Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Council spending priorities

How unfair were Burnley Council's area-focused spending decisions in the 1990s if "racists latched onto it and encouraged the resentment"?

Were Burnley's spending priorities unique? The Archbishop of York doesn't think so.

Some local politics has not been very good at actually supporting the indigenous population, that must be acknowledged.

If you go in some areas that I've worked in, it looks sometimes from the outside that what has actually gone on is migrants sometimes have appeared to be getting the things which the indigenous population is not getting.


When will pre-pre-nuptial agreements become legally binding in England and Wales if proposals that cohabitees receive similar levels of 'protection' as married couples are agreed should they split?

Would such proposals increase the number of marriages or boost the property market by discouraging people from living together in the first place?

The example cited by Advicenow is particularly poor:

A woman['s] partner of 10 years died without making a will. As they never married, the house they shared, all his money and his business, passed to his family.

The woman needed her partner to write a will, not new legislation.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Football Banning Orders

How reliable are Home Office figures showing that 3,286 individuals face Football banning orders?

That's not croquet!

Why is John Prescott (68 tomorrow) still Deputy Prime Minister when any other public sector 'key-worker' would have retired when they reached 60?

Has he already retired!?!

Vodafone tax rises?

Will Gordon Brown need to raise taxes following Vodafone's £14.9bn loss last year?

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Victory for working people"

How can Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus, describe a rise in the state pension age to 68 as a "victory for working people"?

Public sector workers can still look forward to retiring at 60 generously funded by private sector workers out of their taxes.

Asian Women of Achievements Awards

When will the next "White Women of Achievement" awards be announced!?!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Would a bus company be guilty of racism if they sacked an ethnic minority driver when most other workers were white and they were unable to guarantee their safety in and around Barking?

The customer is never right.

The "fundamental problem" with the Home Office, according to Jack Straw, are the 'dysfunctional people' such as asylum seekers and criminal 'customers' who use the Department rather than the staff.

It is that which places the burden on the staff and provides a challenge both to staff and to ministers.

Did he really expect anything else!?!

Reasons not to save for your retirement

  • Means tested benefits penalise people saving for their retirement.

  • You pay your own residential care fees if you live in England and have more than £16,000 in assets including your house.

  • Divorce laws penalise savers rather than spenders

  • Income tax paid on savings.

  • Inheritance tax charged at 40% on your estate.

  • The retirement age could easily increase beyond 68 due to "unforeseen pressures on Government finances".

  • Your pension fund could go bust due to poor investment decisions.

  • If everyone sells assets to fund their retirement at the same time, who will be left to buy them and at what price?

  • You are forced to buy an annuity that pays you marginally more than the current interest rate but the capital outstanding is kept by them on your death?

  • You could be dead by then!
  • Pre-nuptials

    When will pre-nuptial agreements become legally binding in England and Wales to prevent wealthy individiuals losing too much of their pre-marriage wealth on divorce?

    Pensions crisis solved

    For two women at least...

    Melissa Miller keeps £5m of her ex-husband's fortune after just three years of marriage.

    Julia McFarlane is entitled to £250,000 a year from her ex-husband Kenneth for life.

    Will either woman ever re-marry!?!

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Deja vu?

    A complete and total breakdown of the immigration service. - Steve Moxon, a Home Office civil servant sacked for spilling the beans in 2004.

    It's inadequate in terms of its scope, it's inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes, John Reid, Home Secretary 2006.

    Don't bet on it!

    Will the Government prevent people living on benefits from being allowed to play at Super-casinos to prevent them slipping further into poverty?

    I get £200 a fortnight to cover everything and all that will go into the machines. I feel good when I'm playing the machines but day to day, with no money, I feel down and depressed.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Problems with the left

    Following on from Brighton Regency Labour's list of five right wing fallacies...

    If only Africa received an additional £xbn, poverty would be alleviated.

    People who earn more or are wealthier than us should pay more tax but we already pay enough.

    The public sector can never be too big. All the nation's problems would be solved by increasing public expenditure or through nationalisation.

    Grammar schools provide good levels of education so they must be abolished.

    We support free speech unless you disagree with us.

    We can call you names but don't do it to us as it proves you have lost the argument.

    The rich shall inherit the earth

    How wide should the income gap be? Should people be rewarded for working hard or penalised for not giving their wealth to others!?!

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Who supports Government Pension Reform?

    The Times reports Government claims that 57% of the public support raising the retirement age to 68 by the middle of this century. Who are they? I am yet to meet anyone who supports it!

    Did they only ask public sector workers who can look forward to retiring at 60!?! They don't even seem that keen on retiring at 65!

    Home Office shambles

    How many civil servants have been sacked for the "complete and total breakdown of the immigration service" or is it just civil servants such as Steve Moxon who warned the public about the Home Office back in 2004?

    Should Home Office civil servants be allowed to retire at 40 rather than 60 to reduce the opportunity of making too many bungles!?!

    Not going the distance

    Has the BBC been nobbled by Neil Kinnock?

    They report that a 1km stretch [of road] between Ty Nant in Denbighshire and Dinmael in Conwy could be shut for several months rather than a half mile stretch!

    To err is only criminal

    How many criminals have been wrongly labelled as 'innocent' if nearly 1,500 people have been wrongly labelled as criminals by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)?

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Red faced boys in blue

    Is nothing safe? Thieves have stolen a laptop computer from a hotel holding a conference attended by hundreds of Police Officers!

    Crime pays

    Prisoners aren't as tough as they used to be. They have received compensation payouts totalling £3.5m in 2005/6 for miscellaneous injury!

    Personal injury can cover a multitude of sins: slipping or falling down stairs, a chair collapsing, falling off a ladder or through a ceiling. We even had one prisoner that had his finger bitten off by a horse - Derek Ramsden, head of the Prison Service's operational litigation unit.

    How does any prisoner manage to get access to a set of ladders or fall through a ceiling? Were they trying to escape over a wall!?!

    How much compensation was paid to the prisoners' victims? £10?

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    New immigration shock

    Immigration Minister Tony McNulty has admitted not knowing how many illegal immigrants are currently working at the Home Office.

    Assuming that we can find them [as they clean the Home Office each evening], and assuming that people aren't going away of their own accord, it would take some time - Tony McNulty.

    'Poor deal' for men on pensions

    How many feminists will be complaining at Government proposals to allow women to have an entitlement to a full state pension after 30 years rather than the 39 proposed for men!?!

    As women live six years longer than men in the UK, why aren't they expected to contribute for an additional six years!?!

    I get stuffed again!

    Deport the Government!

    How can it possibly take ten years to deport all illegal immigrants when they are not even tracked down by the authorities? How can 500,000 people disappear in the UK?

    Does the ten year estimate assume no further illegal immigration as of today?

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills split up

    I bet that costs him an arm and a leg!

    BBC kills two birds with one stone

    Q. How does the BBC bash Labour for giving up on it's 'core' values whilst gratuitously attacking the Conservatives for being 'pro-business'?

    A. I thought Labour backed the workers but they're as bad as the Conservatives - Anonymous Vauxhall worker threatened with redundancy who just happened to be quoted on Radio 4's 'Today' programme this morning.

    Police sweeps

    If four out of five crimes remain unsolved in Bristol (despite being an improvement(!) on last year's figures), would it be a more effective use of Police time if they were given brooms and asked to sweep the streets instead!?!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Brazilian Delegation

    Will the British Government be sending a delegation of officials to investigate the deaths of 33 suspected gang members shot by police in Brazil?

    School fees refund

    When will the Government start refunding the school fees of privately educated children who have to wait longer than they should for Labour's educational reforms to start producing results!?!

    It seems reasonable if the NHS now has to refund the treatment costs of UK patients whose waits are deemed to be unacceptably long!

    Substantially more

    If the BBC describe the £1,000 paid to Sam Walton for revealing the salaries of TV and radio celebrities as a "substantial amount of money", how do they describe the £540,000 paid to Jonathon Ross for his three-hour Saturday programme?

    Do such celebrities feel guilty when the bottom 20% of households still have to pay £131.50 for their TV Licences?

    Road of Death

    The Times reports that the A4074 from Reading to Oxford is one of the most dangerous roads in the UK with 10 fatalities since 1999 over 4 1/2 mile stretch.

    How many speed cameras have been installed on this stretch of road if they are the panacea to dangerous driving?

    Socialist Utopia?

    If Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez describes capitalism as a "destructive" system and that "socialism is the way forward", why are so many Latinos heading north into the United States rather than south to the socialist utopia of Venezuela?

    What do they know about socialism that Ken Livingstone doesn't?

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Water mess

    Does Sutton and East Surrey Water (50% rise in profits in 2005) suffer any financial penalties for not being able to supply water to it's customers when they need it most during a drought!?!

    If a brewery stops supplying beer it goes out of business, it doesn't keep charging customers as though nothing has changed!

    Knives out

    What did Nisha Patel-Nasri, the murdered off-duty special constable, hope to achieve by confronting thieves with a large kitchen knife?

    Would her case have become as infamous as that of Tony Martin if she had stabbed them instead?

    Work incentives

    Why should the poorest 20% of households be expected to work when everyone else subsidises their income support, child benefit, incapacity benefit and state pension payments?

    Dear John exclusive

    Tony Blair's letter highlighting his priorities for the remainder of this Parliament to key Cabinet Minister John Prescott has been leaked...

    Dear John,

    Touch nothing, especially the secretaries.

    Keep up the good work!


    Muslim unemployment

    A Government report has found that 50% of Muslims aged over 25 are unemployed and one in three live in the most deprived areas of England. Why?

    The Government needs to be careful when attempting to reduce such statistics. Any initiatives that focus on a particular groups can only provide succour to the BNP.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    More bad news for the Liberal Democrats!

    Why are the Liberal Democrats intent on remaining political 'also rans'?

    A majority of English voters oppose a Scottish leader whose parliamentary performance is questionable.

    Identities for sale

    How many civil servants have been convicted for selling the personal details of individuals to organised criminal gangs?

    Will this job centre in Hull face sanctions for example?

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Pensions schadenfreude

    How can Gordon Brown and Tony Blair claim credit for restoring the link between pensions and earnings when it will only start in six years?

    Having both retired from the political scene by 2012, they can enjoy watching other politicians wrestle with this particular hot potato and deliver this commitment. Something they were unable to achieve when they were in power!

    In other news, the Conservatives have pledged tax cuts in 2030...

    How inconvenient for the Archbishop

    Police just happen to be hunting someone from the 1% of non law-abiding hoodie wearers in connection with the murder of an off-duty special police constable.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    BNP Support

    Is support for the BNP understated if people who publicly support it are ostracized?

    When I told them I was going over to the BNP no one believed me, now I've done it and everyone hates me. The Mayor says he's disgusted and my sister won't speak to me. - Rose Thompson, BNP candidate for the Keighley East ward of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

    Courtesy of Laban Tall.

    Private sector protests

    How will the private sector protest at Government proposals to raise the state retirment age to 68?

    Strike like their public sector cousins or just accept the inevitable?

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    See the Conquering Hero Comes

    Would the Scottish National Party accept a system that charged Scottish students £3,000 to study in England whilst the great majority of English students paid no fees at all?

    They don't even like the BBC's choice of music for the World Cup this year!

    Resourcing not to blame for 7/7

    How can any amount of additional resources prevent a small group of people from terrorising Britain when driven by a "fierce antagonism to perceived injustices by the West against Muslims"?

    If there are 1,000 pro-al-Qaeda suspects with the potential to turn violent currently in the UK, what prevents the authorities from arresting them? Fears of harassment claims?

    With hindsight, when would the authorities have arrested Mohammad Sidique Khan or 'Sid the school assistant' as he was known? As he headed towards Kings Cross on July 7th or sometime earlier when his intentions were still far from certain?

    Don't email the Police

    Are Police officers being investigated for circulating an offensive e-mail image of a decapitated man or because the man happens to be black?

    The e-mail apparently shows the head of a black man who died after jumping on to metal railings during a police chase. It is captioned: "Don't run from the police."

    "Tough" non-jail sentences?

    When was the last time you saw criminals doing "clearly visible" unpaid work during a community sentence?

    Would they be more visible if forced to wear orange and pink jumper suits!?!

    Lecturers' pay

    If University lecturers have suffered from "declining pay over the last twenty years", why haven't more of them left the profession?

    How much will their demands for a 12.6% pay rise over three years increase the public sector pension liability by?

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Oxygen of Publicity?

    Does the BBC's Nick Robinson oppose the "Oxygen of publicity" being given to newly elected BNP councillor Richard Barnbrook over his alleged role in a gay porn movie!?!

    John "two standards" Prescott?

    Police are no longer going to pursue a prosecution against John "two shags" Prescott as it's "not an appropriate use of police resources".

    Will the Police be as concerned about the "appropriate use of police resources" the next time they catch me speeding!?!

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    You can't be serious!

    When did the Home Office decide that armed robbery was no longer a "serious offence"?

    Too much Palestinian aid?

    Do the Palestinians have a bloated public sector if 25% of Palestinian workers work for the Palestinian Authority (PA)?

    In the long term, would Palestine benefit cuts to their aid budget to encourage private sector growth? Some outspoken commentators already say Africa is cursed with too much aid...

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    A 'Dear Tony' letter

    I've met someone else. After nine years of passion, lust and love, it's over. We're finished. You no longer mean anything to me.

    We shared the good times but I don't want to share your bad times. "Things can only get better", that was our song but "I will survive" seems more appropriate now.

    There is only room in my life for one man and that can only be Gordon Brown so turn around now, walk out the door...


    The Labour Party

    Labour quotes?

    No civil war in the Labour Party. - Jack Straw.

    Labour is having it's best year ever. - Patricia Hewitt.

    My other sh*g's a secretary. - John Prescott.

    Tony Blair should go when it's best for him. - Gordon Brown.

    Time off for bad behaviour

    Will John Prescott be spending more time with his family or secretary now that he has more time on his hands!?!

    Shelled out

    How can cashiers at Shell Service stations have outwitted the chip-and-pin payment system designed by boffins and being used there?

    These Pin pads are supposed to be tamper resistant, they are supposed to shut down, so that has obviously failed. - Apacs spokeswoman Sandra Quinn.

    Thankfully, no such problems could affect National Identity cards as the Home Office is in charge!

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Innovative welfare cuts

    If the Government saves £7bn a year by moving one million 'disabled' people off benefits and into jobs, will the money saved be returned to taxpayers or will the Government find innovative new ways to waste it?

    Friday, May 05, 2006


    Labour may be licking their wounds following their local election drubbing but they can console themselves that the Conservatives have not done well enough to win power!

    Even though the Conservatives won 40% of the vote, the bias in the current electoral system ensures this might not be sufficient to secure eleectoral success in 2010!

    It's David Cameron what did it!

    Was David Cameron's focus on the environment critical to the apparent revival in Conservative fortunes last night?

    Liberal Democrats should be disturbed that their candidates were bypassed by disenchanted Labour voters moving straight to the Conservatives. However, is this over-simplistic? Were Liberal Democrat supporters moving to the Conservatives just as readily as Labour supporters moved to the Liberal Democrats?

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Sensitivity? My a*se!

    Why should doctors be sensitive when dealing with weight issues that affect long term health?

    Doctors will provid[e] parents with gentle prompts to encourage discussion about their child's weight.

    Some parents may need a more direct approach even if phrases such as "Fat b*stard", "lardy", "tubby" and "early death" are prohibited!

    Public school "too exclusive"

    A Public school in Tewkesbury is too exclusive! The Abbey Choir School needs 150 pupils to break even but only has 85 pupils currently.

    Have the Governors considered cutting the £9,000 annual fees as one way of attracting more pupils?

    Local election literature

    What explains the lack of Labour local election literature in my constituency?

  • Labour have run out of cash and need to sell more peerages.

  • Focus groups suggest that no amount of money can save Labour from poor results this evening.

  • Local councillors have no real power to affect the lives of their communities.
  • Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Just a pointless killing?

    Last year, a group of four West Indian youths were walking home from a demonstration in Birmingham when they were spotted by three young white men. They stop their cars just in front of them and get out, intent on causing trouble. The white youths verbally abuse the West Indians as they approach them, one of them even produces a knife.

    Both groups throw punches before the West Indian youths finally flee for their lives down a street. The white youths chase after them and manage to trap one of them. He is stabbed through the heart and dies later that night.

    A racist murder? Not at all, it's just a "pointless killing".

    Acceptable face of capitalism?

    Should the private sector make an allowance for the incompetence of civil servants when negotiating PFI deals?

    MPs have condemned Octagon Healthcare for using a refinancing deal on the project to boost returns to its investors by £82m.

    Are MPs equally damning of the hospital authority whose negotiating team was consisted of civil servants "[who] were not up to the rough and tumble of negotiating refinancing proposals with the private sector"?

    Somalian refugees

    If Somalian refugees cannot be deported if convicted of a crime, should they be allowed into the UK in the first place?

    PC Sharon Beshenivsky's parents can console themselves that the man suspected of murdering their daughter faced dangers in war-torn Somalia had he been deported.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Labour return to the political wilderness?

    Poor local election results in 1990 presaged Mrs. Thatcher's political demise, an event that continues to cast a long shadow over the Conservative Party. If Tony Blair's political demise is hastened by poor local election results this week, will the Labour Party also be cast back into the political wilderness?

    If both the Labour and Conservative parties wallow in the political wilderness at the same time, who fills the void?

    Big Bad John

    Was John Prescott's 'reputation' (Using this word in it's broadest possible sense!) deliberately sacrificed to remove the media spotlight from Charles Clarke in the Home Office and Patricia Hewitt in the Department of Health?

    Paper excuses

    David Cameron is in eco-friendly hot water. It has been discovered that whilst he cycles to work proving his 'green credentials', he is followed by a car carrying his office papers as there are too many to carry safely on his bike.

    What is David doing to reduce the amount of paper his office uses each day to save the environment!?!

    School inspections "humiliating"

    One quarter of teachers surveyed fear the "public humiliation" caused when Ofsted send letters to pupils detailing their schools' failings.

    There is at least one way for teachers to avoid such humiliation in the future, improve the school by restoring discipline!

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Some votes more valuable than others?

    The Institute of Public Policy Research recommends that voting should be compulsory in the UK. Is this welcome if it stops the major parties focusing their resources on chasing votes in key marginal constituencies whilst ignoring other areas?

    Not all votes are equally valued by the parties and are frequently taken for granted under the current system.