Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Laws unto themselves

It's like last summer never happened. The expenses scandal which rocked the establishment and led to mass resignations and MPs being arrested was a figment of our perverse imaginations.

This new coalition we are being governed by appears to think that the election of them is enough to make us forget that it's our money they are stealing from us.

As Mr Laws MP said in the Western Gazette on the 17th October last year,

I believe strongly that all expenditure by MPs – whether it is on staffing and office costs, or for reimbursement of our own expenses – should be made available regularly for the scrutiny of those we are accountable to, our constituents.

I do not give one whether David Laws is gay, straight, asexual or transgender. I don't care if he's black, white, pink, northern or southern. What I care about is that someone who has seen the justifiable public outcry against the expenses MPs claim should then think it's okay that he gives £40000 to someone he is also giving one to.

Some of us can't afford one mortgage let alone have the opportunity to supplement our partner's lifestyle with tax payers cash.

It's also a demonstration of just how beige this new ConDem coalition is that both Clegg and Cameron jump to his defence.
Responding to Mr Laws' resignation letter, Mr Cameron said he was an "honourable man", adding: "I hope that, in time, you will be able to serve again."

Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he had always admired Mr Laws' integrity and he hoped he would one day be able to return to government.

He said Mr Laws' privacy had now been "cruelly shattered".

Mr Cameron wrote: "The last 24 hours must have been extraordinarily difficult and painful for you.

"You are a good and honourable man. I am sure that, throughout, you have been motivated by wanting to protect your privacy rather than anything else.

"Your decision to resign from the government demonstrates the importance you attach to your integrity.

As the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister it would be nice if they, in reference to the fact that they are the servants of the people and were elected by us, would just occasionally leap to our defence. Is it too much to ask that we have in the government people who will just live by the rules? How is this man an example of someone with integrity? He's resigned over the scandal caused by his behaviour and there are people calling for his resignation as an MP.

Integrity? I'd hate to see the person Cameron and Clegg thought a bit dodgy.

And it really is one law for them and one for us. Just over a month after David Laws made a statement on expenses whilst lining the pockets of his lover, a staffordshire man was arrested for much the same thing.

A BENEFITS claimant has been jailed for two months after he failed to tell council officials about a change in his living arrangements.

David Griffiths, of Swansmoor Drive, Hixon, near Stafford, received just over £10,600 in housing and council tax benefit between August 2006 and December last year by claiming to be the only person living in his home. He also got more than £7,000 in income support.

Griffiths failed to tell Stafford Borough Council or the Department for Work and Pensions about a change in his circumstances.

The 39-year-old was actually living with a partner.

A click of the heels to Mark Croucher for pointing that one out.

All of this just confirms my believe that whilst this coalition may repeal a fews laws which I didn't like they are just papering over the cracks of our problem.

It's impressive in a way, though. Rebellions over the catastrophic increases in Captial Gains Tax, expenses scandals and resignations in the same month as the election: normally it takes years for a government to achieve this level of incompetence.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A woman with worse taste in men than me

I was rather amused this morning when I read a shocking story about a Colombian beauty queen who in involved in drugs trafficking..

The Argentine press, who have dubbed her "Narco Queen", say she moved to Mexico in 2005 where she became romantically involved with a well-known drug trafficker known as The Monster.

Now, I do have disastrous taste in men but I think even someone as stupid as me when it comes to love and romance would think twice about dating someone called 'The Monster'.

Whilst the discussion as to the nickname would provide an interesting chat over the starter at Pizza Express I suspect that the reasons would not provide an inducement for me to take my knickers off.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That abortion advert

I thought I'd wait until the advert aired on Channel 4 to make a few comments about the Marie Stopes advert.

As predicted, the usual suspects have thrown their hands in the air at the concept that women are able to make an informed choice about an unplanned pregnancy.

It's 32 seconds long so take a look at it here:

The people who protest against an advertisement offering a medical service are the same people who complain if it's advice given by a medical professional. It's not the medium in which it's been given that is their problem but the fact that they wish to deny people the choice over their own body because they don't agree with it.

Michaela Aston, a spokeswoman for anti-abortion charity Life, said: "To allow abortion providers to advertise on TV, as though they were no different from car companies or detergent manufacturers, is grotesque.

"By suggesting that abortion is yet another consumer choice, it trivialises human life and completely contravenes the spirit of the 1967 Abortion Act, which was supposed to allow for a small number of legal abortions in a limited number of hard cases, but has been twisted and distorted to allow for mass abortion on demand."

It's not an advert asking people to pick them for their 'Buy One Get One Free' abortion offer or some sexed up alcohol advert with citrus fruit flying over the screen: it's a couple of women going about their life looking concerned because they've missed their period. They're not asking you to buy their product at all but call up if you need advice. ADVICE. Yes, Marie Stopes offer abortion services but all you pro choice people, if they didn't then old Agnes round the back streets would do just as well with some gin, a hot bath and a coat hanger.

In such a situation isn't it best to get informed advice rather than worry, be unsure about what to do or have a baby which one can't afford, have no support for bringing up and is ill advised?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

blogging break

I've been signed off work sick for a couple of weeks and instructed to do lots of exercise and get out in the sunshine. I can deal with that: I am already a nice shade of pink brown.

But given my precarious health at the moment was it wise to give me the mobile number of my current lustful fantasy? Really? I've managed to control myself so far but these tablets do funny things!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

commemorative mug

For those of you reveling in the civil partnership between Dave and Nick, why not show your feelings with this commemorative mug?

Mine is on order. I'm going to drink weak tea and herbal remedies from it, or possibly blend the two in a beverage style metaphor of our government.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The true colours start to shine through

It's hardly a new generation of government when one wakes up to this sort of nonsense
Darling George, the man who probably does have actual wallpaper on his computer screen, the man who is ill equipt to be in charge of our economy at this important time, has told his core voters that he wishes to shaft them.

I think it would have been pretty clear for anyone coming into office that there was a substantial problem with capital gains tax and avoidance of income tax,' Mr Osborne said.

Reform of capital gains tax was unavoidable because of the 'enormous amount of income shifting' happening by people looking to avoid paying income tax, which currently attracts much higher rates

Fundamentally, Georgy, people don't like paying tax because they see how much money pointless twats like you waste. You've been in power long enough to send out a note to local councils informing them that you won't be funding cycling workshops or lesbian tea dances and yet all I've really heard is that the so called Conservative Party has jumped into bed with their coalition partners with the enthusiasm that the builder's son who secretly dressed up in his mum's clothes does with the first pretty boy he meets at university.

It was always there for it to be this keen.
But the original Tory commitment that 80 per cent of deficit reduction should be achieved through spending cuts and just 20 per cent through tax hikes has been quietly abandoned.

Brilliant. The party which came third is successfully trying to ruin our economic recovery. Of course, if the Tories actually had a backbone or even an inkling of economic nous they would tell Cleggy to shut his pretty mouth and let them get on with the job of trying to dig this country out of the ghastly mess which socialism and neglect has brought.

But they're not. They could have stood with no UKIP candidates if they'd trusted the people enough to give them a referendum on our continued membership of the European Union, which would do a damned site more for the economy than a rise in VAT (which brings them in line with other EU countries and of course is a way that the EU gets money without asking national governments for it) but they declined.

Yet Osborne might have problems with his proposed rises, as a reader writes to me to say:

'I’ve heard your policy on raising the rate of CGT from 18& to 40% on more than three occasions from yourselves & your local candidate.

I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt & assuming that you are not aware why the rate has been ‘lowered’ to 18%; either that or I am missing something which means that
three of you have not described your proposals properly, or you are proposing to commit theft.

I don’t support your party; I’ve met Vince at Guildford Theatre last year; you both seem to be very able politicians & decent people which is why I’m puzzled by your proposals re CGT.

Canvassing for my party I’ve found that few members of the public understand what the deficit is; how much we owe: what Gordon Brown means by saying he’ll halve the deficit etc.

To them, your proposal to charge ‘rich’ people 40% on capital gains must sound attractive – it may well win votes.

The thing is you’d be challenged in the courts if you tried to do this. Let me explain simply CGT has always been complicated:

  • CGT was introduced some 40 years ago as Sch.D case VIII.

  • In the early days, in order to establish & quantify a gain, tax consultants and HMIT had to resort to opinions from valuers etc. this could be a time consuming, costly process

  • There have always until recently (with the introduction of the flat 18% rate) been problems associated with establishing the true gain, i.e after allowing for inflation.

  • Let us assume that I bought a second home 10 years ago for £100,000. I could have bought a Rolls Royce for that but I chose the house.

    Let us also assume that inflation/indexation would have increased the value to £130,000 and that I sell the house tomorrow for that figure.

    Under present rules, after deducting the annual tax free allowance (say £10,000) I’d pay CGT of 18% on £20,000 i.e £3600. It is arguable whether I actually made any gain, and my Roller would still cost £130,000, but at least the calculation is simple.

    Under your proposals (as I understand them), you’d reduce the annual allowance to £2,000 leaving a chargeable gain of £28,000 on which I could pay tax at 40%.

    Thus my CGT liability could be £11,200 on a gain that, as a result of inflation, did not actually occur. That would not stand up in court if challenged.

    Vince said today that very few pensioners would actually pay 40% CGT. That is not true. There are thousands of people who’ve invested in second homes for their retirement or student homes for their children or grandchildren, who will not be reliant on state handouts, who you are proposing to rob, if my understanding of your proposals is correct (I apologise if I’m wrong)

    I look forward to your reply and, if appropriate, to a public withdrawal from an unfair (you being the party proposing fairness) tax.'

    This letter was originally written to the Lib Dems during the election but I think given this new state of affairs it's worth flagging up to Mr Osborne.

    Gentlemen; we won't hold our breath.

    Britblog Roundup

    Apologies for the delay in pointing you over towards the delectable Mr Eugenides for this week's Britblog Roundup but I'm afraid I'm ill at the moment and not on the planet all of the time.

    Anyway, go read it. He's written it just for you.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Oh dear...

    I still have a thumping great crush on David Miliband. I've tried to rid myself of it by spending time with soldiers but they're all the bloody same and not the kind of people you want as anything other than mates.

    Come here, Mili-lover, and bring that banana with you.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Osborne gives in on first EU trial

    It appears that despite the Tories pretending they have any interests of protecting British interests in Europe, he's going to cave in at the first hurdle.

    Some years back I wrote about proposals in the European Parliament to limit Hedge Funds which a socialist MEP Joe Leinen said were an ‘alien concept in Europe.’ Presumably, this is because they make money and are lightly regulated.

    The proposals also caused Boris Johnson to go to Brussels to try lobby against this directive, without of course realising that his own MEPs had voted in favour of it at the first reading in the European Parliament which is the only chance a proposal can be thrown out.

    Sources close to the new Chancellor of the Exchequer said that although the British Government still disagreed with large parts of the directive, the process was now too far down the track to be stopped.

    “We know we have to pick our battles and this was one we had already lost,” one source said.

    This is the nonsense about being in the European Union; that we have to 'pick our battles'.

    Fuck that, we should trust our politicians to do what's best for the country all the time and that is why it's a fallacy that being a member of the EU is anything but undemocractic and disastrous for this country.

    The City is vital to the long term financial interests of this country and by passing a directive which will see Hedge Funds vanish abroad hardly stands up this argument that our new Beloved Prime Minister and his predecessor used to say that our membership is necessary for 3 million jobs.

    That was based on the number of people who work in sectors which export to the EU as if somehow over night all the countries in the EU will wish to cut off their noses to spite their faces and stick two fingers up to their biggest clients.

    I hardly think that the regulation of car windscreen wipers is a requirement for multinational trading deals in billion pound industries and more to do with the level of intellect and scope that most MEPs are capable of.

    ID cards may be scrapped in the immediate future but given that we're still grabbing our ankles for the EU monster I fail to see how this coalition government is going to be wildly different.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    If you are bored..

    Then type 'David Cameron side profile' into google images.

    And don't say I never give you anything.

    Quotation of the election

    According to Brian Reade in The Mirror of all places goes to Nigel Farage:
    "Get me out of this f****** thing." Sums up his policy on Europe perfectly.

    Nice that UKIP won something.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Euro bail out reveals true EU concerns

    The bail out of Greece tells you all you really need to know about the priorities of the European Union.

    Germany, admittedly itself a recipient of loans which did rather propel the Western part into a thriving economy, will provide huge amounts in order to help Greece to prevent them defaulting on their debts.

    I don't particularly want any of the money this country does have going to Greece because they are using my tax money to prop up a political ideal. All of a sudden the soon to be ex (I hope or I'm off) Chancellor is talking about lending 'only' £8bn.

    Hold on: a couple of weeks ago when you were facing the public vote the concept of not increasing taxes by £6bn was considered to be some kind of disaster strategy only considered in the minds of people who were mad. Never mind the fact that anyone who thinks 'cutting taxes is taking money out of the economy' should be in any position of responsibility (for where do you start with someone who is that dumb); this is hypocrisy.

    So not news, then.

    Okay, so it's a loan, but with all financial arrangements there are risks and we might not get that cash back.

    Olli Rehn made the priorities of the EU clear when he said:

    we shall defend the euro whatever it takes

    Whatever it takes. They will defend an unnecessary political experiment they took with the lives of ordinary people in order to keep their pet project, their egos and their wish that they all had huge penises, alive.

    Greece would be much better leaving the european single currency and taking control of its own monetary policy and thus able to devalue rather than stick to a rate of interest which suits Germany and France.

    Of course it would also be helpful if the country didn't descend into strikes every half hour but in the short term I suspect there's more chance of me turning into a life sized statue of Bette Midler carved out of feta cheese than that happening.

    Headline of the day

    From the Press Association:

    And who amongst us hasn't?

    Saturday, May 08, 2010

    How the Tories could have that majority

    This election has been a game of numbers. But there's one set of numbers which hasn't been pointed out and that's the seats which UKIP theoretically lost the Tories.

    Via Mark Croucher it seems there are 21 seats where the UKIP vote was greater than the Tories lost by.

    Firstly, why is Cameron so frightened of allowing the British people to have a say on the nations relationship with Europe. His u-turn on the 'cast iron' guarantee he offered on the Lisbon Treaty baffled many Conservatives, particularly as, when he withdrew his worthless pledge, he could instead have stiffened Czech resolve by promising to back the stance taken by their president, Vaclav Klaus. Had he done so, the Lisbon Treaty may have remained unratified by all member states, and Klaus could have held off his critics by pointing to the British Conservatives.

    The second is how he thinks he will be able to govern with the support of the Liberal Democrats, the most publicly pro-European party. With their support for the Euro and the creation of a federal state, it is not difficult to see that the problems will begin almost as soon as anything of importance occurs in Europe which, with the imminent threat to the Euro, is likely to be in fairly short order.

    I'm glad I didn't vote for the Conservative Party and thus didn't lend my approval to Cameron's policy of being a dripping wet who is more comfortable cosying up to federalists who want us to be nestled cheek by jowl with other EU countries rather than letting the British people decide their own future.

    One can't imagine Thatcher doing deals with people on the opposite end of the political spectrum, but then she didn't have to because she was a strong people who told the world what she believed in.

    Other countries are looking on us trying to take in this coalition with bemusement for they frequently have coalition governments. But then they also don't have a first past the post electoral system which eliminates the possibility of variety and people having the chance of expressing their views beyond voting for the party they hate least.

    I can't imagine a coalition working for long given the urgency in our financial situation. I suspect there'll be another election before long and then maybe Cameron should remember that if he trusted the people he could have been a Prime Minister outright with no bending and curtsying to a political party who want to outsource what's rest of our Parliament like some dodgy mobile phone company.

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    Polling Day Blues

    I'm still not at all excited about the election results. I think the British people sent out a strong message of 'er, kinda' to the politicians.

    My plans for polling station duty were cut short when I heard about Nigel Farage's plane crash and that's been the focus of my attention rather than three similar parties fighting it out to not make much difference in the long run.

    And on that note, I was reading an update from Associated Press when I noticed the advert at the bottom of it...

    Fear of flying? I should think so.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    Sunday, May 02, 2010

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    The Right to Vote?

    In my chats with soldiers it's unusual to find one who is a Labour supporter. There's no surprise for this: if they're in the Army then by defnition they're employed, they don't have a council house, they're patriotic and put themselves on the line for other people.

    So there are people questioning if it's any coincidence that despite Parliamentary Questions and assurances from ministers that something will be done to ensure that those serving away from home, particularly in Afghanistan, can vote, it appears that they have been backtracking on this statement in recent weeks.

    Service personnel based overseas will generally have insufficient time to receive a postal ballot and return it in time for polling day, and therefore the MOD and Electoral Commission continue to encourage appointing a proxy as the best way to vote.

    An additional Service Voting and registration campaign is being run specifically for those who will be in Afghanistan during the forthcoming election period.

    However, this scheme will not work for every Service person in Afghanistan and due to the tight electoral timeframe, electoral timeframes and operational priorities, success cannot be guaranteed. Service personnel are therefore still encouraged to register to vote by proxy.

    Given that the election was always going to happen before June could there not have been more effort made to ensure that those who are risking their life and limb on the order of politicians can at least have their one in five year opportunity to actually express their opinion?

    Or do the government think that given the cluster fuck which is the Labour Party's defence policy it's just best not to ask them?

    We had record numbers of lives lost and serious injuries ensuring that the Afghan elections went smoothly and as many civilians could vote. It's a shame that this government don't consider the rights of our soldiers to be able to do the same anywhere near as important...