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The Chairman Mao resembling, Queen hating, threat to Britain, Labour Party thread

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2 hours ago, Wainy316 said:

Was British Rail so shite because it was a nationalised service or because it was incompetently run?  Most countries seem to manage it alright.

Right now not only are we paying the highest fares in the world, much of which goes directly into shareholders pockets, but we are paying again in subsidies through taxes.  It is a complete joke and they must be howling with laughter at us in their cosy little board meetings.

I use the Brighton mainline which has shaped many conversations around rail due to the thrill of strikes, choke points and desperate need for upgrade. Plus some MP's and manifesto promise!

I would support nationalisation but there are three trains that run on that line, all owned by the same company but different operators. Why not nationalise a route? Also, different charges, little to no difference in speed.

Operation has not been split up, in part because there would be serious problems with the running schedule that would cripple the line if one operator made on-track mistakes, but that means the line is defined by existing passenger traffic with upgrades only accepted when political pressure delivers funding; which will probably happen at Croydon.

If a line was nationalised and they chose to connect up less popular places (for example, Shoreham, Portslade, Uckfield and not Brighton or Hove), not only would you improve competition on the line but you would unlock new regional opportunities. It's one of the reasons I would also focus on HS3 from Hull to Liverpool and not Manchester to Birmingham. But if you have a plan, like rationalisation, you have to have a long term strategy and the recognise the implications.

Same with nationalising water, it would be great but I don't think Labour know the extent of the problems those companies have. It would be far smarter to have a policy forcing them to reveal their capacity and infrastructure and then say you were going to nationalise because they have done X,Y and Z badly. 

Edited by itdoesntmatterwhatthissay

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54 minutes ago, itdoesntmatterwhatthissay said:

I use the Brighton mainline which has shaped many conversations around rail due to the thrill of strikes, choke points and desperate need for upgrade. Plus some MP's and manifesto promise!

I would support nationalisation but there are three trains that run on that line, all owned by the same company but different operators. Why not nationalise a route? Also, different charges, little to no difference in speed.

Operation has not been split up, in part because there would be serious problems with the running schedule that would cripple the line if one operator made on-track mistakes, but that means the line is defined by existing passenger traffic with upgrades only accepted when political pressure delivers funding; which will probably happen at Croydon.

If a line was nationalised and they chose to connect up less popular places (for example, Shoreham, Portslade, Uckfield and not Brighton or Hove), not only would you improve competition on the line but you would unlock new regional opportunities. It's one of the reasons I would also focus on HS3 from Hull to Liverpool and not Manchester to Birmingham. But if you have a plan, like rationalisation, you have to have a long term strategy and the recognise the implications.

Same with nationalising water, it would be great but I don't think Labour know the extent of the problems those companies have. It would be far smarter to have a policy forcing them to reveal their capacity and infrastructure and then say you were going to nationalise because they have done X,Y and Z badly. 

My thinking with the railways is, how is it different to the roads? They're nationalised and it's done for good reason - we can't afford to have private companies **** up core infrastructure. You can't chance the roads grinding to a halt because some company charges too much or makes the lanes too narrow causing gridlock etc. But we do for the trains. Just seems out of kilter to me.

And from my own experience, I've frequently travelled on trains which should have 3 or 4 carriages for the amount of people getting on but are run with 2 because if they cram the same amount of people on but save 2 carriages then they're a bit more efficient. That's the capitalist dream, that free market drives competition which drives efficiency. But you can only take efficiency so far before it becomes harmful. Running trains where every seat is full and then every walkway and standing area is crammed with people on top of each other results in unhappy people, people late for work, people picking up more bugs, people choosing not to travel by train putting pressure elsewhere etc. If all we were interested in was free market capitalism we'd just pull all the seats out and have everyone standing in non air-conditioned boxes. 

This isn't disagreeing with anything you've said by the way, just furthering the discussion.

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2 hours ago, markavfc40 said:

@tonyh29 thank you for taking the time to reply and I will respond to a couple of your points.

I saw what Lucas said on QT around tuition fees and it was that she felt they maybe could be 2k a year and that we are paying the highest student fees in the world. There is a world of difference between leaving Uni with a few thousand pound worth of debt or 50 odd k of debt. One of the biggest scandals for me in terms of student fees is in relation to nurses. From September they will have to pay for the privilege of getting a nursing degree. It takes three years, the bursary has now been removed so at a time we have a huge shortage of nurses we now want them to get into 27k worth of debt, be on placement for 30 odd weeks a year working in hospitals for 37.5 hours a week, not get a penny whilst they are training and all for a starting salary of 21k. This is just another means to ensure the NHS fails. As Caroline Lucas said an individual getting a good education benefits us all and that is certainly shown in the case of a nurse.
 
As for railways the service is poor now the only difference being that people are now paying more for the privilege, including those of us who pay taxes in subsidies, and it is going into private hands. As @Wainy316 said the reason it was poor in the 80's wasn't down to it being nationalised it was because it was incompetently run and plenty of other countries have shown that doesn't have to be the case.
 
Out of interest given the choice would you stick with the Tories and a continuation of the way they have run the country over the last 7 years or go with Labour and let them try to implement what they promised in their manifesto?
 
 

I almost agree with Lucas , but I'd often wondered if you could get business to sponsor tuition , rather than tax them for it ...see if you could incentivise them... tax them too hard and the go to a country that is more tax friendly , I'm sure it's flawed but hey it was just a thought ...

but there is a difference between someone getting a degree to become a nurse and someone getting a degree going into an investment bank and then moving up towards £1m salary , ok you might argue the country would get more tax from mr £1m and thus he pays it back through tax , but if he's good at his job :)

then he'll find a way to avoid it ....

I understand it's a big debt but didn't they say last night on £21k you'd pay back £90 a year ?  If you offered someone on low income terms like that for their debt instead of wings they would rip your arm off wouldn't they ? 

railways I've already touched on , I'm not a big user of the train but to me they are quite good , I do think HS2 is a waste though and I'd rather they thought longer term and invested in the future ,Maglev type witchcraft rather then friction restricted wheels on track stuff from the dark ages 

 

7 more years is a tough one , on one hand we did get our Brexit all be it we dont know at what cost , but clearly there has been some shameful policies on the basis of austerity .... I think everyone would say it's right that benefit fraud is clamped down on , but , what the Torys have done Is pretty much victimise everyone and voters didn't sign up for that , lower corporation tax rates have been good and shown to help business and generate more tax income and the compulsory pension might well end up in years to come with Cameron being hailed a far better PM than he probably deserves ( it may not have even been his policy but it was him that implemented it ) 

tbh I'd probably take a bit of policy  from both parties and merge them  ... just so long as its not Corbyn as PM :)

 

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Tuition Fees

The argument has always been, why should we pay for someone's education when they then go on to get better jobs, it's never pointed out that they go on to pay more tax as a result

That has always been the argument

Much like Darren's argument about railways being national infrastructure (which I agree with) so is education. Investing in the intelligence of the country can only be a good thing. It leads to better-paid jobs for more people, it leads to innovation which further down the line creates more jobs. It increases the national skills base and ultimately it earns the Exchequer more money

Effectively under the current system, people are paying for their education twice over. They are generating profits for universities which have become businesses not seats of learning, then paying back their student loans over many years at a quite silly interest rate plus paying more tax as they are supposedly earning more money.

It's a backwards thinking unfair tax on intelligence

 

 

 

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55 minutes ago, bickster said:

It's a backwards thinking unfair tax on intelligence

I dunno, I mean there are people who aren't particularly intelligent who go to Uni, and people who are who don't. I know that's not quite your point, but still...

58 minutes ago, bickster said:

Effectively under the current system, people are paying for their education twice over.

It doesn't work like that for many, in reality. Many never end up paying off their loans due to their wages never hitting the levels required to trigger back all the payments, others emigrate and pay neither tax nor loan back. The current system is something of a mess, IMO.

I'm not also convinced that higher education should be a "free" entitlement. There's a bit of an argument to say school, yes, free. A levels, too, but beyond that there should be a means beyond the normal tax system to recover the costs of gaining that extra qualification(s) which give you an advantage over people who for whatever reason aren't able to go to Uni - whether based on their lower intelligence, the need to provide income, or doing an apprenticeship or whatever.

I don't know the answer, maybe an extra percent on someone's tax code for wages over X amount p.a. or something?

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There are skill shortages in IT, health professionals, finance and engineering.

Why not incentivise students to take degrees the country needs by lowering the fees and let others pay the going rate? 

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5 hours ago, darrenm said:

My thinking with the railways is, how is it different to the roads? They're nationalised and it's done for good reason - we can't afford to have private companies **** up core infrastructure. You can't chance the roads grinding to a halt because some company charges too much or makes the lanes too narrow causing gridlock etc. But we do for the trains. Just seems out of kilter to me.

And from my own experience, I've frequently travelled on trains which should have 3 or 4 carriages for the amount of people getting on but are run with 2 because if they cram the same amount of people on but save 2 carriages then they're a bit more efficient. That's the capitalist dream, that free market drives competition which drives efficiency. But you can only take efficiency so far before it becomes harmful. Running trains where every seat is full and then every walkway and standing area is crammed with people on top of each other results in unhappy people, people late for work, people picking up more bugs, people choosing not to travel by train putting pressure elsewhere etc. If all we were interested in was free market capitalism we'd just pull all the seats out and have everyone standing in non air-conditioned boxes. 

This isn't disagreeing with anything you've said by the way, just furthering the discussion.

I get what you are trying to say, however I don't think comparing our roads to our rail is the best comparison. Our road system is delivered by private companies but serviced by tax income and speed cameras. An example if you will is the M3, it was supposed to be upgraded to "smart" motorway by Christmas of last year. It's still not done and won't be until at least a year later. The companies building our roads bid on the contracts and as far as I can see have very little consequence when going over the time limit or budget, while rail companies service their own interest alone.

Roads: owned by the state, built by private companies. A faster, better, more productive motorway does not make the company who build the road more money.

Rail: owned by franchisee for the contract period and also maintained in the interest of the same company. Quicker rail equals more money. Specific interest in actually improving the service applies.

I'm honestly not sure what the solution is to either of these. I can't stand driving to London on the M3 knowing that the motorway will be no different come the end of the "upgrade". The cones have been out for 3 years with very little work done. The rail down my way is in just as much of a mess as it was when the state owned it. Cancellations, cramped carriages, and ticket prices beyond belief rule the roost. Comparatively the prices weren't much different when the state owned it (in real income terms) because the lines were built in the 1800's and require a hell of a lot of maintenance. The population has grown 10 fold since the line was built and there is no permit to expand it, no permit to build it and no will to have years and years of no service for a better option. The only state in the world who has dealt with this effectively is Japan where they actually constantly improve their service - however their lines were built much later than ours.

Edited by magnkarl

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2 hours ago, blandy said:

I dunno, I mean there are people who aren't particularly intelligent who go to Uni, and people who are who don't. I know that's not quite your point, but still

Yes.  There are uncaring people who end up as nurses or care assistants.  Stupid people who end up as bankers (many).  Careless people who end up as litterpickers,  It's unfair and irrational, isn't it?

2 hours ago, blandy said:

I don't know the answer, maybe an extra percent on someone's tax code for wages over X amount p.a. or something?

We just need to create the jobs we need at a fair rate of pay.   Higher education will more than pay for itself.  It's one of the few areas where we have some competitive advantage.  Let's not destroy it for the sake of some economically illiterate chunter from some tory shite.

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2 hours ago, blandy said:

I dunno, I mean there are people who aren't particularly intelligent who go to Uni, and people who are who don't. I know that's not quite your point, but still...

It doesn't work like that for many, in reality. Many never end up paying off their loans due to their wages never hitting the levels required to trigger back all the payments, others emigrate and pay neither tax nor loan back. The current system is something of a mess, IMO.

I'm not also convinced that higher education should be a "free" entitlement. There's a bit of an argument to say school, yes, free. A levels, too, but beyond that there should be a means beyond the normal tax system to recover the costs of gaining that extra qualification(s) which give you an advantage over people who for whatever reason aren't able to go to Uni - whether based on their lower intelligence, the need to provide income, or doing an apprenticeship or whatever.

I don't know the answer, maybe an extra percent on someone's tax code for wages over X amount p.a. or something?

Working at a uni I think a lot of the problem is that we have a whole plethora of courses and modules that have very little output now compared to when most of us went to uni. Can you see anyone earning anywhere near enough money to pay back their lone studying something like gender studies, american studies, international spa management, applied golf management, puppetry etc etc. (all courses at my place of work)?

Universities used to educate people to professions that were profitable to the person. We now have a whole plethora of studies that have no real life value to the student. If you owned a spa, would you hire a business management student with side modules in math and management or someone who studied international spa management?

The most wishywashy module I could take at uni was history, but at least when taking history you knew that unless you were in the top 10% you would not get a job doing anything remotely close to what you studied. What job would someone who studied gender studies get that applied to their studies?

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Surely the degree can be to show a level of ability, an understanding of critical thinking and how to think logically and form a coherent argument?

I knew the degree I was studying was out of date. I knew because I was already in full time employment, but needed some letters after the name to give Clients the confidence to pay decent rates for the work. I certainly didn't need the specifics of the course.

The problem with degrees that are tailored to a specific wage earning 'task' within traditional jobs, is that those jobs change. My place of work thought it needed people that could use drawing boards for wet ink drafting. That's what the uni taught. But it turned out we needed kids that could use GDS, so they started teaching that. But it turned out we needed autocad, so they started teaching that. It's Revit we're after now. I would imagine similar would happen in learning 'management'.

Perhaps what we actually need is good thinkers and communicators? Much of the course work becomes irrelevant. I'd hire the interviewee educated to the required level that was able to look me in the eye and say something constructive, having turned up on time with the paperwork we asked for. I might be going about that all wrong?

 

 

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3 minutes ago, chrisp65 said:

Surely the degree can be to show a level of ability, an understanding of critical thinking and how to think logically and form a coherent argument?

Indeed.

The discussion about what to study for a first degree used to revolve around the actual subject being somewhat irrelevant unless it were medicine or someone wanted to pursue an academic career in a specific area.

Edited by snowychap

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2 minutes ago, a m ole said:

Maybe working at a university working with the social environment to maintain open, fair and free discussion <_<

Well, you see I work at the humanities department, so it's my duty to colleagially slag off all other departments as and when I can like they would do with mine. ;) 

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8 minutes ago, chrisp65 said:

Surely the degree can be to show a level of ability, an understanding of critical thinking and how to think logically and form a coherent argument?

I knew the degree I was studying was out of date. I knew because I was already in full time employment, but needed some letters after the name to give Clients the confidence to pay decent rates for the work. I certainly didn't need the specifics of the course.

The problem with degrees that are tailored to a specific wage earning 'task' within traditional jobs, is that those jobs change. My place of work thought it needed people that could use drawing boards for wet ink drafting. That's what the uni taught. But it turned out we needed kids that could use GDS, so they started teaching that. But it turned out we needed autocad, so they started teaching that. It's Revit we're after now. I would imagine similar would happen in learning 'management'.

Perhaps what we actually need is good thinkers and communicators? Much of the course work becomes irrelevant. I'd hire the interviewee educated to the required level that was able to look me in the eye and say something constructive, having turned up on time with the paperwork we asked for. I might be going about that all wrong?

 

 

Surely apprenticeships would be better than a degree ?

The trouble to some extent seems to be companies think they need to make a degree the entry level requirement for certain jobs , thus more people go to Uni and and we are at where we are at now ... of course I'd rather the vet saving my cat had studied years at vet school rather than having on the job training and my cat is his first day of that training , but I dunno about degrees for everyone ... how many people do a degree in x and then end up working on something completely unrelated ? Though I guess you could say that also holds true for apprenticeships if there is no job at the end of it 

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Just now, tonyh29 said:

Surely apprenticeships would be better than a degree ?

Couldn't agree more.

But, we have a number of Clients that will only pay top rate for CV's with degrees on them.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, MakemineVanilla said:

There are skill shortages in IT, health professionals, finance and engineering.

Why not incentivise students to take degrees the country needs by lowering the fees and let others pay the going rate? 

Can't say I was expecting you to come out in favour of central planning. 

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3 hours ago, magnkarl said:

Working at a uni I think a lot of the problem is that we have a whole plethora of courses and modules that have very little output now compared to when most of us went to uni. Can you see anyone earning anywhere near enough money to pay back their lone studying something like gender studies, american studies, international spa management, applied golf management, puppetry etc etc. (all courses at my place of work)?

Universities used to educate people to professions that were profitable to the person. We now have a whole plethora of studies that have no real life value to the student. If you owned a spa, would you hire a business management student with side modules in math and management or someone who studied international spa management?

The most wishywashy module I could take at uni was history, but at least when taking history you knew that unless you were in the top 10% you would not get a job doing anything remotely close to what you studied. What job would someone who studied gender studies get that applied to their studies?

On the contrary, outside of a few specialist subjects (medicine and law are the two main examples, though some engineering and science fits the bill as well) this hasn't been the case, even in the past. As you mention, even when you were a young man, there were tens of thousands of people studying history in British universities, and they aren't all paid historians. Not many people who study English become English teachers, and nobody who studies pure maths is studying for a job as a calculator. 

The primary function of getting a degree, for a majority of graduates, is to become more employable, but it's not through the learning of skills directly related to an individual job (mostly done through CPD or at vocational colleges), but instead, more intangibly, in appearing the 'right' sort of person and sending signals to potential employers about your adaptability, and about developing the 'soft skills' necessary to be an amenable colleague and a plausible 'face' of a future employer. In my own industry, 'a degree' is a baseline standard for employment, but it makes no odds at all what subject that degree is in. 

The actual societal change you're feeling your way towards here is that employment has become less secure, and labour has lost a lot of power compared to capital in recent decades. One of the ways this manifests is in the increased onus on employees to pay for and sort out their own training, rather than having it provided for them by their employer. I'm obviously no expert on the students on your international spa management courses, but I'd be willing to bet that they largely aren't 18 year old undergrads taking a punt on a future in the spa business, but people already working for spas for whom getting a basically meaningless and useless qualification (which they may well be taking by module or distance-learning) is a necessary prerequisite for any chance of promotion or turning their current role into a career. 

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The number of people going to uni massively increased around 20 or so years ago when the government realised that taking more school leavers into uni meant taking a large number of people off the, then troubling, unemployment figures. Uni gradually changed from being about further educating a relatively small number of bright people to keeping large numbers of people off the dole. Then as the cost of teaching all these extra people became a factor along came loans and all the rest of the problems discussed above.  And if nearly everyone gets a degree these days, then employers will want candidates to have one. It becomes a circle of behaviour. 

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