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  1. Owen Jones: The old Tory order is crumbling – it’s taken Grenfell for us to really see it Similar to the collapse of the postwar social democratic contract, the neo-liberal Thatcherite consensus has also been rejected about 6 hours ago Owen Jones 3 The burned-out shell of the Grenfell Tower block. “The right decry the “politicisation” of this human-made disaster, but to avoid talking about the politics of this calamity is like trying to understand rain without discussing weather, or illness without biology.” NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images Britain’s old order is crumbling. Those who sense this most acutely, such as the rightwing press, are its defenders. This week, The Sun was reduced to begging its readers to see the evils of socialism. They are right to panic when 30 per cent of its readers ended up voting for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party . Right to reflect that, according to a new YouGov poll, 43 per cent of people believe a “genuinely socialist government” would make Britain a “better place to live” and just 36 per cent say the reverse. Those who represent the future – younger Britons, particularly younger working-class voters – are decisively plumping for Corbyn’s new Labour party. The political consensus established by Margaret Thatcher’s Tories – neoliberalism, for want of a more sexy word – is disintegrating. It is going the same way as the postwar social democratic consensus established by Clement Attlee, which fell apart in the late 1970s. That model – public ownership, high taxes on the rich, strong trade unions – delivered an unparalleled increase in living standards and economic growth. A surge in oil prices, and the collapse of the Bretton Woods international financial framework, helped bring that era to an end. The death of this political consensus was increasingly obvious at the time: its morbid symptoms were everywhere. Those who wanted to keep it together were powerless against the incoming tide of history. “There are times, perhaps once every 30 years, when there is a sea change in politics,” said Labour’s James Callaghan, days before he was ousted from No 10 by Thatcher . “It then does not matter what you say or what you do. There is a shift in what the public wants and what it approves of.” The iconic episode that, for the right, summed up the fall of the postwar consensus was the “winter of discontent”. For the ascendant Thatcherites, this wave of public-sector strikes in-between 1978 and 1979 encapsulated the fragmentation of a social order they detested. Here was the chaos and tyranny of collectivism in full pomp. For the new right, it vividly illustrated the need to smash union power and roll back the frontiers of the state that sustained it. The individual would be liberated from the oppressive yoke of collectivism: that was the lesson the widespread strikes taught, or so the rightwing narrative went. If any episode sums up the collapse of our own neoliberal era, it is surely Grenfell Tower. The right decry the “politicisation” of this human-made disaster, but to avoid talking about the politics of this calamity is like trying to understand rain without discussing weather, or illness without biology. The Tories are desperately attempting to shore up a system that has engineered the longest squeeze in wages since the Napoleonic wars, with deteriorating public services, mediocre privatised utilities, a NHS plunged into “humanitarian crisis” , and exploding debt. It can’t even provide affordable, comfortable and safe housing for millions of its own citizens. It is incapable of meeting the needs and aspirations of the majority. The right, therefore, is left with a dilemma. It can either double down and make the ideological case for its failings and increasingly rejected system, or it can concede ground. That’s what Labour did 40 years ago. In 1977, Callaghan formally renounced Keynesianism, arguing that the option of “spending our way out of recession no longer existed” , and had only ever worked by “injecting bigger and bigger doses of inflation into the economy”. The Tories may well now try abandoning cuts in favour of investment; but surrendering ground to the enemy didn’t save Labour back then. There were Tory MPs who believed that rejecting the postwar consensus was desirable but impossible. The electoral success of Thatcherism changed their minds, and they became willing converts. A similar process is now under way in the Labour party. There were also those Tory MPs who believed rejecting the consensus was undesirable even if it was possible: the so-called wets. They became increasingly marginalised within their own party. And then, of course, Labour was forced to accept the underlying tenets of the new social order – just as the Tories once were compelled to surrender to Attlee’s new consensus. That’s not to breed complacency. Labour’s assumption of power – with Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister – is not inevitable. But the Labour leadership has an extra-parliamentary theory of social change. Passing legislation is important, but they don’t believe society can simply be changed by a few politicians pulling levers at the top. They believe that people in their communities and workplaces should feel collectively empowered and politically engaged. Nothing scares Britain’s vested interests more than a politicised, mobilised population. Our social order is tottering, but it can continue to disintegrate, with painful consequences, for a long time. A new society intolerant of injustice and inequality can be created. But only the biggest mass movement in Britain’s history can make it so. Guardian Service
  2. Philip Stephens: Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May tell the tale of two nations Optimism now belongs to the continent’s capitals. Growth is picking up, populists are in retreat about 7 hours ago Philip Stephens 1 French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attend a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer Share to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to Email App A government left paralysed by a botched election; a faltering economy; a spate of ugly terrorist attacks; a London tower block engulfed by an appalling fire. There are no visible connections here. The impact, though, is cumulative. A year ago Britain voted to leave the EU. A vibrant nation, the Brexiters promised, would unshackle itself from a sinking continent. How fast the wheel can turn. The promised adventure - “global Britain”, Theresa May, the now badly wounded prime minister, calls it - is suddenly freighted with risk. Politics could yet render Brexit impossible. Across the channel, the winds are blowing in the other direction. Optimism now belongs to the continent’s capitals. Growth is picking up, populists are in retreat. In Paris this week Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, put the finishing touches to his La République en Marche administration. The party did not exist two years ago. Now it has the “strong and stable” mandate denied to Mrs May’s Conservatives. Mrs May’s joyless election campaign was rooted in hostility to Europe. Mr Macron declares that more Europe means more France. Last summer France was drowning in its habitual morosité. Paris now feels like London used to. Mood matters. You can find plenty in France, on the left and the right, who challenge the president’s self-styled radical centrism. But you are left still with the sense that the French people are willing him to succeed. Take back control, the Brexiters urged British voters a year ago. Now they confront the supreme irony. After a decade and more of dangerous drift France looks to have taken charge of its destiny. Britain is the nation that has lost its compass. Mrs May promised a “hard Brexit” - throwing up the barricades against EU workers and banishing all trace of the European Court of Justice. The voters, unsure of what they meant by last year’s decision to leave, denied her in the general election the authority to negotiate such a brutal rupture. Young and inexperienced as he is, Mr Macron behaves like a president. France has long been a monarchy masquerading as a republic. The last two occupants of the Elysée Palace disappointed. François Hollande, a Parisian friend once told me, never really recovered from being photographed riding pillion on a motorcycle to visit his mistress. It might have been different had he had his hands on the controls. For his part, the effervescent Nicolas Sarkozy mistook bling for regal grandeur. Mr Macron has set about restoring the dignity of the office. Cynics will tell you that the bubble will burst. Remember Barack Obama and all that hopey-changey stuff? And it is true that expectations of the 39-year-old president are so extravagant that he is bound to disappoint. But by the account of those who know him well, Mr Macron should not be underestimated. Sure, he has had his share of luck. The important thing is that he has never hesitated to seize his chances. Three years working for Mr Hollande in the Elysée makes up for the absence of political experience. The new president learned about how to use power and, more importantly, saw how easily it can be squandered by those who temporise. The rapid timetable for the first batch of his proposed economic reforms - he wants liberalising changes to labour laws passed by the end of September - reflects a resolve to hold on to the initiative. For the future of the EU, what counts is that Germany’s Angela Merkel trusts the new president. Berlin will be watching closely the progress of reforms and the Ordoliberals advising the chancellor will doubtless also want to see cuts in the prospective budget deficit for 2018. Otherwise, France is set to find itself the only nation still in breach of the eurozone’s “excessive deficit” rules. Such cautions apart, the organising assumption in Berlin is that Ms Merkel at last has a French partner she can do business with. Loose talk of grand new structures of economic governance to buttress the eurozone’s monetary union overstate the willingness - not least of France - to surrender national control over tax and spending decisions. Yet if German voters give her a fourth, and presumably, final term in September’s election, Ms Merkel, as much as Mr Macron, will want to create the architecture for deeper European integration. And however much they protest otherwise, the Germans know they will have to pay. Britain, of course, expects to be on the outside looking in. But no one in London quite knows how to open the exit. Mrs May’s plan “A” subordinated everything to closing the door to migrants from eastern and central Europe. Now her chancellor says the priority must be safeguarding the economy. Others in the cabinet seem to think cutting the flows of goods and people with Britain’s neighbours can somehow be rebranded as an exercise in openness. In any event, as things stand there does not seem to be a majority in parliament for any of the many versions of Brexit. Perhaps Britain will just fall out; perhaps it will withdraw its application to leave. I had expected the French to be relishing the spectacle. How many times have they been lectured by the Anglo-Saxons these past few years? Mr Macron’s compatriots, though, seem more intent on redrawing their own future. What was it someone once wrote about seasons of darkness and springs of hope? FT Service
  3. I wouldn't call that racism mate. Pre-determined bias based on your background, upbringing, environment maybe. Did you think any differently about the characters or their actions in the book whether they were black or white? For me, racism is showing a prejudice towards somebody based on their nationality, religion, colour of skin etc. Non-racists try not to judge a book by it's cover. I have a good ski buddy in Sydney. He is covered in tats pretty much from the neck down, long dreadlocked hair and looks a bit like a bikie. Yes, my first impression was a bit wary but took the time to get to know his character and he is a top bloke. He has been a good friend to me particularly in some tough times.
  4. Hey Sue, Good luck with the move. Just picked up on a couple of things on your posts. Re financials & tax. You will not be taxed twice on the same income. UK & Australia have a double taxation agreement. So if you pay tax in 1 country you get a credit for that in the other country and only pay the difference (or get a refund). Happy to run through a hypothetical example if your like. Re Qatar - I have never flown them but they have just been voted best airline in the world by Skytraxx. All the middle east airline are pretty good. They fly in and out over Iranian airspace and it shouldn't make too much difference to your flight. Enjoy the move and embrace it. It will take 12-18 months to settle properly so don't put too much pressure on yourself. The great thing is that you are on the door step of Europe so very easy to explore new countries and places, lots of cheap flights (if they don't stuff up Open skies over Brexit). Pop over to Ireland at some stage, lovely at this time of year, bright until 10/11 at night down the west and they are having a heat wave (that means >25 :)) Good luck.
  5. Think you got some good answers there Maryrose. It may be worth spliitting off into a separate thread if you want to continue the discussion. It is a bit off topic for the Brexit thread (which happens a bit :))
  6. I'm not sure what you mean really. Are you saying that everybody has some level of racism, sexism, agism (and whatever other ism you are having yourself)? I'll try to give you my view. First off, there is only 1 race, the human race. Of course, I notice physical differences or accents etc in people but I don't judge and treat people any differently based on these characteristics. I try to measure people based on the content of their character. I try to take everybody on face value. I have lucky enough to have met fantastic people of lots of nationalities. I have also met lots of people people I didn't particularly like of lots of nationalities also. Their character is not determined by their nationality, colour of ther skin, religion, sexual orientation etc. I don't really get the bus or titantic analogy. Perhaps you could expand on what you mean in more literal terms.
  7. Moneycorp as people have said, Currencyfair and transfermate are others. I used Halo (based in London) and found them very good, no fees and rates fairly close to the interbank rate. With that amount, you may want to do it in a few transfers to try and get the best rates. I know Halo allow you to pick a rate and if/when the market moves to your rate your orders gets executed. Bet you are watching those rates like a hawk, every 1 cent move is worth $5000 to you. Have you opened an AUD account to take the funds? Can open one with any of the big 4 from the UK. My preference is CBA for their excellant online/app banking.
  8. My sister has a pretty good rule of thumb. If you haven't worn it or used it in a year - it goes. Need to be ruthless with yourself. If it has sentimental value, is unique in someway or is worth something decent keep it otherwise it goes. No point in paying to move stuff that isn't worth anything (in value or sentiment)
  9. 95% + of long term rentals are unfurnished. Check out or Budget will depend on what you want. Meant to be a big oversupply of units hitting the market in Melbourne so you may have your pick. Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, charity shops all good for cheap 2nd hand furniture. There is always IKEA too.
  10. A well written piece and sadly quite accurate IMO UK politics has become a very British farce Theresa May adrift without UK economic policy as Brexit negotiations begin about 17 hours ago Christopher Kissane 1 “Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ will now join the long list of ironic British euphemisms.” Photograph: Simon Dawson/EPA As it would often remind the rest of the world, Britain has for a very long time been what James Joyce once remarked that Ireland was not: a “logical and serious” country. Britain’s political system and leaders in particular were something to be admired: they were rational, reliable and reasonable. Britain was the stereotypical home of the stiff upper lip and, above all, responsible government, with Westminster “the mother of all parliaments”. Other countries might veer into populist rabble-rousing or ideological excess, but Britain would always remain pragmatic and mature. Not any more. Politics in the UK has become a very British farce, with a revolving cast of characters trying to outdo each other in fits of rash irresponsibility: Theresa May’s “strong and stable” will now join the long list of ironic British euphemisms. Political leaders have washed their hands of any need to be sensible, placing the country on a rollercoaster that seems increasingly out of control. Unwilling to stand up to years of tabloid and populist myths about immigration and “Brussels”, leaders in both major parties became either passive or active collaborators in Brexit, allowing the fringe concern of what an ally of David Cameron once reportedly called “swivel-eyed loons” to become a mainstream idea. A distant politics and reckless austerity left millions feeling ignored and left behind by a globalisation in which they should have shared, and a combination of opportunists and fantasists took full advantage. Now, after calling a snap election specifically to gain a mandate to negotiate Brexit, May’s government has been left reliant on the support of a regional party for which 97 per cent of the UK could never vote. The queen’s speech to lay out the government’s agenda has been delayed, either due to the need for DUP approval or a lack of goatskin vellum on which to print the speech (it’s hard to say which is more embarrassing). With Brexit talks having begun this week, the government appears to have no negotiating strategy beyond – in the immortal words of foreign secretary Boris Johnson – having its cake and eating it. British imperial officials used to speak of their “subject peoples” not being “ready” for self-government; it now feels tempting to say the same of the UK. Laughing stock This descent into volatility has shocked Europeans: the British are normally “stoic, resilient, and pragmatic”, noted a recent column in Italy’s Corriere della Sera titled almost pityingly (and in English) “Good luck, my friends”. “The pragmatic Brits of the past are no more,” lamented Germany’s Die Welt, while at the weekend Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger called Britain “Europe’s laughing stock”. Officials in Brussels have become increasingly alarmed that their British counterparts do not understand basic but crucial elements of the Brexit process. Indeed, the current cabinet is simply not up to the job: the defining issue of the election was May’s arrogance and incompetence, Liam Fox and David Davis seem ignorant of the realities of international trade, while the less said about Johnson the better. Britain is fielding a team far off test-match standard. This would be bad enough were the country not facing a myriad of other challenges. Inflation is steadily rising and real wages are again falling; the current period of stagnant productivity is the longest since the 18th century; and all the while a fiscal crisis in the funding of healthcare and social care draws nearer. After years of a “long-term economic plan” focused on austerity – much of which was unnecessarily damaging to the economy – the Conservatives have now abruptly changed tack. Low investment and deep cuts to benefits for the young, poor and disabled were one thing, but they are apparently not willing to face down the anger of well-off pensioners or the DUP: the age of austerity is over, May told Tory MPs after her electoral humbling. Yet there is no clarity as to what will come next. One of the world’s largest economies currently has no economic policy. The recent election, however, hardly felt like a debate for the country’s future. The Conservatives offered a manifesto without numbers or Brexit plans, while the Labour party – impressive during the campaign but inept for the past two years – wanted to talk about anything but Brexit. They too cynically agree with May that free movement must end and the UK should leave the single market. Yet there is no clear public consensus on what trade-offs the final Brexit deal should involve, and it is unclear how the necessary compromises would make it through a hung parliament or another election. It is possible that there is no majority for leaving the single market, nor one for staying in it. Politicians promising everyone the best of all possible worlds has left open the very real risk of a “no deal” Brexit, leaving Britain adrift in international economic waters. British politics has become not just parochial but myopic, its horizons ending at the Channel and the short-term squabbling over the deckchairs while the icebergs get closer. In many European countries such a moment of national crisis would inspire a broad coalition to build the consensus necessary for a way forward. Yet British democracy actively discourages such co-operation. Designed to produce durable majority governments, the first-past-the-post system instead has produced hung parliaments in 2010 and 2017, while 2015’s slender Conservative majority lasted just two years. Shotgun marriage Partisan positioning has taken precedence over policymaking as the two major parties fight over the carcass of Ukip’s vote. The government’s shotgun marriage with the DUP now recklessly endangers Northern Ireland’s peace and devolution, while the Scottish government demands a second independence referendum and London seeks special arrangements with the EU. “Taking back control” so far looks like pulling the country apart. Contrary to the insecure paranoia of Brexit, the fact that so many immigrants have come to Britain in the past decade shows the many strengths that its economy and society possesses: the UK is modern and multicultural, vibrant and varied, and, above all, open. Just a few years ago the country seemed on a very positive trajectory, and there was no reason it should not continue to thrive throughout this century. But all of that is now endangered. As the former chancellor George Osborne said some years ago, “Britain has no divine right to be one of the richest countries in the world.” There are no easy answers to Britain’s predicaments, and it will take courage to engage in public debate with realism rather than pandering, to seek consensus not partisan advantage. But serious times require serious people. It’s time for British politicians to take responsibility, before it’s too late. Dr Christopher Kissane is a historian at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker
  11. Ok. My understanding is that when you are first granted PR you have 5 years to permanently move to Australia. RRVs are generally for people who have made the move and want to exend the travel portion of their visas (they may be still waiting for citizenship or choose not to become a citizen) You would want to have a very valid reason for not moving within the 5 years (2018), you may get 12 months additional if you have a valid reason (eg terminally ill parent). You don't get to just keep the option open to move forever.
  12. Arlene Foster letter on blocking same-sex marriage in Scotland released DUP leader asked Scottish government to block NI couples from converting civil partnerships to marriage about 13 hours ago Updated: 9 minutes ago DUP leader Arlene Foster: requested restriction on gay couples from Northern Ireland converting civil partnerships to same sex-marriages in Scotland. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins are to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to Email App The Scottish Government has published a written request from DUP leader Arlene Foster asking that it restrict gay couples from Northern Ireland converting their civil partnerships to same sex marriages in Scotland. The publication comes days after Mrs Foster said she had no recollection of sending such correspondence to the administration in Edinburgh. The letter, written in September 2015 when Mrs Foster was Stormont finance minister, urged then Scottish local government minister Marco Biagi to exclude Northern Ireland-based couples from legislation that enabled people in civil partnerships to convert those unions to same sex marriages. Mr Biagi tweeted about the existence of the letter in the wake of the British general election, amid increased UK-wide focus on the DUP’s conservative stance on social issues such as gay marriage. The DUP is in negotiations with the Conservative party with a view to supporting a minority government in the House of Commons. But in a radio interview last week, the former Stormont first minister denied sending such a letter. “I’m not quite sure what he (Mr Biagi) was referring to but it certainly wasn’t a letter from me and I’ve no recollection of a letter from me,” she told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Politics show. DOCUMENT PAGES Zoom « Page 2 of 2 » “If I’d written to him officially as minister of finance or something like that around recognition laws here in Northern Ireland, I have no recollection of it. I certainly didn’t write in a personal capacity.” The letter dated September 4th 2015 released by the Scottish Government on Tuesday is signed by Mrs Foster. It was a follow-up to a letter from her predecessor as finance minister, the DUP’s Simon Hamilton. Mr Hamilton’s letter has also been made public. The letters did not cite moral or political objections to the proposed legislation in Scotland, but highlighted potential legal issues. They said complications could arise from couples having “dual status”, where they are recognised as civil partners in Northern Ireland but as married in Scotland. Mrs Foster wrote: “I’m sure neither of us would wish to place same sex couple in an uncertain legal position, which maybe difficult and expensive to resolve.” Mr Biagi rejected the request from the Northern Ireland ministers. In his reply to Mrs Foster, dated November 24 2015, he said it would “not be appropriate” to exclude Northern Ireland couples from availing of the legislation. Stormont’s department of finance has responsibility for marriage regulations in Northern Ireland.
  13. Always happy for a reasoned debate around articulated arguments (whatever the viewpoint). It's the one line trolling comments and air of superiotity from people who wouldn't be out of place in Gilead that don't belong. These people would be happy to turn the UK (well England really as they look down on the other parts) into Gilead.
  14. Practice what you preach mate. Stop posting trollish comments. Try articulating a reasoned argument if you can. I'll stack my history of posts against yours anyday. I believe in standing up to racism, fascism, misongy and homeophobia.
  15. Don't feed the troll mate