Caroline Lucas will join a picket against her own party


1:48 pm - May 8th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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Green Party MP and former leader Caroline Lucas today said she would join the picket line against her own party, over pay cuts to workers in Brighton.

The controversy flared up after the Green-controlled Brighton & Hove council announced plans for ‘pay modernisation’ for council workers. They say workers have to face up to pay cuts to avoid job cuts.

The local GMB union branch is opposed to the plans, as are the local Green party.

In a blog-post last week Lucas said she was opposed to the plans too:

I want to make clear my opposition to cuts to take-home pay, and that I am very aware of the devastating impact that the potential loss of as much as £95 a week would have on council workers – especially those already on low pay.

I’ve set out my position on this to the Council and made my opposition clear to the GMB union, who represent many of the workers facing changes to their pay and allowances.

In a tweet today she said she would also join the picket line against her own party’s policy.

In other words, the local Green MP and the local Green party are opposed to a policy put forward by the Green cabinet members in the council. Extraordinary.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


In other words, the local Green MP and the local Green party are opposed to a policy put forward by the Green cabinet members in the council. Extraordinary.

Opposition is easier than governing. Film at eleven.

2. Steve Tierney

Nothing “extraordinary” about it. The non-council Greens are living in the usual blissful denial of rainbows and fluffy bunnies, while the council have to actually make a budget balance. Was always going to happen.

“They say workers have to face up to pay cuts to avoid job cuts.”

And the alternative is what?

There would certainly be something draconian about low paid workers taking a £95/week cut.

Something tells me however that they are not.

Maybe it’s a masterstroke of political genius where a party puts forward a policy which it knows to be unpopular, enacts it, then publicly opposes it.

All seems a bit Kafkaesque.

Or something.

5. James from Durham

The outcome may not be as bad as it looks. If these workers are on relatively low wages, and this reduction of about £5000pa is to gross pay, then tax (20%), NIC (12%) and tax credits (41%) will take much of the sting out of it. Adjust for those and a £5000 gross pay reduction may be just £1350. Negotiate on reduced hours and holidays and Brighton may be able to get central government to effectively pick up the tab for the staff.

I’ve not seen all the detail of the proposals but I have spent some time going through them and think it’s worth point a few things out – but first I want to caveat that this shouldn’t be taken as support for the proposals being consulted on right now, only clarifying a few things that aren’t getting reported.

- no concrete proposals have been put, this is a consultation document. Proposals are due in September.

- the over all pay-package is not being reduced. If anything the pay bill is going up a bit.

- the council has introduced a living wage for all its staff and no one is going to go below that, so the actually lowest paid workers are getting a good increase.

- the essence of the negotiations is around allowances where care workers and dinner ladies have historically missed out and this package is seeking to rectify that with significant increases for those workers (mainly represented by unison who appear happy with the current proposals).

- it looks like the group of workers who would take a pay hit are the bin men (like in Birmingham when they did gender equalisation on pay there). If the reported amount is true (and I don’t have the figures to work that out) then it is a significant hit, albeit to some of the better paid council workers.

- there is an offer of over £15k payment in compensation for any significant cut in allowances (which would be over three years worth of the cut for the small group of workers effected). So although long term the cut would be a “bad thing” no one would lose their house of struggle with bills who was not before hand.

Like I say I’d like to see more detail and some clear rebuttals/clarifications from the council as that would be very helpful, but I am quite concerned that this is being pitched as Brighton council hates its workers when in fact most will be better off and the lowest paid are already benefiting from the living wage which is not threatened at all.

7. meaty malcon

shouldn’t have blown £600,000 on ‘meat free monday’.

This is the Green council whose councillors voted to cut down a tree, then campaigned to save it. A Green administration that won national publicity having pledged “no evictions” over bedroom tax, but who could not come up with a viable policy to back it up. A Green Party that won (minority) power on 33% of the vote by pledging to “resist all cuts” and hammering the Labour Party at each and every opportunity, long after Labour had left office locally and nationally. A Green council which pledged a “living wage” but which is now cutting the pay of refuse and recycling workers by up to £4,000.

Just shows the Greens are not as left wing and pure as they pretend to be.

10. white trash

@Jim “I am quite concerned that this is being pitched as Brighton council hates its workers when in fact most will be better off and the lowest paid are already benefiting from the living wage which is not threatened at all.”

If what you say is correct and there’s nothing to worry about, then why is Caroline Lucas making an issue then?

Says a lot about the truly dire state of politics in Britain that even though every party has internal disagreements (because a party is made up of individuals) whenever anyone’s honest enough to say so publicly it’s treated as somehow being a weakness as opposed to just being normal.

Somehow we’ve got to a point where a psychotic devotion to The Party line, right or wrong is regarded as a good thing. Can’t help but think that’s a contributing factor to the utter paucity of plurality in politics more generally.

I say that as a non-voter btw, so none of your “oh he must be a Green” nonsense please.

I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Green council – a Green council! – hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers.

…or, before it comes to that, you do your best to use the limited budget available to you to protect public services, and people’s jobs, pay and conditions, to the greatest extent possible – taking special care to look after the lowest-paid workers. Which is what it sounds like the Green council is trying to do here.

You can’t play politics with people’s jobs and people’s services.

Of course the devil will be in the detail; maybe there are better options that *don’t* involve freezing or cutting anyone’s pay. But to assume that *must* be the case, regardless of the situation with central government funding, council tax receipts, ability to borrow, other spending priorities etc., is just wishful thinking.

Attacking Labour or Green councils for daring to ‘implement’ cuts made by the national government is exactly what the Tories want us to do. The strategy from day one has been to load cuts onto local authorities and let them become the focus of opposition. I’m not taking the bait.

13. Rachel T

This is the same Green council that’s spending £1.5M on reducing the speed limit to 20mph across the city, and spending well in excess of £6 million on other non- essential road projects in the area.

Priorities, priorities.

14. Thornavis

Apparently Brighton council employs some eight thousand or so staff. The question which no one here will ask, so I will, is why this or any council needs to employ anything like that number of people.

15. Planeshift

“Maybe it’s a masterstroke of political genius where a party puts forward a policy which it knows to be unpopular, enacts it, then publicly opposes it.”

It’s happened in the health service for over a decade, where successive parties enact health policy designed to create fewer hospitals where services like A+E and Maternity are delivered (sometimes with good reasons). Each party then campaigns against the removal of these services from the local hospital, because of fear of a Dr Richard Taylor, whilst denying that the policy is their responsibility. Privately they then lament NHS management for being too incompetent to sell the policy.

@12 – well said.

16. white trash

@15′s quote “Maybe it’s a masterstroke of political genius where a party puts forward a policy which it knows to be unpopular, enacts it, then publicly opposes it.”

Very clever, very devious. Exactly what turns more people off democratic processes every year.

That sort of chicanery won’t work forever.

17. white trash

@12 “I’m not taking the bait.”

Maybe you’re not, but the whole point of this piece is that Caroline Lucas – the Green Party’s one and only MP as well as former leader – IS taking the bait, as you put it, which doesn’t say much for the Green Party then, does it?

18. Robin Levett

@Cllr Warren Morgan (B&H Labour Party) #8:

A Green council which pledged a “living wage” but which is now cutting the pay of refuse and recycling workers by up to £4,000.

Is the pay cut a betrayal of the promise to introduce a living wage for all workers? Are refuse and recycling workers that badly paid?

19. Charlieman

@18. Robin Levett: “Are refuse and recycling workers that badly paid?”

If it is possible to cut £4,000 from the wage of any employee, we can presume that they are decently paid. That’s a £2 per hour cut. But we all know that the £4,000 per annum cut applies to a handful of people, not the majority.

Anyone who has followed local council politics for more than 10 years knows that reducing pay for “overpaid” bin men and women sets up a nice story about efficiency improvements. You can bet that council officers at Brighton & Hove are playing a game, knowing full well that wage packets will go up again in 12 months. Meanwhile councillors delude themselves that they are making essential changes.

Emptying bins and sorting recycle waste are unpleasant jobs. If you need somebody to do something that is horrible, you pay them accordingly.

20. Robin Levett

@Charlieman #19:

My point was that the good Councillor sought to suggest that the cut in binmen’s pay was in contradiction to the pledge on a living wage – but if the binmen are on wages above a livign wage, then there is no contradiction; far be it from me to suggest that the Councillor is thereby choosing to go about debate in a way that is not entirely honest.

21. Robin Levett

@Rachel T #13:

This is the same Green council that’s spending £1.5M on reducing the speed limit to 20mph across the city, and spending well in excess of £6 million on other non- essential road projects in the area.

Priorities, priorities.

It’s disgusting, isn’t it, the way that this Council prioritises lives over cash.

I have no idea how good or bad a job the Greens are doing overall – I don’t follow the ins and outs of Brighton & Hove’s politics; I do though know that prioritising road safety is a Good Thing.

@ Rachel T, 13

“This is the same Green council that’s spending £1.5M on reducing the speed limit to 20mph across the city, and spending well in excess of £6 million on other non- essential road projects in the area.

Priorities, priorities.”

Not sure what you’re suggesting here. That protecting council workers’ jobs and pay should be a higher priority than road/traffic projects? But then what about the jobs and pay of the council workers working on those projects?

@ Thornavis, 14

“Apparently Brighton council employs some eight thousand or so staff. The question which no one here will ask, so I will, is why this or any council needs to employ anything like that number of people.”

Why not? In a city with maybe 25,000 school age children, thousands of people – teachers, teaching assistants, cleaners, cooks, admin staff, caretakers – must be employed in schools alone. When you think about the range of services a council provides and the number of people it provides them to, it’s not really hard to see how it could end up employing several thousand people.

How many social workers would you employ to serve a city of 160,000 people? How many care workers? Refuse collectors? Street cleaners? How many staff in leisure centres, children’s centres, libraries, nurseries? How many maintenance staff to keep local roads, pavements, public buildings, parks, beaches and council houses in good order? How many people responsible for promoting tourism? Providing advice to young people on employment, sexual health, drugs? How many people to handle benefit claims? Deal with parking issues? Consider planning applications? How many admin staff to coordinate all this?

23. Charlieman

@13. Rachel T: “This is the same Green council that’s spending £1.5M on reducing the speed limit to 20mph across the city…”

I struggled to understand how £1.5 million could be spent on traffic calming. It is being spent on signs and publicity for the new speed limits. I thought it might have been pissed away on legal fees for a borough parliamentary measure to change a law but that does not seem to be true.

So £1.5 million is being spent on road signs and adverts. I don’t know how much a road sign costs to erect but my local A&E calculated a broken leg in thousands of pounds. The Brighton experiment (regard it as such) costs 700 broken legs. On that basis, I consider it a worthwhile trial.

@ 11 well said. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with political parties having open disagreements, although it doesn’t look a great move by the council, so can understand the opposition.

Orthopaedic costs in hospitals are huge, not to mention opportunities for sick and vulnerable people to contract nasty infections and give them to other patients. And have you ever walked around central Brighton? It’s a pedestrian nightmare. A cut to 20mph is pretty sensible. What would be great would be cheaper buses (although that maybe have changed since I was last there), and overall better transport services. B & H bus company are truly astounding in their audacious rip off prices.

25. Thornavis

GO @ 22

“Why not? In a city with maybe 25,000 school age children, thousands of people – teachers, teaching assistants, cleaners, cooks, admin staff, caretakers – must be employed in schools alone. When you think about the range of services a council provides and the number of people it provides them to, it’s not really hard to see how it could end up employing several thousand people.”

Well that’s my point really, why do those things and the others you list, have to be done by the council ? I’d go further and ask why some of them have to be done at all but this is where we view the world from an entirely different perspective.

26. Charlieman

@25. Thornavis: “I’d go further and ask why some of them [those jobs] have to be done at all but this is where we view the world from an entirely different perspective.”

GO @ 22 says: ‘“Why not? In a city with maybe 25,000 school age children, thousands of people – teachers, teaching assistants, cleaners, cooks, admin staff, caretakers – must be employed in schools alone. When you think about the range of services a council provides and the number of people it provides them to, it’s not really hard to see how it could end up employing several thousand people.”’

How about that they are both wrong.

Nobody’s mentioned the GMB role in this. Lucas has probably fallen for another bit of grandstanding by the union that behaves in so many ways like a front for the SWP.

@ Thornavis, 25

“Well that’s my point really, why do those things and the others you list, have to be done by the council ?”

They don’t. They could be outsourced; then the council would be employing people indirectly rather than directly, as when all the school staff in Bradford were recently employed by the council-funded company Education Bradford rather than the council itself. Where would that get us, exactly? Even if you think private sector organisations automatically do everything cheaper and better than public sector organisations, there’d be no guarantee you’d see an overall reduction in costs and/or staff numbers, due to the extra bureaucracy required to handle the interactions between the council and its subcontractors and potential subcontractors (e.g. preparing/reviewing bids, negotiating contracts, monitoring performance).

Unless your idea is that everyone should be paying privately for all or most of the services usually provided by councils? And I don’t see how that could work. That model would be a poor fit for many services that are public by their nature (e.g. street cleaning, road maintenance) and put other costly but essential services (e.g. education, social care) completely out of reach of most people.

Notice Caroline Lucas says “IF Council forces pay cut on LOW PAID staff”.

If it’s bin men we are talking about, perhaps they are not low paid. In which case Caroline Lucas would have no need to join the picket line.

I wonder whether this is actually redistribution rather than a cut. In which case, it would be pretty consistent with GP policy and ethos.

But why, in that case, it would be played out like this, I do not know.

one thing that needs to be picked up about this is that this is about the implementation of equal pay laws passed by the last labour government that everyone on the left welcomed at the time. councils up and down the country have struggled with these laws facing strikes when trying to implement them and facing compensation claims when they do not. the fact is that these battles should already have been fought years ago and this should have been dusted off by now. either that or the unions failed to understand the problems in implementing this act in the public sector and should have raised them before it was passed. it is interesting that these laws dont appear to have caused the private sector problems.
ive written a lot here but really would like a labour law expert to explain what exactly has been going on in our councils.

31. Thornavis

@GO

“Unless your idea is that everyone should be paying privately for all or most of the services usually provided by councils? And I don’t see how that could work. That model would be a poor fit for many services that are public by their nature (e.g. street cleaning, road maintenance) and put other costly but essential services (e.g. education, social care) completely out of reach of most people.”

You’re making assumptions about the cost of things if the provision of them was done in an entirely different way, there’s no way of proving or disproving that hypothetical situation, except that experience shows that markets are much better at providing what people want at a price they can afford than the state is.
You say there’s no evidence that outsourcing is cheaper but if the service requirements are laid down by law or the preference of the council then there is no way of knowing what the market cost truly is. In the end it comes down to subjective political choices and opportunity costs, there is no absolute standard by which we can judge.
I see no reason why street cleaning and road maintenance are public services by nature. We have only to consider the provision of telephones which, a long time ago, was deemed a natural monopoly to be run by the state, no one really questioned that until someone did and now the idea seems absurd.
In any case the problem here is not just that of the provision of public services but also the assumption, pretty much taken for granted on the left, that it is as much the purpose of local authorities and the public sector to provide jobs as it is to provide services. Which is another good reason for questioning the size of council staffs, if we don’t they tend to expand unchecked.

32. ludicrous pseudonym

@31

“We have only to consider the provision of telephones which, a long time ago, was deemed a natural monopoly to be run by the state, ”

wrong. initially telecoms was fragmented and all over the place (back when telegraphs and telegrams were competing with several new telephone companies). it was nationalisation that gave us an enviable truly national telephone network (something that still can’t be said for internet coverage, by contrast). yeah, BT got way too big for their boots but lets not go rewriting history eh.

just saying!

33. Thornavis

@32

So instead of leaving the market to work out the optimum solutions for a new technology the state decided to seize control. I fail to see what the problem is with internet coverage, it’s all too easy to imagine what it would be like if it had been nationalised though.

34. ludicrous pseudonym

@32

that’s cos – I assume – you live somewhere with decent internet coverage. fyi the state is stumping up the cash in a lotta areas that it isn’t currently commercially viable for any of the big hitters to invest in, so my point (if I have a point) still stands. my main point was yr wrong about telecoms being an example of everyone thinking it was a natural monopoly from year zero blah blah blah.

@ Thornavis, 31

“You’re making assumptions about the cost of things if the provision of them was done in an entirely different way, there’s no way of proving or disproving that hypothetical situation”

Hardly; there’s already a flourishing private market in education and social care, for instance, so we know very well what these things cost when delivered privately. The cost to individuals of education in the private sector is plainly far higher than the cost to the state of education in the public sector. I suppose it’s true that there’s no way of proving what would happen to prices in an all-private marketplace, but I can’t see anything to justify the assumption that they would fall below the current cost of state education (c. £6,000 per child per year). Indeed, on the face of it, the removal of competition from providers of free state education would allow private providers to raise their prices.

“experience shows that markets are much better at providing what people want at a price they can afford than the state is”

“Experience shows” or “right-wing dogma dictates”? This is certainly less than self-evident in the case of services like education, social care and healthcare.

“I see no reason why street cleaning and road maintenance are public services by nature. We have only to consider the provision of telephones which, a long time ago, was deemed a natural monopoly to be run by the state, no one really questioned that until someone did and now the idea seems absurd.”

The analogy with telecommunications doesn’t hold up. It makes sense for me to pay a private provider for my personal use of my personal phone line (/gas supply/electricity supply), and for my neighbour to pay a different company for the same services (though note that the shared infrastructure we rely on remains a ‘natural monopoly’). But it makes no sense for my neighbour and I to pay different companies to maintain/clean the public streets we both use. I suppose it’s conceivable that roads and pavements could all be sold off to private companies and then people could be charged for driving or walking on them, but that’s not a terribly appealing or practical model. (‘Just come to read your pedometer, sir.’)

36. Thornavis

LP

“my main point was yr wrong about telecoms being an example of everyone thinking it was a natural monopoly from year zero blah blah blah.”

Since I neither said or implied any such thing I’m afraid your main point is bollocks. I was pointing out that the state decided that, on everyone else’s behalf and the status quo was not seriously challenged, least of all by anyone in government, until the eighties.

I still don’t know what your beef is about internet coverage, the market has supplied the great majority of the country with internet access and the state has decided to fill in the gaps. One could question whether, if there is no market case for good coverage of an area, the state should be subsidising one group of users from the tax money of everyone else but that is another argument.

37. Thornavis

GO

You’re still doing it, comparing the present costs of state and private education tells us nothing about the costs of a completely free market education system. Why is education so different from other consumer items ? There is no national food service and yet producing and processing enough food to live on, let alone live well, is way beyond the capacity of any individual, yet the market provides and caters for all income levels.
Actually roads could be privatised and a fee paid to the owning company to maintain them, once again it’s a question of the will to do it rather than any insuperable practical difficulty.
I don’t see it as right wing dogma to suggest the market is a better provider than the state. Capitalism and free(ish) markets have provided us with a standard of living undreamed of by earlier ages. Command economies have failed dismally. Even social democracy relies on capitalism to provide the actual wealth for re-distribution.

38. ludicrous pseudonym

@36

*headdesk*

you imply that nationalised services are always a bad thing, I pointed out that a nationalised monopoly provided the country with an enviable telecoms infrastructure, the reason being – your lovely free market didn’t do what it was supposed to, y’see.

bye bye.

39. Thornavis

@lp & GO

No I don’t see and neither for that matter do you as you are determined to ignore my point about a monopoly that was regarded as a fixed feature until it was realised that it didn’t need to be. That was the reason for my mentioning it in the first place, in the context of the provision of services that many see as only possible in the public sector. I was questioning that and using telecoms as an example of something that was once public is now private and thriving. It was you who decided to go off on at a tangent about how the private sector had failed to produce a national telephone system, at a time when the technology was in it’s infancy.
Still if you don’t like my example here’s another for you and for GO who at least understands the issues here. Suppose we had a National Lifeboat Service and someone, lets say a dreadful libertarian like me, suggested that maybe the state didn’t need to do that and it could be run entirely by volunteers and public subscription ? It’s not difficult to imagine the howls of derision and outrage and total incredulity that anyone could be so nuts. Yet we do have that and it works, so why wouldn’t it work for other services either on the RNLI model or as a private concern, is it really so off the wall even to ask the question ?

40. Man in the street

Is this the same Brighton Green Party that doubled allotment fees as one of its first acts upon election?

GO

“You’re still doing it, comparing the present costs of state and private education tells us nothing about the costs of a completely free market education system.”

I conceded that ‘I suppose it’s true that there’s no way of proving what would happen to prices in an all-private marketplace’. But I challenged ‘the assumption that they would fall below the current cost of state education (c. £6,000 per child per year)’ – which is, after all, less than half the average cost of private education. I also pointed out that there would be upward as well as downward pressures on prices in an all-private market, since private education providers would no longer have to compete with providers of free education. Hence I’m not persuaded that we have good reason to believe an all-private marketplace would provide better, cheaper education.

“Why is education so different from other consumer items ?”

For all sorts of reasons, but I won’t bore you with that leftie nonsense. However…

“There is no national food service and yet producing and processing enough food to live on, let alone live well, is way beyond the capacity of any individual, yet the market provides and caters for all income levels.”

People have limited incomes, and they’re always going to prioritise day-to-day essentials such as food, housing and fuel. They’re also going to have a bias towards spending on things that offer some degree of instant gratification. It’s very difficult, therefore, to get people to part with significant amounts of money for expensive, delayed-gratification items like education and pensions. The market appears to have just about borne the shifting on to individual consumers of (most of) the cost of three years of higher education, thanks to a government-backed and -subsidised loans scheme, but it strains credulity to think that in an all-private, free, unsubsidised market, individuals in the bottom 90% or so of the income distribution could bear the full cost of a further thirteen years of schooling (as well as – presumably, in this libertarian utopia of yours – the full private costs of healthcare, pensions, and so on).

“Actually roads could be privatised and a fee paid to the owning company to maintain them”

Sure, but paid by whom? By a council or some other public/collective body, yes. But by individuals paying for their personal use of roads, pavements, parks etc.? There are some pretty formidable-looking practical difficulties there.

And again, it strains credulity – given our experience with the railways and with PFI initiatives, for instance – that councils would actually save money by privatising their roads and then paying for their upkeep.

“I don’t see it as right wing dogma to suggest the market is a better provider than the state. Capitalism and free(ish) markets have provided us with a standard of living undreamed of by earlier ages. Command economies have failed dismally. Even social democracy relies on capitalism to provide the actual wealth for re-distribution.”

This is one of those chicken-and-egg debates. I have no problem acknowledging the vital role of a productive and profitable private sector in generating the wealth that provides us with our standard of living, but what if I were to turn this round and point out that the existence of state-funded and -provided public goods – transport and energy infrastructure, universal education and healthcare, secure borders, a legal framework for transacting business, a police force, etc. – has provided capitalists with opportunites to generate wealth undreamed of in earlier ages (or in areas where these things are lacking today) – so that capitalism relies on social democracy to provide the framework within which wealth can be created? My guess is that you’d insist your capitalist egg trumps my social democratic chicken.

42. Thornavis

GO

” but what if I were to turn this round and point out that the existence of state-funded and -provided public goods – transport and energy infrastructure, universal education and healthcare, secure borders, a legal framework for transacting business, a police force, etc. – has provided capitalists with opportunites to generate wealth undreamed of in earlier ages (or in areas where these things are lacking today) ”

Transport and energy were provided by private investment long before the state got involved. You could argue that later government investment helped create such things as national grids, although I think that’s a too complicated a business to discuss here. At present our government seems intent on doing its level best to make energy unaffordable for consumers and industry and hand big fat subsidies to energy providers – the ones they approve of – that’s the sort of government assistance to capitalism we could do without.
Universal education is a rather more problematic thing than many people realise. It’s generally seen as a thoroughly good thing, which it is but state mandated education is another matter. Many people, myself included, would see it, historically, as part of the process of the state taking control of every aspect of our lives. It tended to go hand in hand with conscription, nationalism and the beginnings of corporate states.
I’ve less of a problem with the state providing the framework for a legal system police force etc. Ideally I’d be an Anarcho-Capitalist but realistically I’d accept Minarchism. Don’t worry though, we aren’t very likely to get either as collectivism shows no sign of disappearing.

43. Thornavis

@GO

One other thing which I forgot to add. Social Democracy is hardly necessary to provide your supposed framework for wealth creation which has gone on for far longer than social democratic governments have been around. That’s just another version of the “You didn’t build that” idea.

44. white trash

@42 Thornavis: “the state taking control of every aspect of our lives.”

What? Where? As far as I can see the state has very little control of out lives. There’s a load of politicians who keep passing laws for sure, but most of them get ignored anyway.

What controls and dictates our lives is mainly peer pressure, how people believe that life should be run, what people want to get hold of, what people want to do. So for example, people want to drive cars, this means they demand manufacturing plants, more and more roads, parking space, oil infrastructure, all that crap, you start listing every aspect of the control systems that go to providing millions and billions of human with private motor cars and the space to drive and park them and you’re into a long session.

People want status, each want to have more, bigger and better than the neighbours. This is an exponentially expanding biological drive dating back to the first unicellular organisms.

It’s not the government that dictates our lives, it’s each other, with our insatiable desires.

45. white trash

@35 “experience shows that markets are much better at providing what people want at a price they can afford than the state is” says Thornavis

GO: “Experience shows” or “right-wing dogma dictates”?

The latter in large part, I suspect.

Here’s a good one fresh of the press today:

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/crime/judge-s-fury-as-quadruple-murder-suspect-anxiang-du-s-court-date-adjourned-1-5081539

“A court hearing for the Chinese businessman accused of stabbing a family of four to death in Northampton was adjourned today because there was no Mandarin intrepreter sent to the proceedings.

The high court judge, Mr Justice Julian Flaux hit out at the outsourcing company providing the interpreters, Capita, labelling them “an absolute disgrace” … the firm indicated that it was not worth sending one as they “would not make enough money” from the hearing.”

Brilliant!

So much for private enterprise.

It’s not quite as daft as it sounds:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-21242834

We had to screw our guys too and it was one of the most hideous of decisions i’ve ever made but faced with the consequences. We subsequently got voted out so all our reassurances of backroom fixing turned out to be bollox, too. Dirty business sometimes.

UKIP are rising.

Greens are squabbling.

48. Thornavis

White Trash @44

” As far as I can see the state has very little control of out lives. There’s a load of politicians who keep passing laws for sure, but most of them get ignored anyway.”

Really, tried smoking in a pub lately or applying for a job that needs a CRB check ? Just to pick two of the many things that the state has recently decided need controlling. Most of them get ignored ? Would you like to quantify that “most”, maybe give a few examples perhaps. There has been and continues to be a slow accretion of state power, not that I’d expect many people on the left to notice it or to care.
All the rest of the stuff about oil and cars is too confused to be able to untangle what point you are making exactly, that we suffer from original sin perhaps? Can’t help you there, take it up with a theologian.

@45

So the state has picked a corporate chum to do some of its work for it and apparently the money changing hands isn’t enough. From this we are supposed to deduce that markets are inefficient. There’s a bit of a logic failure there.

49. Lefty Tosser

Aren’t the Green councillors “Green-controlle” Brighton & Hove council” actually “the local Green party”?

If they are or if they’re not, how does that work either way?

50. white trash

@Thornavis – I smoke occasionally but the fag ban doesn’t bother me and more than 3/4 of people are in favour of it. Sorry man, that’s democracy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18628811

CRB checks were brought in after ever more massive public demand that something be done to stop paedos and abusers from getting near vulnerable people. What’s your problem with that?

Sounds to me more like you just want to have your own way all the time and screw everybody else.


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