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Saturday, 30 September 2017


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David, your lamentations sound familiar. It seems both our countries have a common problem- dead in the water governments that have become to big to act, too sclerotic to change, and are just in the way of orderly living for we tax payers. The larger and more corrupt the government, the more laws and rules it piles on the rest of us.

It is quite simple. If you import over a quarter of million people each year, there will never be enough houses. Or hospital beds. Or school places. Or space on roads. Just stop doing it!

She has good reason to be known as "Mrs. Maybe". By way of David Cameron the GBP has stepped in it but good and will most likely blame any politicians other than the most fanciful. Will it be 'Back To The '70's With Jeremy' or 'Glorious Brexit With Boris'? Stay tuned.


How come there's always enough food, clothing, mobile phones, XBoxes, cars, and booze, no matter how many people arrive?


Have you noticed that all the things on yr list are produced by the private sector?

If we seriously want more housing we need to eviscerate the Town and Country Planning Act.
Using this councils can and do restrict the amount of land available for development and also restrict the type of development allowed. This makes land with planning permission ten times as expensive as land without. Check this- deduct the value of your plot valued as agricultural land from the market value of your property. Then deduct the rebuilding costs as per your structure insurance. What is left is the cost of the planning permission, purely caused by the application of the T&CPA.
Councils routinely set conditions for planning including such things as a requirement for an archaeological investigation. These take time and money to comply with, and I'm far from confident that the costs should be born by housebuyers.
Councils also charge the housebuyers a fair chunk of change under section 106. Ok the developer writes the cheque but it's the buyer who pays. This despite the fact that the council is acquiring a stream of income from future council tax payments.
And no, developers are not sitting on land to profit from rising prices. They want cashflow. They keep a big enough bank of land going through the planning process so that they always have enough to build on.

Pat, that sounds depressingly accurate!

Of course a downside (as some would see it) to producing more housing would be that the market value of existing houses would fall. There is no clever scheme that will make houses affordable to first time buyers that won't do this. Well unless the taxpayer coughs up shedloads of dosh for every first purchase and that wouldn't solve the shortage, just change who gets first pick.
For myself I would like three things:
To continue living in my house.
To leave my kids/ grandkids loads of money.
To see my kids/grandkids in their own homes.
The present setup enables one and two and precludes three.
I would rather have one and three even if I have to forgo two.

David, et al.

Disclosure: I have already stated several times that I avoid participating in the ongoing Brexit debate primarily because I don't have any "skin in the game." In my remarks that follow, I am only commenting as an unbiased observer.
IMHO, the ongoing Brexit debate here will probably continue ad infinitum. My reason for this is that none of the specific threads on this subject is ever terminated by an acknowledgment of the final remarks made by any of the participants.

When a specific thread merely peters out (without an "acknowledgment"), the entire discussion in the thread might just as well not have occurred. Moreover, the thread will very likely be repeated as if the preceding thread had in fact never occurred.

On the other hand, if one of the parties to the discussion/debate submits a comment "Acknowledged", it could be taken to mean that "We needn't repeat this thread in the future because I either agree with you or I agree to disagree with you and see no reason to continue this aspect of the debate".

Such a formality has, at least, some chance of precluding a subsequent repeat performance.


I think both sides "acknowledge" the position of the other, de facto.

It's just that as each new piece of evidence arises, like a new scientific experiment whose results will corroborate or falsify a theory (or was that a law? Maybe either), each side wishes to incorporate or discredit the evidence as appropriate to their cause, as is quite normal in these matters! And so a rehash of the debate occurs.

And since the evidence is coming thick and fast, the implications for each side stirs the discussion again, with the new herb or spice added to the stew.

As for the public sector and monopoly vs. competitive market debate, I too thought that debate was "acknowledged" as a done deal many years ago, in favour of competitive markets. However, in Blighty, the enemy has reanimated, and like the army of the dead in Game of Thrones, we have to fight them again ...

The endless battle. Turtles all the way down the generations, these two. In fact, the pattern of what Brexit is, and the pattern of what authority economics vs. competitive market economics is, are the two abstractions of what the politics of the individual vs. power is all about, the very essence. Get on the right side of them, and all experimental results in the future will go your way.

And on a practical perspective, both of these flying turds are heading towards your fan over the pond. So even though not particular to the US state of affairs today, you might as well get some practice in and join the fray now so you're ready for your tomorrow!


Online debates accomplish very little if any in terms of advancement on either side. Although, it does create a backfire_effect.


If the "backfire effect" is true, how come I changed my position on the EU and UK 180 degrees a couple of years ago, and on the Euro currency too?

The "backfire effect" sounds like some half-baked psychobabble served up by the army of the dead to see where it might go in stifling debate and opinion forming in a free and open society using the modern tools available to it.



Exactly. If the private sector can scale with ease for all the new arrivals and their buying power, why can't the public sector with all the extra taxes from that new expenditure?



Turtles, market forces, and having an argument - is this the psychiatric clinic to which we all aspire?! ...

What a beaut.

It's a fair cop, guv.


One would be hard put to find a study declaring the "backfire effect" 100% accurate.

You might be onto something about the psychobabble.

Oops, I lost the argument! Correct link above.



Thanks for inviting Yanks into the Brexit conversation, but you're wrong about the situation here resembling Britain's on anything other than the most superficial level. We have no hard left or politician resembling Corbyn on the national level. Trump and BoJo are somewhat similar, but only in the use of some political techniques.

Bob, where would you place Bernie?

"Bob, where would you place Bernie?"

Inquiring minds want to know that one.


"I think both sides 'acknowledge' the position of the other, de facto."
No. There is a subtle difference between "Acknowledged" and no response, which makes all the difference.

"Acknowledged" is shorthand for "I have recorded what you said; at this point, I have nothing further to say on the matter. You may assume that I am either in agreement with you, or I agree to disagree."

"No response" could imply just about anything, including, "I am debating with a stupid fck who doesn't know shit from Shinola."

Sanders wants to nationalize healthcare insurance via "Medicare for all". That's not the same as a socialized system like Britain's. The US is the only advanced democracy to not have a nationalized system of some type, so it's now the norm.

His other big issues are veteran's affairs, infrastructure, a clean environment, progressive taxation, education, civil rights, and pension security. On trade his stance is similar to Trump's. That's not a strictly partisan issue here.


Since you're probably not familiar I'll mention that Medicare is a public/private system. Those with Medicare go to private clinics, hospitals, labs, etc. Also, Medicare only covers %80 of costs and has a yearly deductible. Except for those beneath the poverty line, nearly everyone buys government regulated supplemental insurance from the private sector that roughly equals the cost of the Medicare policy.

Where are the howls that Sanders is the American Stalin? You guys are slipping.


Interesting trans-pond linguistic divergence taking shape here:

When you say "nationalization" you mean merely extending something, a policy, law, or other, to the whole nation, I think?

In Blighty we take "nationalization" to mean "the state ownership of the means of production and distribution". That concise phrase was used by one Arthur Scargill, a Brit Marxist character from the 1970's, and has stuck in my mind ever since.

So your definition of nationalization might include, for example, a law mandating private health insurance for all, with a state funding formula for low income earners. Brits would not call that nationalization - nor would Marx. Brits might call that socialization, or social policy, which completes the precise labelling swap between US and UK!

Is that right?

If that is so, are you saying that Bernie Sanders is NOT for any "state ownership of the means of prod and dist" (US socialization / UK nationalization)? You're saying he is merely for the consistent application of social law and policy across the nation (US nationalization / UK socialization)?



Just had a thirty second google, aka, "peering through the cracks around the hatch of the first Trojan horse heading across the pond to a town near you, and seeing those menacing eyes a glintin' in the dark!" ...

The two S's: Socialism and Secession. First one's hit landfall already. Second one's, what was that tagline old Lenin's Tomb used to have on his home page? Oh yes, "Not dead, just resting". He's taken that down these days, coz he ain't resting or dead! And as the hardening division of left and right politics in the US finds its geographical basis, secession will rear its head again.

There, BigHen, we're on home turf now! You can engage (after a trip to the meds cabinet for some Ibuprofen, maybe) without a passport or a nosebleed for leaving your US comfort zone! :-) :-) :-)


The Sanders method? Same as always, gradually.

Blimey Whiters, that was bang on target! Oct 1st as well.

I'll never forget that cabbie in Boston who took us to the station, "That Bernie Sanders, I kinda like what he's saying, y'know?"

That shut me up, good 'n' proper. Fluffbun's like, "What's up, you look a bit Grumpy?", "Just get me to Penn Station and the Statue of Liberty before it's too late."



I've tried to make the point that "socialism" covers a lot of different philosophies and is a term without meaning at this point. "Marxism" is even less useful. Marx predicted a stateless society:

"Withering away of the state is a concept of Marxism, coined by Friedrich Engels, and referring to the idea that, with realization of the ideals of socialism, the social institution of a state will eventually become obsolete and disappear, as the society will be able to govern itself without the state and its coercive enforcement of the law."

That actually sounds a lot like libertarianism.

And yes, in America the term "nationalization" generally means the extension of a law to apply to the nation. Some people do distort that meaning for political purposes, though. The terminology is further complicated because the word "federalism", which you might expect to have the same meaning, has come to mean states' rights, as in the "new federalism" popularized during the Reagan administration. It's a backlash to the New Deal era:

Oh, and as far as I know Sanders is not for any type of Soviet-style central planning, only more strict regulation.

"Oh, and as far as I know Sanders is not for any type of Soviet-style central planning, only more strict regulation." Of course not. Not at first anyway. Give he or she who follows Bernie some time.

I had an acquaintance from the South who told me that since grade school he had been warned by his teachers to "watch out for socialism". The word certainly has a regional meaning probably related to lingering resentment of the federal government. In modern America rants against "socialism" are straw man arguments.


After thinking about it I've remembered that "nationalize" had the same meaning here it still does in Britain. The Eisenhower administration took action against Iran for attempting to "nationalize" its oil industry. It strikes me that our political language has been so bastardized after 40 years of intense PR efforts that America no longer has a common political language to discuss anything. It's hard to see Trump making things other than exponentially worse. Maybe FoD is right to worry for America.

Loz @(Monday, 02 October 2017 at 11:36)

Acknowledged :)

No matter how you slice it, "The Greatest Briton" said it all:

"By itself, nationalization has nothing to do with socialism, having been historically carried out for various different purposes under a wide variety of different political systems and economic systems. However, nationalization is, in most cases, opposed by laissez faire capitalists as it is perceived as excessive government interference in, and control of, economic affairs of individual citizens."

Notice all the conditional wording, especially "in most cases" and "perceived". Political rhetoric has nothing to do with objective definitions, no matter who spouts it.

Apropos "Disagreement" (h/t Malcolm Pollack):

"I am not saying that there is no place for intelligent disagreement. There is, and it ought to be conducted with mutual respect, open-mindedness, and all the rest. The crucial point Stephens misses is that fruitful disagreement can take place only under the umbrella of shared principles, values, and purposes. To invert the metaphor: fruitful disagreement presupposes common ground.

And here is the problem: lack of common ground. I have nothing in common with the Black Lives Matters activists whose movement is based on lies about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and the police. I have nothing in common with Antifa thugs who have no respect for the classical traditions and values of the university. I could go on: people who see nothing wrong with sanctuary jurisdictions, with open borders, with using the power of the state to force florists and caterers to violate their consciences; the gun grabbers; the fools who speak of 'systemic racism'; the appeasers of rogue regimes . . .

There is no comity without commonality, and the latter is on the wane. A bad moon is rising, and trouble's on the way. Let's hope we can avoid civil war."

Read the whole essay here:

Ref "acknowledged" comment BigHen, hehehe, great answer, touché!



Interesting essay.

Faced with the two challenges of socialism and islamism, with both of which free societies have irreconcilable differences and unresolvable arguments, it appears secession or bloodshed are the only options.

Islamism is rather more excused, I think, for disturbing the "unity", as MP puts it. Like a wild animal that's just wandered into the coral from the woods where it has lived for 1500 years, its vicious behaviour is understandable. With time and patience the creature might become domesticated enough to cohabit the coral with the other ex-wild beasties.

It might not, of course, but I venture to suggest it is not known, and so there is hope. And where there's hope, a chance should be given.

Socialism, on the other hand, has been given every chance it is possible to give. And failed. Broken by design, and failed in practice.

Therefore, if there's leeway to be given, and patience to be had, I would say that Islam deserves it better than socialism. I know many Muslims through work who have been tamed very nicely.

As for socialists, this reanimating zombie that never lies down and dies, but merely rests: Secession first, and if that doesn't work, bloodshed next.


The above is well put! I would much prefer Islam confront itself in its own lands first. Only there can it have its own Reformation and confrontation with itself. As for "Socialists" of many stripes...I learned about them long ago and far away. If push comes to shove between socialism and freedom, I won't tolerate the "socialist", even at my age.

Loz | Tuesday, 03 October 2017 at 09:24


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