Politics / Current Affairs / Blog thread

Rant and rave at will, that's why you're here, this is the internet after all

Moderators: marowak, Blonde, skhmmxi

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Politics / Current Affairs / Blog thread

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:34 am

Well, if we can have a thread about comic books, we can have one about this type of stuff. Stops it getting muddled in with the 'I have nothing to say' thread.

Anyhow, i've only really just started to seriously digest the info being put out by blogs such as order order and samizdata. What other blogs do people read / recommend as good daily news feed?

Also, any thoughts on current BBC top story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7893890.stm

About time this started to make the news more. Both the government and media rely on fear to erode human rights. Certainly nothing new, but if the BBC are running it as a main story, maybe things are picking up a bit of momentum and the government may have to re-think it's 'we own you' stance.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:25 pm

I'll just proceed and talk to myself... It's what i do elsewhere so i've no problem with that!

+++ IPSOS/Mori : 20% Point Lead +++

Tories +4% to 48%
Labour -2 to 28%
Lib Dems 17%.

Interesting to see if Brown even survives to another election

User avatar
frank
Site Admin
Posts: 4196
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:47 pm

Post by frank » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:33 pm

incoming governments don't win elections. outgoing governments lose them. which isn't necessarily a bad thing - parliamentary democracy is necessarily a retrospective thing. New Labour didn't convince the country they had the answer in 1997, they reassured people that they'd be passable and then watched the Tories self-destruct. The next election will be similar. It's not an ideal system, but, well, insert Churchill quote here.

I used to enjoy reading This Modern World as an American leftist blog, but it's kinda deteriorated into Tom complaining that he isn't getting paid enough any more. Jonathan Schwarz is a good read (tinyrevolution.com) though i can't say i agree with masses of what he has to say.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:34 pm

You will have known this, undoubtedly, but i had no idea there UK Libertarian Party... http://lpuk.org/

User avatar
frank
Site Admin
Posts: 4196
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:47 pm

Post by frank » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:51 pm

yup. they're a little... odd. given the tradition of rejecting mainstream politics within libertarianism, it seems strange to form a traditional political party. but hey.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:54 pm

I can't buy totally into allowing people freedom in all senses (eg i'm illiberal, according to the 'test' on the website, for being anti legalisation of guns). Sadly, i think society needs controls / barriers to guide it. We have come too far down the road of being drip fed by media outlets to suddenly take all of that away, we'd melt down.

User avatar
frank
Site Admin
Posts: 4196
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:47 pm

Post by frank » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:23 pm

..and we're not melting down already..? i'd argue that state control infantilises people.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:39 pm

But don't you feel that certain people need infantilising in today's society? Precisely because of the can't do culture and government interventionalism? My point is, to suddenly remove those boundaries could be a nightmare. I can think of people i've had the displeasure of meeting that make me question the right to vote being granted to people without them having some sort of sanity check. You cannot suddenly grant carte blanche to these people as they will not understand how to use it and will, without doubt, misuse it. If you think what we're in at the moment is a meltdown, give the people guns and violent porn (another question on the libertarian test!) and see where we end up!

Think i may have said it before, but i find myself very torn. Whilst i'm anti governmental intervention in a lot of areas and especially against the whole, for want of a better term, surveillance society, I am still anti-humanist. I do not feel we warrant what we have and would argue that the downfall of society as a whole and the humankind as a race would be in the better interests of the planet. Which then takes me back to a pro-libertarian view that i can't justify as i don't feel that people could be charged with the responsibility. It's not exactly something we could 'test' and turn on and off all that easily.

rockface
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:56 am

Post by rockface » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:45 pm

frank wrote:..and we're not melting down already..? i'd argue that state control infantilises people.
That's a bit of a broad statement. Whilst I agree that people have the right to think for themselves, state control is necessary in some cases. For example access to alcohol, tobacco and drugs should be limited to adults, the state has to control this. Employment law, health, education and defence all have to be controlled by the state.
It would be great if everyone could be relied upon to police themselves, to make sure that their own children were educated, to look after their sick and their dying, to have the decency to pay their workers a fair wage. But the vast majority of people are cunts. You, me, everyone on this forum, we all love the idea of a society where people look out for each other, replete with unselfish acts, but I bet not one person here can honestly hold their hands up and say that they have always chosen the path that will benefit everyone rather than themselves.
I'm not saying that politicians don't have their own best interests at heart. Of course they do, if you were a stand up sort of guy you wouldn't be a politician, but state control in some aspects of society is a necessity.


In my opinion.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:49 pm

That was what i wanted to say, but put a lot more eloquently...

User avatar
frank
Site Admin
Posts: 4196
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:47 pm

Post by frank » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:41 pm

rockface wrote:
frank wrote:..and we're not melting down already..? i'd argue that state control infantilises people.
That's a bit of a broad statement. Whilst I agree that people have the right to think for themselves, state control is necessary in some cases. For example access to alcohol, tobacco and drugs should be limited to adults, the state has to control this. Employment law, health, education and defence all have to be controlled by the state.
It would be great if everyone could be relied upon to police themselves, to make sure that their own children were educated, to look after their sick and their dying, to have the decency to pay their workers a fair wage. But the vast majority of people are cunts. You, me, everyone on this forum, we all love the idea of a society where people look out for each other, replete with unselfish acts, but I bet not one person here can honestly hold their hands up and say that they have always chosen the path that will benefit everyone rather than themselves.
I'm not saying that politicians don't have their own best interests at heart. Of course they do, if you were a stand up sort of guy you wouldn't be a politician, but state control in some aspects of society is a necessity.


In my opinion.
massively and passionately disagree. the problem here is that the state isn't this benevolent, super-human organisation. it's just another bunch of people pursuing their own ends (and given that they're usually power hungry fuckers, their ends are usually more suspect). alcohol, tobacco and drugs should, in my opinion, be open to all people all of the time immediately. for one reason: personal responsibility.
on the issue of children, basically your argument says (probably correctly) that children are not mature enough to make some decisions for themselves. fine. ergo someone else has to make them for them in their interests. the question is who. the state, or their family? i know which one i'd prefer.
which leads back to the broader point: the state is not a benevolent institution that can make better decisions about society. the state is a bunch of cowardly, power hungry fucks, the kind of people who slimed their way into being SU presidents at university, the kind of people who think your shit is their business all the time (e.g.: the entire political class), who relish the ability to tell you what to do. they do not, and never have had, your best interests at heart.
i'm not an anarchist, i believe in government and a state of some form, but i believe that a culture that treats them as the enemy is both honest and healthy. and you know what, in a free society, people will fuck up, fail, and have a shit time. they still do in our over-governed society as well... it's just that everyone has to tolerate a massive loss of freedom in our current situation.
it's precisely because people are cunts that i feel like this. if people are cunts, why concentrate power in the hands of a minority??? access to which is decided by adherence to the rules of the media circus that we call modern democracy? i am 10079829209% more scared of Gordon Brown than i am of kids at the end of my road.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:01 pm

Frank, you acknowledge that you do believe in government of some form but have no trust or faith in (and positively fear) the current government. Certainly no argument there and not much hope on the horizon by the looks of the populist, vote-chasing policies coming out of Tory HQ at the minute. Political parties do seem to have merged into one massive ball of slime. Also agree with the SU analogy. I always look at politicians as failed solicitors, not quite capable of cutting it when you had to rely on fact but pretty good at spouting shit nonetheless. But what do you propose as an alternative? More than that, a viable alternative? Idealistically speaking, having control of our own destinies and lives is what any sane minded individual wants but how to get there? At what point does the government get involved if it is not at point of sale with drugs / alcohol / tobacco? Is it when a child becomes an addict? When a child steals for the first time to fund a habit? It's a sensationalist example but i'm genuinely keen to know what your view is. Or is the child collateral damage in a darwinist society? I realise that there are child drug addicts out there now, but do you not think it would become widespread should we remove the barriers currently in place? Would this be part of a learning process for society to then recover and learn from? Is there not then an argument that society wouldn't be able to cope and would collapse into itself?

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:06 pm

And on a totally different topic... RBS bonuses have just been capped. Does anyone think this is actually a good idea? Whilst in the short term it will save the taxpayer a negligable amount of cash, in the medium and long term it will see all talented individuals at the banks do one to new homes where they can earn a far higher salary. This will lead to talent deficits at the 'nationalised' banks, meaning the government (and the tax payer) will see a far slower and less impressive return for their cash, if any. Why punish the vast majority for the failings of a few? It's not like the banks will be pushing out their MBS products any time soon so those staff involved in the losses will be shown the door; makes sense to keep those who have / will turn profits as future revenue streams. Another example of government pandering to public opinion rather than looking at what is actually for the good of the country.

Oh for a 'This Lady's not for turning' type character :wink:

User avatar
frank
Site Admin
Posts: 4196
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:47 pm

Post by frank » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:14 pm

Re: government intervention. drawing the line as to when the state does or does not interfere is the golden question really and so i don't have a snappy answer to that (if i did i'd go into politics, ha). i think a guiding principle is the issue of harm to oneself versus harm to others. i firmly believe that the government has no place in stopping people hurting themselves. i also think that the boundaries of "harm" to other people have been implicitly massively over-extended by the current government. e.g. second hand smoke: if you're bothered about it, don't go to smokey places. fuck. anyways, yep, this is the centre of the issue and i don't know the full answer, but like i say, i think a culture in which there is an inbuilt suspicion of government is healthy (one of the things i like about american culture).

bonuses: i think the problem with the bonus system as it has been has been the divorcing of individuals from risk. the standard argument, that risk-takers need to be rewarded, is a valid one; however, if fred goodwin and pals suffer in no tangible way (other than public opprobrium) from catastrophic performance, in what way can they actually be said to have risked anything? ergo what i'd suggest is a removal of capping of bonuses, but institute a system where massive bank losses come with real personal financial losses for the individuals making the decisions.

Pete
Posts: 6621
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:10 am

Post by Pete » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:25 pm

frank wrote: bonuses: i think the problem with the bonus system as it has been has been the divorcing of individuals from risk. the standard argument, that risk-takers need to be rewarded, is a valid one; however, if fred goodwin and pals suffer in no tangible way (other than public opprobrium) from catastrophic performance, in what way can they actually be said to have risked anything? ergo what i'd suggest is a removal of capping of bonuses, but institute a system where massive bank losses come with real personal financial losses for the individuals making the decisions.
To me, the simple answer is to pay in shares, deferred for a number of years. That way, big bonuses are still paid, but the long term interests of the company is still key in the benefactor receiving all / any benefit. There is very little chance of retrospective returning of bonuses so to now introduce caps is bolting the proverbial after the horse has bolted. We have to try and do something to get this money back, which means attempting to get the best staff into the banks where our money (as taxpayers) resides.

Goodwin, Hornby, all those types, are just more examples of beurocrats (sp?) and political wannabes. Their salaries aren't actually that high when put alongside those working in boutiques, it's just the prestige and responsibility of the role which they hold that draws them to it. It returns to the point of those who go into politics and their motives for being there. It's much the same in finance. The really capable go on to private boutiques, set up their own small firms and take home tens if not hundreds of millions a year whilst keeping their heads down. Then those who take the top jobs at nationally recognised banks accept shareholder limitations on salary in exchange for knighthoods and being talked about in the newspapers daily. When that is their motive, you must question their ability.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests