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Member Since 19 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 10:28 PM

#3108651 Uninteresting Trivial Facts

Posted by ckn on Today, 06:16 PM

Has that car been reviewed on 'Top Gear'? Sounds like a remarkable machine and possibly the best ratter... IN THE WORLD!

****ing autocorrect on that ****ing phone.

#3107791 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 17 April 2015 - 11:28 PM

I'd like to change my vote please...  I'm now "undecided" and won't be voting Labour any more.  They don't represent me.  It's finally sunk in fully and I'm not going for the least-worst option with them.


Benefits: “We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work.”  Rachel Reeves, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, March 17th 2015.  This is the same woman who said that Labour would be tougher on benefits than the Tories, she wasn't talking about work-related benefits, benefits cheats or lazy people or anything similar, she wants to cut the overall benefits bill by more than the Tories.  The same Tories who have pushed more people to food banks, have seen legitimately struggling and fault-free people sanctioned at a subjective whim, and have seen people commit suicide after being punitively treated for daring to claim disability related benefits.


NHS:  Andy Burnham has decided to one-up the Tories by declaring that Labour will be the only party to not support the cross-party and union supported £8bn p/y increase for the NHS.  Even the Tories have said they'd fund in full without compromise.  Then Burnham said that they may give £2.5bn as a one-off sum but only on their pet projects.  Then he said quite clearly that he'd fire right into yet another NHS reorganisation based on a plan drawn up by people who once drove past a NHS hospital.


Economy:  The persistence that austerity must continue to prove that they're fiscally responsible and trying to out-austerity the Tories but then don't seem to realise that a little bit of balls could see them do both by simply fixing some of the tax failings we have.  Even if they can't completely get rid of the deficit, I think we're at the point now where the pain on the poorest in society needs to be reigned in, if Labour won't do that then we're screwed.


London focus: Labour just don't give a **** about their core vote, expecting them to vote for them regardless then having no clue what to do when a plucky outsider comes along and steals the voters.  Unfortunately, the north of England doesn't have the SNP.  By refusing to fight their true opponents on centre-left policies, the Tories and the Tory-lite Lib Dems, they've allowed the SNP a free run at the left of centre votes.  Labour are fighting over probably a tiny proportion of the actual voting electorate who might change their minds based on them being convinced that Labour are quite good Tories really while utterly ignoring the very large portion who just have no-one to vote for and would even jump eagerly at Blairite Labour, never mind John Smith type Labour.


Labour have settled on a tactic of going for blue and yellow marginal voters while allowing natural Labour voters to look at polling choices and really wonder who out there is even close to representing them.  Look to Scotland where voter turnout is expected to be at a modern high because previous non-voters have been enthused, then look to many areas of the north of England where voter turnout is expected to be a modern low.

#3107145 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 16 April 2015 - 09:44 PM

Poor Ed.


At least he can console himself that he's not Nigel Farage.

#3106087 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 14 April 2015 - 05:16 PM

I see they've gone for the big lie about Labour costing everyone £3K tax in their latest poster. Even though Shapps admitted it wasn't true!  I reckon their private polling is telling them they're losing.  Cameron did not look like a winner in Alnwick yesterday.

The thing is though that I think the Tories will win given that Labour seem to be making it harder and harder to justify liking them with every day, they're trying to appease the Tory criticisms of them rather than being positive about themselves.  The NHS stuff is really just the tail end of it.  Andy Burnham in today's Health Service Journal (subscription only) really just drove that point in.  He specifically says that Labour won't promise the £8bn real-terms funding that all the other parties have agreed to in the NHS 5 year forward view plan.  This is the plan that everyone else has agreed to, including the unions, his comment was:


"The £8bn [funding issue] arises in five years’ time and it’s not the issue now". 


NO!  That £8bn is the expected shortfall that there will be by 2020 and the increased funding needs to start now to meet that deficit and current underfunding, if they park the issue for 5 years then the deficit will be far, far higher and many areas will have financially collapsed under neglect.  For the shadow Health Minister to not get that is not just disturbing but utterly unacceptable as it demonstrates that he either doesn't understand the plan's quite simple requirements or just hasn't bothered to read it.  That's why the Tories have neutralised the issue by promising to meet the 5 year plan's financial demands in full.  In fact, they've not just neutralised it but made it an area where they're promising far more than Labour on the NHS.  Burnham said in that article that Labour were only promising £2.5bn over the next Parliament and in very narrow areas of community care meaning that the rest of the NHS will continue to go backwards.


Burnham promised to repeal the NHS competition regime but he doesn't say where the billions of pounds of funding will come from to reverse the changes of the last parliament.  To in-house all the stuff that's out to competitive service would just be a catastrophically expensive and disruptive exercise without substantial funding and effort put into redesigning the NHS properly.  And we all know how good politicians are at managing NHS reorganisations...


FFS... the NHS is in a bit of a state just now due to underfunding and mis-funding.  Why not just pledge to create a commission that will redesign the NHS from the ground up with a plan to deliver in 5+ years rather than blindly hunting for short-term political opportunity.


And here's me thinking that Andy Burnham was an intelligent sort as well.


I really don't want to vote for Labour any more but it's a choice between them and the Tories I think Labour are the least destructive, it's a close thing though.  Put it this way, if there's bad weather on election day then I might not bother with the walk to the polling station.

#3105149 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 12 April 2015 - 05:44 PM

Yes?  And?


Labour introduced the bedroom tax and student fees, but who exploited them more and is more synonymous with their use?


The tories introduced PFI's but I don't think its contentious in any way to suggest that Labour used them massively (and far greater than the tories on any measure).

You're right there.  Labour took all the short-term credit for "saving" the NHS by mortgaging its future at the corporate equivalent of Wonga.

#3104771 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 12 April 2015 - 08:39 AM

Best way to slash the welfare bill would be to raise minimum wage to £8 an hour and raise the threshold for paying income tax and NI to reduce the tax low earners pay

Alternatively, keep things as they are but recharge the companies for the benefits paid to their employees, plus an admin fee.  Make it clear that it'd be cheaper for these companies to have full-time employees on a decent wage than mess about with zero hours contracts and lowest legal wages.

#3104766 Sky

Posted by ckn on 12 April 2015 - 08:35 AM

Sounds like she was reading from a script.

Quite definitely was.  What really winds me up is that I can increase my Sky package immediately online with absolutely no fuss but if I want to remove functions I need to call their cancellation hotline and be on hold for 30 minutes followed by waffle from patronising people "for my own security".


I've cut my Sky Movies off with immediate effect, reduced to their basic bundle and this'll be my last year of Sky Sports.  But for the rugby that'd have gone immediately as well, I'll cut that at the end of the season and really can't see me taking it up again at those prices.

#3104278 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 11 April 2015 - 09:07 AM

Fair point actually as local politics bares little resemblance to national politics. Our local Labour party with a few exceptions are to be honest pretty awful in Coventry as they're pretty much guaranteed a win so they have pretty no substance beyond slagging off the Tories. The Conservatives work very hard for the local area and actually care about issues you woukdnt expect. My homeless charity at work were having an event for the homeless young people to meet politicians. Whilst Lib Dems sent noone and Labour sent a councillor who briefly showed up and showed no interest the Conservative party's leader for the city showed up and made a real effort. On the other hand there's no way I'd vote for the Conservatives nationally and Ed Miliband seems to be coming out with better policies than I expected.

Incidentally Coventry's Lib Dem party are all but finished as it turned out the leader was a massive racist and criminal whereas the local UKIP party are all very moderate mostly ex Labour people with lots of Asian people meeting in an Indian community centre. Dave Nellist's socialist party are rather more active than their equivalents elsewhere.

It should be the same for our MPs but it's most often not.  The tendency to get out-of-constituency people parachuted in for many, especially vacant safe seats, means you very rarely get the people who want to become MPs to help fix their local area at a national level.


Where I live, Tim Yeo was booted out by the local Tory party for rarely being here and also being a bit of an all round **** so we have a new Tory PPC.  The Tory constituency party made it clear to the central Tories that it was their choice and they were only going to select a local candidate, their selected candidate is a local councillor who is a proper Tory but is also definitely a local guy who is well liked in his council ward.  So... well done to the local Tories for actually sticking to the line about what MPs are supposed to be, our local representatives.

#3103925 I.S.

Posted by ckn on 10 April 2015 - 03:43 PM

You clearly know nowt about squaddies.

Hookers and Lager  :tongue:

Meh, hookers cost money, most squaddies hang around with those ladies who want a mug to be their baby daddy for the miracle 8 month pregnancy with a 10lb child.  And Tesco value lager or Special Brew.

#3103889 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 10 April 2015 - 02:21 PM

May as well send them all to the mosques.

I was going to delete this but I'll leave it as an example of an utterly unacceptable piece of undisguised racism that's not wanted or welcome on this forum.  There are forums that tolerate it, this one isn't.

#3102400 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 07 April 2015 - 09:37 PM

I, for once, agree with you. It is possible to move to a more socialist regime without being completely senseless. Where the old style Soviet went wrong was making everyone equal by making them equally poor.

There needs to be a middle ground.  I remember a few years ago doing a project in Munich where the CEO was quite proud of how the Germans rarely went on strike because of the consensus between unions and companies.  In the UK, you have CEOs who see it as their only duty to make more profit every year regardless of consequences on workers and customers, you also have union leaders who see it as their duty to get everything possible for their workers regardless of consequences on company viability.

#3101794 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 06 April 2015 - 07:23 PM

Lib Dems after the last election:  We're not sorry we lied about tuition fees, you have to be realistic about these things.

Lib Dems before this election:  Dirty tricks are just one of those things, get over it.


A party with lower ethical standards than any other major party.

#3100411 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 04 April 2015 - 10:34 AM

Because I read all of CKS post where he described banks as soulless, which is arrant nonsense.

Hiding behind my flippant comment and ignoring substance.  Well done.  We'll make a politician out of you yet.

#3100336 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 04 April 2015 - 09:28 AM

My answers based on my opinion in red.

Which bits should be free?
1. Tuition fees? Yes
2. Accommodation? It depends.  Is there a university nearby the family home that does the required course?  If not, then yes.  If the student wants to go elsewhere then no.
3. Materials?  Yes
4. Food etc? I'd pay income support.

What level would be free
1. First degree? Yes
2. Re-sit? If there's a very good reason, yes.
3. Higher degrees . masters, doctorate.? For qualifying subjects of national importance or for those who want to stay in academia and are willing to sign a contract to say so.

Only Universities, too? What about the colleges wher your rejects would end up? Further education free for vocational courses leading to a trade.  Also, your poor wording highlights the perception problem in modern society, colleges should be an aspirational place for those with key vocational aims, not seen as a place for those who couldn't get into uni.  Free or not? Any age limits? No.  I fancy a go at studying the use of massively parallel computing in the simulation of quantum chromodynamics experiments. How much would you be prepared to pay in tax for me to do that? Can you persuade the course tutors to take you in, then yes, ageism is a horrible thing.  You'd find though that you'd need a base degree first before you'd get onto the post-grad research degrees capable of that narrow study topic.

Of course, it can never be free. Either the ones who go to university pay eventually, or under your proposal, the people who don't go to uni pay for those who do.  No... those who have been to university and are paying higher rate taxation pay for it.  The greatest proportion of people earning 7 figure salaries have been to university, almost every investment banker getting a 7 figure bonus has been to university, they do pay the top rate of tax on those. Those who don't go to uni are less likely to be earning higher rate tax band salaries and are far less likely to be earning 6 and 7 figure salaries.

The merit of the current system is that no one actually has to pay anything until they get a job earning more than £25k a year, and that has resulted in an increase in university attendance from people from poorer backgrounds.  The problem of the current system is that it loads debt on people with absolutely no quality check, the very worst excesses of a credit binge society.  If I had been about to go to university now, I wouldn't go, the thought of a £40,000 debt is just abhorrent to me and I'd never be able to see how I could pay it off from the very poor start I had in life.  What you are doing is punishing the poor kids, richer ones will pay it off very quickly while poor ones will be priced out of virtually everything; if they earn over the threshold by getting a good job then that repayment is a big burden on top of an already huge society burden of a hyper-inflated housing (rent and mortgage) market and out-priced in many areas. 

In summary though, why should I, a graduate and a higher rate tax payer benefiting from that degree, be so selfish as to pull the ladder up behind me and deny the benefit of free higher education to the next generation.  That'd be very Tory of me...  I'm happy to pay a bit of extra taxation to repay my debt to society to ensure that education is free.

#3100203 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 04 April 2015 - 12:00 AM

Given the growth in the numbers of people going to University in recent times, I don't think it's unreasonable to pay something. Not so much that it deters talent but enough to make it mean something and not just a way of not getting a job or something.


In fact, in reality, a good degree gives you access to jobs that many can't and a potentially great lifestyle...why should it be free anyway?

It's not free.  If you have a degree, your chances of getting a job that pays higher rate taxes are far higher meaning you pay it back over a lifetime of paying far higher taxes.


Where I do agree is that there are far too many people going to university.  The destruction of old style apprenticeships with nothing to replace them created a gap that still hasn't been filled.


A lot of people go to university with absolutely no clue what they want to do, my view is that if you're planning to go into a job that NEEDS a degree then it should be free.  That could be anything from wanting to be an academic with no goals beyond advancing a subject (any subject) to a soulless investment banker.  The former pays back the debt to the state through advancing something, the latter through paying huge taxation bills.


I then think that the Open University should be heavily subsidised back to where it was 8 (or so) years ago to encourage people to better themselves.