POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by chinatyke » 08 Oct 2017, 12:33

Why do we have to have all this political correctness? What people do with their private lives is their own business. Isn't it possible to just ignore it altogether or lump them under one heading: lawful sexual deviants?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 09 Oct 2017, 03:07

I agree China. Let's just leave them to it, it's a private matter.
Tiz, I listened to it of course and it was quite splendid. Trustworthy opinions and very funny.....
I see that the pundits are telling us that May is going to have a reshuffle of the deckchairs in the Cabinet. What's more significant to me is that the preview of her address to the Commons this morning on Brexit as Davies and his little helpers start the fifth round of negotiations in Brussels tells us that she is once more chiding the EU for not giving way on pre-conditions for trade talks and saying that the ball is in their court. The government haven't yet accepted that the case is the reverse in the eyes of the EU. They have no latitude to change the order of business and the ball is most definitely in our court, we have to come up with concrete proposals on the three principles. I suspect that the reason we don't is that we have no idea how we are going to manage the customs union or the Irish border and are reluctant to give EU citizens in the UK full rights because of the deep undercurrent of isolationism. I don't see any progress until this nettle is grasped.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 10 Oct 2017, 04:34

Theresa May did her 'ball in the court' speech and the EU immediately responded that this was not a ball game but a serious negotiation but in her terms the ball was in her court as there had been no progress even on the relatively simple legalities of the divorce bill. Many MPs in all parties will be asking Jeremy Corbyn's question, "What have they been doing for the last 15 months".
I can't help entertaining the theory that on the quiet the Tories aren't interested in an agreement. 'Hard Brexit' is too attractive a prospect for those who see personal gain in it if we fulfil the threat to become the biggest rogue financial centre in the world. I don't want to believe this but it fits too well....
See THIS for a report about shenanigans in the Lancashire County Council. I hadn't heard anything about it until I saw a report in Private Eye yesterday. PE is more up to date and there have been developments that have effectively destroyed the Tory majority. Worth keeping an eye on.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 10 Oct 2017, 08:04

Stanley wrote:
10 Oct 2017, 04:34
I can't help entertaining the theory that on the quiet the Tories aren't interested in an agreement.
This is all reminiscent of the Government's approach in the First World War. It becomes a matter of principle that they wouldn't sue for peace because WE would lose face and our standing on the world stage. Finally, as we all know, this thinking bankrupt the country and almost did away with the feudal 'old money' control that had run the country for centuries. This time the challenge is much more subtle instead of war eroding living standards we now have austerity. Meanwhile the top 1% are doing very well thank you.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 11 Oct 2017, 04:02

Quite right P. I fully realise that when anyone raises this matter it is dangerously close to a conspiracy theory but if you step back a bit, have a read of Naomi Klein on the 'Shock Doctrine' and ask yourself who the people are who have profited in the last ten years you get a weight of evidence that shouldn't be ignored. Look also at where Tory Party funding comes from, some very dodgy sources on the outermost reaches of financial respectability. Then ask yourself the question "Who benefits from 'Hard Brexit' and continued austerity?" I only get one answer and it troubles me. What makes things worse is that I doubt if any of the protagonists have read enough history and have the capacity to stand back and look at the overview. They see only the 'simple' questions about sovereignty and control.
When did you hear anyone in politics talking about the benefits of wider global involvement, the possibility of a different world politics and, to quote an earlier age, 'Peace in our time'. Instead we get stupid concepts like 'punching above our weight' and trillions spent on Trident, Aircraft carriers and incredibly expensive aeroplanes. Right wing politics is still rooted in 19th century concepts of 'sound money' and laisser faire. We are, on the whole, an insular, bigoted nation dominated by fear of vague threats of 'racial dilution' which is how the Fear Campaign in the referendum succeeded in dragging us to the cliff edge. Do we never learn?
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest we have THIS a BBC analysis of the latest Trump tweets. Has democracy really reached this low ebb?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 11 Oct 2017, 09:32

I agree with Lord Owen this morning on the Today programme when he said that Brexit `shouldn't belong to the Tory party', it's too important for only one party. All parties should be fully involved in the decisions.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 12 Oct 2017, 02:25

As you know Tiz, that has been my view ever since the credit crunch of 2008. National matters should be decided by national bodies. We didn't manage too badly in WW2......
Later.... The news coming in from Brussels is not encouraging. The EU watchers see no signs of any movement and predict that even if this changed December is the earliest any progress can be made. One factor in the EU attitude is the evident warfare inside the Tory Party between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister. She seems to be abandoning any hope of agreement and transition and Hammond is still supporting the softer Brexit. One Labour MP stood up and accused her directly of being dominated by the far right Tories and this enraged May so much she leapt to her feet to deny it.
However, there would appear to be some substance in this and there is a concert party in the Right Wing media attacking Hammond using very extreme language.
None of this is good news for UK PLC. Regardless of the rumour and polemics, it seems obvious that we are making no progress and if the predictions are correct and there is only an outside chance of any change in December, May's position is going to become untenable, there will be a leadership fight in the Tory Party, this will further damage UK credibility and almost certainly ensure a 'cliff edge' scenario. This is the worst possible outcome and we will pay dearly for this shambolic performance which is completely divorced from serious and logical negotiation. It is a disgrace.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 12 Oct 2017, 09:28

News this morning that people phoning the help line to try and sort out their problems with Universal Credit are being charged 55p a minute.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 13 Oct 2017, 04:11

That's been known for a while Tiz and it's a disgrace. Perhaps the most telling evidence of the failure of the roll-out comes from food banks reporting that they have run out of food and the rise in rent arrears and evictions in the areas affected. We are creating an underclass of families, including children, who are hungry, cold and don't know where their next meal is coming from and this in what is reputed to be the fourth most wealthy country in the world.
The fall out from yesterday's news conferences give us some clues about the 'progress' in negotiations with the EU. It appears that progress has been made on Ireland and borders and perhaps citizen's rights but not enough. The real sticking point is the amount of the 'divorce settlement' and this is holding everything else up.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 13 Oct 2017, 09:33

Stanley wrote:
13 Oct 2017, 04:11
We are creating an underclass of families, including children, who are hungry, cold and don't know where their next meal is coming from and this in what is reputed to be the fourth most wealthy country in the world.
And that sort of problem underlies much of what's wrong with the world. If it was solved it we might not have trump as US President.

Brexit...I think it was Peter Henessy who said that the biggest danger from Brexit is not the breaking up of our union with the EU but the disruption of our own United Kingdom and Northern Ireland through disputes over borders.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by chinatyke » 13 Oct 2017, 13:16

Stanley wrote:
13 Oct 2017, 04:11
...and this in what is reputed to be the fourth most wealthy country in the world.
Fourth? We are a 'has-been' country, small and insignificant.
We don't even make the top 25 wealthiest countries list. We're 27th according to these 2 articles:
https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/econo ... ld?page=12

http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-riche ... rld-2016-3

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 14 Oct 2017, 03:08

I suppose it depends on what you are measuring. Both your examples use GDP or per capita income. I think the 'fourth greatest' I have seen quoted is based on total worth regardless of current performance or how it is distributed. Which is my point, the money is there but it's how it is being used. Our main problem is that right wing economists advocate a meritocracy while what we actually have is an old fashioned kleptocracy.
There is no let-up in the sustained attacks on Theresa May if you read between the lines. It seems to me that more imagination is being put into concealed contempt of her leadership than is going into actually finding a solution to the negotiations in Brussels.
Trump continues to act as an international maverick. He appears to be under the impression that he can unilaterally decide to scrap the international treaty on Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Even though he is being almost universality condemned, only Israel supports him, he has passed the matter to Congress for a decision and there is no doubt that they can damage what has, up to now, been a flawed but working relationship. Regardless of his IQ the jury is still out in many quarters as to whether he is just an ignorant, bigoted bull in a china shop or a very clever manipulator of the political climate.
I cant't help wondering if the Weinstein Affair is going to result in the re-awakening of the charges of sexist behaviour that were raised against him.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 14 Oct 2017, 09:03

One of the main subjects of the Brexit campaign has been the level of immigration, the UK is full, we can't house them, pay for their 'Benefits' or schools, NHS etc: while the truth is that they add to our GDP and put more in in taxes than they take out. Whatever your view on the current situation there remains in the background the fact that most of the World's developed countries are not replacing their indigenous population by normal birth rates. The UK has a total fertility rate (TFR): (child per woman) of 1.88. This is below the normal rate of just over 2.0 to maintain the population. TFR. This difference appears slight at minus -6% per generation but coupled with an aging population it becomes obvious that some degree of immigration is essential. So what is the plan? Have we got one? Don't expect anything like a bit of logical forward planning just keep shouting "keep these foreigners out" that should be good enough.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 15 Oct 2017, 04:08

I think you are dead right P. Add the displacement of populations by war and famine and it is obvious that the whole concept of 'nationality' needs rethinking. The great paradox is that countries like the US and Australia are at the forefront of opposition to migrants even though both countries consist entirely of migrants! 'Nationalism' hides selfish intent, "I'm all right Jack, I'm in the lifeboat. You can pull the ladder up now". In the UK it's slightly more complicated. There are very few 'true Britons', we are all mongrels and what's even worse, mongrels who have been brainwashed to believe in a culture of superiority based on colonialism and empire. Oscar Wilde noted this when he said "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel". When I see someone wrapping themselves in the flag my crap detector immediately starts whining.
See THIS excellent and I think well balanced assessment of the Brexit position from the Guardian. Jeremy Corbyn summed it up neatly yesterday when he said that the Tories were negotiating hard but with themselves and not the EU. The EU spokespeople are evidently of the same opinion and are going to block any extension of the talks until the 'divorce settlement' is concluded. This being the case a hard Brexit looks more and more likely and there is an increasingly vocal groundswell saying that this is now a major problem. It begins to look like a looming financial disaster apart from the fact that we are cutting ourselves off from Europe and all the advantages that go with it. I see nothing good in this, Cameron's Catastrophe is bearing down on us and never forget that it was a mindless 'cat fight' that started it! It must be one of the most significant failures of governance in history and we are helpless, we can do nothing about it.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 15 Oct 2017, 11:28

Stanley wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 04:08
It must be one of the most significant failures of governance in history and we are helpless, we can do nothing about it.
Likewise Donald Trump as US President, and the Americans are helpless and can do nothing about it.

Some wealthy Trump supporters in the US will be pleased to see Obamacare dismantled. They can afford private care. I wonder what will happen when those less wealthy Trump supporters find they can't get medical help?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 15 Oct 2017, 12:00

Tizer wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 11:28
I wonder what will happen when those less wealthy Trump supporters find they can't get medical help?
Right wing Americans tend to fall back on the argument of 'Moral Hazard' generally used to minimize benefits. If you hand out money to poor people there is no incentive for them to work. We are seeing this logic now being applied in the UK. The Americans take it one stage further with their health insurance. If you subsidize their insurance payment people will only work hard enough to meet the minimum payment commitment. Therefore you are subsidizing laziness. So the answer to the less wealthy is easy, They will just have to work harder!

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 16 Oct 2017, 03:39

Ever since the Elizabethan 'New Poor Law' was introduced there has been the principal that the recipient must not be comparatively better off than the working poor. Problems arise when the working poor aren't getting enough to survive on, hence Income Credits at one end of the scale and reduction of benefits at the other. The result is food banks and evictions. Great stuff, that'll keep them in check! The general opinion is that something has got to be done about Universal Credit as the roll-out is obviously so damaging.
News that shots have been exchanged between the Kurdish troops and elements of the Iraqi army. This looks like the civil war that many of us predicted as a natural response to the destruction of Iraq.
Perhaps the best indicator of the state of the Brexit negotiations is the fact that Mrs May is making a sudden visit to Brussels to have dinner with the EU negotiators and Commissioners. Her aim is to try to persuade them to bring pressure on the 27 to relax the conditions that govern the talks. (LINK) There is an air of panic as the hard line Brexiteers in the Tory Party are believed to have set a deadline of December. If there is no solid progress by then they want us to walk away. It's to be hoped this goes better than the last meeting which resulted in some very acrimonious exchanges during which May was described as 'deluded'.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 16 Oct 2017, 09:03

I was pleased to hear Ken Clarke on the Today programme this morning admitting that the Government could end up having to reverse the decision to leave the EU. I still believe that could happen. in fact it seems to get more likely week by week. When the Swiss vote in a referendum came out against a deal with the EU the Swiss Government decided that would be a bad decision and they went ahead with the deal.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 17 Oct 2017, 04:03

I agree Tiz. What strikes me is the fact that some governments have referendums and then ignore them. Just think of the difference if the Tories had done the same. This raises the question of why the enthusiasm for the 'cliff edge'? I'm afraid that I believe it's because a hard Brexit will be very good for the wealthiest section of the population.
The news conference after the 'dinner' in Brussels last night was a classic example of diplomatic 'interpretation'. It's fairly obvious that all May got from the EU was a reiteration of the unwelcome fact that there would be no extension of talks until the three heads of agreement for the initial divorce settlement are firm and agreed. The bit about May and Barnier being in agreement simply means that our 'Bloody Difficult Woman' must have realised that resistance is useless, she has had to agree that the talks must be accelerated. It was obvious from the start when she was telling us how she would negotiate that she had no control once Article 50 was triggered. The bottom line is that the EU is in the driving seat and is sticking to their directives. Comments from other EU personalities seem to indicate that they think that the UK's problem is one of leadership.....
Now she has to come back and tell the Cabinet that it's crunch time, they have a stark choice, start acceding to the conditions, make a cash offer or walk out.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 18 Oct 2017, 04:34

Downing Street is very quiet. I suspect that behind closed doors a big reassessment is going on..... They have run out of time! Very strong warnings about hard Brexit from the BofE, OECD and industry who are beginning to wake up to the full implications of the 'cliff edge'.
Inflation at 3%, highest for ten years and this is not the true figure for those on basic spending only on food, housing, transport and utilities which are far higher. Wages increase is below 2% even for those in work. Mind you, a fair deal for us pensioners, in an ideal world all welfare payments and benefits should be tied to inflation.......
Later. Interesting that the only Cabinet dissent reported by the Whitehall Watchers is the knee-jerk policy on tuition fees hung out as bait to get the young to become Tories. I suspect there is more than this going on.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 18 Oct 2017, 16:09

I notice May is saying "There won't be another referendum". Quite. What we want is not another referendum but a U-turn on Brexit by the Government. Surely they an manage that - after all they're past masters at U-turns. I also notice something missing from all these discussions about hard versus soft Brexit and good and bad deals - it's time politicians started paying attention to the enormous amount of wasted time, effort and money that is going into the black hole that we call Brexit. Just imagine how much better off we would be if we simply said that the exercise has shown that Brexit is the wrong decision and we're staying in the EU. Not only that but we're going to do our very best to help improve and streamline the EU. Let's compete with France and Germany to be the leading nations in Europe. There's so much we could do - and we'd retain our right to veto anything that we thought was wrong. It's time to bury our pride, make the U-turn and set out on a new course.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 19 Oct 2017, 02:10

Tiz, that's really quite a lot to expect from a Party whose idea of of reasonable procedure is to refuse to vote on a motion they know they will lose in order to rubbish the result. I don't think I have ever seen that done before..... I hope the tactic backfires on them.
See THIS and ask yourself is Trump unlucky or is he just an insensitive bugger?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 19 Oct 2017, 07:56

Its become common currency among the hard line Brexiters that there is nothing in law that requires us to make a payment to the EU on leaving. In effect we can get to the point of a no deal and just leave the EU without paying a penny. Fact Check. This appears to be true BUT a no deal means exactly that, there is no agreement on anything, as though we are on two different planets. Everything we now take for granted between the UK and the EU will disappear. In effect we shall have to negotiate agreements with the EU under the cloud that we are someone who is prepared to break agreements we have entered into. Under these conditions it will be almost impossible to achieve a balanced agreement on anything. As Tizer says "its time to bury our pride" and face reality that we will have to pay something.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 19 Oct 2017, 09:14

Stanley wrote:
19 Oct 2017, 02:10
See THIS and ask yourself is Trump unlucky or is he just an insensitive bugger?
I hope Rex Tillerson was `in the room' when Trump made the call because he's at the end of his tether, doesn't have loyalty to Trump and knows he's the next to go. I suspect he won't tell lies and would expose Trump.

On Brexit it's depressing to see how a large majority of MPs believed that it would be wrong for the UK to exit the EU yet they allowed a small gang of right-wingers to mislead the public, then allowed a referendum to be held when the public were misinformed and now don't have the guts to stand up and say they've made a big, big mistake and it's time for a correction.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 20 Oct 2017, 04:18

Dead on P! Reading between the lines (And that's all we can do as nobody is telling us anything!) we have offered £20billion and the EU is going for £50billion plus the other payments such as pensions contributions etc. that take us to somewhere North of £80billion. This is anathema to the hard line Brexiteers who advocate walking away paying nothing. It's hard to escape the impression that the money-obsessed advocates of this course are those who will profit most from the cliff edge.
Meanwhile May appeals in Brussels for a settlement she can defend at home. The hard liners on the EU side stick to their guns because they know they have us by the short hairs and are gambling on the fact that we will blink first. What a bloody mess!
Tiz you also are dead right. It is obvious that Cameron's Catastrophe is already eroding our economy and it's going to get worse. Every indicator, from inflation due to a weak pound to necessary precautions that institutions like Goldman Sachs are being forced to pursue, moving out to Frankfurt, New York and Paris points to a bleak economic climate.
PE had a report this week on the loss of certification by chemical firms exporting to the EU with Brexit which means that they lose the market. One of the many disadvantages that are clear to the individual industries but opaque to the Brexiteers.
As for Trump.... he is pushing for $1.5trillion in tax cuts in the next US budget. The Chicago School of Economic Theory rules. OK?
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