Now that we finally have an election in UK

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Levi, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Levi

    Levi New Member

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    Do people think that there is much difference in the policies between the two major parties? Some people seem to think that a radical lurch to right wing fruitloopery is the answer with a vote for the BNP. I on the other hand, think that democracy in the UK has run its course failed time after time and its time for putting some of those responsible for those failures on trial.I believe that if we had had a revolution after the first world war as did seem likely for a few weeks then we would be in a far better position than we are now.
     
    #1 Levi, Apr 12, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  2. Drifterwood

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    I think that it is a case of emphasis, rather than ideology.

    If the gap between rich and poor hadn't widened under labour, I could have believed that G Brown was quite Left Wing. But it has and therefore Cameronism and Blairism are pretty indistinguishable.

    This election is interesting, though I am personally glad that I am not in the UK for most of it. Without wishing to upset my left of centre friends, the big question is whether labour have bought enough votes. There is no global recession where I am and this is one of the many lies that Brown has been feeding the Brits to cover his responsibility for the mess that you are in. But do enough people now fear for their own handouts and State jobs to vote against the alternative?

    Swing voters decide all elections in the UK, they vote for their own pockets, which ironically makes the political idealogues redundant. This is why Ashcroft has been pouring his money in the required marginals to find those who can be persuaded that they will be better off under the Tories.

    My personal view is that Labour have done so badly given the opportunity that they genuinely had to be prudent, that they don't deserve another term; add to this the low life of some their ex-ministers and the general expenses fiasco. The world money markets want a Tory victory, and though I feel uncomfortable that we should be being blackmailed in this way, it would make our lives easier.
     
  3. Jason

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    I don't think this election is going to be decided on matters of much substance.

    The level of economic argument is banal. Very many people seem unable to understand the difference between a million and a billion. Many seem to feel there is no link between what we pay in taxes and what we receive in public spending. What little economic discussion there is seems to be around spiteful vindictiveness (eg stopping first class train travel for MPs) or the hate the bankers mantra.

    Arguments about character seem to have got lost, even with the presidential style of the campaign. We know Gordon Brown is a bully who manhandles junior female staff members and unleashes the "dogs of hell" on a colleague who dares to stand up to him. He got caught out lying. These are serious issues which in any other job might result in the sack and perhaps even criminal prosecution. He is a thoroughly nasty individual. By contrast David Cameron appears to be a decent member of the human race. I'm not going to put him on a pedestal, but he seems as if he is a nice guy. Looking broadly at the parties I know all have had their issues with members behaving badly, but it is mainly Labour who are facing prosecution, and mainly Labour who seem to have come out with the worst excesses. (Yes I know Tories claimed for Duck Houses and Moats but these were at least legal). I suspect any gaffs anyone could make might have an enormous impact, as might the size of Sam Cam's bump.

    The political arguments are similarly lacking. There is no debate on reform of parliament/Lords. There is no discussion on unionism/independence. Europe isn't talked about. I don't think I've heard anyone say anything on foreign policy. And I know just about nothing about the legislation either party might bring forward.

    The oddity this election is that the Lib Dems might end up in a position of power. Their slogan "a plague on both your houses" copies how many people feel but is negative. The reality is that Lib Dems may be the prop that keeps Gordon Brown in power. The financial markets will hate it. But the British public seem to feel we should be in control of markets.
     
  4. Levi

    Levi New Member

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    The hate the bankers mantra is pretty universal not exclusive to this country wether its right or wrong is debateable but they don't do themselves any favours.
    And policies do seem to be taking a back seat, I am beginning to think that voting with an AK47 is the only language they understand.
     
  5. conntom

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    I would agree and to that add the US or any democracy.

    Democracy has been great but it is becoming apparent how it fails and how it is subverted.

    Now.....what do we replace it with? Come up with something good and maybe we can adopt it here across the pond!
     
  6. Jason

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    Easy!

    You need a group of people with political power who are not dependent upon being elected but instead can debate issues without worrying about media soundbites and instant popularity. You need a system of selecting these people which is basically random, though you do need to make sure they are reasonably educated and have links with the fabric of society.

    It is called an aristocracy, and fits alongside a constitutional monarchy. It is the UK system before Labour meddled with it, and the system works. The beauty of it is that it is not fair and not representative - so it acts as a counterweight to a supposedly fair and representative commons.

    I'm sure the UK could help the USA with such a system. We have a long tradition of being happy to share our Queen and our aristocrats. Right now in the UK (and Canada and Australia and many other countries) the Queen is an enormously popular head of state around whom countries can unite. Presidential systems seem to feel they are doing well if only half the population actively hate the present incumbent.
     
  7. dandelion

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    Yes but the trouble is there is no better alternative. I just get annoyed by conservatives claiming they would have run the economy so much better when they said not a word at the time. It is only with hindsight they are criticisng major threads which the government might have done differently. Basically there is not the remotest possibility the conservatives would have spent 13 years building up a bank balance of £i trillion or two just in case their friends in the city made a balls up. No sooner does a labor chap open his mouth and say something I find objectionable than a conservative does so too. On the whole the liberals tend to be a bit more popularist is a diverse sort of way so I keep voting for them. Maybe one day they will get more votes than both the other parties but still get fewer MPs and someone will admit the current system fails utterly to represent the British people. But then, it was designed not to.

    I am honestly skeptical that people vote simply for their own pocket, but which party has given them anything else to vote for? Nether of the two serious contenders to form a majority government has anything worth positively voting for. They are pretty much the same, with as you say a slight difference in emphasis.

    I havnt heard anyone except tory supporters say this! Businessmen may wish the party which claims it will tax them less to win, but they will still make the best of it whoever wins because thats the only game in town.
     
    #7 dandelion, Apr 12, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  8. dandelion

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    When I was a lad, there was this TV presenter, James Burke, who made a whole TV series with the punch line that the world had changed. We no longer need an aristocracy. We no longer need representatives who travel from afar to some conclave where they report our views and decide. We just do it ourselves. Get on the internet and vote ourselves on every measure. MPs no longer meaningfully represent their constituents, the system has to be changed so that there are people who really do represent the actual balance of views in the country. Probably we still need permanent MPs, because most of us have better things to do than spend all day arguing about details, but there should be regular binding referenda on important issues. Power needs to be extracted from the aristocracy, where it seems to have seeped back after we thought we had put them in their place.





    The house of Lords fell because it no longer represented what it once had, a true power in the land. Owners of land who commanded armies of soldiers gave way to owners of goods who commanded armies of workers. Ironically, the lords were so reduced by 2000 that many had become more representative of common people than the powerful. But the lack in british government is representing ordinary people. members of the commons are now the ones who are lords of large chunks of territory, where they behave as Lords holding court and dispensing justice to their constituents. Their constituents are even held as vassals, forbidden by law to approach any other MP than their own master.
     
  9. Drifterwood

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    I don't care for hypothetical apologies.

    I will be judging with my vote what did actually happen.
     
  10. Sergeant_Torpedo

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    The UK is only a nominal democracy. The legal authority (that is still in vigour) is the crown: it is the most powerful monarchy in existence. We go to war on crown authority not on our majority wishes. Of course the present incumbent bows her knee to the ruling elites (not necesarily elected) and anyone who thinks this is a fiction should study our constitution.

    Unfortunately people vote on self interest lines - politicians know they can appeal to our greed. The working people here carry the tax burden not the ultra rich (who pay nothing) which comes down to morality not economics. The enemy is within: those who take more than they give.
     
  11. tomthelad91

    tomthelad91 New Member

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    The alternative is called Communism. That's the full circle.

    Europe went full circle and arrived at Communism

    Then young naïve america thought it had the right to meddle.

    Now Europe is knee deep in shit.

    Viva la Revolución.
     
  12. Jason

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    We know for sure that Labour failed to build up a cushion. We know Gordon Brown stated that boom and bust had been abolished, and appears to have believed his own rhetoric. We know that Labour got the UK in a position where it was worse hit by the recession than most countries.

    Countries like Germany, France, Norway all handled their economies prior to the recession in a diifferent way. There is every possibility that the Conservatives would have done likewise - Labour's way was plain odd. Ideologically Conservatives like less government, so less tax and less spending. It is very likely that the UK would have gone into a recession with lower taxes. Now Keynesian economics tells us that in a recession a government should spend more, as far as it is prudent to do so. The Conservatives (like Labour did) would have spent more, but when they had exhausted the prudent spending margin they would have had the option of a tax rise. Instead of quantitative easing probably we would have had a VAT increase. We're going to be living with the bad consequencies of QE for years. A VAT increase could have been put on for a year or two then taken off - and it doesn't do the sort of deep damage of QE.

    Gordon Brown got it so badly wrong. The Conservatives could hardly have done worse.
     
  13. dong20

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    An uninspiring, yet depressingly astute assessment of contemporary UK political parties.
     
  14. dandelion

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    The uniquely bad position the UK was in was because financial services are such a high percentage of the economy. You are saying that 1) we should change this and 2) the conservatives would have taken steps to reduce the reliance on financial services. Like really?

    For example they have higher taxes, better regulated banks, more state intervention and services. All typical conservative policies...not. If anything the exact problem was that labour has become too like the conservatives.

    Quantitative easing performed the double highly desirable jobs of 1)cutting government debt and 2) injecting some inflationary pressure at a time of high deflationary pressure. win win. We still need tax rises NOW, but the conservatives are propoposing, er, tax cuts.


    what exactly?

    It will go up, whoever wins, and it will never come off.

    Sorry, what we just experienced was a disaster dodged. It could have been very very much worse.
     
    #14 dandelion, Apr 14, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  15. Jason

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    Quantitative Easing is a high-risk strategy; the risk is high inflation or hyper-inflation three to five years down the line.

    The basic equation is P=MV/T where P=prices, M=the money supply, V=velocity of circulation of money and T=number of transactions. If you want to increase M (which is what quantitative easing is) without causing an increase in prices you have to manage V and T. However these are sometimes regarded as more or less constants, and what little movement there is during a recession tends to go the wrong way. Basically an increase in M leads to an increase in P.

    The complicating factor is the lag. It isn't instant. So you can use quantitative easing in a crisis and not pay the price until a while later. There may indeed be times when there is no alternative and this is what you have to do. But there is still a price to pay.

    The UK will probably get some inflation in the next few years through increased import prices (assuming some sterling devaluation). This need not be too much of a problem if it is modest. But add in the inflationary boost as quantitative easing works through the system and it is starting to look nasty. Inflation redistributes wealth from the poor to the rich, from debtors to creditors - it is a problem. Almost any way of getting rid of high inflation causes unemployment.

    Quantitative easing on the large scale practiced by Labour will cause problems - I don't think there is much room for doubt. The way you prepare for the problems is to take those economic steps to address the defecit that can be taken as soon as possible. High defecit plus high inflation + high unemployment is the prospect otherwise. It can't all be avoided, but we could do something now to take away the pain people will be feeling in a very few years.
     
  16. dandelion

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    I dont think it was on a large scale. It was no doubt a calculated risk, actually by the bank of england not the government, whose task is to maintain the inflation rate. Including pushing it up if it threatens to drop below target.

    I have to say we are skirting the risk of lack of takers to buy UK government debt, and buying it in as the bank of england has done was one way to stave this off.

    We agree this is the heart of the problem. Labour has stated that the economy needed money pumped into it and this is what they have done. There are no good options of how you do this, only a blend of bad ones. If anything, the conservatives currently agree with this, since they are now proposing modest tax cuts. To my mind this rather beggars belief, but it certainly contradicts some of the things you are arguing. Neither main party is willing to say we need tax rises, budget cuts , borrowing and frankly, printing money. And yes, we should look forward to rising inflation and accompanying erosion of the value of government debt (er, people's savings).There is absolutely no evidence so far that labour have handled any of this badly.
     
  17. Jason

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    Once the car had gone into a skid the driver took appropriate corrective action and avoided a crash. This much is agreed.

    The fault of the driver is going into the skid in the first place. Labour is to blame for taking us into a skid. The argument that every other country has had a downturn is flawed - most have had less of a downturn than the UK. The idea that our high exposure to the banking sector is the reason we have been badly hit is also flawed - Switzerland has scarcely seen a downturn, and Germany has a big banking sector too. The car went into a skid because Gordon Brown is a reckless driver. Recently Darling has attempted to inject some common sense and Gordon Brown responds by unleashing the "dogs of hell" against him.

    Labour are largely responsible for the problems. They are certainly responsible for a recession which has hit the UK worse than countries with which we may reasonably be compared: France, Germany, Switzerland.

    Right now we are still on the skid pad. Not actually skidding, but it is slippery out there. We need action NOW. We need taxes moved from income/jobs/companies to expenditure. We need public sector spending cuts now without cutting too many jobs, which means cutting benefits rather than services. Labour are negligent in delaying the action that is needed now.

    QE is the corrective action that had to be taken because we were in a skid. We have to take on board that it will give our economy a nasty kick back in 3-5 years, and if we are to weather that nasty kickback we have to make progress in addressing the defecit in the small window we have. We should have started by now, probably should have started just before Christmas. Now we are looking at maybe a late June budget, so we've lost half a year when we should have been working flat out to be ready for the QE kickback.
     
  18. Drifterwood

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    I'll bow to any economist on this, but there is a very fine balancing act to be achieved between spiralling deflation and the inflationary counter weight of QE. I see it that way round, and in the meantime you have to blance the income and expenditure. Counterweights and fulcrums. Fascinating stuff.
     
  19. D_Tully Tunnelrat

    D_Tully Tunnelrat New Member

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    This is the classic dilemma of QE. Problem is, it's usually only focused on inflation, which, at least in the US, always includes housing at 30%. Our present inflation rate is thought to be only 2.4% year over year. Problem is, once you take out the distortion of declining housing values, it's 3.5%. Perhaps not incendiary, but edging towards the realm of it.

    The problem with any government programme is that once in motion, it tends to stay this way, which is why we have so many squabbles between Tories-Labour there, and Dems-Repubs here. I have always thought sunset provisions were a great idea, as they force law makers/spenders to examine the consequences of their actions, and laws of unintended consequences.
     
  20. Drifterwood

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    I have a simple way of thinking about this. When you are traveling with the tide, you should be careful not to use too much fuel to stoke the engines, because when the tide changes, you'll need that fuel to even stay in the same place when sailing against it.

    Another simple measure for me, because we don't have a constant against which to measure relativity, is if inflation is more than the interest you receive on your savings, then you are deflating, if your house isn't going up as much as inflation, then you are deflating, if your GDP growth is less than inflation, then you are deflating.
     
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