Print Story Here Comes the Sunne
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Tue May 25, 2010 at 01:24:34 PM EST) Reading, Watching, Politics, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Sunne in Splendour". Watching. Politics. MLP.


What I'm Reading
Finally slogged my way to the end of The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman, long, highly popular, historical novel depicting Richard III as the good guy, mentioned before.

Not too bad overall, but just a bit too much for me. Verges on the romance genre too much at times, with a lot of attention paid to the romance between Richard and Anne Neville, with a tearjerker as she dies.

Seems very thoroughly researched though, and you learn a lot about the period. For instance, she makes quite a big deal of the high infant mortality of the period and how it affects the female characters as they have to watch baby after baby die in infancy. Also doesn't downplay the way it was accepted for high-ranking males to have a string of affairs and a series of bastards, to which their wives have to turn a blind eye.

The plotting and scheming is done pretty well, and so are the battles, though they're a bit too few and far between for me.

Making Richard III a nice guy works as a novel, but is a bit far-fetched for history, though he wasn't the hideously deformed monster of legend and Shakespeare. Here the son of his elder brother really was illegitimate, due to a brief earlier marriage, and he's more or less forced to take the throne by plotting against him. The Duke of Buckingham is the one to kill the princes as part of an elaborate plot to bring the Tudors into play, and put the blame for the crime on Richard. But it's hard to seriously believe either: much more likely that both were devices for Richard to take personal power. And even by the standards of medieval monarchs, killing your own nephews, as children, without them mounting any kind of rebellion, went a bit beyond normal statecraft. Usually they kept even more distant and more adult potential troublemakers alive for longer.

Overall, not bad, but for the seriously committed only. From the content and the Amazon reviews, this book seems to appeal more to girls.

What I'm Not Watching
Read the summaries, and glad I decided not to get into Lost: even though some people liked it, I would have found it pretty infuriating that when you don't find out what the Dharma Project was for or why they had to keep pressing the button, but it doesn't matter because everybody hooks up with the right partner. Also sees to me that moralistic therapeutic deism is rearing its head again.

What I'm Watching
Saw the BBC EDL Documentary Young, British and Angry (1 hour, UK-only time-limited Iplayer link).

Not too bad. Managed some decent investigation, liked the way they pursued the BNP connection and weren't taken in by the crappy-playground sob story.

But I thought they were too willing to accept the idea that they're just a peaceful pressure group that happens to attract a load of violent extremists. In particular they didn't really investigate the alliance of the hooligan "firms" and the Casuals scene, which explains a bit better why the violence kicks off even when there's no "provocation". It seems to me that violence and intimidation are the main point, and they just happen to attract some non-violent people along with it.

Politics
Went to see the family at the weekend, and ended up watching the Andrew Marr show. (They're far more political than me, you guys don't know when you're lucky.)

Getting a bit annoyed with the ConDem honeymoon period. After all the savagery of the attacks on Labour and Gordon Brown in particular, they seem to reacting with simpering sycophancy to the ConDems.

As ever, Chris Dillow of Stumbling and Mumbling is good on pointing out the problems.

Clegg blandly claims that the problems in the Eurozone mean he's suddenly decided they need to cut six billion in spending like the Tories promised. This makes no sense. If the Eurozone is broke and not buying UK exports, then demand will be lower: that increases the risk of recession and strengthens the case for a Keynesian spending boost. The gilt markets have recovered in the crisis as the markets flee the Eurozone. So, the risks are worse and the benefits less. But Andrew Marr just nods along comfortingly as Nick Clegg spouts complete bullshit.

Back in March, Osborne promised that the six billion cuts would come from the waste that even the government now admits exist... not a single penny will come from the front line services that people depend on". Now it was always just a pleasant a tabloid fantasy that there's vast amounts of utterly worthless spending to cut without pain. But nobody seems bothered that even the easiest-of-the-easy tiny slice of early spending cuts, are still coming from education and local government, not five-a-day consultants.

The ConDems promised to decentralize power. But their Programme forces local government to freeze council tax, and now they're reducing subsidies to local government too. (For Americans, it's as if President Obama forced Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard and every other local government to stick to whatever taxes it levelled the previous year). Whether you think it's a good idea or not, taking control of local government spending isn't consistent with empowering it.

Overall, the media seem to be happily letting the ConDems get away with blatant lies, hypocrisy and deceit. Hopefully it's just a honeymoon period that will soon be over. But it may be that scrutiny is something the media give to oiks, not nice public-schoolboy Oxbridge chaps like them.

Web
Random. Onion cover. Nick Griffin to Tour with Aswad. Fake Batman team-up covers. Human Centipede: The Game. Swinger makes every song swing. Get drunk not fat. The Sneaky Hate Spiral. XKCD Explained Explained Explained.

Articles. Alastair Reynolds on Optimism and Pessimism in SF. Sexism in ads. The People are not stupid, but by and large, they are wonderfully under-informed. Concern over Ventner synthetic-life patents. Why do women leave science and engineering?

Video. SomeGreyBloke interviews UK's top YouTuber. CPR instructions (Not quite SFW).

< Rhubarb Pie | Paid. Off. >
Here Comes the Sunne | 50 comments (50 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
LibTory honeymoon and attacks on Labour by gpig (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:00:44 PM EST
Surely a more appropriate comparison would be with the way that Labour and Tony Blair were treated when they first came to power? The longer politicians are in power, the more they are despised -- I'm not saying it's great, but that's the way things are.

More cynically, the right wing media are relieved that the Tories are in power, and the left wing and centrist media (such as there is) are relieved that the Tories aren't exclusively in power. How long this honeymoon effect will last is another matter, it's only been three weeks after all.
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Possibly by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:57:58 PM EST
But Blair's initial programme was almost comically unambitious. Making the Bank of England independent was about the only biggish deal. They made a point of sticking to the previous government's spending plans. So, there wasn't that much to scrutinize.

If Blair had turned up and said "Oh hey, this wasn't in the manifesto or anything but I'm going to make the biggest changes to the constitution since 1832 so you can't get rid of me without a supermajority vote, and change the voting system, and redraw all the boundaries to give me more seats, and raise VAT 2.5% to pay for an enlarged welfare state", I think even he would have got a bit more scrutiny.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Some fair points there by gpig (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:17:40 PM EST
Some less fair. I'm playing devil's advocate a little here, and you are better informed than me so I'll probably get links to read by return of post. That said:

I'm going to make the biggest changes to the constitution since 1832 so you can't get rid of me without a supermajority vote

A rule has been added allowing for dissolution of parliament if 55% of MPs are in favour. It doesn't remove the existing no-confidence rule.

and change the voting system

.... after a referendum, yes. I think there's enough weight, political and intellectual, on each side to make the debate and the vote meaningful. I do hope they impose a sensible quorum (turnout threshold) on the referendum, though I'm not hopeful.

and redraw all the boundaries to give me more seats

Hadn't heard about this one, no doubt you can enlighten me.

and raise VAT 2.5% to pay for an enlarged welfare state

I would presume any tax rises would be going towards debt reduction; I wasn't aware of any great increases in the scope of welfare coming from the Tories or the Lib Dems.
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[ Parent ]
Stuff by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:39:30 PM EST
A rule has been added allowing for dissolution of parliament if 55% of MPs are in favour. It doesn't remove the existing no-confidence rule.
See here. If a vote of confidence can longer mean a dissolution of Parliament, it's not really a vote of confidence as we know it.

...after a referendum, yes. I think there's enough weight, political and intellectual, on each side to make the debate and the vote meaningful. I do hope they impose a sensible quorum (turnout threshold) on the referendum, though I'm not hopeful.
I think the referendum depends mostly on the framing of the question, the quorum, and which way the media barons tell people to vote.

and redraw all the boundaries to give me more seats
Tories have a boundary disadvantage at the moment, their Programme document promises the "creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies", I suspect a link .

I would presume any tax rises would be going towards debt reduction; I wasn't aware of any great increases in the scope of welfare coming from the Tories or the Lib Dems.
Yes, I was trying to think of a more Labour-like reason they might have wanted to break their promise not to raise taxes in 1997.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Also, a wild electoral suspicion by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:53:45 PM EST
As that link points out, rich people are more likely to vote than poor people: maybe because they're more likely to own cars and work flexible hours. They're also more likely to vote Tory.

So for the sake of the argument, imagine two constituencies each with a population of 100,000. One is solidly Labour, one solidly Tory. The Labour constituency might have a turnout of 40,000 while the Tory one has a turnout of 60,000. This means under the current system, the Toryies have fewer MPs per voter.

Now imagine you're a Tory with a free hand to rewrite the electoral system. Wouldn't it be handy if instead of basing the constituencies on the census, which is up to ten years out of date, you based it on turnout at each polling station at the last election? That way you get to shrink the Labour constituencies and expand your own.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Things by gpig (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:17:54 PM EST
If a vote of confidence can longer mean a dissolution of Parliament, it's not really a vote of confidence as we know it.

Under what circumstances would a PM or ruling party remain in office having lost a vote on an issue of confidence?

I think the referendum depends mostly on the framing of the question, the quorum, and which way the media barons tell people to vote.

I agree with you about question framing. If this is to happen at all, though, surely the ideal is for pro-status-quo and pro-reform parties to have to agree on the wording -- which is effectively the case here. Concerning media barons, this is the most likely reason that FPTP will be preserved, since most media is Tory. The Labour media (i.e. The Guardian once they fall out with the Lib Dems) will likely be split, since Labour have some pro- and anti- voting reform. The Liberal Democrat media .... oh wait there isn't one. The Independent doesn't count, as it's so boring I can't believe anyone ever reads past page 2.

(I'm in favour of sensible reforms, something like the Scottish system would do, or even a proportional House of Lords and leave the Commons as-is. I don't like the idea of anything being passed by some tiny percentage of registered voters, though.)

Tories have a boundary disadvantage at the moment, their Programme document promises the "creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies", I suspect a link.

I agree, that looks like a problem. If I was appointed as God I'd probably institute (by divine fiat) compulsory voting and two hours off on polling day for everyone.

I hope it doesn't get as bad as here in the wonderful United States of A, there are some frankly disturbing constituency shapes here. They'd move the state lines too, if they could. I think people here have given up complaining about gerrymandering.
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[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:19:44 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by Scrymarch



[ Parent ]
You could just make election day a Saturday by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:23:00 PM EST


Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Ha by gpig (2.00 / 0) #36 Wed May 26, 2010 at 01:42:22 PM EST
Almost nobody will vote if it interferes with their weekend ....
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[ Parent ]
Might be surpised by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #37 Wed May 26, 2010 at 09:34:25 PM EST
I've always found it much easier to work in on a weekend than on a work day. For a start the voting booths are closer to where people live, typically.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Stuff by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed May 26, 2010 at 02:19:16 AM EST
Under what circumstances would a PM or ruling party remain in office having lost a vote on an issue of confidence?
One scenario might be that the Tory right split off to become Ultra-Tories again, while the Lib-Dem left split off too. The remaining Lib-Cons don't have a majority and can't govern effectively.

Under the current system, we could have a confidence vote and a new election. Under the new system, the LibCon leadership might refuse to resign, citing stability and the absolute need for fixed terms. Or they might resign temporarily, show that in the finely balanced fractured Parliament no-one else can build a majority either, go back in as a minority government, and keep being ineffective.

Just as important, they might use the threat of chaos to argue against a vote of confidence in the first place, propping up an ineffective government. The supermajority is like a bomb: you don't necessarily need to detonate it, once you've got it you can benefit just from threatening to use it.

I hope it doesn't get as bad as here in the wonderful United States of A, there are some frankly disturbing constituency shapes here.
Our Boundary Commissions seem pretty good to me, compared to America. I'm skeptical that a rushed-through LibCon system of changes is going to be an improvement.

Here's the quote from their Programme:

We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.
Looks to me like there's going to be a single referendum with all the changes: if you want AV, you've got to vote for gerrymandering too.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Fixed term Parliaments are not uncommon. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #47 Sat May 29, 2010 at 11:58:04 AM EST
They are a tool to clip politician's wings.

As for gerrymandering, you think the LibDems would sign to a system that squezed them out? They will not allow a systen in which the Tories would become the only viable party in England.

Cameron,'s idea of reigning on the size of Parliament is sound as the people per congress critter in different countries of all size show:

India: 2091678

US: 705762

Mexico: 212700

Germany: 132009

France: 107933

UK: 94483

Clearly  the UK could do with a few less expense fiddling politicians.

[ Parent ]
As I said elsewhere by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #48 Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:35:48 AM EST
I liked the idea of fixed-term Parliaments, but I assumed they would be implemented by restricting the power of the executive. For instance, you could say that if an election is held early, the PM, Chancellor and Deputy PM cannot stand at that election, which would punish any party that tried to gain advantage with an early election.

Instead they want to implement it by restricting the power of the legislature to get rid of them, thus strengthening the executive. They're making a good end contingent on nefarious means.

I suspect most of those other countries have intermediate levels of representation like the US state legislatures. In England you only have a local councillor, your MP, or your Euro-MP. Might make more sense if they implement an English Parliament, but it's hard to see that happening.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Cuts by priestess (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:50:29 PM EST
Any government formed would have made as big a bunch of cuts as they could have about now wouldn't they? They all make me sad, but the Tories are never gonna go for raising taxes by 30 billion a year or whatever the running deficit is.

The press probably should be calling 'em on their pre-election lies about being able to do cuts without cutting, but then we all knew that all 3 parties were lying about that when we voted didn't we?

Pre..........
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Chat to the virtual me...

Almost by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:01:37 PM EST
The six billion isn't that much, and Labour planned to delay it till next year.

But when the cuts started, if it had been Labour making them I suspect the media would have given them a much harder time than they're giving the ConDems.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Nope. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:50:47 PM EST
Another poisoning of the well - Labour deliberately skipped doing a spending review earlier in the year to gather the country's spending into neat spreadsheets and give people an idea of where we were financially.

So, the incoming government needs a bit longer to go through the books (and let's not forget Brown and his lot were very good at off balance sheet Enron accounting, with an added black belt in obfuscation).

Nope, this £6 bn is a mere sop, almost like free breadsticks when sitting down to a meal.  The real meat is yet to come, IMHO.

And FYI, in April 2010 we overspent our national income by £9.3 billion pounds which is better than September 2009 when the number was £16 billion pounds that we don't have.

Just remember those are the monthly figures, so for a back of a fag packet calculation just multiply by 12 and you get an idea of the shit we're in.  So 30 bn a year extra tax would be simple by comparison to the ~£108bn->£192 billion shortfall that's likely this year.

The press will not be calling them on their lies, as unfortunately whenever the Tories tried to level with the public on the amount of debt there is to cut, they lost heavily in the opinion polls and backtracked.  And Labour were there to accuse them of "talking down the economy" at every turn.

Newsnight did attempt to hold St Vince to his previous pledge of starting cutting later rather than sooner but he wriggled out of it OKish as Paxo wasn't really in the mood to duff him over properly it seemed.


[ Parent ]
this £6 bn is a mere sop by priestess (4.00 / 2) #31 Wed May 26, 2010 at 09:17:04 AM EST
Oh, indeed, next year's cuts will be much deeper than this years.

Pre..........
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Chat to the virtual me...

[ Parent ]
Lost by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:36:19 PM EST
As someone who watched the whole damn thing, I don't think your criticism really makes much sense.  "Everybody hooks up" isn't quite accurate.  Clearly this was some sort of Heaven, and all the losties find their partners there...but only after they've lived their lives and perhaps died apart.  The point was really that these characters were in some sort of purgatory where they got what they thought they wanted.  As each character started out with some flaw that made them unhappy off the island.  The end...escaping purgatory...was about realizing that what they wanted perhaps didn't solve much.

There were really two "endings".  The first was the real time "some people escape from the island" ending and then there was the other everybody meets again in purgatory later ending that they've been leading up to this season.  This latter worked really well, in my opinion and was certainly consistent with other parts of the series.  I don't think labeling it "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" is really fair...first, the Universalist church at the end made it damn clear that they knew exactly what they were doing, and second, taking a real religious stand is hardly going to make people happy with a pluralistic audience.

In the end, though, the show was really about character more than plot.  Plus, a lot more was actually answered than people give it credit for.  The Dharma Project mostly was explained.  It was a bunch of hippy psycho-wackadoodles doing weird experiments.  Certainly there was stuff not explained completely...but a lot of that was MacGuffin anyway.  (I am not saying there weren't any loose ends...certainly they were.  But I didn't find them quite so bothersome.)
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:58:52 PM EST
I read the Metafilter and Metachat threads, and I'm pretty sure I would have been with the hated-it camp based on their arguments.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
as someone by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:07:55 PM EST
who never watched an episode, and only listened to NPR's coverage of it, I think you're wrong and TEs summary of some feel good heaven is correct enough.

[ Parent ]
Well then by ucblockhead (4.00 / 3) #11 Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:14:49 PM EST
I can hardly argue with two people who didn't see it.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
dude, by garlic (4.00 / 2) #12 Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:27:17 PM EST
you can argue with an internet-full of people who didn't see it.

as one of those.


[ Parent ]
Please stop taking Keynes name in vain. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:02:26 PM EST
Deficit spending is not Keynesianism.  Brown raked up our debt when times were good, remember?

Write it out a hundred times; deficit spending is not Keynesianism.


He mentioned Keynesianism by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #16 Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:51:46 PM EST
in the context of the current government. Who aren't responsible for what happened in the early 2000s.

[ Parent ]
Oh that's alright then. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #27 Wed May 26, 2010 at 05:38:54 AM EST
I'm sure the people who lent us money in the 2000's will accept that it's not the ConDem government who borrowed the money, so they'll tear up our IOUs.


[ Parent ]
Non sequitur by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #29 Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:58:33 AM EST
I thought the question was whether the UK would be better off with a stimulus now, not whether it was worth it in the early 21st century. Current stimulus spending is a moot point, of course. Feel free to discuss e.g. why US productivity went up and European down as a response to the downturn, and how that affects what stimulus we should be having.

[ Parent ]
I am always called upon by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed May 26, 2010 at 08:53:36 AM EST
To give links when I make assertions, could you do me the same courtesy please?

By what measure do you mean "productivity"?


[ Parent ]
GDP per hour worked by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #32 Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:28:20 AM EST
Is the standard meaning of productivity.

It was an example of one of the parameters that wouldn't be a red herring when discussing the level of deficit spending the government should be doing, rather than me making a specific point about it. As it's an uncontroversial metric, I didn't think to cite it.

[ Parent ]
Thank you for the clarification by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:59:18 AM EST
Now, how about those links, please?


[ Parent ]
Not needed by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed May 26, 2010 at 11:22:25 AM EST


[ Parent ]
I'll just take your word then. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #38 Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:30:02 AM EST
why US productivity went up and European down as a response to the downturn - because ambrosen said so.


[ Parent ]
Sorry, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #40 Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:22:10 AM EST
I did write a body for that previous comment, and I didn't notice that my browser lost it. So I didn't mean to sound snide.

The point I was making, all those posts ago, was that the data that is relevant in discussing whether the current government should be using Keynesian deficit spending is current data.

I then gave an example of a parameter for deciding whether deficit spending is a good idea, and then a value for that parameter.

And you are chasing me for a citation for that hypothetical example of an example which I made no interesting claim about.

[ Parent ]
Oh come now by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #41 Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:03:12 PM EST
You hold me to different standards to that; I make an uninteresting statement and am immediately required to provide links to back it up.


[ Parent ]
I'm sorry you feel that way. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #42 Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:26:08 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Once again, it lost the body. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #43 Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:13:59 PM EST
I don't know that I've ever asked you to prove a citation for something you feel is immaterial to the point you were making. If anyone else has, I don't remember seeing it.

And I'm not going to count, but I suspect that you ask people to provide citations far more often than your yourself are asked, always providing the above justification.

Seriously, discussing stuff's meant to be fun and enlightening. When you're having a kick around in the park, you don't spend the whole game claiming someone was offside instead of playing the game. Especially not when, as was the case here, the ball wasn't even in play when I was ahead of it.

[ Parent ]
Meh it all blurs into one by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #46 Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:04:27 PM EST
GO and reread some Breakermatic diaries; I always provided links in the diary body yet was always challenged for more in the comments.

discussing stuff's meant to be fun and enlightening

Eh, go and read BreakerMatics passim.  I'd make good points in comments and get nailed with a shitstorm of lazy 4 comment ratings agreeing with people calling me names.  Including fuckwit, as I recall.

So, don't be too surprised if I hold other people to the same standard that I have been.


[ Parent ]
slight correction by lm (4.00 / 3) #17 Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:55:18 PM EST
Deficit spending is not necessarily Keynesianism. But it is also true that one of the central points that Keynes made was that deficit spending during certain types of recessions is the correct countercyclical policy to follow if one wants to break out of the recession.

Whether or not the UK has been in the type of recession that deficit spending would serve to cure and whether or not Brown was following Keynes rather than just mismanaging are issues that I'll leave for others to has out.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Keynes by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #23 Wed May 26, 2010 at 01:45:56 AM EST
We went through this before, remember.

On spending, I thought the Freethinking Economist's village analogy was interesting.

Also, in the links section of this diary, I recommend you click on the Swinger link and listen to the Swinged version of Sweet Child O’ Mine. Enter Sandman's quite interesting too.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Oh man by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #28 Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:32:56 AM EST
I can happily wear the economic argument we're having but encouraging me to go to that Swinged link?  STRONGBADWRONG[1]

On cuts - read Maurice McTigue's account of cuts to government in NZ.
We achieved an overall reduction of 66 percent in the size of government, measured by
the number of employees. The government's share of GDP dropped from 44 to 27
percent. We were now running surpluses, and we established a policy never to leave
dollars on the table: We knew that if we didn't get rid of this money, some clown would
spend it. So we used most of the surplus to pay off debt, and debt went from 63 percent
down to 17 percent of GDP. We used the remainder of the surplus each year for tax
relief. We reduced income tax rates by half and eliminated incidental taxes. As a result of
these policies, revenue increased by 20 percent.

Let's not also forget, it's not just swivel eyed right wingers like me who advocate cuts, the OECD has also done so.

[1] Ashamed to admit I actually found the songs quite listenable, in spite of the desecration.  Cool hacking, too.


[ Parent ]
I agree that spending needs to be cut by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #35 Wed May 26, 2010 at 01:39:06 PM EST
But I think fans of small government sometimes present it in a misleading way. They prefer to simply say "spending has risen", rather than "GDP has fallen, therefore the ratio of spending to GDP has risen, but we can't force GDP up so we need to cut spending."
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
The ordinary man on the street by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #39 Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:31:39 AM EST
Wouldn't have a clue what you meant by the second sentence though.


[ Parent ]
Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #44 Thu May 27, 2010 at 03:09:55 PM EST
An easier way to put it would be "the deficit has risen because tax revenue has fallen".

Now, it's perfectly legitimate to favour low taxes, and there are good economic reasons for wanting them. But low tax advocates don't want to mention the fall in tax revenue, because that reminds people another way to reduce the deficit is to raise taxes. So, they prefer to spin things as spending (divided by GDP) has risen instead.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Labour spent too long by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #45 Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:54:05 PM EST
Confusing "deficit" and "debt" for that to make any sense.

Better- "we're borrowing money to keep things going because people have lost jobs so the government doesn't have as many people to tax, and has more people to support".  Longer sentance, perhaps, but maybe a bit more understandable?

I'll be really interested if the statements we're offering each other in this thread get close to what the ConDem's Coalition of the Opportunists publish as their press statements...

Lower taxes, within limits, bring in more revenue - google Laffer curve for more economics, founded in empirical research, not theory.


[ Parent ]
The Laffer curve by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #49 Sun May 30, 2010 at 11:38:19 AM EST
Is actually mostly theoretical, though common sense says it probably exists. But there's no evidence that Britain and the UK are on the right-hand side of it. Reagan's claim that he could raise more revenue by lowering taxes because of the Laffer curve proved to be wishful thinking: he had to run big deficits to cope.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
I talk to a lot of people by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #50 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 05:10:13 AM EST
And a lot of people, from cab drivers to brickies to electricians to labourers all reckon they're paying too much tax.

As a result they all made significant efforts to reduce their tax bill; by both legitimate means and outright evasion- cash jobs, underreporting work and so on.

So from an economic standpoint, maybe we're not on the right hand side as yet.  But empirical evidence shows that people I have known are breaking the law to avoid tax.


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Strange. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:47:12 PM EST
Hyperlinked text is visible through the spoilerised bits.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

why is that strange? by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #18 Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:00:21 PM EST


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Because I've never seen it with this browser. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #19 Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:11:27 PM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
I noticed it on preview by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed May 26, 2010 at 01:55:38 AM EST
But decided Lost fans would just have to put up with that much spoilerization.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Media and ConDems by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #26 Wed May 26, 2010 at 04:20:46 AM EST
The Daily Mail's reporting has been annoying - praise lavished on Cameron for the stuff they agree with, hate on Clegg for the stuff they don't. I was hoping they'd have to answer for what they wished for but they're going to get away with being completely two-faced. Meh.

According to Wikipedia the EDL are affiliated with Casuals United, who are a quite blatant organisation of football hooligans. I remember them appearing on the scene at exactly the same time and doubt they aren't the same organisation, more or less.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

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