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  1. Politics
1 April 2011

Comments of the week

A selection of the best comments left on the site this week.

By Staff Blogger

The anti-cuts march

UK Uncut would have been better targeting the media so keen on misrepresenting them. Otherwise, I really don’t care about a few banks. The lukewarm response to a compromised New Labour trying to align itself with the will of the people would hardly make much of a story and the whole event would have [been] got forgotten by the 10pm bulletins. I agree the violence is frustrating because now we have a call for yet more forward intel and face mask bans, from the Police that agitate undercover and beat people to death, often masked up themselves. I think many more people would have marched were it not for the intimidation offered by the Met. In that context, the fact UKUncut are ready to take on tax-dodging corporations is absolutely welcome. A few bits of glass are besides the point.

writeoff on The TUC rally, hummus and me

Isn’t whether to prosecute or not always subject to the “public interest” test anyway? In the case of the Fortnum and Masons “sit-in” then I suspect the test should be over whether significant financial damage resulted. Personally I’ve always been on the side of those who are engaged in lawful activity over those who would use coercive methods to attempt to stop it.

Of course where the democratic system is highly deficient, as it was in the case of the Suffragettes or the 1960s civil rights movement, then we are in a fundamentally different game to when a group of activists feel aggrieved that the democratic process has not produced the result they would wish.

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Steve Jones on Political violence and unlawful behaviour

Totally agree with Mehdi. I have backed UKUncut all along, but thought they should have stayed away on Saturday. Any other day would’ve been great.

The ‘black bloc’ who I saw getting masked and disguised with their hoodies were nothing more than late teenagers indulging themselves in some self-righteous vandalism and attention-seeking.

I’m proud to have marched as part of the peaceful, non-violent protesting majority and so should we all be.

Sarah on The TUC rally, hummus and me

The Lib Dems’ branding crisis

I find Olly’s comments tremendously amusing as I almost always disagree with the main point she makes – and I’m a Lib Dem too! As for the party brand – sorry, but branding is a marketing term; a brand is used to sell a product to a consumer. I’ve always thought that a political party presents policies and arguments and engages in a process of interaction and argument through which it both eliminates error and persuades voters to back them.

The Liberal Democrats’ main problem has been the reluctance to try and fuse liberalism and social democracy, resulting in woolly, ill-defined positions on certain issues. The Clegg-Laws Orange Book faction, being old-style, free-trade, pro-market Liberals, have well-defined beliefs and positions which they never hesitate to trumpet in public. Also, they slap the Liberal imprimatur on their every utterance, which shows no awareness of what events and policies are doing to the actual word “Liberal”. Words have connotations, and Liberal is starting to become toxic, and not a “brand” to be proud of.

mike cobley on The Lib Dems’ branding crisis

Nuclear power

I am completely convinced that it is theoretically possible to design and build a nuclear power plant that is both safe and efficient. To me the conceptual safety of nuclear power is not an issue – it is safe in theory.

To me the real question is whether or not such plants WILL be designed, built and operated safely. The history here indicates that designers and builders cut corners to save money or deliver on time and that safe operating procedures are short-circuited to maximise profits.

I am reminded of Adam Curtis’s “A is for Atom” segment in the 1992 documentary series “Pandora’s Box”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jUELZAdh_w&feature=related

Richard E on Clegg talks down nuclear power

Tuition fees

Of course. Most institutions were always going to charge £9,000, or they would be loudly declaring themselves second-rate institutions, which was never going to happen. Can’t see a university happily advertising itself as the Matalan of post-secondary education . . . (Sorry, Matalan . . .)

mszollosy on The £1bn black hole in the coalition’s tuition fees plan

50p tax rate

Scrapping the 50p rate would be tricky for the Tories and Lib Dems.

People on ordinary incomes will have seen cuts in their living standards through zero and low pay increases that don’t keep up with fairly high inflation, redundancies, loss of services and loss of benefits. They would not be pleased seeing the rich favoured.

Secondly, the 50p rate will bring in about £2.5bn a year. If reducing the deficit is paramount as Osborne argues, the case for scrapping the 50p rate is weak until the deficit is eliminated (in 2015 according to Osborne).

If the the 50p rate were scrapped, or the coalition stood on a manifesto to scrap it, the Tories and Lib Dems would suffer accordingly.

Dave C on Clegg: property taxes should replace the 50p rate

Electoral reform

Nice, unbiased article . . . I understand AV. I get it, completely, and it stinks. Where to start?

How about: Issues-based campaigning will disappear for fear of upsetting anyone because everyone’s 2nd and 3rd pref votes are so important. We’ll get even vaguer policies so that no one takes offence.

Or: Tough decisions will be avoided for fear of upsetting anyone because everyone’s 2nd and 3rd pref votes are so important. We’ll get stagnation.

Or: We end up with the meek “leaders” with no leadership qualities whatsoever because they never upset anyone and won everyone’s 2nd and 3rd pref votes. See for ref: Ed Miliband.

This is basically a system that allows non-runners to be relevant. Great way to choose people to run a country . . .

FPTP has its flaws. AV has even more. You wouldn’t substitute a BMW for a Skoda, would you?

on How complicated is AV?