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Quote: @jondf - you switched me off when I got to the ridiculously sensational, "Thatcher's reign of terror", bit - I didnt read a word further ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Trust you slept well? The statement was in inverted commas but point taken. However, Googling that statement fetches up around 6,500 web pages so, a consensus of sorts. Many of those using the term were victims of what is now acknowledged by many as an experiment founded on dogma, revenge and contempt. As a result, many did suffer in the 1980s to the point that we see the present government singing a more conciliatory tune. And I doubt that has much to do with the Lib-Dems. To get folk pulling in the same direction, they must first be persuaded with an even hand, not hood-winked, tricked or bludgeoned.
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Quote: Just look to silicon valley for an example of how the folks building tech are increasingly wealthy but working round the clock.
That was what I was thinking of. Should they not be trying to go for more leisure time and cutting the hours in exchange for less money. But if you try that you find the drive is for people to work even harder and longer hours etc.
Quote: Come on...Scargill was spoiling for a fight as much as Thatcher was because he saw himself as the champion of the working class. But Scargill deliberately abused NUM rules and by doing that he caused internecine warfare between mining families in more moderate areas such as Kent and Nottinghamshire. If he had accepted the will of the miners and moderated his actions then you can see a scenario where public mandate for Thatchers union reforms would not have been as strong.
No. Thatcher deliberately provoked a confrontation with Scargill and the miners union - I understand her think-tank actually recommended this course of action in preparation for the Tory onslaught on the miners and unions generally.
Of course, at that point, Scargill really was spoiling for a fight. However, I have to agree with you that he saw himself as the champion of the working class (which is not such a bad thing) but as you say, he unfortunately appeared to have abused NUM rules. In short Scargill, for all his cleverness, played into the Thatcher's hands. It was a fight between two big egos but Thatcher was smarter - her bunch had already prepared for this confrontation by making sure they only initiated their attack while the coal stocks were at their highest.
Of course, the mainstream media mainly hated Scargill and their negativity towards him and his defence of the miners probably made him more paranoid and extreme.
Quote: The statement was in inverted commas
Good point, @jondf.
I think the problem with politics and the economy is systemic, more than with individuals.
I think it is the system of unrestrained growth and Free Market capitalism that is the elephant in the room.
On paper, the three main parties all have their merits as well as downsides:
The genuine socialists rightly want to make us a more egalitarian society but in practice seem to fail miserably because they are up against human nature and big business.
The genuine old Tories or conservatives with a small letter "c" want an aspirational society - which of course seems reasonable but they tend to reward those who have already "aspired" but not those who work for them. It's a pity they don't reward the small businesses in this country, which collectively, are extremely valuable to the economy.
The Liberals seem to be reasonable, middle-of-the-road chaps and chapesses but that lack of fire and willingness to accommodate is perhaps their downfall.
And that's why I'm Green.
The problem with all Government is that they want to tell us what to do but don't demonstrate it themselves.
Also, they all seem to forget that members of any governement, civil service, public service organisation are public "servants" paid for by the taxes they take from the pockets of the public.
As a result we, the paying public become subservient to "Their" needs, not the other way around and watch helplessly as they squander our money on fruitless "campaigns of action" which have no hope of ever working for the common good
As a slight aside - I've recently read two book, "Demon" and "Freedom" by Daniel Suarez. SciFi politics sort of mix but the key theme is that the internet savvy generation, led by a "Demon" programme left by a dead hacker take on the vested interests of industry, government and military by sharing all information and by real-time on-line voting to see what actions the majority want carrying out. The hacker left a network so intertwined with all the state, business and military networks that they couldn't block it without wiping themsleves out.
A bit far-fetched but it strongly appealed to my residual anarchist and just maybe, has a grain of truth in it about how the power of the various systems may ebetually be curbed?
Worth a read if you like this sort of thing (and haven't found them already)
They look worth a read, Brian.
I am just reading a book called 'why its kicking of everywhere' which looks at the unrest in UK, Europe, America and the Middle Eastern protests/revolutions and one of the central themes is how this has been aided by social networking
One interesting comment is when the author attended meetings of the protest organisations in different countries he saw how non-ideological these groups were - anyone who started spouting political ideologies was quickly sidelined because they were interested in action and results rather than political dogma. Many of the people on the marches did not know the first thing about Lenin, Marx, Keynes etc and seemed to wear their ingorance as a badge of pride s thought they were actually part of the problem (or had been used to sustain the problem). So it look sas though there is a groundswell of young people bored with the status quo but the question is how would a non-ideology-based electorate fit in with current political structures?
And no, I don't think the Greens fall into this bracket.
Quote: but the question is how would a non-ideology-based electorate fit in with current political structures?
that's a key part of the question the author explores in his books. The "Authorities" try to pass it off as "Terrorist Action" but when a few psycho-types try to get involved they soon get dealt with (rather summarily) but the voting majority
I'm afraid that whatever happens in future is likely to be very uncomfortable and outwith the current rather cosy political system. In an early phase of my life I would have been excited by and wanting to get involved in such action but realise that I am too far out of step with the modern world to be of any use except to say things like "Oooh - I wouldn't do that young man! )
What happened during and following the break-down of communism in the USSR may give us a clue, great hopes and positive action for good by the masses to start, leading eventually to a hint of the return of totalitarian oppression by the "System" aided and abetted by some of the "Olds" who yearn for their comfortable past where they knew their place and didn't have to think too much or take responsibility for their own lives (that being the job of the State )
I just remembered - did anybody ever read Kim Stanley Robinson's Red/Green/Blue Mars trilogy? It's a long time since I read it, but I seem to recall that the government structure which developed on Mars had similarities to the UK Jury Service system, in that people from all walks of life were called to serve for a fixed period of time in government. The whole tenor of the idea was government was service, with no particular opportunity to prosper materially from the job of governing. I dare say self-aggrandisement was still possible, but since it was not a system run by career politicians with a vested interest in milking the system for whatever they can get, it was theoretically less subject to corruption. I'm sure the idea has many real-world flaws, but it was interesting and appealed to my idealistic side.
As for career politicians, since it is their career and living, we can hardly be surprised if they are tempted to play the system for the good of themselves and their families. It's an inherent weakness of the system. One hardly needs to look beyond the salaries and index-linked pensions of government ministers (and for that matter, top civil servants) to see that they have managed to isolate themselves from the problems facing the vast majority of the electorate, and at our expense. There's little such security to be had for us. I don't know what my pension fund is worth at the moment, but it's for certain that I couldn't hope to retire on it!
As an aside, what exactly is meant in this day and age by "working class"? I assume - not having researched it - that the origins of the term date back to when the leisured upper class often didn't need to work, whereas those at the lower end of the social spectrum had no such choice. If so, the term is surely largely obsolete. Most of us have to work for a living, but wouldn't necessarily be considered to be "working class". It's vaguely annoying in a way - I work, just like most of the rest of us, so I'm no less a worker even though I'm not a "worker".
I think I've read all Kim Stanley Robinson's books, its a genre I like a great deal (indeed I have an pretty extensive library of SciFi, which no longer gets leant out after a first edition Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars book went missing some years ago )
Quote: The whole tenor of the idea was government was service, with no particular opportunity to prosper materially from the job of governing.
I'd recommend to anyone interested in that idea along with the often blunt realities of working life to read this -
p.s read the reviews below it for further insight into the book
Quote: I seem to recall that the government structure which developed on Mars had similarities to the UK Jury Service system, in that people from all walks of life were called to serve for a fixed period of time in government
Many years ago I followed an OU course on Psychcology, Social Science and Politics (for my own interest) During a Summer School at York Uni a group of us had to propose new political systems for the UK during a moderated lecture group.
We came up with something based on this + a voting system based on the contribution of the members of the electorate to the country. Everyone had one vote, self-supporting family members had two votes, employers of more than 10 people had three etc.
As you can imagine, the rest of the group thought this was worth discussing further but the left-leaning tutor had apoplexy (and we didn't pass that module! )
Quote: what exactly is meant in this day and age by "working class"
For purely practical purposes in the UK it means manual workers. See here, this is how we are classified http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRS_social_grade
In reality, I expect most people in the UK have some sort of lifestyle or aspirations that we'd recognise as middle class, like home ownership, savings, pension plans, education and improvement for the children. That very much includes manual workers,and if they're skilled or on shift work they quite likely have the money to go with it. But then I expect many of us have some deep rooted connection with the old working class. In fact I do know some people who still call themselves working class, but they have to be kidding.
(I've been E, D, C2, and C1, not sure I ever made B, now I'm Economically Inactive, which isn't on the scale, but I should think I'm more middle class than ever before. Still the same person though.)
I live a good part of the year in Languedoc among the vineyards. France has problems just as the UK does but it has a strong industrial base and never threw its lot in entirely with the barrow boys in the banks.
If France wasn't in the euro it would be a strong economy, but it is in the euro and that weakens it. Even so, it has nuclear power expertise, can build trains, a car industry, excellent infrastucture with the TVG, the autoroutes and broadband. For example, I am in a tiny hilltop village at the moment, 20 miles from a town of any size. I have the cheapest broadband at 8mb...and it IS 8mb. I could have 50mb if I wanted. The UK has constantly gone for the easy option short term thinking. Round my way in SW London, the roads are becoming thirds world standard. Here, in my village, I can cycle without jarring my backbone.
The fact is that in France the health service (truly excellent) and education are not political footballs helps them a great deal. They have stability. Hollande is already watering down his proposals in the light of non-socialist reality. The French are nothing if not pragmatic. When the EU imposes something that the UK takes up with copper plating, the French do it up to the point where they feel it starts to disadvantage them, then they do what they want.
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