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Friday, 2 January 2015

2015 - Oh to be a soothsayer (sometimes)

It'd be more than useful to be able to cast a few goat's bones and come up with the winners and losers on the stock exchange this year but hey... there are downsides to what you might know, too.

So what's coming in 2015 on the political front?

Firstly, we'll have the whole run in to an election. How did the Conservative-Libdem alliance do out of ten.  I'm not so wont to have a go at the government in power and rant on about how the anonymous "they" should have done this and that nor do I repeat what I read in the papers. I thought it was a good advert for a coalition because if you look closely, you'll see that there was some moderation of right wing politics. You'll see that the Libdems played their part and overall, I think we have to say that the government started in a very bad place economically and in the context of European politics. There were some disturbing movements and signs afoot. Remember seeing London burning. That wasn't just about one incident. That was part of a wider issue that people were having with the state.

It would have gone better if the Libdem percentage had been higher and they had been able to resist the initial rise in student fees although, people need to be realistic. Thirty and odd years ago, something like 2% of us went to a decent university and maybe the same again to polytechnic. Now, a massive percentage go to a vast range of educational facilities calling themselves universities.  We have to face up to some choices and some points. If we want everyone to go, we can't afford the old subsidies and therefore both ends are going to cost more, fees to enable the universities to make ends meet and the costs because there won't be student subsidy either.  Or we could (and in my view, should) go back to a realistic state which recognises that most people are not intellectuals nor university material. We should split the post school training into vocational/manual, vocational/administrative and university for academia and higher qualification work.

Look at what is happening as a result of all the students coming out of the sausage machine. Half or more won't get a job without doing something for free "to get experience" because nobody seems to want people who lack it, some top graduates will go into the burn off schemes that only recruit one or two out of 20 or more but get their pound of flesh from every starter and yes, sorry to sound a snob but the guy with a 3rd from some ex polytechnic/technical college will be treated as a second class citizen because frankly, they are.  Better to get a proper qualification in gas, plumbing or electricity than a low class also run degree from a low class also ran university.

Perhaps the next government will take a long and serious look at that issue. It's hurting everyone, right now and we are getting thousands of kids emerging with expectations that have not been managed or been realistic and that leads to anger, frustration and depression.

What else?   The financial situation appears to be turning about. The Conservative-Libdem Plan was valid. That isn't to say that the alternatives were not valid either. What had to be done was to take a course and stick to it.  There is a danger in voting in a Labour government, right now if they simply reverse course too soon and we end up back at the place we were.  Another reason I'd like a coalition. It could be a Labour one but they must not dominate it too much.

Then, we undoubtably have a vote on Europe. I hope (but do not expect) that we could have a grown up debate with a lot of properly presented information so we can make an informed choice. Please, ladies and gentlemen of the House, can we avoid an unnecessary flood of emotion but most of all avoid party politic slinging such as being more interested in whether Politician A completely agrees with the PM/Leader of his/her faction than the subject.  I believe that one reason the British people dislike and distrust politicians is that there is so much avoidance, ignorant disagreement because you seem to have to put down anything the opposition party suggest rather than being an adult and recognising that you may have areas of agreement. If politicians stopped being children and started working together, we might develop mature coalition politics as are common in Scandinavia where government is far more for the people than here.

BTW, do you remember all that criticism of banks and the over extended credit?  Did anyone actually deal with that?  My hope is that the new government look hard at this area. I'm not earning anything like what I did but I can run up a bigger credit card bill than ever, borrow more money than I can afford and get myself into a bigger mess than 5 years ago. Does that sound right?  I think we are still living on credit far too much and that carpet needs pulling out from under people with some lessons in how to live to your means and I mean lessons, real government sponsored night college lessons for the dopes who don't know that you can't have a new car, holiday abroad and wide screen tv and home cinema without having to pay for it somewhere along the way.

I believe as I write, we are still heavily invested in a number of far flung spots despite our talk of having moved out. I'd like to see less spent on "defence" (how that was never called "attack" or at least The Ministry of War). Yes, we ought to have an new aircraft carrier, probably two. But can we stop trying to police the world and play our part in UN/Nato ops and keep it at that. We can all see there are extremist governments and wars we'd like to put a stop to but this has to be a united mankind not the US and a few allies.

I hope that the British people will not knee jerk away from backing the Libdems (although I think it inevitable) and go over to UKIP who are as much of a threat to sensible, mature government as the National Front were, sorry, British Nationalist Party.  And while green is good, Green is often a long way from what you might expect in terms of being about sustainable energy projects that will do far from green things to places that ought to be protected. It would be good to see Green, Libdem and others taking part in a coalition. I think we are very far from that, just now. Let's not become like the US. Polarisation within the two parties is showing some ugly signs over the pond. You might find that having a "Tea Party" might not be about nice jam and scones.   Can you imagine voting in someone who believes that people co-incided with the dinosaurs on the basis of trying to replace reality with timing from the bible? (Don't answer that one without pausing for thought ;)

I think we will see the press behave as badly as they always do, slanting things to try to brainwash the dullards into voting the way the owners want and trying to reduce the serious to a trivial level as ever. I find myself constantly disappointed in the media, especially when I hear some presenters say we ought to have an adult conversation and then pick on items that have no bearing on policy or the effect on our lives.

I'd like to see continuing investment in space travel and exploration. If we don't move thinking forward, what purpose is there in our existence? We surely must continue to try to answer the big questions or we might as well hand over to the next generation of primates.

I think we will see the same six to eight teams contest the Premiership and England will not end up winning the one day cricket trophy even if they get a run of luck. I'd love to see 2015 being the year that we re-start the old home championships in football with Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland playing each other for the cup, either over one or maybe two seasons. I'd like to see a closer battle for the F1 titles between constructors with multiple race winners. Oh yes, and I'd like to see Sepp Blatter kicked out of FIFA and indicted from something. I'm sure there are few who deserve it more.                                                                                                                                                    

I could go on but I won't.

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