07 November 2010

07/11/10


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163 comments:

  1. Morning all, just love that dress! Where can I get one Montana?

    Shall we start the day by discussing the IDS proposal to force all JSA claimants to do 4 weeks 'voluntary' work or lose benefits? There are in excess of 400 comments already on CiF so no point in trawling through that lot. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel's back? I'm sure a lot of us on this board will have something to say about this. I think it will simply displace some folk into crime to supplement their income, it will make charities even more beholden to the state than they already are, it will of course follow the US style (no criticism intended Montana).

    All this before the bankers bonus season, the actual slaughtering of the public sector workforce, the inflation that is bound to come....

    We are in for some 'interesting times'.

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  2. 4 weeks? 20 days? Is that all? They should have 'em out there in the fields all year round, digging great big holes and then filling 'em in again. That'll keep 'em out of mischief.

    And can you imagine some of those lefties out there - digging for victory and trying to work out which end of the hoe to use or complaining because their wellies don't match their handbags? It will be great fun.

    Bring it on I say. Well overdue.

    Quack. Quack. Quack.

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  3. Is that Mel Gibson in the dress, Montana?

    Forcing people to work for benefits they are entitled to, in a period of high and increasing unemployment, is disgusting.

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  4. IanG:

    It's barbaric is what it is. When you also read today about the sheer decimation of local public services that is likely to take place, I have no doubt that this experiment in social engineering has all the hallmarks of us becoming a 'facist' State.

    Perhaps the next Tory Party Conference banner should be Iain Duncan Smith's favourite phrase ; - "Arbeit macht Frei" and perhaps Cameron will be trying out the new toothbrush moustache?

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  5. IDS has made my day. May I express my deep indebtedness to the Right Honourable Gentleman for his intervention.

    So who's up for the chain gang then? Who's the weakest link on this blog? Who's gonna be first out there on a cold winter's day, with a group of really pissed off dole-ites including six large scowling EDF supporters making threatening gestures with their trowels? Oooh look. It's going rain as well.

    The first thing you will really hate is that there will be no use of mobile phones permitted. Oh no. No tweeting for you. Anyone breaking this rule (and they will catch you) loses benefit. No blogging during working hours for you anymore, sunshine.

    The second thing you will really hate is that you will be out in all weathers. Driving rain, swirling blizzard, howling gale - this will be your personal workspace.

    The third thing you will really hate is that there will be white vans full of hermits cruising round making extremely annoying and abusive comments through a megaphone at every opportunity.

    Get to work yer spongers.

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  6. IanG,

    this is clearly what Osborne was referring to when he said the 'private sector would take up the slack and would create the jobs lost in the public sector'.

    Remember, at no point did Osborne say the private sector jobs created would actually pay a wage. We all naively assumed that when private sector jobs were mentioned, that this would actually involve getting paid for work.

    Fat contracts to the Tories donors who run the unpaid jobs, they get free labour and the unemployment statistics and welfare spending come down. Bingo, the Tories have have squared the circle......

    It genuinely astonishes me that anyone can be surprised and outraged by anything this lot do. It's inherent in their DNA.

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  7. Bitey:

    (from last night)

    Obviously you live in parallel universe from me, I know no-one who has £250,000 to 'invest' in their child's education.

    I saw the results of the invasion of our Higher Education system by the overseas, 'money-talks' brigade at Music college (undergrad and postgrad). The result was a significant percentage of hopelessly inept, unmusical, talentless pupil's from Honk Kong and elsewhere, were given precious, limited places as their parent's were permitted to unfairly buy their way in by greedy college directors.

    It was a fucking disgrace. And you 'assist' these sorts of people?

    Shame on you.

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  8. Duke:

    Remember, at no point did Osborne say the private sector jobs created would actually pay a wage. We all naively assumed that when private sector jobs were mentioned, that this would actually involve getting paid for work.

    I know. Oh how they play on words - we say 'one thing' but we 'mean another'..... shits all of them.

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  9. victoria coren today quite entertaining (and reasonable). some great work from Ben2 BTL

    "Have you ever tried to write a porn film? I have."

    I have too, and unusually the sink did get fixed. Talk about a plot twist.

    heheheheheheh.

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  10. @13thDuke, That is a good point. I read on another blog about how in the US (sorry again Montana) a judge was sending people to jail for the most minor misdemeanour. Over there, the prisons are used as a source of cheap (IE free) labour and it turned out that most of the people he sent to prison were black as well. It is a variation on that theme I think.

    And btw Ducky, I do not feed trolls.

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  11. ...and I see that Montana has already sprinkled an amount of good sense on the thread:

    "Just because women don't want to have sex with you, that doesn't mean they don't want to have sex at all."

    Funny how this fails to compute for some people, hehehehehe.

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  12. I see the duck has expanded their repertoire since all that quacking the other day...

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  13. PhilippaB:

    Absolutely. ;)

    I to the Vizzo

    Yes.... I think I preferred the 'quacking' as the troll has little of note or importance to say.

    Right-o - off to work I go! :0)

    Laters peeps.....

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  14. At the risk of getting lynched, I'll attempt an opposite view on this IDS business. It looks to me like most of the bile being thrown at him rests on the assumption that the unemployed are a conscientious bunch who would happily start work tomorrow if only there were jobs available - in some cases this is no doubt right, but at the same time the 'culture of worklesness' that IDS is talking about undoubtedly exists.

    I know anecdotal evidence is dubious, but for what is worth I have known / know plenty of people who see benefits as a way of life rather than a stopgap, and who have no intention of getting a job if they can avoid it. Also I had the pleasure of being a customer at a Job Centre Plus just last week, and I'd estimate that 8 out of ten of my fellow customers looked completely unemployable. You could argue that it's societal pressures and inequalities that mean that these people haven't showered for a week, can't be sober at 10am and walk around with a permanent scowl and/or a mean-looking dog. But there has to be some personal accountability too, and if you genuinely want a job you could at least try to look slightly employable.

    I know the larger problem is that there are very few jobs available, but looked at in isolation, the 'culture of worklesness' is a valid problem in itself, so I can't get that indignant at IDS for looking to tackle it.

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  15. Vizzo
    I might point out that for our economy to function as it does there has to be a reserve pool of unemployed labour. If you grow up third generation unemployed on a sink estate because the docks/mines/manufacturing base got destroyed twenty years ago then yes, you'd look exactly like that if your family weren't clever, educated, motivated or lucky or a combination thereof to get the hell out. Given average iQ is 107, accross all classes, and given that competition for unskilled jobs is at an unprecedented - apart from 1930s -level within living memory, it's no wonder there are a whole swathe of rootless, unengaged, disposessed people. It's a given that a certain percentage within that cohort don't give a shit about anything, including personal responsibility.
    I doubt if IDS knows much about all this, even though the middle class centrist liberal elite who tacitly support his outlook have been patronising the fashionably edgy Mike Leighs, Alan Bleasdales and Shane Meadows' of the world for a couple of decades. And they call the proles thick.
    I'm off out now and unlikely to get back today, so not "ignoring" your response if you make one.

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  16. @I to the Vizzo, I take your point that there are people who are incapable of holding down a job but we have to ask what is the point of making them do these tasks? If it will not lead to a job the only conclusion is that it is to either punish them or get cheap labour?

    As one of those in the group of the 'conscientious bunch' when I was out of work even in the so called 'boom times' it was nearly impossible to get work. I did wash, I did speak, I do have a work history etc etc but if the agencies (who are the gatekeepers of the employers) took a dislike to you then it was hopeless. As it happens I did succeed in a public sector job by passing a one day assessment examining my abilities that somehow the agencies and employers somehow overlooked in their desire to feed prejudices.

    Just saying like...

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  17. @Vizzo

    At the risk of getting lynched

    Could you just slip this noose over your head and go and stand under that tree?

    Or are you workshy?

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  18. It's about the juxtaposition of carts and horses Viz

    IDS is wrong because he puts the cart before the horse and also because he, like you, assumes that he can conjure a "culture" of work shyness from the questionable example of a few (often desperately unfortunate) people with unattractive habits and inappropriate choice of dogs.

    What you fail to see is that he encourages you and others to believe that is acceptable that the innocent should be made to suffer (assumed guilty) for the sins (crimes) of the few.

    Around UT many think that it is more smoke and mirrors than the road to a decent and civilised society.

    That way lies evil and greater misery for many who were unfortunate to start with. Please try to bear this in mind if you find yourself on the opposite side of a barricade and I am throwing stones and sharpened sticks at you.

    Come back Leni - we all love you and my life without an input from a civilised lady librarian will not be worth living! I miss you already.

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  19. @Bitterweed

    It's a given that a certain percentage within that cohort don't give a shit about anything, including personal responsibility.

    Well yes, that's the problem, and I agree with you about the roots of it - but what would you do about it?

    @IanG

    we have to ask what is the point of making them do these tasks? If it will not lead to a job the only conclusion is that it is to either punish them or get cheap labour?

    No, by making them go to work for four weeks it might snap them out of their current routine and make them more eligible for any jobs that do come up. Just having somewhere to be, sober and presentable, could be helpful if you haven't had a need to do that for years and have forgotten how to do it. For the younger ones it could be they have never done it, so the experience could be helpful - this kind of stuff doesn't come naturally, I was clueless when I first entered the workforce as well.

    @Spike

    Come on, I'm already digging a hole for myself - the least you could do is bring the noose.

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  20. Remember: Luke. Evidence. Full context. Quotes. In context. Not just twenty words of glib accusation and self-agrandising smartypants bullshit - that often looks exactly like trolling. Ok. hardcorebjorn

    It's a blog bjorn, not a court of Law but I will 'take it on board'.

    Luke-you're a Stevie Wonder fan so you can't be all bad.You were disrespectful earlier to Jen and she didn't deserve that.You can actually write well when you want too so i don't understand why you're going out of your way to pick fights with people here.Take it easy yeah! pbj

    I am; I am not; I wasn't but she didn't anyway; I can; I'm not. And I will. You too.

    I can never work out if he likes people here or hates them - seems to just want to mock them out of an apparent disdain and ethical superiority

    Likes on the whole bjorn. I'm probably neither better nor worse than the best or the worst of you. And don't act like you don't all love the attention.

    Who is this new twat/troll luke? sheffpixie

    Retired/divorced/broken down/therapised. "Don't internalise" said Wendy. Now I am legion, a character for every impulse, every strength and weakness. When I have enough I can start to write them up. Luke is fairly new and feeling his way. He does seem a little superior but I like to feel Ive balanced him nicely with Derek the grovelling worm on my favourite s/m blog.

    Is that it "Luke" ? This site is just about... bullies ?

    On the 'evidence' of a few comments? I don't like bullying but Its not an obsession. No bullying site this but I was looking at some of the language - "beige" "vanilla" "youve got nothing interesting to say". It's all dressed up as politics but it sounds like the politics of cool. For every cool kid holding court there are three standing in the corner alone and unwanted.

    so do drop the sanctimony

    Do you find Luke sanctimonious mom? I'd better tweak him- I've got another character for that.

    And get off the fence man - either monkeyfish is "really good" or a bastard. Which is it ?

    Bastard? Evidence. Full context. Quotes. In context. In any case the two are not mutually exclusive- 'really good' refers to writing and wit and not to moral fiber. Maybe hes a glorious bastard.

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  21. word missing.. should have read:

    ..alleged sins (crimes) of the few.

    I think I could abolish crime overnight by locking the population up in camps. And it is well known that electricity to the genitals is a great incentivizer to work...........what seems to be less appreciated by Viz et al is that it not civilised, or cultured, and folk need to tell IDS that and not to agree with the half baked cunt.

    Come back Leni - I may become coarsened and vulgar in your absence. d xx

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  22. @deano

    What you fail to see is that he encourages you and others to believe that is acceptable that the innocent should be made to suffer (assumed guilty) for the sins (crimes) of the few.

    Ok, I'm aware that the long-term unemployed didn't cause the financial crisis. The reality of it is, sadly, that those who did cause it have the government by the balls since they can move their business elsewhere if the tax climate here is not to their liking.

    But that aside, the culture of worklesness isn't some illusion that has been hoisted on me by IDS - I see it with my own eyes. Everyone does, that's why the Daily Mail outsells the Guardian by such a huge margin. I don't consider it the number one problem for the UK, but it clearly is a problem, and it doesn't benefit anyone to deny it.

    If I had no idea how to seem employable, it would be helpful to me if someone made me go to work for four weeks, I guess that's the point I'm trying to make.

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  23. "......but what would you do about it?...."!

    I would tax the tax shy and create socially constructive work at fair rates of pay and lead those wanting to work to it and when the supply of such work was greater than the available labour to do it I would then consider dealing with those with that small number with a constitutional difficulty to working.

    Come back Leni - your conscience and good sense are missed.

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  24. The simple answer is to make proper jobs, housing and opportunites available.

    In France, we have whole estates of "unemployable" young people, often of African origin. They've never been given any prospect of a decent future to aim for. Rejected by society, they reject society. Surrounded by the glittering prizes of consumerism, they realise the only way they can get those prizes is by stealing and trafficking.

    It's much like putting a penniless starving man in front of a buffet and then condemning him for grabbing a sandwich.

    "Why aren't I like that, then?" says your Sun reader. "I had it tough too."

    You may have had it tough, but were you at least given the hope that you might do better by hard work? Or did you grow up with unemployed parents and siblings living in rundown housing and surrounded by other other unemployed families? Did you grow up knowing there was no point making an effort at school because all the models around you showed you it was a waste of time? Were your successful local role models mainly dealers and robbers?

    Those at fault are obviously the people who have made fortunes for themselves and deprived whole communities of any stake in society - unless you believe that people on sink estates are innately workshy, while children in areas where you can actually get a job and improve your future are hard-working by nature.

    The possibility of achieving a better life through work is the only thing that's going to make people want to work.

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  25. I do not accept that you see a "culture of worklesness" all around.

    What you see is the casualties of a country with long standing chronic unemployment and a shortage of jobs built into it being held to ransom by pseudo economic doctrines and piss heads working in banks.....and a very much smaller number of folk with constitutional difficulty to work.

    FFS - IDS supporting making millions more unemployed provides a clue as to his true intentions and understanding.

    The words up and grow spring to mind but the juxtaposition escapes me.

    Time to walk me dog Leni - hope you and dogge get to take the air and you come back to UT refreshed.

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  26. I to the Vizzo,

    But that aside, the culture of worklesness isn't some illusion that has been hoisted on me by IDS - I see it with my own eyes.

    that's because there's no bloody jobs.

    The last set of Govt statistics show jobseekers as 7.7% unemployed with 459,000 vacancies for job seekers of 1.47 million.

    Should all of these people be put on compulsory unpaid work? Is it all their own faults that they are unemployed? And does this include the 500,000 public sector staff about to be laid off along with the estimated 1.2m private sector jobs to be lost as a result of Govt cutbacks?

    You've bought the whole 'workshy need to be taught a lesson' schtick hook, line and sinker. And from what I gather you were a New Labour supporter who lets not forget started these types of reforms undert Purnell.

    The workshy will always be with us, what the Tories are doing is using this to beat the overwhelming majority who find themselves and are about to find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. This stereotype you espouse about the unemployed is just that, a stereotype.

    Seriously, the 'workshy' are not the major problem, so why do you highlight this?

    And you advocate working for benefits? Why not pay them the going rate ie a wage to do the job they are being forced to do for nothing?

    Jesus.

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  27. @deano

    I would tax the tax shy and create socially constructive work at fair rates of pay

    That would be fantastic, but only attainable if we weren't a country of 60m with no industry to speak of, totally reliant on competing for international business on a global market - if we price ourselves out of that market, we'll still have 60m people and still no industry, but we'd also have less jobs and tax income than we have now.

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  28. Does anyone remember the episode of The New Statesman where Alan Bastard is out-rightwinged by Victor Crosby, who writes articles arguing for the return of slavery?

    Doesn't seem so funny now, does it?

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  29. ".....and still no industry......."

    Even the faux Keynesians knew that putting five pound notes in jars and burying them for the next shift of unemployed to dig up................was in fact industrious ........and could (with a favourable wind) lead to the making of locally sourced digging machines and five pound note detectors ........

    Viz - with respect you seem to overlook the reality that much of the so called work of the City is nonsensical smoke and mirrors stuff that contributes nothing to the well being of humanity.

    The first rule of a 21st Century educated man is - never believe the accountants and economists they measure length with elasicated string. Quality of life is not defined by GDP is the second rule.

    Real and get are two more words that i have sometimes have juxtapositional difficulty with.

    Come back Leni me syntax is all fucked up I need the assistance of a lady librarian.

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  30. @13thDuke

    You've bought the whole 'workshy need to be taught a lesson' schtick hook, line and sinker. And from what I gather you were a New Labour supporter who lets not forget started these types of reforms undert Purnell.

    It's not that I think the workshy need to be taught a lesson, or at least not formulated like that...more that some of the long-term unemployed may benefit from a stint at work, even if it is unpaid. What's so bad about that?

    We're in agreement that lack of jobs is the real problem, but seeing IDS's proposals in isolation, I think there could be positive outcomes. The ideology that powers the policy is as suspect as it is predictable, but that doesn't have to mean that everything that springs from it is entirely negative.

    I'm still a Labour supporter, although that doesn't mean I'm behind everything they do - just like if I agree with some aspect of Tory policy doesn't mean that I agree with all their ideas.

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  31. Kermit

    Well said above...finally we see the 'concerned' voice of a real CIFer...you are the quintessential Guardianista...retired baby-boomer, doing OK thanks, frothing at the mouth at the prospect of sticking it to the unemployed...another cosy vindictive twat who thinks pulling the ladder up behind him and leaving future generations to clean up his mess

    ...don't bother telling me you weren't serious...you're a fuckin disgrace

    Luke

    Whaddaya mean 'maybe'?..there's no doubt I'm a glorious bastard...and if bursting the little bubbles of smug, sneering imposters and drama-queens indicates a lack of moral fibre...then I'd love to hear why

    07 November, 2010 12:07

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  32. @deano

    Quality of life is not defined by GDP is the second rule.

    Not for an individual perhaps, but for a society quality of life kind of is defined by GDP...no?

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  33. @Vizzo

    Forcing people to work for no gain isn't going to make them want to work. Quite the opposite. They have to be given a genuine incentive to work.

    I've always worked because I've had the opportunity to live a better life through working. Everyone able to work should be given that opportunity, it's in everyone's interest - except those who make millions or billions by keeping wages down and so want a pool of underprivileged unemployed to frighten anyone who might want to stop them creaming off most of the product of other people's labour.

    Which is why the Tories, Lib Dems and New Labour won't ever really do anything about it. The rich don't want them to.

    So the only answer to the problem is going to be a genuinely left-wing political alternative.

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  34. @Vizzo

    And what seems to be clear from research is that the major factor in a society's quality of life is the gap between rich and poor. A poorer but more egalitarian society will be happier than a richer, but less egalitarian society (such as the UK).

    In short, less well-off people are happier when they feel they're getting more of their fair share of society's wealth. Most people have far more consumer wealth now than they did in the 70s when I was a teen, but they're less happy, because society is even less fair now.

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  35. 'but for a society, quality of life kind of is defined by GDP...no?'


    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

    Brilliant!!!!

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  36. I to the Vizzo

    It's not that I think the workshy need to be taught a lesson, or at least not formulated like that...more that some of the long-term unemployed may benefit from a stint at work, even if it is unpaid. What's so bad about that?

    Because it is pure exploitation! They are being forced to do a job without being paid proper wages for doing it!

    Are you seriously happy with the fact that jobs which should have wages attached are being distributed to people who cannot get work (see statistics above) who are then forced to do it for shitty benefits?

    Who do you think is going to benefit from unpaid work? Correct, Conservative party big business donors.

    but seeing IDS's proposals in isolation, I think there could be positive outcomes.

    But his policy on 'working for benefits' is not in isolation. It's the centrepiece of his agenda and will affect all unemployed regardless of their situation.

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  37. @Spike

    And what seems to be clear from research is that the major factor in a society's quality of life is the gap between rich and poor. A poorer but more egalitarian society will be happier than a richer, but less egalitarian society (such as the UK).

    I agree with that in principle, but where I'm less sure is whether that's a viable option for the UK. As I said before we have a massive population and no industry, so if we were to enact meaningfully redistributive tax policies we run the risk of losing our main income streams to less egalitarian overseas territories. And I'm not sure that the result would be a poorer and happier society, and not a case of too few resources for too many people for even a basic quality of life.

    I suspect this is why we have no genuinely left wing political alternative, because our reliance on international markets is pretty much absolute and irreversible. And any hard-left politics would seek, vainly, to kick against that rather than accept it and its attendant inequalities.

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  38. @13thDuke

    Who do you think is going to benefit from unpaid work? Correct, Conservative party big business donors.

    For sure, but the long-term unemployed could also benefit from the experience - as I say, I imagine I would in that situation.

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  39. I to the Vizzo,

    so there we have it, a Labour supporter who categorically approves of forcing people to work for benefits.

    Dear, dear, dear.

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  40. Spike - Quentin Crisp is buried in Manchester if I recall correctly.

    No knowing what would have happened to his remains had he died in NY - stuffed and put in a freak show perhaps, nothing much goes to waste in the cradle of contemporary greed.

    Whatever would Mrs Stuyvesant Fish have made of it......

    Right must be away ......bet Leni knows who MrsStyFish was .

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  41. @13thDuke

    Come on, that's hardly fair - being a Labour supporter doesn't automatically mean I have to only see the negative aspects of every tory policy. IDS's idea will undoubtedly benefit the businesses and charities that get the unpaid labour, but it could also help snap some people out of a workless routine and make them more attractive for any jobs that do come up.

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  42. The reason why this 'scheme' of IDS' is wrong is simply that:

    1) you can't cure the workshy (and there are undoubtedly some - always have been) by punishing them with menial low skilled work that does not even give them the dignity of a higher income than the dole.

    2) people with children are naturally unwilling to take jobs that pay them less than the dole and some min wage jobs do, especially for a couple with 3+ kids.

    3) people with larger families may well have had well paid jobs when they had them. There are likely to be more of these people in the near future.

    4) If paying people enough to live on 'prices them out of the market', its time we damn well changed the market.

    5) The bottom line is that any scheme for 'getting out of this mess' punishes the poor and lets those responsible for the mess get away scot free is immoral disgusting and should be intolerable!

    So lets NOT tolerate it!

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  43. viz, do facts ever contribute to your crypto-fascist witterings?

    As I said before we have a massive population and no industry

    The UK is the sixth largest manufacturing nation in the world on most recent figures. Some predict that it will fall to 8th largest by 2025. There are any number of on-line statistics on this if you could be bothered to look.

    Regarding work for benefits, I have long argued that the minimum wage in the UK is far too low as are taxes, especially for the better-off. The system of tax-credits for the low-paid is a scandal. It is essentially subsidizing private employers by enabling them to pay less than subsistence level wages, thereby maximising their own profits and increasing bonuses to executives and dividends to shareholders. All paid for by your taxes.

    I would also be interested in seeing a breakdown of what percentage of tax-credit payouts goes to private sector workers compared to public sector workers, but I couldn't be arsed trying to find it. Perhaps instead of spouting ill-thought-out neo-con nonsense, viz, you could check this out and report back.

    btw, I'll take a wild guess and assume that your work is something or other in the 'finance industry'. You fucking idiot.

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  44. I to the Vizzo,

    correction, you are a post 1994 Labour supporter with everything that entails.

    I know of no true Social Democrat who would support making people work without wages just to receive their unemployment benefit.

    As I said before there are nowhere near the amount of jobs needed and you appear to be willing to accept that all unemployed be subject to this degradation as long as the "long term unemployed" are dealt with.

    Well said Anne.

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  45. Viz - do you really believe that someone who may not have worked for a decade, or at all, can be made more attractive to an employer, who already has a surplus of millions of unemployed people to choose from, by a four week stint of leaf sweeping etc.

    There is nothing wrong with leaf sweeping it's healthy and useful work - but the paid for jobs in leaf sweeping were taken long ago.

    We might direct more of the unemployed to building social housing ------but IDS & Co is not suggesting this now is he?

    Whatever Tory policies may have lacked in the past they have never lacked consistency - when unravelled they always have the same objectives at heart. Make the rich richer and the poor pay the price.

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  46. @Scherfig

    The UK is the sixth largest manufacturing nation in the world on most recent figures. Some predict that it will fall to 8th largest by 2025.

    But that's a skewed picture - manufacturing still represents only about 20% of the economy, with the rest being in services. And the services sector is the least geographically tied, so the most likely to migrate if genuinely redistributive policies were enacted (and the manufacturing sector would suffer too, with production being moved elsewhere for any company that has that option).

    But fair enough - I'll water down my previous statement - it's not that we have no manufacturing sector, just that we don't have one that's anywhere near capable of sustaining us if the service sector is greatly reduced.

    And please leave out the personal stuff and the insults, that gets boring pretty quickly.

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  47. jennifera30 said...

    Bitethehand, I am not questioning the motives of Chinese parents, I am questioning yours.

    You are in it to make money, and that is all.

    Gibber on about fairness all you like but you are a wage slave, same as everyone else.

    You might be doing good things but you are doing them for money.

    Bog off with your holier than thou attitude.

    Actually I do make lots of money for the business but apart from legitimate expenses, like my travel expenses to China and back, I take no income from it. Nor do I need to. Do you need to see my tax returns?

    And of course I am holier than thou and while you pine after paid employment, I have neither the need nor the desire for that. And with some of my former students working in well paid jobs in China, the UK and the USA, the satisfaction I get from being successful and supporting the UK's knowledge economy is sufficient reward.

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  48. Right, I'm off to make lil' mr and miss vizzo some lunch and then run them round the park. I'll check back in later.

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  49. And the services sector is the least geographically tied, so the most likely to migrate if genuinely redistributive policies were enacted

    Can I have that again in plain English please, viz. Sounds to me like the old chestnut about rich people who couldn't be bothered paying tax in the UK all moving abroad if they had to contribute to society. Hasn't happened yet and won't happen in the future.

    When you talk of 80% of the economy being 'services', do you mean people who work in McDonalds or Starbucks, or perhaps the NHS or the police or refuse collection?. Or are we talking 'financial services'? (that is your line of work, isn't it? just a guess.)

    Re personal abuse - no apology. If you come across as a fucking idiot, then somebody is gonna spot that, and actually say so. Might as well be me - got nothing better to do right now.

    Re my concrete points - tax-credits, minimum wage, levels of income tax in the UK, shareholders dividends etc , have you any considered opinions on these issues that you would like to share?

    ReplyDelete
  50. "the satisfaction I get from being successful and supporting the UK's knowledge economy is sufficient reward."

    "...supporting the UK's knowledge economy"..what by donating or investing some of your 'surplus' knowledge?...if the stuff you post online is at all typical of your 'knowledge'...I think we may have finally discovered why this country is fucked...can't you gives us all a break and support someone else's knowledge economy

    Luke

    Just looked at waddaya...seems parodies of other posters' styles...even posters who write in a way which invites parody..or beg for it, even...constitutes unprovoked gratuitous 'bullying'...I wish someone had told me...but, anyway...just thought I'd let you know since your site seems to consist in its entirety of just such 'bullying'

    don't get me wrong..I think it's a laff...just a warning...if you intend to keep it up, you can expect censure from certain people...you know the type...the kind who scream 'abuse'..'bullying' and the like at the drop of a hat

    If you want to avoid such accusations, best stick to stuff like "nice post..."..."I don't agree with a word you say but I respect you as a thoughtful and caring poster..."

    then everything in the garden will be lovely for ever

    Here's an example of a 'civilised' post...couldn't fuckin believe what I read over there

    "Although you pepper your posts with snide side-swipes at anyone who doubts your intellect and you make grand assertions about human well-being based solely on your own supposed authority...and although somewhere along the line you seem to have misplaced your career, kids and reputation..and despite the fact that I dispute most of what you say...I admire you enormously as a poster and of course welcome your advice."

    just don't ever take the piss...that's bad..comment sites are for telling other people just how great they are

    the other thing that I noticed is that I think I'm supposed to have posted something or other over there...I'd love to know how I managed that

    seems this place has become required reading for waddaya regulars.

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  51. Vizzo, I guess my first thoughts about you were correct, after all. Nice impression of a piñata, though; my cloth cap is clutched in admiration. Seriously, you must be eligible for a government grant, or at least PR fees.

    Proposing "work for no wages" is just a distraction that this government is using, in order to take attention away from all the shitty little things they're doing.

    Unless they are really stupid, they must realise that there are laws from the abolition of slavery to the minimum wage introduction that they would have to repeal first.

    I think this is a dummy to the left, a shimmy to the right.

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  52. scherfig

    I think this says something about this site and its values. For all its faults, it has a commitment to 'truth' and freedom of speech and even when its tedious it is more interesting than Cif.

    Well I don't think even you believe the 'more interesting' bit scherfig. As for the 'commitment to truth and freedom of speech, you seem to be having short term memory problems. Here you are on 02 April, 2010 at 23:05:

    Don't conflate what I say with the likes of Bitey. I deleted a lot of his comments here a while back, and also (probably) got him banned from Cif as jiasa. I make no apologies for that - freedom of speech? Censorship? Fuck him.

    In fairness I think it was a joint effort by you and MrsBootstraps that got Jiasa banned.

    ReplyDelete
  53. "Here you are on 02 April, 2010 at 23:05"
    Bitey, seek help.

    ReplyDelete
  54. No, really, mate, seek help.

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  55. monkeyfish

    can't you gives us all a break and support someone else's knowledge economy

    Well actually I do and the USA is still the country of choice for many Chinese students seeking a western education, but getting places and visas is always very difficult.

    LaRitournelle

    I know no-one who has £250,000 to 'invest' in their child's education.

    Well you might not know them but if your story about "hopelessly inept, unmusical, talentless pupil's from Hong Kong" is correct, their fees and living expenses would probably be around £40 -50k a year, so you certainly know their sons and daughters.

    And as you need educating about the finances of higher education, have a word with MrsBootstraps, as she does understand.

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  56. Let's cut to the chase.

    There should be no worry, whatsoever, about asking the long term jobless to do a job. Their benefits are their wages, so the notion of exploitation is a red herring.

    The advantages are legion. They meet people. They follow a work routine. They dispense with the tedium of day time soaps (or whatever captures their usual daytime attention). They do something productive. They might even enjoy the structure it affords.

    The proposal might even kill off those that work and claim benefits - no bad thing, eh?

    Can't see the downside, myself. I'm reminded of the old proverb: the harder you work, the luckier you get.

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  57. Hi, bitey. It's an odd thing but my idea of 'freedom of speech' doesn't actually include stalking, lying, and generally being really weird. You see, I'm quite happy to call someone a fucking idiot because that's my opinion, and it can be criticized or contested. What I would never do is accuse women of being alcoholics or bad mothers. I would never accuse them of neglecting their children because they use the internet. I would never read posts here and then go on Cif and use them to try and convince anonymous strangers that montana's 9 year old son had a drink problem or that BB's son had run away from home.

    And that's where we drastically differ. Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned but I just don't do that sort of thing and then whine about being a victim afterwards. You are a sad, sorry excuse for a human being, and for all my own faults, I'm just really, really happy and relieved that I'm not someone like you.

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  58. heyhabib, you posted the following on CiF on 21 October 2010 3:24AM, quoting me posting as Kafocin on CiF.

    "Had Mosley been able to control his emotions better he might have become leader of the party and the country."

    "And that, Bitey would now leave you in an entirely different world, without people who think you're a pob."

    Are you such a feeble minded and sensitive soul that you need the moderators to protect you from comments like the one above that doesn't mention you either directly or indirectly?

    You must have known that identifying Kafocin as me would lead to me having my posting rights withdrawn yet again. Your decision to join the ranks of the Untrusted censors, along with the growing list of free speech deniers such as Ally Fogg, will now follow you for the rest of your life. And I'll be reminding you of it every now and then.

    When you're asked later in life what you did in the great blogging expansion of the early years of the 21st century, you'll be able to tell them "Oh I was a free speech censor who reported people to the moderators".

    And when your friends, colleagues and employers consider whether you're the kind of person to trust, the answer will be a loud and unequivocal no.

    It is too her credit that kizbot recognised the attack on free speech that your action represented and if you ignore my words you'd be well advised to heed hers.

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  59. It seems that my reply to bitey has disappeared. Spam folder? Couldn't be bothered doing it again - not worth it, really. You can probably guess the gist of it.

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  60. Accepting advice from you, Bitey, would be like accepting a poodle's diarrhoea as treacle.

    Is that the best you can do? Fuck me, I must remember to be of importance in future, just so Bitey can have something to pick me up on.

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  61. "You can probably guess the gist of it. "

    1. crypto-fascist.
    2. neo-con
    3. fucking idiot
    4. cunt
    5. stalker

    Close?

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  62. "They meet people. They follow a work routine. They dispense with the tedium of day time soaps (or whatever captures their usual daytime attention). They do something productive. They might even enjoy the structure it affords."

    We're talking about bankers, right?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Luke, you score five out of five, well done! Self-awareness is a fine thing...

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  64. When you're asked later in life what you did in the great blogging expansion of the early years of the 21st century, you'll be able to tell them "Oh I was a free speech censor who reported people to the moderators".

    Love it! My version:

    When you're asked later in life what you did in the great blogging expansion of the early years of the 21st century, you'll be able to tell them "Oh I was just an ordinary guy who once called bitethehand a sick fuck".

    Really, grandpa? Did you really? You're soooooo cool!

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  65. Sorry, luke. One out of five. Bonus point if you can guess which one. You still have a lot to learn - try harder.

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  66. @Scherfig

    Sounds to me like the old chestnut about rich people who couldn't be bothered paying tax in the UK all moving abroad if they had to contribute to society. Hasn't happened yet and won't happen in the future.

    It hasn’t happened because there hasn’t been a properly redistributive tax policy enacted since moving abroad became an option for businesses. That’s why every government since the late 70s has been essentially market-liberal, or ‘business-friendly’ - if that changes in the future, then the rich people who can’t be bothered to contribute may well move abroad. The fact that they haven’t before doesn’t mean anything.

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  67. Well you might not know them but if your story about "hopelessly inept, unmusical, talentless pupil's from Hong Kong" is correct, their fees and living expenses would probably be around £40 -50k a year, so you certainly know their sons and daughters

    Actually Bitey, I had little opportunity to 'know' them as generally, they couldn't be arsed to learn English properly.

    Let them come over here and have an education by all means, but let's not make the Univeristie's/College's greed for overseas student fees and the greed and desires of the parents touting for their over-privileged off-spring conspire together to dent a chance of education to a British-born young person.

    Limited places should be based on talent and ability - not on the ability to wave wads of cash in front of the Principal.

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  68. Someone please tell me where the jobs IDS proposes will come from in South Yorkshire?

    We still haven't got over the pit closures and the loss of over 60,000 jobs, that were replaced by 6,000 in call centres and the odd sausage factory. Now we are facing god knows how many more on top of all that.

    As someone has already said structural unemployment is a key part of the way a capitalist economy works so blaming the unemployed for their fate is entirely unreasonable. Accusing people of being 'workshy' is a red herring. Who the fuck would want to work in some dead end, life sapping job for the same or less than you can get from benefits?

    Scherf is right the NMW rate is risible and lets employers off the hook.

    Anyway, just back from a glorious walk in the Peak (Ravensdale and Cressbrook Dale) - just catching the end of that lovely reward autumn gives you before winter sets in. Its been spectacular round here this year, masses of colour and dramatic skies.

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  69. OK, viz, point taken but not agreed with. (btw, did you know that they opened a 'financial centre' in Dublin about 12 years ago with huge tax-breaks, cheap office-space, on-line hookers and everything, and every European financial company from the world's largest (MunichRe) to tinpot fly-by-night operations in the back streets of Paris opened offices there. How's that Celtic Tiger boom economy doing now on the back of that financial services bubble?)


    And my other points which you have conspicuously ignored? Any thoughts on those?

    luke, my original bitey post has appeared now. No longer any bonus points on offer.

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  70. Vizzo
    That’s why every government since the late 70s has been essentially market-liberal, or ‘business-friendly’ - if that changes in the future, then the rich people who can’t be bothered to contribute may well move abroad. The fact that they haven’t before doesn’t mean anything.

    ....are you saying we should be bullied? If so one lesson I have learnt is to simply call their bluff! Stand up to those shits and they will melt away. Why should we doff our caps to these bastards who have broken the finance system?

    @heyhabib 15:42 - good laugh I had there!

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  71. Yes! Torres!

    It feels really weird to be supporting Liverpool.

    ReplyDelete
  72. By their very nature, Blogger.com and Blogspot.com may carry offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate material, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabelled or are otherwise deceptive. We expect that you will use caution and common sense and exercise proper judgement when using Blogger.com and Blogspot.com.

    ReplyDelete
  73. while agreeing with scherf that a large proportion of the 'service' economy is not that movable (the refuse collecting, cops, NHS, shops etc), there is of course an element that is, and to this add another part of the service sector that relates directly to that, which if it might not move, might wither if it (the movable bit) did move - and I think I take Vizzo's point that there hasn't been that much impetus to relocate entirely yet, for those movable bits.

    individuals have always sodded off when they don't like the tax rate (particularly in the 70s) but also more recently of course. and there is already a fair incidence of 'movement' in tax terms at least, if not physical relocation.

    think the non-doms who do seem to live here, on the individual front. and the corporate structuring that means that profits 'arise' (or are at least subject to tax) elsewhere. one could expect that to increase if there was a more redistributive tax system.

    but two things.

    1) you don't actually have to move to off-shore. having your 'taxable entity' somewhere in the turks & caicos doesn't seem to change the fact that the warehouse is still in southwark. tax revenue might move, but employment might not be so badly impacted.

    now, if the tax situation could be sorted out to prevent that kind of relocatory caper, companies would have to decide whether or not to actually relocate. which would take a lot more thinking about than the current process of setting up an overseas 'HQ' and paying the lawyers on no-win-no-fee to make sure it works.

    there are problems in real-relocating - this, seems to me, rather than national pride, is behind a lot of the movement of call centres back to the UK. they make it sound in their adverts like they're doing it out of principle, but I doubt it. most tax havens, there isn't actually anything there, except for lawyers and accountancy offices. so where would they go? infrastructure, legal regime, local talent, chance of getting employees to move - would all need taking into account. far fewer would 'move' if the rules were tighter than would at present (which would largely maintain employment in the UK).

    2) fuck 'em. they want to move, good riddance.

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  74. afternoon PeterB

    Can't see the downside, myself. I'm reminded of the old proverb: the harder you work, the luckier you get.

    You speak as a man who has never worked in a call centre. Have you read Turm's piece on UT2 yet. I commend it to you as an example of all the utterly soul zapping work possibilities you might avail yourself of to get a bit of experience of what its like.

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  75. IanG
    ....are you saying we should be bullied? If so one lesson I have learnt is to simply call their bluff! Stand up to those shits and they will melt away. Why should we doff our caps to these bastards who have broken the finance system?
    damn right. wait until they realise that they can't all fit on Sark, and they tot up the bribes necessary to function in X, and don't like the look of the crime rate in Y, and nobody in the office wants to learn how to speak Z-ish, and only the really charmless shites will do it.

    mind, can't see real-relocation becoming important any time soon. it'll be mostly paper transactions for the foreseeable, think.

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  76. @Scherfig

    I didn't mean to ignore your point about tax credits - basically I agree that they allow for lower wages and siphon more profits to shareholders and execs. It would be fairer for workers to raise the minimum wage.

    I suppose the counter-argument would be the impact this would have on our competitiveness. We were talking about manufacturing before - the main reason it's on the decline is the relatively high wages we already have, when compared to our competitors. So raising wages may accelerate the decline of manufacturing, and have a negative impact on those parts of the service industry that rely on it.

    You could also point out that high-end bonuses and dividends are all taxed, which then feeds into tax credits for the low-paid, increasing their living standard without directly harming the competitiveness of our products.

    It's a rift between what's fair and what's realistic within the demands of global markets, which - for better or worse - is the water we are all swimming in.

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  77. @Phil

    Reminds me of my favourite anti-Tea Party slogan.

    If you want to live in a country with no government, try Somalia

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  78. Vizzio

    We'll all be swimming in what'll effectively be the South China Sea soon - whole swathes of Africa already are. It reminds me of that old Chinese imprecation "May you live in interesting times."

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  79. And talking of the water we swim in - this from the Conflict Forum is quite interesting

    Understanding Political Islam: Acknowledging the Resistance

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  80. @PB and Vizzo,

    Yeah, we hammered all this out on the economics threads.

    The problem with the neolib stance is the following

    1) The problem with just shifting loads of the unemployed onto workfare is that it depresses the incentive for government or business to actually do anything about creating the proper, good paying jobs required to properly solve the problem.

    We had plenty of welfare provision in the sixties, but didn't have much of an underclass problem because we were much closer to full employment. Given the opportunity to actually have a proper job, people tended to take it.

    It is in the interests of capital not to solve the unemployment problem, as it depresses wages and hence allows more profits, more trickle-up, rather than trickle down.

    The first round of this, the creation of structural unemployment, came in Thatch's first term, and we have never really recovered. And you don't just have to take my word for it: here are the words of one of the architects of Thatcher's economic policy, special adviser to the Treasury in Thatcher's first term, darling economist of the right Alan Budd on the matter - yes, the one who recently resigned from the OBR.



    Curtis: For some economists who were involved in this story, there is a further question: were their theories used to disguise political policies that would have otherwise been very difficult to implement in Britain?

    Budd: The nightmare I sometimes have, about this whole experience, runs as follows. I was involved in making a number of proposals which were partly at least adopted by the government and put in play by the government. Now, my worry is . . . that there may have been people making the actual policy decisions . . . who never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation.

    They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and raising unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes -- if you like, that what was engineered there in Marxist terms was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.

    Now again, I would not say I believe that story, but when I really worry about all this, I worry whether that indeed was really what was going on.

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  81. spike - hehehhehehe. quite.

    one of the benefits of being in the UK for a business, which may not often be considered, is that the country does work. particularly if you are a business. rule of law, transport, utilities, EU membership - yes, you can question all of them (as an individual, particularly), but in the main, the place functions rather well. you need to factor that into any extreme relocation.

    the main places to consider going to seem to be China, India, and Brazil, maybe Eastern Europe (outside the EU). obviously all of them work too, but there could be significant differences in how well in which areas that could be problematic...

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  82. Now, of course, the neolibs then claim that there's no choice anyway, because of the low wages in the developing economies. No doubt it's an issue, but dramatically overstated. Krugman won a Nobel for showing how the developed economies can continue to compete with the developing, because there can be several factors in their favour.

    1) An obvious one: transport costs. It costs a fair bit to ship a car from China to Northern Europe
    2) Success following success, and investment. Further investment in business tends to go to locations where there is already the support business infrastructure and so on. This is why it's a bad idea to just let a sector go to the wall. And why it's worth putting the money in to regenerate, as it will attract further investment down the line. It's why the Americans have just saved their ailing car industry and why we were mad not to support ours while it was being hammered by the savage effects of the oil shocks.

    3) Economies of Scale, and consumer choice. In the modern world, people like a lot of choice. They like lots of brands of cars, and lots of models within each brand to choose from. But economies of scale dictate that to make production competitively efficient, you need big factories, and that's a lot of big factories given all the brands and models. This is too big a burden for the developing economies, and hence the developed can still establish profitable niches in many sectors.

    As the Germans have done with their cars.

    Other countries do more to protect their industries in downturns, and reap the rewards later, when the economy picks up, in also maintaining the support industries. And in keeping people properly employed then you also save money in knock-on health, social and crime costs.

    Even worse, the banks are no longer interested in lending to business, finding easier returns in assets. And private capital loves to invest offshore and asset-strip. Given business benefits from big unemployment anyway, we cannot depend on them on their own to solve the structural unemployment problem.

    And as one of the right-wingers pointed out in the debates, it was particularly comical to turn us into a service economy when we have such a globally popular language and hence it's so easy to transport call centres and other language-based services overseas.

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  83. You speak as a man who has never worked in a call centre.

    He speaks as a man who's never really had to work for anything in his life. He speaks like the sort of person who's had everything handed to him. He thinks it's because he's earned it or deserved it and he's too fucking delusional to see that it was just pure dumb luck.

    And Vizzo's his slightly less pretentious, but equally arrogant and selfish younger brother.

    Luke's just a hypocritical, shit-stirring cunt.

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  84. hi, hevers - is that heverale?

    (i think the duck may have passed out on his keyboard)

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  85. Hevers

    Now again, I would not say I believe that story, but when I really worry about all this, I worry whether that indeed was really what was going on.

    I don't know where you live Hevers, but if you come to South Yorks, I'd be happy to show you exactly how it worked and what the results have been.

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  86. ...looks like torres seems to have got over himself...

    ...take it habib is in the pub...

    ReplyDelete
  87. PhilippaB said...
    hi, hevers - is that heverale?


    Hey Phillipa. Yep, that's me.

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  88. Montana

    Luke's just a hypocritical, shit-stirring cunt.

    So I wasn't traducing him by suggesting he was a twat/troll? I was worried i'd got it wrong, briefly.

    Phillipa

    (i think the duck may have passed out on his keyboard

    All he seems able to do is dig himself deeper into a shit pile of his own making. Am beginning to feel quite sorry for him.

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  89. PeterB:

    Can't see the downside, myself. I'm reminded of the old proverb: the harder you work, the luckier you get.

    But working for no pay at 7p an hour isn't going to get anyone anywhere is it? Let's make no mistake about this, it has about as much basis in reality and ethics as Thatcher's Care in the Community i.e. chuck all the long term mentally ill out on the streets to beg and fend for themselves and then sell off the old hospitals - prime real estate - to developers.

    Call me cynical but I believe the real reason for slashing HB is to move poor people out of public housing and into a life of rootless drifting from B&B/Hostel to B7B/Hostel.... now, how long, I wonder, will it be before cash-strapped local authorities are eyeing-up the remainder of their publicly-owned housing to sell of to private developers?

    This isn't just about impoverishing, isolating and disenfranchising the already desperately poor it's about a new round of 'enclousures' of public land.

    This is a return to the workhouse, the return to slave labour.... not the romantic picture you paint of the long-term unemployed suddenly finding meaning in their lives because they're picking up litter for 35 hours a week to earn their dole money at £1.85 and hour.

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  90. Sheffpixie said...
    Hevers

    I don't know where you live Hevers, but if you come to South Yorks, I'd be happy to show you exactly how it worked and what the results have been.

    Yeah, the stuff in italics is the Alan Budd quote. I'm grimly aware of how it worked, Sheff.

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  91. Blogspot really doesn’t like me – the feeling is mutual

    It is not wrong as such to ask people to work for their dole. It is wrong for them to be asked to work any more hours than is equivalent to the minimum wage. To work a full week for dole is blatant exploitation, and is a part of the process of having an underclass who can be used to undermine the minimum wage and provide a fairly helpless pool of very cheap labour.

    I can inform you that being forced to work without reward, while the employer gets away with using free labour, while charging the taxpayer for the full employment costs, causes nothing but an increased resentment – not a sudden overwhelming work ethic – it’s more along the lines of – you bastards.

    Only I don’t understand how IDS can be boasting of introducing something which is already happening in practise – and has been happening for some time. But maybe he doesn’t know?

    This is similar to the Tories making a big noise about how they were going to bring in policies about reassessing all of those on Incapacity with tough new tests, when Labour had already introduced that policy and it had already started.

    After a while - months not years - the unemployed are given the opportunity to ‘volunteer’ in a ‘work placement’, with it being made clear that they will be considered as making themselves unavailable for work if they don’t ‘volunteer’.

    It is true that there are, broadly speaking, those who’ve got stuck in a culture of worklessness, where they see nothing better than living on benefits – a minority in reality, but a result of Thatcher destroying many working bases; and those were working and who just want a job please.

    Before Thatcher decided that economic powers were far more important than the fate of individuals – before she made sacrifices of the victims to her Economy-god - just about anyone could walk into a job. Then it was simply swept away.

    When Labour got their chance to redress this, they then did even worse things than Maggie had dared – and are no more socialiasts than the Hun.

    Presumably, after the post-war lull, the workers were getting too 'powerful' – so - destroy their nesting areas, like vermin – pay them off with benefits, and leave them to rot – and then, blame those not able to overcome it for their own condition… Now, those ‘workers’ had been getting too 'powerful' again – all that minimum-wage nonsense – can’t have that.

    So IDS and co. say – let’s make work pay – a fair wage for all? - you might imagine that means – except this is ConLib-KafkaAlice world – so what it means is - decrease and remove the benefits – then just about anything would be better.

    And for what? So that wealthy people can become even wealthier, and employers can charge the taxpayer for all the ‘work experience’ they are giving to the unemployed – getting rid of them for another lot as soon as their time is up – not giving jobs at all.

    No, not a win-win situation – a gain-more-for-those that-have / remove-more-from those-who-haven’t situation.

    A huge amount is being invested in increasing the livelihoods of those who pretend to be helping the unemployed and disadvantaged, while everyone – at least anyone who comes into contact with them – knows these schemes would hardly challenge an amoeba. If you’re going to do work schemes – do something that works.

    It’s happening right here and now – you can literally have your job removed and be made to do the same sort of thing for dole, while being treated like dirt.

    Unemployment can happen to anyone, and increasingly easily – it is not a criminal act – it should not mean enforced labour on prison rates.

    Instead – cancel the junk schemes and victimisation – and put that money – the billions being syphoned off - into real training and real job development and real care for the hopeless.

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  92. ooops sorry Hevers...teach me to read posts more carefully!

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  93. ps - yr grace, if you're around - am back on the dutch lessons, this time the chap in the studio is an elderly gent who reminds me a bit of carl reiner in his later years. is he one of your favourites?

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  94. @La Rit

    Perfectly put. Through Cameron's government, the rich have declared all-out class war on everyone else in the UK, but are dividing and ruling through their control of virtually all the media.

    When the fuck are people going to wake up and see they're being bled dry by pathologically greedy predators?

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  95. viz, this discussion could go on for days, but while you wilfully ignore facts, then it's totally pointless.

    Competitiveness? Global markets? What is the minimum wage in Germany, and the level of taxation? Sweden? Denmark? Are these countries not competitive? Have they not a manufacturing base? If you continue to stick your fingers in your ears and shout la!la!la! then I have no option but to consider you an ill-informed buffoon.

    In what reality do you consider the UK to have 'relatively high wages'? Relative to Somalia perhaps? When minimum wage in the UK is less than £7 and it's quite normal to pay more than £1000 a month for a place to live?

    FYI, 'minimum wage' here in Denamrk is about £13 ph (and that's not a state-regulated thing, it's a mutual agreement between unions and employers, both state and private.) I pay £270pm for my (privately-owned apartment) but 'social housing' is widespread and cheap. Only about 50% of the population here own their own homes. And yes, we pay much higher tax (minimum 42%), but I'm glad to do so. University education is free with a reasonable non-means-tested grant and also cheap loans, health care is free, the transport system is cheap and effective etc etc. It's not a Utopia by any means, but I'm increasingly aware every time I go back to the UK, that I'm visiting a third world country. And it's people like you and your fucking primitive attitudes that have made it that way.

    Nothing personal, viz, but when I see such stupidity and ignorance paraded as virtue or ideology, then I just want to throw up. And unfortunately for the UK, there are millions of idiots like you who don't even see that there are very basic problems. I'm fucking glad that I bailed out 20 years ago, and I doubt that I'll ever go back.

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  96. hevers - noted (i need some form of list to keep track of the various equivalent names, i keep getting my 'infrances' mixed up...)

    the reference in yours to engineering a crisis of capitalism rings horribly true. and this IDS proposal, well - this voluntary work is one of two things, I suspect:

    1) getting the poor to do, unwaged, a job (refuse collection, cleaning, etc) that local government should really be doing, allowing them to make further cuts and lay more people off (the people who used to do those jobs, with a salary, and a union, and communistic things like that), who will, more than likely, end up doing their old job for bugger all trapped in the benefits system while, strangely, their old boss still has a job. coordinating the 'volunteers', or something.

    2) pointless work that doesn't actually need doing, like picking oakum or breaking rocks.

    neither of these things, with respect to Vizzo, strike me as being particularly good for anybody's mental aspect, still less their self-respect or chances of getting an actual job.

    apologies if this is going over stuff already dealt with elsewhere, but I'm steering clear of CiF today. too tired.

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  97. Sheffpixie said...

    ooops sorry Hevers...teach me to read posts more carefully

    No probs Sheff. In hindsight I should have put it in quotes so it's clear the later paras are all part of Budd's comment.

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  98. @hevers

    Interesting stuff, and I agree with pretty much all of it, but it all sits nicely alongside everything I have posted here today.

    The developed world of course can and does participate in the global economy, but the fact that we have to compete with developing countries (which not only have lower wages but also much higher unemployment and lower social provision) does restrict our ability to have genuinely redistributive domestic policies.

    I guess I'd disagree that the problem posed by competition with developing countries is 'dramatically overstated'. Neither do I think that Krugman has proposed a solution - he has outlined some ways in which the developed world can still get a slice of the pie, all very valid, but I note he hasn't suggested that we raise the minimum wage or increase top-end tax.

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  99. So I wasn't traducing him by suggesting he was a twat/troll? I was worried i'd got it wrong, briefly.

    No, you were being kind.

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  100. Making people work for no extra money sends out a clear message to them.

    You're worthless.

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  101. @Phillipa

    Yes, there are a variety of ways the workfare thing could go, and many are not particularly edifying.

    As it happens, Thatch ran the Manpower Services Commission in the Eighties which funded lots of socially useful jobs, where people were actually paid a wage... not massive, but significantly more than the dole. It was patchy, but a number on Cif involved at the time have spoken favourably of it.

    But of course, even that they had to get rid of.

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  102. Just passing by, my pal works in a charity shop, and gets a fair swathe of A4e types passing thru. Many are capable but completely demotivated, many are hopeless, can't work, won't work, some literally filling their pockets. If she could say, 'no more' she'd do it tomorrow, mostly they are more hassle than good.

    No, roll out this work fare across the board, badly patched roads, half emptied bins. Letters in the canal, OAPs starving in their freezing flats. The productivity of any organisation relying on this slave labour will go down. So sack the leadswingers, the workshy and kleptomaniacs, stop their benefits. See what happens then...

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  103. Hevers

    I remember a scheme - still going back end of the 90's, early 00s that gave people a small wage (bit more than the dole like you say) to work part time (they could still keep full HB). There were a couple of people on the scheme working at a community centre where I was setting up a community IT project. It worked well and I know at least one of them eventually got a full time job on the back of it.

    It had to go, natch!

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  104. I to the Vizzo said...
    @hevers


    The developed world of course can and does participate in the global economy, but the fact that we have to compete with developing countries (which not only have lower wages but also much higher unemployment and lower social provision) does restrict our ability to have genuinely redistributive domestic policies.

    I guess I'd disagree that the problem posed by competition with developing countries is 'dramatically overstated'. Neither do I think that Krugman has proposed a solution - he has outlined some ways in which the developed world can still get a slice of the pie, all very valid, but I note he hasn't suggested that we raise the minimum wage or increase top-end tax.


    I already said that the developing competition creates difficulties, but the point is that it is not a deal-breaker. Other developed nations have maintained strategic industries.

    I gave the German car industry as an example. The Germans have roughly twice the manufacturing we do.

    There are plenty of sectors where we have a lead and could leverage. But never mind preserving industries struggling in a downturn, we don't even back winners, like Forgemasters or our Micro-satellite industry.

    And we have to, given the situation with the banks and private capital.

    As Princess Pork Chops once put it on Cif, everyone pretends globalisation, but we're about the only country playing by the rules. Everyone else is finding ways to support their industry.

    Krugman isn't just theory. Economies of scale, transport csts and investment garnering investment are real phenomena. Other countries are actually doing this stuff and do it better than us. And if you think it's bad now, compare with after the war, when we were forced to open up our export Markets at Bretton Woods, and couldn't export anyway as much of our industry that hadn't been bombed had been repurposed for the war effort.

    And it's not about redistribution, so much as about creating and preserving proper, good paying jobs. Then you get tax income and don't have to fork out for welfare and knock-on costs.

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  105. Should this appear - there's a previous comment to be unspammed

    For those here who recently request protest songs here – and how clever of cif John Harris to come up with the notion soon afterwards – this was written in the U.S. before The Crash but says just the same - We Can't Make it Here
    by James McMurtry - for those who don't know it.

    Why the heck do our imbecile government want us to copy the U.S.?!


    There’s a Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
    Sitting there by the left turn line
    Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
    One leg missing and both hands free
    No one's paying much mind to him
    The V.A. budget's just stretched so thin
    And now there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
    We can't make it here anymore

    That big ol' building was the textile mill
    It fed our kids and it paid our bills
    But they turned us out and they closed the doors
    We can't make it here anymore

    See the pallets piled up on the loading dock
    They're just gonna set there till they rot
    'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
    Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
    Empty storefronts around the square
    There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
    You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
    We can't make it here anymore

    The bar's still open but man it's slow
    The tip jar's light and the register's low
    The bartender don't have much to say
    The regular crowd gets thinner each day

    Some have maxed out all their credit cards
    Some are working two jobs and living in cars
    Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
    If you gotta have proof - just try it yourself Mr. CEO
    See how far 5.15 an hour will go
    Take a part time job in one of your stores
    Bet you can't make it here anymore

    The High school girl with a bourgeois dream
    Just like the pictures in the magazine
    She found on the floor of the laundromat
    A woman with kids can forget all that
    If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
    Forget the career, forget about school
    Can she live on faith? live on hope?
    High on Jesus and hooked on dope
    When it's way too late to just say no
    You can't make it here anymore

    Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
    Just like the ones we made before
    'Cept this one came from Singapore
    I guess we can't make it here anymore
    Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
    Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
    Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
    No I hate the men sent the jobs away
    I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
    All lily white and squeaky clean
    They've never known want, they'll never know need
    Their shit don't stink and their kids won't bleed
    Their kids won't bleed in the damn little war
    And we can't make it here anymore
    Will work for food
    Will die for oil
    Will kill for power and to us the spoils
    The billionaires get to pay less tax
    The working poor get to fall through the cracks
    Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
    So let 'em eat shit whatever it takes
    They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
    If they can't make it here anymore

    So that's how it is
    That's what we got
    If the president wants to admit it or not
    You can read it in the paper
    Read it on the wall
    Hear it on the wind
    If you're listening at all
    Get out of that limo and
    Look us in the eye
    Call us on the cell phone
    Tell us all why

    In Dayton, Ohio
    Or Portland, Maine
    Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
    That's done closed down along with the school
    And the hospital and the swimming pool
    Dust devils dance in the noonday heat and
    There's rats in the alley
    And trash in the street
    Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
    We can't make it here anymore

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  106. @Sheff

    Yeah, it could be the same thing, or some offshoot... I think the MSC thing offered both part-time and full-time jobs.

    It can often be worth paying a fair bit because when you tot up the total costs of keeping someone on the dole, with a family, it's a fair whack... you might as well just use the money to create a proper job, and save on the health, crime and social costs in the process. Or subsidise an existing job in a downturn, so you don't incur those knock-on costs, so you retain skills, and don't lose the dependent support industries.

    (But none of that would help capital with its desire for a reserve army of labour, of course).

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  107. Afternoon all

    I think it's obvious that the ConDem plan is to drive as many people as possible into the labour market.Those who've been unemployed for more than 6 months will be handed over to A4E and those still unemployed after a 12 months will be forced onto workfare.

    Onre point i don't think anyone has addressed on this thread so far is that many of those liable for workfare will suffer from multiple disadvantages and are only likely to get halfway decently paid jobs in a fully employed economy.These are people who are either unskilled or whose skills are no longer in demand,people over 50,people from ethnic minorites and people with disabilities.The Government needs to address the issues of funding for training programmes and whether current anti-discrimination legislation is tough enough.But in a labour market where supply of labour far exceeds demand these groups of people are likely to disproportionately find themselves amongst the unemployable.

    I make no secret of the fact that in the long term i would like to see this country's population decline for both social and environmental reasons.And one of the social reasons is that as the supply of cheap malleable workers declines that should force employers to look at those groups that are currently marginalised and often excluded in the labour market.And it should also force up the wages for low paid workers.Additionally as more people remain in employment in their 50,s and 60,s it should also hopefully reduce the levels of pensioner poverty that are likely to rise sharply if things carry on the way they are in this country.For currently there are far too many people being flung prematurly onto the scrapheap with absolutely no way of making any provision whatsoever for themselves when they become too old to work.

    Population reduction-or stabilisation at least-can only be achieved via birth rates and migration rates.At present the population of this country is projected to rise by a further 10 million over the next 10 years.Yet the LEFT IMO is largely failing to address this because of it's contentious nature.Yet the people likely to lose out most of all if the population keeps going are thosee who are already heavily disadvantaged in British society.And most of these are working class people who currently have no voice in mainstream British politics.

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  108. PJ I'm reminded of the old proverb: the harder you work, the luckier you get.

    I'm reminded of my grandfather - a miner from the first decade of the 20th century to the 1940's - he worked hard and never had much luck.

    Thousands like him then and now. The difference Peter, is that then people still had pride. That seems to have been taken from people.

    We wont get it back this way.

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  109. @hevers

    Other developed nations have maintained strategic industries.

    And we haven't - I agree, that's been a huge error.

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  110. Meant to say 'keeps growing' in final para .

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  111. Thats a great song Moonwave!

    Vizzio

    And we haven't - I agree, that's been a huge error

    'error' hardly describes it - it's a fucking catastrophe.

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  112. I note he hasn't suggested that we raise the minimum wage or increase top-end tax.

    Actually, I'm fairly certain he has suggested that the US, at least, should do those very things. Can't be arsed to look for a reference, though.

    And while I'm on this:

    IanG referred to "US style" programmes. I'm not sure that what is being proposed in the UK is entirely analogous to what has been done in the US.

    Unemployment benefits in the US are operated strictly as an insurance programme. Employers and employees pay a tax that goes into their state's unemployment benefits fund.

    When a person becomes unemployed through no fault of their own (i.e., they're not fired because they've stolen from their employer or excessive absenteeism or whatever), they receive an amount in benefit that is based on what they'd been earning (it's something like 2/3 of their last pay rate).

    The only requirement for receiving your unemployement is that you apply for at least 2 jobs each week, which you have to report when you make your claim each week. Help with résumé writing, interview skills, etc., is available but I believe is voluntary in all states (since UE is done at the state level, some of the details vary from state to state).

    The work requirements are in the welfare programme and mostly affect single mothers, since most welfare recipients are single mothers.

    In order to receive TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families), one must spend 30+ hours/week in job search activities. In some cases, that can be education or training for a particular job. New recipients must participate in a "ready to work" class that, ostensibly, teaches résumé writing skills, etc.

    TANF recipients are required to make 20 job contacts each week (even here in small town USA, where it will only take about 2-3 weeks to contact every potential employer in the area).

    They must be willing to take any job they are offered, regardless of the hours or pay. So, if a woman with small children is offered a night shift job in a motel at minimum wage, she has to take it. The fact that it is virtually impossible to find over-night childcare and survive on minimum wage is of no consequence. Turn down any job offer and you're kicked off TANF and ineligible to receive them for (if I recall correctly) something like a year.

    Federal minimum wage rate is $7.25/hour, although there are 14 states who have set minimum wage rates higher than that.

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  113. @PaulBJ - completely agree that UK population size and growth is the big elephant in the room. The thing is, how to talk about that without being called a fascist?

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  114. Oh, and I probably should have mentioned that in most states there are quite a few occupations that are exempted from minimum wage requirements. Many of them tend to be service type jobs; waitressing, bar-tending, hotel staff, etc. -- positions which, in theory, receive gratuities from customers.

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  115. annetan42 said...

    I'm reminded of my grandfather - a miner from the first decade of the 20th century to the 1940's - he worked hard and never had much luck.

    Yeah, the "you make your own luck" thing is mostly a crock of shite, as exposed by Rountree's famous study early the last century, in his "time-and-motion" study of the poor that influenced the Liberal reforms.

    What Rountree found was that the poor were frequently properly unlucky, who had happened to have not one, but COMPOUND problems visited upon them.

    Many who have had some success, will have likely experienced some adversity. And on the back of that they go "Hey, I had to work, I had it hard!! There's no excuse for anyone else".

    Bollocks. Lost count of the number of times that I've seen some right-winger on Cif go "Hey, I know what it's like!! I was unemployed for six months after I left Uni.!! And I prevailed!!!"

    Which is a completely different situation to what others have to deal with, who had no parental support when shit hit the fan, didn't even get to go to Uni., didn't get to learn to read properly because they didn't hear enough language in the first 12 months, go to school most days with their head mashed because of what they witnessed at home the night before, are plagued by illness, may get beaten up badly on an estate, have no idea of the opportunities available even if they had a shot at them, or how to take them, and if they try something and it screws up, there is no safety net.

    Whereas for others, if they have the backing, if they screw up they get to keep having a go.

    And that's another part of the point. Because without all the backing, you may get REALLY lucky and not have the above problems visited upon you, But boy are you lucky, and without the safety net, many doing quite well still get taken out, as we saw in the crunch. Businesses going to the wall because the banks screwed up. Nothing the businesses did wrong.

    You may make the best of the lucky hand you have been dealt, but kidding yourself you just made your own luck is typical of the delusional right.

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  116. I to the Vizzo said...
    @hevers

    Other developed nations have maintained strategic industries.

    And we haven't - I agree, that's been a huge error.
    07 November, 2010 17:50


    It was, but it continues to be. We are letting the remains of our steel industry go and are failing to invest properly in the new strategic industries of the future.

    Renewable energy for example. The Germans have been pump-priming solar and it's now becoming economic enough for the private sector to get involved.

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  117. Oooh get me, posting on a Sunday!

    Hey all, just re-watched V for Vendetta, cracking film!

    Just skim read this thread, and wanted to say: some of you may not agree with Vizzo, but he's arguing his case reasonably and engaging, isn't that what we want this place to be? Reasoned debate? So welcome Vizzo, I don't feel qualified to contribute, but I'm enjoying the debate. Welcome too Heverale/Hevers saw you on WDYWTTA, glad you made it over here..

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  118. @hevers

    Other developed nations have maintained strategic industries.


    Ah yes, don't get me started on the electronics and IT sector but here I go. Remember when the rump of GEC was hanging by a thread? The government did not lift a finger and work went to the Chinese. As others have said, the last lot were so enthusiastic about globalisation they blindly did all the selling off and expected the results to just roll in as success when what we actually done is simply sold our intellectual property to the (sometimes) highest bidder. And a lot of this stuff is priceless, you can't just start up a factory making high tech goods from casual labour. Once lost never to be regained. Another example is when certain government ministries sold off their language training thinking it would be somehow 'better'. Of course that is now looking a pretty stupid move now.

    On to the other point about how other countries can compete on labour costs. I had a good think about this when my job went to Shanghai (thanks a heap Xerox!),and the simple reason is that you can live in these places for a lot less than the UK. But, I cannot compete because I have fixed living costs such as a local tax of over 1600 Squid a year, highest transport costs probably in the whole world but I do have clean running water, a low infant mortality rate, street lighting (mostly), crime free in the main and so on. That is why I am expensive and when we offshore a job to the third world we are cashing in on their undeveloped infrastructure. If they ever had the same universal benefits as above then they would no longer be cheap.

    @havers - just reading your piece about 'luck'. The book 'Fooled by randomness' also address this point quite well. those traders who had year on year wins thought they were just great when it was simple statistics that would make a certain number always win year after year. It was pure randomness.

    I could also drone on about off-shore-on-shoring whereby our mates the bankers (yet again!) have a wheeze that enables them to employ citizens of south Asia at a discount avoiding all our taxes etc. But I will leave that one for requests.

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  119. Spike

    It reminds me of the attitudes in our old school (a former grammar school turned comp) which had and does still have a good reputation.

    However, in the late 70's and 80's unless you were bright, had parents who were prepared to fight for you, or pay for you to go to a crammer school to get into a posh public school post 'O' level or just plain mediocre, you were (generally OK) however, there was a 'cultivated' underclass of kids who were literally ignored, who spent their days learning 'animal husbandry' (we had pigs and chickens at our school!) or copying out of textbooks (many of whom could barely read or write).

    I went through 5 years of schooling in, what was essentially, an apartheid educational system and although I was aware of it and was friends with several kids who belonged to that 'sub-group', I never really questioned it because I too was fighting for my own survival there (badly).

    And now, 30 years on, we have the results of that cultivated underclass, expected to work for no fucking pay......

    I'm speechless.....

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  120. Dott:

    Hiya!

    Get you indeed, posting on a Sunday ;)

    Agree with you re: Vizzo

    K, he may not hold the same views, but he's not been horrible and he's certainly not posting disgusting filth like our resident demented Donald....

    And apols Heverale (not to be confused with HeavyRail I presume?)

    A hearty 'Welcome, Willkommen and Bienvenue' ;)

    Any tips Dott on what to look for studying Crows? We have a resident pair (I call Mr and Mrs Crow) and my sister too near her flats.... have clocked their 'semaphore' wing flicks and cawing in different voices.... I love them ;) Seen them helping out their (single) fledgling for the last 2 years... playing in the wind and generally having fun.

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  121. @Montana, Thanks for the clarification. I think in some ways it is better where you live but in other ways much much worse in the States. I know that when I was registered with the Job Centre, I showed them the - literally - hundreds of positions I applied for. Only a very small percentage would even acknowledge my application. All these positions I could have done standing on my head and fitted the requirements as advertised 100%. So that was then and this is now and it can't be any better can it?

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  122. If you see more than two Crows, they're Rooks and if you see less than two Rooks, they're Crows. Or they might be Jackdaws. Can be nasty with lambs...

    @i 2 the Vizz, you're signing on? What's your line? Good luck any way... : )

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  123. I've made it onto the blog! - see what happens with this one...

    Heyhabib

    “They meet people. They follow a work routine. They dispense with the tedium of day time soaps (or whatever captures their usual daytime attention). They do something productive. they might even enjoy the structure it affords.”

    We’re talking about bankers, right?


    We're back to concepts of usefulness - good rejoinder.

    I get so very bored with this myth that if you’re not in employment you’re sitting around watching t.v. all day and doing nothing of use. While that must happen here and there, it’s my experience that people kind of develop their own alternative usefulnesses and involvements and structures – do meet people – knew people already anyway - do help one another – and often fill the gaps of society; but have to do it very quietly, because of the rubbish regulations about how you mustn’t be seen to be doing anything – will remove benefits – then must be forced to be doing something to be seen to be doing something – that is, for them to be seen to be doing something – or will remove benefits – and then still not ending up with an actual job whatever.

    It doesn’t help the mood – doesn't help confidence - doesn’t help a darn thing.

    Mixing up all of the people who have worked and want to work with those minority who have never worked at all – and then maybe not from choice – with all that could cope perfectly well with a job is a part of the propaganda machine.

    It is true that most of those who I know in unemployment are older workers – not layabouts – who are used to structures and being a part of their society – so don’t need to be taught anything about it – being as they know far more about it than the some-twat or battery-run-out-girl talking down to them. They just want a job!

    I mean – sending men (or women) in their fifties (or even sixties) – a growing percentage of the unemployed - to do ‘work experience’ – come off it.

    PeterJ - The proposal might even kill off those that work and claim benefits - no bad thing, eh?

    It would be a very good thing indeed - for employers to pay people properly and not to hold out their hand to the taxpayer to make up the wages of their full-time workers on such a low wage that they remain on benefits whatever – sometimes even with working more than a 40-hour week.

    Bring it on.

    Annetan

    Of course the poor have often worked longer and harder and done grottier things, with little opportunity for anything else – bad enough, but, yes, they did indeed still have their social dignity – so taking away their dignity was even worse – Wickedness, when it’s done on purpose, and that’s the process Thatcher started – with intent.

    IDS doesn’t know a thing – his department couldn't put together a daisy chain. I’ll say it again, as there are a lot of points here today – being made to work for benefits is already happening – is already undermining the job market steadily – it’s happened and is happening within my family and community – before my eyes.

    Many waged jobs are ceasing to exist – but not the jobs – because now they can get ‘volunteers’ to do them.

    The problem with many of those they send to the charity shops is that they have ‘learning difficulties’. I use charity shops a lot, and some of the ‘staff’, along with the old ladies, are basicly mentally handicapped or obviously socially inadequate. They must need a lot of supervision – it’s not their fault – it’s having them piled in with everyone else. They need proper support – not a pretend that this is going to get them a job.

    Real jobs - not pretend jobs, or people whose job is pretending to get people jobs - that's what this country needs.

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  124. All right, just back from Bitterweed's gig in Leamington, and his band rocked. Those of you who were pretending to come and didn't have seriously missed out.

    Didn't stay for the very last act, but BW's band blew away the rest. Fantastic.

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  125. Turm:

    "If you see more than two Crows, they're Rooks and if you see less than two Rooks, they're Crows. Or they might be Jackdaws. Can be nasty with lambs..."

    Rooks live in colonies and Crows are generally solitary.... unless in pairs! Different voices altogether and no baby lambs in Brixton ;(

    love Jackdaws and have plenty of Bluejays in our communal garden....

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  126. Don't rub it in Thaum - am already feeling dejected enough about not being there. Any photos?

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  127. @Dot:

    Yes, you're right. So:

    @Viz:

    Sorry about the "slightly less pretentious, but equally arrogant and selfish younger brother" thing. I don't agree with you at all, but that's no reason to insult you.

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  128. Dott

    ooooo thank you..... I like that site very much!

    Any film of the Japanese Crows walnut-cracking on the road crossing????!! (Waiting for the green and red lights)

    PS was it Jennifera30 who said James Blunt came across as a nice-ish bloke on TV last night? and thought that the world had gone mad/

    He was on Sesame Street.....parodying himself.... can't act for toffee but, weirdly endearing

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  129. I think in some ways it is better where you live but in other ways much much worse in the States.

    Depends a great deal upon what part of the States you're in. To some extent, I think we're somewhat buffered from the worst ot things here in Iowa. It's mostly an agriculture-based economy and there will always be a market for corn, soybeans, beef and pork.

    However, there are towns that were pretty much "company towns", dependent on one manufacturer, that have been hit hard. Newton is one example -- they had a Maytag (household appliances, not sure if it's known outside the US) factory that was the major employer. Maytag sold out a few years ago and not long after, the plant was closed. All those jobs, gone.

    In other places in Iowa, the economy has been hurt by union-busting and illegal immigration. Meat processing plants that used to have well-paid, union jobs are now non-union and able to pay about 1/2 (even in real dollars, not adjusted for inflation) what they did 15-20 years ago and provide no benefits. They hire mostly undocumented workers, knowing that if the INS does raid, they might get a slap on the wrist, some of their employees will be deported, and a week after the raid, they'll be back to business as usual.

    Other parts of the country have it even worse than Iowa and, of course, there are others that have it better.

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  130. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  131. Sheff, yes, I have pics, but still haven't been up to the attic to finc copacetic thingy.

    Let me say it again: Bitterweed just rocked.

    I know he likes this choon: here's an alternative version.

    BW - best to you tomorrow, mate.

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  132. Very old birds Corvidae, havin seen a few lambs bought in by the farmers. crows are crueler than badgers, but that's a townie (my) view point. Both are just doing their thing. We should take the same view of posters, It's not their fault, they just got squeezed out of the mold in that configuration.

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  133. Hevers:

    Re: Manpower - it is my understanding that this was actually a Government funded (taxpayer) funded employment agency... privatised by Fatcher?

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  134. La Rit

    We had a huge ziggurat building put up in Sheffield back in the 70s that housed the Manpower Services Commission. After they went it was occupied by the DWP and the HO - now its being pulled down, along with our central fire station (built in the early 80s I think, but too small). Some very short term thinking going on in those days.

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  135. Dott:

    That was the very thing I was thinking of!

    Like the Seagulls of Llandudno with the Mussels, the Crows in Japan know how to crack a nut!!! ;)

    Thanks for the link... very much appreciated x

    PS I've always defended Crows because I've never seen them as anything else other than clever, adaptive survivors (I saw two last winter, literally peck a sickly feral Pigeon to death in a matter of seconds) I have also 'rescued' a damn-near fledgling Crow chick in central London, it was very dazed having fallen out of a massive Plane Tree... the parent birds where there and distressed and it was in danger of somebody's dog attacking it.... I picked it up, very carefully and made sure the parent birds could see what I was doing and moved it to the nearby cover of some bushes out of harms way.... I suspect it survived.... but what I can tell you is that when I picked it up, it was so soft and so warm and so without fear, well, it was a magical moment. I never saw any evidence that it had died or been savaged by a cat... but I can say that Crow chicks are clearly very well cared for by their parents...

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  136. Crows - Sheep farmers I know would go on a crow culling exercise before the lambing season. It's not nice seeing a new born lambs blinded by having their eyes pecked out!

    Turm - does that mean we have to take the shotgun to certain posters ?

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  137. Tascia

    does that mean we have to take the shotgun to certain posters ?

    We can dream Tascia...

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  138. Saw these guys live tonight (Poor recording sorry):

    Nimmo Brothers

    These guys were a lot better than Matt Schofield !

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  139. Enjoyed that Tascia. don't suppose there's any footage of Bitters band is there?

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  140. Tascia:

    Crows know better than anyone who survives and who doesn't.... lived in the countryside all my childhood barr 3 years.... and I never, ever saw a Crow behave in that manner... if you've seen it with your own eyes, fine, if not, don't speculate!

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  141. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7itGcscbEHo

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  142. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7itGcscbEHo

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  143. I'm a big fan of Keenan Malik...here's why today's news kinda proves we're returning to Victorian values...and why certain people are salivating over the prospect of the abject poor slaving for sustenance...

    "We have become so used to thinking of race in terms of skin colour that it is often difficult to understand the Victorian perception of race. For the Victorians race was as much a description of class differences within European societies as it was of ethnic differences between European and non-European peoples. Class division denoted the relation of 'perpetual superior to perpetual inferior', a distinction that to the Victorians was every bit as visible as that between black and white, or slave and master.

    Not till the end of the nineteenth century did race become identified with skin colour in the contemporary sense. Imperialist expansion in the late nineteenth century, in particular the 'scramble for Africa', exacerbated the sense of difference between Europeans and non-Europeans. At the same time the development of democracy modified the application of the language of racial inferiority to the working class. The belief that the lower orders were inferior did not disappear but it became less public and increasingly confined to private diaries and dinner table talk. The public language of race was refocused exclusively on black and white, the West and Rest, helping to establish the 'colour line' in its modern form."

    http://www.kenanmalik.com/lectures/race_oxford1.html

    Who says there's no such thing as moral progress...we've returned racism to its original non-ethnic status...class all the way down as far as you look as someone once said about turtles...so that's OK then...at least there's no discrimination by skin colour...clinking of glasses in Guardian Towers...

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  144. Sheff:

    This country is governed by 'no term/short-term' thinking (except for the privileged few).

    Short-term thinking for the likes of us by those who control the money has always been the order of the day (Credit Card anyone???)no wonder everything moves so slowly here.... we are tied (literally) to a vicious wheel of ruling class fake-fortune, holding everything back.... and now her Majesty's PR Group has the nerve to promote her fucking 'Facebook' account.... I mean, the mind boggles....

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  145. Sorry LaRit - Not speculation - Seen it, and seen the farmer carrying the lamb back to put it down away from the ewe.

    I - like you - never understood till then why sheep farmers, (not all farmers) would want to kill crows. When the farmer (a good mate) tell's you how many lambs he lost in this way, and in one season, you can understand why.

    They are clever birds, once one has sussed out the easy pickings, it doesn't take long for the rest of them to follow suit. They are primarily scavengers, but they are also opportunists.

    Sheff - sorry nothing for Bitters band, better ask BW for a linky !!

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  146. MonkeyFish:

    I've been banging on about the same thing for bloody ages too ;(

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  147. @Tascia, no, we build a wee cage trap, then shoot the beggars. Saves on cartridges.

    NN all p x

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  148. Dotterel said...

    Welcome too Heverale/Hevers saw you on WDYWTTA, glad you made it over here..


    Cheers Dott. Yeah I've posted a bit on Waddya, and a few times on here, but got mostly sucked into counter-paywall engagements on the Cif economics and education threads.

    La Ritournelle said...

    And apols Heverale (not to be confused with HeavyRail I presume?)

    A hearty 'Welcome, Willkommen and Bienvenue' ;)


    Hi LaRit - yeah, I'm not heavyrail, though as it happens some right-wingers did try and claim we were one and the same a while back when I was giving them some stick, which ended once they saw the two of us tangling on a couple of the Spirit Level threads; he hadn't read the book which led to some misunderstanding.

    Incidentally, on the James Blunt thing, yeah he has a nice line in self-deprecating humour - here's a clip of him on Top Gear a couple of years ago which seemed to surprise a few at the time...

    http://video.autohoje.com/play.php?vid=553

    And on the protest song thing... did someone mention Guthrie's "This Land" yesterday or something? The weekend's a bit of a blur...

    Anyway, here's JibJab's Bush vs. Kelly version...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Q-sRdV7SY

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  149. Evening all

    BB here - got home to find two more work emails so only just checking in now to say what a lovely day I had, and how good BW's band are.

    I took a little bit of footage, which I will try and upload onto the flickr page another time.

    Thanks to Thaum and Tascia for making me so welcome!

    Hugs to all xxooxx

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  150. IanG said...
    @hevers

    Other developed nations have maintained strategic industries.

    Ah yes, don't get me started on the electronics and IT sector but here I go. Remember when the rump of GEC was hanging by a thread? The government did not lift a finger and work went to the Chinese. As others have said, the last lot were so enthusiastic about globalisation they blindly did all the selling off and expected the results to just roll in as success when what we actually done is simply sold our intellectual property to the (sometimes) highest bidder.

    Yeah, that's the thing, isn't it. Some industries were easy to set up elsewhere, but we have lost swathes it would have been much harder to copy because we had the know-how and IP and existing markets and relationships.

    But if we let companies get sold off or let them just transfer operations overseas it gives our competitors a huge fucking leg up, while our peers and rivals erect obstacles to stop just giving it all away.

    You don't happen to have the author of that book on randomness, do you?

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  151. La Ritournelle said...
    Hevers:

    Re: Manpower - it is my understanding that this was actually a Government funded (taxpayer) funded employment agency... privatised by Fatcher?


    Yeah, I think the scheme I was on about was called the Community Programme or something and was funded/run by the MSC or linked to it in some way.

    At any rate, people actually got given jobs and a wage, to do something that was often considered worthwhile.

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  152. La Ritournelle said...
    Spike

    or pay for you to go to a crammer school to get into a posh public school post 'O' level

    And even if that wasn't enough, the well-heeled could pay to send their kids to a crammer for a year to retake Oxbridge exams if they failed the first time.

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  153. @Sheff: I remember back in the 70's the likes of Davy Loewy and Sheffield Forgemasters shmoozing business men from Japan and telling them the trade secrets of how to make high quality stainless steel.

    No doubt some greasy palms were shaked for short term "backhanders" but some people my Dad knew in the steel business had the foresight to realize the work force was being sold down the river.

    Sheffield still has the expertise to produce high quality steel but the days when having "made in Sheffield" on your cutlery was a status symbol are long gone.

    And as for the "harder you work the luckier you get"

    I can only assume that is Peter Bracken's attempt at trolling.

    If that were to apply, all the steel workers and miners, not to mention the plumbers and bricklayers and carpenters and plasterers etc would all be millionaires by that logic.

    Peter, if it were not for the aforementioned you would be living in a tent with no clean running water, no electricity and no broadband connection to the internet. And furthermore, no petrol to put in your motorbike.

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  154. hevers

    the well-heeled could pay to send their kids to a crammer for a year to retake Oxbridge exams if they failed the first time.

    I went to a boarding school where we started 'training' for the 11+ test aged ten. By the time we actually got to take it most of us sailed through.

    My ex who ended up at a sec mod (in rural Gloucestershire) had also passed the 11+ (without any of the extra help I got), unfortunately for him his parents had no clout, being modest working class people and as there were far fewer grammar school places than kids who got through many like him ended up in sec mods.

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  155. Has Leni throw in the towel? Please don't Leni....you are the the bench mark of sanity on this crazy site and will be much missed!

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  156. @Sheff

    Yeah, I've seen quite a few posters in the education debates talk about how bright kids eligible for a place at grammar school were denied in one way or another.

    Since they had already gotten rid of the eleven plus for me it was kinda the other way around: primary school on a council estate, then later on Public School. The contrast was quite the eye-opener.

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  157. Oh fuck off luke you haven't answered one single point; you're just a load of posturing hot air mate. Go back to yer cartoons.

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