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Monday, 24 May 2010

What next - penalising students for taking caffeine?

I agree entirely, to say nothing of the libertarian argument.
Legalise please. Not part-way decriminalisation, but full on legalisation please.
Thank you

Friday, 21 May 2010

The untold story of poverty in working households

"it suits politicians of all parties to claim that work is the route out of poverty. Such a message wraps a snarling toughness directed at workless adults inside a saccharine justification: you must work for the sake of your kids.

The truth is
very different. Work that does not provide a sufficient income is now much more to blame for poverty than worklessness"

Very true, and a real key issue. Jobs, equality and poverty are the most important issues in my politics. I'm soon to experience being without work for the second time in a year and I'm not looking forward to it.

MPs old and new unite in solidarity over expenses

I have a great deal of sympathy, in part because it's yet another example of the detailed policy being worked out according to newspaper moral outrage rather than a proper system

Thursday, 20 May 2010

BBC News - Chancellor George Osborne promises business tax reform‏

So far we've had employers being excused from a National Insurance rise which will be played by employees and a corporation tax rise.
To be fair, they have (or at least proposed to) raise capital gains tax so that it's in line with income tax, which I agree with.

""Our aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, while protecting manufacturing industries"."
'most competitive' means lowest

Public sector unions are living in fantasy land | Matthew Elliott | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk‏

Public sector unions are living in fantasy land

Agreed. Please let's not go the way of Greece, they are retarded. They should probably never have been allowed into the Euro in the first place, and the strikes and riots against the necessary medicine aren't helping.

I disagree that the problem has been the state spending too much, but rather that it was spending more than it was raking in through tax. He then says tax isn't the way to raise the money, which I disagree with. I do, however, agree that a VAT rise will hit the poorest hardest and we should be wary of going down that route.

But when he says "In a report with the Institute of Directors last September we set out how to save £50 billion", it all makes sense. the Institute of Directors are a right bunch of bastards who look after the interests of the richest and most powerful, so anything they or their mates say should be looked at in that light. The author is chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance. Wankers. They are the ones who don't believe in any government, so they can fuck right off.

BBC - Peston's Picks: Will Osborne cut and simplify corporation tax?‏

"It's true therefore that a policy of reducing the various business tax allowances would have the effect of pushing up the tax burden on the kind of companies that make and export things deemed vital to the UK's economic future, even if the headline rate of tax were reduced - whereas the tax burden on banks would tend to be reduced in these circumstances."

It does seem mad that once again the Tories have pursued a headline when the devil in the detail means they would actually be doing the opposite of what they're claiming they want to do.
But then I don't think they ever said they wanted to improve the lot of manufacturers at the cost of the banks, but I may be wrong

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Jon Cruddas is right (and so is Boris)

Damn that's good analysis.

Is there institutional sexism in the Labour Party?

discussion from Julian Ware-Lane's blog

i think there is a far deeper issue of sexism in the country. i heard on some media or other that more coverage was given to the clothing of the leaders wives than to any female politician.
women are very rarely taken seriously by the media and i'm sure that puts many women off. Ed Balls has admitted that he wanted to stand aside for his wife to stand but she declined, which is sad as she would have got my vote.
It's right that we are having this discussion, that's for sure

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ed Balls: 'They said we were not on their side, that we lost touch'

I think Balls has been the most impressive contender so far in that he seems to have the best idea of why Labour was kicked out (the fairness thing) and his stated willingness to stand aside to allow his wife into the contest. It's a shame she refused as she would be my choice.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Labour's 13-year war on the motorist is over, pledges new Transport Secretary

There tends to be a paradox at work here.
The Daily Mail are always going on about catching and punishing those who brake the law, unless they are speeding in which case they are doing all they can to ENCOURAGE braking the law

the 55% rule

It does seem like the 55% is based purely on current numbers, so if the current make up gave the opposition parties 60, rather than 53, it would be 65%.
I think it should stay at 50, or if it's changed it should be done independently rather than having the government choose.
Don't like it at all

Would-be Labour leaders, take the Mrs Duffy test | Liam Byrne

He may well have a point, but who have we? David Miliband? Someone help us

Thursday, 13 May 2010

where's the money coming from?

“Deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain,” states the coalition agreement between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats. If so, the rest of the document does not live up to the billing.

Compared with budget plans the government has inherited from its Labour predecessor, the agreement included no specific new spending cuts, lots of public spending pledges, copious tax cuts and a commitment to faster deficit reduction.

Unless there are huge spending cuts or tax increases planned but not yet announced, far from contracting, the deficit is about to deepen

from the FT.


Robert Barrie of Credit Suisse has been crunching the numbers and he reckons the fiscal measures so far announced imply a loosening of fiscal policy:

If they were all fully implemented, they would add close to £10bn per year to the deficit. That contrasts with the coalition agreement’s assertion that there will need to be “a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit”, with the new Office of Budget Responsibility ensuring that the numbers add up.

half funny small mercies

Small mercies
23. Homophobic Home Secretary.
24. National Insurance Rise on workers but not business
25. Liberal Democrats are touting their willful refusal to learn from New Labour's mistakes as a virtue.

20. They're not Ukip
21. They're not the BNP
22. Thatch, Tebbit and Lamont are long gone

37. There'll be no waiting for operations once all the elderly proles have died through the winter, after Dave cancels all the winter fuel payments and freezes their state pensions.

'At least they're easy to laugh at'
Since ca. 1979 they've been no laughing matter whatsoever - as millions would be all too able to tell you from bitter experience. Former Junior Health Minister Edwina Currie sums up the sort of innate sublimated nastiness lurking within every Tory's inner core:
In September 1986, she became a Junior Health Minister. Among her comments over the next two years were, despite being not religious, saying that "Good Christian people" don't get AIDS, telling old people who couldn't afford their heating bills that they should wrap up warm in winter, and telling northerners that they die of "Ignorance and chips'
Let's not be fooled. The self-proclaimed 'Nasty Party' is still very much in business.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

capital gains tax increase

"The 18 per cent rate of tax on gains on non-business assets will be increased to close to the 40 per cent"
very interesting, the Tories putting capital gains tax increaseq

same old tories

"1.48pm: Theresa May is expected to become home secretary and minister for equalities. What's her record on equality? PinkNews has been taking a look and it says she has been "consistently against gay and transgendered rights".

In 1998 she voted against equalising the age of consent and in 2000, she voted against the repeal of Section 28, legislation that banned the "promotion" of homosexuality by local government and schools.

In 2001 and 2002 she voted against gay couples jointly adopting children.

In 2004, like much of the Conservative frontbench, Mrs May did vote in favour of civil partnerships.

But in the same year, Mrs May didn't attend parliament for any of the four votes that led to the Gender Recognition Act.
"
same old tories

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

BBC News - Q&A: Calls to change the UK election voting system‏

Voting reform.

I personally favour the Alternative Vote system because
1) I think maintaining the geographical link between constituency voters and elected representative is key to the way our parliament works. That's why I disagree with the Single Transferable Vote - that link is broken.

2) AV allows a candidate to get 50% of the vote, and that's key for me too. I think we should either go with the French system where if no-one gets 50% they should have another go, or take the second (or even more) preferences and stack those up. Now I personally would go with second only because

3) it's relatively simple. I remember at school my teacher talking about the various systems. One where voters are allowed to rank all of the candidates gives those who vote of one of the leading 2 one vote, while someone who ranks every single candidate can have numerous votes. This was tackled by the first vote counting as one, while the second would be a fraction of one, the third a bit less and so on. so I'd rather there was a 1st preference which could be for the winner or a smaller party, then a second preference for a major player. Maybe a third, maybe not. We have three major parties, so voters should probably get the chance to rank those three if they so choose.

Simple? Hardly

The people have spoken. Don't let the markets shout them down | Gary Younge | Comment is free | The Guardian‏

"These bodies that see public debt as a burning issue today foresaw no problems with the unsustainable private debts of the banks investing in sub-prime holdings a few years ago. "The vast majority of the analysts at Moody's [one of the leading ratings agencies, and seen as the most likely to move on the UK's debt rating] are honest individuals who try hard to do their jobs," Eric Kolchinsky, a former managing director at Moody's told a US Senate subcommittee on investigations a few weeks ago. "However, the incentives in the market for rating agency services favoured, and still favour, short-term profits over credit quality."
There's a reason for this. These agencies are primarily funded by the banks that they are supposed to be rating, creating what several former officials testified was a fundamental conflict of interest. In the words of Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
"
True. Clear conflict of interest.


Otherwise, the piece is a wafty, empty rant about how great people are and how terrible the markets are. And how politicians are all self-interested liars.
I think it's fair to say that the politicians actually did a decent job of outlining the cuts we may face. The 'more fierce than Thatcher in the 80s' quote was from one Ali Darling, for example.
Yet it's those same wicked politicians Younge is then trusting to sort out the democratic deficit that places the markets in such power. Well, that's stupid.
It would certainly be nice of elected politicians had more power than the markets, but without giving any kind of detail, just carping from the sidelines doesn't much help.

Gordon Brown told it's time to go as hopes fade for deal with Lib Dems

"That is leading a growing body of older ministers to argue that Labour should now recognise this is a good election to lose, relinquish power and regroup with dignity.

A clutch of former senior ministers including David Blunkett, the former home secretary, George Howarth the former Home Office minister, and Malcolm Wicks, the former energy secretary, were arguing that it is best for Labour to admit defeat, hold a leadership election and come back to crush a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of convenience at the next election.

In a foretaste of the attack Labour will mount on the Liberal Democrats, Blunkett said: "We're going to have, by the look of it, a coalition government with a Liberal Democrat partner that doesn't believe one word of the Tories on Europe, doesn't believe in the Tories' economic policy and has considerable doubts about their approach in terms of taxation, not least in terms of inheritance tax, but is having to go in with the Conservatives in order to gain power.""

I agree entirely. Let's accept that we've lost and stand ready to win next time, when we will probably be able to command the 'progressive vote' completely as the lib dems will be tainted by Tory association.
However, the lib dems may then be seen as a credible and pragmatic party which will probably work to their advantage.
But that doesn't matter as Labour lost 90 seats so should stand aside.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

49.77% of the vote, 100% of the seats

On May 6th the voters on Lincolnshire cast their votes. Here is the combined results for the seven constituencies.
Con 174,729 49.77%
LD 70,827 20.17%
Lab 68,043 19.38%
UKIP 16,346 4.66%
BNP 13,614 3.88%
Linc Ind 5,311 1.51%
Eng Dem 1,121 0.32%
Green 724 0.21%
Ind 393 0.11%

Yet under FPTP the Conservatives managed to obtain all seven seats.


is not so good

Saturday, 8 May 2010

a progressive alliance

Alex Salmond is calling on the Lib Dems to join a 'progressive alliance' with Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and Labour.
firstly, Clegg said he'd do a deal with the largest party, so he should.
second, the nationalists have acted disgracefully before the election trying to hold the country to ransom by selling their support to the highest bidder. this would give disproportionate power to minority parties, and thus is far from progressive.

"If Labour and the Lib Dems joined forces - the extra 57 votes are not enough to make them the biggest force even with the support of the Northern Irish SDLP (who sat on the government benches in the last parliament) and the one new Alliance MP who is allied to the Lib Dems. Together that's 319 votes.

With the support of the nationalists from Scotland and Wales they would reach 330.

If the DUP joined too and the independent unionist and the new Green MP this alliance would have 338 votes in the Commons."

just doesn't seem right to me because they're trying to marginalise the largest party. if Labour and Lib Dems each had more seats, say they were able to get a majority with just those two, and they'd given some assurances before the vote, then that would probably be enough for me.
i still find it odd that i'm saying the Tories should be in power, but that's what people voted for.

Don't underestimate Ed Balls | Mehdi Hasan

""Ken rightly criticised us for not being tough enough on financial regulation." (Yesterday, Livingstone returned the compliment, telling the BBC that he planned to back Balls in any future Labour leadership contest.)"

Interesting.
I personally think he's alright, and I might well be inclined to back him if I get a vote

Credit where it's due‏

"The prospect of Chelsea or Spurs, or a host of millionaire players and former players, being paid in full while others have to accept a fraction of what they are owed is not a healthy one for the game."

A bloody great big understatement that is.
It seems odd that the people who ran the club into the ground have a far better chance of getting their money back than the charities and tiny businesses may end up with barely pennies in the pound.

I'd say HMRC should get back its preferred creditor status as it's the public purse, and footballers and clubs should loose their status with some link to their income so that lower leagues players and clubs can benefit but not the millionaires who don't need the money.
How is a bit more difficult

blogger startled as internet comment post is found to be sensible and balanced

wow.
"

I wouldn't want to be Clegg. He finds himself wielding power with no mandate for it, which tends to slaughter his own sacred cows of electoral reform. If he chooses to prop up the Tories with just over a third of the vote, not only would the same principle be compromised, but he'd forever taint the Libdems as closet rightwingers who helped the hated Tories gain power after gaining tactical votes from those who wanted to keep them out.

If he worked with Labour, the democratic principle is once again compromised, but at least his progressive credentials remain intact, and he retains the possibility of future support from progressives. This might be his better option of the two, siince he could reasonably claim that the progressive vote outweighed the Conservative one, and that's what shaped his decision.

Realistically, he might be better refusing to work with either side. Whichever side he props up has no mandate, and he'll share in their fragility and in all likelihood get the public order of the boot next time around, along with the losing side he assisted."

good work that poster. think i need a lay down

the homosexual homophobics?

i got my daily email from urban dictionary, which today contained reference to George Alan Rekers.

looking into the story, i was very disturbed to find out about "National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality" and various associated groups. it's horrible that in this day and age some people still consider not being 'straight' to be a 'sin' or something that can be 'cured'.

sadly, i don't think for a minute that we in this country can afford to be complacent on the issue

a tory government

over the last couple of days i've found myself in the odd position of thinking we should have a Tory government.
they won the most votes, they won the most seats. They should be the government, end of.


getting more devious, it could work out quite well for Labour as the anti-Tory or leftist vote they currently share with the Lib Dems may be more concentrated on Labour after 4 years of a Lib Dem / Tory coalition government, either explicit or implicit.

Can't help but feel Cameron and Clegg are two peas from the same pod though

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

If the ghastly Ed Balls loses his seat, that will be my 'Portillo moment'. Who will be yours? - Telegraph Blogs‏

"When I found out Balls had got caught talking on a mobile while driving, I couldn't help think: haven't you taken enough risks with our children?"

Ah ha ha. Typical right-wing media bollocks there. Made me smile, if not laugh out loud. When I found out Balls had got caught talking on a mobile while driving, I couldn't help think: haven't you taken enough risks with our children?

Roy Greenslade: The Sun recruits Simon Cowell to its pro-Tory campaign | Media | guardian.co.uk‏

"COR! what a bunch of tits! Thank you guardian, when can we expect more?
oh, on friday apparently, but not just tits, a whole bunch of toffee nosed arseholes.

Dear god

save us

please

you are our only hope!

or did you sell your soul to rupert too? (how much they paying you?)"


brilliant