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Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

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Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by tlttf on Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:16 am

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Fantastic article from the "New Statesman", sums up politics as is?

Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

All parties love the easy, polarising rhetoric of “us” against “them” – but how distinct are their ideas?

By Rafael Behr, Published 31 January 2013

There is a reliable way to tell if David Cameron is rattled. When the Prime Minister is on shaky ground, he hurls the charge of being “left-wing” at Ed Miliband as if it were the foulest thing he could say within the bounds of parliamentary protocol. The “Red Ed” label has never been a plausible line of attack but it is a comforting fiction for senior Conservatives who deride the Labour leader’s agenda as a slide into unelectable socialism.

Take time out from tribalism and read the article!

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by bobby on Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:38 pm

skwalker said: Don't disagree in principle, mate. But there are nowhere near enough adopters even for the kids who need homes now - and keeping them in care would cost more than paying benefits to the family, with poor outcomes to boot. It's pragmatic rather than soft.

Steve, I’m not sure what it is you are telling us, are you saying there are so many of the people I mentioned that we as a Nation could not deal with the backlash of putting these wretched kids out to adoption to families who would greatly enhance their life chances, and because there are too many we couldn’t afford to deal with the problem. The very fact there are the numbers you imply means that we most certainly need to break the circle, and need to treat it with some urgency and when the children are young enough to make such a transition, with minimal mental upheaval.

The very fact that if there are too many to deal with for pragmatic or any other reason, tells me that its more of a problem than many are led to believe.

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Phil Hornby on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:16 pm

The British public does not have an especially wonderful choice when it comes to choosing their leaders. There are question marks against the Labour Party - the current natural Opposition - and its credibility and past record. To choose to continue the Tories in power would suggest that one is a person who is either mad, bad, or has too much to lose from risking moving away from a party whose only interest is in protecting privilege at the expense of the poor.

The LibDems are a treacherous and slimy bunch of liars who would sell their grannies into prostitution to have a hand on power, and the remainder of the rabble are hardly worth a mention - and certainly not a vote.

Is it any wonder that folk like me despair at our political choices and whose only political pleasure is to seek occasionally to place something prickly up a Tory trouser-leg...?
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by skwalker1964 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:48 pm

bobby wrote:skwalker said: Don't disagree in principle, mate. But there are nowhere near enough adopters even for the kids who need homes now - and keeping them in care would cost more than paying benefits to the family, with poor outcomes to boot. It's pragmatic rather than soft.

Steve, I’m not sure what it is you are telling us, are you saying there are so many of the people I mentioned that we as a Nation could not deal with the backlash of putting these wretched kids out to adoption to families who would greatly enhance their life chances, and because there are too many we couldn’t afford to deal with the problem. The very fact there are the numbers you imply means that we most certainly need to break the circle, and need to treat it with some urgency and when the children are young enough to make such a transition, with minimal mental upheaval.

The very fact that if there are too many to deal with for pragmatic or any other reason, tells me that its more of a problem than many are led to believe.

As of 31/3/11, there were over 65,000 children in the system available for adoption. The number adopted? 3,050 - having fallen from 3,330 in 2007. The vast majority of children in care now - without implementing anything like your idea - will reach majority without finding adoptive parents. See [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Let's assume just 1% of people on unemployment benefits are 'workshy scroungers' - that's around 25,000 more individuals. If they have an average of, say, 1.5 children each, that's another 37,500 you'd be putting into care. If the state and local authorities can't find parents for more than the 3000 they're currently achieving now, how on earth are they going to accommodate about 30-odd thousand?

There don't have to be many 'scroungers' at all for the idea to be unworkable - and that's leaving aside all the human rights issues of depriving people of their children, which is bordering on the kind of thing that happened in Nazi Germany.

The current situation is anything but ideal - but it might just be the best that can be realistically achieved.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by bobby on Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:21 pm

The current situation is anything but ideal - but it might just be the best that can be realistically achieved

So we continue to allow the Government to attack all of the disabled, unemployed and elderly.

My point is Steve, that all I have heard on these threads is that the few true scroungers don't make much difference, whereas in reality, the true benefit claimants will continue to get screwed because of them, and they will multiply as it becomes learnt behaviour by the kids of these ponces.

Personally I would not be happy that the 37,500 kids (your figures) would be adopted out or put into care, but I am less happy that millions of lives of the true disabled elderly and unemployed are placed into jeopardy partly because of them. As I said if they where sorted out, Herr Cameron and Iain Dumkopf Schmidt would lose their whole argument for many of their evil welfare cuts.

By the way Steve, I do hope you are not insinuating I am some kind of a Nazi.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by skwalker1964 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:31 pm

You know - or should - that I'm not condoning anything this government does. I mean that the situation where some people do get away with playing the system might be the best we can achieve.

Any measures that will prevent the small percentage from playing the system is certain to hurt far too many innocents to be acceptable - at least to me.

I'm not suggesting in any way that you're any kind of nazi - merely that the measure under discussion is unacceptable and would go uncomfortably close to what happened in pre-war Germany.

If you've read anything on my blog (including the latest post I'm about to copy over here), you'll know that I'm an ardent advocate for disabled and unemployed people. But the solution to the government's disinformation and demonisation is good information - not the forcible removal of people's children just for not working. Is that a door you'd really want to open in view of what might ensue?
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by boatlady on Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:54 pm

Important to remember
1) children usually do better in their birth families, even sometimes quite horrible birth families (grow up with a stronger sense of identity and better self image) than in even the best adoptive family
2) having a poor work ethic doesn't necessarily mean being a bad parent, and having a good work ethic doesn't necessarily mean being a good parent - there's more for a growing child to learn than work ethic, and some of the best parents I have met in a long social work career are those who chose to focus on their kids rather than on gaining paid work.

Work/life balance is something we all have to work out for ourselves - some people do need to spend more time on the 'life' element (all part of the 'back story' we don't always know)
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:55 am

Good post boatlady and very true, but you will find that the Tories do not believe in the grey areas of life and one size does not fit all.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by skwalker1964 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:18 pm

bobby wrote:putting these wretched kids out to adoption to families who would greatly enhance their life chances, and because there are too many we couldn’t afford to deal with the problem. The very fact there are the numbers you imply means that we most certainly need to break the circle, and need to treat it with some urgency and when the children are young enough to make such a transition, with minimal mental upheaval.

Bobby, interested in your thoughts on this now it has become public that thousands of Spanish children were removed from their left-wing parents by Franco's regime with the complicity of the Catholic church, in order to prevent growth in the left-leaning population and on 'moral' grounds, and then placed with 'respectable' families - a situation very similar to that which we were discussing.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:23 pm

History is there for us to learn from, if that is what we want, But the evidence is that Elections are determined by short-term interests. When people have money in their pockets and the sun is shining, they will vote for continuance.

Many people have commented that we deserve the Government we have, and it's true.

Progress can only be made with a 5- or 10-year programme, but Politicians think only of the time before their next candidature.

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by boatlady on Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:12 pm

OW, I concur with your comment, with the caveat that real progress in areas of social exclusion etc actually takes 2-3 generations, in my view.

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by tlttf on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:31 am

If Labour hadn't opened the doors to unfettered immigration for the peoples of Africa and Asia (in excess of 2 million) would we now have Sharia Courts, honour killings and female genital mutilation?

Would the NHS, education, housing and employment be in the same mess?



It's understandable why they did it (more than 80% voted labour) but your kidding yourself if you believe this had anything to do with the good of the country. To listen to Miliband last night was embarrassing to hear. The country was nearly destroyed by his party and he believes standing up and saying sorry gives credence to go and do it all again.

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:39 am

tlttf wrote:If Labour hadn't opened the doors to unfettered immigration for the peoples of Africa and Asia (in excess of 2 million) would we now have Sharia Courts, honour killings and female genital mutilation?

Would the NHS, education, housing and employment be in the same mess?



It's understandable why they did it (more than 80% voted labour) but your kidding yourself if you believe this had anything to do with the good of the country. To listen to Miliband last night was embarrassing to hear. The country was nearly destroyed by his party and he believes standing up and saying sorry gives credence to go and do it all again.

Mr Ed Miliband will not get the chance to destroy this country tittf this country is on its knees at the moment thanks to a shower of smug arrogant posh Tory boys, and if the UK public put them back in power in 2015 it will die a slow painful death, there is only one party with a WRECKING BALL and that is Cameron and his shower of LYING BACKSTUDS.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by boatlady on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:31 am

If Labour hadn't opened the doors to unfettered immigration for the peoples of Africa and Asia (in excess of 2 million) would we now have Sharia Courts, honour killings and female genital mutilation?

Maybe you can back this up with a link or so?
It's not a 'fact' I'm aware of
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by tlttf on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:41 am

Read any paper boatlady, even the beloved leftie Guardian, you've only highlighted part of the problem that labour caused, the others are equally of concern to the working man/woman.

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:07 am

tlttf wrote:Read any paper boatlady, even the beloved leftie Guardian, you've only highlighted part of the problem that labour caused, the others are equally of concern to the working man/woman.

Maybe tittf that you are reading too much of the right wing rag the Daily Fail ?
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Ivan on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:04 pm

If Labour hadn't opened the doors to unfettered immigration for the peoples of Africa and Asia (in excess of 2 million) would we now have Sharia Courts, honour killings and female genital mutilation?

Would the NHS, education, housing and employment be in the same mess?
tlttf. Not one precise fact from you, not one source, just a pile of lies, myths and subliminal racism expressed in an inflammatory manner. It’s disgusting to try to smear all immigrants from Africa and Asia as people who murder or mutilate their children. Do you have any evidence that honour killings and FGM never occurred in this country before 1997, because that’s what you appear to be claiming? And you’ve got the bloody nerve to call John O’Farrell “bigoted”.

Lie – there has never been “unfettered immigration” in this country. There have always been regulations about who can or can’t come into the country. However, EU nationals have the right to live here (as we have the right to live in any EU country), and in 2004 the EU expanded considerably, so under EU rules more people were likely to come and live in what was then a thriving country under Labour. In 2008, a points-based immigration system was introduced for non-EU immigrants; Yvette Cooper has conceded that that should have been introduced earlier to restrict low-skilled labour from outside Europe.

Gerry Sutcliffe MP, who has been the shadow immigration minister, said this in 2011:-

"Migration levels increased initially because of the strength of the British economy over many years and must be seen in the context of increases globally. However the most recent figures show net migration from outside the EU was coming down as a result of the new points based system and over a third of ‘long-term migrants’ were in fact students, the vast majority of whom study, pay their fees, and then return home."

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Lie – the NHS wasn’t in a mess until Lansley and Hunt got their claws into it. The mess was in 1997, when the NHS was desperately short of nurses because the pay was so poor (no doubt the Tories were running down the NHS for possible privatisation). Labour brought in 12,000 Filipina nurses – yes, some of your wicked Asians – to prop up the NHS while new nurses could be trained with a promise of better pay. (And by the way, most of those Filipinas later went home.) The mess was when the waiting time for surgery was on average two years, before Labour reduced it to four months. In 2010, patient satisfaction was 88%, the highest figure ever recorded, so you can stick your lies about the NHS.

Lie – education was not in a mess. A few grotty little anecdotes in the tabloid press are just there for squalid propaganda purposes, but swallowed wholesale by idiots like you because they suit your agenda. What hypocrisy to tell me not to believe everything I read in the press – which I certainly don’t – when you accept the crap which is defecated by right-wing papers renowned for their inaccuracy. Gove isn’t doing anything to improve standards; he’s just fragmenting the state education system to enable creeping privatisation, while at the same time behaving like Hitler and rewriting the history curriculum to fit in with Tory propaganda.

Lie – this country’s housing problems go back a lot further than 1997. They can be traced to Thatcher’s decision to bribe working class people to vote for her with cheap houses that she had no right to sell. Our public housing stock had been built up since the end of the First World War – and paid for by local ratepayers – to provide homes for those in need who couldn’t afford to buy. (I notice that Thatcher didn’t give tenants who were renting privately the right to buy at a discount.) As the old witch didn’t even allow local councils to build new houses with the proceeds of the sales, it was clear that her intention was to destroy the public housing sector. Our housing problems are discussed in detail here, but the opening post may be too long for someone who is used to reading tabloid articles:-

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Lie – employment wasn’t a mess under Labour, it rose by 3 million. The level of unemployment which, according to Thatcher in 1979 meant that “Labour isn’t working” was then 1.4 million. It’s never been that low since, thanks to the Tories. Thatcher ratcheted up unemployment to 3.2 million in just four years with her attack on manufacturing and public services and the closure of Chatham Dockyard (with the knock-on effect that had on the Medway Towns). Cameron and Osborne have deliberately created unemployment by destroying 710,000 public sector jobs, and caused the collapse of many high street shops by squeezing incomes and putting VAT up instead of down. Cameron lies about creating a million new private sector jobs, when at least a fifth of them were reclassified public sector jobs and most of the rest are part-time and low-paid. And you have the neck to accuse Labour of an employment mess!

Read any paper boatlady, even the beloved leftie Guardian
I took your advice. Let’s see what Jonathan Portes has to say:-

“The UK has far from the most generous social security system in Europe, both in terms of benefit levels and overall spending. In France, for example, unemployment benefits are considerably higher for most people than they are in the UK, while contribution conditions are, if anything, somewhat weaker; a French teacher or banker losing their job in London might well be shocked by how little they would be entitled to here.

All the evidence suggests that migrants – especially migrants from the new EU member states – are net contributors to the public purse, not a drain. The most comprehensive study on this topic found that the latter paid in via taxes about 30% more than they cost our public services. In particular, they were far less likely to claim benefits and tax credits, and far less likely to live in social housing.

According to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, of the roughly 1.8 million people from elsewhere in the EU of working age, about 90,000 are claiming an ‘out of work benefit’, or about 5%. That compares with about 13% for natives. Equally, migrants from outside the EU are much less likely to claim benefits than natives.”


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It's understandable why they did it (more than 80% voted labour) but your kidding yourself if you believe this had anything to do with the good of the country. To listen to Miliband last night was embarrassing to hear. The country was nearly destroyed by his party.

I suppose it was about time that the usual stock-in-trade Tory lies were wheeled out again. Repeat them as often as you like, and you may delude yourself into believing them, but they’re still lies. Labour didn’t “nearly destroy the country”, bankers did, as well you know. The Tories never sort anything out, they just make things worse, as they’re doing right now. It’s all been argued out many times before on this forum, but you and your chum keep repeating the same tired old lies. And let’s not forget what Cameron had to say in March 2008: “Labour’s economic failure was the excessive bureaucratic interventionism of the past decade, too much regulation.”

Then we come to this conspiracy theory that Labour brought in immigrants to vote for them. Thatcher bribed people with cheap shares in utilities that we owned already (but certainly don’t now) and houses, and Shirley Porter gerrymandered Westminster Council by allocating council houses to Tory voters, so it’s not surprising if that way of thinking is part of the ‘nasty party’ mindset. But it’s the height of absurdity to suggest that “more than 80% of immigrants vote Labour” – where’s your evidence? Judging from your comments about Sharia law, you seem to be implying that most immigrants are Moslems. In that case, if Blair’s motive was to import voters, why on earth did he alienate tens of thousands of them by taking the UK into two wars in Moslem countries? The psephology (have you had time to look up that word yet?) indicates that in 2005, the majority of Moslems in the UK voted for the Liberal Democrats, so that blows a hole in that crap theory.

I admit to being uneasy about the thought of Sharia courts in this country (which most of us wrongly associate with just amputations and stonings etc), until I thought things through, something which you should try some time. If you join a golf club and there is a rule that anyone wearing yellow waistcoats in the clubhouse on the third Monday in Lent will be fined, you either go along with it (even though it has no basis in law) or you leave the club.

In the same way, if members of the Moslem ‘club’ agree to settle disputes in a Sharia court in this country and abide by its decisions, I would expect a genuine libertarian to be happy to let them get on with it. They’re not affecting the rest of us, they’re saving money on legal fees, and regardless of the fact that any decisions are not legally binding, the disputes get settled. Any Moslem who doesn’t want to use, or accept the ruling of, a Sharia court, cannot be forced to do so.

The same principle applies to a discussion forum. Nobody has to be a member, but if you join one you have to accept the rules or leave. So perhaps it’s time you read our house rules again, since you seem to fall foul of them so frequently. You’ve previously flouted those concerning copyright, libel and posts which amount to nothing more than personal attacks, and now I suggest you read the references to racism and messages designed to incite religious hatred. We also have a rule which says “messages which are clearly intended to deceive and mislead members are likely to be deleted”, but as you’ve been a long-term supporter of this and our previous forum, I think you deserve some leeway – this time.

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Any further discussion of immigration should take place on the following thread, and should be conducted in a sensitive and non-inflammatory way, using facts rather than gutter prejudices:-

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:56 pm

tlttf wrote:Read any paper boatlady, even the beloved leftie Guardian, you've only highlighted part of the problem that labour caused, the others are equally of concern to the working man/woman.


What you mean tittf is read any right wing rag that not even fit to use on wipiing your ASS.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by boatlady on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:33 am

Just to move this in a slightly different direction ---
I've been thinking lately, whenever I'm making anything (a cake, a dress, a pot of stew) there is usually 'room for expansion'.

The cake mix is put into a tin that seems too large, because it's going to rise(I hope); the dress is made with larger seam allowance, because I'm bound to get fatter, the stew always has a few extra vegetables in it, because someone else may turn up for dinner.
When I buy a carpet or curtain material, I buy a bit extra, to make sure there's enough to go round.

It seems, if we want to do a good job, we err on the side of generosity; if we provide only the exact amount we seem to need, we run the risk of having bare floorboards, short curtains, clothes that are too small, not enough to eat, or a dirty oven.

I wonder if the same principle should apply to national economics?

There's a lot of discussion about 'the welfare bill' and 'benefit scroungers' and how these 'scroungers' are making life hard for those who 'genuinely' need 'welfare', but isn't it actually true that in making anything there has to be a bit of slack - in order to make sure that everyone who ought to have support from the State gets it, we need to face the fact that there will be a certain number of claimants who could bestir themselves a bit more and maybe help themselves if they chose to, but who take advantage of the 'slack' in the system to have an easier life.

If you start to try and eliminate those people from the equation, you very quickly find that you are condemning lots of people who genuinely can't shift for themselves to a life of destitution, suffering and ultimately an early death. I don't want that on the national conscience.

When we're taking sides, I'm going to be siding with the political ideals that are about investment in public services, that support the notion of entiltement to state benefits, that provide a really strong and durable safety net; because one day I might be one of those in need and I want the resources to be there for me when my time comes.
The Labour party used to be the party with those socialist ideals - maybe it can be again - in any case, I think it's our best bet.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:08 pm

Anyone willing to take a more-than-cursory glance at the Election Manifesto of most political contenders will quickly notice a marked similarity. Without exception, all of them are divisive. All promise to look after "us" while preventing "them" from taking our hard-earned money.

What an ambition. Scrooges of the world, Unite!
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:21 pm

Well OW, as far as I am concerned after what the Tories and the L/Ds said in their 2010 Manifesto and on the TV debates, I will pretend to be deaf in their case because I will not be able to bring myself to believe a word they say.
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Onwurah vs Cameron: are the Tories on the side of the 'strivers'?

Post by skwalker1964 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:20 am

Interesting passage in yesterday's PMQs concluding with an absolutely scandalous non-response by Cameron. You can watch the whole exchange via the link below

But it boils down to:

Chi Onwurah: Can you expect this man, a real striver, to live on £1.57 a week 'thanks' to the bedroom tax?

Cameron: ignores question

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by bobby on Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:06 pm

What really irks me is every time a Tory gets near a podium or a microphone, they keep repeating “the tough decisions we took or have to make”. Yes they do take tough decisions, but the thing is tough for who, its never them the decision makers but the poor, sick and elderly. Its like the tough decision General Douglas Haig made re his attack across no mans land at Passchendaele in 1917. 310,000 dead British Soldiers dies and not a Haig amongst them. The decision makers then as now make sure they are out of the firing line, in fact now they are even worse that the Bastard Haig as today’s Government actually profit from the decisions they make. And the casualties die of Hypothermia, Hunger or Suicide.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:51 pm

bobby wrote:What really irks me is every time a Tory gets near a podium or a microphone, they keep repeating “the tough decisions we took or have to make”. Yes they do take tough decisions, but the thing is tough for who, its never them the decision makers but the poor, sick and elderly. Its like the tough decision General Douglas Haig made re his attack across no mans land at Passchendaele in 1917. 310,000 dead British Soldiers dies and not a Haig amongst them. The decision makers then as now make sure they are out of the firing line, in fact now they are even worse that the Bastard Haig as today’s Government actually profit from the decisions they make. And the casualties die of Hypothermia, Hunger or Suicide.

Yes bobby they do have to take tough decisions for the normal working man/women, but they find it much easier for the high earners bankers and the rich Backstuds that fund the Tory party no hard decisions there, I just wonder how they will justify this when they come knocking our door looking for us to vote for them in the 2015 general election I give them fair warning "Do Not Dare" and just to finish off Scotland does not vote Tory since the Thatcher years and now that same rule applies the L/Ds as they have found out in every election since 2010.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Deadly Nightshade on Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:23 pm

bobby wrote:What really irks me is every time a Tory gets near a podium or a microphone, they keep repeating “the tough decisions we took or have to make”. Yes they do take tough decisions, but the thing is tough for who, its never them the decision makers but the poor, sick and elderly. Its like the tough decision General Douglas Haig made re his attack across no mans land at Passchendaele in 1917. 310,000 dead British Soldiers dies and not a Haig amongst them. The decision makers then as now make sure they are out of the firing line, in fact now they are even worse that the Bastard Haig as today’s Government actually profit from the decisions they make. And the casualties die of Hypothermia, Hunger or Suicide.

Gonna go 1 step further and Every time this country has to endure another Conservative Government, the UK that is known becomes less and less recognizable and yet another thing that we always promoted such as NHS, a state that supports its residents, Thriving manufacturing/industry towns in all their forms disappear. Is this country being run by Paul f**king Daniels and his glamourous assistant Debbie Magee??? Now you see it, Now you don't?
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:31 pm

Tory Policy has been 68 years in the making. It may take a little time for decent people to counter it.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:50 pm

oftenwrong wrote:Tory Policy has been 68 years in the making. It may take a little time for decent people to counter it.

There is going to be a shit load of Tory Bills to REPEAL .
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Apparently I'm a 'lying lefty scumbag' :)

Post by skwalker1964 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:18 pm

Original including key links at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Well, this is fun. Tim Worstall, a right-wing ‘economist’, who 9 months ago wrote a nonsense post calling me a ‘blithering idiot’, has surfaced again. Mr Worstall takes pride in a somewhat ‘fruity’ approach to language and considers himself an exemplary ‘straight-talker’, passing off a lack of tact and insight as directness.

Well, the passage of time hasn’t mellowed his approach. Apparently, I’m now a ‘lying lefty scumbag. Time hasn’t improved his grasp of fact and logic, either. I won’t link to his post, as I have no wish to stroke his ego by directing more traffic to his site – if you’re really keen enough to go and look, you’ll find him quickly enough via Google (other search sites are available!), but I’ll quote him directly and without editing his claims so you can make a fair judgment.

Mr Worstall attempts to go straight for the jugular:

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Now, given the topics I write about, I expect a fair amount of insult and diatribe. It never troubles me overmuch, because I know that insulting language and ad hominem attacks are a common tactic for those lacking a credible counter-argument.

The second-most common tactic is to fixate on a particular detail try to cast doubt on a whole argument by finding fault with a point that’s secondary at best and often entirely irrelevant. Mr Worstall has obviously been reading the ‘Rabid Right-Wingers’ playbook’. He goes on a bit, so I can’t fit all his next passage into a single screen-capture, so excuse me for inserting it as several images – hopefully they’ll read clearly:

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And then, he comes to his denouement:

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Followed by (I’ll leave out what I ‘shout and scream’ in my post, since you can read that in full here)

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The only small problem with Mr Worstall’s ‘demolition’ of my argument is that he’s demolishing something I haven’t said. My case, entire or otherwise, doesn’t rest on the existence or otherwise of disability claimant statistics up to 2012.

The government’s latest statistics on some aspects of disability claimants does, of course, go up to the recent past. But the government’s statistics on the drop in claimants when Incapacity Benefit (IB) was replaced by Employment Support Allowance (ESA) only goes to 2008.

It only can apply to 2008 – because that’s the only time the switch took place. Which is exactly what I said in the first place.

Of course, we often give away more than we intend when we get a little, er, irate. Mr Worstall has done so on this occasion. As you can see above, he looks at the statistics up to 2012 and confesses:

I will agree that I cannot see any mass fleeing of disability allowance in those figures.

That’s right. Of course, he can’t see any such thing – because it didn’t happen. The statistics on claimant changes because of the IB-to-ESA switch (not DLA) can’t apply to the statistics Mr Worstall ‘discovered’ – because it happened only once, in 2008.

The government and its tame media are presenting something that happened 5 years ago as if it happened now, to imply that the government’s ludicrous and callous benefit changes are not only necessary but are actually working.

The statistics don’t show anything of the sort – and in fact, because of when the period they do apply to, they show the exact opposite.

That was (and is) my ‘entire case’. If Mr Worstall is able to show that to be untrue, he should do so – and if he can’t, he’d be better keeping his mouth closed rather than 'removing all doubt'.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:32 pm

Mr Worstofall's silky scribblings tell us all we need to know about him and sum up what it is to be a Tory apologist. Panic has clearly set in... Very Happy
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by boatlady on Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:47 pm

I've been trying to think through the implications of this particular bit of statistical nonsense - if I'm right in my thinking, it tends to demonstrate that all the 'tough' decisions mad e by the current government that are causing so much hardship are actually based on an even greater lie than we first thought, because the previous administration had in fact already sufficiently 'reformed' the benefit system as to take a significant tranche of people out of benefit and back into the labour pool.
Please, someone, if I'm completely barking here, do let me know (gently if you can)
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by skwalker1964 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:10 pm

boatlady wrote:I've been trying to think through the implications of this particular bit of statistical nonsense - if I'm right in my thinking, it tends to demonstrate that all the 'tough' decisions mad e by the current government that are causing so much hardship are actually based on an even greater lie than we first thought, because the previous administration had in fact already sufficiently 'reformed' the benefit system as to take a significant tranche of people out of benefit and back into the labour pool.
Please, someone, if I'm completely barking here, do let me know (gently if you can)

No, you're exactly right - and it means that those who are on the benefit now are almost all people whose claims already made it through the ESA 'filter' and are justified being on the benefit.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:44 am

If it ain't broke, don't fix it - unless you are a Tory in need of some justifying publicity.
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Government's disability distortion even worse than it first looked

Post by skwalker1964 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:23 am

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More information on the government’s distortion of information on disability claims has come to light, thanks to a pointer from Declan Gaffney via Twitter. While the new information changes the focus slightly, it makes the government’s deceit, in the picture Grant Shapps and others are trying to paint, even worse than was at first obvious.

Shapps & co, along with their friends in the press, have claimed that 878,300 people decided not to pursue their claims for benefit because a change in the benefits system meant that they’d have to be assessed for their level of disability – and that this showed how much malingering there was under Labour and how necessary this government’s attack on disabled people is (though of course they euphemistically call it ‘reform’).

The additional data is a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) spreadsheet showing the caseloads and outcomes for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process for Employment Support Allowance (ESA). This spreadsheet tells a completely different picture from that which Shapps & co have been peddling.

The change from Incapacity Benefit to ESA took place in 2008. If, at Shapps is trying to portray, a huge number of claimants decided to drop their claims because they knew they’d be discovered as cheating, you’d expect to see a graph something like this, showing large numbers of ‘faking’ claimants getting spooked by the fact they’d have to undergo assessment under the new system and withdrawing their claims:

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This is the picture Shapps was trying to paint.

In fact, we see a completely different picture:

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In this graph, the red line shows the total caseload of WCAs and the blue shows discontinued claims. As you’d expect, in both cases you see a ramping up when the rules first come into force, as it takes time to switch over from one system to the other.

But then you see an almost constant blue line, with around 20,000 a month (or 60,000 a quarter) being discontinued. This represents nothing more than ‘churn’ – a turnover of claims withdrawn because of perfectly normal things like people getting better, or finding a job they can do even if they’re ill. As Declan Gaffney points out in his article, every month around 130,000 people come off ESA anyway – it’s not a lifetime benefit, it’s something you claim for as long as you need to. Because of the huge numbers of cases always in the pipeline and the amount of time it takes for them to be assessed and decided, some of the people who no longer need to claim haven’t even had their WCA yet – and they become part of that month’s ’20,000′.

Now look at the relationship between the two lines. Until around April 2011, they stay more or less in sync, with the ‘total caseload’ red line obviously higher, but the blue line tracking it proportionately.

From April 2011, the caseload line rockets – but the blue line stays constant. This shows how the current government intensified its WCA scrutiny of disabled people – but the number of discontinued claims stays the same, and even goes down slightly toward the end of the data while the red line climbs steeply.

If, as Shapps is claiming, the scrutiny was revealing large numbers of people on disability benefits who shouldn’t really be claiming, you’d see the blue line keep pace with the red – or even start to close the gap.

But you don’t – all you see is the same old ‘churn’.

Imagine we were talking about death rates in a particular city. It’s a big city, so every month 10,000 people or so die of various causes. Then the government opens a new hospital. A year later, someone looks at these figures and uses the total of people who had died since the hospital opened to support a headline:

New hospital kills 120,000 people!

It would only take a look at the data to see that the death rate was the same as usual, and that the headline was nonsense – but a lot of people wouldn’t know where to look, or want to bother to look, and so might be fooled. You might have mobs attacking the hospital to burn this ‘deadly edifice’ down – all because of the cynical, knowing abuse of information.

This is exactly what Shapps is doing with his ESA claim, with the support of the usual suspects in the media. If people are fooled, it can lead to increased attacks on disabled people as the ignorant assume they’re probably just idle lead-swingers – and even of those not moronic enough to attack people physically, many will be fooled into standing by while the government conducts its no less deadly financial assault on the vulnerable (disabled or not).

This makes Shapps’ ploy even more cynical, even more damnable and even more criminal than it first appeared. The ‘man’ should be railroaded out of office faster than you can say ‘employment support allowance’.

But in this government, it probably means he’s in line for a promotion.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:35 pm

oftenwrong wrote:If it ain't broke, don't fix it - unless you are a Tory in need of some justifying publicity.

I agree OW the only problem is the Tories think they are the "Great I Am" or they have to get out there with HUGE Spoonfulls of Spin to justify what they are doing to pull the wool over the eyes of the UK public. I tend to think they are nothing more than a shower of LIARS
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Ivan on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:39 pm

More from the Declan Gaffney article to which Steve Walker referred above:-

Grant Shapps owes us all a correction and an apology

Shapps issued a news release over the weekend claiming that 878,300 people claiming incapacity benefit – more than a third of the total – had chosen to "drop their benefit claim entirely /rather than/ face a medical assessment”.

What is being asserted is not just that a certain number of people dropped their claims, but that they all did so for a specific reason - in order to avoid assessment. This assertion is clearly inaccurate. Every month, about 130,000 people leave Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Of these ESA leavers, about 20,000 have not yet undergone a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

During the gap between the initial claim and assessment, many people will see an improvement in their condition or will return to work (with or without an improvement in their condition), and DWP research has shown that these - and not a wish to avoid assessment - are the overwhelming reasons for people dropping their claims before the assessment:-
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The same research found that in 'only a handful' of cases had people who had dropped their claims failed to attend a Work Capability Assessment. Thus to claim, as Mr Shapps seems to have done, that everyone who leaves ESA before assessment is leaving in order to avoid the assessment is patently inaccurate. It is not just that he has no evidence to back up his claim. There is evidence, and it shows he is wrong. He should issue a correction and apology.


Source:-
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by astradt1 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:58 pm

I wonder how many of those on Incapacity Benefit, died as a natural course of illness before being able to be assessed as fit or not to work?
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:40 am

astradt1 wrote:I wonder how many of those on Incapacity Benefit, died as a natural course of illness before being able to be assessed as fit or not to work?

That is quite possible astradt1, I have heard of some that where passed fit for work and died with weeks of that decision.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Mel on Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:26 pm

The thing that bothers me about this false claim re the 878,300 figs is that even if Shapps decides to apologise, how will it reach the masses unless it becomes front page of The Sunday Times?
Can anyone seriously claim that that will happen? Pigs flying and all tht IMO.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:27 pm

At least we now have the Internet to ameliorate the lies of the Popular Press.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Redflag on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:16 pm

oftenwrong wrote:At least we now have the Internet to ameliorate the lies of the Popular Press.

I do not need the internet to spot a tory Lie I can spot one at ten paces OW, Osborne in his speech yesterday was nothing but LIES from start to finish.
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by tlttf on Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:08 am

I've just been mooching through various political web pages and come across a party called "The Pirate Party". They lay out an interesting manifesto (part state sponsored, part private) and throw in a a good few libertarian ideas for getting the country moving again. Does anybody else have any info on them or are they a group of cranks?

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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:17 am

Would their being a 'group of cranks' be an especially compelling attraction for you, landy...? Very Happy
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Re: Taking sides: the dividing lines of British politics

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