Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Asylum charades

If asylum seekers and their families have "exhausted their asylum claims and do not take reasonable steps to leave the UK" why aren't their benefits automatically cut?

The Home Office should forcibly remove them from the UK, why bother with the charade of an appeals process when you can remain in the UK regardless?

Does the current asylum appeals process encourage asylum seekers to have children on arrival in the UK if the chances of repatriation are limited for asylum seekers with children?

Litter louts

Why does stamping on someone's head and body and kicking them even after they have ceased moving only merit one year in a young offenders insititute? They were fortunate the victim wasn't murdered.

The victim had asked them to pick up some litter they dropped in broad daylight in the centre of Bristol.

Fatal Record Keeping

If poor record keeping allowed a teacher to teach despite accusations of child abuse, are you still confident enough to tick a "Yes" or "No" box and answer a simple question on a 'Powers over death' form?

Religious Hatred Bill not needed

When threats from Islamic extremists are so effective at defending their faith, is there still any need for a Racial and Religious Hatred Bill in the UK?

A statement on the internet purporting to be from an Iraqi militant group called on fighters to "hit whatever targets possible belonging to these two countries [Denmark and Norway] and others that follow their steps".

Meanwhile pan-Arab organisations have begun efforts to reach a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions from insults.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Extraordinary Divorce Settlements

If the "slavish" principle of splitting assets 50/50 on divorce is not acceptable for very wealthy 'ex' couples, why is it acceptable for most ordinary divorce cases?

Is it right that a senior lawyers wealth would not be split 50/50 on divorce!?!

English legal principles should apply equally to everyone.

Police mugs

Why are West Midlands Police unable to release the photo of a convicted rapist they have been seeking for nine months?

A sick note was produced for Hussain on the last day of his trial at Birmingham Crown Court and he was convicted in his absence of raping a 27-year-old woman from Solihull.

Do Police readily accept sick notes as an excuse for not attending court? Maybe Mohammed Saleem Hussain was suffering from depression!

Local Council cuts

How can local councils cut a two weekly rubbish collection further in order to keep the council tax down?

The threat of local authority job cuts should be welcome where it will help reduce future pension requirements and result in fewer diversity officers and other equally essential staff.

Would local councils prefer a Scottish proposal of a local income tax rate of 15% on earnings over £30,000?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

EU aid budget

Why does the European Union feel it necessary to give the Palestinian Authority $606m of aid each year?

How does the European Union ensure this aid is well spent when there are numerous allegations of corruption ?

Healthchecks not "for everyone"

How can the Government claim that healthchecks will be available to everyone in England when you only get them when you are born, aged 11, aged 18 or again in your 50s?

Twenty and thirty-somethings will have to wait twenty years to qualify or are they expected to pay for the tests out of their post-tax incomes?

Marvellous Beggars

Why is John Prescott allowed to call a class of 10 & 11 year old competitors "beggars" when he failed to beat them in a race? He *sprained* an ankle after a couple of metres.

Mr Prescott, 67, told onlookers [in a northern accent] in Carlisle: "I've pulled a bloody muscle. I feel a right bloody twit."

What a wonderful role model for the youth of today.

GPs pay to fall?

Rather than call for GPs to be paid more if they work in deprived areas, why is the Institute for Public Policy Research unable to save the taxpayer some money and call for GPs to be paid less if they work in affluent areas?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Snafu on holiday

Dear reader,

I will be on holiday until January 28th! Hope you have a great week too!


Friday, January 20, 2006

Higher class cannabis?

If "Everyone needs to understand that cannabis is harmful and it is illegal", why should Cannabis remain a class C drug?

If more research is required to determing it's impact on mental health, the prudent response would be to raise it's classification until the research results are known.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Second rate Kinnock returns

Who invited Neil Kinnock back into mainstream British politics? When the current system is failing at least 1m pupils, how can he shun any educational reform?

When his views are supported by Estelle Morris who resigned as Education secretary because she was only "second best" and John Prescott who failed his 11+, you know he is wrong again.

Why can't Kinnock retire from public life and enjoy his generous EU pension?

NHS Cash crisis

If the Department of Health says "there is more money in the NHS (in England?) than ever before", how can the NHS have a cash crisis?

What did Labour expect when it pumps taxpayers' money into an unreformed NHS?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why the Jail rate is "West Europe's highest"

There is more crime in England and Wales than elsewhere!

The Howard League for Penal Reform, 140.4 people in every 100,000 of the population is in jail. This rate is 50% higher than France and double that of Scandinavian countries.

Is this really where we want to be? We have to end this country's obsession with custody. Prison should be reserved for serious and dangerous offenders. - Howard League director Frances Cook.

However, even as far back as 1999, the Home Office reports that the percentage risk of becoming a victim in England & Wales was higher than in either France or Sweden! (Table 2 on page 17).

Prison customers?

The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, has criticised Prison Officers in Leeds for describing inmates as "cons" and "bodies".

Would she prefer them to be called 'customers'?

Do prison surveys measuring the quality of prison life suggest life inside ever needs to get worse!?! A re-offender rate of 58.5% within the two years of release suggests it does.

Update Escaped "service users" hunted by Police

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Controversial target?

Why are there no anti-fascist protestors outside the Old Bailey during "controversial cleric" Abu Hamza's court case?

Mr Abu Hamza said Islam's first enemy was "tyrants and apostates of our leaders, Jews number two, Christians number three, evil scholars of Muslims number four, hypocrites number five, ignorance of our umma [the Muslim community] number six"

Why isn't BNP leader Nick Griffin equally labelled "controversial" for making a speech claiming white society had turned into a multi-racial hell-hole?

Misconduct in Public Office

Do Politicians face the same legal sanctions as Police officers of "misconduct in a public office" if they have sex with someone whilst at work?

Decent, hard-working police officers across the country will be appalled by Pc Waring's conduct. - Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Mike Franklin.

I doubt it, will most of them take the same view as those caught speeding? He was just unlucky!

At least Cheshire Police can console themselves that the percentage of homosexual Police officers in their constabulary will now rise following the case.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pensioner Property tycoons

If property owned by pensioners has topped the £1 trillion mark for the first time after values rose by nearly £50 billion in 2005, how will Gordon Brown raid it?

Should Council tax become a wealth tax on property values to encourage pensioners to move to smaller homes?

Even if Gordon does nothing, he can console himself that more English pensioners can afford to pay for more of their own nursing care fees unlike their Scottish equivalents.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gordon's Chutzpah

How can Gordon Brown have the chutzpah to claim credit for a scheme "to help [students] with tuition fees" when he supported their introduction?

In return for service for their country in the USA in the 1940s the GI Bill helped thousands through college and university and we should consider and debate another idea: helping those who undertake community service with the costs of education, including help with tuition fees for those undertaking community work - Gordon Brown

Will Gordon's "help with tuition fees" be targeted at English students who have to pay University top-up fees unlike their Scottish and Welsh counterparts?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Britain "a non muslim country"

What prevents Jack Straw from describing Britain as a "Christian country" rather than a "non Muslim country"?

Asylum merry-go-round

Will paying asylum seekers or illegal immigrants £3,000 each to leave the country encourage more to come to the UK?

If the Government is failing to prevent their arrival in the first place, what measures will prevent such people claiming multiple times?

Will I be paid for keeping to the speed limit!?!

Sex crime

Will Scottish MPs abstain on laws being rushed through Parliament to tighten up restrictions on sex offenders working in schools in England?

Scotland is independently tightening it's own sex offender laws.

If cautions and convictions are to be "treated identically" in future, could children be at greater risk? Why should anyone admit their guilt and accept a caution if the evidence may not be strong enough for a court conviction?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Prescott's Council Tax

Why has John Prescott advised Westminster City Council that his Admiralty House aparment should be regarded as his primary home for council tax purposes?

Is it to avoid further "inadvertent errors" or to reduce his council tax bill?

Band D Council Tax bill in:
Conservative controlled Westminster City Council £618
Labour controlled Hull £1,142.70

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Black British Conspiracy?

Why does the BBC give any airtime to people who think there is a conspiracy to prevent Black people from succeeding?

According to some, society [only] 'permits' black people to succeed in football and entertainment

If this is the case, how did society fail to prevent David Lammy becoming Culture Minister, Bernie Ribeiro becoming head of the Royal College of Surgeons and Dr Beverley Malone becoming head of the Royal College of Nursing?

Maybe Diane Abbott has a better understanding of why a Black middle class is nearly invisible, "the culture of the street".

I do know the issues around the education of black boys in this borough. I've seen what happens to black boys who get caught up in the culture of the street. It's hard to pull them back. It is a race issue because, of all the ethnic groups in London's schools, the only group that is falling behind is black boys.

Free prescription charges in Scotland?

What are the chances that England, uniquely, will not be able abolish prescription charges as the money "has to be found from somewhere"?

[Scottish] Ministers remain totally opposed to the idea but accept they will have to address flaws in the present set-up.

How come "92% of Scottish prescriptions are already free"!?!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Reaping the whirlwind

Does the lack of respect that Tony Blair laments the inevitable result of a welfare state that encourages people to have children whilst on benefit?

Monday, January 09, 2006

An English icon

What can be more iconic than requiring a National Identity card to prove you are English!?!

Universities challenged in England

In the latest policy U-turn, David Cameron has decided to keep student tuition fees in England as Universities need to be "well funded" and the money "has to come from somewhere". Is Cameron unaware that Welsh and Scottish students do not need top up fees as their Universities are already well funded by England?

Could the money be found by reforming the 'Barnett Formula' or are a few additional Conservative votes in Scotland and Wales more tempting than the votes of university students and their parents in England?

The English Fiefdom

If Lembit Opik, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, considers that the Government of Wales Bill "treats Wales as some kind of 19th century colony" does he consider England is treated as some kind of medieval fiefdom?

Will the number of Welsh MPs at Westminster be reduced if the Government of Wales Bill is enacted?

Conservatives to shun the parental vote

Is David Cameron continuing to pursue public sector votes by reassuring teachers that a future Conservative Government would not re-introduce academic selection?

If it is so bad, and I don't believe it is, why allow schools to select even 10% of their pupils on academic ability? Do any parents struggle to find places in good schools for their children?

The best way to improve standards and social mobility across the UK would be the wholesale return of academic selection. Period.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I believe in the BBC

Blair: I'm not going anywhere

Someone give him a paddle!

Police to investigate Sir Iqbal Sacranie of the MCB?

Gary Monro recently highlighted the case of "Lynette Burrows, a family campaigner, [who had] a visit from our (are they really ours anymore?) boys in blue regarding a comment she made on a live radio show."

During the programme, she said she did not believe that homosexuals should be allowed to adopt. She added that placing boys with two homosexuals for adoption was as obvious a risk as placing a girl with two heterosexual men who offered themselves as parents. “It is a risk,” she said. “You would not give a small girl to two men.

Can Sir (!?!) Iqbal Sacranie, unelected head of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), expect a similar visit from the boys in blue having "told the BBC he believes homosexuality is "not acceptable" and denounced new same-sex civil partnerships as "harmful"?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

New Liberal Democrat Logo

Heart transplant race inequalities

How will Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, introduce quotas to ensure black children live as long as white children who receive heart transplants?

The researchers found that 51% of black recipients survived for five years, compared with more than two-thirds of children from other ethnic groups.

The transplanted heart lasted 11 years in children from other groups, while those given to black youngsters survived just 5.3 years.

The findings could not be explained by differences in health insurance or background.

English Lib. dems. not divided by Kennedy?

Why are English Liberal Democrats not split over their party's leadership? The BBC fails to report any split on the BBC England homepage.

Scots Lib Dems split over Kennedy
Liberal Democrat members in Scotland have voiced mixed views on whether beleaguered leader Charles Kennedy is the right man to lead the party.

Kennedy fate divides Welsh party
Several prominent Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged Charles Kennedy to step down over his drink problem.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Cameron Maelstrom

I have a new post up at Oncemore.

Naturally, David Cameron is keen to impress the electorate as new Conservative leader but he needs to be careful. Too many photo shoots and policy announcements so soon after his victory could backfire badly. There is no need to rush policy announcements or immediately seek a dramatic new direction for the Conservative Party. New policies should be allowed to develop and mature over time. Will he rue rash policy reversals such as the recent abandonment of his "Patient Passports" policy having only drafted it last year? Has David's previous marketing experience at Carlton placed too much emphasis on short term results at the expense of longer term ambitions?

New Conservative Healthcare policy

The source of David Cameron's new healthcare policy is here!

Government to increase human misery

How do you increase the number of people trafficked into the UK?

Give them automatic UK residency rights if they are ever discovered by the authorities.

The UK Government's only chance to reduce the evils of human trafficking is to publicise the fact that any east European, Chinese, Vietnamese or African nationals who have been smuggled into the UK will be automatically deported.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Scottish veto on education reform

Scottish parents should be concerned that UK Government proposals for education reforms in England "stand no chance of being replicated in Scotland".

Ewan Aitken, spokesman for the Scottish Convention of Local Authorities, said Scottish schools were hugely successful and did not need major change.

Oh really?

Nearly half failed the standards for writing while six in 10 pupils achieved the basic standard for mathematics. Pupils in Glasgow had the lowest pass rates for all subjects, where almost six in 10 pupils failed to achieve the benchmark grade of Level E for writing in 2005. Other poorly-performing areas were West Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire and North Lanarkshire..

Is Ewan more concerned about potential job losses amongst the local authorities he represents than the educational prospects of Scottish children?

English cold?

It is feared the Scottish economy has caught a "cold" from the rest of the UK?

Do they mean England!?!

Sun tax

Will Peter Hain need to declare electricity sales to the National Grid from newly installed solar panels (50% funded by the taxpayer) on his house to the Inland Revenue?

If the solar panels add value to the house, the property could also move up a council tax band!

Sacred cow "sacred"

Will David Cameron explain how he proposes to improve the NHS today rather than promise "improved efficiency and effectiveness"?

"Under a Conservative government, the NHS will remain free at the point of need and available to everyone, regardless of how much money they have in the bank".

No doubt such rhetoric will be comforting for people like Stephen Eeley denied treatment. How will David Cameron's proposals help Stephen's case?

Is there a link between improved healthcare in other European countries and the funding medical insurance funding mechanism? Any status quo within the NHS merely guarantees the jobs of the 1m NHS employees whilst condemning the UK population to an inferior service.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Urban myths and taxes

How embarrassing for the BBC. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has been voted Britain's most powerful man in a radio 4 poll, ahead of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and even Rupert Murdoch!

"BBC political editor Nick Robinson says voters may be using the poll to say Europe has too much power.".

If former Europe Minister Dennis McShane dismisses the suggestion that Britain's laws are decided by Europe as 'an urban myth', can Britain avoid Austria's proposal for a European wide tax?

Is it an 'Urban myth' that tax legislation is already decided in Europe?