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Davidbeandotorg
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Anyone who wishes to do so is free to ask their doctor such questions, and then take the advice or leave it alone; it should be obvious to anyone that health is not the only consideration in the decision of whether or not to smoke, and nor is it anyone else's business what factors a person chooses to prioritise in making that decision. It's not the government's job to interfere with the decisions people make about themselves.
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One of the issues the blog article illustrates is the importance of literature in schools in allowing pupils to reflect upon their own characters, personalities and motivations, and the emphasis on this process within Austen - whose characters only achieve happiness once they have reconciled themselves with who they are - makes her work especially suitable. Few students have the opportunity for the formal study of philosophy, but if there is a deficit in ethical education at school, literature goes a long way to making it up. I studied Austen in my sixth form (which in Scotland is mostly an exercise in interest and vanity, since university entry is determined by the previous year's results), and loved her. One of my favourite episodes has always been the visit to Sotherton in Mansfield Park. It conjures an uncomfortable environment wherein the young characters' reactions to the conflict between the oppressive social environment made apparent in the landscape ("I can't get out, as the starling said!") and the licence occasioned by the absence of supervision reinforces their notions of how to behave, and goes a long way to set up their eventual fate. Austen is especially good at providing atmospheric clues to the responses she wishes to evoke in her readers, withholding direct moral judgement to the end of her tales.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2012 on Jane Austen, philosopher at The Deep End
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I can't agree with that, Elaine. I don't honestly think you'd find a full 10% of any constituency prepared to initiate recall out of spite - I wouldn't sign such a petition; would you? - and any political party attempting to organise such an effort would rightly be subject to ridicule. In the US, where powers of citizen-initiated recall are common, state parties recognise that they must take great care over this issue, because the electorate simply does not like to see it used in a cavalier fashion; in essence, the procedure regulates itself, with no need to introduce some higher power to which dissatisfied voters must grovel for permission. Restricting the range of reasons for which recall can be initiated is immensely patronising. If a candidate makes a pledge to vote in a certain way on an issue of importance, and on the basis of it secures election but then goes on to break that pledge, who are we to say that the voters might not view this deception as at least as bad as financial impropriety? No, I completely agree with this article, and Mr Moss; recall should be a simple procedure, initiated locally at the behest of constituents for any reason on the basis of which they can achieve the requisite support.
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Not necessarily! How do you know people applying to be moderators wouldn't want to do so in order to prevent over-moderation? I can't speak for anyone else but if I wanted to be a moderator, I'd want to allow as much leeway as possible, and only delete under the most extreme of circumstances (according to the editorial policy, naturally). Looks like a great development, to me!
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'Self-identify'? Do you mean 'identify'? Identifying with the declining duckspeak-free world would be a better start, but in any case the notion that there's something unenlightened about belief in a supreme being, even among the learned, is exactly the sort of smug superiority many of us find repellent about atheists.
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Well, clearly that's the direction of the policy, whether or not there's an intention of carrying it out to the extreme. Declining yet to repeal that ridiculous law - enshrining policy targets in legislation being inherently ridiculous even ignoring the absurdity of this particular one - doesn't exactly constitute acceptance, but my point, as well as the point of this article, was about the principle of this kind of target, and it stands whatever the government happens to be doing.
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Anyone who thinks that equality of outcomes is a useful political end, even at the expense of the absolute wealth and well-being of everyone, is free to make that argument - but why the need couch it in terms of emotive concepts such as poverty, which, as we can see from the implication that if we could somehow reduce everyone in the country to subsistence levels we would have eliminated poverty altogether, it actually has nothing to do with? The answer, of course, is obvious - because the people who do it want to invest their own ideological approach with moral imperative - but the intellectual dishonesty of that approach is quite breathtaking. The trouble is that the left very often don't care about honesty, because they're so convinced of their own correctness that anything standing a chance of advancing the cause is to be applauded, even blatant lies and misrepresentations.
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I completely agree with you, Jake, and I also think there's a more fundamental point in its support: that Labour thinks 'fairness' means everyone getting the same, whereas Conservatives believe it means everyone getting what they deserve. Instinctively I think most people would be on our side in that distinction - that's the British sense of fair play you mention - so we need to find better and more creative ways of putting that message forward.
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You made exactly the point I was going to, Elaine. Assuming Lord Ashdown is correct, the French and German governments would have been so irrationally spiteful as to put personal animosity towards the Prime Minister against the interests of the EU, the French and the British - and yet this is a country with which he recommends we move into closer unity. Well, I don't believe that for one minute - the analysis or the conclusion. By no means do I despise the French or the Germans, that being the only reasonable reaction to the behaviour he attributes to them; rather I credit them and the rest of Europe with the intelligence to act in rational accordance with what they perceive as their real interests. No, it seems to me that Ruth Lea's article is entirely correct: the EU elite has become dead set on imposing regulations on the City of London aimed squarely at curtailing its activity, and, this outcome being unacceptable to the UK, the veto was the Prime Minister's only option. Indeed, that (as the Guardian revealed) what the Prime Minister was seeking represented a de jure repatriation of powers - because the power to impose such regulation had already been conceded by the previous government, and only not used by convention - gives Eurosceptics even more reason to be optimistic about his action, because by the pessimists' logic he could probably have made a decent case that the referendum lock would not have been triggered. Of course I doubt this would have got him very far in the Party or the papers, and he'd still have had a heck of a job achieving ratification without a referendum, but that's exactly what he'd have to have attempted for the pessimists to be vindicated in their criticism. The Prime Minister has therefore dramatically improved the argument for the Party to unite behind him, and I for one am fully supportive.
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I don't know about 'absolute proof', Elaine, but I do think the requesting country ought to be required to show that the defendant would have a case to answer if tried in a British court, and that it is capable of proceeding to trial with due swiftness. As it stands under the EAW, a writ from some other court in Europe is held to be equally valid with one issued by a court in the country the suspect is to be extradited from, even if the threshold for establishing a prima facie case is lower. I haven't read a full legal analysis but in the case of, for example, Andrew Symeou, I'd find it difficult to believe a British court would have countenanced his incarceration without bail for a long period when witnesses to the crime apparently described as the perpetrator someone else entirely, and another set of witnesses provided him with an alibi. It shouldn't have taken Perry Mason to get that case dismissed.
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That depends what you consider the 'right to strike' to consist in, doesn't it? In the early days of trade union activity workers could be prosecuted for even forming a union, never mind taking industrial action; that was a grossly abusive situation, and rightly changed by subsequent legislation. What trade unionists seem to want nowadays is quite different: not the right to strike, but the right for any strike to be effective, and I see no moral reason whatsoever why that should be enshrined in legislation. It seems to me that the efficacy of a strike ought to be derived from the value of a striker's labour to his employer, so that the pressure to do what he wants derives from its inability to do without him. If an employer can get along well enough without that employee's labour, why should the law step in to give him extra leverage?
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As things stand I'd have had to vote 'no' to the immigration question, but mainly because of the stupid way in which the figures are calculated. They include students, who have no automatic right to remain in the country, no right to work, spend their whole time here spending money, and comprise a vital part of the higher education budget and the UK's export earnings as a whole. The notion that there should be downward pressure on foreign student numbers as a result of an immigration target is therefore absurd: we might as well start counting holidaymakers too. I would suggest that students studying courses of defined length at legitimate institutions should be excluded from the headline immigration figures, and from the policy of reducing them. If for whatever reason a student, on completing their course, obtains leave to remain further then of course at that point they should be included in the headline figure, and similarly if they're joined here by any family members. But retaining them on the current terms is to put a polluted political objective above the vital work of recruiting still more foreign students to come to the UK, top up the education budget and boost the economy.
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It'd be fascinating to map out the correlation between hyperbole, inability to use punctuation and voting for left-wing parties, but we really need more than one data point. Keep on postin', LLB et al.
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Because Big Brother Watch, as the name suggests, focuses on drawing attention to violations of civil liberties by the state. The press (with the possible exception of the BBC) is not covered by its remit, and in any case is receiving quite enough attention already.
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Thank you for saying what I wanted to say. I too regarded this as a sensitive and thoughtful article, and those comments above that appeared to regard any criticism of Israel as irrelevant whilst there are Islamic countries behaving a lot worse to be incredibly churlish. As a supporter of Israel, I want to be in a position to hold it to a higher standard than other states in the region, and so I agree with the thrust of Mr Amin's article.
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Your distinction between types of drugs suggests another important point, which Milton Friedman made forcefully in an interview on the subject (search Youtube for Milton Friedman and Drugs): the illegality of drugs creates a perverse incentive for people to produce and consume stronger substances than they otherwise might, because they require less bulk to achieve their effect and street value, and so are easier to smuggle. This is especially true in the case of marijuana: politicians complain that it can't be legalised now because today's 'skunk' is much stronger than the substance used to be; that argument has been somewhat overblown, but in any case what they're ignoring is that it was the very prohibition regimen itself that created the incentive for such strains to be developed. Taking the argument a little further it seems fairly clear to me that, under a legal regimen, the very worst of all the drugs - crystal meth - would never be consumed at all, because by any measure it's an extremely poor quality product whose only virtue is that it's relatively cheap and easy to produce. Friedman makes the same point about crack cocaine, which he says would never have been created without prohibition either, since the only reason it was is that cocaine is so expensive. Prohibition, as a drugs control strategy, has failed - has tragically failed at the cost of incalculable numbers of lives ruined and destroyed as a direct result not of the drugs, but of the illegality. As much as we might debate the finer details, this article takes us far closer to a strategy that stands a chance of working.
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I don't propose to do anything about it; it's a decision they need to make for themselves, but I don't see any reason in principle why the associations couldn't just agree to leave FIFA and set up something that isn't institutionally corrupt. If what you're implying is true, that gives them even more reason to do so. I don't really care all that much because I've no interest in football, but I did wonder at your original comment coming down against people who've spoken out about this man, when you seem to acknowledge yourself that FIFA is not a fit organisation to be governing a school sports day, never mind an international sport.
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If FIFA regards these comments as interference then it is perfectly entitled to ignore them, but are you seriously suggesting that this man and his organisation would be justified in perverting the legitimate outcome of a sporting match for the sake of personal vengeance - or that a man who could even be imagined doing such a thing has any place at all in a position such as his? FIFA is a corrupt, rotten disgrace; some might think that makes it ideally suited to running the sport of football, but presumably those who have higher regard for it wouldn't agree. Frankly I think the constituent associations ought to disaffiliate to form a new organisation altogether, and leave Blatter as the King Lear of a Potemkin federation.
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I too had some problems with the neighbour's analogy. What if the decision to buy an ugly, expensive and very much fire unsafe house was made by the paterfamilias, and the rest of his family were either opposed to it all along, or were losing faith in the decision as the flames began to rise - and that little of our trade with the family is with the paterfamilias, but rather with his rightly sceptical charges. Should we then egg him on, or should we take greater account of what the people who actually give us the business think about it all?
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I wasn't planning on getting used to it. :)
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I agree with Mercer that Cameron was born. Well unless, like Macduff, he was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped," of course; frankly that's a matter for her, and the effect was much the same. The rest? No, frankly it's a lot of nonsense.
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So that's where you got it from... ;)
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What a blatant misrepresentation. When have you seen a Conservative express any such thing? Believing that the nation state is the proper level for the resolution of infringements and conflicts of rights, and that no foreign court should have the power to overrule the will of our elected Parliament on issues such as whether prisoners should have the vote, is the more liberal policy. Belief in human rights is by no means compromised by the greater faith we have in our national institutions than in ones that are happy to sanction British citizens being held for years in overseas jails without trial and facing only highly dubious prosecutions. A system that doesn't work doesn't become good because it happens to have the expression 'human rights' appended to it. The Conservatives ARE the party of free speech and human liberties. We have to be because, as this article so potently demonstrates, the Lord Privy Seal 'Liberal Democrats' are are anything but.
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Yes, and I also think we should revisit these new 'incitement to hatred' laws, principally because I do not believe that incitement to hated against a broad category of people is technically possible, at least not during a single instance.
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I do have a lot of sympathy for your viewpoint, but it seems to me that any functioning society must set some limitations on the extent to which it allows those within it to act according to their religious conscience. The persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition or the Conquistadores, for instance, were (at least to an extent) matters of religious conscience, yet we do not now permit murder on the grounds of heresy. It won't do to say that murder is already illegal and therefore can't be justified on religious grounds, because so, now, are those instances of discrimination against homosexuals that you describe. Like you I'm inclined to believe that the state should take a minimalist approach to restricting freedom of religious conscience for the sake of other objectives, but I'd find it hard to identify a clear dividing line between restrictions that are and are not acceptable.
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