Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007 - A Political Odyssey

  • More 'Green' taxes.

  • More 'Brown' taxes.

  • Council tax rises 4%.

  • Overpaid tax credits only £2bn in 2007.

  • Olympics budget increases by another £1bn.

  • No changes to improve safety of prostitutes despite Suffolk murders.

  • Conservative Party propose tax rises for the wealthy.

  • EU accounts qualified for thirteenth year in a row.

  • Happy New Year!

    Saturday, December 30, 2006

    True Yellow Conservatives?

    Should traditional Conservative supporters welcome news that three Liberal Democrats candidates in the 2005 General Election have switched to the Conservative Party?

    I fear it merely shows how far the Conservative Party has moved away from it's core supporters!

    British Government "held to account"

    How can the British Government remain opposed to the death penalty if Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett considers that Saddam Hussein's execution means that he has finally been "held to account" for his crimes?

    Does Margaret Beckett think that Ian Huntley and Peter Sutcliffe have been "held to account" for their crimes?

    If the Government accepts Iraq's sovereignty to convict and execute Saddam Hussein, why didn't they accept Pakistan's sovereignty to convict and execute Mirza Tahir Hussain!?!

    Friday, December 29, 2006

    Labour's not educating

    Who does Labour MP Karen Buck blame for the education of her son if it's so bad that she has been forced to move him from a failing City Academy to a leading local Comprehensive school?

    Does she feel guilty that other parents might not be able to move their children?

    At least Karen can be praised for not sending her son to a private school!

    NHS savings only required in England?

    Will routine post-op consultant check-ups be scrapped in Scotland and Wales or are savings only required in England?

    How can a system be inefficient if 90% of patients still attend their routine post-op check-up? Why not penalise people who fail to attend instead?

    M&S Buyers' grammar lessons

    How can Marks & Spencers expect their buyers to have a good grasp of English grammar when they may only have 'A*' at GCSE English?

    Referring to the latest mistake, the store said it was a "silly mistake" and added perhaps it should send its buyers to grammar lessons in the New Year.

    Not proud of history lessons

    Why do lessons on the history of the British Empire in India need to be revised to reflect the "mix of nationalities in England"?

    Will students be taught that Britain banned Sati in India?

    On 4 December 1829, the practice was formally banned in the Bengal Presidency lands, by the then governor, Lord William Bentinck. The ban was challenged in the courts, and the matter went to the Privy Council in London, but was upheld in 1832.

    Will students be taught that Gandhi was educated at University College, London where he trained as a barrister?

    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    English NHS spending

    When was the last time an English Conservative MP highlighted differences in per capita health spending across the four nations of the UK?

    These figures confirm that NHS Wales is set to fall even further behind the health service in other parts of the United Kingdom.

    Patients in Wales are paying the price for the glaring and growing differences in health expenditure between Wales and the other nations of the UK.
    - Welsh Conservative health spokesman Jonathan Morgan AM

    Minister's Kimbyism

    Is Cabinet Minsiter Hazel Blears guilty of 'Kimbyism' - Keep in my back yard(!) - if she opposes the closure of her local maternity unit whilst supporting the Government's policy to close maternity units in other parts of the country?

    Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    HIV treatment on the NHS?

    If the lifestlye choices of the obese, smokers and people with alcohol problems means they should be denied priority NHS treatment, should it also be witheld for people infected with HIV through unprotected sex or needle sharing?

    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    The mother of all "People Panels"

    Tony Blair has called for "people's panels" to help push through key public service reforms.

    He wants 617 of them to represent people's interests throughout the country. They will be selected at General elections with the representative with the most votes winning the seat. The victors will be called MPs.

    The panels will discuss issues such as government plans to influence lifestyles and healthy living.

    All 100 panel members will take part in a "summit" a month later, which will also be attended by junior ministers and civil servants

    They will discuss what "support and encouragement" the state can give to help to improve people's "life chances and well-being" - in particular such as "behavioural factors" as smoking and poor diet.

    Sunday, December 24, 2006


    Why has multi-millionaire U2 frontman Bono been given an honorary knighthood for services to the music industry and his humanitarian work?

    How many other people would be rewarded for their humanitarian work if they did not have to work for a living whilst paying income tax at a lower rate than everyone else!?!

    Meanwhile, the blight of aid continues to prevent Africa from lifting itself out of extreme poverty.

    Caught short and curlies

    Why are Police taking no further action against a 15 year old Sikh who claimed racist white youths cut off his hair when he has now admitted that he made the whole incident up? He wasted Police time with a high profile allegation.

    Is he guilty of racially stereotyping white youths!?!

    Merry Christmas Britain!

    Nine out of 10 crimes are either not reported or go unpunished.

    Prison numbers could increase by 25% to 100,000 within five years.

    The very poorest have got poorer since 1997.

    Strategies for fighting crime could include "chemical castration" and alcohol rationing

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Airport security joke

    How safe are flights from Heathrow airport when women wearing the Niqab are not routinely checked to confirm their identity?

    Mustaf Jama, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.

    At the time, Jama was Britain’s most wanted man, while Heathrow was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities in London five months previously.

    If Somalia is safe enough for a suspected Police murderer to flee to, is it also safe enough for a convicted child rapist to be deported to!?!

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Singing the Trident Blues!

    What hope is there for Britain to retain a "skilled workforce" to build the next generation of nuclear submarines if the "skilled workforce" are unable to read the lyrics of popular Karaoke songs!?!

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Bishop criticises BBC Pay?

    Does the Bishop of Worcester think that high salaries "justified" by performance within the BBC are as "galling" to NHS workers as high salaries within the square mile!?!

    What we find most unfair when looking at pay rates is when people who earn huge sums of money are also insulated from the risk - Right Reverend Peter Selby, Bishop of Worcester.

    The end of the world is nigh!

    Why does the Conservative Party oppose welfare reform that would see benefits being cut for the work-shy!?!

    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    Labour's workshy

    Why should any initiatives to compel people off benefits and into work face resistance from Labour MPs? Do they prefer people to stay on benefits?

    Would the workshy be 'encouraged' back into work if their benefit claims were stopped after two years?

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Obese squeezing the NHS?

    How can obesity ever "bankrupt" a taxpayer funded organisation like the NHS?

    It may place new burdens on the NHS, but it could always be funded either by withdrawing other treatments or through more increases in general taxation.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Joined Up Government?

    The new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEF) will be able to dock wages and withdraw the passports or driving licences of absent parents.

    The government is set to abolish the requirement for fertility clinics to consider the need for a father when deciding whether to offer IVF treatment.

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    NHS Finances

    How can additional funding ever help the NHS when it suffers from "mismanagement at all levels"?

    How many NHS staff have been sacked for financial incompetence?

    Cost in Translation

    Does translating NHS and council services into an immigrant's mother tongue encourage integration or promote separatness?

    When you are trying to help us you are actually harming. Even before we ask, all we have to do is say hello, they are here with their interpreters. We just sit here doing nothing and we don't need to speak in English at all. - Bangladeshi woman who has lived in the UK for 22 years speaking through a translator!

    Is the £100m cost of translation deducted from the economic benefits of immigration?

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Row over English public spending?

    How much more revenue was raised than spent in England last year?

    Pension Potties!

    How generous is the Government's 1% contribution to new "Personal [Pension] Accounts" when it penalises pensioners with an 85% effective marginal tax rate on means-tested benefits!?!

    National Health Surplus

    How much surplus will NHS Wales and NHS Scotland need to make if NHS England has to make a £250m surplus?

    Will any Scottish surplus be handed back to Westminster?

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Number Crunching

    £250m "Surplus" required by NHS England in 2007.

    £250m Home Office "technical overdraft" in 2005/6 due to "ineffective cash management procedures".

    Preaching to the converted.

    Do 5.5m people already know that Britain is becoming an "increasingly dysfunctional society" breeding criminality?

    It paints a gloomy picture of a society where for some family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, debt and failure in education combine

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    Forgive my schafenfreude!

    Bishop mugged walking to his home

    It's difficult to think of people more worthy of being mugged than liberal Bishops!

    This report attempts to look behind the sound bites of politicians and the tabloids and bring to bear on this subject an informed and Christian contribution. - The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Rev Tom Butler.

    "The report calls for more emphasis on restorative justice, which looks for alternatives to prison."

    Labour's not paying

    The Times quotes Treasury figures showing that nearly 1.7 million people on low incomes face deductions totalling more than 60p in the pound from their pay.

    It is a crazy system where you have people in poorly paid jobs, such as dinner ladies and hotel cleaners, suffering higher effective tax rates than millionaires, who pay 40 per cent higher-rate tax and 1 per cent national insurance at higher income levels - Mike Warburton, senior tax partner in Grant Thornton.

    Why is the Labour Party penalising core voters for working rather than rewarding them for hard work? No wonder 5.5m people are economically inactive in the UK. They are the sensible ones!

    People’s private spheres

    Europe's second-highest ranking commissioner was fighting to save his political career last night over pictures showing him naked on a beach with his chief of staff. - The Times.

    "People’s private[s]" should be respected - José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission!

    Somalia's immigration policy

    Does Somalia have a better immigration policy than the UK opposing the return of child rapists?

    No doubt "Desperate to remain in the UK" to benefit the UK's economy, "A" raped a young girl at knifepoint within a year of his arrival in the UK in May 1995, yet the Government's duty to protect the public has now cost taxpayers £50,000 in damages as he was held illegally for a further twenty months as repeated attempts to deport him failed. How would naming "A" hamper further Home Office attempts to deport him!?!

    If "A" is released in the UK, would Mr Justice Calvert Smith bet a child's life that "A" wouldn't remove an electronic tag? I wouldn't.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Government coffers and cobblers?

    The UK economy and the government's tax receipts have been boosted massively in recent year[sic] by immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe, according to economists of the Ernst & Young ITEM club

    Has Government expenditure been boosted massively in recent years by immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe?

    You ASBO be laughing!

    I don't accept a breach of an ASBO is the failure of an ASBO. - Home Office minister Tony McNulty.

    If each ASBO costs more than £3,000 to adminster yet 55% of all anti-social behaviour orders given out in England and Wales are breached, does this represent good value to the taxpayer?

    Where breaches are reported it means that individuals are being monitored - Home Office minister Tony McNulty.

    Are 45% of ASBOs not being monitored properly?

    What are the "serious consequences" of breaching ASBOs if 35% of holders have breached their order five or more times!?!

    Ready to read books?

    How will the provision of free books improve reading levels amongst the 21% of children who are unable to read after six years of schooling?

    Providing free cars to seventeen year olds does not mean they become good drivers!

    Knives out for knife amnesties!

    Who could have predicted that knife amnesties have no real impact on reducing knife crime?

    In late August 2006 - six weeks after the operation ends - offence levels tend to return to pre-operation values

    "Amnesties needed to be used in conjunction with other initiatives" like tougher and longer prison sentences perhaps?

    Can we look forward to a similar study looking at the impact of a gun amnesty on gun crime?

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Non-polluting Scottish aircraft?

    Why should airports in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland remain exempt from Air Passenger Duty?

    Do they use special aircraft that don't pollute the environment or does Gordon prefer saving Labour votes to saving the planet?

    Channel Fornicates You!

    Will Channel Four's decision to use a veiled Muslim woman to deliver this year's alternate Christmas speech help integrate Muslims into the wider British community?

    Could Channel Four be guilty of incitement to racial hatred if it doesn't!?!

    Gordon's Closing Down Sale

    If the UK economy is doing as well as Gordon Brown claims, why does he need to make it easier to sell £30bn of Government assets!?!

    Brown hails a strong UK economy BBC News Online report, Dec. 6th, 2006.
    The UK economy is set to grow by 2.75% this year

    Sudden fall in UK industry output BBC News Online report, Dec. 6th, 2006.
    Industrial output across the UK dropped unexpectedly in October, declining at its fastest pace in more than a year.

    Money can't buy you educational results

    No matter how much money is spent on education, it is all wasted if it is not accompanied with good discipline and the removal of teachers who are unable to teach.

    If Gordon Brown is worried about the future challenges from India and China, should he consider copying how India and China and teach their children?

    Modern education in India is often criticized for being based on rote learning. Emphasis is laid on passing exams with high percentage. Few institutes give importance to developing personality and creativity among students. [] Some schools in India practice extreme forms of corporal punishment on children, particularly those in middle school.

    The People's Republic of China has a system of 9-year-compulsory education in mainland China.

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Sharia Law in the UK?

    It's here already - according to Clive Davis!

    The BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action produced evidence yesterday that it was being used by some Muslims as an alternative to English criminal law.

    How can a female convert to Islam possibly complain about the growth of minority legal systems? "Very often traditional forms of mediation can disadvantage vulnerable groups, such as women, within a community."

    She didn't have to convert!

    Plugging the UK skills gap?

    Unsurprisingly, 400 further education institutions support a plan to extend education and training for everyone up to the age of 18 despite 41% of sixteen year olds not even able to obtain five good GCSEs!

    Without increased skills, we would condemn ourselves to a lingering decline in competitiveness, diminishing economic growth and a bleaker future for all. The case for action is compelling and urgent. - Lord Leitch.

    Does the UK need to be concerned with a growing skills gap when immigration from 10 new EU countries since 2004 has meant [an] influx of a skilled, low-cost workforce!?!

    Unhappy Christmas?

    Christmas in 21st Century Britain...

    Bodyguard for Santa after attacks
    Organisers in Tipton have taken the precaution after Santas in previous years had stones and abuse thrown at them by youths.

    Mince pie danger to be assessed
    Council bosses say posters will have to be displayed at the party in Embsay, in the Yorkshire Dales, warning villagers the pies contain nuts and suet pastry.
    Santa may need a Criminal Records Bureau check.

    Firms 'ban festive decorations'
    Christmas trees and decorations may well be a thing of the past in many workplaces this Christmas as political correctness culture has spread to the workplace

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Making mountains out of molehills

    As so many voters are disillusioned with Tony Blair and the Labour Party, it should be straightforward for the Conservative Party to secure victory at the next General Election.

    So why does David Cameron admit he has a "huge mountain to climb"?

    Is it a recognition that the Conservative Party does not yet appeal to aspirant blue collar workers? Focusing on green issues may well appeal to floating middle class voters but it's unlikely to win many "working class" votes!

    How many "working class" voters feel angry when they see others enjoying a similar lifestyle yet are solely reliant on the welfare state?

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Community Care killers

    On average, one person a week dies at the hands of a mentally ill patient.

    Almost a third of the killings were by people judged to have been of "low risk".

    Is it acceptable that two thirds of the killings are by people judged to be "medium" or "high risk"!?!

    Would mental health staff make different decisions if their family or friends were murdered by "low risk" patients?

    Who will be the unfortunate person who dies at the hands of a mentally ill patient this week?

    Pay peanuts and you get MPs?

    How can any backbench MP be worth £100,000 per year?

    If MPs consider their pay should be comparable to GPs and council chief executives, should their holidays be comparable too!?!

    Reducing traffic congestion

    Would traffic congestion be cut by 10% if the estimated 1.4m uninsured drivers were forced off Britain's roads?

    Uninsured drivers are typically young males living in an urban environment where traffic congestion is particularly bad...

    How would road pricing be enforced for these drivers!?!

    England's public service budget

    "Breaking up Britain would remove billions of pounds from the public service budget in Scotland". - George Foulkes, former Scotland Office minister.

    "Breaking up Britain would restore billions of pounds for the public service budget in England". - Not said by any mainstream policitian.

    Scottish Conservative Party hopes scotched!

    Can Scottish Conservatives ever win power when "just 163,000 Scottish taxpayers, from a population of 5m, make any net contribution to the British exchequer. The rest receive more than they pay out in reliefs, subsidies and benefits"?

    Why offer tax cuts when so few people actually pay any tax!?!

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    'Tough' for Conservative detractors?

    David Cameron suggests that if core Tory voters are upset by the direction in which he is leading the party then "that's tough."

    Has he already explained the reasons for a fourth successive Conservative electoral defeat?

    I suppose you could spend the next few years as leader of the Conservative Party just telling people what they wanted to hear and jolly them along and everyone would be happy — and then you would lose another election. Well, I don't see the point of that. - David Cameron.

    What is wrong with offering policies that the public want to hear? The Conservatives won more votes in England than Labour in 2005 because of it!

    I would rather abstain at the next General Election than endorse a man whose contempt for core Tory voters knows no bounds.

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    'Buy-to-jail' mortgages?

    As the Government considers selling shares to fund new prisons, will it be long before mortgages are available on them?

    Members of the public would receive a regular income from the "invest in a cell" scheme and would benefit from a rise in the value of their investment because of increasing property prices.

    How can the Treasury be so short of cash that new prisons need to be funded by public subscription?

    Motorists 'must pay for road use'

    Are ministers the only road users who do not pay to use the road network as their fuel and road tax can be reclaimed as expenses!?!

    Every other motorist already pays more the further they drive!

    Last year, I posted an article at 'Oncemore' on road pricing that tragically seems just as relevant now...