Socialists Question Time AKA 'Ask a Socialist' Watch

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Grape190190
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
Well yes. The door either opens or it doesn't. If the Party sends me my membership then I have been accepted. This seems to obvious that it hardly needs stating.
I read that a good 30 seconds ago, and I swear to god, I'm still laughing.

consider or hold as true; "I cannot accept the dogma of this church"; "accept an argument"

receive willingly something given or offered; "The only girl who would have him was the miller's daughter"; "I won't have this dog in my house!"; "Please accept my present"

give an affirmative reply to; respond favorably to; "I cannot accept your invitation"; "I go for this resolution"

react favorably to; consider right and proper; "People did not accept atonal music at that time"; "We accept the idea of universal health care"
admit into a group or community; "accept students for graduate study"; "We'll have to vote on whether or not to admit a new member"

bear: take on as one's own the expenses or debts of another person; "I'll accept the charges"; "She agreed to bear the responsibility"

tolerate or accommodate oneself to; "I shall have to accept these unpleasant working conditions"; "I swallowed the insult"; "She has learned to live with her husband's little idiosyncrasies"

...et cetera.

A door can't accept your presence, because it cannot make a conscious decision to deny your presence -- nor does it have the properties to do so.


How is that not a decision? At some point you (the Party) must decide on each application whether to click the button or not. Again this seems so obvious it doesn't need stating.
Could that be anymore inane. Really, I dare you: try to say something more redundant. I don't think you can do it. It's like saying, "The pilots took us to war in Iraq, because they made the decision to fly the planes." No. They flew the planes because they were told to -- just as Herbal won't make a decision on whether to accept them; she'll follow party convention. You're getting so desperate that it's sad.

As for saying that you have no Leader, I don't think it is that clear cut given that you haven't answered the question about PMs and membership requests. If Herbal Bug makes the decision about who to accept than she is the de facto leader. If it is a group decision every time, well, frankly she's still the de facto leader in as much as she's the only one who actually knows who is applying.
What? The doorman opens the door to the office, so he is leader of the company? There is no decision! If there was, we'd discuss it!

And who speaks on behalf of the Party or do you all do so? And who decides what to do when the Party is split? And who decides what order people are on the MP list for the election? Just some of questions for you (the Party) to consider.
We all speak on behalf of the party -- we don't normally have a whip, so this isn't a problem.

If the party is split, we'll continue the debate: but I can't imagine that it'll be a problem. We don't tend to impose collective will on the individual.

We'll discuss MPs in due course, I'm sure; but that's not really any of your concern, is it?
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Grape190190
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(Original post by Jangrafess)
You brought up real parties before I did. I'm only continuing the argument along your own lines. I can obviously only give experience from my leadership of the party I lead. I think it was, therefore, fairly relevant.
My original purpose was just to show that the TSR convention of selecting members from applicants is not exactly a sacrosant model.

But anyway, I've held up my analogy, so that's not a problem.

Great, so there's a problem already. Didn't you get the message passed on that Calcium878 sent to all the leaders earlier today then? Whoops. It was to do with cross-party discussions.
Yeap, we did.

Didn't say it directly but we're confused at the idea of a party administrator and from that you can infer that we're wondering how you hope to maintain a party with no leader.
Yes, but how exactly do I address your confusion when the pair of you come in here and harp on about how exactly the procedure for clicking "accept" is going to work.
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UniOfLife
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I must congratulate you, THM, on trying valiantly to deflect these questions, it's certainly brave.

During your 30 seconds of laughter did you consider phrases like "the lock accepted the key" for example. This is really beside the point because you very obviously ignored the second part and main part of that first quote. I'll say it again (but perhaps you'll miss it because you're laughing so hard) if I apply to the Conservative Party (in RL) and they take my application and send me my membership card, are you seriously going to suggest that I have neither been accepted nor denied membership of that Party? I mean, this is what you said earlier. So do you stand by this rather odd suggestion?

What about the other suggestion that there is no decision to be made on membership application. I don't really see that it's inane to wonder how accepting an application is not a decision. Earlier you said that "We accept all new members unless we have reason not to." So if you have a reason not to you deny the membership. In which case, one wonders, how is there not a decision being made by at least someone?

So is it that Herbal makes these decisions herself or do you have a thread in your sub-forum in which you all vote on whether to accept an application? It's all very well saying that she simply follows party convention but when there is a decision to make does she make an executive decision or does it go to committee?

I don't think any of this is desperate, it's simply trying to understand the rather odd things you've been saying.

And lastly, if everything works by vote and all applications are accepted, what would you be able to do in the situation that, say, 10 new members sign up who are or become right wing and basically take over your party? Or is this also inane or sad or desperate?

EDIT: And you can ignore this if you want because it really isn't the major point, I just thought it was interesting. Your list of meanings that you quote earlier for "accept" from which you conclude that a door cannot accept because it has no conscious decision, is very interesting. See, just out of curiosity I did a quick Google search and found that your list of definitions was copied and pasted from it. (here if anyone is interested http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=5...=Search&meta=). But what I found most interesting is that your list stops just before this entry:
"be designed to hold or take; "This surface will not take the dye""
Would it be inane to point out that this definition certainly seems to apply the word to a non-sentient object that isn't capable of consciously deciding something. Would it be wrong to suggest that you left it out on purpose because it rather undermines your argument? Meh, so long as you answer the main points I don't really care.

EDIT AGAIN: Just noticed that on the Groups page (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/prof...editusergroups) it has Alasdair down as your only Group Leader, so is he accepting the membership requests at the moment?
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Alasdair
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Without getting involved in the discussion per se, the only times I used to decline membership requests was when a) somebody was in another party or b) they obviously didn't understand what the party was.

As for my being a leader, I'm in the process of sorting out herbal_bug as party leader, and there's only been one join request since I became speaker, which is still outstanding, because the person's join reason was "i owuld like to join this group because i am new to the whole student room thing and need help". So...
Jangrafess
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(Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
My original purpose was just to show that the TSR convention of selecting members from applicants is not exactly a sacrosant model.
Well, you failed spectacularly.

Yeap, we did.
Then why on Earth did you say this:

At any rate, I can't think of a circumstance in which you'd be the one contacting us before a decision got put through. That's the Speaker's job.
considering that on the same day you'd be contacted by another party, but through someone who isn't the speaker? Makes no sense.

Yes, but how exactly do I address your confusion when the pair of you come in here and harp on about how exactly the procedure for clicking "accept" is going to work.
By answering the question. Then we can move onto other matters. Telling us we're being inane only makes things longer, when a simple 'herbal will do it' would have sufficed in the first place.
Skipper
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(Original post by Alasdair)
"i owuld like to join this group because i am new to the whole student room thing and need help".
No worse than the usual standard surely:p:
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Grape190190
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I do adore the way you guys select the arguments you think you have a counter for and just ignore the other ones.

(Original post by Jangrafess)
Well, you failed spectacularly.
If only saying something made it true.

Then why on Earth did you say this:


considering that on the same day you'd be contacted by another party, but through someone who isn't the speaker? Makes no sense.
That's not a decision relating to the whole House or which has any effect/power in itself. That's them trying to set up a think-tank by invitation. If you choose to invite us by PMing an inactive member, then obviously that invitation won't be taken up. You don't have an obligation to include us, so giving us notification via a faulty line of communication is rather absurd.


By answering the question. Then we can move onto other matters. Telling us we're being inane only makes things longer, when a simple 'herbal will do it' would have sufficed in the first place.
I did answer. Many times. You just didn't like the answer. I will not have the democratic structure of our party misrepresented by the false premise of your question. And it is inane, and if it's worrying that it's the most substantial thing you can think to pursue.

(Original post by UniOfLife)
During your 30 seconds of laughter did you consider phrases like "the lock accepted the key" for example.
The lock has the facility to discriminate and therefore reject the incorrect key. It wouldn't reject an orange, say, because it would never get into it in the first place. Similarly, our members never enter a state in which anything more than a secretarial 'decision' has to be made. But whatever, I'll concede the point, if it gives you happiness. You can find a scientific use of "accept" that would suggest the properties of an applicant must be conducive to recipient. I just assumed that "accept" was meant in the conscious sense, not as you would find in a Chemistry textbook. I could press the point that the party and the process are not the same thing, but I can't be arsed -- and I'm still amused by the idea that your door accepts you by not blocking your path.

This is really beside the point because you very obviously ignored the second part and main part of that first quote. I'll say it again (but perhaps you'll miss it because you're laughing so hard) if I apply to the Conservative Party (in RL) and they take my application and send me my membership card, are you seriously going to suggest that I have neither been accepted nor denied membership of that Party? I mean, this is what you said earlier. So do you stand by this rather odd suggestion?
It seems unlikely that I would have ignored one of your arguments, if it was relevant. *looks* *doesn't see where*

No, I don't believe that you've been accepted -- because I believe that in order for an organisation to consciously do something, the alternative action must have been an option. The party hasn't accepted you, the mechanical process has facilitated your entrance. Acceptance implies the consideration of rejection. But again, I really don't care on this point anymore. Herbal clicks the "accept" button, but she won't be making decisions about whether to accept people into the party. Either she clicks yes, or if their application is a dupe, she processes their 'application' in the opposite manner.

What about the other suggestion that there is no decision to be made on membership application. I don't really see that it's inane to wonder how accepting an application is not a decision. Earlier you said that "We accept all new members unless we have reason not to." So if you have a reason not to you deny the membership. In which case, one wonders, how is there not a decision being made by at least someone?
The word is misleading. Every conscious action is, in a sense, a "decision". So yes, the person who clicks "accept" "decides" to apply pressure to the mouse, they look at the application, look at TSR/party rules, and determine if they are compatible. That's not a decision on an individual level; it's just following through on principles.
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Jangrafess
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(Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
I do adore the way you guys select the arguments you think you have a counter for and just ignore the other ones.
I responded to the bits directed at me.

If only saying something made it true.
Your response made no sense to me. When trying to make a point to someone you have to make it clear. You were unsuccessful.

That's not a decision relating to the whole House or which has any effect/power in itself. That's them trying to set up a think-tank by invitation. If you choose to invite us by PMing an inactive member, then obviously that invitation won't be taken up. You don't have an obligation to include us, so giving us notification via a faulty line of communication is rather absurd.
That's beside the point. You said you couldn't think of a circumstance related to a decision. The thread is a decision making process on a bill and someone who wasn't the speaker contacted people. When contacting you we might need to contact you about something to do with power and effect. For example, if I were canvassing opinions on a possible VonC in the speaker.

I did answer. Many times. You just didn't like the answer. I will not have the democratic structure of our party misrepresented by the false premise of your question. And it is inane, and if it's worrying that it's the most substantial thing you can think to pursue.
You did not answer when asked the question in the first place. You went off on a bizarre tangent (with a poor example of how things work in RL political parties) and we chased you down it.
UniOfLife
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You say "I do adore the way you guys select the arguments you think you have a counter for and just ignore the other ones." and then in your long post you missed these questions:

"if everything works by vote and all applications are accepted, what would you be able to do in the situation that, say, 10 new members sign up who are or become right wing and basically take over your party? Or is this also inane or sad or desperate?"

and

"So is it that Herbal makes these decisions herself or do you have a thread in your sub-forum in which you all vote on whether to accept an application? It's all very well saying that she simply follows party convention but when there is a decision to make does she make an executive decision or does it go to committee?"

You have conceded, at long last, that when someone applies to be a member they need to be accepted and that a decision needs to be made. We also now know that (at some point anyway) Herbal will be the one clicking the button. So are there answers to the two questions repeated here?
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randdom
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Why is it so important that the socialists have a leader anyway or what they choose to call the person that approves their applications to the party.

Surely if as a party they want to collectively decide on issues such as bill submission and anything for that matter be it each individual acceptance to the party or anything else then surely that is their decision and if it works for them then why not.

Why should every party have a leader and deputy leader yes it works for the Labour party and I don't think that it should be changed but I hardly see that it is completely necessary.
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UniOfLife
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I originally asked who the Leader was because of the Cycling thread. It just turned into a rather interesting (and a little weird) discussion. They don't have to have a leader if they don't want to.
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davireland
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When the Socialist party found out that Alasdair was to become speaker, did anyone in your party wish to become leader? was there any suggestion of a leadership contest? and did everyone agree that it was the right idea not to have a leader?
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Grape190190
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(Original post by Jangrafess)

Your response made no sense to me. When trying to make a point to someone you have to make it clear. You were unsuccessful.
You not recognising a reference to the wider political context, and then takking three posts to understand how it affects precedent is not my fault. But anyway, this is no longer relevant.

That's beside the point. You said you couldn't think of a circumstance related to a decision. The thread is a decision making process on a bill and someone who wasn't the speaker contacted people. When contacting you we might need to contact you about something to do with power and effect. For example, if I were canvassing opinions on a possible VonC in the speaker.
Sadly, we can add a little context, so that there is no contradiction. I made that comment in response to you saying:

As for PMing anyone I want, if I want to get a decision pushed through that I know the Socialists will object to I can PM one of your totally inactive members, so that the rest of the parties had time to formulate a decision and then you'll find yourselves behind. Good. If you then complain that you didn't know you have one of your many equals to blame.

The circumstances you describe are not comparable to what Calcium sent us. Things can't get 'pushed through' without the Speaker; invitations to join think tanks can be sent without him.

If you deliberately choose not invite us by inviting an inactive member, we would have no more complaint than if you simply chose to not invite us at all. Obviously.

You did not answer when asked the question in the first place. You went off on a bizarre tangent (with a poor example of how things work in RL political parties) and we chased you down it.
Um, yes, I did.

(Original post by UniOfLife)
You say "I do adore the way you guys select the arguments you think you have a counter for and just ignore the other ones."
...that post is case in point, wouldn't you say? Didn't address any of the arguments in my last post at all. Not that I aprticularly mind: tedious is no longer a sufficient word.

if everything works by vote and all applications are accepted, what would you be able to do in the situation that, say, 10 new members sign up who are or become right wing and basically take over your party? Or is this also inane or sad or desperate?"
Sincere apologies. I missed that, because I was c + p ing from the post history.

This is the nature of democracy: if right wing opinion is supported by the majority, then the party will become right wing. Under such a scenario, most of us current members would doubtlessly leave and form a new party. However, it seems unlikely given that our membership would have to more than double in one sweep to make it an electoral reality. Otherwise, we'd just vote to expel the righties.

"So is it that Herbal makes these decisions herself or do you have a thread in your sub-forum in which you all vote on whether to accept an application? It's all very well saying that she simply follows party convention but when there is a decision to make does she make an executive decision or does it go to committee?"
I've made clear that if there is a decision to be made, it will be made democratically through an internal mechanism. Frankly, any detail beyond that is party-business and protected by collective resposibility.

You have conceded, at long last, that when be a member they need to be accepted and that a decision needs to be madesomeone applies to .
I did not.

I conceded that there is a scientific definition by which the party accepts the new member through the process. But I denied that there was a decision that extended beyond a doorman's decision to open a door. Please don't misrepresent me.

(Original post by randdom)
Why is it so important that the socialists have a leader anyway or what they choose to call the person that approves their applications to the party.

Surely if as a party they want to collectively decide on issues such as bill submission and anything for that matter be it each individual acceptance to the party or anything else then surely that is their decision and if it works for them then why not.

Why should every party have a leader and deputy leader yes it works for the Labour party and I don't think that it should be changed but I hardly see that it is completely necessary.
Hear hear.
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Grape190190
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(Original post by davireland)
When the Socialist party found out that Alasdair was to become speaker, did anyone in your party wish to become leader? was there any suggestion of a leadership contest? and did everyone agree that it was the right idea not to have a leader?
The party voted not to have a leader. There was therefore no debate on who the hypothetical leader should be -- though at least one member came forward to say that they would lead the party if asked to.

As for the level of agreement, that falls under collective responsibility, and I would ask the honourable member not to ask such impertinent questions.
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UniOfLife
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So if I understand this correctly, it will work something like the following:

1) Herbal sees an application
2) She asks the Party whether it wants to accept the application
3) The Party votes
4) She follows through on the Party's decision

Is that about right?

Oh and this is simply amazing:

(Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
This is the nature of democracy: if right wing opinion is supported by the majority, then the party will become right wing. Under such a scenario, most of us current members would doubtlessly leave and form a new party. However, it seems unlikely given that our membership would have to more than double in one sweep to make it an electoral reality. Otherwise, we'd just vote to expel the righties.
I know you thought that some of my posts were embarrassing, but what about this? You're actually saying that it would be perfectly OK to accept into your Party people who have opposite political views and if they form a majority so be it. That is just bizarre.
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davireland
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(Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
The party voted not to have a leader. There was therefore no debate on who the hypothetical leader should be -- though at least one member came forward to say that they would lead the party if asked to.

As for the level of agreement, that falls under collective responsibility, and I would ask the honourable member not to ask such impertinent questions.
I wouldnt consider my question rude or contemptuous, im just interested to know whether the whole of your party agreed that this was the right course of action, were there people in your party who didnt support such a swing towards communism? and as this threads point is to answer questions, i assumed that you were going to answer my question.

Also, THM would you lead the Socialist Party despite being supportive of this 'all in a tent' style of leadership?
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UniOfLife
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Another question related to not having a Leader.

If you don't have one and don't have a Party line on any issue in what way are you different to a group of Independents?

Can you represent those who elect you when they elect a Socialist MP and find that he is actually a Libertarian?

Can you make promises in your manifesto which many of your MPs have no intention of keeping and you have no intention of making them keep to?
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Grape190190
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
So if I understand this correctly, it will work something like the following:

1) Herbal sees an application
2) She asks the Party whether it wants to accept the application
3) The Party votes
4) She follows through on the Party's decision

Is that about right?
My understanding is this:

1) Herbal sees an application.
2) She accepts it, unless it's a dupe -- in which case she rejects it.
2b) If there is another particular reason why she feels this application can't be accepted in the short term, she notifies the party and we discuss/debate/vote.


I know you thought that some of my posts were embarrassing, but what about this? You're actually saying that it would be perfectly OK to accept into your Party people who have opposite political views and if they form a majority so be it. That is just bizarre.
If they have views that are the opposite to our own, then they will quickly be exposed as such and then expelled by vote of the party. As I suggested in the other thread, we are a big tent and are tolerant of new ideas. It would be foolish for any party to define the scope of its open-mindedness.

If you don't have one and don't have a Party line on any issue in what way are you different to a group of Independents?
We discuss bills internally/write bills together/whip occasionally; and in order to become an MP, a member would have to fit within the scope of our ideological consensus. In what sense do you have MPs and not just a percentage of the vote on every issue, if they are forbidden from choosing how to vote? Our party line is determined by what MPs say and how they vote.

Can you represent those who elect you when they elect a Socialist MP and find that he is actually a Libertarian?
A Libertarian wouldn't become a Socialist party MP unless the majority of the party was libertarian. In such a case, anyone voting for the Socialist party would be be aware that they are voting for a right-wing party. I hardly see your point here.

(Original post by davireland)
I wouldnt consider my question rude or contemptuous, im just interested to know whether the whole of your party agreed that this was the right course of action, were there people in your party who didnt support such a swing towards communism? and as this threads point is to answer questions, i assumed that you were going to answer my question.
And I won't be commenting on hypothetical opinions in a hypothetical dispute. I will explain our decisions, but I won't be providing details of what people said/didn't say on the sub-forum. With respect. suggesting that I should betray my colleagues by doing so is not appropriate.

Also, THM would you lead the Socialist Party despite being supportive of this 'all in a tent' style of leadership?
I don't quite understand what you're asking. I have no interest in leading the Socialist party at this time and am comfortable with our democratic system.
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UniOfLife
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(Original post by The Humble Mosquito)
My understanding is this:

1) Herbal sees an application.
2) She accepts it, unless it's a dupe -- in which case she rejects it.
2b) If there is another particular reason why she feels this application can't be accepted in the short term, she notifies the party and we discuss/debate/vote.
Do you accept that this system is open to abuse and that Herbal could wield executive power by denying entry to some who should be accepted and accepting others who should be denied?

If they have views that are the opposite to our own, then they will quickly be exposed as such and then expelled by vote of the party. As I suggested in the other thread, we are a big tent and are tolerant of new ideas. It would be foolish for any party to define the scope of its open-mindedness.


We discuss bills internally/write bills together/whip occasionally; and in order to become an MP, a member would have to fit within the scope of our ideological consensus. In what sense do you have MPs and not just a percentage of the vote on every issue, if they are forbidden from choosing how to vote? Our party line is determined by what MPs say and how they vote.



A Libertarian wouldn't become a Socialist party MP unless the majority of the party was libertarian. In such a case, anyone voting for the Socialist party would be be aware that they are voting for a right-wing party. I hardly see your point here.
So you do whip the party, at least sometimes. That's good to know.

My point here is simply that with everything run only by majority vote it is easy for a group to join your party and take it over from under your feet. You don't appear to have any safeguards against this.

Since you say that you do whip the Party and would kick out individuals whose viewpoints you disagreed with then that answers some of my points. My concern was that you seemed to imply that you were perfectly happy having non-Socialists in your Party and as MPs.

But I still find it odd that you seem content to have the Socialist Party taken over by right wingers without any attempt to safeguard against it.
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Grape190190
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(Original post by UniOfLife)
Do you accept that this system is open to abuse and that Herbal could wield executive power by denying entry to some who should be accepted and accepting others who should be denied?
No more than that I have the 'executive power' to murder you. No more than any MP has the 'executive power' to break the rules of their party. She has no power to wield. Once again, we'll use the analogy of a secretary: does s/he have the 'executive power' to not tell their boss about a phone call?

So you do whip the party, at least sometimes. That's good to know.
Under Alasdair, if there was an issue which we felt went to the core of socialist values, we'd takea vote and then he'd act a whip. Naturally, all socialist MPs are expected to vote for our bills, and not doing so will resuly in censure unless they had good reason.

My point here is simply that with everything run only by majority vote it is easy for a group to join your party and take it over from under your feet. You don't appear to have any safeguards against this.
If more than 100% of our current total members joined all in one go before we had a chance to vote to expel any of them. What you're suggesting is an absurdity.

Moreover, you have no real powers to protect against it either. More than 100% of your total number of members could simply lie at the gate, say that they're a Tory, call a VonC in you and take over the party.

Since you say that you do whip the Party and would kick out individuals whose viewpoints you disagreed with then that answers some of my points. My concern was that you seemed to imply that you were perfectly happy having non-Socialists in your Party and as MPs.
Nowhwere did I imply that I personally would behappy with either scenario. I'm pointing out that the members decide what views are acceptable within the party and who is fit to be an MP. In the case of almost every Socialist member that there has ever been, we would vote to uphold socialist principles. If, however, someone came in who, say, disagreed with us on foreign/defence policy but had some great socialist ideas on the economy, it would be up to members to decide if they should be given a seat.

But I still find it odd that you seem content to have the Socialist Party taken over by right wingers without any attempt to safeguard against it.
Democracy is a safe guard in itself. There's nothing to stop all your MPs waking up tomorrow and turning you into a socialist party.
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