2015 UK election & aftermath

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Jumble
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Wed May 13, 2015 8:03 am UTC

I completely agree, but I also find this troubling. History teaches us that you can hide great evil behind a charismatic public face . I'm profoundly depressed Britain seems prepared to elect a party not just for their policies but also for their leaders ability to eat a bacon sandwich. I accept that a party must be governed by someone with the charm to hold a team together in order to be effective. John Major provided an exemplary study of the risks of electing a charisma-free PM. However I wonder where the tipping point is between a leader who is strong enough to lead and one with so much force of personality they don't know when to stop . As Thatcher and Blair demonstrated they all go nuts in the end.

[edit] ooh, page topper!
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Wed May 13, 2015 8:06 am UTC

elasto wrote:Sardia seemed to be questioning the value to the electorate as a whole of a leader being charismatic though - ie. even one they didn't themselves vote for. Hopefully I've made a good case for why it's still a useful attribute even then.

Oh yes, I've answered a different question, crap.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Wed May 13, 2015 9:21 am UTC

Jumble wrote:....but also for their leaders ability to eat a bacon sandwich.


Ah but this seemingly simple act gives out a huge amount of information - namely that Ed is not a man of the people, i.e. he might empathise with the common man, but he will never truly understand (I can hear Pulp in the background). Cameron did a similar thing with his football team silliness, but then no one ever believed that he really enjoys football.

It all well and good to say people should vote based on policies, but even people that raise issues tend to champion them in a vacuum. There is a website in the uk essentially pushing the view that people preferred labours policy. Yet that site creates its findings based on a "would you like extra spending on X" select as many as applied without any trade offs (sure I'd like a NHS with another trillion pounds and council mansions for all).

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Wed May 13, 2015 2:51 pm UTC

Jumble wrote:I completely agree, but I also find this troubling. History teaches us that you can hide great evil behind a charismatic public face.


Charisma is just a trait like any other. Sure, an evil charismatic leader is more dangerous than an evil bland leader, but an evil intelligent leader is more dangerous than an evil stupid leader; Does that mean you prefer your leaders to be stupid rather than intelligent? An evil hard-working leader is more dangerous than an evil lazy leader. So is it safer to have a lazy leader than a hard-working one?

The answer to leaders going off the rails is separation of powers, a robust free media, a commitment to transparency in government and so on, not limiting their personal qualities.

I'm profoundly depressed Britain seems prepared to elect a party not just for their policies but also for their leaders ability to eat a bacon sandwich.

That's too simplistic. It goes towards questions like 'This person may hold similar values as me, but is he capable of delivering on them? Is he capable of persuading *others* who might not hold the same views as us that our view is the correct one? Can he drag a country, most of which didn't vote for him, in the direction of travel I want? Am I *proud* to have him as my advocate?' and so on.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Jumble » Wed May 13, 2015 6:53 pm UTC

leady wrote:
Ah but this seemingly simple act gives out a huge amount of information - namely that Ed is not a man of the people, i.e. he might empathise with the common man, but he will never truly understand

I wonder. Does it give any information at all on Ed's ability to be 'one of us'? Now, I like a bacon sarnie for breakfast on a Friday (as I said earlier in this thread I'm not very good at being Jewish) but if you filmed me eating it and went through frame by frame I bet you could find ample evidence of me looking like a total tit (my daughters would say you would not need the bacon sandwich to achieve that). In the case of our party leaders they are subject to constant photographic scrutiny every minute they are not locked away in private. The difference between Miliband and Cameron is that 80% of the mainstream printed press (plus Sky news) are unashamedly biased towards the right. So, every foible and behavioural tick of a Labour leader will be amplified far more than a similar indiscretion by a Tory. I guess you also, by definition, don't expect a leader of the Tory party to be like you, unless you are an Eton and Oxbridge educated member of the Bullingdon club living off your fathers trust fund.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Wed May 13, 2015 7:43 pm UTC

Your last point is the correct one.

The tory leader is accepted as having a wealthy background and a bootstrap case get extra laurels. The first of these two gets the "out of touch toff" slur, but its not that damaging.
The labour leader is invariably an inherited wealth (Milliband) or Union shill (Milliband). The first time of the two has to pretend not to be jaw droppingly rich constantly. Not being able to eat bacon sandwiches (or rather badly faking it), having two kitchens of which one is only used by your hired help, dodging inheritance taxes - these are things that activate the hypocrisy alarms in people.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby bentheimmigrant » Wed May 13, 2015 10:05 pm UTC

The main thing is though, beyond actions or circumstance, Ed Milliband is profoundly dull. I doubt even the people who agreed with him enjoy listening to him speak. When a truly charismatic person speaks, people listen, and are tempted to agree with them before they even think about what was said. I don't think that was ever a danger with Ed. Nothing to do with policy, or content.

I'm mainly worried that we're increasingly choosing our local MPs based on party leader as opposed to the candidates' qualities.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Thu May 14, 2015 7:50 am UTC

I'm a student and in the last 5 years I've changed constituency 3 times (address 4). I have to vote based on the party leader because what the local MP does won't affect me.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby icanus » Thu May 14, 2015 8:12 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:I'm mainly worried that we're increasingly choosing our local MPs based on party leader as opposed to the candidates' qualities.

Well I'd argue that who's in number 10 is massively more important to me than who my MP is. No matter how much I like or dislike my local MP, his only real relevance to me is which party his vote contributes to putting in government.

Of course I' prefer if people would vote based on policies rather than personalities, but if they're going to vote on personality, it might as well be the personality of the person who's going to be in charge rather than of some guy in the fifth row at the party conference.

It does mystify me that people seem to have found "looks a bit silly eating a sandwich" less appealing than "burns £50 notes in front of homelss people"...

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby mathmannix » Thu May 14, 2015 8:35 pm UTC

Apparently he doesn't eat a sandwich as attractively as our Vice President...
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Thu May 14, 2015 9:02 pm UTC

icanus wrote:It does mystify me that people seem to have found "looks a bit silly eating a sandwich" less appealing than "burns £50 notes in front of homelss people"...

For all that we're talking about it, I doubt Ed's lack of charisma or inability to eat a sandwich was significant to actual votes cast. Imo, in the end it was all down to 'it's the economy, stupid.'

Labour vastly overspent during the boom years so, even though the global financial crisis was not of their making, the UK was not in a good position to weather it. Labour also cosied up to The City and deregulated banking far more than you'd expect from a left-wing government - and so even though the Tories would undoubtedly have been worse, Labour has to take the blame for not taking the more cautious approach that governments like Canada's did, costing us far more in bailouts than would otherwise have been.

Whether the Tory-LD cuts fell fairly or not, the economy has undoubtedly prospered under their watch, with us having growth far above the European average (I think we might even be top).

Zero-hours or not, employment has bounced back towards the end of the last parliament, and interest rates on government borrowing have been rock bottom - which they might not have been under Labour - meaning that even if Labour would have spread the pain more fairly, those towards the bottom might have suffered just as much.

I think that the majority of voters thought that the economy would be in much safer hands with Cameron-Osborne than Miliband-Balls, and basically voted with their wallets.

Immigration and anti-EU sentiment probably also played a part, with people (unfairly) blaming Labour for the floodgates opening and (unreasonably) fearing European integration, with the Tories the obvious winner on that policy.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby eSOANEM » Thu May 14, 2015 10:22 pm UTC

icanus wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:I'm mainly worried that we're increasingly choosing our local MPs based on party leader as opposed to the candidates' qualities.

Well I'd argue that who's in number 10 is massively more important to me than who my MP is. No matter how much I like or dislike my local MP, his only real relevance to me is which party his vote contributes to putting in government.

Of course I' prefer if people would vote based on policies rather than personalities, but if they're going to vote on personality, it might as well be the personality of the person who's going to be in charge rather than of some guy in the fifth row at the party conference.


There are other good reasons that the MP might be important. Not all members of a party have identical views or will support all the party's policies or oppose all of its opponents. The incumbent in my constituency was literally the only person writing EDMs specifically about trans rights (there was one other EDM about trans rights but that only covered them incidentally).

Were I voting party policies, I'd have voted green, but I voted lib dem to try and save the one voice advocating for my rights in parliament. It failed.
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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby Derek » Fri May 15, 2015 1:33 am UTC

icanus wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:I'm mainly worried that we're increasingly choosing our local MPs based on party leader as opposed to the candidates' qualities.

Well I'd argue that who's in number 10 is massively more important to me than who my MP is. No matter how much I like or dislike my local MP, his only real relevance to me is which party his vote contributes to putting in government.

That's a fundamental flaw with parliamentary system. Since the PM is determined by the composition of parliament, and the PM is usually more important to a voter than their MP, voters will almost always vote for their MPs based only on the PM they want.

Presidential systems don't have this problem. You can vote one party for President, and another party for Congress or Senate. On the other hand, Presidential systems can have the problem where one party controls the executive, but the other party controls the legislature, leading to deadlock. We've seen this problem in the US recently.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 15, 2015 12:09 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Immigration and anti-EU sentiment probably also played a part, with people (unfairly) blaming Labour for the floodgates opening and (unreasonably) fearing European integration, with the Tories the obvious winner on that policy.


I'm not sure unfairly is fair :) they did hand back the rebate without trade, agreed to the succession of the eastern European nations without the barriers everyone else put up. Nor is it unreasonable to fear the impacts of local sovereignty to a larger collective - particularly one with the inbuilt flaws of the EU.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Fri May 15, 2015 12:21 pm UTC

leady wrote:I'm not sure unfairly is fair :) they did hand back the rebate without trade, agreed to the succession of the eastern European nations without the barriers everyone else put up. Nor is it unreasonable to fear the impacts of local sovereignty to a larger collective - particularly one with the inbuilt flaws of the EU.

Oh? Do other EU countries have restrictions on internal immigration? I thought unfettered movement of labour was an inviolate principle of the EU as it stands?

Edit: Oh, I see. Countries were allowed to impose temporary, transitional restrictions and the UK largely chose not to. And now the option to impose a restriction has run out. The amount of Bulgarians and Romanians who immigrated last year is trivial though, for example - barely more than 50k. It's been dwarfed by the number of UK pensioners choosing not dropping out of work for example; They've had a much larger effect on the labour market.

Labour's mistake wasn't in allowing immigrants in, it was in taking the extra money earned - because, yes, immigrants do pay more in taxes than they consume in services - and not investing it in new infrastructure. But our economy would have been in even worse shape post-crash had we not had all the extra tax revenue from immigrants propping up our finances. It was one of the few things Labour got right.

Immigrants are of net benefit to the economy, but if that benefit isn't reinvested for the benefit of ordinary working people - for example engaging in a massive new build of council houses - then of course ordinary people will moan. The answer isn't to close our doors though, it's to spread the wealth more fairly.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 15, 2015 1:00 pm UTC

The top 30% of earners in the UK (and US and all other 1st world countries) are the only net contributors to the tax vs benefits system.

There is zero chance that mass unskilled immigration makes a positive contribution to GDP per capita under such an economic system. Naturally any increase in population will increase GDP though (but who cares). The best frigged study showed that over 10 years the total net tax income over all eastern EU migrants was £4bn (i.e. zero in practical terms) and also overtly showed that the unskilled immigration from other sources over the same period had cost £200bn as they had transitioned to old people (which is huge for 10% of the population). There is no mechanism I can conceive of in which mass unskilled immigration can increase the GDP per capita and by extension the long term tax take. What it can do is allow some people (like myself) to make out like bandits as house prices soar and cost of low skilled services plunges.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby sardia » Fri May 15, 2015 2:36 pm UTC

leady wrote:The top 30% of earners in the UK (and US and all other 1st world countries) are the only net contributors to the tax vs benefits system.

There is zero chance that mass unskilled immigration makes a positive contribution to GDP per capita under such an economic system. Naturally any increase in population will increase GDP though (but who cares). The best frigged study showed that over 10 years the total net tax income over all eastern EU migrants was £4bn (i.e. zero in practical terms) and also overtly showed that the unskilled immigration from other sources over the same period had cost £200bn as they had transitioned to old people (which is huge for 10% of the population). There is no mechanism I can conceive of in which mass unskilled immigration can increase the GDP per capita and by extension the long term tax take. What it can do is allow some people (like myself) to make out like bandits as house prices soar and cost of low skilled services plunges.

Citation and context needed please.

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 15, 2015 3:01 pm UTC

Its just my immediate response to "immigration is a economic positive", because that overtly absurd statement seems to have lodged itself in the publics brain somehow. High skilled immigration is a boon, but that is naturally a fraction of the UKs migrant base (not a small fraction, but far from the majority)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13633966

is the tax vs benefits discussion. You could debate the precise allocation methodologies (its a blunt allocation here), but you are tinkering at the margins. Basically Housing benefit and working tax credits mean that the importation of low skilled workers on minimum wage and upto a pretty high wage level in some cities, will just not help the government coffers in the moment. As they age they become a major drain.

www.cream-migration.org/files/FiscalEJ.pdf

is the study showing values, this also has highly dodgy assumptions built in (zero incremental military spending for example - which given the 2% NATO GDP commitment isn't true) but is eye opening. Naturally the left wing press spun this as "immigration is good", when at best it says "the short term immigration of young unskilled workers is a net neutral to the government" :)

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby elasto » Fri May 15, 2015 5:26 pm UTC

leady, you are both right and wrong.

You are right that unskilled immigrants add little to a country's economy. You are wrong to think that the majority of immigrants into the UK are unskilled.

Despite all the fears, unskilled workers tend not to want to move countries. This is because people who are willing to move countries to improve their lot tend to be driven, ambitious, energetic folk - who therefore are very likely to already be highly skilled and educated. People don't give up their friends and family just to sit around claiming welfare...

European migrants to the UK are not a drain on Britain’s finances and pay out far more in taxes than they receive in state benefits, a new study has revealed.

The research by two leading migration economists at University College also reveals that Britain is uniquely successful, even more than Germany, in attracting the most highly skilled and highly educated migrants in Europe.

The study, the Fiscal Impact of Immigration to the UK, published in the Economic Journal, reveals that more than 60% of new migrants from western and southern Europe are now university graduates. The educational levels of east Europeans who come to Britain are also improving with 25% of recent arrivals having completed a degree compared with 24% of the UK-born workforce.

It says that European migrants made a net contribution of £20bn to UK public finances between 2000 and 2011. Those from the 15 countries which made up the EU before 2004, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, contributed 64% – £15bn more in taxes than they received in welfare – while east European migrants contributed 12%, equivalent to £5bn more.

...

He said that the educational qualifications of new migrants to Britain, especially from western and southern Europe, was now extraordinarily high and higher than any other EU country. He said the UK would have had to spend £6.8bn on education to build up the same level of “human capital”.

The study shows that not only are European migrants more highly educated than the UK-born workforce but they are less likely to be in receipt of state benefits – 43% less likely among migrants in the past decade – and more likely to be in employment. They are 7% less likely to live in social housing.


link

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Re: 2015 UK election & aftermath

Postby leady » Fri May 15, 2015 5:41 pm UTC

Its a sad fact of reality that degrees from the former soviet block aren't treated as having any value in the UK. I suspect this is largely a consequence of historic rather than ongoing corruption in their systems (buying degrees was endemic - not sure if it still is). This naturally constricts the types of work that they can get in the UK, which determines the economic contribution they can make. I actually have no doubt that on average they are smarter than their work colleagues, they can if nothing else speak two languages (better than my lazy brit ass with his smattering of lapsed German).


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