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the_dork

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  1. whether you agree or disagree with them, you can look back at historical occupiers (before about 2001 anyway)of the big 4 posts(PM, Chancellor, Home Sec, Foreign Sec) and say they were well qualified and worthy of office Current setup: Cameron: Marketing master, politically irrelevant Osborne: Economic ignoramus, ludicrously over-promoted Hague: Even though I disagree with him, I quite respect the man May: One of the biggest underachievers and most over-promoted women in political history So you think the Shadow Cabinet would largely tear this lot to shreds, but they're even worse Miliband: irrelevant and opportunist NuLab drone Balls: Like Hague I actually respect him for being consistent though again I completely disagree with him and his policies. Johnson: As over-promoted as Osborne, would be good in another post perhaps Cooper: From what I've heard from her so far, probably the worst so far. Christ this is depressing. I'm not tribal and wanted NuLab out (voted LD and happy they went into coalition with Tories) but surely there are some decent figures beyond this lot. To be fair I find Ken Clark, Cable, Willetts and Liam Fox decent Cabinet Ministers but they have no chance of getting the more senior posts. Labour really do look to have 'burnt out' but there do seem to be some younger new MPs who might offer something,not many in the Shadow Cabinet though from what I've seen
  2. To be honest, I thought the Burnham chap came over objectively the best and would be a good middle of the road candidate. Moderately left on economic issues but in touch with Daily Mail on social issues He has zero chance. I think the Milibands are seen as cosmopolitan intellectual Jews-not an electable thing to be Balls is at least honest and thorough, though I disagree with him on more or less anything Abbott is standing to raise her profile and help her get after dinner slots, completely irrelevant and she knows it
  3. Christ, presumed those quotes were made up, they are linked to in a Guardian article I find attempts at self-justification worse than the 'crime' tbh. I suppose it helps maintain the ability to get angry about welfare scroungers by separating themselves from such groups
  4. Don't have time for full comment myself but haven't seen a thread on this-beyond parody http://www.propertyweek.com/landlords-are-hidden-victims-of-housing-benefit-debacle/5003232.blog The current row over the housing benefit reforms has completely ignored the fate of a hidden group of victims – landlords letting property to tenants on benefits. Yes, let’s hear it for the landlords! From recent press coverage, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most were squeezing huge sums out of the government renting palaces to asylum seekers. Don’t be fooled – not all are like the landlord to the infamous Nur family in Notting Hill who’s receiving £2,000 a week in housing benefit rent for a property that would command far less if it were let to private tenants. This should obviously never have happened, and even David Cameron has condemned it as outrageous. As the property editor of the Investors Chronicle, I’ve been contacted by landlord readers who are aghast at the Coalition’s reforms. Here’s what I’ve found out. The majority of housing benefit claimants live far outside of the capital (only 14,000 of the UK’s 1m housing benefit claimants are in central London). The true scandal of our broken housing benefits system is that most landlords are not even receiving the rent they’re entitled to. Too often, the tenants fail to pass it on. Why? In April 2008, the Labour government changed the law. Instead of paying housing benefit direct to landlords, councils pay it direct to the tenants every fortnight. The touchy-feely thinking behind this was to teach people on benefits the responsibility of managing their own financial affairs. Predictably, it has been an utter disaster. Giving benefits claimants cash in the hope that they will pass it on to the landlord rather than spend it on feeding their families (or worse, feeding a drink or drugs habit) is futile. A recent survey by the charity Shelter found 65% of landlords to tenants on benefits have experienced rental arrears since the system was changed. Another survey from the British Property Federation, shows 55% of landlords will refuse to take tenants on housing benefit as a result. As for our readers, many thought that renting out cheap properties to benefit tenants in the north east and north west would be a good investment. If you can buy a house for £6,000 cash and get £3,000 a year rent from the government, you can see why. In practice, these unwanted rows of terraced houses have become privatised council estates. Tenants know the landlord lives hundreds of miles away, and feel no remorse about keeping the rent, or trashing the property. Our special report in this week’s magazine, Confessions of a Slum Landlord, tells of horrific damage to properties, including one tenant who sawed out the hot water tank and sold it for scrap. Another property was boarded up by the RSPCA when the tenant absconded leaving behind a menagerie of reptiles. You might not feel sorry for these hapless landlords, but since Maggie sold off the council housing stock, we’re reliant on the private sector to meet Britain’s housing needs. The Coalition should immediately reverse Labour’s decision, and start paying rent direct to landlords again. Its attempts to reform the system by reducing rents will just convince more landlords to abandon the sector for good. And if they do, that leaves the taxpayer to pick up the bill.
  5. I wouldn't pay. Don't text her, put all your correspondence in writing and keep it You might care to ask- is the deposit protected in a registered scheme? EDIT-sorry re,read your post. Note that this requirement is now abolished for the future though) Is she aware of the Defective Premises Act/ HHSR? Has she licensed the property as an HMO? (If not you could be entitled to 12 month rent back) Has she notified the lender that she is renting out the property? Has she notified HMRC that she is running a letting business? I find the last two generally keep the cowboys in order.
  6. As I understand, for a standard AST a tenant can apply a)in the first 6 month period or b)after receiving notice of proposal for new rent ie. a new tenancy after a periodic has ended The RAC will only look if there is a 10% gap to the market rents. However, why can't a LL argue that the tenant in the case of a)agreed to the tenancy, presumably having looked at other properties and therefore agreeing to the price and isn't required to take on a new tenancy, can serve their notice and quit How frequently do these things actually happen?
  7. agree with most of the benefits/tax credit/housing ben/quango suggestions, but they just won't happen to scale required-too many potential votes. I'd cut the armed forces by 50% at least No NHS treatment for diseases related to smoking/drinking/obesity No road building No public sector funding for arts/sports No payment for 6th formers to go to school (up to £600 a month currently) increase council tax on 'under-occupied' properties (in addition to the size) Increase retirement age Cut all public sector salaries above 25k by 50% (let them try and find equivalent private sector jobs if they think they can) None of these things are that hard and would more or less cover the deficit pretty sharp but as I say, too politically unacceptable
  8. If you search my topics you'll find that I mooted this a few months ago-were some interesting responses. This seems too timid though, you'd really have to take it further ie. allow people to sell/buy further hours, get rid of housing benefits etc.
  9. This is an interesting take from a blog I read-Stumbling & Mumbling http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/ Am I a member of the luckiest generation in history? I ask because of the possibility that US government debt could appraoch 100% of GDP by 2020. My reaction to this? Kerrr-ching! The thing is, I’m hoping to retire in the next 10 years. What I’d like, then, is high annuity rates. And high real government bond yields resulting from worries about high public debt would suit me nicely. This, though, would be only the last in a long line of good luck I’ve had simply because of when I was born. For example: 1. I was in the last year to go to a grammar school before their abolition. I therefore got a better education, and more chance of getting into Oxford, than I would have a year later.*. 2. Not only did I get a student grant at university, thus leaving with little debt, but I was also in a small minority to get a good degree. I therefore had an easy way of signalling my ability. Unlike today’s young graduates, I didn’t need to worry about building a good CV whilst at university to signal my superiority over other job applicants. 3. When I graduated, the City was expanding, so I could easily find well-paid work. 4. I benefited from one of the largest-ever booms in house prices, in the 90s and early 00s; this more than offset 20 years of poor stock market returns. In all these respects, I and my contemporaries have enjoyed enormous good luck, simply by virtue of an accident of birth - which is why I’m looking forward to reading David Willetts’ take on this question. What surprises me here, though, is how little resentment my generation attracts from 20-somethings. If I were a recent graduate saddled with tens of thousands of debt and poor job prospects as a result of the decisions made by my generation, I’d be livid. So why are younger people so quiet? Is it because they are just passive? Or is it that they have other forms of luck which my generation didn’t. I mean, stories like this could never have emerged from universities in the 80s. * This is not an argument for reintroducing grammars. I was in a small minority in being from a poor background who got into one. Social policy should not be based upon my own idiosyncratic experiences.
  10. Hmm, well I started a thread on this..lukewarm response. I've ordered the book from my library (who;ll buy anything on request) and will report. My fundamental problem with complaining about boomers is the hypocrisy. If we accept that boomers have had unearned wealth and opportunity (which obviously not all do), then why are we not against all such unfairness? Eg. why don't we donate more to people in poor countries-it's not their fault. They could be (and usually are) far more hardworking than us, why should we get such a better deal? The problem with the group as a whole (complainers) is that they're not mobilised. I can't think of hearing the case in the media from either a pressure group or individual. I'm mid 20's, most people I know are still more concerned about enjoying their weekends, football etc. than understanding the financial system, even for those in 'good' jobs and with decent educations. I'd imagine the awareness for current graduates/uni students is even lower. Forums like this are very much a minority pursuit
  11. I tend to think London is it's own market, things will come down a bit but the fundamentals are so different to the rest of the country. Whilst things are still over-priced elsewhere (seemingly, anyway), just see what 120k can get you elsewhere and compare that to the studio flat in a far out suburb of London.
  12. I normally just lurk here but that is probably the best post I've ever read on here and deserves to be quoted for truth. I am not aware of any pressure groups that propose this simple and obvious solution, are you?
  13. Sorry for not responding sooner, I see we've had the usual mixture of the good, the bad and the mad, I gather this is usual for HPCF! I think several people have missed my point. Nowhere have I labelled everyone currently on benefit as scum or lazy. There are undoubtedly some like this but IMO most people do want to work even if they're unrealistic about what they could be getting (not just talking financially, but 'job satisfaction' I also think we've ventured on to the linked question of corporate structure. OBviously if firms are run by a small coterie at the top who profit (which many are) then there's no incentive to take on more staff or even to really consider the overall economy. If we're talking more about worker ownership of firms, performing valuable and necessary work, then there's not really an obstacle to being macro-efficient (ie. for the whole economy rather than individual firms) This isn't socialism because it would still use the price mechanism to the same extent we do now. I will add some more comments later but one more for now: Unemployment is a necessary feature of capitalism.Google phillips curve. I'm not a hardcore socialist as I don't think it solves the problem (and creates others) but to say that anyone can find work if they want is just sloganeering nonsense. It's also inefficient and the same logic as the GDP measure of two women looking after each other's children and being paid to do so (then paying tax on that income) as being 'better' than each looking after their own for free. It seems to me that people who berate all benefit claimers have either a few options: 1) Tough luck. There are X jobs at average 45 hours a week, Y potential workers, people who don't take jobs are either too inadequate/stupid/unskilled or pricing themselves too high. Hence good conditions for the working majority, nothing for the others who will effectively starve. Logical but unfair IMO as you would think too if you were in the position of a willing but unemployed worker. 2) As above but recognise there's a degree of arbitrariness and tax the fortunate workers a bit to pay for those who can't get jobs. Probably lowers other costs incurred in first scenario as you'll get loss robbery and fraud from the starving unemployed. 3) Accept my proposal that most jobs (I would estimate 75-80% in the UK) could easily be shared out amongst all willing workers. Lower take home pay as they all do fewer hours, but they are taxed less. Very little effect on overall efficiency, I would hypothecate that productivity may actually go up as people are less fatigued though I accept there may be short term handicaps. I haven't read a convincing rebuttal of my proposal 3) that doesn't rely on 1) which I regard as deeply questionable morally. 2) is quite wide as it does depend what the benefits are but is basically what we have now.
  14. There are several groups fleecing the British public at the moment including bankers and politicians, but we should also be aware of those who may not have as much power, our serial benefits claimers. Now no one likes paying for scroungers (though some unemployment is necessary in capitalism and there should definitely be some form of safety net accordingly IMO). However, would you be more willing to have a lower income to pay for them if they worked as well? I am sure my idea must be completely economically illiterate but I'd love to know why. If we assume that there are a certain level (albeit pretty non-identifiable) of tasks needed which we're all paid to do. At the moment most people work 40-50 hours a week doing them (with some skiving on online forums...) and pay a bit of tax to fund some people who do nothing at all. Many jobs are essentially non productive (eg diversity co-ordinators) Some are tidying up from the lack of productivity or externalities of other spheres (eg. litter picking, social workers, fire fighters-we're happy to have these people when the jobs are needed but it would be better if they weren't. But ultimately the aim is to reward people for doing stuff that is needed, from corporate law deals to picking fruit. Now, if we could evaluate how much 'work' there actually is out there (which I admit can only ever be a rough guide) could we not then divide that up between everyone of working age. So everyone would maybe do 30-40 hours, and presumably be paid less (in total, not necessarily per hour). If people won't do say, any from 3 jobs that are available, they get no benefits. I realise this works better for shelf stackers and brickies than say, doctors and engineers where AFAIK there's no real over supply but is it technically possible? And more importantly, would it be fairer? More leisure for all, less total tax, you'd essentially be FORCED to do less work and presumably have less total income (though I'd be interested in the calculation once you include paying less tax. Benefits is currently greater than income tax tax). To tidy things up you could have a sort of bargaining where people sell/buy their hours to other workers. This wouldn't effect the total jobs done and wouldn't lead to any more tax and benefits as it would just be between the parties with different premises. Please pick holes in my idea and tell me why I'm a fool
  15. It's easier (and cheaper) to build on Green Belt than farmland where you have to pay a farmer, and most urban areas actually have more biodiversity than farmland. I agree about building up being part of the solution, more homeworking (with subsidies where possible), subsidies for people downsizing, lower non-EU immigration, no BTL, sorry I'm getting less and less realistic here but there are plenty of solutions better than ploughing up the much needed and valued Green Belt.
  16. I'm trying to find out the breakdown of who owns the stock market (UK only), ie. private individuals, insurance companies, unit trusts etc Cheers
  17. Wasn;t long ago. We were told there was a desperate shortage of housing. In reality, it's just a shortage of home ownership but neither political party seems to genuinely care about that as it would affect the baby boomers and debt based joke of an economy we possess. Now whilst we have homeless people, it's not because of a shortage of housing. There is a shortage in the sense that not every single person can afford a 3 bed semi with mod cons and a car on the drive, but I just don't believe we are in a situation where we need to be concreting over our remaining green land. Any other opinions on this?
  18. I believe in global warming and am a certain brand of environmentalist. (ie. pragmatic and forward thinking rather than hair shirted reactionary).I believe in peak oil but don't think it'll be the (economic) problem some suggest. It's pretty easy to liquify coal, we have hundreds of years of the stuff and plenty of people willing to dig it. This is of course an environmental disaster but liquified coal can fulfil nearly all the roles played by oil currently.
  19. Presuming most people on here are fairly prudent, rational sorts, how happy are you to be funding the profligate, debt fuelled, house price sustained lifestyles largely described below? (I'll exclude the retired lady but she's better off than most workers today will be in retirement) http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/sep/0...ersonal-stories
  20. eight-I support raising pay and conditions for kitchen workers, I just also don't have a problem with others earning mega bucks-if they can justify it to their fellow workers rather than just paymasters. Unlike most on this forum I'm not a nationalist though-I support raising conditions worldwide, as do incidentally some of the richest men in the world like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Impatient mug-the logic of your post is baffling. Why do we bother paying anyone more than others would work for-there's plenty of unemployed people just within our own country who could compete. In fact, why not scrap all minimum wages and just pay people the minimum they need to survive? This is the ultimate final point of your viewpoint. To see this in action, and how many people in benefitted read a book on C19 Britain.
  21. an interesting thread, full range of views. I also have no problem with mega wages provided they are justified-you need to incentivise people to work crazy hours, have lots of stress/responsibility, not many people want to do this. I think (and don't wish to sidetrack) that a slightly modified example might be more interesting. There were plenty of people (baby boomers) on average wages who have been able to live in 3 bed semis (mortgages now paid off), share a car, have a decent holiday, eat from nice supermarkets and generally live comfortably. Now you have absolutely no chance of doing this, even without adding in school fees and the more plush house described in the OP. One thing's for sure-if you're not a 'hard working family' , you've got pretty much no chance of getting any help from this government. All the rational signs are that property is indeed madly over priced and due for a major correction (which our idiot overlords have prevented happening.) Interesting times as they say
  22. same as asking why is cheap food, clothes, DVD's good etc? Why would we want the cost of these to go up (apart from externalities, changes in production conditions etc)
  23. Cheers, I’ll expand a bit more later. However, the price/earnings thing is a total irrelevance imo. We’ll just have a situation where ‘average’ earners cannot afford to buy, even 2 together. Renting will be the norm and political pressure will hopefully stop this being the exploitative joke that it currently is (scope for improvements, longer security of tenure, maybe clamp down on BTLs?) Why will prices being so much more than average earnings cause prices to fall? More a case that the already wealthy will buy more when they drop and rent them out/pass on to their kids
  24. I’ve browsed here a while and there seem to be a substantial amount of people predicting mass falls within the medium term future (5 years etc). I just don’t understand where this has come from, have I missed all the threads explaining this? Bank bonuses are up, more people will inherit their capital from baby boomers who realise their kids won’t live as well as them, no scope for the drastic increase in supply that people say we need (don’t know why- don’t see many homeless people who are there through not getting mortgages). We’ll have a 2 (maybe 3) tiered system of owners, subsidizers of buy to letters and a lucky few in social housing. If prices start to fall they’ll be bought by those who can afford them-people who bought their first properties 20+ years ago. There will be no rapid downfalls. There will be no mass social housing to provide further options, we’re just heading for even bigger class divide-as with most historical divides in history it will actually be the toiling masses being exploited. What are the factors that honestly make people think prices will fall 50%?
  25. I'm in my mid 20;s and considering buying within a couple of years, though this is only possible as my partner will be a hotshot lawyer and we're both keen to get out of London. We also live pretty frugally overall in other areas. The issue is that aside from people who've been given funds by parents, my generation are the only known generation who will suffer a fall in living standards in comparison to their parents, probably since the Great Plague. I finished uni before the raising of fees, but now you have no chance of 'adding value' through your studies unless you go to Oxbridge or get a first in a 'hard' subject elsewhere. You will come out with loads of debt, very low chances of getting a 'graduate' job, getting a mortgage or even harder, getting social housing. House price rises are effectively a transfer of wealth, not on class lines, but across generations. 2 people on average incomes in their 50's will have probably paid off their mortgages and made use of their equity rises. How much do 2 people have to be earning now to get a 3 bed semi outside London? Probably 50k between them, not an easy figure to get. Unless you have one of the top City jobs, you have absolutely no ******ing chance. My generation are resigned to funding the buy to letters retirement funds through paying off their mortgages. My position is unique and I realise that-my partner WILL be a very high earner. The people who are really penalised are the people with good educations who worked hard, want to work but end up in call centres with the people who pissed about at school and have no qualifications. Or alternatively, see themselves as lower priorities than the feckless breeders who are settled in council houses by now. It makes me depressed to think how a LABOUR government has penalised the willing workers of this country. Unlike most people on this forum I do actually think a working welfare state, incentivised and properly administered is part of the answer. This is miles away from what we have
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