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February 05, 2014


Neil Wilson

I feel your stance on immigration has a bit of belief filter attached to it.

There is no real overall argument against immigration other than the fundamental space issue of when the country is full (which is also a population growth issue, and a society issue of how much space we want to give each person).

However there is a clear argument against the *volume* of immigration in a particular time period - given that it overloads the public infrastructure of society.

It's not so much fact free that's the problem. It is selection of facts to pick the curve of a particular belief structure.

Luis Enrique

This reminds me of this


I often feel like I agree with more sensible versions of activists' points, but find the exaggerated, hysterical nonsense they typically come out with very off putting.

So if people with a tendency to inflate the importance of things, lose all sense of perspective (and some cases all interest in the truth) self select into activism, it woudlnt surprise me if this tendency was counter productive.


"Every time I cut it off, I noticed immediately that the amount of street harassment I received, from cat-calls to whispered sexual slurs to gropes and grabs on public transport, dropped to a fraction of what it had been"

This seems to be a big issue which really shocked me. Not only is she getting repeatedly groped on public transport, but she is getting groped so much that she is able to plot it's frequency against her hair length. Is this what London is like? It's what I imagined Tahrir Square to be like, not England. How can this not be a big issue?


I am not a fanatical feminist but...

I think you are disrespecting the craft of writing. In writing apparently trivial observations stand as a way of representing deeper social problems or in creative writing revealing character in fiction. Small external signs tell us about the deep inner life of the character.

Not all informative human communication has to use the annual abstract of statistics or algebra to be useful as a way of understanding the world.

I agree with you about the examples of say immigration policy. But that is a matter of ideology. Right wing ideas are spread about deliberately to control debate and so make some issues seem trivial and others very important.

Socialism In One Bedroom

I don’t think this is related to feminism but middle classes with too much time on their hands! I think Wittgenstein made this observation decades ago! Maybe if Laura got a part time job cleaning the streets we would be sparred this bullshit?

Onto taxes:

“Studies measuring the difference between income before and after taxes and government transfers, however, have found that without these programs poverty would be roughly 30% to 40% higher than the official poverty line indicates, despite many of their benefits not being counted as income.”

Bradley, D., Huber, E., Moller, S., Nielson, F. & Stephens, J. D. (2003). Determinants of relative poverty in advanced capitalist democracies. American Sociological Review, 68(3), 22-51.

Those nations with higher tax rates also tend to spend more on public services as a % of GDP. And they tend to have better quality service provision. And the end result tends to be higher living standards on almost any measure you care to mention.

I will say it again, tax rates matter!

Socialism In One Bedroom


Wearing a street cleaning uniform will further reduce the incidents of groping and 'harassment' I would estimate!


Whether the 50p rate raises a little bit of tax revenue or loses a bit of tax revenue is neither here nor there. Surely that actual issue is whether London would be the successful international city state, home to bankers, CEOs, IT entrepreneurs, cultural/media stars, top footballers etc from the world over, if the top rate of tax had been 50p rather than 40p since 1997.

Similarly an immigration policy that has allowed a couple of million in has clearly had major impacts on the UK. One can debate about the positives and negatives but to state that they have had limited impact, because the "net economic effect" tends to zero, is somewhat bizarre.

Churm Rincewind

This post makes me very uneasy. Certainly it's possible to take a broad view about issues such as immigration, but this is only possible for those who haven't personally been affected or are unusually tolerant (generally because they haven't been affected so don't have to deal with the day to day).

As I've noted before, one of the results of the UK's immigration policies has been the introduction to these shores of female genital mutilation.

So I part company with the view that (immigration) is a non-issue - "you have to be a fact-free fanatic to claim with confidence that any of them will do massive damage."

Well I guess that rather depends on whether you think that FGM does "massive damage" or whether you take the view that it's merely an inconvenient side-effect well worth accommodating for an overall economic advantage.

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