Is Britain really broken?

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Jdsk
Posts: 26425
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by Jdsk »

Jdsk wrote: 8 Jul 2024, 7:10pm
francovendee wrote: 8 Jul 2024, 6:29pm A follow up question.
is the feeling of things being broken the same in all parts of the UK?
The people I know who say things are OK live in the South of England, Hertfordshire and West Sussex.
The ones that say it isn't, live in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire , Northamptonshire, Somerset and Suffolk.
Maybe it's more local and within a county experience vastly differs?
No, it isn't the same everywhere. And as usual in England class has an even bigger effect than geography.

There's an article somewhere today about the failed regional policies of recent governments, and what will be tried next.
...
Starmer today "We will set up a council for regions and nations".

In the manifesto. Looks sensible. And may be part of a pattern of trying to improve things without legislation and structural reform.

Jonathan

PS: The recommendations from the 2022 review:
"Labour’s constitutional proposals: Report on the Commission of the UK’s future":
https://www.instituteforgovernment.org. ... -proposals
briansnail
Posts: 961
Joined: 1 Sep 2019, 3:07pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by briansnail »

8years ago I had a hip replacement,the consultant was a second generation India,his second in command(needed as I already had steel work in the hip due to a previous op when I was 14 and so wasn't a straightforward job)was Polish,the anaesthetist was a 70year old Indian lady who told me she loved her job,the two ward charge nurses were both African,one from Ghana the other from Angola,both emigrated to the UK when they were both 16 years old,worked hard to reach their very responsible position in the NHS.
The pre OP doctor was Indian and the nurse was Irish
There as a trainee nurse on the ward who had had her bursary stopped by the Tory Government,she had to work in a Pharmacy on the weekend to earn a living and was living with her parents who were supporting her financially through her training.

Now tell me the UK doesn't need immigrants!
A powerful post.That confirms we need specific skilled immigrants eg Doctors,Plumbers,Care Assistants and fully accredited bicycle mechanics.
Biospace
Posts: 2368
Joined: 24 Jun 2019, 12:23pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by Biospace »

francovendee wrote: 8 Jul 2024, 12:20pm I've read and heard many times that Britain is broken and wonder how true it is. As I don't live in the UK, but have friends and family there, I can only know what they tell me.
I've been told the following are broken; The health service, prisons, roads, immigration, the high number of people on sickness benefit, potholes, getting a dental appointment, water, mental health etc.
Surely this isn't the experience of the majority. For sure things could be better in most countries, but broken?
France is in a bit of a turmoil at present but unemployment is fairly low, the health service is under pressure from shortages of staff but we don't have a waiting list in the millions. We have good roads, clean rivers and coasts but people are wanting more from a country that has the second biggest economy in the EU.
Are we Brits just champion moaners but our country is not much different to other nations?
As we see in Britain today, profit is sought at every turn and the emergency policies which Mrs Thatcher put in place to keep the World Bank at arm's length have been continued, often encouraged, by every political leader who has followed.

When the Labour Party adopted a leader whose policies were to nationalise energy, water and railways, to build enough houses to end the shortage, increase workers' rights, end tuition fees, to remove loopholes in taxation for big business and very wealthy individuals, invest in renewable energy and invest in public services, the media attacked him for being socialist to the point the Labour Party saw him off.

We've adopted American business culture and divisionary politics, we police by camera and computer, use the housing market to boost our economy yet wonder why things are going so wrong. Although neither Britain's infrastructure nor its people are "broken", I struggle to see how if a generally civilised society is to remain, we believe we can continue with such stresses on ourselves and systems we live under.

The Blair government inherited a sound economy and stable country to the tune of "Things can only get better" and promise of an integrated transport policy. Things certainly got better for many baby boomers who, educated for free, saw their house values sky rocket and pension funds make hay, the cost of nannies, au pairs and casual manual labour fall dramatically. For younger Brits the prospect wasn't quite so good as Blair rolled up the carpet behind his fortunate generation and debt levels from university tuition escalated while for many salaries fell, rents rose and house prices moved rapidly towards where we are today.

Where are we today?
  • Our health service is not always well-managed and has multiple open wounds, state supported dentistry for many is a pipe dream, and despite hard working and gifted individuals on the NHS' shop floor, disabilities and chronic disease are riding high.
  • Our roads have localised pothole problems, made far worse with ever more massive and powerful vehicles and suspension and tyre choices which are less than ideal for imperfect surfaces and foundations.
  • Our energy, water and public transport have been mis-managed for years and often hindered by Government decisions. Bills verge on the ridiculous.
  • Rapid immigration hasn't been matched with rapid infrastructure growth. A better quality of debate about this whole issue would be productive.

Are we champion moaners? I don't think so, but perhaps we should admit we are a nation shrinking in wealth and influence but note that neither of these is required for high quality of life. We should plan for the future, ask the general population what it wants from life, be realistic, work out why things aren't working and do something positive about them.

I'm not convinced politics is working for the people, it's a system designed for the past and despite many virtues, isn't fit for the future. Some form of proportional representation would give the Green vote the voice it derserves, which in a system designed to resist change will struggle to have influence.
reohn2
Posts: 45642
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by reohn2 »

When the Labour Party adopted a leader whose policies were to nationalise energy, water and railways, to build enough houses to end the shortage, increase workers' rights, end tuition fees, to remove loopholes in taxation for big business and very wealthy individuals, invest in renewable energy and invest in public services, the media attacked him for being socialist to the point the Labour Party saw him off
Up thread I claimed the UK wasn't so much broken as "badly bent",above is the strategy for straightening it out,but of course the author of that strategy was set upon by a pack of rich and influential wolves and charachter assinated in his attempt to implement a fairer and better country for all,especially the ordinary wo/man.
-----------------------------------------------------------
"All we are not stares back at what we are"
W H Auden
swagman
Posts: 77
Joined: 9 Mar 2009, 6:07pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by swagman »

Biospace wrote: 11 Jul 2024, 8:30pm
francovendee wrote: 8 Jul 2024, 12:20pm I've read and heard many times that Britain is broken and wonder how true it is. As I don't live in the UK, but have friends and family there, I can only know what they tell me.
I've been told the following are broken; The health service, prisons, roads, immigration, the high number of people on sickness benefit, potholes, getting a dental appointment, water, mental health etc.
Surely this isn't the experience of the majority. For sure things could be better in most countries, but broken?
France is in a bit of a turmoil at present but unemployment is fairly low, the health service is under pressure from shortages of staff but we don't have a waiting list in the millions. We have good roads, clean rivers and coasts but people are wanting more from a country that has the second biggest economy in the EU.
Are we Brits just champion moaners but our country is not much different to other nations?
As we see in Britain today, profit is sought at every turn and the emergency policies which Mrs Thatcher put in place to keep the World Bank at arm's length have been continued, often encouraged, by every political leader who has followed.

When the Labour Party adopted a leader whose policies were to nationalise energy, water and railways, to build enough houses to end the shortage, increase workers' rights, end tuition fees, to remove loopholes in taxation for big business and very wealthy individuals, invest in renewable energy and invest in public services, the media attacked him for being socialist to the point the Labour Party saw him off.

We've adopted American business culture and divisionary politics, we police by camera and computer, use the housing market to boost our economy yet wonder why things are going so wrong. Although neither Britain's infrastructure nor its people are "broken", I struggle to see how if a generally civilised society is to remain, we believe we can continue with such stresses on ourselves and systems we live under.

The Blair government inherited a sound economy and stable country to the tune of "Things can only get better" and promise of an integrated transport policy. Things certainly got better for many baby boomers who, educated for free, saw their house values sky rocket and pension funds make hay, the cost of nannies, au pairs and casual manual labour fall dramatically. For younger Brits the prospect wasn't quite so good as Blair rolled up the carpet behind his fortunate generation and debt levels from university tuition escalated while for many salaries fell, rents rose and house prices moved rapidly towards where we are today.

Where are we today?
  • Our health service is not always well-managed and has multiple open wounds, state supported dentistry for many is a pipe dream, and despite hard working and gifted individuals on the NHS' shop floor, disabilities and chronic disease are riding high.
  • Our roads have localised pothole problems, made far worse with ever more massive and powerful vehicles and suspension and tyre choices which are less than ideal for imperfect surfaces and foundations.
  • Our energy, water and public transport have been mis-managed for years and often hindered by Government decisions. Bills verge on the ridiculous.
  • Rapid immigration hasn't been matched with rapid infrastructure growth. A better quality of debate about this whole issue would be productive.

Are we champion moaners? I don't think so, but perhaps we should admit we are a nation shrinking in wealth and influence but note that neither of these is required for high quality of life. We should plan for the future, ask the general population what it wants from life, be realistic, work out why things aren't working and do something positive about them.

I'm not convinced politics is working for the people, it's a system designed for the past and despite many virtues, isn't fit for the future. Some form of proportional representation would give the Green vote the voice it derserves, which in a system designed to resist change will struggle to have influence.
Spot on.👍
pete75
Posts: 16437
Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by pete75 »

Biospace wrote: 11 Jul 2024, 8:30pm
I'm not convinced politics is working for the people, it's a system designed for the past and despite many virtues, isn't fit for the future. Some form of proportional representation would give the Green vote the voice it derserves, which in a system designed to resist change will struggle to have influence.
It'll also give the anti-Green vote in the form of Reform, much more influence.
'Give me my bike, a bit of sunshine - and a stop-off for a lunchtime pint - and I'm a happy man.' - Reg Baker
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Cugel
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Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by Cugel »

pete75 wrote: 17 Jul 2024, 7:53am
Biospace wrote: 11 Jul 2024, 8:30pm
I'm not convinced politics is working for the people, it's a system designed for the past and despite many virtues, isn't fit for the future. Some form of proportional representation would give the Green vote the voice it derserves, which in a system designed to resist change will struggle to have influence.
It'll also give the anti-Green vote in the form of Reform, much more influence.
Indeed. No voting system will stop various flavours of monstrous humans voting for their chief and most monstrous monster. We're all then hostage to fortune: will there be more not-monster voters than monster voters? The problem is that it seems to take quite a lot for a human to be fashioned as a not-monster whereas even the nicest of us can become monstrous with but a slight nudge or two.

Its that paradox of tolerance. If we nicely tolerate all those others different from ourselves, this includes the toleration of monsters. The monsters do not reciprocate the tolerance. Soon the niceys get intolerated away, away to oblivion. Then the monsters turn on each other .... and so it goes.
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence are usually the slaves of some defunct economist”.
John Maynard Keynes
Biospace
Posts: 2368
Joined: 24 Jun 2019, 12:23pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by Biospace »

pete75 wrote: 17 Jul 2024, 7:53am
Biospace wrote: 11 Jul 2024, 8:30pm
I'm not convinced politics is working for the people, it's a system designed for the past and despite many virtues, isn't fit for the future. Some form of proportional representation would give the Green vote the voice it derserves, which in a system designed to resist change will struggle to have influence.
It'll also give the anti-Green vote in the form of Reform, much more influence.
It would give fairer representation to any party with significant support. Attempting to suffocate voting patterns is a very dangerous route to take, if we're continuing to call ourselves democratic.

With most votes spread between two main parties which once stood for very different ways of running the country, the fptp system worked fairly well. If votes are spread amongst four or five parties, it works less well.

Rather than preventing smaller parties from having a say, more proportional representation likely creates a more stable nation both in short and longer term when power isn't in the hands of just one group.
pete75
Posts: 16437
Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by pete75 »

Biospace wrote: 17 Jul 2024, 12:05pm
pete75 wrote: 17 Jul 2024, 7:53am
Biospace wrote: 11 Jul 2024, 8:30pm
I'm not convinced politics is working for the people, it's a system designed for the past and despite many virtues, isn't fit for the future. Some form of proportional representation would give the Green vote the voice it derserves, which in a system designed to resist change will struggle to have influence.
It'll also give the anti-Green vote in the form of Reform, much more influence.
It would give fairer representation to any party with significant support. Attempting to suffocate voting patterns is a very dangerous route to take, if we're continuing to call ourselves democratic.

With most votes spread between two main parties which once stood for very different ways of running the country, the fptp system worked fairly well. If votes are spread amongst four or five parties, it works less well.

Rather than preventing smaller parties from having a say, more proportional representation likely creates a more stable nation both in short and longer term when power isn't in the hands of just one group.
Our version of democracy is based on an area, a constituency, returning an MP to represent it. We don't vote for a government, we vote to elect our local MP. Under that system what we have is fair. The person who most constituents vote for is elected. How people vote in other constituencies is irrelevant.
That system would have to be swept away. The only way to have true PR is with national party lists. Party A gets 40% of the vote, so 40% of MPs are chosen from it's national list party B gets 30% so 30% are chosen etc etc. With PR we won't get any choice over any individual returned to parliament, it'll be entirely down to whoever a particular party picks from it's list.
'Give me my bike, a bit of sunshine - and a stop-off for a lunchtime pint - and I'm a happy man.' - Reg Baker
Biospace
Posts: 2368
Joined: 24 Jun 2019, 12:23pm

Re: Is Britain really broken?

Post by Biospace »

pete75 wrote: 17 Jul 2024, 8:23pm Our version of democracy is based on an area, a constituency, returning an MP to represent it. We don't vote for a government, we vote to elect our local MP. Under that system what we have is fair. The person who most constituents vote for is elected. How people vote in other constituencies is irrelevant.
That system would have to be swept away. The only way to have true PR is with national party lists. Party A gets 40% of the vote, so 40% of MPs are chosen from it's national list party B gets 30% so 30% are chosen etc etc. With PR we won't get any choice over any individual returned to parliament, it'll be entirely down to whoever a particular party picks from it's list.
Whether the present system is fair isn't a fixed matter, but historically it can be argued we have been well served more often than not by FPTP. However, the general elections of 2010, 1983, 1974 and 1951 highlighted intractable problems with how our votes count.

A healthy and stable nation will be happy to consider how effective the status quo remains at any time, indeed our system has changed a good bit over the last 200 years, evolving to become more inclusive, transparent and fair, reflecting broader social and political changes.

If results of GEs continue to show large disparities in vote share and representation, intrinsic problems will continue to receive more attention.
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