The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for December, 2010

It is time to fully license and legalise Prostitution

without comments

Whilst I know that selling yourself for sex isn’t actually illegal at the moment. Doing so outside of your home or more than one person doing it in one property is. The time has come to remove the stigma and sort out the problem. Both for the sake of those who want to sell themselves, those who want to buy sex and those who are forced on to The Game by Pimps.

I’ll start with the case for why people should be allowed to sell themselves for sex.

I firmly believe that in life we should be allowed to do what we want with our own lives as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else directly. If you want to get absolutely wrecked and stumble home quietly then who cares. If you stumble home after getting wrecked but want to get behind the wheel or have a fight then there is a clear problem. So on to sex. If someone wants to sell themselves for sex and another person wants to buy then why should anyone have the right to stop them on what is a private transaction? So I think my PoV is clear – people are entitled to live their lives as they see fit.

So now on to the impact on others.

Street prostitution impacts on the neighbourhood. That is clear. So I can have no quibbles with this staying illegal. I’m not a home owner but I can imagine that if I owned a property and then it suddenly became a Red Light District then I can see my investment being impacted by others. So considering I think people have the right to sell themselves then I need to find a solution.

I have one (and possibly two)

Firstly legal and licensed brothels in town centres. All the sellers would be registered and taxed as self-employed business people. All the sellers would get regular STI checks and would be in a safe environment. The buyers would also be safe in the knowledge that what they were buying was safe and legal.

Secondly any transaction between two private individuals in a private dwelling should be ok. However I think even in this case the seller should be fully registered and licensed. This is for both parties safety. The buyer will know they will not be arrested for any crime and the seller will be free of the same problem. There are slight drawbacks to this but they can be overcome with debate.

Some people may not like this idea but here is one of the huge up points of this plan. It would stop illegal gangs forcing people into prostitution as no-one would buy illegal sex knowing that (in my world) the buyer would face serious charges. If there are legal places to buy sex knowing that all parties involved are happy with the transaction then going to an unlicensed person would essentially be saying they agree with and endorse unsafe sex with people who are forced on to The Game against their will.

Our attitude to sex as a country is still pretty much in the Dark Ages. We are light years behind countries such as the Netherlands or Germany. We need to find a way to allow people the freedom to live their lives as they please and also ensure the net closes and as soon as possible envelopes and collapses the illegal sex slave market. 1000s of people are forced into a life that they did not want or sign up for. This is something that needs to be addressed and in my opinion the easiest way to do this is by licensing prostitutes and brothels to form a big wedge between legal and illegal sex and by making the laws against those who exploit and use people for illegal sex much, much harsher.

This is a real problem and one I think needs to be addressed by this government. I know Middle England and the Conservative Party couldn’t really care too much about these people but they should. I get annoyed by NIMBYs when there are real issues out there and don’t affect everyone. People are living lives of absolute hell and we can change that. It might not be you, or anyone you know directly but you never know what life will throw up.

License prostitutes and set up legal brothels and make laws stricter and harsher against those who use and trade in illegal sex workers. You know it makes sense.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 28th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

The Telegraph shoot themselves (and subsequently all of us) in the foot over their Stings.

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The exciting revelations in both The Telegraph and subsequently via Robert Peston of BBC News fame have shuddered me to my core. I cannot believe that MPs have opinions and whats more – members of the coalition might not agree with everything that the coalition is doing. I mean seriously. Whodda thunk it?

In all seriousness the most newsworthy aspect of this whole sting wasn’t what anyone said but what The Telegraph did – or to be more accurate – didn’t do. They published what they said was the full transcript of the conversation between Vince Cable and two undercover reporters posing as constituents. Within hours it came to light that they had in fact published part of it and left out what was the most interesting and newsworthy part.

Vince Cable’s opinion of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire having too much influence are inline with what The Telegraph think and this story was meant to portray him in a bad light. Therefore they didn’t run with it. They wanted an anti-Murdoch guy in charge and whilst they wanted to damage his name – they also wanted him to still preside over the Sky/BSkyB deal as having Cable make the judgment gave them a better chance of getting the outcome that they wanted. This showed outrageous bias and poor judgment by the Editors of the newspaper.

They quite clearly and purposely lied to their readers by claiming to publish the full transcript when they did not. I’m surprised they haven’t gotten more stick from the blogosphere for this.

As for what Vince said and what other MPs have said in other powerful stings – well it is really either newsworthy or in the Public Interest? As most will know I am a Journalist by trade so I can see it from both sides. The only thing remotely newsworthy was the Murdoch information – and that is only newsworthy or in the Public Interest if you believe that Vince Cable would make a judgment not based on facts but based on his own bias. That is not something I can answer for everyone but I’d like to think he could have an opinion but reach a decision based on facts.

For example I have sat on two jury’s and on the second jury everyone around the table thought the defendant was guilty. Every single one of us. However the evidence wasn’t there and the prosecution put together a case riddled with holes and therefore relatively quickly we were able to acquit. It was the right decision based on the facts we were presented with but reading between the lines – and then when the judge told us of his prior record we all looked at each other and just knew but we had made the right decision.

So if people on a jury can put away their gut feeling and look at the case – 12 good men and women (although one girl was sitting in the jury room reading a magazine whilst we were discussing a serious sexual assault case against a minor – yeah – a great example of being a citizen there) if we can make a judgment based on facts then surely so can Vince Cable. I do not believe his bias would overrule the facts. Others may (and without a doubt will) disagree.

So is the fact that Vince Cable has an opinion on something newsworthy or in the Public Interest?

Some people I’ve read today think that as they are elected by us they should all be completely honest and say everything they think in public. The only way you could ever do that is by having all MPs mic’ed up at all times allowing them to have zero privacy. I think I’ll pass on that one. Just a small infraction of an MPs Civil Liberties & Human Rights there.

The upshot of this story is MPs will be less open and forthright with their constituents in case they are being recorded. They’ll raise their walls and be more guarded. If you can’t be open and honest with people who have elected you then there is a problem – but it is a problem The Telegraph has helped create. There isn’t a way round it either. MPs now know that anything off the public record might in fact be on the public record and will act accordingly and I think this is a sad state of affairs.

Had they recorded an MP saying that they were using their position of power to break laws then it is newsworthy. A bit like the wikileaks stuff – the leaks that say the USA don’t like another country – who cares. The leaks that say people in Kashmir are being tortured and having their Human Rights abused – now that is newsworthy.

The question to The Telegraph is clearly ‘Was it all worth it?’ and in my opinion the answer is a resounding ‘No’. They have instead of exposing an MP as having opinions put out a stark warning to all MPs to be more private and secretive and that is not good for our society.

Thanks a bunch.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 23rd, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

Local Girls/Dating

with one comment

Folks.

I often peruse dating websites to see if my dream girl is out there. Never had any success obviously but I gotta just show you this profile. This is a direct copy&paste. It won’t surprise anyone that I have decided she isn’t the one for me…

to be next to me when i v need him n when need help, to mack me smile when i m up set, to be the one how is lift me up when i m gonna foul

wow!i never sey nothing about me … becouse thear not good things n i don t want to scare nowbady.
i love the life n i like to have a gootd time . i don t like to be bord but ther are not to many things i like to do eader.
i m a complicate person …many persons did not manege to mack me happy …they just roon away
i don t listen to much n i like to know i m right n i v got a really difficul temper… any more u like to know :) how is gonna risck?

What can you say…?

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Written by neilmonnery

December 19th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Posted in Dating,Personal

Tagged with ,

Tuition Fees are not What Jesus Would Do.

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Just a quick one folks.

I read the following today:

But Mr Clegg faced a fresh blow last night as the Bishop of Lincoln said the rise in tuition fees is ‘contrary’ to the ‘teachings of Jesus’.

The Rt Rev John Saxbee said the Bible called for sacrifice for the ‘common good’.

Seriously. What. The. Fuck.

Now I haven’t read the bible cover to cover I will admit. So there ma well be verses in there about tuition fees and Nick Clegg being the evil temptress but really. How any anyone of sound mind and judgement say that the rise in tuition fees is contrary to the teachings of Jesus? Only a moron would say that and clearly despite being a man of God – The Rt. Rev. Jon Saxbee is a moron. Now I know you can interpret things differently – that is just the way it is but using the Jesus card Bishop? Really? I know you are standing down in January but do you really want to go out on a limb on this one?

I’ve been around the church all my life and I’ve heard some absolute codswallop in my time but this might just take the biscuit.

You can disagree with what Nick Clegg and his party has done. That is fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but to use the Bible and Jesus card on this?

The Rt. Rev. John Saxbee enjoy your retirement. You are a muppet of the first degree. You are the Miss Piggy of Muppets. A boisterous attention seeking whore (oh and you aren’t very popular – nobody loves Miss Piggy – they just all wish she’d leave so Kermit could find someone worthy of his love).

Moron.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 15th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Posted in General,Politics

Tagged with

The Fable of the boy (or girl – I’m not sexist) who cried wolf.

with 2 comments

Incase for some reason you’d never heard of it. Here it is… (there is more on this afterwards).

There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!”

The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

“Don’t cry ‘wolf’, shepherd boy,” said the villagers, “when there’s no wolf!” They went grumbling back down the hill.

Later, the boy sang out again, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!” To his naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf away.

When the villagers saw no wolf they sternly said, “Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don’t cry ‘wolf’ when there is NO wolf!”

But the boy just grinned and watched them go grumbling down the hill once more.

Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!”

But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn’t come.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn’t returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.

“There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, “Wolf!” Why didn’t you come?”

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

“We’ll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning,” he said, putting his arm around the youth, “Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth!”

So there we have it.

What does that have to do with politics? I hear your brain quietly yelp.

Well in the past few days many Lib Dems have very publicly stated that they want to quit the party but few have yet to do so. The general consensus is they are going to wait until after the Spring Conference to see if they can remove Nick Clegg or not. If they can’t then they are out. However so many people are saying it at the moment that it just isn’t registering any more. Talk is cheap.

This is all to do with tuition fees. Now if people voted for the Lib Dems in May for the sole reason that they wanted free tuition for university students then they have every reason to be unhappy. However I doubt many Lib Dem party members went to the effort of joining a political party on one issue. That to me makes very little sense. Some may prove me wrong but really – are there people out there who think that free university tuition is the be all and end all of UK politics? If there is then those people are morons.

The political party is about so much more. Yesterday figures came through on both the Pupil Premium (good) and the public sector council cuts (bad). Everyone knew these cuts were coming and that they would be bad. Looking at the numbers the cuts are actually relatively equal across the board. I have read some blogs that the Labour north is getting screwed but it doesn’t seem to be the case. The full data sheet is available via this clicky link.

One Point of Order is the Hampshire Fire Brigade is getting a 0.23% Budget increase. Good times for my old county. There and Cheshire Fire (0.26%) are the only raises I could see.

So anyway – I was rambling about people crying wolf. People are saying that they didn’t sign up for a party who’d oversee cuts. Well folks – y’know what – everyone knew cuts had to happen and if you don’t like cuts then you aren’t going to like any of the political parties. The other question was how quickly the cuts would be brought in. Labour would’ve pumped up the public sector like a baseball player on steroids for another year or two before shutting down the money pipe and cutting even harder then.

So it is a question of cut today or cut even harder in a few years. Them’s the choices.

If you think that there should never be cuts then you’ve got to form your own party and be prepared to tax the workforce to buggery. That is the only way that the public sector can get bigger and fatter and continue to gorge on public money.

Those that know me know that ideologically I’m all for high taxes and world class public services. I’m happy to pay more money in tax if I know our education, health, police services are the best. I’d like the railways to be re-nationalised and subsidised. However the war chest of money isn’t there for that now so the best thing to do is address the debt and address it fast. Once that is under control then things can be reassessed.

If you don’t agree with what your party is doing then don’t be a member. Don’t keep crying wolf. Either be realistic about the current state of affairs and swallow your ideologies until the country is in a position to act on your ideologies or take some time out of politics and come back when the country can afford to do everything you want. I choose to debate and tackle the real issues head on – something I think the coalition are doing – country before politics.

If Labour are any good they’ll waltz the 2015 General Election – and they very well might. However a survey the other day said Lib Dem voters at the last election trust Cameron a lot more than they do Ed Miliband and that is a worrying sign for the Labour Party. It shows that the very vocal Nick Clegg detractors are not the majority of the party (or it shows that no-one – not even Ed himself probably) knows what Ed Miliband stands for.

I’m not exactly sure the point of this ramble but still. I think my main point is we are in the shit – deal with it. Those that don’t believe we are in the shit – hear this – we are in the shit – all the parties agree – the only thing they disagree on is on how quickly to deal with the shit.

Until you learn that fact – then the wolf cryers will never be happy.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 14th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

Random things I think I think

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Stepping away from Politics for a bit. Here are some random things I think I think:

 

When in an M&S queue and an old lady starts talking about you when you have your iPod in and when you comment on it they say ‘you aren’t one of the nasty ones are you?’ (in reference to me being a young man wearing a hoodie) a good reply is definitely ‘don’t worry – the nasty ones rarely shop in M&S’. Defuses the situation quick sharpish.

 

My local chippy has finally worked out how to make a good battered sausage. The batter should be very soft as should the sausage. The whole thing should be floppy. This is one positive note about my local chippy. It is like very unorganised chaos there if there are more than one or two people waiting. Battered Sausage, Saveloy, Chips & a Curry Sauce should not under any circumstances take 20 minutes. I could’ve gone next door and waited for a Curry in that time. The women who serve are nice enough though. Brucie Bonus as the Brez would say.

 

I missed the return of StormChasers last night and I’m gutted. Not only that but there is no repeat until Saturday evening. I do love StormChasers and love them following violent tornadoes. One of the few shows that I do make a point of sitting down and watching (or Sky+ing). Looking forward to Saturday to see the opening episode of the series.

 

Cliff Lee spurned the Yankees overnight to go to Philly for less money and less years. I thought he was going to Texas. It was clear as every hour passed that he didn’t want to come to NY for whatever reason. Yankees offered the most money and he wasn’t buying in at all. Lee moves to the best rotation in the game and joins the prohibitive NL Faves. Staying out of the AL and the powerful AL East. Does this mean Lee is a good guy or that he has little stomach for a fight? Is he the LeBron of baseball wanting the easy ride to rings? Is he looking at pitching a few years in the NL to help his HoF chances? Bad news for the Yankees but I hope they don’t panic and sign Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. Oh poo. We’ve done that before…

 

Penn State’s three-time defending national championship Women’s Volleyball team are back into the Final Four and are the highest seed left in the tournament. A repeat of last years final match in the semis v Texas and then Cal or USC in the final should we make it. They are without a doubt one of the prides of the university.

 

We had a big power cut here last week. Without power for about five hours. It showed me just how reliant I am (and I suppose we all are on electricity). No PC, No Laptop, No Interwebs, No TV, No happy faces in my apartment I can tell you. To pass the time I went outside and helped a neighbour who was breaking up the ice around the complex so people could walk without falling over. I’m a good guy really.

 

Lastly TweetDeck has revolutionised the way I use twitter. I use it a tonne more these days and am more willing to randomly speak with people and ‘debate’ certain things.

 

Ok and now back to politics…

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Written by neilmonnery

December 14th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Posted in General

Tagged with

The Death Knell of the Lib Dems has not yet been sounded – despite what some people may think

with 3 comments

Utopia. It is such a beautiful place. In a lazy piece of blogging here is how the ever reliable wikipedia describes Utopia. ‘Utopia is a name for an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was invented by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempted to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.’


We all have different views of what Utopia is and what is should be. The lefty part of the Liberal Democrat Party are deep down all utopians. We want to create the perfect society where everything is perfect and people live in peace and harmony with one another. Sadly Planet Earth is not Utopia – nor will it ever be – hence forth we (I say we as I am a Utopian deep down) shall never be content. We shall never be happy with the way things are. Things can always be better. Then along came Nick Clegg. A man for whom we clung to as leading us into a new land and a new way of thinking. He was the Pied Piper and we were the rats (and latterly his children) following him with his magical tune. He promised the Earth and we fell for it hook, line and sinker. He didn’t deliver and therefore we hate him.

But wait a minute. I don’t.

Whilst I am a Utopian by nature I am also a realistic and a pragmatist. Utopia wasn’t built-in a day and society and the country are not exactly in a position where a lick of paint will cover up the cracks. Deep changes need to be made and I believe that the best way to do that is to implement as much Liberal Democrat policy as possible. So to do this one of two things had to happen. A groundswell of Liberal Democrat upheaval to sweep the party into power or a mistrust of everyone allowing a coalition to be formed. The latter happened and after a lot of talking in May – the Liberal Democrats joined the Conservative Party as an albeit junior member of a coalition.

This meant that Liberal Democrat policy would be backed by the majority in the House and would become law. Good times for the Lib Dems surely.

But wait. It hasn’t been.

The elephant in the room was the NUS Pledge to not raise tuition fees. A pledge that all Lib Dem MPs are believed to have signed. Now I know for a fact that not all Lib Dem PPCs signed the pledge so I wonder why did all the elected MPs? By this point surely they knew that they were going to be in a coalition? It was a mistake that has hurt the party no end. I said the other day that people can say and do things one day that they fully believe but do the opposite at a later date when faced with actually making the decision. Comment is easy when you have no ability to act on it. The Lib Dems though now did.

When a couple gets married they stand before God (or before a local official or whomever) and declare their love for one another and how they will be faithful until death do they part. One third of marriages end in divorce. One third of people are therefore liars. Did all of them know they when they stood before all those people that they would be unfaithful? No they did not. They truly believed (well the vast majority) that they were standing with the person they would love, cherish and be with forever. However in time that proved to be an untruth. The Lib Dems were in a similar position. They truly believed (and to be frank – they still do – anyone that says they do not is a moron and doesn’t understand the nature of coalition politics) that education should be free for all. Had the Lib Dems swept into power in May then you can be sure that they would have honoured that pledge fully and found the money – most likely from the Trident budget.

However they did not. So they were faced with a gut wrenching decision. Do they honour that pledge and make the students and parents who voted for them on this one issue happy or do they take a big gulp and let it go for the greater good of other Liberal Democrat policies? That is the question that the 56 MPs had to decide (Chris Huhne was away from the HoC so did not vote – he would’ve voted yes though). Is honouring the pledge worth losing out on the rise in the Income Tax threshold? Is honouring the pledge worth losing out on House of Lords reform? Is honouring the pledge worth losing out n a referendum on a new voting system for the House of Commons? Is honouring the pledge worth losing the Green policies that Chris Huhne is working on? Is honouring the pledge worth losing out on the most important Liberal Democrat policy of all – the Pupil Premium.

The answer is quite clearly and emphatically no.

For those that do not understand coalition politics I shall once again quote from the bastion of knowledge that is wikipedia – ‘A coalition government, in a parliamentary system, is a government made from a coalition of parties. This means the union of different political parties or groups for a purpose, usually for a short time.’

The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives formed a coalition government for two reasons. Firstly the public had said quite loudly that they did not know who they wanted in office. They didn’t want a pure government made up of one set of policies. Secondly they formed a coalition because at the time of the election. Greece was burning and the economy was on a knife-edge – any minority government would have been weak – had it been a Tory, Labour or Lib Dem government – and therefore the markets would have panicked (and they would have – anyone who doesn’t believe this really has no idea how the markets work) and we would have been plunged into a long and deep recession.

Here we are in December and the country is no longer in recession. The recovery is steady and whilst I agree that there is a long long way to go – the green shoots of recovery are not just isolated patches – they are very visible. This is because the Lib Dems and the Tories worked together for the greater good. Country before Party. It is a new kind of politics. Maybe it isn’t the one Lib Dems thought they were getting when Nick Clegg spoke about it but it is certainly one that has without a shadow of a doubt helped the country in the short-term.

As for the Liberal Democrat Party. It is as dysfunctional as a family can be. The idealists believe now that there is a new messiah – who it is they’ve yet to decide but Tim Farron seems to be a name on everyone’s lips. He voted against the tuition fees bill so he must be great. He knew (and did all the MPs on the government side of the house) that he was in a no lose situation. He could vote against it and make a public stand to be rejoiced by the people without any worry of the government losing. Had the vote been expected to be a squeaker then I wonder how many would’ve chosen to abstain instead of vote against – quite a few I’d imagine.

This is because for the first time since 1922 Liberals were getting policies into law. Not all of them that were in their manifesto but more than enough to justify being part of the coalition. Was tuition fees and the pledge the point to draw a line in the sand? Clearly it was not. Not everyone voted for the Lib Dems solely due to them signing this pledge (I know – the media would lead you be believe differently). I voted Liberal Democrat because I preferred the bulk of their manifesto compared to that of the other parties who were field a candidate in Southend West. The bulk of that manifesto isn’t becoming law – but more is than would be if we weren’t on the government benches. That is why I continue to support the party and what they are doing.

I shall leave you with this. There are around 1.7m full-time students in this country at universities. If they on average now have to spend £3000 more for their tuition then that equals around £5bn. The Pupil Premium is set to give out £2.5bn to the schools that take the most disadvantaged youngsters of this country to ensure they get better education. So the question is – if it came down to a straight choice, should Liberal Democrats prefer to spend that £2.5bn on helping the 18+ university students or should they spend that helping to ensure that everyone from the age of three upwards gets a good level of education?

Personally. I think that there is no point investing in people at 18 if we aren’t to invest in them at the age of 3-18.

There are four and a half years until we go to the ballot boxes against for a Westminster Election. A lot can change. If the Lib Dems can point to their success in the Pupil premium, Income Tax Threshold, Parliamentary Reform and Green Policies – as well as helping the country get back on it’s feet then the damage can be repaired. If people are still fixated in 2015 about tuition fees and can’t see any of the other policies that will be in place due to the Lib Dem part of the government then I’ll be surprised. You have to ride the waves to get through the storm – and that is what the Liberal Democrat Party has to – is to and will continue to do.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 10th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

Lib Dem Ministers make the right call

with 7 comments

So the Lib Dem ministers are going to back and vote for the Tuition Fees Bill that’ll be discussed and go before the House of Commons on Thursday. They are defying a pledge they made and in some eyes snubbing the electorate. So why are they making the right call? Because when push comes to shove – this isn’t the bill where we should draw a line in the sand.

Look I think university students should get a free ride. I believe tuition fees are bad. However I also do not think it is the biggest issue facing the country today. This is what really filets my Chilean Sea Bass (if you get that reference then you are awesome). If the Lib Dems make this the bill that they stand up to the senior partners in the coalition and vote the motion down then morally we have to leave the government benches and return to the opposition. Technically the coalition could survive but morally we would have no right being in government voting down a bill – a bill we even have a right to abstain on no less.

Also if we do not vote for it then we are perceived as weak but the electorate – and quite frankly the Lib Dems look weak today. They look like a fractious party not sure which way to turn. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they vote for it they are defying a key pledge – never a good thing. Abstaining is weak. Voting it down would move us away from government and would show the party unable to make the big decisions and would slow down other bills that government are bringing in that are Liberal.

So vote against this bill and should we leave the government benches (which I think morally we would have to do) then we would be walking away from House of Lords Reform, Political Reform, the Pupil Premium (which is fantastic) and other bills that have yet to be announced. Do we want to walk away from all those for this?

Now I know if we left the government benches we would be in the majority in opposition – the thing is – none of these bills would get through. The Tories would pull them out or they would re-write them and make deals with the nationalists to get them through in different formats. The government would not have to pander to the Lib Dem voices around the cabinet table.

When Nick Clegg and the team were discussing what to do after May 5 this year everyone was protesting to ensure the leader and the party knew they wanted fairer votes. Fairer votes was the most important thing. We won a referendum on AV from the Tories as part of a coalition. So all is good. However now Lib Dems don’t care about this so much – tuition fees are the buzz word of today.

Well listen to this folks. If (and I am making the assumption here that we leave the government benches if we voted en masse against the Tuition Fees Bill and honoured our pledge) If we vote against the bill and leave the government benches then would the Tories still allow a referendum on this subject? Even if they did with enough Labour backbench support and localised support the country will probably vote the referendum down. The Lib Dems will be seen as weak and that only Labour or the Conservatives can form a strong government so why vote for a political system that would allow the leafy weak Lib Dems a larger say in the HoC?

The Lib Dems are junior partners in a coalition. I’ve said it on more than one occasion and people just don’t seem to see it. The big mistake was clearly the party and their prospective MPs signed the pledge. That was the big error of judgment. I know that some MPs may have felt it would sway them votes but remember the student vote is neither the strongest nor the biggest turn out around.

Many students aren’t registered and many don’t bother to vote as they are busy watching Hollyoaks and getting drunk. Many are registered to vote at their home address and not at their uni one and therefore don’t vote whilst at university as they don’t have the foresight to sort out a proxy or postal vote. So pandering to the students is not a great idea in terms of votes.

Are those who protested for Fairer Votes the same as those who are protesting for Free Universities for all? If so then these two issues might well be mutually exclusive at this point in time. That is the way things are and that cannot be changed at this juncture. If the Lib Dem ministers vote this down on Thursday then tuition fees will stay – just not at the higher threshold – but they would also lose the higher repayment threshold and the scholarship scheme – oh and universities would get shitter as the money would still be coming out of the budget. So everyone’s degrees will be worse and will have less value.

Yes folks this isn’t ideal but this system is actually fairer and more beneficial long-term for young people. LEA’s will still pay the fees for the poorest students and the repayments would start kicking in when people are earning a good wage. Do you want to pay £4k a year for an average degree with badly funded universities with no resources or pay 6k a year (yes i know 9k is the limit but they’ll be for the rare circumstance) and get a good degree from a well taught course with excellent facilities and teaching?

The tuition fees bill is the best way forward for young people today. I firmly believe that having read in detail what the alternatives are. Free education for all is not affordable at the moment and even if it was – the Tories have no desire for it and therefore it would never go through parliament. We are breaking a pledge which is not good – not good at all – and many will rightly feel hurt and betrayed by it – but I put forward the PoV that we are not a one-issue party. The good the party are doing in government is out weighing the bad and if they do not make a law better and fairer because it goes against their utopian view then we would be doing the country a disservice.

The Lib Dems will go through the fire whatever they do. Might as well go through the fire and make a positive difference. So vote for the Tuition Fees Bill and do it with your heads held high Lib Dem MPs. It is better than the alternative and as a party we should do things that make life better for the people of this great country and not condemn our young people to substandard education which will mean their prospects for employment will be even worse. Better to pay good money for a great degree than pay money for a poor one.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 7th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

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Question Time & Twitter

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Every week Question Time comes on the old tellybox at 10:35PM on a Thursday night. Around that time twitter starts becoming one of the most partizan and hilarious places on Earth (or to be more exact – cyberspace). Everyone has their opinions and they will back what their man or woman says and boo religiously anything anyone they don’t like. It is part of why politics annoys me – sometimes people you like say things you don’t agree with and sometimes people you don’t like say things that are right in line with your opinions.

However when it comes to #bbcqt and the twittersphere then that seemingly not the case.

Take for example last night. There were some pretty big hitters on there. Nadine Dorries is rounded derided for being an appalling woman (which is fair – because she is), Red Ken Livingstone who somehow lost an election to Boris Johnson – which either shows that he ran the worst campaign in the history of the world (except for Al Gore) or that the voters of london are morons. Danny Alexander was also on and he gets a lot of stick from both Labour supporters and his own Lib Dem supporters due to the fact he’s in a coalition and isn’t calling the Tories a bunch of **** (this word has been deleted to due the fact that it’s a very very bad word – or so my ex-housemate told me). Jon Sergeant was also on there but he was being a populist idiot and someone else whom I forget but he seemed relatively fair (just watching it back on iPlayer this was Sir Christopher Meyer)

So we’ll start with the evil witch that is Nadine Dorries. A despicable woman who if the election was held in a seat that wasn’t a safe Tory seat she’d be run out-of-town. If the Tories put up a talking monkey in Mid Beds then the talking monkey would win. That is how safe the seat is. This is a woman who says that anyone tweeting over 50 times a day is not disabled and should be able to work. Like twitter should be a threshold for the government to decide if someone is fit to work or not. I know plenty of people who could tweet for England but are genuinely unable to work. If she doesn’t then she lives a sheltered life and doesn’t meet real people.

Anyway despite all this – she made one comment last night on the tuition fees debate that was spot on and justified. she said that this might make students value their education more and think about what course is right for them. This resulted in howls of derision from the live audience and twitter blew up. The thing is though that she is right. Plenty of people just go to university for the piss-up and the three years of fun and not for the degree and the future prospects that a degree opens for people. That is a fact. So if people have to pay for it then maybe they’ll take it more seriously. She also said that plenty of people don’t want to pay for students through their taxes – and whilst I don’t agree with this as I personally think that we should – it is a fair Point of View for many.

Next we’ll look at Danny Alexander (who looks likes he may have just gone to Boots and purchased some ‘Just For Men’ as his gingerness seems to have gone down a notch or two in recent days). He’s a Lib Dem but there is a faction of the Lib Dem party who hate him due to the fact he’s in government. ‘Just join the Tories and have done with it Danny’ I saw on more than one occasion. Danny might not be the greatest speaker ever – he’s no David Laws that is for sure – he – like most Lib Dems said the right words but the people didn’t want to listen to it.

I said it on Vince Cable a few days back that he is involved in cabinet responsibility and Danny has to break the pledge he signed on tuition and vote for the bill or he has to quit the government and walk away from office. Now it seems pretty clear listening to Danny last night and Vince earlier in the week that the Lib Dems desperately want to block vote on this. They all pull in the same direction. Under the coalition agreement they can all abstain but that will please no-one. It shows weakness. So in reality they all have to back it or all vote against it. If they all vote against it then the coalition will surely collapse and the Lib Dems join the opposition benches.

So it is a question of whether or not the tuition fees bill is the one that breaks the Lib Dems. We all knew this would be the case months ago and we are now just a few days away from finding out how it’ll go down. If they vote against it – then the Lib Dems can say they kept their principles and ethics when push came to shove – however they’ll also be seen as weak and unable to make the big decisions. Do people vote for MPs because of ethics or because they’ll make the tough decisions in Parliament? We may find out sooner rather than later.

Another thing was the eejit who basically told Danny Alexander (and in turn the watching audience) that he had to listen to his constituents because the students didn’t like it. I’m sorry sonny jim but are students now 100% of constituents? I’m guessing when you take into account how many students bother to even register that in an average seat less than 2% of eligible voters are 18-22 university students. Now let me just check my basic maths here but yep – two is a lower number than one hundred. Plenty of constituents do not want to fund the students – should Danny and the Lib Dems listen to them as well or only those who agree with the student position?

Look. The Lib Dems made a pledge. They are now in a position where they cannot fulfil that obligation unless they dramatically pull out of government. A decision will be made on what is more important – the country or the students and going through with that pledge. We’ll see how it plays out but I’ve written on more than one occasion that in a grown-up world things and position change.

Anyway back on message – Red Ken does what Red Ken does. He talks pretty bluntly, doesn’t pull any punches on either side and says it how he sees it. It’s why personally I have a lot of respect for Ken Livingstone. Twitter seemed to be indifferent to him last night with comments such as ‘as much as I hate Red Ken, I agree with him’ – sometimes you wonder what he’s done for people to hate him so much.

Last word for John Sergeant who said on tuition fees that we’ve afforded free education for all so we can now. Clearly he has in-depth knowledge of the financial situation the country is in otherwise he wouldn’t have spouted such populist drivel. Or would he…?

Every week #bbcqt comes on and it’s a laugh on twitter. If people actually listened to what the panelists said and not just say how much they disagree with them the moment they open their mouths then it might be a sensible debate. Until then it never will be. Anyone with an open mind with agree and disagree with most people on most things. There are very few people in life that I (or anyone) will agree with 100% of the time (and the same for disagree). If I’m being honest then I’d be stunned if there was even one person in the world where I’d be unable to find something that I disagreed or agree with them on.

Politics. At times it is far too tribal for me and none more so than during #bbcqt

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 3rd, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Politics

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