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George Carty
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Likud is certainly "right wing" (as opposed to merely "centre right") but is it really reasonable to call it "far-right"? Surely the true "far-right" in Israel are the factions who want the whole of Mandate Palestine cleansed of Arabs: the Kahanists et al?
Ralph, if immigration was the cause of high house prices then we would have seen collapses in house prices in the places where the immigrants came from that didn't happen.
Dipper, It is the Single Market that requires Freedom of Movement, not the Customs Union.
I'm sure that one reason why Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe is because rents are government-regulated there much as they were in pre-Thatcher Britain. This means that spare capital gets productively invested in industry rather than wasted in useless bidding wars over desirable locations. What the PIIGS countries ought to have done was to hike property taxes during the '00s, then German money wouldn't have flooded into their real estate and thus destroyed the competitiveness of those countries.
9/11 was key to the final downfall of Concorde, both because several of Concorde's most loyal customers died in the attacks, and also because the increased security measures which resulted eroded Concorde's time advantages over private jets. Private jets weren't affected by the new security measures, could be rented for a price comparable to that of a Concorde flight, and were (most importantly to wealthy people who place a high value on their time) were available on-demand rather than adhering to a fixed schedule. The first French nuclear power stations used UNGG reactors which (like the British Magnox reactors) were graphite-moderated, CO2-cooled reactors running on natural uranium. In both cases, the American monopoly then existing on uranium enrichment technology was a key driver in the choice of technology, plus perhaps also the hope that a single reactor design could be used to produce both electrical power and weapons-grade plutonium. However, the American PWR technology was inherently far simpler than graphite-moderated designs, and was able to achieve vast economies of scale due to the US Navy's use of nuclear power in submarines and aircraft carriers. The French saw the writing on the wall and decided (when planning their big nuclear build-out in the '70s) to dump their own reactor designs and used standardized versions of American technology, while Britain hoped it could make graphite-moderated technology competitive. The AGR operated at a higher temperature than PWRs (which not only improved its thermodynamic efficiency but also made it possible to use existing turbomachinery designed for coal-fired power stations), but its efficiency advantages couldn't overcome its far higher capital and decommissioning costs. Interestingly, the British and French policies with respect to nuclear energy were pretty much the opposite of their policies with respect to foreign and military policy: the French embraced America while the Brits kept their distance!
Toggle Commented Dec 14, 2017 on On technological regress at Stumbling and Mumbling
We'll never be like America, because America is America largely thanks to its vast open spaces and natural resources. However, the infatuation that many Brits (especially less-educated ones -- the highly educated look more to Europe) have with American culture may have gone some way to explaining the Brexit vote. Incidentally, what could be done to cultivate a more "yankee" attitude in Britain, given that I suspect that this is better for productivity and innovation than either the "cavalier" or "Nordic" models?
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2017 on The rich as heroes at Stumbling and Mumbling
gastro george, actually it looks like Dipper's obsession is overpopulation rather than foreigners per se.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2017 on Brexit & risk attitudes at Stumbling and Mumbling
@From Arse To Elbow The fact that the population changed from Remain-majority to Leave-majority at approximately 45 would seem to be yet another piece of evidence consistent with your "Phone Home" hypothesis: that resentment over youth flight was a key driver of support for Brexit! Since it was mostly less-educated people (most of whom will have married and had children in their twenties people with university education marry later, but also tend to be mostly Remain voters anyway), the critical age of 45 more-or-less corresponds to the age when the children of such people are leaving school and possibly thinking that they'll have to move away to find decent employment. And perhaps the trauma of losing family members to migration (coupled with the fact that they live in economically decrepit small towns with few social activities available due to lack of local spending power) may even have screwed up their neurochemistry to the point that are more likely to make irrational decisions like voting for Brexit.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2017 on Brexit & risk attitudes at Stumbling and Mumbling
Daniel, do you think that perhaps the European refugee crisis helped foment a Malthusian atmosphere in the UK that helped bring about Brexit, just as the malnutrition suffered by the Germans during World War I (as a result of the British naval blockade) was key to the rise of Nazism?
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2017 on Brexit & risk attitudes at Stumbling and Mumbling
High housing costs also encourage asset stripping, by creating windfall profits for those who convert commercial or industrial land (quite heavily taxed via business rates) into residential land (much more lightly taxed). This is the probable culprit behind the destruction of so many manufacturing SMEs in Britain.
"Or perhaps I’ve missed something." One big one -- which countries are you envisaging accepting as immigrants the approximately 90% of the UK population which would be surplus to requirements under a New Zealand model? Oh well, at least it confirms my suspicion about why the Brexiteers are so obsessed with Australia, New Zealand and Canada! They're not seen as potential trading partners, but as Lebensraum where the excess population of the overpopulated UK can be resettled.
« What I mean is that many political issues are matters of degree: more or less government, more or less equality, more or less freedom and so on. Politics is then a matter of tweaking dials a little. Brexit, though, is different. It’s a binary issue: in or out. » Isn't there also a continuum of positions regarding Britain-Europe relations though: 0. Republic of Europe (unitary state) 1. United States of Europe (federal state) 2. Join Schengen and the euro 3. Join Schengen but keep the pound 4. Status quo ante referendum 5. Brexit in name only (stay in single market and customs union) 6. Stay in the single market and retain FoM, leave the customs union (Norway model) 7a. Leave the single market and end FoM, stay in the customs union (Turkey model) 7b. Leave the single market and customs union, retain FoM (Socialist Worker model) 8. Leave single market and customs union, end FoM, free trade agreement with the EU 9. Leave single market and customs union, end FoM, trade under WTO rules 10. Leave single market and customs union, end FoM, leave the WTO
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2017 on My Brexit dilemma at Stumbling and Mumbling
Scratch, IIRC pensioners only count as group E if they have no private pension arrangements and rely solely on the state pension.
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2017 on The changing class divide at Stumbling and Mumbling
Hard Brexit will doom Britain, as most of our Mittelstand-equivalent firms were destroyed from 1980 onwards by asset strippers, who closed them down in order to sell off their sites for housing (in Germany this didn't happen as rent controls and mortgage lending restrictions weren't lifted there, meaning that residential land prices didn't rocket as they did in the UK). This made us heavily dependent on multinational corporations for employment, and why the hell would they continue to produce in a UK that is no longer part of the European Single Market? Most of them enjoy such economies of scale that they only need at most three factories in the entire world (one in the Americas, one in Europe and another in East Asia). I don't think any Leavers seriously expect to restore the Empire they just fail to realize that the UK market alone is way too small to support contemporary industrial enterprises If you want to know what an isolationist national economy looks like, look at North Korea!
So if the working-class Brexiters want to make us more like the old DDR (who cares about freedom to travel or the fact that all the stuff in the shops is crap, as long sas I've got a job for life and a good pension) the wealthy ones want to make us more like a 21st-century version of Tokugawa Japan?
Or to be even more accurate, most of what you are buying is *location*.
Keith, The problem is that we live in a gerontocracy where the pensioner vote typically decides elections (note how they have been protected by the "triple lock" while working-age benefit claimants have been hammered). And pensioners want to protect their streams of rentier income at the expense of the real economy.
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2017 on The case for privatization at Stumbling and Mumbling
@aragon The real basis of social conservatism in the United States (and possibly also in the UK -- check out "Phone Home" on the From Arse to Elbow blog) is the notion of the "inherited obligation family" identified by Doug Muder: "If my daughter goes to college, and my son decides he's gay and moves to the city, who’s going to look after me when my job finally wrecks my back and I can't work any more? I raised those kids, and they owe me — but those liberals are telling them they're 'free' to 'choose.' Likewise, if my sister leaves her abusive husband, the family's going to have to look after her and their kids. It’s a burden we'll bear, but it's better for everyone in the long run if they can stick to their vows and work it out. If the county opens a shelter and gives her an out, she won’t have the incentive to suck it up and do the right thing by the rest of us."
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2017 on How lies work at Stumbling and Mumbling
What can be done about the electoral tyranny of the MEWing and BTLing minority that Blissex is always banging on about? Sounds like a good argument for PR.
@ Dipper "The EU exists to solve a particular problem, which is to prevent war between nations in Europe. The way they are doing this is by abolishing nations in Europe. This may be the right thing to do in Europe, but it isn't addressing a British need." Haven't European wars also been very costly to Britain though (from the War of the Spanish Succession through the Napoleonic Wars to World Wars I and II)? And since you (unlike a lot of Brexiters) don't seem to object to the EU's existence, couldn't it be argued that Brexit runs counter to the centuries-old British foreign policy dictum "don't let the Continent unite against us"? "Consequently British needs are not considered or catered for at all by the EU, and we had no effective influence on those institutions you name as they were collectively not concerned with our issues." Any good examples of this _not_ connected to migration? "The biggest example of this is the expected population growth which is equivalent to gaining two Londons in thirty five years (although only just over one is due to immigration). If we voted to remain there was absolutely nothing we could do about a massive increase in our population, and this increase is not to address any problem we have, but to enable the continent to solve its own inability to provide work for its young people." Since you yourself admit that almost half of our population increase is natural rather than due to immigration (from inside or outside the EU) do you believe that also needs to be limited somehow (and if so, then how)? Or do you desire (as some Brexiteers seem to) to replace free movement within the EU with free movement within the white Commonwealth, so that Australia, New Zealand and Canada can revert to their traditional role as the UK's overseas Lebensraum? "We have far more chance of influencing those institutions by being outside them than we have by being in them, as now they have to explicitly consider the fact that the UK has freedom of action when making decisions that affect us and there are consequences to their decisions." That may have been the case were it not for the facts that: a) many EU countries are already pissed off at the UK for demanding so many special privileges in the past (the Thatcher rebate, formal exemption from the Euro, exemption from Schengen), and b) many EU governments will want to make an example of the UK to deter their own electorates from electing far-right anti-EU parties (such as the Front National in France, the PVV in the Netherlands, or the AfD in Germany).
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2016 on Criminally stupid at Stumbling and Mumbling
How many people on the Western political right genuinely admired right-wing tyrannies such as Pinochet's Chile or Apartheid South Africa, and how many supported them purely because they thought the alternative was Marxist (even pro-Soviet) rule? After all Pinochet overthrew an actual Marxist government (the first such government in the world to be democratically elected), and the ANC was also strongly Marxist in its politics (perhaps because of the Apartheid regime's unwillingness to compromise, and/or because South Africa's mining-dominated economy was very amenable to state control).
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2016 on The freedom-hating right at Stumbling and Mumbling
My workplace was overwhelmingly for Remain (not surprising, as Audi is currently their most important customer) -- the one admitted Leave voter I found is an avid fan of the Zero Hedge website (and presumably thinks the EU is doomed anyway).
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2016 on On causes of Brexit at Stumbling and Mumbling
Blissex: "The EU13 expansion, without any transitional period of restricted immigration to the UK from the lowest wage countries, was also perhaps a long term plan by UK eurosceptics to destroy lower class support for the EU." Unlikely, given that Britain's Prime Minister at the time was the moderately europhile Tony Blair. More likely he wanted to build a pro-British bloc of nations in Eastern Europe to counter the Franco-German axis, and miscalculated that those working-class voters who lost out from mass Eastern European immigration (whose numbers he also badly underestimated) would have nowhere else to go.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2016 on On causes of Brexit at Stumbling and Mumbling
"It's social and cultural change, stupid!" is clearly an Islamophobe rather than a racist. But BCFG is wrong about the invasion of Iraq -- while it certainly didn't help things, it wasn't for the West's material gain (although well-connected firms such as Halliburton did profit handsomely, it was largely at the expense of the American taxpayer rather than the Iraqis). And the Syrian Civil War (which provoked the flood of refugees into Europe) is at its root a war over water, caused by a combination of climate change, the inept policies of the Assad regime, Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia dam project, and also the rapid increase in global food prices following the 2008 Crash, as speculators piled into commodity futures. Another thing, given that Vladimir Putin wants to break up the EU (and has been bankrolling Europe's far-right parties for this purpose) and given that Assad is dependent on Russian military support, how likely is it that those gang-rapes in Cologne were perpetrated by shabiha (Syrian regime thugs) who travelled to Europe posing as refugees, under instructions ultimately coming from the Russian dictator?
Blissex, I guess the problem is that while coal was an inherently democratic fuel in that it required a large workforce to mine it (and thus more of the price of coal went in aggregate to the miners' wages rather than to the coal owners) oil and gas are inherently anti-democratic. They requires very little labour to extract and are very concentrated geographically, allowing those lucky enough to own the land where they are found fantastically wealthy. We already have a power source (nuclear fission) that blows all chemical fuels out of the water where energy density is concerned, but the oil and gas rentiers have been able to stymie its progress through over-regulation, by using their concentrated wealth to both corrupt politicians directly (such as former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who instituted a phaseout of nuclear energy in Germany and was rewarded with a cushy job at Nordstream AG, set to build a Russia-Germany gas pipeline to replace the output of Germany's reactor fleet) and to finance fearmongering anti-nuclear propaganda (always via so-called "philanthropic foundations" in order to hide the true source of the money). The fact that many left-wingers opposed nuclear energy was also probably down to the fact that the Soviet state was itself one of the oil and gas rentiers.