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Member Since 19 Apr 2004
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#3126770 Labour leadership contest

Posted by ckn on 21 May 2015 - 10:41 PM

For those is the constituencies of Southern England, I believe the answer is yes. The people in the Thames valley and further south were disillusioned by what (to them) seemed the failure of Tory policy on Black Wednesday, and beset by negative equity. They blamed the Tories I doubt John Smith would have gone as far to pander to the Tories as Blair did, but we shall never know. I do know that Roy Hattersley, hardly a left wing fire brand, found the Blair project distasteful.

The main message in 1997 was about hope. Huge investment in the NHS. Minimum wage. Education funding increases. And so on. And they delivered. 2001 is when Blair's god complex started in earnest.

#3126127 £12bn in welfare cuts

Posted by ckn on 20 May 2015 - 09:37 PM

On the wider cuts, I think Theresa May is forgetting the first rule of making brutal cuts: Keep the police on-side.  She should read Maggie Thatcher's biography covering the run-up to the miners' strike and the strike itself for a good understanding of the effectiveness of a police force thoroughly looked after.

#3126097 Labour leadership contest

Posted by ckn on 20 May 2015 - 08:46 PM

They may have overspent, but they were trying to make up for 18 years of neglect under Thatcher and Major.  The NHS was on its backside when Labour came in in 1997.  That Brown should have been aware of the risks I don't deny. But then so should Mervyn King, Gus O'Donnell, and for that matter George Osborne, who right up to the start of the recession was saying the Tories would match Labour's spending plans.  The recession was the main cause of the deficit.  Just because you swallowed Cameron and Osborne's lies hook line and sinker doesn't mean that those of us who think a bit have to do the same.  The Tories want to shrink the economy, they want to reduce taxes, that's what they're about. But they can't come out and say so, so they have to pretend that the crisis is worse than it is.  After another five years I'll be surprised if there is a NHS worth the name left.  Thatcher and Major almost destroyed it.  No doubt Cameron will complete the job. This is the subtext.




I heard on the radio today more than a few business leaders demanding that the government start to show them some more "empathy".  They also said that Labour were rejected because they were anti-business in their policies.  This despite Labour pledging to do more for businesses and let them keep all the lovely tax breaks they'd been given over the last five years.  The pigs truly are at the troughs and demanding more.


Also, while we're at it, in the last week I've read more than a few articles since the election demanding more business deregulation and lighter touch governance yet today we see £3.5bn in fines for yet more fraud.  Anyone in jail yet for all this fraud?  Any bank CEOs dragged into custody? If it had been a benefit fraudster doing 1 millionth of the total fraud damage done then they'd be front-page news and sent down for years.  Criminal asset recovery for anyone involved must be the only credible option but will we see it?  Answers on a postcard to Mr D Cameron, 10 Downing Street, London.

#3126060 £12bn in welfare cuts

Posted by ckn on 20 May 2015 - 08:07 PM

I wasn't advocating it just pointing out how it works and yes you're quite correct

I know, I wasn't criticising you, just expanding it ;)

#3125500 £12bn in welfare cuts

Posted by ckn on 19 May 2015 - 09:05 PM

We can't call it bribery so we call it aid and British companies get the contracts for the infrastructure


We "help" other countries with state funding so they'll give British companies business.  Those British companies will then use all manner of tax schemes to ensure that no corporation tax, PAYE or any other tax revenue gets into the British government's coffers, all while hiring the cheapest foreign nationals they can.  Yay.

#3125488 £12bn in welfare cuts

Posted by ckn on 19 May 2015 - 08:26 PM

I'd be surprised in pensions aren't in there somewhere. Mine has just been reduced in value last month... I am sure that has happened in other public sector roles as well.

They've spun the NHS pension changes so that it appears fairer but really means a lot of people will get a lower pension and it's extraordinarily aimed at the lower grades, and the unions accepted it as fair.  For people like me though who came into the NHS at a fairly senior grade I expect my relative pension to increase rather than decrease in the new scheme as it's geared to reflect salary earned per year, I made a rough calculation that I'd be getting about 10% higher pension if I stayed in the NHS until I retired than in the old scheme.

#3125422 £12bn in welfare cuts

Posted by ckn on 19 May 2015 - 06:59 PM

Carer's allowance is already means tested. Happened last parliament I believe.

There's still a one year average wait for Personal Independence Payment assessment. If they make the test any harder then they'll definitely cut the benefit cost because you'd have to wait until you're dead to get it.

The work related ones are shameful enough as it is already as well

#3125215 Fox hunting

Posted by ckn on 19 May 2015 - 12:59 PM

Looks like the SNP might abstain from a vote on the repeal of this law. 

It's an England and Wales vote and the SNP typically don't vote on those laws, despite the bluster we all heard in the media before the election.  Fox hunting was illegal in Scotland years before it was in England and that can't and won't change in any vote in Parliament.  I believe the SNP are still to decide on whether to oppose or not, if they do and their votes are the swingers in keeping it illegal then that's the battle lines set, I'm not sure that the SNP is willing to go toe-to-toe with the Tories while Labour flounders for months feeling sorry for themselves so I'm not setting out great hopes that they will make it a whipped vote.

#3124686 Fox hunting

Posted by ckn on 18 May 2015 - 12:42 PM

My proudest pro-animal rights moment of my life was when I threatened a hunt once at gunpoint when on duty in the army.  We got advanced notice that a hunt was going on near the top of one of our barracks, I was guard commander of the day.  We regularly got this notice so we wouldn't be spooked at what was happening near one of our guard posts.  I was called up by the guard because they were getting a bit close.  The fox ran onto our land through the gate and the hunt tried to follow but we closed the solid gate as we saw them approach.  A few less than polite words ending in "off" were traded when the thugs on horses tried to bully their way through.  There was a complaint made about our attitude but the response was that it was crown lands, we don't stop wildlife but will respond with force to any unauthorised person or their trained animals trying to force their way onto our lands.  A bit of morale improvement when that was shared with us.


For me, fox hunting is just as bad as all the working-man's animal abuse "sports" and deserves the exact same treatment.  It's simply pathetic that they're trying to bring this back and it's just as pathetic that the ban has never really been enforced by the police.

#3122569 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 14 May 2015 - 09:32 PM

If you think the present government is facist then you have no idea what you are talking about.  Not a clue. 


I am amazed that lefties always side with the bad guys when it comes to terrorism yet they would be the first to shout incompetence if a bomb went off and blew people to smithereens.  We can't have the freedoms we used to have because - hello! - the world has changed.  We have Islamist terrorists to deal with; Islamist terrorist who don't bat an eyelid over decapitating people in the street or blowing innocent people up in tube stations.  This isn't the IRA, an organisation which looks positively polite by comparison to what has been unleashed on us now.  I don't want any crazy Islamist nutjobs at loose in my country.  If that means I have to lose a tiny little bit of my freedom - which already I have done because, for example, I can no longer take bottles of whatever I feel like on to aeroplanes - then that is a sacrifice I am prepared to make to give my country a better chance of being protected.  I'm just glad there is a party willing at least to do something to bring that about rather than sit back and do nothing.

I've no idea of your age but did you ever go to London in the 80s?  Despite repeated terrorist attacks and so many genuine warnings it was just unreal the nation publicly and deliberately went about business as normal with Thatcher clearly stating that the terrorists would never change us because if they did then they'd won.  So, for every post like yours the terrorists have won just a bit more.  Well done.  This is one instance where Thatcher's view was the right one.


Also, having lost a friend to an IRA attack in Northern Ireland, I'm confused at how you think that a couple of vile and murderous islamic terrorist attacks in over a decade dwarfs what the IRA did to us.  I'll give you almost a perfect example:  The Lee Rigby murder.  Utterly atrocious, vile murder caused by vile people but not even 30 yards from that atrocity the IRA killed two soldiers in the Kings Arms pub and badly injured 35 others.  In fact, for the four years after that, 28 people were murdered by the IRA in pubs alone in mainland Britain.  Then there were all the other incidents murdering significantly more and causing far more devastation than the islamic terrorists have done.  I could go on but I'll finish with Warrington in 1993.  Were those two kids in Warrington not innocent victims?


To change our laws, restrict our freedoms and make criminals out of people simply because of their ethnicity or background means the terrorists win.  Every time you go through an airport and are treated like a criminal by security goons means the bad guys have won; there's no need to treat you like a criminal, they can do the same job more effectively with politeness and courtesy, unfortunately the power has gone to their heads just to appear tough on terrorism.


On my rant above about removing human rights restrictions on soldiers abroad.  Do people really not get that we're supposed to be the good guys?  The army gets the occasional psychopath or just power-crazed bully and they get dealt with because we have the laws in place to deal with them, clean out the garbage so that the rest of the squaddies can keep being the good guys.  Our soldiers MUST be given an absolute duty to respect the human rights of non-combatants, regardless of who they are; to do otherwise reduces us to nothing other than common thugs not deserving the name of soldier.

#3122302 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 14 May 2015 - 09:25 AM

I'm very surprised no one has brought this up yet:


"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'."

David Cameron 13th May 2015


Try it again, this time without the adjective:


"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'."


Am I alone in finding that rather sinister? Is he actually saying that obeying the law will no longer be enough to guarantee you are able to live peacefully without harassment from the state? For a neoliberal party that professes to be anti big government that looks not just big government to be but big brother. Welcome to the brave new world. :(

What type of society do the Tory government want us to live in?  One where you can be "profiled" legally based on the colour of your skin?  Will Cameron make it acceptable policy for police to target black men driving nice cars?  What about asian men with beards in public?  Dusky skinned chaps with backpacks on the tube become fair game and "one of those things"?  What about having to register with the police if you're a muslim?  I know, let's get muslims to wear little crescent moon and star symbols so we can differentiate them from those we "tolerate" such as hindus and sikhs!

#3121887 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 12 May 2015 - 09:00 PM

Totally depressing. That young, vibrant Labour candidate should have been let off the leash, instead of looking to her minder for permission to answer a question. Labour seems scared of its own shadow.

Far too much of the "What does the focus group say about that?" attitude about Labour in the last 5 years.

#3121678 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 12 May 2015 - 01:54 PM

I've been indoctrinated over a coffee in a St Leonards seafront cafe.  On Friday I meet a shadowy group called "The Executive".


I'm not sure why JohnM thinks I should join the SNP given that I am not now, nor I have ever been, interested in a party pursuing traditional left wing policies.

I'm looking for a party that shows centre-left leanings.  I'm not convinced with the Lib Dems yet, they're more likely to go that way if Farron is in charge.  Labour have a decision to make though, if they go for Umunna then they're going some way to becoming a less-nasty version of the Tory party, if they go for Burnham then they're going centrist and may just create some clear-red water between them and the Tories.


I accept that by delaying I won't get the chance to vote for the party leader but I'm waiting to see who is leader before making my choice between the two.


And JohnM is right, if the SNP had an English party and I could vote for someone down here then I'd vote for them and may even join in the party.

#3121643 General Election 2015 - Poll & Discussion Thread

Posted by ckn on 12 May 2015 - 12:21 PM

I don't get all this fuss about the HRA, its a mountain out of a molehill. Does anyone seriously believe that the UK would not uphold people's true human rights (as opposed to some of the more spurious ones dreamed up by opportunistic lawyers) ? No matter which legal guise it is under, people in this country will still be afforded the same fundamental rights no matter who is in government and to suggest otherwise is, quite frankly, completely bonkers.

The thing is though that it's supposed to be objectively fair.  If I appoint you to a post because I like your style, give you a very nice grace-and-favour lifestyle then someone comes along and asks you to make a judgement on me, how can that be objectively fair?  If you decide against the other person then they can always see it that you've decided to back up your mates.  We're not quite at the US Supreme Court level of politicised judges but we're not that far off either.


We currently have laws where you can be jailed indefinitely without hearing the evidence, seeing your accusers or being able to give any say either way.  We've been through many other iterations of this, all slapped down eventually by the ECHR as idiotic.  The last Labour government even made a law that said that a politician could order you detained indefinitely on his say-so, there was no appeal, your bank accounts would be automatically seized and journalists who reported that they were detained be guilty of a strict liability offence meaning they'd go to jail as well without any defence open to them.


It really does astound me that anyone can't see why we need an independent third party to be the final arbiter of our human rights.  So what if they decide against us on things we're not that happy about, that's their job.

#3121635 Uninteresting Trivial Facts

Posted by ckn on 12 May 2015 - 12:09 PM

Utter b*stards, have they no respect for tradition!!!


There is no place in the United Kingdom for modern shiny nice hospitals....apart from Private Hospitals for people who can afford to avoid the NHS.

Did you know that the last government provided £3.8bn in transformation funding for the NHS.  That's nearly 4 of those super-sized hospitals they could have funded outright.  Again, thankfully they declined to do this and are giving all that money to people to transform butterfly-like from underperforming organisations to these wonderful modern healthcare beasties, no need to show much improvement though, just transform somehow.


Ahem... just remembered that this is uninteresting trivial facts and was about to delete my posts but then realised that to politicians this really is uninteresting and trivial.