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Ser Hedge

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  1. So in those places where there's a choice between BT's fixed line (with multiple operators in turn using that line - which at the least means you have multiple call centres dividing up user call traffic even if it's the same backbone line that has a fault, so at least shorter call waiting times) and Virgin with their own network, there's a reasonable level of service. e.g. my cable got damaged by some builders digging a new foundation at a neighbour's, Virgin shows up on the dot at the appointed time on a Saturday (no waiting all day like for the BG boiler engineer who might or might not show up because they are so busy) fixed it with no call out charge, no fuss. yes, there are all manners of sharp practices with pricing of course, but the threat of your ditching one spiv for the other does keep them in check. Just tell them you are leaving and they drop prices by 25-33%. If you have decent 4G reception, you do have the option of not taking out broadband at all. There are 100GB data packages that you can snag whenever there is a decent discount and you can share that data with your home devices, so you might not need broadband at all. You could spend less than £25 a month for all your phone and data needs this way. I do understand that Virgin are present only in some areas, but if broadband is made free, they are surely exiting this business eventually and the prospect of their (or someone else) expanding to where you live is gone forever. No I don't think that, I was pre-empting someone going "Oh you think the guys administrating benefits are easy to deal with ?". If the private contractors are the problem, kick them out. All I meant is we need to make the benefits department work as intended and they can then take responsibility for providing financial aid for broadband for those not able to afford it. I'm not a fan of government contracting out basic services to contractors. There is always something that goes wrong there. That's fine. Just saying don't make it free! Let the Virgins co-exist with the BTs, O2s, Talk-Talk and whoever else uses OpenReach and they keep each other in check. The moment it's free, you are back to a system of private contractors delivering services on behalf of the government that like @mormont says is a shit arrangement. Ha, no. The Tories might just be re-arranging a few chairs on the upper deck, while Corbyn wants to move a few chairs between decks. No one here is changing the course of the Titanic.
  2. I'm all for providing customers who for geographical reasons have no service with a tax payer financed service, because that's fair and we are one country and no one should be left behind. Maybe the best solution for some cases may not be optical fibre, but 4G - I don't know, it should be analyzed and done sensibly. If access is available, but people cannot afford it, they should be encouraged financially o and with training to obtain access to the internet and use it for online payments and other usage which many of us take for granted. The bureaucracy you deal with this already exists in the form of the benefit system. If the clerks administrating benefits are apathetic to human suffering, turf them out and reform the department. There is zero reason to nationalize everything willy nilly because you can't be bothered to sweat the details. At the same time, nationalizing essential services that are not working should always be on the table. If a particular rail operator or energy utility is found a terrible job, take over just that particular company into public ownership (and watch the others suddenly become much better!) The Tories do not exercise their power to regulate at all (because their corrupt friends are running them), while this current version of Labour want to throw the baby out with the bathwater completely Just change the bathwater! Oh, wait that's not a vote winner.
  3. If you are designing the system from scratch, for sure. The below quote is from Ofcom: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/130736/Connected-Nations-2018-main-report.pdf When so many people already have potential access to fast broadband that many are paying for already, why make it free for those that are paying for it already and lose the benefits of good service that only comes with competition? A single operator is guaranteed to give you lousy service. This policy is not really designed to help the rural population (for whom I would gladly pay a surcharge on top of my regular bill to ensure the elderly in the Outer Hebrides or school children on the Orkney Islands have the same access as everybody else), it's a gimmicky freebee for for a particular demographic voter group, who can already afford basic internet, but would just love to have unlimited data for free at super fast speed. I have this feeling they won't be spending it on www.gov.uk. If you want a real revolution, go after these guys https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/apr/17/who-owns-england-thousand-secret-landowners-author Take 25% of everybody's holding above a certain (very high) ceiling, sell it or lease it, invest in a sovereign wealth fund like Norway's, use the investment income to get the homeless off the streets, children out of poverty, invest in roads, rail, broadband/4G in places that don't have them, invest in green energy, pay the WASPI pension by all means, in fact pay every adult and child in the UK an Andrew Yang-style basic income, no need for benefits or pensions at all. All the bureaucracy simplified. The ultra-large landowners won't like it, but what are they going to do? Leave? Please, after you. All these other muddled half-thought-out policies will just result in valuable tax payers leaving and companies under investing. Confiscating a bit from aristos who won't even miss it, is less likely to have that effect when the process is handled very sensibly. In fact you can probably cut income tax and corporation tax while at it!
  4. You raise a good point about shareholder dividends. While historically in countries where large sectors of the economy have been run by the state service standards tend to drop as the concept of customer focus just dissipates, let's say that won't be the case here and the new state rail and utility companies provide a service closer to the better run councils or government government departments than the worse ones. I'd still be very curious about other policies though: Where is the money for the WASPI pensions going to come from and why does such an announcement with a huge cost appear out of nowhere days after the manifesto launch? Sure, it's a debt of honour, but there are debts of honour that can be paid to commonwealth countries, Ireland, Denmark (for bombing them in the Napoleonic wars even though they hadn't even picked Napoleon's side, but merely had a navy that Napoleon might capture), the entire Middle East for all the lines lazily drawn on maps creating conflicts to the present day, every descendant of slavery, China (for the opium wars) ...... let's face it we can only be honourable within our means or in manageable installments. On Broadband, I agree the whole country should have the access to broadband or at least a high quality 4G mobile data connection. If private companies have not built the infrastructure in some parts of the country, the government should do it or pay them to do it. Those who cannot afford it should have a free or subsidized connection provided, that's fair. Also the training and help they need so they can use it properly. If this is what is being addressed that works be fine. But free broadband for everybody??? Even the 46% households who anyway have ultrafast broadband already? Even those who have access to one, can afford it, but have decided their 4G plan with 100GB data is so good they don't need optic fibre broadband? What kind of lunatic comes up with this idea? Oh, I do hate it when my provider jacks up the charge during and often right after I've taken out a new contract. Address these sharp practices by all means, but abolishing all of them and replacing themwith a state monolith is a business model the East bloc have already tried and discarded. Keeping the dividends in the UK is not going to help when productivity has dropped through the floor (which will happen when most industries are owned by the government and the better run multinationals flee other sectors as well fearing expropriation). The one radical idea I do wish the Kommunisticheskiy Soyuz Molodyozhi Laboursheviks would adopt is to seize some land from ultra large hereditary free holders like the Duke of Westminster, the Saxe-Coburg und Gothas and the tiny handful of families that own 99% of Scotland or whatever the statistic is. That I can competely get behind.
  5. Labour are not out of it (as a hung parliament is probably what they are aiming for) especially with a reported 1.86million of the 2.8million new registrations under the age of 35. I don't know about this ICM/Reuters poll, but you have to think a lot of pollsters may not be weighting adequately in favour of these newly registered youth voters. Jo Swinson did not come across well in Friday's QT even if the Sheffield crowd were not representative of Lib Dem/Tory marginals, so a further collapse in LibDem support in seats where they are #3 is not unlikely helping Labour in Tory/Labour Remain marginals. And finally, free stuff works and despite the new hospitals and more nurses and police the Tories might have lost the spin battle as Sajid has (responsibly) held his ground vs the strategists and populists who wanted to cut taxes and put money in people's pockets. The beauty is Labour can just keep adding to the freebies every day (as with the women's pension reform announced well after the manifesto, probably in response to the first QT question to Boris and ironically answered truthfully "We looked at at and looked at it and looked it and really want to help, but there is no money we can magic up") as they will be in a coalition and don't need to deliver all of it. Of course, Cameron thought he was playing the same game in '15 with the referendum and we know what happened there, let's hope that doesn't happen again.
  6. Yep for sure. There were audience members explicitly bitter about tuition fees, about austerity, about other coalition-era policies like fracking, then you had Leavers obviously and finally Remainers unhappy about the Revoke plan! They preferred a People's vote which the Lib Dems have championed all along before letting JC own it now. I think we touched on the Revoke in the forums before, I myself had got it wrong that the 'auto-Revoke' was only if they got a majority. It now looks like the Lib Dem messaging really has got people confused. Well, I guess they were never going to get much of the Remain vote in places like Sheffield anyway, but it didn't feel like Swinson was making her case well enough to the wider TV audience. Being elected Leader months before a GE really hasn't helped either.
  7. The "We'll revoke if we win a majority, and read the small print about our consistent support for a people's vote in the event that we don't win outright" strategy turned out to be too cute by half for the QT audience. Add in Jo's inexperience and inability to turn the conversation around to highlight her message, and of course the LibDem's record in the coalition and the result was really not pretty. But you have to wonder how the audience gets picked. How did they find so many remainers who hate the Lib Dems?
  8. King of the Stepstones ? The latest seems to that this turd of an ersatz Daemon Targaryen doesn't really want to retire entirely, wants to keep his [email protected] and intends to resume his other duties soon.
  9. We will not have to pay this degenerate's travel expenses for a while. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/20/prince-andrew-to-step-back-from-public-duties-for-foreseeable-future
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/18/muslim-voters-swing-marginal-seats-research But the more significant news is that the NHS has the Tories running scared. First, the reversal in the decision to cut corporation tax allows them to say they 'found' another 6bn for the NHS. And this is the latest (finally an NHS fix for the pension tax mess created by Osbourne): https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/doctors-tax-bills-to-be-paid-by-nhs-to-avoid-winter-staffing-crisis-bb9slk0tc Funny though how they do nothing for 2.5 years (or even in the 4.5 years since they won a simple majority) and try to fix it in the last month before elections. We should have more elections!
  11. This is exactly the issue at the heart of the matter. And then of course there is 'what should be done' vs what politicians will actually do or how they think they can get electoral mileage out of this. Labour seem to be divided - let's see which wing wins out in the manifesto. But the worst thing they can do is go with pro-immigration now, but like New Labour later pretend there might be issues around how that immigration is taking place and that concerns need to be listened to. That kind of thing creates a negative atmosphere for immigrants who came here legally. If you are pro-immigration, also make the argument for it and stick with it - but unlikely to happen, the next Leader or the one after can always change his/her mind and decide they need that particular segment of Leave voters again. Lib Dems - addressing pro-immigration through being pro-EU - these are obviously related, but not the same. I actually don't know what their stance on non-EU immigration is. Tories - past masters at duplicity. Sound explicitly nasty and blow dog whistles to appeal to the xenophobic camp, but traditionally please business by giving them access to cheap labour (and of course to higher end skills as well). With cheap EU labour off the table, will be interesting to see what they do in the end. Yes, NHS and care workers they already told us about, as well as seasonal farm workers. Likely they just let people overstay illegally as well in places like London as long as business is happy. Until immigration becomes a hot topic again and the next Theresa May brings out the vans again.
  12. Good point, there was a Rory Stewart interview where he mentioned some of his (former) constituents in Cumbria bringing up immigration and that being as irrelevant as his father in rural Scotland fulminating about crime. The psychology of why generally landed rural folk in the South-West, the shires and Cumbria formed their view on immigration might probably be a little different from that of (former ?) Labour voters in the 'Red Wall' though, even if they arrived at the same view in the end.
  13. Coming back to the Observer/Guardian article that Werthead posted, is it fair to agree with the view that right-wing trash tabloids tried to create a perception that EU immigration was somehow a threat, and the then (Left in name only) New Labour government went on the defensive allowing the debate to be framed along the lines of EU immigration being potentially detrimental culturally or in terms of social services - obviously forced into it by the opposition as well, but with their big majorities they need to take most of the responsibility. This perception about EU immigrants somehow putting a strain caught on in economically stagnant former industrial heartlands, some of which might have had some recent levels of recent EU immigration, but others might probably have actually had very few immigration. With these regions then voting Leave, politicians' perceptions seem to have been reinforced that voters in these traditionally Labour strongholds have this view that the new immigrants somehow were a strain, or at least at the rate at which they were coming was an issue, and that that view needed be addressed/pandered to. It's obviously very clear with the Tories, BxP/UKIP, but you can also see it in the intra-party debate in Labour with traditional (McCluskey) and Northern Labour (Andy Burnham) trying to push back against the activist/youth/North London non-Jewish/non-elite Labour wings. If you agree with this that it's about perceptions and perceptions about perceptions, then it's actually totally irrelevant if EU immigrants flocked together (like lower income non-EU immigrants in London have often tended to do) or didn't. The cultural impact on any British identity actually seems pretty small. Did social services come under strain? Maybe, you read some anecdotal evidence often, but it doesn't actually matter what the reality is if the perception game had already been won. What would be interesting to figure out if the tabloids were playing out someone's strategic game or merely randomly stirring up trouble.
  14. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-election-davey-government/uk-liberal-democrats-say-they-could-back-minority-government-on-issue-by-issue-basis-idUKKBN1XP1TB
  15. A good article, thank you. I hope the below is on target, would mean perhaps we have passed peak hysteria on this issue. Also earlier in the article, the author recounts how, not surprisingly, Murdoch and other right wing media had New Labour on the backfoot on immigration and successfully framed the whole debate. Wonder what their next move will be assuming BoJo WA goes through - with or without him (Uxbridge supposedly running very, very close )
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