The Next Big election: May 2016.

DTV
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'Record Employment' is interesting as what it really means is most people in work in history which is predominantly due to population growth. This government doesn't have record low unemployment, for instance, and their measuring of record employment is purely numerical rather than percentage wise. Furthermore if they're going to tout some of their records why not tout others such as their 'record government debt' or 'record wealth gap' or 'record post-war children below the poverty line'. Also the government spin interestingly ignores the fact that many of these jobs don't really pay and in fact tax credits are a necessary part of many people's income.

But then again Cameron claims to be a 'One-Nation Conservative' a term that fits him in as much as if you disregard both the actions of his government and key features of a One-Nation Conservative - then he is one. In fact if Disraeli's Sybil was published today one would have to assume it was a parable about the actions of the current government, with two nations essentially emerging - one of the rich and the other the poor whom barely interact with or understand one another. Cameron's marketing strategy of being a One Nation government really is quite disgusting in a way in that it attempts to connect in people's minds the actions of this government with those of genuine One Nation Conservatives - who often attempted to bridge the gap between the classes understanding 'the price of privilege' and the duty of the rich to the poor. Government's like Harold MacMillan's, which briefly placed the Conservatives as economically as left-wing (if not more so) as Gaitskell's Labour, were in favour of welfare, high taxes and government ownership to the extent that MacMillan accepted the resignation of his Treasury team rather than cut welfare. David Cameron has about as much in common with One Nation Conservatives as Tony Blair did with the Bevanites.
Martin Phillp
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WillPS wrote:
more a sign of a lack of personal ambition than the fault of the government.
fuck it, I'll take the bate.

Two people very close to me have suffered from anxiety and depression for 6+ years. Both badly want help to get them out of the situation, and have been failed in terms of NHS provision to different levels (postcode lottery). Imagine *positively fearing* walking to the end of your street. Imagine for a fucking second how that might feel, and that might impact on your fucking "personal ambition".
I've never mentioned it publicly before, but I had a breakdown in 2014 after failing the dreaded WCA. Went to the GP as I obviously wasn't in the right frame of mind, got some counselling which came from the GP's own budget and was supposed to get a referral to the mental health unit, did I get it? Nope!

I'm facing a WCA at some point again this year and expect to not get enough points as I didn't get any support that I had in the past due to the cuts since 2010. I managed to get ESA reinstated after a mandatory reconsideration the last time. I appeared to give them more information than the 'medical professional' had written down. I was lucky, others aren't.
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WillPS
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Martin Phillp wrote:
WillPS wrote:
more a sign of a lack of personal ambition than the fault of the government.
fuck it, I'll take the bate.

Two people very close to me have suffered from anxiety and depression for 6+ years. Both badly want help to get them out of the situation, and have been failed in terms of NHS provision to different levels (postcode lottery). Imagine *positively fearing* walking to the end of your street. Imagine for a fucking second how that might feel, and that might impact on your fucking "personal ambition".
I've never mentioned it publicly before, but I had a breakdown in 2014 after failing the dreaded WCA. Went to the GP as I obviously wasn't in the right frame of mind, got some counselling which came from the GP's own budget and was supposed to get a referral to the mental health unit, did I get it? Nope!

I'm facing a WCA at some point again this year and expect to not get enough points as I didn't get any support that I had in the past due to the cuts since 2010. I managed to get ESA reinstated after a mandatory reconsideration the last time. I appeared to give them more information than the 'medical professional' had written down. I was lucky, others aren't.
I am so sorry to hear that. As I wrote, it hasn't happened to me but it has happened to two people very close to me, both of whom have failed their WCAs previously and I accompanied both to court separately in the end to get them reinstated.

I found the whole experience a total ordeal and I don't suffer the symptons. It is horrible. The stuff that goes in to those WCA 'reports' would be hilarious if were they not considered so important to ESA claims. The one for my brother had stuff about him spending most days watching TV "particularly soap operas" - complete and utter bollocks which was made up and had no bearing on anything said during the WCA nor any written form. Of course, the government argue that they didn't pressure Atos to find people fit for work - but that was very obviously the result they were looking for. Both of them had their 'points' more than doubled when it went to Tribunal, and all credit to the Court Service they were incredibly thorough and fair - but for people in their situation to have to go before a judge (and on the way get searched, wait in areas with huge "IF YOU PLEAD GUILTY" posters!) is a total travesty.

Have you suffered the indignity of the Work Programme yet? The other person I help with (with the symptons which boil down to severe agoraphobia) has been entered on that recently as a result of her most recent WCA. It is a joke. For a start, the place in Sheffield she has to go is on the 4th floor of a stuffy lightless building, the floors beneath all housing the Probation Service. Obviously they can't really do anything for her since she is still quite far from being able to return to work, so she has to go through the whole rigmarole to basically sign a form to say she's attended. Fuck knows how much money Serco get for that, but regardless of that it is a total waste of time for all involved. Still, ticks a handy 'make life difficult for the "workshy"' box for the Tories. Of course, if you were actually just workshy, you'd know exactly the loops to jump through to avoid being there at all.

I'm really sorry the NHS is failing you as badly as I know it can do. Of the 2 people I've mentioned, one managed to get some councelling which actually worked, and in conjunction with some other positive factors really pulled himself out of it in the end, he's now at University. The other was really badly failed by her GP surgery, who basically washed their hands of her as she entered a time of total crisis. With what little money she has she is now paying out for private therapy, which is really having an effect. If you can possibly afford it, do it.

It's so objectionable that it comes to that ultimately though. We're not talking about hugely expensive cancer drugs, we're talking about straight forward proven therapy. If the NHS withdrew funding from, say, physiotherapy in the way that they have done Mental Health there would be total uproar as the tangibly unwell would not be helped back to normal life. The only difference with Mental Health is that it's intangible.
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Martin Phillp
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WillPS wrote: I am so sorry to hear that. As I wrote, it hasn't happened to me but it has happened to two people very close to me, both of whom have failed their WCAs previously and I accompanied both to court separately in the end to get them reinstated.

I found the whole experience a total ordeal and I don't suffer the symptons. It is horrible. The stuff that goes in to those WCA 'reports' would be hilarious if were they not considered so important to ESA claims. The one for my brother had stuff about him spending most days watching TV "particularly soap operas" - complete and utter bollocks which was made up and had no bearing on anything said during the WCA nor any written form. Of course, the government argue that they didn't pressure Atos to find people fit for work - but that was very obviously the result they were looking for. Both of them had their 'points' more than doubled when it went to Tribunal, and all credit to the Court Service they were incredibly thorough and fair - but for people in their situation to have to go before a judge (and on the way get searched, wait in areas with huge "IF YOU PLEAD GUILTY" posters!) is a total travesty.

Have you suffered the indignity of the Work Programme yet? The other person I help with (with the symptons which boil down to severe agoraphobia) has been entered on that recently as a result of her most recent WCA. It is a joke. For a start, the place in Sheffield she has to go is on the 4th floor of a stuffy lightless building, the floors beneath all housing the Probation Service. Obviously they can't really do anything for her since she is still quite far from being able to return to work, so she has to go through the whole rigmarole to basically sign a form to say she's attended. Fuck knows how much money Serco get for that, but regardless of that it is a total waste of time for all involved. Still, ticks a handy 'make life difficult for the "workshy"' box for the Tories. Of course, if you were actually just workshy, you'd know exactly the loops to jump through to avoid being there at all.

I'm really sorry the NHS is failing you as badly as I know it can do. Of the 2 people I've mentioned, one managed to get some councelling which actually worked, and in conjunction with some other positive factors really pulled himself out of it in the end, he's now at University. The other was really badly failed by her GP surgery, who basically washed their hands of her as she entered a time of total crisis. With what little money she has she is now paying out for private therapy, which is really having an effect. If you can possibly afford it, do it.

It's so objectionable that it comes to that ultimately though. We're not talking about hugely expensive cancer drugs, we're talking about straight forward proven therapy. If the NHS withdrew funding from, say, physiotherapy in the way that they have done Mental Health there would be total uproar as the tangibly unwell would not be helped back to normal life. The only difference with Mental Health is that it's intangible.
I've been placed in the 'Support' group, a.k.a. the leave you alone for a period between 6 months and three years group, so haven't experienced the Work Programme. Maximus who are contracted to do the WCA assessments also provide the Work Programme locally. I go past the building on a daily basis and see fed up 'clients' and not a lot of work going on, but I know if you miss a meeting, they'll sanction you even if you have a legitimate reason.

I was given three months of therapy, once a week and as soon as I thought I was getting somewhere, it stopped. Awaited a referral and nothing. The NHS locally had to make big cuts to mental health services, which included a drop-in for patients which was moved to A&E. They'll only see you if you're suicidal.
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WillPS
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It's all horribly familiar :( the reality is that for anybody to really progress you need the flexibility of an unknown number of sessions, and if the number has to fixed it should be a lot more than 12 sessions.

It really is appalling how little treatment there is available unless you are under 18, a risk to society or suicidal.

But of course, the majority of people (thankfully) will not suffer to the extent that they need help, and a good chunk of those people continue in absolute ignorance towards even the concept of mental health, as well as other illnesses which affect one's ability to work. And those people will continue to cheer on the Tories as they trash the services these people need and make their lives harder. It's disgusting.

If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.
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WillPS
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Not often I say this, but great piece in The Guardian today by Alistair Campbell on this subject:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/comm ... h-services

I agree with that completely.
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cwathen
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WillPS wrote: The Tories received 37% of the popular vote, and yet have total control over everything (in England at least) for 5 fixed years.

To put that another way, 63% of people who voted are effectively disenfranchised; regardless of whether or not they are represented.
Yes it is unfair that the Conversatives got 51% of the seats with 37% of the vote, but then it is equally unfair (albeit far less often commented on) that the SNP ended up with 56 seats on just 4.7% of the vote whilst the Libdems only got 8 seats on 7.9% and UKIP only got 1 seat on 12.6% - under FPTP the 3rd, 4th and 5th places are the wrong way around with respect to the vote share and it is actually UKIP which should be the biggest party after the Conservatives and Labour. I don't want that to happen, you don't want that to happen, but that's undeniably what the numbers say so under a fairer system it should have been what happened.

For all it's faults, FPTP does have an undeniable logic in that in the individual constituencies the most successful MP wins (so the result is 'right' in each individual constituency) whilst it is equally undeniable that the strongest government will be formed by it being comprised of a single party with a majority of MPs in order for it to be able to get it's legislation through (so the national result is 'right' too).

Analysis in terms of national vote share is essentially trying to re-purpose the general election into a single national election which isn't what it is. To make the government truly representative of national share you'd have to look at things like equalising the size of constituencies (which then make them unworkable geographically), giving up your constituency MP altogether in favour of just your local council and then a national Westminster government , having a directly elected prime minister which may struggle to wield much power if he doesn't have a majority of MPs on his side, or even what would arguably be nastier still cludges like having extra MPs with no constituency to make the numbers work on PR - and ultimately I don't think people want that.

What is somehow needed is a system which preserves the constituency MP whilst still delivering a prime minister with a strong government which can get things done whilst still fitting national trends on vote share - does such a system actually exist?
WillPS wrote:I'm glad your family is doing well. I genuinely hope none ever face serious mental health issues or other disabilities.
As you say yourself though, mental health services are a postcode lottery. As sad as it was to read about how things are in your neck of the woods, I can assure you (first hand, actually) that the NHS services in Devon are excellent (which includes provision of therapy for as long as is needed rather than having a fixed number of sessions which you also said - quite rightly - is terrible). I can also tell you that most of the Devon services did not exist in the form they do today under Labour (the Torbay service even now has it's own building which it did not have 5 years ago). To balance it out, I can equally assure you (albeit thankfully second hand) that similar services in Somerset are a shower of shit, with only 6 appointments (only telephone appointments too rather than face to face) being the norm for non suicidal cases.

NHS Mental health provision has a VERY long way to go, but however much it's patchy things weren't any better under Labour and I doubt that they'd be any better - or worse - if Labour were still in. This is more a societal issue with mental health being on very few people's agendas until very recently. The tories just have the misfortune of being in power at a time when mental health is finally getting the nation's attention and now find themselves stuck playing catch up on underinvestment by both themselves AND Labour in previous governments.
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WillPS
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cwathen wrote:
WillPS wrote: The Tories received 37% of the popular vote, and yet have total control over everything (in England at least) for 5 fixed years.

To put that another way, 63% of people who voted are effectively disenfranchised; regardless of whether or not they are represented.
Yes it is unfair that the Conversatives got 51% of the seats with 37% of the vote, but then it is equally unfair (albeit far less often commented on) that the SNP ended up with 56 seats on just 4.7% of the vote whilst the Libdems only got 8 seats on 7.9% and UKIP only got 1 seat on 12.6% - under FPTP the 3rd, 4th and 5th places are the wrong way around with respect to the vote share and it is actually UKIP which should be the biggest party after the Conservatives and Labour. I don't want that to happen, you don't want that to happen, but that's undeniably what the numbers say so under a fairer system it should have been what happened.

For all it's faults, FPTP does have an undeniable logic in that in the individual constituencies the most successful MP wins (so the result is 'right' in each individual constituency) whilst it is equally undeniable that the strongest government will be formed by it being comprised of a single party with a majority of MPs in order for it to be able to get it's legislation through (so the national result is 'right' too).

Analysis in terms of national vote share is essentially trying to re-purpose the general election into a single national election which isn't what it is. To make the government truly representative of national share you'd have to look at things like equalising the size of constituencies (which then make them unworkable geographically), giving up your constituency MP altogether in favour of just your local council and then a national Westminster government , having a directly elected prime minister which may struggle to wield much power if he doesn't have a majority of MPs on his side, or even what would arguably be nastier still cludges like having extra MPs with no constituency to make the numbers work on PR - and ultimately I don't think people want that.

What is somehow needed is a system which preserves the constituency MP whilst still delivering a prime minister with a strong government which can get things done whilst still fitting national trends on vote share - does such a system actually exist?
I want PR. If that means one issue nutters like UKIP get a 12% share, then so be it. The flip side of that is the Greens would have got 5%, and it's fair to expect FPTP holds that result down quite firmly.

I don't value the single constituency MP at all personally. A system whereby PR is delivered regionally would allow constituents to have a choice of MPs they could communicate with.
cwathen wrote:
WillPS wrote:I'm glad your family is doing well. I genuinely hope none ever face serious mental health issues or other disabilities.
As you say yourself though, mental health services are a postcode lottery. As sad as it was to read about how things are in your neck of the woods, I can assure you (first hand, actually) that the NHS services in Devon are excellent (which includes provision of therapy for as long as is needed rather than having a fixed number of sessions which you also said - quite rightly - is terrible). I can also tell you that most of the Devon services did not exist in the form they do today under Labour (the Torbay service even now has it's own building which it did not have 5 years ago). To balance it out, I can equally assure you (albeit thankfully second hand) that similar services in Somerset are a shower of shit, with only 6 appointments (only telephone appointments too rather than face to face) being the norm for non suicidal cases.

NHS Mental health provision has a VERY long way to go, but however much it's patchy things weren't any better under Labour and I doubt that they'd be any better - or worse - if Labour were still in. This is more a societal issue with mental health being on very few people's agendas until very recently. The tories just have the misfortune of being in power at a time when mental health is finally getting the nation's attention and now find themselves stuck playing catch up on underinvestment by both themselves AND Labour in previous governments.
That's great to hear, things should be that way nationally. I'm also glad that the service delivered for you.

I agree and I'm no fan of the flavour of Labour that ran this country up to 2010. Certainly post-2002 there are so many mistakes and missed opportunities to fix things. I've only voted for Labour once, and that was a ballot where the only other option was the Conservatives. Chief amongst Labour's crimes in my mind is the implementation of ESA and the termination of Incapacity Benefit. It's a very cruel, cynical change which had already starting making people's lives a misery before David Cameron had taken the keys to number 10.

The Conservatives inherited a bad situation in that regard and made it much *much* worse, extending the same cynical logic to the DLA benefit in the form of PIP and by making enrolment on the Work Programme mandatory for ESA claimants who are expected to return to work at some point. The whole 'strivers vs skivers' thing legitimises the absolute nonsense view that the out of work benefits weigh disproportionately heavily, and are somehow to blame for the economy tanking. Osbourne in particular bleats on constantly about how benefits and tax credits are unsustainable - actually there is no issue in terms of the sustainability of those benefits, the big issue (which no party deigns fit to face) is actually Pensions.

I do believe that Corbyn is different, he's not ashamed about his desire to protect society's most vulnerable. I believe his desire to protect the NHS is genuine too, and not tantamount to privatisation by stealth.
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bilky asko
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First Past The Post is a nonsense system. One of the biggest political lies left (virtually) unchallenged was that AV was somehow the proportional alternative, despite it being one of the only alternatives that was even less proportional than FPTP.
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DTV
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WillPS wrote: I want PR. If that means one issue nutters like UKIP get a 12% share, then so be it. The flip side of that is the Greens would have got 5%, and it's fair to expect FPTP holds that result down quite firmly.

I don't value the single constituency MP at all personally. A system whereby PR is delivered regionally would allow constituents to have a choice of MPs they could communicate with.
Actually under a PR system there is evidence to suggest that more people would vote for parties like the Greens under a system such as the regional list. This is particularly evident in Euro Elections, but in Welsh and Scottish Parliamentary elections 'Other' parties get a combined vote share up to 5 times higher under the proportional element than under the constituency element.

The argument about a majority government is also flawed - the SNP have a majority and will probably have an even bigger one soon and that is under a semi-proportional system. Furthermore, broad coalitions, such as those in Nordic and other parts of Europe, are probably better for the electorate as they provide a more pragmatic approach to government and pretty much end infighting within parties as they split up into their constituent factions - given that Corbynites have more in common with the 'progressive alliance' than most of the PLP that might not be such a bad thing.

If I had to pick an electoral system to replace FPTP it would definitely be Single Transferable Vote (with 5-6 seat constituencies and allocating seats using the Hare quota). STV is fairly proportional and retains the good elements of both the Party List and FPTP. For instance there are still MPs that are local - just more of them and not as local. Voters also have a choice between candidates within a party - Social Democratic voters could rank the Corbynistas and Green candidates ahead of Blairites. It also avoids the negatives of the Party List voting system which gives to much control to the party leadership - if the system was in use in the late 80s, there would be considerably fewer 'wets' and 'Bennites' in the House of Commons.
barcode
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Lets look at those polls:

https://twitter.com/britainelects/statu ... 8452615169
Westminster voting intention:
CON: 40% (+2)
LAB: 31% (-)
UKIP: 11% (+2)
LDEM: 7% (-2)
GRN: 4% (-2)
(via Ipsos-Mori / 23 - 25 Jan)

Scottish Parliament:
Constituency Vote
SNP: 50%
Lab: 21%
Con 17%
Lib Dem 6%
Others 5 %

Its claimed Labour could lose all the Constituency seats, somehow I doubt it, since the seats are smaller than MP, and SNP were unable to win a few of the By elections. Fife could go against SNP over the Forth bridge, Aberdeenshire go also go against SNP over the OIL.


Most people are dissatisfied with both DC and JC!

Satisfaction with David Cameron as Prime Minister:
Satisfied: 42%
Dissatisfied: 51%

Satisfaction with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader:
Satisfied: 31%
Dissatisfied: 49%
NET: -18
NET: -9
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