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  1. Sadly there is yet another occasion to express shock, grief and to offer condolences to all those bereaved. I certainly agree that religions are a problem because historically they have usually provided a pretext for all sorts of mentally disordered acts and land-grabbing . But there is also a hell of a lot of knee-jerking going on here about people who happen to look and speak and dress differently . If you add up the victims of terrorism worldwide huge numbers are Muslims . The sick twat who murdered Jo Cox in the street wasn`t muslim. The sick twat in Norway who murdered 150 young people wasn`t a muslim. You actually do not have to look far online to see myriad examples of Muslims helping those caught up in these attacks, in Manchester for starters . "Muslims Against Isis " has 106,000 likes on Facebook. I personally have given substantial sums to muslims who are fighting the mullahs` evil regime in Iran -they fight for a State NOT based on religion. BTW The Mosques are refusing to bury the Manchester attacker. They do not consider him Muslim. Yes of course by all means shoot those who present an imminent threat and I believe that they did so here - but at least consider whether they have intelligence to offer if caught alive. There is a background to all this and it must be looked into without fear or favour. I mentioned policing cuts previously which the politician you love to hate drew attention to in November 2015 and which a retired officer repeated on Sky News today. He said the Government were lying about the number of armed response officers on the streets. I absolutely do not apologise for drawing your attention to the following : The Government has just blocked publication of their Report into the funding of terrorism commissioned in 2015 . Why ? Because the contents are "highly sensitive", By highly sensitive they mean LINKS BETWEEN OUR GOVERNMENT AND THE SAUDI SPONSORS OF TERRORIST GROUPS. Yes I am angry about it . They do not want you to know something that is of direct relevance to the growth and sponsorship of terrorism ! The Government with which we have just concluded a big arms deal. (THE INDEPENDENT 1ST JUNE 2017). This is not some eccentric conspiracy theory-it is happening here and now. The usual excoriation of those who are soft on terrorism has taken place in posts above but unless you look at the cause and motivation of those who commit these atrocities and treat them as criminals at the same time-when will this end ? We want an end to this so we don`t have to keep posting like this.
  2. "You can`t just increase incomes, money doesn`t grow on trees it has to come from somewhere". The central thrust of your argument is of course entirely legitimate - that companies have to pay wages as part of their overall turnover. There would come a point when increases so as to hit the core of the business. Having worked for small businesses all my life I am well aware of this. But wage bills are one cog in the process. At the other extreme, If all profits went in dividends instead of wage increases that would ultimately be unhealthy for the economy-these "Captains of Industry" can only buy so many conservatories and Jaguars. One cause of the 1929 crash was the availability of goods compared to the ability of the vast mass of people to afford them .One cause of the 2008 crash was the availability of cheap home loans to the vast mass who could not afford to repay them. Seems a bit of a pattern emerging there. Reharding the effect of wage rises on employment I well remember the uproar that introduction of the Minimum Wage caused-that it would lead to mass unmployment . It quite simply did not do so. Myself and hundreds of thousands of others want an explanation for the fact that CEO pay is now over 160 times more than pay on the shop floor. In the 1960s it was 12 times that of the shop floor. Or are our Chief Exceutives now 150 times better at their jobs ? And don`t get me started on the bankers, six-figure bonuses paid out for making a loss ! That the purchasing power of UK wages has declined by 10.4 % since 2010. Politicians spout off about wage increases but of course if housing transport and living costs have soared those wage increases are not going to help . What they have done which makes people so angry, is give 60-70 billion in tax giveaways to corporations. Has that stimulated fantastic economic growth ? No it certainly has not. What has been happening since the economic crash of 2008 is that wealth has been flowing from the poor to the rich. That well-known socialist rag the Sunday Times Rich List confirms an increase in private wealth of 14% over the past year. £648 billion amongst 1000 families is a mighty big Money Tree ! Their private money tree, blocking the light to small businesses and small investors. If a nurse or police officer asked for a 14% rise now they would be laughed out of court. That`s what is meant when people like Corbyn or Sanders in the USA talk about " system rigged in favour of the rich". There is always a feeling on these threads that the "public sector" have it easy, That is arguable and public sector jobs have diminished hugely because there is no profit to be made in (for example) putting fires out. The ranks of the self-employed have increased to about 4.5 million people in proportion. People who by and large really do not have spare income and who are not even paid the minimum wage . Regarding the "cushiness" of public-v-private jobs, if everyone travelled by train (which I am NOT suggesting) then the risk of an accident to a Company Rep. would be almost zero compared to the risk to a firefighter but I digress.( Is it fanciful to venture that Company Reps suffer so many accidents because they are so busy speeding to the next crumb of commission that they can`t concentrate on safe driving ? Meanwhile the Boss has his chauffeur-driven 7-series...) Sir Philip Green is an extreme example but does symbolise the problems with your argument. There were billions and thousands of jobs at stake, so what does he do to help his country`s economic strength ? Sells the business for a quid to an asset-stripper and buys a new luxury yacht while his thousands of ex-employees -now on benefits- are left fretting over their pensions. The system that allows that to happen is inherently unfair to people who put the stability of their family life and their ability to resist stress and depression in the hands of a complete spiv. At least directors in the public services owe some accountability. Other public services (of which BHS clearly isn`t one) should be taken back into public ownership if only for strategic reasons. Regional investment and growth must be coordinated and lots of privateers make that inefficient at best and near- impossible at worst. A variable rate of Corporation Tax is the proposal-the bigger your Comapny the more you have to pay. We can all agree here that training in substantive subjects and apprenticeships such as engineering is desperately needed. That is exactly why massive long-term investment in education is needed togther with the abolition of tuition fees to give talented but poorer students a level playing field.. I know the philosophy behind this; that "Free Money" for everyone is a very Bad Thing. It encourages laziness, sloth etc. My short answer is "not necessarily". If the resources are there to motivate people then some money to give them and their families security is money well spent. At the moment we just have free money for the Rich and I don`t particularly see them getting off their backsides to help their country either. The longer answer starts with the concept of money seen as a form of social relationship because obviously we cannot live on bits of paper and metal discs alone; they merely signify our entitlement to food and goods. But what happens when it is so easy to produce goods (via automation) that there simply aren`t the jobs there ? The possible solution will be counter-intuitive to many but paying a universal basic income may be the only answer. That may make some peoples` blood boil on here !
  3. I agree that rent needs to be capped and incomes need to increase to lessen the need for benefits. In addition council housing must be built again to give people a stable life. Once you have a stable life, the chance to bring up a family and rights, dignity can be found doing valuable and valued work without letting go of studies to advance ambitions and take further opportunities. There was a time in the 1960s when people thought that in the future we would live on the moon and all drive around in cars like the Lotus Elite. We laugh now and whether they were right or wrong, that mentality stemmed from a society where everyone felt that they had a stake in the future instead of being the latest recipient of a cut in services / receiving a massive bill for their offspring`s tuition fees / getting a repossession notice because they`ve defaulted on the mortgage/ living from year to year hand to mouth in rented accommodation because there is no security and no rent controls. Financing the future ? The only actual numbers you`ll find in the Tory manifesto to give us hope for the future are the page numbers . Nothing in there for the young. McDonnell plans to tax people who earn over £80,000 a year, the rest of us are left alone. Unfortunately Theresa May has chickened out of every debate with anyone who was elected to challenge her so there is a bit of an information blackout from those in power. Bit like Uzbekistan really (not my opinion the words of the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray in his blog). And a parting thought. If Theresa May is so keen to tell us all that Keir Starmer QC is such a lousy Brexit negotiator why did she call an election to allow him the chance to negotiate in the first place ? If it wasn`t for her mega rich mates Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre, Paul Desmond and the Barclay Twins yelling in your ear every day for her, she would be a non-starter. "Overpromoted" is the polite way to put it.
  4. I`m working too hard here sounding off , want me grub ! From research no-one seems to have a procedural problem with closing down the British Tax havens-looks like its a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.... Of course, if their mega rich mates have a stash there, they have a BIG prroblem with it . Yes you Mr. Cameron ! (Oh, where are you - it must be saying "Strong and Stable" all the time, that`s asking for trouble).
  5. Hi Barry, here are some figures as promised : "Tesco Supermarkets employs 209,000 people on low pay. They are paid so badly that in 2015 they claimed £364,000,000 in Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefits. Tesco have 2620 stores in the UK. That means that we the taxpayers subsidise the wages of Tesco employees by £139,000 per store annually". ( I see there were stories about this in the Daily Mail and other papers at the time...difficult to see how the housing benefit bill has stayed where it is given housing costs since) That`s why we shop at Aldi !
  6. C8RKH HI, I think Corbyn is centre-left. Railways and utilities in public ownership, massive council house building , comprehensives for a start. All approved and encouraged by Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan. The level of corporation tax proposed at 26% puts Corbyn to the right of Margaret Thatcher ! Hi Will I mean the tax havens in British Sovereign Territories . The Caymans, Antigua, The Virgin Islands . All are subject to British control and can be legislated to lose their tax haven status. If the billionaires want to move their money elsewhere there can be a transfer tax. (-or would you rather we just made old Margaret down the road lose her motability car and pay (more !) for her to take taxis instead ?)
  7. I have been a lawyer for 25 years. A lot of lawyering is about doing deals with reference to the relevant law. There is also a human element-of empathy with the other side of the story, the respective strengths and pressures you can discern behind their tactics. They want to expect some consistency in your bargaining position and you theirs. There is consideration as to what a judge would think of it all if it goes to trial. There is consideration of what your client wants, balancing a reasonable result that might be less if the stress and strain of taking it to court is taken into account. Theresa May has proved by her various actions that she is hopeless. Don`t get me wrong-I accept Brexit in principle and reading Varoufakis reinforces that view . But having "the lady`s for turning -just not turning up" negotiating ? What a joke. Yes I would prefer Sir Keir Starmer QC MP to be doing it that`s for sure.
  8. Hi Will, read the Labour manifesto. You may think their sums are crap but at least there are some there to read. Incidentally the money held abroad by the mega rich is colossal and it was not earned by the sweat of anyone`s brow. I am hoping to see that well and truly taxed.
  9. Hi Barry give me a few hours and I will dig the figures out for you. The crux is that corporations are relying on the State to meet their wages bills ! Now that`s what I call scrounging.
  10. Hi raise a lot of issues but I will try to well-"assuage" is probably not the right word !- but supply some nitty-gritty, some meat on the bones as it were. There are swings and roundabouts. Without wanting to sound patronising I do not think that it can be all bad news for you. The Labour manifesto says you pay higher tax on earnings of over £80,000 a year. Otherwise there is no increase. (I am a solicitor and my wife works in publishing and even if we both worked in those jobs full-time we would not be £80,000 a year despite all the mythical crap about all lawyers being rich) . If you are subject to that increase the BBC put the annual extra payable at £400 a year. Not exactly a fortune but if people have big outgoings I agree it would make a difference of course. The Tories won`t tell us how much they will raise taxes by, but they have been very careful NOT to say they WON`T raise taxes. The experts say that they will have to whatever. As Labour are abolishing tuition fees as of immediate effect that`s £9 K your offspring won`t have to pay for a course. Plus the application of a grant would lessen student loans still further. 11.8 billion. Costed. In the manifesto. Tories : No change, carry on dissuading talented young people from studying because of the cost. The idea is to free students from the stress and depression caused by inevitable debt. Labour is instituting free childcare also so those (astronomical ) costs will be lessened. Yes there are scroungers but if the companies that employed them paid them more they wouldn`t have to claim benefits in the fist place-see the figures for Tesco. I simply do not recognise the "jealousy" reference. Labour set up the Open University so that working-class people could study in their spare time, get a qualification and get a better job. In the 1950s Tory Harold MacMillan was boasting about how many council houses and comprehensive schools the Tories had built . All "free money" that is suddenly a crazy idea along with abolishing tuition fees because the mega rich want more for themselves. If you look at the figures people The people with "no aspirations" are a tiny minority. The idea of "money for nothing" irritates many hard-working people-of course it does. But at the risk of repeating my stuff again, the sums involved are infinitesimally small compared with the sums extracted by the Philip Greens of this world. Its those we need to go after. A hard Brexit is another subject altogether but as a lawyer doing deals most weeks I can tell you most sincerely (!) that our Prime Minister shows NO sign whatsoever of possessing the necessary skills. Ian, what can I say, I will need to quote some history books but recently many were eager to call Nelson Mandela a "Communist Terrorist" be neutral about it apartheid has been history for 23 years and the sky hasn`t fallen in...
  11. Having suffered a 25% decrease in their GDP...not a good position to be in ! Obviously I don`t know what was said to the EUrocrats by the Greeks afterwards but following on from Varoufakis`s arguments whoever it was probably reminded the Germans that it was the same situation in Germany that got taken advantage of by that man with the silly moustache who shouted a lot ....not good for business or stability...
  12. Hi Will but in the interests of balance I will respond. I agree that May is running an appalling campaign but otherwise I disagree with every single word you write. What I believe is set out in all my posts above and other posts but very briefly- There is a war in this country between the priorities of the megarich and the priorities of the rest of us. (By megarich I mean people with billions not a semi in Surbiton and a Smart Car and SUV for instance) That war has been waged for centuries. Sometimes open (The English Civil War) and sometimes secretive. "To those that hath it shall be given" is the watchword of the usual rulers but they were exhausted and destabilised after WW2 and those seeking social justice got a foot in the door of Government and made big decIsions such as the NHS that are still thankfully with us. Change that benefits all of us (even the rich if they need an ambulance or the fire service ) has to be fought for. Throughout history people who fought against slavery, child labour, decent working hours, decent pay, to extend the vote, get a health service, have had to do just that-FIGHT. In that fight the 2 sides wage a war of ideas. The oldest chestnut in the book now is that anyone who wants change is called a "communist / it`s unworkable / terrorist sympathiser. Usually those ideas get paid to be disseminated by a billionaire press baron such as Murcdoch Rothermere Desmond and the Barclay twins. These are not nice people. They say they care about us but they do not. As above I am not trying to get anyone to vote for a particular politician but to explain where I`m coming from-because I know its not from where many others are coming from (although that`s changing). There is also no law that says rich people are not allowed t care for poor people. If you went to Italy you would know that Ferrari and Prada voted Communist in their day. They had all sorts of reasons but being "Champagne Socialists isn`t one of them. Just sayin`
  13. Well this election is meant to be all about Brexit so I thought it would be appropriate to post here about that new book by Yanis Varoufakis ; "Adults in the Room". You probably know that Mr. Varoufakis was the Greek finance Minister who went to the EU cap in hand to get a bailout for Greece and they told him to sod off. He was basically seen as a troublesome "rebel". He lost his rag with them and had to be replaced by his Government . Of all the people in the debate, he has cause to be angry with the EU having been in "hand - to - hand combat" at close quarters . To sum up, he says that the UK will get the same cold-shoulder treatment and the resolution should be a transitional Norway-style agreement pending actual departure. Anyway I have only read a little of his book but it does sound like an absolutely vital read for whoever gets to go and "negotiate". He is a very good accessible and humorous writer by the way.
  14. Talking of senior moments ; Theresa May ; " I think (Corbyn) ought to be paying a little more attention to thinking about Brexit negotiations" (instead of being on TV in a debate tonight). ..... (and earlier ) "don`t let Corbyn sneak into Number 10 by the back door". Oh Theresa. Do you remember ? DO. YOU. REMEMBER DEAR ? Yes, that snap election you called . Yes. That one. A SNAP ELECTION . That sort of explains why Mr. Corbyn is on television and why he might "sneak in by the back door". Oh sorry....I realise you`ve forgotten about the three times you said you were definitely NOT calling a snap election . Yes. That`s right dear. You went on telly like that nice Mr. Corbyn. You couldn`t make it up.
  15. To quote the late great Arthur Askey "Ay thengyow " Ian !
  16. There`s plenty I disagree with in Ian`s post-railways for instance - funny thing when a plane journey costs less than a train and a four-figure season ticket eats into your very standard of living -oh, and the German Government benefits from your train service (in the same way that Geely will benefit from Lotus but I digress). Public ownership will specifically and determinedly stop that insanity. But the posts do tend to show the very human tendency to live with and even embrace insanity. But I digress again. -but I agree with Ian that this is the crux of it for millions of voters : "Money we can ill afford". I assume that by "we" Ian is not referring to those 1000 UK families who own £648 billion in private wealth between them. And no I don`t envy them if only because in the face of such colossal wealth you can only spend so much/stuff your face/get an obvious hair transplant before you die. (Just give me an XK120 to play with please). As above you may scoff / mock Labours figures...Corporation Tax at 26 % ! How dare they stifle initiative ! That`s nearly as much as under Margaret Thatcher ! But at least Labour bleedin` well HAVE some figures ! Let`s see the Tories explain why we cannot afford it. The ball is well and truly in their Court. They called the election, that attracts a certain degree of responsibility does it not ? A certain degree of evidence and proof that you offer Strong and Stable leadership ? Surely that is a reasonable request ? Perhaps a debate head to head with a weak dull vain hard-left muddled fantasist dreamer who works on his allotment ? What a loser ! That beyond you, Theresa ? What are you afraid of ? What a golden opportunity to show him up for the clueless twat he is ! Oh sorry Theresa, you are starting to supply ample evidence that you would come off the worse. Dear oh dear oh dear. A case of believing your own propaganda. Also some evidence of sheer arrogance and condescension. But let`s not get personal. (Definitely not). You have a certain responsibility to lay out your plans for public finances, for Brexit - even (gasp) a limit on where old people get help with fuel bills ? Instead : SILENCE . Specific pledges on immigration numbers ? That`s what you are strong on Theresa isn`t it ? ( actually looking at her record as Home Secretary) SILENCE. Oh wait I can hear something from you Mrs May : "CORBYN LOVES THE IRA" (oh, is that why he signed a parliamentary motion in 1994 condemning IRA violence ?) HE BLAMES UK FOREIGN POLICY AS A MAJOR FACTOR IN TERRORISM (oh, you mean like the head of MI5 Elizabeth Manningham Buller, Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Kenneth Clarke all do?) HE WILL BE NAKED AND ALONE IN EU NEGOTIATIONS (oh you mean not like you Mrs May with your colleagues threatening a war over Gibraltar, your claiming the EU interferes with the UK election and sending Boris "Mr. Tactful" Johnson in ! Former British Ambassador Craig Murray : "Why would anyone believe that a woman who is not capable to debate with her opponents would be a good negotiator ?")
  17. Hi its me again, the lefty Lotus fan . (Let me rephrase that...more left-wing than the very right wing posters on here who are arguably told by the newspapers that their opinions are merely "moderate" or "centrist"). I know your arguments pretty well-the main one being horror and ridicule expressed at the "Magic Money Tree" possessed by anyone to the left of Ebenezer Scrooge who wants to spend money on the well-being and security of the British people . "Everyone wants free stuff and we can`t pay for it" is the mantra. (Of course you may remember that there was a magic money tree of 500 billion plus to bail out the bankers / bombing Iraq and Libya and Syria-but leaving that aside.....) There are various posts dealing with the concept of borrowing. Yes there will be borrowing. In the same way that any business borrows to invest to grow that business. THE COSTS PROPOSED BY LABOUR : Scrap tuition fees. Reinstate grants : £11.2 billion Schools : £6.3 bn Childcare £6.3 bn NHS/Free hospital parking £5 bn Scrapping public sector pay restraint £4 bn (the ultra-rich just increased their private capital by 14 % last year to £658 billion -perhaps look at that figure in that context!) Reversing benefit cuts £4 bn Free further education : £2.3 bn Social care extra funding £ 8.2 bn TOTAL : 48.6 BILLION HOW TO PAY FOR IT : Raising Corp tax to 26 % (some of you with long memories will remember that it was 30% then 28% under that well-known Socialist Maggie Thatcher ) Raised Income tax on all salaries over £80,000 (oh the poor oppressed will have to pay an extra £400 year according to the BBC) Tax on fat cat bonuses £1.3 bn (wonder what will happen to Mr. Cruz of British/Spanish Airways now the IT "outage" (hmmmmmmm) has hit the fan.....must be another thread in that, surely ?) Tax on offshore property £1.6 bn Anti tax avoidance measures £6.5 bn Tax on financial transactions: £5.6 bn Corporate tax loophole closing : £3.8 bn Inheritance tax adjustment : £ 3.7 bn VAT on private school fees £1.6 bn Other savings : 2.6 bn TOTAL : 52.5 BILLION (with a 3.9 billion reduction margin) Now I would be a fool to expect you to take those figures on trust and I am aware of IFS criticism (although much seems to be based on a frankly cynical view that the target taxpayers will dodge their patriotic duty to help their country`s balance of payments ) But-and it is a BIG but. So big that its not an elephant in the room, its a bloody MAMMOTH Where are the COMPARATOR Tory figures ? Its THEIR election-they didn`t have to call it ! They were the ones who should be ready (alright I know in reality it was just Theresa`s and Lynton`s wacky idea that caught her ministers on the hop...) Where are the Tory figures ? They are so keen to rubbish Diane Abbott ( who BTW was calling for finance for more police officers) but where are THEIR own figures ? A third time. Where are the Tory figures ? Where are those Strong and Stable figures that so many of you will love to cheer to the echo ?
  18. My condolences to all those who suffered loss from this shocking attack. It brings home to us that such attacks can happen at any time anywhere and vigilance is necessary. My thoughts went back to that terrible tragedy in Dunblane when many young kids were murdered-and with no religion or culture playing any part at all. Many have not surprisingly referred to what might be called "cultural or religious" influences and it is very obvious that these played their part but we do have to ask ourselves when this threat of "religious" terrorism increased; it certainly increased after Bush and Blair destabilised the middle east when there was just no need to do so. They didn`t even bother to count the numbers of innocent civilians killed. We attacked Libya in 2011. That seems to have helped......... Not . Now, of course, in no way whatsoever do I suggest that makes it in any way OK for misguided individuals to "take it out" on the West. But it is what happens and has been happening for longer in specific parts of the middle east. I would maintain legitimately for this thread, we have to ask about the resources made available that might prevent these attacks. It is of course impossible to say whether more police would have prevented this tragedy . However I will quote two police officers secondhand from comments reported on social media in the past two days : 1. Inspector Damian O`Reilly to Theresa May`s face 2015 : "I worked in inner city Manchester for 15 years. I felt passionate about what I was doing . I 2012 I had to leave, I couldn`t take it any more because the changes that have been imposed have caused community policing to collapse. That's the reality Ma`am. Intelligence has dried up. There aren`t local officers. They don`t now what`s happening. They`ere all reactive there`s no proactive policing locally. We run the risk of letting communities down putting officers at risk and ultimately risking national security". Theresa May : "This kind of scaremongering does nobody any good". 2. Theresa May (2 days ago) : We are ensuring that resources are available for the police". Ed Abbs : "Let her know that me and 6 other explosive search dogs and handlers made redundant by the local force due to her policies are available"
  19. Hi guys no offence taken. An election is an important topic that is bound to raise some passions and if you knew of my other posts you would see that I actually respect someone with strong views about politics of whatever stripe far more than someone who just has their head in the sand about it all ! Self-Styled Anarchists are the worst, talking about "smashing the state" when you know they`re on a horrible little youthful middle class ego trip with Mummy and Daddy footing the bill for their balaclavas ... Obviously I aim to abide by the Forum`s guidelines . Thanks for the kind words Tony, you do more to get "out there" in the streets at the sharp end than I have ever done although some of my work has been important to the community in areas which I am not at liberty to discuss due to confidentiality. I will blow my own professional trumpet very briefly to say that I was the first item on the BBC Ten o`clock news in 2003 and 2013 about the murders of Zahid Mubarek and Sally Hodkin - both victims tragically failed by State institutions. I also worked with those defending our troops in Afghanistan against the failures of Government to supply them with adequate equipment (the "Snatch Land Rover" cases) , causing needless risk to life. (I mention this just to offset thoughts that I am some kind of cardboard cut out keyboard warrior....) It genuinely angered me to experience how the Government (Blair Brown and Cameron) pretended to care in public but definitely did not and do not care when it came to actually protecting our troops` lives. Well these are big topics encompassing (as they should) politics, global economics and plain human nature...I totally agree that there can be no perfect solution to our problems and agree that no one Party has the answer. The labels "left" and "right" wing can indeed be an obstruction to debate. I believe in strong conventional military forces for this country (and Labour policy remains in favour of Trident) but do read about how much money gets wasted now by the MoD and it is frankly concerning. Two aircraft carriers with no planes ! To summarise I count myself as a patriot but not a nationalist; the achievements of our nation`s people (including of course the Lotus-believe it or not mentioned by Corbyn as an example of British achievement ) are to be celebrated and shared with the world and too many times I see them treated in the press as if they are under threat, but they are not, whatever the Daily Mail says. (I suppose I do see them as under threat from the likes of tax exile Rupert Murdoch who owns far too much of the media). It is only possible to touch on the subjects raised above (might have a go another day !) but we certainly need to plan to pay people enough for them to consume the essentials and build a decent life with a future. Someone in a dingy flat paying a high rent going out to work in a zero-hours contract just cannot build a future for themselves. I think it is fair to say that I have never exhorted anyone on here to like Mr. Corbyn much less to vote for him. In realtion to issues of patriotism I know that he has veterans amongst his friends and spoke to people who were enemies of Britain . Noting that Thatcher and Major both negotiated with the IRA in secret and even the Queen has shaken hands with Martin McGuiness I would not consider that a live issue. I have tried to explain why I think he offers the best chance of a prosperous future and that future requires massive investment . The German and Japanese car industries were once tiny but did not emerge from nowhere; they resulted from sustained long-term investment . Other countries put us to shame with their high-speed rail networks - again that needed massive sustained investment. Short-term profiteering for the benefit of private shareholders militates against such a future; hence the need for more State planning in infrastructure. That is a view shared by Donald Trump amongst other errr...considered..views. There is much more to be said and it may well get said. Need some grub now...
  20. Hi, its a member of Her Majesty`s Loyal Opposition again on this current topic thread. I will try to give you the big picture because that is where I`m coming from. Ant,your graphics are impressive and your generous plea for a harder life for all of us is superficially compelling but the elephant in the room is doing to them what that baby elephant did on Blue Peter all those years ago. Complaing about ever-growing levels of public spending is like driving a car everywhere in second gear and then complaining that it`s crap. The elephant that all the politicians (save one) studiously ignore is that Private wealth in the UK has increased by 14% to a record 658 billion pounds this year. (BBC News Sky etc). By "Private " I mean wealth owned by 1000 people and their families. Please take account of that ; "1000 people and their families". Not companies employing people and paying them a decent wage so that they can buy things and have a decent life by the way . Not an accountable organisation whwre shareholders and/or voters can express dissent and sack Board members. Just Private Families. 658 billion. That`s just not healthy , there is only so much caviar you can eat before you burst. You will say "that`s their right". I agree that is the crucial issue here, no getting away from it. A large village now owns more than what was used to bail out the banks 9 years ago. (£500 million). The last time I looked that 500 billion has not resulted in economic normality much less higher living standards by any stretch of the imagination. The shrieks of outrage from the Tories would have been deafening had those banks been allowed to fail and cashpoints locked shut but at least it would have been free-market capitalist logic to let them fail instead of giving these mega scroungers free handouts . And has the economy boomed since then ? No; real wages have stagnated in the UK on a par with Greece. Instead of lining the pockets of bilionaires` families and making London homes utterly unaffordable that £1158 billion could have been put to use; investing in the future of industry housing and education. Will the billionaires and bankers be able to spend that in their lifetimes even ? You talk of WW2 austerity but the NHS was set up right slap bang in the middle of an exhausted bankrupt nation. They had the political will to do it. Meanwhile here and now for the rest of us a significant rise in interest rates alone would cripple millions with mortgages and debts to pay. UK personal debt is the highest in Europe. I think its very sad that an alternative to the above farce is not being seriously discussed. This isn`t about Corbyns popularity or otherwise. If Joe Pasquale was making the same points about the British economy I`d support him. The voters have a 100% right to loathe him but it would be nice if they could do that NOT on the basis of what The Sun, The Mail The Telegraph the Express and the Times say about him. This thread isn`t about Brexit but Leave or Remain is all a bit of a red herring if the finance available to "Make Britain Great Again" just isn`t there.
  21. Hi Barry , I wouldn`t want to continue a rather sterile ping-pong about particular personalities who we are all bound to have different opinions on. Just to say I wasn`t impressed by the media "coverage" of her undoubted screw-up yesterday. It felt like that story would come before Declaration of World War 3 the way they went on about it ! I have not been impressed by previous coverage by the "media" of legitimate issues that she has raised. I think that these complicated issues of identity and our responsibilities get caricatured by the media . It is also worth pointing out that Ms. Abbott has shared a sofa on telly many times with Maggie Thatcher`s former Defence Minister Michael "SAS" Portillo and they obviously get on perfectly well as people (as should we all). That does not suggest to me, inherent personal "vileness" . I suspect that the only viable answer here would be found in actually sitting round a table with Ms. Abbott ourselves and making allegations to her face which she is well used to facing. Personally I do not trust the media to interpret her motives in good faith. I think the point I was making is that the motivation and context for her remarks does make it inevitable that some would accuse her of racism. If someone believes that black people are discriminated against that is always going to be raised as a "problem" for the rest of us (because if you accept that premise then of course inevitably will be). That is ripe to be interpreted as "reverse racism". Having said that I recognise that her tone gets people`s "backs up" and note that one Maggie Thatcher had elocution lessons early on to make her sound less like a screeching harridan. I am with you 100% on stopping people who abuse the benefits system. I just don`t think that taken in the round, it is the biggest or most immediate problem our country faces. It`s emotive because indeed many of us have worked hard for our lifestyle and don`t like seeing others getting " something for nothing". On the scale of "something for nothing " however, its peanuts compared to getting a six-figure bonus for plunging your bank into the red. I also like to think (as a left wing Social Democrat-the following is certainly not a Liberal policy bleeding heart or otherwise-) , that the State must intervene to offer education and local community work to these people before sanctioning them - a kind of National Service in fact.
  22. "Taxing the shite out of those of us who work for a living to allow those who don`t want to work to live freely". Sorry Slim Boy Fat, I know plenty of people with your views ( and you may know some with mine) I know very full well that in your world almost everyone who doesn`t have a job is a "scrounger". That`s the basis of much right-wing libertarian ideology and funnily enough what many people read in the papers every day.. what a coincidence. I will avoid a very boring stat-fest by stating that the figures simply do not support your very right-wing agenda. Benefit fraud is a tiny proportion of the social security budget. Billions in benefits actually go unclaimed. If you don`t believe me go to all the official figures. The benefits paid to those in work but on low pay are far higher-perhaps their employers should foot the bill not The State. Apparently when a private company scrounges off the State its fine. When a scrote with 8 kids a flatscreen and a pit bull does it everyone (ie the gutter press) goes mad... I honestly don`t know what Stalin has got to do with this but last time I looked Stalin certainly did not approve of shirkers (except him and his immediate gang of course) - I agree with you that his example of "socialism " is to be utterly avoided. The Russia of today is certainly not Stalin`s Russia and much of its arms industry is underpinned by British banks. In the frankly unlikely event of a Russian invasion we should fight with much-increased conventional weapons and not commit national suicide and genocide at the same time. Strangely you get benefits cut in this country if you are disabled. You have to prove that you are unfit to work. This frankly brutal policy is what the Tories have left us with. It is costing lives. Tory proposals to close 24 A&E departments won`t help.... Of course wealth has to be created. Much of it is created off the sweat of employees. Thank God for the NHS which means that a healthy workforce can easily be maintained. The alternative is nothing short of Victorian. This Tory Government has borrowed and borrowed and borrowed and borrowed-more than the previous Labour Government. And what has been achieved ? Stagnant wages and inflation. Not even the Maybot has promised to increase pensions or lower taxes. Today all they could do was slag off Corbyn (apparently the Tory poster wants "Bombs for the Army" (ouch) " and a tax and debt bombshell from Labour. Well itb helps Mrs. May if you would actually tell the electorate (remember them?) what YOUR policies are first ! The least we could expect. As you know from this thread I would not try to defend Tony Blair`s economic or foreign policy record . I see Tony Blair basically as John Major with a spray tan and electric guitar. The crucial issue is that the real elite to be combatted are not Metropolitan croissant munchers in Islington (although they can be annoying) they are those with the billions that could be invested in Britain and make this country a world leader in new technologies but instead they sit on their fortunes like dogs in mangers . (-Is it easy for others to believe what I believe (and much of what Corbyn believes) ? I believe so. Look at the figures do the maths and combine it with a desire to see our nation succeed for the vast majority and not Sir Philip Green and the logic becomes inexorable).
  23. As we are still a free country (just) I will certainly respond to the above "isn't anyone but the Tories awful ?" cosy club. Oh how predictable. On the day that May`s entourage shuts local journalists in a room so they can`t cover her car crash "meet the Party Workers -sorry public " campaign , -the media crows crow and crow about Diane Abbott screwing up. Yes she screwed up in ONE interview out of SEVEN that day. She should not have screwed up at all but she corrected her figures at the end. Her policies are costed and correct. Police funding Theresa. Do you think there should be more ? Hello ? Hello ? Anyone there ? Wassat ? " Strongman Gable "-sorry can`t hear you through that bunker door Theresa. Barry you call her "horrible racist incompetent and vile". These are strong words that are bound to raise hackles with someone. Where is your evidence ? Have you met her ? Spoken face to face with her ? I suspect that Theresa May is incompetent and vile but I might at least give her a chance to explain why she thinks cuts cuts and more cuts to public services are the way ahead for our country while her parrot like chanting of strong and stable strong and stable strong and stable goes on and on and on with no evidence to back it up. I can shout over and over that I am a fruitbat covered in green foam but it doesn`t make it true. Expect more in this vein as the election (oh funny that -if you are so strong and stable why do we need an election ?) proceeds .
  24. Thanks Guy,( I`m always looking out for Lotus 2.2 engine experts.....)
  25. I`ve noticed the water consumption go down a bit over the past few "test" drives, seems like the K Seal might be continuing to do its stuff. But still looking at new head gasket unless a miracle happens.
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