Starmer

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IvanV
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Re: Starmer

Post by IvanV » Fri Nov 03, 2023 12:26 pm

Starmer was probably on a hiding to nothing in trying to devise a policy on Gaza which would avoid divisive arguments.

The ferocious row in their letters column over the recent Private Eye cover, suggests that it is more or less impossible to state any position on Gaza without a lot of people being very angry over it. I thought the cover was a reasonably balanced thing to say, hard to complain about. Boy, was I wrong. A lot of the complaints focused on the wording "killing everyone", as a completely unfair characterisation of Israel's policy, taking those words literally. I think it is obvious that they were not meant literally, but it was not an unreasonable shorthand for action that put almost every civilian in Gaza at risk of sudden death, and seemed to have little regard for the extent of such deaths. We cannot expect a complete, careful and accurate description in a such a brief wording. But I think, from the wording of their complaints, that even a careful and accurate description wouldn't have avoided the ire of many of the complainants.

Special kudos to the correspondent who sent in a complaint that he didn't get his free bed bug.
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Re: Starmer

Post by Martin_B » Thu Nov 09, 2023 5:22 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2023 3:06 am
Mid Bedfordshire was held by the Tories continuously for 92 years. I don’t know what the record is there but I doubt there could have been many more safer seats.
Not sure if it's the record holder, but my parent's constituency can beat Mid Bedfordshire for longevity:

Created in 1918 as Farnham (not sure what it was before that, possibly just part of the Guildford Hundreds.

1918 - 1937: Sir Arthur Samuel - Conservative. Became Baron Mancroft in 1937, so a by-election was required.
1937 - 1966: Sir Godfrey Nicholson - Conservative. Was made a baronet and retired in 1966.
1966 - 1984: Maurice Macmillan - Conservative. Harold Macmillan's son, Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden died in office, a year after the constituency was reformed as South West Surrey for the 1983 elections.
1984 - 2005: Virginia Bottomley - Conservative. Became Baroness when stepping down in 2005.
2005 - Current: Jeremy Hunt - Conservative. Considering he's been Secretary of State for the Olympics, Health, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor, he'll probably get a significant peerage when he steps down, too.

So that's 105 years of continuous conservative representation. Although they voted against Brexit!
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Re: Starmer

Post by monkey » Wed Feb 07, 2024 7:11 pm

Yesterday*, "unwavering" - clicky

Tomorrow* "scaling back" - clicky

I'm getting the impression that he just says whatever the person he is talking to at the time will like and hope that no one notices.


*At the time of posting.

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Re: Starmer

Post by lpm » Wed Feb 07, 2024 7:12 pm

Starmer is a disgrace. Abandoning the green investment will make us poorer, as well as hotter.

I will not be voting Labour at the General Election.*

* I will be tactically voting LibDem instead to try and help get a Labour government.
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Grumble
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Re: Starmer

Post by Grumble » Wed Feb 07, 2024 10:06 pm

Has he not got the confidence to stand behind an idea?
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El Pollo Diablo
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Re: Starmer

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Feb 07, 2024 11:13 pm

Of course he does, he just prints the idea on a big piece of card and stands behind it so no one can see him
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Re: Starmer

Post by headshot » Thu Feb 08, 2024 8:49 am

My God, politicians in this country have become so f.cking devoid of national ambition and ideas.

Just SPEND SOME MONEY ON GOOD IDEAS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.

In 100 years we’ll have glass tower monuments built by private enterprise, surrounded by an infrastructure wasteland of half-finished projects, aborted ideas and rejected policies...all because someone equated the nation’s economy to a household budget.

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Re: Starmer

Post by nekomatic » Thu Feb 08, 2024 10:22 am

I remind myself, again, with a heavy sigh, again, that politics headlines at a minimum exaggerate the noise at the expense of the signal and at worst can completely misrepresent what's actually happened (or not), and that an opposition's pledges or commitments are simply noise until an election is called and a manifesto is published. But it certainly wasn't a great day for the headlines to look like this.


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Grumble
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Re: Starmer

Post by Grumble » Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:31 pm

I just don’t get why he’s so afraid of Tory attacks. He should be attacking them, partly by having ambition for the country that they lack.
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Woodchopper
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Re: Starmer

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:00 am

I assume that dropping the the green investment plan isn't to deflect Tory attacks, but because they'd rather do that now than drop a manifesto commitment after the election.

I doubt that Starmer is in favour of climate change so I'm assuming that the explanation is that government finances are projected to be in a bad state over 2025-2029 and what limited funds are available will be spent on other priorities. Labour will already have had meetings with civil servants in preparation for a possible change in government.

Just getting the NHS back to something close to 2010 levels of operation is going to be a massive task that'll probably take two terms. It may be unrealistic to expect major new investments elsewhere. Which of course is bad for the future of the planet. But that's where we are.

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Re: Starmer

Post by lpm » Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:13 am

That is the fallacy of thinking investment plan is all cost.

It is actually cost and a return.

The return on investment is very high, reducing the nation's energy requirements and creating world-beating new industries.

Probably the 2nd best govt investment out there, on a 10 year view, behind only investment on mental health. The more we invest, the more we'll have to invest in the NHS.
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Sciolus
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Re: Starmer

Post by Sciolus » Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:53 am

Starmer did significant medium-term damage to the economy yesterday. It's not just that investment in energy efficiency and self-sufficiency is sound economic sense, as lpm says. He's also told industry that they can't trust him to follow through on his promises. They've had their fingers burnt before: in the early 2010s, the government supported the domestic renewable energy industry just long enough to get it almost established, then pulled the rug and trashed it again. Businesses are going to be very wary of investing when policy is likely to change at the first sniff of a hostile Mail headline.

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Re: Starmer

Post by bagpuss » Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:07 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:13 am
That is the fallacy of thinking investment plan is all cost.

It is actually cost and a return.

The return on investment is very high, reducing the nation's energy requirements and creating world-beating new industries.

Probably the 2nd best govt investment out there, on a 10 year view, behind only investment on mental health. The more we invest, the more we'll have to invest in the NHS.
David Blunkett actually made much the same point on pm on Radio 4 yesterday. This whole thing really should be being presented as investment, not cost.

Incidentally, Evan Davies' interview with Laura Trott immediately after the David Blunkett interview is well worth a listen (about 41 mins into the pm programme on BBC Sounds) - it's a beautiful example of a good journalist who really knows his stuff and is thoroughly prepared, destroying the waffle of a politician who doesn't have much clue what she's talking about and is not thoroughly prepared, while being unfailingly calm and polite throughout. That said, I wish he'd been a bit less prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt about her debt numbers, at the end of the interview, as I'd put money on him being more likely to be correct.

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Re: Starmer

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:34 pm

The fiscal rules that Labour are sticking to are b.llsh.t. The economy isn't a household, but the rules don't even work from a household perspective - it's okay to borrow to invest if you think you can handle the payments
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Re: Starmer

Post by headshot » Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:56 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:34 pm
The fiscal rules that Labour are sticking to are b.llsh.t. The economy isn't a household, but the rules don't even work from a household perspective - it's okay to borrow to invest if you think you can handle the payments
Which as one of the richest nations* in the world, we should be...

Not to mention, the job creation, tax income and other general benefits that enormous, ambitious infrastructure projects bring.

*Where are we now, fifth, sixth?

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Re: Starmer

Post by Sciolus » Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:22 pm

headshot wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:56 pm
*Where are we now, fifth, sixth?
37th. Though a lot of those ahead are tiddly states and/or tax havens.

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Re: Starmer

Post by JQH » Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:01 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:34 pm
The fiscal rules that Labour are sticking to are b.llsh.t. The economy isn't a household, but the rules don't even work from a household perspective - it's okay to borrow to invest if you think you can handle the payments
Exactly. Every household with a mortgage, which is a debt but also an investment in an asset which will likely be worth far more than was paid for it - and even if not, the investment will result in vastly reduced housing costs when the loan is paid off.
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Re: Starmer

Post by monkey » Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:14 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:34 pm
The fiscal rules that Labour are sticking to are b.llsh.t. The economy isn't a household, but the rules don't even work from a household perspective - it's okay to borrow to invest if you think you can handle the payments
The rules aren't that much different to what John McDonnell's were, and the Conservative's for that matter - No net borrowing for day to day spending over an x year period, reduce the deficit, and borrowing is allowed to invest.

It's the interpretation of them that's different (based on assumptions about investment), and that's basically a political choice.

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Re: Starmer

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:24 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:34 pm
The fiscal rules that Labour are sticking to are b.llsh.t. The economy isn't a household, but the rules don't even work from a household perspective - it's okay to borrow to invest if you think you can handle the payments
Yes, handling the payments is the question. I don't know the answer, but the situation has changed over the past few years.

At the end of 2019 the UK was paying 0.5% interest on a 10 year bond, the economy grew at 1.6%, the debt to GDP ratio was about 85%. Back then borrowing money was basically free, and no one worried about inflation.

As of February 2024, the UK is paying circa 4% on a 10 year bond, the economy is forecast to grow by 0.6% in 2024, the debt to GDP ratio will be just under100% by the end of the year, and lots of people are worried about inflation.

I don't know whether its prohibitively expensive, but government debt is more expensive than it was.

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Re: Starmer

Post by lpm » Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:43 pm

It isn't more expensive. Interest on govt debt is just an accounting thing. A scorecard. The actual money goes around on a circle.

As always, it is physical and human resources that is the constraint:

- If the govt wants to build a road or a software system, it needs someone to drive a digger or someone to write code

- If the govt has to pay more in interest then that requires zero people

Hence interest is irrelevant.
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Re: Starmer

Post by dyqik » Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:23 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:43 pm
It isn't more expensive. Interest on govt debt is just an accounting thing. A scorecard. The actual money goes around on a circle.

As always, it is physical and human resources that is the constraint:

- If the govt wants to build a road or a software system, it needs someone to drive a digger or someone to write code

- If the govt has to pay more in interest then that requires zero people

Hence interest is irrelevant.
As long as confidence in the value of the money that the government pays people remains reasonably constant, anyway.

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Re: Starmer

Post by Sciolus » Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:50 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:24 pm
the debt to GDP ratio was about 85%... the debt to GDP ratio will be just under100% by the end of the year
Please don't do this. It conveys the impression that 100% is some kind of cliff-edge, or at least threshold or milestone. It is nothing of the sort. The reason of course is that you (like virtually everyone else) have bollocksed up the units and are comparing £ to £/year. If we were on Mars the percentage would be a completely different number and would be nowhere near 100%.

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Re: Starmer

Post by dyqik » Fri Feb 09, 2024 6:06 pm

Sciolus wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:50 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:24 pm
the debt to GDP ratio was about 85%... the debt to GDP ratio will be just under100% by the end of the year
Please don't do this. It conveys the impression that 100% is some kind of cliff-edge, or at least threshold or milestone. It is nothing of the sort. The reason of course is that you (like virtually everyone else) have bollocksed up the units and are comparing £ to £/year. If we were on Mars the percentage would be a completely different number and would be nowhere near 100%.
It's a bit like comparing your salary and your mortgage - most homeowners have a debt to income level of well over 100%, and so does almost anyone with a modern student loan.

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Re: Starmer

Post by Martin_B » Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:03 pm

Sciolus wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:22 pm
headshot wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:56 pm
*Where are we now, fifth, sixth?
37th. Though a lot of those ahead are tiddly states and/or tax havens.
Erm, the Wiki page you link to puts the UK in 27th, not 37th. And that was GDP compared to (local) purchasing power. Because things are more expensive in the UK this means the ranking is lower. It's a good means for determining how wealthy Britons are, but as the question was regarding Britain on the world stage, and ability to borrow and invest on global markets, you should probably use straight GDP, where the UK is 21st.

There are other means of ranking the UK's wealth. By wage you lot are 12th.

And then on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... _per_adult
- if you sort by mean wealth the UK is 15th
- if you sort by median wealth the UK is 9th
- and a lower table has the UK 6th in mean household wealth (again by purchasing power, but looking at the other nations around the ranking possibly wouldn't change too much if ranked by actual wealth).
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Re: Starmer

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:06 pm

So yes of course, as lpm writes, there's a virtuous circle. Government borrowing is used to invest in infrastructure, education, science and healthcare. And people use all those to grow the economy, and as a result the initial debt becomes irrelevant because the overall wealth of the country has grown. Growth is a great magnet for other ingredients for success. The brightest people in the world want to come and build the careers, companies want to invest and get a piece of the action, and lenders charge low interest.

As we've discussed many times, a great example is the UK's debt after the end of the second World War. In 1945 it had a debt to GDP ratio of 225% and by 1970 it was down to 67%. This happened because of the steady UK economic growth during the long post-war boom of an average of about 3.5% per year. UK GDP doubled between 1955 and 1975, and that made the borrowing irrelevant.

UK growth has slowed down later, on average it was closer to 2.5% during the long boom years of the late 1990s and 2000s, and more like 1.7% in the decade before the pandemic. That's lower but still enough to keep the virtuous cycle motoring along.

Then along comes Brexit.

The problem is that the virtuous cycle (of debt being used to fund investment which creates growth that makes the debt irrelevant) is fragile. It isn't the birthright of the British, and it isn't an inevitable consequence of being a rich country. Japan and Italy both fell of the virtuous cycle and they had dynamic economies in the mid-20th Century. In fact, the virtuous cycle is the preserve of only a few of the most economically dynamic countries. Many countries have tried and failed. Brazil, for example, has millions of very bright people, vast natural resources and a stagnating economy.

If, and this is of course a big if, Brexit turns out to be a collective act of national economic self harm, then Britain may end up with an economy that stagnates. That means that the virtuous cycle is broken. Growth at a long term average of, say, 0.25% probably won't be enough to render government debt irrelevant over a few decades. If debt grows faster than GDP a government is faced with interest payments that take up ever more government expenditure. This can become a vicious cycle. The economy looks less secure so lenders want a higher return. The brightest people go elsewhere, including your own citizens. Companies invest elsewhere. Government debt is a problem when, as with Italy or Greece, more is being spent on interest payments than on investment.

To sum up, if Brexit has f.cked the UK economy, then everyone needs to come to terms with the very different assumptions about the relationship between debt, investment and growth. Being a poorer country with a dysfunctional economy means that borrowing to invest won't deliver growth. This is why the world is full of poor and middle income countries that haven't become rich after decades of trying. Borrowing will just result in more debt as the investment is frittered away by a thousand inefficiencies. If you want to see this happening just spend some time in one of the many stagnating economies.

But to repeat, this is just a scenario, and I'm not saying that it will happen. There's an optimistic scenario in which the UK economy re-adjusts after a few years and growth returns to something like an average of 1.5% - 2% per year. If that happens then the Prime Minister should borrow freely to invest and deliver more growth, and you're all welcome to point at me and call me a pessimist.

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