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Contravariant
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Excellent and welcome article. May the bellyachers' decibels be muted (but I doubt it - the self-destructive urges within parts of the party appear overpowering).
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Pity we don't have transportation overseas as an option for criminals any more, then we could export our idle and uneducated natives and import hard-working, well-educated Eastern Europeans. Invest in space for a colony on Mars?
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Very sensible, apart from "..it seems that the German political elite still nourishes the illusion that the rest of Europe is just waiting to be told what to do by the Germans". Das ist Quatsch. But to all those who seem to think the country is desperately waiting to vote for an anti-European party, why did they vote for TB so often? And quite a few voted LD too. A pessimist could see a future where a divided, weakened Tory Party is defeated at the election, an economic crisis ensues, and the UK needs the help of any friends it may have left,as well as the IMF. We're only starting on the first stage of that road. Let's get back on track.
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His Lordship is spot on. Once upon a time I thought pointless posturing was the preserve of the Left, but the modern Tory party has taught me otherwise.
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Quite so. And a referendum choosing "renegotiate!" makes as much sense as a vote on "replace capitalism with something nicer!". An emotional release perhaps, but empty of purpose.
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"Break-up of the Euro" - these aren't just words. Start working out what that means in practice, in terms of revaluing or repaying Euro debt of all countries and shudder. We don't want to be where we are, but all the exclamation marks, rants and wishful thinking in the world won't make it better, and thankfully Osborne knows that. A UK contribution is not necessarily bad, it depends on the conditions and on any quid pro quo - and on the (real) alternatives..
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I would have thought that on and off their travels ministers are surrounded by savvy, high ranking officials and advisers. Did no-one suggest to him that he might have a problem with this character? All very odd.
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I quite like having plenty of intelligent analysis. Let's face it, what the politicians actually say is usually pretty thin, mostly waffle with very low information density. The occasional 'community leader', yoof worker and other interested parties also remind us of the extent of their failure and futility. And snippets like the 2 female rioters http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424 are priceless. I think some of the comments on the BBC here are getting a bit paranoid. You can't just shut your eyes. Know your enemy.
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Shame that Jeff Randall doesn't get a mention! (Sky News at 7pm except Friday)
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Not only are there no easy short to medium term solutions to debt reduction, there aren't any difficult ones either, apart from gritting your teeth. At least Boris is preparing the ground for the future so that if and when things improve we can try to keep the army of big spenders at bay.
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Maybe the Murdoch Empire is wobbling - never thought dynastic succession was a good idea. Good thing if it is - the problem of the relationship between Government and the Press is only acute because of the perceived power and influence of a single media group. I would also like a market in the media - not one where half the country has a simple choice for Pay TV - Sky or not at all. I wonder how that monopoly situation has been maintained all these years.
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This isn't much of a surprise to those who regard tabloid journalists as the lowest form of life in any legal trade (and most illegal ones). And it was The Sun who revealed the Squidgy Tapes back in the early 90s - and had a pay phone-line so that we could all indulge. I still can't comprehend how Cameron chose Andy Coulson... a sign of innocence perhaps, worryingly unaware of the seamier sides of society?
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"Black holes have no hair" unlike Barroso - or could it be a wig? Take a close look...
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There is one very practical reason to chip in - a few years (?) down the road, if this government fails in its aim, we might well be calling for help ourselves. A bit of insurance really.
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The Archbishop reminds us how fortunate we are to have elected politicians. He is out of touch with, and probably contemptuous of the concerns and views of ordinary people; a member of an unelected elite who think they know what's best for us. Rather like those secular High Priests - (some) High Court judges.
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I'm uneasy about the enthusiasm for a higher income tax threshold. It divides workers into tax-payers and non-tax-payers (us and them)and removes awareness of the connection between benefits and the means to pay for them. It has a whiff of the good old socialist (and patrician) attitude of the 'poor' being a separate species who require special nurturing, instead of being treated as responsible citizens with a duty to make their own contribution. But perhaps if income tax and NI could be combined, something sensible could result.
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Care for the very elderly (I speak from experience) can be a 24-hour per day task, and the needs can continue for years. More and more require care for all their bodily needs and this is not something that's easy to cope with. What are we to do? Give up our jobs and lives trying to look after our parents as we ourselves enter old age with its associated problems? I don't have a solution, but I don't really mind my inheritance evaporating in care home costs. I do wish though that people would face reality and admit that the modern obsession with longevity is part of the problem. I do not want to live so long that my body and mind slowly deteriorate to a state of near helplessness, but nothing actually fails (which seems to be the aim of many health professionals). I do not want my children to bear that burden (physical and emotional as well as financial).
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Sounds like a good precedent - another government and we can have laws anchoring transfer payments to the 'disadvantaged', to kids, to the unemployed, to the old, to the sick, to your friends and people who'll vote for you. More and more laws with the purpose of making the government of the day feel good about themselves.
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The puerility of a good deal of the NO campaign has been pushing me towards a Yes, but in the end the idea of people who support nutters having a 2nd bite (unlike me, whose 2nd vote won't come to be counted) has decided me to vote No.
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Nonsense - simplicity should be the guiding principle! As soon as you have variations you get all the parameters just waiting for politicians to twiddle at any opportunity. Simple, flat state pension = good idea. Vast simplifications in pension rules are still waiting to be made - if we get rid of means-tested old-age benefits. why do we keep all the absurd rules regarding personal pensions (annuities, lump sums, drawdown, secured, alternatively secured, unsecured, 55% tax-rates etc etc). Just pay the money in, and get it back when as you retire and as you want - you won't become dependent on the state anyway (other countries do this). Bad news for IFAs and thousands at HMRC, but good news for everyone else.
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If we don't smoke, drink, eat too much etc etc do we live forever as fit, healthy individuals with enough money and without being a burden to anyone? Or do we spend years and decades slowly degenerating, fading into non-existence, wholly dependent on others for everything? I think we should be told.
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The 99% vote has the ring of coercion and/or stupidity. Why would you expect anything else from public sector unions? Unfortunately the reforms with their consortia and commissioning do suggest the belief that drawing lots of boxes with arrows between them can somehow resolve intractable problems. Until more money is drawn into the NHS from private individuals paying for some things voluntarily, and the NHS really starts to integrate with the private healthcare sector, we shall continue to have a rather unsatisfactory, bipolar health system. It will cost more in the end, but not everyone buys everything on price alone (but some do).
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They don't say that learning English should be to facilitate clear and accurate communications, both written or spoken. These professorial chumps have probably never successfully learned foreign languages, and so don't realise that rules and standardised pronunciation are a great aid to communications between people of differing languages (and cultures?). They probably don't expect and don't want 'our kids' to attend meetings with foreigners in adult life, where they might find that they have trouble being understood by people whose standard of English is actually better than theirs.
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I think it shows we should worry more about natural catastrophes (earthquakes, tsunamis, asteroids) than nuclear power plants.
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Well said Jack. Let's leave pretentious posturing to the left.
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