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Discuss, examine, and rant and rave about the news of the day.
Posted: 4/13/2013 3:31 PM PDT
Posted: 4/13/2013 12:58 PM PDT
The ZanneP Guide to the British Government (Part One)
The British Government is made up of politicians belonging to a variety of political parties. Most British politicians use the following tried and tested route to get into government.
First, although no longer absolutely essential, it helps to be educated at a public (fee-paying) school, preferably Eton, before going on to Oxbridge or other top university to study something really boring like PPE or Economics.
Next, choose a party to belong to. In the UK this usually means Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat. There are others such as Green or UK Independence but they are largely insignificant and have no real power. Whichever party you choose, you must then get the backing of a local constituency. The UK is made up of more than 600 different areas of equal size (of population) called constituencies. Each constituency has one seat. (Are you still awake? Good, because here comes the interesting bit.) Getting the backing of a local constituency means persuading the party faithful to adopt you as their candidate. (Yes, I lied about the interesting bit.)
The party faithful is (usually) made up of men in suits who prefer to choose someone just like them. Don’t be fooled by anyone pretending to be a nice elderly lady. They are not nice at all because they also want one just like the men in suits. It goes without saying that if you are a man in a suit you have more chance. Anyway, once you have this backing, ta dah! You have been chosen to stand for election to the constituency (or seat).
Or, if you are *really* lucky, you will already know plenty of people in your party of choice, so you can be parachuted in to a ‘safe’ seat. A safe seat is one where you are guaranteed to win. This will become clearer later.
So each party puts forward a candidate for each constituency. Only people living in that constituency can vote for those particular candidates. Once person, one vote. It’s a first past the post system. For example, say we have the following candidates for the constituency of Middleton West: Joe Bloggs for Labour, Tristan Forsythe-Meadows for Conservative, and Mary Hill for the Lib Dems. Let’s pretend there are no other candidates. Oh all right, let’s say there’s also Misty Meaner for the Up Yours! party. Let’s say the constituency is made up of 40,000 adults eligible to vote. The results could go something like this:
Labour: 10,000 votes
Conservative: 10,000 votes
Lib Dem: 28,650 votes
Up Yours! 100 votes
This means that the Lib Dem has been duly elected etc etc. (It also shows that the population of Middleton are a civic lot as they clearly believe in using their right to vote.) (Oh, and full marks to those who notice that the numbers don’t add up. The remainder is made up of spoilt papers/abstentions. OKAY SMARTY PANTS?)
As you can see, it’s a pretty big majority for the Lib Dems. It’s what’s known as a safe seat for them because it is very difficult for the other parties to be elected.
Anyway, I think that’s enough for now. Look out for Part Two coming soon!!!
Meanwhile, see if you can work out how a government can win a majority of seats but have the support of only a minority of the whole country. This will help you understand how someone really unpopular like Thatcher (or Cameron) can indeed be elected.
Posted: 4/13/2013 9:50 AM PDT
How does British government work?
Posted: 4/13/2013 9:03 AM PDT
And this will make you see Russell Brand in a whole new light.
Posted: 4/13/2013 8:59 AM PDT
This says it all really about her real achievements:
Posted: 4/13/2013 8:52 AM PDT
She really was a one-woman bandit. She believed anything she did could be justified and things her opponents (including other tories) did could not. She could not compromise because she couldn't understand any viewpoint except her own. And it seems now that the only people who mourn or "defend" her are either non-British or resident in the south-east of England. Twenty years after she fell from power, people still feel strongly enough to set off fireworks and party in the streets to celebrate her death.
Let’s just recap a few of the things she’s responsible for:
A country completely divided.
Declaring class war. (She loathed the north, talking about where I live as "unsalvagable" and later supporting the police cover-up of Hillsborough.)
Effectively closing down the nation’s industrial employers, leaving the UK over-reliant on the regional wealth of the South East serving the financial markets in London.
Putting 4 million people on the dole. (She instigated her closure programme in order to provoke a show down with the unions, break them, and went ahead with her replacement of "in place of strife" measures with anti-union laws making it practically impossible to carry out industrial action today. She was first elected on the slogan "Labour isn't working" - unemployment stood at 1.4 million in 1979 - Thatcher took this up to an official 3.2 million but only kept this figure down by introducing measures like disability living allowance to change the definition of unemployed. In the process she created the benefit culture her party moans about today, and is now in the process of dismantling.)
Taking away free school milk.
Giving Jimmy Savile free-reign to abuse the weak and vulnerable of this nation.
Giving millions of tax payer pounds to an American drug dealer called DeLorean.
Supporting the Aparthied government in South Africa, describing the African National Congress in 1987 as a "typical terrorist organisation… Anyone who thinks it is going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land".
Implementing the right to buy policy (buying council/social housing). It meant one generation benefited from the ability to buy but subsequent generations had to rent (often from those who had bought). Local authorities were specifically forbidden from re-investing the money raised from right to buy sales in extending their social housing stocks by building council houses.
The poll tax - every member in the household over eighteen had to pay it and some only earned peanuts.
See, it's hard to forget her polices. No one who suffered under Thatcher will easily forgive. And that big pile of wank Cameron is finishing what she started: dividing communities, punishing the poor and making the wealthy even more so.
Posted: 4/13/2013 6:41 AM PDT
What is parliament going to do? Once a party is in power they are in power until the next election. And unless the opposition wins that election, parliament is a talking shop.
"No voices opposing?"
There were more voices opposing that at any other time I can remember in British politics.
"No action to oppose her views and actions?"
Nationwide striking? Hunger strikes? A massive bomb that almost killed Thatcher herself?
"It is easy to put the blame on one single person. "
Yes. Yes it is. Just because something is easy doesn't make it wrong. Who authorised sending the Parachute Regiment in on Bloody Sunday?
Who allowed the hunger strikers to die?
Who decided jingoism was better than diplomacy in the Falklands affair (which nearly caused Britain and France to go to war, arguably as part of a selfish attempt to get reelected)?
As a point of bias, I may be Irish, but I also have relations who fought for the British in the Falklands.
Was Thatcher solely responsible for everything bad that happened during her time as PM? Probably not. Was the the single largest cause of most of the UK's hardship at that time? I'm going to say yes. And I'm going to say that even after she left power, the stench of her era refuses to wash away.
Posted: 4/12/2013 5:31 PM PDT
Interesting points of view.
Then, one question, so the poor men were all manipulated and allowed Thatcher to govern all by herself?
No voices opposing?
No action to oppose her views and actions?
It is easy to put the blame on one single person. I don't think any crisis is the result of one single president or prime minister.
Posted: 4/12/2013 4:28 AM PDT
For the benefit of those who have no idea who this dicktard is, this is a reasonably unbiased article:
Well, I say unbiased...but at least it's biased in the right direction...
Posted: 4/11/2013 3:44 PM PDT
Fucking moron. Wish he'd stayed lost.
Posted: 4/11/2013 12:35 PM PDT
And another thing.
She gave birth to Mark.
Who is SIR fucking Mark.
How infuriating is that?
Posted: 4/11/2013 6:36 AM PDT
I can't convey how infuriated I am that any amount of taxpayers money is going towards her funeral. Outrageous.
Posted: 4/11/2013 5:26 AM PDT
Pity Cameron and his bunch of sycophants won't forget her. The best thing about parliament being recalled yesterday - apart from the empty opposition benches - was to see Tory Clegg looking like the rat-pulled-by-its-tail-out-of-water he invariably is.
I think they should privatise her funeral. Get Murdoch and his pals to cough up for a change.
Posted: 4/10/2013 3:23 PM PDT
She was an individualist. She believed in the virtue of being selfish. She dressed herself up as the 'Iron Lady', but what did she actually do except take Reagan's economic policies and put them in a British context, and adopt an obstinate attitude that killed many and ruined the lives of many more.
Anyone who argues that she 'saved Britain' is, put bluntly, a ballbag. Someone would have smashed the unions eventually. It was the natural course of action. Just because she was the first to do it doesn't mean she deserves any respect.
Her aggressive attitude towards making everything 'freer' was retarded. There was no concept of taking things back to a normal state, instead determined to take things from one extreme to another. This is most clearly shown in how her policies indirectly allowed for the current crisis to happen. Without Thatcher, does anyone think that there would be a level of financial deregulation that would allow bankers to get away with the shit they pulled five years ago?
Thatcher's legacy is that Britain isn't working, yet again. Thatcher's legacy is young men starving themselves to death. Thatcher's legacy... perhaps we would be better to forget she ever existed.
Posted: 4/10/2013 4:26 AM PDT
I think it's a shame she chose to be like a man.
That's not to say she didn't use the fact that she was a woman to her advantage. She got away with things because none of the men in her cabinet would stand up to her - at first, anyway.
Also, she did little for women when she was in power. So few women got promoted when she was PM. She preferred having men round her because she could manipulate them better.
Posted: 4/9/2013 9:10 PM PDT
Love to hate/Hate to love.
Posted: 4/9/2013 6:16 PM PDT
I like that Thatcher was a woman with the same right to screw up things, do unwise things and be in politics as many men do and have done.
Posted: 4/9/2013 3:45 PM PDT
I walked out of school two years ago as part of a student protest. A speech was given by some marginal Socialist group, and it was all a very uninspiring affair.
Posted: 4/9/2013 12:40 PM PDT
Says it all really about our crap system.
I went on strike a few years ago...
Posted: 4/9/2013 6:08 AM PDT
On this day in 1981, Bobby Sands was elected MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone.
He actually received 10,000 more votes than Thatcher herself, when she was elected. I wonder what the population difference between the constituencies was.
That said, Thatcher laid the groundwork for the economic collapse. Yet her ideological successors are currently in power. Where are our strikers?
Posted: 4/9/2013 3:38 AM PDT
I can guarantee that over here they are most certainly not the same thing.
Posted: 4/8/2013 7:27 PM PDT
From afar Crying and Laughter are often the same thing. - Navar Crow
Posted: 4/8/2013 2:11 PM PDT
"Our revenge will be the laughter of our children" - Bobby Sands
Posted: 4/8/2013 11:55 AM PDT
The party faithful are lining up to sing her praises. Even those on the opposing benches are choosing their words with care. Others are planning to dance on her grave. Her legacy? She was probably the most divisive character ever to be elected to parliament.