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Austerity in the UK

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 pm, November 2nd, 2010 - 62 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, uk politics - Tags: ,

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now, but what with Paul Henry and The Hobbit there hasn’t seemed like room. Now international news is likely to be dominated by the fallout from the American mid-term elections for a bit, so now or never.

Pity the people of the UK. Decades of neoliberal economics haven’t worked there any better than anywhere else in the world. The UK has hollowed out its real economy, and over invested in parasitic “financial services”. The last “Labour” government didn’t have a Michael Cullen being cautious for a decade, so the UK entered the financial crisis over-committed and under-prepared. They spent billions of taxpayers’ money bailing out banks that are “too big to fail” (more! more! cry the banks). Now the UK is now facing the bill.

The new Tory / LibDem government is embarking on a program of vicious cuts to public spending. This account is typical:

Spending review axe falls on the poor

Ceorge Osborne claims sweeping cuts will take the country back from the brink of bankruptcy

George Osborne drove his axe deep into the heart of the British state today, with a range of sweeping cuts to welfare, higher education, social housing, policing and local government that he claims will draw the country back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Outlining his long-awaited comprehensive spending review, which will cut £81bn from government spending, Osborne vowed to restore “sanity to our public finances and stability to our economy”. Perhaps the most striking of the new cuts announced was a package of £7bn in extra welfare cuts on top of the £11bn already made in the last budget.

No need to quote too much more, but here are some headlines:

But it’s not all doom and gloom! No no no, I wouldn’t want you to get that idea. Some folk are doing just fine: “UK boardroom pay leaps 55% in a year”. And internationally for example: “Goldman earmarks $17b for self-congratulation”. The ultra-rich are like cockroaches, no matter what kind of crisis is going on around them they always make out just fine…

62 comments on “Austerity in the UK”

  1. Vicky32 1

    I spoke to my penfriend in the UK on Sunday night about this amongst other things. He is angry! He and his wife are pensioners, but they have a son with severe disabilities (indeed my friend has a new and severe disability himself, due to medical misadventure…) Their housing is secure but that’s about all!
    Deb

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    And even though the UK has been sharing the same wealth of North Sea oil as ‘socialist’ Norway all these years, the UK is in the dunny while Norway is sitting on a US$500B sovereign fund*.

    It seems these ‘socialists’ really have their shizzle together when it comes to managing economic assets for the betterment of their countries. Righties/centre righties like Thatcher, Blair, Brown? Not so much.

    *That’s equivalent to US$105K for every man, woman and child in Norway.

    • Rob 2.1

      I wish we had the economic policies of Norway lol. One day I plan to visit there to find out first hand just how they run things as they do. It is incredible.

    • john 2.2

      Colonial Viper, I agree 100%. The Wretched Thatcher blew North Sea Oil Wealth following the NeoLiberal garbage ideology of the US. Now the ordinary Brit is going to pay Big Time! What a bunch of toffee nosed (Public schooled bent) gits the current governing bunch are. Gawd ‘Elp the Poor Poms!

  3. Rob 3

    The Austerity measures in the UK disgusted me. They also made me want privatisation for once. On their cuts calculator I saw that selling 10% of their roading to private companies would be 50% more than they are cutting this year from all the services. Realised I really am not that attached to the idea of governments owning roads because of what a poor investment they are becoming.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    The cost of Britain’s military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq this financial year has soared to more than £4.5bn, an annual increase of more than 50%, figures released yesterday reveal.

    That was from a Feb 2009 news story. War costs have only accumulated since then.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/13/afghanistan-iraq-bill-british-military

    So as Dwight D Eisenhower said, war in its final analysis represents a theft from citizens who are left hungry and who are not fed, who are left cold and are not clothed.

    Its awful that big banks and war interests have drained the public purse and ordinary people are left to rot. What the hell is wrong with these political ‘leaders’.

    • Vicky32 4.1

      Absolutely true CV! War is theft, amongst other things…
      Deb

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        have a listen to him.

        This is what US Republicans used to sound like. Some of them.

    • James Stephenson 4.2

      Norway vs UK is hardly an apt comparison. They’ve had pretty much the same revenues from North Sea Oil but Norway has only 5m population versus 60m. Ferchrissakes they’ve only got one real city, Bergen at #2 isn’t even as big as Christchurch. Have you ever travelled there? Thanks to their own little inflationary micro-climate it’s eyewateringly expensive.

      Their biggest advantage though, was the sensible decision to stay out of the EU. Britain’s contribution to which will be nigh on £6bn this year.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Yeah your points are fair enough. The two countries are vaslty different in size, but I bet the Chancellor of the Exchequer would love to be sitting on a US$500B sovereign fund right this very minute. And £15-20B from the Iraqi/Afghanistan wars would’ve been nice too.

        I’ve got no actual idea about the costs/benefits of joining the EU but it does not look like its done the UK many favours. However I know that UK/Irish businesses did get lots of cheap immigrant labour out of it. (Not saying that was a net benefit for their wider societies though)

      • KJT 4.2.2

        Thats funny. We are continually being told by those who want more cheap labour that a small population is a disadvantage.

      • Rob 4.2.3

        Doesn’t that mean they should both have a $500bn fund but the UK have more people to share it between rather than a huge mountain of debt? Being a larger country doesn’t justify you spending all of your revenue.

    • Bill 4.3

      Defence spending has steadily declined as a %age of gdp in the UK from 9% in 1953-54 to 2.6% in 2010-11.

      Here’s the link

      Anti-spam BUTTONS Indeed

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Between this and whatever hellish alchemy the teabag infested cadaver of the once Grand Old Party come up with, we should have some empirical evidence, in time for our elections, of what slashing demand does to an already stagnant economy.

  6. Bill 6

    Looks to me like there is something very suspect going on in the UK.

    The Guardian published a chart of total public spending as a %age of gdp going back to the late 40’s.

    As a %age of gdp, total public spending was as high during most of the Thatcher years as it was under Brown. And debt interest levels are sitting at 3% of gdp…one of the lowest levels in over 50 years.

    Can’t see where the bankruptcy claim factors in.
    What am I missing?

    edit Oh, social security spending, surely a measure of general immiseration is pretty damned high. So hit the poor that market dynamics brought into being because…?

    • George.com 6.1

      What are you missing?

      Hmmm, a massive global economic slump which was caused by under regulated markets imploding and neo-liberal policy prescriptions reaching their used by date?

      That is, expenditure premised on the neo-liberal free market house of cards economy continued, whereas the house of cards economy collapsed.

      Had the house of cards economy continued then there would not be a massive deficit, although the day of reckoning would have come sooner or later.

  7. Jeremy Harris 7

    I read about 4% cuts… Not exactly welfare state armageddeon…

    • Bill 7.1

      18 billion from a total of 156.15 billion = 11.5% (approx)

      • Jeremy Harris 7.1.1

        The cuts are spread over the next five years and are a £83 billion reduction compared to the Gordon Brown budget. What does that mean? Well it is actually only a £28 billion reduction in real terms (taking into account inflation). From a total budget of £697 billion, it is a reduction of only 4%.

        The total budget in pegged to inflation while the cuts are not from my understanding… Given their deficits and that many of the cuts are aimed at benefits enjoyed by the middle class it doesn’t seem too outlandish… Given their deficit projections they have to stop the bleeding somehow…

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          link?

        • KJT 7.1.1.2

          They could. Tax the banks who caused the problem.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2.1

            I hear Vodafone owes 900 million quid in taxes they have been given leave to delay paying back to the UK Govt. Nice to be a fat cat corporate huh.

            Also we are looking at 490,000 layoffs. That’s 10% of the public sector workforce. That is not a 4% cut, that is just spin Jeremy.

        • Rob 7.1.1.3

          Whoever said that was being quite dishonest. It doesn’t make the cut smaller to have a delayed implementation system.

          As others pointed out also a few billion are crucial depending where you cut them from.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.4

          Given their deficit projections they have to stop the bleeding somehow…

          Dumb question: Why?

          Why extend unemployment queues now, when they are already so long? When there are no jobs out there for people who get laid off? Why not wait to cut back once the UK is out of recession and there are jobs for people to go to? Why not spread the cuts out over more years to give people time to adjust and for the private sector to bounce back?

          This is disaster capitalism from a Tory Government.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.4.1

            I think Labour would’ve done much the same, had they won.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.4.1.1

              In the sense of general direction perhaps, but bear in mind that the Tories have increased Labour’s planned budget cuts by around 30%, and are implementing them faster.

              Anyhows Ed Milliband has his chance to differentiate Labour now.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Jeremy, the welfare state will still be there in the UK. But the destruction of Government capability and increasing of unemployment lines should not be underestimated.

      UK Govt slashing 25% from most departmental budgets

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7847238/Budget-2010-Whitehall-departments-braced-for-25-per-cent-cuts.html

      UK city council budgets to be cut by 25%, some 30%

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2010/oct/28/cuts-worse-deprived-areas

      490,000 public job losses expected

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/22/spending-cuts-labour-urban-areas

      And the banks still have their Get out of Jail Free card

      • Bill 7.2.1

        Hmm. Na. Surely not.

        Public bodies whose purpose is to hold corporations to account are being swept away. Public bodies whose purpose is to help boost corporate profits, regardless of the consequences for people and the environment, have sailed through unharmed. What the two lists suggest is that the economic crisis is the disaster the Conservatives have been praying for. The government’s programme of cuts looks like a classic example of disaster capitalism: using a crisis to re-shape the economy in the interests of business.

        George Monbiot

    • Bunji 7.3

      In graphics.

      I think you missed a zero Jeremy – departments other than health and international aid were all told to look at cuts of up to 40%, with an average aim of 25% across the entire budget. In the end local govt was the biggest cut at >35% (watch those rates rise… and tenants pay in the UK) – but there are some eye-watering cuts in there.

      In the BMJ there’s a good editorial – an excerpt:

      Welfare spending took the biggest hit: to already announced savings of £11bn ({euro}13bn, $17bn) another £7bn was added, to come “mainly from making working-age benefits for poorer households stingier” (The Economist 2010, 23 Oct). “Was it fair that children should emerge as the prime losers?” asks Polly Toynbee in our online debate over the fairness of the cuts (doi, doi). In every income group families with school age children lose the highest proportion of their income (6.7%, compared with pensioners losing 2.9% and the childless 2.3%). Women will also lose out disproportionately. “Of the £16bn cut from benefits by the treasury, £11bn is being taken from women’s handbags and only £5bn from men’s wallets,” Toynbee writes. Low earning mothers will lose £1500 worth of childcare credits a year, forcing many on the minimum wage to give up work.

      Clare Bambra dissects the government’s changes to incapacity benefits (doi). Its underlying intention, via various ruses, is “to move all the current 2.6 million recipients of incapacity related benefits on to other benefits.” As she points out, many of the claimants have been out of the labour market and dependent on low value state benefits for a long time: “they did not benefit from the economic boom, but the coalition government seems determined that they will bear the brunt of the bust.”

      • Jeremy Harris 7.3.1

        How could I have missed a zero if I say 4% and Bill a fellow socialist (he must be to quote Monbiot) is saying 11.5%..?

        • Colonial Viper 7.3.1.1

          Wheres the reference for your 4% figure?

          There are plenty of business stories quoting 25% budget cuts in Whitehall, and 30% or higher cuts by city councils.

          Anyhows it is way more than 4% unless you are saying 4% of UK GDP, which would make the cuts a truly massive sum.

            • Jeremy Harris 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Yip, that’s where I read it…

              Surely this can’t be too hard to figure out, the amount in Brown’s budget, the amount in the new budget, the projected inflation rate…

              • Colonial Viper

                ffs you took that number off some dude’s blog?

                490,000 added to the unemployment queues and 25% slashed off departmental budgets reported in REAL news sources not good enough for you?

                • Jeremy Harris

                  I didn’t know we where presenting university essays here CV…

                  Am I under some false impression that we are having something more serious than a coffee room chat..? Am I being graded for a Bachelor in Socialist Studies..?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Jeremy you are Right Wing which is fine and dandy, so why not at least quote something with credbility like the Financial Times or the WSJ?

                    Instead of pitting the numbers of some random blogger who’s come up with his own budgetary formula against The Guardian, The Telegraph, Aunty Beeb,…

                    Anyways I thought we were having a serious discussion about a serious topic affecting millions of people, not why the All Blacks lost their last match.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I simply mentioned I’d read 4% and then quoted where I read it, I didn’t really want to go in depth on this issue…

                      There seems to be confusion as to the total amount, Bill’s 11.5% looks right if the total is divided by the cuts, there will be an inflationary effect, Rob makes a good point about fixed interest… I think the cuts are not over the top when the situation is considered…

                      I don’t see how the Tories/Lib Dems are responsible for Council cuts unless they run their rating system very different to ours…

                  • Rob

                    Generally if you are going to post something not a mainstream media source it needs to provide its own evidence/the numbers working it out. Unfortunately the blog you cited is not the type to do that it merely stated they had done calculations to say it was 4% and provided no evidence themselves. i.e. your reference had no backing and so the person could just me making shit up. In this case they weren’t making shit up I don’t think but they got the way “real terms” applies the wrong way around. They took the fact that the budget will increase according to inflation to mean that the cuts will be less severe. Inflation is a measure of the currency losing value meaning a budget which increases for inflation (as it is claimed the UK budget does I had never heard this before today) remains stationary in real terms rather than increases. Thus the 4% figure is wrong. Well not so much wrong as completely useless in dollar terms the budget will increase due to inflation but the value of the budget will decrease.

                    Here our budgets are not aligned with inflation and thus constantly decrease in real terms every year in many areas regardless of which party is in government although less departments suffer from it under Labour usually.

            • Bill 7.3.1.1.1.2

              Cheers Rob.

              Jeremy. You claim a fact based on….ah fuck, never mind. Bye.

              • Jeremy Harris

                I didn’t claim a fact I stated I read a statistic…

                If I had said definitively the cuts are 4% you’d be right…

        • Bill 7.3.1.2

          Jeremy.

          Still waiting for that link. Meanwhile. The 11.5% I calculated came from the link I provided (The Guardian). They are using figures and calculations provided by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and provide links to their raw data.

          The BBC links that Bunji used are using Treasury figures.

          Stephanie Flanders BBC Economics Editor points out that

          The Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that the entire package of tax and benefit changes coming into force by 2014-15 is clearly regressive, including the tax increases put in train by Labour.

          The Treasury analysis for the spending review document, which suggests otherwise, excludes a third of the benefit changes planned by the government and does not go up to 2014-15 The changes excluded by this are clearly regressive – they have the greatest effect, relative to income, on people at the lower end of the income scale.

  8. Rob 8

    Can I also point out the 11.5% figure is also not that helpful. I feel the more important thing to look at is how much public spending is cut not how much the budget is, the budget includes repaying debt which cannot be altered and provides no services now. The fact that the government spends lots of money does not necessarily make it a good one, that it is spending it in important areas is what makes it good.

    The average government department faces cuts around 20% according to the guardian/heritage and this is after certain departments like the NHS and the Ministry of Defence are isolated to be given only small cuts. As Viper points out some of these in key areas are massive, there is also redistribution at the same time as these cuts going on with some things not being cut at all or increased while others are left to languish.

    • Bill 8.1

      As I asked here

      • Rob 8.1.1

        Oh right I only skimmed that comment. You may also want to look at the fact that there were some capital expenditures in those years and sales of state assets to pay for things or privatisation of services which leaves more money for the government to spend on other things. Battleships cost a lot of money and they used to love them.

  9. My source for 4% is this:

    http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/allister-heath/there-was-no-other-choice-%E2%80%93-now-george-osborne-must-hold-his-nerve

    Which is actually 3.3%. Public spending as a proportion of GDP will still be 41% by 2015, hardly a massive rollback of socialism.

    However, here’s an astonishing idea, read the actual report itself rather than the Guardian.

    http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_completereport.pdf

    The problem with journalists is that too many don’t understand that £1 today is worth more than £1 4 years from now, so the idea of “real terms” value eludes them (bless).

    The report goes line by line to every department. At one end of the spectrum is 37% real increase in internationla development, at the other is 33% reduction in the local government communities grant. Health is rising by 1.3% in real terms. Education cut 3.4% in real terms. Work and pensions (welfare) rises 2.3% in real terms. Capital budgets were cut further, but any painting of this as vicious is pure propaganda. The welfare cuts are about removing child benefit from the top 15% of income earners (heaven forbid), capping total welfare to be received by any family at the average wage, plus capping housing allowances so that people can no longer afford to rent homes at more than £1600 a month (so housing beneficiaries could live better than the average family, and landlords could also milk this). In other words, welfare is being cut from those on above average incomes and those who are gaining more in benefits that those on average incomes.

    The real story is that overall spending is increasing in nominal terms, in real terms the drop is modest. Of course the unspoken story is that Labour wanted to make 50% of the same cuts over that period (without protecting health or international aid), but wont say what it would have cut (naturally).

    Given the tax increases that have been (the new 50% top tax rate introduced by Labour and not being discontinued) and the increase in VAT to 20% (which tends to fall on middle income households, as food is exempt, and energy is at a far lower rate), then it is hard to say that this is some serious neo-liberal slash and burn.

    • Rob 9.1

      From Dictionary.com

      Real (Economics) (prenominal) Economics (of prices, incomes, wages, etc.) considered in terms of purchasing power rather than nominal currency value

      1b today is not worth more in a few years it is worth less. The only way it could be worth more is if you are planning on having several % of deflation. You will need more than 1b to buy today’s services worth of 1b dollars.

      When looking at government spending you subtract inflation from the total not from the cut (i.e. the cuts can only get bigger unless you expect deflation).

      You are taking the dollar amount and then applying the calculations to turn a figure in real terms into the dollar amount to it. If you do as you seem to describe.

      What they appear to be doing is looking at government spending as a % of GDP completely unrelated to either the dollar or real terms value. This doesn’t measure whether it is a % increase or decrease in the amount in the budget. It simply says how much of their income they are spending. If your income reduces 20% and you spend 20% less on stuff it doesn’t mean you didn’t spend any less it means you had less income.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      However, here’s an astonishing idea, read the actual report itself rather than the Guardian.

      Oh I see. You’re with the club of Pain Deniers

      The New Statesman also has your game down pat:

      The pain deniers haven’t got their sums wrong. Public spending will rise from £637.3bn in 2010/11 to £711.4bn in 2014/15. But the claim that the cuts are mythical is only achieved by the old trick of measuring public spending in cash terms, rather than as a percentage of GDP.

      As Will Straw has argued, the latter is by far the more sensible measure. At times of economic expansion, it is only reasonable to assume that some of the proceeds of growth will go towards improving public services. In addition, public-sector inflation is usually higher than the average growth in prices.

      Here’s an amazing idea, instead of trying to slice and dice the numbers in a way that no one else is with the object of minimising their impact, look at all the Whitehall departments having to find 25% to slice off their operating budgets *this year*. Look at the estimates of 490,000 to 1,000,000 job losses which are coming down the pike over the next 4 years.

      Public spending as a proportion of GDP will still be 41% by 2015, hardly a massive rollback of socialism.

      This is a 6% drop from current spending levels. It represents tens of billions of pounds no longer being spent on jobs, on benefits for the poor, and on services that everyone uses.

      People in the lowest socioeconomic sectors are going to be hardest hit by some of the most regressive cut backs ever considered. 3/4 of sickness beneficiaries (or their equivalent of) are simply going to be reclassed as fit for work. Somehow, with a stroke of a pen. But as usual the human and societal collateral damage is OK because as I have been reading, the Tory Right in the UK think that even more damage should be done while Cameron has the chance, and he is being too soft in his goals to reorder British society.

      And meanwhile, all the bankers still have their ‘get out of jail free’ cards.

      Personally I blame Blair and Brown for giving this frakin’ lot the look in at Whitehall.

  10. A 10

    Friends tell me that British universities may well be charging upwards of 6000 pounds a year in fees (through loans, but there you go).

    That’s crazy even for vocational degrees.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Yep, most uni fees in the UK are set to double. No problem if you come from a rich family though.

  11. john 11

    Yes and millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is cutting Corporation tax further! Oh bye the way! He’s also let off Vodafone from paying a 6,000,000,000 Pounds tax bill they owe without explanation. This has generated protests at Vodafone’s stores throughout the UK,but here in Oxford Street.
    When you combine this with the bank bailouts the cream crim rich class are looking out for themselves not the ordinary Pom! This is a brilliant clip a must watch:
    http://keithpp.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/vodafone-6-billion-unpaid-tax-bill/

    There is 12 billion corporate tax evasion in UK yearly

    • Bill 11.1

      But John, in feudal Europe, did the landowner pay much in the way of tithe,levy or tax? I don’t think they did.

      And so the argument would run that it’s preposterous to expect corporations to pay any taxes under corporate feudalism…or put another way, Caesar would pay unto Caesar why?

    • john 11.2

      Comments from the UK,they’re at the coal face!

      The UK is now a country of the rich
      The poor shall pay for the decadent sins of the rich and be told that they are scroungers and lazy
      the media will support this lie as there is no truth in the media.
      we are back to the elite and the slaves and this is just the beginning !

      Funny how its allways across the pond that they look for ideas
      Funny how they never look to Germany or Norway or any other nation that looks after the vunerable
      Noooooooooo just the land of chain gangs soup kitchens …food stamps ..and children living in trailers with no healthcare and tea party nut jobs screaming at an old man with Parkinsons disease
      USA is a broken society …suttre its got Nukes and a Big empire
      but shit …so was Rome and we all know how Glorious but Brutal that was
      Thing is why ask a load of Yanks how they punish the sick and poor and humiliate them ? not enough brain cells old chaps?

      USA has a broken underclass living in cars tents and millions destitute ……….and you want copy their ideas?

      The point of the workhouses back in the day was to make them so terrible that people would do anything rather than have to go to one. And yet they were still full of people. My point is that making life more shit for the unemployed has never yet been proven to motivate and energise them. Often quite the opposite.

      Its actualy a Govt that has declared ….economic Civil war on its own citizenry
      Tea Party versus the poor and vunerable
      Come back Oliver Cromwell ….the Toffs are at it again

      George Osborne

      Chancellor of the exchequer George Gideon Oliver Osborne is filthy rich, but we don’t really know how filthy. He is one of only a handful of upper crust millionaires invited to join C Hoare & Co, the oldest secret bank in Britain—and the most elite.
      Osborne, heir to the baronetcy of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon, County Waterford, has a mortgage on his £2 million London home with the 338‑year old bank.
      This didn’t stop him “flipping” his expense claims and avoiding capital gains tax on a London house. Osborne’s personal wealth is discretely hidden from view at Hoare & Co.
      We do know he has around £4 million as the beneficiary of a trust fund that owns a 15 percent stake in Osborne & Little, the wallpaper company co-founded by his father.
      Some details of the Axeman’s personal wealth.
      He won’t be too worried about losing child benefit

      • Bill 11.2.1

        C Hoare and Co…wonder how they pronounce that. Any bets on the ‘e’ not being silent?

        Anyway. According to wikipedia, the CEO is A Hoare….founded by Sir Dick Hoare…I’ll stop now.

    • john 11.3

      Further link discussing God Father Osbourne’s Mafia heist with Vodafone at the expense of the British People he is supposed to represent:
      http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=22936

      Shades of the Hobbit deal here? In my opinion I think what’s happening in the UK is going to lead to social disintegration with negative stats soaring skywards because the economy can’t grow out of this due to North Sea Oil gone and World Peak Oil. So the rich are girding themselves with wealth transfer to themselves and pulling up the ladder to their ivory towers leaving the masses below to their Dickensian poverty, probably been happening most of British History, although in the past the poorer AG labourers had the beauty of the countryside to comfort them especially in Summer, but now the UK is a hugely over urbanised featureless aspalt desert, hard to get a natural high there! And no cheap scrumpy in the pub available either.

      • john 11.3.1

        John Pilger writes with withering contempt for the UK’s current shallow money feeder so called government, which is totally possessed by the US garbage ideology of NeoLiberalism and is destroying what’s left of the UK’s Social Democratic society. Refer link:

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26743.htm

        “Born of the “never again” spirit of 1945, social democracy in Britain has surrendered to an extreme political cult of money worship. This reached its apogee when £1 trillion of public money was handed unconditionally to corrupt banks by a Labour government whose leader, Gordon Brown, had previously described “financiers” as the nation’s “great example” and his personal “inspiration”. ”

        ” the Blair gang, assisted by venal MPs, finished Thatcher’s work and built the foundation of the present “coalition”. This is led by a former PR man for an asset stripper and by a bagman who will inherit his knighthood and the tax-avoided fortune of his father, the 17th Baronet of Ballentaylor. David Cameron and George Osborne are essentially fossilised spivs who, in colonial times, would have been sent by their daddies to claim foreign terrain and plunder. ”

        “Today, they are claiming 21st century Britain and imposing their vicious, antique ideology, albeit served as economic snake oil. Their designs have nothing to do with a “deficit crisis”. A deficit of 10 per cent is not remotely a crisis. When Britain was officially bankrupt at the end of the second world war, the government built its greatest public institutions, such as the National Health Service and the great arts edifices of London’s South Bank.”

  12. Jeremy Harris 12

    The post title: Austerity in The UK, would make a good sex pistols song…

  13. Jeremy Harris 13

    I think the Sex Pistols were disbanded before I was born, but some things are too classic to fade away…

    • lprent 13.1

      More like fell apart, and not a moment too soon in my opinion. Rocky (my neice) had the same opinion about the SP and inflicted them on me when she was doing year 11 under my supervision. In self defense I gave her access to my music archives with the likes of Patti Smith, The Clash, early Cure, Placebo, etc. In fact anyone that knew how to play their instruments was allowed on the sound system. That excluded the sex pistols.

      • Bored 13.1.1

        I remember the Pistols coming through like a rush of fresh air into a world of pompous up itself rock, truly liberating, then gone. Musically dire in retrospect, but Lydons lyrics (Johnny Rotten) truly inspired. His words definitely stand the test of time for those who are dissaffected.

        God save the queen
        We mean it man
        And there is no future
        In England’s dreaming

        No future, no future,
        No future for you
        No future, no future,
        No future for me

        No future, no future,
        No future for you
        No future, no future
        For you

        Could have been written for todays UK.

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  • Climate Change: Submit!
    The Environment Committee has called for submissions on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill. Submissions are due by Friday, 17 January 2020, and can be made online at the link above. The bill makes a number of changes to the ETS, including linking it to the carbon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 hours ago
  • The Message From Messenger Park.
    Coasters Turn Out In Droves: It’s precisely the widening gulf between those with actual experience of things like guns, chainsaws and drilling machines, and those who regulate their use, that accounts for the angry crowd at Greymouth’s Messenger Park on Sunday, 17 November 2019. In the rarefied atmosphere where decisions ...
    16 hours ago
  • JFK’s assassination: a bit of physics
    There are perennial arguments about the circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and in particular whether more than one shooter is required by the evidence (such as the Zapruder film). Those who know little about physics frequently claim that the sharp backwards motion of JFK’s head as ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    20 hours ago
  • Is car washing so bad we need to ban it?
    Apparently, some people enjoy washing their cars. Each to his or her own, I suppose. I mean, some people like duck shooting, some people follow Coronation Street, and some people’s idea of a good day out is to sit on a grass bank at Seddon Park and watch cricket all ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 day ago
  • If Shane Jones isn’t corrupt, he is trying very hard to look it
    Last week we learned that New Zealand First had apparently tried to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Today in Question Time Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones had his ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change: We need to end fossil fuels
    Finally, governments seem slowly to be beginning to act on climate change. But its not enough. While they're publicly signing up to targets, they're planning to destroy the world by continuing fossil fuel extraction:The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • As bad as we expected
    Stuff has begun interviewing NZ First's secret donors, and it turns out that its as bad as we expected. They start with racing industry figure Garry Chittick, who is predictably grumpy about NZ First's coalition choices. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the list of pork NZ First has effectively given its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • The Second (And Final?) Crucifixion Of Winston Peters.
    Stag At Bay: Twelve years ago, Winston Peters was still robust enough to come back from the political crucifixion which his political and media enemies had prepared for him. In his seventies now, the chances of a second resurrection are slim. We should, therefore, prepare for the last gasp of ...
    2 days ago
  • Earth’s artificial rings
    Satellites pass over NZ all the time (literally). Here I focus on the 187 Planet Labs ‘Dove’ Earth-imaging satellites, and I show that one can determine in advance where they will be, enabling scientists on the ground to correlate their environmental and other data collection with opportunities to get imaging ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 days ago
  • Softy Jejune Parson – the new Mother Superior of Wellington
      The Council of Disobedient Women has learned that the Prefect of Aro Valley has been promoted to a new role with the blessing of the Pope of Wellington. Softy Jejune Parson has been appointed Mother Superior of Woke Wellington for the work she has been doing calling out heretics, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Atlantic shakeup: US and UK leadership contenders ripping up the usual scripts?
    On both sides of the Atlantic, some purportedly “contentious” and “difficult to deal with” leadership contenders to lead the US and UK, as President and Prime Minister respectively, seem to have thrown a few spanners into the works of the normal messaging most are used to hearing constantly. Except they’re ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 days ago
  • Winston is the PM’s problem
    In Question Time today the Prime Minister was naturally facing questions about Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and his dubious party financing arrangements, which seem to violate electoral finance law. Her response was to pretend that it was nothing to do with her, and that she is not responsible for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Australia’s secret prisoner
    A prisoner stripped of their name, imprisoned for a secret crime after a secret trial, with all details legally suppressed for secret reasons. A story by Kafka or Dumas? China? No, its just the latest stage of Australian tyranny:An Australian citizen was prosecuted, convicted, and jailed in the ACT last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Bridges should put his money where his mouth is
    Stuff has more details on what New Zealand First's slush-fund has been funding, with much of the spending directly benefiting the party. Which makes it look a lot like hidden donations, rather than the completely-innocent-giant-pile-of-cash Winston is trying to portray it as. The Electoral Commission is now investigating, but Simon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The APEC police state enabling bill
    I've joked before about how hosting international summits effectively turns part of your country into a police state for the duration. Well, New Zealand is hosting APEC in 2021, with events throughout the year in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland. And the government has put up a bill to give itself ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Why coastal floods are becoming more frequent as seas rise
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz I saw an article claiming that “king tides” will increase in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • The cost of a range clearance.
    It has been revealed that firing ranges used by the NZDF while deployed to the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, contained unexploded ordnance that caused numerous deaths and injuries after the NZDF withdrew the PRT in April 2013. In 2014 seven children were killed when an unidentified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Still denying responsibility
    Stuff's story on NZDF's negligence around its Afghan firing ranges has produced a result, with a commitment from the Prime Minister for an urgent cleanup. But this doesn't mean NZDF is accepting responsibility for the deaths and injuries that have occured - they're still refusing compensation. Which given that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A corrupt practice
    Last week RNZ broke the news on NZ First's mysterious "foundation" and its dodgy-looking loans. The arrangement seemed to be designed to evade the transparency requirements of the Electoral Act, by laundering donations. But now Stuff has acquired some of their financial records, and it gone from dodgy to outright ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Democracy “A Bit Bonkers” – Thoughts Inspired By Lizzie Marvelly’s Latest Co...
    Didn't See It Coming: NZ Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly's latest column merits serious scrutiny because such a clear example of anti-democratic thinking is encountered only rarely on the pages of the daily press. Which is not to say that the elitism which lies at the heart of such social disparagement ...
    4 days ago
  • Colombia: historic memory, massacres and the military
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Initially it was reported that in an aerial bombardment that took place on August 30th seven children were massacred; the figure then went up to eight and then on November 11th Noticias Uno reported that, according to people from the community in close proximity to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • On the road to Net Zero, the next step is to update our UN pledge
    A lot has happened since the UN’s report on 1.5ºC was released in October 2018. New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill has passed, and enshrines the 1.5ºC goal in law. The UK and France have also legally strengthened their targets to Net Zero 2050. The School Strike For Climate and Extinction ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    4 days ago
  • Corruption as usual
    Next year is an election year, and Labour needs money to fund its campaign. So naturally, they're selling access:Labour is charging wealthy business figures $1500-a-head to lunch with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at its annual conference later this month. [...] On the weekend beginning November 29th, around 800 delegates will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Fairer rentals
    Yesterday the government announced its changes to tenancy laws, including an end to no-cause evictions, limits on rent increases, and anonyminity for tenants who defend their rights against bad landlords (sadly necessary because landlords are scum who maintain blacklists of "uppity" tenants). They're all good moves, and have resulted in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Another NZDF coverup
    In 2003 New Zealand sent a Provincial Reconstruction Team to Afghanistan to support America's doomed war there. While there, they conducted regular weapons practice on local firing ranges, littering the landscape with unexploded ammunition. These ranges weren't secure - they're on land used by locals for animal herding - so ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A loss for the Greens
    Green MP Gareth Hughes has announced he will retire at the election. Its understandable - he's been there ten years, and wants to actually see his children grow up rather than miss it while drowning in the toxic parliamentary sewer. But his departure is also a huge loss for the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • New era for Ngāti Kuri and Auckland Museum
    Words and images by Jacqui Gibson Gone are Auckland Museum’s days of doing science using a museum-centric academic approach, after Māori land rights holders Ngāti Kuri gave the museum an ultimatum.
    Tom Trnski holding a fossilised whale tooth from the Far North.Aussie-born Head of Natural Sciences at Auckland Museum ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Circling vultures: Why MediaWorks TV is really in trouble
    MediaWorks announced in October 2019 that it intended to sell off its struggling television business and cancel or cut back on several popular local programmes, including New Zealand Today, Married at First Sight New Zealand and 7 Days. Its radio and outdoor advertising arms are currently performing well, but MediaWorks’ ...
    Briefing PapersBy Peter Thompson
    5 days ago
  • Scary Opinium Poll
    Westminster voting intention:CON: 44% (+3)LAB: 28% (-1)LDEM: 14% (-1)BREX: 6% (-)via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this weekChgs. w/ 08 Nov— Britain Elects (@britainelects) 16 November 2019 This, of course, doesn't look good.  Labour have been chucking big, headline grabbing policies left, right and centre ... Well, maybe not right.  Left, left ...
    5 days ago
  • A coward’s ploy.
    Some readers may remember that I mentioned last year that I was applying for NZ citizenship. I filled out the paperwork and had my original citizenship interview in February. Everything went well until they discovered that, because I had spent five months in the US in 2017, I had not ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Left censorship and exclusion against gender-critical women: a Marxist critique
    by Deirdre O’Neill It is becoming quite acceptable for certain sections of the left to declare that people like me – women who are ‘gender critical’ – should not be allowed in leftist or anarchist spaces. Leaving aside the arrogance and implicit authoritarianism of this claim, its lack of critical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Uncertainty” can be better solved with a better grasp of life’s inherent complexities…
    There is an article in The Conversation, written by Jeremy P. Shapiro (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University), about what he sees as the psychologically-based underpinnings of three main matters that seem to vex people all around the planet. The article is titled “The Thinking ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Citizens vs the Rogue Deep State
    . .   Blogger Martyn Bradbury has won his case against unreasonable search and surveillance against the NZ Police; and subsequent Police attempts to produce evidence in secrecy, in a closed Court. His case highlights a disturbing growing trend in Aotearoa New Zealand for State power to be used against ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Massey University’s free speech policy double-plus-good
    The Committee of Disobedient Women has intercepted an email from Dr Emma Eejut, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Massey University to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Jan Thomas. Dear Jan, Thank you for your courageous move.  I think 10 pages of blether** should tie any of the students game enough to try holding ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Unacceptable
    That's the only response to the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation into LGOIMA practices at the Christchurch City Council:My investigation identified serious concerns about the Council’s leadership and culture, and its commitment to openness and transparency. In particular, Council staff raised concerns with me about various methods employed by some ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • There is what corruption looks like
    NZ First seems to be nakedly trying to enrich itself from public office:A powerful New Zealand First figure helped establish a forestry company that then pushed for money from two key funding streams controlled by a New Zealand First Minister. An RNZ investigation has found Brian Henry, lawyer for Winston ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Escape from Manus Island
    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    1 week ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    1 week ago
  • How does poor air quality from bushfire smoke affect our health?
    Brian Oliver, University of Technology Sydney New South Wales and Queensland are in the grip of a devastating bushfire emergency, which has tragically resulted in the loss of homes and lives. But the smoke produced can affect many more people not immediately impacted by the fires – even people many ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Holy bin chickens: ancient Egyptians tamed wild ibis for sacrifice
    Sally Wasef, Griffith University and David Lambert, Griffith University These days, not many Aussies consider the ibis a particularly admirable creature. But these birds, now colloquially referred to as “bin chickens” due to their notorious scavenging antics, have a grandiose and important place in history – ancient Egyptian history, to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why municipal waste-to-energy incineration is not the answer to NZ’s plastic waste crisis
    Trisia Farrelly, Massey University New Zealand is ranked the third-most-wasteful country in the OECD. New Zealanders produce five times the global daily average of waste per person – and they are getting more wasteful, producing 35% more than a decade ago. These statistics are likely to get worse following China’s ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    2 weeks ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: Tackling child poverty
    It's been a great week of progress: we've celebrated Children's Day, we've made communities safer with 1800 new police, and we've seen almost 90% of eligible schools take up Government funding to scrap school donations - taking pressure off the families of more than 416,000 students. ...
    6 hours ago
  • New measures for wood processing boost
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Forestry The Government will further strengthen New Zealand’s wood processing sector as part of our focus on ‘value over volume’ in our forestry industry, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones will today meet with forestry representatives in Northland to signal new measures to help the ...
    9 hours ago
  • New high tech traps will reduce the need for 1080 poison
    New Zealand First are celebrating the announcement of an investment of $3.5 million into five new trapping devices. These are a range of bait and trap devices, all designed to be left unattended for long periods of time. NZ First conservation spokesperson Jenny Marcroft says that this latest development will ...
    1 day ago
  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    3 days ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    3 days ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    3 days ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    3 days ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    4 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
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