Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.

Next UK General Election: The great graduate/non-graduate divide – politicalbetting.com

1356

Comments

  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,162
    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
  • isamisam Posts: 38,441
    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Good reviews from two of the Labour politicians who are most concerned about the working class

    “ 'For many years David Skelton has been a political pioneer in his attempts to develop a distinct 'blue-collar' conservatism. In recent times, with talk of 'levelling up', his party has moved decisively in his direction. In this vital book Skelton urges them to complete the journey by embracing a new pro-worker settlement: one built around dignified and fulfilling work, which renews our vocations, empowers and rewards workers and strengthens their voices and communities. He makes a compelling case, not just in terms of political calculation but in the name of justice. I don't know if the Tories will listen to and embrace Skelton's ideas, but if they do, my party should really start to worry.'

    Jon Cruddas Labour MP and author of The Dignity of Labour

    'David Skelton writes with passion and perception about the fear and loathing that progressives feel for the working class.'

    -- Maurice Glasman, Labour life peer and director of the Common Good Foundation”

  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,930

    Nigelb said:

    Foxy said:

    Powerful interview with Durrani here from Kandahar, waiting for a knock on the door:

    “This means losing your houses, your dreams, your goals, your ambition... everything.”

    Pashtana Durrani, executive director of an NGO for girls' education speaks to @krishgm from Kandahar in Afghanistan, a city under siege by the Taliban. https://t.co/j6qUPzDkP3

    Rory Stewart on R4 this morning was equally devastating about the consequences of the abrupt decision to pull out.
    As he pointed out, things were being held together by a few thousand troops, and air support, which while costly, represented a fraction of what had previously been spent.
    The US decision is at least defensible; the manner in which it has been carried out is not.

    The Afghan regime deserve some blame too, for utterly failing to plan for the consequences.
    "The Afghan regime" .... "utterly failing to plan for the consequences"

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

    As to pulling out. It is inevitable, for the UK. Do it now or wait until it gets to the roof of the Embassy.

    The only way to have changed this result would been to have changed the culture of Afghanistan.

    Which, interestingly, is the one thing everyone involved agreed not to do.
    The culture of Afghanistan has been changed, significantly.
    There is a whole generation which has grown up under the US occupation, and a large number of them have had access to education which simply didn't exist prior to that. Though of course other parts of the country had no such thing.

    Whether it might have been possible for an Afghan government to consolidate its forces in defensible regions and hold out against the Taliban is pretty well moot now - but they didn't even make the attempt.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006
    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
  • TheuniondivvieTheuniondivvie Posts: 30,173

    TOPPING said:

    Everyone is saying how wonderfully Jacinda has handled Covid.

    Doesn't seem great to me not being allowed in or out of your own country but hondootedly for life within the country it must have been great and of course a huge improvement on our situation if one can separate out the two elements.

    And wrt LOTR, @another_richard had it right. They, and others, are fantastic books. For children. There is something not quite right for adults to be reading them imo.

    That’s my attitude to Dr Who. Fine for children, but there is something not quite right for adults to be watching it. And especially worrying when they become obsessives. Stuck in an infantile universe.
    Indeed.

    'Ms Davidson was quoted in today’s Scottish Sun, saying: “The SNP simply cannot guarantee that we’d still get Dr Who after independence.”'

    https://tinyurl.com/dbbs2mwz
  • DougSealDougSeal Posts: 6,638
    The only problem with Tolkien for me is that his success mired the fantasy genre in an early medieval Northern Europe inspired milieu. One of the more enjoyable fantasy series I have read in recent years is Scott Lynch’s “Gentlemen Bastards” sequence set on a suitably magical world loosely styled on High Renaissance Venice and Florence. Also China Mieville’s more steampunky stuff.
  • StuartDicksonStuartDickson Posts: 5,279
    Gatwick warns of UK travel being left behind Europe due to costly PCR tests
    - Gatwick says travel bookings in France and Germany are over half of pre-pandemic levels but just 16% in the UK
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    London politician resigns after millions wasted on pointless tourist attraction.

    No, not Boris and the Garden Bridge.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-58197626

    But at least this one get built.
  • squareroot2squareroot2 Posts: 4,654
    edited August 13
    DougSeal said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    Rory the Tory can bewail all he wants but no government of which he is either a part or a critic will send the requisite number of troops (which in any case would be meaningless without a multiple of that number from the US).

    As such Afghan will be left to its own devices. Civil wars are best left to their own devices. Too often instead of letting a winner emerge, even one we disagree with, the West intervenes to prolong for years a civil war that would otherwise be over relatively quickly with a decisive winner, as appears to be happening now in Afghan.

    Rory may be a Tory but he’s the only one I would have been tempted to vote if ever given the chance.
    Hmmmm.. i am not so sure I would. Far better to have PM with ratings almost as good as Blair, especially if it winds up the natives...
  • Fysics_TeacherFysics_Teacher Posts: 5,535
    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    You could do worse than start with this: https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/seamus-heaney/beowulf/9780571203765?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhO-_gsut8gIVgsLtCh2xxQFkEAQYASABEgJmY_D_BwE
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884
    isam said:

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Good reviews from two of the Labour politicians who are most concerned about the working class

    “ 'For many years David Skelton has been a political pioneer in his attempts to develop a distinct 'blue-collar' conservatism. In recent times, with talk of 'levelling up', his party has moved decisively in his direction. In this vital book Skelton urges them to complete the journey by embracing a new pro-worker settlement: one built around dignified and fulfilling work, which renews our vocations, empowers and rewards workers and strengthens their voices and communities. He makes a compelling case, not just in terms of political calculation but in the name of justice. I don't know if the Tories will listen to and embrace Skelton's ideas, but if they do, my party should really start to worry.'

    Jon Cruddas Labour MP and author of The Dignity of Labour

    'David Skelton writes with passion and perception about the fear and loathing that progressives feel for the working class.'

    -- Maurice Glasman, Labour life peer and director of the Common Good Foundation”

    You would very much enjoy and see great merit in it, I believe, Sam - it is essentially saying what you have been saying for the past few years.

    Wait...."Sam".....!! :smile:
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    Yeah of course there is that terrorist/freedom fighter thing.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 21,319

    "The public inquiry into Covid must be broad enough to consider the narrowness of the perspectives and experiences involved in making decisions [on lockdown] that have had such an unprecedented effect on the economic and emotional wellbeing of the youngest and worst-off members of the population."

    "...we suspect that we are going to be proved right that the cure of lockdown has been much more harmful than the disease of Covid."

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/08/13/lockdown-based-faith-not-evidence/


    Sunetra Gupta trigger warning.

    I read something from her earlier this week that was just astonishing. She says she was ‘quoted out of context’ on the ludicrous IFR she came up with for the U.K., and still believes we reached herd immunity last summer. Maybe just fess up and admit you got it wrong?
    She writes in the article:

    "let us restore it to its original meaning. Herd immunity means that the level of immunity in the population is such that the virus hovers around R=1."


    I suspect we are dealing with differing definitions here.
    She believed that the big falls in infections from last march and into summer were an indicator that we had reached herd immunity. She posits that the reason antibody tests didn't show anything like this is because they fade really quickly. This is not the case, as is shown by the data in the UK now (92% of adults have antibodies, including many who had their second jab in Jan or Feb (original Pfizer dosing regime). I have no issue with people being wrong, its refusing to accept/admit it when shown to be wrong that is a problem.
    We used shutting down large sections of the economy and isolating people from each other (to an extent) to reduce R below 1. That's not herd immunity by any definition I've heard of before....

    Is she trying to merge anti-lockdownism with lockdown-foreverism?
    The logical inconsistency is due to her engaging in "I'm always rightism even when all the evidence shows I am wrong"

    It is easy to spot when you've spent enough time on PB.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Foxy said:

    Powerful interview with Durrani here from Kandahar, waiting for a knock on the door:

    “This means losing your houses, your dreams, your goals, your ambition... everything.”

    Pashtana Durrani, executive director of an NGO for girls' education speaks to @krishgm from Kandahar in Afghanistan, a city under siege by the Taliban. https://t.co/j6qUPzDkP3

    Rory Stewart on R4 this morning was equally devastating about the consequences of the abrupt decision to pull out.
    As he pointed out, things were being held together by a few thousand troops, and air support, which while costly, represented a fraction of what had previously been spent.
    The US decision is at least defensible; the manner in which it has been carried out is not.

    The Afghan regime deserve some blame too, for utterly failing to plan for the consequences.
    "The Afghan regime" .... "utterly failing to plan for the consequences"

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

    As to pulling out. It is inevitable, for the UK. Do it now or wait until it gets to the roof of the Embassy.

    The only way to have changed this result would been to have changed the culture of Afghanistan.

    Which, interestingly, is the one thing everyone involved agreed not to do.
    The culture of Afghanistan has been changed, significantly.
    There is a whole generation which has grown up under the US occupation, and a large number of them have had access to education which simply didn't exist prior to that. Though of course other parts of the country had no such thing.

    Whether it might have been possible for an Afghan government to consolidate its forces in defensible regions and hold out against the Taliban is pretty well moot now - but they didn't even make the attempt.
    From what I've seen, the "change" is very thin. There seems to be little that people will fight for. The Taliban are mostly walking in, not fighting their way in.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    You could do worse than start with this: https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/seamus-heaney/beowulf/9780571203765?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhO-_gsut8gIVgsLtCh2xxQFkEAQYASABEgJmY_D_BwE
    tyvm yes that is starting at the top! Is that what @kle4 meant?
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 9,570

    Mr. Topping, have to say I thought the first Harry Potter was ok (for children) but it didn't entice me to read more.

    It's been a long time since I read LOTR but I think there are some interesting ideas in there. Consider, for example, that Frodo doesn't actually manage to resist the ring. The reason it's destroyed is because of mercy that he, and Bilbo, showed to a pitiable creature.

    It is doubly clever. In your basic plot, James Bond's task would be to break in to Sauron's lair and assassinate him. You can't have hobbit assassins, that would be silly, so you change the story so it's to destroy something. Taking and destroying something would make them burglars, so you make them bring it with them, just to borrow the destruction machinery. Then, as you say, they don't even do that.
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 9,570
    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Doesn't sound the sort of thing I would want my wife or servants to read.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006
    isam said:

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Good reviews from two of the Labour politicians who are most concerned about the working class

    “ 'For many years David Skelton has been a political pioneer in his attempts to develop a distinct 'blue-collar' conservatism. In recent times, with talk of 'levelling up', his party has moved decisively in his direction. In this vital book Skelton urges them to complete the journey by embracing a new pro-worker settlement: one built around dignified and fulfilling work, which renews our vocations, empowers and rewards workers and strengthens their voices and communities. He makes a compelling case, not just in terms of political calculation but in the name of justice. I don't know if the Tories will listen to and embrace Skelton's ideas, but if they do, my party should really start to worry.'

    Jon Cruddas Labour MP and author of The Dignity of Labour

    'David Skelton writes with passion and perception about the fear and loathing that progressives feel for the working class.'

    -- Maurice Glasman, Labour life peer and director of the Common Good Foundation”

    The snobbery in question is hardly new. Orwell, among others, wrote on the problem of middle class intellectuals otherising the working class.....
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,930
    Scott_xP said:

    Former international development secretary Rory Stewart tells @SkyNews there will be millions of Afghans in "horrifying conditions".

    "It's going to be heartbreaking."

    "We're going to end up with terrorists but, above all, people in real misery."

    "This is our fault."

    When put to him that the UK tried to work with allies to continue a presence in Afghanistan, he said: "It seems to me very difficult to believe that you could not convince France, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom to put together a force of 2,500 soldiers, which is very small."...

    He not wrong about the consequences, but the idea that the UK and EU could go it alone (and it's almost inconceivable they'd agree such a thing anyway) without the US is pure fantasy.

  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 17,393

    Do we know who's more likely to vote out of grads/non-grads?

    As Foxy noted it's complicated by dual registration for students, so they vote more than is apparent. But broadly speaking both being older and having high educational level correlate with likelihood to vote, which in party terms perhaps cancel each other out.

    It's important to remember that few children make a conscious decision to go or not go to university - it's either expected or not expected but everyone around you, though clearly you can opt out of either choice as you approach 18. So any suggestion that non-grads are thick is well off the mark. But it's probably true that exposure to a wide range of thinking at uni makes it hard to maintain knee-jerk populist attitudes - I wouldn't think Sun or even Mail readership is very common in ex-grads. There's peer pressure too - you'll just seem a bit odd if you're a militant Tory at most unis.

    What seems to stick with everyone is liberal social attitudes - few students have ever been bothered by gay marriage etc. and that open-mindedness has spread through the population, whereas quite a lot moderate their left-wing views as they get older (sadly).
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 27,519
    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

  • isamisam Posts: 38,441
    TOPPING said:

    isam said:

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Good reviews from two of the Labour politicians who are most concerned about the working class

    “ 'For many years David Skelton has been a political pioneer in his attempts to develop a distinct 'blue-collar' conservatism. In recent times, with talk of 'levelling up', his party has moved decisively in his direction. In this vital book Skelton urges them to complete the journey by embracing a new pro-worker settlement: one built around dignified and fulfilling work, which renews our vocations, empowers and rewards workers and strengthens their voices and communities. He makes a compelling case, not just in terms of political calculation but in the name of justice. I don't know if the Tories will listen to and embrace Skelton's ideas, but if they do, my party should really start to worry.'

    Jon Cruddas Labour MP and author of The Dignity of Labour

    'David Skelton writes with passion and perception about the fear and loathing that progressives feel for the working class.'

    -- Maurice Glasman, Labour life peer and director of the Common Good Foundation”

    You would very much enjoy and see great merit in it, I believe, Sam - it is essentially saying what you have been saying for the past few years.

    Wait...."Sam".....!! :smile:
    Yes, it does seems to be saying that. I thought of buying it but for one, I never finish books and two, I guess I already am
    Convinced by his argument.

    I am currently reading ‘the old man and the sea’… about 4 pages a day…half way in, and I have to say I don’t really get it
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,162
    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Perdido Street Station is a good example of a Fantasy genre book that's not for kids.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 7,893
    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
  • YoungTurkYoungTurk Posts: 158

    Mr. Topping, have to say I thought the first Harry Potter was ok (for children) but it didn't entice me to read more.

    It's been a long time since I read LOTR but I think there are some interesting ideas in there. Consider, for example, that Frodo doesn't actually manage to resist the ring. The reason it's destroyed is because of mercy that he, and Bilbo, showed to a pitiable creature.

    The best thing about LOTR is the wonderful texture of the imaginative writing. Storywise it's two stories melded together - do something about the Ring, and the saga of the "rightful king". They should never have trusted Gollum/Smeagol.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,323
    Mr. Turk, yet, if they hadn't, they would have lost.

    It wasn't a triumph of good over evil, but of evil undermining itself.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    The chap who got done for murder did so because

    - He stood over a dying man and stated he was about to commit a war crime.
    - He even specified the war crime he was about to commit.
    - He pulled out his gun and committed the exactly described war crime
    - The above was filmed.

    The idea that fighting "nasty" would win this is a simply wrong. Such behaviour has never worked.

    Something to chew on - the laws of war that applied above, were written at the end of the 19th cent. In part, by soldiers of the British Empire. Who had all served in Afghanistan. Sucessfully. And signed up to these internationally agreed laws with a willing heart.
  • Fysics_TeacherFysics_Teacher Posts: 5,535

    Do we know who's more likely to vote out of grads/non-grads?

    As Foxy noted it's complicated by dual registration for students, so they vote more than is apparent. But broadly speaking both being older and having high educational level correlate with likelihood to vote, which in party terms perhaps cancel each other out.

    It's important to remember that few children make a conscious decision to go or not go to university - it's either expected or not expected but everyone around you, though clearly you can opt out of either choice as you approach 18. So any suggestion that non-grads are thick is well off the mark. But it's probably true that exposure to a wide range of thinking at uni makes it hard to maintain knee-jerk populist attitudes - I wouldn't think Sun or even Mail readership is very common in ex-grads. There's peer pressure too - you'll just seem a bit odd if you're a militant Tory at most unis.

    What seems to stick with everyone is liberal social attitudes - few students have ever been bothered by gay marriage etc. and that open-mindedness has spread through the population, whereas quite a lot moderate their left-wing views as they get older (sadly).
    Who are the ex-grads? I’ve never heard of that before.
  • mwadamsmwadams Posts: 651

    Do we know who's more likely to vote out of grads/non-grads?

    As Foxy noted it's complicated by dual registration for students, so they vote more than is apparent. But broadly speaking both being older and having high educational level correlate with likelihood to vote, which in party terms perhaps cancel each other out.

    It's important to remember that few children make a conscious decision to go or not go to university - it's either expected or not expected but everyone around you, though clearly you can opt out of either choice as you approach 18. So any suggestion that non-grads are thick is well off the mark. But it's probably true that exposure to a wide range of thinking at uni makes it hard to maintain knee-jerk populist attitudes - I wouldn't think Sun or even Mail readership is very common in ex-grads. There's peer pressure too - you'll just seem a bit odd if you're a militant Tory at most unis.

    What seems to stick with everyone is liberal social attitudes - few students have ever been bothered by gay marriage etc. and that open-mindedness has spread through the population, whereas quite a lot moderate their left-wing views as they get older (sadly).
    Who are the ex-grads? I’ve never heard of that before.
    If you have to give your degree back because you were actually three children in a trench coat?
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,162

    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Foxy said:

    Powerful interview with Durrani here from Kandahar, waiting for a knock on the door:

    “This means losing your houses, your dreams, your goals, your ambition... everything.”

    Pashtana Durrani, executive director of an NGO for girls' education speaks to @krishgm from Kandahar in Afghanistan, a city under siege by the Taliban. https://t.co/j6qUPzDkP3

    Rory Stewart on R4 this morning was equally devastating about the consequences of the abrupt decision to pull out.
    As he pointed out, things were being held together by a few thousand troops, and air support, which while costly, represented a fraction of what had previously been spent.
    The US decision is at least defensible; the manner in which it has been carried out is not.

    The Afghan regime deserve some blame too, for utterly failing to plan for the consequences.
    "The Afghan regime" .... "utterly failing to plan for the consequences"

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

    As to pulling out. It is inevitable, for the UK. Do it now or wait until it gets to the roof of the Embassy.

    The only way to have changed this result would been to have changed the culture of Afghanistan.

    Which, interestingly, is the one thing everyone involved agreed not to do.
    The culture of Afghanistan has been changed, significantly.
    There is a whole generation which has grown up under the US occupation, and a large number of them have had access to education which simply didn't exist prior to that. Though of course other parts of the country had no such thing.

    Whether it might have been possible for an Afghan government to consolidate its forces in defensible regions and hold out against the Taliban is pretty well moot now - but they didn't even make the attempt.
    From what I've seen, the "change" is very thin. There seems to be little that people will fight for. The Taliban are mostly walking in, not fighting their way in.
    A problem is a lack of leadership. People need a leader who they can believe in and follow who will organise them, so that they will trust that when they fight there will be others fighting beside them. Few are willing to fight if they believe they will be fighting alone.
  • YoungTurkYoungTurk Posts: 158
    edited August 13
    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    If stopping the enemy [1] fighting (in terms however limited) [2] isn't achievable [3], then don't start a war.

    The invasion was a terrible f***-up. There's a question as to whether that will be admitted any decade soon.

    Notes
    1) "The enemy" is a more grown-up term for "the bad guys".
    2) Stopping the enemy fighting is the aim of all war.
    3) Because you won't be allowed to use your biggest weapons, or whatever - it doesn't matter - for WHATEVER reasons. Don't fight wars you can't win.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 27,519
    DougSeal said:

    The only problem with Tolkien for me is that his success mired the fantasy genre in an early medieval Northern Europe inspired milieu. One of the more enjoyable fantasy series I have read in recent years is Scott Lynch’s “Gentlemen Bastards” sequence set on a suitably magical world loosely styled on High Renaissance Venice and Florence. Also China Mieville’s more steampunky stuff.

    Marlon James's "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" is an interesting fantasy book based on African myths and legends.

    I think the biggest missing skill in the genre is a good editor. We see this in the Harry Potter series. The first two were gripping adventures, and the third is the apogee, but after that the decline is mirrored in the length of the books. Cut each of the subsequent books by 50% And they would have been a lot better. The same goes for films and miniseries, if you cannot tell your tale concisely, then you cannot tell it well.
  • Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

    Yes, when you're at the point of suggesting that the solution is to wipe out all the "bad guys", then you quite probably have become one of the "bad guys".
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,323
    Dr. Foxy, aye, that can be a problem in fantasy. A Song of Ice and Fire is notable in that regard. George RR Martin has a lot of plot threads he needs to cut in the next two books, assuming they ever get written.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 7,893
    tlg86 said:

    just think we're too squeamish to do what's required.

    The idea that the average British (or American or whatever) squaddie is 'squeamish', especially after a few months in theatre is ludicrous. Only a tiny fraction of what goes on gets reported and prosecuted...
  • Fysics_TeacherFysics_Teacher Posts: 5,535
    isam said:

    TOPPING said:

    isam said:

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Good reviews from two of the Labour politicians who are most concerned about the working class

    “ 'For many years David Skelton has been a political pioneer in his attempts to develop a distinct 'blue-collar' conservatism. In recent times, with talk of 'levelling up', his party has moved decisively in his direction. In this vital book Skelton urges them to complete the journey by embracing a new pro-worker settlement: one built around dignified and fulfilling work, which renews our vocations, empowers and rewards workers and strengthens their voices and communities. He makes a compelling case, not just in terms of political calculation but in the name of justice. I don't know if the Tories will listen to and embrace Skelton's ideas, but if they do, my party should really start to worry.'

    Jon Cruddas Labour MP and author of The Dignity of Labour

    'David Skelton writes with passion and perception about the fear and loathing that progressives feel for the working class.'

    -- Maurice Glasman, Labour life peer and director of the Common Good Foundation”

    You would very much enjoy and see great merit in it, I believe, Sam - it is essentially saying what you have been saying for the past few years.

    Wait...."Sam".....!! :smile:
    Yes, it does seems to be saying that. I thought of buying it but for one, I never finish books and two, I guess I already am
    Convinced by his argument.

    I am currently reading ‘the old man and the sea’… about 4 pages a day…half way in, and I have to say I don’t really get it
    If you are having difficulty putting aside the time to read at the moment, try an audio book. I use my phone to listen to them when I am out and about, and over the summer I’ve got though a large number of books: mostly Agatha Christie, I’ll admit, but still more new books than I’ve managed in ages.
  • kjhkjh Posts: 4,437
    edited August 13

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example only. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
  • YoungTurkYoungTurk Posts: 158
    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    I.e. what used to be called "Vietnam Syndrome", which George Bush the Younger buried 20 years ago in response to 911 - but oops, it wasn't dead.

  • Big_G_NorthWalesBig_G_NorthWales Posts: 46,224
    Scott_xP said:

    Former international development secretary Rory Stewart tells @SkyNews there will be millions of Afghans in "horrifying conditions".

    "It's going to be heartbreaking."

    "We're going to end up with terrorists but, above all, people in real misery."

    "This is our fault."

    When put to him that the UK tried to work with allies to continue a presence in Afghanistan, he said: "It seems to me very difficult to believe that you could not convince France, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom to put together a force of 2,500 soldiers, which is very small."

    Asked about foreign aid cuts, Stewart added: "It's crazy, totally crazy. You can't have it both ways. You can't remove your troops and throw Afghanistan back into the Middle Ages affecting millions of lives and destroying 20 years of progress and not feel a moral obligation."


    https://twitter.com/SophiaSleigh/status/1426094581830017026

    As I understand it it was the US who have withdrawn leaving no other option for the UK

    And I very much doubt there is public appetite for UK involvement with another indeterminate foreign military involvement
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675
    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    just think we're too squeamish to do what's required.

    The idea that the average British (or American or whatever) squaddie is 'squeamish', especially after a few months in theatre is ludicrous. Only a tiny fraction of what goes on gets reported and prosecuted...
    I meant we as in the politicians and the media rather than the soldiers. Very easy to say things like this:

    https://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/05/11/world/SUB-MICHELLE/SUB-MICHELLE-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

    Much harder to accept that it takes a lot to alter the mindset of a people/country.
  • kjhkjh Posts: 4,437

    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    The ability to communicate complex ideas so that they can be understood is sometimes called “teaching”.

    Of course it’s a characteristic of the cleverest people...
    :smiley:
  • Sean_FSean_F Posts: 30,218
    Bloat is the bane of fantasy writing, but I find much to enjoy in the genre, along with historical novels.
  • Fysics_TeacherFysics_Teacher Posts: 5,535
    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example only. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    Something along the lines of “I’m not interested in ideology; I’m interested in what works” would seem to me to be the reply to that attack.
  • eekeek Posts: 15,743
    edited August 13
    Foxy said:

    DougSeal said:

    The only problem with Tolkien for me is that his success mired the fantasy genre in an early medieval Northern Europe inspired milieu. One of the more enjoyable fantasy series I have read in recent years is Scott Lynch’s “Gentlemen Bastards” sequence set on a suitably magical world loosely styled on High Renaissance Venice and Florence. Also China Mieville’s more steampunky stuff.

    Marlon James's "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" is an interesting fantasy book based on African myths and legends.

    I think the biggest missing skill in the genre is a good editor. We see this in the Harry Potter series. The first two were gripping adventures, and the third is the apogee, but after that the decline is mirrored in the length of the books. Cut each of the subsequent books by 50% And they would have been a lot better. The same goes for films and miniseries, if you cannot tell your tale concisely, then you cannot tell it well.
    Once Harry Potter got to the fourth book it was a juggernaut that couldn't be stopped - you can see why the editing disappeared because it became impossible.
  • tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    Aside from the murder, which has already been addressed, I'm not sure what you point is here. After WW2 there were trials which resulted in the execution or imprisonment of the Nazi leaders, but we certainly didn't execute all of the Nazis. The vast majority of them - those who had simply gone along with things rather than being overtly evil - become more or less rehabilitated citizens of a post-war Germany with a constitution that was indeed designed to prevent them from taking power again.
  • FF43FF43 Posts: 12,887
    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    This is true. However the Taliban are less incoherent than every other faction in Afghanistan, at least amongst the Pashtuns, who are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the one that traditionally and nominally runs the show in that country. Also the Taliban are less egregiously corrupt than the other factions.

    In those two respects the Taliban are the "not quite so bad guys".

    I don't know what point the Americans decided it was hopeless. I suspect some time ago but they had to get through the presidential election first. The plug was always going to be pulled, with the inevitable damage that would cause. I have a feeling it could have been done with a bit more planning.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,930
    I hope buyers realise that no one read the small print....
    https://twitter.com/johnkruzel/status/1425826441908862976
    Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy is selling t-shirts emblazoned with the word "moron"
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,323
    Mr. F, bloated/padded writing can happen with even the best writers.

    *takes a moment to recall Polybius' pages dedicated to the build up of silt in the Black Sea*
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Perdido Street Station is a good example of a Fantasy genre book that's not for kids.
    tyvm
  • mwadamsmwadams Posts: 651
    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example only. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    While I broadly agree with you, and agree that there may be good thinkers who are not good communicators, we'd never know who they are. If you are incapable of communicating your thoughts, they remain trapped in your own head. A subtle thought requires subtle, effective communication that is "simple" enough for your audience to understand.

    Of course "simple" is relative - what is "simple" to a symposium of cosmologists, is not simple to the audience for "The Usborne Book of the Night Sky".

    And that is why the converse is also true; an effective communicator is not as "simple" as they seem - because they need to understand the complexity to simplify effectively. c.f. Farage.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006
    tlg86 said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    just think we're too squeamish to do what's required.

    The idea that the average British (or American or whatever) squaddie is 'squeamish', especially after a few months in theatre is ludicrous. Only a tiny fraction of what goes on gets reported and prosecuted...
    I meant we as in the politicians and the media rather than the soldiers. Very easy to say things like this:

    https://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/05/11/world/SUB-MICHELLE/SUB-MICHELLE-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

    Much harder to accept that it takes a lot to alter the mindset of a people/country.
    You could always ask Vladimiro Lenin Ilich Montesinos Torres how to win a guerrilla war. He did, after all.

    The trick was to turn the local people into autonomous militias. And then let them get on with it.

    Mind, you, people did get upset at some the results....
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 20,675

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    Aside from the murder, which has already been addressed, I'm not sure what you point is here. After WW2 there were trials which resulted in the execution or imprisonment of the Nazi leaders, but we certainly didn't execute all of the Nazis. The vast majority of them - those who had simply gone along with things rather than being overtly evil - become more or less rehabilitated citizens of a post-war Germany with a constitution that was indeed designed to prevent them from taking power again.
    And what would have happened had they plotted to take over again?
  • RochdalePioneersRochdalePioneers Posts: 13,995

    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    The ability to communicate complex ideas so that they can be understood is sometimes called “teaching”.

    Of course it’s a characteristic of the cleverest people...
    Why would politicos want to educate people, especially right wing politicos whose owners make money exploiting these poorly-educated people? Hence the endless attacks on teachers, exam standards and budget cuts for schools.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

    Whilst reading Rory Stewart's excellent book on his walk through Afghanistan, I got the impression is that the worldview of many of the rural tribes is utterly alien to our own. Concepts such as 'good' and 'evil' are defined by our culture, and may not be seen the same way in their local cultures.

    I'd have to re-read, but I think there was an anecdote about one village that raided a neighbouring one, killing many. A few years later they both grouped up against another threat. Think Europe in Medieval times, but on a micro scale.

    A big problem was that many of the middle classes in Kabul and Kandahar had little knowledge of life in the provinces. The western NGOs would talk to these middle classes and hear the problems and issues they had, which were themselves alien to those in the provinces who cause many of the problems.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 21,319
    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    The first mistake people make when trying to analyse Afghanistan is assuming that it is a single coherent country that can be conquered/occupied rather than a patch work of poorly connected valleys and mountains each with its own local politics and powers.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,930
    The official government line...
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/13/us-withdrawal-afghanistan-mistake-uk-defence-secretary-ben-wallace
    ...Asked how big a mistake it was to withdraw troops, Wallace said: “At the time of the Trump deal with, obviously the Taliban, I felt that was a mistake to have done it that way. We will all, in the international community probably pay the consequences of that.”

    He added: “I’ve been pretty blunt about it publicly and that’s quite a rare thing when it comes to United States decisions, but strategically it causes a lot of problems and as an international community, it’s very difficult for what we’re seeing today.”

    Asked about the threat of Afghanistan becoming a base for terrorism, Wallace said: “I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people. It’s why I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because al-Qaida will probably come back.”

    Wallace added: “I think the deal that was done in Doha was a rotten deal. It effectively told a Taliban that wasn’t winning that they were winning, and it undermined the government of Afghanistan and now we’re in this position where the Taliban have clearly the momentum across the country.....
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 90,376
    Yes the Tories have not won graduates since Cameron in 2015.

    However there are also still more non graduates than graduates amongst the electorate, so as long as the Tories win non graduates comfortably they will be re elected
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 31,884
    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

    We always want the bad guys to be wiped out. But therein lies the problem.
  • kjhkjh Posts: 4,437

    Do we know who's more likely to vote out of grads/non-grads?

    As Foxy noted it's complicated by dual registration for students, so they vote more than is apparent. But broadly speaking both being older and having high educational level correlate with likelihood to vote, which in party terms perhaps cancel each other out.

    It's important to remember that few children make a conscious decision to go or not go to university - it's either expected or not expected but everyone around you, though clearly you can opt out of either choice as you approach 18. So any suggestion that non-grads are thick is well off the mark. But it's probably true that exposure to a wide range of thinking at uni makes it hard to maintain knee-jerk populist attitudes - I wouldn't think Sun or even Mail readership is very common in ex-grads. There's peer pressure too - you'll just seem a bit odd if you're a militant Tory at most unis.

    What seems to stick with everyone is liberal social attitudes - few students have ever been bothered by gay marriage etc. and that open-mindedness has spread through the population, whereas quite a lot moderate their left-wing views as they get older (sadly).
    Who are the ex-grads? I’ve never heard of that before.
    As I can remember damn all of my maths degree stuff I may have moved into the ex-grad category.
  • glwglw Posts: 7,744
    Foxy said:

    I have never been a fan of the tedious LotR, since plodding through the turgid books as a teenager, but clearly others are. I suspect that the one bit that they will not spend money on will be decent scripts with rounded characterisation.

    Another bloated derivative franchise from a corporate giant. Count me out.

    Radio 5 was sniggering about the LotR show this morning, "not my cup of tea", "never seen the films", and so on. But the first season alone has a budget basically the size of what the BBC spends on drama in a year. The BBC can not compete with shows like this from the likes of Amazon, Netflix, or Apple. The BBC is simply too small, too poor, and too unambitious. It remains to be seen if the show will be a great success for Amazon, but I'm fairly sure that the show and more shows like it will be further nails in the coffin of the BBC.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 90,376
    Nigelb said:

    The official government line...
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/13/us-withdrawal-afghanistan-mistake-uk-defence-secretary-ben-wallace
    ...Asked how big a mistake it was to withdraw troops, Wallace said: “At the time of the Trump deal with, obviously the Taliban, I felt that was a mistake to have done it that way. We will all, in the international community probably pay the consequences of that.”

    He added: “I’ve been pretty blunt about it publicly and that’s quite a rare thing when it comes to United States decisions, but strategically it causes a lot of problems and as an international community, it’s very difficult for what we’re seeing today.”

    Asked about the threat of Afghanistan becoming a base for terrorism, Wallace said: “I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people. It’s why I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because al-Qaida will probably come back.”

    Wallace added: “I think the deal that was done in Doha was a rotten deal. It effectively told a Taliban that wasn’t winning that they were winning, and it undermined the government of Afghanistan and now we’re in this position where the Taliban have clearly the momentum across the country.....

    Wallace is right.

    More US and UK civilians died on 9/11 in one day than all the US troops killed in Afghanistan in 20 years.

    We cannot allow Afghanistan to become a breeding ground for terrorists and terrorist training camps again
  • MattWMattW Posts: 10,737
    edited August 13

    Do we know who's more likely to vote out of grads/non-grads?

    As Foxy noted it's complicated by dual registration for students, so they vote more than is apparent. But broadly speaking both being older and having high educational level correlate with likelihood to vote, which in party terms perhaps cancel each other out.

    It's important to remember that few children make a conscious decision to go or not go to university - it's either expected or not expected but everyone around you, though clearly you can opt out of either choice as you approach 18. So any suggestion that non-grads are thick is well off the mark. But it's probably true that exposure to a wide range of thinking at uni makes it hard to maintain knee-jerk populist attitudes - I wouldn't think Sun or even Mail readership is very common in ex-grads. There's peer pressure too - you'll just seem a bit odd if you're a militant Tory at most unis.

    What seems to stick with everyone is liberal social attitudes - few students have ever been bothered by gay marriage etc. and that open-mindedness has spread through the population, whereas quite a lot moderate their left-wing views as they get older (sadly).
    Is it fair if perhaps provocative to suggest that a lot of groups view students as 'programmable', which is why every group from religions to political to identity politics types target them? Where you put animal rights / anti-nuclear / traditional religion / cults / revolutionary communists (if they still exist) / traditional leftists / hunt sabs / greens / tories / 'rights' for 'x'-ists groups in those categories.

    It is well-established that students make philosophical commitments that colour their views for years to life depending on what they meet at University (or even school).

    That's how whatever group of whatevers get their future base. The tactic of the edge groups (however identified) is to throw individuals so off balance that they topple for one set of beliefs / values.

    Isn't this stuff basic, and that the aim for school/Uni is to give people the skills to deal with the barrage of ideas. Somehow.
  • StuartDicksonStuartDickson Posts: 5,279
    edited August 13

    DougSeal said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    Rory the Tory can bewail all he wants but no government of which he is either a part or a critic will send the requisite number of troops (which in any case would be meaningless without a multiple of that number from the US).

    As such Afghan will be left to its own devices. Civil wars are best left to their own devices. Too often instead of letting a winner emerge, even one we disagree with, the West intervenes to prolong for years a civil war that would otherwise be over relatively quickly with a decisive winner, as appears to be happening now in Afghan.

    Rory may be a Tory but he’s the only one I would have been tempted to vote if ever given the chance.
    Hmmmm.. i am not so sure I would. Far better to have PM with ratings almost as good as Blair, especially if it winds up the natives...
    Who are “the natives”?
  • isamisam Posts: 38,441

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    Well obviously I disagree with the second paragraph, but the first is something I’ve thought for a long time. I used to work for a really clever, old Etonian I think, bloke who used to explain ideas really simply and clearly, and I hung on his every word. Someone else I worked with was desperate to appear clever and used terms he knew others didn’t understand, to show off his intelligence, but I thought it just made him look insecure, and a bit stupid
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,323
    Mr. glw, this is still something that fans of fantasy, and videogames, sometimes encounter. People not being into something is fine, we all have varying tastes, but it's always seemed off to me that certain things, like fantasy/videogames, sometimes get looked down on.

    The first book in human history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, is fantasy. Fantasy wrapped in religious myth, but so are the Chronicles of Narnia.

    Not to mention that dragons are very cool.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158

    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    The ability to communicate complex ideas so that they can be understood is sometimes called “teaching”.

    Of course it’s a characteristic of the cleverest people...
    Why would politicos want to educate people, especially right wing politicos whose owners make money exploiting these poorly-educated people? Hence the endless attacks on teachers, exam standards and budget cuts for schools.
    Exactly the same argument can be made for those on the left as well. Which is why illiteracy and innumeracy rates have stubbornly remained at about the same level for many decades: neither side is really willing to tackle what is an incredibly difficult, but important, issue.

    There is a tendency for the middle and upper classes to look down on the working class - and in these days of a certain amount of class fluidity, it tends to be people whose lifestyles and/or jobs are 'beneath' them. That is irrespective of political leanings.
  • FF43FF43 Posts: 12,887

    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

    Whilst reading Rory Stewart's excellent book on his walk through Afghanistan, I got the impression is that the worldview of many of the rural tribes is utterly alien to our own. Concepts such as 'good' and 'evil' are defined by our culture, and may not be seen the same way in their local cultures.

    I'd have to re-read, but I think there was an anecdote about one village that raided a neighbouring one, killing many. A few years later they both grouped up against another threat. Think Europe in Medieval times, but on a micro scale.

    A big problem was that many of the middle classes in Kabul and Kandahar had little knowledge of life in the provinces. The western NGOs would talk to these middle classes and hear the problems and issues they had, which were themselves alien to those in the provinces who cause many of the problems.
    Not really adding anything to your excellent comment, but the few Afghans I have met have all been lovely people.
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 7,893
    TOPPING said:

    TOPPING said:

    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Noooo! Don't go can you give me an example of the best of the genre and I will read it.

    I need something to read after I have finished The New Snobbery, by David Skelton.

    Have I mentioned that book on here before?
    Perdido Street Station is a good example of a Fantasy genre book that's not for kids.
    tyvm
    And the character of Mr Motley is loosely based on Johnson.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 64,188
    edited August 13
    kle4 said:

    TOPPING said:

    Mr. Topping, why do you say that?

    Morris because they deal with issues, allegorical (eg Lewis) or otherwise, which are and are handled in a way as an introduction to some of the "big questions" for children. By the time you are an adult you would normally be expected to have a more sophisticated appetite either for adventure stories, or writing style, or those big questions.
    That your answer seems to imply the writing style of the entire genre is the same is the problem. It isnt all allegory and big themes for kids.

    What happens for those who like the style of story is they move on to more sophisticated writing within it, deeper, darker or more sophisticated, not just graduate to 'proper' genres.

    As a fan I get defensive, but it is a problem that people act like its all the same and even argue some aren't 'proper' fantasy if it is good.

    Some are as different as a Disney romance and Debbie Does Dallas. Stuff for kids, for the whole family, or just for adults.

    Good day everyone.



    Well precisely the whole genre graduates through the age groups. It's not one size fits all and anyone who thinks it is, is projecting their own prejudice and ignorance.

    Much of the most famous older classical fantasy was aimed at kids: CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Tolkien's Hobbit etc

    Some are aimed more at teens and adults though. Eddings, Pratchett, Jordan etc (I'd put Eddings at the younger part of that)

    While some are explicitly for older audiences. George RR Martin, Sanderson etc I would not read to my kids.

    PS and that's without considering the sci fi branch of sci fi & fantasy. Asimov, Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clarke etc
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006
    Alistair said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    The first mistake people make when trying to analyse Afghanistan is assuming that it is a single coherent country that can be conquered/occupied rather than a patch work of poorly connected valleys and mountains each with its own local politics and powers.
    I've heard it suggested that building a proper road network is the foundation for many countries.....
  • Fysics_TeacherFysics_Teacher Posts: 5,535

    Alistair said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    The first mistake people make when trying to analyse Afghanistan is assuming that it is a single coherent country that can be conquered/occupied rather than a patch work of poorly connected valleys and mountains each with its own local politics and powers.
    I've heard it suggested that building a proper road network is the foundation for many countries.....
    Something the Romans knew I think.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,323
    Mr. Teacher, true, though the roads were also about keeping the legions busy when they had nothing to do.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 68,402
    FF43 said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    This is true. However the Taliban are less incoherent than every other faction in Afghanistan, at least amongst the Pashtuns, who are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the one that traditionally and nominally runs the show in that country. Also the Taliban are less egregiously corrupt than the other factions.

    In those two respects the Taliban are the "not quite so bad guys".

    I don't know what point the Americans decided it was hopeless. I suspect some time ago but they had to get through the presidential election first. The plug was always going to be pulled, with the inevitable damage that would cause. I have a feeling it could have been done with a bit more planning.
    They have strong law enforcement, low corruption (relatively speaking) and a strong anti-drugs message.

    Some of their policies could be viewed as misogynistic, homophobic and generally not respecting human rights though.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 20,006

    Alistair said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    The first mistake people make when trying to analyse Afghanistan is assuming that it is a single coherent country that can be conquered/occupied rather than a patch work of poorly connected valleys and mountains each with its own local politics and powers.
    I've heard it suggested that building a proper road network is the foundation for many countries.....
    Something the Romans knew I think.
    Yes, exactly.

    In the days of the Great Game, raiding travellers on the British built roads was one of the things on the Banned List. Which meant that if an Afghan Warlord did that, he lost his subsidy and a British force was sent to shoot up his village, burn his house down and chuck a dead animal down the village well.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 90,376
    edited August 13
    Interesting that 67% of LD voters are graduates, compared to 61% of Greens, 59% of Labour voters and 35% of Tory voters.

    So I think this thread is just another opportunity for OGH to show how he supports the most highly educated party even if they do just have 12 MPs out of 650
  • glwglw Posts: 7,744

    Mr. glw, this is still something that fans of fantasy, and videogames, sometimes encounter. People not being into something is fine, we all have varying tastes, but it's always seemed off to me that certain things, like fantasy/videogames, sometimes get looked down on.

    The first book in human history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, is fantasy. Fantasy wrapped in religious myth, but so are the Chronicles of Narnia.

    Not to mention that dragons are very cool.

    It is bizarre that people are so dismissive of "fantasy" as a genre, when swords and sorcery, science fiction, and super hero films are the staple of the movie business. The film business is a "fantasy" business.

    As for video games just explain to the dimwits that it is a bigger business than the movies.

    People may not like it but "fantasy" is a huge part of contemporary culture.
  • RochdalePioneersRochdalePioneers Posts: 13,995

    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example only. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    Something along the lines of “I’m not interested in ideology; I’m interested in what works” would seem to me to be the reply to that attack.
    Something Blair was the world expert in. Bin ideology, go with what works. Sadly such pragmatism is long dead in the British polity.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 33,930
    I think this is a decent analysis:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/12/afghanistan-us-military-analysis-biden-rumsfeld

    If the US had gone in big style right at the start, rather than on the cheap - which would have meant not invading Iraq (another plus) - things might just have turned out different.
  • northern_monkeynorthern_monkey Posts: 495
    edited August 13
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    It was tricky to establish who exactly was a ideological, fanatical Talib and who was merely a farmer who picked up an ancient AK47 to defend his land and family from what he perceived to be infidel invaders.

    It is impossible to defeat guerrillas if they have the support of the local population.

    So we decided on a policy of winning hearts and minds, which meant we restrained ourselves in the use of firepower, trying to avoid killing the farmers with ancient AKs, which would not be good for winning hearts and minds, to put it mildly. We tried to do the nice stuff. Healthcare, infrastructure. Throw money around. It didn’t really work.

    We perhaps forget that the Taliban had won the civil war. We upended that after 9/11. They never went away and are now obviously resurgent.

    Occupying Germany, a modern country with an educated population and good infrastructure, is vastly different to occupying a country like Afghan which is still very much tribal, uneducated and is very, very difficult terrain - poorly connected valleys and deserts.

    The desire to get Bin Laden blinded our militaries and politicians to the lessons of Vietnam and the Russian Afghan experience. We cannot impose our systems and values on societies that do not want them. The costs in blood and treasure of trying to do so become unacceptable to democracies.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 15,403
    mwadams said:

    kjh said:

    kjh said:

    isam said:

    kjh said:

    Charles said:

    Yay! Another thread dressing up the age divide to pretend that lefties are smarter

    You make a good point. We need to see that analysis as well. From my generation very few went to university. However these stats shouldn't be ignored, we just need the age data as well combined with it.
    What does it matter if lefty voters are cleverer? The point of our democracy is that all votes are equal. This isn’t Rhodesia where there was an academic qualification required

    Given that Labour were set up to give the less well educated a voice, it’s a bit galling if their supporters now condescend them. Mind you, Labour offered out low paid jobs to anyone in Europe who’d do it cheaper, so maybe they just hate commoners
    If lefty voters were cleverer then they would surely be able to find a way to win political arguments, and consequently votes and elections. Alas, this does not seem to be the case.
    Life is not like that though. Nuance is difficult to explain. Easy to say for instance that you believe in privatisation or nationalisation, but harder to explain you like either depending on the circumstances. Same for immigration, etc

    It is much easier being a Farage.
    The cleverest people are those who can communicate complicated ideas in simple ways. It seems a pretty obvious thing to say that the Left have been very poor at that.

    It's not enough to point at Farage and say that it's easier if you're prepared to lie, etc. He's managed to push racist politics in a way that allows those who voted for him to deny that they're racists. That's not something the BNP ever managed to do.
    I'm not sure I agree that the cleverest people are those who can communicate a complicated idea in simple ways. Although I do agree it is an exceptional skill. Sadly, but understandably, the people who will succeed in politics will be the good communicators rather than the good thinkers and implementers. It is rare to have both skills.

    I pointed to Farage as an example only. In fact although I dislike Farage's views there is no way of getting away from the fact that he is an excellent communicator and has contributed more the UK politics than most I can think of, much as I disagree with his contribution.

    I take your point that there hasn't been anyone with good communication on the left recently.

    The only point I was making really is it is much harder to explain your position if your position is in the centre. It is easier to do so from the Right or Left where the view is less nuanced. I remember an attack on Roy Jenkin's on just this point being wishy washing on nationalisation, whereas in fact of course neither the Labour party nor the Conservatives were in fact in favour of wholesale Nationalisation nor Privatisation themsleves, but the attack worked.
    While I broadly agree with you, and agree that there may be good thinkers who are not good communicators, we'd never know who they are. If you are incapable of communicating your thoughts, they remain trapped in your own head. A subtle thought requires subtle, effective communication that is "simple" enough for your audience to understand.

    Of course "simple" is relative - what is "simple" to a symposium of cosmologists, is not simple to the audience for "The Usborne Book of the Night Sky".

    And that is why the converse is also true; an effective communicator is not as "simple" as they seem - because they need to understand the complexity to simplify effectively. c.f. Farage.
    Most philosophers say hi. Kant shouts it.
  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 6,960
    edited August 13
    I was contacted by Ipsos MORI for this poll by landline which we still have at home. I wonder how representative landline samples now are even if they are only part of the total polled.
  • FrancisUrquhartFrancisUrquhart Posts: 64,744
    In today's @theipaper we've taken a look at which areas of the country have the best & worst vaccine coverage among under-40s. Some poorer, inner-city areas are running at less than 60% while wealthy towns and rural home counties are above 90%.
    https://t.co/MNRv0quy11 https://t.co/L4QCWvXI5m
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 7,893
    Striking exactly the right tone on the unfolding debacle in the Hindu Kush seems to be exactly the sort of thing to which Johnson is uniquely ill suited. I expect him to go into hiding, thought not ironically in Afghanistan, as we watch people getting exfiltrated from the embassy roof by helicopter on TikTok. No doubt Raab (hair of Willie Thorne, eyes of Peter Sutcliffe) will be wheeled out to mouth platitudes on Sky News.
  • StuartDicksonStuartDickson Posts: 5,279
    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

    Trident at your service.

    You’ll find it just outside Scotland’s biggest city. For some reason they didn’t want it just outside England’s biggest city. They must think we’re more evil than they are.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 90,376

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    It was tricky to establish who exactly was a ideological, fanatical Talib and who was merely a farmer who picked up an ancient AK47 to defend his land and family from what he perceived to be infidel invaders.

    It is impossible to defeat guerrillas if they have the support of the local population.

    So we decided on a policy of winning hearts and minds, which meant we restrained ourselves in the use of firepower, trying to avoid killing the farmers with ancient AKs, which would not be good for winning hearts and minds, to put it mildly. We tried to do the nice stuff. Healthcare, infrastructure. Throw money around. It didn’t really work.

    We perhaps forget that the Taliban had won the civil war. We upended that after 9/11. They never went away and are now obviously resurgent.

    Occupying Germany, a modern country with an educated population and good infrastructure, is vastly different to occupying a country like Afghan which is still very much tribal, uneducated and is very, very difficult terrain - poorly connected valleys and deserts.

    The desire to get Bin Laden blinded our militaries and politicians to the lessons of Vietnam and the Russian Afghan experience. We cannot impose our systems and values on societies that do not want them.
    We went there to keep the terrorists out, not to turn it into Canada.

  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 64,188
    glw said:

    Mr. glw, this is still something that fans of fantasy, and videogames, sometimes encounter. People not being into something is fine, we all have varying tastes, but it's always seemed off to me that certain things, like fantasy/videogames, sometimes get looked down on.

    The first book in human history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, is fantasy. Fantasy wrapped in religious myth, but so are the Chronicles of Narnia.

    Not to mention that dragons are very cool.

    It is bizarre that people are so dismissive of "fantasy" as a genre, when swords and sorcery, science fiction, and super hero films are the staple of the movie business. The film business is a "fantasy" business.

    As for video games just explain to the dimwits that it is a bigger business than the movies.

    People may not like it but "fantasy" is a huge part of contemporary culture.
    The key thing about fantasy as a genre is that its as wide and as diverse as simply saying "fiction" as a genre.

    Yes you can have childish fantasy, with allegories, or "tits and dragons", or politics, or warfare, or romance, or anything at all.

    Its simply about creating a world different to our own and then from that canvas painting any story you wish to tell.

    Trying to lump it all together and distill it as one, is as absurd as lumping every fiction book ever written together and claiming it as one.
  • dixiedeandixiedean Posts: 15,403
    glw said:

    Mr. glw, this is still something that fans of fantasy, and videogames, sometimes encounter. People not being into something is fine, we all have varying tastes, but it's always seemed off to me that certain things, like fantasy/videogames, sometimes get looked down on.

    The first book in human history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, is fantasy. Fantasy wrapped in religious myth, but so are the Chronicles of Narnia.

    Not to mention that dragons are very cool.

    It is bizarre that people are so dismissive of "fantasy" as a genre, when swords and sorcery, science fiction, and super hero films are the staple of the movie business. The film business is a "fantasy" business.

    As for video games just explain to the dimwits that it is a bigger business than the movies.

    People may not like it but "fantasy" is a huge part of contemporary culture.
    Indeed. So much so we elected a government wedded to it.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 64,188
    HYUFD said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    It was tricky to establish who exactly was a ideological, fanatical Talib and who was merely a farmer who picked up an ancient AK47 to defend his land and family from what he perceived to be infidel invaders.

    It is impossible to defeat guerrillas if they have the support of the local population.

    So we decided on a policy of winning hearts and minds, which meant we restrained ourselves in the use of firepower, trying to avoid killing the farmers with ancient AKs, which would not be good for winning hearts and minds, to put it mildly. We tried to do the nice stuff. Healthcare, infrastructure. Throw money around. It didn’t really work.

    We perhaps forget that the Taliban had won the civil war. We upended that after 9/11. They never went away and are now obviously resurgent.

    Occupying Germany, a modern country with an educated population and good infrastructure, is vastly different to occupying a country like Afghan which is still very much tribal, uneducated and is very, very difficult terrain - poorly connected valleys and deserts.

    The desire to get Bin Laden blinded our militaries and politicians to the lessons of Vietnam and the Russian Afghan experience. We cannot impose our systems and values on societies that do not want them.
    We went there to keep the terrorists out, not to turn it into Canada.

    A mission Bush failed in completely as the terrorists simply regrouped immediately in Pakistan and spread throughout the entire Middle East.
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 9,570
    Dura_Ace said:

    Striking exactly the right tone on the unfolding debacle in the Hindu Kush seems to be exactly the sort of thing to which Johnson is uniquely ill suited. I expect him to go into hiding, thought not ironically in Afghanistan, as we watch people getting exfiltrated from the embassy roof by helicopter on TikTok. No doubt Raab (hair of Willie Thorne, eyes of Peter Sutcliffe) will be wheeled out to mouth platitudes on Sky News.

    Seems a golden opportunuity for his brand of Kiplingesque sub-racism

    When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    And go to your gawd like a soldier.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 64,188
    dixiedean said:

    glw said:

    Mr. glw, this is still something that fans of fantasy, and videogames, sometimes encounter. People not being into something is fine, we all have varying tastes, but it's always seemed off to me that certain things, like fantasy/videogames, sometimes get looked down on.

    The first book in human history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, is fantasy. Fantasy wrapped in religious myth, but so are the Chronicles of Narnia.

    Not to mention that dragons are very cool.

    It is bizarre that people are so dismissive of "fantasy" as a genre, when swords and sorcery, science fiction, and super hero films are the staple of the movie business. The film business is a "fantasy" business.

    As for video games just explain to the dimwits that it is a bigger business than the movies.

    People may not like it but "fantasy" is a huge part of contemporary culture.
    Indeed. So much so we elected a government wedded to it.
    I don't agree but gave you a "like" because that was funny.
  • FF43FF43 Posts: 12,887
    edited August 13
    Pulpstar said:

    FF43 said:

    Dura_Ace said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    The "bad guys" are not easily identifiable and probably don't even exist in that taxonomic sense in Afghanistan. The "Taliban" aren't a coherent bloc; they are overlapping and interconnected networks of tribal coalitions, religious fundamentalists, organised crime, poorly paid mercenaries, foreign adventurers and the agents of the Pakistani, Indian, Russian and Iranian intelligence services.
    This is true. However the Taliban are less incoherent than every other faction in Afghanistan, at least amongst the Pashtuns, who are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and the one that traditionally and nominally runs the show in that country. Also the Taliban are less egregiously corrupt than the other factions.

    In those two respects the Taliban are the "not quite so bad guys".

    I don't know what point the Americans decided it was hopeless. I suspect some time ago but they had to get through the presidential election first. The plug was always going to be pulled, with the inevitable damage that would cause. I have a feeling it could have been done with a bit more planning.
    They have strong law enforcement, low corruption (relatively speaking) and a strong anti-drugs message.

    Some of their policies could be viewed as misogynistic, homophobic and generally not respecting human rights though.
    Indeed. The Taliban aren't necessarily more capable of imposing their will on the rest of the country than other groups. They need a degree of consent and not just rely on terror. The slender hope is that they moderate their behaviour in their own interest. But whether they do so is not something the "West" has any agency over.

    Incidentally the Taliban make a distinction between consumption of drugs (bad) and producing them, which they tax.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 26,158
    I'm just reading one of the DCI Banks books, 'Past Reason Hated', written in 1991. Some major characters in it are lesbian, and the attitude of the other characters towards them would be totally unacceptable nowadays - even in Yorkshire. ;)

    Societal attitudes can change very rapidly, as can concepts of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, or even 'good' and 'evil'. And the movement may not always be in directions we currently see as being positive.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 25,144
    FF43 said:

    Foxy said:

    TOPPING said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Oh absolutely. We all want the bad guys to be wiped out. It's doing it that has proved so tricky.
    I am not sure that we do. What we really want is for the "bad guys" to repent and reform. It is not possible to wipe out evil by wiping out "evil" people, because the battle between good and evil is an internal one in every individuals soul, and one that never reaches conclusion in this life. We can only wipe out evil by wiping ourselves out.

    Indeed, recognising that some of our own motivations and desires are evil is the first step to rooting out the causes of war.

    Whilst reading Rory Stewart's excellent book on his walk through Afghanistan, I got the impression is that the worldview of many of the rural tribes is utterly alien to our own. Concepts such as 'good' and 'evil' are defined by our culture, and may not be seen the same way in their local cultures.

    I'd have to re-read, but I think there was an anecdote about one village that raided a neighbouring one, killing many. A few years later they both grouped up against another threat. Think Europe in Medieval times, but on a micro scale.

    A big problem was that many of the middle classes in Kabul and Kandahar had little knowledge of life in the provinces. The western NGOs would talk to these middle classes and hear the problems and issues they had, which were themselves alien to those in the provinces who cause many of the problems.
    Not really adding anything to your excellent comment, but the few Afghans I have met have all been lovely people.
    Got an excellent cricket team, too.
  • HYUFD said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    TOPPING said:

    On Afghan it really is quite simple.

    There is not here, nor is there in the US, the political will to send the hundreds of thousands of troops there that would be required to make and then keep the peace.

    It seems to me that what was really needed was for the bad guys to be wiped out. But there's certainly no will for that.
    Define "bad guys"

    Al Qaeda are long gone in Afghanistan - in the shifting sands of alliances there, all the warlords are now buying into the "Taliban" franchise. Which means something different to the Taliban of 20 years back.

    The important bit of the Taliban franchise is the Koran waving bit - "We Are More Muslim Than Everyone Else".

    Which means, in turn, that those in the franchise must be more blessed by God. In all their doings.... Which is a very useful flag of convenience for those in the war lording business.

    So you have the same bunch of people signing up to a name that doesn't mean what it used to.

    Who are you going to kill and why?
    It's a fair point. What I'm getting at is that I got the impression that our soldiers were not in a position to take out the people they were fighting. Didn't someone get done for murder? I just think we're too squeamish to do what's required. It's a bit like at the end of WW2 us allowing the Nazis to carry on living as they want to so long as they don't try to take power again.
    It was tricky to establish who exactly was a ideological, fanatical Talib and who was merely a farmer who picked up an ancient AK47 to defend his land and family from what he perceived to be infidel invaders.

    It is impossible to defeat guerrillas if they have the support of the local population.

    So we decided on a policy of winning hearts and minds, which meant we restrained ourselves in the use of firepower, trying to avoid killing the farmers with ancient AKs, which would not be good for winning hearts and minds, to put it mildly. We tried to do the nice stuff. Healthcare, infrastructure. Throw money around. It didn’t really work.

    We perhaps forget that the Taliban had won the civil war. We upended that after 9/11. They never went away and are now obviously resurgent.

    Occupying Germany, a modern country with an educated population and good infrastructure, is vastly different to occupying a country like Afghan which is still very much tribal, uneducated and is very, very difficult terrain - poorly connected valleys and deserts.

    The desire to get Bin Laden blinded our militaries and politicians to the lessons of Vietnam and the Russian Afghan experience. We cannot impose our systems and values on societies that do not want them.
    We went there to keep the terrorists out, not to turn it into Canada.

    You keep saying the same thing again and again. ‘We got rid of Al Qaeda, if they return we will re-invade and take them out again.’

    With the greatest of respect, that is the most simplistic view. You don’t really know what you’re talking about.

    If we didn’t want to turn it into Canada, why do we spend 20 years there, chucking money at it, trying to build a democracy - and failing?

    We did seriously degrade Al Qaeda, for a while at least, so why didn’t we leave when we did that? Why didn’t we leave when Bin Laden was killed?
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 10,701
    edited August 13
    Nigelb said:

    Nigelb said:

    Foxy said:

    Powerful interview with Durrani here from Kandahar, waiting for a knock on the door:

    “This means losing your houses, your dreams, your goals, your ambition... everything.”

    Pashtana Durrani, executive director of an NGO for girls' education speaks to @krishgm from Kandahar in Afghanistan, a city under siege by the Taliban. https://t.co/j6qUPzDkP3

    Rory Stewart on R4 this morning was equally devastating about the consequences of the abrupt decision to pull out.
    As he pointed out, things were being held together by a few thousand troops, and air support, which while costly, represented a fraction of what had previously been spent.
    The US decision is at least defensible; the manner in which it has been carried out is not.

    The Afghan regime deserve some blame too, for utterly failing to plan for the consequences.
    "The Afghan regime" .... "utterly failing to plan for the consequences"

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

    As to pulling out. It is inevitable, for the UK. Do it now or wait until it gets to the roof of the Embassy.

    The only way to have changed this result would been to have changed the culture of Afghanistan.

    Which, interestingly, is the one thing everyone involved agreed not to do.
    The culture of Afghanistan has been changed, significantly.
    There is a whole generation which has grown up under the US occupation, and a large number of them have had access to education which simply didn't exist prior to that. Though of course other parts of the country had no such thing.

    Whether it might have been possible for an Afghan government to consolidate its forces in defensible regions and hold out against the Taliban is pretty well moot now - but they didn't even make the attempt.
    This is a dangerous myth. You can see 1970s photos showing women students in western dress, for instance:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/OldSchoolCool/comments/4jqt9a/female_students_at_the_polytechnical_university/

    The Taliban did not exist before the mid-1990s, let alone run the country. Basically, it was a foreign-financed and armed militia which won what was effectively a low-level civil war after the Soviet invasion and departure.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban's_rise_to_power

    ETA at least in its urban centres, if not always outside, Afghanistan was a relatively modern, westernised state.
  • mwadamsmwadams Posts: 651

    I'm just reading one of the DCI Banks books, 'Past Reason Hated', written in 1991. Some major characters in it are lesbian, and the attitude of the other characters towards them would be totally unacceptable nowadays - even in Yorkshire. ;)

    Societal attitudes can change very rapidly, as can concepts of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, or even 'good' and 'evil'. And the movement may not always be in directions we currently see as being positive.

    Go back and watch episodes of The Bill from the early-to-mid-90s (available on UKTVPlay, FWIW).

    They represent what I suspect for many of us in our 40s/50s is how we remember things being in the 70s/80s. It is quite shocking to be presented with the reality.
This discussion has been closed.