POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 23 Apr 2012, 05:30

I'm getting the impression from listening to global news about efforts to manage the debt crisis that our systems of governance are getting slightly blasé as they find ways of managing a debt-ridden economy. I don't see any really fundamental proposals to address the root problem of high expectations versus the real resources available to satisfy them. Governments are doing all they can to keep their electors satisfied and quiet. All of this based on the same premise that got us here in the first place, high debt levels. Perhaps this is the 'New Economy' we heard so much about. The losers in all this are the populations at the bottom of the heap and we are getting very good at living with their problems. Is this a viable plan for the future?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 23 Apr 2012, 09:23

Yes, I got that leaflet too

Then the Lib Dem one with a personal letter.

Half truths and scare stories seem to rule the day.

No sign of anything yet from the Labour or UKIP people, so presume they aren't canvassing my vote

Good job I voted on Saturday and can now move on

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 23 Apr 2012, 18:40

Well if a ruling elite can work in Bahrain and crush an opposing majority I guess the same could occur in Great Britain.

Local election outcomes will send in generally more opposition party members , but wont / cant deliver as central government holds the main purse strings and the conditions for raising any balance of money to spend effectively. Meanwhile HM Treasury announces greater control over department spending plans ( funny thought Treasury already did have - There is triplication in central govt , dept does it , cabinet office checks they are doing it / should be doing it / arent doing anything they shouldnt be doing , and Treasury demands how much will it cost , does it cost ( cash ) , did it cost ( resource ) along with spies in each department as they dont belive any of the returns from each department. No make that quadruplication ? as PMs private office also want all the same information - and control - as well.

Nadine Dorries - Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire .- Quote from interview on BBC2 Daily Politics , Monday 23rd April 2012.
"Unfortunately, I think that not only are Cameron and Osborne two posh boys who don't know the price of milk, but they are two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition, and no passion to want to understand the lives of others - and that is their real crime." Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17815769 .

Cameron , sometime same day - precis - 'Carry on with policy of deficit reduction' . My opinion - Cameron might just be right IF the idea is to reduce wasteful expenditure , but I think he ( HM Treasury ) are finding it much harder than they thought , hence the re-iteration of the original policy idea , and the concept that hard-working people should not be penalised in this spending cutting culture seems to be a justification for the main emphasis of govt (un)spend and tax policies, and the explanation for Dorries conclusions.

Unfortunately the value of the financial rewards from work don't always quite match the hardness of the effort put in ( at least in the short term ) , and seeing that HM Treasury foresees economic woes until beyond 2017 looks like ConDems might just get away with marking time and leaving the problem to the next lot to get voted in.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 24 Apr 2012, 02:03

I listened to Cameron on the defence on Today yesterday and thought that he gave a perfect example of an accomplished politician avoiding the real issues. Expert ducking and weaving but there are a couple of clouds on the horizon...
In the coalition agreement the LibDems insisted that voting reform and reform of the House of Lords being included in the manifesto. We all know what a blow it was to Clegg when the fight for proportional representation was lost and he is digging his heels in on Lords Reform. There is quite a lot of support for this across the parties and a significant head of steam is building up which includes a demand for a referendum on the matter. The 'antis' are saying that this is a distraction as there are more important matters to use parliamentary time on but Clegg sees this as his personal Rubicon and is going for it. Some commentators are saying that this is very dangerous because it could damage, if not break, the coalition. Time will tell bot the Libdems look serious on this one.
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest.... The Dutch government falls because they couldn't agree on a 1.7% austerity cut to bring the Netherlands into line with the EU/Merkel bid to control the budgets of EU members. France looks as though they are going to vote in a Socialist who believes that the cuts are too savage and that money should be spent on promoting growth. In the wider EU opinion is growing that the cuts and the policy of spending money like water to support the lame dog Mediterranean economies is not working. (Spain is once more officially in recession) The political opposition to the Merkel plan is growing and the EU economy looks as though it is staggering, the numbers aren't good.
The markets have noted this and are very antsy. See the market falls yesterday as views were taken on how the Euro Project is faring. Everything is on a knife edge and one wonders what the effect would be of an economic shock like Iran/Israeli conflict leading to major disruption of supplies of Middle East oil. The danger is Harold's "events dear boy". My own opinion is that the train wreck is still happening in slow motion and the key is what I was advocating yesterday, an honest admission that the Western economies are still living beyond their means. I see Danny Alexander has instructed government departments to find a further 5% reduction in spending. Could it be that the government has noted the same signs but daren't come clean about the prospects in Europe on the grounds of public confidence?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 24 Apr 2012, 07:03

Much more in the later news about forecasts of Rupert Murdoch going onto the attack at this week's Leveson Enquiry. Commentators who have been watching his tweets on posh toffs and government cock-ups are convinced that he's going to ask who were the real bad guys, Newscorp or the politicians who used the press to advance their agendas. It could get quite interesting as it looks as though Rupert has abandoned the UK project and James has been cut down to size at BSkyB.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 25 Apr 2012, 04:45

Funny that in the week Rupert and James are due to appear again in front of Leveson the Jeremy Hunt mails surface. (LINK) Coincidence or case management?
Funny how the latest dismal growth figures for the UK seem to have sunk without trace....
Later.... More is surfacing about the Jeremy Hunt affair and one theory is that he is being used as a human shield by Cameron because of revelations about a 'short conversation' between him and James Murdoch at a dinner given by Rebekkah Brooks in December 2010. I wonder what Vince Cable thinks about this. Remember he was in charge of the scrutiny of the BSkyB in 2010. Funny he was ditched and replaced by someone who seems to have been a lot closer to Newscorp than Vince would ever have been. Remember that Vince was pushed out after being secretly recorded saying he was against the merger. There is a smell of collusion, perhaps even corruption about this furore.
More information surfaces about the imminent growth figures. Most of the experts expect 0.01% but the BofE says that it could possibly be negative. This is knife edge territory because whatever the 'official' figure is this is flat-lining and way behind Treasury forecasts and what is necessary. Ed Balls was ridiculed when he forecast this level of growth but it looks as though he was closer then Ossie and the Treasury. It's hard to see how this can be massaged by the Coalition. The question is what are their policies to address the matter? There is no prospect of good news coming out of the EU and there is always the chance of adverse outside events. Tin hat time lads!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 25 Apr 2012, 09:19

Double dip, seemingly because of the problems in the Construction sector which all the experts have queried

Anyhow, won't help anyone but Balls will be swinging

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 25 Apr 2012, 13:14

Was that PMQ's the equivalent of skying the ball over the bar from 2 yards out with the keeper stranded on the half way line?

That wierd Ed should go into PR because he's very accomplished at making someone else look good, or it could just be that he's not.

Cameroon looking good after that amount of stuff hitting the fan, hat tip!

Wonder if he'd be any better if wierd Ed got ditched?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 26 Apr 2012, 05:12

I don't know about Cameron looking good....
Fascinating if depressing day in politics. Jeremy ditches his 'political adviser' Adam in an effort to divert flak. He claims he didn't know about the exchanges. Really? He gives Adam permission to communicate directly with Newscorp (BIG MISTAKE!) and then doesn't bother to monitor the exchanges? To quote Nye Bevan speaking of Eden at the time of Suez: "If he knew he is too wicked to be Prime Minister. If he didn't know he is too stupid to be Prime Minister". I loved the comment by Dennis Skinner in PMQs; "When the toffs get into trouble they sack the servants", nice one..... I'd love to know Vince Cable's private thoughts at the moment, he was mugged by someone with that clandestine recording to get him out of the loop.
Cameron on hearing that the growth figure for the last three months is -2% and we were officially back in recession; "It's very, very disappointing". I think we'd worked that out for ourselves Dave! Question is what is he going to do about it? His defence that we were in the middle of the worst financial situation since the 1930s doesn't explain why other countries are doing so much better. There is a difference between using credit to pay debts off and using it to stimulate the economy, encourage growth, and make profit to apply to the debt reduction. In 2008 I said that the big mistake was throwing all the money at the banks who sterilised it, a large proportion should have been injected into the economy in the form of infrastructure investment to get the benefits of the multiplier as the money worked through the economy. I still hold that to be true. However, we are where we are. The biggest problem at the moment is inflation at a higher rate than wage rises. Personal disposable income is falling and sooner or later this is going to hit the High Street retailers who up to now have miraculously escaped recession. (Are their figures accurate?) Public investment in construction fell 30% over the last five years and is forecast to fall another 6% this year. As one construction firm CEO said yesterday we need a flood of new schools and hospitals. It looks as though the dreaded PFI was at least doing them some good. Manufacturing is doing no better, largely because industry is sitting on its cash reserves and not investing. Who can blame them? They saw what happened in 2008 when credit was cut off. It makes eminently good business sense to hold on to reserves that can be used if we have a rerun. The first sign of the recession easing in the 1930s was the level of investment by industry rising as the prospect of a war economy made it attractive. (See Feinstein. 'National Income Expenditure and Output 1855-1965,)
Things could get worse... How are the markets and the rating agencies going to react to this logjam in policy in the government? They will want to see signs that action is being taken. There is speculation that the BofE is going to do more ;quantitative easing', printing money and devaluing the currency in other words. This is old fashioned devaluation and whilst it helps exports triggers off retaliatory action by those we export to because it is seen as dirty pool. Remember what happened to Wilson after the 'pound in your pocket' speech?
I have consistently argued that the situation is just as dangerous as the outbreak of war in 1939 and should be addressed in the same way, a National Coalition in which the interminable party political arguments are put on one side and everyone pulls together to find a way forward. It worked then even though we stood alone and it could work now. One thing is certain, such an initiative would break the policy log jam and couldn't be worse than what we are seeing now. The present situation is that we are sleepwalking further into the quicksand and it's about time someone started telling the truth and looking for reverse gear!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 26 Apr 2012, 09:30

I may be missing something but:

We have a coalition, and one to which the Labour Party said it would oppose after the election. So it had the chance but refused to join in.

We are still spending far more money than any of Darling's forecasts, even when you strip out the extra benefits etc. Not so much as a fiscal consolidation as a drag to growth.

I made the reference to Cameroon looking good because Wierd Ed stinks. Far too much baggage

The stuff about Hunt is unfortunately sheer hypocrisy from Hattie and the Red Crew. Under Gordon Brown the Cabinet Office ran a huge smear campaign. When it was exposed, the only people to leave were Damian McBride and Dolly Draper (Kate from ITV daytime's hubby) who were Spads. None of the fall out affected MP Tom Watson who ran that office or Gordon Brown. Thus in Employment Law a precedent was set. Politicians without principles, who'd a thunk that!

I do think it fun that Rupert said Gordon was indeed 'unhinged'

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 27 Apr 2012, 04:34

"I may be missing something but:" You are. Read up the War Coalition of 1940, a different beast altogether than a party coalition. It was truly a government of all the talents and interestingly enough, after the war, Churchill was most fulsome in praise for Ernie Bevin who of course went on to become Foreign Secretary in the 1945 Labour government. When you think about Churchill's attitudes to the unions in the late 1920s and the General Strike this was definitely a case of burying the hatchet and that's the point I am making, progress towards any solution will not be achieved by inter party bickering. The 1940 coalition proved that, faced with a major problem, the major politicians were statesman like enough to put party to one side and work together. It was successful and normal hostilities were resumed in the election of 1945. Our big problem is that I don't see any statesmen about, only party politicians.
That Rupert is a case isn't he. It's obvious he has nothing but contempt for politicians and their attempts to curry favour with him. Now he's lashing out at them. There was an interesting discussion on R4 yesterday about what influence the papers actually have. The consensus was that the people they influence are politicians and the general mood of the media. Their influence on how people vote was agreed to be exaggerated. I'll go with that. Some perceptive comments about robo-son James. All of them accurate, none of them complimentary.
Pressure grows on Cameron to refer the Hunt Affair to the independent assessor of ministerial standards. The latest to join the call is Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the LibDems. Looks like a no-brainer to me because if innocent it will bring an end to the matter. If not.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 27 Apr 2012, 09:20

I still stand behind the comment that it was the Labour Party who chose to oppose, rather than join the coalition.

Interesting to see that Andrew Neil skewered Ed Ball's economic untruths on the daily Politics yesterday. Certainly wiped the grin off his face.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 28 Apr 2012, 05:40

"I still stand behind the comment that it was the Labour Party who chose to oppose, rather than join the coalition." I never questioned that statement. You ignore my point that what we need is a coalition of all the parties to address the most serious situation we have seen since 1939.
I'm beginning to warm towards Levenson! Downing Street cane up with a cunning wheeze to get Jeremy Hunt off the hook. He applied to Levenson for an earlier hearing. Obvious why. He wanted to use the enquiry as a platform to present his defence and of course eventually get a ruling as to whether he had exceeded his powers or not. Levenson saw through this, in effect such an appearance would have kicked the affair into the long grass and Downing Street could have countered demands for a full independent enquiry by the standards commissioner on the grounds that it was sub-judice. He gave a dusty reply which in effect rapped the Downing Street knuckles and pointed out that it was the Prime Minister's responsibility to make the enquiry and that he wouldn't entertain an earlier hearing. This puts the ball firmly back in Cameron's court and they will have to seek out a different cunning wheeze or give in to the demands for an independent enquiry. Very refreshing! A good example of the benefits of an independent judiciary acting in the public interest.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 28 Apr 2012, 09:37

So, if one party walks away and refuses to be a part of a broad coalition...how do you get one?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tardis » 28 Apr 2012, 09:50

Coming at the end of last night's Any Questions on Radio 4 was A Point of View with Will Self.

As an antidote to the previous, I thought that it was splendid:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ghgtd

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 29 Apr 2012, 08:03

"So, if one party walks away and refuses to be a part of a broad coalition...how do you get one?". Michael, I'll try one last time to make it clear. The point is that the parties see the danger, come together and form the coalition, just as they did in 1940. This is what needs to happen now.

Cameron hasn't given up on the cunning plan of using Leveson as a firewall. The latest ploy from Downing Street is that it would be 'silly' to have any independent enquiry before Hunt has given evidence at Leveson. Lord Armstrong, former civil servant chief said this morning that the emails should have been referred to the Permanent Secretary by the minister for an opinion. Somehow I don't think Jeremy wanted an opinion from anyone!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 29 Apr 2012, 19:35

If economic growth is falling at a slower rate than the cuts in government expenditure, then something might be working as private sector fills the gap ( though maybe not quite as fast as one would like ). But isn't government deficit still going up ( in cash terms, - I cannot quite work out the real terms restated to last years values ) ? At this rate we could argue we don't need government at all and the whole lot can go [ this must be the ultimate logic of Conservative viewpoint ].

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 30 Apr 2012, 04:42

I note that Cameron admitted on Andrew Marr show yesterday that "the EU problem wasn't half way to being over". Well at least it's nice to know that he is aware of this. Latest ploy to use Leveson as a firewall for Jeremy could be backfiring on them. By sticking his heels in and insisting that he will wait for Hunt's appearance at Leveson Cameron has ensured that there will be no resolution for at least a month giving plenty of space for adverse effects from opposition. It's also festering during the council elections. Noticed that he has resiled from saying that Hunt has 100% support, he is now using a modified form of words. I'd love to know what he is saying in private.... Hunt's big mistake was to allow Adam Smith to communicate with Newscorp, a no-brainer. Issues of competence?
I heard an interesting snippet last night when I caught the last part of 'In Business' on R4 about the Lancashire Textile industry. A man who has a large business making cushions in Liverpool said that he was forced to move one of his factories to China by his main clients who said that if there wasn't a Chinese component to his business they would not deal with him. He said that originally the Chinese factory worked OK with lower production costs. He was designing in UK, manufacturing in China and exporting from there. He says that this has now changed, Chinese manufacturing costs are rising and the currency rate works against exports. He said it was still working for the cheaper ranges but he had brought the top end manufacture back to UK because in that area we were more competitive than the Chinese. That's interesting.... Many years ago when the Asians were buying the Lancashire textile industry up and scrapping it (That's what happened at Bancroft and when I spoke to Doug Hoyle about it he said he knew of thirty firms who had gone the same way in 1978) I wondered what would happen when their manufacturing costs rose with progress and whether some of the production would ever come back here.
NAB have made a loss on their purchase of Yorkshire and Clydesdale bank because of poor UK performance and are slashing back offices and some public interfaces. A straw in the wind? (LINK)
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 30 Apr 2012, 07:25

I always thought when a PM gave a minister 100% support that normally meant the minister was out within 72 hours.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by catgate » 30 Apr 2012, 10:30

Whyperion wrote:..... 100% support ......
The phrase that is usually used is "full support" and that in reality means a jock strap,

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tripps » 30 Apr 2012, 19:13

PM called back from electioneering to answer " emergency question"
The situation was very carefully designed to be deniable by the minister involved - and what do you know - he denied it.

I like Occam's take on this type of situation - the simplest explanation is probably the best. If an emails says JH says / thinks / will - then that's probably the truth. Oh, and another gratuitous insult to poor old Dennis Skinner - I wonder he still asks questions.

They're off on their hols again after tomorrow - they've only just got back from Easter!
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bradders Bluesinger » 30 Apr 2012, 23:25

Tripps wrote: Oh, and another gratuitous insult to poor old Dennis Skinner - I wonder he still asks questions.
Hey , don't be too worried about "poor old Dennis"...he can take it .
With him it's the Question that's important....... not necessarily the answer.....He has a fine record in this (dis)respect !

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 01 May 2012, 04:27

I agree Bodge, I think Dennis can look after himself. David, I share your view and I suspect so do the majority of the electors. Thursday could be interesting! I watched Cameron at the Despatch box loosing it with Millibeans and wondered how this contributed to the 'debate'. Big problem is of course that Ed had gone off half-cocked. He had no new evidence and was simply reiterating general criticism of Cameron, no substance to the attack. My reaction was to wonder what would happen if there was a straight election for leader between Cameron, Clegg and Milliband. I suspect that if there was another candidate, say Dame Shirley, they would get a walk-over! I have never seen such a pathetic bunch of party leaders. They know what the problems are but instead of pulling together to solve them they indulge themselves in Westminster Village party politics.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 01 May 2012, 12:46

Not quite sure why the PM felt it necessary to reply to Mr Skinner as he did. It strikes me as extraordinarily rude and unbecoming. Usefully, it does serve to illustrate that incivility and rudeness manifests across society, something that is often forgotten in the all-to-frequent bouts of red-top inspired hand-ringing. I do struggle to recall us having so unself-consciously rude a PM.

And I note Mr Rees-Mogg calling E Miliband a 'socialist yahoo' in the same session yesterday. Quite apart from whether Mr Miliband E is a socialist (I have my doubts), some have noted this tells us a lot about Mr Rees-Mogg. Swift noted in Gullivers Travel that the Yahoos were a savage, base 'people'. Their opposites were the Houyhnhmns - calm, rational horses, or in their language, 'the perfection of nature'. If a socialist is a Yahoo in Mr Rees-Moggs world, then their opposites, presumably the likes of Mr Rees-Mogg, are Houyhnhmns - or the perfection of nature.

Anyroad, May Day today and time for we Yahoos to remember the sacrifices of working people through the ages to secure their 8 hours labour, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by PanBiker » 01 May 2012, 15:58

Well said Richard. Personally I think that Ed may well be frightened of the word socialism. That particular affliction has seemed to affect the past few so called leaders of the party or certainly the ones that dream up the policies.
There does not seem to be a lot of passion around, no fully committed conviction to principals that will engage the electorate. New Labour has a lot to answer for. I just wonder how long it will be before they realise it and actually get back to what the party should be about. I may consider joining again if they did. Nothing to get excited about at the moment though. Swap one lot of middle of the road for another. it's hard to tell the difference sometimes.
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