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Poverty in the UK is tragic says UN

  Cymro. 11:40 22 May 2019

BBC link

I don't know what you make of what this chap says but I recon he right The UK's social safety net has been "deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos", a report commissioned by the UN has said. Special rapporteur on extreme poverty Philip Alston said "ideological" cuts to public services since 2010 have led to "tragic consequences". The report comes after Prof Alston visited UK towns and cities and made preliminary findings last November.

  Forum Editor 16:13 23 May 2019

"Well the gist of it still holds true."

The gist of it - three years ago - was that in the main, young people tend to favour socialism and older people don't and I think that certainly holds true. There's nothing remarkable in it, most young people go through what might be described as a 'brave new world' phase. Lots of them will vote for socialism because politically they are clean slates - it's why Jeremy Corbyn made such an effort to promise the earth to first-time voters at the last election.

He'll do the same thing, next time around.

There's nothing wrong with being idealistic, almost all of us are like it at some point, the world needs idealism as well as realism. It all balances out in the end.

  Forum Editor 16:59 23 May 2019


"What happens is when Socialism is mentioned people think communism."

A lot of people do, and to an extent they are right - Communism is Socialism in its purest form, and because of that there has never been a successful Communist State in human history - it simply doesn't work. It doesn't work because to do so human nature would have to change - people would have to stop being aspirational, there is no room for entrepreneurs in a Communist Society, and nothing to be gained by working any harder than is absolutely necessary.

Socialism is not that different, and Sweden does not meet one of the main criteria of a socialist system - the government does not own the means of production. In the 1970's and 1980's the socialist system in Sweden was in big trouble - the country's economy was in poor shape. Inflation surged, and GDP fell - Sweden's economic performance was well below many other countries.

What happened? Sweden realised that trying to run a socialist country is pretty much doomed to failure if you stick to pure socialist principles, so the Swedes made big changes. They privatised industries, they started allowing parents to choose which schools their children went to, rather than the one the state chose. They gave parents vouchers which schools could convert to cash, and of course the inevitable happened - the people who ran schools became entrepreneurs, and competed for pupils. The best schools became wealthy - goodbye socialism.

Swedes enjoy private pension systems, they took the railways out of public ownership and privatised them. They have abolished the government monopolies that have stifled innovation in every country which has tried them.

Sweden sold off previously state-owned businesses - Absolut vodka being one of them

Swedes pay higher taxes than Americans - they do it because they have learnt that it's the only way to fund their extremely expensive welfare state.

The result of all this has been an economic turnaround, and today most Swedes have a high standard of living. The GDP per capita is one of the highest in Europe, and it got that way because the Swedes introduced massive system changes.

To say that Sweden is a socialist country is no longer true if you use strict socialist principles as your guide. It is a highly modified version based partly on capitalist policies.

In the 2018 Swedish general election The Social Democratic party's share of the vote fell to 28.3 percent, its lowest level of support since 1911.

The Swedes it seems, are in the mood for more change.

  Quickbeam 18:27 23 May 2019

Well if not checking the date on that link is such a problem, I offer my most profuse apologies! But I still think you know full well where I'm coming from.

This Tory government has totally lost it's credibility, it will suffer greatly at the next election and since the 29th march deadline was missed, and it's no longer a dead cert that Corbyn will inherit the benefit of the discontent. My lifetime first choice party is likely to hold a trump card in forming the next government.

I've never known so much open talk of electoral reform over the media posts as at this time. When we had the referendum on it, it just went over everyone's heads, now they see what it can do to the system that thinks it has a right to rule.

  wee eddie 19:19 23 May 2019

Quickbeam: I think that you need to realise that most Journalists are paid by the column inch, and get asked to repeat the performance, if the punters like their stuff. The content is only of passing importance

  rickf 20:22 23 May 2019

FE,"Socialism is not that different, and Sweden does not meet one of the main criteria of a socialist system - the government does not own the means of production"

There you have it. You keep thinking in terms of purism. That is my point about progressive socialism. Communism is a pure form and it's toxic equivalent is predatory capitalism, which in its capitalism extreme, ie pure capitalism if you like. Nothing wrong with paying higher taxes if it is used for the common good of the population. Sweden has excellent health care, child care, paid maternal and paternal leave, trains ran on time, and a much higher state pension. I lived there for a while.It creates a fairer society. Talking about extreme capitalism think about what has happened to British Steel in Scunthorpe. This predatory company is basically an asset stripper, many others of the same ilk, which refuses to put in more money when asked by the government but keep asking us the taxpayers for more. In the meantime, it has just bought another company for £40 million in France. The story keeps repeating itself under your stoical defence of capitalism. You don't lose face by admitting capitalism as it stands is terribly flawed. Again socialism is not communism.

  rickf 20:24 23 May 2019

Just to add, the recent financial crash is a prime example of unchecked capitalism stemming from the centre of that ideology, America.

  Quickbeam 05:29 24 May 2019

wee eddie

I was referring to the general opinions getting expressed currently on social media. At my age I'm old enough to know that what the papers print, is what they know there readers want to read!

  Quickbeam 06:07 24 May 2019


I missed page 2 yesterday.

"Excuse me? I didn't say anything of the kind - you're making this up as you go along, and lapsing into rudeness as well." & "Oh dear, it gets worse."

If you felt I was rude it was because on this subject, of a possible socialist government, that is because you have consistently taken the tetchy view (as expressed above) over the last few years that any socialist government must by nature be bad for us all. The natural inference from that would be that we should always have a capitalist government in power, which would by nature be one big step towards a totalitarian right wing state!

Now, I'm not a lefty by any means, I was never a lefty in the '70s when your suggestion that as a young man I should have been easily influenced by lefty idealism... I'm a very Liberal centrist that sees a spell of traditional British socialism as being the right direction to equalise the current social inequality seen at the moment as per the heading post in this thread.

The nature of our two party system that I despise, and have done so since the '70s, is such that we are in a perpetual left/right swing of extremes which is the cause in my mind of a lot of our political problems.

Looking over at Merkel in Germany, that lost a lot of her natural allies in her last election, she is still managing to run a country by close cooperation with her political opposites. Compare that to our almost at blows adversarial government and opposition, particularly at this current Brexit time where more than ever we need parliamentary cooperation, it's easy to see why I view this current parliament with such a gross contempt.

They're not fit for purpose, the ages old Mother of Parliaments is no longer fit for purpose and the quaint concept of opposing benches of two sword lengths apart is no longer fit for purpose for a modern government in the 21st century.

And the general population are awakening to this potential greater that needing Brexit, need of parliamentary and electoral reform.

  Forum Editor 21:41 26 May 2019

" have consistently taken the tetchy view (as expressed above) over the last few years that any socialist government must by nature be bad for us all."

I have, because in my opinion it would.

"The natural inference from that would be that we should always have a capitalist government in power, which would by nature be one big step towards a totalitarian right wing state!"

Well it's your inference, but I wouldn't agree that it's the natural one - there are pleanty of degrees in between.

I think we'll all find iut soon enough, what kind of government the people of this country really want.

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