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Monday, 31 January 2011


I'm just listening to the Guardian politics podcast and they went from talking to the economy to talking civil liberties. in all honesty, the economy is far more important. at the end of the day, i care about having a job and a decent standard of living far more than the civil rights of suspected terrorists. i would imagine most people are the same.
with growth stallling and inflation rising i'm worried about my job, i'm worried about my medium to long term prospects too and the idea of getting blown up doesn't help on that.
as someone who thinks terrorism is a terrible thing i'm not entirely sympathetic even though i'm a big believer in personal freedom and liberty

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Pat McFadden

I thought Pat McFadden has just been very good on Pienaar's Politics. He made some very good points without being off-putting, good work.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Inflation hits 3.7% after record monthly increase

I find this interesting because as a working man I am feeling the effects of this on my day to day living rather than just from an academic point of view. My monthly travel card is up by 5%, and with food costs rising too my wages are coming under greater pressure. The thing is that my wages have not increased to compensate for the rising costs of living. I hope that the Bank and government get a handle on this because it's a worry. As a saver I am also concerned about the low interest rates which would have some small compensatory pressure by helping my savings. There is clearly a moral hazard issue here, but I am far more concerned about the money in my bank account than the moralities, but when the actions of some well rewarded financial services types adversely impact my living standards it's not abstract

"I'm sure we'll be advised that holding wages down while the cost of living rises is the highest form of social responsibility. But with CEOs' salaries rising at record rates, with the Forbes Rich List collective value rising by a record 40% last year, it doesn't sound as if this advice is being applied universally.

In fact, it sounds like outright economic class war: senior posts in all institutions now are being paid top-rate salaries in return for reducing costs and salaries among the lower-paid. I work in a university and the above applies there in spades"

Excellent point

Baroness Warsi says Muslim prejudice seen as normal‏

I think she may well have a point about it being the last acceptable prejudice.
For me personally, I don't care much for any religion. I do, however, believe that people can be divided into moderates and extremists. But for me the most important division is into terrorists and not, those who use violence to gain their political ends and those who don't. I'm on the side of those who use democracy to reach political goals and against those who use violence. In that case, faith doesn't come into it.

The Speaker: Bercow's boundaries | Editorial
"Some, like Lady Boothroyd, regret his informality of dress"
I personally see that as a positive. I personally think all the pomp and ceremony of parliament really detracts from the work it does.

"It would not be hard to be better than Speaker Martin - but Speaker Bercow has made a consistently positive difference to the standing and work of the Commons. He is a reformer at a time when a reformer has been needed. He is a good communicator."
I agree with these. I think he's pretty decent, and the fact that Nadine Dorries hates his guts means he's probably doing something right. Aside from the enemy of my enemy being my friend, I think he's doing well and making a stand on issues that are important.

"On what subjects should a Speaker be heard if not on the role and credibility of the chamber he chairs?"
Can't argue with that

NHS reform: 7 in 10 pen pushers will keep jobs despite 'biggest shake up ever'

Some very interesting bits in the comments section. I thought they were anti-Labour at the Daily Heil, but it seems they are opposed to these reforms. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if they were just anti-everything

Reality bites for coalition government

The vast inequalities are really quite staggering, and I'd like to think that people won't stand for them. But I don't hold my breath, Jordan's on the front page somewhere.
The huge bonuses and huge cut to charity go against one of the things I was often told in favour of right-ist solutions: that letting people have their own money means they will give more to charity. Now this is a one off case, but it's pretty fucking disgusting none the less

Alan Johnson's resignation

I obviously don't know any details but it's sad to see him go.
I thought he did a decent job in the face of the most incredible snobbery about his background and education.
All the best AJ

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

UK unemployment inches below 2.5m

I now believe unemployment to be an issue of the highest importance. It's a personal tragedy to be unemployed and government, for me, should do all it can to try to ensure people are in jobs.
It is by having people in work that the economy will be strong, in addition to any things about personal development or stuff like that. money in the pocket, stability and security flow from having a job and for that it is vital.

Also, it shows how badly the Tories botched up our economy in the 80s with 3 million out of work. The population is higher now yet we have less people out of work than we did then

House of Lords in stalemate over voting reform

"Labour says the bill is so rushed it will leave 3.5 million off the electoral register. They insist that if the government separates the two pieces of legislation, then legislation paving the way for a referendum on the alternative vote system would go ahead."

"The Labour party's commitment to cleaning up politics, to political reform, is a complete and utter farce."
Nick Clegg is showing himself to be a wanker and the very worst of politics by constantly using emotive and provocative language rather than reasoned debate.

"Sources were not ruling out that a guillotine motion could be used in the Lords. Though this would be unprecedented, coalition peers already deployed the highly rare procedure on the first all night sitting by moving a similar sort of motion - a closure motion.
A guillotine sees a government stipulate in advance of how long parliamentarians debate an issue the time by which it needs to be resolved. This has never been done in the Lords."
So the coalition government is willing to stop the debate and force its legislation through. That's a bit bad really. If ever anything in modern times showed the need for reform of the Lords it's this. The Lords exists to be a check on and balance against government, but with a majority in the Lords the coalition has unchecked power, which they are enjoying and showing what they think of those who stand against them.

I myself am in favour of AV on the Roy Jenkins model. The closer the coalitions AV proposals are to the AV+ that Jenkins came up with the more I support it. The other part of the proposals about constituency sizes I will not support (not that it matters what I think or support)

NHS cuts: Scale of shakeup took No 10 by surprise

No 10 has been so surprised by the radical nature of Andrew Lansley's NHS proposals that David Cameron has ordered a strengthening of his own policy unit so the centre is better equipped to challenge departmental plans in future. Government sources admitted that Downing Street simply did not have the specialist expertise in-house to challenge plans put forward by cabinet ministers.
If true that's all a bit odd for someone who's constantly going on about devolving power from the centre

Ed Miliband attacks 'arrogant' David Cameron over NHS reforms

"The statistics will fuel fears that Britain's young people could become a "lost generation" who cannot find work despite the recession ending a year ago."

That's my own fear, that I will be surpassed by a younger generation and be stuck in dead end jobs with no prospects. And I'm one of the lucky ones with an education and some small experience behind me. There is a real issue here and not one that can be improved by making political capital out of it.

Inflation: Up, up and away | Editorial

My personal worry is the bit at the bottom, about the squeeze on my money from the price rises. With my own travel costs having gone up 5% January to December I can see problems unless it stays still for a year at least

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The death of rock | Sam Leith

"Who are the iconic rock fans in popular culture? They are Beavis and Butthead, Bill and Ted, Wayne and Garth, and Jack Black's character in School of Rock" that, I think, says more about the bloke writing the article than about the genre of music.

Now, I don't think rock is dead, and having someone from the guardian talk about it is not a good way to breath life into it. But I go to gigs and festivals, and it's very much alive and thrashing.
And if it's not in the singles charts, and paul gamberchini thinks it's dead? Well, I couldn't give a shit

David Cameron: Andy Coulson deserves to be given a second chance

It sounds as if Cameron knows that Coulson was in the wrong and has accepted that privately without wanting to admit publicly. Sounds dodgy to me.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

A letter to Nick Clegg from alarm clock Britain

Many good points are made. I think clegg is on to something in some ways. I am probably low to middle income, I have a job I hate and I'm worried about my cost of living. I would count myself at the more fortunate edge of this analysis but I can certainly see here he's coming from. but I'm afraid that the author's attempts to paint herself as an ordinary everyday person is absolute bollocks

Nick Clegg plays down Labour victory

I had a feeling he might, much as I'm sure Labour are playing it up. Yvette Cooper disappointed me a bit this morning being evasive and a bit wafty