking after themselves; below them the work-shy or newly arrived immigrants tapping benefits. Fiona Mactaggart, a formidable Scot who represents Slough—one of Labour’s tiny clutch of Home Counties seats—put it pithily: voters thought Labour stood for “taking their money and giving it to people who are taking the piss”.

Ed Miliband says he gets it, but does he? And will people believe him. I always think it's better to avoid sayings like 'I get it' and make statements which show it.

George Osborne: good cop and bad cop in one

as a socialist, i find myself in the odd position of agreeing with the boy george on these.
i don't think people should earn more on benefits than in work. but not everyone on benefits made a "lifestyle choice" to be so. I was put out of work by the boy george's very first cuts after the election and, try as i might, the private sector has not ridden to my aid on its shiny white horse. too little experience for my target job, "overqualified" to take just anything. but yeah, work should pay more than not working.
also, the poor should not subsidise the rich, the rich should help out the poor and needy. it's just a shame that the boy george's policies are not laying a finger on the rich while making plenty poorer

Which government takes the biggest bite out of an income of $100,000?

tax rates across the world:
we have lower tax rates in this country than Croatia, Hungary, India, Germany, France and Turkey but higher than Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China, USA, Pakistand, South Korea, Switzerland, Russia and Bahamas according the The Economist and KPMG.
I feel pretty relaxed about that i do

debt clock


Monday, 4 October 2010

some thoughts on economics

right, i oppose the Tories' economic policy.
how would i fund my alternatives, is what it comes down to.
1) windfall tax on banks and financial services
2) NI cut
3) income tax rise at the top

people must be in work, the deficit will go down if the economy grows. the structural deficit needs to go, but a huge part of the whole is due to bailing out the banks who should really pay it back.

i'd like some thoughts on this, but i won't hold my breath

my worst time of year

i hate having to sit through Tory conference at the best of times, but with these smug hypocritical bastards In Government (!, looking at you Clegg) they are unbearable. Quote of the day: "Conservative party traditionalists tell the chancellor his benefit cut for high earners could discourage marriage and hit middle-class single mothers". Now i thought they were against single mothers, but apparently it's only poor ones. Middle class single mothers are to be defended. Hypocrites

today's benefit reforms

i agree that people should be better off in work than on benefits.
however, AxeMan Osborne does not give me any confidence he will do anything other than attack the poor and vulnerable.
anyone who thinks his measures are not ideological are mental. they must be pretty grateful for the Lib Dems to take much of the fire for them from both sides.

ideally, wages should be of a level that means people are decently off in work, but there's in work poverty as well as benefit affluence.

Update: "A government source has just told Nick Robinson that the chancellor's benefits cap is more a "symbol" than a policy whose implications have been fully worked out and will produce real savings. "
oh there's a surprise

today's Tory proposals

i woke up this morning to Tory proposals to cut benefits and all but out law strikes.
i don't have a problem with the cut to 'universal' benefits. benefits should go to those most ni need, and i'm afraid top-rate tax payers are not most in need so, given the current financial position, it seems fair enough.

on restricting strikes, i think it's a tactic to back Ed Miliband into a corner

Friday, 1 October 2010

Ed Miliband: not red, but definitely of the left

bloody ell, i know The Economist has a righty bias, but can't we have slightly more objective analysis, please?

'Ed' is certainly not 'Red', but neither should he be handing down party policy from on high 72 hours after becoming leader.
Sadly, the job of leaders is to make warm fluffy noises that enough people don't object to.

on wages and the like, should he really be looking so short term that he trips over his own feet, or should he set out his vision for the longer term? This country cannot compete on low costs, it has to do so on high-end and quality produce which means wages and Ts & Cs.
and is it not immoral that care workers are paid so poorly?