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Diversity in Modern Society


This is where the conversation needs to be seen completely. The UK education budget is 67 billion GBP. Trident is about 5 billion GBP. So you could end it, end the UK nuclear status and you’d get maybe a 7% increase in education funds.

The 5 billion in Trident funds doesn’t disappear. It supports thousands of job and much more in manufacturing and support. Essentially all military spending is wealth redistribution within country that subsidizes many industries. So if you end Trident all those employees are out of work and all the companies that exist on the back of Trident are at risk of bankruptcy.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is why the answers are pretty complex, and why when it comes to discussions like this I’m never satisfied with spend more as an answer. Every budget will take from one person who thinks they deserve it to another person who thinks they deserve it.

The US has more people on socialized medicine than the entire UK population. You wouldn’t expect that but that’s the truth. But we’re getting close to becoming another politics thread here, so I’d like to try to keep things on the diversity subject.


If the VA is an argument for socialized medicine then it’s not a very compelling argument.


Which is why I said defunding Trident was an example of a different priority choice, not the secret to a socialist Nirvana.


I did NOT say it was socialized medicine DONE RIGHT - now, did I?

They finally opened the local billion-dollar boondoggle. I’m angry for the Vets!


It was the only example you gave of spending on different priorities. I mean where else would you go? Should we stop fixing roads? Not give so much money to pensioners? Cut the NHS? Stop paying benefits, housing allowance and unemployment? Not pay down the debt any more? Borrow more and increase the deficit? Maybe get rid of the police force, or close the airports and docks? Or close the National Trust and stop subsidizing farmers?

If you answer is spend more the question is where does the more come from? Otherwise spend more isn’t a real answer.


I have a cunning plan which involves not giving £350M to the EU…


Increase middle class income tax (by that I mean the standard rate) and keep corporate income onshore and taxed. That’s where the deficit came from as much as the bank bust in 2008. We’ve seen the recent round of tax cuts make it worse.

Apart from maybe 3 individual quarters our economies in the UK and US have been growing for 20 years. So we’re not poorer but we’re still in a cycle of constant tightening of belts.

The problem is the former is unpopular, especially in any short term, and the latter very difficult without more global co-operation (although I know ways it isn’t quite as difficult as it seems).


Every single middle class person who pays an extra 100 GBP in taxes has 100 GBP less to spend on their own family. Less to take care of their kids, brothers or sisters, parents and so on. It’s a hard sell when already they think their taxes are pretty high. I don’t know if tax increases can fly in democracy any more.


Tax rises can have support if they are pledged to things people support. In the UK that starts with the NHS;

And interestingly;

Notably, 56 per cent of Conservative supporters backed a tax rise to pay for the NHS, up from a third in 2014. Support among Labour supporters stands at 68 percent.


Like the bit where I said it was a hard sell? :wink:

You have to see some of the truth behind it though. We’re not poorer, that’s what economic growth is, if we can’t afford the services we could 10 or 20 years ago there’s also an element of choice. Countries with similar economic growth are not drastically cutting them.

It’s not an inevitability of the modern world, it’s a choice we’ve taken. I suspect it’s one that will cycle around to a different one, not sure when.


If Sanders had been the dems candidate he would have won and I think there might have been tax increases.


The best choice, of course, being not to have children. Look at all the problems and risks you’re facing. Why would you want to inflict that on an innocent baby?!

It is odd, of course, that the children need good male and female role models in the debate whether there are only two genders. On top of that, of course, what effect does a gender role model from one generation have on another generation? I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and the expectations for men and women then do not necessarily apply to today. If my dad acted like his dad, it would’ve been a terrible childhood even though his dad was a good father for the 40’s and 50’s expectations.

Ironically, most parents I know closely almost all tell me they have no idea where their children get their personalities.

It’s actually a different question economically. Government spending is in dollars which is a currency our government also controls (as opposed to the Euro). So, where the money comes from is actually irrelevant, as all that matters is the economic effect the spending will have.

The advantage that public services give us is a low-cost economy. If people didn’t have to worry about paying for housing, medical services, transportation and other basic living requirements, then wages would not need to be so high and businesses would not have to also be in the business of benefits for employees. We become more competitive internationally and profits would increase paying more into tax revenue.

Also, public funding and debt acts very differently in the economic cycle and is far safer than private spending and debt. Naturally, this also gives us more control publically in regard to environmental concerns and increasing efficiency in technology and innovation.


Damn it, I knew there was something I meant to do this weekend - prepare a detailed manifesto and budget for Millarworld! How did THAT slip my mind?

Unless you’re arguing that the current way of spending our finite pot of money is the only way to spend that money, then there are clearly different choices which different Governments can make about what they choose to prioritise.

We’re seeing an experiment in that in action at the moment with the devolved UK Governments choosing to make different choices - significantly so in some cases, with the same starting finite resources. My politics leans a lot more towards the choices Holyrood has made - including this year’s decision for the first time to create different income tax brackets in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK - than the choices our current Westminster Government chooses to make. If I was still resident in Scotland, I’d happily pay the extra tax, because I am confident in the intent behind it.

Taking it to an even more basic level:

The US spends about 3% of GDP on defence. The UK spends about 2%. Germany spends just over 1%. Canada spends 1.3%. Australia spends 2%. France spends 2.3%.

The US spends about 4.9% of GDP on education. The UK spends 5.6%. Germany spends 5%. Canada spends 5.5%. Australia spends 5.2%. France spends 5.5%.

The US spends about 17% of GDP on health. The UK spends about 10%. Germany spends 11.3%. Canada spends 10.6%. Australia spends 9.6%. France spends 11%.

The US spends about 19.3% of GDP on social welfare. The UK spends about 21%. Germany spends 25%. Canada spends about 17%. Australia spends 19.1%. France spends 31%.

Different countries make different choices about how they use their money, and even between broadly similar countries like that selection, there can be quite different approaches to core concepts such as defence, social care, healthcare and education. I don’t think that’s particularly controversial.

(It’s also clearly not just about the money - it’s about how effectively that money is used. Within UK healthcare there are plenty of examples where short-term economies lead to much more significant longer term problems - getting the integration of services right, and thinking to the longer term, are both strategies I think we can do better than our current Government does)


I believe the balance of the government budget is a work of tens of thousands of highly dedicated and motivated people, built up over decades with countless influences to create the best possible results for a country based on reaching the largest consensus possible.

I think you can tweak it but I don’t think there’s a magic reformulation that can change things.


And in what those tweaks are and how they are applied lie our different political parties and their different manifestos. Income tax being a different rate in Scotland compared to England is just that - a tweak, but one that can be used to support different policy choices

No-one’s claiming there’s any magic solution Jim, but I want a Government that - broadly - chooses to tweak like Sturgeon, not twist like May.

Or twerk like Trump.


Tweaks won’t get it done is my point. Tweaks only tweak. Spend more isn’t an acceptable answer, but it’s the only one offered.

I feel that no one ever wants to provide the answer that would make all the difference in the world. The answer that is the root of most problem given the studies.

We need better parents.


So what’s your solution to achieve that?

(And I still disagree with you on how much effect “tweaks” can have. There are clear differences in policy and outcome with Governments of different stripes … a simple example of that in a UK context, as applied to supporting people to be better parents, is the current Government’s decision to relatively defund the Surestart programme established by Blair and Brown)


Make Jeff Bezos pay for it? :wink:


Western countries have lower birth rates, population increases primarily coming from immigration, and crime statistics have dropped (with some blips and recent small rises) since the early 90s. As recently commented on the latest teenagers are smoking, drinking and taking fewer drugs than our generation, a larger percentage get to higher education.

So my alternative argument of the day. Don’t we already have better parents?


My son does. The rest of you I’m not sold on yet.