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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  28/04/2011  :  07:37
Political comment is a high risk activity on the site these days so I thought I'd try again to give those who are interested in politics a safe haven!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2011 : 14:41


quote:
Another wrote:
Tardy, your last post is not deserving of a response. Nolic


and yet Wink


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2011 : 14:43
Oh dear, another bad news story about the NHS.

Fancy that, I always thought health care was a 24/7 365 day operation. At least that is what the BMA keeps shouting about.

So how come they can't organise a schedule when it is continually pointed out that care outcomes 'dip' at the weekend? Or maybe I'm missing some information.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2011 : 16:45
quote:
Tiz, exactly what other methods would you suggest all the folk who now find themselves between a rock and a hard place actually take? The same sort of action that I think anti-globalisation protesters and the like should also take - don't fall into the old trap of alienating potential supporters and letting the news media present you in a way that simply brings them more readers/viewers at your expense. Unions should get a grip of digital technology, publishing, TV & radio programme production, newspapers, magazines and present their own side of things in an honest but interesting and engaging way. Unions have access to money and to people in lots of professions and trades - they could be much more enterprising and doing more for their members than at present. But all this should have been done years ago; as you say, the current prolem has been rumbling on for years and it gets to a point where it's too late and the old methods are wheeled in for one last try. But what happens? We get a long feature article about the TUC's Brenda Barber in The Times and the gist of what he says is "There'll be more strikes".



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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2011 : 16:51
Tardis, we may all be missing some information. It depends on how robust the study design was. I could predict that there would be more serious cases etc in hospital at the weekend because there are more people getting boozed out of their minds and falling in the road or fighting; a higher ratio of non-professional to professional drivers on the road; more dangerous sports going on; more DIY and so on. Unless the study was designed to eliminate these so-called `confounders' then it couldn't distinguish all the above from the effects of staffing. And I don't see anything yet to give me confidence that it was well-designed.


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Whyperion
Regular Member


122 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2011 : 20:24
I think its a bit of both , different proportion of emergency use , and staffing levels ( numbers and competences ) diminishing at weekends.

 Time for hospitals to be truly 24/7 with a shift pattern that ignores the weekend and just has a rolling 4 days 10hrs on/off ?

 Re public sector strikes , all rather silly , all they had to do was call up their retired comrades and then show to govt how 65 year old teachers/nurses/ immigration staff and managers would cope to show that there is a limit to a reasonable length or age on front line service.  


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 28/11/2011 : 22:14

As I wrote elsewhere :-

(Apologise for the size of font. I am not shouting...this site does not seem to like copying to scale.)

 

Pensions ?

 

The total folly of it all, and the totally ludicrous situation the ordinary citizen finds himself in can be better understood by trying to grasp the following.

 

Let us initially assume for the purpose of this exercise that there is no such thing as taxation and no such thing as a Welfare State, and no such thing as inflation. Let us also, for the sake of simplicity, assume a man starts his working life at 20 and retires at 65 and lives to be 80 (45 years of work and 15 years of retirement).

A simple bit of arithmetic shows that he needs to save one third of his income over his working life in order to fund his retirement.

Since there is no inflation his salary/wage will increase only in line with his increasing skills and abilities. And so his average salary for his 45 years of work will be that that he was receiving in his 43rd year, and the sum he has saved will just fund this standard of living level.

 

However, if he is like most men he will have married (or “partnered”) and have 2.5 children. He will have probably bought a house and furnished it. In addition to food and clothing he will have had to pay for the education of those children and the healthcare of the family. They will have wanted holidays, school uniforms, play stations etc etc. and this will have made a damned big hole in his self funded “pension fund”. As will weddings and grandchildren etc. not to mention refuse collection, and the few other local authority “services” that are of any value.

 

So at the end of his years of work how does he stand with regard to his self funded “pension fund”? If he has been very careful he may be reasonably placed. If he has taken the modern day approach of “spend spend spend” he will be found seriously wanting.

 

Now let us look at the present debacle.

There is an extremely serious side to this issue, that is currently being brought to it's ultimate conclusion. An issue that was never taken into account (if it was ever considered in the first place). It must, however, have been realised by some people in government over the years, hence the mad insane need to maintain "population growth" by what ever mean possible.

People of “working age” constitute roughly 60% of the total population. Currently, (late 2008) according to the latest figures, approximately 25% of the population of working age is unemployed, so only 45% (¾ of 60%) of the total population is employed. The figure for the percentage of the working population currently employed "in the public sector" is 30%. This means that only the remaining 30% of the total population is engaged in "creating" any wealth, and that is in the “private sector”. This 30% figure is reduced still further when one looks at several areas of the the "private sector" that are supporting and are paid by, the public sector (e.g. "outsourcing" services, consultancies, auditors, etc gobbling up billion upon billion of pounds).

As a result of this, the wealth, created by the efforts of 30% of the population, is having to support the entire population. This support must cover the Welfare state (Health, Pensions, Care Workers, Snoopers, Immigrant handouts, Homegrown Layabouts) and all Governmental costs. This ridiculous situation is exacerbated by the fact that a good proportion of this wealth is shipped out into other countries, either by the by the companies which own the wealth making operations, or by subterfuges used by UK companies to avoid taxes. Of the wealth that does not get "exported" a significant quantity goes in salaries and "bonuses" to non productive "fat cats", who again manage to "off shore" much of it.

So less than the earnings of 30% of the population (some of those earnings having been exported to central Europe by the 2+ million immigrant workers) is having to "keep" the entire population, along with having to finance any new hare brained whim of the Westminster Asylum, and having to have some left over for giving out to any passing dictator, and keeping an army, a navy and an air force (and their equipment) for fighting other people's wars, or interfering in other countries affairs, and even have enough left for shoring up the odd bank or two that falls on hard times.

 

The only thing that until recently has saved this foolish system from total disaster has been inflation and the artificially inflated price of houses.

How will any conventional government disengage itself from this?

The answer is that it will not, and can not, because it does not know how. What is more, even if it did know how, it still would not. Because the entire edifice of modern corrupt government is based on a steady supply of money from which it can extract a more than adequate supply on which it can gorge itself and its ego.


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 29/11/2011 : 06:26
I agree with Comrade Nolic. Tardis, is there anything you approve of?

 Catty, you're right. The basic idea of a state-funded pension for the lower paid, but essential, workers in an artificially managed low wage economy supported by subsidised food from the Empire was obviously a social good which is caring and responsible. However, from its inception it was never a 'fund', it was always paid out of revenue because it would take too much money out of the economy if it was run with an adequate capital reserve to cover future payments. For over a hundred years this was supportable for a variety of reasons but in the present stage of readjustment to a realistic level of growth and monetary values the cost of pensions is in direct competition with the demands on government resources in other areas.

This is the basic problem, how do you reduce the pension leak while losing the least votes. The problem has been kicked down the road by successive governments but now becomes a priority. Not an easy nut to crack!

Listening to Michael Gove ranting about the unions reinforced once more my belief that this fight is governed more by Tory DNA than responsible acceptance of the evidence and negotiation. The government would do well to look back in history to the lessons that were learned in the 1930s. The unions were attacked then for their 'ridiculous demands' and their evidence, policies and knowledge of industry were ignored until 1939 when quite suddenly the two most prominent trade unionists in the country, Nye Bevan and Ernie Bevin became key members of the war coalition, perhaps the most brilliant appointments Churchill made. By the end of the war many of their old policies, seen as 'ridiculous' in the Inter War years were adopted as essential to the winning of the victory over Nazi Germany. After the war Churchill was unstinting in his praise for this contribution. Lessons to learn?

Ossie has a hard row to hoe today. The concensus from the major commentators like the OECD and Chamers of Trade is that we are probably back into recession at the moment and this will only improve in mid 2012 given Best Case. Of course, none of this takes into account the eventual outcome of the EU problems and there is little optimism about this. Add the possible effects of further bad news from the US and it isn't a pretty picture. One thing that is certain is that we shall not be out of this mess by the next General Election and this is causing rising criticism from within the Tory ranks which is not helping. Time to ditch Party, form a proper coalition like Churchill's War Coalition and cooperate instead of pursuing sterile ya-boo politics. The parties, the Unions and Industry should be sitting down together and thinking what was the unthinkable. Radical restructuring of how we manage the economy and the country. Remember 'In Place of Strife'? Remember Macmillan's Middle Way?

There is no evidence of statesmanship instead of politics. There is too much control by lobbyists.  There is no sign of any way out in the deckchair shuffling that is going on now. Yup, I'm pessimistic!

Did you see the damning Panorama programme last night on PFI? If not, seek it out. In opposition the Tories were scathing about the wheeze, in power they find that they can only run the country by mortgaging our children's future. This 'kicking the problem down the road' is what got us into trouble in the first place. John Major invented it, Godron took it to the limit and the Condem coalition are doing exactly the same thing despite pre-election promises they would attack the problem.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 29/11/2011 : 11:26


quote:
Stanley wrote:

 Catty, you're right. The basic idea of a state-funded pension for the lower paid, but essential, workers in an artificially managed low wage economy supported by subsidised food from the Empire was obviously a social good which is caring and responsible. However, from its inception it was never a 'fund', it was always paid out of revenue because it would take too much money out of the economy if it was run with an adequate capital reserve to cover future payments. For over a hundred years this was supportable for a variety of reasons but in the present stage of readjustment to a realistic level of growth and monetary values the cost of pensions is in direct competition with the demands on government resources in other areas.

This is the basic problem, how do you reduce the pension leak while losing the least votes. The problem has been kicked down the road by successive governments but now becomes a priority. Not an easy nut to crack!


The whole business of pensions, be they private, company, or state is bedevilled by the fact that what ever system is used they all rely on inflation i.e. usuary.  "Interest" has to be aquired some how, and this always invoves the sticky finger brigade...the money changers.

Like all state interference, the "pension programme" reduces self relience and creates more problems than it cures. Look how the state has brought about a happy intergrated multicultural mix of unemployed and unemployable benefit seekers over the last few decades.

It pleases me enormously to think how much I have contibuted financialy to their welfare.


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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Another
Traycle Mine Overseer


6250 Posts
Posted - 29/11/2011 : 16:36
I like Ossie's announceement of a 1% pay cap on public sector pay rises. I know dozens of staff who were forcibly trnsferred to Ofsted in 2007 that have had no pay increase since 2006!!. Nolic


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 30/11/2011 : 05:50
He proved me partially wrong as well, He's left the 5.2% increase on pensions and 'major benefits'. The latter is the problem, what are minor benefits? We know he's freezing tax credits to working families, what will decide the status of the others?

Main problem I see is that they are still clinging to 'best case' predictions though even those have shown that the crisis measures will last at least four more years. External events threw his original timetable off course and will almost certainly do the same again. The forecast of a ten year period of retrenchment to realistic spending levels looks more and more plausible.

 I caught one quote about us all having to tighten our belts. Really? I'd love to see evidence it is happening in the higher echelons.

Some interesting comments on World Service this morning from foreign commentators who are puzzled as to why the UK government is making such a fuss about pensions that on average only pay out about £5000 a year. Compares favourably with other national schemes. I can understand their problems!  Problam is of course that successive governments have allowed the pension fund to fall below the level needed to support the scheme. The pigeons have come home to roost.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 30/11/2011 : 10:40


quote:
Stanley wrote:
I agree with Comrade Nolic. Tardis, is there anything you approve of?


Maybe your circles of debate have not reached those echelons yet.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 30/11/2011 : 10:55
The most interesting things that come from yesterday's more honest appraisal of the UK economic situation are:

1/ standards of living by 2015 will be back up to the 2001 level. A tacit admission by government and the OBR that the piece of the economy that Bliar/Brown/Darling built their extra spending on has been destroyed, yet those costs have been fixed into the public sector structure with little or no flexibility.

2/ even though we are suffering cuts (less than 1% more than those proposed by Darling) actual Public Sector spending has increased by 0.5% of GDP in the last 12 months.

3/ look at the OBR treasury curves, and in many ways Osbourne's look fairly similar to Darling's and yet the ex-chancellor had not factored in the various pieces of financial catastrophe, nor the various money market antics.

4/ an emerging narrative that Gordon did not save the banks, and their fixed stares are indeed because they were zombified. Plus an acknowledgement that getting those banks off the government books probably won't happen much before 2020.

5/ a major problem with the opposition who still do not recognise their input into this whole situation, nor their specious arguements about certain nuances and spending over less than 1% of GDP

6/ government income is falling, and the OBR has now been able to look at the "past" and see the actual GDP of the economy, thus providing much greater clarity about future forecasts.

7/ Public sector employees are 20% of the working population. thus there are 4 in the private sector supporting every one person in the public. An admission that the UK has borrowed to cover this gap, rather than actually addressing the underlying problem.

8/ taxation rates are at about 38%, have been for the best part of two decades, and yet the spending patterns mean that the amount required by the public sector is a much greater demand. So, nothing to do with the bankers.

9/ a catastrophic house price bubble that is slowly being inflated away.

10/ Huge energy price spikes, on top of the "green" measures, caused by the UK's inability to plan in energy availability.


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Whyperion
Regular Member


122 Posts
Posted - 01/12/2011 : 02:50
You have lost me ? Is there a problem or not ?

Does it matter that UK Govt have a substantial shareholding in a couple of Retail Banks If the Interest Cost to Govt is around 4% and  if the average after cost return of those banks is say 5% seems a nice little earner for UK govt. 

Does it matter that a mere 20% of uk economy is public sector ? Quite simple to reduce it if it does matter , Privatise the police force to SERCO, the NHS to any american health care company you care to mention and get Eton College to run all present day state schools. The roads can go to a consortium of banks. That just leaves a tiny bit of the Armed Services ,  The Monarchy and Parliment in State ownership along with a bit of the UK rail network because we tried to privatatise that before but it didnt work

Huge energy price spikes, on top of the "green" measures, caused by the UK's inability to plan in energy availability. I think that can be squarely blamed at Thatchers conservatives with the privatisation of utility companies the whole demand forecasting and supply management at the strategic level was abandoned to market forces , so you get what you asked for - consumer price volatility inbuilt to the system so created, and most of those privatised utilities ending up owned by French and German state owned companies resulting in profits leaving the UK economy our to the eurozone. New Labour never challenged any of the Conservatives thought processes it was too frightened of the power of the bank led market economy and the UK treasury's short sighted emphasis on minimising state spending ( yes really ) in the short run has led to a much higher long run unneccessary expenditure.

 Ed Balls' problem is that he is a politican trying to be an economist and George Osborne's is that he is an economist trying to be a politican.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 01/12/2011 : 03:45
What saddened me yestrday was hearing the ya-boo session in PMQs. The ship is holed but instead of doing something concrete about it they are arguing about where the hole is and who caused it. Time to get together and start p[umping.

Funny thing is I remember a cartoon, I think it was Vicky. It showed a lifeboat sinking and the Labour party were in the stern bailing. The Tory party were in the higher end of the boat and saying it was OK, the leak wasn't at their end.

I've been trying to work out what the announcement made this morning that the major Western reserve banks are cooperating to bring down interest rate on credit actually means. On the face of it this must be a sensible decision and should inject confidence into the system which would tend to cool down violent swings in the market.

However, I began to wonder why they have at last decided to do this. What has changed? After all they could have done this at any time but seemed to be sat back watching the train wreck and hoping that 'market forces' would result in a levelling out and tend towards stability.

The conclusion I am coming to is that this is not necessarily a good sign. In fact we might be right to be a bit worried about it. Suppose the reserve banks could see signs that the trend was towards locking up of the system, another severe credit crunch developing which, on top of the existing problems, could tip the world into depression. Suppose they looked at the EU problem, took note of the almost 9% rate Italy was having to pay for their latest bond issue (the money they are borrowing to keep the country afloat) and decided that the 'big bazooka' fund which the EU says is necessary to cushion the effects of possible defaults was noit enough and indeed didn't yet exist, it is only aspirations at the moment. Suppose they also took note that in January/February Italy is going to have to sell another massive bond issue to survive and took a dim view of the prospects of success. Suppose they came to a decision that the balance of probability was that this issue failed, the EU wouldn't be able to cope and this would trigger an even more serious problem that could result in the collapse of the Euro. Suppose that the crollary of this was that this would be the last straw for global trade. Suppose that the Fed in the US was also looking at the political failure in the White House to formulate a plan for debt reduction and there was no sign of Presidential action to impose a solution.

In other words, have the reserve banks suddenly realised that things are much worse than anyone has admitted. The latest figures on global trade are looking bad and suggesting that a decline has already started. I don't know the answers to all these questions but something has suddenly spurred the banks into action and I don't think it bodes well for anyone.

Looking at the UK. Ossie's dire news yesterday that his programme of austerity has been pushed two years further into the future was based on best case. His version is that Labour was even more profligate than we thought. It may be that outside this party political sniping there is the uncomfortable possibility that the problem is that neither Labour or Tories realised the scale of the problem, after all, none of them saw 2008 coming. It is quite possible they haven't realised what might be happening now. I've been banging on for years about the effects of 'external events'. I may have missed the biggest external event of them all, the system failing and leading to global depression as we adjust to the reality of an economy overloaded with debt and having to readjust. Mind you, I have been saying that the Euro problem is only a symptom and not the disease.

As for the world-wide rise in the markets this morning, ignore it, they seem to almost child-like in their reactions. 

Sorry for being so pessimistic but I really do think that things are far more serious than we have been told. I hope I'm wrong and have to eat my words but I have this nagging feeling.......


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 01/12/2011 : 08:20
Much later...  Listening to comment on the news I'm not the only one who'se smelling a rat. General tenor is that the central banks are giving Europe a bit of breathing space but it's not a solution.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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