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UK elections: Place bets now!
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm going to reiterate here that my knowledge of the intricacies of British politics is extremely limited, and I realize that the reality behind those pledges may be substantially different than the words themselves, but... I'm not seeing why this is so terrible. Some may not be great, but the worst seem to just be continuations of Labour policies, in which case... well, don't see why you're so hard on the Con/Lib coalition about those, when Labour should take at least as much blame.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In an election that was mainly focused on pointing out what Labour did wrong, taking over the worst of their policies is hardly a good thing.

Not to mention that Labour has been shit for the last few years, so comparing them to Labour really isn't a reason to celebrate.
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Him



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees wrote:
So tell me (and this is another one of those "I'm honestly curious" questions), why would it be so bad to privatize the mail system? I know New Zealand and Germany have something like this, and if I'm not mistaken, so does Sweden? I mean, Fedex UPS and the like aren't horrible, and it seems like if there was heavy regulation, like with electrical companies and whatnot (proving their marginal costs to justify pricing, et cetera), it doesn't seem like this would be the worst thing in the world?

Those that better read on this specific topic than I: why the extreme negative reaction? Is it so bad in those countries with privatized postal systems, or what?

It wasn't very popular here either, unfortnately the criticism was more of the classic swedish clenching your fist in your pocket than open protests.
As for Britain here's the sort of blandish report from the Communication Worker's Union: http://www.cwu.org/news/archive/results-show-royal-mail-success-in-public-sector.html

I mean, the question shouldn't be why not privatize the postal service, but why?

I'll try and see if I can find some statistics for sweden as well, but from what I recall in recent news the privatization of the postal service have pretty much been a failure. One usual problem when a publically owned bussines is privatized is that access decreases in less profitable areas (which does not bode well for the recent privatization of the medicine shop monopoly in sweden).

Miziske: Show me one significant policy from the Thatcher era that Labour has repealed. But of course the Con-dem coalition is worse in their policies towards the public sector. But yeah these days the difference between new labour and the tories are pretty marginal.
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Mizike



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
I'll go into detail in a next post, but let's just start by saying that you're using the vague promises put out by the coalition as an argument as to what they're going to do.

I stress the word vague, because half of those things can be interpreted in at least a dozen ways.


Fine, but you're not even using that. This is the only evidence we have either way. The Tories could have tried a minority government. This coalition is something new and unknown. It's not going to be the same as the Tories of old. It can't be.

Him wrote:
But yeah these days the difference between new labour and the tories are pretty marginal.

Now we know where Him stands. Fair enough.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mizike wrote:
Fine, but you're not even using that. This is the only evidence we have either way. The Tories could have tried a minority government. This coalition is something new and unknown. It's not going to be the same as the Tories of old. It can't be.

I'm using both parties' former stances, their usual agenda and the promises they made during the election. I think that's pretty trustworthy.

And you know, a lot of people hoped that this wouldn't just be the same old Tories. Maybe they won't be. But it's sure looking like it. If you just look at the amount of things the Lib Dems gave up to get into government, I'm not sure they still have a foot to stand on. If they gave up so much during the negotiations, how can they expect to influence the Tories? They gave up PR, ffs!

Quote:
Now we know where Him stands. Fair enough.

Oh, come on. Him's being fairly reasonable here. The Tories and New Labour still have their differences, but in a lot of areas they're basically the same. You can't underestimate just how much Labour jumped to the centre when they turned into New Labour.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mizike wrote:
NHS:
Quote:
We will guarantee that health spending increases in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision will have on other departments.

If a spending increase is actually a slashing, I'm afraid I don't understand how.

To understand this bit, you first have to realise how much of a holy cow the NHS has become in Britain. You do not say that you're going to make cuts in the NHS. You do not. If you do, you do not get elected. Simple as that. So all parties will either say they won't make cuts or they'll hide it behind fancy words like 'cutting the waste'.

Now, Britain needs to make huge cuts in their budget. There's no way around that. All three parties would've made cuts in the NHS. The only difference is the intent and how much cuts. Labour would've probably tried to avoid making too much cuts and would've made some just to balance the budget. The Lib Dems would've made more.

The Tories, finally, seem to really dislike the NHS. They really do want to cut it up to pieces, but seeing as they can't, they settle with just crippling it. Hollowing out the NHS. It's what Thatcher did, it's what Cameron will try to do.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8693535.stm wrote:
Rather than diluting policies, Mr Cameron said that in some areas, such as the NHS, the agreement was more "radical" than either the Conservative or Lib Dem manifestos, combining Tory belief in free markets with their coalition partners' commitment to decentralisation.


Quote:
Iraq and Afghanistan:They are the same as they were. Apparently, you equate Labour to Thatcher?

It doesn't matter if Labour or Thatcher did it, it's just bad. In fact, Labour has been heavily critisised for the war.

Quote:
Nukes:
Quote:
We will maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.

It's not dovish, but, again, it's no different than the Labour position.

Does not matter that Labour would also keep Trident. The simple fact that it'll cost Britain 2bn pounds to renew Trident, while they'll be cutting all other budgets is just insane.

Quote:
Corporate Tax:
A cut, true. However, at 30%, Britain's nominal tax rate is quite high. The devil's in the details, and there aren't enough details to cast judgment yet. (For comparison's sake, the US has an enormous nominal corporate take rate of nearly 40%, but various loopholes and exemptions mean that the effective rate is much lower. Also for comparison, even if Britain lowers their corporate tax rate, they could still have a higher rate than Sweden.)

Again, your argument is made by comparing it to other countries. It does. Not. Matter. Dropping corporate tax is just insane now that they're making cuts everywhere else. Not to mention that it's one of those tax cuts which basically only benefits the rich.


Quote:
Civil Liberties:
Quote:
We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports.

We will restore rights to non-violent protest.

We will review libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

We will establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue
to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.

Can't say I disagree with these policies. Labour were horribly, horribly wrong with these. We'll have to wait and see if they go through with it though.

Quote:
Decentralisation :
Quote:
We will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups. This will include a review of local government finance.

We will abolish the unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission and replace it with an efficient and democratically accountable system that provides a fast-track process for major infrastructure projects.

Good, but I'm slightly sceptical about the Tories being pro devolution. They're traditionally the party that's for a strong central, English government. We'll see, I guess.

Quote:
Climate Change:
Quote:
We will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling international climate change, including by supporting an increase in the EU emission reduction target to 30% by 2020.

We will seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.

Good. Again, we'll see.

I fail to see how you can see this government as something good, unless you really, really hate poor people.
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Him



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mizike wrote:
It's not going to be the same as the Tories of old. It can't be.

Just given the starting point it's most likely going to be worse. You think greece has it hard now, with the IMF and the EU forcing it's agenda on the working people (and much of the european media going into close-to-racist slurs about the "lazy" greeks) well, by all estimates that crisis is hitting britain pretty soon. You'd be amazed how quickly civil liberties laws can be sidestepped if a government feels threatened. And this is not even mentioning how the attacks on public services, wages and working conditions will be. And given that the world bank is buying bad state obligations, transforming them into dollars and then selling them back...well, is it just me or does inflating rubbish obligations to fantasy value sound awfully familiar? So in a not too distant futur this euro (as ion the currency) will also be a dollar crisis, bye bye "recovery". Still, it's not the loan-sharks, the big corporations, the banks etc that are paying. Just look at the demands made towards greece.
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picturesofsky



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

double post.
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picturesofsky



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only really know about the NHS, but an increase in spending on the NHS is necessary anyway, due to the massive hikes in cost of treatment, natural inflation-linked and scale point increases in salaries, and drug costs.

Read the NHS bit carefully, see the bit where they say "We will cut the cost of NHS administration by a third and transfer resources to support doctors and nurses on the front line." That means essentially, a bunch of band 2 admin assistants are much cheaper than Band 6,7 and 8 managers. It is a huge huge cut on the NHS, and if it's not done right, will put huge pressure on services.

What I hope it means, combined with the dreaded "strengthening of the care quality commission" (regulators), is that they will simply get rid of the Strategic Health Authorities. That's certainly implied in the strengthening the PCT role.

...

And all of that is probably gibberish for anyone in another country, which is why it's hard to try and understand a manifesto document when you're not part of that country's infrastructure. Just saying.
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Mizike



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

picturesofsky wrote:
And all of that is probably gibberish for anyone in another country, which is why it's hard to try and understand a manifesto document when you're not part of that country's infrastructure. Just saying.


Agreed, but I am trying.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

picturesofsky wrote:
That means essentially, a bunch of band 2 admin assistants are much cheaper than Band 6,7 and 8 managers. It is a huge huge cut on the NHS, and if it's not done right, will put huge pressure on services.


It's just the admin types, not the doctors/nurses/technicians? Meaning, that would be cutting the overhead but not the actual care providers? I understand it could be rough if done wrong, but if done well couldn't that just create a leaner running system with reduced costs for care? If they were talking about removing a lot of doctors or nurses or what have you, I'd see an immediate problem, but... while it sucks for the people who would get fired, isn't that better for the country overall (again assuming the implementation is suitably elegant)?
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said, they'll be 'cutting waste'. While, of course, cutting waste is a good thing and no doubt they'll hit some of the waste, it doesn't take a genius to see how this will play out.

Let's just hope I'm being pessimistic. Sad
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While there's the potential it could be handled badly... the Con/Lib coalition is a new thing, and you seem to be consistently assuming the worst, rather than being willing to admit even a remote possibility that this could go well. Why so pessimistic?
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees wrote:
While there's the potential it could be handled badly... the Con/Lib coalition is a new thing, and you seem to be consistently assuming the worst, rather than being willing to admit even a remote possibility that this could go well. Why so pessimistic?

They're the Tories, still. And even though the Lib Dems have a good left wing, they've also got enough liberals in their ranks. I'm pessimistic because although Cameron isn't Thatcher, his party is still her party in many ways. I'm pessimistic because neoliberals want to privatise everything, basically. They're going to try to privatise the Royal Mail, at least partially, so why wouldn't they have a go at the NHS as well?

Also, my point wasn't that they'd handle it badly, my point was that they'd intentionally hollow out the NHS. I'd be pretty ironic if just after the US got some form of public healthcare, the UK would start to destroy theirs.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh, yeah, once again I'll ask - why is privatization of the Royal Mail such a bad thing? It might not be *necessary* but could it not be better, private, than it is public? As stated a few countries have already gone that route, and they haven't imploded yet, so...
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