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Old 01-08-2010, 08:42 PM   #1
Taure
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What do you want from the next UK Government?

What do you want from the next government? Try to be specific, not stuff like "economic recovery" - everyone wants that.

Non-Brits feel free to chip in - I know I've certainly commented in enough U.S. threads.

My "shopping list":

- Constitutional reform: a written constitution to place limits on the government's power, guarantee the people inalienable rights (that is, rights that cannot be altered or removed via acts of Parliament), and to place limits on the term Prime Ministers (and possibly Cabinet members) can serve.

- Electoral reform. The double standards that allow Scotland members of UK parliament and the Scottish Assembly but England no similar privilege clearly need to go. Preferably begin the way for evolution into a more federal system.

- Educational reform. Or rather, un-reform. Despite all the spending over the last decade, school standards keep falling. I'd like to see a return to traditional schooling: keep standards high, and don't lower them to be more inclusive.

Grammar schools should be brought back in enough quantity such that getting into their catchment areas isn't an issue. Everyone who ever goes to one loves it. They provide the same quality of education as independent schools for no price, so that the under-privileged have access to quality education (so long as they're smart enough to get in, of course). So long as Primary education is also held to a high standard, requiring a test to get into a grammar school should not be a class issue. Simply a merit one.

Those who fail to get into grammar schools can go to comprehensives (pretty much what the average person goes to at the moment anyway), or follow more practical apprenticeship routes.

Modern languages should be made compulsory again, from a very early age (research shows that language acquisition is best before the age of 5).

Further, the government should stop interfering with university admissions: it should be entirely merit based. The idea of someone's financial situation affecting their university application is ridiculous - in both directions - and devalues the whole system.

On the subject of universities, the further increase in fees should be abandoned. Universities don't really fund themselves from fees anyway, so it's not true that they'll make a significant difference to a university's finances. Moreover, the commitment UK universities give to their students (many students get about 5 hours teaching a week) is nowhere near worth the price that it would cost after the hike (it's barely worth it now).

- Abandonment of all attempts to create ID cards, car tracking, and internet policing (particularly the proposed 3 strike system).

- No supertax on bankers except for those banks which accepted government money.

- Stop plans for the closure of A&E units around the country. Otherwise continue current commitment to the NHS, a fine national institution.

- Maintain and slightly increase military spending (to reflect our increased commitments around the globe, and to prevent the avoidable loss of life due to lack of helicopters/equipment); particularly commit to a Trident replacement.

- Higher spending on research and development, particularly green technology.

- Return of the 10p basic tax rate.

- Increases in all other tax bands (by about 5p) to fund needed government spending and work away our significant national debt.

- Commitment to further European integration and our eventual joining of the Euro.

- Gay marriage legalised.

- Make organ donation opt-out.

- Give Northern Ireland a referendum on unification with Ireland. If they vote to unify, let them (if Ireland will have them).

I don't want much, do I?

Last edited by Taure; 01-08-2010 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:50 PM   #2
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I cant see anything in there I would disagree with, though I must point out that the grammar school system is not entirely classless, I went to a private primary school for my last few years and it was routine for the children in year 6 to have up to 2 years of tutoring outside of school to pass the 11 plus with high enough grades to get in. That may be because I live in Essex where there isn't a true Grammar school system, only the top 2% get in in comparison to Kent where it is the top 20-25%. But knowing how to answer the questions makes a significant difference for reasonably bright kids.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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Yeah, with grammar schools you have to have decent primary education across the board or rich kids with expensive education will have an advantage and then it becomes a class issue again.

That said, deciding to not have a superior secondary education system because the primary system isn't up to the same standard seems to me something of a petulant act, not to mention shooting ourselves in the foot. It's effectively saying "It X can't get a good education, no one can! Mediocrity for all!".
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:15 PM   #4
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I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this *smiles and waves his fingers at Taure*. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Taure?


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Old 01-08-2010, 09:17 PM   #5
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I would settle for the next UK Government teaching the US how to act in Afghanistan. I don't really care all that much for (or about) your domestic policies (they don't have any impact on my life).
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:21 PM   #6
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So long as I never have to listen to Gordon Brown speak again I couldn't give a fuck to be honest.
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:22 PM   #7
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I'm happy with having a Prime Minister who was actually elected. Call me old fashioned, but that seems like something of a prerequisite for a democracy.
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Taure View Post
- Commitment to further European integration and our eventual joining of the Euro.
This. Please.

The rest of your "shopping list" is pretty similar to what I'd want for my country, so yeah.

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- Abandonment of all attempts to create ID cards,
I've seen comments of that effect in several threads, I don't really understand the wariness toward ID cards a lot of people have.
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:59 AM   #9
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Your identity should not be dependent on the possession of a single piece of paper.
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:32 AM   #10
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Is your identity not dependent on another piece of paper right now ? A driver's license, a passport ?
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:48 AM   #11
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Is your identity not dependent on another piece of paper right now ? A driver's license, a passport ?
The fact that you've listed two things here undermines your point. My objection to ID cards is that they put identity onto a single item. At the moment we have several. Too many to count, in fact. ID cards are positioned not as something additional to all these other types of ID, but a replacement for all of them. A replacement capable of tracking all your movements and transactions, due to the microchips they plan to put into them.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:13 AM   #12
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The fact that you've listed two things here undermines your point. My objection to ID cards is that they put identity onto a single item. At the moment we have several. Too many to count, in fact. ID cards are positioned not as something additional to all these other types of ID, but a replacement for all of them. A replacement capable of tracking all your movements and transactions, due to the microchips they plan to put into them.
Ah, I got it now, thanks. Here ID cards are just pieces of paper, equal and not superior to passports and driver's license.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:46 AM   #13
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- Commitment to further European integration and our eventual joining of the Euro.
I actually missed this on when reading through the list, personally I don't want the euro, our currency is the oldest in the world still in circulation, and I kind of like it, I don't really see much point of changing it other than not having to spend 20 changing your money before you go on holiday.


Also while I don't think the European Union is a bad thing, it seems to have far to much power and not enough checks and balances. Also it seems to want to treat us like America with the country's like states, but we are not America, all these diffrent countries have different histories and languages, they have fought and invaded and allied for thousands of years and the people definitely think of themselves as French/English/Polish before 'European.'

We definitely need to stop holding ourselves apart from Europe, and the union has done some very good things, but designations are being made for our country by people we didn't elect, and that makes me a little uneasy.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:48 AM   #14
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Er... we do vote for the members of European parliament. Or at least, I did.

Also, all arguments to keep the pound other than sentimentality are falling apart as the Euro increasingly outperforms the pound, and is increasingly being preferred by governments as a currency of foreign reserve.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:50 AM   #15
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Don't be ridiculous - sterling is a terrible currency. Have you ever just stopped to look at a 50 pence piece? What the fuck?

EDIT: Taure, who's Freya? Stella bird?
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:08 AM   #16
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I don't really care about the UK government, and don't want to derail this into an EU thread, but from what I understand EU institutions have very good checks and balances but the system has a democratic deficiency. It's executive heavy (something which is partially rectified through the Lisbon Treaty I think), but mainly there's just a lack of interest, common political sphere and transparency. The biggest thing missing is a united people having a global discussion.

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Constitutional reform: a written constitution to place limits on the government's power, guarantee the people inalienable rights (that is, rights that cannot be altered or removed via acts of Parliament)
Don't know how it works in other countries, but I find it logical that you should be able to amend the constitution. The French don't and they just end up writing a new one every 40 years.

Edit: Ok, so now they do, and maybe they'll keep their Fith Republic a while. The fact that they had five constitutions in 220 years still stands, and as I see it it's because they failed at evolution, and got revolutions instead.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:30 AM   #17
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Yeah we do

And the main issue about the EU is the Commission, I think. It holds most of the executive power in the Union, and its member are selected by the 27 Heads of State, which means it always end up in a weak consensus.

As Oephyx said, IIRC the Lisbon Treaty gave a bit more power to the Parliament.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:45 AM   #18
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Don't know how it works in other countries, but I find it logical that you should be able to amend the constitution.
The thing is, if we allowed room for amendments, then there's no point in having a constitution. The reason I want one is because, at the moment, there is no law that Parliament cannot pass. If amendment were allowed, then if they wanted to pass a law that was unconstitutional they would just amend the constitution and go ahead and pass the law - making the constitution fail at its purpose.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:50 AM   #19
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Taure: But by having a constitutional process you open your system up for a lot of problems because just about everything is on the table -- which is fine if you want radical changes in a direction and have popular support. But if it fails things get very ugly very quickly.
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:03 PM   #20
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If amendment were allowed, then if they wanted to pass a law that was unconstitutional they would just amend the constitution and go ahead and pass the law - making the constitution fail at its purpose.
Which is why the system needs to make it harder than passing any common law. In Belgium they need a two thirds majority in both chambers and two thirds presence. They also need to dissolve the Parliament and hold elections, but that's useless because when they decide to revise some part they just do it before a scheduled election.
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