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2015 UK General Election

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Altfish
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2015 UK General Election

#1 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 2:00 pm

In an attempt to move discussions away from the Scottish Devolution thread, and prompted by Nick, here is a new thread to discuss general (non Scottish related) politics for the next 100-days or so.

It was much better when we didn't have a fixed term.

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Alan H
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#2 Post by Alan H » January 25th, 2015, 2:59 pm

Please make these 100 day pass quickly...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#3 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 3:46 pm

Alan H wrote:Please make these 100 day pass quickly...
Seconded

thundril
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#4 Post by thundril » January 25th, 2015, 5:27 pm

Imagine an electoral system in which organised groups (parties, companies, churches) were not allowed to use their financial and social clout to distort electoral understanding.
Imagine a system in which every candidate for public office was required to state clearly his or her personal philosophical position, their local regional national and international interests and concerns, and then if elected, expected to stick to those personally declared principles and intentions.
Imagine a system in which Party whipping in parliament is seen for what it is; a scheme to subvert democracy, and to prevent individual representatives from voting according to the stated principles upon which they were elected.

lewist
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#5 Post by lewist » January 25th, 2015, 5:41 pm

Friends!

How is it possible to discuss the general election without bringing in Scottish politics? :shrug:
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Alan H
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#6 Post by Alan H » January 25th, 2015, 5:56 pm

lewist wrote:Friends!

How is it possible to discuss the general election without bringing in Scottish politics? :shrug:
I think what Altfish was referring to was moving away from a discussion of Scottish Devolution, not of Scottish politics per se.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

thundril
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Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: 2015 UK General Election

#7 Post by thundril » January 25th, 2015, 6:01 pm

I was hoping (and am still hoping) that a devolved Scotland would be free to develop a political milieu that might be less in thrall to this clownish punch and judy, tweedledum tweedledee party-political shite, and more like an actual democracy.
I await the day...

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animist
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#8 Post by animist » January 25th, 2015, 8:40 pm

Altfish wrote:
Alan H wrote:Please make these 100 day pass quickly...
Seconded
motion denied. I love general elections and remember the great psephologist Robert Mackenzie saying that they were for him what football cup finals were for other people. This coming one in particular promises to be a real humdinger because of the threat of minor parties to the big two, so enjoy!

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#9 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 9:07 pm

Alan H wrote:
lewist wrote:Friends!

How is it possible to discuss the general election without bringing in Scottish politics? :shrug:
I think what Altfish was referring to was moving away from a discussion of Scottish Devolution, not of Scottish politics per se.
Yes, sorry didn't word the first post very brilliantly. This is meant to be a discussion on the UK General election including Scotland.

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#10 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 9:10 pm

thundril wrote:Imagine an electoral system in which organised groups (parties, companies, churches) were not allowed to use their financial and social clout to distort electoral understanding.
Imagine a system in which every candidate for public office was required to state clearly his or her personal philosophical position, their local regional national and international interests and concerns, and then if elected, expected to stick to those personally declared principles and intentions.
Imagine a system in which Party whipping in parliament is seen for what it is; a scheme to subvert democracy, and to prevent individual representatives from voting according to the stated principles upon which they were elected.
A great dream, I'd love it, but it would never happen. Is there any country where this (or near to this) happens?

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#11 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 9:11 pm

thundril wrote:I was hoping (and am still hoping) that a devolved Scotland would be free to develop a political milieu that might be less in thrall to this clownish punch and judy, tweedledum tweedledee party-political shite, and more like an actual democracy.
I await the day...
Unless you ban the existing parties and start again there isn't much chance of that happening.

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#12 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 9:16 pm

animist wrote:
Altfish wrote:
Alan H wrote:Please make these 100 day pass quickly...
Seconded
motion denied. I love general elections and remember the great psephologist Robert Mackenzie saying that they were for him what football cup finals were for other people. This coming one in particular promises to be a real humdinger because of the threat of minor parties to the big two, so enjoy!
Oh, I'll enjoy it too; the trouble is the campaign has started too early. It's a bit like Xmas, that shouldn't start until December 1st, but the shops are at it from September.

This is the problem with fixed terms, governing stops and politics begins at least 6-months ahead. At least we aren't (yet) as bad as the US, their next presidential election is November 2016, they've started already, especially the GOP. Heaven forbid we ever have primaries.

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#13 Post by Altfish » January 25th, 2015, 10:01 pm

Interesting times in Greece

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Alan H
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#14 Post by Alan H » January 26th, 2015, 12:44 am

Altfish wrote:Interesting times in Greece
Indeed. And hopefully the defeat of New Democracy will be a warning shot across the bows of every right-wing party, especially the Tories.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#15 Post by Altfish » January 26th, 2015, 6:33 am

It does worry me that they cannot keep their election pledges and it back-fires and there is a bounce in the opposite direction.

lewist
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#16 Post by lewist » January 26th, 2015, 8:43 am

Altfish wrote:
thundril wrote:I was hoping (and am still hoping) that a devolved Scotland would be free to develop a political milieu that might be less in thrall to this clownish punch and judy, tweedledum tweedledee party-political shite, and more like an actual democracy.
I await the day...
Unless you ban the existing parties and start again there isn't much chance of that happening.
The situation here is very different from that in England. The Conservative party is one of the small parties with only one MP, and Labour are not doing well. I'm looking forward to seeing the boy Danny kicked out on his *rse here. The difficulty is that the big boy is the SNP and it seems there is little opposition at the moment. Mind you, there were two big interviews at the weekend, one with Jim Murphy, branch manager for Labour in Scotland, the other with FM Nicola Sturgeon. The former was poor, the latter cool, articulate and knowledgeable.

Interesting times indeed. :popcorn:
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#17 Post by Altfish » January 26th, 2015, 10:56 am

Although fully approving of the Tories only having one MP in Scotland, it does illustrate to crazy election system we have.
At the 2010 election...

Labour: 41 Seats; 1,035,528 votes; 42.0%
Tory: 1 seat; 412,855 votes; 16.7%
SNP: 6 seats;491,386 votes; 19.9%
Lib Dem: 11 Seats; 465,471 votes; 18.9%

I appreciate that the SNP are doing much better now..

Each Lab seat = 25,257 votes
Each Tory seat = 412,855 votes
Each SNP seat = 81,898 votes
Each Lib Dem seat = 42,316 votes

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#18 Post by Altfish » January 26th, 2015, 11:11 am

Altfish wrote:Interesting times in Greece
Even more interesting as they have paired up with a Far Right group to form the Government.

This will end in tears

Nick
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#19 Post by Nick » January 26th, 2015, 12:12 pm

thundril wrote:
Nick wrote: More fundamentally, the poor will not be helped by the Greens: it will impoverish them faster than almost anything, except perhaps Islamic State.
Can you say what you mean by this?
I remember the Greens saying we were "rich enough" in the 1970's. OK, so are you prepared to halve your income...?

I'm told frequently, by you and other apologists, that capitalism is the only way to 'lift people out of poverty'. Compare how many hours per week the average adult in Britain worked in the 1950s and the 2000s.
How many people were homeless, queuing at foodbanks etc then and now?
How did both Labour and Tory govts manage to build millions of homes, (actually outbidding each other at election times on the number of houses they would build if elected!)

We need to look at the intervening half a century (between then and now). Notice the massive improvements in productive capacity technology, as well as half a century of ongoing capitalism, and ask these questions again.
How exactly has capitalism 'lifted us out of poverty', as opposed to further enhancing the lives of those not actually in poverty in the first place?
The loons at New Green Deal talk of "green economics",
The only 'Green Deal' I can find in UK politics is from the Govt. Could you clarify?

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Tetenterre
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#20 Post by Tetenterre » January 26th, 2015, 1:50 pm

Further to the discussion on the Greens and science in the ScotDev thread:

Scientific Greens: Aims and Strategies
Promote deeper understanding of scientific general principles and processes in the Green Party.

‘Evidence-based policy’ is already a popular buzzword in the party, but levels of understanding of its meaning and the application of it in practice vary widely. We seek to improve the quality of disagreement first, not just to win superficial support.

The sort of depth and breadth of understanding and application that we’re aiming for we expect to take decades to become so embedded that our group can lay down its concern and let its principles carry on in the general membership. We will not be seeking signatures for an ‘evidence based policy pledge’ or anything like that; rather, if more people disagree with us but with better, clearer reasons we would consider that to be real progress.

Maintain a focus on general scientific principles and processes, to counter-balance fixation on particular controversies and misimpressions of what ‘science’ is for.

We will keep a balanced focus on communicating general scientific methodological principles and how they apply to policy development and implementation processes, avoiding the old approach of focussing too much on particular controversies, which we have observed can be obstructive or counter-productive.

Without such a balance, those on the other side of an argument may sometimes feel like the scientific approach is a well-armed attack against their group, rather than an informative, principled and reasonable discussion within their group.

Especially older members may have learnt to distrust terms and ideas related to “evidence based policy” or “what works”, because in the past (80s-90s) these terms were used to disguise rather amoral nihilistic attitudes to politics and society under claims of scientific ‘objectivity’ and ‘value neutrality’.

‘Policy led evidence-making,’ meaning going out selectively looking for, or even concocting, evidence to back-up a policy actually based on ideological prejudices, anecdotal experiences and other grossly unreliable sources of knowledge is still a major problem in current uses of evidence in policy development generally in national and international politics, and our own party has much to learn to become more immune to it.

We do not defend naive objectivism or the notion of a separation of facts and values associated with it. We acknowledge that both those patterns have happened in previous discussions, but we are not aiming to do either of them. (For more detailed responses to those two concerns, see our separate essay here.)

Highlight and create more good examples of evidence based and experimentally designed policy

We will point towards existing good examples of evidence based policy (e.g. our current Health policy) and create new policy drafts ourselves to exemplify how general scientific principles can be used in policy development and implementation.

As well as using existing evidence better, the scientific approach to policy means designing new policies like experiments, using pilot studies to test assumptions before risking them on a wider population or area than is necessary for a statistically valid test, and with monitoring and evaluation always built-in in from the beginning. (See The Geek Manifesto for further explanation.)

We will advocate well-established methods for linking science and policy processes such as the Logical Framework Approach (as used and developed by all the United Nations’ agencies and UN Monitoring Agency since 1973).

Challenge and support both the Green Party and the wider public to be more courageous in educating themselves and engaging in public policy discussions in depth and detail.

Investigating the facts before deciding between policies is fundamentally important to becoming more responsible and competent electors and is essential to developing and maintaining a genuinely democratic society. Voting should be seen as more like jury duty than like individual consumer choices.

Whilst there is much room for improvement in quality and equality of public education, it is not a valid excuse at all to accept the status quo of educational inequality and democratic disempowerment as if it were a normal state and hence to communicate with the public as if they were naturally stupid rather than just not yet fully informed or trained in critical thinking. That is really elitist. By challenging and educating members of our party and the wider public about the scientific aspects of policy issues, we are seeking to regard and talk to people’s full, as yet unknown, potential.

Details are almost always what makes the most real difference between a good and a bad policy or structure or process. Framing language that manipulates a hasty unconsidered reaction from one sector of society versus another faction’s similarly unconsidered prejudices for or against a term has little or no practical meaning without its details.

To show that a scientific approach to policy is ethically required.

We aim to spread and deepen understanding of how doing politics for the Common Good ethically requires the scientific discipline of investigating the facts first and logical use of evidence. To care for other people and the outside world as effectively as possible we must investigate objectively the actual or most likely causes of problems and then design and test evidence-based or realistic strategies to help and intervene as cost-effectively as possible.

Cost-effectiveness is ethically important because there are virtually infinite moral demands from global and long-term social and environmental needs depending on limited public resources. Even our policy agendas influence the wider public political discussion and the distribution of public funds, before we are even elected to implement them.

We should be careful not to choose policies or be misled uncritically into policy agendas because they serve our own self-image projections or social identification needs, nor because they serve the marketing needs of premium niche sectors of industries competing with mainstream producers by the cheapest marketing tactic – spreading a mysterious sense of fear.

Total circumspection and judicious impartiality are required to truly do politics in the common interest, not acting on unrealistic enemy images representing outgroups (such as ‘private’ or ‘corporations’) as more homogenous and bad than they really are, combined with credulous unexamined support for terms identifying our in-group(s) (e.g. ‘natural’).

Science treats hard data as the ultimate authority, not personal or institutional authority, not strength of emotion, size of majority opinion or a mystical intuition of ‘what is right’. This radical challenge to all authorities, including ourselves, is a good check and balance to have in any public policy process to ensure that we are actually working for the Common Good and not unconsciously slipping into partisan policies, tactically appealing to the fashions or prejudices of a sector of society and thereby disregarding the real common good.

We are all naturally prone to such fast, unconscious, unprincipled and unreasoned judgements, but we should recognise the fact and take responsibility for how we can risk or do real harm, or fail to do as much good as we could and should do, to others and the real world outside our in-group awareness, if we fail to discipline ourselves to look and think more carefully and objectively than comes naturally to us, especially when we are discussing and influencing really important public policy.

written by Kester Ratcliff
co-edited by Gregg Bayes-Brown, Stuart Gallemore and Stuart Bower
The following subeading snippet sums up my opinion on this: "...a scientific approach to policy is ethically required"
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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