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So this news story popped up on my feed this morning. Calderdale Council's Labour cabinet have agreed to spend £680,000 on upgrading the borough's CCTV system.



This is the same Labour cabinet who threaten community centres with closure, and when anyone complains bleat about ConDem cuts and wring their hands ruefully. Community centres, which, lets not forget, actually address the root causes of crime and ASB, unlike CCTV which just allows the police to sometimes have the evidence to prosecute after the fact.

Now, to be fair, only about a quarter of a million of this £680,000 is coming from some unnamed slush fund that none of the rest of us know anything about, and which could have been spent on more worthwhile things; the rest of it is going to be borrowed. On unspecified terms. Because we all know how GREAT Labour are at negotiating favourable contract terms for loans. Calderdale Royal hospital's PFI deal is a shining example of their skill in that regard.

And then there's the contract for the actual provision. Which is going to Virgin Media. We don't know why, or what terms they were offered the contract, or how they tendered for it. We don't know if there are are any performance clauses in the contract so the council will be able to get out of it if it all goes mammaries-skyward. But I'm sure we can trust the Labour party to have thought of all this, right? They totally haven't got a track record of dodgy contracts which tie the hands of their successors at all levels of government at all...

I really am quite angry about this, as you can probably tell.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
I intended this slot to be for Youtubes of Monty Python and daft jokes, but nothing today is going to beat the silliness of the former minister for health, who wants to ban Frosties.

Yes, childhood obesity is an issue.
Yes, Frosties are high in simple carbohydrates.
Yes, it'd be nice if people chose to eat things the establishment approves of (from the point of view of the establishment, anyway).

Why the instant Labour response to anything like this is bansturbation is beyond me, though. Surely it's treating a symptom rather than a cause? People choosing unhealthy foods is not a cause of poor diet, it's an expression of it. If you wanted to treat the cause rather than the symptom, though, you'd need to look at why people choose frosties over (say) muesli:

- because they taste nice
- because they're much cheaper
- because they're used to them.

Banning frosties won't solve any of those things (black market frosties would still be cheap; that's how markets work). If you want people to choose "healthy" foods, you need to:

1, educate them on what healthy foods are (people are mostly fairly well informed on this) - the traffic light food labelling scheme is part of this too.
2, make healthy foods cheaper and/or more convenient than unhealthy ones. You can do this by either taxing unhealthy foods, or subsidising healthy ones (commence argument about which is preferable now). The problem is that the reason unhealthy foods are cheap is because good quality ingredients aren't, and that's not a simple thing to solve.
3, make sure that all public utilities which sell food (schools, hospitals, canteens, etc) offer a variety of healthy foods so people can get used to things other than frosties.

And that's without even going into how unworkable such a ban would be. If you ban a specific product, the manufacturers will bring out the same product under a new name. If you ban a certain percentage of sucrose, the manufacturers will find other, potentially much less healthy options (fructose, for example). And even then, how do you stop people adding extra sugar in their homes?

Like most Labour proposals, this is ill-thought out and if it is ever to work will require massive bureaucracy for a tiny gain.

Still, now they've demonised nicotine, alcohol, fat, salt and sugar, it'll be interesting to see what's next. Puritanism is never satisfied...
miss_s_b: (Default)
Yesterday, Chris Williamson MP tweeted:
Lib Dem membership in freefall. I'd urge all Lib Dems who want progressive social change to back #Labour
Now, I know that some of you reading this have left the Lib Dems. At least one of those has joined the Greens, and several have joined the Pirates. Maybe some of you have joined Labour, and you know what? I'm a Liberal, and I am happy to see the exercising of personal choice even if it's not a decision I would make myself. But the idea that Liberals should leave the Lib Dems en masse and join Labour just because a Labour MP says so? THAT got my back up. So I replied. Possibly slightly less than respectfully:
AHAHAHAHAHAHAA the day authoritarian #Labour are the agents for real social change is the day Satan skates to work
Now, to give him his due, he didn't just ignore me. Unfortunately, some of the examples he replied with are.... well, shall we say "suspect"
But Labour introduced NHS, welfare state, equal pay, race & gender equality acts, min wage, civil partnerships, legalised abortion
So, I'm not the political historian that [personal profile] matgb is, but even I know that David Steel introduced the Abortion Act, and it was a free vote issue, and lots of Labour politicians opposed it. To try and claim that as a Labour measure just because Labour were in power when it was passed is disingenuous to say the least. And I know for a fact that they introduced civil partnerships because they were too cowardly to introduce equal marriage, which Lib Dems in government are doing RIGHT NOW! (Hi Lynne! *waves*) This makes me suspect that some of his other examples might not be as clear-cut as he is presenting them either, although I suppose I can give him minimum wage. So I go to reply to him to say that "just because something happened when Labour was in government doesn't mean it was instigated by or supported by Labour" and notice that he's also having a twitter conversation with Douglas... In reply to
What about those of us who value civil liberties, constitutional reform & not pandering to the media?
he says
Your point is? Remember Labour introduced biggest constitutional reforms, FOI Act & it was Ed Miliband who took on Murdoch.
So, chickening out of proper Lords reform (which, again, Lib Dems are doing in government), backing away from electoral reform when you got a big enough majority to snub Paddy, and opposing AV and boundary changes mean Liberals should trust you on constitutional reform, does it, Chris? And Ed Miliband is better than, ooo, say... VINCE CABLE on Murdoch?

So, my question to you, loyal reader, is this: is this man misinformed, deluded, or simply lying? And why does he think that spouting untruths directly at Lib Dems will get them to join his party? I mean, if you are a person who thinks the Lib Dems lied on tuition fees (which I can understand, even if I don't entirely share that view) or is dismantling the NHS (which, again, I can understand, even if I think what we're doing is preventing the tories from doing so) then WHY IN CTHULHU'S NAME would being barefaced lied to by a Labour MP entice you to join Labour? I know we have a reputation as masochists in the Lib Dems, but surely we're not all that masochistic?

My advice to you, if you're a Lib Dem leaver who still wants to remain politically active? If you're technologically inclined, join the Pirates, because they love freedom as much as we do, and they're a rising star. If I were ever to leave, that's where I'd go. If you're less technologically inclined, join the Greens and try to change some of their more ridiculous anti-science policies. And say hi to Liz. And if neither of those appeals, then join a single issue group. Perhaps the electoral reform society. But for pity's sake, don't join Labour. They'll betray you like they've betrayed everybody else since about 1998. They lie about how we got in the mess we're in now, they lie about what they did in power, and they won't even tell us what they're going to do if they get back in. If you want the definition of an untrustworthy politician, I'd say look for one in a red rosette.
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About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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