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Oct 6 13 3:14 PM
Born Again P-76 Pilot
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Oct 6 13 3:32 PM
Sep 3 13 7:41 AM
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MarkLBailey wrote:In OTL 1946-58 there were modern industries where the UK held a major technological, technical and production advantages over the USA. Aviation and shipping (all aspects) were two standouts, there were others like heavy electrical engineering and so forth. These were destroyed by unions and nationalisation in the 60s. The general intent is to lower UK labour costs even further and exacerbate these advantages. With overly powerful (and Moscow-controlled) unions gone, the welfare state concept dead, and Japan destroyed.
Oct 6 13 3:33 PM
5 days ago
Michael wrote:MarkLBailey wrote: With overly powerful (and Moscow-controlled) unions gone, the welfare state concept dead, and Japan destroyed.Disagree with you there Mark, Welfare state concept is still there - different, but still there.The Beveridge Report had wide cross party support, and the consensus of opinion (and this is across ALL the UK political spectrum) was "It's good stuff, and we agree it in principle, however we'll have to see how things play out and what the economics look like post war before we can decide which bits to impliment." Another factor to consider was its importance for wartime morale, as it gave the British something they were fighting for rather than simply being against Naziism. That was deemed important for morale on both the home front and overseas. So the drivers all point to Beveridge staying, and some sort of implimentation.However because of <as yet unspecified disaster> the UK economic landscape looks very different post war than in OTL, and the political complexion of the country will probably look different as well, so while Beveridge will be implimented in some form it will probably look different/have a different emphasis to the OTL version. Earlier discussions saw Shane suggest a greater emphasis on education, (especially technical training), and I can still see the NHS being rolled out (a healthy worker is a productive worker) in some form.
MarkLBailey wrote: With overly powerful (and Moscow-controlled) unions gone, the welfare state concept dead, and Japan destroyed.
'A Home Fit for Heroes' is possibly the most powerful driver in post-WWII British politics. Remember that no matter Churchill was a popular PM, his party was thrown out on its ear because the population, including the returning forces, wanted a state that provided for everyone, no matter their circumstances and trusted Labour to provide that, not the Liberals or Tories. It's not an economics issue, it's a personal aspiration issue, people wanted their children to grow up with adequate healthcare (and post-war the returning forces would be hugely focused on raising families). People overwhelmingly wanted the NHS and the other aspects of the Welfare State (and want - 50,000 protesting outside the Tory conference at the weekend against NHS cuts) because they expected Britain to do better.
Note that drivers towards this aren't incompatible with ideas of a strong Britain, the original post-WWI Homes Fit for Heroes campaign, leading to the Housing Act 1919 and the growth of council houses (social housing) was partly inspired by the idea of improving the health of urban military recruits. That post-WWI initiative creates a powerful expectation that a similar improvement in the support available to the ordinary citizen will also follow the end of WWII. Equally the strong links forged with Norway mean that the Nordic Model welfare state will likely have a stronger influence in the UK than OTL even if there are some drivers against the Welfare State from elsewhere.
Oct 6 13 3:34 PM
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MarkLBailey wrote:Global national health systems have been forensically examinined by Nanyang University in Singapore (and IIRC National in Seoul) along with every other national health service system on the planet and the results the European systems deliver for the investment were assessed to be poor to very poor, with up to 80% of the taxpayer fiscal input being wasted.
Mark, I'd strongly suggest further research on this, the UK NHS is consistently rated by other researchers as giving one of the best ROIs in terms of patient outcomes worldwide, c.f http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8877412/NHS-among-best-health-care-systems-in-the-world.html (and the Torygraph is no friend of the Welfare State). I've been using the NHS heavily for the past 25 years, it had problems, got massively better, and is now being made deliberately worse for political motives by the current government, to the point that we've had a political party formed specifically to defend it, with the intention of running doctors as candidates against government ministers in the next election. Is it perfect? No. Is it adequate? Yes. Is it free at the point of delivery, absolutely. If you willingly pay for your healthcare, you probably don't understand how offensive most Brits find that concept. I had to have a couple of medical assessments done at a private hospital as part of some occupational health issues at work, to walk into a hospital and have the first question be 'Who's paying?' was as shocking as being physically assaulted. (To compound things they then tried to insist I had to give them a credit card number even though my employer was paying, after the third or fourth 'No' they realised I wasn't about to play ball.)
'without washing his hands between patients'
While we've had issues, washing hands is now practically a fetish in the NHS, every room has a gel dispenser. OTOH a private hospital recently catastrophically failed a no-notice inspection after whistleblowers reported that, amongst other things, a surgeon operated ungloved and with blood-soaked shirtsleeves (and that was one of the big name private healthcare providers). http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/may/02/mount-alvernia-private-hospital?guni=Article:in%20body%20link Any hospital can screw up, whatever the system it operates under, but introducing the profit motive introduces a whole new driver for failure (as the story above shows).
Brits get as religiously agitated over threats to the NHS as the Yanks do over threats to the Constitution. It's far from impossible that the Tories may lose the next election over their backdoor privatisation attempts - I'd say bloody likely, but there are so many other things going to make them the most reviled government it's been my misfortune to encounter, that its impossible to know which one will be the driving force come the day.
Paulo's far from the only Brit who isn't comfortable with what you're trying to do with the post-war UK, and to be honest I've yet to see a driver remotely capable of the sort of changes you're proposing. One of the principles of APOD is, AIUI, that we go where the data pushes us, no matter how inconvenient to personal ideas that may be, and the long term societal drivers for post WWII Britain are the culmination of a slow drift to a combination of a welfare state and socially conservative* national life (*small-c conservative, not related to Toryism). By the end of the war it's a movement that's about a century and a half old, going back at least to the Tolpuddle Martyrs if not earlier - that's not a social pressure you change quickly or easily. (It's arguably still continuing, each Tory government since WWII has had a lower percentage of the vote than the last).
MarkLBailey wrote:3. This begs the question of what is the mechanism(s) which can be used to constrain the 'uncontrolled growth factors' which, in OTL, blocked off these possibilities. One of these factors, which can be observed in any society, is uncontrolled expenditure on what we now call the welfare state. You raised a perfectly valid example: people wanted a health system postwar, fine, I have no problem with that, how does one have that, balance the other needs, and do so affordably so it can be sustained over the long term? Part of that seems to have been answered with the soaring positive outcomes for public health in the UK in 1835-75, and THAT seems to have been a partial artifact of the First British Diaspora - 13 million people - which gave time for public health works to be built (like the great public water and sewage reticulation systsms) without being overloaded/overwhelmed which simultaneously generating great economic growth.
Dealing with the last point first, I think you're linking two separate phenomena there with no clear evidence they're connected other than in occurring at the same time. I'd argue infrastructure improvements such as water, sewerage and public health are largely independent of population size (clearly they are linked to a degree by population density as a risk factor in epidemiology). If your population is larger, then, while the demand will be higher, you have greater income via taxation, a larger available workforce and so on. And the benefits of economies of scale. I don't think the idea of being overwhelmed really translates, the system improves incrementally as it is implemented, you don't have to wait for the full system to be in place before benefits start to accrue.
WRT the affordability of the Welfare State, that's a decision for the national conscience: what level of benefits will we provide, what budget does that demand, how do we balance that with other demands, how do we pay for it. You saw an element of that during the Cold War, with the US perpetually nagging the European NATO members to increase their defence budgets as a percentage of the national budget to the 10% or so that it favoured. Yet even though they were far more directly in the front line of a WP thrust across the IGB, that never happened. The reason is very simple, the European states looked at the demands on their budget, such as defence, and their national welfare states, and so on, and the balance that met their local societal demands for national security, welfare and so on, put the acceptable level of the defence budget at about 5%. It wasn't that Europe was trying to do defence on the cheap, it was the US comprehensively failing to understand that the European states weren't America, and assigned defence a different level of priority.
17 hours ago
MarkLBailey wrote:I have no quibble with 'home fit for heroes', and not much more with the Beveridge Report. The great British collapse which followed (and from the Asian view of an Australian still continues) was an unintended consequence of the follow-on factors of these: creation of permanent welfare subclasses, creation of giant resource-pits like the NHS, which is by far the least efficient, most wasteful, most expensive and worst-outcome-metric health system of any first world nation. The Singaporean government, for example, refuses to expose their diplo and military people to what they consider to be a third-world health system, where at all possible they AME them to the USA where (I am quoting) 'a first-world health system as good as ours is available'. There were other impacts too, notably the near-communisation of the UK via far left policies (industry nationalisation, overweening union power, the destruction of social structures, Gramscian attacks on the institutions, loss of export industries, de-industrialisati
It's terribly difficult to take this seriously.
The concept of 'permanent welfare subclasses' is systematically overblown by the right (particularly by our current Welfare Secretary, the loathsome IDS). The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (whose orientation is Quaker rather than political, and which specialises in social disadvantage) went into the most disadvantaged areas of the country and was unable to a single example of IDS's claimed 'families with three generations who have never worked', his '15,000 failing families' reputedly at the heart of anti-social behaviour nationwide turned out to be based on a concept that a family was failing if several factors (3 IIRC) from a short list applied - two of those factors related to a parent being disabled, so become disabled and all of a sudden your family is apparently 2/3s the way to be an anti-social problem family. Ultimately it turned out those criteria were meant to identify families at risk of being severely socially disavantaged, but in the hands of the right the victims became the scapegoats. You can probably see why people might be shocked at the reality (or lack of reality) behind the rhetoric. In fact the rhetoric against disabled benefit claimants became so bad you could measure it in the hate crime stats (I should probably point out I was the go-to commentator for a national disability charity on this and did a bunch of media interviews talking about my experiences). The truth is that we don't have welfare subclasses, we have long-term failing areas due to long-term industrial shifts and chronic (and politicised) underinvestment - the Scottish independence movement is, IMO, largely a creation of the long term refusal of the Tories to invest equally in the North of Britain (which just happens to overwhelmingly vote Labour). It's difficult to get a job when there are no jobs to be had in the area, particularly if your skills were in an industry deliberately trashed by the Thatcher government to punish its unions. And if you can then write them off as 'permanent welfare subclasses' so that they get the blame and not you, then so much the better.
As for the NHS, I will freely admit it could be better, but then every organisation could be better, and that doesn't change the fact that other people have assessed it and rate it at the top, not the bottom. I'll see your Singaporean anecdote, and raise you all the Americans I've seen, who, having experienced both systems, say that the British one caters for them in a way the American one chronically fails to do - I suspect there's truth in the suggestion that the US system is generally better if you are acutely ill (and able to pay), while the NHS is better if you are chronically sick - certainly it won't bankrupt you, as medical treatment so often can in the States. My personal record is just short of 30 hopital appointments in one year, cost to me at point of delivery, zip. I dread to think what that would have cost in a system that isn't free at point of delivery, or the stress it would have imposed, when so many illnesses and disabilities are worsened by stress. You talk about the NHS as a money pit, but what about the money pit that is the US healthcare insurance industry? What about a system that charges anything up to 20 times as much for a basic procedure in comparison to what it would cost in other systems? Somehow that doesn't seem too efficient to me. (I have to use the US as the counter-example here as I don't really know the Australian system well enough to comment, and the US system is generally the one deployed when right-wingers want to attack the NHS).
Nationalisation: there's actually nothing inherently wrong with having a nationalised industry - look at the historic performance of national infrastructure organisations such as post offices or the UK national grid. Problems only arise where there is underinvestment, political meddling, or where an unresponsive bureaucracy is imposed from above - all of which were problems in the UK implementations of nationalisation. OTOH sometimes industry can screw things up just as well - the UK East Coast Main Line has arguably been nationalised three times, with two franchise operators having it forcibly taken back into government hands in recent years. The current nationalised operation runs just fine, thank you.
'Overweening unionisation': now clearly union power swung a little too far (probably as a reaction to management behaviour), but that is not to say that unions aren't a good, if not vital, thing. In fact the worst example of overweening union power I know of is not just contemporary, but from the States and from a generally right-wing union body - pilot unions. Pretty much all the US airlines operate with something called a scope clause, this is a union-imposed diktat telling them which planes they can operate or buy and in what seating configurations, even what kind of routes they or their regional associates can operate - the aim, preserve the seniority structure and wages and conditions of the existing pilots. When a union starts to dictate business strategy, something is wrong, and it doesn't matter whether that union is right-wing or left-wing.
'Near communisation': again, there's nothing inherently wrong with parliamentary communism, the French and Italian parties have shown it's perfectly possible to be both communist and a responsible parliamentary party. I think you need to take a step back from your personal politics and try to understand that Europe sees things differently. I've been biting my tongue for a while over this, but this thread has really brought things to a head and I might as well lay my thoughts on the table. Someone made an analogy a few years ago that I thought caught the difference between European and American political thought extremely well, it roughly said. 'European politics runs the full gamut from extreme left to the lunatic fringe on the right. American politics also runs the full gamut from extreme left to the lunatic fringe on the right; but the full range of American politics would fit within the European lunatic right'. You see it very well with the US horror of Socialism, while at least half of Europe will happily proclaim themselves Socialist and proud and wonder why the Americans can't understand what a wonderful thing Socialism is. There's a fundamental disconnect between US and European political perspectives (and I count the UK as European here), and presumably a similar one between Australian and European perspectives, and the problem is you keep trying to shoehorn European politics into an Australian perspective, and it doesn't fit. I think part of the problem is that the UK isn't alien enough. If it was Japanese politics, then you might head off to the books or consult a local expert, but the UK seems close enough to Australia that you think you should be able to apply your own instincts directly, the problem being that it doesn't work when we look at what you're saying from a British perspective.
And now you've taken that a step further and started to apply your Australian value judgements to real-world UK, not just APOD UK, which might not be a problem if everyone shared your perspective (and politics), but we certainly don't all share your perspective and I for one don't share your politics. I'm not saying you can't hold those views, but you can't expect to make them here and not be challenged.
The whole idea of continuing APOD post-war is deeply problematical for me, because you want to take the UK in a direction that 1) I'm not comfortable with politically, and 2) where I can't see the drivers to take it there based on my perspective as a Brit.
Oct 6 13 3:39 PM
16 hours ago
MarkLBailey wrote:The current effort to treble health costs in the USA by nationalising 18% of the entire US economy (the health sector), handing it over to their truly dreadful bureaucracies, and reducing health successful outcomes is being watched very carefully, and it assessed in Asia as a sign of serious and deeply worryng sign of US civilisational decline.
"Above all else the LONG TERM outcomes of the creation of the cradle-to-grave welfare state have to be stopped - that's the huge pools of welfare-dependent sub-classes who make are essentially parasites on the productive population."
Well, personally I don't see myself as a parasite, and perhaps I should stop there.
Oct 6 13 3:40 PM
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MarkLBailey wrote:I am not sure I understand your comment on permanent welfare subclasses in the European context. Have these been developing? If so, via what social mechanisms?
My point is that the right claim they have been developing, not that they actually are (i.e. it's politically motivated propaganda). They do this a) as a mechanism for demonising their victims, and b) in order to then justify the assault on the Welfare State ('see, all these people are scroungers and anti-social thugs, they don't deserve benefits'). You see it in the UK, you certainly see an even more unbalanced form in the States, I presume the same goes on elsewhere. Yet when researchers without a political axe to grind go into these communities the supposed evidence turns out not to exist. In fact the UK Department of Work and Pensions, under Ian Duncan Smith (failed Tory party leader and general demagogue) has been repeatedly hauled over the coals by the National Statistical Authority for making claims that don't reflect the facts. I've dissected some of their research papers, ones driving some of the highest levels of policy, and they're some of the worst examples of deliberately skewing your questions to get the answers you want I've come across. Meanwhile the right wing press is full of propaganda intended to obscure the reality of what's going on. To pick just one example, there were a series of stories about the numbers of people getting disability benefits for apparently trivial ailments such as 'blisters', or 'a cough', and no doubt their readers were suitably horrified; but if you read those same articles from the perspective of a disability rights activist, then it became readily apparent that they are actually talking about people with epidermolysis bulosa and cystic fibrosis and other life-threatening disabilities. Then you have to wonder where they got the numbers from - that could only come from deep data-mining of the DWP's internal benefits database, which means the whole story actually came directly from the political 'special advisors' working directly for IDS.
The point being, there's a propaganda war being fought to discredit the Welfare State by right wing opponents of its very existence, and allegations of a permanent welfare underclass are part of the propaganda rather than part of the fact. As with any source, you need to understand the context and their underlying motivations in order to evaluate the data they provide.
"I pay vastly more attention to what goes on in Jakarta than to what goes on in all European capitals combined. ... I freely admit to not much understanding modern Europe, it's far away and interesting, but of little actual importance to Australia these days,"
Which again points to the need to recognise Europe, including the UK, as alien and to question the instinct to regard us as socially not that different. I've worked extensively with Americans, Australians and Europeans (Germans, Italians, Spaniards in the main) and many of my friends and former colleagues now work in Europe; there's a perception even here that we must be closest to the English speakers, but deal with them more closely and we're certainly far closer to the Europeans than the Americans in the way we think and our underlying social values. It's more difficult to distinguish with Australia because the base cultures are so much closer, but it's clear there are significant differences.
"I was genuinely shocked by the some of the comments you made: This one in particular: If you willingly pay for your healthcare, you probably don't understand how offensive most Brits find that concept. I find the concept of my not taking responsibility for and paying for my own and my family's healthcare to be incomprehensible, almost alien."
The whole point of society is to ensure everyone is protected; not everyone is able to pay for healthcare, whether through being unable to work through disability (which I should point out is my situation), or through being unemployed through no fault of their own, or through being employed by employers who pay wages too low to allow that. It therefore becomes society's role to ensure that healthcare is provided by all. If you go to a payment at point of delivery role, then inevitably people will be failed, either because they are unable to pay at all, or because an insurer refuses to authorise the treatment. The deep and sickening irony of the Obamacare debates were the right wing US allegations that the NHS has so-called 'death panels', whereas the reality is that it is actually the existing US system that is overwhelmingly dominated by them, they just call them insurers instead. So only a free at the point of delivery system can cover every person equitably, and that system is best funded via taxation. 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' is the most succinct summary of the reason society exists that I know of. Ultimately we too have taken responsibility for ensuring our healthcare, but we take that responsibility for every member of society, not simply our own kin.
And this feeds back into APOD, we aren't headed off at a tangent; the returning forces in WWII had grown up during the Great Depression, with many unable to afford healthcare, and they weren't prepared to accept that for their kids. They wanted guaranteed protection for all, no matter whether they were in work or out, no matter how exploitative the bosses were, and the Welfare State was the mechanism for delivering that, dreamt up not by some Socialist rabble-rouser from the Valleys, but by an austere economist (Beveridge's position on the Welfare State has its roots in Fabian Socialism, he was an associate of the Webbs, but by the time it was defined and implemented he had become a Liberal). I'm not sure that there's a more powerful social driver than this one, and it's one that is reinforced by catastrophe, not weakened, throw more death and destruction at the UK and you simply reinforce the demand for the Welfare State's cradle to grave support for all.
"a deep loathing of international socialism"
Whereas I cannot understand any compassionate person not favouring Socialism. We need to recognise that the term has become loaded, it's greeted with horror in the US, I'd say as almost as a sign of the End Times, but it's probably more acceptable to proclaim yourself a Satanist than a Socialist in the States. Yet the European perception of Socialism is as a perfectly normal system of government that happens to put the welfare of the people somewhat ahead of the nurturing of capitalism, rather than vice versa (i.e. a Mixed Economy with some aspects of Market Socialism). WRT the various communist dictatorships of the last century, they're dictatorships first and foremost, and dictatorships ultimately screw their people, whether they be of the right or the left. I'm not sure that there's ever been a true Socialist government in the sense Marx envisaged, some of the Spanish Syndicalism of the Civil War era may be the closest we've got, but Marx's idealised Communist state requires universal buy-in right across society and I'm not sure that's practical in the real-world.
Edited to add: again that feeds back into APOD, with the returning UK forces explicitly looking for a Socialist government.
"my country is maturing into its place in the world - and it's an Asian place."
Or is that an alien place You're actually implying a growing disconnect with European thought, but APOD can't work if it ignores the local societal drivers, so you need to be very careful in trying to shoehorn Europe, including the UK, into the views your Asian perspective perceives as normal or 'right'.
Oct 6 13 3:41 PM
Paulo the Limey wrote:Finally a suggestion- whilst this debate is necessary, it is swiftly moving away from Great Deeds. Is it possible to move the posts elsewhere? I'm sure we've had to do this before.
MarkLBailey wrote:I freely admit to not much understanding modern Europe, it's far away and interesting, but of little actual importance to Australia these days, yet I am delighted that you can shock me - I was genuinely shocked by the some of the comments you made: This one in particular: If you willingly pay for your healthcare, you probably don't understand how offensive most Brits find that concept. I find the concept of my not taking responsibility for and paying for my own and my family's healthcare to be incomprehensible, almost alien. Be interesting to explore that difference in views over a beer.
Michael wrote:We still have the option to pay more and go private if we want
2 hours ago
JPaulMartin wrote:I like you guys, but half the time you make no sense at all.
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