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nothernsoul

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Everything posted by nothernsoul

  1. Don't landlords generally just charge what the market will bare or what the government is willing to pay in housing benefit? With ultra low rates, landlords will have seen the value of their properties shoot up alongside a fall in mortgage repayments. Did they pass this saving on to their tenants? Unless the taxes were punitive, they would just have to absorb them.
  2. Always wondered who buys the Express. If a person has those political leanings, why not read the Daily Mail? To my eyes, the Mail has much higher production values and better columnists.
  3. I am afraid it is a nonsense when the public parrot in focus groups or on news segments that they want "politicians who tell the truth". It isn't as if they are going to admit to a stranger( or maybe even to themselves) that they want"an unprincipled liar who will brazenly act in my self interests". It was pretty obvious Boris Johnson lacks integrity, which is why he was elected. And in this policy he is simply doing his job of looking after the interests of his core vote. Nothing novel of course about any politician acting in the interests of their Core vote. But what shockingly stands out with this policy is how brazen it is, without even a token attempt to spread the pain around in an attempt to appear fair. Note how many Conservatives, including John Major and Fraser Nelson, have publicly voiced their disgust.
  4. I would be very interested to see two columns side by side. One marked wage earners, and the other marked asset owners. And in each column the policies initiated by the government and its proxies(Bank of England) to increase/protect each of them since the financial crisis. I think we know which would be the clear winner.
  5. Agree with KZB and Onlooker about the thin end of the wedge dangers, as well as defeating the whole principle of paying in, if the state pension is removed from the richest. Would rather they just used suspension of stamp duty as a means to abolish it, then introduced some kind of tax on property sales. No means of raising tax is ideal, but the huge imbalance between directly taxed earnings and wealth needs to be addressed.
  6. Unless any money raised is ring fenced for social care, or tied to an individual, it will just be a common garden tax increase won't it? The revenue will just flow into government coffers which pays for scores of expensive things, social care just being one of them. And if the method of taxation they choose for an increase is national insurance contribution, it will be a tax increase that hits those working on low or average incomes disproportionately the hardest.
  7. I am not describing disdain for particular people. I am describing an attitude of disdain(maybe bias is a less loaded word). An attitude held by the elite in society that effected the educational policy. An ideology. I wouldn't criticise anyone who bettered themselves through academic qualifications. Well done to them. The criticism is at a belief system, when influencing educational policy, that has had a negative effect on the UK economy compared to Germany. To be fair, the UK prejudice against non academic qualifications goes back further than the post war generation. However, it is a real thing, and has negatively effected the UK economy. Maybe a bit sloppy,unthoughtful and impolite to label all people born at a certain time as boomers. It is really shorthand for the various class interests of different groups born post war, interests that changed as they got older. That is what politics is about, people's interests, usually economic, manifested in class and power. However, equating the term boomer to prejudice against ethnic minorities isn't helpful. How many boomers have had excrement pushed through their letterbox and been driven out of their homes by the National front? Or how many children at school have had "Go back to where you came from you dirty boomer" yelled at them. Using a term that hurts a person's feelings in a forum should be avoided(In which case I apologise). But I don't think those born between 1946 and 1965 have suffered any particular prejudice or lack economic or political power/representation do they?
  8. If you want to blame any generation for too many young people going to university and having devalued degrees, it is the middle class boomers. It would not have been possible for so many young people to go to university if the university sector hadn't been hugely expanded under John Majors government, followed by continuing expansion and the introduction of loans and fees under Blair. It wasn't millennials making decisions in these governments was it. The supply came first, then was filled by demand. Compared to countries such as Germany, post war England has had a snobby disdain for quality technical education, in favour of the traditional academic. Quality technical education is where the money should have been spent. Instead what boomers did(probably well meaning) was take this unconscious prejudice, then extrapolate from their own experience of the more modest expansion of university places post war, in a society that was becoming more socially mobile anyway, when a degree had a much greater effect on job prospects.
  9. Of course demand is a factor. However, focussing on demographic factors and supply is a red herring to why house prices are currently SO high. Those with vested interests in house price inflation will happily nod along about how we need to build more, and maybe about reducing immigration(it takes time and effort for governments to sort this out, if at all). This also makes current house prices seem accidental. The obvious elephant in the room is that interest rates have been near zero for over a decade. If the government and bank of England said tomorrow we are returning to historical normal, no more money printing, help to buy, guaranteeing deposits, base rates at 5 percent, there would be an inevitable and almighty crash by the end of the year.
  10. It would push up prices a bit, it would also increase rental prices, landlords would subdivide properties even further to maximise rent. However population growth hasn't been the MAIN driver of house price increases in Britain. That has been easy access to cheap, borrowed money.
  11. The problem is, that ironically, the person who falls through the cracks under the current system is somebody without kids, who has paid in decades of tax and NI, then loses their job through no fault of their own and is expected to live on 75 quid a week. If I was in that situation I would be very upset, especially if I compared the insulting amount the state paid out to me in my temporary time of need, to the much larger amounts given to those who paid in nothing year after year.
  12. The point is the precedent that is set. Twenty years ago the idea that the council had anything at all to do with an individuals mortgage would be ridiculous. If somebody is struggling with the mortgage, it is between them and the bank, who can choose to show forbearance(with guidelines from government if necessary). Correct me if I am being naive here, didn't borrowing money, particularly a large sum, used to be considered a risk, with possible consequences? And all the while this is going on, local libraries used by poor children or homeless services are cut.
  13. It reminds me of an old Emo Phillips joke" The doctor asked me if I could provide a urine sample. I said certainly, from which year?" Seriously, it isn't just slobby behaviour, alongside the alcoholism, that person obviously has some kind of mental disorder.
  14. It would be more accurate to refer to CURRENT pensioners. If the triple lock was a well thought out policy with genuine concern for poverty among the elderly with the the intention to carry it on beyond the generations I might be more sympathetic to it. I think everyone knows it is just a temporary bribe to pacify an important voting block. Young people know they will be lucky to receive anything resembling a state pension before the age of seventy when it becomes convenient to move the goalposts. Similarly, their is a big difference between what a 30 year old teacher has paid in( higher contributions than predecessors, career average, retire at 65) will get out, compared to a seventy year old teacher who has been getting final salary for a decade. There are certain societies, particularly in the middle, East that are gerontocracies. Despite the majority of the population being young, power resides with the old. Although this is deeply unfair, at least you could argue that these societies have a traditional, deep rooted, veneration for the elderly, with it the norm for elderly parents to be looked after in the family home(a home that will be passed down the generations) rather than go into care. Modern British society isn't like that, much more individualistic, with a Western post war cult of youthfulness. What I am trying to say, is that the large, economically and electorally powerful boomer voting block, at this moment in time, just happen to be pensioners.
  15. I read in an article, honestly can't remember where, that suggested sellers were reluctant to put their houses up for sale in an expensive rising market. Their fear was, once they did get an offer, they would struggle to find somewhere better, for an affordable price. As I said, I only read this, no idea if it is true.
  16. Partly to do with ESL students, inner city schools with high proportion of ESL pupils will struggle to get high reading scores. However, it is also a problem with indigenous English speakers. You might have children with poor vocabulary because there is little conversation at home. There also might not be a culture of reading, either having stories read to them when they are infants, or books in the house they are encouraged to read. I also believe, no evidence for this, that society in general is less literary than in the past. With much more entertainment now, an expectation of instant gratification, people don't read as much as they might have in the past. I include the children of the middle classes in this. When I was a child, in preparation for a private school entry exam, being sent a long list of classic children's literature, treasure Island and the like. None of these texts would be on the test, but they would ask you about it at interview, it was just expected that a well rounded individual would be reading such things. I might be wrong(I have little modern experience of it), but I don't think that happens now.
  17. Standards at primary schools are definitely much higher than they were twenty plus years ago, much more is expected of both the teachers and pupils. With regards to reading age, I have taught reading in inner city primary schools, including 9 year olds. With the exception of pupils with special needs, most pupils actual technical reading isn't that bad. For example, an average 9 year old could read this post out loud without struggling. It isn't illiteracy. The bigger issue is comprehension, much harder to teach than technical reading. You often find vocabulary is limited, even words you might assume they understand the meaning of.
  18. Firstly, well done to all those who have achieved the grades they wanted and worked hard for. As far as I know, wasn't there a lot of teacher assessment this year with regards to A levels, which would lead to inevitable grade inflation(especially considering the GCSE algorithm downgrade u turn fiasco last year?) Anyway, putting that issue aside, all academic qualifications are easier to obtain than when my father sat them in the 50s and 60s . The simple reason is that during that period the system, with grammar schools, O levels and A levels was deliberately designed for less than 20 percent to go to university. They were meant to be difficult, for a minority, as well as the difficulty the grading system deliberately ensured only a certain percentage passed. We forget how now how many people left school with no formal academic qualifications. The reason for this was an industrial economy, which only required around 20 percent white collar professional and administrative middle class for society to function. There were enough industrial and manual jobs for the rest. In a de industrialised economy, with more complex functions, that would not be acceptable or functional.
  19. What somebody, or there workplace pays, for private medical insurance in the UK now, is a fraction of what it would be if NHS did not exist. The majority of those paying for private insurance will be of working age and better off. The NHS carries the heavier more expensive burden of elderly care, intensive care, those with long term chronic conditions. Secondly, the fact there is an alternative competitor, free at the point of use, will also push insurance premiums down. If you look at the graph posted above, Britain is around the middle for health expenditure. Whatever it's failings, it isn't particularly expensive by international standards. The fact is, healthcare, especially in an aging Western society is expensive. No way round it. Even if you could magically cut out all theoretical waste, it would still be expensive. And unless as a society we are willing to let people die, the healthy and better off will always end up paying for the poorer and less healthy Even in USA, a country that spends an astronomical amount on private healthcare, with nowhere near universal coverage, the state still pays a fortune out in healthcare to government employees and the elderly whose votes they rely on to stay in power. In my opinion the concept of NHS is sound. The issue is political interference and too much spent on management. The amount of money spent on the latter has increased exponentially alongside attempts to outsource, backdoor privatise and create fake internal markets.
  20. Whatever the truth, either way of this case, at least there is an MP who knows what it is like to be on a waiting list and lives in social housing.
  21. What powers any type of inflation is money. And what powers house price inflation is borrowed money. Ultra low rates have stopped house prices crashing. Just before the financial crisis, when rates were between 4 and 5 percent, mortgage repayments were taking up a much larger percentage of individuals income, people were struggling. A ceiling had been hit at those prices. The simple fact is individuals,and the economy, cannot for a sustained period, tolerate the consequences of servicing the debt on mortgages 8 times income at historically normal levels( a level of interest where the lender would expect to make a reasonable profit allowing for factors such as inflation etc), even levels that would have been considered low 20 years ago.
  22. There is a significant minority in society who would benefit from a fall in residential property prices. Don't know what that percentage is, but it clearly exists. However, not only is that group in a minority, it is disparate, the less powerful, unclear of their interests. In contrast to that, you have larger, more powerful group, who clearly know their interests. Even without landlord and vested interests within parliament, which must have some effect, politicians would appease the homeowners anyway. It isn't vested interest, homeowners have now become a class.
  23. It was a disgraceful policy. During a pandemic make a tax cut that favours the better off members of society, removing the one existing tax(however flawed)on an overinflated, undertaxed asset. Reinforces the message very clearly. Not just measures to prevent individuals losing their homes, no, that isn't enough. Even under unprecedented national crisis, house price values cannot be allowed to fall.
  24. Gramsci was imprisoned by fascists,so he had plenty of inclination and time to think about it. "The old is dying but the young cannot be born; in this interregnum a variety of morbid symptoms appear" Isn't that precisely what we have been seeing since the financial crisis, a variety of morbid symptoms?
  25. The ghost of Theresa May's so called "altzheimer tax" hangs over this. One of the few times (albeit lulled into a false sense of security by apparent haplessness of Jeremy Corbyn)that a politician put forward a forward looking, economically and morally correct policy during an election that wasn't just intended to buy votes. The reward? Vilfication from normally pro Tory press and a u turn within a week. All those older Tory voters probably didn't vote Labour, but enough to keep them at home on election day.
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