ipaul

European Elections

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yeah they're out today, and not a pretty picture for labour so far

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The local election results are out today aren't they? Or is it tomorrow.

 

Some are already out. I think the Lib Dems are in control of Birmingham. It could be the Conservatives, I've forgotten. But I know it's not Labour.

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People shouldn't vote Green. They get props for being fun lovin hippies then when you look in to it they're less keen to promote their proposed E.U wide ban on stem cell research.

 

Didn't know that... Im now smugly going around informing the many people I know who voted green of this...

 

"holy shit is that true!? thats awful.. i well take it back.." ect

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I'm convinced you don't understand why we want to distribute a UBI, but:

 

Are you asking if a UBI can solve bad characters, bad cultures? No. It doesn't claim to. It makes the claim that alleviating poverty and providing everyone, whether married or unmarried, rich or poor, intelligent or unintelligent, with a safety net will make everyone more free to pursue their conception of the good life.

 

How does it affect non-formal education? By allowing everyone to have a good education, and a good environment to learn in, through the process of alleviating poverty and removing the pressure to get into work early, we should have as a result better (educated) parents, better (educated) citizens, better (educated) communities.

 

In terms of social change, the idea is this. Up until now, your success in the world has largely depended on where you were born and what your culture is. This means only certain people get to be truly free. We want everyone to be truly free: to pursue their interests, to pursue an education, to be able to quit a job that has unfair conditions, to be able to feed themselves and their children, to be the best version of themselves.

 

I'm not comfortable with the thought that human beings should have their lives decided by the lottery of birth.

 

This stuff:

 

"The character of said persons parents

The society and culture they are born into.

The traits of the child"

 

is luck. The child has no control over these things! And it has a huge, HUGE impact on his ability to earn capital and be truly free to pursue his conception of the good life.

Edited by Haver

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yeah they're out today, and not a pretty picture for labour so far

That's what I thought, I couldn't find the results for ours.

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The main problem with this proposed UBI is surely it's assuming as soon as you are born your parents die?

 

If a kid has rich parents he will still live a rich lifestyle, a poor kid will have to live a poor lifestyle. I don't see how it actually helps anything?

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No that's completely wrong. Everyone would recieve a basic income every, say, month. It's an income independent of yours or your parent's earnings, whether your parents are alive or not.

 

We take many things for granted due to our relative wealth. But a UBI for many people would be life changing. It would pay for food, bills, rent, resources, bus tickets, car breakdowns you name it. The extra capital confers more freedom to actually live. It's not game breaking for us guys in the suburbs but for people who live in poverty it would be drastic.

 

It means no matter how unintelligent you are, or where you were born, you will never be without food and housing. And for those who are just getting by, the extra income creates an environment where people can actually pursue their interests i.e. getting educated. It means you don't have to stay at that awful job just because you have to pay the rent. It means you don't have to stay in an abusive marriage because you rely on your husband's support.

Edited by Haver

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Thanks Haver :)

 

"In terms of social change, the idea is this. Up until now, your success in the world has largely depended on where you were born and what your culture is. This means only certain people get to be truly free. We want everyone to be truly free: to pursue their interests, to pursue an education, to be able to quit a job that has unfair conditions, to be able to feed themselves and their children, to be the best version of themselves.

 

I'm not comfortable with the thought that human beings should have their lives decided by the lottery of birth."

 

Ok :) Sorry I wasn't being clear for most of my posts thus far, I was tired last night for some reason, and hungry earlier. I still disagree with how UBI works, surely if we get a minimum of £5000 a year say, our fuel, food and housing costs will raise by about £5000.

 

I'm still unsure about the policy, but the paragraph I quoted all sounds very nice and noble and is something I can broadly agree with

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Sorry, I haven't read all your posts, but one thing I think I picked up from your posts Haver:

 

Are you saying that because intelligence is distributed at random, that everybody should be given an income independent of earning capability, to compensate for the fact that they may not have randomly been given enough intelligence?

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In essence, yes. That is one of the reasons for desiring the scheme. I am from a working class background and have average intelligence. I am in a position now where I have the potential to earn capital. There was some work involved, and some opportunities that came back about that were largely luck based.

 

I could have equally been born to a single mum in the inner city, and been as dumb as a doorknob.

 

The thought is that everyone should have a safety net regardless of their luck, and be able to enjoy a 'real freedom'. These are the reasons as to why we would want that sort of scheme.

 

One of the other key justifications behind the redistribution of capital is the thought that we all have an entitlement to a fair share of natural resources and land. The way we organise ourselves currently denies many people their entitlement to a slice of the wealth. This is another justification for basic income payments.

Edited by Haver

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What would you then say to the argument that if someone is not intelligent enough to make a contribution - that they would happily watch television all day and live simply off of the UBI - then they do not deserve it? Surely you are paid for contributing, to assisting in the running or growth of the human society, and if you don't do that, then why should that society be expected to fund your life? Would UBI not encourage this sort of laziness by making it a viable life choice?

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What would you then say to the argument that if someone is not intelligent enough to make a contribution - that they would happily watch television all day and live simply off of the UBI - then they do not deserve it? Surely you are paid for contributing, to assisting in the running or growth of the human society, and if you don't do that, then why should that society be expected to fund your life? Would UBI not encourage this sort of laziness by making it a viable life choice?

 

Its a subsistence quantity, people would could then go for some extra money to increase their quality of life, and even if the don't, the fact that not everyone is jumping to the first job they can find would raise payment to other workers.

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Well that's one of the chief arguments against a UBI - it could create a free rider problem. There are a number of answers.

 

a) Some people say 'so what?'. Imagine all wealth = land. If it pleases someone to simply live on their plot of land, then that is OK. It's their entitlement. Who are we to say how someone should live?

 

b) A UBI is universal, there is no means-testing. You are paid because you have a right to a fair share of natural resources/land on the planet. Obviously it has all these grand benefits which I've been talking about for a couple pages. So contribution to society (who is to say what that is - imagine an author writing all his life on UBI) is not a requirement. But,

 

c) The extent to which a free rider problem would appear is debatable. It stands that people don't like to not work. Being unemployed is not pleasant. Many people who are unemployed want to earn capital, want to work (especially more meaningful work), but can't because they lack intelligence/education through no fault of their own. So the thought that income security = disincentives to work is not true. It stands that if people have access to a good education they are likely to want to pursue meaningful work.

 

d) Even if there were free riders, the profound benefits to freedoms for people across the world would dwarf that problem. It would be the price for a more just society.

 

The thought process eventually leads us to rethinking our ideas of 'contribution', 'success' and 'growth'. Billions of working people are successful, make contributions and apparently we are experiencing 'growth'. But it stands that much of the world is unhappy, that many people work jobs they have no interest in, and we are experiencing a certain version of growth that builds great towers in Canary Wharf while kids in inner city London sell drugs in dirty stairwells.

 

Boosting the labor supply is no aim in itself. No one can reasonably want an overworked, hyperactive society. Give people of all classes the opportunity to reduce their working time or even take a complete break from work in order to look after their children or elderly relatives. You will not only save on prisons and hospitals. You will also improve the human capital of the next generation. A modest UBI is a simple and effective instrument in the service of keeping a socially and economically sound balance between the supply of paid labor and the rest of our lives.

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Well that's one of the chief arguments against a UBI - it could create a free rider problem. There are a number of answers.

 

a) Some people say 'so what?'. Imagine all wealth = land. If it pleases someone to simply live on their plot of land, then that is OK. It's their entitlement. Who are we to say how someone should live?

 

b) A UBI is universal, there is no means-testing. You are paid because you have a right to a fair share of natural resources/land on the planet. Obviously it has all these grand benefits which I've been talking about for a couple pages. So contribution to society (who is to say what that is - imagine an author writing all his life on UBI) is not a requirement. But,

 

But why? Why are they entitled to a share of the planet, if they have done nothing to earn it but breath? The wealth created on the land, that pays the UBI, is created and earned by others. What gives you the right to claim a piece of that, without doing anything yourself? You cannot simply say wealth = land. Wealth is generated through land. Imagine being given a square foot of ground at birth from which you can grow a tree, and thereby earn money from its fruit. This is essentially what you do with a job - do work for the reward of money. Or, you can be given a square foot of ground, and do nothing with it. This is the equivalent of umemployment. So if someone is unemployed, they have no claim to the capital being generated by their neighbours tree, because they didn't help grow that tree. They had the chance to grow their own, but they didn't.

 

c) The extent to which a free rider problem would appear is debatable. It stands that people don't like to not work. Being unemployed is not pleasant. Many people who are unemployed want to earn capital, want to work (especially more meaningful work), but can't because they lack intelligence/education through no fault of their own. So the thought that income security = disincentives to work is not true. It stands that if people have access to a good education they are likely to want to pursue meaningful work.

 

This is purely speculative, and any reply of mine would be so too. Essentially, this paragraph is meaningless.

 

d) Even if there were free riders, the profound benefits to freedoms for people across the world would dwarf that problem. It would be the price for a more just society.

 

How would it be more just for people to claim what they did nothing to earn? I'm gonna go on a tangent here, but I think it's relevant: There are 2 cavemen (let's call them Haver and Gizmo). Haver discovers fire, and benefits greatly from it's warmth. There are three possible next steps here:

 

1. Haver does not teach Gizmo to make fire. Gizmo does not have the mental capacity necessary to discover fire himself. Haver enjoys a luxurious life, while Gizmo dies young through hypothermia. This is extreme right wing.

2. Haver teaches Gizmo to make fire. Gizmo did not and could not discover it himself, but the human race advances and brings Gizmo with it, as he also is now able to make fire. He can choose to keep up, do a little work each day to gather wood and keep the fire going and enjoy it's benefits, or he can choose to let it go out, and die. This is central.

3. Haver teaches Gizmo to make fire, but Gizmo chooses not to keep his fire burning. Haver is then expected to keep both fires burning, because Gizmo is a human too and deserves fire just as much as Haver does. This is extreme left wing.

 

In each case, "fire" is the technology and science that has made our lives better and easier. Not everybody has the intelligence to create the internal combustion engine, but everybody has the intelligence* to be able to drive a car. Hence, the intelligent, "lucky" people drive us forward, and create the internal combustion engine, while the less lucky people are required to do the dirtier jobs. This inventor needs somewhere to live, but may not have the time to lay a thousand bricks to build a house, and so he will hire someone else less capable than himself, but capable enough to build the house. In this way, everybody is contributing to the progress of man, either directly through invention, or indirectly by facilitating this invention.

 

The thought process eventually leads us to rethinking our ideas of 'contribution', 'success' and 'growth'. Billions of working people are successful, make contributions and apparently we are experiencing 'growth'. But it stands that much of the world is unhappy, that many people work jobs they have no interest in, and we are experiencing a certain version of growth that builds great towers in Canary Wharf while kids in inner city London sell drugs in dirty stairwells.

 

My thought process is going everywhere now, but I'll try and sort it my mind out. I think you misinterpreted what my idea of "contribution" etc where. The act of creating something is just as important as the building of the house in which it was created, as that thing could not have been invented without the house to keep the rain away.

 

Also, kids will still sell drugs in dirty stairwells, regardless of UBI. By your very own argument, they will. You say that UBI is simply to make ends meet, and have a basic life. The kids selling drugs will have two options under UBI: continue to sell drugs, and improve the quality of their life further (using your own argument, this should be the case), or stop selling drugs, and live off of state contributions for their whole lives (as you suggested would not happen). These kids will not suddenly get a job because they have UBI: their options are still the same. Indeed, under UBI, the drugs avenue may well be more appealing, as the income from this will not be so hugely mitigated by the immense taxation.

 

Essentially my problem with it is this: if people get a basic level of income, no matter what, there will be very little incentive to do the horrible jobs that nobody wants to do, such as cleaning. People who do these jobs are the people who would then benefit most from UBI. If they were to do this job on top of their UBI, the taxation would be so great as to potentially make the person feel it is not worthwhile. They could earn 15k for doing nothing, or they could earn 17k for working 40hours a week in terrible conditions.

 

I know your next argument against this, which is: the wages for those jobs would simply increase. But from where? <I>More</I> taxation? Again this would either proportionally reduce the incentive, and make no difference, or take more from the rich, which treads a path towards complete socialism where every job, no matter its complexity or value, is equally paid.

 

*Of course, further complications arrive in the form of disability, whereby an extreme equivalent of what you argue every person suffers from occurs. In this case, it is hard to argue against benefits for such a person. However, the problem lies in the fact that it is impossible to draw a definitive line of where this division occurs, and that is why it is best to live in a central mindset, simply doing the best we can. Any more than that is impossible, and anybody who argues otherwise is short sighted and frankly wrong.

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a good post gizmo, but I would like to draw attention to job snobbery.

A Builders work is a skilled one, just as the inventors. The inventor is most likely to employ a builder as he would most probably would be incapable of constructing a house without the aide of the builders expertise.

 

secondly, I have worked as a cleaner, and yeah I won't lie out right and say "awesome, loved it". but.. it was awesome and I loved it :P getting rid of dust, seeing the floors gleam really is a pleasant feeling, an instant reward, you can see what you have achieved, and experience the improved environment, which has benefitted from your input. this isn't found in every job. The biggest issue comes from public toilets, which can be just wrong, but really cleaners should be highly esteemed. The reason we don't is because they do such an excellent job a lot of the time that they make themselves seem invisible, when they do a bit worse at their job we notice what the world would be like if they weren't around.

Job snobbery is silly, cleaning is a job well suited to people who like cleanliness, and this is something that people should be proud of. Same as harvesting fields, its a job that is simple, but satisfaction can be quite high. when these jobs are going to immigrants, I do ask myself why we pay the dole. not that I'm anti immigration, I just don't see why people consider it more shameful to do a worth while job than doing nothing and leeching. anyway.. yes. that is all, jobs that serve a purpose should be honoured, not looked down upon.

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a good post gizmo, but I would like to draw attention to job snobbery.

A Builders work is a skilled one, just as the inventors. The inventor is most likely to employ a builder as he would most probably would be incapable of constructing a house without the aide of the builders expertise.

 

secondly, I have worked as a cleaner, and yeah I won't lie out right and say "awesome, loved it". but.. it was awesome and I loved it :P getting rid of dust, seeing the floors gleam really is a pleasant feeling, an instant reward, you can see what you have achieved, and experience the improved environment, which has benefitted from your input. this isn't found in every job. The biggest issue comes from public toilets, which can be just wrong, but really cleaners should be highly esteemed. The reason we don't is because they do such an excellent job a lot of the time that they make themselves seem invisible, when they do a bit worse at their job we notice what the world would be like if they weren't around.

Job snobbery is silly, cleaning is a job well suited to people who like cleanliness, and this is something that people should be proud of. Same as harvesting fields, its a job that is simple, but satisfaction can be quite high. when these jobs are going to immigrants, I do ask myself why we pay the dole. not that I'm anti immigration, I just don't see why people consider it more shameful to do a worth while job than doing nothing and leeching. anyway.. yes. that is all, jobs that serve a purpose should be honoured, not looked down upon.

 

Sorry, I didn't mean to come across in that way. Absolutely cleaners and builders etc are very skilled in what they do. I didn't mean to it come across as me saying they aren't intelligent: what I meant was, different people can achieve different things. I was somewhat tying it to Haver's "intelligence is luck" theory also, and mixed with my use of cleaners as an example of a low paid job, I can see how that came across wrongly.

 

Edit: Have you guys played Bioshock? There is some commentary contained in that game about the sort of thing we are tangentially discussing here. The setting of the game was designed as a utopia for the greatest minds of society to come together - the greatest scientists, philosophers etc living together exclusively, leaving behind the "dredges". When they got there though, they realised that they had nobody to clean up their messes, and struggled, either lowering themselves to it and feeling ashamed and dehumanised - seeing the world from the other side to how they lived in the real world - or simply letting it fall into ruin.

Edited by Gizmo

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Bit tired after a night out but I'll try and answer the best I can.

 

But why? Why are they entitled to a share of the planet, if they have done nothing to earn it but breath? The wealth created on the land, that pays the UBI, is created and earned by others. What gives you the right to claim a piece of that, without doing anything yourself? You cannot simply say wealth = land. Wealth is generated through land. Imagine being given a square foot of ground at birth from which you can grow a tree, and thereby earn money from its fruit. This is essentially what you do with a job - do work for the reward of money. Or, you can be given a square foot of ground, and do nothing with it. This is the equivalent of umemployment. So if someone is unemployed, they have no claim to the capital being generated by their neighbours tree, because they didn't help grow that tree. They had the chance to grow their own, but they didn't.

 

The thought is two fold

 

a) that the fairest way to dish out natural (ly occuring) resources is to dish them out equally. there's an argument to say the fairest way to dish them out is actually so that everyone has *sufficient* assets to live. UBI is really concerned with both. For example, there's a UBI scheme in Alaska where everyone gets a share of the oil profits. i.e. the guy who took the land originally doesn't have the right to sell it, it belongs to everyone. So we're talking about natural stuff here (i.e. a tree would grow naturally).

 

b) not everyone has the potential to 'earn' because of the natural lottery of birth. we're concerned with fair starts so that everyone has a fair chance to work and acquire more capital. Income tax proposals in UBIs are a hot topic - in a time of job scarcity they are justified by a system of 'job rents', but if someone deliberately chooses not to work, then their claim to a share of income taxes evaporates for some (including me).

 

The thought on free riders condensed: When we are born we do not choose to be born into a particular society which values particular things. Therefore there is nothing wrong with a newborn taking his/her share of the naturally occuring land/resources and just enjoying it.

 

 

This is purely speculative, and any reply of mine would be so too. Essentially, this paragraph is meaningless.

 

Not entirely, because it's good to challenge the thought that everyone would just sit around and do nothing, i.e. the labour supply would dry up. Remember this is only enough for subsistance. The true value is that it gives everyone a fresh start. From my reading there have been some studies that have shown a drying up in the labour supply and some studies that have shown only a minor drying up.

 

Many UBI theories just don't care. That type of growth is only one goal amongst many.

 

 

How would it be more just for people to claim what they did nothing to earn? I'm gonna go on a tangent here, but I think it's relevant: There are 2 cavemen (let's call them Haver and Gizmo). Haver discovers fire, and benefits greatly from it's warmth. There are three possible next steps here:

 

1. Haver does not teach Gizmo to make fire. Gizmo does not have the mental capacity necessary to discover fire himself. Haver enjoys a luxurious life, while Gizmo dies young through hypothermia. This is extreme right wing.

2. Haver teaches Gizmo to make fire. Gizmo did not and could not discover it himself, but the human race advances and brings Gizmo with it, as he also is now able to make fire. He can choose to keep up, do a little work each day to gather wood and keep the fire going and enjoy it's benefits, or he can choose to let it go out, and die. This is central.

3. Haver teaches Gizmo to make fire, but Gizmo chooses not to keep his fire burning. Haver is then expected to keep both fires burning, because Gizmo is a human too and deserves fire just as much as Haver does. This is extreme left wing.

 

In each case, "fire" is the technology and science that has made our lives better and easier. Not everybody has the intelligence to create the internal combustion engine, but everybody has the intelligence* to be able to drive a car. Hence, the intelligent, "lucky" people drive us forward, and create the internal combustion engine, while the less lucky people are required to do the dirtier jobs. This inventor needs somewhere to live, but may not have the time to lay a thousand bricks to build a house, and so he will hire someone else less capable than himself, but capable enough to build the house. In this way, everybody is contributing to the progress of man, either directly through invention, or indirectly by facilitating this invention.

 

Intelligent people drive scientific and technological progress. UBI doesn't have any problem with that. The thought is that those who aren't as lucky should enjoy real freedom as well.

 

 

My thought process is going everywhere now, but I'll try and sort it my mind out. I think you misinterpreted what my idea of "contribution" etc where. The act of creating something is just as important as the building of the house in which it was created, as that thing could not have been invented without the house to keep the rain away.

 

Also, kids will still sell drugs in dirty stairwells, regardless of UBI. By your very own argument, they will. You say that UBI is simply to make ends meet, and have a basic life. The kids selling drugs will have two options under UBI: continue to sell drugs, and improve the quality of their life further (using your own argument, this should be the case), or stop selling drugs, and live off of state contributions for their whole lives (as you suggested would not happen). These kids will not suddenly get a job because they have UBI: their options are still the same. Indeed, under UBI, the drugs avenue may well be more appealing, as the income from this will not be so hugely mitigated by the immense taxation.

 

When I said it's time to rethink what we mean by 'contribution', what I mean to say is there are different assessments of what it is to lead a valuable life. Someone who spends his entire life painting offers a different value to someone who makes a lot of money and drives economic growth. UBI says there's nothing wrong with a little less work, and a little more time doing what we enjoy or think is meaningful.

 

As far as the drug sellers go, the thought is that less people will be driven toward drugs (and drug selling) because the avenues of education and work will be less restricted. Both drug taking and drug selling in lower class communities are the result of abject poverty. By relieving poverty (which will be a slow process) we create environments more conducive to education and therefore work.

 

Of course, just giving a child that has been a drug dealer entire his life £5,000 today isn't going to have the impact we want. Try not to think about it like that. Think more of the impact of £5,000 on the raising of a child.

 

Essentially my problem with it is this: if people get a basic level of income, no matter what, there will be very little incentive to do the horrible jobs that nobody wants to do, such as cleaning.

 

True, there would have to be good pay incentives, better healthcare guarentees, better hours. And rightly so.

 

People who do these jobs are the people who would then benefit most from UBI. If they were to do this job on top of their UBI, the taxation would be so great as to potentially make the person feel it is not worthwhile. They could earn 15k for doing nothing, or they could earn 17k for working 40hours a week in terrible conditions.

 

I have not mentioned anything about super taxation. Most of the money comes from natural resources (i.e. the money the oil, gas companies make) and 100 per cent inheritance tax. Income tax is still a dodgy question. At the moment we are living in a time of job scarcity, and willing workers cannot find work. Therefore an idea of 'job rents' (where you rent your job via income tax) have a larger justification.

 

I know your next argument against this, which is: the wages for those jobs would simply increase. But from where? <I>More</I> taxation? Again this would either proportionally reduce the incentive, and make no difference, or take more from the rich, which treads a path towards complete socialism where every job, no matter its complexity or value, is equally paid

 

The rich, many of which enjoy the fruits of 'good luck', should in some form help the folks who had 'bad luck' in the lottery. This is why I personally have no problem with taxation on high-paid jobs. But this is not neccessarily part of UBI theory.

 

Try to think of the theory as how things should be, not how they could be or are. Working out how we can pay for it is largely a secondary issue. We're interested in the profound changes it can make to people's lives.

 

From Van Parijs:

 

True, a UBI is undeserved good news for the idle surfer. But this good news is ethically indistinguishable from the undeserved luck that massively affects the present distribution of wealth, income, and leisure. Our race, gender, and citizenship, how educated and wealthy we are, how gifted in math and how fluent in English, how handsome and even how ambitious, are overwhelmingly a function of who our parents happened to be and of other equally arbitrary contingencies. Not even the most narcissistic self-made man could think that he fixed the parental dice in advance of entering this world. Such gifts of luck are unavoidable and, if they are fairly distributed, unobjectionable. A minimum condition for a fair distribution is that everyone should be guaranteed a modest share of these undeserved gifts. Nothing could achieve this more securely than a UBI.
Edited by Haver
Automerged Doublepost

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I voted Green.

 

I didn't know that they were against stem cell research, but I don't regret voting for them in light of that fact. Stem cell research is not a high priority issue for me, and besides I do think there needs to be more of a public discourse about it. Scientific progress is not an end that should by default trump all other considerations. Rather than simply accusing opponents of 'standing in the way of progress' and offering optimistic speculations of potential results of research, proponents of stem cell research ought to morally justify the research method itself.

 

In reality no party's policies are going to completely agree with your own beliefs. I'm undecided as to what I think of stem cell research, but even if I supported it I'd still very likely vote Green because the rest of their agenda fits well with my politics - enviromentalist, redistributive justice.

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The local election results are out today aren't they? Or is it tomorrow.

 

The Euro Elections are not counted until Sunday, it's the council elections that were counted on Friday.

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The Conservatives have come out bst in the locals, unsurprisingly.

 

Lib Dems have done alright, and Labour has done poor.

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Aww the Lib Dems didn't do as well as I thought they would :( At least their projected national vote share increased. Not really sorry to see Labour go, but dam that's a huge amount of Tories in power. They had better not increase student fees when they win the general election or I shall be very annoyed.

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The BNP just got a seat in my area. Why is Yorkshire so fucking dumb? My best mates dad was running for a Lib Dem seat, and was 400 votes off getting it.

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The BNP just got a seat in my area. Why is Yorkshire so fucking dumb? My best mates dad was running for a Lib Dem seat, and was 400 votes off getting it.

 

Well done to your friend's Dad for running for it. 400 votes needed is pretty close really. :)

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