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August 24, 2010

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HuwOS

" rarely, if ever, did she use to defend or promote the party or the Government. You cannot then expect to become the Leader."

Well you could Paul, but only if the party was to go in a different direction.
It seems to me you are confirming that Labour is staying to the right.

Paul Flynn

No I am not going to vote for Diane Abbott. She had the best platform on TV of any Labour MP in the past few years. rarely, if ever, did she use to defend or promote the party or the Government. You cannot then expect to become the Leader.

I was one of the first to nominate david Milliband. He will do well.

My children and grandchildren have all attended their local state schools.

Kay Tie

"Knowing how businesses generally operate, I would be surprised if they have even managed to scratch the surface of tax evasion and VAT fraud."

VAT fraud - carousel fraud in particular - is the real biggie there. Billions not just lost, but actually pulled out of the Treasury. It's a scandal that's got very little coverage.

HuwOS

Knowing how businesses generally operate, I would be surprised if they have even managed to scratch the surface of tax evasion and VAT fraud.

But if the resources are put into it, then we will all find out for sure.

As I said before, a lot will be made clear about this government's priorities if they cut rather than raise or even keep steady the number of people assigned to these investigations.

I know what I expect to happen, and would be pleasantly surprised if I was wrong.

Kay Tie

"There is certainly a fortune to be saved in removing all bureaucracy, manpower and administration required for the "going to catch you out checks",that apply to current benefits systems, working tax credits etc."

Indeed. However I do not then see a need to employ them elsewhere: let them go and enjoy a productive life doing something else.

I don't think there is as much evasion as you think: much of the stats about taxes owed is due to companies going into liquidation with debts to HMRC, and others who are behind in their payments. By all means hire if hiring people brings in more tax than they cost to hire, but this kind of arithmetic has been done for some time and I would expect the system to be close to optimal by now.

HuwOS

There is certainly a fortune to be saved in removing all bureaucracy, manpower and administration required for the "going to catch you out checks",that apply to current benefits systems, working tax credits etc.

Those people, who have spent so long trying to catch out single mothers who do a couple of hours work off the books to try and keep their heads above water could then be transferred to HM Revenue & Customs and instead be dedicated to catching all the companies and individuals who do everything they can to evade their taxes, as by the current numbers they have been sorely understaffed both by comparison and in terms of the amount of investigation needing to be done.

HuwOS

Well KayTie, it's a rare thing to be able to say, but I am glad that you are utterly onboard with a left wing concept like Universal Basic Income, but don't expect the right, whether the Tories or New Labour to deliver it, because it is the antithesis of what they are about.

They may introduce something which sounds the same, and which they might even call the same or at least something that gives the impression of sounding similar but it will bear as much relationship to it as regular school councils bear to the Summerhill meeting, all or more of the palaver but none of the supposed effects.

Kay Tie

"The biggest problem with it, is of course that it involves paying out a lot more money than the current social welfare system pays out.
Not exactly high on the right wing agendas of either the New Labour party or the old Tory party."

I am with IDS on the concept: you have to spend more in the short term to achieve longer term savings. If the concept is well-tested so that there is a very good chance of making those savings, it becomes easy to justify the investment - because the word "investment" really is that, a spend-now-to-reduce-costs-later programme (unlike Gordon Brown's twisting of the word, where "investment" meant "spending now" and nothing else).

It's true that this will mean borrowing now to save later, and that borrowing now is a tough thing to do, but this is precisely the time to do it: when the times are good there is little appetite to sort out the problem. Hence the blazing rows in the Treasury over IDS's proposals. I think that if the numbers stack up then we can't afford not to spend on it: future generations will thank us for it.

Kay Tie

"1. "The community" - ie Mrs Bingham and Co - deciding according to their own whims and prejudices who's deserving of help and who isn't is a truly horrifying idea."

No worse than Andy Burnham, surely?

"3. Human nature being what it is, there would always be the profligate few who blew their pots too soon. Personally, I couldn't stand by and watch them (and their children) starve in the street. "

No, nor could I. But I am happy to see them eat Jamie Oliver's school dinners.

"Because institutions, where people (often in uniforms) have ultimate control over the lives of others, are breeding grounds of abuse and degradation. It's human nature, most famously demonstrated by the Stanford prison experiment."

This is national government writ large! This is what happens in institutions when ministers are in charge, but worse than this is that no exemplars of excellence can emerge and show the way forward, since everything is levelled down to the lowest standards.

"I do take your point that there seems to be very little coming from Labour on this topic, unfortunately."

Well exactly. At least we are having a discussion on this. If we can all step back and accept that we wish to see the same kind of outcomes (the least fortunate looked after, the greatest opportunities for all, the unleashing of each person's potential, etc.) then we can debate how each proposal might achieve that. But there is just a void in the centre of Labour, where not even the debate is being framed, let alone anything concrete proposed.

Kay Tie

"She also would like to see pension money, in the hands of private companies, rather than untrustworthy government, the Robert Maxwell memorial fund perhaps."

Don't be silly.

HuwOS

The problem in the past was, Britain never was left wing enough to try to introduce it.
Even it's current reappearance as a serious proposal has emanated from the left leaning states of Denmark and the Netherlands.

The biggest problem with it, is of course that it involves paying out a lot more money than the current social welfare system pays out.
Not exactly high on the right wing agendas of either the New Labour party or the old Tory party.

HuwOS

DG, I doubt there would be a risk of uniforms, that would after all be an unnecessary expense.

And the workhouses would in fact be unnecessary if there was a basic income, which is an idea of the left, not the right
which presumably is simply an error on KayTie's part and not yet another lie.
Of course it is not a new idea of the left, but dates from about 1848, so if she acknowledged it as being of the left, she would probably feel obliged to attack it as backward looking.

Although while it has and always has had immense appeal, as an idea and principle of the left, it will never be implemented while the right infect every aspect of politics and discourse.


D.G.

1. "The community" - ie Mrs Bingham and Co - deciding according to their own whims and prejudices who's deserving of help and who isn't is a truly horrifying idea.

2. The fact that successive governments couldn't claw the pot back doesn't address my point about the lack of control. Furthermore, offshore accounts (Iceland?) are not immune to disappearing acts.

3. Human nature being what it is, there would always be the profligate few who blew their pots too soon. Personally, I couldn't stand by and watch them (and their children) starve in the street. Dumb death sentence in a civilised society.

4. "I also fail to see how dormitories - or modern workhouses if you wish to use the loaded term - are cruel or horrible. "

Because institutions, where people (often in uniforms) have ultimate control over the lives of others, are breeding grounds of abuse and degradation. It's human nature, most famously demonstrated by the Stanford prison experiment.

I do take your point that there seems to be very little coming from Labour on this topic, unfortunately.

HuwOS

So, KayTie has changed her preferred health care system to Singapore, what an interesting journey KayTie's preferred healthcare system has taken, from France, then Switzerland now off to Singapore.
One has to wonder, what it will be next month.

She also would like to see pension money, in the hands of private companies, rather than untrustworthy government, the Robert Maxwell memorial fund perhaps.

Workhouses, back on the agenda, oh how forward looking KayTie is.

It really is enough to make you cry, if you could stop laughing long enough.

Kay Tie

"Telling the difference between "can't work" and "won't work" is not as easy as you'd think - many governments have tried and failed."

Two points:

1. Instead of a national top-down approach, the kind of "can't work" welfare should be according to local norms. Ideally, it ought to be down to the community to choose how this operates, since people who know each other are best off able to understand someone's plight and to show sympathy. It cuts out the Daily Mail "immigrants" - when you know the immigrants then you're much less likely to make horrible blanket assumptions.

2. The kind of "can't work" distinction wouldn't be between "have a bad back" and "swinging the lead", but rather "incapable of any kind of work" and "could do something". For a start, doing something would always be beneficial, since there would be no means-tested clawbacks. It's pretty straightforward to see who genuinely is incapable of any work - particularly when the measure is by local norms.

"The size of the pot would be determined by the Government, so it's not as much control over your life as it first appears."

At least a new government couldn't claw the pot back - if it was located offshore under member-controlled trustees, for example.

"you go to the workhouse, albeit renamed as a "very simple welfare system based on dormitories". This is simply unacceptable. "

Why? Those who are incapable of contributing wouldn't be expected to, so their pot wouldn't run out. Anyone who did run it out would be doing so by their own choice - in the full knowledge of what would happen.

I also fail to see how dormitories - or modern workhouses if you wish to use the loaded term - are cruel or horrible. They wouldn't have to involve gruel, merely Jamie-approved catering. They wouldn't have to involve oakum-picking. They just would just be cheap to ensure fairness on the rest of society that did contribute. Right now you have a situation where there it's not only possible but rational to choose to have a higher standard of living on welfare than the tax-paying working poor. It's simply not fair that someone who works hard should pay for someone else to do nothing, live in a nicer place and have a better standard of living.

"I still like the idea of Citizen's Basic Income, though."

Indeed. That's just the starting point - when you take the philosophy of people having control over their own welfare, you can do some very beneficial things. This is my overall point: where is the thinking on the Left around these ideas? If Labour was genuinely talking about renewal, where is anyone talking about this? They aren't. Which is a shame, because they could make common cause with the liberal/libertarian parts of other parties.

DG

I see where you're coming from KayTie, and I do like the idea of personal choice, but I think there would be issues with the execution.

Telling the difference between "can't work" and "won't work" is not as easy as you'd think - many governments have tried and failed.

None of us have the luxury of knowing when we're going to shake off this mortal coil, so we'd be back to the days when some unfortunate people fretted and stressed and scrimped for their old age, only to be hit by a bus at 35, having never enjoyed their lives.

The size of the pot would be determined by the Government, so it's not as much control over your life as it first appears.

When the money runs out - and it will, for some unfortunate people - you go to the workhouse, albeit renamed as a "very simple welfare system based on dormitories". This is simply unacceptable. Institutions, where people have ultimate control over the lives of others, are breeding grounds of abuse and degradation.

I still like the idea of Citizen's Basic Income, though.

Kay Tie

"What are your bright ideas to first and foremost improve the lot of those who receive state pension?"

There is a multigenerational problem here. State provided pensions have been disastrous for the pensioner: governments have taken money and promised a pension, and are now cheating on the deal.

This means there are several problems to address:

1. What about people who have retired now and have been cheated?

2. What about people who are starting work now and will be cheated?

3. What about people in between?

The first thing to recognise is that it is not possible to trust the government: if there is a pot of money, it will be stolen and the people who will be victims are the ones who are least able to politically resist.

My first proposals for pensions are to keep the government away from the money as far as possible. This means that instead of a taxation-funded system (whereby contributions are just spent as they are collected) there should be an investment-based scheme, but one administered by people chosen by the contributors to the scheme, not by the government. It should preferably be structured offshore in multiple jurisdictions to keep any predatory government away from the temptation.

I also propose that pensions reform must be coupled with welfare reform, particularly to eliminate means testing. It is means testing that requires that pension contributions are tax-free, since it is there to encourage people to make provision for their old age rather than falling back on the welfare system. And it is the current welfare system of high effective tax (clawback) rates that means for most people it is not worth saving for a pension.

The welfare reforms should provide a personal fund - let us call it an opportunities fund - that each person uses to provide themselves with education, pensions, unemployment help, etc. The individual person should be entitled to choose how to use their fund throughout their lives. So if someone decided to leave school at 14 and pursue a trade, they should be able to "bank" the education saved and either use it later to receive adult education or become a mature student and pay tuition fees. Or maybe convert it to a pension and retire early. Or maybe take a career break to bring up children and receive payments while doing that. Or maybe to cover a period of unemployment.

For those who suffer long-term ill health or cannot otherwise work, the fund can be paid into by the state. For those who can work but simply choose not to, the fund can still be used but will run to zero and there would then be a very simple welfare system based on dormitories (rather similar to Labour's proposal for teenage single mothers).

This whole approach eliminates means testing: the individual decides whether their means are insufficient before taking from their own fund. It is fair, because everyone would be given an equal opportunity to make the best of themselves. It also would eliminate the poverty trap where people rationally choose not to work.

This is a radical approach - making welfare, education, pensions, maternity leave, etc. personal is something that's never really been considered before. If the Left is truly about aspiration and opportunity for all then there would be these ideas emanating. Instead, it is the Right that are making the running on these ideas (e.g. citizens basic income).

The reason I despise the Left is that the objections to these ideas are not about whether they would help poor people or provide for greater social mobility or equality but that there is no role for a central authority to decide things: people would decide for themselves. This makes it quite clear that the Left is about authority - the acquisition of power for its own sake, and that the good intentions are merely cloth to cover that naked ambition.

Kay Tie

"You have stated your preferred systems over and over again KayTie and they all involve private medical insurance companies, which would take 5 to 15% of all the money spent on health for doing nothing other than taking people's money and then doing their utmost to avoid paying for the medical care that people need."

No. My preferred system is the one used in Singapore, which has less spent on it and better outcomes.

"In the US where this has been done for decades"

The US system is a dysfunctional one, as I've already pointed out. I would not advocate any healthcare system that meant people had no medical cover.

"The simple principle is that right wing policies cost people more and provide less."

Tell that to the people of East Germany who watched their colleagues earn more money, drive better cars, eat better food and live freer lives.

Left wing policies crush freedom, eliminate innovation and provide their people with less. This is a historical fact.

HuwOS

"Not at all. My preferred system is to have people decide their own care plans with expert help, not the dreadful one-size-fits-all NHS model that eats way more than 15% in overheads." - KayTie

You have stated your preferred systems over and over again KayTie and they all involve private medical insurance companies, which would take 5 to 15% of all the money spent on health for doing nothing other than taking people's money and then doing their utmost to avoid paying for the medical care that people need.
Actual genuine administration costs are still there as well, so this is extra money being taken out of healthcare, for nothing.

In the US where this has been done for decades, the situation for the vast majority, even of those who have insurance, is worse than it is here, by a very long shot and as for the costs of administering this private health care scam, that can be up to 25% of the money disbursed.
In 2003 it was estimated that roughly 400 billion dollars out of the total health care expenditure of 1,660 billion dollars went on administrative expenses.

Your prefer to compare the results of systems where more money is being spent on healthcare than is spent here and then blame the system, which does incredibly well considering how much less funding it gets than your preferred systems.
You should in fact be blaming successive right wing governments for underfunding it, the Tories initially and despite New and right wing Labour's big talk, they spent half the last 13 years not increasing the expenditure on it at all in real terms and the second half bringing the expenditure nearly up to the European average.

But we've been through the figures before and your blind and irrational hatred of anything you see as socialist precludes you from acknowledging the simple truths of the matter.

You prefer your make believe world which is fine, but the danger is that some poor naive innocent, or someone who suffers from the same voices in their head as you do, might just believe the claptrap you spew on a regular basis, not knowing that your grip on reality is most kindly described as tenuous.

One thing that you are right about though, over the years, following the Thatcherite principles of marketisation and quango's the administration costs of the NHS have risen from the 4% of expenditure that they were at when the political parties were less far to the right.

The simple principle is that right wing policies cost people more and provide less.
Your suggestions are no different.


Ad

WELFARE: 'Who does? No-one I know. Do they want to end Labour's "welfare"? You bet. But end opportunities for people who need help? No way.'

It is all stick (which the Tories can afford to pretend is a carrot). The effort of this government is to persecute those who are forced to depend on welfare. They vilify them constantly because a small minority have always fiddled the system. There are no bright ideas from this government whatsoever which will be worthwhile and beneficial to the majority.

The coalition government does not care about assisting the overwhelming majority of rightful benefit claimants. They focus on being critical of a small minority, constantly berating them because it is politacally beneficial. I read right wing newspapers often enough and I could go all on all day about the distorted self-interested rubbish they produce. This Tory government is tuned into the mindset of these malicious and narrow-minded malefactors.

NHS : ‘Yep. Pretty radical and interesting ideas for improving healthcare and matching it with people's needs. But what new ideas do you have? Nada. Nothing. Zip.’

What new ideas do you have? And how will it benefit the majority is the important question.

I don’t see a need to discard the NHS or its fundemental principles. This is a truism held amongst mainstream electable politicians.

PENSIONERS: ‘Lots of new ideas there. Yours are what? National pensions, one size fits all? Been there, done that, seen what it did to pensioners. Don't want to go there again.’

What are your bright ideas to first and foremost improve the lot of those who receive state pension? You rightly imply that those who rely on state pensions don’t have a great deal of luxury.

To most people who I wouldn’t necessarily describe as ‘left wing‘, it is a necessary provision to those who need it and rightfully claim it.

Kay Tie

"you want somewhere between 5 and 15 per cent of all the money put into healthcare, to not actually be spent on any aspect of healthcare at all."

Not at all. My preferred system is to have people decide their own care plans with expert help, not the dreadful one-size-fits-all NHS model that eats way more than 15% in overheads.

HuwOS

Ah Kaytie, I love the pretence that there are other ideas to replace these things.

There are not, the ideas are simply to get rid of these helpful, useful and beneficial things, while banging on about improving them, the typical right wing corporate approach that comes from both the tories and came from new labour
and in the business world leads to banks withdrawing services people want and find useful with the reason given that it is "For your convenience" while mailing them credit card cheques that they never asked for and which if they do use will be anything but beneficial to them and can cause them immense harm if they don't use them but someone else unknown to them does.

You really should spend less time believing what people say and focus more on what they actually do.
Then at least you wouldn't have been as confused as you were for the last 13 years, thinking that a right wing government was made up of evil socialist beasts.
Evil, yes
Beasts, indeed
just like their Tory brethren.
But
Socialist, no.
Left leaning, no.
Centrist even, no.

And KayTie, while I do know that you prefer to make up the other person's side of the conversation, you should realise that it is obvious when you do so.
I made no suggestions about what I would do, I simply stated some of the things that the right wing want to do away with.

We all know your preference however when it comes to healthcare, you want somewhere between 5 and 15 per cent of all the money put into healthcare, to not actually be spent on any aspect of healthcare at all.
You believe it should go home in the pockets of middlemen and decry as evil socialism the idea that as little money as possible be wasted to line the pockets of people who bring nothing of any use to anyone.

Kay Tie

"they still want to end social welfare"

Who does? No-one I know. Do they want to end Labour's "welfare"? You bet. But end opportunities for people who need help? No way.

"the nhs"

Yep. Pretty radical and interesting ideas for improving healthcare and matching it with people's needs. But what new ideas do you have? Nada. Nothing. Zip.

"old age pensions"

Lots of new ideas there. Yours are what? National pensions, one size fits all? Been there, done that, seen what it did to pensioners. Don't want to go there again.

"and so on."

Indeed. Your own examples are tired old failed ideas of the past: go back to failed systems, never do anything new. Your ideas were tried out before. They failed. You don't understand why they failed. Either that or you don't care and think that good intentions matter and outcomes don't, something that's rather a hallmark of the Left.

HuwOS

"It's funny really. In the old days (before and after WW2) the intellectual powerhouse in politics was the Left. They had all the radical ideas, the new thinking that would transform society for the better."

It's not really funny or odd in any way.
It's the triumph of the right, the left had to be radical pre and post war, they did a pretty good job.
Then Thatcher came in and undid it all.
the Labour party moved to the right.
No we have three right wing mainstream parties and anyone on the actual left is marginalised.
The right don't need radical ideas now, because things suit them.

Not everything obviously, they still want to end social welfare, the nhs, old age pensions and so on. But that's fundamentally just tinkering and showing off.

The biggest blessing for the right wing, however KayTie, is people like you.
Don't know what the left is so can be tweaked into howling socialism at anything that veers from Murdoch's ideal world.

Kay Tie

"much to the despair of left leaning readers of the blog "

I don't know why you despair. They are all the same. Oh, I'm sure you can find a nuance here and there, but all are fundamentally devoid of any fresh ideas.

It's funny really. In the old days (before and after WW2) the intellectual powerhouse in politics was the Left. They had all the radical ideas, the new thinking that would transform society for the better.

Nowadays, there's nothing between the ears of all the senior parts of the Party, and the grass roots are even worse. It's the libertarian (or liberal, if we are to reclaim that word for its proper meaning) parts of the parties where the new intellectual engine is.

It must be so depressing being in a tired and clapped-out movement with nothing to offer than a return to the failed ideas of the past, appealing only to emotion and having no logic or reasoning to underpin the appeal. Then again, those in the movement haven't got the intellect to see this. Ignorance really is bliss.

Kay Tie

"Seriously KayTie you must learn the difference between the fantasies in your head and reality"

So there's no attempt to limit the number of good students from middle class backgrounds going to university? No attempt to block access to schools for those of a certain class? No social engineering to deprive those who studied hard and succeeded if they happened to come from a certain class? That never happened under Labour? That isn't Labour's policy?

HuwOS

No one has addressed my point: how can anyone say that Labour stands for aspiration when the entire party spent the last few years sneering at anyone who tried to do the best for their family as having "sharp elbows".

No one had addressed it KayTie, because it was yet another KayTie make believe.

Seriously KayTie you must learn the difference between the fantasies in your head and reality, or you'll get run down by a bus thinking it's an ice cream.

"Are you going to vote for Diane Abbot?"
I don't know if it's problems with your memory or just your general failure to comprehend the utterly straightforward.

Paul has repeatedly informed us that he is supporting David Milliband,
much to the despair of left leaning readers of the blog but no doubt with your unique vision you'll manage to perceive him as an uber communist.
http://paulflynnmp.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/07/total-of-british-soldiers-killed-in-afghanistan-314--david-miliband-was-welcome-visitor-to-newport-this-morning-talking-to.html

Kay Tie

"Are you going to vote for Diane Abbot?"

Oh, sorry, I forgot. We're not allowed to play politics with her choices over her offspring's life chances. Of course she - and you - aren't troubled in the slightest when you play politics with everyone else's life chances.

Kay Tie

"get to the front of the queue for schools. Being a multi millionaire is great substitute that works for those with blunt elbows."

Or instead of being a millionaire, being a Labour MP will do just as well.

Are you going to vote for Diane Abbot?

Paul Flynn

KayTie, It was Cameron who boasted that he had 'sharp elbows'. Not that he needs them to get to the front of the queue for schools. Being a multi millionaire is great substitute that works for those with blunt elbows.

Tony

So why if Labour was aspirational did they not enable the conditions for people NOT to have to go into homes - or fund them them instead of the 100's that closed ?

Kay Tie

No one has addressed my point: how can anyone say that Labour stands for aspiration when the entire party spent the last few years sneering at anyone who tried to do the best for their family as having "sharp elbows".

The message has been received quite clearly: get on and Labour will be there to level you back down again.

Kay Tie

I take it you never met Minister Burnham then, Patrick? You should have turned up to a No2ID protest and seen what he got his minders to do.

Tony

Who cares? They are fighting over a corpse with little or no acknowledgement of just why they lost the last election. People in the UK will suffer for the mismanagement of the economy under Labour which requires the proposed spending cuts (and let us not forget that Labour proposed cuts as well ..) and I've not heard one candidate mention that dereliction of duty and their part in it. So let them navel gaze, deny that they lost because they were rubbish at managing the economy and tout the idea that it was just that they did not get the message across effectively to a stupid electorate. I don't care which one wins - they were all too gutless to oust Brown when it may have changed things - welcome to the poison chalice they helped create (do I sound grumpy .. possibly..)

Patrick


"The man was an arrogant and ignorant tosser"

Further evidence of a neurological disorder characterised by motor (body) or vocal tics. ...

HuwOS

There now KayTie, don't you feel better for having unloaded specific detailed criticism as opposed to your previous and unfortunately more common generic and unimaginative bile.


Kay Tie

Why would I want to read the manifesto of the minister who reacted with undisguised glee to all the authoritarian opportunities of his ID card scheme?

The man was an arrogant and ignorant tosser. We the people are best shot of him, and if Labour is ever to mutate into a party that isn't despicably authoritarian then it needs to send him into the wilderness.

HuwOS

Perhaps KayTie, if you read the manifesto you would at least be able to criticise what Burnham's thoughts and objectives are
rather than simply delving into your slag heap of inane and irrelevant comments.

Kay Tie

What's aspirational about socialism? How can anyone aspire to get on in life when anyone doing so is accused of having "sharp elbows"?

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