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(no subject)
2012
unknownj
It's weird, my job seems to be changing me in weird ways... I feel less politically motivated, less prone to writing long journal entries (except those about work), and just generally more docile.. I said something a couple of years ago about how I suspected that being part of the capitalist machine grinds everybody down until they can't oppose it, and it looks like I was right.

I can't even be bothered to finish this entry...

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They add stuff to the watercoolers I bet...

The next stage is to begin walking in lock step with all the other drones going to and from work. It's really eerie to try and step round the slow-moving crowds in the morning and evening, but even worse once you realise that you can hear all their footfalls occuring in unison.

No, they haven't got to me yet.

I can't see the text cursor... I can't see the text cursor... arrgh... help. Fix the colours!

Indeed, I have the same problem with the cursor - it's most disorientating...

Give it 6 months, you'll be joining the Lib Dems.

I already vote for them, what would be the point in joining them, and why would that be significant? :oP

They're spineless scum with no agenda of their own, consumed by the kind of classical liberals that should have died out 100 years ago on the right and desperate social democrats who think they're very princpled by not being members of the Labour party on the other.

< /rant>


They're spineless scum

When was the last time Tony Blair actually stood up against, say, America? What about recently, when GWB pretty much admitted that the roadmap was stupid, and told Ariel Sharon that he could keep parts of the West Bank? Did Blair do anything about that?

with no agenda of their own

Better no agenda than the Tory agenda (currently campaigned for by both Labour and the Conservatives)

consumed by the kind of classical liberals that should have died out 100 years ago on the right and desperate social democrats who think they're very princpled by not being members of the Labour party on the other

As opposed to the members of the labour party, who aren't principled enough to belong to the Liberal Democrats, and instead have successfully destroyed what was once a decent, honest party. Back in the 1980s, I would happily have voted for Labour if I had been old enough, but Tony Blair has since made them into some sort of middle-ground Tory-Lite party, with successive home secretaries that have championed Tory policies (ID cards, anyone?), while pushing through things like tax cuts, allowing council tax increases (instead of bringing council tax under control by making it means-tested like income tax), top-up fees, and a whole host of other policies that no self-respecting party of the Left would ever dream of coming up with.

I'm sorry, but Labour sold out to attract the mass-market. That's the only reason they got elected in '97, and is the reason why I would never vote for them. They clearly realised that being left wing was never going to get them into power, so they've decided to go for the other option instead. No wonder the leaders of the opposition keep finding that they're unable to successfully attack Labour - they're having trouble telling the difference between it and their own party...

In short, Labour SERIOUSLY suck, as evidenced by practically every Torylike policy they've put through since Tony Blair took the reins... They're no better than the Tories, and that's really saying something...

I thought you were lacking in political motivation? :P

When was the last time Tony Blair actually stood up against, say, America?

How do you honestly expect premier of a small island at the edge of Europe to effectively 'stand up' to America? Blair speaks out against and exerts pressure on Washington on environmental and trade issues.

You ask what Blair did about Bush and Sharon abandoning the Roadmap, but again, what are you actually expecting him to do? British and indeed European opinion count for nothing in the region. The Frecnh government took a stance on the Roadmap situation - this has done nothing other than further damage their own relations with the US. Other than maintaining diplomatic pressure - which the government does - there's very few options open to Blair or any other European leader.

Back in the 1980s, I would happily have voted for Labour if I had been old enough, but Tony Blair has since made them into some sort of middle-ground Tory-Lite party, with successive home secretaries that have championed Tory policies (ID cards, anyone?)

I fail to see how proposing ID cards, which are deeply unlikely to become compulsory anyway, constitutes championing Tory policy. I'm not going to defend David Blunkett because I don't particularly like the man, but the example is a poor one.

You say that back in the 1980's, you'd happily have voted for Labour, but during this period the party changed immensely with Neil Kinnock shifting them away from domination by union dinosaurs and towards a more moderate position. Kinnock was the true moderniser of the party, not Blair. It was Kinnock who first floated the possibility of changing Clause 4, which was hideously out of date by the mid-80's anyway.

while pushing through things like tax cuts

Overall, taxes have risen under Labour, which is how they've funded delivery of record levels of public service investment.

allowing council tax increases (instead of bringing council tax under control by making it means-tested like income tax)

There will be changes to the council tax system after the next general election. People champion a means-tested 'local income tax', but such a system exists in many American states, where is is considered to be both complicated and unpopular. Everyone knows council tax is far from ideal and very often unfair, but any future form of local taxation must be well considered, not an ill judged replacement as a result of public pressure.

top-up fees

Top-up fees are both necessary and fairer than the current system. It's not unreasonable to ask people to pay a means-tested contribution to the cost of a higher education that will significantly increase their lifetime earning, is it? Under the current system, many lower-middle earning families, especially those with three or more children, are penalised, being expected to cough up up to £1200 a year to keep their offspring in education. Under the new system, not only does the financial plight of the parents of undergraduates have to be a consideration when going to university, but the reintroduction of grants and bursaries means serious student hardship is likely to become a thing of the past.

The Lib Dems have proposed a 'graduate tax', but this is remarkably similar to the top-up fees system - having money deducted from your wages for a period of time after you leave university. Again, the size of the deduction is based on your ability to pay. The only difference between the LD proposal and the top-up fee system is the top-up fees will leave a hole of £2bn in the university system in transition from the current fee system to the new one, whereas the LD scheme would leave a £3bn hole. The latter is hardly desirable when our universities are crying out for funds.

You may questions why, if the top-up fee proposals were so fair, large number of Labour MP's chose to stand up to the government. To paraphrase an MP from South Yorkshire, this wasn't a protest vote against university fees - they sensed an opportunity to bring down Blair and they took it. ("He could have offered every student 10 grand a year and scrapped fees totally and I'd have still voted against the bastard").

Blair speaks out against and exerts pressure on Washington on environmental and trade issues.

Oh, so those environmental summits that the US takes no notice of, we have Blair to thank for that? As far as I can see, the UK doesn't even try to influence the US on anything that actually has world importance.

You ask what Blair did about Bush and Sharon abandoning the Roadmap, but again, what are you actually expecting him to do?

Stand by his alleged commitment to peace in the middle east?

which are deeply unlikely to become compulsory anyway

That's not what no-eyes is saying

I'm not going to defend David Blunkett because I don't particularly like the man, but the example is a poor one.

They're not economically left or right wing, but socially they're a right wing policy. Ish. But as we both know, it's not a simple spectrum. However, they are an idea far more typical of the Right than the Left in our current system.

Overall, taxes have risen under Labour, which is how they've funded delivery of record levels of public service investment.

Not even remotely enough. Whack another 20% onto income tax for high earners, then we'll talk. As for the investment in public services, I haven't seen much of that, but perhaps that's because the taxes seem to be funding our military efforts.

There will be changes to the council tax system after the next general election.

I'll believe that when I see it. Your flippancy towards the issue is probably due to the fact that you don't have to pay it. When you get clobbered with a £1400 bill, utterly disproportionate to your earnings and financial position, maybe you'll feel more strongly about it.

Top-up fees are both necessary and fairer than the current system.

Wrong.

a higher education that will significantly increase their lifetime earning

Also wrong - under many circumstances, people who go straight into work can often earn more than people who take certain degree courses. Furthermore, income tax is the way in which people who earn more contribute more - let's raise that instead.

but the reintroduction of grants and bursaries means serious student hardship is likely to become a thing of the past.

How naive. Those things only apply to people at the bottom of the spectrum. Lower middle class families will not be in a position to receive financial aid. Working class families from inner-cities, perhaps. But your average kid in an average school is going to be worse off from top-up fees, and the fact that the payment is deferred to the end of the degree will only add to their anxiety about the debt they're getting themselves into at uni.

Again, the size of the deduction is based on your ability to pay

Very wrong - under the LD system, it's based on your ability to pay based on the job you get - it's directly related to your income. Under the Labour system, the amount you pay is based on your parents' income before your degree. See the difference?

Top-up fees are stupid. Basically, stupid. You might argue that the people who pay them are the people who benefit, but that's not so. Arts students often do not benefit financially from their degrees, since they go into the same jobs as non-graduates half the time. Average people benefit from the university-education of their doctors, dentists, the engineers who make their cars, etc.

Everybody benefits from higher education, so it makes sense that everybody should contribute to the funding of higher education. And how should they do that? Income tax. The answer to every question should always be income tax. It's the fairest means of taxation, can be scaled in such a way as to be really effective at getting rich bastards to pay for the less fortunate, and comes out of most peoples' salary before it hits their bank account, meaning that they don't really have to worry about keeping money aside (for, say, council tax) each month.

Income tax, income tax, income tax.


I'm sorry, but Labour sold out to attract the mass-market. That's the only reason they got elected in '97, and is the reason why I would never vote for them. They clearly realised that being left wing was never going to get them into power, so they've decided to go for the other option instead.

Well yeah, Labour obviously developed a number of more popular, centrist policies. But there's the choice. You can sit at the sidelines, shouting socialist rhetoric that 80% of the electorate don't really care about, allowing the Tories to get into power again and again and again, slowly dismantling the welfare state, or you can be brave, take a more centrist economic line, and push through social justice from the government. I know which one I prefer.

No wonder the leaders of the opposition keep finding that they're unable to successfully attack Labour - they're having trouble telling the difference between it and their own party...

Record levels of investment in health and education. Record numbers of doctors, teachers and nurses. Falling crime. Record levels of unemployment. Doesn't sound like the results of any Tory government I could name.

Yes, Labour did adopt a more electable stance, and on certain levels, that was what was needed to get rid of the Tories. However, that doesn't make their policies right, and that doesn't mean that people who still believe in socialist policies should vote for them. Hence why I am not.

...

Record cost of higher education, record levels of council tax, record civil rights violations through the suggested use of ID cards. Those all sound like Tory policies to me, but wait, it's Labour!

Whatever happened to losing your political will?

Forget the ID cards. They're a distraction from the real purpose of the exercise. The proposed system relies on a centralised database containing the biometric details of every single card holder.

In the event of being stopped and searched by the police (armed police, with no reason required of course, under the antiterrorism act), the idea is that they have the power to identify anyone on the spot by taking their biometric details and comparing it against the database, card or no card. I'm sure the possibility of combining this system with CCTV hasn't been forgotten, either.

Now, imagine if you're told:

"We've decided that every individual in the country must visit their local goverment office and have their fingerprints, mugshot and an iris scan taken. This will be entered into a national database for future reference. Failure to comply will result in a statutory fine, or gaol if you continue to resist, in which case these details will be taken regardless."

Suddenly it sounds a lot more sinister without the comforting shiny piece of rectangular plastic, doesn't it?

You'll be glad to know that the system is intended to be able to store a lot more than just these details - dna fingerprints have been touted as just one more obvious bit of information to store.

Don't tell people that you want to identify them at will, tell them that they can identify themselves at will. How empowering.

Orwell was about 20-25 years early.








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