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!

This Lobby is closed to new comments

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.


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.  🙂

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Welcome to the Lobby!

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


Seconds count – especially when you’re dieting

The cardiologist’s diet: if it tastes good, spit it out.

I expect that even cardiologists will eat hearty meals at Christmas.

I wouldn’t say she was thin – but when she goes to the park the ducks throw her bread.

I have just been listening to the last of the fascinating Reith lectures this year and the speaker made four observations, among many, on the subject of Brexit and our disenchantment with the politics as it was then in June 2019. Firstly that it is parliament that has sovereignty and not the government. This was tested in the courts. Brexit fell apart because the referendum raised and abraised it into a major issue which divided the country, and still does. Parliament gave their power away and was given back the job of sorting out the public decision, which it failed to do. Secondly, and indirectly, Lord Sumption commented on the fact that although we vote for a political party at an election, just a few hundred people vote for its leader and prime minister. He hinted at the factions involved in this leadership election.
Thirdly he noted that within the parliamentary debates there were, again, factions who were so entrenched within their positions that they were unable to see any compromise from them. The public saw them as unyielding and made them despair both for parliamentary debate and our political system.
Fourthly he considered the referendum itself and suggested that some of the reasons for the vote went back to the beginning of the second world war. Britain was the only European country that escaped invasion. Everywhere else the constitutions were torn up and others imposed. They had to begin again in 1945, we didn’t. There might have been some “romantic” notion that we have always been an independent nation and could carry on without Europe. Obviously, other factors were in play, but that struck me as an interesting thought.

Brexit fell apart because the referendum raised and abraised it into a major issue which divided the country, and still does.“. Some commentators asserted how divided the country was – true – but intensely divided in a way that would be difficult to heal. Well, after over 3 years of intense boredom with the shenanigans, I do not see bar room brawls, riots on the streets, an increase in divorces, civil war…….. I believe far too much was made of “divisive” as far as the general population was concerned. No more divisive than the lead up and outcome of a general election.

And the result, whichever faction you support, was rather remarkable, demonstrating perhaps that allegiances to mantra are much reduced. The chance was there to vote for remain and leave parties, for radical changes to the UK structure, and to respond to bribes of various kinds. I’d suggest that at long last a result was achieved and we can move on. Thank goodness phase 1 is all over and we can watch proper news on the tv again. But choppy waters ahead.

Another interesting concept Lord Sumption talked about is that of allowing the people to decide their own laws. Public opinion and sentiment are not always the best method. We expect parliament to have an extended knowledge with which to debate issues (and listening to debates they usually do). In addition they have to take an overview of pros and cons that vox-pop might overlook in their enthusiasm or in any partisan approach which might divide them. Unpopular legislation might actually be the right way forward in some cases. While we slam parliament for indecision, dither and factionalism, they are elected by us to run the country. Currently they have a low popularity rating, while the judiciary are highly regarded. Much of these Reith lectures were taken considering the roles both should play in our society and if this appears to be a dry subject, Lord Sumption was anything but dry. Worth a listen on YouTube. I would have loved to hear his comments on the prorogation of parliament, but, of course it hadn’t happened then.

To take your choppy waters a little further. I wonder how far the English Channel played a part in the Brexit decision and what might have been the case if it wasn’t there? It seems to have played a major part in our lives from 1066 onwards.

Malcolm said “Well, after over 3 years of intense boredom with the shenanigans, I do not see bar room brawls, riots on the streets, an increase in divorces, civil war”

Interesting you should say that. In the year immediately following the referendum divorces of all types showed increases averaging 8% in the UK (ONS). Similarly, there has been an increase in what the ONS describes as as “lower-volume, higher-harm types of violence”, so in fact there are more instances of both occurring since the referendum.

Now, pinning these increases on the referendum would be extremely difficult, although the unforgivable murder of Jo Cox has been attributed to the referendum directly.

I doubt there have been “3 years of intense boredom with the shenanigans” but rather intense anger and huge disappointment at what was essentially a Tory party issue being allowed to decimate the hopes and dreams of so many young people, many of whom, of course, have been denied a say in the event, since more than 2.5m of them have only reached voting age since it was held.

But divisive it most certainly was, as can be seen in graphic detail from the virulent and vitriolic posts that appear in here whenever anything remotely EU-related is introduced.

The Election result, far from being ‘remarkable’, was sadly and utterly predictable, even by most Labour MPs, and certainly by the bookmakers and had, I suggest, far less to do with any referendum but more to do with the total mismanagement of the main opposition.

This, however, has all been historically predictable; in the past two hundred years any financial event which threatens the stability of a county is followed, between 5 and 12 years later, by major and often eventually disastrous upheaval.

Merry Christmas…

On precisely this subject there is another series of talks, under the title of: “Reflections: When Parties Split”, given by Steve Richards on the BBC Parliament channel and now on i player. They deal with the detail of five histories. Peel, Chamberlain, Macdonald, The SDP (plus Foot and Benn) and Brexit. Again fascinating listening and amazing analysis. In the last talk he examines why Cameron called the referendum and what caused him to do so. It wasn’t public demand! He also looks at what Wilson and Blaire had that took Labour to power.

I suspected a slightly controversial post might add a little spice to the post-Christmas lethargy. Let’s hope vitriol is consigned to the past in our NY resolutions and we work together in a positive way. There seem to be a lot of issues that deserve our attention, our proposals and, hopefully, some will get resolved.

Agree Malcolm. My comments above are not designed to cast aspersions, the speakers do that brilliantly without seeming to do so. They are reflective and give an opinion on how learned and well informed bystanders see our world and us within it. The new year is time to move on and face the ever growing challenges of the next decade.

I wonder what Private Eye’s stance will be? I’ve just renewed my subscription and look forward with dismay to seeing more misdemeanours revealed.

” Britain was the only European country that escaped invasion. ”

Apart from Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Sweden.

Switzerland and Vatican City…

Andorra too.

Welcome to Tick Tock Day, the day in 1997 on which Hong Kong begian slaughtering all its poultry to prevent bird flu and the day in 1860 when the first British seagoing iron-clad warship, HMS Warrior, was launched

I made so much money on betting on Labour to lose the election that I can afford to become a Conservative.

I was betting on free broadband, a third off all rail fares, lower bills plus zero rating of VAT on energy, and an end to private profits for utilities. The promises just kept coming – I couldn’t keep up with them. Never mind, 20,000 extra police officers and 50,000 new nurses should make life quite safe and comfortable.

“Never mind, 20,000 extra police officers and 50,000 new nurses should make life quite safe and comfortable.”

If you live long enough to see them appear..

My wife made me join a Bridge club. I jump off the first one next Tuesday.

Harry was very pleased with himself after finishing off a jigsaw in six months. On the box it said ‘Two to Four years’.

Most of the delay was because of the warning: “Unsuitable for children under 36 months”.

Welcome to Bacon Day, the day in 1970 when the financial cost of the disturbances in Northern Ireland during 1969 and 1970 were estimated to be £5.5 million and the day in 1995 the lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2°C was recorded at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands.

Sir Francis or best back? One was rash but got away with it, the other is rasher and gets fried.

Was one a streaker?

Over Christmas a chap swallowed all the tiles in a Scrabble set. Doctors have said the problem will sort itself out, although not in so many words.

Just wait for a vowel movement.

I always tend to pick up sh**y tiles when I play against drunks..

Playing cards last night the bloke we were playing with was cheating. He wasn’t playing the cards I dealt him.

Couple near us are bonsai tree specialists. They’re so good they’ve had to start looking for a smaller garden.

Welcome to New Year’s Eve, the day in 1879 on which the Pirates of Penzance was first performed and the day in 1923 on which the BBC began using the Big Ben chime ID,

The seeds I planted didn’t look anywhere near as good as the ones on the packet. Turned out those had been posed by professional vegetables.

Gardens need a lot of water – most of it sweat.

The great thing about snow is that it makes my garden look as good as the neighbour’s.

Welcome to Science Fiction Day (it’s also Motivation and Inspiration Day, but I just couldn’t be bothered), the day in 1843 when Wagner’s Flying Dutchman was first performed and the day in 1938 Ian Brady was born in Glasgow.

So it’s a Science Fiction “double-feature” day 😉

I had a pal who was the programmer for Park Lane (where Brady was incarcerated) and visited the place twice. Quite unnerving. The main server and associated terminals were housed ‘on campus’ as it were, so the entire length of the site had to be navigated before I could get a cuppa with him.

A garden is a thing of beauty – and a job for life.

As a child helping my father dig up some carrots, I asked him why, since it was such hard work, he’d buried them in the first place

A new member at the local golf club played a dreadful round. After it, he turned to the caddie and told him he’d never played that badly before.
“Really, sir?” said the caddie. “So you’ve played before, then?”|

I knew a golfer who was so bad he could hook and slice at the same time.