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#21 ckn

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 10:52 PM

I'd like to know exactly which countries have populations that are in favour of intervention in Syria. We don't want to and the French and American public don't either.

Either everybody's morality is shot to pieces or the Western world is sick of sending young men to die on behalf of Arab civilians that resent Western "help" and will turn on us at the first available opportunity.

I'm not really sure what the rant about cutting armed forces whilst increasing international commitments was about either since you argued in favour of intervention in Syria. It seemed to me that parliament finally recognised that we're not the world police.

1.  None.  Sometimes we have to do unpopular things though.  Do you think the population would support WW2 these days?  Especially if the Germans were clearly being honest about not wanting to fight Britain.

 

2.  Yes, morality is gone.  It's not just the middle-east, we don't care where in the world genocide happens, we'll ignore it anywhere.

 

3.  If a British government had said "we're proposing to step down from our permanent seat on the Security Council and really want a peaceful life nowadays" then positioned ourselves the way Germany has then I'd accept it if it got through Parliament.  We haven't though, we've kept the responsibility and privilege of having that Security Council seat yet now don't want to meet those responsibilities.  You can't cut your army so excessively since 1990 and still pretend to be Deputy Sheriff to the US's John Wayne.  It's either/or, not both.

 

I'm very, very strongly of the opinion that I want us to be part of a peace-making force where necessary to stop genocides.  If that means we, as a first world, have to tighten our belts a bit more to afford being peacemakers then so be it.  (Note, there's a massive difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper)  I recommended General Dallaire's work above, I recommend again that you even read some of the interviews he's done to show you what happens when the first world steps back and pretends genocide isn't happening, 800,000 African civilians died but then that's not our problem, we only sold them the weapons to do the killing.  If reading his work doesn't make you want to pick up our 21st century army's big stick and beat genocidal leaders into a pulp then I despair.  Unfortunately, too many people see it as "not our problem" and "we've too many of our own first world problems to bother with anyone outside of our borders".  I'll reiterate that it's my held belief that if we went back to 1939 now that we'd probably vote to stay out of WW2 as that nice Mr Hitler said he wanted to be our friend, remember that in 1939 only the lightest hint of the Holocaust was visible outside of Germany and Hitler genuinely didn't want to fight us.

 

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke


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#22 ckn

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:04 PM

For those who want to take up my recommendation of General Dallaire's book, here's the link to Amazon for it.  There's a Kindle version as well.  Good libraries will do it as well.


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#23 Northern Sol

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:25 PM

1.  None.  Sometimes we have to do unpopular things though.  Do you think the population would support WW2 these days?  Especially if the Germans were clearly being honest about not wanting to fight Britain.


I don't think the population in 1939 wanted WW2 either. Hence the policy of appeasement. Everybody could see that even if the Germans didn't attack the UK directly if they ruled the continent then we would be cut off.
 

2.  Yes, morality is gone.  It's not just the middle-east, we don't care where in the world genocide happens, we'll ignore it anywhere.


This has always been true. Hence Mao's great famine and cultural revolution went unpunished, as did the Khmer Rouge's killing fields and Stalin's famine in Ukraine.

The UN was set up to discourage external intervention in a country's internal affairs. It designed to prevent one country invading another not to prevent massacres.
 

3.  If a British government had said "we're proposing to step down from our permanent seat on the Security Council and really want a peaceful life nowadays" then positioned ourselves the way Germany has then I'd accept it if it got through Parliament.  We haven't though, we've kept the responsibility and privilege of having that Security Council seat yet now don't want to meet those responsibilities.  You can't cut your army so excessively since 1990 and still pretend to be Deputy Sheriff to the US's John Wayne.  It's either/or, not both.
 
I'm very, very strongly of the opinion that I want us to be part of a peace-making force where necessary to stop genocides.  If that means we, as a first world, have to tighten our belts a bit more to afford being peacemakers then so be it.  (Note, there's a massive difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper)  I recommended General Dallaire's work above, I recommend again that you even read some of the interviews he's done to show you what happens when the first world steps back and pretends genocide isn't happening, 800,000 African civilians died but then that's not our problem, we only sold them the weapons to do the killing.  If reading his work doesn't make you want to pick up our 21st century army's big stick and beat genocidal leaders into a pulp then I despair.  Unfortunately, too many people see it as "not our problem" and "we've too many of our own first world problems to bother with anyone outside of our borders".  I'll reiterate that it's my held belief that if we went back to 1939 now that we'd probably vote to stay out of WW2 as that nice Mr Hitler said he wanted to be our friend, remember that in 1939 only the lightest hint of the Holocaust was visible outside of Germany and Hitler genuinely didn't want to fight us.
 
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke


The thing is that you are wrong about the UN security council seat coming with "responsibilities".

The UN was set up to prevent conflicts such as WW1 and WW2. The great powers would be allowed to intervene in the internal affairs of other states only under strict rules. One such rule is that it did not tread on the toes of another great power hence the veto power.

As a great power, at the time, we were given a permanent seat. We probably no longer "deserve" it in terms of military power but then nobody bar the USA does either. But at no time was there the idea that the UN security council members were supposed to intervene - quite the reverse.

#24 Bostik Bailey

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:48 AM

I don't know where we get the idea that Britian's morality has been lost.

Are we comparing the last hundred years to that highly moral foreign policy that we exercise during previous hundred years, the time of the British Empire?

#25 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:06 AM

I don't know where we get the idea that Britian's morality has been lost.

Are we comparing the last hundred years to that highly moral foreign policy that we exercise during previous hundred years, the time of the British Empire?


Quite.

The problem is that we have been brought up on a fairy tale version of WW2 whereby the brave British sacrificed their empire to save Europe from the Nazis.

Inconvenient facts such as appeasement or the alliance with Stalin (and his subsequent occupation of Eastern Europe) are glossed over. Not to mention the terror bombing tactics we employed.

The reality was that if Hitler had limited himself to gassing the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped etc in Germany, there would have been no war. He wanted to conquer Europe and that is something that threatened our (and French) interests - that is why we went to war.

Edited by Northern Sol, 01 September 2013 - 09:06 AM.


#26 archibald

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:14 AM

Britain's great.



#27 Bedford Roughyed

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:18 AM

We are still one of a few nations with the capability to project significant power beyond our borders. Cruise missiles and storm shadow gives us a capability well beyond most countries in the world.  Our armed forces are still one of the most capable in the world, small but well rounded!


With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

#28 Wolford6

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:41 AM

Craig, the EC and, on this occasion  the USA,  don't like us because we won't let them take advantage of us. Good. We should just look after our interests; just like they do.

 

I think Turkey is the single muslim Country with a genuine democracy. All the others are ruled by dictators or fighting civil wars. These wars never end; they just die down for a couple of years. Let them get on with it until they actually threaten a western democracy.

 

When has Syria ever shown any affinity with Britain or its people. It was run by Assad's father as a dictatorship before him. They were probably killing and torturing dissidents for about thirty years and we didn't do anything then; so why should we now?

 

The only reason that the USA is wanting to take action in Syria is because it abuts Israel. The Rebulican and Democrat parties will do anything to protect their Jewish votes and funding. The Yanks never intervened in Bahrain or Egypt; they let Saudi Arabia get away with wholesale labour-rights offences and covert funding of Al Quaeda.

 

Zimbabwe is a more likely candidate for UK military intervention than Syria. If the British people have no interest in "saving" Zimbabwe, they are never going to be interested in "saving" Syria.


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#29 ckn

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:51 AM

I don't think the population in 1939 wanted WW2 either. Hence the policy of appeasement. Everybody could see that even if the Germans didn't attack the UK directly if they ruled the continent then we would be cut off.
 

This has always been true. Hence Mao's great famine and cultural revolution went unpunished, as did the Khmer Rouge's killing fields and Stalin's famine in Ukraine.

The UN was set up to discourage external intervention in a country's internal affairs. It designed to prevent one country invading another not to prevent massacres.
 

The thing is that you are wrong about the UN security council seat coming with "responsibilities".

The UN was set up to prevent conflicts such as WW1 and WW2. The great powers would be allowed to intervene in the internal affairs of other states only under strict rules. One such rule is that it did not tread on the toes of another great power hence the veto power.

As a great power, at the time, we were given a permanent seat. We probably no longer "deserve" it in terms of military power but then nobody bar the USA does either. But at no time was there the idea that the UN security council members were supposed to intervene - quite the reverse.

I think you're taking a narrow view of the remit of the Security Council.  The world after WW2 finally realised the extent of the Holocaust and there was a genuine statement of "never again".  We reached the pinnacle of that in the 1990s with our intervention in Bosnia in 1993-95 but it was also the period when the pretense of "never again' was highlighted as flawed.  1994 saw us ignore Rwanda.

 

Almost all substantive UN Security Council resolutions these days are humanitarian in nature.  If a couple of massive nations went toe-to-toe but kept it purely to non-civilian fighting then the Security Council will probably do nothing.  For why the Security Council are doing nothing now about Syria, read back to GeordieSaint's analysis a few pages back.

 

I don't know where we get the idea that Britian's morality has been lost.

Are we comparing the last hundred years to that highly moral foreign policy that we exercise during previous hundred years, the time of the British Empire?

 

No, we're talking about modern, living history now.  As above, after WW2 we looked at the horrors of the Holocaust and, to a lesser impact on our psyche, what happened in Asia and it provoked a mindset change in the first world mentality.  That led us to making genocide such a serious taboo that Bill Clinton ordered his staff to not use the word about Rwanda despite them having knowledge of the government forces there preparing a "final solution" for the Tutsi population, the morals of the time said that if we acknowledged genocide then we had to deal with it.  There are not many people who'd disagree with that analysis of the impact of the word genocide in the early 1990s.

 

Again, look at the horrors we see on the telly now about genocide and we do nothing.  We're so used to it now we EXPECT to do nothing.  If that's not a moral deterioration then I don't know what is.


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#30 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:57 AM

Craig, the EC and, on this occasion  the USA,  don't like us because we won't let them take advantage of us. Good. We should just look after our interests; just like they do.
 
I think Turkey is the single muslim Country with a genuine democracy. All the others are ruled by dictators or fighting civil wars. These wars never end; they just die down for a couple of years. Let them get on with it until they actually threaten a western democracy.
 
When has Syria ever shown any affinity with Britain or its people. It was run by Assad's father as a dictatorship before him. They were probably killing and torturing dissidents for about thirty years and we didn't do anything then; so why should we now?
 
The only reason that the USA is wanting to take action in Syria is because it abuts Israel. The Rebulican and Democrat parties will do anything to protect their Jewish votes and funding. The Yanks never intervened in Bahrain or Egypt; they let Saudi Arabia get away with wholesale labour-rights offences and covert funding of Al Quaeda.
 
Zimbabwe is a more likely candidate for UK military intervention than Syria. If the British people have no interest in "saving" Zimbabwe, they are never going to be interested in "saving" Syria.


And that's debatable at the moment. The Turkish government used violent force to break up peaceful demonstrations over Gezi Parki and killed a handful of people in doing so.

#31 ckn

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:59 AM

We are still one of a few nations with the capability to project significant power beyond our borders. Cruise missiles and storm shadow gives us a capability well beyond most countries in the world.  Our armed forces are still one of the most capable in the world, small but well rounded!

I mentioned this on the other thread, yes we are.  We're one of only 5 nations that can give a bit of a smack-down to any other nation and expect to succeed.  We just can't back it up with ground forces these days without substantial help from allies.  If we wanted to punish Assad on our own then we could do so and there's not a single military thing he could do to stop it.

 

When I first joined the army, the guideline rule for a 22 year career was that you'd expect to do a maximum of 6 months away from home every 2 years.  That's been deteriorated now to 6 months every year.  We're at a point where we really, really could be doing with a year off warfare to recover as an army

 

We know what we're facing now as a military challenge and what's likely to come in the next decade or three.  The chances of a toe-to-toe fight of NATO against another superpower are trivial.  Most likely it'll be considerably smaller skirmish type battles and asset protection.  If we want to step back into the type of role that Germany currently does of almost never interfering outside of her borders then that's fine, put up a motion, get Parliament to vote on it and then we can scrap those aircraft carriers, Trident replacement and pull back to asset protection and UN peacekeeping duties only.


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#32 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:01 AM

I think you're taking a narrow view of the remit of the Security Council.  The world after WW2 finally realised the extent of the Holocaust and there was a genuine statement of "never again".  We reached the pinnacle of that in the 1990s with our intervention in Bosnia in 1993-95 but it was also the period when the pretense of "never again' was highlighted as flawed.  1994 saw us ignore Rwanda.
 
Almost all substantive UN Security Council resolutions these days are humanitarian in nature.  If a couple of massive nations went toe-to-toe but kept it purely to non-civilian fighting then the Security Council will probably do nothing.  For why the Security Council are doing nothing now about Syria, read back to GeordieSaint's analysis a few pages back.


I agree that there was a "never again" moment after discovering the horrors of the holocaust and there is an obligation to prevent genocide written into the UN Charter. However the UNSC is the one who decides whether there is a genocide going on or not. Individual states are expressing forbidden from going into other states without a specified casus belli and that precludes any state or states unilaterally invoking human rights as a reason to invade another state. To do so would be illegal.

#33 ckn

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:14 AM

Craig, the EC and, on this occasion  the USA,  don't like us because we won't let them take advantage of us. Good. We should just look after our interests; just like they do.

 

I think Turkey is the single muslim Country with a genuine democracy. All the others are ruled by dictators or fighting civil wars. These wars never end; they just die down for a couple of years. Let them get on with it until they actually threaten a western democracy.

 

When has Syria ever shown any affinity with Britain or its people. It was run by Assad's father as a dictatorship before him. They were probably killing and torturing dissidents for about thirty years and we didn't do anything then; so why should we now?

 

The only reason that the USA is wanting to take action in Syria is because it abuts Israel. The Rebulican and Democrat parties will do anything to protect their Jewish votes and funding. The Yanks never intervened in Bahrain or Egypt; they let Saudi Arabia get away with wholesale labour-rights offences and covert funding of Al Quaeda.

 

Zimbabwe is a more likely candidate for UK military intervention than Syria. If the British people have no interest in "saving" Zimbabwe, they are never going to be interested in "saving" Syria.

I fundamentally disagree with your third paragraph.  If you asked Israel who they'd rather have running Syria of the current two sides fighting, they'd say Assad without even having to wait for their brain to think.

 

A perfect example for this from this week was the BBC crew going round Assad controlled Damascus asking what the residents thought of the potential bombing by the US.  There was one poolside section that sticks in my mind with a number of Syrian women walking round in bikinis, a few with what looked like alcoholic drinks, then discussing that they didn't really like Assad but the alternative was worse.  Syria was slowly moving towards a Turkey-like attitude and would quite probably have managed to get there in 10-15 years if they hadn't had this civil war, they didn't really need a revolution.

 

Israel would rather have a chemical weapon launching genocidal Assad in charge, who kills his own people but has proven he doesn't really want to pick a fight with Israel or Turkey, than a rebel movement with some links to very extremist religious nutjobs.  I can see absolutely no benefit at all for Israel if Assad is toppled.

 

I agree on your point about Zimbabwe, we really should have done more but we were so frightened of our own colonial past that we didn't.


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#34 ckn

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:21 AM

I agree that there was a "never again" moment after discovering the horrors of the holocaust and there is an obligation to prevent genocide written into the UN Charter. However the UNSC is the one who decides whether there is a genocide going on or not. Individual states are expressing forbidden from going into other states without a specified casus belli and that precludes any state or states unilaterally invoking human rights as a reason to invade another state. To do so would be illegal.

The thing is that the Security Council has regularly voted FOR action against genocide, in fact it's almost unheard of for a vote to be vetoed on the subject.  It's just that very few genocides are brought to the top table as no-one wants to intervene these days.  Syria is an exception to the rule as Russia will veto anything that hints at force against Syria to help protect its own very narrow interests.


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#35 Northern Sol

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:24 AM

The thing is that the Security Council has regularly voted FOR action against genocide, in fact it's almost unheard of for a vote to be vetoed on the subject.  It's just that very few genocides are brought to the top table as no-one wants to intervene these days.  Syria is an exception to the rule as Russia will veto anything that hints at force against Syria to help protect its own very narrow interests.


Since 1997, we have intervened in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya - I'm not sure that this shows that "nobody wants to intervene any more".

Very few genocides are brought to the top table because it is recognised that preventing genocide is a very difficult thing. Yes you can stop Serbs from killing Kosovans by defeating the Serb army but you can't stop Kosovan "irregulars" from taking their revenge afterwards. People's world view has grown up a bit as a result of seeing this kind of event.

Like most people I'd support intervention in Syria if I thought it would end the bloodshed but it won't.

#36 Padge

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:09 PM

I have a standing rule that I won't go on holiday anywhere I'm likely to see an English football shirt.

I have a similar policy, I try to go to places were they welcome the Dutch and Scandinavians who are laid back and cause no problems. The fewer Brits there the better the holiday the experience tends to be.

 

Good rant, I agreed with almost all of it.



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#37 Bearman

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:57 PM

Why Syria?
We don't like what is happening to its citizens?
Well in that case lets go in and sort out China, N. Korea , Saudi Arabia,
Why don't we?
China -too big and powerful,
N. Korea -nutters with nuclear capability and daft enough to use it
Saudi Arabia - got us by the balls over oil.
So we are like playground bullies, beat up the little kids but leave the big boys alone, they might fight back.
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#38 gingerjon

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:33 AM

I've had a bit of a rant building for a while and this week has topped it all...

 

Here's a summary of what I see happening with the UK, both internally and externally:

 

[1] - We've badly annoyed the US over Syria.  This was an already skeptical US government who didn't really like us anyway but trusted us as a reliable ally.  The Republicans aren't much more favourable at the moment as Cameron openly touted for Democrat sympathies.  Ed Miliband is about as welcome there as herpes.  So, there's a soured relationship.  I've seen more than a few articles and opinions today and yesterday full of bluff and bluster that we should really be loosening the bond anyway.  Expanding that point, Russia, Iran, N Korea and other nations are rattling their sabres more and more, the US is getting fed up and there's a broad feeling in the political elite there of wanting to retrench back to isolationism, especially if their allies seem to be doing the same.

 

[2] - We regularly state how much we want to get out of the EU.  We regularly deliberately annoy the French and Germans, the Spanish don't like us.  The Eastern European EU countries detest us for the loss of a not inconsiderable portion of their working youth, with a high proportion of them being the type of people no nation can really afford to lose.  We're proud of the international investment in the UK over the last decade or two but most people just don't understand that the biggest reason for that investment is that the UK is a nice cheap place to build things to sell to Europe without duties then send the profits abroad untaxed, leave the EU and where's the incentive for the companies to stay?

 

[3] - But for Australia, Canada and NZ not treating us with contempt, the Commonwealth isn't exactly a good source of friends.  Even then those three nations are more like friendly acquaintances rather than friends.

 

[4] - Our core international strength these days is our financial sector.  The US and EU would dearly love to see that broken.  If we keep pushing the EU away then we'll have no say at all when they bring in the taxes that will force international trade to make a choice between high cost international transactions based in London or cheaper in NY or one of the EU hubs.  The international financial industry isn't known for its loyalty and would happily sit anywhere in their world and direct their computers at NY rather than UK if it saved them a fraction of a percent in cost.

 

[5] - We've now shown that when it comes to being one of the Permanent Seats on the Security Council that our threats are backed up with only a willingness to make more threats while our allies hold the stick.  Good luck next time we really want something done to protect our own interests.  International diplomacy at this level just doesn't work if you publicly say "not our problem".  It's OK if you're, say, Belgium who doesn't really want to be at the top table all the time and are content to let the EU lead, it's not OK for the UK who want to express independence.  The only reason we won't have the Seat removed from us by the UN is that it'd take 15 years of UN debate to make the decision then the US would just veto it anyway as not in their interests.

 

[6] - Three decades of cowardly internal investment in terms of energy self-sufficiency has left us very vulnerable to being exploited by the less friendly states out there.  A minimal bit of investment spread over three decades could have had us in a far better place but no government wanted to broach the subject of new nuclear power stations.

 

[7] - Our armed forces have been treated like a kid's plaything since the end of the cold war.  Cut, cut, cut, degrade pay and conditions, cut again, skimp a bit on investment, cut yet again, mess around with pensions, cut again.  All while pretending we've still got a willy to waggle.  Do one or the other, cut your military or be world military statesmen, you can't do both.  The biggest hint that the politicians just didn't get it was culling our admittedly lightweight aircraft carriers many years away from replacement then commissioning ego pieces of WW3 capable navy ships while treating nimble smaller warships capable of dealing with current threats, e.g. piracy, as if they're not needed.

 

[8] - Our national morals are so shot that we genuinely look at genocides going on around the world and think "not our problem".  The BBC Panorama crew were in Syria and saw a Syrian jet drop napalm or thermite onto a school, 20 kids killed along with a good number of adults and plenty more seriously injured.  The overwhelming response of Britain was "not our problem".  To be fair, the rest of the world has slipped along the same way.  We still turn blind eyes to UK based arms companies selling weaponry to nutjob regimes around the world, after all it's tax revenue and what they do with them isn't our problem.  Anyone who thinks we have any international morals should read the work of General Dallaire on the Rwandan genocides and how he was ignored by everyone while nations still sold more and more arms and munitions to the government forces.  In the 1990s, governments genuinely avoided using the word genocide as it was such a taboo that we'd have to intervene if we knew one was going on, in the 2010s, it's so routine that government ministers talk about genocide as if they found a hair in their soup.  Maybe it'll be the same in the 2020s about chemical weapons.  No wonder the Israelis don't believe us when we say "never again" in response to the Holocaust.

 

[9] - Another one on our national morals.  Pay day loans are so acceptable these days that no-one bats an eye at 2000-5000% APRs any more.  I saw one advert this morning inbetween overs in the cricket for a new one, Sunny, that has a USP (unique selling point) of having no late fees or charges if you're late paying, you "just" pay the 1971% APR interest on what's late.  No wonder a judge had sympathy and didn't jail an unregistered loan shark working a council estate who only charged 40% APR.  If we had any sense of financial responsibility as a country then we'd ban these things that are solely there to exploit the lowest paid people in the country.  As an aside on this, I have a friend who works at a debt management company, he told me last week about a young woman who had just taken an IVA through them less than a month ago but came to him asking his help in getting a loan to help her through "a short term issue"; on investigation, she wanted new carpets for her house and she couldn't understand why he got so frustrated and told her to think about saving up and paying cash rather than taking a loan at the usurious rates offered to those in an IVA for something that she really didn't need.

 

[10] - We have a culture in companies where they deliberately pay minimum wage and grudge it so much that it's clear that they are only paying that because they're legally obliged to do so.  Unfortunately, many of these people are in caring career jobs.  Profit is everything.

 

[11] I could go on but I'm off out to watch some sport...

 

So... that leaves us with Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands who think we're wonderful.  I wonder how many Wonga loans we can get them to take.

 

My impression of the UK now is like a narcissistic aging man who likes to tell everyone about how important we are and genuinely believing it when we're really all fur coat and no knickers.  Not the "sick man of Europe" we were in the 1970s but we do seem to have a worryingly persistent cough that's not going away.

 

I genuinely don't know how we'd fix it.  Our current generation of politicians are lightweights at best.  Sadly, Cameron is the best of the leaders there now, unfortunately he's still fairly naff and his heart is quite firmly set on keeping the Conservative traditions going of helping the wealthy and corporations while pretending anyone north or west of the midlands doesn't exist.  I wouldn't believe Miliband if he told me tomorrow was Sunday, I'd have to go check my calendar.  Clegg is a middle-manager out of his depth but I'd still have him as PM over Miliband.  It's a pathetic state of affairs that probably the most credible party leader in Britain is Alex Salmond.

 

[1]

The US has not had our support on every military action they've taken since 1776 and they sure as hell haven't supported us in all of ours.  It might just actually, y'know, strengthen the relationship a bit if we didn't automatically sign up to be a junior partner in every one of their actions.

 

[2]

Even with the most Euro-sceptic press imaginable where the pro-EU point of view gets hardly an airing and with more petty jingoistic flag waving going on than at any time I can remember there's still not a majority in favour of leaving the EU.

 

[3]

I don't get this.  We know that broadly the Commonwealth likes to rattle against the UK.  That's hardly surprising given that we spent a couple of centuries brutally subjugating them and now say we were the civilising influence.  But within it there are many countries with strong ties to the UK and who are economically, culturally and politically linked to us.  It's a mish mash but it all broadly works in our favour.

 

[4]

Given that the financial sector is a key reason we're screwed I could cope with having less of it here in return for those that stay being properly regulated and more likely to pay their taxes.

 

[5]

Nobody else seems to have lost their seat for not supporting military action.

 

[6]

Yes.  We're woeful when it comes to sorting out our energy.

 

[7]

The armed forces is treated badly and does need more kit relevant for purpose.  And for a cost that isn't so ridiculous.

 

[8]

We have to choose the fights we fight as we can't fight them all.  And it makes sense to choose ones where we know what victory looks like and why we want it.  We haven't come close to the peace we wanted in Iraq or Afghanistan.  People, rightly, can't see how we'll do differently in Syria.

 

[9]

Not sure how this links to the rest but ...  there's a pretty major problem and always has been with sharks preying on the vulnerable.  See above for my wish that financial services were regulated - and that would include targeting desperate and/or ignorant people.

 

[10]

We sort of agree.

 

[11]

You'll note that England/GB are getting quite good at quite a number of these.  There are many thousands of volunteers who put in many, many thousands of hours a year to make this happen.  And they do it just it invalidate every whining point that grumpy old men who should know better make about how things were better in their day.


Cheer up, RL is actually rather good
- Severus, July 2012

#39 Li0nhead

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:24 PM

We are still pretty powerful in comparison to most.

We are one of a handful who can do pretty much (if we were insane) what we wanted anywhere on the planet and nobody could do anything to stop us.

That said, we are not insane so would be mindful of the moral, economic and political consequences of doing whatever we wanted. 

 

I am one of those who thought we should have acted on Syria. But we are right to have had a debate on one of the most important decisions that can be made and thats attacking another country. 

 

Look at the most powerful of the emerging countries. China, India, Brazil. Fact is they cannot do much on a massive scale outside their own regions. 

Numbers? China and India need massive armed forces to contain each other and other countries they border. Brazil has more of an internal policing problem as well as a few pretty unstable countries around it. Meaning they are not yet in a position to do the things we can with the rest of the world. 



#40 Saint Billinge

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:37 AM

Having saved up for many years in order to enjoy my retirement, I now have to accept puny interest rates - having paid up to 15% interest on my mortgage in the eighties. Annuities are at there lowest ever and my wife is faced with another six years work before she can take her state pension. On the up side, I did take a 226 pension policy out in 1986 that is paying me 10% return, which should see me recover the fund value in 10 years. As for my annuity, I will be aged 95, if I live to that age of course, before getting a full return of my fund value. 

 

As for life in general, I am pretty laid back so far as politics are concerned and I am powerless to change the world's problems. I love hiking in our wonderful countryside, enjoy taking my grandchild Jessica out in her pram and watching rugby league. I have enjoyed a great holiday on the Isle of Wight this year, and just returned from an amazing holiday in Poland, where I visited the intriguing Salt Mine, with its cathedral made out of salt being the main attraction. That said, I did feel humbled after visiting the former concentration camp. 

 

All in all, I do feel for those who suffer, both at home and abroad, but will the world's problems ever be put to right?


Edited by Saint Billinge, 03 September 2013 - 08:42 AM.





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