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UK Politics: who's in charge today?


mormont

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5 minutes ago, dog-days said:

In news that would once have grabbed much attention and now is like a fart in a fireworks factory, Labour MP Chris Matheson has resigned after a panel found he'd made sexual advances to a member of his junior staff. 

Bit sad about this. I've voted for him at least once, and had the impression that he was one of the more conscientious, decent people in the Commons. 

Being a sex pest doesn't exclude you from being better than the rest. 

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2 hours ago, mormont said:

I raised two kids as a single earner household on considerably less than that. So do the vast majority of the people MPs represent.

 

1 hour ago, mormont said:

More to the point: I would suggest, and many others would agree, that a far more serious problem in our government is that Parliament already has far too many of the sort of people who would think it enormously difficult to raise kids on £84,000 a year. People who would ask how they can possibly afford a nanny on that salary. There is, let's be clear, no shortage of lawyers in Parliament already. There's no evidence that the career is unattractive to those folks. What we need is more people who do not fit that tired archetype.

 

That's kind of the point though. I'm not using a hypothetical example here, it's the story of a State Senator I worked for. He went from making around $200k-$250k to less than $100K and that introduced a large strain on his marriage. These are real things people have to consider before entering politics. I'm not sure why you're so dismissive of it.

Again, I think your issue should be more with the people running for office who've never known anything other than privilege than people who are just merely doing well for themselves. 

1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

I think you're forgetting that it's the UK we're talking about.

UK and US salaries aren't really comparable
$84k is around about the comfortable wage in the US (depending on state)
£84k is around about 3x the comfortable wage in the UK

 

US equivalent for spending power, of £84k is about $250k - more-or-less doubled for cabinet members; and doubled again for expenses.

 

https://www.raisin.co.uk/budgeting/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-live-comfortably-uk/

https://www.businessinsider.com/living-wage-income-to-live-comfortably-in-every-us-state

First, I think it's really hard to compare the entire US to the UK. The latter is obviously much smaller and there's more cultural connectivity. New York and Mississippi might be part of the same country, but there as different as the UK is to Italy (excluding language).

Second, $84K sounds incredibly high. The average earnings for someone with a HS degree is around $40K pre tax. By that metric the overwhelming majority of Americans are not living comfortably. 

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1 minute ago, Tywin et al. said:

That's kind of the point though. I'm not using a hypothetical example here, it's the story of a State Senator I worked for. He went from making around $200k-$250k to less than $100K and that introduced a large strain on his marriage. These are real things people have to consider before entering politics. I'm not sure why you're so dismissive of it.

I'm suggesting that most people don't in fact have to consider reducing their income from $250K p.a. before entering politics, because most people don't earn $250K p.a.

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I can't see these articles because they're behind a paywall, but, according to the clickbait-y titles, there seems to be a narrative developing:

From The Globe and Mail: The fall of Liz Truss is a lesson in the careless fictions of populism

From the Washington Post: Liz Truss's Fall a Warning to Populists Everywhere

Populism? How can the failure of an unelected leader (a PM who did not win a general election) be a consequence of populism? Again, I can't read the articles.

My take, and I'm probably oversimplifying so anyone actually from the UK can feel free to correct me:

After 10 years of austerity, a Brexit campaign full of lies and false promises, the one-two punch of Brexit and Covid, a straining social safety net, supply chain disruptions, cost of living crisis, increasing energy costs, etc, all being overseen be a fleet of buffoons, Liz truss comes in and announces, "Tax cuts for the rich, Bitches!"; for which they were immediately punished by the markets, making the situation worse.

It's not that the markets are opposed to that sort of thing. They actually kind of like tax cuts for the rich. What the markets feared a government so clueless and out of touch that they proudly boast policies that, aside from being fiscally reckless, have no possible relevance to the actual situation on the ground, and, that said "new government" might actually cause a general strike if not a full on revolt, Romanov style.  

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1 hour ago, mormont said:

I'm suggesting that most people don't in fact have to consider reducing their income from $250K p.a. before entering politics, because most people don't earn $250K p.a.

Most people that can run do. Listen, I wish there was a more egalitarian way to do this, but we know the game is tilted and as far as I can tell the UK is following the US down the same river of shit on this front too. 

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2 hours ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

Populism? How can the failure of an unelected leader (a PM who did not win a general election) be a consequence of populism? Again, I can't read the articles.

From the WaPo which I can read as a subscriber -- this is what he's talking about -- populism doesn't mean popularly elected by a majority -- it means all those stupid libertarian 'populist' disproven and  phony snake oils peddled by them. See the final para.

Quote

 

.... Truss never had a popular mandate in the first place — fewer than 100,000 members of the Conservative Party backed her in the vote to succeed the buffoonish but cunning Boris Johnson — and made grievous political errors as well. On Wednesday, she and her aides so mishandled a routine vote in the Commons that there was pushing, shoving and pretty much a total meltdown in the Tory ranks.

In a larger sense, however, even if you leave aside her political ineptitude and her embrace of voodoo economics, Truss was in an impossible position. So was Johnson before her, and so will be her successor. The Conservative Party is in power because it embraced populism, which turns out to be a good way to win elections but an impossible way to govern.

In British politics these days, all roads lead back to Brexit. Like many in the Conservative Party, Truss originally opposed the idea of Britain leaving the European Union. But after voters narrowly voted for Brexit in 2016, she did what Johnson and many other Tories did and became a fervent Brexit supporter, bashing the E.U. and demanding that then-Prime Minister Theresa May move more quickly to finalize the divorce.
Today, none of the promised benefits of Brexit have materialized.

In fact, Britain is having a harder time than E.U. countries in dealing with the economic shocks of the covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war. There are long lines at ports of entry that even stoic Britons find hard to endure. The country faces labor shortages, especially in areas such as agriculture and home health care — relatively low-paying jobs that used to be filled by workers from Poland, Romania and other E.U. countries.

Likewise, the Conservative Party decided to encourage populist anger about immigration. In April, Johnson’s government announced a deal to send refugees who seek asylum in Britain to faraway Rwanda instead. Truss appointed a home secretary, Suella Braverman, who not only supported the Rwanda plan but wanted to go much further and see legal immigration from all sources dramatically reduced. However, Braverman resigned Wednesday. She was ostensibly fired over a documents-handling controversy, but she might as well have leapt from a sinking ship. It’s unclear what the next administration’s immigration policy might be.

When you hear Republicans in this country say “secure the border” or “crack down on crime” or “America first,” keep in mind how easy it is to write a bumper sticker and how hard it is to actually govern in a complex, interconnected world. GOP leaders, pay attention: Britain’s Conservatives have pandered their way into ruin.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Zorral said:

From the WaPo which I can read as a subscriber -- this is what he's talking about -- populism doesn't mean popularly elected by a majority -- it means all those stupid libertarian 'populist' disproven and  phony snake oils peddled by them. See the final para.

 

Unstated in this article is the influence extreme right fringe parties have had on the mainstream right. In the US you have the tea partiers and freedom caucus clowns that have come to dominate the Republican Party. That worked because they figured out how to work in the two party system.

The UK version of this is UKIP rhetoric pulling the Tories down the same road. 

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9 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

First, I think it's really hard to compare the entire US to the UK. The latter is obviously much smaller and there's more cultural connectivity. New York and Mississippi might be part of the same country, but there as different as the UK is to Italy (excluding language).

Second, $84K sounds incredibly high. The average earnings for someone with a HS degree is around $40K pre tax. By that metric the overwhelming majority of Americans are not living comfortably. 

I believe the article linked took that into account - hence dividing up the US by State.

By differences though, you'd probably have a false view of British cultural connectivity, and may have done better comparing London to the Valleys, or the Highlands (which I will now negate by looking at a couple of professions with highly centralised pay structures in the UK).

Personally, I doubt that either of us knows the other's country particularly well - hence I went for articles comparing as close to like-for-like as I could find; rather than opining.

As for average earnings of a HS grad being well below "living comfortably" - US is just like the UK then.

 

Average salary for a nurse, USA (taking out the outliers) ranges from $60,540 in S Dakota to $98,630 in Oregon. Average salary for a teacher, USA (taking out the outliers) ranges from $47,681 in W Virginia to $82,282 in New York.
Average salary for a nurse, UK (whole) is £25,896. Average salary for a teacher, UK (whole) is £31,121.

 

 

I stand by my thinking that, £84k goes about 3 times as far in the UK as $84k does in the US.

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8 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Most people that can run do. Listen, I wish there was a more egalitarian way to do this, but we know the game is tilted and as far as I can tell the UK is following the US down the same river of shit on this front too. 

Paying politicians more is the opposite of a solution.

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8 hours ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

It's not that the markets are opposed to that sort of thing. They actually kind of like tax cuts for the rich. What the markets feared a government so clueless and out of touch that they proudly boast policies that, aside from being fiscally reckless, have no possible relevance to the actual situation on the ground, and, that said "new government" might actually cause a general strike if not a full on revolt, Romanov style.

My take is that Truss’ blunder budget accelerated a trend that was already happening. We’re at the end of the QE era and markets were gonna need to wean themselves off low interest rates. External shocks like Covid and gas prices ( and yes brexit) sped things up. I think Truss could have gotten away with it and caused less panic, but she is a bad politician and a terrible communicator. Pushing through tax cuts that couldn’t be paid for except through borrowing sounds bad, but it’s terrible if you don’t provide your evidence and plan for paying stuff back. That’s just bad communication. No wonder it caused panic.

 

1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

I stand by my thinking that, £84k goes about 3 times as far in the UK as $84k does in the US.

I think it also highlights the disparity between regions in the UK. £84k as a sole income in the southeast barely gets you a half decent mortgage. If you have a family to support, after taxes and housing costs and bills, and nursery costs etc you aren’t left with almost anything at all. All these salaries look great when you see the number on a page , but the reality is after taxes and costs you barely notice it.
 

Right now £120k in the tech industry is pretty much what people are paying for heads of department, not CEO or people who run the business but a rung down. That’s an ok salary at that level. It’s absolutely kinda low for someone who is expected to run the entire country when most likely they have the option of getting a job somewhere else and make a lot more.


 

 

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33 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

My take is that Truss’ blunder budget accelerated a trend that was already happening. We’re at the end of the QE era and markets were gonna need to wean themselves off low interest rates. External shocks like Covid and gas prices ( and yes brexit) sped things up. I think Truss could have gotten away with it and caused less panic, but she is a bad politician and a terrible communicator. Pushing through tax cuts that couldn’t be paid for except through borrowing sounds bad, but it’s terrible if you don’t provide your evidence and plan for paying stuff back. That’s just bad communication. No wonder it caused panic.

 

I think it also highlights the disparity between regions in the UK. £84k as a sole income in the southeast barely gets you a half decent mortgage. If you have a family to support, after taxes and housing costs and bills, and nursery costs etc you aren’t left with almost anything at all. All these salaries look great when you see the number on a page , but the reality is after taxes and costs you barely notice it.
 

Right now £120k in the tech industry is pretty much what people are paying for heads of department, not CEO or people who run the business but a rung down. That’s an ok salary at that level. It’s absolutely kinda low for someone who is expected to run the entire country when most likely they have the option of getting a job somewhere else and make a lot more.


 

 

Yeah where as a full family on 84k in the valleys could live SUPER comfortably.

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Hum, you seem to forget about the expenses MPs receive.

Quote

The basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2022 is £84,144. MPs also receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency.

So how much do they get on top to have place to live in London? I don't think heads of departments can claim that.

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11 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Hum, you seem to forget about the expenses MPs receive.

So how much do they get on top to have place to live in London? I don't think heads of departments can claim that.

https://fullfact.org/online/mps-free-housing-alcohol/
 

They can claim expense on secondary accommodation if their constituency is outside london. 
 

My point is, 80k might sound like a lot. I’ve earned 20k and I’ve earned 80k and after tax it doesn’t feel like the huge difference it sounds like, you don’t feel you are super rich. Once you have to pay for housing and costs, the most you can say is you are comfortable if you are careful.

That’s why I think Housing has become one of the key issues for the UK, one that nobody seems to want to tackle. I don’t rent now but I know people my age paying almost 2k a month for a 1 bedroom flat in London. That’s why people have almost nothing left over

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Yes, but those living in London can claim some compensatory claim.  London Costs Allowance.

Quote

London Costs Allowance (2009/10)

The London Costs Allowance replaced the London Supplement in April 2009. It may be claimed by any Member, including Members who do not represent London constituencies, providing they do not claim Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure.

As with the London Supplement, the London Costs Allowance is payable with the monthly salary, it is subject to tax and National Insurance, and is not pensionable. From 1 April 2010 this was automatically be paid to all MPs with a constituency within 20 miles of the Palace of Westminster (the PAAE did not apply)

  • 2008/09 London Supplement: £2,916
  • 2009/10 London Costs Allowance £7,500
  • 2010/11 London Costs Allowance £7,500

 

I assume they have adjusted those once or twice over the past decade.

 

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35 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

My point is, 80k might sound like a lot. I’ve earned 20k and I’ve earned 80k and after tax it doesn’t feel like the huge difference it sounds like

A good illustration of why "feelings" and "facts" often disagree with each other, and why "privilege" can be such a contentious term.

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There’s other ways to get high value candidates. Make them take exams like civil servants do.

Going to have a little tea party this afternoon with an Italian and two Poles and try and contain my embarrassment over the absolute state of my country’s politics.:mellow:

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