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  1. I think you miss the point. Housebuilding starts by growing the construction industry. That means jobs. Jobs mean more money available to spend in the economy, and that itself leads to more economic activity (ultimate to growth). But more than that, large-scale housebuilding leads to a real fall in house prices. This not only makes houses more available to many more people, but it also takes out a lot of money that is currently stored in bricks and mortar, and gets that circulating in the economy as well -- a double benefit. So building houses is clearly the way out of this mess. Why won't it happen? Simple -- politics. Look, I've worked hard all my life, and I don't (quite frankly) honestly care if you can't get a house, because you are not going to build on my view. You are not going to take 100 hectares of my land and spoil my view. Go and build somewhere else (and take your bloody windfarms with you). Also if I let you build more houses the value of my nest egg will drop -- do you think I want that? Hey, I'm one of the oldies, and I go out and vote. I won't be voting for any two-bit political party that decides to stimulate the economy using this silly idea; I'll vote for the other lot. I know you are young and don't vote, and so don't believe in the political system because you never get anything out of it. Smashing. You won't have *any* influence in government, and so my nest egg is safe, and you can sit in your rented BLT flat (which is, incidentally, funding my pension). So sod off with your silly ideas about housebuilding, and leave me in peace to enjoy the lovely view (look! there's a little squirrel).
  2. I'm afraid voting UKIP won't help. The EU has been one of the biggest drags preventing our economy and society becoming even more American and right-wing. Just think of all the social legislation (the Social Chapter, for instance and all that consumer protection) that would have not been in force now if it wasn't for the EU. We've had a Tory government (in one way or another) for the last 30 years, and look what's happened. All your money is being siphoned off to a minority of people (think of the City of London for what it really is -- an offshore tax haven). We have been convinced that by paying for the common good we are wasting our money, so if we privatise it, it will be more effectively spent. Hey, guess what, you now pay for everything that was once given free; you pay to park *everywhere* now; you pay far more than you should to go on a train (it's subsidised, FFS, but they still make a profit -- out of YOU!); you have high rents because they sold off all the social housing and never replaced it -- social housing helped to keep rents low. And still millions think they are better off because they have more money in their pockets. I find it amazing how so many people have been conned. The AV referendum wasn't perfect, but it was an opportunity to change things. However the Tories got behind No and scuppered the Yes campaign (Conservative Home: The story of the AV campaign). That many on the Labour side helped this is a disgrace, but it just goes to show that turkeys don't vote for Christmas. Both Labour and Tory are right-wing parties, and of those that bother to vote more than 30% DON'T vote for them. That it was AV and not PR shows how well the Tories conned the Lib Dems. But that there was an opportunity to change things should have been taken with both hands. the next constitutional thing they are talking about is the House of Lords. They are saying there should be a referendum to make that an elected house (well 80% of it). Now folks, if you believe in democracy, GET OFF YOUR ARSES AND VOTE FOR CHANGE. If you don't, because what's the point, or there are more important things to complain about, then you deserve everything you get. We need an economy based on real things -- we need to make new technology devices, and we need to be competing in software and the IT revolution. We don't need to be looking at freeing up capital controls between countries and developing more and more ingenious ways to 'make money' from money. That is the fool's direction -- and one we have been going in since the 1960s when we agreed to look after Russia's US dollars. Until this country wakes up to the fact that the few are stealing off the many to give to the few, and that we need to go back to owning much more as a nation (Nationalisation, remember that?) we will be in deep dodo. They say 25% of people will probably live in a freezing house this winter because they can't afford the high energy prices. Well Nationalise the utility companies and subsidise the unit cost of electricity and gas by taking more from the rich to do this. LVT anyone? OK, rant over.
  3. Which proves my point. I'm not, and never will be, an entrepreneur. It is these that take risks and rightly reap the rewards. I have a mortgage, a wife and kids to feed. I don't want to take risks. I expect to live in a society where I have some security. OK, so there is always a risk when changing jobs, but the whole point of 'civilised' means I get security, but not big rewards in pay; entrepreneurs get opportunities, and can reap rewards in pay. But what we must not have is a 'everyone's an entrepreneur' view: they are not. And when you pull away the social support you end up with... America. That's the last thing this country needs. It's great if you are at the top or in the middle, but this crowd don't even have an NHS!!!!! And they think they are a modern society. Pluralism -- some entrepreneurs, the rest workers. Each rewarded as to the risks they take. But not for everybody; that's just silly.
  4. What on earth is this supposed to mean? I'm very good at what I do. but if I lose my job I can tell you now that I am no entrepreneur. I would rely on a person with such skills to give me the opportunity to get back into work. Capitalism, an absolute requirement for wealth generation, needs people with all sorts of skills. Many people just see the answer as everyone giving up their public sector jobs and becoming the next Branson. Such a solution is, frankly, ******. The process should be for the government to use its power and influence to encourage such Bransons to move into these areas and generate more wealth. If this means subsidies to help new startups then so be it. That is not 'government waste' but appropriate use of taxpayers' money. The point of moving public sector jobs to these areas was in part to 'pump prime' them, so new opportunites could exist (ie there is enough money in the local economy to support such businesses). I suspect many people are willing to do something for themselves, but you must always consider the environment in which you find yourself. And if the answer is 'get on your bike' then that is just stupid. For example the Internet (capital 'I', please) means many can work remotely. (Although in my case I still have to keep going down to bloody London...) This is such a key technology to shape the next twenty years that we should all be pushing the government to actively develop this.
  5. Aren't you forgetting something? When the Tories put their tough measures in place, they assiduously went out of their way not to give any help. Thatcher hated Socialism in such an unhealthy way that she used whatever she could to not just oppose it, but to bury it. What she did to the miners was disgraceful, but what was even worse was that she refused to put significant social measures in place to replace the industries she was decimating. So ship building, once a proud British industry, moved East, and we were left with a void. So too the steel industries. Meanwhile the rise of the City and the focusing of wealth in the SE was not properly resisted. She had no interest in spreading the wealth around the country, only in crucifying Socialism. 'The wealth will trickle down' she said. We're still waiting for that. Meanwhile, that generation she [email protected] on, became long term unemployed, not through any fault of their own. If there are no jobs when you are made redundant what are you to do? If you own your own home, should you just walk away. It's the government's *job* to give them alternatives. At least Labour has been trying, by moving some work to some of these areas. So the NE, for example, is the main home of the Job Centre service. Running, and managing, Job Centres is a job -- a very important job. These long term unemployed ha've now had kids, and so we have a second generation of an uneconomic class. How long must this go on for? It *will* cost a lot to help these people, and it will take a long time. But as long as you get the Daily Mail constantly talking about 'scroungers' and the 'work shy' nothing serious will be done. I don't like Labour, as I think they are too right wing for me, but I will vote for them. I do, however, hope and pray that we will never see another Tory government in this country. They have done so much harm they deserve never to govern again, in my opinion.
  6. Well from an export perspective the important numbers to note are our trade with Europe, as that is by far our largest trading partner. But my point is this. Chinese goods increase in price and push up the cost of the 'basket of goods.' So inflation goes up. There are lots of internal systems that use this measure to set prices -- benefits for example. Even the heartless Tories of the 80s had to increase benefits as the official measure of inflation increased. So with benefits increasing I can't see the rest of society being very happy at that. And if there is a Tory government after the next election (oh yes, there is bound to be one -- either the one we have in power now or the other lot) there will be a lot of this 'sorry mate, we will have to cut your wages or kick you out of a job.' So I can see a backlash, where the net result will be an increase in wages of those remaining in work to keep up with inflation, and to keep them quiet. This means five years on, perhaps, when the economy is bouncing back, the new average wage is £35k or more, not £25k. True it will be tough for many, but the net effect will be inevitable. So those who get booted out go on benefits, which increase with inflation. And then they get back into work, but on new salaries as these new jobs are measured at the levels of the day. After all you wouldn't accept a job on the assumption that petrol was priced at around seven bob per gallon, as it was in 1970, would you?
  7. Err, an increase in the cost of living puts pressures on wages, and there is a tendency for salaries to increase. So if your wage doesn't go up then yes, you will be worse off. But that is not the lesson of history. Remember wage/price spirals and stagflation?
  8. I thought the problem was the Chinese leadership don't want to develop their internal economy at the rate they should, for fear of social unrest. Yet ironically by not doing that they will get the very social unrest they fear. There is already a large disparity between the urban and rural population, but because the internal economy is so underdeveloped they have big problems. Most of the Chinese save, because their health care is none existent (sounds like another 3rd world c-untry [grrr! I hate software that auto-corrects!] with a shrub for a leader -- oh no he's gone now; they have a black man in power). So the Chinese populous save like mad to protect their old age. Meanwhile, the leadership deliberately keep their currency undervalued, even though they have billions of dollars in hard currency, simply to keep their exports high. If they revalue their currency their flow of exports will slow, and the income that is keeping the urban workers quiet will stop. There is no internal alternative, as their domestic market is relatively weak, and in any case there is massive corruption. They day is coming -- and it cannot be put off for too much longer -- when they have so many dollars they will be forced to revalue. And if that doesn't happen then the widening gap between the urban rich and the rural poor will be an alternative tinder box that will irrupt. The view that their Socialist system can survive will be severely tested, and presumably any cracks will be very bloody. Mao was both brilliant and evil, and the Party now has fingers everywhere. What will happen? Who knows, but it will be very messy, and will have serious knock on effects here, when all the cheap goods we have been so used to for so many years (£5 for a kettle, anyone?) will dry up. Our cost of living will increase rapidly, with a large effect on inflation. I suppose from a debt perspective that's fine, as they will go down in real terms. But for those with savings, well tough. They will be worth much less than they are now. So I'll keep paying my mortgage off, then... :-)
  9. Good to know you can get to a petrol station. I've been house-bound for two weeks, with no sign that I will be able to get out (I drive a beamer -- shh, shh, it's not that bad*, maybe). So I've no idea what the local price is. As to the OP's comment of 60mil reasons to hate this country, you don't live on your own island do you? If so I wouldn't mind joining you -- it sounds idyllic! * Well the indicators are crap, and the cruise control means I keep flashing the car in front; oh, and the wheel thingy between the seats -- how does that work? And...
  10. Of course that is the best way. Otherwise you leave it either to unelected bodies (the QUANGOs, and please don't say that's a Labour invention that will change with a new government), or you are governed by unelected private corporations. Private corporations have a key place in a modern economy, but you must have the ability to opt out of them. That way they have to perform to gain your business. An example -- privatising the utility industries means I can only choose between them, not against them. So I cannot take my business totally away from them and make them work better for me. There used to be local boards, the local water board for example. These were controlled at the municipal level, and you had the opportunity to remove the elected bodies if you didn't like them. I'm sorry, but I don't understand your point. Private organisations have profit as their key objective, and must adapt to ensure this is achieved. There is nothing good nor bad with this, and having worked in the private sector for more years than I care to remember, I am in total sympathy with this. But if you think the answer is to privatise everything you have a very narrow view of the world. Much in the public arena does not work well when privatised, as there are different objectives. To privatise health or education, for example, is just ridiculous. You want everyone to be a winner; the private sector works by having winners and losers. As I said in my previous post, you may not like Labour but don't think you will get a better world with the Tories. If we get a Tory government you will, in three years time, be bemoaning them just as you do Labour now. But democracy is the only way. How else should we run things? If you don't get involved in the democratic process you have absolutely NO right to moan about things. You want change? Then vote, or stand for election.
  11. I really fail to see how it will be better if we have a change of government. Firstly we don't know what Tory policy holds, as they haven't told anyone (oh, apart from being out of Europe, and that will be disastrous, so not a good start there). Secondly, our economy is suffering more than most precisely because we depend so much on the banking sector. A historical accident of our Empire days, perhaps, but to continue to try to hang on to this as it continues to make us 'a global player' is doing much to harm the rest of the economy. The world continues to change rapidly, and we need to respond. The Labour mantra of Education, Education, Education still holds. However, that will only have a result probably 15 years after any policy change is introduced, so there is little motivation for pragmatic politicians to respond to this. However, what really needs to happen, for the benefit of the current school children, and thus for the country down the line, is to make commitments such as reducing class sizes to, say, a maximum of 10; to interlocking schools much more tightly with emerging industries such as the technology and Internet-based industries; and changing the educational qualifications system to ensure those who don't thrive on academic-based O and A levels can still get what they need out of it. An improved education system demands more investment, which in turn demands more tax. So we should -- must -- pay more in tax, and that has to be in direct taxation to make it fair. As we have a system of taxation that has been geared to winning elections, not improving the economy, the middle classes, whom inhabit the few marginal seats, have been given sweeteners by loading tax on the lower paid. That is disgraceful, was begun by Thatcher, and needs to end. There is much that is wrong with this country, but do not think that a Tory government will solve it. We, the people, need to tell the politicians we must have a change. If we only think of our pockets, and our self interest, a trend that has been increasing over the last 30 years, then this country will get what it deserves. When you go to the balot box next year (if you can be bothered) then you can choose between the **** you attitude, or the I want to do best for my country attitude. If you can't even be bothered to vote, your opininon does not even matter. There is no other mechanism to implement policy -- so make sure you get out and vote.
  12. Hehe. The apparent prerogative of companies both large and small. I never cease to be amazed by how much money is wasted, because ideas have been ill-thought out. In my experience throwing away £100k because one of their mates told them something or other was best, rather than sitting down, doing the work and drawing up a real assessment of what is needed. I tell you, if it was my £100k, I'd put the effort in to get the best out of it. And my most recent example? A national newspaper publisher in the City. Honestly, they really are planks...
  13. No, of course not! Not even 100 years. Instead they should take off their Tory overcoat. After all, we've had 30 years of 'capitalism everywhere' dogma, and now, because our social mores say we should look after those who haven't got any employment, are now moving into a second generation of non-workers (I refuse to call them workshy; I was unemployed for two years thanks to the tw*t Thatcher, and I know how low you can sink). So please don't make the mistake that so many on this site do, that because they are called labour, they are Labour. They are patently not. And getting the Tories back in will change nothing. I fail to see why 'government employment' is such a bad thing. If these people are not working, then a government funded scheme to get them into employment may be the most effective use of public money. However, because of simplistic beliefs that you must pay the going rate, therefore keep pay very low, it means that no one will want to work. The benefits to the individuals and society is massive. So using public money to get people off the dole is a brilliant idea. After all, the opposite argument is used for consultants and executives. (If you don't pay me enough, I'll walk... Well p1ss off then.) Get the Real Tories back in and anyone on the fringes, or on low pay, will of course be shafted. You can hear it already in the gleeful tones of Tory spokesmen -- 'I'm afraid we're going to have to cut back on government -- sorry' [hehe].
  14. Why? Because the BBC, for all its independence, *is* an arm of government. Imagine the trend continues, with more and more young people using the Internet, using YouTube, iPlayer and all the other goodies out there, and refusing to watch live currently broadcast TV. So they are outside the TV licensing terms, and so don't need to buy a TV licence. In other words the TV licence revenue drops. Now what do you think will happen? Will the government will say to the Beeb: sorry mate, but times they are achanging. You need to cut your cloth according to your means. Or do you think they will say: we have too much investment in the Beeb, with its multi-billion pound assets; we need to move the goalposts to make all these people criminals, so we can once again tax everyone in the land. Now I know which I believe they will say.
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