Brexit and the waning days of the United Kingdom

Started by Josquius, February 20, 2016, 07:46:34 AM

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How would you vote on Britain remaining in the EU?

British- Remain
12 (12.1%)
British - Leave
7 (7.1%)
Other European - Remain
21 (21.2%)
Other European - Leave
6 (6.1%)
ROTW - Remain
33 (33.3%)
ROTW - Leave
20 (20.2%)

Total Members Voted: 97

OttoVonBismarck

Quote from: Sheilbh on August 04, 2022, 12:07:27 PMI mean in terms of posh patricians that would also apply to solely looking at Guardian articles :P In terms of class and education journalists are far less likely to be from a working class background and far more likely to be privately educated than even, say, law firms or banks.

Let's not perpetuate incorrect modern stereotypes about Patrician status overlaid onto the British class system (a not-uncommon activity, but not a good one.)

Zoupa

Quote from: Sheilbh on August 04, 2022, 12:07:27 PMI don't know if that's fair - I have less than zero interest in the classical world :ph34r:

:o Macmillan, viceroy of the Mediterranean, is very disappointed in you.

Sheilbh

#21512
This is...erm...not ideal for Sunak :lol:
https://twitter.com/rewearmouth/status/1555475661917421568?s=21&t=d0t-5OtaRFKSLHe6kKIWCA

Edit: It is interesting how this is a bit like Truss's regional pay board plan in how much it really exemplifies the problem with each candidate.
Let's bomb Russia!

Tamas

Quote from: Sheilbh on August 05, 2022, 04:47:46 AMThis is...erm...not ideal for Sunak :lol:
https://twitter.com/rewearmouth/status/1555475661917421568?s=21&t=d0t-5OtaRFKSLHe6kKIWCA

Edit: It is interesting how this is a bit like Truss's regional pay board plan in how much it really exemplifies the problem with each candidate.

 :lol:

Sheilbh

And on planning again - I know Oxbridge is an extreme case but those are cities with lots of things that the UK does relatively well like higher education, tech (particularly life sciences) etc. But here we are:


Massive demand for commercial and lab space, billions of pounds waiting to invest but blocked by a lack of capacity and I'd add thousands of workers who could be employed if the commercial space was there and there was an increase in housing supply.

It's good that Starmer and Truss at least have noticed the problem is low growth - but none of them should be allowed to talk about it (or Brexit "opportunities" for that matter) until they explain how they're going to fix this issue :bleeding: :ultra:
Let's bomb Russia!

Gups

Quote from: Sheilbh on August 05, 2022, 11:57:46 AMAnd on planning again - I know Oxbridge is an extreme case but those are cities with lots of things that the UK does relatively well like higher education, tech (particularly life sciences) etc. But here we are:


Massive demand for commercial and lab space, billions of pounds waiting to invest but blocked by a lack of capacity and I'd add thousands of workers who could be employed if the commercial space was there and there was an increase in housing supply.

It's good that Starmer and Truss at least have noticed the problem is low growth - but none of them should be allowed to talk about it (or Brexit "opportunities" for that matter) until they explain how they're going to fix this issue :bleeding: :ultra:

THere are a couple of very big schemes in Oxford for lab space and office (I'm working on one) but they are some way away from being realised. A very real problem is the boom in logistics which is now more valuable than housing, let alone office or life sciences.

Sheilbh

That feels a bit like the data centres in West London (plus Slough etc). For a system with a lot of planning it doesn't seem like much is planned, if you know what I mean?
Let's bomb Russia!

Tamas

I am sure it's nothing another stamp duty holiday and help to buy scheme won't fix.

Sheilbh

Quote from: Tamas on August 05, 2022, 12:28:50 PMI am sure it's nothing another stamp duty holiday and help to buy scheme won't fix.
:lol: We can't do anything about supply, but we could try subsidising demand again? :o
Let's bomb Russia!

Gups

Quote from: Sheilbh on August 05, 2022, 12:27:18 PMThat feels a bit like the data centres in West London (plus Slough etc). For a system with a lot of planning it doesn't seem like much is planned, if you know what I mean?

Partly because so many areas don't have plans. The whole system is chronically adverserial, underfunded, wrapped in red tape and subject to constant change. I'm a firm believer in a plan led system. Just not this system (though it's great for us planning lawyers)

Zanza

QuoteAfter her speech is interrupted by protestors, Liz Truss tells the audience she will bring in new legislation to stop "our democracy being disrupted by unfair protests."
https://mobile.twitter.com/AdamBienkov/status/1555624903566663680

That must be her supposed libertarian values speaking here...

Sheilbh

#21521
I can't think of anything more libertarian than wanting to stop groups like Extinction Rebellion from blocking roads etc :lol: "Unwashed students stopping people getting to work to get ahead, stopping small businesses from their work" etc.

If it's like the last proposal it'll basically just codify the common law on protest - which is indeed new legislation in a fairly technical way. The problem is less the law than that juries are quite reluctant to convict so they keep finding protesters not guilty during their trials.

Edit: Separately Truss was speaking to the FT - Guardian report:
QuoteLiz Truss rejects 'handouts' as way to tackle cost of living crisis
Conservative leadership frontrunner insists on tax cuts despite claims they will fuel inflation
Liz Truss at an event at Solihull Moors FC, as part of the Conservative leadership campaign
Geneva Abdul
@GenevaAbdul
Sat 6 Aug 2022 12.00 BST
Last modified on Sat 6 Aug 2022 12.01 BST

The Conservative leadership frontrunner, Liz Truss, has rejected "handouts" as a way of helping people affected by the cost of living crisis.

Truss said she would press ahead with proposed tax cuts despite claims they would fuel inflation and "kiss goodbye" to the Conservatives' chances of winning the next election.


With mounting pressure as households face a financial squeeze, the foreign secretary rejected handouts and insisted on tax cuts costing more than £30bn as the country spirals towards a recession.

"Of course I will look at what more can be done," Truss told the Financial Times. "But the way I would do things is in a Conservative way of lowering the tax burden, not giving out handouts."

Truss's Tory leadership rival, Rishi Sunak, who has proposed tackling rising prices before tax cuts, said the party could "kiss goodbye" to the chance of winning the next election should they not bring inflation under control quickly.

Speaking at a leadership hustings in Eastbourne on Friday, the former chancellor said there would be "no hope that we're going to win that next election" amid rising prices.

On Thursday, the Bank of England forecast inflation to soar to 13% in October, as it raised interest rates for a sixth successive time. The bank's inflation target is 2%.

Workers have been warned against asking for pay rises and more than half of Britons are cutting back on their gas and electricity usage at home due to the worsening cost of living crisis, according to the Office for National Statistics.

"If we don't act now to prevent inflation becoming persistent, the consequences later will be worse and will require larger increases in interest rates," said Andrew Bailey, the Bank's governor. "Returning inflation to its 2% target remains our absolute priority, no ifs, no buts."

The news comes after the UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, admitted it would be more than a month before ministers can introduce any measures to tackle the rising cost of living.

Kwarteng, who is backing Truss as next leader of the Conservative party, said the expected "support package" from Boris Johnson would come after his holiday. Both Johnson and the chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, were on holiday as the Bank of England warned the economy would enter the longest recession since the 2008 financial crisis.

Truss, who has already promised to reverse an increase in national insurance rates, is expected to outline further proposals for boosting economic growth as the attends the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday, the BBC reports.

"One of the issues I want to look at is the control of the money supply and particularly the quantitative easing policy and the impact that's had," Truss told the Financial Times.

The winner of the Conservative leadership contest will be announced on 5 September.

I can see the sense of getting rid of the National Insurance rise in this context. It has a lower threshold than income tax, it's calculated weekly and it's only paid by workers - all of which means it is a tax that particularly affects low paid workers (especially on variable hours).

But the rest of the idea that you can address this through tax is just nonsense. The big thing the Lib Dems and Tories did was raise the income tax threshold so the poorest and the most exposed to cost of living don't really pay much if any income tax. Most of their income is already untaxed - particularly people on benefits - what is needed is handouts. I still think the best most obvious opening move on cost of living was Kemi Badenoch's: benefits and pensions are indexed to inflation annually, bring forwrad the increase from April to September/October because the inflation is happening now and in terms of the energy it's this winter they'll need the money not next summer.

Still not sure what the answer really is on energy costs themselves. My instinct is that we need a bit £30-40 billion  program of support for people or subsidies (but I get that the Treasury is incredibly reluctant to subsidise energy because once countries start doing that, they tend to struggle to stop).

Edit: Although I actually think there's an issue with Labour here too. I like their £30 billion a year capital expenditure on energy transition - but the rest of their economic policies basically seem a little bit too influenced by their New Labour cosplay and we're not in a period of low inflation, with a solid surplus and decent growth as when Labour took over in 1997. Both parties just seem very retro in reaching back to their traditional solutions/economic ideas without really seeming to engage in the world today.
Let's bomb Russia!

Sheilbh

#21522
Separately piece on the costs of electrifying rail in Britain and why we lag behind:
https://www.railengineer.co.uk/making-electrification-affordable/

In part there was one catastrophic project where the scope was reduced but it still cost three times the initial budget which has scarred policy makers. But this line really stood out:
QuoteDearman advises that, of all the cost issues, the early NEEP phase 2 work has identified that overheads are a particular issue in the UK. This reinforces his experience working outside the UK where, as McNaughton observed, electrification costs are probably half of those in the UK. Many of the delegates at the PWI electrification seminar also expressed similar concerns. Indeed, one speaker at this seminar considered that UK electrification required more paperwork per stk than any other country in the world. It seemed clear that no-one disagreed with him.
Inside test train measuring wire contact force at Steventon.

Dearman felt that this was due to excessive man marking with unnecessarily large safety, assurance, commercial, and planning teams. His research had found that overhead costs in Europe were typically 50% of the cost of physical works (materials, labour, and plant). In contrast, in the UK overhead costs of 150% are more normal.

If these figures are correct, it means that, even if the technical opportunities that NEEP has identified can reduce the cost of physical works by 50%, this will only reduce total electrification costs by 20%. This shows the importance of this aspect of NEEP's work although it is likely to produce some tough messages for the industry. However, the tougher message is that unless electrification costs are significantly reduced further electrification is unlikely to be authorised.

Via Tom Forth what this looks like in practice is this, a decision about a rail footbridge, going up to the Secretary of State - with all the legal work, consultations, engagement with the community, assessments etc required for that:
https://www.dewsburyreporter.co.uk/news/transport/batley-rail-footbridge-plan-gets-the-green-light-despite-crime-concerns-3680182
QuoteThe bridge and footpath proposals, part of electrification and signalling improvements within the mammoth TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU), were both unanimously approved by Kirklees Council's Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee on April 28.

Should the council's diversion order be opposed it would need to be confirmed by Mr Shapps at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
[...]
Local campaigners who spoke at last week's meeting said people's "very real fear" that the bridge would be a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour had not been addressed.

And they suggested that "the financial interests of big business" were "being preferred over local residents".
:bleeding:

It's stuff like this that makes me think there are huge supply side, over-regulation/best practice issues in the UK - that despite 12 years of right-wing governments that liked to talk about deregulation but generally increased it (see the advertising rules on high sugar or fat foods, the restrictions on buy one get one free etc).

There is a lot of it in my field as well because I mainly work in privacy and there's just a class of consultants who make money by telling people they can't do things or selling their off-the-shelf solution (especially to small businesses) which are normally wildly disproportionate to what they actually need to do. I'm not naturally opposed to regulation but I feel like somewhere we've got the balance very, very wrong and it is clogging things and a big factor in sclerosis.

As another example I always think about how, in the early days of the pandemic, there was a big internal fight in the civil service because paying to fly PPE instead of getting it shipped to the UK would breach policy and guidance documents on "value for money" :bleeding: :weep:

It just all feels very formalist and legalist - we have the shape of regulations and policies and the legal forms/requirements/tick-boxing but not the actual substance.

Edit: And I think that which is happening at the state level - there are some really effective bits (international development, MoD) but others that aren't - is reflected elsewhere too . I have friends in charity and third sector organisations and they talk about how much they do on impact assessments, consultancy for various governments, policy papers - the argument is that this is a better way of delivering that charity's agenda, but speaking to people who work in the sector they are not entirely convinced that's the case. Again it feels like there's the shape and form of a charity, just not the substance.
Let's bomb Russia!

The Larch

I guess this is ultimately pointless, as he's toast already, but if this is the kind of "red meat" issue that gets Tory juices going then it's worrisome.

QuoteSunak vows to crack down on university degrees that do not improve 'earning potential'

Josquius

It's bizzare how the UK has imported the American right wing paranoia of universities being havens of leftist indoctrination.
Really demonstrates the ignorance of those who have never been to a university (and how keen to play pretend those who should know better but have something to gain are)
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