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Montevideo, May 21st 2018 - 13:13 UTC

Theresa May plans a snap general election: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not”

Tuesday, April 18th 2017 - 12:41 UTC
Full article 86 comments

United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June. She said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum, and supporting her decision, said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.” Read full article


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  • darragh

    Cue Think and his various personas with some drivel or other....

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 01:27 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Martin Woodhead

    what country does she think shes leading Brexit has split the country and its showing no signs of uniting at all I hate the goverment and would do nothing to support ever.

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 02:15 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • The Voice

    The turkeys kept agitating for Christmas and now they have it!


    Apr 18th, 2017 - 04:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    That's the TV off line for months. We will be faced with a barrage of lies and half -truths from ALL sides.

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 04:25 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Think

    What you Engrish need is a Chauncey Gardiner...

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 04:44 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • AustrOllOpithecus

    The Italians are shocked a country's politics so could be so unstable and volatile.

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 04:48 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • DemonTree

    Wonderful, a choice between the hard-Brexit Tories who want to push us off a cliff with no plan, a Labour more interested in fighting each other, and the no-hoper sellout Lib-Dems. Not that it matters; since I live in safe seat there's really no point voting anyway.

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 07:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • EscoSesDoidao

    The independant......

    Apr 18th, 2017 - 09:19 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT

    There is always a point in voting. That thinking is how we ended up with Brexit.

    Looking at the decision I can understand why May has done it. She is so far ahead in the polls and there is no effective opposition. In her position most of us would attempt as big a majority as possible to make the Brexit deal easier to get through parliament.

    What pisses me off is the right-wing press determined to divide the country even further. Papers whose owners are non-doms and are only interesting in stirring up shit to sell papers. The idea that the 48% who voted against Brexit should some how shut up and not have an opinion goes against the idea of democracy and free speech. As long as I pay tax and vote in my country I will express my opinion. Yes, the small majority voted for Brexit but how hard or soft that will be is entirely up for debate. Let the debate begin.

    @TTT How is calling a general election unstable? If you understood just a little bit about politics you would understand why May called the election. Stop being ignorant because you are actually better than that.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 12:54 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • The Voice

    Luckily I am overseas for half the time and won't have to endure all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that has been going on for months now. Jeremy is certainly doomed, the swivel eyed loon may pick up a seat or two. But what happens in Scotland will be very interesting - a verdict on whether Scots really do want another referendum. The fate of the Nats will be clearer.
    With a clear mandate Theresa will be able to get on with it with a vote of confidence in her and Tory policies giving us a chance to sort out the remains of Labours mess and the banksters crimes. 5 years will do nicely.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 01:53 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Think

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 03:06 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Skip

    A stroke of genius.

    Brexit is going to happen, whether people like it or not, so a strong electoral mandate will help secure the best deal for both sides when the EU tries to play hardball.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 03:21 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    At least my vote counted in the referendum, even if we lost. With FPTP it really doesn't.

    I wonder if I could help campaign or do something else that actually makes a difference? But first Labour need to come up with proper plan for the negotiations so people can have a real choice, at the moment they don't seem to have any more idea what to do than the Tories.

    @The Voice
    Considering the Tories have already had 7 years to sort out the mess and have failed miserably, I don't understand how you think giving them another 5 will help. The economy is crap, Britain is the only European country other than Greece where the average income is still lower than in 2008 and we even lost our AAA rating which Osbourne claimed was so important. I guess we won't have to worry about the bankers any more though since they'll all have moved to Europe. I miss the days when Conservatives actually cared about the economy.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 03:56 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • The Voice

    Average salary Greece £12000 pa

    Average salary UK £25000 pa

    UK unemployment 4.5%
    Greek unemployment 23.5 %
    Greek youth unemployment 50%

    Labour want to spend an extra £500 billion pa. That would double income tax, double VAT and other taxes and ruin the country. Corbyn lives on another planet... We are already spending £1 billion a week in debt interest. The UK has to live within its means. We aren't there yet.

    Some people like Corbyn live on other planets !

    The Tories are the only choice, there is no other credible alternative...

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 04:11 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • DemonTree

    @The Voice
    Slightly out of date now but nothing has changed substantially:

    ”Since the global financial crisis, workers’ real wages and family living standards in the UK have suffered to an extent unprecedented in modern history. Real wages of the typical (median) worker have fallen by almost 10 per cent since 2008; and real family incomes for families of working age by almost the same.““

    You might also like to note:

    ”... pensioner households have actually fared much better than working age households.”

    Perhaps this is why you haven't noticed quite how terribly the economy is doing?

    I don't think Corbyn's plans are great, but we KNOW that what the Tories have been doing doesn't work. We need to grow the economy, not counter-productively scrimp and save.

    Besides, if you cared about the national debt, you wouldn't have voted for Brexit. The new government has abandoned the plan to eliminate the deficit by 2020, the debt is going to get a hell of a lot bigger now.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 05:03 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • ElaineB

    Corbyn is unelectable. If you want a Labour government then start a media campaign now to get rid of him and put someone electable in his place. He is the Hillary Clinton in the election. People - even long-term Labour voters - won't vote for him because they don't like him.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 05:33 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • AustrOllOpithecus

    It is unstable in large measure because she is USING the institutions of your country for her own political machinations, just as by the way David Cameron did, and such a cheap move of expediency backfired ignominiously on him, but in the proceed also landed you all in the dilemma you are now breast deep in. And she is using this tactic again! How could the British electorate be so easily decieved? She is willing to sow more long term division for a short sighted political goal. This is a monumental gift to the heart beat of the Independent Scotland.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 06:13 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • The Voice

    Nostrils...Except the Scots don't want to leave the UK....Fail! This election will see the Nats punished. Tories being elected in Scotland!

    There's no dilemma, the majority know exactly where we are going, onwards and upwards.

    Unemployment here is 0.25%, people get off their backsides and graft. Incomes are up, unemployment is falling, low paid people pay less tax, the economy is expanding, new council houses under construction. Workshy scroungers and fake disability claimants are getting found out, they don't even turn up to interviews any more. That's the way the deficit will get fixed. It's going to be a landslide.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 07:34 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • ElaineB

    @ TTT

    That does not define unstable. What TM is doing is perfectly legal. Having taken over as PM when Cameron resigned it is probably a good move to test her backing by the British people in a General Election. John Major did much the same thing to silence critics when he took the reins from MT.

    Let me help you understand a little of the reasoning behind it. We are now fully engaged in the Brexit era of negotiating our leaving Europe. It is better to test public opinion now rather than have anything that might undermine the stability of the government and weaken our position. People now have the right to confirm they support TM's vision of Brexit and her ability to act in our best interests. Remember, she became PM because Cameron resigned and has not yet been tested in a General Election and that could be exploited during the negotiations.

    For from causing instability it is doing the opposite. Sorry to spoil your wet dream but no one here is being fooled.

    As for Scotland, I very much doubt your view of the situation. Don't get too excited.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 08:23 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • DemonTree

    Did you notice that May is refusing to do any televised debates? Probably because she somehow has even less charisma than Corbyn and can't debate to save her life. Now that might be worth starting a media campaign over.

    I don't think there will be much hope though, voters are moving to the right all across Europe, I just hope its a temporary thing or we will all be very, very screwed.

    @The Voice
    0.25% unemployment but workshy scroungers are the problem? Sure you don't want to rethink that? Anyway, you shouldn't knock those people, they were some of the biggest voters for Brexit, and dealing with them is likely to cost money rather than saving it; it's not remotely going to fix the deficit. The single biggest cost is pensions followed by healthcare, which do you want to cut first?

    The Tories hard Brexit austerity with no compromise is exactly what will push Scotland out of the UK. Even if the Tories gain a few MPs in Scotland - and it's a big if - it won't make much difference to the SNP. The Tories are taking advantage of Labour's unpopularity, not of their own successes; they haven't any. The SNP don't have Labour's problem and are still very popular, and they are the only party to have an actual plan.

    I wish one of you Brexiters would explain to my why you were willing to risk so much - the economy, Britain's power and influence, and existence of the Union itself - just to get out of the EU? Brexit is a gift for our enemies, and our government are already desperately sucking up to the US. Why is being America's lackey preferable to being part of a union where we were one of the biggest members and were able to opt out of the majority of the parts we didn't like?

    And have you seen the latest from Boris Johnson?

    “He said it would be ”very difficult“ for the UK to say no to a request for support from the US to a future strike if it was in pursuit of similar objectives.”

    Will you be marching against this war like you did against the Iraq one?

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 08:57 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • The Voice

    Listening to the many disaffected Labour voters on the radio and TV and the many working class ladies who are changing their vote to the Tories is quite heartening. Watching Ruthie who is out to skewer the Nats was most entertaining!. She was a remainer who is actually showing intelligence and recognising that Theresa will make sure the UK leaves the dismal EU in good shape instead of whingeing and moaning like so many. More needed with her positive outlook.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 09:55 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • ElaineB

    @ EB

    Yes, I saw that about the debates and I am thinking she will change her mind. I honestly don't think anyone is as poor as Corbyn with the media but the thing is that the Brexit voters like TM because she reminds them of MT. Notice how the vocal ones are, in the main, a bunch of old fogies always harping back to 'the good old days'? There were no 'good old days'. We have never been as prosperous and safe as these years in the EU. But the problem has been media brainwashing and successive governments using the EU as a convenient whipping boy for all their failings; no matter which party. So, an entity that not many people understand and no one can be bothered to really explain becomes the root of all evil.

    The biggest problem is ill-informed people. Look at the U.S., a bold bare-faced liar who is the establishment leading the anti-establishment movement. As Trump says in his book, 'Say whatever you need to get the deal; it doesn't matter what you do afterwards'. And that could easily be applied to Brexit. People where whipped up into a frenzy over immigration and 'taking back our country' when Brexit will not affect immigration numbers and we have isolated ourselves from the safety and prosperity of a large trading bloc. Never underestimate the stupidity of the general public.

    As for Corbyn, if he is too left-wing for core Labour voters what hope is there for an effective opposition or alternative government? Governments work best when they are held accountable and challenged. At some point the majority of Labour voters will have to get off their arses and do something about getting rid of their lame duck.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 09:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    And to think how lots of allegedly clever, educated 'liberal' people absolutely adored Blair in 1997, and told us we were at the dawn of a new era of hope and change.

    I never understood why they had such optimism about Blair, and they could never explain why they did. They just seemed to take it as self-evident that Blair was a wonderful, caring and clever person who would end the old politics for good.

    But he let them down. They blundered in supporting a warmonger who also spent so much cash he left the economy in ruins. And many of these same people had the cheek to tell everyone else that they were misled during the referendum campaign because they weren't clever enough to realise they were being lied to.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 10:18 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    I hope she changes her mind about the debates. It's not surprising Corbyn is unpopular with the media, since most of it is fairly right-wing economically. They are happy to push socially liberal ideas but they won't support anyone who might threaten their rich owners' bottom line.

    IMO opinion this is the big problem for left-wing parties today. For a long time they have been pushed towards concentrating on social problems and ignoring economic ones, and now their core voters have got disillusioned.

    May is no Thatcher, but it hardly matters with such weak opposition. And people are becoming more and more detached from reality, believing the nonsense they read on Facebook and propaganda sites like RT. Your opinions can hardly fail to be wrong if they are all based on lies.

    @The Voice
    Why? Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Can you name one good thing the current lot of Conservatives have achieved (and Brexit doesn't count, because the government campaigned for Remain and lost their referendum).

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 10:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Remoaners seem to be people who are often little more than pompous, sad, miserable misanthropes, too eager to see faults in their own country and the people they live amongst, and too eager to view foreign countries and their people favourably because they think it makes them look clever, cosmopolitan and sophisticated.

    These people are at the opposite extreme of the opinion spectrum from the ultra-patriotic bores who go on about how great the UK is.

    The great majority of us are in the middle, holding reasonable views, judging issues on the facts and on how things affect us personally. And most of us voted Leave. After the election these people can be ignored and let the rest of us get on with engaging with the rest of the world.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 10:37 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • EscoSesDoidao

    Lets see if May turns up in person for any Leaders debate on TV. I bet she won't. She will be crushed by Nicola Sturgeon for one.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 11:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Yes, Nicky certainly is filling out. But if it was an arm wrestling match I would put money on Mrs May, she will prevail.

    It is all our duty to keep the real nasty party out of power for as long as humanly possible: the country may well not survive another Labour Government, and so we must fight them for the very preservation of our country. We're still going to be paying Gordons debts 20 years from now, so anyone that thinks we can afford another Labour Government simply does not deserve a vote

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 11:04 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    @The Voice
    Have you actually met any remain voters? Most of my work colleagues and nearly all of my friends voted to remain, and strangely enough they are just normal people who want to get on with their lives. You are retired and don't have to worry about losing your job due to a recession or never being able to buy a house because you haven't had a pay rise in 5 years.

    We're not misanthropic or unpatriotic, we're mostly people who have grown up with the EU and don't understand why people object to it so much. It's not like we'll get the empire back when we leave the EU. It's people like Farage who are unpatriotic, going on Fox news and RT to tell lies about Britain and make us look bad to the rest of the world.

    Besides which, your argument that 48% of voters are some kind of extremists is patently absurd. The great majority of us are in the middle, holding reasonable views and doing our best to judge issues on the facts and how things affect us personally. And nearly half of us voted to Remain. Ignoring the views of almost half your population is folly.

    And don't think I didn't notice that you can't name even one thing the Tory government has achieved. Why exactly do you want these bunch of incompetents reelected?

    As for your argument that Labour would destroy the country, what are you smoking? The Tories are doing it right before our eyes, handing the SNP all the ammo they can ever need.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 11:26 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • The Voice

    The Tories are straightening the country out after the nasty party almost destroyed it by failing to regulate the bank's whilst overspending money they didn't have. The EU is a sclerotic failing undemocratic anti British club in the thrall of Germany.

    But naive Labour voters have no idea of that and steadfastly refuse the recognise tax cuts, improving employment and the necessity to live within our means. That is why the majority of intelligent people reject Labour and the EU. The SNP will get a nasty shock at the election.

    The left wing echo chamber isolates one from unwelcome facts and the real world.

    Apr 19th, 2017 - 11:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • EscoSesDoidao

    Looks like there will be a Leaders debate. But lets see if TM actually attends in person...

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 12:11 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    “She somehow has even less charisma than Corbyn and can't debate to save her life.”
    I don’t know much about her. But check on youtube her first session in Parliament as PM she was absolutely brilliant and incisive against Corbyn.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 03:09 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • DemonTree

    “failing to regulate the banks”

    So you are angry with Labour for being too business friendly?

    Did you vote for Blair in '97, is that why you are feeling so disillusioned?

    The Tories are following a milder version of the policies that Germany and co are forcing on Greece, and with a milder version of the same disastrous results. When they were elected in 2010 I decided to give them a chance, how bad could it be? 7 years later and the economy still sucks, they lost their own referendum and are about to leave the EU with no real plan, and the UK is probably going to break apart.  So the answer is 'infinitely worse than I expected'.

    As for tax cuts, they have *raised* VAT. A tax on consumption that hits the poor hardest is almost guaranteed to be bad for the economy. Employment has increased but salaries are not rising because there is no demand. And after all their austerity we are still not living within our means and won't be for many years. Even on their own terms they are a failure.

    One of the reasons I started posting here was to see if I was in a 'left wing echo chamber' and see what the other 'side' thinks. Now I know.

    I can't watch videos at work, but why do you think she's refusing the leaders debate? Either she doesn't think she'll perform well or she doesn't want to answer questions about her policies.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 07:27 am - Link - Report abuse -1
  • The Voice

    Labour caused the housing crisis by:

    ...Letting 3 million immigrants in immediately their countries joined the Superstate whereas Germany and France made them wait.

    Failed to police the Banksters and massively overspent resulting in an economic Holocaust only rescued by ultra low interest rates.

    Low interest rates caused a boom in buy to let forcing the wealthy to invest in bricks and mortar to get any sort of return thus forcing up house prices.

    3 million more people can't live on the streets.

    Meanwhile Labours “degrees for every Dumbo programme” helped to accelerate deindustrialization, staffing call centres with the dim degreed who aren't capable of doing anything creative or holding down a proper job.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 07:36 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Ultimately, Thatcher caused the housing crisis by selling off council houses and not replacing them. Since then neither party has done anything about it because the Daily Mail contingent would scream their heads off if house prices fell.

    Fixing the economy is hard, but fixing the housing crisis is easy: build more goddamn houses! But after 7 years, what have the Tories done about this? Nothing.

    Labour didn't cause the Financial Crisis, everyone knows it started in America, but they did make it worse by borrowing when they should have been saving. Now the Tories are trying and failing to save, and they are cutting the wrong things. If you think that austerity is so great, why don't you support it in Greece too?

    I agree by the way, that it was a mistake to allow EU workers to move here right away. But they didn't cause the housing crisis, they just made the existing one worse. House prices were already skyrocketing long before that.

    As for the massive increase in number of graduates, I didn't agree with it at the time and don't now. But it didn't accelerate deindustrialisation, it was a response to it. If you want someone to blame for deindustrialisation, look at Thatcher.

    So did you vote Labour in 1997? You never denied it. I think you did and now you're bitter about it.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 09:01 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Thatcher went in 1990, council houses were a tiny fraction of the housing market, nothing to do with unaffordable housing which is caused by immigrants and absentee landlords keeping properties empty. There was a severe housing crash bottoming out in 1996. I know that because it's when I bought my holiday homes. Buy to let landlords only started buying in 1999 and after that every man and his dog joined in, and immigrants started pouring in quadrupling prices under the Blair government. Brown gave away huge sums stoking up the deficit whilst letting the Banksters run wild. I am not bitter, I am wiser, Labour is a basket case infiltrated by Trots and Commies. Labour damages your wealth. I hope they get decimated.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 11:30 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    Wrong. Take a look at this chart: Yes, house prices were low in 1996, but by 2003 they had nearly doubled. I remember lots of news articles about how unaffordable houses were becoming from around that time, and wondering if it would even still be possible to buy a house when I was ready to buy one. Poland etc joined the EU in 2004, and that's when immigration to the UK started increasing, long after the house price boom was under way.

    However, I agree that landlords keeping properties empty is one of the problems nowadays. Who lives in your holiday homes?

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 12:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Wrong, I speak from personal experience, both properties quadrupled and were sold in 1997. That's the trouble with keyboard warriors who believe everything they read on the web. You lot need to stop wasting your time on social media and actually get some accurate information from people who were actually there. The boom had more than one element, BTL first, THEN massive immigration which crippled the housing market and public services.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 12:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “The boom had more than one element, BTL first, THEN massive immigration”

    So you admit the boom wasn't caused by immigration, it merely added to it, as I said.

    In fact demand was rising strongly in the 90s because more people were living alone, and supply wasn't keeping pace. Buy to let made the problem worse and so did high immigration after 2004, but essentially the issue is one of supply and demand. The government has created an artificial limit on land available for building with overly-strict planning laws, and this prevents the supply increasing to keep up with demand. So far they have refused to do anything to substantially increase the number of homes available, and nothing else will address the problem.

    I hope it was a typo when you claimed your houses quadrupled in price between 1996 and 1997! Regardless, it does nothing to disprove my point that the house price boom began before 2004, and I would rather trust actual statistics and contemporary newspaper reports than the word of some guy on the internet. I WAS actually there, and I remember it all happening, and while you gained from it I and my friends have lost out, so don't try to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 01:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT

    Complaining about the 'Right to Buy” policy of Thatcher is amusing since people like TV took advantage and became capital rich through the scheme. Much of the middle class wealth now comes from the property booms as the population moved from renting to home ownership.

    You are right that many rushed in too late and lost out when the market was on a downward trend. Your home should be a home first and an investment second. The reckless lending of the 80's ruined many lives.

    As for future building. I absolutely support the idea of small housing developments across the country, adding ten or twenty homes of various sizes to compliment communities. Where the problems and protests arise is where developers want to add 300 homes to a small village with no infrastructure to support it. This is of course more profitable for the developer but does not help build community.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 02:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Yes, it was a typo, 2007 they were disposed of. You obviously inhabit another universe, 1996 was absolutely rock bottom. The rules on cohabiting mortgages changed coupled with a recession. Its always sensible to buy when others are selling, property, equity or anything of value. Does it occur to you that you “are just some guy on the internet” too, of course not! Typical of myopic pompous, sad, miserable, socialist... Not much work being done at the council call centre this afternoon? :-))) Local authority squandering of hard earned taxes is one of the UKs biggest problems. The Tories haven't really tackled it properly yet, but they will.

    As for right to buy I never did that because we never lived in council property. First house purchased in 1967 on a mortgage and the holiday homes were never let out they were for family to enjoy. The fact that they appreciated so much was down to the greed of others not us.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 03:17 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    “The fact that they appreciated so much was down to the greed of others not us.” Hahaha. Glad to know you donated the precedes to good causes. Or did you just gobble up the capital like all the other 'greedy' people.

    The Right to Buy actually ignited the property buying trend. You may not have started it but you sure did cling to the coattails for the ride.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 04:17 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think


    I hope the upcoming Snap election Snaps the connection between 10 Drowning St. & 6 Charlotte Square as it makes them Engrish Snap at each other... ;-)))

    Somebody should contact Mr. Trump and propose him to build a 96 miles long..., 3 miles wide golf course on the Alba-anglo border... With an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful , beautiful, southside Trumprian wall... ;-)))

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 04:31 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • DemonTree

    @The Voice
    “Does it occur to you that you “are just some guy on the internet” too?”

    Now you're getting it. You are also a keyboard warrior wasting your time on social media, and I also had to consider the state of the housing market when I bought my house. The difference is, I don't expect you to take my anecdotes as gospel, that's why I linked to some evidence.

    I don't actually remember back to 96, but the chart I linked shows house prices had fallen after reaching a high in the 80s, so I am perfectly willing to believe you on that part.

    And you can insult me all you like, you already admitted I'm right. I don't know why you're still arguing.

    The fact you can't deny is that the Tories have done nothing to address the housing crisis, after 7 years in government. I never had the chance to buy when others were selling, because it hasn't happened in all my adult life. We have to make do with what we can get.

    I think we need some more new towns, and the government should make it easier for people to self-build, since developers are not matching demand. I would also like to see a tax on empty homes, both holiday homes and those bought as speculation.

    Something notable when I was on holiday in Ireland was how much bigger and nicer the houses were. Land is the major cost in the UK, but the price is artificially inflated by the need to get planning permission.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 04:54 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • The Voice

    My proceeds got recycled into other property, a Riverside flat handy for Gandalfs pub for all the family to use and a leg up to my kids and my severely disabled grandson. So, beyond that nothing.

    The real crimes are committed by the Rachman like BTL crowd. I would like to know how Corbyn and co are going to solve the housing crisis they precipitated? Plunging the country into penury isn't a very attractive prospect.

    Paddy Power are currently quoting an over/under for Labour of 162.5 seats. I reckon that Labour will do much worse than that. When the Conservatives start quoting Corbyn and McDonnell’s past statements concerning the IRA (and other topics) this will turn off a large amount of what remains of Labour’s old base (many of whom will vote UKIP). Traditional Labour voters are increasingly realising that the Labour party is now run by a bunch of wealthy entitled Islington snobs who sneer at the working class. People remember Lady Nugee's disdain for white van man.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 05:09 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    @The Voice
    Corbyn didn't precipitate the housing crisis, he's very far from being New Labour. I just looked it up on his website:

    “We will build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through our public investment strategy. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership”

    I don't think rent controls are a good idea but the rest sounds fairly reasonable. Of course the big question is how he's going to pay for those new houses. Council tenants pay rent and new houses will be sold, so I guess it's more of a short term expense for the government.

    There's no chance he'll be elected though, I don't even think he'd be a good Prime Minister. I just want a government that is competent and doesn't ruin the country.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 06:06 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT I don't like new towns at all. They tend to be soulless places and badly designed by show-off architects. Why not add to existing communities? Small developments but significant in number overall. It also stops the resentment of the 'new' people. You know how villagers are. And certainly some towns could take medium sized estates of mixed housing.

    You know, most developers are already bound to provide affordable housing within their developments. It is not strictly true that only the wealthy can afford new housing. And a lot of housing associations do a lot better than the old council-run housing. The reason Thatcher sold them off was that they were so neglected that they couldn't afford to renovate them to an acceptable standard. Better for the council to oversee the housing associations. It is another reason they closed most of the council care homes, they couldn't meet the standards they imposed on privately run homes.

    Corbyn is a fool. His left-leaning policies to reduce everyone to the same low level is never going to be popular in a country where the majority is doing O.K. out of the system. Most people consider themselves more wealthy then they actually are, or that they aspire to be one of the wealthy. Take that away and you might as well aspire to be Venezuela.

    Corbyn works best throwing mud at the establishment and stopping us from electing someone like Trump but he would be no good as a PM.

    @TV So you greedily took the money and greedily bought more housing. I hope you get stung on the council tax. :) You really need to look in the mirror before calling other people names that apply very well to you.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 06:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    “Expense for the government?” Typical socialist thinking! The government doesn't have any money, all it has is OUR money that WE worked for. Or, money that it prints devaluing our savings.

    Elaine...Simple economics. With your savings that you earned and mortgages that you borrowed you buy a couple of houses. You could have bought a flat on the Thames for the same money. You sell the houses after paying off the mortgages with money you earned and with the proceeds use some to help your kids with a deposit for houses for them to live in. One family have to move 160 miles to be near a special needs school in a more expensive area. You then use the rest of the proceeds to buy a flat with a mortgage and save from your earnings to pay it off.

    Why do you think there is anything wrong with that? Originally when I purchased the houses the outlook was bleak. Nobody wanted them, they were in a poor state and had both been for sale for over a year. The houses were never let. Family and friends used them for holidays and breaks. Doing both properties up helped the local economy and removed eyesores.

    Tell me what I did wrong and how that was greedy? Is it greedy to work hard and save and then spend your savings on something that you enjoy? Why? I don't get it? Is it what's called the politics of envy? Should I just have given my savings away to needy causes? I think the 5 years I spent running the village charity bus and hospital rides for the aged as an unpaid volunteer was a much better thing to do.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 07:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ TV

    I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I bought my property outright from money I earned and paid tax on. It is probably worth more than all your property put together. I just don't call other people greedy, I was showing you up for calling other people greedy whilst doing the same thing yourself. We live in a society that allows us to profit from our endeavours and that is not greed.

    No need to tell stories about your do-gooding work because there is nothing to prove what you have done. You have no idea what anyone else on here does to help others and my efforts would put yours in the shade every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But this is the internet so this kind of bragging is pointless. But if it helps you, you can have a gold star to put on your chart.

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 09:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Elaine, thought better of you, obviously I was wrong.. You can't tell me what was wrong, because nothing was wrong. None of this is untrue and I feel under no obligation to prove anything. You appear to be unable to distinguish between someone whose motive is greed and someone who profits purely by accident? Many landlords are motivated by greed. Are you a landlord by any chance? I'm not...

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 10:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I wasn't impressed with Milton Keynes but I've heard good things about Welwyn Garden City. Adding to existing communities is fine but does it do enough? My town is getting a new housing estate, more twisting cul-de-sacs with identikit houses crammed in higgledy-piggledy. Why are new houses in the UK so miserable? We're not THAT short of land.

    Selling off council houses would have been okay if they had replaced them, but they didn't. Just one of the reasons for today's situation.

    I don't like Corbyn but the Tories aren't working. It's just stupid to keep following the same failed policies, why are we inflicting this kind of pain on ourselves? It's all very well for The Voice, but even if the economy eventually recovers from this I can't get back all those years of stagnation and lack of opportunity.

    @The Voice
    No, you didn't do anything wrong. It's the government's job to manage the economy and prevent that kind of thing. But the windfall you got was not free money, the people who had to pay four times as much to get a home to live in and are still paying their mortgages today are paying for it.

    For houses to be affordable, house prices will have to fall. Is that acceptable to you?

    And duh the government gets it's money from us. What's your point?

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 10:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    The problem is that house price inflation is a one way trip. The banks are heavily exposed through mortgages. If prices were to fall many people would fall into negative equity and banks too would suffer negative equity and collapse just like last time this would break the banks. I would love to see house prices fall. It would not affect me at all because the house and flat are paid for and all I am interested in is having the use of them. It might affect one of my children. Anyway, it can't happen.

    The point is there is no such thing as government money. Work out what you actually pay in tax already and not just income tax. It will shock you. We pay far too much already. If you want opportunity go into business. I get a pension from my life before my business, it's £11.75 pa!

    Apr 20th, 2017 - 11:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think


    One thing is for sure ...

    Housing boom -bust cycles occur...

    The DisUK is no exception to that rule...

    Just Google “Cyclical Housing Boom” in whichever language you fancy...


    Apr 20th, 2017 - 11:34 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • DemonTree

    Yeah, you just told us that you bought two houses after the last cyclical house price crash. The banks and the country managed to survive that one.

    The government has the money that we agreed to give it to spend on our behalf. That's kind of the point of government. Personally I do think some taxes are too high, I mentioned VAT earlier. Ideally we'd tax capital instead of income but that's not going to happen. I think we should increase taxes on huge CEOs salaries and share options to encourage them to put the money back into the business instead, and cooperate with other countries to find a way to properly tax huge multinationals like Google and Apple.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 07:14 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    (To Whom Asked Me Why I Advocated For Brexit)

    Chuckle..., chuckle...

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 07:55 am - Link - Report abuse -3
  • The Voice

    The French have a wealth tax. Personally I wouldn't have a problem with that as long as they leave equity ISAs alone, because they will have been built up through long term saving, and long term saving and financial independence should be encouraged. But...UK tax levels are at their highest they have ever been apparently.

    Presently there is new housing under construction locally. As with all new housing it contains the recommended percentage of “affordable housing”. Trouble is that its semis and terraced houses that sell for £450k! How is that affordable? These houses probably cost £100k to build. Perhaps they should be housing association properties paid for by the developer and let with affordable low rents?

    Chasing high earners out doesn't work. With the UK offshore tax havens and places like Panama and Nigeria the wealthy will shufty it there. You have to squeeze them to the maximum whilst maintaining an attractive lifestyle and tax regime that they are willing to endure.

    This morning the Guardian is having a wet dream about an anti Tory coalition. That doesn't work either.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 08:05 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I know perfectly well why you advocated for Brexit. I'm still surprised you don't care more about the rest of Europe though.

    There's a limit to how much you can put in an ISA so it would be reasonable to exclude them from the tax. Do you have a source for taxes being the highest they have ever been? I find that highly unlikely, given the top rate of income tax was ~90% in the 50s and 60s. Was it a terrible time to live?

    And your 'affordable housing' exactly illustrates the problem. Houses cost approximately the same to build all over the country, and the cost of farmland doesn't vary all that much either. The problem is caused by the government making it so difficult to get planning permission. We don't want to get rid of that entirely; we don't want urban sprawl all over the place, or unplanned developments straining infrastructure, but the government need to allow enough development to meet the demand and they quite plainly are not. They are both preventing us building our own houses and refusing to build any themselves.

    And the reason I said we need to work with other countries is to prevent high earners and more importantly multinationals moving out or hiding their income. A whole bunch of those tax havens are BOTs and our government could easily put pressure on them to be more open, but they chose not to. Besides, the point of taxing CEOs isn't to raise money, it's to encourage companies to reinvest rather than give it all to someone who will just stick it in a tax haven.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 10:42 am - Link - Report abuse -1
  • Terence Hill

    Voice, V0ice, Vestige, Think et al, sock-puppeteer extraordinaire
    “Argentina puts hope … for new EU position on the Falklands”
    She can hope all she wants but it won't change the illegality of her claim under international law one iota, even with an added prayer for good measure.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 11:29 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • ElaineB

    @ TV Let me explain it to you again. You called people 'greedy' whilst profiting in exactly the same way. You are like a looter who says 'I didn't take the first T.V. but everyone else did so now I have a T.V. in every room”. You didn't do anything wrong by profiting from the housing boom but neither did anyone else. We have a free market economy and therefore pricing is set by how much people are prepared to pay.

    Affordable housing usually includes part ownership not the full cost of the house. It also mean part profit sharing when the property is sold. It certainly helps many people get into good houses they could not afford alone.

    As for punitive taxing, what does that really achieve? People with any real money move abroad - it happened under Labour governments in the 60's and takes away any incentive to work hard and achieve something. I am all for helping out the less able, less fortunate and less capable but not keen on handing money to the terminally lazy. Look up how unproductive we were as a country in the 60's and 70's when everything was nationalised, anyone making a few bob was taxed at 90% and the unions ran the Labour government. Do you really want to go back to that?

    Think, how can you mock a cyclical economy when you claim to be from Argentina? Hahaha.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 12:04 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    Was the 60s a bad time to live then, Elaine? Everyone was poor and miserable and there were no successful companies because executives couldn't pay themselves as much as they liked?

    Anyway, we don't need to go back to the 60s or 70s. Just going back to 2000 would free up a good amount of money for other things: and I don't think CEOs in 2000 had any less incentive to work hard and achieve something. If anything these huge pay packets give them an incentive to take as much as they can and then get out which is bad for the long term future of the company.

    'Affordable housing' does nothing to address the real issue. What we need is to build enough houses for the rising population - 250,000 per year, every year. If developers aren't going to build them then the government should do it. If there were enough houses where they were needed then the prices would come down.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 12:40 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • The Voice

    If you want to understand taxes add up your income tax, council tax, VAT, fuel tax, domestic energy tax, insurance tax, air passenger duty etc etc and compare it with your income. Apparently it's the highest ever but I have no source. It's 30% of our income.

    Point about tax havens is that if you close them down, others will pop up. The double Irish is a swindle though but Ireland would probably collapse without it.

    I haven't profited from the housing boom at all until I actually sell out and use the money I saved up. I don't need the money but I intend retaining the flat which is in trust for the family to use when I am gone. It's well used and saves shed loads on hotel bills and temporary accommodation.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 12:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Is this what you saw, TV?

    “The amount of tax paid in the UK is poised to reach the highest level in 30 years and will rise even further because of mounting debt and pressure on public services, economic forecasters have said.

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that next year more than 37 per cent of Britain's national income will be drawn from tax receipts for the first time since 1986.”

    Highest in 30 years seems much more plausible, 1986 was the middle of Thatcher's reign.

    There is more bad news:

    “The Government has already announced for £17billion of tax rises over this Parliament, and the IFS believes that Mr Hammond will have to find an extra £34 billion unless he ditches his target of eliminating the state deficit before 2025.”

    You said yesterday the Tories were going to cut taxes, how do you feel about their proposed £17bn increase?

    Also: “Compared with 1986, the last time the Government was so reliant on tax income to balance its books, companies pay significantly less tax but the amount of VAT has increased significantly.”

    So the difference from then is that companies are paying less and you and I and everyone are paying more. There is more doom and gloom there if you want to read the full article.

    As for tax havens, I'm not suggesting shutting them down immediately, but making them more transparent. Stopping criminals hiding their dirty money is the biggest priority. We need to push as many countries as possible to sign up to this, including our own BOTs. The main difficulty is that in every country most of the people in charge are the same people making use of them.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 03:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    The taxes the Tories cut was income tax by raising the personal allowance so everyone, including the poorest retained more of their own money. I still believe there is massive waste in local government, the NHS, the armed forces, schools and other public services some of it caused by unecessary red tape and legal fees. Lots of scope for cost savings, reduction of the money borrowed year on year and reduction in the massive interest payments and EU funding. Bring on that bloke who spotted the centrally heated mule shoe warehouse!

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 04:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    You do know that raising the personal allowance was a Lib Dem policy the Tories adopted as part of the coalition, right? Plus you said yourself we are all paying more tax than ever, so what good did it do?

    Have you ever worked for local government, or the NHS, the armed forces, schools, or any other public service? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, because you obviously know nothing about it. I have worked for local government, and I know people who work for the others. Most of the waste that exists is actually caused by penny-pinching and efforts to save money where some overpaid quango turns up and fires the people who know what they are doing and reorganises everything to make it less efficient. Then people quit or go off sick due to the stress of being asked to do three people's jobs and they have to get people from temp agencies at great additional cost.

    The government has already cut as much as it can, the only way to save more money is to cut services. And even if they do, those massive interest payments will be increasing for many years yet.

    What on earth is a mule shoe warehouse anyway?

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 04:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    I know about the NHS and local government because close family members worked all their life for them. I know all about mismanagement consultants having been one for a few years, that too gives you a very clear view of a how organisations function or not.

    The Lib Dems don't have any patents on policies. Just a looney leader who has alienated millions.

    Anyway Theresa says we will be paying more tax. An ageing population demands that. I have no problem with that, just a problem with waste and scrounging. They are fitting trackers to motability cars, sounds good to me...There's quite a bit of abuse.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 06:17 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB


    Unless all your property is in other people's names then you have already profited. You already own the capital and that is profit.


    I don't know what is was like to live in a lot of decades but the information is there for anyone to retrieve. Look at the standard of living in the 60's and 70's and it was like some of the Third World countries we talk about here. Most people had very little and most people rented - often absolute slums. Council housing and new schools were booming but many were not built well. It was for that reason the councils had to off-load them.

    The truth is our expectations are much higher now. You highlight the problems with the NHS but when it was introduced - against the wishes of most doctors - it was an amazing feat. But now people live longer, treatments more sophisticated and expensive, and preventative medical procedures far more wide-spread. It is impossible to fund but somehow we just about get by. It really is not sustainable without a major overhaul. But governments touch this massive drain on the economy at their peril.

    It is the same with pensions. The cradle to grave promise is almost impossible to fund as people live so much longer and there are simply not enough working people paying in. It was the reason Blair opened up the floodgates to allow immigrant workers. We need more people paying in to sustain any kind of state pension scheme.

    We spend more than we can possibly afford and if we were to increase taxes that would be spent without much result and everyone left feeling poorer with no incentive. And cutting ourselves off from the EU will make things worse.

    DT, you may yet get to actually experience what life was like in the 50's, 60's and 70's. It won't be pretty.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 06:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @The Voice
    So you were one of those overpaid consultants who turn up and tell everyone else how to do their jobs, while having no clue about anything? I agree cutting them would save some money, but it isn't going to fix the problem.

    No one has a patent on policies, but it was only introduced because of the coalition, it wasn't a Tory policy at all. Since it's popular, they will probably keep it.

    Just to make sure I understand, if May wants you to pay more tax, that is fine and necessary to support an ageing population, but if Corbyn wants you to pay more tax it's terrible and Socialism?

    You still didn't explain what a mule shoe warehouse is. Shoes for mules?

    My parents lived through those decades and haven't complained. My dad went to Uni for free and got a grant from the government to do it, and they did not need government schemes to buy a new house. Also before I bought my house I rented a 60s ex-council flat that had been sold through right-to-buy, and it was perfectly nice and much more spacious than most modern flats. And isn't this the time that Brexiters are looking back to with nostalgia?

    I don't want to go back to the 60s but that doesn't mean we should dismiss anything without further analysis.

    About the NHS, other similar countries spend substantially more on healthcare than we do. It would be better to have a dedicated NHS tax so people can see where their money is going and also realise that if you want a decent service you have to pay for it.

    Latest news is that the Tories are getting rid of their immigration targets. Not surprising as now they don't have the EU to blame when they fail to meet them. I'm not expecting immigration to fall anytime soon, but we'll probably get more from countries outside Europe like Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    As for taxes, the Tories ARE increasing them so why not raise them on the rich instead of the poor?

    And I think this time has much more resemblance to the 30's than any of those other decades.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 07:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    Mule Shoes... There was a guy who had been a very effective cost cutting consultant for M & S. He got employed by the government. He discovered a heated MOD warehouse in the Swindon which was full of things like Mule Shoes and harness from the Crimean war! He was too efficient, too embarrassing, he got sacked..
    I remember similar places staffed by men in brown dust coats when I was working at the RAE in the mid 60s.
    As a management consultant I never caused the dismissal of anyone, the focus was on getting people to be more effective and introducing more efficient working practices and processes. But, that lifestyle didn't appeal to me as there was no continuity so I left and started my own business.

    Apr 21st, 2017 - 08:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT

    Are you proposing something like the system in Finland? (Just as an example) I have friends there and have visited. The state provides everything they could possibly need. You need a house, you get a house. Parents are paid to stay home to look after children. Everything is covered BUT they have almost no disposable income after tax. The idea of a holiday abroad is unthinkable on their wages. So I see a choice between a state capitalist country or a capitalist country and I know which one I prefer to live in. Of course it is a personal choice and as I have said may times a civilised society must take care of the weak and disadvantaged but the idea that no matter how hard I worked or how innovative I am I will have limited choices beyond having the basics taken care of is anathema to me.

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 01:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    The problem with Corbyns plans is that instead of tackling waste and poor efficiency his solution is just to chuck money he hasn't got at underfunded public services as directed by McClusky and co.
    The country isn't sufficiently focussed on earning money through export of products and services, a thing we were always urged to do back in the 60s when I was young. I am pleased my kids work in sectors where this is the focus albeit in different industries that I did. As we leave the EU the government will be urging exports and supporting export led businesses.
    The Tories approach is to tackle waste, tackle scrounging, raise efficiency, and deliver better services cheaper with the services remaining free at the point of delivery using the private sector if necessary. At the same time they have been tackling tax dodging in a far more energetic fashion than the socialists ever did.

    Roll on Tory election success and Brexit!

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 04:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The Daily Mail does not agree with you:

    “Finland tops list with an average of 7.5 trips per year, UK is ranked 13th, with average Briton travelling 3 times per year”

    For trips abroad, Finns take 1.7 per year on average, Brits only 0.9.

    Nor do I, when I was there skiing in February there were plenty of Finns around teaching their children to ski, and I was thinking how expensive it must be to buy all that gear for children who will soon outgrow it. We were also told by people working there that Finns prefer to holiday abroad because prices are so much lower.

    I actually wasn't proposing anything of the kind, but if that is what Finland is doing then sign me up! They have higher GDP per capita than the UK too, I'm not seeing the downside here.

    I'm glad to hear you weren't the kind of consultant who fires people. What sort of changes did you propose to make people more efficient?

    Tackling waste and poor efficiency is laudable, and no one would have any objection to that. However, these are some things the Tories have actually done to save money:

    Cut the budget for jails so much there were not enough staff to stop the 'worst riot since Strangeways'.

    Cut the budget for the NHS resulting in poorer care, A&E waiting time targets being missed and then abandoned, and likely leading to 30,000 extra deaths.

    Cut the budget for Britain's Border Force, despite the fact that the terrorist threat is higher than ever and thousands of migrants are trying to get to Britain.

    Maybe you agree with some or all of those cuts, and the many others not listed. Maybe you don't. But they are all real cuts with real affects, and that is not surprising. There is only so much waste to be tackled, and efficiency cannot be improved indefinitely. Once that is done you are back to the hard choices of which services to cut.

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 06:48 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    ElaineB's “friends” must indeed be very “special”...
    Her Suomi “friends” seem to give her the same kind of disinformation as her Argie “friends”...

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 07:22 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • ElaineB

    @ Think

    Yes, the idea of having friends must be a puzzle to you. Have you run out of your own shit to play with? I am sure you could find some other people's in a public toilet; and I am sure you frequent them regularly.

    @ DT

    I am sure the Fins you met on a skiing holiday were representative of the situation as a whole.
    O.K. I get that you would like to live in a state capitalist society, there are many available, like Russia or Cuba. I just don't see why the U.K. should follow that route - and it never will. Why? Because we like freedom to spend our money however we choose (after taxes) and tax us too much at any government's peril. Something I notice from a random look at my friends who span the social scale both educationally and economically, it is generally people without much who want us to share everything. As soon as they acquire something worth having they suddenly don't want to share so much. Honestly, DT, try travelling in some developing countries and you will see just how lucky you already are by being born in the U.K. It really is not so bad.

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 08:28 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Think

    Geeeee.... those poor Scandinavians with their seven weeks holidays..., their 18 months paid maternity/paternity leave..., their NHS's that are still a pride... their Volvos..., their Saunas..., etc..., etc..., etc...; '-)))

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 09:01 pm - Link - Report abuse -1
  • The Voice

    Cuts have to happen, lenders eventually get reluctant to continue lending to basket cases. The UK debt is already massive, £1 billion a week in interest alone. Trick is to cut so it doesn't hurt services to the end user although it sometimes has to hurt staff. Spanish practices are rife in public services like the £8000 school sink funded by PFI!

    A lot of what I did as a consultant was similar to value analysis. A machine with 57 parts was reduced to just 17. That resulted in British machines replacing thousands of German manufactured machines which were produced in a German factory on a tax holiday in the Irish Republic. You will have used these machines, everybody in the UK probably has.

    DT tell me the sort of music you listen to. That will enable me to place you?

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 10:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    My point is that some Finns clearly do have a disposable income and choices that go beyond the basics, and on average they take more holidays abroad than we do. Finland ain't Russia and it ain't Cuba, which I am sure you know perfectly well.

    Finns also have the freedom to spend their money as they choose (after tax), they just choose to pay higher taxes and get better services for them. And it hasn't made them poor either, quite the reverse. I would not like taxes to reach Finnish levels, but I am in favour of doing what works, and at the moment what we are doing is just a lesser version of the austerity that was forced on Greece, and it's not working.

    That sounds familiar; Osbourn said we had to have cuts or we'd lose our credit rating, so he cut and we lost it anyway. Greece cut and cut and debt got bigger, not smaller. Too much austerity destroys economies, that is why ours is still limping along 9 years after the recession. Borrowing is risky but so is cutting, and there is no '1 weird trick' to cut funding without cutting services. Services have already been cut, have you tried using the NHS lately? Have you seen how class sizes are rising? Social care has been hit hard too, that might be of some concern to you.

    Personally I would like to see increased manufacturing and exports, do you have any idea how to achieve it?

    And what was this machine that was reduced to 17 parts?

    Apr 22nd, 2017 - 11:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Voice

    DT you do specialise in fake news! Pointless trying to discuss anything when such tripe is spouted. I suppose it's that left wing echo chamber you presently inhabit? Thing is the vast majority are not so naive as to believe the drivel that Corbyn and Len Trot out. That's why the Tory's are on 50%! I'm out....

    Apr 23rd, 2017 - 08:00 am - Link - Report abuse -1
  • DemonTree

    Indeed it is pointless if you are going to dismiss any facts you don't like as fake news. I don't need to see the news to know the economy it not in great shape, I have my own experience. I don't need to read the news to know I had to wait over 2 hours for my first NHS appointment last summer, and 'only' 40 minutes for the second. I don't get my facts from Corbyn, and how ironic that I am here posting on a website full of right-wingers, that I have only linked to articles from the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, and you are still accusing me of inhabiting a left wing echo chamber. It's all projection, no doubt.

    Come back when you are ready to pull your head out of the sand and face the real world, The Voice.

    Apr 23rd, 2017 - 08:51 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Clyde15

    My experience of “outside consultants” started with the ex CEO of M&S brought in to sort out the Civil Service in Thatcher's era. The public were now our “customers”... a piece of nonsense. A customer has a choice of whom they can deal with.

    First decision. Close local offices to save rental costs. Now the public have to travel up to 50 miles to a regional centre. My office was kept open but now we were forbidden to answer any queries at the counter or by telephone. The public were referred to the regional office 50 miles away.

    Cut staff numbers by almost 50% but require the remainder to increase their workload.

    Close down HQ specialist depts. in London. They dealt with EU and International trade law

    Local staff would be given a two day course and they would have to defend their decisions possibly in court against professional lawyers and accountants.

    Cut the travelling budget for visits. Before I retired, my budget was £20.00 a month.
    Many visits I had were over 40 miles with no suitable public transport so I could use all my budget in 3 days !.

    I was expected to run my own car into the ground for less than cost to fulfill “targets”

    We could only afford one computer for 23 people and had to queue up to use it ...and all our records were computerised.

    Our local harbour and airport were left unmanned. Cover would be targeted on a risk assessment basis which means..“can we afford the travelling”

    Result ..a totally demoralised staff who would do ONLY what was necessary to cover themselves and to produce meaningless statistics. I had to fill in a weekly work return based on 10 minute segments covering up to 40 different work criteria.

    I spoke to a Chief Fire Officer from Lancs. whose dealings with a management consultant were a prime example of stupidity.
    They had a large turntable unit for high-rise rescue. The consultant proposed saving money by scrapping it as it had only been used once in 3 years and was an “acceptable risk”

    Apr 23rd, 2017 - 10:24 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • ElaineB


    Yeah, I don't agree with your vision for the U.K. I don't want to live in a nanny state where the majority of the money I earn is spent for me. Besides the inevitable waste and misspending, it takes away my choices. Like I have said many times, a civilised society has a duty to take care of the young, old, sick and less able, but take away incentives to work hard and you rob people of self-esteem and ambition. We can't all run our own companies or become the best in our field but take away the incentives and you soon get a very unproductive and stale country. And it would never be acceptable in the U.K. because most people are relatively wealthy and a lot of the people who are not that wealthy believe they will be in the future. They think if they work hard they can achieve the things they want and are not inclined to work hard to give their money away. It might not be idealistic but it is human nature.

    @ Clyde

    Yes, most management consultants are just salesmen. They promise if you spend so much with them they will save you more. On paper that is achievable but at what price to the business. It is not just about statistics.

    Apr 23rd, 2017 - 01:51 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    I don't want to live in a nanny state either, and I think you are wrong that Finland is one. It's a little further towards the side of higher taxes-better services than the UK, but people still get to keep the majority of the money they earn.

    I would like people to have incentives to work hard; unfortunately most don't these days. CEOs get their huge pay packets no matter how badly they perform, and everyone else gets told 'sorry, no bonuses this year, the economy isn't doing well'. Public Sector workers get no pay rise for years, except for the MPs who vote themselves more money. It's really notable how much more productive workers are in France and Germany compared to Britain, our GDP would be 20% higher if British workers were as productive as French and German ones.

    Apr 23rd, 2017 - 08:35 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT

    It is out of context to claim all CEOs get huge pay packets and bonuses while the workers get nothing. There are a few examples of absolute greed and, in my opinion, corrupt actions that taint the rest. There have been many cases where directors have taken pay cuts or no pay at all when their companies have been in trouble. But I guess that would never make a Daily Mail headline.

    History will show that in 2008 the world was on the brink of total financial collapse. History will also look favourable on Obama and Cameron for pulling back the economies from the brink. If you remember people were all too willing to accept that the excesses of the previous government now had to be paid for. People tightened belts and put up with cuts. In truth that should be the pattern for another decade but people grow weary of financial hardship and after almost ten years they are heartily sick of it. I understand that completely and the government has to keep the punters happy. However we are in no real position to start spending lavishly.

    I don't really get your argument that British worker are less productive but deserve higher wages. In reality inflation has been almost zero so why do they deserve more for doing the same? That said, I believe workers should see their loyalty to a company rewarded and a little incentive goes a long way.

    I hear a lot about the terrible situation for nurses and teachers but I wonder exactly who is doing the moaning. I have family in both professions and they earn good wages, have excellent holiday and sickness entitlements and will retire on fantastic pensions that are the envy of the private sector. They deserve it having worked their whole lives in their chosen professions but they don't complain because they know they would not have such good benefits in the private sector.

    I think there should be a little more perspective and a little less Daily Mail headlines.

    Apr 23rd, 2017 - 10:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The point is that people are no longer rewarded for working hard, and as you said, if you take away people's incentives you get an unproductive country. People who work hard may put up with pay cuts for a few years due to a recession, but if they keep getting no reward they are going to stop working hard and just do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Inflation was low for the last couple of years, but before that it was pretty high; the pound is worth 20% less now than in 2008, and salaries have not kept pace.

    If you want to know why teachers are complaining, it's because they no longer get those fantastic pensions, and conditions and workloads have been getting steadily worse. My friends are thinking of returning to the private sector because the job is so stressful and they could make a lot more money there, this is exactly why there is such a shortage of competent teachers in science subjects.

    I don't know any nurses but I do know that there is a severe shortage of them in the UK and the Brexit vote has just made it worse. The biggest problems are with retention not recruitment, that's not the sign of a healthy and rewarding profession.

    I don't know why you're accusing me of reading the Daily Mail, but the info about rising salaries for CEOs comes from here: Probably some have taken a pay cut but this is looking at averages and overall trends. Perhaps if companies offered their ordinary employees share options they would have a more committed and productive workforce.

    Apr 24th, 2017 - 11:56 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    @ DT

    But if workers in the U.K. have been less productive for years I can't see why when inflation has been virtually zero they should suddenly be paid more for the same output. Though, to be honest, I am all for rewarding long term service even if it is in small increments or extra holiday pay. It is not all that easy being a boss either why the economy is in a slump.

    I hear some teachers complain but by no means all. It is true that newbie to the profession don't get the same kind of deal all the oldies but their package of benefits was incredible for a job that requires average intelligence. Far from leaving the profession, after the 2008 crash many in other professions sought a change to teaching because of the job security. And just to quash another myth, teachers in independent schools are not paid more and have less security. Same with nurses in the private sector. It was true maybe 30 years ago but not now.

    One of the main reason there is a shortage of nurses is the cap on the number that are funded through training. This cap is imposed by the nurses union. So we have to recruit outside of the U.K. and this, of course, causes screeches about immigrants taking our jobs.

    I don't think I accused you of reading the DM or I certainly didn't intend to. I merely said it sounded like the type of DM headline we see that is high on fear mongering and low on facts.

    It might also be worth considering that the decades of nationalised industries and services were our lowest productive years. It is the reason I don't support tax paid industry as a rule. We live in a capitalist society which has its flaws but certainly doesn't burden the tax payer in the same way.

    I am enjoying the discussion.

    Apr 24th, 2017 - 03:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    There wasn't such a big gap before the downturn, the UK was more in line with other countries. And as I said, there has been over 20% inflation since 2008, so people are now paid less for the same output. No doubt it's not the only reason, but I think you are right that workers who are not rewarded for achieving more become less productive.

    IMO teachers should be well qualified and of above average intelligence if they are going to do a good job, and most are. I don't know about other subjects, but for graduates in maths and sciences there are many other, much better opportunities available in the private sector. People were told before training that the salary was lower but they'd get that fantastic pension, only to now find out they've been lied to, and while they will still be paying in taxes for their older colleagues wonderful pensions, they won't be be getting one themselves. In any case, there is still a chronic shortage of maths and science teachers.

    And there are plenty of other complaints besides pay anyway. The long hours, poor discipline and lack of support for dealing with troublesome pupils, and distortions to education caused by league tables are big ones.

    Do you have any evidence for this nurses union cap on training? I have seen articles saying more places are urgently needed on nursing courses, but nothing mentioning that.

    I haven't proposed nationalising anything, or tax payers supporting industry. I agree that's a bad idea in general, and I don't want to go back to the 60s or 70s. But there's no point dismissing everything that was done then either. I think the government returning to building houses and higher taxes on certain kinds of income are at least worth considering. And in the long term if we want a certain level of services such as the NHS we need to agree to fund them, which means accepting that sometimes taxes need to rise. People need to realise they can't get something for nothing and stop voting for people who promise this.

    Apr 24th, 2017 - 11:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15


    As to the cap on nursing training places, where did you see this? I know that for pharmacies, there was a “closed shop” by their organisation to limit the amount of pharmacies in any area.

    I have to admit that I am not current with the figures for nursing training and jobs.

    My sister was a nursing tutor at the Western hospital in Glasgow and was in despair at her student's job prospects. Out of a course of 25 who completed the course. there were only 3 jobs available in the Greater Glasgow Health Board due to financial cuts.

    This was about 20 years ago but I doubt if the situation is any better now. Due to staff ceilings, agency workers are hired to fill vacancies. My sister herself did agency work when she retired. She told me that it cost 3 times as much as a permanently employed nurse.

    However, it made the “efficiency” of the hospital look good by doing the same job with less staff.....the agency nurses were excluded from the statistics !

    Apr 25th, 2017 - 10:28 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    This is exactly the problem with calls for more efficiency and reducing waste. The effects are often counterproductive. If you pay your staff too little they leave and you have to spend more money training new ones, but plenty of companies still do it. Another favourite in the private sector is getting cheap IT equipment so your highly paid developers can sit around twiddling their thumbs waiting for things to compile. And one I have heard of in the public sector is refusing to replace old equipment even though the repair cost is higher than a replacement, because they come out of different budgets.

    Unfortunately whatever criteria you use to measure efficiency or any kind of success, people will find ways to game the system, usually costing even more in the process. There isn't an easy fix for this.

    Apr 25th, 2017 - 06:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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