Friday, July 29, 2005


1,400 foreign students are being expelled from Pakistan's religious schools, Madrassas, on the orders of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Is this racist!?!

As most foreign students' visas are invalid if they cease to study at the madrassa they applied to, they will also effectively be expelled from the country. How come Pakistan's bureaucaracy is so much more effective than immigration control in Britain?

Life before death?

Norman Tebbit powerfully reflects on life as a victim of the IRA here.

"For the terrorists' victims there's the knowledge that their lives were not wrecked by illness, accident or even personal grudge but because someone used their lives, their bodies to bludgeon and blackmail the government to submit to their political demands."

"We think the victims should not have to endure the sight of terrorists rewarded nor fanatics left free to urge their followers to kill their way to paradise. That is just too much to bear."

You know when you've been tasered

Why did Police have to take an "incredible risk" when arresting Yasin Hassan Omar, a suspect in the 21st July failed Tube bombings suspect? Police incapacitated him with a Taser stun gun even though it could have set off any explosive attached to his body.

Is restoring Police confidence amongst the Muslim community more important than the lives of a 'few' Police Officers? When Spanish Police closed in on three of the suspected Madrid train bombers, they blew themselves up, killing one Policeman and injuring eleven others as well.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Surprise surprise

MPs are "surprised" that the Prince of Wales is able to determine his own annual income as it leads to a "potential conflict of interest with future beneficiaries of the estate".

I assume MPs were not so "surprised" when they voted themselves an enhanced pension deal part funded by taxpayers in 2002.

Christian World?

Should Tony Blair stop describing Turkey and the Middle East as the 'Muslim world'? He never describes the West as the 'Christian world' even though Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan describes the European Union as a "Christian club".

Is he insulting the 1% of Turks who are not Muslim or ignoring the 71% of the UK's population who described themselves as Christian in the 2001 census?

Cold Turkey

Where is the UK debate on Turkish membership of the European Union? Tony Blair has claimed that Turkish membership is important for EU security despite bordering Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Would Turkey be part of the Schengen agreement on the free movement of people around Europe?

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw goes further and suggests Turkish entry is inevitable, "There's been a strategic decision made by the European Union that Turkey's future lies in Europe, and that our strategic interests lie in that happening,".

No wonder so many 'ordinary' voters are hostile to the European Project when the political elite refuses to listen to them. A Eurobarometer opinion poll indicates that 52 percent of Europeans are against offering EU membership to Turkey, with only 35 percent in favour.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cherie Aid

On whose behalf is Cherie Blair warning about the dangers to Civil Liberties of introducing knee jerk anti-terrorism legislation?

The BBC consider her speech to be the key Political news story of the day whilst she has no official role or political status except for being the wife of the Prime Minister!

Paying peanuts?

Labour have been keen to champion their 6.1% average annual NHS spending increase since 1997 compared to the Conservative record of 'just' 3.1%. If such increases "represent the largest sustained increase in NHS funding since its birth", why have nearly 25% of English hospitals just been downgraded for worsening performance?

Tougher targets and poor finances are blamed for the poor performance. Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation says that "There is no doubt that finances remain tight for many NHS organisations as a result of significant cost pressures including pay modernisation schemes, and prescribing expensive new drugs whose costs run ahead of inflation." How much more money does she need to perform well? According to the IFS, the proportion of public spending that has gone on health and education has already increased from 25.2% in 1996-7 to 30.3% in 2004-05.

Thankfully, hospitals will not need to worry about tougher targets next year as the star ratings will be scrapped and replaced with a self-assessment "health check" and spot inspections. Another problem solved!!

Pupil choice

Is the Education Secretary acknowledging that schooling is not up to scratch in "disadvantaged areas" if pupils should be bussed to successful schools in wealthier areas?

Grammar schools offer excellence, equity and social mobility. Entry was dependent upon academic ability alone, parental income (whether through paying fees or living in the right catchment area) was not a key factor. When will Ruth Kelly recognise that good schools could exist in inner city areas if they were allowed? Only socialist dogma prevents the creation of more grammar schools.

Meanwhile, all the Grammar schools in Northern Ireland are expected to be scrapped by 2008. Northern Ireland can expect to look forward to all the problems of England's education system.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Twelve inches

Tony Blair has vowed "not to give an inch to terrorism" following the atrocities in London. Yesterday he hosted a private meeting with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in Downing Street.

Update Tony Blair does not consider the IRA to be on a par with Al Qaeda as they didn't murder enough people. I am sure the families of their victims feel better knowing that.

Poor performance review

I wish I was shocked that children from poor backgrounds perform badly at school, but I'm not. It is the result of Government policy that seems intent on reverse engineering society, it actively rewards people on benefits who have children. Why should Government expect parents on low incomes to have the appropriate skills to nurture their childrens educational development when such parents could (perhaps unfairly) be described as unemployable themselves!?! If such parents do not believe that educational attainment would not have reduced their own relative poverty, why should their children value it?

Poverty in itself is not the cause of relative underperformance at school but a symptom of a wider malaise. Government needs to focus on changing parental attitudes towards education rather than providing more benefits to simply relieve a symptom.

Update Laban Tall has a heart warming story of parental care on a low income here.

Tennis anyone?

Government recognises that Britain has not had a Wimbledon champion for many years. To solve this 'problem', every baby will be given a tennis racket and be expected to play as they grow up. This a clearly an absurd solution to a genuine problem. People do not learn to play tennis well by being given a free tennis racket but because they want to play.

Why does Government think that giving books to babies will help them learn to read!?!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Doing their bit?

The Ernst & Young Item Club claim that income tax rises to reduce the budget deficit should be delayed until 2007 due to the current poor state of the economy. Why should only those in work be relied upon to close this gap?

Can the workshy expect some benefit cuts as their 'contribution' towards closing this deficit!?!

A milestone

Today marks a significant milestone for this blog, it has just received it's 10,000th hit.

Thank you.

Bloggers 1 Grauniad 0

Bloggers have claimed their first scalp in the UK. The Guardian newspaper has sacked journalist Dilpazier Aslam after he was "outed" by Scott Burgess of the Daily Ablution for being a member of Hizb Ut Tahrir yet reported on the London bombings. Hizb Ut Tahrir "promotes racism and anti-Semitic hatred, calls suicide bombers martyrs, and urges Muslims to kill Jewish people".

Why is such an organistion allowed to operate in the UK? Will Dilpazier be charged with incitement to racial hatred?

It is also good to see that the Guardian's reporting continues to be unbiased!!

Brazil nuts

The Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, is demanding an explanation from Jack Straw for the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. He should visit the families of those killed and injured on July 7th for it.

His family are also said to be considering legal action against the Police for the shooting. Would other (unknown) families have been able to claim a similar amount had he been a suicide bomber that the Police could have stopped but hesitated and chose not to?

I assume Jean Charles had a UK working visa or will this be overlooked given the circumstances?

Update He was an illegal immigrant as his student visa had expired. Naturally, the BBC is unable to draw this conclusion!! Where did he study?

OAP at 67

The latest solution to the pension crisis is to raise the state retirement age for private sector workers to 67. Public sector workers will strike if their retirement age is raised beyond 60.

The only 'real' solution to the current pensions crisis is to identify means of reducing reliance on a state pension funded on a pay-as-you-go basis rather than encourage it. However, this is at odds with the official solution, "One way to build a consensus on increasing the state pension age is to link it with an increase in the basic state pension" - Peter Robinson, Institute for Public Policy Research.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


In a move bound to promote social mobility, or flood eBay with books, The Times reports that Government is to spend £27m to provide babies with a "starter pack" of books.

Are the books designed to help children learn to read or their parents!?!

Gypsy grants

Government clearly has too much money to spend! 58 new Gypsy sites are to be created whilst another 44 are to be renovated thanks to £8m of Government (taxpayer) funding.


Friday, July 22, 2005


You bastard.

(Hope the Police are sure though!!)

Update My worst fears have been realised. He was unconnected to the incidents. Why did he run when challenged? Despite this tragic turn of events, the Police should not change their alledged "Shoot to Kill" policy when dealing with potential suicide bombers.

The rules have changed.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Out of Europe"

Yahoo is asking people to vote for what they want the Tony Blair to work on during his six month presidency of the EU. Currently, 50% want him to work on getting the UK out of Europe!!

Courtesy of "The Road To Euro Serfdom"

Government Priorities

Got a problem? Don't call the A-team, get it featured on BBC Breakfast.

This morning's BBC Breakfast featured a woman selling her house to pay for a breast cancer drug, Herceptin, not available on the NHS.

9.43am BBC news website reports that Patricia Hewitt, Health Secretary has ordered a fast-track assessment of this drug which has shown great promise in treating the early stages of breast cancer.

Government theft

Not content with taxing people to destruction, Gordon Brown wants to take all monies lying in dormant accounts (anything over three years) and give it to charity according to a report in The Times today.

It is nothing more than Government theft of private property. These funds (estimated at £4bn) do not belong to the Government so it is not for the Government to donate these funds to a third party. Would he mind if I visit a Government department, identify an an unused asset and give it to the charity of my choice?

Any "dormant" funds I have are in various building societies in anticipation that they convert to banks!!

One million violent offences

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears dismisses the 7% apparent rise in violent crime as "merely reflecting better reporting and recording of offences". Is she admitting that violent crime was under reported and recorded in previous years?

Violent crime "only" rose 12% in 2004.

An English Raj

Why fear a "Scottish Raj" when an "English Raj" could be as bad?

"England should have lower income tax rates than Scotland to make it more competitive". I cannot imagine any Scottish Labour MP ever uttering such words.

"One of the advantages of devolution is that it gives Scotland an opportunity to make itself more competitive against England," George Osborne, Conservative Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Member of Parliament for the English constituency of Tatton welcoming Scottish Conservative proposals to reduce income tax rates in Scotland by 3p.

I wonder if his English constituents are as welcoming of lower taxes north of the border?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Taken to the cleaners?

It appears that some MPs (earning £59,000pa) may finally get their hands dirty and do a real job for once. They will have to clean the toilets in the Houses of Parliament as their cleaners are on strike. They want to earn £6.70 per hour rather than the current £5.

As these pay rates are very low, I suggest they quit their jobs and find new employment elsewhere in London if they want a "living wage". The House of Commons should only raise their pay rates if they are having problems recruiting cleaning staff.

Rusty Old Iron Chancellor

Having extended the economic cycle by two years, does Gordon Brown really believe the next two years will be better than the last two? House prices continue to fall, retail sales continue to fall, borrowing continues to surge and inflation is rising. Taxes are already at historically high levels, any further increases will only slow economic growth further or reduce overall tax revenues. He is running out of options and out of time. Public spending desperately needs cutting.

As the economic cycle runs it's course, I suspect the Iron Chancellor's reputation will start to rust. Where is the fiscal prudence he was lauded for in the early years? Great Chancellors prove themselves in difficult economic conditions, not good ones. As the first and only Labour Chancellor since 1997, even he will struggle to find someone else to blame.

The English Drum

I have a new post up at Oncemore courtesy of a news item via Campaign for an English Parliament.

When the Scottish Parliament was given the powers to vary income tax rates by up to 3p, the original expectation appears to have been that the Parliament would only ever increase it. However, the Scotsman newspaper reports that the Scottish Conservative Party are considering reducing income tax by 3p as a 2007 Scottish Parliamentary election manifesto commitment.

Whilst I doubt the income tax reduction will significantly improve Conservative electoral chances north of the border, it is a disturbing development that can only increase calls for an English Parliament with similar powers. As Scottish and Welsh Conservatives flex their muscles on behalf of their respective nations, should the 'rump' Conservative Party start to bang the English Drum?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Conservatives "defer success"

The Conservative Party "deferred success" at the 1997, 2001 and 2005 General Elections according to the Professional Association of Teachers.

What a load of recyclable material (rubbish)!! They failed for not winning enough votes just as pupils fail exams who are not good enough to pass!!

Destined for lesser things

The Joy of Curmudgeonry has an excellent poem here.

Plus ca change!!

Gordon's abracadabra

Gordon Brown has performed an illusion that even Paul Daniels would struggle to match. He has conjured up an additional £10bn by lengthening the economic cycle two years to measure the budget gap over a nine-year period rather than over the current seven.
What a performance, what a charlatan!!

NHS Supermarkets?

This morning, a colleague was complaining about the inconvenience of an NHS hospital appointment for her child. After months of waiting for an appointment, she has two options, attend immediately (disrupting her working day) or continue to wait until early September.

I can only smile at the irony of a Labour supporter in favour of the NHS who then complains at the lack of 'customer' focus or flexibility. Such contempt for the 'customer' would not be tolerated in any other organisation.

People often consider that such an essential service should always be operated in the public sector. Why? Could Government ever run a supermaket as efficiently or customer centred as Tesco or Wal-mart?

Are expectations of the NHS really so low that anything is better than nothing?

That Boy George

I have a new post over at Oncemore.

I had expected good things from George Osborne, the obscenely young 34 year old Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, I may need to reconsider. He is right to question why people earning up to £66,000 need to receive a means tested benefit, however, he is totally wrong in his reasoning. The BBC reports him as saying "We really should be asking ourselves whether taxpayers on average incomes of £15,000 should be providing means-tested benefits to people earning up to £66,000 a year".

Labour Danegeld

Labour is to offer a £12 per month bribe to children on low incomes who behave themselves like other members of society through an "Opportunity Card" to spend on sports and music. Is Labour finally accepting that rule and order in it's current state has collapsed or is this a method of introducing people on low incomes to the wonderful world of the welfare state?

Car drivers are not 'paid' for driving below the speed limit but penalised for driving above them.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"Tory taliban"

Alan Duncan has described Conservatives as the "Tory taliban" for not tolerating homosexuals or having a single Muslim MP. His examples are unsual as Muslims are not renowned for their tolerance of homosexuals. I consider his "Taliban" comment to be very offensive.

No doubt the Taliban will also find it offensive; they have been in power recently, have strong leadership and a goal!!

London terror attacks

What is more disturbing, that the London terrorist outrages represent retaliation for British involvement in the Iraq war or a more general assault on "decadent" Western values?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Conservative Witch Hunt

Normblog points to an under-reported part of last week's BBC annual report, BBC objectivity.

Four out of ten Labour MPs and two thirds of Tories told MORI, in research conducted for the BBC, they did not believe that it [BBC news coverage] was "free from influence and bias".

I suggest Michael Howard root out the one third of Conservative MPs who believe BBC news reporting is unbiased and replace them as soon as possible. It would make life considerably easier for the Conservative Party.

A keyworker?

After 15 years of research into video games, Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, says computer games "can have benefits".

How many more years of research does he need to be totally sure!?!


For those wishing to read a non BBC sanitised background to recent events in London, MilitantIslamMonitor.Org is worth visiting. They have a long list of interesting, yet disturbing, articles here.

A current blog entry alledges Muslim Council of Britain Finance Chairman Iqbal Asaria of links to Al Qaeda.

One article shows Ken Livingstone's infamous meeting with Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi. "It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb [the Domain of Disbelief where the battle for the domination of Islam should be waged] is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of his blood and his property."

I have been unable to verify the background of the website except that their "Mission is to provide an online resource documenting the activities and identities of Islamist individuals and groups in the United States and abroad."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Oh, to work in the Public sector.

Life continues to look rosy for "stressed" public sector employees.

  • Despite announcing 40,000 Whitehall jobs to be cut in the 2004 budget, Gordon has managed to find space for 72,000 new "keyworkers" to add to the public sector payroll in the year to March 2005.

  • They are still able to retire at 60, the Government can only threaten the private sector with retiring at 70.

  • They now also earn more than their private sector cousins according to a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report. In 2004, public sector workers earned 3.5% more per a week than their private sector counterparts. It gets worse, on an hourly basis, public sector workers earned 17% more on average for 75% of all workers
  • Friday, July 15, 2005

    English born?

    I'm surprised, but heartened, that the British born bombers are't yet being referred to as English born bombers. Is this an oversight?

    Cheadle Result

    How should the Conservative Party react to the Cheadle by-election result? Mark Hunter held the Greater Manchester seat for the Liberal Democrats with 19,953 votes, a 3,657 majority over Tory candidate Stephen Day, a 0.63% swing from Conservatives to Liberal Democrats. Does this result provide ammunition for Conservative moderates or the "right"? I fear that both camps can claim victory as the result potentially provides succour to both camps. Moderates can claim that if Conservative policies were more liberal, they would have minimised the swing whilst the right can equally claim the opposite!

    My post continues at Oncemore.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Bible exemption required?

    Do Christian leaders urgently need to speak to Paul Goggins and ask that the Bible be exempted from the Religious Hatred Bill?.

  • If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or your intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

  • Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

  • Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

  • If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

  • All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offence. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)
  • Broken Specs

    A new type of speedtrap that calculate drivers' average speeds over a 28 mile stretch of the A77 has been introduced in Scotland called Speed Enforcement Camera System (SPECS).

    What's to stop speeding motorists having a cup of coffee or water break to increase the overall journey time to reduce your average speed below the limit!?!

    I would prefer the authorities to focus on reducing the number of drivers who should wear 'specs' when driving. How do cameras reduce this danger apart from fining drivers to blind to see them!?!

    Qu'ran to be exempt from Religious Hatred Bill?

    Pub Philosopher has an excellent article on Muslim leaders asking for the Qu'ran to be exempt from the Religious Hatred Bill as reported in Muslim Weekly*.

    "The minister [Paul Goggins] said it would be difficult to exempt scriptures because there is [every] likelihood that extreme groups like the BNP may use verses of the Qu’ran to incite hatred against the Muslim community. Therefore, the very purpose of the Act would be defeated."

    "Recent confusion regarding freedoms to deliver khutbahs and to recite and quote from the Qur’an and ahadith had raised concerns in the community that dawah and propagatory practices may be curtailed under the new legislation."

    Are the Muslim leaders acknowledging that, by seeking an exemption, the Qu'ran does contain verses of religious hatred? Ironically, Paul Goggins suggests the Act will target the BNP if they highlight such verses.

    *There is no direct link to the article but it is located in the MCB News section.

    Smile if you have an NHS Dentist

    Two million people in England (Including me!) have no access to NHS Dentistry according to the Public Accounts Committee.

    This is despite Tony Blair's promise in 1999 that "everybody will have easy access to an NHS dentist" by 2001. An overlooked comment in the BBC's latest article.

    As an aside, why are NHS charges for dental care socially acceptable (NHS patients can pay up to £384) whilst NHS hopsitals are not allowed to charge for meals provided?

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Deporting Hatred

    Charles Clarke is "shocked" that the London bombers were British born and suggests deportation would be one solution.

    Just where do you deport British born formentors of terrorism to? Ireland?

    Where there's muck, there's brass.

    Average BBC salary 2004/5: £38,094.
    Source: Ariel (BBC In house magazine), July 12th 2005, Page 9.

    BBC Executive bonuses

    BBC executives have been rightly condemned for 30% bonus payments for good performance. How do you judge good performance when 'customers' have to buy your product each year regardless of whether they use it or not?

    BBC chairman Michael Grade assures us that future bonuses will be no more than 10% of base salary. However, the BBC website fails to mention that Directors' base salaries "will be increased over the next two years to bring them into line with salaries that are typical of middle [pay] levels outside the BBC." Effectively, Directors will no longer need to perform as well to earn the same overall figure!!

    If BBC Directors really are underpaid compared to their private sector rivals, they can always change jobs rather than expect a state funded monopoly to close any gaps in pay.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    New way to become a UK citizen

    Be patient.

    A British Overseas Passport holder who destroyed his Kenyan passport when he flew to the UK only to be refused entry and has been granted full UK citizenship.

    He feared arrest on his return to Kenya for not having a passport so spent a year in Duty Free and the airport lounge before the UK relented and upgraded his passport to a full UK passport. Why did the UK authorities feel the need to relent when he hadn't actually been arrested? Is Kenya comparable to Zimbabwe?

    Thankfully, you don't have to worry about any family disruption as his wife and child will join him in the UK shortly for a new life. I am sure they will make a positive economic contribution to the UK economy and will not need any accommodation or rely on state benefits.

    How does such a case discourage other people from destroying their travel documentation in transit to the UK?

    Self interest in the NHS

    What incentive is there for the least efficient day surgeries to improve given the existing NHS funding structure and tolerance of inefficiency? An extra 74,000 people could be treated each year if NHS day surgeries were used more than the current average of 16 hours per week.

    Rather than using existing resources efficiently and maximising throughput of a limited resource, the NHS has a simpler yet more expensive solution, build more under-utilised surgeries funded by the deep pockets of taxpayers.

    It would be far better for the NHS and the country if self interest was encouraged by ensuring taxpayer's money followed patients but set at a rate per procedure that forced inefficient surgeries either to improve or close. Efficient surgeries would be rewarded with additional funding whilst I would like their high performing staff to be rewarded with more pay rather than pegged at national pay rates.

    Self interest is a remarkable motivator.

    Slap in the face

    US Air Force personnel have been ordered not to visit London or go inside the M25 as "Obviously it is in the interests of the air force to ensure its personnel are as vigilant and as safe as possible."

    Perhaps the US Air Force will also avoid sending personnel to Iraq as I've heard it's nearly as dangerous as London.

    Update 8.55am It now appears that whilst the above report is still technically correct, it reflects US Air Force orders given immediately after the London attacks that are yet to be rescinded. So it's not such a slap in the face!!

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    EU constitution not wanted, dead or alive.

    Good news for Neil Kinnock, not all Europeans are ignorant, just the French and Dutch. Luxemburgers voted yes to the EU constitution by 56.52% to the Noes 43.48%. A resounding victory until you realise that this represents a difference of just 30,000 votes given such a small electorate.

    I assume the Luxembourg Prime Minister's threat to resign if the country voted 'No' did not affect the outcome nor should it be considered blackmail.

    New life has potentially been breathed into the corpse of the EU constitution.

    Public sector stress levels

    Stress in the public sector is being blamed for the increasing gap between the average number of sick days taken by public sector workers and their private sector cousins. Only in the last paragraph are the real reasons given, public sector organisations "are far less likely to take disciplinary action against workers who take excessive time off sick" whilst "sick pay is generally more generous in the public sector."

    Maybe staff are stressed by who is going to pay their pensions...

    Landlords to pay union pensions

    The GMB union rightly highlights the need for English councils to pursue council taxpayers who fail to pay their council tax. £835m was outstanding debt last year. However, rather than chastise those who don't pay and highlight the additional costs to those who do, the GMB believe that if tenants aren't prepared to pay their council tax, their landlords should pay. How else can their members' pensions be paid when they retire!?!

    Will the GMB support measures to reduce tenancy rights so that landlords have a greater chance of evicting tenants who fail to pay their rent or council tax?

    Why should council tax pay for staff pensions rather than current council services? Will the GMB campaign to reform this area of local finance or indeed, for fewer council staff?

    Number Crunching

    2,000. The number of Muslim Police Officers required to make London's Police Force ethnically diverse - Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police chief.

    3,000. The number of British-born or British-based people who have passed through Osama bin Laden's training camps over the years - Lord Stevens, ex Metropolitan Police chief.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    War Vigil

    Saturday's peace vigil in Central London by the usual suspects, George Galloway MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, CND and the Stop the War coalition was harmless enough until you read Rottweiler Puppy's notes on the key speaker, suicide bomber wannabee, Dr Azzam Tamimi (spelling mistake?) courtesy of Laban Tall.

    Why rob banks?

    "Because that's where the money is." - Willie Sutton, American gangster.

    If Willie were alive today, he would need to change careers. Many banks will soon be losing lots of their shareholder's money as they seem determined to repeat past lending mistakes and suffer the indignity of massive bad debt write-offs.

    In pursuit of short term profit targets, Datamonitor reports that banks are having to take higher risks to earn the same return by relaxing their lending criteria to people with poor credit histories or those who are self-employed. Whilst it may keep the house price bubble sustained and Gordon off the hook for another couple of months, a lot of this new lending will turn sour, end many banking careers and propel more borrowers into eventual bankruptcy.

    As the economy teeters, banks should be tightening their lending criteria, not relaxing it. It only makes the eventual fall more painful.

    Tax credit woes

    Not only do Gordons' wealth redistribution policies reduce the incentive to work for many, they are costly to administer. It cost taxpayers £403m to administer a system that overpaid £1.9bn in tax credits last year.

    I can only reiterate that a general increase in the personal tax allowance would have rewarded the lowest paid in society without costing £403m to administer. I fear the actual solution will be to employ yet more civil servants rather than scrap it.

    Housing costs of asylum seekers

    How can the average cost of housing an asylum seeker be £703 per month? What are their special accommodation needs? Students can normally rent rooms in houses from £250 per month.

    A high price

    George Galloway has been condemned for saying that "Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings."

    However, he only reflects the Foreign Affairs Committee 2004 view "That the war in Iraq has possibly made terrorist attacks against British nationals and British interests more likely in the short term".

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    Facing up to reality

    Following the terrorist outrages in London, will the Government insist that Muslim women show their faces on ID cards or will they be exempt?

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Proud Of Britain

    There is little I can add to the comments on yesterday's terrorist outrages except to thank the emergency services for their utmost professionalism in helping all those in need.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    "Out of Office"

    Snafu will be restoring his beer supply with some prime Belgian examples over the next couple of days so postings will be very light!!

    Venue of the 2012 Olympics

    I hope Paris win the 2012 Olympics bid. I could think of no better present to our French cousins than having to spend £5bn, double that for cost overruns, £10bn to host an event that will only last two or three weeks in seven years time. I am sure the British Government can find better things to spend £10bn on that would prove far more durable. How about free ID cards for everyone or some tax cuts!?!

    I am sure Tony Blair is keen for Britain to win as it would cement his legacy of ten years in power and the Olympics would be a symbol of British confidence and adventure - just as he described the Millenium Dome in 1998.

    Does Britain really want the Olympic legacy of Athens in 2004?


    Was Ian Smith right to resist UK pressure to give political control to the black majority in Zimbabwe? News that "the greatest humanitarian crisis we face today" will be in Southern Africa and man-made suggests that Ian may have been. What's more important, food or a vote?

    Only the BBC could claim that the victims of Zimbabwe's slum clearances are "lucky" because the international community are aware of their plight. Would they have been as lucky if Ian Smith had been responsible for the slum clearances with no where else to live?

    Live 8 and the Environment

    Live 8 may be good for Africa, but it's been bad for the environment. Westinster Council estimate that the 'caring' revellers left 150 tons of rubbish behind!!

    Surrey has no say

    Why should Luxembourg, a country with a population of just 465,000 people, have the final say on whether the European Union officially abandons its constitution or not?

    The 1m inhabitants of Surrey have been denied their say!!

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Northerners must work

    The TUC has said that the retirement age could remain at 65 if 80% of working aged people worked. As 80% of people in Southern England are already in paid work compared to a 71% national average, it falls on the rest of the country to get paid work.

    The best motivation would be to reduce incapacity benefit and make work pay. Does the TUC agree or should Southern England continue to subsidise the work shy into their 70s?

    Swanning Off

    The UK has announced the logo for it's six month presidency of the EU, 10 swans on a blue background. It is very appropriate for the EU leaders.

    "Swanning Off" - Move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment.

    Racist murder?

    Why does the BBC report the murder of a Sikh by a gang of Muslims as a religious murder rather than a racist murder?