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Yet Another Anon
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The ministers would go on in their existing jobs. If there was a terrorist attack that eliminated the PM then Theresa May would chair the Civil Contingencies Committee response and other parties mostly would back that response. The system that exists for choosing a new PM is the same one that was in existence before the General Election and throughout the 20th century and technically before that. The Monarch decides who to call with advice from the Privy Council, why would she pick Nick Clegg, in fact given that he would know that Labour would oppose him, the SDLP would oppose him, in fact the vast majority of MPs would oppose him except the Liberal Democrats, Alliance Party MP and possibly Caroline Lucas; he would most likely decline any such suggestion, apart from anything else the Liberal Democrats don't have the manpower to fill the existing ministerial positions, so they couldn't even operate in a prorogation as a government under the current system. Probably the Queen would accept advice to call William Hague as First Secretary of State, effectively the Deputy in the Commons of David Cameron in his capacity as leading the Senior Coalition Partner (which the Conservatives were described as in the Coalition Agreement). William Hague would no doubt accept such an interim role, other possibilities would be George Young or Kenneth Clarke, both of whom hold Great Offices of State. Nick Clegg would I imagine be fairly low down the list of possible choices, somewhere below every single Conservative Cabinet Minister and Minister of State, below every single Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister, below people such as Alistair Darling, David Miliband, Gordon Brown, David Blunkett, Peter Mandelson. There of course could be a formal succession as there is in such circumstances of the sudden death of the US President and/or there could be a system to elect the PM in the same way as the Speaker of the House. Of course in such circumstances, a new Conservative leader would be elected within a couple of months and even if a Liberal Democrat were to be made PM and accepted in the interim it would probably be with some agreement about who would conduct EU negociations, indeed if it were to be a Liberal Democrat, it might not neccessarily be Nick Clegg, it could be Jeremy Browne, Nick Harvey or Danny Alexander who might be considered more acceptable as leader.
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Which has developed in a sort of ad hoc way, needs a lot of tidying up. At this moment in time though I think maybe I'll get some rest. For now I'll persevere! Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2011 at Yetanotheranon Online's blog
If Labour thought they could give the Liberal Democrats a good kicking and maybe gain some seats, even if the result was a small Conservative majority they would probably vote for any motion for a General Election.
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He was waving his hands about so wildly he appeared to come close to slapping Seema Malhotra and Ken Livingstone in the face. Not much in the by-election to get very excited about so far as I came make out, the best things that came out of it were that UKIP increased their vote and the BNP slipped further into obscurity.
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Maybe there could be a compromise and the Palace of Westminster instead could introduce a real Iron Maiden that MPs/Lords misusing public monies or being generally unruly could be stuck in, would be good for dealing with rioters and looters as well. Apart from sending out a dubious message, there is also the matter that MPs/Lords would start not just doing things as a promise to their electorate, but maybe wearing advertising slogans for money. Millions of people around the world watch coverage of Parliament and just as footballers and rugby players wear shirts with sponsors slogans on, so companies might see the opportunity to get into parliamentary coverage, though maybe it might be a way to help balance the deficit - Treasury ministers wearing sponsorship logos on them at the dispatch box, all proceeds to HMRC?
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Union of monetary policy without a substantial union of fiscal and political policy is largely what has been the undoing of the Euro. If the UK left the EU and the Irish Republic was still in the EU, a common currency would just be too complicated. So far as currency union goes, I think the option is for the Dail to become the Irish Parliament (except for Northern Ireland) inside a Federal UK. Merge the military forces, standardise a lot of the tax systems, allow the Dail powers to vary Income Tax rates, maybe still some extra powers to levy taxes than the Scottish Parliament has, add a proportion of MPs to the House of Commons. The Irish Navy would make quite a neat Coastguard, the Defence budget and a lot of administrative functions would be spread across a bigger population allowing more scope for reducing Public Spending. The Dail perhaps could continue to have a directly elected President within the UK? I doubt though that the Irish Republic would accept any such deal, indeed any deal involving sharing any powers jointly with the UK except for the EU.
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I don't think the London Mayoral contest will have any noticeable effects on parliamentary by-elections, and for that matter in Scotland the SNP's Holyrood success hasn't translated into the same success at Westminster elections and yet Alex Salmond and the SNP Administration is at a Scottish level a national administration and associated with SNP at a national level; on the other hand Boris Johnson is not really associated with the Coalition or Parliamentary Conservative Party, the approach since the creation of the GLA has been of the candidates of the 3 main parties effectively running as Independents under a party label and dissassociating themselves from the national party to a great extent. Anything other than a Labour win would be astonishing and catastrophic to the Labour Party. The main question is who comes in the next 3 places and in what order, UKIP could well get 2nd place though more likely a good 4th. The BNP is in meltdown and ceasing to function as a party led by a lameduck and fragmenting with elements going over to new parties and existing parties such as the National Front and some of the more mainstream people that Nick Griffin managed to attract going over to UKIP. People will read lots of things into the result, but probably it will largely be forgotten about after a few days, either Labour will hold on with a mediocre majority in a low turnout election or they will romp home in what is anyway a seat they had already held in 2010.
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Most benefits since April 2011 have been switched to cpi, which in September was at an annual rate of 5.2% compared to 5.6% for RPI. It might make more sense to switch JSA and ESA, Universal Credit etc... to be linked to changes in average earnings minus 2%, this long term should roughly maintain value against inflation but would result in cuts in benefit during recessions and slowdowns. With 1.8% average earnings rise in September in fact the benefits would have been cut by 0.2% in April, on the other hand during a time of strong economic growth, assuming inflation on target at 2%, and maybe 5% growth in average earnings then benefits would rise by 3%. So as revenue was higher and earnings growing strongly then benefit would rise above inflation, as the economy was contracting or sluggish and revenue and wages falling then there would be negative upratings or below inflation positive upratings. This would help to limit swelling deficits in future.
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A greater GDP does spread the burden though, India is quite a poor country and China is not all that wealthy, but they have huge scope for doing massive projects that would be far too much for much smaller but wealthier countries because of economies of scale. Some things cost a limited amount, a government decides to setup some kind of body or commission a body to do research to help inform policy, this costs a certain amount and regardless of the overall size of the economy it costs the same amount but less as a proportion of a larger economy even if the population are poorer statistically. Things such as maintaining public information online, a larger economy will mean that the proportion spent on such things can be lower and yet achieve the same results. If population were to increase 20% and the economy only 10% then things such as Defence at the same proportion would provide far more resources, in fact it could be less as a proportion than before and yet have more resources allocated to it than before, that potentially would make reducing public spending as an overall proportion and having lower taxes than otherwise easier. Lower taxes increase the spending power of the general population.
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The first Emergency Budget was in June 2010, Labour were still in power into May 2010.
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Stalin would have known what to do to the strikers, as did former PM Lord Liverpool, none of the 3 main political parties have the ruthless streak neccessary to crush unrest, that goes from criminal behaviour being reclassified as merely anti-social, failures to deal with rioters and looters, talking tough while failing to take action - successive governments over decades.
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The Guardian article relating to government plans to subsidise sub prime mortgages, you've put it was written by Simon Hughes when in fact it was written by Simon Jenkins.
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The Conservative Party increased it's share of the vote after 1951 in 1955, but the total number voting Conservative fell, 1959 actually the Conservative share of the Popular Vote declined slightly. 1951 saw Labour and Conservative getting the biggest proportions of those eligible to vote than any party in a UK General Election has ever had. On the other hand, while the Popular Vote for the Conservatives fell after 1979, the total proportions of those eligible to vote voting Conservative did increase quite sharply in 1987 and 1992.
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According to Dennis Healey, Harold Wilson wanted to send some troops to Vietnam, but Dennis Healey refused and was adamant that troops would not be sent and Harold Wilson wasn't prepared to force the issue which probably would have resulted in Dennis Healey and some others resigning from the government. Certainly Harold Wilson was not pro the Vietnam War, but he felt that it would help maintain good relations with the White House.
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Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot were never Prime Minister, so however bad they would have been they aren't on the list.
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With Liberal Democrat ministers there is a majority, providing that there aren't Conservative rebels on the issue and on some issues there are Conservative MPs siding with the Liberal Democrats or Labour on various issues. Different groups on different issues. Then again on the other hand on some of those issues Liberal Democrat backbenchers are abstaining rather than voting against and in some cases formal Opposition MPs may back the government position and SNP/Plaid Cymru are abstaining on English only matters, Speaker & Deputy Speakers are neutral and in a tie while chairing a debate by precendent give their casting vote to the government, in addition Sinn Fein are absentee and so irrelevant. It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are not neccessarily going to agree with a Conservative line and it might well come to a split on an issue. Moving to Confidence & Supply might allow more flexibility to do deals in the way that Labour did after they lost their majority in the late 1970s, it seems Labour are more open to a deal on changing the way benefits are uprated than the Liberal Democrats are. If Danny Alexander, David Laws and Nick Clegg are apparently determined to fight it all the way then there isn't much chance that other Lib Dem MPs will be any different. On Trident renewal, on new nuclear power station building and on fighting the ECHR Labour, Sylvia Hermon and DUP are far more favourable than the Liberal Democrats or Kenneth Clarke for that matter. The Liberal Democrats position is rather stronger than most people think and Labour's rather weaker, the most likely reluctance at the moment from David Cameron and Nick Clegg for a General Election is more because there wouldn't be likely to be much change, Labour might make some net gains at expense of Conservative and Liberal Democrats, Conservatives as like as not balance their net losses from gains the Liberal Democrats, maybe some Independent Liberals, Green and the smaller Liberal Party and SDP gaining from Lib Dem. SNP picking up a few more seats in Scotland. The Likliehood being that Labour would be no nearer to being able to form a stable government and the likliehood being either a minority Conservative government or a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition with a smaller majority than now.
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Surely it would make more sense to link it to a certain amount below average increases in earnings. If long term economic growth is assumed to be around 2% then why not set it at annual average earnings percentage increase minus 2%, this would in the long term maintain it in line with inflation roughly, but mean that as wages dropped towards inflation during downturns and going into recessions that the benefits would not start rising above the rates of average earnings. During periods of strong economic growth with big margins between average earnings and inflation then the value lost during recessions or sluggish growth would be recovered. The result next April would be a 0.2% cut in the benefits it was linked to - based on average earnings rises running at 1.8% at the time. To make it more accurate it could be forward to be based on the changes up to the quarter immediately before the Budget, there would be no danger of a big bill as if for example there was a sharp decline and average wages fell by 5% over a year mainly in the last quarter then the benefits would be cut by 7%. If there was on the other hand 5% average earnings rises and 2% inflation then the benefits would be increasing 1% over inflation. The difference between earnings and benefits would increase year on year in both good times and in bad irrespective of what else happened. Otherwise supposing that it is based on the 6 months to September this time and then next time that turns out actually to be higher than it would have been if the current system was used, does the Chancellor then switch back to using cpi, in which case why not just make it formally cpi or RPI or the inflation targets for those whether annually or for the 6 months up to September whichever is lowest. Or simply George Osborne could do what was done in 1931 and also in 1996 in New Zealand and cut the rates by certain fixed amounts or percentages, in the case of New Zealand 20-40% across the board cuts were applied. Another possibility would be to abolish Hardship Payments for the able bodied and to abolish the automatic right to free prescriptions for people on JSA which would save considerable amounts of money.
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At the moment the proposals for a flat rate State Pension are only proposals, especially with outrage from existing pensioners who it is proposed will remain in the current system and problems over voluntary contributions people have made based on assumptions about how many years of contributions they will need and economic growth running slower than expected it is doubtful that they would go through in the form currently proposed. In fact one way of achieving stronger economic growth would be a cut in amounts that employers are paying into the National Insurance Fund. Equally the Coalition is probably more likely to look for savings in Income Based JSA than Contributions Based JSA. After all surely the Contributions Based bit more represents the Alarm Clock Britain of which Nick Clegg speaks. Surely one possibility and one that would raise far more money would be to limit Contributory ESA to 26 weeks to bring it into line with JSA. There is no international legal requirement on the government to maintain a safety net, there is a requirement to have a benefit for the unemployed which Contributory JSA actually is, but it would legally be possible for the state to change the rules so that there was no form of support for the able bodied unemployed who had exhausted their contributory entitlement. There is no definition of any minimum in international law so parliament could define it in any way it wanted. The UK could abolish the National Minimum Wage, If the UK left the EU then it could abolish all holiday rights and restrictions on working hours, abolish Redundancy, abolish all rights against Unfair Dismissal and totally deregulate the Labour Market. That would mean that employers could get rid of anyone at any time without having to give a reason.
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Labour don't really have a lead, if there were to be a General Election now, the opinion polls themselves would start to show a reversion towards the actual situation, which is that the Conservative Party is holding it's support, Labour has picked up some support from people who otherwise would have voted Liberal Democrat, but there is quite a fair amount of protest votes that is complaining about the Lib Dems, but would either return to them or go over to Green or one of the smaller parties such as smaller Liberal or SDP or just not vote at all. Labour has picked up some support from Plaid Cymru, but may well be slipping back in Scotland as compared with a stronger performance under Gordon Brown than in 2005. Likely result would be the Conservatives still with the largest national vote, probably balancing any losses to Labour with gains from the Liberal Democrats and Labour failing to make the net gains they would need for a minority or Coalition government and small numbers of Independent Liberals, Greens, Liberal, SDP possibly getting seats; maybe SNP taking some seats off Labour and Liberal Democrat. Probably minority Conservative or Lib Dem/Conservative Coalition Government albeit with a reduced majority. 1951, a tired government with a small majority called a General Election - far from it being a landslide it was very close and they weren't far off holding on with what was their best vote ever by any measure. 1964 contrary to expectations the Conservative Party runs Labour very close. Labour's "leads" in the early 1970s and in 1980/81, 1985/86 and 1989-92 turned out not to mean much at all. In 2004 the media were talking about it heading for a Hung Parliament, strangely didn't happen, equally the predicted wipeout of Labour after 13 years of power didn't happen and indeed forecasts in the 1992-97 parliament of likely outcomes of the following General Election expected a far larger Labour majority than eventually occurred. Governments in severe turbulence tend to hugely outperform media predictions and opinion poll "results". That said if Labour was still led by Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling or David Miliband had become leader it would have performed better than Ed Miliband who doesn't seem to have any coherent policy framework.
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Forgot to mention that there is also the issue of the amount of contributions, which were reduced by the last Labour Government for a Full State Pension to only 30 years, less in the way of required contributions and higher Pension with generous upratings means far higher contributions than would otherwise be neccessary.
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One alternative would be to increase the proportion of money in the NI Fund going on contributors only. That is all money going to the NHS from the NI Fund would only be used on a contributory basis. Limit Income Based JSA to those with contributions and either go for a low level negative income tax or workfare for all who do not have sufficient contributions. People without sufficient contributions would have to pay for any medical treatment or would get a much more limited service. Possibly go back to the system of panel doctors for those with sufficient contributions and voluntary, faith based or parish hospitals for those without. Scrap paying contributions on behalf of people, raise the State Pension Age to 80 or even 85. Abolish Employers NI. Maybe the State Pension ultimately could be abolished altogether, with benefits for younger people just continuing into old age with an increasing proportion on the incapacity benefits with age. Raise benefits in line with earnings minus 2% and over time the actual amount of NI levied would fall to negligeable levels over time. It might well be easier to let the NI system simply wither over time than to merge the systems, certainly current recent policies of linking the State Pension to earnings or inflation or the inflation target and plans for £140 State Pension and increasing amounts going to the NHS out of National Insurance actually rationalising the system is made increasingly complicated because more people will be more affected by changes in the way it is paid if it moves to common allowances.
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It is the State Pension age that people stop having NI levied on their earnings, currently the women's rate is rising towards the men's age, think it's somewhere around 60 years 9 months for women at the moment.
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A General Election wouldn't do anything to help Nick Clegg, certainly the Liberal Democrat vote isn't as weak as many suppose, but the Labour vote isn't as strong as many suppose and the Conservative result isn't strong enough to get a majority. So after a General Election it would be another Hung Parliament, probably with rather fewer Liberal Democrat MPs though still more than they had been getting before 1997 and at best for him a choice between a minority Labour government that would refuse to give Liberal Democrats seats in government unless Nick Clegg resigned as leader or a minority Conservative government or a second Coalition with a lower majority and the Liberal Democrats having less influence. Or alternatively Labour and Conservative might do a deal leaving the Liberal Democrats unable to have any influence at all. Then again that's all really that the Liberal Party, Liberal Democrats, National Liberals and Alliance have been able to hope for in their near future since 1924.
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So far as going to war with Libya goes, it was long past time that Colonel Gaddafi should have been removed. People talk about Lockerbie, but forget that in fact in the 1970s Libya was one of the main origins of global terrorism - notably attacks on commercial airliners, in addition to the Libyan occupation of Northern Chad in the 1980s. The Gaddafi regime funded a number of terrorist organisations around the world including the IRA. It was a different sort of threat to the Iraqi Ba'ath regime, they were more of a danger to people in their own country and to neighbouring countries, less interested in anything outside the Middle East. Both needed dealing with though.
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The EU is a major part of the problem, the Southern European states need to leave the Euro and along with austerity they need to devalue. The EU is a protectionist bloc, that hinders global free trade and hampers member states abilities to properly deal with crime and terrorism. That imposes bureaucratic employment regulations on business that is choking growth. The EU is bad for Europe and bad for the world. The Conservative 2010 campaign focussed on under resourcing of defence and on cuts under Labour. In fact the long years of slashing the budget started 21 years ago and Labour merely continued this and in fact in the 2nd and 3rd Labour terms there were real terms increases and Defence spending was maintained during the recession. In fact the world was as dangerous a place as ever, there never was any peace dividend, the breakup of the USSR and Warsaw Pact resulted in territorial and ethnic disputes that led to wars, in Afghanistan Al Qaeda was able to establish training camps and launch terrorist attacks on the rest of the world, the Ba'athist regime in Iraq remained an ongoing problem and these all had to be dealt with, meanwhile China was emerging as a superpower and Iran as a regional power, Russia is now reviving as a power. It might have been reasonable to suppose that in addition to a review of resourcing that actually based on criticisms that the defence budget was in fact with International Development to be increased, not slashed from 2.7% of GDP to 2.0% of GDP. With the Liberal Democrats favouring cutting the NHS government in the General Election, with Labour also pledged to find cuts in the NHS budget, given decades of money being thrown in increasingly large amounts at the NHS, David Cameron could have come out to propose a freeze in the NHS Budget over 5 years and cited the Deficit and the positions including of UKIP, a freeze in NHS spending would have saved quite a lot on what is a massive budget, in fact more than the cuts in the police budget, courts & prisons budgets and Defence combined. The Defence cuts are a capitulation to the Liberal Democrats, it's the old Fabian and Liberal anti-military agenda that just sees all money spent on defence or counter-terrorism as being money wasted. Productivity in the NHS has to be brought under control and the tide of rising NHS spending has to be stopped, just as the rises in Social Security spending by the 1960s were becoming unsustainable and had to be reined in.
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