Still Dews

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  1. Radio 4 Woman's Hour - more lovely landlord behaviour

    I heard this. It was grim. The most shocking aspect for me was the police's attitude to the crime that the landlord was committing against the tenant couple. From her telling of events there was clear evidence of the crime and the police would have been able to find more evidence if they looked into it. People are definitely prosecuted for voyeurism. So either the officers didn't know the law, or for some reason were just completely dismissive of this crime. You are right the whole thing had a Dickensian London feel to it. They did a good job of linking it to poor tenants rights but I'm always a bit uneasy by placing everything (ie any aspect of a dysfunctional housing market) in the context of a shortage of housing, but that's because I'm not completely convinced by it. Presumably the landlord in question is continuing to act like a complete perv to his current tenants with impunity.
  2. Very very interesting. Off topic still but references to his name also being Jesus might have been taken out of later versions of the gospels once the name Jesus had become sacred. From Encyclopaedia Brittanica and the linked article in the Jewish Encyclopaedia. At least he wasn't called Brian:- 'welease wodger'
  3. Are you a true liberal?

    I would be interested to know what your lib/dem councillor says. He or she ought to be familiar with the arguments if they know anything about the history of their own party. One way to get ideas out there these days is to blog (!). Though I don't know how to go about doing that. These ideas have had some traction though - the self-reliant individual as the main source for prosperity and progress runs through Thatcher/Reagan and right wing thought. But they don't seem to recognise that we don't have the positive conditions for everyone to make the best of themselves. Individual initiative works best for people who have established privilege, and whose interests are in accordance with those of vested interests. Without tackling that aspect, the resulting political philosophy is harsh and inhumane. I think that might have done some damage to the Liberal ideology. Nowadays if you talk about the primacy of the individual you sound like a raving Thatcherite. People look at political ideas through the lens of left and right. This is an important point: I think it's this as well: it is difficult to persuade voters that the state should give up responsibilities it has been given. It's a problem inherent to democracy - each prospective government promises that it will do some things that need doing, which are then brought into the fold of government. But it's a one way street. It also encourages public debt because each government is only thinking of the next 5 years, but has promised things that must be paid for. Yes it seems to work doesn't it. It's really attractive. The only thing I would add is that though he sees 'spontaneous' associations as an important part of this, he is missing the communities that people don't really choose - of neighbourhoods, villages and towns (or even schools and work places). I think that might be deliberate on his part, but it's still an important layer. I'm not sure your reading of the 1930s is right. I don't think WWII was entered into as a distraction exercise. - though 20th century isn't my era. The Third Reich had their own reasons for going to war but from a British perspective appeasement was the order of the day until very late. And then we spent the next few decades avoiding war with the USSR. That doesn't mean we are not heading towards armed conflict now of course - although I'm not quite sure what you are getting at there. It sounds a bit too conspiracy theory for me - what makes you think this? (Dare I ask...) Would it be right to say you are pessimistic about individual people - eg. choosing the free lunch, and going along with propaganda narratives etc.? Ramsay Muir's thesis requires a completely optimistic view of 'living human souls' capacity to be creative, have energy, and pursue their own ideals in their own way. I think that might be why it's so attractive.
  4. Are you a true liberal?

    I've read it. You are right it is very relevant today, and I think this is basically my politics too. But what specifically caught your imagination? I hope people could get behind a politics that believed that 'self-reliant individual energy is the source of all progress; and its aim is to create the positive conditions which will enable every man and woman to make the most and best of their own powers' ...'incompatible with a policy dictated by deference to vested interest, to wealth, and to established privilege.' Some contemporary politicians pay lip service to the first bit, but they don't want to deal with the second bit. The question is how to? I think what's happened in recent decades is that the political ideology of the smaller state, and individual economic agency, have been bundled up with more socially conservative and restrictive attitudes of the right. Whereas more liberal attitudes to how individuals should be able to live (now termed 'progressive') have been tied to a politics on the left that favours a larger state and higher tax/borrowing. So a Liberal in the 19th Century English mould has nowhere to go. But it might be possible to get these ideas circulating more widely. It struck me that his fears about democracy could be written about today's democratic systems. It's interesting he already had those doubts considering democracy in its current form was so young then. But, he seems to take the free expression of ideas (if not the sensible use of it within the party system) for granted - I'm not so sure that we can. Thanks for posting it.
  5. Presidents Club

    I agree it's unlikely any charges will be brought. But guest_northshore is right to say the law disagrees with you that people getting drunk and doing the things that were described does not constitute either sexual harassment (at work in this instance), or assault.
  6. Boomers will never get it

    On the question of whether the baby boomer generation will ever 'get' it' - I'm sure an increasing number will get it – just as with the population at large - but some don’t want to . My parents are pre baby boomer and early baby boomer. They sort of get it. They see how unaffordable houses are in comparison to in their day, however you measure it, and they are not of that ilk who think they are in the position they are because they were super clever. Yet they don’t want to see any connections between the fact they are so comfortable (in terms of houses and pensions) and the fact that younger generations will not be. Many people in that age group are comfortable and don’t need to think about it. Even for those who have begun to see it clearly, it’s not a priority when thinking about how to vote or what to raise with their MP. As they are demographically big that matters. I am Gen X (I think!) and so I have been luckier from a housing affordability point of view than younger generations. Even people who are only a bit younger than me. But there has been another baby boom in recent years, so maybe the next generation to be culturally and economically dominant are the ones who are currently children.
  7. Are you a true liberal?

    The chapters by Ramsay Muir don't seem to be available in the digitised version of the book either.
  8. Presidents Club

    This seems like an important point. The job of hostess (which I didn’t know existed until this story broke) seems to occupy a strange place somewhere between waitress and - I don’t know what – escort? But they haven’t consented to being groped by agreeing to do the job. Contrary to what some people are saying in this thread it is illegal to grope someone or put your hand up their skirt or show them your genitals, if you have no reason to think it would be welcome. It suggests a cynical and dismal view of the male guests if it’s assumed that putting a pretty young woman in the vicinity will make them all spend more money – but maybe it works, or there wouldn’t be agencies dedicated to supplying hostesses
  9. Nutella price crash - new recipe

    Yes you're right. It's strange that the supermarkets haven't managed this. They can't have changed the recipe that much as the taste really hasn't changed as far as I can tell. Probably hoping to get some media coverage? It's interesting that it was first produced because of a coco shortage ...
  10. Oh dear Labour

    Yes a surprising point of view for a labour supporter - or maybe not as many people must have formed their views in the period when labour were in government encouraging people to put money in property. He's probably representative of quite a lot of voters and it illustrates the problem.
  11. Yes this seems to get to the heart of the issue. Why should it be framed like this? And I'm not quite sure who's doing the framing. It's based on a report from a government department, but it's not clear to what extent they are pushing the 'so therefore younger workers should pay more' angle, and to what extent that's been built on in the reporting, to stoke the intergenerational discontent which make controversial headlines.
  12. Here are the accounts for the Great Britain National Insurance Fund. Spyguy linked to the Wikipedia entry for the fund above. It's clearly not a pension fund in the way a company pension fund would work but it is a separate fund. NI contributions are paid into the fund which is separate from general tax revenue. It is used to pay many benefits including the state pension. It requires a surplus because: “The National Insurance scheme is financed on a pay as you go basis with contribution rates set at a level broadly necessary to meet the expected benefits expenditure in that year, after taking into account any other payments and receipts, and to maintain a working balance.” The fund can 'lend' the surplus to the government, but it can't borrow. So it needs to keep a healthy balance. But predictably the balance is getting smaller. I guess it is predicted to disappear by 2035.
  13. Oh dear Labour

    This is really interesting. I didn't know the labour party did that - do you have to be a party member to submit an idea or could it be anyone? The conservative party seems to require that you join a local group and go to meetings if you want to suggest policies. I bet that generates a much more boring set of suggestions. The three submissions you link to are completely detached from reality. I particularly like the idea of, say, medicine degrees having to fill half their places with people who just managed a D in Biology. But it's a real mixed bag.
  14. Toys R Us prepares to shut 25 stores

    A visit to ToysRUs doesn't seem to be that enjoyable for the children - it never quite lives up to the expectations. It definitely isn't enjoyable for the parents. The kids seem to find it more fun at somewhere on a more human scale and I think we end up spending more because of it. All toy shops are struggling to compete with the likes of Amazon, but Toys R Us probably falls between the two - the convenience and cheapness of Amazon, and the enjoyable experience of a smaller toy shop to spend birthday money in.
  15. The Great BIG redundancy thread!

    And, Toys R Us is being asked why the company gave the chief exec a big pay rise, at the same time as reducing profits and a pension deficit. It is sounding very much like BHS.