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Everything posted by SeanF

  1. I think there will be no shortage of work. The danger is that it is low-skilled, not very well-paid work. Two occupations that have proliferated over the past 50 years in both the UK and USA are hospitality workers , and hair-dressers. A more recent example is the way that mechanical car washes in the UK are being replaced by individuals who provide a better service. One could imagine a huge increase in personal service jobs, as robots and AI made white collar work redundant, because people prefer the personal touch to machinery. The problem is that these jobs are not well paid. It's professional people who really have to worry about AI cutting a swathe through their jobs.
  2. It makes me think that the breakdown on Monday was just an elaborate diplomatic dance.
  3. My interpretation is that the government must resign upon losing the vote of confidence, and the Opposition then has 14 days to win a vote of confidence, before an election is required to take place. In theory, if the Conservatives had lost a vote of confidence, then there might be a majority to give a Labour government a vote of confidence. In practice, I very much doubt whether Labour would wish to attempt to form a government in that situation, so an election would follow. I expect that both the Conservatives and Labour would in fact vote in favour of an early election, if the government lost a vote of confidence. I suppose that the SNP and Lib Dems would have to weigh up whether or not an early election would be in their interests, before deciding whether to back a motion of No Confidence.
  4. One thing that I've only just begun to appreciate is that Finance Bills are no longer votes of confidence. The FPTA stipulates that a government only has to resign if it loses a vote of confidence as designated in that Act. Lining up the votes of every non-Conservative MP in order to pass a motion of no-confidence would probably be quite difficult. And, if that were achieved, it would be hard for Labour to govern effectively, with 262 MPs, (and O'Mara probably unreliable) especially as the SNP would mostly abstain on English-only matters.
  5. The FT estimated 25-73 bn net, so it comes in the middle of that range.
  6. And to continue that theme, some Elf-lords and mighty warriors were responsible for some massive disasters in the fight against evil.
  7. I agree. Samwise is a very ordinary person who performs extraordinary things. He shows that one does not need to be an elf-lord, or mighty warrior, in order to be a hero.
  8. Thanks. I've had Evangelical Protestants tell me the opposite, but I'm sure that opinions differ.
  9. I've read far worse than that about her on Facebook. Sometimes, social media is like peering into a sewer.
  10. I don't think that that would be the mainstream view among Catholics. Evangelical Protestants, yes. Catholics reckon that virtuous non-Christians, who have never been exposed to Christianity, can be saved.
  11. It's all moot, as Meghan Markle will be baptised and confirmed in the Church of England.
  12. The problem is, that after reading that page, I'm strongly tempted to find a copy of Ghost, to see if it lives up to expectations. John Ringo seems as much fun as my favourite historical novelist, Brandy Purdy, who has written novels depicting Piers Gaveston (Earl of Cornwall, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) as a male prostitute working in a French tavern, and a lesbian sex scene involving Katherine Howard, Anne of Cleves, and a pot of honey.
  13. That's a great essay, many thanks. In the Children of Hurin, it seems that Morgoth was telling a lot of truth to Hurin. He seems more like an evil rival to God (like Ahriman to Mazda) rather than a being who, however great his power, is ultimately subject to God. Although it's a very small tale (and a very minor part of your essay) I've always been intrigued by the tale of Imrazor and Mithrellas. I suppose it only began to dawn on Mithrellas what she'd signed up for, once her husband began to grow old, rather like Arwen. She realised that she'd have to watch him die, and then watch her descendants die, and she couldn't face it. Unlike Arwen, though, she had not chosen mortality, and indeed, may have had no right to choose mortality.
  14. In the case of Morgoth, yes, I think he is meant to be the Devil. The most gifted of the archangels, who rebels against God.
  15. I was prompted to read up about this series, and it is............extraordinary. Among other things, the hero tells a (presumably severely traumatised) young woman whom he's rescued from rape and torture, that she owes him a blow job, and that she shouldn't judge all men by her captors as "I haven't risked my fucking life to have you turn lesbo."
  16. She's easy to hate because she's so despicable. She really has no redeeming features. But this absence of any good quality prevents her from being "truly and effectively wicked". She's the mid-ranking bureaucrat who organises railway timetables to transport people to concentration camps, rather than a Hitler or a Stalin.
  17. Why does God allow suffering is something that Jews and Christians have wrestled with for millennia. The traditional answers were that God has plans for the world that are beyond the comprehension of mortals, and/or people must be allowed free will, including the ability to do evil and/or the Lord chastises those whom he loves. But, this story is different. Hurin and his family get cursed by the Devil, and there's nothing they can do about it. There's no suggestion that this forms part of any Divine plan, or that Hurin's family can do anything to avoid their fate. Worse, by taking their own lives, neither Turin nor his sister die in a state of grace.
  18. I think that the Tale of the Children of Hurin is Tolkien's best story, but I'm surprised that such a devout Catholic should write it. It's a story in which God simply leaves Hurin's the family to the mercy of a vindictive archangel, and is entirely without hope.
  19. I'm fully prepared to accept that the government may lie about unemployment, but I very much doubt whether the Office of National Statistics or the International Labour Organisation does so. Unemployment of 1.5m is certainly not close to full employment, as traditionally defined, and employers can source labour from all over the EU. That helps them to keep wages down, and indeed, was cited by Lord Rose as one of the benefits of EU membership.
  20. In fairness, I should say that both Lucullus and Pompey did show mercy to the people they defeated. Lucullus let the people of Tigranocerta go home, rather than enslave them, (much to the fury of his soldiers) and Pompey resettled the pirates he defeated, rather than crucifying or enslaving them. Caesar and Crassus, OTOH, were pitiless.
  21. I wouldn't set much store by the Claimant Count, which is constantly altered by the government. But, I do set quite a lot of store by the statistics of the International Labour Organisation, which show unemployment running at almost half the level of eight years ago, and marginally lower than it was a year ago. WRT Brexit, we can't know what the economic impact will be, until we know what agreement, if any, is reached with the EU.
  22. We don't yet know what the final shape of any deal with the EU will be. So far, the predictions made by George Osborne of recession, rising unemployment, and a "punishment budget" in the event of a Leave vote have not materialised. Employment has risen, and both manufacturing output and exports have benefitted from the fall in the value of sterling. The downside is that sterling's fall has added about 1% to inflation.
  23. I remember reading an old history book, written about 30 years before WWII, which described Caesar's massacre of a German tribe as "a holocaust." Many Roman generals were actually proud of the numbers that they slaughtered and enslaved. in the Ancient World, showing mercy usually meant enslaving the women and children, rather than massacring them.
  24. One can argue whether the voting age should be 16 or 18, but I think it's unreasonable to change it just for one referendum. WRT the EU Parliament, we can make a difference at the margins, with list PR, but it's nothing like as decisive as FPTP. Our trading performance is actually a good deal better with countries outside of the Single Market than with those inside of the Single Market. It is generally in surplus with the former, and heavily in deficit with the latter. That suggests to me that the Single Market has not worked out terribly well for this country.
  25. It depends whether you regard them as bad men who were bad rulers, or bad men who were good rulers.