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  1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The Politics Thread

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Lemex, Dec 10, 2010.

    (Just thought I'd do the honours and start this. This - I hope - will be a thread to discuss political matters and current events. This site seems to lack one, or at least an active one, so here one is)

    Anyone seen this?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    First of all, a single thread on Politics may be just a tad too wide-ranging. I would think that UK politics should have a thread, US politics, etc.

    That said, yes, I had seen some news stories on this, but the clips I saw here in the US did not clearly indicate what had sparked the demonstrations. My own personal belief is that the moment a demonstration turns violent (especially when there is no counter-demonstration to cause it) the demonstrators forfeit all credibility. In this particular case, the demonstrators are students who expect their fellow citizens to subsidize their personal educations. That's a fine thing for a polity to do, but it is not an inalienable right.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Here's the usual disclaimer:

    This thread will be closely monitored. If it veers to close to argument and flaming, then it WILL be closed, and any persons whose behaviour is uncivil WILL be infracted.

    You've all been warned. I'm willing to give you a chance to do this responsibly, but this has ended badly in the past.
     
  4. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I read about that. I wish people weren't so violent. :/ There a lot more peaceful ways that would actually make a difference.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I know what you mean. I think that's part of the reason why they set those community fires in Parliament Square, to attract attention, as well as a way of keeping warm. Let's face it, it wouldn't have been as memorable without the fires - if the violence had not occurred, of course.
     
  6. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately, the internet has proved a very useful tool for anarchist organisations, who can mobilise large numbers at a specific location at relatively short notice. And they do tend to hijack what would otherwise be peaceful protests, to fulfil their own hate-filled agenda, often leaving the true organisers of the demonstrations to be seen in a very poor light.

    In the case of the students, they are rebelling against a huge rise in tuition fees (in some cases trebling), and more specifically, against the cynicism and opportunism of the Liberal Democrat party, who having championed the idea of resisting increased tuition fees as part of their manifesto at the most recent General Election, have subsequently betrayed the electorate by accepting their 30 pieces of silver from the Conservative party, and have abandoned some of their most cherished beliefs in return for a limited taste of power. For which they will probably pay dearly next time around. Ain't karma a bitch! ;)
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Halcyon:

    Are the tuition increases necessary to the well-being of the country's coffers? Part of the interesting psychology in the U.S. and Europe plays out in people's reactions to the governments having overspent for so many years that people are used to it, and subsequently not being able to accept the fact that the ride has to come to an end.

    There was an interesting Pew Research study here in the U.S. recently which showed that people overwhelmingly agreed that spending cut-backs were absolutely essential. There was no choice about them. But then when a list of specific proposed cutbacks (from our Debt Commission) were presented to those same people, they overwhelmingly opposed almost every one of them. It's like people realize the fact that government can't sustain this and we need to cut back, but they're unwilling to accept any cut-back that affects them personally in any way.

    At any rate, I don't know enough about the tuition issue in the UK to know if it falls in the same category. But it is somewhat disheartening to see governments on the brink of going under in other places, and the citizenry absolutely up in arms if the government tries to do anything to prevent it.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    There is an old saying: "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree." Same thing goes for spending cuts.
     
  9. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Actually, the new regime of HE funding will cost the government more than at present. The cuts to the Universities budget will, I'm sure, help with money in the coffers in the short term, but in the long term universities will decline, and the economy will suffer as a result. But no, the tuition fee increases cannot be justified by an economic argument, at least not for a great many years when repayment begins (and even then, no one expects 100% repayment).
     
  10. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steerpike

    The UK is certainly in serious debt, and cuts are unavoidable, but there are a great many political theories out there with regard to how best to achieve this. The Conservative/Liberal Democrat alliance that currently holds power are promoting the idea that it is best to deal with it as quickly and ruthlessly as possible, and that the casualties, while unfortunate, are inevitable. The opposition Labour Party would prefer a slower tackling of the problem with less pain by way of job losses/increased tuition fees etc.

    Part of the problem is that the UK has traditionally had a philosophy of funding its young people through university, because it was seen as being good for the nation, ie, these graduates would subsequently use their talents for the benefit of the country, so it was seen as an investment. However, the world is now a smaller place, and many young people gain valuable university degrees, then relocate abroad (Europe, North America, Australia etc), leaving the taxpayer with no real return for their contribution. So, maybe, it is reasonable to expect students to contribute more to their own education, but it is the sheer scale of some of these increases that has caused such an angry backlash.
     
  11. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    That and the fact that it's been instigated by a party who made (and were elected almost primarily on) a promise to abolish tuition fees. The anger is as much at being lied to, as the unfairness of the increases.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I do agree with this, but I don't think the fees should rise so much when there was a report that English universities could keep a high standard of education on as little as £4,000 per year. £9000 a year could alienate a lot of people; not just from poor backgrounds, which I don't think is as big a problem as people going to university in the hopes of leaving and finding a job in an unstable market.

    However, one thing this has shown which is depressing is the number of students who would not have came to university if the fees were so high. Even some of my friends say this, and I can't help but nod and smile, but in the back of my mind I'm asking 'So, why are you really here?'
     
  13. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh...and since this is a political thread....Freedom for Julian Assange....You cannot lock the truth behind prison bars. Say "Yes" to government transparency!!!
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Well, at least ostensibly, Assange isn't in custody for his information leaking...
     
  15. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steerpike

    No offence my friend. But if you truly believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida that I'm just dying to offload. ;)
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That's why I said "ostensibly." :)

    I'm highly suspicious of the charges against Assange. But I don't think any of us here can say with certainty whether they are fabricated or not.

    The "crime" itself seems a bit odd, and that makes me more suspicious.

    In any event, if it comes down to U.S. charges I think Assange should have all the First Amendment protections that any entity in the press would receive.
     
  17. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steerpike

    Yes, I heard earlier today that the US Justice Dept are planning to bring spying charges against Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.

    I believe that some of the basic freedoms that we cherish in the western world are at risk here. What happens to Julian Assange will have far-reaching repercussions for our societies.
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Many politicians here are claiming that he's not "the press," and doesn't get First Amendment protection. It seems to me to be dangerous when the government in power gets to decide whether a given outlet for information qualifies for protection under our Constitution or not. Today they do not like Assange, tomorrow it may be someone else.

    Assange published information leaked to him, due to no wrongdoing of his own. To me, it is not different than the NY Times publishing this information, or Woodward and Bernstein publishing details of the Watergate scandal that the government in power then would have liked to keep secret.

    But oddly enough, both sides of the political spectrum seem to be out for blood over here.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, this is a bit scary.

    Laws concerning intellectual property have become so convoluted as technology presents new facets and new dynamics. The very company I work for has been a subject of one of Julian Assenge's infamous leaks. It was made clear that the topic was a no-no discussion at the work forum. Did I look for the info? Yes. Was it shocking as far as showing me the company's "tiny bits?" Yes.
     
  20. cmcpress
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    cmcpress Senior Member

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    It's somewhat monstrous that students will leave university essentially in debt to the tune of between £9K and £36K. Its likely that the best universities will charge the higher rate of £9K pa.

    With the repayment starting at £21K this will make it particularly hard to get anything like a mortgage. Shoot, i earn a reasonable wage and i can't afford a mortgage.

    A cynic would say it's a form of indentured servitude.

    The issue i have with this is mainly the unfairness of a generation who have been through free education denying that same opportunity to the young, whilst Vodafone, Philip Green et al are let off a 9 figure tax bill. Spoke to a friend about this (and for example the fact that in 2005/6 1/3 of FTSE100 companies paid no tax whatsoever) - and he works for PWC - said he'd seen company accounts and "Schemes" that would make your blood boil.

    With the country lacking a solid manufacturing base - and not being able to compete with China and India for either raw materials or labour costs - the only real way we can compete is in the field of intellectual capital. And for that to happen we need a well educated population.

    As for the anarchists - again the paranoid cynic in me says that troublemakers make great headlines and there has been a proven track record of the Met using agent provacateurs since the 70's.

    Nothing riles a crowd up like locking them in one place and not letting them leave.

    I met an ex-copper in Thailand last year who described his time in the met in the 80's - at the time of the Brixton Riots as the best time of his life, and how he loved a good rumble. Apparently the police are talking about yesterday's troubles in the same way.
     
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  21. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steerpike

    I suspect that every major mainstream political party in the western world, that has ever held power or has serious aspirations of doing so, will have a vested interest in removing Julian Assange from the scene.

    However, the fact that it would make life easier for duplicitous politicians doesn't mean that silencing Julian Assange is the right thing to do in a broader sense. Our governments are elected to serve us, and the more that I know about what my government is doing in my name, the better I like it.
     
  22. cmcpress
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    cmcpress Senior Member

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    As for Assange - the guy is a legend - but he's not wikileaks.

    It's quite possible he's an egomaniac and sex fiend and also a defender of openess and honesty (which would make him a hypocrite also). But on the balance of probabilities my spider sense thinks unlikely.

    As for the leaks: Tactical information (if true)was a definite no-no. Leaks about corruption are entirely valid.
     
  23. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Let's not forget that Assuange's activities got people killed who were trying to get Bowe Bergdahl released from captivity from al Qaeda.
     
  24. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "collective responsibility" concept of politics makes it easy for corrupt and immoral politicians to go through their lives without ever being held accountable for their sins.

    Meanwhile, whistle-blowers like Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are painted as our enemies for the "crime" of exposing this corruption and opening it up to a wider audience.
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I agree with your entire post, but I feel like this should be highlighted.

    My dad is a prison officer, has been most of his working life, and he once said to me that whenever he meets a member of a riot squad from the Police Force (Prison Officers are also a part of them, though the Prison Service is rather neglected and this is almost always never mentioned) they act like 'cow boys in a bad western movie'.

    I can understand both sides being restless in a situation like that, but I think the UK really needs to start disciplining it's police riot officers better.
     
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