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2015 UK General Election

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

#81 Post by thundril » February 16th, 2015, 3:57 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

stevenw888 wrote:I've thought long and hard about it for the last two months or so, and I've finally decided I will vote tory.
A chacun a son gout, mate.
I live in a marginal constituency, so I like to think that my vote will somehow help to decide the structure of a future goverment.
You think that? Aahh, sweet!
I have never voted Tory before, but a number of things that have happened during the last administration have helped to make my mind up.
1) Theresa May managed to get that man with a hook instead of a hand deported to America. I remember both David Blunkett and Jackie Smith tried for many years but utterly failed to get him deported. I was glad to see him go.
Hamza was deported after a legal process which started in 2004, while Labour was in power, and ended in 2014, while The Conservatives were in power. But correlation is not causation Steven, as you should know.
Some people genuinely don't understand the concept of 'the rule of law'. They really think the govt tells the lawcourts what to do. This kind of ignorance is entirely forgivable, IMO, at least in some individuals who have been poorly educated. But this ignorance is perpetuated by some politicians trying to get credit for things they didn't do. Which group do you belong to, Steven?
2) Cameron took an axe to the Legal Aid fiasco. I remember reading previously how those big fat cat solicitors and barristers in London used to lap at the "legal aid fountain" claiming fortunes in legal aid whilst pretending vaguely that they cared about some illegal immigrant or other. I've also read since about anger and upset from those self-same barristers and solicitors, now that the legal aid tap has been turned off, which delighted me. I bet this affected Cherie Blair (hope so).
I'm not quite sure what you are cross about here, Steven. Is it that lawyers get too much money, or is it that the legal aid system was helping poor people to get the same access to justice that rich people have? If it is the former, how do you suggest that we can change that, given the principles of your new Tory chums? If it is the latter, can you defend your position ethically?
. . .
4) The headline in Saturday's Times was "Cameron proposes to limit benefits paid to obese people." I realise that this is just a "Daily Mail" statement
But, but... You just said it was a Times statement, Steven ! :laughter:
and, in practice, this policy could never be enacted (how does someone make a decision on whether another person is obese or not, especially over a period of time) but it does really annoy me that some vast obese people claim benefits. If they are on benefits, how can they be fat? I read that Labour propose to try and hit(tax) purveyors of fattening food harder - MacDonalds, KFC and like, but this, to me, is not getting to the root of the problem. The solution lies in educating the fat people, not prohibiting them from buying fatty foods.
Your level of ignorance about the process whereby children become, and then remain, obese is inexcusable. You may be pleased to know that it is a lot easier these days to cure this level of ignorance (research, lad, research!) than it is to reverse the process of obesity once it has started.
5) I have welcomed most of Michael Gove's reforms. Most of them have seemed sensible and intelligent. I remember Tony Blair claiming that in 1997 his main focus was "education, education, education" and then having 11 ministers for education in about as many years. Not much joined up thinking there.
O sancta simplicitas!

stevenw888
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#82 Post by stevenw888 » February 16th, 2015, 4:24 pm

Altfish "Green - they would have my vote if they didn't oppose HS2, but I am passionately for HS2 so, the Greens have lost my vote."

Altfish - The Greens were my second choice (if we get a candidate here) but why are you passionately for HS2? I am totally opposed to it. What's the benefit of having a faster train between Birmingham and London? We have enough cockneys up here already, pushing the house prices up (see Solihull). The last thing I want to encourage is more moving here.
Also HS2 plans to use an entirely new railway station (as yet unbuilt) at Curzon Street. Seems totally illogical as a public/private sector consortium has just spent £600 million on New Street Station, with the final pieces of the renovation due to be completed by September of this year. Surely, if it were built, HS2 trains could run into New Street?
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#83 Post by Altfish » February 16th, 2015, 5:05 pm

The main benefit of HS2 is that it frees up capacity on both the East Coast Main Line into King's Cross and the West Coast Main Line into Euston. Both lines, especially in the 60-miles or so approaching London are at capacity. Both lines have a mix of freight, commuter and inter-city trains; the freight (the fastest ones anyway) travel at about up to 80mph, the commuter trains can travel at nearly 100mph but are constantly stopping, the Inter City trains want to travel at 125mph. It is a lousy mix that doesn't work.
Even in other places capacity is a significant issue, my local line cannot run extra trains because the viaduct at Stockport is at capacity and our 30+ year old units travelling at 50mph don't mix with Virgin Pendolinos.
Widening the existing lines is expensive and very disruptive, look at the fairly short section between Lichfield/Tamworth and Rugby that was widened about 12-years ago, it caused chaos, cost a fortune and is now, a short period later, running very near capacity.

The M6 and M1 motorways are full most of the day; we are planning to put yet another runway at Heathrow/Gatwick/Boris island. This is the age of travel and as far as I am concerned rail is the way forward and most green. If HS2 is completed to Manchester you could probably cancel all internal flights between Manchester and London, ditto Leeds and London. We have built a new mega port in London, another is opening in Liverpool, the onward travel should be by rail, not road, wherever possible.

Speed is an added benefit; I travel from Manchester to London about 10 times a year on business, it takes just over 2-hours each way. If that it reduced to 1-hour each way, I gain 2-hours of 'me time', time to spend with my family and friends.

I don't know the reason for the new station at Curzon Street, I don't know Birmingham that well, but my few trips to New Street on the train have been to a very cramped station which doesn't seem to have much spare capacity for extra trains. IIRC The entrances to the station at both ends is through relatively narrow tunnels with only about 4-lines.

I have travelled round Europe by train, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Italy - all have invested in high speed rail. Italy is similar to the UK, we travelled from Rome to Naples by train less than an hour each way for about 130 miles - brilliant. We bought tickets from the machines on the platform, not too dear and the trains were packed.

So to summarise, it is about movement of people. Our roads, railways and airports are full; we need extra capacity, HS2 is, in my opinion, the best solution.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#84 Post by Nick » February 16th, 2015, 5:19 pm

Any choice is not going to be 100% perfect, and, though it may surprise you, I haven't made up my mind yet. Not that my views may alter significantly, but I would want to if there is any virtue in voting tactically (yes, even against the Tories) in my particular constituency.

Also, different people will have different priorities, some of which I consider to be more important than others, though we will of course differ significantly, even radically, over which is which.

Some comments:

Greens: Sadly, away with the fairies, which is a great pity, as we should have regard for green issues. They seem to have lurched to the hard left under their new leader. Quite apart from their desire for a repressive society, even the objectives they may share with me are being pursued by idiotic means which will not work.

Labour: may mean well, but their policies will screw the poor. Their economics is woeful, and their leader appalling.

UKIP: I do not like the EU as currently constituted. Ideally I'd like to see a greatly reformed EU. The only hope of that is the Tories. The other parties should examine closely why people are attracted to them. ISTM that they will find that people are voting for what they think is good for them personally, and are fed up with being told how they ought to vote, when they perceive that such a vote will not be in their own interests.

Lib Dems. I am extremely sad that they blocked the reform of the Commons, leaving Labour at an unacceptable electoral advantage. I also think they place too much store by Education, with a Capital E. Other than that, I think they have been a good thing in the Coalition, reducing the power of the loony Right in the Tories (if you'll allow for such a distinction). I also think they deserve immense credit for doing their best with the Coalition, and I rather despise the Lib Dems who have jumped ship at the first hint that Government is perhaps more difficult that they thought.

SNP Not available to me. I've set out my thoughts on independence elsewhere, but ISTM that there is no longer any point in voting Labour in Scotland....

Conservatives: Have their loons too, and some idiotic policies, such as their supposed obesity or "free homes" policies, which surely won't see the light of day. They are also too protective of those with a house, rather than pro housing as a whole. Too many gimmes to those who could do with out, eg bus passes for 60-65's, winter fuel allowance (which should be increased but incorporated into the OAP and taxed. Same cost, different, better distribution), triple lock pensions etc. Not enough tax reform, and too much acceptance of Nimbyism (but that's democracy....) Have the best policies for growing the economy, without which all distribution measures are pointless.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#85 Post by Nick » February 16th, 2015, 5:22 pm

Re: HS2. I wonder if it will attract even more business to London, rather than the other way round, though capacity is needed it would seem. Hmmm... HS 3, some sort of Trans-Pennine route, to link the cities of the North more directly could be a greater prod to growth for the North.

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#86 Post by Altfish » February 16th, 2015, 5:27 pm

Nick wrote:Re: HS2. I wonder if it will attract even more business to London, rather than the other way round, though capacity is needed it would seem. Hmmm... HS 3, some sort of Trans-Pennine route, to link the cities of the North more directly could be a greater prod to growth for the North.
The trouble with that argument is that it implies that if you rip up the M6 and M1 and close the West & East Coast Main Lines it will be boom time for the north. i.e. the argument says that improving links with London is bad for the economy of the north therefore make those links worse and it will be good for the north.

I think not.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#87 Post by Nick » February 17th, 2015, 12:57 pm

Altfish wrote:
Nick wrote:Re: HS2. I wonder if it will attract even more business to London, rather than the other way round, though capacity is needed it would seem. Hmmm... HS 3, some sort of Trans-Pennine route, to link the cities of the North more directly could be a greater prod to growth for the North.
The trouble with that argument is that it implies that if you rip up the M6 and M1 and close the West & East Coast Main Lines it will be boom time for the north. i.e. the argument says that improving links with London is bad for the economy of the north therefore make those links worse and it will be good for the north.
Not quite, Altfish. There is a difference between not building the link, which would have the effect of inhibiting growth, and assessing where it will have the greatest effect. As we are (still) a nation, it still makes sense to increase the size of the cake, as it were. But quite how the growth will be distributed is not so certain.
I think not.
I could make a sarky comment, but I won't.... :wink:

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#88 Post by Altfish » February 18th, 2015, 10:28 am

I don't follow your argument there, Nick.

If improving connectivity with London is bad for Manchester/Leeds/etc. which is what you are saying; then why is the converse not true? You seem to be suggesting that the current road/rail/air connections between these cities are at an optimum and that we should allow them to clog up and that will be better for the northern cities.

Can you expand on that theory.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#89 Post by Nick » February 18th, 2015, 11:29 am

Altfish wrote:I don't follow your argument there, Nick.
Oh. Sorry about that. I'll try again.
If improving connectivity with London is bad for Manchester/Leeds/etc. which is what you are saying;
Then I haven't explained myself clearly enough. What I am trying to say is that the overall increase in GDP arising from HS2 will not be accrued evenly between London and Manchester (say), but will benefit London more than Manchester. It does not follow from that, that HS2 will be bad for Manchester.
then why is the converse not true? You seem to be suggesting that the current road/rail/air connections between these cities are at an optimum and that we should allow them to clog up and that will be better for the northern cities.

Can you expand on that theory.
Let me give a hypothetical example:

Suppose we have two towns separated by lack of roads. Town A has a large market, Town B (10th the size of A) has a small one. Suddenly, a road is built between the two. Though the result may be that Town B has access to cheaper goods, say, and can more easily get its goods to market, given the greater choice, variety and competition in Town A (by virtue of its size) it is quite likely that the market will tend to gravitate to Town A, rather than expanding the market in Town B.

So Town B may be better off, but most of the growth has occurred in Town A.

Any clearer...? :)

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#90 Post by Altfish » February 18th, 2015, 11:57 am

A lot clearer, so it is a benefit to Manchester

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#91 Post by Nick » February 18th, 2015, 5:23 pm

Altfish wrote:A lot clearer, so it is a benefit to Manchester
Yes, but not as much as might have been expected, as there are likely to be losers as well as winners. I still, on the whole, think something has to be done, so am mildly in favour of HS2.

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Alan H
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#92 Post by Alan H » February 18th, 2015, 5:55 pm

Altfish wrote:The main benefit of HS2 is that it frees up capacity on both the East Coast Main Line into King's Cross and the West Coast Main Line into Euston. Both lines, especially in the 60-miles or so approaching London are at capacity. Both lines have a mix of freight, commuter and inter-city trains; the freight (the fastest ones anyway) travel at about up to 80mph, the commuter trains can travel at nearly 100mph but are constantly stopping, the Inter City trains want to travel at 125mph. It is a lousy mix that doesn't work.
All I've heard in the media is that it will knock five minutes (or whatever) off the journey time.
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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animist
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#93 Post by animist » February 18th, 2015, 6:38 pm

Nick wrote:
Altfish wrote:A lot clearer, so it is a benefit to Manchester
Yes, but not as much as might have been expected, as there are likely to be losers as well as winners. I still, on the whole, think something has to be done, so am mildly in favour of HS2.
well I don't know, your analysis seem to mean that consumers in Manchester might be better off, but in fact jobs would move to London. More transport seems to mean that smaller centres lose their separateness and in effect become satellites of the larger centre
http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2013/09/2 ... f-england/

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Altfish
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#94 Post by Altfish » February 18th, 2015, 7:44 pm

There is very little evidence to support that statement, Animist.
London is fine, a great capital city, I like it in short bursts, but the best place in London is Euston looking at the departure boards. It is too expensive and too busy. I am far from the only one who thinks that.
The other great cities are doing fine. Birmingham is the same distance (time wise) as Manchester and Leeds will be when HS2 opens; is Birmingham failing?
The anti-HS2 people say "What good will saving an hour make?" and then when that argument is debunked they say, "Manchester /Leeds /etc will fail because they are too near to London"
The anti-HS2 people (see Greens leaflet you linked) it will destroy much of the countryside. Yet they fail to address the point that more people want to travel; are they saying we should widen roads, put new runways in, or upgrade railways with extra lines. All those options will destroy countrysides and the air and car options will continue to pollute the atmosphere at ever increasing rates.
The Green leaflet doesn't even address the fact that existing lines are congested already.

If we cancel the trident replacement we can build HS2, 3 and 4.

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animist
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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#95 Post by animist » February 19th, 2015, 12:09 pm

Altfish wrote:There is very little evidence to support that statement, Animist.
London is fine, a great capital city, I like it in short bursts, but the best place in London is Euston looking at the departure boards. It is too expensive and too busy. I am far from the only one who thinks that.
The other great cities are doing fine. Birmingham is the same distance (time wise) as Manchester and Leeds will be when HS2 opens; is Birmingham failing?
The anti-HS2 people say "What good will saving an hour make?" and then when that argument is debunked they say, "Manchester /Leeds /etc will fail because they are too near to London"
The anti-HS2 people (see Greens leaflet you linked) it will destroy much of the countryside. Yet they fail to address the point that more people want to travel; are they saying we should widen roads, put new runways in, or upgrade railways with extra lines. All those options will destroy countrysides and the air and car options will continue to pollute the atmosphere at ever increasing rates.
The Green leaflet doesn't even address the fact that existing lines are congested already.

If we cancel the trident replacement we can build HS2, 3 and 4.
it is not really a matter of evidence: I was just trying to interpret what Nick's analysis meant, and surely it is possible to distinguish between economic benefits and more intangible benefits like autonomy. So transport is an economic good because it overcomes distance, but distance may be in some ways a good in itself - eg it protects the weak from being conquered by the strong. More people may want to travel, and travel faster, but is this is a killer argument? I don't think so. And with the onset of internet-based communication, why are so many business trips needed?

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#96 Post by Nick » February 19th, 2015, 12:38 pm

animist wrote:
Nick wrote:
Altfish wrote:A lot clearer, so it is a benefit to Manchester
Yes, but not as much as might have been expected, as there are likely to be losers as well as winners. I still, on the whole, think something has to be done, so am mildly in favour of HS2.
well I don't know, your analysis seem to mean that consumers in Manchester might be better off, but in fact jobs would move to London.
Let put it this way. Beofre HS2, the economy will allocate resources, (which means the decisions of millions of people) based on access to markets, ease of doing business, and so forth. Change the dynamics, eg by building HS2, and the economy will change as a result, not always in the same direction. For example, shorter journey times might mean some people will choose to live further away. This may create jobs further way. (Of course, the locals will complain that it pushes up house prices....) On the other hand, it may mean that the very factor which allowed a business to survive, (that the alternative was too far away) may disappear. At a local level, this is what killed corner shops. It may also have a devastating effect on those towns which are bypassed by HS2. A direct comparison would be the construction of the Interstate Highways in the USA, which reduced the iconic Route 66 to a back road. It seems everyone hates the tracks passing nearby, but everyone wants the stations!
More transport seems to mean that smaller centres lose their separateness and in effect become satellites of the larger centre
..which has good and bad aspects, as always.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#97 Post by animist » February 20th, 2015, 9:26 am

Nick wrote:Let put it this way. Beofre HS2, the economy will allocate resources, (which means the decisions of millions of people) based on access to markets, ease of doing business, and so forth. Change the dynamics, eg by building HS2, and the economy will change as a result, not always in the same direction. For example, shorter journey times might mean some people will choose to live further away. This may create jobs further way. (Of course, the locals will complain that it pushes up house prices....) On the other hand, it may mean that the very factor which allowed a business to survive, (that the alternative was too far away) may disappear. At a local level, this is what killed corner shops. It may also have a devastating effect on those towns which are bypassed by HS2. A direct comparison would be the construction of the Interstate Highways in the USA, which reduced the iconic Route 66 to a back road. It seems everyone hates the tracks passing nearby, but everyone wants the stations!
More transport seems to mean that smaller centres lose their separateness and in effect become satellites of the larger centre
..which has good and bad aspects, as always.
in other words, HS2 may well have opposing effects as far as the welfare of Mancunians is concerned. Its effects are at present unpredictable and even in retrospect, were it to be built, they would probably be difficult to ascertain. I think I will stick with my Green Party view that high speed is stupid and wasteful environmentally

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#98 Post by Altfish » February 20th, 2015, 9:29 am

I don't understand the Greens being against HS2.

Rail is by far the greenest form of mass transport, well ahead of air and road. HS2 will reduce rail and road travel, so it is a win?? What am I missing?

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#99 Post by Nick » February 20th, 2015, 10:18 am

animist wrote:in other words, HS2 may well have opposing effects as far as the welfare of Mancunians is concerned.
It will have effects which pull activities in different directions, but only because it leads to greater efficiencies, and hence growth. There will be different winners and losers, rather than merely cancelling each other out.
Its effects are at present unpredictable
Hmmm... From a planning perspective, at a micro level, yes. But most people would be able to tell you the effect it might have on their life and economic activity. And at a macro level, fair estimates of economic effects can be made. Even though the people ultimately making the decisions may not understand the methodology in detail, the work will have been done to best estimate the benefits. How accurate they will turn out to be is a different matter, and such measurement and specifically attribution, is difficult.

At a much smaller level, Rochester station is being moved half a mile, in a major redevelopment of the area. Cost? £37 million, apparently. Some calculation will have been done to justify it.
and even in retrospect, were it to be built, they would probably be difficult to ascertain.
Doesn't mean it's impossible. Changes in numbers of rail journeys and changing property uses and values will give good indications.
I think I will stick with my Green Party view that high speed is stupid and wasteful environmentally
The Duke of Wellington was against railways in general, as it would only encourage the lower classes to move around the country unnecessarily.... :wink: The Green view is inconsistent, repressive and somewhat bizarre.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#100 Post by lewist » February 20th, 2015, 1:48 pm

It's the financing I object to. A new vanity project is mooted in the country next door. It doesn't come anywhere near us but we are expected to make a significant contribution to paying for it.

Beaker (aka Danny Alexander), who masquerades as my MP (not for much longer, I hope) was bleating a while back about how wonderful it would be for Scotland. If it started in Thurso (with good connections from Lerwick, Kirkwall and Stornoway) he might have a point but as things are it's just a waste of money.

At one time, cities built defensive walls as vanity projects. This is just an update. :angry:
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Re: 2015 UK General Election

#101 Post by Alan H » February 20th, 2015, 1:56 pm

Altfish wrote:I don't understand the Greens being against HS2.

Rail is by far the greenest form of mass transport, well ahead of air and road. HS2 will reduce rail and road travel, so it is a win?? What am I missing?
I assume it's because of the massive environmental damage cutting a wide swathe through the towns and countryside en route that could be problematic.
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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