POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 25 Nov 2016, 05:50

I heard a report on the news last night but can find nothing on the web. It was a forecast by a think tank that real wage levels are set to fall for at least the next ten years. The Tory 'Economic Miracle' at work?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 25 Nov 2016, 09:31

`Hypernormalisation' was coined in a book about the Soviet Union and used to describe life at that time. The wikipedia page for the film is here: LINK
It's all a bit too based on conspiracies for me. The general idea of living in a false world fits with my own beliefs about what has happened but I think it's a natural progression of events and we don't need conspiracy theories to explain it. Much is due to us becoming accustomed to intense advertising over the last half century so that we now believe what we're told by those who shout loudest or make the biggest promises or look the most beautiful or handsome or have the most money etc.
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South African comedian Trevor Noah was interviewed on the Today programme this morning. He's taken over a US chat show and has been vocal about Trump. He's a smart man and worth listening to. He said that when you're born and brought up in Africa you're very familiar with the Donald Trump type of leader, they're everywhere. They're always `best President', `sent by God', full of promises and lies. They played a series of clips of Trump phrases and then did the same for Idi Amin and they were were almost identical. The bit about promises reminded me of something my South African mother used to say...see the Quote of the Day topic. LINK

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 25 Nov 2016, 09:34

Report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Quoted,"projections from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility suggested that real wages will remain below pre-recession 2008 levels until 2021 - the longest period since the Second World War. Link.
More reason to get rid of the 2.5% triple link for pensioners.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 26 Nov 2016, 05:02

Tiz, I agree about the questionable nature of the whole thesis of the film but was attracted by various parts of it. 'The truth is out there.'
That's it P but I thought it was a different source. I disagree about the abolition of the Triple Lock. The target should be to bring the other beneficial parameters up to the same standard. The money to do it is lurking there in the system. It's the management that is totally wrong. As Newton said once, "There aren't enough people making things". That's it in a nutshell, shifting bits of paper about doesn't cut it.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 26 Nov 2016, 12:21

I take that to be Newton as in Pickles, not as in Isaac? On the other hand, the Newton you mentioned in the Science thread I take to be Issac and not Newton? :wink:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 27 Nov 2016, 04:50

Correct.....
Normal political news has been swamped by news of the death of Fidel Castro so watch out for dire announcements being slipped out under the radar. Of course there is wide debate as to whether Fidel was 'Good or Bad' and the dissidents come out of the woodwork with the most vituperative assessment they can muster. It's all a question of frame of reference. People have forgotten Batiste and his associations with organised crime. They have also forgotten the bad record of the US who were continually interfering in Central and South America at the time. As Ken Livingstone sensible said, "If you were living there at the time which would you prefer, Batiste and the Mafia or Castro and free health care and good education?" Remember the US involvement in Chile and the CIA coup that toppled Allende? Remember the American Fruit Company and the Monroe Doctrine of 1823? (LINK) Make sure you have done your homework before you slag Castro off......
Later, see THIS for a BBC report on May's intention to force listed companies to publish the ratio of executives pay to workers. I see the Telegraph is fulminating about this being a 'Socialist Policy' and warning against it. No surprise there and if that's their definition of Socialism, that workers should have a fairer pay deal I'll go with that!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 27 Nov 2016, 10:35

At least Cuba made what was largely a gradual, organic change towards a more liberal society, rather than being invaded by us lot and ending up like Iraq. It's time we realised that it takes generations for such change to occur safely, you can't do it overnight.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 28 Nov 2016, 05:38

Dead right Tiz. Like many liberal Americans I cringe when I look at some of the foreign policy actions of the US over the years both overt and covert. Remember that the final straw that drove Castro into Kruschev's clutches was the refusal was the refusal of the US to negotiate with him and the infamous CIA inspired Bay of Pigs invasion.Remember also that a major factor has always been the willingness of giant US industries to support some of the worst excesses in search of profit. Iraq yes but look a bit further back at the United Fruit Company and the oil companies. There are many such examples.....
See THIS for a Guardian report on Fillon who has won the centre right nomination. I like the way he talks but we'll see what transpires.
Meanwhile in the UK we continue to be the laughing stock of Europe. Brexit? What a nonsense! Now let's see, who was it triggered this catastrophe?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 29 Nov 2016, 04:58

Sorry, no interest in the antics in the Westminster Village today. I have much more important fish to fry.......
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 29 Nov 2016, 10:52

Another victim of Brexit might be our joint European nuclear fusion project at Oxford. Unless some alternative can be arranged it will terminate when we sign Article 50. The FT says: "Based at the Culham Centre in south Oxfordshire, the Joint European Torus (JET) project involves some 350 scientists exploring the potential of fusion power, backed by funding from almost 40 countries in the EUROfusion consortium. The future of the project is in doubt because Britain is potentially ending its membership of Euratom, Europe’s treaty framework for the safe civilian use of nuclear energy. Membership is required for participation in EUROfusion. Established by treaty in 1957, the Euratom community is legally separate from the EU but it is governed by EU institutions such as the European Commission, which oversees the safe operation of civilian nuclear installations. Britain’s plan to trigger the Article 50 exit clause of the EU would, according to EU lawyers, notify intention to exit Euratom as well. “We have no idea what will happen to this British nuclear facility,” said one senior Brexit negotiator."

An interesting situation has arisen with Donald Trump's preference for Trump Towers as his base rather than the White House. Apparently the FBI and CIA are worried because if he chooses to base himself in Trump Towers (and it's his choice alone) they will be obliged to provide security even though it's an almost impossible task. The building is glass on all sides, it has many private residential apartments owned or rented by other people, and lots of shops and malls. The public, residents and workers come and go at their leisure. The glass-fronted rooms are overlooked by the windows of other buildings alongside. The streets outside are busy public areas and closing them frequently is not an option. A postscript to this story is that the law enforcement agencies have been obliged to provide bodyguards for Trump for the last 12 months and had to travel with him in his personal jet. He has charged the fares to the agencies. Just imagine how much the fare for travelling in Trump's personal jet might be!

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 30 Nov 2016, 04:55

"Another victim of Brexit might be our joint European nuclear fusion project at Oxford"..... Yet another illustration of the minefield we are entering. 'The law of unintended consequences' in Spades! We are riding down a busy motorway in a bus where the driver has taken the steering wheel off because he doesn't like it.....
I had a cup of coffee i Trump Tower when I was in NY in the 1980s. I have an idea that at the time he was in deep financial trouble. I can well understand it being a security nightmare, like all these multi-occupancy skyscrapers it is enormous and there must be thousands of tenants. I didn't like the building, not a patch on the Empire State or the Chrysler......

Image

This was close to Trump Tower and is an interesting illustration of the Wild West ethos that prevailed in NY at the time (the 1980s). The building in the background is a restaurant and when the developer was buying up the properties on the block to build a new skyscraper the owners refused to sell. This building has 'air rights', in other words it owns the air above it so unless the developer pays the restaurant he can't build the new building above it. Ethel and I had lunch in there while they were blasting rock outside right up to the walls, the crockery was shaking on the tables! I don't know what the outcome was but it gives an idea of the commercial ethos in the city at the time. This was where Trump cut his teeth as a developer.
I heard a commentator say this morning that "Trump appears to be comfortable with billionaires". He's appointed another one to his team.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 30 Nov 2016, 09:58

As Donald J. Trump demonstrated with his 72-story black glass tower at 845 United Nations Plaza, which was at one time the tallest residential building in the city, it is possible for a tower to, well, tower over its neighbors if it has successfully transferred sufficient air rights. Mr. Trump performed a domino-like maneuver and legally stockpiled air rights from at least seven low-rise properties that had F.A.R. [floor-area-ratio] to spare, merging their lots with his. Then — presto — he maxed out the block’s allowable density in the form of a single slender tower.
`The Great Air Race', NY Times LINK

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 30 Nov 2016, 23:44

"There aren't enough people making things"
I think I read a recent report that the Deficit would be at least 50% less if the loss of manufacturing jobs (time span not noted), out of the UK Economy had not happened.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 01 Dec 2016, 03:43

See THIS for a Guardian report on the Corbyn/May clash in PMQs yesterday. "Corbyn has identified a weakness" on social care funding. Indeed he has and it has been obvious for years! It is largely a failure of funding that started with the Blair regime and has been carried on ever since. Her response that they are spending zillions on care is a classic example of the use of statistics. Technically true but it does not compare in real terms what is being spent per capita now and what was spent previously. In addition it doesn't take any account of the fact that most of the increase is spent on 'improved' (but nowhere near adequate) wages for carers. A key indicator is the lowering of standards in some care establishments and the number of private firms withdrawing from Council contracts.
The same ploy is used when talking about the performance of the economy. A minute alteration is hailed as evidence we are doing well when a comparison with historic statistics shows that even with the 'increase' it is a miserable performance. The number of people in employment is an indicator of how lousy benefits are. How many of the workers have a reasonable wage that they can keep a family fed and house off? These are the statistics that we don't hear.
Economists quite rightly point to the fall in productivity of the work force but nobody comes clean about the reason for it. A medieval peasant knew that survival depended on the productivity of the land and this was a result of his/her hard work and skill. This is 'added value', using a resource or raw material to make something useful and of increased value. In those days it was food, today it is manufactured goods. The value adding activities in the economy have been neglected since the Thatcher era and the consequence of this plus automation of processes is that the workers have been de-skilled and the value of their input driven down even if they retained a job. Marx predicted this in the mid 19th century but we mustn't mention his name. Add to this the neglect of primary education and you get a perfect storm which is where we are now. Selling insurance and dodgy financial products doesn't cut it. Money laundering makes it worse.
But what the hell do I know! I'm just an ignorant old leftie fulminating at his kitchen table....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 01 Dec 2016, 12:02

Trump promises to get rid of Silicon Valley and shale gas and bring back the rust belt industries and coal. Wiser people know that tomorrow's jobs will be technically more demanding and will be found in the renewable energy industry, robotics, automation etc. In the UK we are now told that the great East Anglian wind farm is to go ahead and there will be much work in building the structures and the foundations. Work is to begin now on the foundations. So this is our way of taking advantage of the demand for renewable energy and creating new UK jobs in 21st century industry. But hang on. The company responsible for the wind farm is listed on the London stock exchange but is based in the Gulf and three-quarters of the work will be done there and the structures shipped to Britain!

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 02 Dec 2016, 05:15

Have you heard the one about the dodgy property developer and the mad dog? Remember Harold..... "Events Dear Boy". The hammer blows may come from elsewhere.....
Just heard about THIS. Zac Goldsmith has been knocked off his perch by of all people, the Lib Dem candidate. Splendid result..... Another little clue for the Tories to mull over...... Worth noting that Goldsmith is an arch-Tory and wouldn't have taken this step if he had not been convinced he was right. "Beware of certitude!" Labour failed miserably but this was never a Labour seat, no worries there. Also significant that there was no Tory or UKIP candidate, they didn't want to split the Goldsmith vote.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 02 Dec 2016, 10:31

I missed this news at the end of October. The Stockport-born Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner has been suffering verbal abuse about her northern accent, some of it from within the Party. LINK

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tripps » 02 Dec 2016, 11:59

Look here for what I would say is the full Manchester accent. Angela Rayner
Fast forward to 15.00 minutes.

She does struggle with the letter T, but she's quite comprehensible. If you want to see where 'working class' accents are going try the Jeremy Kyle show, any afternoon. I take a casual interest in accents and dialects, but some of the people on there are literally totally incomprehensible. I tried googling 'glottal stops', but was very soon out of my depth. I think SCG has studied this - I remember he once said 'labial fricatives' which impressed me no end. :smile:
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 03 Dec 2016, 05:15

The labial fricative concept in Linguistics got me on entirely the wrong track but of course as you all know I have a dirty mind......
Remember Fred Hoyle? His dialect never held him back but London Snobs are afraid of Northern folk......
I can't help watching and being fascinated and repelled in equal measure by the Trump..... His latest stupid gaffe over Taiwan is so dangerous. I am beginning to think that this man is not only dangerous for America but a threat to the whole world. He shoots from the hip and is clearly deeply ignorant and taking no notice of the Offices of State in the White House. They must be tearing their hair out........
See THIS Guardian report on the Richmond by-election. I've seen many surprising by-election results in my life and one constant is that they are manna from heaven for the media and the chattering classes. As a general rule, 90% of the comment is crap, this one is no different. The only thing they have absolutely right is the inference that this is a symptom of a government in deep disarray which has no proper plan apart from rebutting every criticism.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 03 Dec 2016, 09:10

In terms of by-elections, the 1991 Ribble Valley By-election - where we overturned a massive Tory majority - caused the Poll Tax to be scrapped. (I remember it well as I was involved with campaigning from day 1 before the party by-election team turned up.)

Maybe Richmond will be equally momentous?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 03 Dec 2016, 09:59

The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard the news about Trump, Taiwan and China was that this means big trouble for Japan. It will be the surrogate target when China wants to get it's own back on the US. There's already a lot of friction between China and Japan over the former setting up military bases in the South China Sea. The US supports Japan so China will make life even harder for the Japanese.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 04 Dec 2016, 05:28

David, these shock results are almost always a sign that there is something wrong with the normal political process and that is certainly true today so you might be right. Don't go home and prepare to govern though. it isn't that momentous!
Tiz, you are right, Trump is a bull in a china shop. On present form he is the biggest threat the world faces......
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by David Whipp » 04 Dec 2016, 08:57

I try not to think about Trump - can't cope with the anxiety...

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 04 Dec 2016, 22:12

A leaked document suggests that Mrs ' Brexit means Brexit' May is trying to stifle any leaks about what Brexit means.Link. The general stance is that we shouldn't be letting our potential enemies, (EU), know what we are planning. Which begs the question "are the rest of the UK population also considered as enemies". All this brings to mind the observation made by Adam Smith...
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”.
All she has to do is ask David Cameron what his plan 'B' was and get on with it.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 05 Dec 2016, 04:49

Very perceptive P. As for asking Cameron..... I don't think they are speaking....
When Trump got the presidency I thought that there was a good chance that the checks and balances built into the US system would ameliorate his worst tendencies. I haven't seen any evidence they are working and I think it may be because he has wrong-footed the system by starting his Presidency on Twitter! This man is unstable as well as being arrogant and ignorant.
The government case is in the Supreme Court today..... P is dead right, May is trying to avoid debate on the grounds that 'we must not show our hand'. This a load of balls. The EU know fine that we will be after the most concessions and they will be refusing them because they don't want to encourage anyone else to take the same course. Today my force the governments hand. Question is will they come clean? Remember that as soon as we trigger Article 50 we become supplicants. It doesn't look good......
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