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The Laz Word...on loads of politics

Larry Neild wishes for a Christmas free of student fees, elected mayors and daft voting

Published on December 10th 2010.


The Laz Word...on loads of politics

MY first suspicions about the guy they call Santa Claus were aroused as a toddler when I tried to fathom out why he delivered good presents to well-off kids, and crap tat to low-income, working class children like me.

Their target is what they think is the local Conservative Office. Unfortunately, the Tories packed their leaflets and left soon after the May General Election. You would have thought those studying politics might have put them right

But if there is an Father Christmas out their somewhere in laptop land, can I please have a Christmas free of politics?

Last week Tarzan swung into town, happy to reclaim his crown as King of the Merseyside Jungle on a tour of the Uk's poorest areas, promoting a new regional growth fund for small businesses.

All those years ago, Michael Heseltine was our saviour, delivering the International Garden Festival, the Albert Dock and other goodies without even a little help from Santa.

Of course what those heaping belated praise on Lord H failed to mention was the slaughter of Merseyside’s manufacturing base by err, let me see, oh yes Lord H’s Conservative Party.

In the 1970s, they were largely responsible for the slide into deep deprivation and high unemployment. I always thought it was ironic one of the schemes he gave us was the new Crown Courts in Derby Square – hundreds of jobs for construction workers, creating a building where their fellow citizens could be sentenced to jail in far more comfort compared to the hard wooden benches in the old Courts of Assize at St George’s Hall.

This time Lord H says what Liverpool needs is an elected mayor. Seems a scouse Boris Johnson will be the answer to our unanswered prayers.

He cited the punch packed by the Leader of the Scottish Parliament, Alex Salmond, who is seemingly on the radio and telly every day.

Quite a few English cities and towns already have directly elected mayors and I’ve not seem them bobbing up on the telly day in, day out.

The problem for me is this – whether we need an elected mayor will depend on who wins the job, so I can’t answer the question until after the result is declared when it will be too late.And now we have Jane Kennedy given the job of running a campaign for Labour colleagues against AV, or the alternative vote.Jane, who stood down as Labour MP for Wavertree in May, is a lifelong supporter of the first-past-the-post system of voting. We are to have a public referendum next year to decide if we want this electoral reform.

Here’s why I struggle on AV. Voters will expected to state their preferences in order, 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.

If any candidate fails to win 50% of the total votes cast in the first round, the 2nd choice votes are added until the magical half-way mark is crossed. If a person is a diehard, Clause 4 Labour voter, they will presumably vote for the Labour candidate as first choice. Are they then supposed to award their second choice to Conservative, or Lib Dem?

I just don’t see many people going along with that. It would be like saying I want Ed Milliband for Prime Minister but if I can’t have him I’ll be happy with Nick Clegg, or if God can’t run Heaven my second choice will have to be the Devil.AV works better in, say trade union elections, where people are seeking places on committees. In politics, it’s a different ball-game.And of course this week the troubled Lib Dems will be wondering what on earth to do over student fees. Last month saw hundreds of students converging on a building in Hanover Street, pelting the windows with paper aeroplanes (bless ‘em) and soft fruit.

Their target is what they think is the local Conservative Office. Unfortunately, the Tories packed their leaflets and left soon after the May General Election. You would have thought those studying politics might have put them right.

Whatever happens the Lib Dems will be plunged into a frenzy likely to harm they deeply in next year’s elections.

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousDecember 6th 2010.

The Lib Dems are finished. Good while it lasted but they have blown it. They will be consumed by the Con men and allowed to rattle their dummies every now and then. A total abstention against fees is as good as voting with their masters, as they know the arithmatic adds up to victory for King Cam and Prince George. They should have stuck to their (pre-election) principles and be prepared to go down with honour. We wont need a referendum on AV as we will go back to the regular two-horse races we know and hate.
Today's students will hate the Coalition, especially the Fibbing Dems for ever. This is history in the making and we've all got a front row seat.

RudolphDecember 6th 2010.

So we won't be seeing Laz doing any cheerleading this festive period. I'm sure he wrote on LC once that Christmas should be abolished. I think he should be forced to do a Santa stint at one of the grottoes so he can see the look of excitement on faces of youngsters who still live in hope. I'd bet he'd just sit there telling them he was a fake and Santa doesn't exist. I'm in my 30s and I still believe in him, or is it her?

HoHoHoDecember 6th 2010.

Laz would be much better working alongside Snow White. Which part he'd play is anybody's guess. List your own choices, AV style from a choice of seven.

DigDecember 6th 2010.

So they demonstrate outside an empty office and trash their own union building? Clever lot these students aren't they? I can't wait to see what they get up to next time. Comedy gold.

AnonymousDecember 7th 2010.

This blinkered view is based on the false premise that there's any real difference between the parties beyond the promises they break.

Couldn't make it up.December 7th 2010.

Exactly my thoughts Dig. Why should we honestly give a toss about their protests at cuts when it is clear that most of them are not intelligent enough to be in university. Not only that, but some of them are mind-bogglingly thick. Do they have a Frank Spencer faculty at Liverpool University?

Come on students, tell me why I should fork out my taxes for you when you eat Pot Noodles, get pissed and your organised big chance involves throwing paper aeroplanes at an empty office?

You can't, can you?

ADDecember 8th 2010.

I have to pay for the banking bailout, pay for fiscal stimulous, pay for the final salary pensions of baby boomers, pay for government services, pay for the Irish rescue and pay for a roof over my head.

Why would I want to pay for some snoty nosed kids, media studies degree as well? a bridge to far...

AnonymousDecember 8th 2010.

Love em or loathe em, students are part of our future. To survive in the modern age we need well educated people to compete on the world stage. We are falling behind. Lumbering students with £40,000 or £50,000 worth of debt when they graduated is just unacceptable. Many will emigrate to countries where they will be better off, and well away from the Inland Revenue eager to grab their money.

A Loan AgainDecember 8th 2010.

What idiot decided to introduce tuition fees in the first place? Is this about the fees or the rate they're set at? If it's the rate, at what precise point is the amount "wrong"?

Colonel GingerDecember 9th 2010.

What we need is a good war.

SquatterDecember 10th 2010.

It is not just a question of student fees: it is a question of what the increased fees are supposed to cover - namely the axing of funding for ALL degrees except science, technology. engineering and maths. That is the real crime - the end of literature, history, classics, philosophy, humanities, social science etc. except at a very few HE institutions. The denial of education in those subjects to all except the well heeled.
back to 'education for the few, training for the masses.' Well it was good enough for the Victorians, it is bound to set us up for the 21st century.

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