Pop Clients and Windows 8
As a result of the assault by a Magpie on my laptop I have now obtained an updated laptop and am in the process of setting up everything to work on the new machine. I had avoided leaving the XP operating system because I had a large email archive. I also don't want to use IMAP as I want my database where I can see it.
I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out a number of different POP email clients and to write notes as to my experience of them.
The first one I tried was EM Client.
This was quite good although the cursor had a tendency to disappear in some circumstances.
The next one I am trying is DreamMail. This is written by someone in China whose English is not particularly good, but their computer programming seems quite good (although it crashed in a strange way to start out - this may been linked to trying to get the pop and smtp parameters automatically.)
I particularly like the facility to import a *.dbx file. In fact you can load a number of dbx files for import and it will trundle through each of them. I have now, however, found a website for the writer (s?) of the software.
I am not going to highlight any particular source for the software there do seem to be some dubious ones.
Dream mail does have some inbuilt spam filtering and blocking. This does not appear in EM Client. EM client states it can import from *.dbx files, but I have not tried that. Dream Mail does, however, seem to save the data in folders for each month. This means that the summary file only needs to be backed up and historic data which does not change does not. That seems useful for the backup process. I am a bit nervous about the encrypted storage, however. (from the perspective of how to get to the data if the client does not work).
Dream mail also stores some header information in one file (currently 1-2Gb on my system) and then the individual emails in folders for each month. This seems quite an efficient mechanism for incremental backup as the historic data would generally not change and therefore not need to be backed up. It appears EM client stores the data in one big file. That means a 15Gb copy every time there is a backup. Something I am not enthusiastic about.
Greece and Spain
Elections are happening in Spain in which a party with a similar view to the Greek Syriza (Podemos - We can) is putting forward an "anti-austerity" platform.
The difficulty in government is that policies have to work. The Greeks appear to have put a major hold on payments to suppliers prioritising employees and other objectives. Inevitably suppliers have put a hold on supplying the Greek government with the consequent damage to public services. On a cash basis they may have a primary surplus, but with a purchase ledger of EUR 4.4bn and spending EUR 2bn less than budgeted something has to give.
Claiming that they have a primary surplus when it has mainly come from not paying suppliers is obviously misleading. None of the Eurozone finance ministries are stupid enough to believe what the Greeks are claiming.
Then again when you have this idiot
as finance minister it is not surprising they have problems. Quoting from the linked article:
"Greece’s general government had, in 2013, a primary deficit of 12.7% of GDP if we add to it the cost of recapitalising the banks (again during 2013). Let’s accept that this cost should not count as part of the government’s outlays (even though it is not clear why it should not). "
It is obvious that a one-off cost should not be treated as a continuing revenue cost. If that is "not clear" then he should not be finance minister.
The fundamental problem is that a government has to manage its finances in a sustainable way. Additional government spending does increase the GDP, but not necessarily sufficiently to reduce the borrowing required to fund the additional GDP.
It does appear that the Greeks are now in the final stages of the process of default. It is insufficient to dislike the conclusions as to what policy changes are required. There has to be a clear plan for any alternative proposals to produce something that "works". In the case of governments any financial shortfall has to be borrowed from someone. People with money are not inclined to throw good money after bad. The people who are most likely to suffer from the government getting it wrong are the poorer people in society. Hence governments need to get it right.
FMOTL - Magna Carta 1215 and constitutional theories
It remains that some people (sometimes known as Freeman of the Land - aka FMOTL) continue arguing a case based upon a strange interpretation of the UK constitution. This ends up with a strange distinction between common law and statute law and an attempt to argue really quite unorthodox things.
I am not in itself opposed to things which are unorthodox, but if people do not follow the procedures defined in the UK constitution they should not expect anything to come of this. I know of a case where someone's mental capacity was removed for relying on this. I believe that decision to be wrong, but whatever it may be it does not help.
Every so often people try to rely on these theories. Can I emphasise:
I have never heard of anyone succeeding in the UK on the basis of FMOTL legal theory. I am quite happy to look in the comments at something.
The most important point to understand is that the UK constitution is based upon a popular revolution from 1688. The constitutional settlement that was achieved at that point and accepted at that point is the constitutional settlement mutatis mutandis that applies today. That settlement included Magna Carta 1297 not Magna Carta 1215.
Magna Carta 1215 did not even last for a year even though it was supposed to last for ever. It is a "dead parrot" in a legal sense.
Hence the foundations of the legal theory known as FMOTL are flawed and any edifice built on them has to fail.
You can find Magna Carta 1297 on the legislation website if you wish.
Parliamentary Elections and General Elections
People vote for all sorts of reasons. Some vote as to who they want to be the local MP. Others vote as to who they wish to see as the prime minister and there can be combinations in between.
The postal votes in Yardley which were cast about two weeks before polling day gave me 40%, but on the night I only got just over 25%. This has happened previously.
I had been for some time of the view that the attempt at equidistance from Labour and Conservative was likely to be problematic. Once we had gone into coalition with the Conservatives we would lose support from people who were unhappy with the government. Hence if we go into the general election saying we might put Labour in we run the risk of losing support the other way.
My personal view is that we should have campaigned for the continuation of the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition. That would at least have had some certainty about it. People tend to vote against risk. It would also have been easier to argue in that we were presenting a case that we did the right thing in 2010 and intended to continue doing something like this.
Politicians over think about politics. The voters in the end have to make relatively simple choices. Do they vote for one person or another. The "air war" and the debates on the TV about strategy have had strong impacts on the campaign in many elections. This was like 1992 where I also lost in Yardley with a swing against me in the last week or two.
Those people who concentrate on the national perspective will then vote against the national government in the way that they see as being most effective.
That, in itself, may not have been sufficient to re-elect me in Yardley as Labour would still have got about 17,000 votes (41% of the electorate). However, it would meant the many people swinging between me and the Tories or UKIP could have voted for me understanding that I was an anti-Labour candidate. Frankly I am of the view that Labour's proposals were such nonsense that it would have been impossible to get competent government out of the Labour leadership.
Such an approach, however, would not have seen us losing in so many seats nationally.
The party did consider what had happened in previous coalitions. Wrongly the assumption was made that as long as the party itself remained united there would not be a problem. Historically with a substantial deposit required it was difficult to put up alternative candidates. These days, however, (rightly so) it is much easier so although the party may not split itself it does split from its supporters.
Which is what happened.
I have had an interesting 10 years as MP for Yardley. I hope that my constituents believe that I have performed the function to an adequate standard.
Whatever electoral system is used parties have difficulties swapping their coalition preferences for exactly the reasons I have given above. Perhaps now that lesson will be learnt rather than the consequences ignored.