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About onlooker

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  1. Permit me, as a genuine Boomer, to make a couple of comments. It is true in my industry, that some of the young people coming up are earningmuch more than I did at their age. I mean in inflation adjusted terms. My perception of the job market today, is that employees are paid what they are worth to management, who are under the cosh to perform and make profits. In my day, management was haphazard at best, and nepotistic at worst, so the argument always went: 'You think you are worth what?!!, Nobody else gets paid that!! Maybe after you have worked here for 20 years!!'. As to SKIING. It is an old joke: 'There is not much fun having pots of money when you are old - but at least your kids keep in touch with you'. There is more truth in that than many people will admit. Many young people only call their parents when they need something. OTOH, I have been generous with my children, helping to buy houses, providing free grandchild babycare. I don't complain. I know of several of my friends who have done the same and few who haven't. That is life. Getting back to the thread title. One of the issues is motivation. If you retire early, you better have a good hobby or your brain will atrophy, and your social circle shrink. If my industry were in a better shape now, I would still be working, because I found work stimulating.
  2. They may have benefitted, but which wars did they fund/cause?
  3. I can't let you get away with that. Which war in Europe in the last 250 years was actually caused by economic rivalry? I think you have to go back to the Anglo-Dutch naval wars of the 1600s to find war caused by trade rivalries. Wars in Europe were caused by aggressors seeking territorial gains, and destroying perceived surrounding threats (often religious or revolutionary). Why were some countries aggressors? Powerful governing elites, unrestrained by democratic control, seem to have been a common factor. True democracy is the main way of preventing war. Few people vote to be the aggressor. The Swiss haven't been to war for hundreds of years. But where in the EU is true democracy?
  4. Well in the post I quoted, you only referred to the NHS and the US. Personally I see nothing wrong with a health insurance element, and strong incentives to healthy lifestyles and keeping fundamentally healthy people from using expensive doctor and hospital resources. AIUI US healthcare is expensive because of the cost of training and insurance of healthcare professionals. The NHS outsources a lot of the training to countries we import doctors from, and litigation is not so deeply ingrained in the UK culture.
  5. Why do you write that a US style health service the only alternative? Plenty of other private/part private models out there, even those of the EU.
  6. Contrariwise. May was aiming for a bigger majority (of mainly Remain supporting new Tory MPs), which would have enabled her to vote down the ERG group, and get her deal through easily. By losing her majority, the ERG MPs and DUP now have more influence.
  7. onlooker

    Design the EU

    Exactly, the design depends what the EU is actually for. The fact that the case for Remain was pretty flimsy and unconvincing for the majority of voters suggests that the EU is little more than an plan looking for adequate justification. It has been variously suggested that the original concept was to: 1) provide a cage for Germany, so it would not again threaten European domination (particularly domination of France). 2) provide more dependable food supply for a continent which was starving at the end of WW2. 3) provide a way of reducing ruinous competition between EU countries which essentially produce much the same type of goods and products, and trying to sell to the same customers. Well, 1) has clearly failed, 2) produces food at c.20% higher than World prices, and 3) has resulted in a substantial UK trade surplus when we joined becoming a £67 billion deficit today. 1, 2 and 3 above could have been achieved with a loose system of alliances, but the model adopted, with a strong central bureaucracy, a strong rules based system and a single currency and central bank, can only work with a single administration and treasury, and balancing payments from rich areas to poor areas. In this respect IMHO the EU most resembles the Roman (or other) empires, and none of them lasted long, and most residents of empires had a pretty miserable life, and couldn't wait to escape.
  8. That was to stop the Semtex coming in. If RoI want to build fences and border posts, they are perfectly entitled to, but they won’t. UK won’t either. ps I am henceforward going to use the term World trade deal, as I believe ‘no deal’ is inaccurate.
  9. Norway (ie EFTA) does not satisfy the Irish border issue. The phrase ‘retains the benefits of the SM and CU’ is meaningless crap. Brussels says we can only maintain those benefits if we remain in the EU. (unless of course a FTA is negotiated). Corbyn says the Referendum vote must be honoured, and we will be out under Labour.
  10. It has now become an issue of trust. We had a referendum, the results of which the MPs are finding it impossible to enact. We had a General Election where both main parties supported A50 and withdrawal, but a significant number of MPs have broken their manifesto pledges and are preventing departure on any terms. Why hold more votes if the MPs cannot be trusted to do what they said they would do?
  11. The very serious problem now, is that since the Daily Mail has been taken over by Remainers, there are now almost no media sources giving the other side of the argument. Another Establishment Remainer stitch up. They don't believe in a clean fight.
  12. Is that 4x British Rail subsidy adjusted for inflation, and does is take account of the considerable investment in infrastructure, which BR neglected? The international rail subsidy comparison is reported here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_subsidies The figures for Euro million subsidy per billion passenger km are: Germany 210 France 160 UK 60 You get what you pay for. By the way the pre nationalization railways were not great money makers despite running virtual monopolies in their regions, and were pretty well wrecked during WW2 due to lack of maintenance and investment. However, they were showing interesting signs of innovation before 1948, but nationalization to a great extent stopped that trend towards modernization and rationalization.
  13. Mrs Thatcher was not responsible for privatizing the railways. She did however persuade the Japanese to build new car factories in the UK, and investors creating Canary Wharf. The rail industry cannot be doing much wrong because passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years. Many of the current problems stem from that growth, which has shown up how much investment in new and improved lines is required. Sadly, our engineering industries don't perform all that well, and our planning system is antiquated (loook at Heathrow new runway), so delivery is a problem. The underlying issue seems to remain - that rail travel is not cheap, unless subsidized by the taxpayers. The provider, private or state, is irrelevant. How much of your income tax should go in rail subsidy?
  14. If you wish to believe that you can, but I would be interested to see your evidence. Or is the billions of profit just a wild guess?
  15. https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7851 The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£67 billion with the EU in 2017. A surplus of £28 billion on trade in services was outweighed by a deficit of -£95 billion on trade in goods.

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