Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Quick thought

Saw this on the BBC and had a thought.

The plans include a Child Poverty Bill, which Ms Sturgeon said was arguably the government's most important legislation.
The bill would establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty, and see a "baby box" given to every newborn.

As we know, the concept of poverty in the UK in a historical fashion is basically meaningless. Even the poorest have food to eat and a roof over their heads, and I seem to recall reading that just being on the dole puts you in the top 2% globally as far as incomes go. Hence, no real poverty. What we do have is some level of inequality. Personally, I think this is less of an issue than poverty, but some seem to disagree.

So, if all of the recent talk of child poverty is actually measuring inequality then there's a good chance that Scotland becoming independent would at a stroke reduce child poverty more than any amount of government spending. We know that London is economically over indexed within the UK - everything costs more there and wages are higher to compensate. As a result, comparing two people (one in London, one not) with the same spending power after rent, bills, etc could still look as if their was a big discrepancy (as the Londoner will have higher salary, higher rent, higher bills). Thus there will always be a problem with relative poverty as long as we measure total income and not disposable income.

Hence, remove London from the equation and things look better for everyone. Removing the rest of the UK as well may be a slightly extreme way to do it, but I'm sure it would have a big impact on the child poverty measure being used, hence the child poverty bill could reasonably call for a new referendum.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Maybe we should have another referendum

Saw this on the BBC

Nicola Sturgeon has launched a "new debate" on independence as she urged Scotland to "control its own destiny".
Because the rest of the UK is imposing all sorts of terrible burdens on them?

She said there was a "democratic deficit" at the heart of the Westminster system, and the fundamental question was whether Scotland should control its own destiny as a country, or "will we always be at the mercy of decisions taken elsewhere".
And yet, they wanted to remain part of the EU. So they still want to be at the mercy of decisions taken elsewhere, they just want it to be more remote.

I think that if a majority of the Scottish want to leave then we should of course let them. I'd be tempted to go a step further - if they keep going on about it, perhaps the rest of the UK can have a vote to see if we want to kick them out. They're running a deficit of £15bn or so now, aren't they? I'm sure we can find better things to do with that money.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Translation services available for a fee

Saw this on the BBC website today.

The EU referendum campaign was dogged by "glaring democratic deficiencies" with voters turned off by big name politicians and negative campaigning, a report says.
The vote didn't go the way we wanted

The government's controversial mail-shot to every household in the UK had "little effect on people's levels of informedness", it said...
It was a waste of money

... towards the end of the campaign nearly half of voters thought politicians were "mostly telling lies".
They've cottoned on to us!

The society said the EU debate was in "stark contrast" to the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, which it said had featured a "vibrant, well-informed, grassroots conversation that left a lasting legacy of on-going public participation in politics and public life".
People voted the way we wanted in the Scottish Referendum

Ms Ghose added: "Now that the dust is starting to settle after the EU referendum, we need a complete rethink about the role of referendums in the UK. They are becoming more common, but the piecemeal nature of the how, when and why they're done means we could simply end up jumping from referendum to referendum at the whim of politicians."
Letting the people have a say. Why would we want to do that?