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Everything posted by Goat

  1. Everything we've tried has been driven by the needs of the US political cycle and the fiction of bringing democracy to Iraq, nobody had the will to face up to the reality of the situation created by Bliar/Bush.
  2. The fact that we created the situation might suggest to some that we have a moral responsibility to intervene rather than wash our hands of the mess but that's irrelevant, the real question is whether it is in our interests to intervene. You might be happy with a caliphate stretching from the Mediteranian to the Arabian seas, practicing a form of Islam that makes the Taliban look moderate, I have serious doubts about whether this is a safe outcome.
  3. To be fair to Bliar, in this case he's probably right; if we're serious about dealing with ISIS then ground forces are the only option. Unfortunately, having created this unholy mess with the 2003 invasion, there's no political will to commit the forces necessary to sort it out.
  4. In which case you'll know that the vast bulk of the players there are ordinary working people who don't drive V8 gas guzzlers or have the time to drive up to Scotland to play. Also, in the event that they did start building on golf courses it'd be the ordinary Joe's pay and play courses that got concreted over, the elite's country clubs would escape untouched.
  5. This isn't about economics, it's about free markets in operation. Your OP appeared to indicate that you believe that there were people in productive jobs and people in unproductive ones and that you could make a better judgement about what was worthwhile than the people who were paying for the unproductive jobs to be done; I don't accept that and will go with the people signing the cheques everytime. The point of my post was to illustrate the complexity involved in even the simplest of products; bankers, lawyers and accountants are presumably what you would consider to be "unproductive" but without them there'd be no Tescos and I'd be living on a diet of cabbages and rodents. I'm not trying to twist anything to fit economics, I'm just observing that without the "unproductive" workers most if not all of our modern day material comforts would not exist.
  6. Quite a lot of people didn't manage to eat before those things, a poor harvest and you would go hungry at best, starve at worst. Also bear in mind that you're talking about a population of less than 1/10th of what we have today. One other point that I didn't mention above is that you're assuming that all food is the same when quite clearly it is not. How does the farmer decide between growing tomatoes, lemons, pumpkins, wheat, grapes, sheep, cows or cereal for biofuel if he doesn't look at the economic case for each?
  7. Ok, let's look at the complexity involved in the statement "we need to eat" Dinner tonight is meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta. The cow needs to be born, raised, sold, slaugtered, minced, combined with other ingredients, and shaped. The tomateoes need to be grown, skinned, chopped and canned. The wheat needs to be grown, milled turned into pasta and shaped. The salt needs to be mined, milled and packaged. The various other ingredients (onion, garlic, chilli) need similar treatments. Each ingredient will require transportation between the various stages until it reaches the supermarket, at which point someone puts it onto the shelf, a cashier rings it up, I pay for it and the bank transfers money from my account to theirs. How do we measure the relative contribution of the farmers, the labourers who pick the tomatoes, the men who slaughter and butcher the cow, the person who operates the meatball machine, the various drivers who move the goods about, the man who puts it onto the shelf, the cashier and the banker who processes the payment? More fundamentally the system only works because the supermarkets are there, but to exist they need all of the back office functions that they have. How do we measure the relative contributions of the CEO, the FD, the store manager, the property managment team, the logistics team, the bloke who collects the trolleys and everyone else to my evening meal? That's only the start, to work the system needs bankers to provide the finance to build the store, lawyers to draft and enforce the contracts, surveyors and engineers to ensure the building doesn't fall down, IT managers to ensure those systems work and so on. Digging down deeper, what about the guy who designed the widget that makes the lorry work so the goods can actually be moved? What about his HR manager? What about the guy who drives the bus who takes the tomato picker to work, what about the receptionist of the oil company that produces the fuel that powers the whole damn system? All of them have some small role in my supper. We need to eat, therefore we need bankers, lawyers and accountants, otherwise there's no supermarket and no evening meal.
  8. What you're saying is that your subjective view of what is and isn't "useful" is better and more reliable than that of the person who is actually paying to have the task done. I'm sorry but I'm going to side with the guy who's writing the cheque every time. Like it or not bankers and landlords are an integral part of any modern economy, to dismiss them as "spongers" is simply naive. We might dislike the scale they've grown to but that's a consequence of government regulatory failures and planning policy.
  9. How do we determine whether something is useful other than by looking at if someone is willing to pay for it to be done, with the person doing the task becoming a taxpayer as a result? Lets leave the bankers and BTLers out of this, they are at best a minor part and this situation precedes them by a long way. For me the benefits system is at the heart of all that's wrong with this country. Rather than being a safety net we've parked large numbers of people on benefits for life, told them not to bother trying to improve themselves and simply accept whatever the council gives them; the result: large numbers of out of control kids turning our towns and cities into s***holes. I always go back to a post in another thread in cases like this:
  10. The problem is who is and isn't having the kids. The benefits/tax credit mothers keep popping them out to keep the money rolling in, meanwhile the self supporting wage earners and professionals who are paying for everyone else might have one or two, think about the implications of that for a moment. The benefits kids are likely to become the next generation of single mother benefits claimants or uneducated, unemployable men. The wage earners kids are likely to become the next generation of taxpayers who are expected to pay for the rest. If the tax credit kids are being born at 3x the rate of the taxpayers then sooner or later there won't be enough taxpayers to keep the party going, what happens then? But why has the place become a s***hole in the first place? Could it be to do with 40+ years of state dependency, encouraging the poor to breed whilst taxing the productive out of existance?
  11. Not 100% sure about this, I'd probably prefer to see the personal allowance raised but that can be very expensive, my guess is that this is something that looks impressive but actually works out very cheap (assuming that the NIC upper limit follows as well). Some very rough numbers: 20,000,000 workers x £1,000 increase in personal allowance x 32% tax (and NI) lost = £6,400,000,000. 2,000,000 higher earners x £8,000 increase in higher rate threshold x 8% tax lost = £1,280,000,000. i.e. this sounds better than an extra £200 on the personal allowance.
  12. Presumably the £6 rise will suffer 20% tax plus 11% NIC so the net effect will be a £0.96 reduction in net income. What a strange country we live in.
  13. I'm quite aware of the UK's "constitutional" position. My point was that Bliar broke the unwriten settlement that'd existed for the previous 300 years.
  14. Fair point, although the WA's powers are far more limited than SG's. Also the WA is an example of why I don't think regional assemblies will work, one of the reasons why their powers are more limited is that Wales shares its legal system with England.
  15. Meanwhile Millibrain is set to announce billions of extra funding for the NHS.
  16. Possibly it's connected to the referendum last week.
  17. I'll keep an open mind but there isn't much public support for this and I'm very doubtful. The Scots have a separate legal system with wide ranging powers to make their own laws. I doubt that it would be practical to set up a dozen different legal systems across England so in reality it's likely that the important powers would remain with Westminster. Also I doubt that there would be any real accountability in these new bodies, votes would likely be based on national issues so the reality is that most assemblies would be dominated by one party in perpetuity. Bliar broke the constitution when he set up the Scottish parliament, the reality is that regional assemblies are labours attempt to hold onto their Scottish mps whilst pretending to devolve powers to the regions.
  18. Regional devolvement is the con (which was the point of my op), there's no way that the regions are going to get the same sort of taxation and legislation powers that the Scots have so they'll just be glorified councils with the real powers staying at Westminster.
  19. Because it's a con. It's a way of pretending that England is on the same footing as Scotland whilst Labour retains the important powers at Westminster.
  20. If the proposal is to devolve tax powers to scotland then Scots MPs would have the power to affect English tax rates, English MPs would only have the power to intervene if they reversed the devolution legislation - very unlikely.
  21. I think the devolution question could now become key. If Cameron can turn the next election into a debate about England having it's own parliament then Milibrain is going to look very stupid arguing that the 59 Scottish MPs should be allowed to set English tax rates whilst English MPs have no powers over Scottish rates, particularly since the LD's are for once on the same side.
  22. He's up against some pretty stiff competition.
  23. I think I'd reform the Scottish parliament so that it consisted of the 60 or so existing MPs who could then vote in Westminster on non-devolved issues.
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