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Peter Mandelson could well be right – LAB’s poll lead is artificial – politicalbetting.com

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  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,908
    Rachel Reeves says Labour will not restore the bankers' bonus cap in a further shift towards a New Labour approach to the financial sector. Also likely to help Labour try and take banker heavy West London seats like Kensington, Cities of London and Westminster and Chelsea and Fulham
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68145720
  • another_richardanother_richard Posts: 25,016

    On topic, polls are not predictions. We've been through that often enough over the last 20 years.

    Voting intention will change between mid-term (or, as now, late-term) polling and election, for well-known reasons:
    - DKs deciding;
    - The election campaign itself;
    - Events

    As Mike notes - or implies - the swingback effect is often less the result of people changing their minds from Party A to Party B as disillusioned Don't Knows (but ex-voters) returning to their habitual fold. That may happen this time too. Or it may not. The dynamics for that return - fear of the opposition, support for policies/values and lack of an alternative - don't apply anything like as much now as they did in 2019.

    Of the three points above, the campaign offers the Tories their best chance, not because they've a message to sell but because Labour is so skittish and defensive about selling their own. That lack of confidence and continual folding under attack will do nothing for their support. Where's the inspiration? The vision of a New Britain? Maybe the impulse to GTTO will be strong enough to overcome that. Alternatively, it could lead to even more abstentions.

    Second point of disagreement: Sunak is not the liability he says he is. Which is to say that while he *is* a liability for the Tories, so would any replacement likely be. No-one can fulfill the pragmatic managerial type model because (1) they're all unpopular generally, and (2) there's no record to run on after the last 5 years, while any populist type might unite the right to a degree but (1) then again, they might not, (2) it'd reinforce left-of-centre tactical voting, (3) the real world might intrude, as with Truss. The problem is not (just) their leader, it's their party.

    The political haplessness of the Conservatives means that they're not even boasting about the positives.

    They should be talking constantly about:

    Full employment
    Rising pay
    Affluent oldies
    Extra money spent on the NHS with NHS employment up by 25%
    All the cost of living handouts and holding energy prices down

    And even, in much but not all of the country, that housing is more affordable now than under Gordon Brown.

    Okay there are plenty of negatives as well but governments only need to convince enough of the voters enough of the time.
  • TimSTimS Posts: 9,309
    The role of the avocado in contemporary dining and geopolitics. A PB novelty.

    I like them as a snack - half an avo, teaspoon, easy.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457
    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    Coz they taste amazing smashed up on toast with Marmite?

    And they really DO
    I unashamedly love them.

    They've been cultivated in Central America for nearly ten thousand years, which possibly predates the drug trade ?
    Indeed, and they are also a really important ingredient in a proper tortilla
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    Nursery costing about the same as private school doesn't help either.
  • MoonRabbitMoonRabbit Posts: 12,415

    On thread.

    According to the latest YouGov, of 2019 Conservatives who have made up their mind which way to vote in the General Election, only 49% are currently committed to vote Conservative with 19% now choosing Labour (and 29% Reform.)

    I think it reasonable to assume that the voting choices of the 2019 Conservatives who have not yet made up their mind are likely to be subject to no less churn than those that have. That group by definition does not include the Conservative core vote.

    So if the Conservative net lead over Labour in decided 2019 Conservatives is only a net 30% (i.e. 49-19), why should the Conservatives expect to get as much as a net 30% lead over Labour from undecided 2019 Conservatives, if they end up voting at all? The thread header seems to be implying that they will get more than that.

    Any views, anyone?

    I don't see any sign of dissident Con 2019 voters (I know a few personally, and others on here) are particularly motivated to rush back. Or indeed that they prefer LibDems to Lab or vice versa. They have a settled view that the Government is useless, and an open mind on whether to vote for someone else or abstain. The idea that they are all on the edge of swinging back is a fantasy, as it was in 1997 (when many disilllusioned Tories decided on abstention).
    Agreed. The 1997 turnover owed to a lot Tory abstention, so we can’t presume what we have now are are shy Tories who will come back on mass rather than abstain. Abstain can be a deep level of thinking: the party I love is hurt, opposition will heal it. They abstain out of love and wishing for healing, a positive not negative conscious decision
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,908

    Sandpit said:

    darkage said:

    Foxy said:

    viewcode said:

    Foxy said:

    darkage said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    Finland has a fertility rate of 1.37 per woman in contrast to the UK which is 1.56 - yet Finland does most or all the things you are prescribing as the solution, and has done for generations. Looking at a list of fertility rates by nation, you can draw your own conclusions about the link between gender rights and fertility.

    It's not so simple as that, for example Iran (not noted for gender rights!) has had a massive drop in fertility rate too.

    We have societies where childbearing is not valued by men at least as much as for women.
    (I think you mean "childrearing"?)
    Yes, I edited it, but child bearing is a key part of rearing!

    How many twenty somethings really want to have kids, male or female?

    It's why the average age of mothers having their first child is 30.9 and for fathers 33.7 years:

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/bulletins/birthcharacteristicsinenglandandwales/2021#:~:text=1.,fathers remained at 33.7 years

    If you start at that age it's had to have a big family.

    We now treat teenagers as children and twenty-somethings as teenagers compared to 50 years ago.

    On a personal note I am in my 40s and a lot of my friends/colleagues I know of a similar age don't have children. Time is passing and it just isn't going to happen for a lot of them. I don't really see any drive to do it.

    I would also observe that many of the people I have met over the years through football and school who had children in their 20's seemed to end up in all sorts of problems with relationship breakdowns, family court issues etc.
    Yes, many friends are still unmarried in their 40s.

    My wife and I were both 37 when we married, and I think there’s a perception that conceiving is still easy at that age. It’s really not, and it didn’t happen for us.
    Sorry to hear that.

    I agree. Biologically, we're really supposed to have children in our late teens and early twenties.

    Fertility becomes a bit harder after the age of 30, and quite a bit harder still at 35.

    After 40 it becomes very challenging.
    Indeed, even with IVF etc but there is no guarantee you will meet the right partner in your 20s or early 30s, for some it happens later
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457
    HYUFD said:

    Rachel Reeves says Labour will not restore the bankers' bonus cap in a further shift towards a New Labour approach to the financial sector. Also likely to help Labour try and take banker heavy West London seats like Kensington, Cities of London and Westminster and Chelsea and Fulham
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68145720

    Is it just possible that Labour will be serious about kickstarting growth in the UK? We desperately need it, and this will help

    I have to admire Reeves and Starmer for being so unafraid of the hard Left; this stuff will drive the commies crazy
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,082
    edited January 31
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 55,169

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    This is partly true, but it also relates to any kind of uncynical or altruistic group activities often being seen as naive or silly. These trends come from both the right and the left.

    We are now cynically atomised in an unhelpful way.
    Yes, I agree, and it ends up with individuals being isolated.

    It extends to things like neighbourliness, volunteering locally, partaking in community groups, public service etc. Numbers are way down on where they used to be.

    It's why I take statements like Gen Z are the most caring ever with a pinch of salt: liking, calling out or sharing the right things on social media isn't the same.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041
    edited January 31
    Leon said:

    Seeing as we are talking about food and eating, I can proudly announce that I am now down to 85.4kg, 188 pounds, 13 stone 6

    Just 6 pounds from my target

    In about seven weeks I have shed 12kg - 26 pounds! And you can tell, I actually look almost.... slim (by my standards)

    Fasting WORKS

    I am of course celebrating with a massive ribeye and a $50 bottle of red from the best supermarket in Cambodia, but tomorrow it's back to austerity. Gotta lose those last pounds. The end is in sight!

    You're still in Cambodia ?
    Watch out for H5N1 for us - there was another case reported a couple of days ago.

    But congrats on the reshaping.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 55,169

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    If that was true, I doubt there'd be much of a volunteer or charity sectors in the country.
    I've got news for you: many are really struggling.

    I know because I am (God willing) about to become a trustee of one, and have seen the data.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,908

    I absolutely consider this a Brexit dividend,

    Sinn Fein claims Irish reunification ‘within touching distance’ after DUP ends Stormont deadlock

    Deal with unionists will lead to reopening of Northern Ireland's parliament, which will have a nationalist first minister


    The reunification of Ireland is within “touching distance”, Sinn Fein has claimed, after the DUP ended its two-year boycott of Stormont over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

    Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the DUP, announced the party executive had accepted Rishi Sunak’s Irish Sea border offer in the early hours of Tuesday after a turbulent five-hour meeting, which exposed deep divisions among unionists.

    It paves the way for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly in the coming days, which has been mothballed since the DUP walked out of a power-sharing deal in February 2022 that was intended to help maintain peace in the province.

    Stormont’s return means that Michelle O’Neill will become the first nationalist first minister in Northern Ireland’s history after she led Sinn Fein to a historic victory in the May 2022 elections.


    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/01/30/sinn-fein-irish-reunification-touching-distance-dup-return/

    The latest polling suggests not and the Stormont Executive is only resuming as the main Unionist party has agreed to take part, without that O'Neil would still not be FM. SF is also miles from a majority at Stormont too
    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ni-voters-would-decisively-reject-irish-unity-in-border-poll-new-survey-suggests/a952153417.html
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 55,169
    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 20,513
    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 55,169

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    Nursery costing about the same as private school doesn't help either.
    I think a majority of working parents (effectively) send their children to private school from the ages of 0 to 5, with some voucher help from HMG at the margins.
  • Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    If that was true, I doubt there'd be much of a volunteer or charity sectors in the country.
    I don't think @casino royale was saying that _everyone_ is me, me, me, just a significant proportion of the population. I think there is some truth in his suggestion. And there is definitely more demand in the voluntary sector than there are people to meet it. Although to be fair, that is in part due to lack of capacity of those potential volunteers, in terms of time.
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 24,919
    edited January 31
    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457
    edited January 31
    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Seeing as we are talking about food and eating, I can proudly announce that I am now down to 85.4kg, 188 pounds, 13 stone 6

    Just 6 pounds from my target

    In about seven weeks I have shed 12kg - 26 pounds! And you can tell, I actually look almost.... slim (by my standards)

    Fasting WORKS

    I am of course celebrating with a massive ribeye and a $50 bottle of red from the best supermarket in Cambodia, but tomorrow it's back to austerity. Gotta lose those last pounds. The end is in sight!

    You're still in Cambodia ?
    Watch out for H5N1 for us - there was another case reported a couple of days ago.

    But congrats on the reshaping.
    Thanks. It's been monumentally dull, but the result is worth it. Also I was such a blob it was becoming a health issue (along with the booze)

    My blood pressure is significantly down, too, so it is also working in other ways

    Just gotta avoid Avian flu
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 41,082
    edited January 31
    I had a colleague at work some time ago. She was 29yrs old. And in an abusive relationship of two years standing. I said she must leave him but she wasn't going to. She had worked it out.

    Leave him, spend a year or three finding another "the right one", spend a year or three with them before any talk of family was realistic. So the likelihood was that by the time she had met someone and they had agreed to start a family she would be mid-30s and "past it" (her words).

    So she was staying with this guy.
  • Forgot to mention, I expect Labour to win by a 3-figure majority. The mood is for change and party alignment is weak. What reasons have the Tories offered for anyone under 60 to vote for them? Add Reform into the mix and it looks awful. Yes, that's a massive number of gains but the Tories aren't all that well embedded in their 2019 gains, they've precious little activist base, they've lost their handle on social media, while mainstream media matters much less these days.

    Labour could screw it up, particularly if the Tories run an effective attack campaign, but even then, I can't see anything worse for them than a hung parliament with a comfortable confidence majority (the LDs and SNP will not let the Tories in under anything like current circumstances). On the other hand, Labour could win by the biggest landslide since the 1930s; the dynamics are there for that and we shouldn't rule it out as an extreme edge case.

    Indeed, of the two, I'd make a Lab 200+ majority more likely than a hung parliament.

    I'm afraid I have to agree with you, David. (Afraid, because I believe a good strong Opposition is conducive to good Government.) We seem to be in a minority here however.

    The majority view, which has Mike's not inconsiderable support, seems reliant on hypotheses and suppositions. The fact is that when people are asked how they plan to vote, a great many more indicate Labour than Tory and I think you need to have very strong reasons indeed to supplant that fact with suppositions, especially when counter-suppositions are readily available.

    Still a long way to go but I agree wholeheartedly with your last para. A landslide is as likely as a hung Parliament.

    And the odds are juicy too!

  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    Nursery costing about the same as private school doesn't help either.
    I think a majority of working parents (effectively) send their children to private school from the ages of 0 to 5, with some voucher help from HMG at the margins.
    Which paves the way for private school - if you've been paying a thousand a month (plus) for nursery.....
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,908

    Pulpstar said:

    Foxy said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!


    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.
    2036 not 2026 in that ONS projection, and with 2021 as a start date:

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/bulletins/nationalpopulationprojections/2021basedinterim

    The ONS are anticipating net migration of 315 000 per year in that projection, a significant drop compared to the last 2 years.



    2026 and 2036, with 70 million by 2026 and a slower rate to 2036. No need to panic about a falling population.
    I think births and deaths are going to be broadly a wash in the medium term.

    2023 Deaths 581,298 Births data not yet out
    2022 Deaths 576,896 Births 605,479
    2021 Deaths 585,899 Births 624,828
    2020 Deaths 614,114 Births 613,936
    2019 Deaths 527,234 Births 640,370

    So the population will simply change more or less by net migration levels till say 2040 or so ?

    Yes, and net migration is huge because net legal migration is huge, and small boats to Rwanda is just a distraction.
    Hence the government is requiring skilled workers to have a job of at least £38k a year before being allowed in
  • Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    Nursery costing about the same as private school doesn't help either.
    I think a majority of working parents (effectively) send their children to private school from the ages of 0 to 5, with some voucher help from HMG at the margins.
    Help with paying for nurseries was always a stupid idea, it just resulted in all the private nurseries putting their fees up. But I don't think nursery staff salaries went up. Private nurseries subsidised by the taxpayer.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 55,169

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
  • david_herdsondavid_herdson Posts: 17,417

    On thread.

    According to the latest YouGov, of 2019 Conservatives who have made up their mind which way to vote in the General Election, only 49% are currently committed to vote Conservative with 19% now choosing Labour (and 29% Reform.)

    I think it reasonable to assume that the voting choices of the 2019 Conservatives who have not yet made up their mind are likely to be subject to no less churn than those that have. That group by definition does not include the Conservative core vote.

    So if the Conservative net lead over Labour in decided 2019 Conservatives is only a net 30% (i.e. 49-19), why should the Conservatives expect to get as much as a net 30% lead over Labour from undecided 2019 Conservatives, if they end up voting at all? The thread header seems to be implying that they will get more than that.

    Any views, anyone?

    I don't see any sign of dissident Con 2019 voters (I know a few personally, and others on here) are particularly motivated to rush back. Or indeed that they prefer LibDems to Lab or vice versa. They have a settled view that the Government is useless, and an open mind on whether to vote for someone else or abstain. The idea that they are all on the edge of swinging back is a fantasy, as it was in 1997 (when many disilllusioned Tories decided on abstention).
    Agreed. The 1997 turnover owed to a lot Tory abstention, so we can’t presume what we have now are are shy Tories who will come back on mass rather than abstain. Abstain can be a deep level of thinking: the party I love is hurt, opposition will heal it. They abstain out of love and wishing for healing, a positive not negative conscious decision
    A further point: many 2019 Tories were *first-time* Tories. They won't be rushing back not just because Johnson / Truss / Sunak have been pretty crap but also because the Tories aren't their long-term natural home. In that sense 2019 was the exception, not 2024.
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 20,513
    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 55,169
    TOPPING said:

    I had a colleague at work some time ago. She was 29yrs old. And in an abusive relationship of two years standing. I said she must leave him but she wasn't going to. She had worked it out.

    Leave him, spend a year or three finding another "the right one", spend a year or three with them before any talk of family was realistic. So the likelihood was that by the time she had met someone and they had agreed to start a family she would be mid-30s and "past it" (her words).

    So she was staying with this guy.

    I know of two women who effectively settled for the partner they had due to biological clock reasons. One didn't last and the other did but I do wonder how happy the marriage really is.

    It is difficult and some people really do struggle to meet the right person.

    I certainly wouldn't have married anyone but my wife and I was so fortunate to meet her - no-one else comes close.
  • darkagedarkage Posts: 4,780

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    The point I made earlier was that even in countries where you have a policy for multiple generations of promoting fertility (abundant cheap high quality housing, generous maternity leave, high levels of gender equality -ie the Scandinavian countries) - the same problem essentially persists. And also the problem runs across cultures. The only link I can establish is that it seems to be a consequence of material advancement in conjunction with a decline in religious belief. Israel is the only Western country that is growing in population.
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 8,502
    edited January 31
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
    I think there is a connection, in one way ; both rightwing and leftwing intellectual trends have encouraged us to live in selfish bubbles. On the right, a very simplified logic of material self-aggrandisement has been the underlying economic and social idea for 40 years.

    On the left, too many have accepted the idea of a kind of defeat of all metanarratives and relativistic logic, contributing to a toxic stew of cynicism with roots in both sides, that is prevalent.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457
    edited January 31
    TOPPING said:

    I had a colleague at work some time ago. She was 29yrs old. And in an abusive relationship of two years standing. I said she must leave him but she wasn't going to. She had worked it out.

    Leave him, spend a year or three finding another "the right one", spend a year or three with them before any talk of family was realistic. So the likelihood was that by the time she had met someone and they had agreed to start a family she would be mid-30s and "past it" (her words).

    So she was staying with this guy.

    That is quite profoundly sad

    The relentless logic of reproductive biology is particularly brutal for women. And lots don't realise how briskly fertility falls away after 30, then even worse after 35

    That said, it can be tough for men as well. I have one male friend who fiercely regrets not having kids. Feels his life has had no real shape or purpose, because of that

    Again, this is where religion used to help. Giving childless people a role and a meaning to life



  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 39,466

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
    Bloody dangerous, the stone. It's the way the knife blade slips past it.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29465848/
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457
    For the sake of balance, I know a couple of guys with lovely kids and apparently happy families.... who are almost suicidal at the way they "wasted" their life on family stuff, and never took the chance to do something "more exciting"

    What can you do. Life's a bitch and then you are uploaded to Neuralink
  • MexicanpeteMexicanpete Posts: 24,919
    edited January 31
    ...

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    How have I brought politics into your discourse? I was defending Nigel against your assertion that he was partisan and belonged with the dark side. I merely suggested he is a natural Tory and not a Red traitor.
  • darkagedarkage Posts: 4,780
    edited January 31
    One thing this discussion reminds me of is that I saw some old friends in town - a female same sex couple - with two young children who they adopted. Until very recently this would be very difficult, taboo or opposed.
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 24,137
    Leon said:

    Seeing as we are talking about food and eating, I can proudly announce that I am now down to 85.4kg, 188 pounds, 13 stone 6

    Just 6 pounds from my target

    In about seven weeks I have shed 12kg - 26 pounds! And you can tell, I actually look almost.... slim (by my standards)

    Fasting WORKS

    I am of course celebrating with a massive ribeye and a $50 bottle of red from the best supermarket in Cambodia, but tomorrow it's back to austerity. Gotta lose those last pounds. The end is in sight!

    While you have been cut off in the Far East, Britons have been reeling from the news that Rishi Sunak never eats on Mondays, fasting from Sunday night to Tuesday morning.
  • Leon said:

    TOPPING said:

    I had a colleague at work some time ago. She was 29yrs old. And in an abusive relationship of two years standing. I said she must leave him but she wasn't going to. She had worked it out.

    Leave him, spend a year or three finding another "the right one", spend a year or three with them before any talk of family was realistic. So the likelihood was that by the time she had met someone and they had agreed to start a family she would be mid-30s and "past it" (her words).

    So she was staying with this guy.

    That is quite profoundly sad

    The relentless logic of reproductive biology is particularly brutal for women. And lots don't realise how briskly fertility falls away after 30, then even worse after 35

    That said, it can be tough for men as well. I have one male friend who fiercely regrets not having kids. Feels his life has had no real shape or purpose, because of that

    Again, this is where religion used to help. Giving childless people a role and a meaning to life



    Another route was volunteering to work with youth groups, but the current vetting procedures are so horrifically intrusive it puts people off
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 14,955

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    If that was true, I doubt there'd be much of a volunteer or charity sectors in the country.
    I've got news for you: many are really struggling.

    I know because I am (God willing) about to become a trustee of one, and have seen the data.
    Parkrun is an interesting case in point. Although it's a major, volunteer success story, there is a very strong divide between those who volunteer regularly and those who rarely, or never, volunteer, and most parkruns struggle to find enough volunteers to fill the roster each week.

    And the statistics are publicly available, so you can see some stark analyses of the divide on the stats geek group.
  • Nicola Sturgeon isn’t enjoying this.
  • another_richardanother_richard Posts: 25,016
    Leon said:

    HYUFD said:

    Rachel Reeves says Labour will not restore the bankers' bonus cap in a further shift towards a New Labour approach to the financial sector. Also likely to help Labour try and take banker heavy West London seats like Kensington, Cities of London and Westminster and Chelsea and Fulham
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68145720

    Is it just possible that Labour will be serious about kickstarting growth in the UK? We desperately need it, and this will help

    I have to admire Reeves and Starmer for being so unafraid of the hard Left; this stuff will drive the commies crazy
    You get growth through increasing productivity.

    That's a difficult process of getting economic outputs to increase faster than economic inputs.

    You cannot 'kickstart' growth.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 75,877
    edited January 31

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    Nursery costing about the same as private school doesn't help either.
    I think a majority of working parents (effectively) send their children to private school from the ages of 0 to 5, with some voucher help from HMG at the margins.
    Help with paying for nurseries was always a stupid idea, it just resulted in all the private nurseries putting their fees up. But I don't think nursery staff salaries went up. Private nurseries subsidised by the taxpayer.
    If you're talking about the 25% top up, then removing that would I doubt very much change nursery fee trajectory. The funded stuff - yes that has put prices up for those not qualifying (Get your tiny violins out for those of us with April children). I've checked the accounts for my daughter's nursery. It's balance sheet only as it's so small (Can't see any dividends) but it's upside down by 67k improving from 87k in 2021. Now the owner might be taking an almighty dividend but given necessary ratios, tightish funding rates and obviously increasing overheads I doubt the owner/sole director is making millions from it (She runs a few with the same name all round S Yorks/N Notts)
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457

    Leon said:

    Seeing as we are talking about food and eating, I can proudly announce that I am now down to 85.4kg, 188 pounds, 13 stone 6

    Just 6 pounds from my target

    In about seven weeks I have shed 12kg - 26 pounds! And you can tell, I actually look almost.... slim (by my standards)

    Fasting WORKS

    I am of course celebrating with a massive ribeye and a $50 bottle of red from the best supermarket in Cambodia, but tomorrow it's back to austerity. Gotta lose those last pounds. The end is in sight!

    While you have been cut off in the Far East, Britons have been reeling from the news that Rishi Sunak never eats on Mondays, fasting from Sunday night to Tuesday morning.
    Hence his incredible success and populariry as Prime Minister!
  • david_herdsondavid_herdson Posts: 17,417

    Forgot to mention, I expect Labour to win by a 3-figure majority. The mood is for change and party alignment is weak. What reasons have the Tories offered for anyone under 60 to vote for them? Add Reform into the mix and it looks awful. Yes, that's a massive number of gains but the Tories aren't all that well embedded in their 2019 gains, they've precious little activist base, they've lost their handle on social media, while mainstream media matters much less these days.

    Labour could screw it up, particularly if the Tories run an effective attack campaign, but even then, I can't see anything worse for them than a hung parliament with a comfortable confidence majority (the LDs and SNP will not let the Tories in under anything like current circumstances). On the other hand, Labour could win by the biggest landslide since the 1930s; the dynamics are there for that and we shouldn't rule it out as an extreme edge case.

    Indeed, of the two, I'd make a Lab 200+ majority more likely than a hung parliament.

    I'm afraid I have to agree with you, David. (Afraid, because I believe a good strong Opposition is conducive to good Government.) We seem to be in a minority here however.

    The majority view, which has Mike's not inconsiderable support, seems reliant on hypotheses and suppositions. The fact is that when people are asked how they plan to vote, a great many more indicate Labour than Tory and I think you need to have very strong reasons indeed to supplant that fact with suppositions, especially when counter-suppositions are readily available.

    Still a long way to go but I agree wholeheartedly with your last para. A landslide is as likely as a hung Parliament.

    And the odds are juicy too!

    We also have the hard facts of evidence from Westminster by-elections, with 20k Con majorities regularly being overturned - and not just by the Lib Dems, who know how to win by-elections (and then lose those seats again at general elections) but by Labour. When seats like Selby, Tamworth or Mid Beds go Labour (despite a hefty Lib Dem effort in that last one), it's clear how big the mood for change is.

    We'll get further useful data in a couple of weeks from Wellingborough (Con maj 18k) and Kingswood (Con maj 11k). Both ought to be straight Con/Lab battles.

    The performance of Reform in both seats (and Rochdale) will also be something to keep an eye on. So far, they've not converted polling into votes.
  • TimSTimS Posts: 9,309
    Carnyx said:

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
    Bloody dangerous, the stone. It's the way the knife blade slips past it.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29465848/
    I was in an A&E waiting room with a man who'd had an avocado injury. Big bandage wrapped all around his hand. Wound not dissimilar to stigmata, he said.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038

    Nicola Sturgeon isn’t enjoying this.

    No - she doesn't recall if she is enjoying this or not.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 116,908
    Leon said:

    TOPPING said:

    I had a colleague at work some time ago. She was 29yrs old. And in an abusive relationship of two years standing. I said she must leave him but she wasn't going to. She had worked it out.

    Leave him, spend a year or three finding another "the right one", spend a year or three with them before any talk of family was realistic. So the likelihood was that by the time she had met someone and they had agreed to start a family she would be mid-30s and "past it" (her words).

    So she was staying with this guy.

    That is quite profoundly sad

    The relentless logic of reproductive biology is particularly brutal for women. And lots don't realise how briskly fertility falls away after 30, then even worse after 35

    That said, it can be tough for men as well. I have one male friend who fiercely regrets not having kids. Feels his life has had no real shape or purpose, because of that

    Again, this is where religion used to help. Giving childless people a role and a meaning to life



    Of course our own lives are defined what we do, your children have separate lives, you just prepare them for adulthood
  • TimSTimS Posts: 9,309

    Forgot to mention, I expect Labour to win by a 3-figure majority. The mood is for change and party alignment is weak. What reasons have the Tories offered for anyone under 60 to vote for them? Add Reform into the mix and it looks awful. Yes, that's a massive number of gains but the Tories aren't all that well embedded in their 2019 gains, they've precious little activist base, they've lost their handle on social media, while mainstream media matters much less these days.

    Labour could screw it up, particularly if the Tories run an effective attack campaign, but even then, I can't see anything worse for them than a hung parliament with a comfortable confidence majority (the LDs and SNP will not let the Tories in under anything like current circumstances). On the other hand, Labour could win by the biggest landslide since the 1930s; the dynamics are there for that and we shouldn't rule it out as an extreme edge case.

    Indeed, of the two, I'd make a Lab 200+ majority more likely than a hung parliament.

    I'm afraid I have to agree with you, David. (Afraid, because I believe a good strong Opposition is conducive to good Government.) We seem to be in a minority here however.

    The majority view, which has Mike's not inconsiderable support, seems reliant on hypotheses and suppositions. The fact is that when people are asked how they plan to vote, a great many more indicate Labour than Tory and I think you need to have very strong reasons indeed to supplant that fact with suppositions, especially when counter-suppositions are readily available.

    Still a long way to go but I agree wholeheartedly with your last para. A landslide is as likely as a hung Parliament.

    And the odds are juicy too!

    We also have the hard facts of evidence from Westminster by-elections, with 20k Con majorities regularly being overturned - and not just by the Lib Dems, who know how to win by-elections (and then lose those seats again at general elections) but by Labour. When seats like Selby, Tamworth or Mid Beds go Labour (despite a hefty Lib Dem effort in that last one), it's clear how big the mood for change is.

    We'll get further useful data in a couple of weeks from Wellingborough (Con maj 18k) and Kingswood (Con maj 11k). Both ought to be straight Con/Lab battles.

    The performance of Reform in both seats (and Rochdale) will also be something to keep an eye on. So far, they've not converted polling into votes.
    It's been unfortunate for the Lib Dems that the 2024 byelections so far aren't promising for them. Byelections are one of the very few news events that get good coverage for the party in an average electoral cycle. The locals in May are the possibly the last remaining good news opportunity for then.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457

    Leon said:

    HYUFD said:

    Rachel Reeves says Labour will not restore the bankers' bonus cap in a further shift towards a New Labour approach to the financial sector. Also likely to help Labour try and take banker heavy West London seats like Kensington, Cities of London and Westminster and Chelsea and Fulham
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68145720

    Is it just possible that Labour will be serious about kickstarting growth in the UK? We desperately need it, and this will help

    I have to admire Reeves and Starmer for being so unafraid of the hard Left; this stuff will drive the commies crazy
    You get growth through increasing productivity.

    That's a difficult process of getting economic outputs to increase faster than economic inputs.

    You cannot 'kickstart' growth.
    OK sure, but you can remove pointless obstacles to growth, and the banker's bonus cap was one of them

    It is a tiny measure by itself, it won't exactly shift the dial. but at least it shows Starmer's Labour are not gonna be doctrinaire leftwingers, and they are keen on business friendly measures. Perhaps they really DO understand how much we need the tax take from the City

    I am trying to be optimistic for my country, as Labour are certainly going to win the GE, and with a stonking majority, I suspect
  • Nicola Sturgeon isn’t enjoying this.

    Not at all
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    Not quite.
    I was nominally a conservative back in the 80s, but became disillusioned with party politics long before Brexit.
    Thatcher's last term was an eye opener.

    If I'm partisan these days, I'm curious to find out in whose behalf ?
  • david_herdsondavid_herdson Posts: 17,417
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
    I think it's all part of the same phenomenon.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038
    TimS said:

    Carnyx said:

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
    Bloody dangerous, the stone. It's the way the knife blade slips past it.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29465848/
    I was in an A&E waiting room with a man who'd had an avocado injury. Big bandage wrapped all around his hand. Wound not dissimilar to stigmata, he said.
    Slice in half, working around the stone. Twist to get one half off.

    Keeping your hands out of the way, jab the stone itself with a sharp pointed knife - lightly. Once you have the knack, you spear the stone each time. Twist the knife and the avocado half to release the stone

    Dispose of the stone by banging the *back* of the knife on the bin edge.
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,542

    ...

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    How have I brought politics into your discourse? I was defending Nigel against your assertion that he was partisan and belonged with the dark side. I merely suggested he is a natural Tory and not a Red traitor.
    Taking this into politics it is pretty clear that the Tory party is very far from trying to entice the likes of Nigel back into the fold. That leaves them a choice of two (short term) options, opposition for a generation or join ships with the other less palatable alternative type of Nigel and his Refuk chums and hope to build something from that.
  • kamskikamski Posts: 4,203

    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
    I think there is a connection, in one way ; both rightwing and leftwing intellectual trends have encouraged us to live in selfish bubbles. On the right, a very simplified logic of material self-aggrandisement has been the underlying economic and social idea for 40 years.

    On the left, too many have accepted the idea of a kind of defeat of all metanarratives and relativistic logic, contributing to a toxic stew of cynicism with roots in both sides, that is prevalent.
    Is there a big difference between public/online spheres and how people act in person? It seems to me that public groups (or identities) feel like they have to fight to avoid getting shat on by other groups with different interests. But when I look at (eg) my many young colleagues, I am really impressed by how thoughtful, considerate, and conscientious they are, how willing they are to go the extra mile to help other people out - much more than I remember my generation was at that age.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,542
    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
    From "there is no such thing as society" through to can't afford a mortage on my second home so quitting as a minister to take up another job, whilst still wanting to take a full MPs salary too.
  • Pulpstar said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Living space factors into this massively. It's hard to imagine having children when you don't have enough space to live, for yourself.
    People in the past would have just had the kids anyway, and found a way to muddle through.

    My Dad was born in 1946 and spent his first months in very poor accommodation while his Dad completed an undergraduate degree and teacher training.

    My only daughter was conceived unintentionally, and we just managed. A second child with her mother was delayed until we were "ready", a state we didn't achieve before divorcing. With my second wife we again waited for ideal circumstances, gave up waiting when we realised we were running out of time, but had left things too late.

    I am terribly envious of my wife's younger brother's and their children, which is a horrible feeling to have. I am sure that I would be happier if we had chosen to have children first and sort everything out later - but my wife might disagree.

    The middle class checklist for a woman is pretty intimidating. Get an education, and a career. Find a man who is trustworthy and ready to settle down (but you also fancy). Buy a house. Have children, but don't give up on your career, and certainly don't look any older or gain weight.

    And, obviously, having children out-of-sequence, before your career is progressing, or without a stable relationship or accommodation is feckless. So it's not a surprise that having children falls off the bottom of the list.

    Maybe we need to rethink the whole sequencing, rather than focus on improving just one link in the chain?
    Nursery costing about the same as private school doesn't help either.
    I think a majority of working parents (effectively) send their children to private school from the ages of 0 to 5, with some voucher help from HMG at the margins.
    Help with paying for nurseries was always a stupid idea, it just resulted in all the private nurseries putting their fees up. But I don't think nursery staff salaries went up. Private nurseries subsidised by the taxpayer.
    If you're talking about the 25% top up, then removing that would I doubt very much change nursery fee trajectory. The funded stuff - yes that has put prices up for those not qualifying (Get your tiny violins out for those of us with April children). I've checked the accounts for my daughter's nursery. It's balance sheet only as it's so small (Can't see any dividends) but it's upside down by 67k improving from 87k in 2021. Now the owner might be taking an almighty dividend but given necessary ratios, tightish funding rates and obviously increasing overheads I doubt the owner/sole director is making millions from it (She runs a few with the same name all round S Yorks/N Notts)
    No, probably not, and I'm sure they have huge pressures at the moment in terms of energy costs, recruiting staff, insurance and safeguarding procedures. But various kinds of government funding to parents for nursery care have been available since the late 1990s.

    Fundamentally, if the govt wants to help parents be economically active, there needs to be accessible high quality care that meets the care needs of parents in terms of timing. The most efficient way of doing this is state provision. Whether the quality would be there is another matter, but currently that's a lottery for parents with the current provision
  • CookieCookie Posts: 11,300

    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
    Well I don’t share your hope for the extinction of humanity, but I can’t help agreeing that a 22nd century with rather fewer people in it than the 21st wouldn’t necessarily be a wholly bad thing. Economically pretty disastrous, but environmentally positive. Swings and roundabouts.

    My lament is more sadness for those who want children and don’t have them. Which I think is a surprisingly large number. I mentioned my cohort earlier; none of them wanted to remain childless. Actually, all those that did have to some extent filled that gap in other ways – step-children, niblings*, etc – but still, there are fewer sadder things I can think of than the pain of wanting children and not having them.

    ISTR reading something recently that the demographic difference between now and a generation or two ago is not family size, but the number of people not having families at all. And that of those, a sadly small proportion was through choice. And while there are a variety of reasons for this, the main one is that people are not meeting partners they deem satisfactory parents for their prospective children until much later in life – often, sadly, too late for those children to be conceived. And I’m interested in why that should be so, because on the face of it it is easier to meet people than ever. There is no stigma about meeting people from the opposite sex. We don’t have to wait for our parents’ approval. We’re no longer limited to that pool of people who can be met within a couple of hours’ walk. We have any amount of technology designed to make the process easier. And yet, as a society, we’re failing miserably to do what our predecessors managed with ease.
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 8,502
    edited January 31
    kamski said:

    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
    I think there is a connection, in one way ; both rightwing and leftwing intellectual trends have encouraged us to live in selfish bubbles. On the right, a very simplified logic of material self-aggrandisement has been the underlying economic and social idea for 40 years.

    On the left, too many have accepted the idea of a kind of defeat of all metanarratives and relativistic logic, contributing to a toxic stew of cynicism with roots in both sides, that is prevalent.
    Is there a big difference between public/online spheres and how people act in person? It seems to me that public groups (or identities) feel like they have to fight to avoid getting shat on by other groups with different interests. But when I look at (eg) my many young colleagues, I am really impressed by how thoughtful, considerate, and conscientious they are, how willing they are to go the extra mile to help other people out - much more than I remember my generation was at that age.
    I must say, I think there's a point here.

    Amongst the under-25's, I notice something more hopeful and helpful. Amongst the 25's and older, I see much of the same Generation X cynicism ; and I don't think it's just an age, or experiential difference.
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 14,955
    edited January 31

    TimS said:

    Carnyx said:

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
    Bloody dangerous, the stone. It's the way the knife blade slips past it.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29465848/
    I was in an A&E waiting room with a man who'd had an avocado injury. Big bandage wrapped all around his hand. Wound not dissimilar to stigmata, he said.
    Slice in half, working around the stone. Twist to get one half off.

    Keeping your hands out of the way, jab the stone itself with a sharp pointed knife - lightly. Once you have the knack, you spear the stone each time. Twist the knife and the avocado half to release the stone

    Dispose of the stone by banging the *back* of the knife on the bin edge.
    This song is the definitive song about slicing up an avocado, love and the American healthcare system.

    https://youtu.be/dXA3kgZYRmw
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038
    a

    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
    From "there is no such thing as society" through to can't afford a mortage on my second home so quitting as a minister to take up another job, whilst still wanting to take a full MPs salary too.
    Over many, many years, quite a few people either didn't take office, or left, because they could earn much more money outside. Being an MP has always been supposed to be a part time job.

    Trying to remember which Liberal PM had serious concerns about taking office, until he made a pile in Law? Success in the law came after a long, lean patch.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457
    Cookie said:

    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
    Well I don’t share your hope for the extinction of humanity, but I can’t help agreeing that a 22nd century with rather fewer people in it than the 21st wouldn’t necessarily be a wholly bad thing. Economically pretty disastrous, but environmentally positive. Swings and roundabouts.

    My lament is more sadness for those who want children and don’t have them. Which I think is a surprisingly large number. I mentioned my cohort earlier; none of them wanted to remain childless. Actually, all those that did have to some extent filled that gap in other ways – step-children, niblings*, etc – but still, there are fewer sadder things I can think of than the pain of wanting children and not having them.

    ISTR reading something recently that the demographic difference between now and a generation or two ago is not family size, but the number of people not having families at all. And that of those, a sadly small proportion was through choice. And while there are a variety of reasons for this, the main one is that people are not meeting partners they deem satisfactory parents for their prospective children until much later in life – often, sadly, too late for those children to be conceived. And I’m interested in why that should be so, because on the face of it it is easier to meet people than ever. There is no stigma about meeting people from the opposite sex. We don’t have to wait for our parents’ approval. We’re no longer limited to that pool of people who can be met within a couple of hours’ walk. We have any amount of technology designed to make the process easier. And yet, as a society, we’re failing miserably to do what our predecessors managed with ease.
    If AI comes good, a vast reduction in the numbers of humans on the planet need not be disastrous at all

    Indeed I would argue that is the optimum scenario. We need to go back to 1bn humans, with maybe 1bn AIs doing everything, we need to rewild the planet and let Nature recover. Finally
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041
    .

    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
    I think it's all part of the same phenomenon.
    That is why you see it as insoluble, perhaps ?
    I think there are a large number of things wrapped up together there, some of which might be individually addressable.

    You can talk to your political opponents on a pragmatic basis. It's much more difficult to convince them of your political theories - or even to get them to listen.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041
    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    Not quite.
    I was nominally a conservative back in the 80s, but became disillusioned with party politics long before Brexit.
    Thatcher's last term was an eye opener.

    If I'm partisan these days, I'm curious to find out in whose behalf ?
    Though I'll happily admit that US politics makes for a much more straightforward choice, and has done for a while.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038
    Cookie said:

    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
    Well I don’t share your hope for the extinction of humanity, but I can’t help agreeing that a 22nd century with rather fewer people in it than the 21st wouldn’t necessarily be a wholly bad thing. Economically pretty disastrous, but environmentally positive. Swings and roundabouts.

    My lament is more sadness for those who want children and don’t have them. Which I think is a surprisingly large number. I mentioned my cohort earlier; none of them wanted to remain childless. Actually, all those that did have to some extent filled that gap in other ways – step-children, niblings*, etc – but still, there are fewer sadder things I can think of than the pain of wanting children and not having them.

    ISTR reading something recently that the demographic difference between now and a generation or two ago is not family size, but the number of people not having families at all. And that of those, a sadly small proportion was through choice. And while there are a variety of reasons for this, the main one is that people are not meeting partners they deem satisfactory parents for their prospective children until much later in life – often, sadly, too late for those children to be conceived. And I’m interested in why that should be so, because on the face of it it is easier to meet people than ever. There is no stigma about meeting people from the opposite sex. We don’t have to wait for our parents’ approval. We’re no longer limited to that pool of people who can be met within a couple of hours’ walk. We have any amount of technology designed to make the process easier. And yet, as a society, we’re failing miserably to do what our predecessors managed with ease.
    "the number of people not having families at all"

    Very much this. Several people I know are thinking about retirement with little of no close family - talking about holidaying together, making jokes about checking on each other to make sure they don't end up being eaten by the cat....
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,542

    a

    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
    From "there is no such thing as society" through to can't afford a mortage on my second home so quitting as a minister to take up another job, whilst still wanting to take a full MPs salary too.
    Over many, many years, quite a few people either didn't take office, or left, because they could earn much more money outside. Being an MP has always been supposed to be a part time job.

    Trying to remember which Liberal PM had serious concerns about taking office, until he made a pile in Law? Success in the law came after a long, lean patch.
    I think there is a reasonably big difference between doing what you think is right for you and your family and making a decision to quit being a minister, and publicly coming out with I can't live on a £120k salary and a £2k mortage (increased because his party voted for Kwazinomics) or 1 home, so I am quitting as a minister.
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 8,502
    edited January 31

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    This is partly true, but it also relates to any kind of uncynical or altruistic group activities often being seen as naive or silly. These trends come from both the right and the left.

    We are now cynically atomised in an unhelpful way.
    I think CR's post is evocative but too generalised - as others have said about themselves, I know lots of people who knock themselves out for one service or another with no expectation of reward. For example, I know a single woman in her sixties of average health who has been quietly hosting Ukrainian refugees at considerable cost and inconvenience (they aren't all very considerate, objectively speaking) - she is often exhausted, but genuinely puzzled when her friends suggest she take a pause - "they need help, I can give it, so I do", she says, without affectation. It's an anecdote, but I could quote plenty more. It's not very political - some of the ones I can think of are far left, far right, or simply uninterested in national affairs.

    What I think is true is that this sort of effort is now seen as a matter of individual choice, rather than something we should all do. The culture of mutual help has declined, to the point where it's seen as a possible way to live but selfishness is fine too. As a collectivist that does worry me, in quite a political way. That's what leftism means to me - I don't really care about nationalising the biscuit tin industry or whatever, but I think society works best if we all feel we need to give something to it (including cheerfully paying tax and not trying to dodge the rules that make society work).
    I think you're right.

    The decline of "should" , as mentioned, I think comes from both left and right. The idea of collective responsibilities has been opposed by some on the new left as always coercive, or just illusory and built on shifting intellectual sands, and by the New Right as unrealistic and naive, or even necessarily totalitarian.
  • AnabobazinaAnabobazina Posts: 19,773

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
    Like many on PB you have the palate of a nursery child fed on white bread and Dairylea.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 31,865
    TimS said:

    Forgot to mention, I expect Labour to win by a 3-figure majority. The mood is for change and party alignment is weak. What reasons have the Tories offered for anyone under 60 to vote for them? Add Reform into the mix and it looks awful. Yes, that's a massive number of gains but the Tories aren't all that well embedded in their 2019 gains, they've precious little activist base, they've lost their handle on social media, while mainstream media matters much less these days.

    Labour could screw it up, particularly if the Tories run an effective attack campaign, but even then, I can't see anything worse for them than a hung parliament with a comfortable confidence majority (the LDs and SNP will not let the Tories in under anything like current circumstances). On the other hand, Labour could win by the biggest landslide since the 1930s; the dynamics are there for that and we shouldn't rule it out as an extreme edge case.

    Indeed, of the two, I'd make a Lab 200+ majority more likely than a hung parliament.

    I'm afraid I have to agree with you, David. (Afraid, because I believe a good strong Opposition is conducive to good Government.) We seem to be in a minority here however.

    The majority view, which has Mike's not inconsiderable support, seems reliant on hypotheses and suppositions. The fact is that when people are asked how they plan to vote, a great many more indicate Labour than Tory and I think you need to have very strong reasons indeed to supplant that fact with suppositions, especially when counter-suppositions are readily available.

    Still a long way to go but I agree wholeheartedly with your last para. A landslide is as likely as a hung Parliament.

    And the odds are juicy too!

    We also have the hard facts of evidence from Westminster by-elections, with 20k Con majorities regularly being overturned - and not just by the Lib Dems, who know how to win by-elections (and then lose those seats again at general elections) but by Labour. When seats like Selby, Tamworth or Mid Beds go Labour (despite a hefty Lib Dem effort in that last one), it's clear how big the mood for change is.

    We'll get further useful data in a couple of weeks from Wellingborough (Con maj 18k) and Kingswood (Con maj 11k). Both ought to be straight Con/Lab battles.

    The performance of Reform in both seats (and Rochdale) will also be something to keep an eye on. So far, they've not converted polling into votes.
    It's been unfortunate for the Lib Dems that the 2024 byelections so far aren't promising for them. Byelections are one of the very few news events that get good coverage for the party in an average electoral cycle. The locals in May are the possibly the last remaining good news opportunity for then.
    Once upon a time Rochdale would have been regarded as ‘promising’ for the LibDems.
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 8,502
    edited January 31
    duplicate post.
  • kamskikamski Posts: 4,203

    a

    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
    From "there is no such thing as society" through to can't afford a mortage on my second home so quitting as a minister to take up another job, whilst still wanting to take a full MPs salary too.
    Over many, many years, quite a few people either didn't take office, or left, because they could earn much more money outside. Being an MP has always been supposed to be a part time job.

    Trying to remember which Liberal PM had serious concerns about taking office, until he made a pile in Law? Success in the law came after a long, lean patch.
    I think there is a reasonably big difference between doing what you think is right for you and your family and making a decision to quit being a minister, and publicly coming out with I can't live on a £120k salary and a £2k mortage (increased because his party voted for Kwazinomics) or 1 home, so I am quitting as a minister.
    Also with comments from said ex-minister about the only people who could afford to go into politics nowadays being hedge fund donors and 'failed trade unionists'?
  • MoonRabbitMoonRabbit Posts: 12,415
    edited January 31

    Fucking brutal.

    At COVID inquiry Nicola Sturgeon says she prefers to say WhatsApp messages from the pandemic “weren’t retained” rather than saying they were “deleted.”

    She’s asked, “But did you delete them?”

    Sturgeon: “Yes.”


    https://x.com/peteradamsmith/status/1752645379588293046?s=46

    Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not pick up a motorhome.
  • AnabobazinaAnabobazina Posts: 19,773
    Cookie said:

    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
    Well I don’t share your hope for the extinction of humanity, but I can’t help agreeing that a 22nd century with rather fewer people in it than the 21st wouldn’t necessarily be a wholly bad thing. Economically pretty disastrous, but environmentally positive. Swings and roundabouts.

    My lament is more sadness for those who want children and don’t have them. Which I think is a surprisingly large number. I mentioned my cohort earlier; none of them wanted to remain childless. Actually, all those that did have to some extent filled that gap in other ways – step-children, niblings*, etc – but still, there are fewer sadder things I can think of than the pain of wanting children and not having them.

    ISTR reading something recently that the demographic difference between now and a generation or two ago is not family size, but the number of people not having families at all. And that of those, a sadly small proportion was through choice. And while there are a variety of reasons for this, the main one is that people are not meeting partners they deem satisfactory parents for their prospective children until much later in life – often, sadly, too late for those children to be conceived. And I’m interested in why that should be so, because on the face of it it is easier to meet people than ever. There is no stigma about meeting people from the opposite sex. We don’t have to wait for our parents’ approval. We’re no longer limited to that pool of people who can be met within a couple of hours’ walk. We have any amount of technology designed to make the process easier. And yet, as a society, we’re failing miserably to do what our predecessors managed with ease.
    It is telling that Sandy never volunteers himself or his own family and friends for sterilisation or euthanasia.
  • Nigel_ForemainNigel_Foremain Posts: 13,766
    Leon said:

    For the sake of balance, I know a couple of guys with lovely kids and apparently happy families.... who are almost suicidal at the way they "wasted" their life on family stuff, and never took the chance to do something "more exciting"

    What can you do. Life's a bitch and then you are uploaded to Neuralink

    I am very surprised that @Leon knows some men who are total selfish negative wankers. Having a family is a gift that should be cherished. There are few higher purposes. These "couple of guys" to whom you refer (if they exist,) need to be grateful and less twatish. It is possible, of course, that they have been such shitty selfish fathers that they have failed to get the positive feedback that they would have had from their offspring had they been more normal human beings.
  • CookieCookie Posts: 11,300

    Cookie said:

    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
    Well I don’t share your hope for the extinction of humanity, but I can’t help agreeing that a 22nd century with rather fewer people in it than the 21st wouldn’t necessarily be a wholly bad thing. Economically pretty disastrous, but environmentally positive. Swings and roundabouts.

    My lament is more sadness for those who want children and don’t have them. Which I think is a surprisingly large number. I mentioned my cohort earlier; none of them wanted to remain childless. Actually, all those that did have to some extent filled that gap in other ways – step-children, niblings*, etc – but still, there are fewer sadder things I can think of than the pain of wanting children and not having them.

    ISTR reading something recently that the demographic difference between now and a generation or two ago is not family size, but the number of people not having families at all. And that of those, a sadly small proportion was through choice. And while there are a variety of reasons for this, the main one is that people are not meeting partners they deem satisfactory parents for their prospective children until much later in life – often, sadly, too late for those children to be conceived. And I’m interested in why that should be so, because on the face of it it is easier to meet people than ever. There is no stigma about meeting people from the opposite sex. We don’t have to wait for our parents’ approval. We’re no longer limited to that pool of people who can be met within a couple of hours’ walk. We have any amount of technology designed to make the process easier. And yet, as a society, we’re failing miserably to do what our predecessors managed with ease.
    "the number of people not having families at all"

    Very much this. Several people I know are thinking about retirement with little of no close family - talking about holidaying together, making jokes about checking on each other to make sure they don't end up being eaten by the cat....
    This is very much after the event, but I've just realised I forgot to add my footnote to the asterisked word niblings. It's word I've only just come across but have long wished existed. It means 'nephews or nieces'. Isn't that useful? I wonder if there is a similar one for 'uncles or aunts'?
  • kamskikamski Posts: 4,203

    kamski said:

    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    No, it's far wider than that. Look at the intolerance on the left for people with different views, for example - whether of Trans rights or on Gaza, to take two of the more obvious. "Your opinion offends me" etc, as if that's an argument that the other person isn't entitled to that opinion (or, implicitly, any opinion that goes against received acceptability).

    It's the argument of pensioners about the Triple Lock, or Waspi women thinking that they're uniquely entitled to compensation for a change in govt policy.

    It's the argument of Nimbys who believe their right to their status quo exceeds someone else's right to do what they want with their property and assets (or indeed of other people to have the infrastructure to support a healthy society)

    It's the argument of far too many people who are far too intolerant of far too much else.
    I think you're mixing up a lot of different things there, which makes it quite hard to respond to.

    Casino was, I think, talking about service. rather than intolerance ?
    I think there is a connection, in one way ; both rightwing and leftwing intellectual trends have encouraged us to live in selfish bubbles. On the right, a very simplified logic of material self-aggrandisement has been the underlying economic and social idea for 40 years.

    On the left, too many have accepted the idea of a kind of defeat of all metanarratives and relativistic logic, contributing to a toxic stew of cynicism with roots in both sides, that is prevalent.
    Is there a big difference between public/online spheres and how people act in person? It seems to me that public groups (or identities) feel like they have to fight to avoid getting shat on by other groups with different interests. But when I look at (eg) my many young colleagues, I am really impressed by how thoughtful, considerate, and conscientious they are, how willing they are to go the extra mile to help other people out - much more than I remember my generation was at that age.
    I must say, I think there's a point here.

    Amongst the under-25's, I notice something more hopeful and helpful. Amongst the 25's and older, I see much of the same Generation X cynicism ; and I don't think it's just an age, or experiential difference.
    Yes, I don't know what the cut-off is, but I'm talking about people in their twenties having a vibe of caring about all the people around them, which I find very positive. Entirely anecdotal and subjective of course.
  • Andy_JSAndy_JS Posts: 26,334
    edited January 31

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    If that was true, I doubt there'd be much of a volunteer or charity sectors in the country.
    It's incredible to me how we can have both such a large welfare state in this country and such a big need for charity/volunteer services. I can understand the need for one or the other, but not both at the same time. The whole point of the establishment of the welfare state was supposed to be to largely supersede the need for charity.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 39,001
    HYUFD said:

    Rachel Reeves says Labour will not restore the bankers' bonus cap in a further shift towards a New Labour approach to the financial sector. Also likely to help Labour try and take banker heavy West London seats like Kensington, Cities of London and Westminster and Chelsea and Fulham
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68145720

    Running the numbers - pencil in that bank crash for around 2034.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041
    .

    TimS said:

    Carnyx said:

    TOPPING said:

    An avocado is manifestly not a savoury perhaps sliced covered in cheese on toast I could just see it although I have never seen it on a menu so let's rule that out. It is a starter.

    Plus it helps to sustain the international drugs trade and often takes water from local villages where they are grown so I've no idea why people are such fans.

    I can't stand the bloody things. A lump of funny tasting lard, hiding inside a shell.

    The best bit is the stone, which can be played with after the rest of the thing has been discarded.
    Bloody dangerous, the stone. It's the way the knife blade slips past it.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31303536/
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29465848/
    I was in an A&E waiting room with a man who'd had an avocado injury. Big bandage wrapped all around his hand. Wound not dissimilar to stigmata, he said.
    Slice in half, working around the stone. Twist to get one half off.

    Keeping your hands out of the way, jab the stone itself with a sharp pointed knife - lightly. Once you have the knack, you spear the stone each time. Twist the knife and the avocado half to release the stone

    Dispose of the stone by banging the *back* of the knife on the bin edge.
    Or just don't use a sharp knife.
  • GhedebravGhedebrav Posts: 3,000
    On topic to the last point in OP, while Sunak is a liability, I can only see him being replaced by an even greater liability (aside from the optics of creating a whole new government *again*, which will just cement the 'this lot are useless, let's let the others have a go' feeling, which I think is a going to be a big driver of votes for Labour).
  • OnlyLivingBoyOnlyLivingBoy Posts: 14,983

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    I think there's some truth in that but equally I think a lot of people have figured out that altruism, helping others, voluntary work of various kinds, is actually the route to a sense of community and wellbeing. I can only really speak of my own experiences, but most people I know are engaged in something like this, be it a choir, a community theatre group, running the line at kids' football games, helping with refugee charities... Capitalism encourages atomisation and individualism as it promises to fulfill our wants and needs in exchange for financial transactions. But real fulfillment and happiness comes from connections with people that aren't rooted in cash, in my experience. Capitalism is important for providing for the material needs of life in an efficient way but it's important to preserve space in people's lives for the kind of activities and connections that give life real meaning, and not to fall for marketing BS that tells us if we just buy x y and z we will be happy.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 46,457

    Leon said:

    For the sake of balance, I know a couple of guys with lovely kids and apparently happy families.... who are almost suicidal at the way they "wasted" their life on family stuff, and never took the chance to do something "more exciting"

    What can you do. Life's a bitch and then you are uploaded to Neuralink

    I am very surprised that @Leon knows some men who are total selfish negative wankers. Having a family is a gift that should be cherished. There are few higher purposes. These "couple of guys" to whom you refer (if they exist,) need to be grateful and less twatish. It is possible, of course, that they have been such shitty selfish fathers that they have failed to get the positive feedback that they would have had from their offspring had they been more normal human beings.
    Why are you ALWAYS such a gormless wanker? Do you actively wake up and think How can I be a thick wanker today?

    These guys are humans. Humans make mistakes. And not everyone gets fulfilment out of having kids - if you did, good for you

    Studies show about 10% of people regret having children. The figure may indeed be artificially lowered because of the stigma of admitting this
  • Nigel_ForemainNigel_Foremain Posts: 13,766

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    This is partly true, but it also relates to any kind of uncynical or altruistic group activities often being seen as naive or silly. These trends come from both the right and the left.

    We are now cynically atomised in an unhelpful way.
    I think CR's post is evocative but too generalised - as others have said about themselves, I know lots of people who knock themselves out for one service or another with no expectation of reward. For example, I know a single woman in her sixties of average health who has been quietly hosting Ukrainian refugees at considerable cost and inconvenience (they aren't all very considerate, objectively speaking) - she is often exhausted, but genuinely puzzled when her friends suggest she take a pause - "they need help, I can give it, so I do", she says, without affectation. It's an anecdote, but I could quote plenty more. It's not very political - some of the ones I can think of are far left, far right, or simply uninterested in national affairs.

    What I think is true is that this sort of effort is now seen as a matter of individual choice, rather than something we should all do. The culture of mutual help has declined, to the point where it's seen as a possible way to live but selfishness is fine too. As a collectivist that does worry me, in quite a political way. That's what leftism means to me - I don't really care about nationalising the biscuit tin industry or whatever, but I think society works best if we all feel we need to give something to it (including cheerfully paying tax and not trying to dodge the rules that make society work).
    That sentiment expressed in your final paragraph is not confined to those on the left even though those on the left arrogantly thing that it is. I am sure many of us have witnessed left wingers who are selfish bastards who are more interested in making life easy for themselves even if that means the inconvenience of others.
  • MoonRabbitMoonRabbit Posts: 12,415

    On thread.

    According to the latest YouGov, of 2019 Conservatives who have made up their mind which way to vote in the General Election, only 49% are currently committed to vote Conservative with 19% now choosing Labour (and 29% Reform.)

    I think it reasonable to assume that the voting choices of the 2019 Conservatives who have not yet made up their mind are likely to be subject to no less churn than those that have. That group by definition does not include the Conservative core vote.

    So if the Conservative net lead over Labour in decided 2019 Conservatives is only a net 30% (i.e. 49-19), why should the Conservatives expect to get as much as a net 30% lead over Labour from undecided 2019 Conservatives, if they end up voting at all? The thread header seems to be implying that they will get more than that.

    Any views, anyone?

    I don't see any sign of dissident Con 2019 voters (I know a few personally, and others on here) are particularly motivated to rush back. Or indeed that they prefer LibDems to Lab or vice versa. They have a settled view that the Government is useless, and an open mind on whether to vote for someone else or abstain. The idea that they are all on the edge of swinging back is a fantasy, as it was in 1997 (when many disilllusioned Tories decided on abstention).
    Agreed. The 1997 turnover owed to a lot Tory abstention, so we can’t presume what we have now are are shy Tories who will come back on mass rather than abstain. Abstain can be a deep level of thinking: the party I love is hurt, opposition will heal it. They abstain out of love and wishing for healing, a positive not negative conscious decision
    A further point: many 2019 Tories were *first-time* Tories. They won't be rushing back not just because Johnson / Truss / Sunak have been pretty crap but also because the Tories aren't their long-term natural home. In that sense 2019 was the exception, not 2024.
    Wasn’t it supposed to be the start of something - the great populist Brexit realignment of politics?

    Giving us Alt right Krugers and Mariam’s absolutely everywhere.

    Losing power in elections is a wonderful gift of democracy to political parties and movements, to be embraced and enjoyed, for all the good it can bring.
    Tory’s can now go back to hillside and tend their sheep, feel the sun nourish their skin, and the moon pull on their watery bodies, and realise once again just what their point on this earth actually is.
  • Andy_JSAndy_JS Posts: 26,334
    edited January 31

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    I think there's some truth in that but equally I think a lot of people have figured out that altruism, helping others, voluntary work of various kinds, is actually the route to a sense of community and wellbeing. I can only really speak of my own experiences, but most people I know are engaged in something like this, be it a choir, a community theatre group, running the line at kids' football games, helping with refugee charities... Capitalism encourages atomisation and individualism as it promises to fulfill our wants and needs in exchange for financial transactions. But real fulfillment and happiness comes from connections with people that aren't rooted in cash, in my experience. Capitalism is important for providing for the material needs of life in an efficient way but it's important to preserve space in people's lives for the kind of activities and connections that give life real meaning, and not to fall for marketing BS that tells us if we just buy x y and z we will be happy.
    How does voluntary work pay the bills? Serious question. Maybe it's something that well-off people with a lot of spare time on their hands can afford to do.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 44,038
    Andy_JS said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    If that was true, I doubt there'd be much of a volunteer or charity sectors in the country.
    It's incredible to me how we can have both such a large welfare state in this country and such a big need for charity/volunteer services. I can understand the need for one or the other, but not both at the same time. The whole point of the establishment of the welfare state was supposed to be to largely supersede the need for charity.
    This is because large, process driven, organisations cannot meet the needs of humans.

    Pretty much by definition.
  • Nigel_ForemainNigel_Foremain Posts: 13,766
    Leon said:

    Leon said:

    For the sake of balance, I know a couple of guys with lovely kids and apparently happy families.... who are almost suicidal at the way they "wasted" their life on family stuff, and never took the chance to do something "more exciting"

    What can you do. Life's a bitch and then you are uploaded to Neuralink

    I am very surprised that @Leon knows some men who are total selfish negative wankers. Having a family is a gift that should be cherished. There are few higher purposes. These "couple of guys" to whom you refer (if they exist,) need to be grateful and less twatish. It is possible, of course, that they have been such shitty selfish fathers that they have failed to get the positive feedback that they would have had from their offspring had they been more normal human beings.
    Why are you ALWAYS such a gormless wanker? Do you actively wake up and think How can I be a thick wanker today?

    These guys are humans. Humans make mistakes. And not everyone gets fulfilment out of having kids - if you did, good for you

    Studies show about 10% of people regret having children. The figure may indeed be artificially lowered because of the stigma of admitting this
    Lol, I haven't been on here for a while, but I thought it would be fun to wind you up a little. You might think that being able to construct a little bit of Dan Brown like prose in a non-best selling trash novel makes you Shakespeare, but someone that dumbly shows their ignorance of science and the world in general with such monotonous regularity is not in any way qualified to call anyone a gormless or thick wanker, even though masturbation is your own self-admitted subject of specialisation.
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 24,137

    Fucking brutal.

    At COVID inquiry Nicola Sturgeon says she prefers to say WhatsApp messages from the pandemic “weren’t retained” rather than saying they were “deleted.”

    She’s asked, “But did you delete them?”

    Sturgeon: “Yes.”


    https://x.com/peteradamsmith/status/1752645379588293046?s=46

    This is just theatre. Make a fuss about deleting WhatsApp messages rather than worry about substantive policy issues that might guide our response to the next pandemic, and all the while, Ministers are now setting WhatsApp groups to automatically delete old content.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 31,865
    Andy_JS said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    I think there's some truth in that but equally I think a lot of people have figured out that altruism, helping others, voluntary work of various kinds, is actually the route to a sense of community and wellbeing. I can only really speak of my own experiences, but most people I know are engaged in something like this, be it a choir, a community theatre group, running the line at kids' football games, helping with refugee charities... Capitalism encourages atomisation and individualism as it promises to fulfill our wants and needs in exchange for financial transactions. But real fulfillment and happiness comes from connections with people that aren't rooted in cash, in my experience. Capitalism is important for providing for the material needs of life in an efficient way but it's important to preserve space in people's lives for the kind of activities and connections that give life real meaning, and not to fall for marketing BS that tells us if we just buy x y and z we will be happy.
    How does voluntary work pay the bills? Serious question. Maybe it's something that well-off people with a lot of spare time on their hands can afford to do.
    One problem I found with getting people to participate in voluntary work was that many professionals nowadays are expected to complete mandatory continuing education. there are only so many hours in the day and people need time with their families, and, basically, just relaxing!
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 14,955
    edited January 31
    Andy_JS said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    I think there's some truth in that but equally I think a lot of people have figured out that altruism, helping others, voluntary work of various kinds, is actually the route to a sense of community and wellbeing. I can only really speak of my own experiences, but most people I know are engaged in something like this, be it a choir, a community theatre group, running the line at kids' football games, helping with refugee charities... Capitalism encourages atomisation and individualism as it promises to fulfill our wants and needs in exchange for financial transactions. But real fulfillment and happiness comes from connections with people that aren't rooted in cash, in my experience. Capitalism is important for providing for the material needs of life in an efficient way but it's important to preserve space in people's lives for the kind of activities and connections that give life real meaning, and not to fall for marketing BS that tells us if we just buy x y and z we will be happy.
    How does voluntary work pay the bills? Serious question. Maybe it's something that well-off people with a lot of spare time on their hands can afford to do.
    A lot of people who aren't well off volunteer, precisely because they know how important voluntary help is when you don't have the money to pay for private services.

    Mutual aid societies of all sorts were a massive thing in the early 20th century working class, when working hours were generally longer and standard of living was lower.

    Edit: To expand on this, volunteering in this way is a form of local, non-monetary, insurance. It's the sort of reciprocal giving that creates and binds a community together.
  • AnabobazinaAnabobazina Posts: 19,773
    Cookie said:

    Cookie said:

    Cookie said:

    Ratters said:

    Foxy said:

    Andy_JS said:

    Nigelb said:

    This is going to ripple through the economy over the next decade or two, and there's very little Korea can do about it.

    One-third of daycare centers, kindergartens to close by 2028 due to low birthrate
    https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=367888

    We should be watching to see how they deal with it; it's not impossible that we start going the same way in a few years.
    Assuming the high levels of immigration don't continue forever.

    The way to deal with it is to encourage people to have more children.
    You need to encourage *women* to have more children. After all, it's their choice.

    And you don't do that by trying to go back to the norms of the 1950s, or treat them as baby-making factories. So you make it possible for them to have successful careers *and* kids; and that means that men have to do their duty as well. Try to reduce financial penalties for having more kids; make schools and schooling more flexible (*); help payments with nursery places. Make absent dads pay through the nose (though this alone produces a lot more difficulties).

    Having more children isn't just a personal thing; it's a societal thing. It doesn't matter what we do to encourage women to have more children, if society does not value the children or women. From what I've read, this is part of the problem Korea faces.

    Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects.

    (*) Teachers will not like this.
    We do not have a declining population. We are due to add 10 million people in two years.
    I don't think we are, not even under Sunaks Tories!

    You are right. 70 million is only six million more.

    Anyway the point is, we do not need to panic about a declining population just yet.

    UK population projected to grow to nearly 74m by 2036
    Rise of almost 10% over 15 years would see 70m mark passed by 2026, a decade earlier than previously projected

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/30/uk-population-projected-to-grow-to-nearly-74m-by-2036

    The whole thing is a bit unsatisfactory and conceptualises societies as Ponzi schemes dependent on ever-increasing populations.
    That's why I said; "Or perhaps we should choose to manage a declining birthrate, and a declining population. That's another choice, but not one I've given much thought to about the resultant political or societal effects."
    Interestingly, the projections are based on our of date birth rate data, so the 'births minus deaths' may in fact go negative over the period when projections are updated later in the year. So migration becomes even more the dominant factor.

    "The unlikely projected recovery in UK births - https://on.ft.com/3ug30k8 "

    The fact is, as a 34-year old with two children and plans for no more, is that the distribution of people my age is broadly:

    - Group 1: already had children, but will probably only have 1 or 2
    - Group 2: plan to have children with partner, but just leaving it later
    - Group 3: would like children but no long-term partner and so, particular for women, are conscious of age
    - Group 4: couples in relationships who are deliberately choosing not to have children - this is a much larger group than you'd think
    - Group 5: singletons with no interest in children whatsoever

    Without removing free choice, I see little a government can do to either A ) shift almost everyone into groups 1/2, or B ) make people have more who do have children have more than 2 on average.

    But the fact is everyone can see having children is hard, and limits freedom young adults have become accustomed to, and that only gets harder with the more you have.

    There is a reason this is a global phenomenon: we can take steps to mitigate it so we don't end up like South Korea, but we should be realistic that achieving a replacement birth rate is unrealistic within modern society.
    Of my friends from school - who I assume have now stopped procreating, all but me fall into one of two groups: Married with exactly two children, or for whatever reason it sadly didn't work out. I'm tge only one with more than 2. Of the 11 of us, we've produced 13 children, which is well below replacement level.
    Positive news. If that becomes a global trend there is hope for the planet.
    Well I don’t share your hope for the extinction of humanity, but I can’t help agreeing that a 22nd century with rather fewer people in it than the 21st wouldn’t necessarily be a wholly bad thing. Economically pretty disastrous, but environmentally positive. Swings and roundabouts.

    My lament is more sadness for those who want children and don’t have them. Which I think is a surprisingly large number. I mentioned my cohort earlier; none of them wanted to remain childless. Actually, all those that did have to some extent filled that gap in other ways – step-children, niblings*, etc – but still, there are fewer sadder things I can think of than the pain of wanting children and not having them.

    ISTR reading something recently that the demographic difference between now and a generation or two ago is not family size, but the number of people not having families at all. And that of those, a sadly small proportion was through choice. And while there are a variety of reasons for this, the main one is that people are not meeting partners they deem satisfactory parents for their prospective children until much later in life – often, sadly, too late for those children to be conceived. And I’m interested in why that should be so, because on the face of it it is easier to meet people than ever. There is no stigma about meeting people from the opposite sex. We don’t have to wait for our parents’ approval. We’re no longer limited to that pool of people who can be met within a couple of hours’ walk. We have any amount of technology designed to make the process easier. And yet, as a society, we’re failing miserably to do what our predecessors managed with ease.
    "the number of people not having families at all"

    Very much this. Several people I know are thinking about retirement with little of no close family - talking about holidaying together, making jokes about checking on each other to make sure they don't end up being eaten by the cat....
    This is very much after the event, but I've just realised I forgot to add my footnote to the asterisked word niblings. It's word I've only just come across but have long wished existed. It means 'nephews or nieces'. Isn't that useful? I wonder if there is a similar one for 'uncles or aunts'?
    Piblings. (portmanteau of parents' siblings)
  • novanova Posts: 525

    a

    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
    From "there is no such thing as society" through to can't afford a mortage on my second home so quitting as a minister to take up another job, whilst still wanting to take a full MPs salary too.
    Over many, many years, quite a few people either didn't take office, or left, because they could earn much more money outside. Being an MP has always been supposed to be a part time job.

    Trying to remember which Liberal PM had serious concerns about taking office, until he made a pile in Law? Success in the law came after a long, lean patch.
    Being an MP may have started out as a part time job, but times change.

    Most voters consider it to be a full time job (and for most MPs it's probably more than a full time job).
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 20,542
    kamski said:

    a

    Nigelb said:

    ...

    Nigelb said:

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    That's the Tory party you're talking about, perhaps ?

    It's certainly a caricature I don't recognise in my or my family's lives.
    Of course not because you see everything through a partisan prism.
    I thought Nigel was a lifelong Tory disillusioned by Brexit.

    We can't all be non-partisan fence sitters like yourself however hard we try.
    It's obsessives like you and he who keep trying to bring politics into it.

    I was making a general observation about Western society today, which could have unlocked a more interesting discussion right across this board.

    Sadly, though, that's clearly beyond you two.
    No, I just disagree with your thesis.

    And was pointing out that the philosophy of individualism is very much a strand of British conservatism, particularly since Thatcher.
    From "there is no such thing as society" through to can't afford a mortage on my second home so quitting as a minister to take up another job, whilst still wanting to take a full MPs salary too.
    Over many, many years, quite a few people either didn't take office, or left, because they could earn much more money outside. Being an MP has always been supposed to be a part time job.

    Trying to remember which Liberal PM had serious concerns about taking office, until he made a pile in Law? Success in the law came after a long, lean patch.
    I think there is a reasonably big difference between doing what you think is right for you and your family and making a decision to quit being a minister, and publicly coming out with I can't live on a £120k salary and a £2k mortage (increased because his party voted for Kwazinomics) or 1 home, so I am quitting as a minister.
    Also with comments from said ex-minister about the only people who could afford to go into politics nowadays being hedge fund donors and 'failed trade unionists'?
    Imagine what the pool is like for recruiting care home workers? Must be down to billionaires looking for a career change by his "logic".
  • WhisperingOracleWhisperingOracle Posts: 8,502
    edited January 31
    The foodbank sector was much smaller before 2014, however, as discussed and referenced exhaustively on previous PB threads. The voluntary sector will need to expand if you pursue failed and neanderthal U.S- imported welfare policies, so egregiously so that the Tories, mainly Therese Coffey, have needed to suppress seven different DWP enquiries on the effectiveness of said policy.

    Cameron's BIg Society failed, partly because it was an idea tacked on to just such punitive policies, designed to appeal to the bitterly atomised, rather than idea with any coherence or resonance in practice. Society is not going to be encouraged to feel collective responsiblity at ground level, if people see that the official ideology, government advertising and propaganda, promotes a sneeringly selfish, resentful perspective on one's fellow man, also at ground level.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 38,772

    Leon said:

    Re fertility

    I managed to knock out two kids, somehow, amidst the chaos of my life. I never really lived with either of the mothers - in the first instance we tried but failed within months; the second woman didn't even want to try

    And yet even then the responsibilties severely impinged my life for a while, and the whole thing has been horrifically expensive. Albeit now I see it as absolutely worth it, despite all the pain and hassle. The only thing I can really compare it too is Brexit

    So I can totally understand why young people don't want their own personal Brexit. However that does mean the human species will die out

    The predominant feature of Western culture today is me me me me me..

    Anything that might involve any sense of duty, sacrifice or service is dismissed as the individual being a bit of a mug or even sneered at and frowned upon. We are encouraged to have and take whatever we want, whenever we want it, and damn right too, and we don't owe anyone anything or have any obligations to anyone.

    And, thus, a secret emptiness creeps into people's lives.
    This is partly true, but it also relates to any kind of uncynical or altruistic group activities often being seen as naive or silly. These trends come from both the right and the left.

    We are now cynically atomised in an unhelpful way.
    I think CR's post is evocative but too generalised - as others have said about themselves, I know lots of people who knock themselves out for one service or another with no expectation of reward. For example, I know a single woman in her sixties of average health who has been quietly hosting Ukrainian refugees at considerable cost and inconvenience (they aren't all very considerate, objectively speaking) - she is often exhausted, but genuinely puzzled when her friends suggest she take a pause - "they need help, I can give it, so I do", she says, without affectation. It's an anecdote, but I could quote plenty more. It's not very political - some of the ones I can think of are far left, far right, or simply uninterested in national affairs.

    What I think is true is that this sort of effort is now seen as a matter of individual choice, rather than something we should all do. The culture of mutual help has declined, to the point where it's seen as a possible way to live but selfishness is fine too. As a collectivist that does worry me, in quite a political way. That's what leftism means to me - I don't really care about nationalising the biscuit tin industry or whatever, but I think society works best if we all feel we need to give something to it (including cheerfully paying tax and not trying to dodge the rules that make society work).
    It'd be interesting to see figures on this; are people actually doing less of this sort of thing?

    Anecdotally, 25-30 years ago I volunteered on a preserved railway. I was a young nipper, and lots of the talk was where the 'next generation' was going to come from: steam had ended on BR 20 years earlier, and lots of the people who worked on steam were getting older. Who was going to replace the old-timers?

    Yet after all this time, that railway continues; as do all the others I knew. In fact, more have started, running mostly using volunteers. And they may be having trouble getting volunteers, but, and this is the important point: the same was true back then. We really struggled for volunteers; not necessarily helped by management who did not value volunteers, or know how to manage them (herd cats...)

    A neighbour volunteers for the local scouts (in fact, two do). Hundreds of thousands of kids scout each year, with well over a hundred thousand volunteer adults. (Scouting is quite interesting: a headline from 2021 reads; "Scouts suffer worst membership slump since second world ...", whilst one in 2022 reads; "Scouts see biggest surge in youth membership since World War Two" Covid, eh.

    I volunteer at park run (soon to reach 50!), and thousands of volunteers do the same, week after week, in all weathers. I accept the point made below that it's always the same faces (not *quite* true....), but I reckon that the same for any such organisation - you always get the diehards.

    So... are there any figures about volunteering and group participation?
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 62,041
    On the volunteering thing, can I again put in a plug for Independent Visitors.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Visitor

    It's not hugely onerous; perhaps one or two half days a month (though the usual safeguarding vetting needs to be gone through). And it's necessarily a fairly long term commitment.

    The role is effectively a kind of surrogate aunt/uncle/grandparent who provides a much needed point of stability in the often chaotic lives of children in care.
  • isamisam Posts: 40,848

    Rachel Reeves learning from Sir Keir

    today, just three months later:

    https://x.com/pickardje/status/1752612686355947908?s=46&t=CW4pL-mMpTqsJXCdjW0Z6Q
This discussion has been closed.