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David Bean
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I bought three! Was doing a freshers' fair today, and they made for great conversation props.
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No, it's only for girls who want to receive state benefits - although there is uncertainty about precisely what state benefits he's talking about. Another thing he hasn't mentioned is how this policy might interplay with the intention to raise the school leaving age to 18. Given the ages of the girls we're talking about, and that those working at the hostels would be employees of the state, will the hostels be responsible for ensuring their attendance at school or college? If not, why permit a state institution to collaborate in truancy, and if so, how can the staff provide a supportive environment if they're also expected to force the girls to attend education whatever their views on the matter?
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2009 on The state he is in at CentreRight
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That'll make a good prop for my freshers' fair stall tomorrow...
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Just by way of a correction on the recall proposal, Gordon Brown has always said - though not particularly clearly, which would explain the confusion - that he is proposing the right for locals to petition for a recall ballot IF AND ONLY IF his Parliamentary watchdog quango finds them guilty of a serious enough level of abuse. Which is a very different policy from that proposed by Hannan and Carswell and, I believe, Conservative Party policy, that constituents should be able to petition for a recall at any time they like, provided they can win the support of a sufficient number of residents. Brown's policy is bizarre. If he thinks recall petitions are a good idea, why does he restrict their use to such limited circumstances? And if this quango is supposed to be there to rule on serious breaches, why on earth should the constituents of a convicted MP have to go through the rigmarole of a recall petition and ballot to chuck them out? The answer, I suspect, is that Brown has no real commitment to the principle at all, and this is just another faddish gesture towards a fashionable idea. This sort of thing is exactly why Labour just can't be the party to change Britain.
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What, not "In your heart, you know we're right"? :)
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Further to my last comment, if you read the initial email under the assumption that it was a 'track changes' error, you can almost piece together the history of the document's drafting. When most people correct a piece of copy they tend to add their changes in front of the piece of text that has just been deleted, partly because of the way MS Word works - try it yourself and you'll see what I mean. We can also see that the copy they replaced it with consistently uses the text that appeared first in those odd sections with two phrases joined together that appear to repeat or contradict one another. Now, I'm guessing that whoever drafted the original release was probably relatively junior - this might be the sort of role they assign to members of their graduate programme. Applying this theory, we can see that this person either had their figures muddled, or was trying to over-state the facts of the case, as "More than 2,2600" (sic) criminals becomes "Almost 2,260". I suspect this was probably a lazy typo in the original, but note the shift from 'more than' to 'nearly' - the same occurs in the next paragraph as it becomes clear that actually, there weren't so many policemen involved after all. But the most interesting is the last paragraph: whoever has corrected the copy, presumably someone in a more senior role, has been very careful to insert Phil Woolas' name a second time in the text. They've also significantly changed the semantic of the sentence, from focusing on the efforts of police officers to bring the law as it stands to bear on criminals, to the personal effort of Phil Woolas to try to influence law enforcement to use those laws more effectively. So while neither the graduate nor their boss spotted the glaringly erroneous split infinitive at the end of the second paragraph, this looks to me like a glaring example of sexing up.
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It looks to me as though someone has received an amended copy of this release and then cut-and-pasted it into the CMS without noticing that they forgot to turn off 'track changes'; this is an easy mistake to make when you actually do it, but it does take a significant amount of inattention to fail to notice and correct it. Forgiveable, though, surely - if someone's under a bit of pressure and then maybe someone distracts them as they paste the text into the CMS, it's quite conceivable that they could hit the 'post' button automatically. The funny thing is, about now someone in the office is probably stumbling upon this thread, and it'll be doing the rounds by email tomorrow. To any who are reading this: hi, guys, don't lose any sleep - you're obviously doing a decent job to have motivated yourselves to come to work at all, because goodness knows if I worked in the Home Office I'd probably have been comatose months ago.
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I completely agree, and I hope representatives of the BBC are reading this comment thread to see what they've allowed people to think of them.
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I don't understand your thinking. Surely if an accusation of something as grave as anti-Semitism or racism becomes the subject of media interest, and the person making the accusation is being interviewed by the press, it is the first duty of the interviewer to act on the presumption that the accused is innocent, and that the accuser must be challenged to make his case. The point is that 'racist' isn't the sort of sixth-form debating put-down people should be permitted casually to throw around.
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Yes, can someone please explain the argument against doing this? The only negative effect I can think of is that if retail banks can't raise the capital they need through the financial markets, but instead have to borrow it from investment banks, interest rates to customers may be higher as the banks have to cover the additional cost. Am I right? And is there any other argument against it other than that it would upset the financiers?
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Facebooked!
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2009 on The 'cut' is out of the bag at thetorydiary
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Think you and I were attempting to post exactly the same ideas at the same time :) Yes, I agree completely. Incidentally, these are good Conservative ideas too, don't you think? They're about recognising reality, human nature and the possibilities of the age as they are, and then regulating lightly to encourage the right sorts of behaviour where possible - contrasting with the Labour approach of trying to impose their own views of how they'd like the world to be from above. Not that Labour has any ideological reason to want to preserve an outdated copyright regime, of course. If anything it's perhaps a sign of just how tired this government has become, that it should settle for the easy option of keeping the corporations happy and squashing individual users just because it saves them the effort of thinking of anything better. So perhaps this is the message to Mr Hunt: if the Conservative Party really wants to bring positive change to our country without it costing the public purse, he could do much worse than getting seriously stuck in to this issue of copyright reform, and coming up with good legislation that would free both users and creators from the unnatural bonds placed on them by today's regime within the lifetime of the first Parliament. There's even an argument that you could save money this way, or at least redeploy the costs of policing operations against users and internet hosts to other more pressing areas of need.
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Can I ask, could ConservativeHome do us all the favour of publishing a comprehensive, point-by-point rebuttal of the Labour economic case relating to all stages of what has gone on (1997-2008, the financial crisis and debate over stimulous packages, policy now and future forecasts)? I mean, I for one consider myself far from economically illiterate, but when someone from the other side argues that, say, had we not done the stimulus we'd now be in a depression, or had we not propped up the bank the world would have been destroyed, I'm at a loss for how to reply. Might ConHome be able to help?
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I don't know what Victor M was on about - of course the vast majority of private users use ISPs as their means of connecting to the internet, irrespective of who provides their email (and he's right there to the extent that a lot of people do now use GMail, which is generally considered to be the evolution of webmail services like Hotmail, etc.). So I'm not sure about the full implications of your proposal or the feasibility of getting the money to the artists, but the act of levying a fee on top of what you pay to your ISP ought to be easy enough.
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Good thinking by our party in rejecting this ridiculous and oh-so-Labour idea of Mandleson's, but as others have alluded, there are larger issues in the field of copyright that may need to be tackled on a transnational scale. Our current copyright regime was created before the possibilities opened up by today's technology had even been considered; they are, as David Cameron might say, analogue laws in a digital age. As a consequence, their entire focus is on forcing people to behave in a way that is contrary to human rationality. If I want to watch Film A now, and the only options its distributors have provided for me to do so involve going to a shop or a rental place to buy a disc requiring significant capital investment to play when I already own a decent computer and monitor, then why on earth shouldn't I (hypothetically speaking) just download the thing? You're not going to convince me of the moral evil of downloading media; as a customer I expect suppliers to accept my preferences as to how to consume their content given the options available, and it's up to them to find a way to make money out of it, not just to give up on the idea and try to make things less convenient for me and everyone else. Don't even get me started on DRM. But there are some good signs: on his blog Douglas Carswell recently drew attention to Spotify, a wonderful new internet application that mimics iTunes in nearly every respect except that it allows the user to stream any track he wants immediately, in crystal clarity and for free (funded either by advertising or through a flexible subscription policy, just as the user wishes) - so bye bye album sales, then. It's trivial to predict the movie version, which I think has to be the future of digital entertainment.
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Great point about abandonware, and its equivalents in other creative industries. But here's a thought: given that we already (I think) offer tax credits to those who gift valuables such as art and property to the nation, why not incentivise abandonware by creating some sort of tax incentive for copyright holders who voluntarily release their work into the public domain? It'd be like the digital equivalent of the car scrappage scheme: when your copyright is no longer valuable to you, you can trade it in for a cut in the tax take from whatever you're earning from your remaining profitable assets. This could even work for small producers who mighn't have much of an income to speak of, as they could sell their rights on to a third party who would release the work, claim the credit and funnel most of that money back to the creator.
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You may not be a person of faith, but dismissing religious faith as 'ritual superstition' is really quite rude.
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I'm sorry, but if you think Christianity is about trying to have the church dominate the state and make everyone conform to its values, you've got the wrong religion, or at least not the one I'm part of. God gave us free will because He meant us to use it, not so that His agents could establish earthly structures to bind us by law to His teachings, when had that been His wish He could easily have guaranteed it by the simple expedient of declining to allow us free will. A person does not grow, morally or spiritually, by doing what's right purely in order to avoid sanction. In any case, isn't your position somewhat contradictory in that you seem to be arguing for state authoritarianism in part so as to avoid state authoritarianism? Or are you of the belief that there is 'good authoritarianism' as well as bad? Just because a position is supported on religious grounds doesn't make it the right one, particularly given the reality that a great many people subject to the laws of our state are not, in fact, Christians, and shouldn't be compelled to behave other than they would, unless they intend harming anyone, just because a great many other people are.
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You're making the classic mistake of assuming that all Christians necessarily believe that their faith ought to have such an influence on society as to determine what is and isn't legal. That's not the case - a great many Christians, quite possibly a large majority, are more than happy to preach and practice their beliefs as they will without expecting those opposed to their beliefs who wish to practice otherwise to conform or be outlawed. For a Christian to think otherwise, that all issues relating to faith, the family and homosexuality - about which Christians have very different views in any case - ought to be regulated, flies totally in the face of the commonly held assumption that God gave us free will in the full appreciation that it would lead to us committing sins, and only through the voluntary exercise of our free will to choose to do virtuous things do we glorify God.
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Who's 'we'? Are you an English Democrat who's convinced you're going to win the next election?
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Well that's funny, I've somehow managed to come out of Scotland a Conservative, and am always happy to go back there, but I'm blowed if I'll want to if it's divorced itself from the rest of my country.
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Blimey, that's some pretty Orwellian stuff there from the Irish Times. They're apparently trying to build the case for a 'yes' vote on the prospect of the country being steamrollered into bankruptcy and irrelevance otherwise - which looks to me like a fairly transparent case of extortion. Perhaps the 'vital interests' the Irish could serve by voting down Lisbon might be the prospect of a future for themselves outside the grip of those who would treat it so shabbily?
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So what are you saying, that if Lisbon had already collapsed by the time a Conservative government was in power and there was therefore no need to hold a referendum on that document, this would somehow be a bad thing?
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I don't seriously believe an Irish 'no' on Lisbon would make any material difference to the electoral prospects of separatists. That's far too big an issue to turn on something as tangential as the Irish Lisbon result.
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