The Politics Thread

Discussion in 'Tottenham Hotspur' started by Wandering Yid, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. deedub93

    deedub93 Well-Known Member

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    Both sides are out of order here. Although I am anti-strike action, there is no need to ban strikes, one could always sack the work force en-mass if it became necessary. Hopefully such a move would never become necessary Picketing on the other hand should be illegal, Thatcher only did half the job, banning flying pickets, one of very few mistakes during her time in office.

    You say 'fine or strip them of their franchise'. It's my understanding that they don't have a franchise, Southern is basically a nationalised railway service run by a private management company, who are paid on a time basis by the government. That's why the tax-payer will be picking up the losses caused by the strikes. In other words there is a double-whammy for the poor commuters inconvenienced by this strike, they have to pay for the losses though their taxes as well.

    However, I have some sympathy for unions here, safety should be first and foremost and one person running a 12 coach train cannot be right. One cannot see the end of train at any stations when standing on the platform in the middle, let alone from the drivers cab. Surely ACAS or whoever is mediating can see that, it's an open and shut case as far as I'm concerned. A strike is not necessary. If the Southern management company can't see that they are not fit to manage and should be replaced. As for redundancies, **** happens, big up and get used to it.

    With a view on strikes, my boss in Africa sums it up nicely, he says that if people want to stay at home, we can arrange it so they stay at home permanently.
     
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  2. humanbeingincroydon

    humanbeingincroydon Well-Known Member

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    Not true, as it has happened before: back when Violia held various rail franchises with varying degrees of utter incompetence they were stripped of two of their franchises, namely Connex South Central and Connex South Eastern. They lost the South Central franchise - the same route which Southern are supposed to be running - in 2000, just four years into their contract, due to constant delays as well as the brilliant idea to lower running costs by not buying modern rolling stock as well as sacking the onboard cleaners, while in 2003 they lost the South Eastern franchise due to financial mismanagement.

    The main issue is that those in charge at Southern have no desire to see the obvious issue at the heart of the strikes, and as there is no threat of them losing the franchise - not when Theresa May's merry morons gave them an extra £20m to ease the "hardships" they have had to endure due to their staff exercising their right to protest, yet not a penny of that money has been seen by Southern staff so we can all guess where that large chunk of taxpayer's money went - they have no intention of negotiating. Case in point, when redundancies were threatened for last month's wave of strikes the union said they would go to work rather than have their members lose their jobs, providing Southern were willing to meet for more talks - only for Southern to flat refuse to meet, so the strikes went ahead.

    Something that really needs to be brought to light, which I have not only seen on platforms at more than one station in the Southern franchise but also had confirmed by people I know who work the stations, is that in infrastructure is so bad that the main way platform staff have to phone staff at the previous station to check on the status of a train - or to put it another way, rather than a line of communication between the stations and the train itself, something which Southern should have in place, instead their staff are having to spend their own money (money which will not be reimbursed) to call someone at another station in order to have a vague idea of whether or not the next train is on its way, all while having numerous irate commuters demanding to know where the latest in a long line of trains is.

    It's not just guards which Southern are looking to lay off en masse in order to generate savings which most certainly will not be passed on to the commuter, as ticket office staff are next for the chopping block.

    So, no, people should not "get used" to redundancies, just like they should not accept either working for a rail franchise who are blatantly looking to make as much money for themselves as they can at the expense of their staff, just as those who use the franchise should not have to accept an appalling service that charges grossly inflating ticket prices, and seems more interested in taking out full page ads in newspapers to slag off the unions than actually run a service that works properly.
     
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  3. The RDBD

    The RDBD Well-Known Member

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    Every train operator has that problem in London.
    The installation/maintenance of such systems should be done by Network Rail,
    and the train operators should be paying their share to make it happen.

    As for "safety" , I suspect the number of stations which are part of the Southern
    franchise, that have a suitable number of platform cameras to allow at the minimum
    some degree of driver-only operation for 4-8 carriage trains, is not high enough.
     
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  4. humanbeingincroydon

    humanbeingincroydon Well-Known Member

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    Network rail do install and maintain these systems at the main stations, for example Victoria, London Bridge, King's Cross and Clapham Junction, but beyond those stations it is usually the responsibility of the franchise to do so - something which is unlikely given Southern are trying to pay as few people as possible to do exactly that.

    Not really.

    For example, East Croydon has four cameras per platform, but the station has only three offices (one for platforms 1 & 2, one for platforms 3 & 4, and one for platforms 5 & 6) to check the feeds. Add to this how often these offices are unstaffed, as the staff have to be on the platform to signal the train can leave, more often than not there isn't anyone available to check the cameras, especially due to how often there are trains on each of the two platforms at the same time.

    As for cameras themselves, the obvious issue there is that after a certain number of carriages they are unable to see all due to the blind spots. For example a four carriage train, which they have on the lined headed to places like Caterham and Epsom, can run reasonably safely under the four camera system as the entire train can be seen on one or two monitors. On the other hand anything of more that eight carriages - and there's plenty of ten or even twelve carriage trains on the Thameslink, Gatwick and Brighton lines - simply wouldn't be safe due to carriage doors which are either in the blind spots or too far from the camera to be seen, let alone having the view obscured by the mass of people trying to get on some trains during peak hours.
     
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  5. deedub93

    deedub93 Well-Known Member

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    Clearly
    Clearly the infrastructure should be installed/maintained by Network Rail. That's a no brainer. As for ticket hall staff, surely they could be replaced by machines/Oyster type system, that's modernisation, tough on the staff but that's life. They work well on the tubes, why not extend them nationwide. I think the issue with guards is that you must have one all the time, if they strike, you have no trains. No guards halves the union power, which can only be a good thing. Perhaps if guards were replaced with a 'safety assistant', who could act as the eyes and ears for the driver but the driver have overall responsibility, it might be a sensible solution. What would also be useful is a bonus system related to industrial action, i.e. no strikes over the course of a year and all employees get say a month and a half salary bonus at Christmas. Any strike, anywhere in the company, ALL employees lose the bonus. It would peer pressure on those thinking of striking.
     
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  6. humanbeingincroydon

    humanbeingincroydon Well-Known Member

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    Unmanned stations are not the solution for so many reasons, neither is going Oyster only - for the following reasons.

    i.) Oyster cards do not get people through the gates faster, far from it: all it takes is one error message when somebody presses their card on the reader, be it because they don't have enough credit or because there's an error with the reader, and the barriers slam shut and there's an immediate bottleneck at the barriers - so picture that happening at a major station such as Victoria or London Bridge during the rush hour and you can immediately see how unsafe such a system is. They are already particularly unsafe at smaller stations in the commuter belt with only one or two barriers yet a high volume of commuters, because if this happens - and it has happened pretty much every single time I have been on a busy train headed into the commuter belt - that causes a crush by the barriers due to the ticket hall being small.

    ii.) Having used the New York subway, which removed the human element years ago, I can say for a fact that unmanned stations are a pain in the arse for one reason: if you can't get through the barriers for whatever reason, be it a faulty reader (or, in my case, trying to go through a two-way gate only for some New York ****head pushing the gate the other way and voiding my ticket) you're stranded. So what are you supposed to do, vault the gate? Because that's the only option if you say "that's life" - and that'll likely get you slapped with a £20 fine.

    iii.) Oyster cards on the railways are an utter con, given how often I get charged the full fare for a journey to go one or two stations - and even if you report this to TfL (which they try to make as hard as possible, because of course they do) you don't actually get a refund, the money's put back on your card the next time you use the barriers of your nominated station...but if you're not travelling from that station, which is a regular occurrence for me due to the various strikes and maintenance work, you end up having to top up anyway because you can't get your credit back.

    These three problems is why stations need ticket hall staff, to actually let people through the barriers because the automated system has failed to do the one task it has been set up to do, or to use a little common sense and open the ticket barriers to alleviate the mass of people at the barriers.

    This is the issue with thinking machines will take care of anything: they really don't. For a good example of this, take the Andrea Doria disaster, where the ship sailed into a fogbank and they could see on their radar that another ship was headed in their direction, but rather than post a lookout on the ship's bow for a visual guide they just stared at the blip on the radar screen thinking everything was fine - and it was, right up until the moment the blip on the radar screen collided with the Andrea Doria's starboard side, at which point their status went from "fine" to "sinking"
     
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  7. humanbeingincroydon

    humanbeingincroydon Well-Known Member

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    Uh oh, a small-scale international incident has broken out in the Youtube comments section...

     
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  8. bigsmithy9

    bigsmithy9 Well-Known Member

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    The Israeli PM kicking countries up the backside for non support of their actions......aren't these same countries giving Israel aid?
    Biting off the hand that feeds them....perhaps?
     
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  9. redwhiteandermblue

    redwhiteandermblue Well-Known Member

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    I worked for years on automation and robotics. The prospects for the world are terrifying, in that people are growing obsolete by the hour (thanks to the combination of technological acceleration and an essentially medieval educational system)--and this is in an era when most automation, as you say, is crap, really. Like anything else, automation takes time and money to function smoothly. Unfortunately, it will work better than people at a very wide range of things eventually. The list of things it can already do better than people is already very long and growing, and includes things which no one would have guessed not too long ago, like chess.

    The only reason cars can run for tens of thousands of miles instead of breaking down every ten is hundreds of iterations, a century of trial and error and the equivalent of a few billion pounds. Having said that, the problems you describe sound farly easy to solve, given the combination of a decent budget, decent organization and a decent UX designer.

    ...Now I’m remembering the complications which arose at the Underground station due to my doing something entirely unexpected: trying to exchange (British) currency for a ticket via machine. Two or three helpful passers-by and one uniformed somebody did their best to try to sort it out. In other words, as far as automation in the Underground goes, the motor enthusiast is still soliciting strangers and the local cop to help him push his contraption back to the barn.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  10. Spur of the Moment

    Spur of the Moment Well-Known Member

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    So, has the Trump-to-be Presidency become so outlandish that the appointment of an Ambassador to Israel deemed to be politically far to the Right of Attila the Hun barely gets a mention?
    Even right wing Israelis consider this a dangerous move, in that it will give Netanyahu free rein to pursue an even more extreme agenda. Heaven help the Palestine communities specifically - and the safety of the region generally.
    <yikes>
     
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  11. PleaseNotPoll

    PleaseNotPoll Well-Known Member
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    Nothing involving Trump's impending Presidency is surprising anymore, to be honest.
    He's openly corrupt and immensely stupid and his own side think that Russia got him elected.

    His fans don't care. They're not listening anymore.
    He hasn't held a press conference for over 150 days, since he told Russia to hack the Democrats at the last one.
    Now he just tweets a load of crap and they take it as gospel, as the media are "fake news".
     
    #2391
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  12. vimhawk

    vimhawk Well-Known Member

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    I wonder who is supposed to benefit from this automation? I remember seeing a few cheesy visions of the future type "documentaries" produced in the 50s and 60s showing how automation will take over the dreary and repetitive work from people, thus freeing us up for greater leisure time. Quite the opposite appears to be the case however, in that people made obsolete by technology are increasingly unable to move into meaningful employment - or at least employment with meaningful contracts! There is a very lazy way of looking at this by saying that in the past people made obsolete by, say, the industrial revolution were then moved into different work based on the technological progress of the time and somehow assuming that will be the case today as well. This seems however to be far from the modern truth, with people replaced and not meaningfully used elsewhere, and a lot of the work they used to do either being automated or thanks to globalisation, shuffled round to the country with the lowest labour costs for the jobs. Trouble is that its a flawed model as automation leaves us with more and more people unable to work usefully (with of course dire consequences for welfare, crime and not the least their own sense of purpose). So while it's looked at simply as "well, THIS job can be done by one person not two easily enough", this will continue to destroy us, until someone (heaven forbid the government!) looks at this nationally and globally for the overall impact of the trend. But they won't of course. Where are the Luddites when you need them!
     
    #2392
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  13. Spurf

    Spurf Smile!
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    The human race will design itself to extinction. Greed is the motivation that triumphs over all others as you can see all around you.
     
    #2393
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  14. The RDBD

    The RDBD Well-Known Member

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    That is the cost dilemma.
    Whatever industry saves via automation the state loses in supporting the increasing
    unemployed. Until mankind has an inexhaustible energy supply (fusion reactors etc) ,
    this will remain so.
     
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  15. The RDBD

    The RDBD Well-Known Member

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    The moment I hear that Trump has physically set foot in Meggido is the
    moment I repent all my sins and become a Christian.
     
    #2395
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  16. redwhiteandermblue

    redwhiteandermblue Well-Known Member

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    Right. Now that Marx is widely scorned as a quack, it may be useful to recall that he demonstrated automation would destroy a capitalist society. Which is, of course, why I was working on it for so long. Is a Utopia possible with automation plus a democratically commanded economy? Capitalism plus automation does indeed not seem to work.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  17. The RDBD

    The RDBD Well-Known Member

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    Utopia comes with a physical cost (financial, resources etc) .
    So unless that cost can be sustainably met with the prevailing tech/resources,
    Utopia is unachievable for the current global population scales.
     
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  18. humanbeingincroydon

    humanbeingincroydon Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, why does this sound familiar...

     
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  19. deedub93

    deedub93 Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry (tongue in cheek), if global warming wipes out over 99% of the worlds population then we will need automation. Perhaps Trump has the right idea.
     
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  20. bigsmithy9

    bigsmithy9 Well-Known Member

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    Trump and that N Korean twit's followers remind me of the monkeys at the zoo waiting to be fed by their keepers.
     
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