Here are the notes:
Wednesday this week is International Women’s Day. A lot of articles recognised this, including this one:-
Thursday this week is the 20th anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland, which was the first of two giving rise to the now almost complete ban on handguns here. On my list of things the US and the UK don’t understand about each other (and which we haven’t got to yet) is guns. Why does the States still permit so many handguns when they cause so many deaths? I have in mind this clip too:-
From Henry: Michael Dowd: http://
I think this would be worth discussing. I’ve had correspondence with Dowd before, some of which was mildly combative. 🙂
Elgin and myself have a lot of disagreements in our recent exchanges about socialism. I don’t know it he has time, but this article from the admittedly somewhat left wing playwright David Hare interests me:- http://www.theguardian.
com/politics/2016/mar/08/ david-hare-why-the-tory- project-is-bust
The thing is, the state I grew up in in the 1950s to 1970s was far more socialist than the UK is today. It had quite a lot wrong with it, as Hare concedes in his article. But it also had a lot right with it, which has been abandoned in the quest for more and more liberalisation of markets. No-one in my generation had to pay for tertiary education (as long as they wanted it and could get a place at an university, granted there were far less places available then than there are now), nor did they have any difficulty getting a job (and lots of people elected not to go to university because they could get very well paying jobs with apparently good job security). I was incredibly privileged to grow up then; now, my children have crippling amounts of student finance debt as their start point in life and struggle to find jobs at anything more than minimum wage even with a good degree from a good university. Similarly, those who wanted housing could get it at reasonable cost in a large public rented sector; that now largely doesn’t exist, and those without jobs can’t get accommodation and those without accommodation can’t get jobs, and there are people sleeping on the street, which was unheard of in the 1970s except for very small numbers of socially maladjusted people. Those who do have jobs have no security in them – industries are thrown on the scrap heap, and if you want to keep employed you have to keep learning new sets of skills (which these days employers won’t pay for you to acquire, whereas in the 70s they always would).
The entire workforce is only slightly better off than the unemployed and the homeless – after all, they’re typically a couple of paychecks from that anyhow, and they are totally insecure.
I am frankly expecting that unless I fail to live much beyond the three score years and ten (which actually is quite likely given the state of my health), I will see the system break down completely. Either we’ll end up with a populist demagogue leading us who will be effectively a new kind of fascist, or there will be a popular uprising which could produce nearly anything. In either case, I expect a major breakdown in civil order, and for the end result not to be a liberal democracy and not to be espousing any kind of free market.