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Everything posted by the_dork

  1. It’s clear to all but the most deluded New Labourite that aiming for 50% attending uni is madness. Courses like sports science should be taken in tandem with a job in such a role, day release etc. As should most vocational training other than law and medicine IMO, accounting, surveying, business management..shouldn't and don't need 3 years of 'study' to start a career in. It is grossly immoral to promise such people they are climbing a ladder by attending a uni. They would be far better off trying different jobs at 18 and building experience but our labour market discriminates against this through the minimum wage. No doubting the youth have been screwed in various ways though I wouldn’t particularly single out graduates. Anyone under 35 who doesn’t have rich parents has been grossly misgoverned and badly treated.
  2. Not at all. I predicted that the current gov would do everything possible to stoke up the South East and still don't think we'll have the crash some on here predict. Plenty more global elite demand (mainly BRICS but also Eurozone) to flood into London which ripples out. Expect to see a slow stagnation in prices with wages similarly lagging over the next 10 years. Which as an outright owner in London doesn't bother me as I look to cash in by moving further out.
  3. Certainly not! Labour are the party of middle class bourgeois and public sector workers only. Unlike the cons, there's a bit more pretence to be something more which is why I find them so ghastly
  4. There is no doubt that some in the Cabinet 'get it' (even Housing Ministers before they learn that they need to tow party line to progress their career). However, don't under-estimate the naked class war that Osbourne and Cameron want to fight. They are pretty openly fighting for the 1% (which just about excludes the doctors and lawyers you mention as well as everyone else)
  5. I feel like I've read the Piketty without having done so if that makes sense as read so many reviews. The following are all available as pdfs on the web and I've really enjoyed them: Chang-23 things they don't tell you about capitalism. Don't let anyone tell you there is no alternative! Polanyi-The Great Transformation Reinforces lesson 1 from Chang, there's no such thing as a 'free market'. Great historical look at the growth of capitalism and the primacy of political decisions Friedman-Capitalism & Freedom As my first choices indicate, I'm not a hardcore capitalist but Friedman is very convincing. The arguments against what was at the time the Keynesian orthodoxy are in my opinion, irrefutable
  6. It's an interesting question and thread. I think it's partly that we have too much freedom (not saying that's bad) so too many options rather than to focus on core issues. So there's entertainment, sports, travel etc...all of which are now largely better than ever at lower and lower cost whilst basic issues like job security, political representation and housing costs are at a fairly low ebb in modern history. It's a lot easier to get people to focus and mobilise on clear and immediate problems (say racism or strikes) than to think more fully about the system where 'solutions' are more complex and take longer.
  7. Ah yes, see what you mean now. I agree 100%, which is why I think the economic arguments about immigration (and Europe) are the least relevant. (Better ones are international peace and co-operation, travel, prosperity etc) Constant source of amazement to me when people think that the Polish plumber or Romanian hooker is to blame for the problems of the country, whether welfare, housing, economy etc. Most Ukippers seem to just be against social change (aka conservative) which is a perfectly valid position to hold.
  8. That is strange, I presumed immigration was based around the bigger cities and a few small rural areas. Maybe it's my being married to a 'foreigner' but I feel more in common with many of them (who speak English at least so that I can communicate) than many of our own citizens.
  9. given that a figure of £40,500 puts you in the top 10% of wage earners (though of course, wider wealth measurements would push that far higher), we are either very unrepresentative or liars... I earn around that figure but only due to inheritance do I consider myself well off. Someone else earning that has a far more similar lifestyle to someone on 20k
  10. with a great cultural scene, well preserved environment, strong family units etc. Seems like they just want globalisation to go away, same as many people on here, but dealing with it in a different way
  11. do those who have a problem with labour being undercut have a problem with imports from countries where wages are lower, leading to lower prices. If not, it's really just hypocrisy or nationalism, however you justify it Unless you want us to grow all our own food, use our own raw materials, make own ipads, cars etc
  12. Personally see EU immigration as a red herring (unlike say Islamic nutters or rural Somalis) and don't really view it as an economic issue but a social one. We have to decide if we want to be part of a common EU state (with central tax and spend policy) for the region to converge over time, or not. If so the economic 'problems' of immigration will disappear. I would be happy to be party of such a state but most people in all countries, probably wouldn't. Hence, the current setup is probably a good balance of co-operation on environment, trade etc. Don't really see why it's fair for someone to be considerably worse off because of where they were born
  13. Thanks for the thoughts, view from France particularly interesting. I think one issue of it is that it would work best in a socialist/communist society (which has other problems!) rather than competing businesses responding to consumer demand. I reckon a basic income is a more feasible and efficient goal under state capitalism
  14. holding office has more appeal to most MP's than achieving any particular policy goals It's hard to forget on sites like this but the Great British Public are supremely ignorant. They don't know % of immigrants, how tax is spent, what the EU does or even who is in the Cabinet etc. I speak to relatively bright educated people at work on issues like housing or the economy and the level of their knowledge is amazingly low (as mine is on say education but I therefore don't pontificate about it) So it's only particular issues which get highlighted, say a poorly managed hospital or the Woolwich beheading which lead to them forming opinions and seeing which soundbites click best with these impressions. I'm not sure what the answer to our problems is, but more 'democracy', at the moment, isn't much of a solution.
  15. Sorry yes, that's a fairly obvious one I should have explained. However, paying less tax and prices would change enormously, so what would net effect be?
  16. Beyond the futile call for more ‘jobs’ (whatever these are) and tampering around with the tax system, we clearly need more political reforms. For me, one good idea which would enable us to work less and pay less tax is maximum working hours. This obviously couldn’t apply for everything skilled (doctors, lawyers etc) or for vocational jobs like acting, sports. But maybe 80% jobs in the economy, are a chore and done as a means to an end, a paycheque. If instead of loads of people doing these jobs 45-50 hours a week, with loads of people doing nothing, we re-jigged so everyone did say 35 hours, what would happen? Many of the less skilled/unemployable would be working rather than not. This could lower overall efficiency, though I’m sceptical as there’s a lot of unskilled work out there. As a result of above, less tax on population as a whole as this aspect of social spending could shift way down (or spent more productively) Some people would possibly be unhappy at this restriction on free labour contracts. Am I missing something? I understand this has been tried in France, with fairly limited success though that country is a constant source of bafflement to me, in many ways the best in the world, in others, the worst.
  17. I would instigate a land value tax as recommended by such left loonies as Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. Relatedly, I would increase the inheritance tax threshold to 1m (and have a higher % above this) Without this, fiddling around with interest rates, building permits and even immigration is just chasing your tail.
  18. Hi Folks I spent yesterday mooching around various places out East. I have gone off Potters Bar as you’re so reliant on the one train route and price gap to North London seems to have narrowed since I last looked, still a reasonable option for some Brief impressions.. Barking: Not as bad as people say, town centre is reasonable but still on the rougher side of things in terms of frequency of pound shops, chicken shops, dodgy market stall. Not family friendly enough for me to consider but considering prices I would have happily considered if younger single commuter. There are some ok-ish new developments quite near the station. Hornchurch: Involves changing from district Line to trains at West Ham or Upminster (then coming back) but quite a nice town centre. Felt defiantly safer (or possibly just ‘whiter’ and more mono-linguistic than Barking). Chadwell Heath: High Street is grim, there are some decent newer houses quite near the station though. A bit similar to Potters Bar in feeling like a commuter town. Not for me Upminster: Felt most like a small town, decent town centre. Downside is easy to end up with longer walk to station Gidea Park: More awkward transport as no Underground. Obviously filling up with Essex man stereotypes fleeing East London, not much to it in terms of amenities. Seems ok but not for London commuters I am now keeping an eye on Hornchurch and Upminster. There seem to be a few old properties needing refurb available for quick sale after probate which can be a decent option and having the option of both fast train and slow district line is appealing. Would appreciate any other thoughts on them in particular
  19. Yep, big difference between what may be objectively 'best' and what would work for you. As I only speak English and am uncomfortable in much hotter or colder weather (so no Australia) my options are limited. Don't fancy the politics of US. New Zealand looks nice
  20. saddest thing is that seems as though Labour will win by default, without a purge of most of the jokers involved last time (though some of the newer ones like Chuka Umunna seem even more clueless) and without any particular policies than being a bit less ruthlessly uncaring to life's losers and a 'bankers bonus tax' which apparently covers everything anyone needs to buy in the world, ever. For all the talk of smaller parties breaking through the stale consensus, must be about 80% seats which are about 99% safe unless a convicted criminal was to stand.
  21. http://eis.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/imprints/vanparijsinterview.html Excellent summary of basic income here. Most advocate a land value tax of some sort and degree of redistribution but unlike ‘the left’ don’t think some super class of bureaucrats can sort everything and unlike ‘the right’ wouldn’t allow the poor to be viewed as feckless incompetents who need to become hard working families An excellent policy, advocated by people such as Milton Friedman as well as left wing philosophers. Efficient, fair, easy to administer… Which is why other than the greens I’ve never seen it mentioned from our political class.
  22. I find some of the ire for EA’s baffling. In London, my experience having bought one and rented around 5 properties is pretty positive, the professional highly regarded agents (Foxtons, Savills etc) are honest and good communicators and openly admit they are working for owners. The one I purchased my flat from expressed views on the housing market that most people here would probably agree with They are only a problem when they see themselves as being more than agents, ie. people who put up photos on a website, take phone calls and show people around. The bad ones seem to be ‘property consultants’ and BS merchants who will compromise their reputation by trying to keep everyone happy and playing Chinese whispers Not their fault they’re playing the mad property game, if anything lower prices would be more transactions so probably more fees overall. NB. I didn’t see the programme! Sounds like London probably not typical of what EA’s do.
  23. Great summary Lo-fi. Your last paragraph is pretty depressing. I vaguely considered UKIP at one point but they are a one-issue party, on other issues they are a strange mixture of Thatcherite populism and just base ignorance. I quite like many Lib Dem policies but it's hard to take them seriously and for various reasons it looks like they'll get wiped out. Ed Miliband seems to 'get' some of the issues but is just so uninspiring and the rest of his Cabinet are pygmies (Yvette Cooper as Home Sec, Douglas Alexander foreign sec, no thanks). So who do we vote for?!
  24. Thanks for replies so far, really appreciate it. I’ve pretty much ruled out St Albans in my mind due to value but it's the only place my wife has mentioned (a nice park with a church seems to just blow away a lot of people). Need to find out more about Kent, there’s some good value areas but I really don’t know it well at all. Am also open minded to East, bits of Romford ie Chadwell Heath, Hornchurch, Upminster seem to have some potential
  25. Apologies as I'm sure this has been done before. I bought a 3 bed flat in Walthamstow flat for 250k December 2012, no mortgage. I would now guess it's 'worth' (NB. I feel sick writing this) around 350k. I purchased following an inheritance from my wife and it was very much with a view to staying for the medium term. However, as the area gentrifies I feel lucky that I caught the boat at the right time for what is really, an ordinary area. With second child on the way I am considering going somewhere more 'middle class' even if it means playing the mortgage game which I swore I'd never do. I am aware I could move away and live the life of Riley. However, my friends and family remain in London and I do enjoy the cultural life of the capital (again, cringe slightly at writing that) as am a theatre buff and love live music. I have an easy, comfortable job in Central London which I would be wary of giving up. I am so far considering: Potters Bar-25/30% cheaper so could probably get small house without mortgage.Very commuter town, ultimately a harmless dull place but nice train journey in Stevenage-bit further, greater travel cost, bit more to do, still not the nicest place St Albans-nicest, similar in price but a bit 'smug' for a council flat lad like me. I am starting to look at Kent, not an area I know that well but seems like a good balance Does anyone have a view on these or other commuter areas for London? EDIT: Thanks for comments so far. Am working Kings Cross and looking for max commute of an hour (door to door which is possibly a bit greedy).
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