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mr shifter

UK Election 2010

I am amazed that there is nothing here, when the States had one last year and that thread had plenty of discussions from both sides of the Ocean.

Don't (for christs sake) think I have an Interest as I have been, for most of my Adult life, a Floating (or not at all) voter.

I have seen glimpses of the three stooges debating on TV and I still say they are all the same pile of Sh*t.
I have a candidate here talks about Europe. (say no more, then)

I heard an interesting point about the 2nd debate and 4 million people watched it. strewth.
That is a very small % of the population and the media still think we are interested.
The media with the ring in their noses follow the latest decree that each parties headquarters have set for their daily agenda.

Where is Murdock telling the Dummies to vote this time ?????
Fontfroide

I heard Clegg speaking French on TV yesterday.  Not bad French either.  This would be enough to get the guy bounced in the USA, but I also heard he speaks five languages.  How can anyone in the UK vote for a guy like that?
bianchigirl

Having been on the receiving end of Liberal dirty electioneering as a kid (they weren't averse to resorting to lies) I really can't vote for them.

The older I get the more convinced I am that real anarcho-syndicalism and co-operativism is the only way forward - not this Big Society shit Cameron is trying to pedal as some kind of 'big idea' - remember, there is no such thing as society. Tories are just Thatcher in tossers clothing.
SlowRower

So I guess you won't be voting Tory then, BG? Wink You really should learn the full Thatcher quote re "society"...

What I find somewhat surprising about this campaign is that Brown is still managing to claim "the economy" as his strength and sound vaguely credible. The guy must have undentable self-belief.

I foresee the following scenario:

Labour comes third in the popular vote but with more seats than the Lib Dems

Labour ditches Brown and replaces him with someone else. (Not Mad Hattie or Balls, please!)

Labour and Lib Dems form a coalition, with a Labour PM (as the party with the most seats) and argue for weeks about who gets to sit where at the cabinet table.

This will then end up with another "unelected" PM, who hasn't done the TV debates (unimportant to me, but apparently very important to Cleggy during the negotiations when it looked like he might not get equal billing) with the old, unpopular former government still in power, supported by Cleggy, who is supposedly all in favour of change and correcting democratic deficits.

You couldn't really make that up, which is why I think it will happen. Smile
Nolte

there is a thread in the office called "let battle commence"
bianchigirl

'There is no such thing as society, There are individual men and women, and there are families...It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour...There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation." In an interview to Woman's Own, no less.

Sounds indistinguishable to Cameron's 'big idea' to me - and equally as parochial and self centred. Just like trickle down, expecting a bunch of self interested Tories to look after those they consider to be non-contributory members of society will only lead to an ever wider gap between rich and poor. Oh, and don't let them fool you on public services - local government have made the efficiency savings already.

I wouldn't vote Tory if you told me the alternative was a bullet in the back of the head.
mr shifter

SlowRower wrote:

Labour ditches Brown and replaces him with someone else. (Not Mad Hattie or Balls, please!)

Not sure who they are but?

Lord Meddlesome (we have his everlasting folly in Greenwich) will take some shifting from a leadership battle.
SlowRower

bianchigirl wrote:
I wouldn't vote Tory if you told me the alternative was a bullet in the back of the head.


A bit extreme perhaps, but it's good to see that there's no political apathy in your part of the world. Smile

This will be a good election to lose. Much better for "the other lot" (whoever "your lot" is) to take the blame for the axe that will have to be taken to public spending after the election, so by not voting Tory you're indirectly doing them a favour, I'd say!
SlowRower

mr shifter wrote:
SlowRower wrote:

Labour ditches Brown and replaces him with someone else. (Not Mad Hattie or Balls, please!)

Not sure who they are but?

Lord Meddlesome (we have his everlasting folly in Greenwich) will take some shifting from a leadership battle.


Mad Hattie is Harriet Harmen. Balls is Ed Balls. Both should be considering the keys to a padded cell rather than the keys to No. 10.

Lord Meddlesome cannot, indeed, be ruled out. That would add to the irony, as he isn't even an elected MP. He's a slick operator, though, and is not a big fan of Ed Balls, which means he has at least one redeeming characteristic!
Superbagneres

I'm a complete election geek and I'm finding the whole thing fascinating. To be honest the campaign itself is very boring, but the build-up is a bit like Milan San-Remo and it will get exciting from around 10pm next Thursday, for which a Lamb Dhansak, Sag Aloo and a bottle of Laphroaig are essential.

With just over a week or so to go there is quite a strong chance that the Prime Minister will be none of the three main party leaders. I was listening to Radio 4 this morning, and they began a discussion about women in politics by saying "One thing we do know is that the next Prime Minister won't be a woman." I wondered if the elected deputy leader of the Labour Party would agree. The Labour Party and the Conservative Party could be plunged into huge acrimony, and for the first time the Lib Dems will be stress-tested - to withn an inch of their lives. The idea of a party which still makes up its policy at party conference (and the last one had its moments) having to try to form a coalition with either Labour or the Tories will be really interesting.

Surely there would be huge problems with a Labour-Lib Dem coalition. If the Lib Dems have a higher popular vote than Labour they will surely demand that Brown go as part of a deal; but that opens up a can of worms. At the end of an election which has been reduced to three "presidential" TV debates are they really going to announce to the country (which appears to have a very low familarity with even some quite senior politicians) that  the next Prime Minister will in fact be someone called Alan Johnson, who you may or may not have heard of, but who has been home secretary for a bit and who you may have seen being interviewed once or twice on the Andrew Marr show during the campaign? And where does that leave Harriet Harman, who beat Johnson in the election for deputy leader of her party? And wouldn't it be seen as Nick Clegg (and the Queen?) somehow appointing a de facto leader of the Labour Party? They would still need to change their party rules or have a new election for a leader and what if Harman came out on top of that one again?  

If the numbers add up for them to form a coalition I think there will be a lot of pressure on Cameron and Clegg - as two of the candidates who have been through the TV debates - to work together. I can't see how that would work other than as a very weak Tory minority government with some Lib Dem support on some limited issues. It would not be worth doing. And when did you last hear anything from David Davis? He will probably surface shortly after 11pm next Thursday to challenge Cameron, although if his own seat is looking vulnerable he might have to hold fire.

I agree with SR that it is a great election to lose, but I don't think politicians think like that. If I were Cameron I would put the other side in to bat for a bit. They might bring in PR in the meantime, but it's probably coming anyway - which from the limited use of it so far in the UK would I think be a shame.

But I actually suspect that the votes will give a firmer lead on who will govern than people are supposing.  I am guessing that when votes are translated into seats the Tories will have real problems picking up any Tory-Lib Dem marginals, and they will in fact lose some to the Lib Dems.  I think the Labour vote will rally slightly in Tory-Labour marginals and the Tories won't pick up anything like the number they need. The Tories clearly don't feel comfortable attacking the current inequality of constituency sizes which grossly favours Labour, because it inevitably leads on to a wider discussion about electoral reform. And I think that might be the ultimate irony - the Tories under first past the post will I think get the highest share of the vote nationwide but be squeezed in terms of seats in a way no-one is predicting.

So I think the next Prime Minister will be some hack from the current government - Miliband, Johnson or Harman. Althugh I would kill to see the Queen's face if they went to her and said "Mandelson".
Biosphere

Superbagneres wrote:

. . . Surely there would be huge problems with a Labour-Lib Dem coalition. If the Lib Dems have a higher popular vote than Labour they will surely demand that Brown go as part of a deal; but that opens up a can of worms. At the end of an election which has been reduced to three "presidential" TV debates are they really going to announce to the country (which appears to have a very low familarity with even some quite senior politicians) that  the next Prime Minister will in fact be someone called . . .


Why rule out Clegg? More likely that the other options you listed IMO.

Could Mandelson be PM, given that he's not an MP. What are the rules according to the unwritten constitution (which makes the idea of rules somewhat oxymoronic)
thunderthighs

why was my reponse deleted... why !!!!
Superbagneres

Biosphere wrote:

Why rule out Clegg? More likely that the other options you listed IMO.

Could Mandelson be PM, given that he's not an MP. What are the rules according to the unwritten constitution (which makes the idea of rules somewhat oxymoronic)


I don't see how Clegg would end up as PM other than by the Lib Dems getting the most seats; it is against Labour Party rules to support anyone other than a Labour candidate in an election, and so I cannot see the Labour PLP supporting Clegg as PM. But although we are told that it is unlikely I wouldn't in fact discount the possibility of the Lib Dems getting the most seats; we have all seen the by-election effect, where any seat can become winnable in a by-election, and it would just take that feeling to take root on a wider scale for them to get a lot of seats.  And that would be an irony even more ultimate than the last ultmate irony I suggested - if the capacity for a lot of seats to change hands on a swing under the first past the post system ended up playing into the Lib Dems' hands.

If there is a Lab-Lib Dem coalition under a Labour PM I suspect Clegg will want Foreign Secretary. And yes, a member of the Lords can be appointed Prime Minister. I suspect there is also an emergency plan to ennoble Joanna Lumley and make her PM if there is a stalemate.

I quite liked Andrew Neil's line about the possibility of Gordon Brown remaining PM if he loses - "A Prime Minister who was never elected loses an election and stays on as Prime Minister - it's what happens in Zimbabwe isn't it"? Laughing
SlowRower

Superbagneres wrote:
...are they really going to announce to the country (which appears to have a very low familarity with even some quite senior politicians) that  the next Prime Minister will in fact be someone called Alan Johnson, who you may or may not have heard of, but who has been home secretary for a bit and who you may have seen being interviewed once or twice on the Andrew Marr show during the campaign?


Substitute "Chancellor" for "Home Secretary", "John Major" for "Alan Johnson" in the above and you see it is all too possible!

There was very little appetite even amongst Labour MPs to question Major's mandate/legitimacy at the time, because the alternative would have been reinstating his predecessor as PM -  Any other candidate would have been just as illegitimate as Major - and if there was ever an issue to unite the Tories and Labour in 1990 it was the desirability of getting rid of Thatcher!

Whilst subbing in yet another Labour PM who no-one voted for (which, FWIW, would make 3 out of the last 4 Labour PMs becoming PM in such circumstances) might anger the public, the strategists might think it worth taking a chance that within 6-12 months the economy would be recovering very strongly and they could win an outright majority in another election, thus legitimising the "illegitimate" PM, in the way John Major was after the Tories won the 1992 election. (Another election that was a very good one to lose, as things transpired.)
SlowRower

Superbagneres... wrote:
I wouldn't in fact discount the possibility of the Lib Dems getting the most seats; we have all seen the by-election effect, where any seat can become winnable in a by-election, and it would just take that feeling to take root on a wider scale for them to get a lot of seats.


Apparently, if either of the main parties gets to ~42% of the popular vote then they win approximately the same number of seats - anything between a working majority and a landslide, depending on how the other votes go.

The current level of support, i.e. roughly equal in terms of votes, give or take, highlights the way the main parties' support is distributed:

Labour is concentrated in urban seats, which tend to have fewer voters than in typical Tory (rural) seats. Apparently the "Boundary Changes" typically lag the movement of people out of urban areas, even under Tory administrations, so this isn't necessarily vote-rigging. (Even if it is, I'm sure the Tories ensured the lines got redrawn in their favour in the past...)

In such seats, turnout is generally lower as a % than in typical Tory seats, so it takes fewer votes to elect a Labour MP than a Tory one. (I don't think this is unfair per se - it's just a reflection of population movements and voting patterns.)

The Lib Dems are often the second most popular party in Labour or Tory seats, so their support is currently spread too thinly to win many seats. (The two main parties are often either very popular or very unpopular, not surprisingly.) The average Tory majority last time out was ~15,000, with ~10,000 for Labour. It would be very interesting to know the average amount by which Lib Dem candidates came second.

Once the share of the vote gets over 40%, though, these quirks get outweighed by the sheer excess of votes that one party has over the opposition in each consituency.

If Labour go into meltdown in the next week and lose their core support, Prime Minister Clegg could well be reality, as disaffected Labourites would probably vote Lib Dem. Not sure what would happen if the Tories imploded, though. UKIP might benefit a lot rather than the Lib Dems. Surely not Lord Prime Minister Pearson!
SlowRower

Re: UK Election 2010

mr shifter wrote:
Don't (for christs sake) think I have an Interest as I have been, for most of my Adult life, a Floating (or not at all) voter.


Mr S,

I can see why people might be floating or not at all voters now, but from '79 - '92 (the period I can remember pre-Blair) there were some huge differences between the two main parties, with the SDP/Alliance/LIb Dems occupying the real middle ground. As such, it's hard to see how anyone could be a floating voter in this period, as the three main parties had most of the feasible political spectrum (and in Labour's case in 1983, a fair chunk of the unfeasible as well!) covered. I'm not prying into whether you voted for a particular party in this period, but would be interested to know if you were a floating or non-voter.
Superbagneres

SlowRower wrote:
Superbagneres wrote:
...are they really going to announce to the country (which appears to have a very low familarity with even some quite senior politicians) that  the next Prime Minister will in fact be someone called Alan Johnson, who you may or may not have heard of, but who has been home secretary for a bit and who you may have seen being interviewed once or twice on the Andrew Marr show during the campaign?


Substitute "Chancellor" for "Home Secretary", "John Major" for "Alan Johnson" in the above and you see it is all too possible!

There was very little appetite even amongst Labour MPs to question Major's mandate/legitimacy at the time, because the alternative would have been reinstating his predecessor as PM -  Any other candidate would have been just as illegitimate as Major - and if there was ever an issue to unite the Tories and Labour in 1990 it was the desirability of getting rid of Thatcher!

Whilst subbing in yet another Labour PM who no-one voted for (which, FWIW, would make 3 out of the last 4 Labour PMs becoming PM in such circumstances) might anger the public, the strategists might think it worth taking a chance that within 6-12 months the economy would be recovering very strongly and they could win an outright majority in another election, thus legitimising the "illegitimate" PM, in the way John Major was after the Tories won the 1992 election. (Another election that was a very good one to lose, as things transpired.)


The Johnson scenario is of course hypothetical but I don't think the analogy with Major is right. Major became PM three and a half years into an electoral term rather than the weekend after his party had lost an election campaign which had been dominated by three debates between three party leaders, of whom he was not one. Given that half the population appear to know very little about politics and apparently did not know who Clegg was before the first debate I think it's going to be mystifying for those people to be told that the PM is none of the three people who they have been hearing about daily for the last couple of months. Constitutionally possible of course, but not a good starting point in terms of public popularity for a PM who will probably crap his pants the first time he gets his first briefing from the civil servants at the Treasury.
SlowRower

Super,

I guess it depends on how desperate the Labour party is to stay in power. Wise heads may take the view that short term gain might result in so much reputational damage that they face years in the wilderness. Conversely, if the considered view is that staying in power with AN Other (from their ranks) as PM is acceptable then they'll do it faster than than the price of Greek bonds are falling.

This is distinct from Brown personally, of course. I'm sure he'd instruct Sarah to offer herself in service at a Tory Party Orgy if he thought it would enhance his chances of staying in No. 10. I think the only way he'll leave No. 10 voluntarily is if the some sort of Tory/Lib Dem solution is found and he has no choice. The "bunker mentality" seems strong in him, I'd say!
mr shifter

SlowRower wrote:
bianchigirl wrote:
I wouldn't vote Tory if you told me the alternative was a bullet in the back of the head.


A bit extreme perhaps, but it's good to see that there's no political apathy in your part of the world. Smile

This will be a good election to lose. Much better for "the other lot" (whoever "your lot" is)

Coffee Time, so I look in here. (sorry but my hours are different being retired for 15 years.  Laughing )
(better explain, The motorist put me into very early retirement)

I Will Not vote for any of the 3 Stooges parties as I cannot tell the difference between them.

Questions I asked 30 odd years ago, on my doorstep to my (then) MP were.
Immigration (sorry strike one)
Europe  (sorry strike two)
Will you be putting money into the Railways (sorry strike three your out)
So much waffle on the 3 subjects and I want a direct answer. (which I got)
Today, my same questions remain exactly the same. (so I say, 3 Stooges)

The rest of this post is my personal RANT (I know)
The point about the railways (before that accountant Beeching) is that the great effort they made during the war, when they were run down with austerity measures (that's a word you have never suffered with) under the Nationalised War Department.
When the 4 major private companies received their railways back they were then stretched without profits because of all the work needed (without much government help) to get the railways back to Pre war standards.
The easy outcome instead giving those companies money to recover was to Nationalise them in 1948.
The money they paid in compensation would have been less with the first option.

Another point here is that you have mentioned Maggie Thatcher and one of my theories about her is.
I understand her father owned a street corner grocery shop in Grantham.
Grantham is only there because of the railway and therefore it became a railway town.
Why, well the place is 100 miles from London (Kings Cross) and in the early days, the distance a "Great Northern" engine would go with it's load of water/coal.
Change engines for the next engine to get you to Leeds. (or onto North Eastern metal to York)

Right so this little girl grows up with all the smoke and dirt (depends how near the shop is, but close I bet) and comes to hate the railways.
My theory becomes fact here.
You never (ever) see Maggie on a Train and in her time as PM she held back as much money from the rail network (such as it is) as she possibly could.
My theory is she hated where she lived in a working class district but quite happy for her parents to profit from them. (now that is conservative, boom, boom)

Question. with the private rail system we have now.
How can the Railways be efficient when the rail company owns the Trains and another Company own the Tracks and property. ????
The signalman is paid by the Track Company and has no worries these days about the schedules of the Train Company.
Well the conservatives organsised this and New Labour have had eleven years to sort it.
Oh yes they are all the bloody same and can you honestly pick one of them to LEAD this country.
They will all do what the Civil Servants advise them to do anyway. (not the voting public)

You really do need to.
Be Lucky
thunderthighs

uk rail is italian pedolino..owned by richard bronson..canadian rail is joke...

all three incumbents is not what england needs..

bring back thatcher type persn..ciao
cardinal guzman

Vote for who you want it will change NOTHING.

I've lived through old Labour, old Tory, Thatch tory and Blair labour and nothing has ever changed other than the ebb and flow of the boom/bust economy that keeps you in your place. Same number of wars, same social and ecomomic difficulties concerning the same bovine populace. Whatever you vote you will continue to be farmed for cash - enjoy.

They are all on the same side and it isn't your side.
SAP

At least I'd be thankful the whole campaigning mess is over pretty quickly, unlike here in the States.  And hopefully you won't get a PM who doesn't keep his word, talks down to you if you don't agree with him/her, acts like he/she is only the President, er I mean PM, of some of you and not all of you, and otherwise disappoints.  But because this time you had televised debates, he/she can speak well and is telegenic, with no gaffes like the 'bigoted woman' comment.  

Yea, good luck with that.
mr shifter

cardinal guzman wrote:
Vote for who you want it will change NOTHING.

I've lived through old Labour, old Tory, Thatch tory and Blair labour and nothing has ever changed other than the ebb and flow of the boom/bust economy that keeps you in your place. Same number of wars, same social and ecomomic difficulties concerning the same bovine populace. Whatever you vote you will continue to be farmed for cash - enjoy.

They are all on the same side and it isn't your side.

Oh yes. Now why didn't I think of that one. That says it all.
I am with you on the whole of that post. thumright
I presume you also did the 3 day working week. ????
cardinal guzman

I remember it but was too young to work at the time!

I think wisdom comes with age - you can tell someone it's a load of bollocks but they won't really believe you. At some point, most reasonably intelligent people will have the epiphany that what's being said was said a decade ago and turned out to be a lie, and the decade before that and the decade before that, but they have to come to that realisation themselves - no one listens to us old buggers anymore. Smile
SlowRower

cardinal guzman wrote:
At some point, most reasonably intelligent people will have the epiphany that what's being said was said a decade ago and turned out to be a lie...


I think for a lot of people, the lack confirmation of no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and the aftermath of David Kelly and the "Dodgy Dossier" were the epiphany.

I was cynical long before then but still vote anyway.
Mrs John Murphy

http://downingstreetfighter.com/

Good for a laugh if not for RSI.
thunderthighs

why are you then wasting your tiem with these people... its al smoke and mirrors...ciao
Nolte

they say that the exit polls, cameron is 19 seats short of a majority
maffy

i like the sound of that. not enough. but fuck the exit polls, there's a general poll to watchify.
cardinal guzman

That means tory landslide - can't trust those tory fucks as far as you could blow one with a tnt waistcoat.
cardinal guzman

cardinal guzman wrote:
That means tory landslide - can't trust those tory fucks as far as you could blow one with a tnt waistcoat.


To clarify - when polled on exiting a station, no-one wants to admit they are an utter cunt or a total fucking moron, so they don't dare admit they voted conservative out loud.
cardinal guzman

cardinal guzman wrote:
cardinal guzman wrote:
That means tory landslide - can't trust those tory fucks as far as you could blow one with a tnt waistcoat.


To clarify - when polled on exiting a station, no-one wants to admit they are an utter cunt or a total fucking moron, so they don't dare admit they voted conservative out loud.


To clarify - voting conservative doesn't make you an utter cunt or a total fucking moron, but being an utter cunt or a total fucking moron makes you vote conservative.
SlowRower

cardinal guzman wrote:
To clarify - voting conservative doesn't make you an utter cunt or a total fucking moron...


Well there's a relief. I'd be losing sleep if you thought I was an utter c*nt and a f*cking moron simply because I went for the only realistic option in my consituency that wasn't a member of the same party as Lord Mandelson.
Enchantress

cardinal guzman wrote:
Vote for who you want it will change NOTHING.

They are all on the same side and it isn't your side.


+++

True in England, America, and everywhere else I've been/lived at least.

No matter the country, what the names of the ostensible parties and figureheads are, the truth is what CG posted:

they are all on the same side, but it sure isn't yours...or mine.
70kmph

Only sometimes statesmen appear who do achieve greatness ie. Pericles

And yet ultimately:

“Men are the Polis.”

-Thucydides
SlowRower

Enchantress wrote:
they are all on the same side, but it sure isn't yours...or mine.


Not sure about this in general...

If you have no talent or are completely workshy, then the Labour Party in government will happily throw money at you to ensure that you carry on voting for them.

Conversely, if you have lots of assets and / or generate a lot of income, the Tory Party will tailor the tax system to your benefit so you carry on voting for them.

If you work in a highly profitable sector, the Labour Party will create a favourable regulatory regime for you, so you don't relocate overseas and instead stay in the UK, generate profit and pay lots of tax - to fund the talentless and workshy. And the Tories do the same to fund tax cuts elsewhere.

Parties of both hues always seem to favour public works projects or big grants to overseas investors in marginal consituencies over rock solid safe seats for the opposition. I think this is/was particularly prevalent in the US. It's called the "Pork Barrell" or something if memory serves. Before they stopped being built, many major bills in the US had provisions to build a dam (several years of guaranteed construction work - very good for keeping the energetic, non-academic types under control) in the constituency of the Senator whose vote was needed to pass the bill irrespective of the main subject matter of the bill.

The politicians are on your side, so long as you're useful to them, i.e. if your vote can help keep them in power.
bianchigirl

You should really read this SR - I think the comment about who most embodies a 'culture of entitlement' is very telling: http://www.independent.co.uk/opin...come-to-cameron-land-1962318.html

I work for a (Tory) Council - the efficiency savings have already been made so where are the additional cuts to come from? Public services is where with the vol orgs expected to provide a comparable service funded by - um, the public through their donations and their unpaid labour. Whichever way you cut it, the youth service works to keep young people off the street, engaged, trained and useful - but we will be cut to ribbons and youth crime will multiply as disenfranchised young people who don't want to go to church youth clubs hit the streets because there's nothing else for them to do. And those single mothers? There are at least 3 of them in my office - women who were shat on by their partners, whose children are experiencing emotional problems as a result of painful divorces, who do their damndest to hold down a job and give their kids a good quality of life but who can look forward to having child benefits and tax credits slashed, and be vilified, because they don't fit the 'happily married' pattern the Tories aim to reward. My re-elected MP cheated on his wife with the painter and decorator (male) and then cheated the tax payer by flipping his 2nd home expenses NINE TIMES - where's the honour in that?

Conservatism and 'change' simply don't belong in the same sentence - I can only conclude Mr Cameron meant 'change of person in Number 10' rather than any meaningful commitment to radical far reaching change - see his ridiculous 'promise' to the Lib-Dems on electoral reform. New Tories exactly the same as the old Tories - Cameron is simply the monkey, the barrel grinders are the same old homophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitic, climate change deniers they always were.

Me, I'd say 'form that minority Givernment, Dave' and let the double dip depression that will inevitably ensue seal their fate.
bianchigirl

And what kind of a democracy do we live in anyway where the markets actually decide - I mean, the Murdoch media says they want Cameron and so do the markets, let's just all roll over and give in to what they want shall we? Roll on PR and a Government that kicks Murdoch's sorry arse out of the media and slams all kinds of regulation on the markets so they can no longer play fast and loose with the economy because they're like spoilt little children who didn't get what they wanted.
SlowRower

BG,

When you need to borrow £160b from the markets in a year, you have no choice but to do what the markets require. Don't blame the markets - blame the man whose fiscal policy put us there!

One of Bill Clinton's advisors once said that if reincarnation existed, he wanted to come back as the bond market, such is its power over those nations that need to borrow.
bianchigirl

The markets dictated who should govern long before Brown - they have always rejoiced at the Tories and crashed at the dreadful prospect of any Government that might promise to curb their rapacious greed.

We have Government by the markets and multinationals and have done so for a long time - just that now we can add the Murdoch monopolised media to that unsavoury list
SlowRower

bianchigirl wrote:
Whichever way you cut it, the youth service works to keep young people off the street, engaged, trained and useful - but we will be cut to ribbons and youth crime will multiply as disenfranchised young people who don't want to go to church youth clubs hit the streets because there's nothing else for them to do. And those single mothers? There are at least 3 of them in my office - women who were shat on by their partners, whose children are experiencing emotional problems as a result of painful divorces, who do their damndest to hold down a job and give their kids a good quality of life but who can look forward to having child benefits and tax credits slashed, and be vilified, because they don't fit the 'happily married' pattern the Tories aim to reward.


I agree that this is not good, but, and it's a very big but, the current levels of public spending are unsustainable. Something has to be done, or the UK will simply run out of cash as no-one will lend on commercially viable rates.

In his attempts since the early 2000s to buy the votes of suffficient people to keep Labour in power, Gordy has ratcheted up spending to such an extent that cuts will have to be made on a big scale, and some of these will have to fall on those least able to cope with them or deserving of enduring them.

Anyway, enough Gordy-bashing. Can you point me to anything to support your claim that under the Tories, tax credits and child benefit will be cut where the "married ideal" is not fulfilled?

The Tories (and the Lib Dems) are committed to abolishing tax credits for households with income in excess of £50k, but this isn't related to marital status. If child benefit is to be cut, it will be means-tested, I'd predict. Given that cuts have to be made, this seems much more sensible than increasing VAT as this would be very regressive. Not that it won't happen, of course, such is the need to plug the gap.

FWIW, socially I'm a very woolly liberal. Quite possibly so liberal as to be a "bed-wetting pinko". Hence my laid back approach to dopers and mixed up offspring of single teenage mothers from Texas.
SlowRower

bianchigirl wrote:
The markets dictated who should govern long before Brown - they have always rejoiced at the Tories and crashed at the dreadful prospect of any Government that might promise to curb their rapacious greed.

We have Government by the markets and multinationals and have done so for a long time - just that now we can add the Murdoch monopolised media to that unsavoury list


Don't forget that the banks and multinationals paid a shed load of corporation tax, which was gratefully redistributed by Gordy to his "flock". The fall in corporation tax has fecked the national finances in a big way. All state largesse has to be paid for by someone's taxes, as state activities themselves don't create any wealth directly (except Lloyd Bank, but that is definitely an unusual case.)
Bartali

bianchigirl wrote:
... as disenfranchised young people who don't want to go to church youth clubs hit the streets because there's nothing else for them to do.


I have never really understood this particular sentiment.  Nothing to do?  When I was a kid in council estate in a northern industrial inner city I had nothing to do.  No TV, no computer games, no youth clubs etc etc etc.  But we didn't go around mugging people, killing each other or complaining about being bored. Not being political ... I just really don't get it.
kathy

I am confused by all this debate on the BBC about a possible coalition between Labour and the Lib Dems if the current talks between Cameron and Clegg fail.  The total members of Labour and the Lib Dems would still not constitute a majority Confused
SlowRower

Kathy - The Scottish and Welsh nationalists could be potentially brought into the Lab Lib pact to support the Queens Speech with offers of increased funding. The Green Lady would most likely abstain rather than vote with the Tories etc. etc.

Sinn Fein won't take their seats (5) and the speaker sides with the government by convention, so the Lab Lib Celtic combo would only need to total 323, rather than 325 for a majority.

Ian Paisley (is it Junior or Senior these days?) could still hold the balance of power!

There will be a few twists and turns yet, I fancy...
70kmph

Some youths grow in the ghetto in a shameful environment/conditions. Not everyone is born with the golden spoon into bourgeois society and elevated, have some compassion...count your blessings
bianchigirl

Kathy, the point is that a Lib-Lab pact can also count on the votes of the Welsh and Scottish MPs, thus giving them the magic majority - so much for the Tories having a 'mandate' anywhere beyond England. They couldn't make any inroads into Scotland. Plus, if you look at percentages of the vote, then it was 50+% for the 'left' leaning parties - for the Tories to claim they have a mandate is a joke - no wonder they aren't prepared to offer true electoral reform.

Bart, I agree but I think it's more about what happened under Thatcherism (which wasn't adequately redressed by New Labour) - the breakdown of community under 'trickle down' is something for which we have all paid an enormous price. I'm willing to bet that on your estate their was a strong sense of community - something Thatcher took particularly delight in unpicking and which 'Communitarianism' has done little to redress. The dismantling of strong communities - particularly in the North as a result of the miner's strike - with nothing to replace them except the crumbs from the rich man's table is something that no amount of public spending could adequately redress. Kent has huge problems with the destruction of mining communities - some of the areas I work with are amongst the most deprived not only in this country but in the world. They reek of hopelessness. You can tell the desperation by what's on sale in the pound shops. Most of the kids I work with don't have access to computer games because they don't have computer access and youth projects are woefully underesourced.

Anyway, Tom is crying - scared by the prospect of being a Cameron Kid, I think - so the rest of my response must wait until tomorrow.
Bartali

bianchigirl wrote:
.Anyway, Tom is crying - scared by the prospect of being a Cameron Kid, I think - so the rest of my response must wait until tomorrow.


Laughing  Laughing

Poor lad is probably confused by the prospect of being a Brown Clegg Welsh Scot Speaker Green kid ... Wink  Its enough to confuse anyone ...
kathy

I can't imagine that a Lib-Lab pact that is dependent on the support of other minority parties can be good for the country.  To me the whole situation just refects the political chaos at the moment - I cannot see much difference between 'New' Labour and the Tories, and the Lib Dems look as if they will never make real progress.  If I did have a vote now, I don't know how I'd use it, unless I was in Wales, when I would vote Plaid.  I have never, and never would vote Tory.  I have been a member of both the Labour (old, original) and Lib-Dem parties in the past, but I can't abide Gordon Brown.  Perhaps the best thing to come out of this election is that Labour might finally get rid of Brown.  But the only real solution I can see for the country is to call another election ASAP.  I just cna't see a Tory- Lib-Dem pact working - they are too far apart on issues like Europe, PR and immigration.
SlowRower

bianchigirl wrote:
Plus, if you look at percentages of the vote, then it was 50+% for the 'left' leaning parties - for the Tories to claim they have a mandate is a joke - no wonder they aren't prepared to offer true electoral reform.


The Tories have a higher share of the vote than did Labour in 2005. I guess you were quite happy to accept that as a mandate! I can't understand why the Tories don't offer a referendum on Scottish independence. England and Wales would be heavily Tory and now North Sea oil has virtually run out, there's no economic reason from the southern side of the border for Scotland to stay as part of the Union.

Many Labour MPs don't want PR/electoral reform either. They've had 13 years to implement it and it only creeps into their policies very late on in this Parliament, which smacks of a hint of opportunism. (Presumably the idea would be to marginalise the Tories for ever - or at least until the money runs out again - with a Lab Lib dynasty.)

Labour currently has 40% of the MPs off 30% of the vote, so any commons vote to approve PR would struggle to get through, as 1 in 4 Labour MPs would have to do a Turkey voting for Christmas routine to get it through, and all the Tories would vote against it.

There'd also be the tricky issue of a referendum on electoral reform. I guess that most people who voted for Labour aren't that bothered about electoral reform, given how recently the concept has been embraced by the party leaders. After all, their voters this time are presumably only their "core" vote, who probably quite like getting 100% of a labour MP in their constituency off under 50% of the vote instead of a fractional MP.

Who actually believes that Labour would implement any "promise" made on electoral reform anyway? If they went into a coalition and survived long enough that they thought they could win an election on FPTP, they'd call one, and promises of electoral reform would vanish. I'd do the same in their position, as would the Tories, I guess!

Some sort of PR would be good, on balance, in my view. If the politicos had three or four years knowing that a coalition was going to be necessary, they'd have to behave in a less adversarial fashion. Mind you, it wouldn't be a guaranteed panacea, as PR does virtually guarantee that a cranky minority power will one day hold the balance of power.

Overall, though, I think the problem is the quality / honesty of politicians rather than the system. Career politicians in thrall to "Central Office" who've never done a real job aren't the best people to run the country - or anything more complicated than a bath - in my view.
SlowRower

kathy wrote:
I can't imagine that a Lib-Lab pact that is dependent on the support of other minority parties can be good for the country.


I don't think any of the Big Cheeses are bothered about the good of the country. They just want to be PM (Brown/Cameron) or to secure a decent share of the major Cabinet posts (Clegg) whilst maximising their chances of doing so again in the future. They are politicians, after all. Smile
bianchigirl

I think it's something like 33,000 votes secures a labour seat, 36,000 a tory and 120,000 a l-d seat - quite clearly time for PR - after all, coalition government hasn't damaged Germany (first out of recession) whereas Greece enjoys a rigid system of only allowing one party to be in power and look what happened there...

Personally I think it would be interesting to live in a society where you didn't have to have such high levels of public spending to try and address the gap between haves and have nots because the haves stopped taking quite so much for themselves and stashing it in off shore accounts and instead paid fair wages and offered decent benefit packages - oh, sorry, that might eat into their enormous profit margins. Now, remind me again, all that profit, who does it benefit exactly? Because, remember kids, trickle down doesn't work.

Anyway, I'll be thrilled to see what happens when I'm (potentially) trying to get a new job in October and we're in the double dip recession and there are no jobs in a non existent public sector - wish me luck Rolling Eyes
SlowRower

BG,

The profits are either reinvested in a company's activities, taxed and hence go into the government's coffers for (re)distribution as it sees fit, or go to shareholders, who are primarily investment funds and pension funds held on behalf of Joe Public. Or was the question about what happens to profits purely rhetorical? Smile

I hope the job situation works out. Don't forget though that the axe will have to be wielded whoever is in power and that since the recession started, the job losses have primarily been endured in the private sector and many private sector employees remaining in employment have experienced reduced hours, pay freezes, or reduced bonuses. The pain is widely spread across people who don't deserve it, whilst the guilty - incompetent politicians and bankers - appear to get away with it. With the exception of these lucky few, "we are all in it together". That could be the basis for a catchy election slogan I think...Smile

As to PR, assuming it has to go to a referendum, there promises to be one hell of a bun-fight to agree what version will be offered. If it's too "sophisticated", the electorate might well decide FPTP is better, as at least this is understood. One shudders to think how the Sun will explain AV, AV+, STV and party lists etc. There's also the usual risk with referendums that the voters decide to treat them as a confidence vote on the government (which is why governments generally avoid them.)

Whilst all that's getting argued over, the f*cking enormous national debt remains and continues to grow rapidly...
bianchigirl

But, actually, there's no getting away from the fact that the state we're in now is a direct consequence of the 'greed is good/money is morality/the market will look after us all/trickledown' shit that Thatcher put in place and that New Labour embraced, whilst trying to redress the damage done to the most vulnerable sectors of society by increasing public spending.

The Tories say they'll ringfence NHS spending but in the small print they've abolished any commitment to reducing waiting times - so, guess what, the pushy middle classes will elbow their way to the front of the queue, the rich will simply pay and the disenfranchised will, yet again, be left at the back, getting the worst deal, the poorest care. Presumably all they're 'entitled' to? Just as the Tories feel they're 'entitled' to rule.

So, what are out thoughts on whether Clegg should take the 30 pieces of silver? Had I voted tactically (there was no point in this solid Tory seat) to keep out the Tories I'd be extremely pissed off to see that Vote Nick = Vote Dave.
bianchigirl

And the obscene profits made by speculators and hedge fund managers and non-doms, they contribute to our economy how, precisely? Yet they wield enormous power to make and break currencies and democracies and governments. And who elected them exactly? Who gave them their mandate?
SlowRower

Cleggy has no real option but to work in a constructive fashion with Cameron for a few months at least.

If he teams up informally and then spends all his time clamouring for electoral reform it will demonstrate that minority parties in UK coalitions are only interested in their narrow self-interest. At least, this is how the predominantly pro Tory media will spin it!

In this case Cleggy's personal credibility and to a lesser extent that of the LDs will be greatly damaged. Electoral reform is something like the Euro in the 2001 election - of great interest to those who are interested, but not a priority for the masses. At the moment, the masses are more interested in job security, health and education (as always) and electoral reform (or at least the process of trying to introduce it now) can only detract from the process of securing the UK's short to medium term financial stability.

An even worse case scenario would be if he successfully agitated for a referendum on PR and it was then rejected by the electorate, the chance of which would be greatly enhanced by a bickering partnership with Cameron. In this case the credibility of the LDs and Clegg himself would be shot to b*ggery. They basically exist solely to bring about electoral reform and if the electorate doesn't want it then they serve no purpose other than being a Green/BNP/UKIP special interest party.

Conversely, if he works constructively with Cameron, he will demonstrate that coalitions can work and his credibility will be greatly enhanced. Cameron might just offer a referendum, but with rebel labour MPs and the media going against it, it could well fail, particularly because much of the electorate isn't really that bothered. (The majority vote for either Labour or the Tories and accept that under FPTP they just need to wait for a decade or so and they will eventually get back in!)

A referendum on PR may not happen this parliament, but it probably will at some point in the future. I mean, even women got the vote eventually, so even the most fanciful electoral reform happens eventually...Smile Clegg (or his successor) would need to be able to demonstrate to the voters that they were responsible coalition partners with the Tories to be able to win the day. Can they take the long term view, though? A week is a long time in politics, and all that!

Teaming up with Gordy would be high risk in the extreme. Firstly, commanding a majority in the HoC would requires an unholy alliance of the Labs, the Libs, the SNP, Plaid, the Green(s) and even a few religious nutters from Northern Ireland. The SNP would doubtless demand vast handouts for Scotland and the Ulster Unionists might ask that the SAS be deployed to protect them during the Marching Season. If this Progressive Alliance (as the Guardian somewhat optimistically calls them) could command a majority in the house, then there is the issue of a referendum.

If one wasn't held (there's no constitutional requirement to hold them, after all) then there is the risk that in the subsequent PR-based election, the vast swathes of the electorate who are between mild centre-left and mild centre-right could well take umbrage at being sttiched up by Brown, Mandelson, Ed Balls, a brace of Milibands, Alex Salmond and Ian Paisley and vote in a Tory/UKIP type majority. Goodnight Cleggy, again.

If one was held, then the aforementioned umbrage could be reflected in a humilating defeat for those supporting the proposed changes, with Cleggy consigned to the dustbin of history.

The Progressive Alliance might well hold sway, in which case Cleggy could take heart at being Cabinet Tea Boy in the new coalition government. Mandelson et al would make mincemeat of the LDs in the negotiations. For all his faults as a human being, the Dark Lord is one slick operator.

Cleggy might just have to sacrifice his own ambitions for power to enhance the cause of his desired electoral reform in the longer term. With the Derby taking place 4 weeks today, it's poignant to note that some of those who campaigned most strongly for the Ladies to get the vote did not benefit themselves. I'm not suggesting Cleggy should throw himself under a horse at Tattenham Corner (that should be Brown and Balls Smile) but Cleggy might have to sacrifice himself in this battle to win the war.

I was going to make a joke about how it's touching to see you blaming the ills of the country on someone who "retired" nearly 20 years ago, but then I realised it must ber really painful for you to see the party bearing the name "Labour" embrace the Thatcherite revolution with such enthusisam that even under Gordy (who, given his penchant for spending other folks' cash is a "true" socialist) the party had no option but to toady up to the evil bankers. (As an aside, most of my clients are bankers and most of them are normal/pleasant people once you get past the corporate-style small talk.)

Anyway, since my Crystal Ball is out, I remain convinced that Wiggo will show prominently for a week or so in the Giro, withdraw to focus on the Tour and then kick a*rses in a major fashion in July. Smile
SlowRower

bianchigirl wrote:
And the obscene profits made by speculators and hedge fund managers and non-doms, they contribute to our economy how, precisely? Yet they wield enormous power to make and break currencies and democracies and governments. And who elected them exactly? Who gave them their mandate?


So you'd have preferred it if the Tories' credibility hadn't been shredded for a generation by Black Wednesday, I take it...Smile

They don't need a mandate. They are simply operating withing the legal and regulatory framework set up in this country. Gordy prided himself on having created a less onerous regulatory regime for such organisations than other major Western financial centres, so a lot of them based themselves in the UK and paid a lot of corporation tax, that, as with all other taxes received by Gordy, was gratefully received and redistributed to hard working labour voters. (Sorry, that should be hard working families!)

Doubtless, going forwards, there will be a much less favourable regulatory regime, and such organisations will locate elsewhere. This will doubtless make a few folk happy, but the UK will have to get used to surviving without the tax receipts until a more diversified economy can be built. (Which will take a fair while, I'd  guess.)

This reminds me of the old (and probably racist) joke about the tourist lost in Ireland who asks a passerby how to get somewhere, to which the response is "Well I wouldn't start here, if I was you". Sadly, we are where we are, and blaming the Bogeymen (Thatcher, Hedge Funds, Non-doms etc.) isn't going to be beneficial in itself.
bianchigirl

Of course there is an alternative - a resource based economy rather than a money based one. A co-operative future rather than one based on naked self interest. A future where we all appreciated that less can very often be much more in terms of our wellbeing. Not a future of course that would benefit yourself or your clients but that might promote some real values and benefit the many rather than the few. Where we are all able to act in our own enlightened 'self interest' making decisions that benefit the commonwealth rather than the wealth concentrated in the hands of the very few.

I'm actually astounded that you refer to yourself as a 'bleeding heart liberal' as your primary concerns to be for the welfare of your clients and your ever so pleasant banker friends. I'd be interested to know just why you would identify yourself as such a 'bleeding heart' when you clearly hold the usual suspects - labour voters, single mothers, 'benefit scroungers' - in such low regard.
SlowRower

BG,

Please read what I wrote.

I said that socially I was very liberal (and very importantly, I'm a Pinko Bedwetter, not a Bleeding Heart. The difference is crucial and only obvious to true liberals). I don't have banker friends in general. They are just clients, but pleasant none the less on the whole. (Some are arrrogant t*ssers if truth be told, but I don't let personal prejudices colour my professional duty to them.) A couple are good friends, now, it has to be said, though this is definitely the exception. (Both are Lance-supporting cyclists, by a quaint quirk and I nearly fell out with one when I opined that Sir Lance was infact chemically enhanced!)

I do hold benefit scroungers in low regard. I make no apologies for that. I don't see why my taxes should subsidise those who could work, but choose not to because it's easier to rely on the state and watch Day Time Telly.

I've nothing against Labour voters in general. I think my wife is one and all my friends and colleagues were in 1997 and 2001. I advised them not to believe everything Tony Blair told them, but they didn't listen...Smile

I've nothing much against much of the Labour Party either. Other than Balls and Mandelson, they seem decent enough, although slightly deranged in the case of Mad Hattie. Gordy comes over as a thoroughly decent bloke, albeit vastly over-rated as Chancellor and comically out of his depth as PM. I'd happily drink with Gordy, even if I'd never vote for him. (Can't say I'd fancy a glass of Pimms with either Cameron or Clegg, if truth be told.)

I general, I don't judge people on broad labels that others apply to them. I simply judge people by their own actions. I'm also happy for folk to do what they like, so long as it doesn't impinge on my own rights or contravenes established laws / standards of decency. The exception to this is Ed Balls - the mere sight or sound of him renders me homicidal. Don't know why - I can rub along with pretty much anyone normally.

As to my liberal credentials. Consider this...

Out of the two of us, only one of us has suggested the suspension of "innocent until proved guilty" (you, in relation to doping) and only one of us has posted nasty material on this forum describing people as "Trailer Trash" (you, about Armstrong and his Ma). So I might not be a true liberal, but you've got a f*ck of a lot of work to do yourself in this respect, I'd say!!
SlowRower

bianchigirl wrote:
Of course there is an alternative - a resource based economy rather than a money based one.


What resources did you have in mind? I'm not sure a manifesto based on returning to either pre Industrial Revolution subsistence farming or the stealing of resources from colonies will be a vote winner. Can't see a huge amount of mileage in sending everyone of working age back down the pits would be that popular either!

Maybe one of the above is what Cleggy had in mind as "change".
Bartali

Just an interesting thought from the sphere I work in ....

As we all know, 'Fat Cat' salaries have increased dramatically in recent years.  In fact, the differential between the pay of board directors and average employee has - under labour - increased at the fastest rate since records began.  

Also, the dramatic rise in personal borrowing (within the UK) - started when Labour came to power.  

Not suggesting causality - but an interesting thought nevertheless.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
Also, the dramatic rise in personal borrowing (within the UK) - started when Labour came to power.


This is an interesting one as the New Labour era coincided with three things (amongst others, obviously):

1 - Rapid expansion of the amount of stuff imported from China and other low-wage economies. Often referred to as "imported deflation". Helped keep interest rates low, but also made it harder to repay capital.

2 - Rapid growth in securitisation/ABS market, enabling UK lenders to lend money other than that raised from traditional depositors. Thus, supply on credit increased, and so it's cost to borrowers came under further downwards pressure.

3 - Spending instead of saving was promoted as a "good thing". After the 9/11 attacks, Tony Blair came out and said (half jokingly, to be fair) that as a nation, we had a patriotic to shop our way out of a potential downturn.

I think 1 and 2 would have happened whoever was in charge, and probably 3 as well. It's a no-brainer to keep interest rates down when inflationary pressures are subdued when the economy is threatened.

So I'd give Labour the benefit of the doubt on this one, and put it down to a combination of rash lending and even rasher borrowing, fueled respectively by a desire to get rich quick and a desire to own things that couldn't actually be afforded. If I was being uncharitable, I would say that omitting asset (house price) growth from the inflation target given to the Band of England was not the smartest move ever.
Bartali

But we could all see what was going to happen and regulators are ultimately answerable to government.  So ... it does beg the question that while government policy might not have been the cause ... it was within the power of government to affect a change.
maffy

cameron would've got to the palace quicker by bike Very Happy
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
But we could all see what was going to happen and regulators are ultimately answerable to government.  So ... it does beg the question that while government policy might not have been the cause ... it was within the power of government to affect a change.


Agreed, but if I guess that if you believe you've abolished "boom and bust" then such trivialities as debt and asset bubbles are of no concern.

I was maybe being unduly charitable earlier, but the leaves of my afternoon cup of tea spelt out the end of the prospects for the "Uncle Tom Cobley" coalition and I was in high spirits. Smile

You've got to wonder at Gordy's judgement - he's managed even to deprive himself of any dignity in defeat. I suspect Blair put Mandelson up to advising Gordy not to resign immediately for just this reason. Cute kids though. I hope the elder one's absence from school was properly authorised. Smile
Ralphnorman

I think that the SNP will gain in popularity over the course of this Government and a referendum on Scottish independence will be put forward within 2 years.
Mrs John Murphy

Ralphnorman wrote:
I think that the SNP will gain in popularity over the course of this Government and a referendum on Scottish independence will be put forward within 2 years.


Almost certainly - the Tories have to make huge cuts and the place to make those cuts are in areas where there are no Tories. So cuts for Scotland, Wales, and the poor (who don't vote anyway).
bianchigirl

Twitter is ve funny at the moment - Cameron already most hated man in Britain for delaying Eastenders.

Dave told me if I voted LibDem I'd get Labour - that's lying Tory twats for you Wink
Bartali

Ralphnorman wrote:
I think that the SNP will gain in popularity over the course of this Government and a referendum on Scottish independence will be put forward within 2 years.


Ralph - You're welcome to the frozen north!   Wink
kathy

SlowRower wrote:


You've got to wonder at Gordy's judgement - he's managed even to deprive himself of any dignity in defeat. I suspect Blair put Mandelson up to advising Gordy not to resign immediately for just this reason. Cute kids though. I hope the elder one's absence from school was properly authorised. Smile


On the contrary, SR, the concensus is that Brown has dealt with this impeccably.  As the incumbent, he was more or less obliged to stay in office until some sort of coalition could be formed.  I've been following this closely on the BBC news channel, and politicians of all parties have been impressed with the way he's behaved.

(Incidentally, I am NOT a fan of Brown!)
SlowRower

MJM - You need to adjust to the new reality. It's the Tories and the Lib Dems that will be making cuts. They are in it together. Maybe that's what George Osbourne meant.

Overall, it's a good team effort from the main parties - the Labour Party run up massive debts and the other two parties join up to try and deal with them.

BG - Good to see you haven't lost your sense of humour!
Mrs John Murphy

bianchigirl wrote:
Twitter is ve funny at the moment - Cameron already most hated man in Britain for delaying Eastenders.

Dave told me if I voted LibDem I'd get Labour - that's lying Tory twats for you Wink


Of course - to be honest I can't see this being a very long-lived coalition because:

Internal Tensions within both parties about the coalition.
Social Policy
Foreign Policy - the anti-European Hague at FO is not going to sit well with the pro-European Lib Dems.
Cuts and the consequences of them.
Political/Electoral Reform.

I can't imagine that the right (the Hang 'em, flog 'em brigade) of the Tory party is very happy to be jumping into bed with the Lib Dems, nor can the Lib Dems be very happy jumping into bed with the anti-reform, anti-European, socially illiberal Tories.

SR - do stop being a twat. I was responding to Ralph and referring to the strategy of the last Tory government. As for running up debt - flawed economic thinking - were you asleep 1979-1997? Are you Adam Boulton? If you don't have anything sensible to add in a constructive way then don't bother.
bianchigirl

Oh we're already planning celebrity politico death match - best thing I saw today was a Vote Tory Vote Change poster with the word TWAT spray painted over it - there's a hoodie I'd like to hug.

Kathy, agreed - funny that there is already a twitter trending topic #thenakyougordon outlining achievements like Civil Partnerships, ban on fox hunting and commitment to digital engagement - something that may well come back to bite Posh Condom Boy on the arse. Listen to Obama thanking Brown for the statesmanlike way in which he saved the world economy.

Tories, the party of the Union, will now set about destroying it - way to go! If I could afford to get out now I would - srill with a Cameron bounce in the housing market I might just manage it Wink

Still, I'm drinking to being at least £40 a month worse off so I can help pay for Wanker X's enormous bonus/pension - lucky me Rolling Eyes
Mrs John Murphy

BG - if you have facebook the photo album should cheer you up

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Van...vative-Billboards/117203521630597
bianchigirl

BTW Labour estimate that there's currently a new member joining every 15" - how astonishing that a new PM could become so unpopular so quickly Laughing
Superbagneres

I'm a bit disappointed that after all that we never did get to see Gordy putting in that call to Ian Paisley Junior to ask what it would cost for the DUP to join his progressive coalition.
Superbagneres

kathy wrote:

On the contrary, SR, the concensus is that Brown has dealt with this impeccably.  As the incumbent, he was more or less obliged to stay in office until some sort of coalition could be formed.  I've been following this closely on the BBC news channel, and politicians of all parties have been impressed with the way he's behaved.

(Incidentally, I am NOT a fan of Brown!)


I agree that Brown had to stay in office until a new government was formed, but the embarrassing bit was his attempts to dangle bait in front of the Lib Dems while doing it. On the subject of the BBC news channel, one of the funniest moments of the campaign was the revelation that the BBC employee charged with investigating accusations of bias was standing as a Labour council candidate in Ealing Laughing .
smarauder68

Did Brown's wireless mic gaffe cost his party the election?

Its hard to believe such a liberal place like the UK would ever come close to electing a conservative party. I suppose it comes down to Brown being so unlikable.
Ralphnorman

The UK didn't elect Mr Cameron, England did. I think outside of England, the Tories won 9 seats. It's more Mr Brown/Labour being unliked in England, where there are more seats to be won.
Bartali

Ralph - IMO it cuts both ways.  Personally I think the Union has been in trouble for a long time.  At least you have your own Parliament up there in Scotland and as an Englishman I didn't much like the prospect of a rainbow coalition where 'English' interests would likely suffer in favour of Celtic interests.  It makes me 'nervous' when I see geographic and political alegencies so clearly aligned.  I'd be interested in MJMs view ... or someone else with experience/knowledge of the Balkans for example.

Scott - to but it in historical context, the Liberals and Conservatives are the parties of government.  The labour party is a relatively recent phenomonen and despite being in government for the last 13 years has not had a history of particularly sucessful leadership in the UK.  (Blimey - I might have just lit the blue touch paper ....)
SlowRower

smarauder68 wrote:
Did Brown's wireless mic gaffe cost his party the election?


I don't think so. Labour's ultimate share of the vote was in line with opinion polls immediately prior to the event.
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
SR - do stop being a twat... As for running up debt - flawed economic thinking - were you asleep 1979-1997? Are you Adam Boulton? If you don't have anything sensible to add in a constructive way then don't bother.


Good to see your manners and supply of witty ripostes are unaffected by the rise of the "ConDemNation".

I'm not Adam Boulton. As is well documented, I don't have satellite telly and therefore hadn't heard of him until he cropped up hosting the second leaders' debate. He managed to make Alistair Campbell look sensible the other day, which takes some doing. Bad week for Sky News folk this week, given Kay Burley's recent experiences.

I'd be interested to hear your views relating to the annual deficit, particularly:

- Why it's far higher in the UK than in Germany, France, US etc.

- How much of it you think is structural and how much you think is cyclical

- How the structural element of the deficit could be addressed

- Whether running sizeable deficits during the boom years prior to 2007 was a good idea

- How Labour managed to run a surplus in the early part of the 2000s

- Whether you believed Gordy's claims that he had abolished "boom and bust". (Although, to be fair, he only ever claimed to have abolished "Tory boom and bust". I suppose one could argue that he didn't claim to have abolished the Labour variant.)

- Whether you think Gordy believed the claim himself or was he just trying to stay popular long enough so that he could replace Blair as PM without a leadership election?
SlowRower

Superbagneres wrote:
kathy wrote:

On the contrary, SR, the concensus is that Brown has dealt with this impeccably.  As the incumbent, he was more or less obliged to stay in office until some sort of coalition could be formed.  I've been following this closely on the BBC news channel, and politicians of all parties have been impressed with the way he's behaved.

(Incidentally, I am NOT a fan of Brown!)


I agree that Brown had to stay in office until a new government was formed, but the embarrassing bit was his attempts to dangle bait in front of the Lib Dems while doing it.


Interestingly, Gordy ultimately resigned before the coalition was officially formed. It was apparently only when he realised that he had lost the support of his own party that he gave up the ghost. Prior to that, everything he was doing was aimed at staying in No. 10.

So rather than accepting the game was up for him when the results came in and saying that he would step down as soon as the new government was formed, he hung on until it was clear that neither the potential "Rainbow Alliance" coalition partners nor even his own party wanted him.

It's a bit like being at a school disco and failing to "pull" early in the evening. If you're wise, you accept your face doesn't fit and leave early to avoid the humilation of being the odd one out when everyone pairs up for the mandatory "smooch" at the end of the evening. (Not that there's anything autobiographical about this analogy...Smile)
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
Scott - to but it in historical context, the Liberals and Conservatives are the parties of government.  The labour party is a relatively recent phenomonen and despite being in government for the last 13 years has not had a history of particularly sucessful leadership in the UK.  (Blimey - I might have just lit the blue touch paper ....)


B*gger me, Bart. You're normally so mild mannered and reasonable here...Smile
kathy

Slowrower,  In fact it was Nick Clegg who approached Gordon Brown and asked for talks, not Brown hustling in with an offer.  Brown had said at the start that he was willing to talk to ANY party at any time.  And when Brown resigned, even if he had not been told privately that the Tories and Lib-Dems had reached an agreement (I'd be very surprised if he hadn't been told!), it was obvious to the meanest intelligence that an agreement was imminent.
Mrs John Murphy

SR - you were more interested in missing the point and steering the discussion back onto your hobby-horses so, hence you get the response you deserve. There is no point in me trying to have a serious discussion if all you are interested in is wumming and points scoring. Which judging by your posts is in this thread is your aim.

Ralph/Bart - The geographical distribution of MP's is always a bone of contention - there was plenty of anti-Scottish sentiment from the English right about how Labour was only in power because of Scotland. So these things cut both ways. Ironically, Scottish independence is in the best interests of the Tories as it would ensure effectively permanent Tory rule in England and Wales, but because of their commitment to the Union (especially their relationship with the Ulster Unionists) means that they can not allow any reform of the Union.

BG - You have perhaps more insight into internal Labour party politics than me. It struck me as interesting that the 'over my dead body' Labour MP's who were coming out against any coalition with the Lib Dems were the likes of Reid and Blunkett - both hardcore, socially illiberal MPs, from very hardcore Labour areas/seats. Those two look like being the 'awkward and bitter' squad while Labour is in opposition.

Looking at the blogs/facebook discussions of various Lib Dems I know there are very mixed feelings about this deal. I guess we will only know if it has been successful in a couple of years time.

----

If anything I almost agree with the hard right of the Tory party who argue that the party has put short term gain (by taking this coalition deal) ahead of long term strategy. The argument that the leave Labour in power with a very weak coalition will make Labour even more unpopular and allow the Tories to develop an effective majority at the next elections which would likely be within 6 months.

The big questions about the coalition are:

Will the Lib Dems get their electoral reforms done quickly or will they be put to the back-burner?

Will the Lib Dems get any of their policies implemented/will they be able to moderate Tory policies - especially on social reform.

----

So far it doesn't look good with Clarke who is anti-PR in charge of the referendum on electoral reform and the authoritarian May at the Home Office...
SlowRower

kathy wrote:
Brown had said at the start that he was willing to talk to ANY party at any time.


Indeed. Which is where his dignity started departing, in my view. He had been comprehensively rejected by the electorate. Labour's share of the vote was below that of Major in 1997 and Hague in 2001 and only a couple of points higher than Foot in 1983. Surely, being less popular than William Hague gives you a mandate anything other than a swift departure!

Whilst the interaction between the votes for the Tories and the other parties dashed Cameron's hope of an overall majority (compared to previous elections, where 30% of the vote for one of the major parties assured a wipeout), the fact that Brown himself had no moral right to continue in power longer than was constitutionally necessary was pretty obvious. If he'd acknowledge personal defeat immediately, he could have left with his head held high.

Just my view obviously - Brown has gone and I'd be gobsmacked if he comes back. Labour has gone as well, so I'm happy, although they will inevitably come back in the future.

I guess that Clegg's clandestine approach to Labour whilst negotiating with the Tories will be glossed over until and unless the coalition falls apart, at which point references to the "Duplicitous Liberals" will abound!
Bartali

I think that if I were the LDs I'd concentrate on making the coalition a success rather than electoral reform etc.  IMO that would be in their best long-term interests.  If the coalition dramatically fails, it will be the end of the LDs ... and might even set the tories back a decade!
SlowRower

MJM - It's a sad day indeed when on a thread about the UK election, questions/references to the deficit of £163 billion and a national debt growing at around half a billion a day are dismissed as "wumming".

It's a shame that Gordy took a similarly cavalier view about the nation's finances!

On what you consider to be an appropriate subject matter, though, I observed several pages ago that politicians of all hues align fiscal policy to favour their natural supporters. The axe to be wielded in Scotland will be pretty sharp and equipped with a long handle, I'd say.
Mrs John Murphy

Bartali wrote:
I think that if I were the LDs I'd concentrate on making the coalition a success rather than electoral reform etc.  IMO that would be in their best long-term interests.  If the coalition dramatically fails, it will be the end of the LDs ... and might even set the tories back a decade!


I disagree because electoral reform is crucial to the long term survival of the party. For example they have a number of marginal seats - a swing of a few hundred votes could see them have their representation halved. Getting electoral reform through fast while the going in the coalition is good is vital. If there is any delay then it will never happen and the Lib Dems could have set themselves back another 60 years.

Electoral reform is I think the weather-vane when it comes to telling us about how the Tories are acting in this coalition. Have they made the deal with their fingers crossed behind their backs.

So far from the ministerial appointments it does not look good for the Lib Dems. Again the authoritarian Duncan Smith at Work and Pensions, to go with May at the Home Office.... if Hague gets the FCO job then the Lib Dems have been sold down the river from the start.

But we shall see - if the UK is finally moving towards Consociationalism then this is a good thing. If the Lib Dems are just being used by the Tories then this is not a good thing.

The other issue is how will the hardcore Tories cope if the Coalition is too moderate for them?

SR - Its even sadder that rather than discuss the issue you'd rather points score and wum. You've made your bed and that's the one you've got to lie in.
Bartali

SlowRower wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Scott - to but it in historical context, the Liberals and Conservatives are the parties of government.  The labour party is a relatively recent phenomonen and despite being in government for the last 13 years has not had a history of particularly sucessful leadership in the UK.  (Blimey - I might have just lit the blue touch paper ....)


B*gger me, Bart. You're normally so mild mannered and reasonable here...Smile


I simply meant that in the last 300 years we have only had six labour prime ministers .... and one of those was thrown out of the Labour Party.  Also, can anyone think of a labour government pre Blair that has completed two successful consecutive terms in government?

Putting aside the Blair/Brown years  (i think most of us can still remember those) we had:

1974-79 - Wilson/Callaghan - Two elections in 74 with the second term ultimately ending with the winter of discontent

1964-70 - Wilson - first term only lasted 18mths but was returned to power with greater majority

1945-51 - Attle - second term failed after one year

1924 - Ramsey MacDonald - hung parliament lasting less than a year

1929-31 - Ramsey MacDonald - hung parliament didn't see out a full term.
SlowRower

MJM - Scotland and electoral reform are currently sideline issues. The only issue in town at the moment is the deficit and bringing it under control.

If the LDs demonstrate that they are senisble coalition partners who put sorting the nation's finances ahead of electoral reform then at the next election, they will surely stand a good chance of holding the balance of power again under FPTP or an alternative system. If they have acted sensibly in the coalition and their core support still deserts them as a punishment for supporting Cameron then they deserve electoral oblivion.
Bartali

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
I disagree because electoral reform is crucial to the long term survival of the party. For example they have a number of marginal seats - a swing of a few hundred votes could see them have their representation halved. Getting electoral reform through fast while the going in the coalition is good is vital. If there is any delay then it will never happen and the Lib Dems could have set themselves back another 60 years.

Its a fair point, but I wonder about the impact on the general public - particularly those that are less politically astute - of a disruptive coalition that ends in failure after a short period of time.  There is a big danger that any instability is blamed on the LibDems and the 'well that's what happens with PR' argument prevails.  In such a scenario, electoral reform could be put back years.  By contrast, a 'successful' coalition could be the biggest weapon in Cleggs arsenal - allowing him to demonstrate both the positive impact of the LibDems and how coalition governments can work - thus allowing electoral reform to become a given.
maffy

Ralphnorman wrote:
The UK didn't elect Mr Cameron, England did. I think outside of England, the Tories won 9 seats. It's more Mr Brown/Labour being unliked in England, where there are more seats to be won.


does that include the folk of north east england?

in england, just over ten times the number of scottish votes were cast to elect just over nine times as many mps.

in a parliament of the peoples' fictitious socialist republic of yorkshire, the humber, north-west and north-east england 2.77 times the number of scottish voters voted for 2.68 times the number of scottish seats thus

lab - 38.52%
con - 30.6%
lib - 22.41%

but the percentage of seats in the fictitious (and the uk) parliament in fptp is
lab - 66.24%
con - 26.5%
lib - 7.01%

with one result not yet in Wink

would sr move?
Mrs John Murphy

Bart - Really 'modern' politics is considered to start in 1945 due to changes in the electoral system that occurred then and the wider shifts in political attitudes post-WW2.

So in 65 years there has been 30 years of Labour rule balanced against 35 years of Tory rule.

SR - Save it for someone who is interested in what you think.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
SlowRower wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Scott - to but it in historical context, the Liberals and Conservatives are the parties of government.  The labour party is a relatively recent phenomonen and despite being in government for the last 13 years has not had a history of particularly sucessful leadership in the UK.  (Blimey - I might have just lit the blue touch paper ....)


B*gger me, Bart. You're normally so mild mannered and reasonable here...Smile


I simply meant that in the last 300 years we have only had six labour prime ministers .... and one of those was thrown out of the Labour Party.  Also, can anyone think of a labour government pre Blair that has completed two successful consecutive terms in government?

Putting aside the Blair/Brown years  (i think most of us can still remember those) we had:

1974-79 - Wilson/Callaghan - Two elections in 74 with the second term ultimately ending with the winter of discontent

1964-70 - Wilson - first term only lasted 18mths but was returned to power with greater majority

1945-51 - Attle - second term failed after one year

1924 - Ramsey MacDonald - hung parliament lasting less than a year

1929-31 - Ramsey MacDonald - hung parliament didn't see out a full term.


I agree. I was just observing that it was a potentially controversial observation, somewhat out of character!
Ralphnorman

If I'm a Labour bigwig, as long as the union stays together, I wouldn't be unhappy with the result. Let the Tories make the cuts and remind everyone of what happened under Thatcher and at the next election people won't go for the Lib Dems as they feel they've been stitched up.
The ConDem coalition will only survive if Mr Cameron does very well and pleases everyone.
I think Labour will win the next election with a majority in the Commons (as long as the union stays together).
Mrs John Murphy

Bartali wrote:
Mrs John Murphy wrote:
I disagree because electoral reform is crucial to the long term survival of the party. For example they have a number of marginal seats - a swing of a few hundred votes could see them have their representation halved. Getting electoral reform through fast while the going in the coalition is good is vital. If there is any delay then it will never happen and the Lib Dems could have set themselves back another 60 years.

Its a fair point, but I wonder about the impact on the general public - particularly those that are less politically astute - of a disruptive coalition that ends in failure after a short period of time.  There is a big danger that any instability is blamed on the LibDems and the 'well that's what happens with PR' argument prevails.  In such a scenario, electoral reform could be put back years.  By contrast, a 'successful' coalition could be the biggest weapon in Cleggs arsenal - allowing him to demonstrate both the positive impact of the LibDems and how coalition governments can work - thus allowing electoral reform to become a given.


That is the argument that will be put forward but the priority to making the coalition work is to get electoral reform through.

So far looking at who has been appointed to what it does not look good for the coalition or the Lib Dems. The anti-European Hague at the FO, the illiberal May at the Home Office, the anti-PR Clarke in charge of reform, Gove at Education, Duncan-Smith at Work and Pensions. My assumption is that Cameron is trying to shore himself up against the right of the Tory party, hoping that he can get some kind of bounce and call a fresh election and get a solid majority.

Poor, poor Lib Dems - it only took till lunchtime for them to be shafted by the Tories.

Ralph - spot on. Also, if you are the SNP you are very happy as well.
SlowRower

MJM - In all honesty, I didn't expect you to have much to add on the subject of the national finances. If only the bond markets were similarly disinterested. That way, we could carry on spending money we haven't got.

Maffy - The Peoples' Socialist Republic of Yorkshire has been persuaded to remain in the Union only by the towering statesmanship of John Prescott. Now he's stepped down and been replaced by a Campbell-coached Central Office clone, we'll be taking up arms to reclaim our birthright. Manchester had better watch out, as it's first on the list for annexation come the revolution!
Ralphnorman

The first, even vaguely, anti Scottish thing Mr Cameron does will be jumped all over by the SNP.
If I was the SNP I'd start pushing for independence immediately. Something along the lines of 'Look what happened last time, we don't want to wait until it's too late, we want out now before they do us over'.
[Scottish] ill feeling towards the Tories and Lib Dems, Labour in a leadership contest and a bit disorganized, the SNP have a window of opportunity.

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