In our best interests or in theirs?

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TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
edited May 27 in Politics Economics
Totally gobsmacked to see Labour Party activists in Christchurch High Street yesterday. (If you don't know, it's a very Conservative voting sort of place). As I went past, one of them stepped in front of me holding a leaflet. I stopped to talk. 

I don't support any political party, just policies that I think will make a positive difference. So, I told him I believed the voting public would find it hard to forgive the Labour Party if they didn't stand up against the hard Brexit that we were heading for due to the incompetence of the Conservatives at putting their own house in order. I explained I felt that they wouldn't be able to implement some of their progressive policies if the country was broke, and my fear is we would be broke for the next 15 to 20 years if we continued on this hard Brexit path. It was their responsibility to do the right thing for the country and minimise its impact. 

His reply was to say that the Lib Dem’s (he'd decided I was a Lib Dem supporter. I'm not). were the only party against Brexit and their share of the vote was dropping. That, for him, seemed to be why Labour weren't going to do that. It's almost as if the plan is to let everything go to pot and then pick up the pieces. 

He seemed to think it was more important just to win, post-damage, than it was to prevent damage in the first place. A view I disagree with. 

BTW, I'm not sharing this story to discuss Brexit as a topic. There's plenty of those already.

I'm sharing it to ask if, as a general principle, we think politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests even at the expense of winning an election, or if they should let bad things happen in the short term if it means more seats in the future for their particular ideology/team. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    It’s a difficult question... if you stick to your principles, but that guarantees you will never be in a position to implement them, what have you achieved? On the other hand, if you sacrifice your principles to attain power, also what have you really achieved?

    This is the dilemma the Labour Party faced under Blair - they chose power over principle, and although they did a lot of good in the short term it’s permanently tainted the party and probably made it harder for them to make a comeback, even under a more principled leader.

    I don’t like the idea of compromising principles either, but I think it would be a price worth paying for better government in the long term. The danger of sticking rigidly to principle and waiting for the other side to fail is that conditions change, often unpredictably, and you don’t always get another chance.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
    Thanks for playing, @ICBM. Although my experience yesterday was Labour-related, I'm not thinking about them in particular. 

    What sort of party permits something bad to happen (or maybe just worse than the alternative) which they could have helped prevent, just so they stand a better chance of beating their rivals next time? How did they move from changing things for the better into doing whatever it takes just to win? And why does a voting public then reward them by voting them in? 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    edited May 27
    They will eventually get voted in because there is a lot of truth in the idea that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. People usually vote out of self-interest, so they vote for stability if they’re doing OK, and only for change if things are going badly. So as a strategy - which like you, I don’t really like - it could be better to deliberately allow the government to screw up the country in the short term than to try to stop them, to achieve a longer-term benefit.

    It’s a difficult judgement to make. For me, one of Corbyn’s faults as a leader is that he appears willing to sit on the fence and wait for the Tories to hand him power on a plate, rather than take positive steps to take it and risk being forced to make a possibly unpopular decision.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11476

    I don't support any political party, just policies that I think will make a positive difference. So, I told him I believed the voting public would find it hard to forgive the Labour Party if they didn't stand up against the hard Brexit that we were heading for due to the incompetence of the Conservatives at putting their own house in order. I explained I felt that they wouldn't be able to implement some of their progressive policies if the country was broke, and my fear is we would be broke for the next 15 to 20 years if we continued on this hard Brexit path. It was their responsibility to do the right thing for the country and minimise its impact. 

    His reply was to say that the Lib Dem’s (he'd decided I was a Lib Dem supporter. I'm not). were the only party against Brexit and their share of the vote was dropping. That, for him, seemed to be why Labour weren't going to do that. It's almost as if the plan is to let everything go to pot and then pick up the pieces. 

    He seemed to think it was more important just to win, post-damage, than it was to prevent damage in the first place. A view I disagree with. 

    BTW, I'm not sharing this story to discuss Brexit as a topic. There's plenty of those already.

    I'm sharing it to ask if, as a general principle, we think politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests even at the expense of winning an election, or if they should let bad things happen in the short term if it means more seats in the future for their particular ideology/team. 

    Labour stated their position on Brexit at the General Election as did the Lib Dems. Labour saw a 9.5% vote increase, the Lib Dems a 0.5% decrease. It could be argued that both respective party leaders at the time stuck to their principles. 

    Labour are in a very difficult position with regard to Brexit. The young supporters clearly want more movement on stopping Brexit and this clashes with 1) some Leave voting Labour voters and 2) Leave voting areas that are the places need to win if they are to end up in Downing Street. 

    If Labour go with the young vote that wants Brexit stopped and alienate the two Leave categories I mention above, they will not win a majority government. 

    If Labour go with the two Leave categories and manage to keep the youngsters on board, saying that a Labour government could mitigate the effects of Brexit and change us for the good in a Norway-type arrangement,  then they have a chance. 

    It is rare that a party would sit back and allow bad shit to happen just to grab some power at the next voting cycle. It's another of the elements that makes Brexit look so sodding awful. 




    Clarity over quantity.  
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11476

    What sort of party permits something bad to happen (or maybe just worse than the alternative) which they could have helped prevent, just so they stand a better chance of beating their rivals next time? How did they move from changing things for the better into doing whatever it takes just to win? And why does a voting public then reward them by voting them in? 
    Do you have any examples of when this has happened in this country in mind? 
    Clarity over quantity.  
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932

    What sort of party permits something bad to happen (or maybe just worse than the alternative) which they could have helped prevent, just so they stand a better chance of beating their rivals next time? How did they move from changing things for the better into doing whatever it takes just to win? And why does a voting public then reward them by voting them in? 
    Do you have any examples of when this has happened in this country in mind? 
    No, just fear about the future.

    /quotemyself/
    I'm sharing it to ask if, as a general principle, we think politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests even at the expense of winning an election, or if they should let bad things happen in the short term if it means more seats in the future for their particular ideology/team. 
    /endquotemyself/

    Now, clearly I believe a hard Brexit will be a bad thing which could be softened or avoided, and clearly I'm asking the question today because my brief conversation with the Labour/Momentum chappie (he was wearing a Momentum badge) in Christchurch yesterday made me think about the general principle - but I really am asking a question about the principle of the thing, not this specific topic and this specific party. 

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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11476



    Now, clearly I believe a hard Brexit will be a bad thing which could be softened or avoided, and clearly I'm asking the question today because my brief conversation with the Labour/Momentum chappie (he was wearing a Momentum badge) in Christchurch yesterday made me think about the general principle - but I really am asking a question about the principle of the thing, not this specific topic and this specific party. 


    I'll address this option first as I'm not sure about a few things. 

    "we think politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests even at the expense of winning an election,"

    1. When you say "representing us", do you mean forming party policy based on what the electorate tell them? Labour would argue they represent their members first and foremost. 

    2. When a party cobbles together a manifesto and forms policy positions, they do so believing their policies are the best way forward for the country and so in the best interests of "us". Their hope is that enough people will agree with them and vote them into power. 

    3. "politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests" - that works if "us" were a homogeneous group without individual needs. A strong capitalist anti-union party isn't going to act in the best interests of unionised voters for instance. So you can have principles and be acting in the best interest for one group whilst another group views you as a complete arse. I apologise if I seem pedantic, I'm leaning more to the point of view that it's a generalisation of something that can't really be generalised.

    The second option:

    "or if they should let bad things happen in the short term if it means more seats in the future for their particular ideology/team." 

    I don't think this really happens over here.

    Clarity over quantity.  
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932



    Now, clearly I believe a hard Brexit will be a bad thing which could be softened or avoided, and clearly I'm asking the question today because my brief conversation with the Labour/Momentum chappie (he was wearing a Momentum badge) in Christchurch yesterday made me think about the general principle - but I really am asking a question about the principle of the thing, not this specific topic and this specific party. 


    I'll address this option first as I'm not sure about a few things. 

    "we think politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests even at the expense of winning an election,"

    1. When you say "representing us", do you mean forming party policy based on what the electorate tell them? Labour would argue they represent their members first and foremost. 

    2. When a party cobbles together a manifesto and forms policy positions, they do so believing their policies are the best way forward for the country and so in the best interests of "us". Their hope is that enough people will agree with them and vote them into power. 

    3. "politicians should focus on representing us and act in our best interests" - that works if "us" were a homogeneous group without individual needs. A strong capitalist anti-union party isn't going to act in the best interests of unionised voters for instance. So you can have principles and be acting in the best interest for one group whilst another group views you as a complete arse. I apologise if I seem pedantic, I'm leaning more to the point of view that it's a generalisation of something that can't really be generalised.

    The second option:

    "or if they should let bad things happen in the short term if it means more seats in the future for their particular ideology/team." 

    I don't think this really happens over here.

    1: By "Us" I mean all of us in the country, voters and non-voters, those who voted for the winner (be it local MP or the government in its entirety) and those who voted for the losers. 

    2. I'd agree with that. If everyone else is like me, though, I might vote a certain way for just one or two out of several manifesto proposals. To then claim afterwards that everyone who voted for the candidate/party supported all of the proposals would be incorrect. 

    3. I understand and appreciate your point, but that's not always necessarily true. Some issues bridge across many groups of people and make us almost as one. For example, let's assume party A won the election and a key manifesto point was to increase investment in the NHS - something that much of the electorate would agree is a good thing. Then, as this is examined further, it becomes apparent that extra money would just be a waste of public funds, because it would make the service worse, not better, and result in many people experiencing poorer healthcare than before. 

    Knowing this, should party A press on regardless because it was an election promise - even though they now know it makes things worse, not better? After all, many of their voters still think its a good idea despite the evidence to the contrary, so they can say (well, we know what they'd say, I suspect...). Knowing this, and agreeing it's a bad idea, should party B (the election losers) allow party A to press on even though they know the outcome will be worse for most people and they could stop it if they tried? Or should party B say this is a bad idea now we know a bit more, and try and stop it happening. 

    What possible reason could party B have for choosing "Let party A implement their bad idea and take the blame"? 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8538
    They could just tell lies in their manifesto just to get into power, and then never implement any of it. 

    I wonder if any of them have ever tried that? 
    ;)
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5661
    edited May 28
    Firstly, the point is, you vote for the person not the policy. That's why the paper that you mark your X on is a list of names, not a list of policies or manifestos. That is the way it works and is intended to work.

    Secondly, the elected person owes you nothing in return for your vote.  Once elected your participation and your role in their election is over.  Again, this is the way it is intended to work.

    If you want another system of parliamentary democracy....

    ...PR is no different :)
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
    Chalky said:
    Firstly, the point is, you vote for the person not the policy. That's why the paper that you mark your X on is a list of names, not a list of policies or manifestos. That is the way it works and is intended to work.

    Secondly, the elected person owes you nothing in return for your vote.  Once elected your participation and your role in their election is over.  Again, this is the way it is intended to work.

    If you want another system of parliamentary democracy....

    ...PR is no different :)
    So does that mean you think it's OK (or not) for...

    Party B (not in power) to watch party A (in power) implement something that party B believes will be bad for the country and hurt ordinary people, without trying to stop them - even though they could stop them - because they think they'll get more votes next time there's an election, from disillusioned party A voters? 

    I'm not asking if people think that it's happened in the past, or likely to happen in the future. I'm curious if anyone cares or not should that hypothetical moral question ever arise. What does your personal moral compass think they should do? 




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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    Exactly. As Ken Clarke recently said (paraphrased), you elect a representative and not a delegate.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
    ICBM said:
    Exactly. As Ken Clarke recently said (paraphrased), you elect a representative and not a delegate.
    Indeed. And they are accountable for the decisions they take on our behalf as our representatives. If we choose to bring them to account. Or we could just vote for party A because that's the team we support....  ;)
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 16962
    edited May 28

    What sort of party permits something bad to happen (or maybe just worse than the alternative) which they could have helped prevent, just so they stand a better chance of beating their rivals next time? How did they move from changing things for the better into doing whatever it takes just to win? And why does a voting public then reward them by voting them in? 
    Do you have any examples of when this has happened in this country in mind? 
    There are lots of examples ... various governments actions in N. Ireland spring to mind. Thatcher with the Unions, especially the miners with the set piece battles that turned public opinion into supporting Thatcher and condemned Labour to years in the wilderness whilst also reducing the power of the unions. UK industry was decimated and unemployment rose - the Tories did nothing to alleviate the problem via investment. They left prosperous working class communities to rot and decay for ideological reasons.

    And then there was Blair and Iraq. And if you're a UKIP supporter New Labour and immigration - Campbell admitted much of it was simply done to piss off the middle classes and get people who'd vote Labour.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11476
    I'm really not trying to be difficult (I reserve that pleasure for the girlfriend) but I think it's important to clarify some elements.

    1. Government does represent 'all of us' as people but can't represent every individual person's specific ideological slant. I think we'd agree there. So this notion of 'our best interests' is quite a hard one as it's very subjective. After the publication of the Chilcot report, the Rev. Blair came out with this:

    "Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country."

    Decidedly subjective best interests there!

    So 'our best interests' is very subjective. I know it's part of a generalized scenario but I just can't imagine right now in the middle of Brexit chaos and the greatest amount of polarisation between political ideologies for a generation what a shared "best interests" for the electorate would be. 


    2. I think most people vote the way you describe when it comes to the main parties. The Lib Dems, probably not. I can't imagine too much dissent in their ranks over policy (and when there was pre- and post-coalition, we saw what happened). Certainly for Labour it's been visible for ages. Now I think it's the Conservative turn to face some unrest. \voting for the 'less shit' option is looking more and more likely come the next GE. 


    3. I like this scenario Party A could try to press on regardless despite likely heavy press and social media coverage of the decision being bad (I would suggest that the rail franchising might be like this scenario). 

    So in answer to What possible reason could party B have for choosing "Let party A implement their bad idea and take the blame"?, there is one obvious:

    1. Party A has a sizeable majority and there's no way for Party B to win a Commons vote. 

    -and that is how it is most of the time. Sometimes you get situations where parties come together. The Labour ID card scheme could have been something the other parties allowed to happen in hope of it ballsing up and Labour getting tarnished but their own ideologies came out. Remembering that cross-party/ideology approach and comparing it to Brexit now brings a tear to the eye...






    Clarity over quantity.  
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11476
    Chalky said:
    Firstly, the point is, you vote for the person not the policy. That's why the paper that you mark your X on is a list of names, not a list of policies or manifestos. That is the way it works and is intended to work.

    Secondly, the elected person owes you nothing in return for your vote.  Once elected your participation and your role in their election is over.  Again, this is the way it is intended to work.

    If you want another system of parliamentary democracy....

    ...PR is no different :)
    So does that mean you think it's OK (or not) for...

    Party B (not in power) to watch party A (in power) implement something that party B believes will be bad for the country and hurt ordinary people, without trying to stop them - even though they could stop them - because they think they'll get more votes next time there's an election, from disillusioned party A voters? 

    I'm not asking if people think that it's happened in the past, or likely to happen in the future. I'm curious if anyone cares or not should that hypothetical moral question ever arise. What does your personal moral compass think they should do? 


    OK, hypothetically I'd care about it.


    But the likelihood of the main opposition party realising a Government plan was shit and having the means to stop it and choosing not to do so and sitting on that for up to four years until the next election is minuscule. 
    Clarity over quantity.  
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8994
    ICBM said:
    Exactly. As Ken Clarke recently said (paraphrased), you elect a representative and not a delegate.
    None of them represent me, but I still vote ... for someone who's never going to get elected because the overwhelming majority around here always vote the same way.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5661
    Your hypothetical also presupposes that party B has incontrovertible proof that Party A's policy will be "bad for the country and hurt ordinary people".  The actual impact of a policy is nowhere near that simple or provable. Plus your phrase "hurt ordinary people" is bulging with prejudice and bias, most notably about who decides who is 'ordinary'. Pick 3 politicians to define that phrase and you'll get at least 4 opinions.

    Politics is all about choices.  I think you are in danger of thinking those choices are black and white, but the truth is that they are mid grey and mid grey.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    Phil_aka_Pip said:

    None of them represent me, but I still vote ... for someone who's never going to get elected because the overwhelming majority around here always vote the same way.
    And the one who is elected is still supposed to represent you, not just those who voted for him/her. This becomes especially important under FPTP, since it's unusual for an MP to be elected by more than half the electorate, particularly if non-voters are included. It may be difficult to find an MP who truly does that though.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5661
    ICBM said:
    Phil_aka_Pip said:

    None of them represent me, but I still vote ... for someone who's never going to get elected because the overwhelming majority around here always vote the same way.
    And the one who is elected is still supposed to represent you, not just those who voted for him/her. This becomes especially important under FPTP, since it's unusual for an MP to be elected by more than half the electorate, particularly if non-voters are included. It may be difficult to find an MP who truly does that though.
    Well they are the elected member of parliament for the constituency in which you live, not your personal and constant representative.
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
    Chalky said:
    Your hypothetical also presupposes that party B has incontrovertible proof that Party A's policy will be "bad for the country and hurt ordinary people".  The actual impact of a policy is nowhere near that simple or provable. Plus your phrase "hurt ordinary people" is bulging with prejudice and bias, most notably about who decides who is 'ordinary'. Pick 3 politicians to define that phrase and you'll get at least 4 opinions.

    Politics is all about choices.  I think you are in danger of thinking those choices are black and white, but the truth is that they are mid grey and mid grey.

    No it doesn't presuppose party B has proof, actually. Just that party B believes it to be the case. They could easily be wrong, but it's about what they do about it, in the belief that it's true. 

    BTW, I totally reject that there's any bias in my use of the phrase "ordinary people". It's plain English and not in quotes in my sentence. If you see bias there it says something about your filters, not mine. 

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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5661
    Chalky said:
    Your hypothetical also presupposes that party B has incontrovertible proof that Party A's policy will be "bad for the country and hurt ordinary people".  The actual impact of a policy is nowhere near that simple or provable. Plus your phrase "hurt ordinary people" is bulging with prejudice and bias, most notably about who decides who is 'ordinary'. Pick 3 politicians to define that phrase and you'll get at least 4 opinions.

    Politics is all about choices.  I think you are in danger of thinking those choices are black and white, but the truth is that they are mid grey and mid grey.

    No it doesn't presuppose party B has proof, actually. Just that party B believes it to be the case. They could easily be wrong, but it's about what they do about it, in the belief that it's true. 

    BTW, I totally reject that there's any bias in my use of the phrase "ordinary people". It's plain English and not in quotes in my sentence. If you see bias there it says something about your filters, not mine. 

    If it only believes then it could well be wrong.

    How do you define what you mean by ordinary people?  The "man on the Clapham omnibus"? Folks of a particular income, location, housing situation, number of children, household size, ethnicity, employment, age, ability, disability, health, religion, ad infinitum.  Each of these factors can make a big difference to how they are affected by any policy.

    The term ordinary people is a meaningless phrase in politics.  Ask a politician.
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
    Chalky said:
    Chalky said:
    Your hypothetical also presupposes that party B has incontrovertible proof that Party A's policy will be "bad for the country and hurt ordinary people".  The actual impact of a policy is nowhere near that simple or provable. Plus your phrase "hurt ordinary people" is bulging with prejudice and bias, most notably about who decides who is 'ordinary'. Pick 3 politicians to define that phrase and you'll get at least 4 opinions.

    Politics is all about choices.  I think you are in danger of thinking those choices are black and white, but the truth is that they are mid grey and mid grey.

    No it doesn't presuppose party B has proof, actually. Just that party B believes it to be the case. They could easily be wrong, but it's about what they do about it, in the belief that it's true. 

    BTW, I totally reject that there's any bias in my use of the phrase "ordinary people". It's plain English and not in quotes in my sentence. If you see bias there it says something about your filters, not mine. 

    If it only believes then it could well be wrong.

    How do you define what you mean by ordinary people?  The "man on the Clapham omnibus"? Folks of a particular income, location, housing situation, number of children, household size, ethnicity, employment, age, ability, disability, health, religion, ad infinitum.  Each of these factors can make a big difference to how they are affected by any policy.

    The term ordinary people is a meaningless phrase in politics.  Ask a politician.
    As I've already written earlier (see above) yes, party B could be wrong - but perception is everything. If they believe the outcome to be damaging to ordinary people, should they act to stop it or should they just watch it happen because they believe they'll get a better election result next time? 

    "Ordinary people" is not a meaningless phrase. It's just people like you and me. I wouldn't look for anything more complicated than that. If it helps, let's say that "ordinary people" comprises at least 50% of the population of the UK.

    Assume that party B believes that the actions of party A (the government) will make things worse for those people in some way. In an outcome that those people would agree was worse. Party B could stop it. Party B could let it happen.

    What should party B do? 
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5661
    You are so oversimplifying your scenario that your question has become pointless. 

    You insist on reducing to the logical equivalent of "If B sees A doing something that makes C unhappy, what should B do?"

    Then when someone says that A is a doctor giving child C medicine, or A is a parking warden giving driver C a ticket, or A is an armed policeman and C is a terrorist, you argue that folks are overcomplicating your simple question.  But your simple question is far too simplistic to be useful. It has to take into account the real world if it is to have any point.
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 932
    Chalky said:
    You are so oversimplifying your scenario that your question has become pointless. 

    You insist on reducing to the logical equivalent of "If B sees A doing something that makes C unhappy, what should B do?"

    Then when someone says that A is a doctor giving child C medicine, or A is a parking warden giving driver C a ticket, or A is an armed policeman and C is a terrorist, you argue that folks are overcomplicating your simple question.  But your simple question is far too simplistic to be useful. It has to take into account the real world if it is to have any point.

    Respectfully, we'll have to disagree about the point (or lack of). And this little thread has been respectful - thanks to all for that. 

    I'm interested in ideas and concepts. Some people aren't. Some people just aren't wired that way. That's fine, we're all different and think about things in our own individual ways. I've been trying to have a conceptual discussion because the the specific idea that started me off on this is very contentious and I was more interested in the principle of the issue than I am the specific issue itself. 

    I'm not reducing it in the way you've written above. To use your example, I'm saying "If B sees A doing something that makes C unhappy, and B is supposed to want C to be happy and could stop it, but instead, B lets C suffer because it means something better will happen for B later on".

    So, a specific example. I'll use the one I've been avoiding ever since I bumped into the Momentum guy a few days ago. 

    Brexit. We can't prove anything yet, one way or the other, that will change anyones minds about this. It's all about our personal beliefs. So, let's make some assumptions....

    Assume that Labour believes a hard Brexit is where we'll end up, and that a hard Brexit will make 50% or more of the population worse off in practical ways for the next 10 years - not enough money in the public purse, meaning some people will suffer in some way that they don't right now, and others that already suffer in some way will suffer more. 

    Assume that Labour believes it could unite with other politicians and either stop a hard Brexit or reimagine it in some way that there is protection for those people who might suffer - the people Labour says they care about the most. 

    Assume that Labour believes it could just watch the process go through, watch people suffer more than they have to - because they'll win more seats at the next General Election if they let the Conservatives be held responsible for causing that pain.

    Should they try to stop it or should they watch it happen? 

    To answer this, no-one needs to defend Labour or defend Brexit. Neither are under attack in this question I'm asking. I'm just using a hypothetical situation to find out what people think about the principle of the thing. 

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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 11476
    Fretwired said:

    What sort of party permits something bad to happen (or maybe just worse than the alternative) which they could have helped prevent, just so they stand a better chance of beating their rivals next time? How did they move from changing things for the better into doing whatever it takes just to win? And why does a voting public then reward them by voting them in? 
    Do you have any examples of when this has happened in this country in mind? 
    There are lots of examples ... various governments actions in N. Ireland spring to mind. Thatcher with the Unions, especially the miners with the set piece battles that turned public opinion into supporting Thatcher and condemned Labour to years in the wilderness whilst also reducing the power of the unions. UK industry was decimated and unemployment rose - the Tories did nothing to alleviate the problem via investment. They left prosperous working class communities to rot and decay for ideological reasons.

    I'm not sure I'd agree that Thatcher thought that the clashes with the unions was a bad thing. I was thinking more along the lines of prevention as Mr Dipper mentioned. It seems a bit daft to say the Tories could have prevented this as any bad policy could have been prevented by not being enacted. 
    Clarity over quantity.  
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32822
    Chalky said:

    Well they are the elected member of parliament for the constituency in which you live, not your personal and constant representative.
    Exactly - they are there to do what they think is best for their constituents as a whole, not to simply parrot the views of the constituents who voted for them. If you don't like their interpretation of that then you can vote against them at the next election.

    The question here is whether most of the MPs who voted in favour of declaring Article 50 did so believing that it was the wrong decision.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1417
    ICBM said:
    It’s a difficult question... if you stick to your principles, but that guarantees you will never be in a position to implement them, what have you achieved? On the other hand, if you sacrifice your principles to attain power, also what have you really achieved?

    This is the dilemma the Labour Party faced under Blair - they chose power over principle, and although they did a lot of good in the short term it’s permanently tainted the party and probably made it harder for them to make a comeback, even under a more principled leader.

    I don’t like the idea of compromising principles either, but I think it would be a price worth paying for better government in the long term. The danger of sticking rigidly to principle and waiting for the other side to fail is that conditions change, often unpredictably, and you don’t always get another chance.
    As we have a de facto two party parliamentary democracy, then for this to function correctly, both parties need to be broad churches and there needs to be some element of compromise (which unfortunately is unpalatable to some members of both parties).

    Tony Blair understood this; he'd seen the "no compromise with the electorate" attitude of Millitant in the 80's.

    The EU referendum has rather shown the flaws in the this system.

    A PR based system would allow a wider spectrum of views to be expressed in Parliament, although looking Italy I'm having second thoughts................. 


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  • randellarandella Frets: 1848
    Chalky said:

    How do you define what you mean by ordinary people?  The "man on the Clapham omnibus"? Folks of a particular income, location, housing situation, number of children, household size, ethnicity, employment, age, ability, disability, health, religion, ad infinitum.  Each of these factors can make a big difference to how they are affected by any policy.

    The term ordinary people is a meaningless phrase in politics.  Ask a politician.
    It's politicians of all stripes who currently seem to favour the lumping in of 'ordinary people' and this neat summary from @Chalky goes a long way to explain why it gets on my tits.

    Politics is about compromise and it takes great skill and intelligence, along with the ability to know when to work with someone who's ideology doesn't agree with your own, to formulate policy that benefits the electorate.  Simply because our circumstances are all so different it's occasionally going to feel like we're the ones in line for punishment because, with a limited pot of money and resources, it simply isn't possible to please all the people all the time.

    It's really why I have no patience with Westminster at the moment - two dinosaur parties pathologically incapable of compromise or agreement on any point, even amongst themselves.  This polarisation of left and right that seems to be the current trend is helping no-one.

    My Labour MP does great work about the place, and despite being a life-long lefty I've no doubt that many folk have Conservative MPs who they feel are doing the same and who *are* doing the same.  Meanwhile, up in town, the People's Front of Judea are at permawar with the Judean People's Front.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8994
    Are "ordinary people" the same as "hard-working families"? Do they all ride on the Clapham omnibus?
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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