The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.

Guidelines

To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

Looking for other areas to talk?

• Website feedback: Let us know about any technical issues, and share your ideas on the future of Which? Conversation

Which.net closure: A discussion about the closure of Which.net

Which? Members: Discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance

Welcome to the Lobby!

So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?

Comments

They are getting better and better Ian!

Thank you, Vynor; I do try…’onest.

A suspected recorded scam call arrived at 8.20 this morning. I hung up before they could tell me anything. Next phone call was an SMS text message about twenty minutes later. I had to press a key to hear it -and didn’t. This was repeated a few minutes later with the same result. It’s probably still out there somewhere. Persistent beggars!

Welcome to Epilepsy Awareness Month, albeit a little belatedly, the day in 1963 on which Kennedy was assassinated and the day in 1995 when Rosemary West was found guilty of killing 10 women.

Committee: a group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit to do the unnecessary.

Minutes: a record of the proceedings of a meeting, skilfully adapted to meet the wishes of the author.

Conference: the confusion of one person multiplied by the number of attendees

Diatribe: an extinct race

Daitribe: a group of Welsh people the rest of us would call David.

Those who diatribe
All subscribe
To what they describe
As a lengthy gibe;
A Protracted scribe;
Quotes to ascribe;
Ideas to prescribe;
Long thoughts to transcribe;
Morals to imbibe;
Time to circumscribe;
And of words, oversubscribe.
That’s the general vibe.

Welcome to Fibonacci Day, the day in 1869 Cutty Sark was launched In Dumbarton, and the day in 1963 of Doctor Who’s debut

I wish Dr Who was as long a series as the Fibonacci series… 42 may come out as the meaning of life, but 1 +/- Root 5 over 2 rules for me.

Deliberate: to return to gaol.

Diplomacy: the art of letting someone else get your way

Direct: broken by a Welshman.

The Welsh get everywhere: There’s Divest, seen on Barry Island in Summer, Dioptric- very speculative, Dimension – larger than life, Dilate and open about it, Diagnostic, Dibasic (ask Wavechange about him), Digest, the comedian, Dilute the musician, Diameter the electrician, Diode and Diverse the poets, Diverge, on the edge, and Diversion for the alternative view,

. . . and not forgetting Diabolical who goes without saying.

Distinct – needed a bath.

Division BSc Optom.

Didactic – the dyslexic Welshman playing noughts and crosses…

Welcome to Sardines Day, the day in 1993 on which Thompson and Venables were convicted of the murder of James Bulger and the day in 1951 on which Austin and Morris Motors merged.

Dulcet: a boring tennis match

Experience: something you don’t get until just after you needed it

Expert: someone who takes a subject you understand and makes it confusing.

I also like: “An ex is a has been and a spert is drip under pressure”.

An expert is someone who has knowledge that supports what you thought.

We now call that “confirmation bias” 🙂

Quote of the week from the Register:

“Buying carbon credits is a bit like a serial killer paying someone else to have kids to make his activity cost neutral.”

When discussing ATMs – or rather the access to cash issue – with Which? I gained the distinct impression that while they would support, criticise, and work with other bodies to improve access to cash they did not feel it was their job to put constructive proposals forward to help.

If this is the general attitude of Which? on all issues then it concerns me greatly. It means, for example, that when we contribute to Convos on whatever important topic and assume that Which? will take our worthwhile and constructive proposals on board, we may be wasting our time.

I hope I gained the wrong impression.

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I think we have to draw our own conclusion as to Which?’s evolving status.

Most of the Which? campaigns are worthy. They highlight injustice and failure in the system to address social problems. They ask the authorities or the companies to rectify these short comings, but that is where it seems to stop. Because the responsibility to actually do the remedial work is not within Which?’s remit, the actual nuts and bolts are left for others to work out. They have other priorities and demands on their money, time and resources. Lobbying for action might highlight a problem but it doesn’t solve it unless there is some mechanism that translates it in to legislation.
The same can be said of this conversation site. Which?’s agenda and priorities often don’t include the response to, or the consideration of, the input we provide here. We can talk but it is frustrating when no one “says” they are listening by replying here.

Hi everyone – I wanted to talk to a few people about this because this is certainly not how I see things and I am worried that the wrong impression was given.

I spoke to the policy and campaigns team. As you can imagine they are up to their eye balls with the election coming up and working to get the candidates to prioritise consumer rights. Anyway – this is what they wanted to pass on to you:

“Don’t worry – the proposals brought up here are considered! And on many issues, Which? will put forward clear proposals for what action we think needs to be taken – by companies, regulators and government. However, it is not always Which?’s role to come up with the solution. We will always focus on the outcomes we want to see, and in some cases there might be different routes to achieve them – often put forward by a range of different sources. When we aren’t settled on one solution to be the best course of action, or while we’re developing our thinking, it’s right that we critique, support and challenge all proposals presented as appropriate.”

I spend my days passing on your comments and recommendations but I know we can do better about feeding back to you about what the teams feel about your proposals.

Abby: when you say “it is not always Which?’s role to come up with the solution” I tend to agree. Finding solutions, in fact, is exactly why we pay MPs and civil servants. Between them they have access to the brightest minds and most experienced people. I suspect Which?’s prime role is to highlight issues that require solutions and continue to publicise them until action is taken.

I think the issue is not about “solutions” but about providing “constructive proposals” to be considered in the mix by the people who can take things forward to a solution. That is was many try to provide in Convos.

For example, simply calling for a “full recall system” is admirable, as has been done for the last 4 years without, seemingly, any real progress. Suggesting realistic ways such a recall system might be developed would be helpful. The “something must be done” approach is not always sufficient, in my view.

But a few enthusiastic voices cannot possibly compare with the resources government has at its collective disposal. That’s the point I’m making. Which? is right to indicate problems and the government’s job is to respond by seeking solutions.

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“Finding solutions, in fact, is exactly why we pay MPs and civil servants“. Well they didn’t do very well with Brexit 🙁 .

But just as one more relevant example, Lynn Faulds Wood published a report on UK Consumer Product Recall in February 2016. Nearly 4 years ago and we appear to be no nearer having a system. The government demand 500 000 potentially faulty Whirlpool (Indesit) dryers are recalled – but with no recall system, no knowledge of all the owners, it is a pipe dream. So 4 years with no apparent result.

These clever politicians and civil servants seem to need some ideas, help and a push to get something done. I’d have thought consumers, with direct experience of problems and who are also “bright and experienced”and Which?, could do that.

malcolm r says: Today 14:23

“Finding solutions, in fact, is exactly why we pay MPs and civil servants“. Well they didn’t do very well with Brexit 🙁 .

Not, they didn’t. And neither did anyone else. So just possibly it’s close to being insuperable.

These clever politicians and civil servants seem to need some ideas, help and a push to get something done. I’d have thought consumers, with direct experience of problems and who are also “bright and experienced”and Which?, could do that.

Perhaps they don’t need ideas at all? Governments are essentially reactive; they have all the resources they could want at their fingertips, but nothing happens.

Why?

Could it not be anything whatsoever to do with ideas and solutions, but far more to do with the effect of the major corporations on a Tory government? D’you seriously believe the ideas put forward in here haven’t, at some stage, been seen by civil servants and the government?

I’m certain they have, but that’s not what’s stopping them. No – it’s down to other pressures which exceed the pressure Which? and the media can mount. And that’s where Which? comes in.

They are the pressure group that’s difficult to ignore; difficult because their observations are carefully and stringently researched. Difficult because of Which?’s distinguished track record. And difficult because if Which? can create sufficient secondary pressure things will happen.

It’s not solutions they need: it’s the will to change.

It’s not solutions they need: it’s the will to change.” . Certainly, motivation must be present. So as well as helping with suggestions, Which? needs to push. We cannot just leave it to the whim of MPs and civil servants, and to their own priorities, otherwise we will not achieve what consumers believe are theirs.

My comment on Brexit was thinking about why, for example, the Irish border issue was not dealt with in the three and a half years the civil service had to look at customs solutions that should satisfy both sides.

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malcolm r says: Today 16:47
Certainly, motivation must be present. So as well as helping with suggestions, Which? needs to push. We cannot just leave it to the whim of MPs and civil servants, and to their own priorities, otherwise we will not achieve what consumers believe are theirs.

I think that’s exactly what I’ve been saying. And Which?’s constant barrage of press releases is surely doing just that.

My comment on Brexit was thinking about why, for example, the Irish border issue was not dealt with in the three and a half years the civil service had to look at customs solutions that should satisfy both sides.

Well, just about anything in N Ireland is close to being insuperable, and that may well be.

Duncan – Andrew Neil on TV last night well and truly debunked the Labour propaganda on the position of the NHS in a transatlantic trade agreement, and he also tore apart the Tories’ excuses over the preliminary bilateral discussions. The overriding impression for me was that the documents produced by Labour offer no evidence of any agreement to put the NHS on the table as and when any proper negotiations begin and that they were, as reported, scoping talks to understand the likely demands of the American government.

As I have previously suggested, no British government will get away with surrendering the NHS. It would be political suicide. If we can lay that ghost we can get on with sorting out all the other important issues that are currently deserving attention – including how we can produce a large cadre of qualified doctors and nurses in under ten years as well as all the hospitals and practices required to accommodate them.

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Yes, Duncan, we all knew what the President wanted, and the talks were aimed at pinning down the red lines. That’s not the same as saying the UK government is looking to concede all those points, or any of them.

By the way – the document is not redacted; apparently, it has been accessible on line for some time. I don’t know why the government was so unforthcoming over it – perhaps because of civil service sensitivity.

I see no reason whey, as and when we are free of the trade restrictions of the EU, we should not allow US companies to pitch for NHS contracts, alongside our own companies and those from the rest of Europe and Asia. I also see no reason why we should grant favourable terms to America. We need a free and open market.

The UK government must set the terms of competition for public service contracts and if it is in our national interest to give preference to British or Commonwealth manufacturers then I hope we shall do so.

While Labour’s brandishing of documents is probably a smoke screen -for now at least- to deflect from other campaign blunders, it does highlight the complexity of getting trade deals done and the bland assurance that these will just happen after Brexit and we will prosper is not something that reassures me just now.

Welcome to World Vegan Month, the day in 1867 on which Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel patented Dynamite and the day in 2013 on which Disney released the Frozen Soundtrack.

Fortune: a singing quartet

Igloo: Alaskan public conveniences

Intense: a camping holiday