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The Fall of The West – politicalbetting.com

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited November 15 in General
imageThe Fall of The West – politicalbetting.com

I sometimes wonder if Francis Fukuyama regrets his 1992 book ‘The End of History’, written in the heady aftermath of the Cold War. It is commonly believed to have argued that mankind’s ideological evolution had ended, and the universalisation of liberal democracy was its endpoint. In truth, this does him a disservice: he framed his original essay as a question, not a statement, and was careful to say that totalitarian “events” could still happen in future but democracy would become more prevalent as time went on. He has since updated his thesis with a warning that the failure to provide the substance of what people want could undermine democracy, as well as “political decay” within Western nations with corruption and crony capitalism.

Read the full story here

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Comments

  • Another top piece CR.
  • Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    'However, what has perhaps concerned me most recently is hearing some people I know, people I respect, speculate in private conversation that perhaps a benign dictator might be the best form of government – for stability and good governance, of course – and others argue that centuries long-established institutions are obstacles to the people, and we need a strong leader to override them.'

    Voltaire of course believed something similar:

    “The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.”

    Had he lived to see the French Revolution in all its horror, he might have wondered about the 'benevolent' aspect of that phrase, however.
  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 51,201
    edited November 15
    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.
  • Big_G_NorthWalesBig_G_NorthWales Posts: 36,718
    edited November 15
    One of the best pieces I have read and I endorse the sentiments completely

    Thanks Casino Royale
  • isamisam Posts: 34,623
    My parents listened to Sir Keir's Desert Island Discs this morning, and my Dad said he liked him and would vote for him. He doesn't know anything about politics really, (voted Leave and considered voting Lib Dem in 2019) but that doesn't matter, most people don't.

    Mind you, both my folks are Labour voters anyway, so its not that much of a breakthrough. But he said he came across as a nice bloke, liked football - that is a clincher really - and better than Corbyn, who my Dad would think was the ultimate wally, and I know he doesn't like Boris.
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 22,820
    edited November 15
    Excellent piece, CR. Much to agree with in it.
  • GaussianGaussian Posts: 168

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998
    I can't get past this paragraph:
    "And that’s before we get to those who don’t think a country is something we should be worried about governing at all: 29% of Britons surveyed this year felt that being British was unimportant to their identity and 23% didn’t think nationality is important at all."

    I don't understand what this has to do with democracy. You can believe that nationality is unimportant -- as I do -- and be extremely concerned with tending and protecting democracy. Feeling like nationality is important is NOT a precondition to being a democrat.
    That paragraph is so strange I can't help thinking it's so poorly written that I'm getting a meaning completely other than the one that's intended.
  • williamglennwilliamglenn Posts: 35,068
    When was Britain's peak?
    When did Britain become recognisably democratic?
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 22,820
    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Lockdown effect. Announcement on Saturday, implementation on Thursday ended up forcing people to fit in as much social interaction as possible in a few days and then taking it home with them on the weekend after lockdown started. That Sunday to Wednesday will have had a huge number of super spreader events and we're seeing that in the current case figures.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 7,785

    Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

    They do catch and (after burying it in the bog) eat gannet. But otherwise I think it's a bit hard to accuse them all of being members of one chap's FB group.
  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 51,201
    edited November 15
    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers. And more like a month to see if it has squashed them down.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlands circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be the case. You could argue it stopped the increase, the level remains stubborn.

    Wales we should be seeing starting to see cut in cases now, and we have started to see an average trending down, but past 2 days had high reported number of cases.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 7,785

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlnds circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be true.

    Wales we should be seeing cut in cases now, and we are on the average trend, but past 2 days had high reportee number of cases.
    But there was that big dive in hospitalisations in Scotland. Maybe schools and unis open = youngsters get it, but oldies aren't so much now.
  • turbotubbsturbotubbs Posts: 621
    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Someone speculated that we are seeing the effect of the four days warning of lockdown - folk went out and shopped, mingled etc before the 4th November. Of course we have kept schools and unis open, and many more businesses than in the first lockdown, so we probably haven’t driven the r down that much either.
  • Carnyx said:

    Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

    They do catch and (after burying it in the bog) eat gannet. But otherwise I think it's a bit hard to accuse them all of being members of one chap's FB group.
    IIRC they are also (strict) sabbatarians aren't they?
  • GaussianGaussian Posts: 168
    MaxPB said:

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Lockdown effect. Announcement on Saturday, implementation on Thursday ended up forcing people to fit in as much social interaction as possible in a few days and then taking it home with them on the weekend after lockdown started. That Sunday to Wednesday will have had a huge number of super spreader events and we're seeing that in the current case figures.
    Makes sense. Any such changes ought to be decided and implemented within a couple of days between weekends, don't they?

    Scotland just making that mistake again by trailing level 4 for Glasgow and surrounds a week in advance, thus presumably sending lots of people for one last trip to non-essential shops.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 15,691
    Yep. Excellent piece. Just 3 little words demonstrate how fragile democracy can be. President Donald Trump.
  • Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlnds circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be true.

    Wales we should be seeing cut in cases now, and we are on the average trend, but past 2 days had high reportee number of cases.
    In our part of Wales it is as if covid never happened, traffic queues (very unusual) packed shops, pubs and restaurants and life looking fairly normal

    I hope this does not see a real spike in infections going into December
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998
    Another weird paragraph:
    "We also need to demonstrate our democratic system can manage crises better than everywhere else. Therefore, it is concerning that the West has struggled to escape the cycle of lockdowns over Covid, whilst life in Asia has largely gone back to normal. Things like this further undermine confidence in the system and weaken our ability to provide global leadership to deliver a democratic future."

    The West is not synonymous with democracy. Some of the Asian countries that have coped better with Covid-19 are as democratic as Western countries that have struggled. The USA is no more a democracy than South Korea. Ditto Belgium and Singapore.
  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 51,201
    edited November 15

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlnds circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be true.

    Wales we should be seeing cut in cases now, and we are on the average trend, but past 2 days had high reportee number of cases.
    In our part of Wales it is as if covid never happened, traffic queues (very unusual) packed shops, pubs and restaurants and life looking fairly normal

    I hope this does not see a real spike in infections going into December
    It draft as hell to have gone from too short a lockdown down to know if it has worked to abandoned regional tier, instead going for equivalent of lowest tier restrictions across th3 board.

    From you can't buy oven gloves in Tescos to 15 people can grt together for an activity and 4 different households down thr boozer.
  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 51,201
    edited November 15
    I can't see how in England, lockdown doesn't get extended until just before Christmas.

    Reported cases will still be high in 2 weeks and all the students are going to be heading home...and gives people 3 week prior to Christmas to do daft things.
  • JonathanJonathan Posts: 15,355
    edited November 15
    I think it’s great to take the time to write an article, but I am stuck on paragraph about nations, which rejects dogma but in the same breath instructs us that we must do X or Y, which just so happen to coincide with authors beliefs.
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998
    finally
    "Democracy needs to be based on respect for those with whom you disagree"

    The other day you were so upset about Trump losing that you went totally mad on here, attacking everyone and wishing personally misery on everyone who you think is a "leftie". It was undignified and shameful, and to hear you talk so soon about respecting others that you disagree with is either evidence of a welcome and recent but hitherto undeclared Damascene conversion, or risible hypocrisy.
  • turbotubbsturbotubbs Posts: 621

    I can't see how in England, lockdown doesn't get extended until just before Christmas.

    Reported cases will still be high in 2 weeks and all the students are going to be heading home...and gives people 3 week prior to Christmas to do daft things.

    I think we will see a small fall in cases by then, followed by a return to tiers, and a stay safe message, to ‘save’ Christmas. Cases will rise again, of course, but with luck vaccination will have started, and we can start to get the most at risk a lot better protected.
  • JonathanJonathan Posts: 15,355
    I wonder how broad the paragraph about defending national institutions goes. I hope the BBC, NHS and trade unions fall within its scope.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 9,293
    Roy_G_Biv said:

    I can't get past this paragraph:
    "And that’s before we get to those who don’t think a country is something we should be worried about governing at all: 29% of Britons surveyed this year felt that being British was unimportant to their identity and 23% didn’t think nationality is important at all."

    I don't understand what this has to do with democracy. You can believe that nationality is unimportant -- as I do -- and be extremely concerned with tending and protecting democracy. Feeling like nationality is important is NOT a precondition to being a democrat.
    That paragraph is so strange I can't help thinking it's so poorly written that I'm getting a meaning completely other than the one that's intended.

    Yes. That struck me too. First of all it is "Britons"...well one has always been able to prioritise English, Welsh, Scots, Irish, or even, God forbid European, above one's Britishness. It doesn't make you an anti-nation stater, let alone an anti-democrat.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    edited November 15
    In 1939-40 and 1940-41, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill had to deal with two of the most brutal winters this country had ever experienced. It was so cold the Thames actually froze for eight miles of its length.

    Thank God there was nothing else going on at the time that might have been problematic.
  • Excellent article and precisely the kind of thinking are leaders should be doing instead of arguing about who leaked what to which journalist and what our trade relationship with the EU should be.

    A couple of minor quibbles. Democracy can be local, regional, national, federal or even multi national - the nation state is a separate issue to democracy. Often they align well, sometimes nation states lead to the suppression of democracy however.

    Secondly it is not in itself a weakness that people are now considering and discussing if democracy is the best system rather than it be taken for granted. Like any other system it should have to win the arguments on its merits.

    "Social media often doesn’t help here" is an understatement - it is the main problem and glad to see it get a mention.

    Over the next couple of decades this is a bigger battle than Brexit, and up there with the environment and management of bio-technology as the key issues of the future, so thanks for a great article.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 7,785

    Carnyx said:

    Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

    They do catch and (after burying it in the bog) eat gannet. But otherwise I think it's a bit hard to accuse them all of being members of one chap's FB group.
    IIRC they are also (strict) sabbatarians aren't they?
    Only the Free Kirkers and similar Presbyterians, not so much the incomers, but that was normal in Scotland until very recently. Even today if something is very quiet I find myself thinking back to my childhood and comparing the situat to a wet Sunday in [inserts name of native burgh]. And myt late father was still reluctant to be out in the garden of a Sunday morning, not that he cared about the kirk himself, but out of respect.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    edited November 15

    When was Britain's peak?
    When did Britain become recognisably democratic?

    Depends on what you mean by democracy.

    If you mean, when did a large majority of ordinary men get the vote meaning we had a representative mass political system, I would have said 1885 and the householder franchise.

    If you mean, when did everyone get the vote, obviously it was 1928.

    Edit - if you mean, when did everyone get just one equal vote, then it would be 1948.
  • turbotubbsturbotubbs Posts: 621
    In truth, the flu in 1918 was not as severe as its later waves (1919-1920). And we were also much more inured to death from illness (no antibiotics). Also no nhs to save, just a system of local healthcare, so no ‘save the nhs’.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 18,325

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers. And more like a month to see if it has squashed them down.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlands circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be the case. You could argue it stopped the increase, the level remains stubborn.

    Wales we should be seeing starting to see cut in cases now, and we have started to see an average trending down, but past 2 days had high reported number of cases.
    By specimen date

    Scotland


    England


    This is definitely two different shapes of graphs.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    edited November 15

    In truth, the flu in 1918 was not as severe as its later waves (1919-1920). And we were also much more inured to death from illness (no antibiotics). Also no nhs to save, just a system of local healthcare, so no ‘save the nhs’.
    The First World War didn’t officially finish until 1919.

    Edit - technically it actually finished in 1958, but 1919 was when the BEF was withdrawn and stood down.
  • ydoethur said:

    In 1939-40 and 1940-41, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill had to deal with two of the most brutal winters this country had ever experienced. It was so cold the Thames actually froze for eight miles of its length.

    Thank God there was nothing else going on at the time that might have been problematic.
    Indeed.

    I've been wondering for a while if Boris Johnson is the modern day Lloyd George, I wonder if we'll see the modern day equivalent of Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 following the fun of the awarding recent pandemic related contracts.

    Of course Lloyd George like Boris Johnson knocked up at least one mistress.
  • GaussianGaussian Posts: 168

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlnds circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be true.

    Wales we should be seeing cut in cases now, and we are on the average trend, but past 2 days had high reportee number of cases.
    In our part of Wales it is as if covid never happened, traffic queues (very unusual) packed shops, pubs and restaurants and life looking fairly normal

    I hope this does not see a real spike in infections going into December
    It draft as hell to have gone from too short a lockdown down to know if it has worked to abandoned regional tier, instead going for equivalent of lowest tier restrictions across th3 board.

    From you can't buy oven gloves in Tescos to 15 people can grt together for an activity and 4 different households down thr boozer.
    Agreed, that's bonkers, and a quick way to lockdown fatigue when it needs to be reimposed in a couple of weeks.
  • logical_songlogical_song Posts: 8,784
    On Topic. The Lincoln project haven't stopped.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890

    ydoethur said:

    In 1939-40 and 1940-41, Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill had to deal with two of the most brutal winters this country had ever experienced. It was so cold the Thames actually froze for eight miles of its length.

    Thank God there was nothing else going on at the time that might have been problematic.
    Indeed.

    I've been wondering for a while if Boris Johnson is the modern day Lloyd George, I wonder if we'll see the modern day equivalent of Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 following the fun of the awarding recent pandemic related contracts.

    Of course Lloyd George like Boris Johnson knocked up at least one mistress.
    And lived with her in Downing Street.
  • BarnesianBarnesian Posts: 6,615
    edited November 15
    A really excellent first class header. Very well argued and written CR.

    I must confess you baffle me.

    On the one hand, you are full of good sense and I very frequently agree with you. I often "like" your comments.

    On the other hand, you are irrascible and frequently lose it.

    I guess that's just who you are.
  • YorkcityYorkcity Posts: 4,231
    kinabalu said:

    Yep. Excellent piece. Just 3 little words demonstrate how fragile democracy can be. President Donald Trump.

    He has broken trust in democracy in the USA.
    Hard to see how it can be repaired.
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998
    "Nation-ists need to be more comfortable with people having multiple identities, and internation-ists need to stop rejecting on principle the notion of nation. Both need to stop refusing to accept the practical consequences of adopting ideological or dogmatic positions. We all need to always strive for a shared understanding of our past, and a shared sense of a better vision for the future."

    The more I read these sentences, the less and less meaning I can get out of them. What exactly is a "nation-ist". I thought it was just me, but my dictionary doesn't know what that word means either. What are the "practical consequences" that we need to "stop refusing to accept"? With which organ do you sense a better vision, your eyes?
  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 51,201
    edited November 15
    Alistair said:

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers. And more like a month to see if it has squashed them down.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlands circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be the case. You could argue it stopped the increase, the level remains stubborn.

    Wales we should be seeing starting to see cut in cases now, and we have started to see an average trending down, but past 2 days had high reported number of cases.
    By specimen date

    Scotland


    England


    This is definitely two different shapes of graphs.
    Not sure your point. That shows basically what i said. England we aren't seeing any effects from a lockdown yet, Scotland came out of their circuit breaker at 3 weeks ago, rise was stopped, cases remain stubborn level.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 9,293
    dixiedean said:

    Roy_G_Biv said:

    I can't get past this paragraph:
    "And that’s before we get to those who don’t think a country is something we should be worried about governing at all: 29% of Britons surveyed this year felt that being British was unimportant to their identity and 23% didn’t think nationality is important at all."

    I don't understand what this has to do with democracy. You can believe that nationality is unimportant -- as I do -- and be extremely concerned with tending and protecting democracy. Feeling like nationality is important is NOT a precondition to being a democrat.
    That paragraph is so strange I can't help thinking it's so poorly written that I'm getting a meaning completely other than the one that's intended.

    Yes. That struck me too. First of all it is "Britons"...well one has always been able to prioritise English, Welsh, Scots, Irish, or even, God forbid European, above one's Britishness. It doesn't make you an anti-nation stater, let alone an anti-democrat.
    PS. My quibbling ought not to be mistaken for generalised criticism of a thought provoking header. Many thanks to @Casino_Royale And all the other header writers.
  • Gaussian said:

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlnds circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be true.

    Wales we should be seeing cut in cases now, and we are on the average trend, but past 2 days had high reportee number of cases.
    In our part of Wales it is as if covid never happened, traffic queues (very unusual) packed shops, pubs and restaurants and life looking fairly normal

    I hope this does not see a real spike in infections going into December
    It draft as hell to have gone from too short a lockdown down to know if it has worked to abandoned regional tier, instead going for equivalent of lowest tier restrictions across th3 board.

    From you can't buy oven gloves in Tescos to 15 people can grt together for an activity and 4 different households down thr boozer.
    Agreed, that's bonkers, and a quick way to lockdown fatigue when it needs to be reimposed in a couple of weeks.
    Unlike Scotland, who are keeping with tier restrictions and not ruling out another lockdown, Wales have said no to both.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 58,286
    We are complacent, I think. Obviously we don't want to overexagerrate our woes, but better we overdo defence of our core values than underdo it.

    Certainly I agree with this.

    We must stop fierce rhetorical attacks on our press, courts, rule of law, national institutions, and the history and values of the nation. We need to recognise the legitimacy of views and opinions that perhaps we vehemently disagree with and look to find accommodations with them. And how we talk and listen to each other is at least as important as what we do in response. Social media often doesn’t help here.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 19,566
    Roy_G_Biv said:

    Another weird paragraph:
    "We also need to demonstrate our democratic system can manage crises better than everywhere else. Therefore, it is concerning that the West has struggled to escape the cycle of lockdowns over Covid, whilst life in Asia has largely gone back to normal. Things like this further undermine confidence in the system and weaken our ability to provide global leadership to deliver a democratic future."

    The West is not synonymous with democracy. Some of the Asian countries that have coped better with Covid-19 are as democratic as Western countries that have struggled. The USA is no more a democracy than South Korea. Ditto Belgium and Singapore.

    Indeed, and Australia and New Zealand have both noticeably managed the epidemic better and democratically, all without some mysterious "Asian Culture"
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 58,286
    Jonathan said:

    I think it’s great to take the time to write an article, but I am stuck on paragraph about nations, which rejects dogma but in the same breath instructs us that we must do X or Y, which just so happen to coincide with authors beliefs.

    Well it's an opinion piece about values, it's bound to emphasise certain values above others.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 9,293
    Churchill didn't exactly come to the wicket at 400 for 1. You would think a Tory MP of all people might know that.
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 22,995
    edited November 15

    Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

    The Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club is supposed to be the worlds biggest (I imagine that includes the diaspora), so a bit weird I guess. It's made more weird by many mainland Huns absolutely loathing the idea of Gaelic.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 7,785

    Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

    The Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club is supposed to be the worlds biggest (I imagine that includes the diaspora), so a bit weird I guess. It's made more weird by mainland Huns absolutely loathing the idea of Gaelic.
    They can't tell the difference between Scots and Irish Gaelic? Michty me.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK cases by specimen date

    image
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK cases by specimen date and scaled to 100K population

    image
  • GaussianGaussian Posts: 168

    Alistair said:

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers. And more like a month to see if it has squashed them down.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlands circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be the case. You could argue it stopped the increase, the level remains stubborn.

    Wales we should be seeing starting to see cut in cases now, and we have started to see an average trending down, but past 2 days had high reported number of cases.
    By specimen date

    Scotland


    England


    This is definitely two different shapes of graphs.
    Not sure your point. That shows basically what i said. England we aren't seeing any effects from a lockdown yet, Scotland came out of their circuit breaker at 3 weeks ago, rise was stopped, cases remain stubborn level.
    Scotland talked a lot about a circuit breaker but didn't actually have one in the end. They applied regional restrictions of varying severity which then segued into the numbered tier system.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 58,286

    On Topic. The Lincoln project haven't stopped.

    I wonder if AOC has stopped demanding they hand over cash to other groups who apparently did a better job yet.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK local R

    image
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 2,205
    edited November 15
    Excellent article. Thank you. An issue is what democracy is. Is it the best possible way of running things and to be defended and protected at all costs. Or is it a stage of development reached for the UK after centuries of other things which will in due time morph into something else.

    In a sense democracy is an obvious piece of logic. We seem to be born sort of equal. People want to get what they want. How do you know what they want unless they are asked. How do you ask them without some sort of democracy process (of which there are infinite variants. I'm sure the North Koreans think they have one of them).

    But suppose there are things people want even more like security, protection, freedom from having everything they have got stolen, freedom from invasion from enemies, enough food, a roof over your head, clothes. Because this is true Thomas Hobbes developed the 'strong man' theory of government; ie obey the guy at the top because he is tough enough to have got there and no other protection is possible.

    When democracy fails at providing what the 'strong man' provides - and I like the fact that it has done pretty well at doing it for quite a time - it will fail and be replaced.

    People can talk about Athens of 5th century BCE. But how long was it from Pericles to rule by Alexander the Great's appointee?
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    edited November 15
    dixiedean said:

    Churchill didn't exactly come to the wicket at 400 for 1. You would think a Tory MP of all people might know that.
    And while Churchill didn’t exactly cover himself with glory in his conduct at the Admiralty, nobody could seriously argue the Second World War was his own stupid fault.

    Johnson and Brexit, however...
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK case summary

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  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK hospitals

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  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 51,201
    edited November 15
    Gaussian said:

    Alistair said:

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers. And more like a month to see if it has squashed them down.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlands circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be the case. You could argue it stopped the increase, the level remains stubborn.

    Wales we should be seeing starting to see cut in cases now, and we have started to see an average trending down, but past 2 days had high reported number of cases.
    By specimen date

    Scotland


    England


    This is definitely two different shapes of graphs.
    Not sure your point. That shows basically what i said. England we aren't seeing any effects from a lockdown yet, Scotland came out of their circuit breaker at 3 weeks ago, rise was stopped, cases remain stubborn level.
    Scotland talked a lot about a circuit breaker but didn't actually have one in the end. They applied regional restrictions of varying severity which then segued into the numbered tier system.
    Yes they did have a national "lockdown" for 2 weeks, but unlike Wales before and after they applied regional restrictions.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/18777898.scotlands-covid-circuit-breaker-lockdown-rules-mean/
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK deaths

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  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    UK R

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  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    algarkirk said:

    Excellent article. Thank you. An issue is what democracy is. Is it the best possible way of running things and to be defended and protected at all costs. Or is it a stage of development reached for the UK after centuries of other things which will in due time morph into something else.

    In a sense democracy is an obvious piece of logic. We seem to be born sort of equal. People want to get what they want. How do you know what they want unless they are asked. How do you ask them without some sort of democracy process (of which there are infinite variants. I'm sure the North Koreans think they have one of them).

    But suppose there are things people want even more like security, protection, freedom from having everything they have got stolen, freedom from invasion from enemies, enough food, a roof over your head, clothes. Because this is true Thomas Hobbes developed the 'strong man' theory of government; ie obey the guy at the top because he is tough enough to have got there and no other protection is possible.

    When democracy fails at providing what the 'strong man' provides - and I like the fact that it has done pretty well at doing it for quite a time - it will fail and be replaced.

    There is a philosopher - I forget which one - who argues democracy is inherently contradictory. It needs men (this was early 20th century) of great strength, talent and charisma to succeed, but relies on such men not being around as otherwise that leads to dictatorships. Therefore, it can only succeed with leaders who are weak and inept. But because they are weak and inept, the system fails.

    The parallel used was the rise of Caesar, but I’ve always been struck with how apt a description the latter could be of the Third Republic and Weimar.
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998
    ydoethur said:

    In truth, the flu in 1918 was not as severe as its later waves (1919-1920). And we were also much more inured to death from illness (no antibiotics). Also no nhs to save, just a system of local healthcare, so no ‘save the nhs’.
    The First World War didn’t officially finish until 1919.

    Edit - technically it actually finished in 1958, but 1919 was when the BEF was withdrawn and stood down.
    Alternative views of history exist. Philip Bobbitt de-emphasises the distinction between WW1, WW2, and the Cold War, and lumps them together into a single "epochal" war he terms The Long War, 1914-1990, fought essentially over which type of the nation state was legitimate. Read The Shield of Achilles: War Peace and the Course of History for more on that framework.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890
    Roy_G_Biv said:

    ydoethur said:

    In truth, the flu in 1918 was not as severe as its later waves (1919-1920). And we were also much more inured to death from illness (no antibiotics). Also no nhs to save, just a system of local healthcare, so no ‘save the nhs’.
    The First World War didn’t officially finish until 1919.

    Edit - technically it actually finished in 1958, but 1919 was when the BEF was withdrawn and stood down.
    Alternative views of history exist. Philip Bobbitt de-emphasises the distinction between WW1, WW2, and the Cold War, and lumps them together into a single "epochal" war he terms The Long War, 1914-1990, fought essentially over which type of the nation state was legitimate. Read The Shield of Achilles: War Peace and the Course of History for more on that framework.
    And of course, there was a war in Britain itself in 1919 - a very nasty one.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 7,785
    edited November 15

    Gaussian said:

    Alistair said:

    Gaussian said:

    26,860 new cases....including 1,333 for Wales, well up on the numbers for the previous 2 Sundays.

    Also, fourth day in a row when there's been a significant rise in England vs the week before, after a couple weeks of stability. 21998 today vs 18293 last Sunday. What's going on?
    Because it takes at least 3 weeks for restrictions to start to show through in the daily case numbers. And more like a month to see if it has squashed them down.

    One would now hope to see that Scotlands circuit breaker had cut cases, that doesn't seem to be the case. You could argue it stopped the increase, the level remains stubborn.

    Wales we should be seeing starting to see cut in cases now, and we have started to see an average trending down, but past 2 days had high reported number of cases.
    By specimen date

    Scotland


    England


    This is definitely two different shapes of graphs.
    Not sure your point. That shows basically what i said. England we aren't seeing any effects from a lockdown yet, Scotland came out of their circuit breaker at 3 weeks ago, rise was stopped, cases remain stubborn level.
    Scotland talked a lot about a circuit breaker but didn't actually have one in the end. They applied regional restrictions of varying severity which then segued into the numbered tier system.
    Yes they did have a national "lockdown" for 2 weeks, but unlike Wales before and after they applied regional restrictions.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/18777898.scotlands-covid-circuit-breaker-lockdown-rules-mean/
    The article itself makes it clear that mostr of the changes were regional - there were some tweaks to the national rules at the same time.

    PS Certainly felt very much 'steady as she goes' here with the going up and down the tiers the main changes, albeit with some general tweaks.
  • Wulfrun_PhilWulfrun_Phil Posts: 3,282
    Excellent thread.

    "And how we talk and listen to each other is at least as important as what we do in response. Social media often doesn’t help here."

    I think that's putting it mildly.

    Could we make a start on PB by at least cutting out the casual insults?
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 12,495
    As we've seen with Covid, democracy falls by the wayside when the shit hits the fan.

    Medico-authoritarianism has been the successful strategy. Of course we've seen a bit of a backlash against it, but it is clearly a vocal minority with the greater complaint being that the government hasn't been authoritarian enough.

    Now some would say that other issues are just as pressing and require similar decisive action. I'm not quite there yet. I still describe myself as an eco-socialist, unlike the eco-authoritarian sat beside me on the sofa. However, if the majority are unable to see what needs to be done, then I may need to change my position.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890

    Excellent thread.

    "And how we talk and listen to each other is at least as important as what we do in response. Social media often doesn’t help here."

    I think that's putting it mildly.

    Could we make a start on PB by at least cutting out the casual insults?

    Don’t be daft :smile:
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 32,890

    As we've seen with Covid, democracy falls by the wayside when the shit hits the fan.

    Medico-authoritarianism has been the successful strategy. Of course we've seen a bit of a backlash against it, but it is clearly a vocal minority with the greater complaint being that the government hasn't been authoritarian enough.

    Now some would say that other issues are just as pressing and require similar decisive action. I'm not quite there yet. I still describe myself as an eco-socialist, unlike the eco-authoritarian sat beside me on the sofa. However, if the majority are unable to see what needs to be done, then I may need to change my position.

    Would that be to under or over the eco-authoritarian? Or would you just swap places?
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 2,205
    A small stylistic point. In his excellent article CR keeps saying 'We must do so and so.'

    When he says 'We' does he actually mean to include himself in the strictures. If so, he has a project on for himself. If not, he doesn't mean 'We' he means 'You'. Guardian journalists do it all the time.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 9,293
    edited November 15
    Roy_G_Biv said:

    Another weird paragraph:
    "We also need to demonstrate our democratic system can manage crises better than everywhere else. Therefore, it is concerning that the West has struggled to escape the cycle of lockdowns over Covid, whilst life in Asia has largely gone back to normal. Things like this further undermine confidence in the system and weaken our ability to provide global leadership to deliver a democratic future."

    The West is not synonymous with democracy. Some of the Asian countries that have coped better with Covid-19 are as democratic as Western countries that have struggled. The USA is no more a democracy than South Korea. Ditto Belgium and Singapore.

    Taiwan manages to have US levels of spending at election time, with 2 main Parties who fundamentally disagree about the independence status of their island and elect everyone down to dog catcher.
    They manage to do this without suppression of voters, armed militia, or refusal to accept the results, and manage to count and verify the results in hours.
    Whilst all the while being threatened by the World's second biggest power who believe the island belongs to them.
    Oh. And control the virus more successfully than almost anyone else, without major restrictions whilst they are at it.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 25,331
    @Malmesbury first off thanks again, as always, for your charts.

    May I ask how they are ordered?
  • malcolmgmalcolmg Posts: 30,459
    Carnyx said:

    Have people from the Isle of Lewis always been this weird?

    They do catch and (after burying it in the bog) eat gannet. But otherwise I think it's a bit hard to accuse them all of being members of one chap's FB group.
    Not for unionist Tories
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 2,205
    edited November 15
    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Excellent article. Thank you. An issue is what democracy is. Is it the best possible way of running things and to be defended and protected at all costs. Or is it a stage of development reached for the UK after centuries of other things which will in due time morph into something else.

    In a sense democracy is an obvious piece of logic. We seem to be born sort of equal. People want to get what they want. How do you know what they want unless they are asked. How do you ask them without some sort of democracy process (of which there are infinite variants. I'm sure the North Koreans think they have one of them).

    But suppose there are things people want even more like security, protection, freedom from having everything they have got stolen, freedom from invasion from enemies, enough food, a roof over your head, clothes. Because this is true Thomas Hobbes developed the 'strong man' theory of government; ie obey the guy at the top because he is tough enough to have got there and no other protection is possible.

    When democracy fails at providing what the 'strong man' provides - and I like the fact that it has done pretty well at doing it for quite a time - it will fail and be replaced.

    There is a philosopher - I forget which one - who argues democracy is inherently contradictory. It needs men (this was early 20th century) of great strength, talent and charisma to succeed, but relies on such men not being around as otherwise that leads to dictatorships. Therefore, it can only succeed with leaders who are weak and inept. But because they are weak and inept, the system fails.

    The parallel used was the rise of Caesar, but I’ve always been struck with how apt a description the latter could be of the Third Republic and Weimar.
    Whether its weaknesses are fatal is yet to be seen. The evidence is that it only is remotely effective in communities well beyond the stage of very basic functioning, with spare time for leisure and reflection. At its most basic democracy serves its purpose, as with Trump (here's hoping) that having elected a psychopathic, Machiavellian narcissist it is possible to unelect him in the same way. it provides a removable 'strong man' system - which is Hobbes ameliorated by rival strong powers co-existing and available for office without being allowed to kill each other.

    Without some basic structure of accountability it would be infinitely easier for a Trump to get into a top position than it would to get him out of it again.
  • SandyRentoolSandyRentool Posts: 12,495
    ydoethur said:

    As we've seen with Covid, democracy falls by the wayside when the shit hits the fan.

    Medico-authoritarianism has been the successful strategy. Of course we've seen a bit of a backlash against it, but it is clearly a vocal minority with the greater complaint being that the government hasn't been authoritarian enough.

    Now some would say that other issues are just as pressing and require similar decisive action. I'm not quite there yet. I still describe myself as an eco-socialist, unlike the eco-authoritarian sat beside me on the sofa. However, if the majority are unable to see what needs to be done, then I may need to change my position.

    Would that be to under or over the eco-authoritarian? Or would you just swap places?
    I always sit on the right hand side of the sofa. Is that what you were getting at?
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 15,691
    edited November 15
    Yorkcity said:

    kinabalu said:

    Yep. Excellent piece. Just 3 little words demonstrate how fragile democracy can be. President Donald Trump.

    He has broken trust in democracy in the USA.
    Hard to see how it can be repaired.
    It's massively worrying. If voters cease to demand a modicum of honesty, integrity and competence from their leaders, democracy ceases to be the obvious best method of government. That Donald Trump has none of these attributes - is a corrupt and rotten to the core conman - is not opinion. It's objective truth. Yet he got 71m votes. That is not an electorate fit for purpose. I state this not to condescend or denigrate but simply as a concerning fact. Democracy needs a discerning and informed demos.
  • OMG.

    Christian freeman-on-the-landers.

    Two men have been arrested at a tearoom and Christian bookshop that has refused to close under Covid-19 regulations.

    Owners of the Mustard Seed in Gedling, Nottinghamshire, cited Magna Carta and common law as reasons to stay open.

    On Saturday police officers went to the cafe after reports of a gathering of "40 to 50 people" at the cafe.

    Officers arrested the two men for refusing to give their details when officers attempted to fine each of them £200.


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-54950773
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    On topic. A problem is that for some people, articulating something positive about their country seems wrong, or arrogant. There is also a belief that social, democratic, liberal, mixed market economy societies are a default that just happen.

    I can recall intense anger and debate about the idea that immigrants should learn English. Not must (in Denmark, for example, leave to remain and citizenship are both tied to passing stringent language tests, which include colloquial usage) but simply *should*.

    The common rejoinder to any comment to the effect of promoting common systems of values, is the accusations that the person doing the proposing is against "Multiculturalism". Note the capital. The doctrine of this was that integration is bad, and that every community should keep it's separate culture intact.

    The problem is that, despite the bullshit, not all cultural problems are caused by white Europeans. Every culture on the planet has its issues.

    For example, tolerating everyone else's religion. An obvious liberal values, yes?

    Yet for much of human history, the idea that the other guys religion is anything other than wrong (at best), physically evil (at worst) has been a standard way of doing things. There are many, many countries, today where discrimination against other religions is explicitly enshrined in law. Why shouldn't its be? To tolerate heresy is to risk the spiritual death of the nation. God might turn against us. So for the good of all, the heretics and godless ones must be destroyed.

    Strangely, people raised in such cultures and societies do not instantly become fans of the ecumenical approach, when they find it.

    And so it goes through the long list of liberties and values that people hold.

    It is worth considering this - the Western world is accelerating into a cultural Singularity. It is further away from much of the world than we realise and the distance is growing. One thing I have found interesting in my life is trying to explain, in response to questions from people outside the Western sphere, why and what it is we do. Sometimes even the basic building blocks of understanding are hard to find.

    There are two choices.....

    One, you can hold these values are universal and apply to all within a country. They should be taught, and promoted. Join us....

    Two you can say, your culture is just as good or better, no questions asked.

    But please, no hypocrisy. If the second approach is adopted, then the Districts in parts of France are the best we can hope for. If that is what you want - say so.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 29,906
    Rawnsley: A common complaint from cabinet colleagues and officials is that Mr Johnson has a tendency to agree with the last person who spoke to him. This means that a huge amount of power is wielded by whoever is the last “last person”. For a long time, it was usually Mr Cummings who stayed in the room with the prime minister after everyone else had left. This is why a vicious power struggle erupted within Number 10 around the issue of who would fill the vacant position of chief of staff. All the factions involved in the warring on Downing Street agree that it boiled down to “who controls Boris”. Which makes him sound less like a prime minister than a TV remote being wrestled over by squabbling aides.

    The question now preoccupying Westminster is whether this upheaval will lead to a change of style, performance and direction. Those Conservative MPs who have long been demanding “a reset” of an alienating and dysfunctional Number 10 are fervently hoping it will. So should everyone else if it means the Johnson government will evolve into a less hapless and more professional outfit than the amateurish and chaotic regime that has stumbled from calamity to U-turn to debacle to disaster throughout the epidemic.

    “Left to his own devices, Boris will wander off from decisions and read Pliny or Pericles or eat or shag,” remarks a senior Tory who has sat in the cabinet with this prime minister. “The bit of self-knowledge that Boris has is that he needs someone who will sit him down at the table and say there’s a decision to be made and tell him that you’re not leaving this room until you’ve made it.” It was by being the person who cajoled decisions out of the prime minister that Mr Cummings made himself so powerful. He’s gone. That gap in Boris Johnson, that hole at the heart of government, remains.
  • alednamalednam Posts: 62
    If only I could think that we have the ability to choose those in power to give effect to our concerns. As it is, many members of the electorate are deprived of such an ability. The ability is taken away from them by campaigns run by those who (a) know which lies are readily believed by most people (‘the ordinary person in the street has little understanding’, as Dominic Cummings has put it), and (b) know how to convey false messages to millions making use of both a rightwing press and social media companies who can target those known to be relevantly gullible.
  • QuincelQuincel Posts: 3,243
    edited November 15

    Excellent thread.

    "And how we talk and listen to each other is at least as important as what we do in response. Social media often doesn’t help here."

    I think that's putting it mildly.

    Could we make a start on PB by at least cutting out the casual insults?

    Hear, hear! I value this website despite the manner in which some users express their disagreements. I'd much rather count the tone as one of the things I come here because of, not despite of.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 58,286

    OMG.

    Christian freeman-on-the-landers.

    Two men have been arrested at a tearoom and Christian bookshop that has refused to close under Covid-19 regulations.

    Owners of the Mustard Seed in Gedling, Nottinghamshire, cited Magna Carta and common law as reasons to stay open.

    On Saturday police officers went to the cafe after reports of a gathering of "40 to 50 people" at the cafe.

    Officers arrested the two men for refusing to give their details when officers attempted to fine each of them £200.


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-54950773

    They really need to teach the law in schools, as I am no lawyer, but simply crying out 'magna carta' whenever your personal liberty is restricted doesn't sound like a solid strategy.
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998
    algarkirk said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Excellent article. Thank you. An issue is what democracy is. Is it the best possible way of running things and to be defended and protected at all costs. Or is it a stage of development reached for the UK after centuries of other things which will in due time morph into something else.

    In a sense democracy is an obvious piece of logic. We seem to be born sort of equal. People want to get what they want. How do you know what they want unless they are asked. How do you ask them without some sort of democracy process (of which there are infinite variants. I'm sure the North Koreans think they have one of them).

    But suppose there are things people want even more like security, protection, freedom from having everything they have got stolen, freedom from invasion from enemies, enough food, a roof over your head, clothes. Because this is true Thomas Hobbes developed the 'strong man' theory of government; ie obey the guy at the top because he is tough enough to have got there and no other protection is possible.

    When democracy fails at providing what the 'strong man' provides - and I like the fact that it has done pretty well at doing it for quite a time - it will fail and be replaced.

    There is a philosopher - I forget which one - who argues democracy is inherently contradictory. It needs men (this was early 20th century) of great strength, talent and charisma to succeed, but relies on such men not being around as otherwise that leads to dictatorships. Therefore, it can only succeed with leaders who are weak and inept. But because they are weak and inept, the system fails.

    The parallel used was the rise of Caesar, but I’ve always been struck with how apt a description the latter could be of the Third Republic and Weimar.
    Whether its weaknesses are fatal is yet to be seen. The evidence is that it only is remotely effective in communities well beyond the stage of very basic functioning, with spare time for leisure and reflection. At its most basic democracy serves its purpose, as with Trump (here's hoping) that having elected a psychopathic, Machiavellian narcissist it is possible to unelect him in the same way. it provides a removable 'strong man' system - which is Hobbes ameliorated by rival strong powers co-existing and available for office without being allowed to kill each other.
    Precisely this. It's as much about removal of people in power as it is about choosing them. Proper democracies have, at minimum, maximum lengths of term with free and fair elections to emplace the officeholder. The former is as important as the latter.
    As long as the machinery of government is strong enough to remove someone who refuses to leave, and strong enough to resist someone stopping an election being free and fair, the democracy persists.
    American democracy is strong enough to meet those challenges, notwithstanding the fact that US elections are not perfectly fair.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    TOPPING said:

    @Malmesbury first off thanks again, as always, for your charts.

    May I ask how they are ordered?

    Ordering is pretty crude - highest average of the row. This *tends* to put the worst effected areas to the top.

    I've been playing around with rate of descent/ascent algorithms - but it is quite hard to come up with something that is noticeably better than the crude average.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 9,293
    edited November 15
    If there's one thing a non-(?)sentient virus, whose only purpose of existence is to replicate fears it's the scrutiny of the Press.
    Come to think. Has anyone tried asking it whether we can hug grandkids, where we can go on holidays and how many we can have over for Christmas incessantly?
    Worth a try. It might just bugger off.
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 2,205
    IanB2 said:

    Rawnsley: A common complaint from cabinet colleagues and officials is that Mr Johnson has a tendency to agree with the last person who spoke to him. This means that a huge amount of power is wielded by whoever is the last “last person”. For a long time, it was usually Mr Cummings who stayed in the room with the prime minister after everyone else had left. This is why a vicious power struggle erupted within Number 10 around the issue of who would fill the vacant position of chief of staff. All the factions involved in the warring on Downing Street agree that it boiled down to “who controls Boris”. Which makes him sound less like a prime minister than a TV remote being wrestled over by squabbling aides.

    The question now preoccupying Westminster is whether this upheaval will lead to a change of style, performance and direction. Those Conservative MPs who have long been demanding “a reset” of an alienating and dysfunctional Number 10 are fervently hoping it will. So should everyone else if it means the Johnson government will evolve into a less hapless and more professional outfit than the amateurish and chaotic regime that has stumbled from calamity to U-turn to debacle to disaster throughout the epidemic.

    “Left to his own devices, Boris will wander off from decisions and read Pliny or Pericles or eat or shag,” remarks a senior Tory who has sat in the cabinet with this prime minister. “The bit of self-knowledge that Boris has is that he needs someone who will sit him down at the table and say there’s a decision to be made and tell him that you’re not leaving this room until you’ve made it.” It was by being the person who cajoled decisions out of the prime minister that Mr Cummings made himself so powerful. He’s gone. That gap in Boris Johnson, that hole at the heart of government, remains.

    Pericles was not an author in that sense. Not even Boris can read him in an extant form. The nearest you can get to reading him is in Thucydides reporting a speech. To make up for it there are two extant Plinys to choose from, the younger more readable than the elder.

  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    algarkirk said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Excellent article. Thank you. An issue is what democracy is. Is it the best possible way of running things and to be defended and protected at all costs. Or is it a stage of development reached for the UK after centuries of other things which will in due time morph into something else.

    In a sense democracy is an obvious piece of logic. We seem to be born sort of equal. People want to get what they want. How do you know what they want unless they are asked. How do you ask them without some sort of democracy process (of which there are infinite variants. I'm sure the North Koreans think they have one of them).

    But suppose there are things people want even more like security, protection, freedom from having everything they have got stolen, freedom from invasion from enemies, enough food, a roof over your head, clothes. Because this is true Thomas Hobbes developed the 'strong man' theory of government; ie obey the guy at the top because he is tough enough to have got there and no other protection is possible.

    When democracy fails at providing what the 'strong man' provides - and I like the fact that it has done pretty well at doing it for quite a time - it will fail and be replaced.

    There is a philosopher - I forget which one - who argues democracy is inherently contradictory. It needs men (this was early 20th century) of great strength, talent and charisma to succeed, but relies on such men not being around as otherwise that leads to dictatorships. Therefore, it can only succeed with leaders who are weak and inept. But because they are weak and inept, the system fails.

    The parallel used was the rise of Caesar, but I’ve always been struck with how apt a description the latter could be of the Third Republic and Weimar.
    Whether its weaknesses are fatal is yet to be seen. The evidence is that it only is remotely effective in communities well beyond the stage of very basic functioning, with spare time for leisure and reflection. At its most basic democracy serves its purpose, as with Trump (here's hoping) that having elected a psychopathic, Machiavellian narcissist it is possible to unelect him in the same way. it provides a removable 'strong man' system - which is Hobbes ameliorated by rival strong powers co-existing and available for office without being allowed to kill each other.

    Without some basic structure of accountability it would be infinitely easier for a Trump to get into a top position than it would to get him out of it again.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fraser_Tytler,_Lord_Woodhouselee

    might be of interest...
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 2,667
    Tiger woods has just taken a 10 at a par 3 - makes me feel better about my golf !
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 8,591
    dixiedean said:

    If there's one thing a non-(?)sentient virus, whose only purpose of existence is to replicate fears it's the scrutiny of the Press.
    Come to think. Has anyone tried asking it repeatedly whether we can hug grandkids, where we can go on holidays and how many we can have over for Christmas incessantly?
    Worth a try. It might just bugger off.
    If the press had performed informed criticism of the announced *policies* and *science* of the pandemic, then there might well have been a different outcome. The inability of the press to follow a story to more than superficial depth has proved to be an enormous issue.
  • Well written thread CR.

    A refusal to accept the other side has won a vote is the most concerning development in recent years.

    Whether in 2016 or 2020 an acknowledgement that an argument was hard fought, but the other side has won the vote and it should be implemented in the best way for all (but issues can be revisited in a few years time if people aren't happy with it) is an important part of democracy.
  • Roy_G_BivRoy_G_Biv Posts: 998

    On topic. A problem is that for some people, articulating something positive about their country seems wrong, or arrogant. There is also a belief that social, democratic, liberal, mixed market economy societies are a default that just happen.

    I can recall intense anger and debate about the idea that immigrants should learn English. Not must (in Denmark, for example, leave to remain and citizenship are both tied to passing stringent language tests, which include colloquial usage) but simply *should*.

    The common rejoinder to any comment to the effect of promoting common systems of values, is the accusations that the person doing the proposing is against "Multiculturalism". Note the capital. The doctrine of this was that integration is bad, and that every community should keep it's separate culture intact.

    The problem is that, despite the bullshit, not all cultural problems are caused by white Europeans. Every culture on the planet has its issues.

    For example, tolerating everyone else's religion. An obvious liberal values, yes?

    Yet for much of human history, the idea that the other guys religion is anything other than wrong (at best), physically evil (at worst) has been a standard way of doing things. There are many, many countries, today where discrimination against other religions is explicitly enshrined in law. Why shouldn't its be? To tolerate heresy is to risk the spiritual death of the nation. God might turn against us. So for the good of all, the heretics and godless ones must be destroyed.

    Strangely, people raised in such cultures and societies do not instantly become fans of the ecumenical approach, when they find it.

    And so it goes through the long list of liberties and values that people hold.

    It is worth considering this - the Western world is accelerating into a cultural Singularity. It is further away from much of the world than we realise and the distance is growing. One thing I have found interesting in my life is trying to explain, in response to questions from people outside the Western sphere, why and what it is we do. Sometimes even the basic building blocks of understanding are hard to find.

    There are two choices.....

    One, you can hold these values are universal and apply to all within a country. They should be taught, and promoted. Join us....

    Two you can say, your culture is just as good or better, no questions asked.

    But please, no hypocrisy. If the second approach is adopted, then the Districts in parts of France are the best we can hope for. If that is what you want - say so.

    The trouble is, those who seem most fervently in favour of assimilation are also most likely to be furious about children and students being "indoctrinated" with certain values.
    I've never quite been able to get my head around those apparently irreconcilable opinions. Surely if children are being indoctrinated, that's evidence of multiple native cultures which are keenly contested.

    I've always said it, and I'll say it again: I feel very little in common with some people from the same country as me. They seem baffling, weird and, yes, stupid to me. As I do to them. If some immigrant rocks up eager to assimilate, should they be like me, or should they be like Casino? One would hope, for their own sake, they choose neither.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 19,566
    ydoethur said:

    Roy_G_Biv said:

    ydoethur said:

    In truth, the flu in 1918 was not as severe as its later waves (1919-1920). And we were also much more inured to death from illness (no antibiotics). Also no nhs to save, just a system of local healthcare, so no ‘save the nhs’.
    The First World War didn’t officially finish until 1919.

    Edit - technically it actually finished in 1958, but 1919 was when the BEF was withdrawn and stood down.
    Alternative views of history exist. Philip Bobbitt de-emphasises the distinction between WW1, WW2, and the Cold War, and lumps them together into a single "epochal" war he terms The Long War, 1914-1990, fought essentially over which type of the nation state was legitimate. Read The Shield of Achilles: War Peace and the Course of History for more on that framework.
    And of course, there was a war in Britain itself in 1919 - a very nasty one.
    And a number of other continuation wars, notably in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and the collapsing Ottoman Empire, some of which our troops were heavily involved with. I would suggest the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was the real end of WW1.
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