Open thread

Since it went rather well last time, and I haven’t had a poll to ramble on about for a day or two, this is an open thread for discussion – normal rules on non-partisanship do not apply.


196 Responses to “Open thread”

1 2 3 4
  1. The people that are most vocal on this outside this forum are saying it has been widespread from the written entire media for years.

    So why are the Guardian picking on the NEWS OF THE SCREWS? because none of the other media outlests have links to the Tories?

    JAMES LUDLOW- is correct this is a media watchdog issue or some other such body,it is not a political one.

  2. JOHN TT-part of the ‘MAGNA CARTA’ is Habeas Corpus,and yes the right of ‘INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY’ is written within its pages.

    YOU ARE WRONG!

  3. Rich, you embarrass yourself.

    Try putting “innocent until proven guilty” into google, and click on the link to the Wikipedia article on the subject.

    Get some-one to explain it to you.

    While the presumption of innocence is written into constitutions around the modern world (incuding the EU’s), it is not written into English or British law, or the Magna Carta.

    As the wikipedia article says, the presumption of innocence leads to the fact that a jury can find some-one guilty or not guilty. A not guilty verdict has no bearing on whether or not the defendant is innocent.

    Innocent is not a legal term. A “not guilty” verdict cannot prove innocence.

    Habeas Corpus is to do with the right to a trial before a jury.

    One of the tories’ trump cards is that the general public are hopeless at finding out things for themselves, despite the resources of the modern world. Please try.

  4. @ John TT (& Rich I guess). In Scottish law there are three verdicts open to a jury – guilty, not guilty and not proven. I wouldn’t claim to know the finer legal meanings of these, but I am of the impression that the ‘not proven’ verdict implies an element of doubt that the defendant could have done it but the evidence wasn’t strong enough to convict, while the ‘not guilty’ is a clear statement that the defendant is ‘innocent’ of the charges. I don’t know if ‘not proven’ leaves the way open for a second trial if more evidence can be found.

    I don’t think this will help you two fine chaps agree on this (or anything else for that matter) but it add a further dimension to you discussions.

  5. ALEC ,

    whatever gave you the idea we don’t agree on anything,to be serious we are having a healthy debate,apart from the name calling i have been subjected to,but hey no probs,i can handle it,i don’t give it back though.

    The reason i don’t give it back is because even John’s opinion i will fight for the right for him to be heard,even if i don’t agree with anything he says.

    FRUITCAKE,LOONY,RIGHT-WING PUSSY etc,

    thanks for all those pointing out my best parts.

  6. Glad to see I stirred up a response. I have yet to hear a single policy initiative from Osborne that deals with the Bankers Recession. Even the IMF now say that thanks to Gordon Brown & Alistair Darling’s policies the UK will lead the world out of recession. The debt crisis myth has been well spun – in truth the bulk of the money went on Nationalising the Banks – Northern Rock will be sold back to the Private Sector first makign a nice profit for Tax Payers and the other Banks will follow; that deals with the bulk of the debt. The rest of the debt is repesented by capital programmes brought forward, not revenue spending. When Labour came to power debt was 43% of GDP (That was John Major’s cost of his recession) when Brown became PM it was down to 37%, that is why he rightly claimed that we were better able than other countires to provide a fiscal stimulus to get the country moving again. The current debt, in terms of GDP, is still less than the debt run up by Ken Clarke during the 1990’s recession. All this fiscal probity would be squandered by incomign Tory Government who haven’t the faintest idea what to do about the current world-wide recession – arrogance is an under-staement (great to be able to be partisan for a while).

    I see no-one took up my query on Europe – how is cameron going to continue with the schizm that must arise between his Europhile policies (exapnding the EU to Ukraine, Georgia & Turkey for example) and his memebership who want out of the EU? The Tory victiry on June 4th was a great con-trick – thousands believing that they are voting to leave the EU by voting Tory, but in reality the Tories are the Architects of UK membership of the EU and will never take us out

  7. @Eric,

    “The current debt, in terms of GDP, is still less than the debt run up by Ken Clarke during the 1990’s recession”

    Crikey old son, you REALLY haven’t been paying attention have you. The “current debt” is far higher than it was “when Brown became PM” (due to the slight matter of a complete economic meltdown in between) and it is about to explode into the stratosphere and far exceed the debt that existed after the last recession.

    And on what planet is the recession of 2008-9 completely not Brown/Darling’s fault and the recession of the early 90s completely Major/Lamont’s fault?

    The point is in 1997 the UK economy had fully recovered from the recession and was just about to ride the next boom. Brown then enjoyed years of huge tax income (a lot of it from “The Bankers” and from taxes on the inflated asset prices that come with a boom). So, he managed to cut government debt a little relative to GDP. Not surprising considering that GDP increased significantly (that’s what happens in a boom). The point is that the Boom was always going to go Bust and to increase government spending as Labour did, without cutting the debt hugely first, left them without the tools to really deal with the Bust.

    That said, some aspects of the government response have been perfectly competent, given the lack of the preferred option of falling back on reserves built up from those huge tax receipts. But borrowing against your greatchildren’s earnings and printing money are in extremis measures that are only necessary because of prior Labour policy.

    As for European policy, there is certainly a divide in the Conservative party about how far to take EU integration, but I don’t think anyone voting Tory thought they were voting to leave the EU – hence the massive vote for UKIP. And you are wrong to describe EU expansion as a “Europhile” policy. Perhaps it is cynical, maybe even wrong-headed, but a large part of the Tory enthusiasm for expanding EU membership is that it actually makes deeper integration more difficult. Europhiles try and sell the Lisbon Treaty as “necessary to deal with an expanded EU” but that’s a smokescreen really. Don’t forget most continental parties are sworn to achieve “ever closer Union” within Europe. They would have wanted a Lisbon Treaty even if there were only 12 members. It’s just a stepping stone to the EU Government they are explicitly aiming for in the longterm. Tories tend to argue for a “wider, not deeper” EU, reasoning that imposing EU social and economic “harmony” on places like Turkey would break the whole integration project completely.

  8. GB suspends GE because swine flu outbreak in the UK deemed ‘national emergency’ early 2010??

  9. @Eric Goodyear

    Expansion of the EU geographically is not necessarily Europhile.

    France/Germany and the rest of ‘old Europe’ opposes Turkish membership. The UK, Scandiland and Eastern Europe supports it. Shame that Cyprus has a veto over our future, but that’s a mistake that Blair made.

    Essentially, though, the broader the EU gets, the more chance it has of being an alliance/trading bloc than a federal superstate.

  10. Gordon Brown is the most uncaring, selfish, deceitful man imaginable. On the day our men die in battle all he says it will go on and be tough. TOUGH! it would be alot easier if he hadnt made decisions to CUT defense spending has NO will power at all for this war. The Labour government started and made no provisions. I will NEVER forgive him and long for the day he is booted out of office and our lives for ever.

  11. @Nostra – there was a fascinating post on I think Political Betting a week or so ago where someone had dug out the obscure legal fact that Brown technically doesn’t have to call an election for I think it was three years after the last day of the current Parliament. I can’t remember the full details, but I recall it revolves around the fact that a government has the right under ancient legislation to run for a given period after a Parliament expires. This is not the case when Parliament is formally dissolved, as this sets a time limit before a new Parliament must be called. If Brown just lets this Parliament end without going to HM for a dissolution – Bob’s you’re uncle, three more years of Labour!
    Of course it won’t happen, (not least as he needs an annual vote to keep taking income tax) but there is a window for a fw months should swine flu be a problem.

    @Stephen – I broadly agree with you in many ways. If you are going to go to war there are two key issues; 1)You have to go in extremely hard with full commitment and resources 2) British troops will die.
    Labour ignored the first, and the rest of the country is ignoring the second.
    I am extremely ambivalent about the Afghan war, but if there’s one thing worse than fighting an unecessary war it’s half fighting an unecessary war.

  12. The news from Afghanistan is awfull.

    At least Iraq is a democracy now , and it’s government appears to embrace all of it’s ethnic & religeous parts.

    Afghanistan is a tribal mess with a corrupt government whose writ runs solely in the capital.
    Mathew Parish in today’s Times has a piece which lifts the lid on the “governance” of that country.

    The British public should become increasingly unsupportive of these sort of losses of young lives in the cause of such an ungovernable country.

  13. People keep making the point that it would be easier to buy the poppy crop from the Afghan farmers than fight a war.

  14. The Lisbon Treaty returns power to Member States from Brussels; and gives national Parliaments the rights to reject and amend Commission proposals. It abolishes 1/3 of the Commission. It strengthens the scrutiny role of the elected EU Parliament.

    Strange that Eurosceptics oppose it – but I guess they believe their own distortions

  15. RE: Earlier points on reintroduction of death penalty.

    1. The advance of science make s the ‘what if they are really innocent ‘ arguement redundant.
    2. Where I live in the Middle East the deterrent works well.
    3. If they need a new Mr Pierrepoint, I’d be happy to volanteer.
    4. If it gets the country out of the EU; it’s not a silver lining – it’s a golden one.

    Whilst we’re at it, what about flogging for lesser offences?

  16. @Shaundubai – “1. The advance of science make s the ‘what if they are really innocent ‘ arguement redundant”

    I’m afraid it doesn’t. Science still needs to be applied, and many police, judges, juries, and scientists themselves don’t fully understand the issues. Most of our major miscarraiges of justice in recent years have arisen out of ‘irrefutable’ scientific evidence and there is no reason whatever to asume this will not continue to be the case, albeit in a small number of cases.

  17. “Where I live in the Middle East the deterrent works well.”

    Stoning adulterers to death & shooting women in football stadiums is not the sort of “deterrant” that is appropriate for civilised countries, who no longer live by medieval standards.

    Our young men are dying in a vain attempt to bring the 21st century to the Middle East.

  18. Shaundubai,

    I’m not a pacifist, someone who believes that killing and violence is wrong under any circumstances. But I do believe one should respond to wrongdoing and conflict with the least amount of violence that is reasonably possible. There is so much violence in the world already without us adding to it unnecessarily.

    Regarding the death penalty, when we avoid killing those who kill we are showing that it is possible to respond to violence and pain without inflicting violence and pain. Ultimately it is only mercy that can bring to an end the vicious cycle of violence and pain, whether this is done by individuals or the state.

    I consider it a very important principle that applies to both individuals and nations that one should seek the least aggressive resolution to problems.

    This does not mean we should not use violence as a means of self-defence or punishment as a means of deterence. But it does mean that when it is pragmatical our response to wrongdoing or aggression should be measured with mercy in mind.

  19. I should like to add that prison is not a soft option. Many in British prisons commit suicide, including some notorious murders, but also sadly some who have commited far lesser crimes.

    Very often people commit crimes out of despair and it is understanding and help that is needed and not punishment and imprisonment. This leads to greater dispair resulting in people taking their own lives.

    Mercy, compassion and understanding are not for the weak but for the strong! In Britain we need even more of this and still less moralistic judgementalism , I think.

  20. @ Alec – what about DNA?

    @ Colin – here you can leave a mobile, wallet or set of keys on a bar, go to the bathroom and KNOW they will still be there when you return. If that’s a mediaeval society, bring on the Middle Ages. BTW – since when did the ‘our boys’ sacrifice” have anything to do with a debate about hanging?

    @Philip JW – I hear what you are saying, but the Christian ethics bit doesn’t wash. Tell that to a mother / father of somone who’s been raped and murdered?

  21. @Shaundubai – “what about DNA?”

    What about contamination of samples? What about human interpretation of results? What about the fact that DNA is not unique, and that there’s a c. 1:2,000,000 chance of one sample identifying two people (better than the lottery odds)? What about some of the techniques used to generate DNA from tiny original samples that have led to at least one current case collapsing? What about poor scientific application? Finally, remember that although DNA can place people at a crime scene or connect them to a victim, it still doesn’t prove what actually happened and whether it was murder/manslaughter/completely innocent.

    My wife is a biochemist, so I’ve had a good breifing on this.

  22. @ Shaundubai-

    “here you can leave a mobile, wallet or set of keys on a bar, go to the bathroom and KNOW they will still be there when you return. If that’s a mediaeval society, bring on the Middle Ages.”

    I have no doubt of it-if ours were a society in which the death penalty was prescribed for apostacy, our citizens would indeed be the placid zombies which the state insists on. Yor last sentence defines your position-it’s not mine.

    “when did the ‘our boys’ sacrifice” have anything to do with a debate about hanging?”

    You extolled the “virtues” of the death penalty in UAE.
    The death penalty in UAE & many other countries in the region is part of a penal code derived from a strict reading of an obscure & ancient religeous tract .

    That penal code is itself a part of a system of State imposed Religeous belief which allows no free thought, and imposes barbarous methods of State killing for any departure from a way of life imposed by “clerics.”

    Some-perhaps many-of these “clerics” have declared a “holy war” on “the west” and wish to impose their laws & way of life on us. To further this aim they have, and continue to kill innocent civilians in our countries .

    Our young men are fighting & dying to stop these people in their quest, by killing them & facilitating governance by peacefull democracy in their place……….at least I think that’s what they are fighting for…it’s certainly why they are dying.

  23. Isn’t a major point about the death penalty that the majority of the public are supposed to support it? I’m not sure whether this is a myth that’s grown up, or whether there’s actually any hard polling data – but if it is true then it seems distinctly absent from many of the debates on the death penalty.

    As for the inheritance tax cut policy of the Conservatives – it isn’t, contrary to what has been asserted a tax cut for the wealthy. The policy plans to raise the threshold to £1 million – so how it is a tax cut for ‘millionaires’ I’m not entirely sure. In any case as the tax covers all assets, not merely income, and given how much house prices have increased (even with the recent falls) in the last few years the result has been that lots of people on relatively modest ‘incomes’ are liable to pay it. Moreover hasn’t the taxed money already been taxed, and how can making people pay tax because somebody die not be considered amoral. Its not as if the person chose to die like they chose to earn income or purchase a good, which is when you are primarily taxed.

  24. “# Jack

    AS I have said at various times here; we have always had a xenophobic right wing nutters group in the UK/ England. Consider the support for Mosley’s Blackshirts in the later 20s early 30s. And in times of depression they come to the fore (why? It’s easier to blame others for being poor / unemployed than oneself).
    July 9th, 2009 at 10:42 am
    #
    john t t

    Absolutely right Jack – if some-one who looks and sounds reasonable tells you the reason you are failing is that others have an unfair advantage, then extremist responses are likely.”

    —————

    …that’s such lazy rubbish to spout.

    Aren’t just a little self-aware that there is practically no difference between you applying a label of opprobrium to a set of people whom you define in such simplistic and loblogical ways, and then rallying a mob to condemn?

    It seems as though people who express views as you have done characterise xenophobia as being disagree with things that have an extra-national dimension… the insinuation being that special pleading applies and that it is somehow impossible to for objections to things like EU membership or mass immigration that are in any way cogent and rational.

    Yes, there are idiots who express idiotic views, and idiots who express reasonable views; as there are generally reasonable people who express idiotic views; and generally reasonably people that express reasonable views… and most people would place themselves in the latter category, and their chosen subjects for whom they wish to incite opprobrium (and worse) in any of the other categories, according to convenience.
    However, there is no intrinsic link with views you espouse or despise and any of those categories.

    The fact that you use or raise no eyebrow at language like “xenophobic right-wing nutters”, speaks volumes, in much the same was as it always seems to be religious (and banal) people who call some people “evil” (as if it means something beyond a boo in “boo-hurrah theory”).

    There is nothing “makey-uppy” or implausible or unreasonable about pointing out instances where unfair advantages exist and are creating failings… particularly where the source of the “unfairness” is due to logically fallacious and inconsistent truisms coalescing into a pseudo-secular, group-thinky, and cryptofascistic ideology, that likes to answer it’s own questions, and market everything it does with some new bowlderised benign nomenclature.

    +++
    …but no, I’m not a fan of the death penalty… and I don’t believe anyone who says they’d accept being that one innocent (or parent/child/spouse thereof) put to death for the good of the whole system.
    …but then I regard abortion as a form of death penalty as well, and perhaps the most sickening and appalling product of a moral relativist, individualist, consumerist culture at the pits of decadence.

    Soylent Green anyone?!

    +++
    I’d rather we were taxed on what we consume rather than simply for existing (which is what income tax seems to be essentially about)… there are countless things I’d prefer not to contribute to, and I think it would be a very progressive step to allow all adults to be treated thus and seeing as though we have a massive bureaucracy and self-assessment, have a load of tick-boxes to say which bits of the state we want to “subscribe” to… (i suppose some core things would have to stay… but I doubt may people would not want to pay for policing, nhs, and prisons!)

  25. Aren’t just a little self-aware that there is practically no difference between you applying a label of opprobrium to a set of people whom you define in such simplistic and loblogical ways, and then rallying a mob to condemn?
    …and the sorts of people you seem to be trying to package up into a user-friendly bogeyman-come-whipping boy (now that’s an image! eurgh!).

  26. It seems as though people who express views as you have done characterise xenophobia as being disagree with things that have an extra-national dimension… the insinuation being that special pleading applies and that it is somehow impossible to for objections to things like EU membership or mass immigration that are in any way cogent and rational

    …my god! well i am dyslexic, but i didn’t realise it was that bad!
    TRY: “somehow impossible for people to have objections to things like EU membership…”

    soz

  27. particularly where the source of the “unfairness” is due to logically fallacious and inconsistent truisms coalescing into a pseudo-secular, group-thinky, and cryptofascistic ideology, that likes to answer it’s own questions, and market everything it does with some new bowlderised benign nomenclature.

    e.g.: terms like “diversity”, “multiculturalism”, “community” etc…

  28. …but then I regard abortion as a form of death penalty as well, and perhaps the most sickening and appalling product of a moral relativist, individualist, consumerist culture at the pits of decadence.

    …this comes from having faced the issue personally, and being quite shocked at seeing the real results of abortion – both in a medical setting, with a sliced up foetus; and finding one dumped in a bin bag… it changed my whole perspective on it from being midly pro-choice to being strongly pro-life (and from a non-religious pov).

  29. Shaundubai,

    I’m not concerned about labels, whether what I refered to is Christian ethics. But the principles I spoke of are held by those of various religious faiths and those with a humanistic perspective of life. Indeed, in Islam one of the many great titles for Allah is the merciful one.

    My experience is that it is not so much the faith that a person declares that matter but rather the particular truthes that person emphasises that matters.

    You said, “Tell that to a father/mother of someone who has been raped and murdered.”

    I believe I understand where you are coming from. It is a lot easier to talk about mercy than to practise it, particularly in the extreme case you mentioned. I would certain feel like killing that person. What I would actually do I do not know.

    One of the main reasons we have judicial systems is that such issues can be so emotive. Therefore it is not left to the father or mother to decide what is the appropriate punishment for a particular crime.

    It is worth remembering that executing the person concerned will not undo the harm done, and it will not bring back to life the person murdered.

  30. @ Philip JW

    “executing the person concerned will not undo the harm done, and it will not bring back to life the person murdered”

    Qisas-or an eye for an eye-is enforced today in countries which follow the Sharia, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran] and Pakistan

  31. Colin,

    In practise its a LOT more complicated than the expression eye for an eye suggests.

    In all modern Muslim states, there are large sections of the law in which the dominant influence is a Western legal system, or modern international practise.

    It is also true that al-Rahmen “The Merciful” and al-Rahim “The Compassionate” are among the most commonly used names for God among Muslims.

  32. Shaundubai,

    It is wonderful to hear that where you live you can leave your wallet on a table and come back later knowing it will still be there. Where in the middle East do you live?

    I come from Wales in Great Britain. My parents have told me that it used to be the same here with being able to trust other people. However, I don’t think it had anything to do with the death penalty or physical punishment. Rather I think it was due to a stronger sense of community which has diminished as people became more materialistically minded.

    The reality is that there are pockets of people all over the world with very varying laws, cultural practises and beliefs whose sense of belonging to one another makes stealing from one another unthinkable.

    Idolatry in the form of the worshipping of money is perhaps the greatest threat to our world.

  33. Shaundubai,

    I should like to say that people in Wales are generally friendly, caring and honest. But I do believe that over the decades the standard has dropped. How much it has dropped is a hard thing to measure.

  34. “its a LOT more complicated”

    And that is the problem with Islam Philip-it is open to interpretation-mostly by “clerics” whose only education is lifetime familiarity with religious texts.

    Now that wouldn’t matter a damn if Islam was seperate from The State-but in many many countries it IS The State…it sets out the way an individual MUST conduct his or her ( particularly “her”) life, and prescribes the criminal code.

    So these States are subject to the whim of interpretation of Islamic texts. And when that interpretation derives from strict viewpoints like Wahabiism-the conduct of that State follows suit-and please note that there is no lay opinion involved .

    I see precious little evidence of “Merciful and Compassionate” in the killing of muslims by muslims in the name of the same God-nor in the use of Qisas as in the recent Iranian state ordered blinding at a victim’s request.

  35. @Philip JW – I totally agree that standards (sadly) have slipped and I blame a large part of it on the, now discredited, socialist ‘big-state’ ideas that predominated in the UK post-WWII.

    The accompanying cult of so-called Political Correctness needs to be eradicated root and branch. It is the cancer killing Britain.

    We have the best armed forces in the world and I am disgusted that they are being sacrificed as political pawns by a dying government (If you have domestic woes, try a foreign adventure as a distraction – see: Argentine Junta c. 1982).

    Does the situation in Afghanistan REALLY affect us, or is it just another bunch of ’45 minutes WMD’ lies?

    I wish people would think about that more.

  36. Oh how we forget.

    The intervention in Afghanistan began for perfectly clear and compelling reasons and when it started it had the overwhelming support not only of the vast majority of Britons but of the majority in most other countries too. Remember there are German, Italian, Spanish and yes, even French, soldiers there in large-ish numbers.

    What is happening, quite frankly, is what always happens. The inevitable weakness of nerve that occurs when the mission is not achieved quickly, or cheaply. Every war we have ever fought (with the exception of WW2, having Nazis occupying the Channel Islands is a great encouragement to support the armed forces) has become less popular over time, particulary as the casualties mount.

    I don’t think the West had any option but to send forces to Afghanistan, and having done so I don’t think we have any option than to stick it out until conditions have improved enough to we can leave with our heads high. The majority of Afghans do, and always have, support our presence there. Having said all that we absolutely must treat it as the priority and throw everything we have at it. It seems absurd to me that we are launching a “major offensive” with 700 troops. That’s less than the crew of some of our warships.

    We should massively increase troop numbers and equipment, as should all of our allies. But there lies the rub; everyone knows we need more troops but there is a staring contest going on because everyone wants some other country to send them. If we could get 10,000 more French or German troops there, great. But their intransigence is no excuse to starve ISAF of what it needs.

  37. A timely poll, however finds public support growing in recent months, which is encouraging, not only to those of us who prefer to stand up for our convictions, but for the services out there who are sticking their lives on the line for us.

  38. Education / Sport

    Okay, I always thought the following was urban mythology BUT a friend of my wife’s at work went to her child’s primary school sports day in Essex.

    1) The best kid was not allowed to compete (disheartening for the others)

    2) No applause allowed (it’s only sport)

    3) Sprint events on grass not allowed as it had rained and they might fall over (health and safety excessive)

    Seriously what an evil farce. No wonder overall we are rubbish at sport. I’ve spent many years in Australia and they’d be having trouble with this as a comedy skit for English schools rather than a documentary! Nothing wrong with celebrating sporting skills- there is only something wrong when only sport is celebrated.

    I believe in education we have killed professional spark (and that would mean some bad lessons but also great lessons) by massive paperwork to prove teachers can do the boringly obvious. BUT in this case Heads of primary schools should be lined up and shot. (But Primary teachers are so fundamentally thick that’s why the teach that group- look at the entry requirements throughout the western world.)

    Allow more freedom for teachers to actually teach what they love, not what fits into league tables. But tell primary heads to join the real world and allow sporting excellence (end get parents to sign a form saying if a kid has a injury when doing PE / sports then tough unless its actual negligence rather than Primary Head paranoia).

    I know of one state secondary school which refused to allow the best girl hockey player to play in the School First X1 as she wasn’t doing A level and would have her chance later. It was suggested that the school should rename the team A level team which went down like lead balloon but I enjoyed it. Again, school sport is stuffed in this country.

    Continuing the Australian theme. It’s worth noting that school sport in Australia is highly competitive but irrelevant. It’s really based about the suburb / town / city clubs. they realise in Oz that teachers can’t possibly deal with all the sports and its also far to late–sport in Oz starts early. My last memory of the Australian Institute of Sport was watching the pre primary gymnast being coached by the Chinese coaches …

  39. ‘NEIL A
    Oh how we forget.
    The intervention in Afghanistan began for perfectly clear and compelling reasons and when it started it had the overwhelming support not only of the vast majority of Britons but of the majority in most other countries too. Remember there are German, Italian, Spanish and yes, even French, soldiers there in large-ish numbers.’

    Oh, and how many are allowed to fight? Basically nil. They are there because their arms were twisted by Bush -need one say more about the most loathed evil rightwinger?

  40. Posted here as it is not really poll related:

    Amid the talk of possible successsor to Brown, one name had theoretically been ruled out as he is now a life peer.

    But the draft Constitution bill just announced will include a provision for life peers to resign their seat in teh lords. Now what can Gordon be thinking allowing the grand-panjandrum a route back into the commons (assuming he can find a seat to stand in and not lose) ?

    Of course, the government would have to pull all the stops out and persuade the Lords to support the bill before it could be implemented, so not much chance of it helping Mandy in time for next GE – but watch out fo him to run for party leader after the GE !

  41. British politics are in a mess (again!) – the country seems to be moving towards electing the Tory party not because of its leadership qualities, not because of its policies, but because this is what is done in a backlash. There is, of course, much to lash out against. However, and let’s be honest, neither the Tories nor the Liberals foresaw the economic crisis: did anyone hear them demanding that the financial-powers-that-be be regulated prior to the slump? No, I didn’t either.

    I – and many others in my community – will never forget and forgive the Tories for what they did the last time they were in power. The brutality of the state in the miners’ strike was a disgrace. The Liberals will say anything to please whatever audience they are faced with. New Labour lost any drive it had when it embraced war games as opposed to social reform.

    The next General Election will be the first in which I do not cast a vote. There is nothing to vote FOR!

    No doubt Cameron will win by a large margin. He will quickly make a complete mess of it. (He is a very mediocre politician.) He will be ousted by an out-of-date right-winger and we’ll be back to the reasoning that says the market is a god… exactly the type of thinking that has led to the worldwide recession.

    Democracy isn’t working.

  42. Interesting Bagehot piece in the Economist this week. My reading is that it skewers Cameron.

  43. Cogload,

    Interesting piece in tonight’s Evening Standard. My reading is that it skewers Bagehot.

  44. @ Mark Green :-
    neither the Tories nor the Liberals foresaw the economic crisis.

    “We are concerned about the division of responsibility between the FSA and the Bank over banking and
    market regulation. Fortunately, conditions in the last decade have been benign internationally, with no
    serious threats to banking liquidity. We think it would be safer if the Bank of England had
    responsibility for solvency regulation of UK-based banks, as well as having an overall duty to keep the
    system solvent. Otherwise, there could be dangerous delays if a banking crisis did hit, with information having to be exchanged between the two regulators; and there might be gaps in each
    regulator’s view of the banking sector at a crucial time, when early regulatory action might have
    spared a worse problem.”

    Conservative Economic Competitiveness Review.
    Chair John Redwood
    August 2007

  45. @ Mark Green :-
    neither the Tories nor the Liberals foresaw the economic crisis.

    “The growth of the British economy is sustained by consumer spending pinned against record levels of personal debt, which is secured, if at all, against house prices that the Bank of England describes as well above equilibrium level. What action will the Chancellor take on the problem of consumer debt?”

    Vince Cable:Treasury Questions. November 2003

    “We have been right about the prospects for growth in the British economy, and the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cable) has been wrong.”

    Gordon Brown-Chancellor of the EXchequer-reply to Cable: Treasury Questions. November 2003

  46. Mark,

    Further to Colin’s evidenced response to your assertions, may I suggest that Democracy in the UK was not working from around 2000 to about 2006. From 2007 we have seen clear evdience that democracy is beginning to function properly again – but Labour MPs are doing their best to ignore it by putting off the election our country desperately needs for as long as possible for no better reason than protecting their own personal financial interests.

    As to the state of our economy. That has been brought about by an (im)morality that holds consumerism as its god, in turn built upon the flawed concept of personal / relativist ideas of right and wrong.

    So-called progressives need to reassess their philosophical positions on morality. If there are no moral / ethical absolutes, then it logically follows that you cannot complain if individuals choose to pursue their selfish ends. Don’t blame the market. It will create opportunities to serve all tastes – however vain or selfish they may be.

1 2 3 4