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the_dork

Assessment Of The Coalition

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What is your honest view on this coalition? They’ve been a huge disappointment on the focus of this forum but on wider areas I can’t particularly say they’re worse than the Blair/Brown madness. Just seems as though they had a few key policies which have now been implemented and there’s no real ‘big idea’ as there has been with important governments in the past (Attlee, Wilson, Thatcher, arguably Blair)

Education-suspect that Gove is on to something if the teachers hate him so much though am not an expert on this area, the labour approach of expanding uni for all and A-levels in softer subjects was a joke.

Health-Again, they get a lot of flak and there’s sure to be some dodgy deals with their finance mates but I am in favour of some market based reforms of the NHS. Living longer, more expensive meds etc, we are going to have to contribute more in some form.

Constitutional matters-missed a great opportunity for PR and House of Lords reform IMO, a shame but this is a politico/anorak issue.

Economy-A disastrous failure to reform and re-balance the economy. Again it’s hard to say that they’ve been worse than Labour, just more of the same with slightly less tax at the top and redistribution through public services or tax credits. I suspect that it’s just a case of Osborne and Cameron cynically giving the electorate what they want ‘higher house prices, cut benefits’ etc but not based on any decent philosophy. Banking and regulation just mild reform of the Blair madness of let them getting a lot so we can tax it back.

Welfare reform-nice theory, again have to remember the Labour madness of welfarism. Has been terribly implemented and bedroom tax unnecessarily spiteful.

Home Sec/Justice- Not popular but again I actually agree with some of the reforms to legal aid, the prison system and immigration. No ID cards a big plus

Foreign policy-I don’t know much about this area. Hague strikes me as a total amateur and again I don’t think there’s really any principles behind anything they do (whether that’s worse than the ‘principled’ Blair though, highly doubtful)

Environment-A climate change sceptic holds the post and the wildlife ‘credit’ scheme is terrible. Main issue of climate change is a global problem but as someone who buys the theory I would trust Labour to do more for international agreement and progress on this issue.

Other laws/policies that come to mind-I moderately support gay marriage though it’s about priority number 129834. Labour would have implemented this also.

HS2 is a giant red herring that I oppose (not sure Labour do)

Planning reform-handled terribly, I suspect because Osborne and Cameron don't care enough about the issue.

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They inherited a housing crisis and consolidated debts of around 460% of GDP. They are likely to bequeath a housing crisis and consolidated debts of around 560% of GDP.

F-

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Comparing them favourably with Bliar/Brown - the worst government for a generation, if not since Lord North - is a fine example of "damned by faint praise". :lol:

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Comparing them favourably with Bliar/Brown - the worst government for a generation, if not since Lord North - is a fine example of "damned by faint praise". :lol:

Ha, yeah true. I'm 30 so very much take Blair as my default, probably in the way lots of people do Thatcher. Just having read a reasonable amount of post-war history I am aware there are alternatives

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They inherited a housing crisis and consolidated debts of around 460% of GDP. They are likely to bequeath a housing crisis and consolidated debts of around 560% of GDP.

F-

Pretty much in agreement with that.

The coalition have also presided over the biggest corrosion in public trust via their failure to properly deal with the fallout from the expenses scandal. Cameron's total indifference to serious reforms has been nothing short of scandalous. Poetic justice with the current furore over Miller.

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Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

I am not, so I shall be voting for somebody other than the Coalition.

Given the monumental turd the coalition inherited, it was always going to be difficult.

I've no intention of voting for Lord Snooty and his chums, mind.

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Education - Sweden is the model for Gove's academies and Sweden's international PISA rankings have fallen off a cliff since they implemented this self same system (no other country has fallen so far down the rankings in maths over such a short timespan) so academisation apparently does not improve standards in the long term: http://www.oecd.org/statistics/ (I originally said "actually work" rather than "improve standards" but then I realised Gove's intentions may well be to lower standards in state education in order to maintain/grow the unskilled labour sector). In terms of university funding there is an argument to be made that state funding of research at the best universities could bolster the economy (not in a quantitive easing sense but in a pure-research-often-leads-to-unexpected-and-beneficial-technological-developments sense). The increase in tuition fees just feels like another way of forcing the unprivileged young into ever higher levels of debt, although it may have at least in part contributed to a reduction in poor quality degrees (such as supposed BSc's in "complementary" medicine http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/degree-courses/8989183/Lie-back-and-relax-reflexology-and-aromatherapy-degrees-are-dropped.html ) which is a very good thing but seems to have occurred more by accident than by design.

Health - The GPs as gate-keepers model falls down because it's not possible for a single individual to have a working knowledge of all medical conditions (hence why we have specialisations) but general practitioners seem to be expected to keep up to date with every development in medicine and at the same time are financially disincentivised from making referrals to specialists (with more obscure conditions they may not even be aware that specialists exist). Equally marketisation along (say) French lines, where individual doctors and surgeons individually compete against one another but prices are capped and partially state-refunded, could potentially be a very good thing as long as some provision was made to help the most diasadvantaged access the system. Certainly the NHS management structure appears to be far too admin-heavy and target-focused. Unfortunately the coalition's reforms actually place more power in the hands of GPs and less in the hands of specialists; are likely to lead to US-style profiteering rather than French-style marketisation (because of the formation of CCGs and involvement of private companies creating competition distortions rather than allowing individual doctors and surgeons to operate freely); and will probably lead to even greater levels of admin (albeit largely off book) because of the additional need to create and monitor contracts with private companies and the inefficiency of each seperate company involved operating their own management, finance, advertising and legal teams alongside whatever rump of NHS admin remains.

Constitutional matters - The missed opportunity for PR and House of Lords reform is, I think, more serious than most people realise as it actually undermines their own democratic power.

Economy - No real attempt to rebalance towards actual industry and away from the pseudo-economy of financial services and HPI, which are still the entirely unsustainable drivers of economic growth. Not convinced that the deficit has been reduced given their own internal accounts suggest otherwise according to the MPs select committee that reviewed them, certainly the overall debt has grown massively. Their spending policies seem to amount to nothing more than faux austerity for a faux recovery. Failure to bring capital gains in line with income tax is also a big failure in my opinion. It is all income after all.

Welfare - Entirely failed to acknowledge let alone reform the level of welfare paid out to corporations (in bailouts, tax breaks and subsidies) and landowners (agricultural welfare is big business, just look up IDS's family estate). No levelling the playing field in terms of welfare for renters and savers versus homeowners. No attempt to deal with public sector pensions. Housing benefit and tax credits still propping up ridiculously low wages/ high house prices (delete as appropriate, house prices need to fall in real terms either nominally or through wage inflation). Essentially they've just been messing about at the edges and targeting the poorest and most reviled while conveniently forgetting the vast sums being given out to the rich (incidentally, does anyone know what the argument is for the apparent belief that poor people are morally obliged to work for a pittance but rich people must be incentivised with bonuses?)

Home Sec/Justice - Legal aid reforms are likely to increase the number of people who choose to represent themselves in court, thus increasing the amount of court time per case. As lawyers actually cost a lot less than the coutroom (and associated staff) itself this could easily actually increase costs for the tax payer. Not seen any signs of evidenced-based policy in regards to lowering re-offending rates, which generally concern me more than any notional idea of punishment although I would also note that sentencing terms for violent crime seems to be unduly low in relation to other offenses. Perpetual criminal records for cautions seems unduly punitive. Nothing of susbstance has been done in regards to immigration. No ID cards but went along quite happily with PRISM, which seems rather worse.

Foreign Policy - I think they intended to carry on with Bliar's "legacy" but haven't managed to wield enough power in parliament to do so (witness Syria). No UK opposition to the clause in the US-EU trade deal which allows private companies the right to sue countries in international courts if legislation in any way impinges on their profits (on reflection I can see why there was no point pushing constitutional reform given this impending undermining of democracy).

Environment - Creative accounting on net emissions and a wilful insistence on confusing "renewable" with "environmentally sustainable" (burning down rainforest, so not included in our net emissions, to grow oil palm to burn as bio-diesel being an example of "renewable" energy that garners UK funding) seem to be the order of the day. I don't think they're very concerned with evidence based policy in general, which is a problem that, as others on HPC have pointed out, most likely stems from the under-representation of scientists (or those with science-based degrees) in parliament. Not convinced that Labour would be much better as I don't think they have been in the past.

Other laws/policies - Gay marriage is an odd one, it just seems weird that the government was dictating who could marry who before, so it's hard to give much credit for doing something which seems like it should have already been a given in the 21st century. Not sure about HS2 as not overly familiar with the scheme, broadly speaking I think high speed rail should be a good thing but it has to be implemented well. Planning reform hasn't gone anywhere near far enough.

Overall - Epic Fail

Not that I think Labour (or UKIP, or either the Conservatives or Lib Dems independently) would be any better or even substantially different.

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Great summary Lo-fi. Your last paragraph is pretty depressing. I vaguely considered UKIP at one point but they are a one-issue party, on other issues they are a strange mixture of Thatcherite populism and just base ignorance. I quite like many Lib Dem policies but it's hard to take them seriously and for various reasons it looks like they'll get wiped out.

Ed Miliband seems to 'get' some of the issues but is just so uninspiring and the rest of his Cabinet are pygmies (Yvette Cooper as Home Sec, Douglas Alexander foreign sec, no thanks).

So who do we vote for?!

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Great summary Lo-fi. Your last paragraph is pretty depressing. I vaguely considered UKIP at one point but they are a one-issue party, on other issues they are a strange mixture of Thatcherite populism and just base ignorance. I quite like many Lib Dem policies but it's hard to take them seriously and for various reasons it looks like they'll get wiped out.

Ed Miliband seems to 'get' some of the issues but is just so uninspiring and the rest of his Cabinet are pygmies (Yvette Cooper as Home Sec, Douglas Alexander foreign sec, no thanks).

So who do we vote for?!

Yeh, I generally agree with your assessment. I've voted UKIP before but hadn't read their manifesto (I was 18) and was going on the basis of the libertarian rhetoric of the local candidate; unfortunately they are not at all libertarian in a lot of areas (planning being the major one that stands out for me at the moment) and seem to play hard and loose with evidence in a way that borders on the openly anti-scientific (just run through their position on energy and climate change and compare it to the peer-reviewed literature) so I won't be doing so again.

I'm tempted to vote Green as they seem to be fairly serious about a Land Value Tax, but I doubt that this will make a difference outside of Brighton and I'm also fairly certain that any lost votes to the Greens will be attributed purely to environmental issues (although some progress on this would also be good).

The Young People's Party has some good policies but is an unknown so far (no idea as to where they will even be running) and I'm personally rather put off by the part of their manifesto that states "We are a political party, not scientists" as if the two were (or should be) mutually exclusive, which I find to be both absurd and detrimental to democracy (both in the sense that many UK citizens are scientists and should be represented and that it seems likely that politicians with science backgrounds would be inclined towards evidence based policy).

The Lib Dems had some good policies at the last election but failed to enact the best of them in office (or even the ones they said were the most important to them) so their manifesto is essentially null and void before they've even written it.

Miliband, I think, seemed to talk some sense during his leadership election campaign but has generally failed to do so since (perhaps he wasn't taken seriously by the party elite until he actually won, so they only sought out his ear at that point); he hasn't sufficiently distanced himself from the policies of Blair and Brown and is surrounded by the dregs of New Labour, so I don't hold out much hope of improvement here.

The Conservatives appear to have been the primary driver behind a lot of the recent economic policy, which seems to involve a scorched earth strategy whereby the economy has been temporarily patched in a way that is designed to blow up in the face of the next government; it would therefore be kind of funny to vote them in just for the schadenfreude of watching them trying to cope with their own mess.

Given the dirth of anyone actually worth voting for (i.e. with both decent policies and decent election prospects) I think the most sensible course of action is probably to vote tactically, with a view to preventing a majority government for any party and forcing another coalition (of whoever, it doesn't really matter, they are all much of a muchness). While the smaller parties with limited experience of power might relish this opportunity I doubt Labour or the Conservatives will be satisfied with perpetual coalitions and suspect one or both will eventually buckle and propose some major reforms in order to gain a majority government. At least, I hope so.

Edited by Lo-fi

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As Ronald Reagan once said, 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?'

Most people in this country - including me - would answer 'No.'

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As Ronald Reagan once said, 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?'

Most people in this country - including me - would answer 'No.'

Agreed! The question at this point seems to be whether any of the mainstream parties will work for us to be better off in a further four years time, to which I think the answer is still, unforunately, "No" dry.gif

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Agreed! The question at this point seems to be whether any of the mainstream parties will work for us to be better off in a further four years time, to which I think the answer is still, unforunately, "No" dry.gif

Yes, I totally agree, which is why a protest vote of sorts seems the best option.

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As Ronald Reagan once said, 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?'

Most people in this country - including me - would answer 'No.'

Is that because you're paid in roubles ?

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easy. four words total.

promised much, delivered little.

as for reagans "are you better off than you were four years ago?"

depends what metric you are measuring by.

financially i would probably say yes, people are a little better off than 4 years ago...but not by 15 years ago.

socially no on both counts.

headmaster 's school report says much the same. d-

has got potential,but prone to being swayed by outside influences,and would rather be part of the "gang" than use their talent,and be unpopular but good.

on the whole, not very impressed.,could do a lot better.

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I have nothing but contempt for a government which has consciously decided to ignore the collapsing living standards of people born after 1980 because a pollster told them there aren't enough votes in it.

The UK badly needs a constitutional crisis. It is ridiculous that the next government could be formed on a mandate from 35% of voters on a 60% turnout i.e. only 21% of adults saying they actually want this party to form the government. There are tens of millions of people in this country whose interests are being completely ignored by the political classes because the constituency-based electoral system makes their votes worthless. Even if the AV referendum had gone the other way this still would have been the case.

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I have nothing but contempt for a government which has consciously decided to ignore the collapsing living standards of people born after 1980 because a pollster told them there aren't enough votes in it.

It's expected of the Tories.. it's the fact that the Lib Dems have joined in, despite drawing a fair amount of support from students, that is disturbing.

The UK badly needs a constitutional crisis. It is ridiculous that the next government could be formed on a mandate from 35% of voters on a 60% turnout i.e. only 21% of adults saying they actually want this party to form the government. There are tens of millions of people in this country whose interests are being completely ignored by the political classes because the constituency-based electoral system makes their votes worthless. Even if the AV referendum had gone the other way this still would have been the case.

You mean like 2005 ?

Sad thing is that Labour seem to have the idea that they can get back into power just by replicating the 2005 result.

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saddest thing is that seems as though Labour will win by default, without a purge of most of the jokers involved last time (though some of the newer ones like Chuka Umunna seem even more clueless) and without any particular policies than being a bit less ruthlessly uncaring to life's losers and a 'bankers bonus tax' which apparently covers everything anyone needs to buy in the world, ever.

For all the talk of smaller parties breaking through the stale consensus, must be about 80% seats which are about 99% safe unless a convicted criminal was to stand.

Edited by the_dork

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It's expected of the Tories.. it's the fact that the Lib Dems have joined in, despite drawing a fair amount of support from students, that is disturbing.

This never gets old, and I'm sure it will be all over the social media feeds of my 20- and 30something friends and relatives in 2015:

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saddest thing is that seems as though Labour will win by default, without a purge of most of the jokers involved last time (though some of the newer ones like Chuka Umunna seem even more clueless) and without any particular policies than being a bit less ruthlessly uncaring to life's losers and a 'bankers bonus tax' which apparently covers everything anyone needs to buy in the world, ever.

For all the talk of smaller parties breaking through the stale consensus, must be about 80% seats which are about 99% safe unless a convicted criminal was to stand.

Hey, we have a choice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Rees-Mogg

or

http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Labour-choose-hopeful-North-East-Somerset-seat/story-19225830-detail/story.html

Labour has chosen an American-born London councillor to mount its bid to win back north east Somerset.

Still, I'm sure that the experience of living in Notting Hill and being a lawyer in the financial services sector will help him represent the downtrodden working class of a area that he's not only heard of a couple of times, but flown over as well. The idea that he's just out to have a chance to draft some financial sector legislation and then, 5 years later, get a surprisingly well-remunerated position advising banks how to get around the same legislation simply does not cross my mind.

Rees-Mogg is campaigning on his traditional 'back to the 1870s' ticket.

The lib dem candidate recently pulled out citing 'depression'.

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No point fussing about party manifestos when the constitution is broken

We need root and branch reform of how governments are elected and operate.

In particular we need to remove the crushing dominance of the executive over the legislature.

That requires an end of the winner take all electoral system whereby any party leader that can grab a majority at a General election thereafter can operate as a n elective dictator for the next 5 years. PR is only part of the answer. We also need to move towards a system of phased elections for Parliament where a portion of MPs come up for reelection every few years. I personally favour the idea of either half of Parliamentary seats coming up for reelection every 3 years or a third coming up for reelection every 2 years (nb - each MP once elected would sit for 6 years until the cycle of re-elections came round again). This would weaken the hold that Prime Ministers or opposition leaders could exercise over back enchers since the fate of the latter would not necessarily depend on them slavishly backing the former.

To be honest the most important election for the fate of our constitution is the referendum on Scottish independence later this year than any General Election in 2015. If the Scots vote Yes then it is going to shake the political establishment to a far greater degree than any shuffling of the deck chairs on the Westminster Titanic next year

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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In particular we need to remove the crushing dominance of the executive over the legislature.

That requires an end of the winner take all electoral system whereby any party leader that can grab a majority at a General election thereafter can operate as a n elective dictator for the next 5 years. PR is only part of the answer. We also need to move towards a system of phased elections for Parliament where a portion of MPs come up for reelection every few years. I personally favour the idea of either half of Parliamentary seats coming up for reelection every 3 years or a third coming up for reelection every 2 years (nb - each MP once elected would sit for 6 years until the cycle of re-elections came round again). This would weaken the hold that Prime Ministers or opposition leaders could exercise over back enchers since the fate of the latter would not necessarily depend on them slavishly backing the former.

Why not bypass the sodding lot of them and go for direct democracy and continual digital plebiscites? Of course that might actually favour youth participation :o

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Why not bypass the sodding lot of them and go for direct democracy and continual digital plebiscites? Of course that might actually favour youth participation :o

Well, on one hand, this would trust the people to be able to exercise power wisely on their own behalf.

On the other, 2.5 million copies of the Daily Mail are sold in this country every day.

You can see the dilemma.

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Well, on one hand, this would trust the people to be able to exercise power wisely on their own behalf.

On the other, 2.5 million copies of the Daily Mail are sold in this country every day.

You can see the dilemma.

I take your point but I reckon most of the more extreme Daily Mail/Guardian types would effectively cancel each other out.

Also, I'm of the opinion that if we democratically decide to do something stupid then that's fair enough. How else are we going to learn? It would still be a lot better than the current system where no democratic consensus is reached (as Dorkins pointed out only 21% need to vote for a party for them to form the next government) and yet politicians act as if they have a democratic mandate and do a lot of things which I consider to be bloody stupid anyway...

Edited by Lo-fi

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