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2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Frost's appointment ch... · 0 replies · +1 points

........and if you feel the current cabinet represents the best skills the country has available, I am not sure that based on the last 18 months I can agree - weakest cabinet group of any party I have seen in last 40 years. Lord Frost probably is better than many/most of those already there but feel this is 'in the land of the blind, the one eyed man' is king thinking!

Do you not believe there is elected talent on the govt back benches or junior roles capable of being promoted to cabinet?

Re Brexit being yesterday's war - I thought success had already been declared. Even the Lib Dems are not organising a re-join movement. No one I know wants to refight it. Tomorrow's battle was supposed to be about levelling up (regional investment, fixing social care, and major new trading opportunities etc). There I fear progress is not so good.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Frost's appointment ch... · 3 replies · +1 points

An unelected cabinet member is wrong in principle (as it was by Labour in 2010 and has been since the franchise was widened). Once again the same pool is being fished. The chums of Boris / cronyism argument gets another push.

What's worse, this plays back into the Brexit paradigm - yesterday's war. Now outside the EU (got border control, sovereign law making etc) do we now want to set up a hostile environment with Europe? I am sure it plays well with the >60s/party members but is this a confident, outward looking strategic move or a signal of a plan for more short term populist political tactics (eg shellfish war) and thinking. Not good for the country long term.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Tom Bell: Councils can... · 1 reply · +1 points

In contrast to Anyideas123, whilst I think too much waffly green stuff from govt, I think if we adopted a more positive approach to AI and EVs(where they are going to be embedded), there are some big wins but it needs some complementary joined up thinking to re-do transport overall
i) AI allows much denser traffic - we need far fewer big new trunk roads saving billions
ii) Use market led pricing to discourage road miles - fewer roads, nudge towards govt healthy living, user pays etc
iii) Use regulation to nudge car size down - parking on narrow streets is my areas no 1 issue
iv) Safety will improve greatly - encouraging use of those cycle lanes by people like me (over 50 with a choice)

The classic granny vs child problem is resolved if it is re-stated as: human driver has to choose granny or child - who do you run over? Once you look at it this way the answer is clear - don't force the choice, save lives and have fewer (error prone human) drivers.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Emily Carver: An onlin... · 0 replies · +1 points

'Free market conservatism" has always been an oxymoron - the debate is always about where and how much tax to levy in our mixed economy.

An online tax for all companies with today's digital accounting packages is doable and would raise money that could be used to reform and reduce the business rates that High Street complains about.

Online would still grow - most of the long term failures in shops are for things better done on line where convenience and range are important. So many clothes shops no but hospitalities failures will come back. But an online tax would tax the externalities (loads of delivery vans, excess packaging in delivery) not reflected in our current system and tax avoidance by big companies is tackled.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Sanjoy Sen: Smart moto... · 0 replies · +1 points

Let's apply the same thinking as NICE and do a cost/benefit analysis. NICE assigns (roughly) £20-30,000 to the value of each year of high quality life saved by a new medicine. So if it saves 10 such years the "value of treatment" is £250K.

What's more safety will likely improve rapidly with EVs (more safety tech, fewer breakdowns) even before autonomous. We are allegedly tackling a Ciimate emergency and with advances in Zoom-like technologies reducing the need to physically travel but major short term congestion issues

So let's be honest with voters: we can save 80 lives per year on SMART at a cost of several billion pounds.....or we can use the same money into (insert your favourite cause eg NHS operations, wind turbines, lower taxes). There are many more effective things that can be done.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Meghan Gallacher: Scot... · 1 reply · +1 points

Let's hope that the author persuades the government to empower and respect local authorities in England as well. The system is already pro-developer and short term thinking. It takes a lot of local grassroots activity and Council opposition to derail a professional developer. The result is the explosion of Mc Mansions onto greenfield sites all across the South Coast certainly - very much against the alleged agenda of more housing for ordinary people in brownfield sites

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Amanda Milling: Covid ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Given the way Local Council's have been excluded from things like Test'n'Trace and so much power picked up by Westminster, It will not be surprising if the Conservatives get a bloody nose locally in May.

The local govt in my area has a much better reputation for competence than the central govt given all the U turns, confused messaging and, frankly, smell of 'just call my mate' corruption on PPI contracts and appointments.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Gimson, Gimson, Gimson... · 0 replies · +1 points

The success of vaccines has been subsidiarity - the right level of control for the task done. Centralised development and purchase of the vaccine, largely decentralised execution of the jab. PPI and Test'nTrace have been disasters precisely because they remained centralised. Locally-led Test'nTrace has been much cheaper and more successful.

Central govt, "the man in Wesminster", is too far away - even when there are competent ministers running the show. With many of the current mob........!

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Cladding removal means... · 0 replies · +1 points

Sprinklers sound an outstanding idea if the cost/benefit is so strong here. A genuinely out of the box solution that could bring resolution very quickly - and the right type of pragmatic thinking. At the end of the day 72 people died at Grenfell (I believe). A tragedy for the people involved but not for the country. Some 10,000 die every week. If it costs £10Bn to resolve that is £138Mn/death; the NHS used to work on a QALY of £30K. Money spent on this is not spent on other less glamourous life saving things - cleaner buses to drop air pollution in London which probably kills more every year. We are lost to headlines and weak leaders afraid to talk uncomfortable common sense to people.

External adders on 2 sides of a building for lower properties and / or waivers might be enough on lower properties. If people feel uncomfortable with the risk, they can get a guaranteed sale to a govt controlled company and compensated for the estimated market difference (less £10,000 to avoid moral hazard).

Other funds can be created from a windfall tax on the property's developers (or their controlling interest in the many cases of shell companies for tax reasons!). All leaseholders face a £10,000 charge that limits their exposure but avoids a moral hazard. Building owners face a similar charge / flat affected.

Net solutions are at hand - it requires govt and focus will to push it through. Very few will be happy but progress and resolution needs to be made. Low calibre ministers like Jennrick need to be forced to lead and act.

2 years ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Robin Millar: The Shar... · 0 replies · +1 points

From article...."For most people, Cardiff feels as distant as Westminster." I live in a regional city in England and feel very distanced from real influence. Local government - Tory, Labour and Lib Dem - has been systematically weakened for at least 40 years. Look at the local level of tax take; the Council tax is far less in real terms than rates used to be. Yet local political action has far more effect on people's lives day to day.

Real "levelling up" requires more than just extra cash. It requires a less colonial culture by London to let local people and institutions make decisions about their own towns and cities which means letting go of the central control over the purse strings (and all that patronage).

I would love to "take back control" but find I have to overthrow London as well Brussels to achieve it.