@daily_politics How independent is IPSA, when Sir Ian Kennedy (who he?) feels forced to gift them excess salaries?

February 10, 2016

A letter sent to Daily Express and Daily Mirror (10/2/16) about MP’s sneaky little system of ensuring excess pay rises.

The Chairman of IPSA, Sir Ian Kennedy, makes it sound as if he’s being forced to increase MP’s pay,.
Why does he believe he has to ratchet MP pay to Civil Service pay?
Is it something he’s taken from “Yes, Minister”, where top Civil Servants ratcheted their pay to whichever Commercial counterparts (e.g. bankers) had had the most generous settlements?
Perhaps the MP’s who oversee the work of this stooge, might reccommend tying their wages to that of Junior Doctor’s, who by any criterion, deserve better pay than our MP’s.
One query: who sets the pay of Sir Ian Kennedy?

Trident would only deter those who wouldn’t launch a nuclear attack, so it deters no-one.

February 5, 2016

whom would we need to use Trident against?
Answer: we are told: Probably no-one.
We are told it is only a deterrent.

OK; but a deterrent against whom?
Not ISIS. If they had the ability and urge, then nothing would stop them except a pre-emptive strike.
Not our EU neighbours.
Not because they love us but because they’d harm their own territories and people.

Not the USA, because they make the warheads and wouldn’t give us the launch codes: Or They’d have some sort of back door software in them.

N. Korea, or Russia?
Well! both are led by men, who appear to be a bit flaky, who like to rattle their sabres but what would be their motive’s?
N. Korea has closer enemies. We’d have to have really gone out of our way to upset them.

If Putin decided to nuke us, it could only be to intimidate the EU, the USA and other’s.
He’d not gain territory, or trade.
He wouldn’t teach us to respect him (we’d be past caring).
Plus he’d run the risk of an itchy finger, in the Pentagon, getting active.
Would the threat of MAD deter him?
He’d have to be very unbalanced to attack us, even without Trident, and, if he was that flaky, he’d presumably consider the risk minimal.
He knows the effects of nuclear fallout from Chernobyl (1986), within Russia.
He knows that the same radio-active fallout prevented Welsh hill farms from being allowed to send sheep to market for 26 years. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17472698).

Summary: anyone mad enough to use nuclear weapons is mad enough to ignore retaliation. Trident isn’t a deterrent.

@BBCNews It’s time Government investigated combating video drone use

February 1, 2016

The story of a near miss, by a drone, of a passenger plane, is deservedly worrying, especially as we know that Government will take no notice, until a passenger plane has crashed, killing someone important to them.
More worrying than the possibility of use by amateurs, paparazzi, or terrorists, is that they are being used commercially.
Here, in the UK, we are told that Amazon is experimenting with them for parcel deliveries.
In the USA, they are using them for police surveillance; common enough for a light reference to such, in the TV series “The Big Bang Theory”.
It’s now also reported that they are being used in a plan to implement 5G phone services.
Yet we hear of no plans to regulate, or more importantly, effectively  control their use, apart from attempts to jam their control signals above important buildings.
It’s not enough to set up a Quango to issue licences, we need a policing organisation that can restrict drones to air corridor’s, and effectively disable those, which venture out of them.
It needs to be done soon, because these devices offer plenty more innovative uses, as suggested here: https://defensesystems.com/articles/2014/08/15/drones-can-hack-wifi-networks.aspx

Make companies pay a form of income tax @UKLabour @afneil

January 31, 2016

Large companies pay tax on profits but voters don’t; they pay on income.
Why?
If we paid voter tax, on profit instead of income, we could pay zero tax, too.
All you have to do is maximise your costs.

You buy a big house, a big car, best quality food and best quality clothing.
Correction.

Don’t buy:- Rent, wherever possible, with annual refurbishment of latest model computer, ipad, car etc.
It’s very easy to match income with living costs, unless you’re really creaming it in, like the P.M.. Then you’d have to find a reason to buy some property abroad. Maybe a mews house in Mayfair, so you can do your Xmas shopping in Oxford Street, or ditto New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong etc.
This is what Companies are doing and it’s only justification is that an income tax would stifle company need to re-invest and this is not valid.

If my tax bill is too high, I’m expected to cut my costs, like a State pensioner, to a level where I can claim a begrudged State aid to a survival level.

If my work costs are too large (e.g. the commute), I’m expected to change my job and/or get better pay. If my food bills are too high, I’m expected to eat less, or cut my social spending.  If my family increases in size, unexpectedly, I’m supposed to bear the cost, after a certain allowance.

It seems, as far as Government is concerned, that The Poor are a millstone and “If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”.

I know that companies are wealth and job creator’s and need to be encouraged. I know that many rely on value added for their profit margin but the problem seems to rely on giving too much weight to their nett income and how it’s defined.

When building a ship, I have to buy steel, as a raw material. I don’t have to buy luxury offices, or hire machines etc. which mostly stand idle. I don’t have to incentivise myself with bonuses and large share dividends.

Make companies pay tax on Gross income and only allow reductions on items, which are made open to public scrutiny and approval. If costs are so commercially sensitive that they can’t be made public, then they are not entitled to be offset against tax.  That, for me, is on par with an individual asking for tax relief on their socially sensitive expenses.

Let the public decide what is an allowable cost, not some HMRC official, or coterie of corruptible politicians.

Just being brought up in Britain inculcates Christian values and in that sense, we are all Christians

January 25, 2016
I sent this to the Daily Mirror (24/12/15)
Despite an antipathy towards David Cameron, I have to agree with him that this is a Christian country, with Christian values.
I would apply this to those who are atheist and openly despise religion.
Those, who say this is divisive, are correct to the extent that it separates those accepting the spirit of Jesus’s teachings from those who embrace the teachings of the old testament.
We do not abide by the rules set up for an unsophisticated desert tribe, as set out in Leviticus.
We no longer need to increase our numbers to make our tribe more powerful, punishing homosexuality and praising fecundity.
Life is important, it is not sacred. (Consider that Jesus gave up his).
Jesus wanted us to live in peace and tolerate those, who are different.
He taught that we should help one another and support the weak, as in the parable of The Good Samaritan.
Maybe, on
e day, David Cameron will decide to join us and adopt Christian values for himself.

Men and women aren’t equal and it’s nothing to do with being fair.

January 25, 2016
As someone whose guide is “fairness”, I understand the feminist angst over a male dominated society and agree that it needs to be opposed.
The Victorian attitude towards Women and the Poor was unacceptable but Feminists will never win full equality, because the majority of men and women don’t want it.
That doesn’t make it right, it’s just the way it is.
I find myself equally uncomfortable with the sight of a Pakistani patriarch striding along with his family in tow, as I do the chav female pushing her pram like a chariot, whilst she texts and her 6′ skinny man follows like a beaten cur, with no need for a leash.
I much prefer the more common sight of couples walking side by side, progressing by a mutual understanding of each other’s purposes.
But look at any couple, even homosexual ones, and you see that they complement each other.
They aren’t equals. One will be more positive, or dominant, or thoughtful, or whatever.
Where they don’t fit, they learn to accomodate.
We have evolved to be couples according to the much maligned stereotype of a muscular male built to wander off in search of game and to fight off threats to his family. The female geared to a long pregnancy and lengthy period of childcare has to be prepared to endure long periods of quiescence and readiness to submit to the needs of her mate, in terms of helping him to protect their children.
I know the stereotype is not needed in our modern life, where, at present, Society, as a whole, takes on childcare responsibilities and male muscle has been largely superceded by technology, but the basic drives are still there.
Men still prefer curvaceous, smooth-skinned females and women still look for the tall dark and handsome male.
Women, in general tend to be passive, accepting and compliant. Men tend to be adventurous, aggressive risk-takers.
My mind-set is reflected in this letter to the Daily Mirror (sent 21/1/16)
On BBC Breakfast, there’s a woman complaining that women are paid less than men, for equivalent jobs, and are charged more than men for equivalent goods.
Then I read a piece in the Mirror about Gwynneth Paltrow; being criticised for her choice of swimsuit, whilst noting that it cost £104 and that she has a hot boyfriend.
The piece had to be written by a woman, because no man (obviously not her “hot boyfriend”) would be looking at the packaging.
The piece points up the reason, for sex inequality existing, as women’s attitudes, especially towards each other.
Re-write the phrase used earlier: “women accept less pay than men, for equivalent jobs, and pay more than men for equivalent goods.”
Whereas a man looks for a better paid job, most women look for a friendlier workplace.
Whereas most men will buy the cheapest item fit for its purpose, women search high and low for that item, which will make other women coo appreciatively.
Pay inequality will continue until the majority of women are masculinised and the majority of men are feminised.
It won’t happen because men like their women pretty and women like their men butch.

@StrongerIn what do you mean when you speak of trade? @afneil #Marr @BBCNews

January 25, 2016

This a letter I sent to the DailyExpress (25/1/16), prompted by an item in the Daily Mirror. I would have sent it to them, except their Political Editor and Sub are obviously New Labour. Plus their letter column likes to pick a theme and print related letters only.

It looks as if the EU referendum campaigns will be waged with half-truths.
Voters will not be properly informed on the pro’s and con’s but will be subjected to scare stories, rumours, emotional slogans and what are, in effect, lies.
E.g. the “Stronger in” campaign has announced that “Britain’s trade with Europe is 55% higher than it would be thanks to our EU membership”.
Ignoring the attempt to confuse Europe with the EU, what does it mean by trade?
Most voters will assume that trade refers to exports, which implies concern for a loss of British jobs.
But Trade can also mean imports, which implies a lack of concern for loss of British jobs.
For instance a new wind farm near Port Talbot is being built under contract to Siemens, a German firm, which will import the steel from China.
Siemens will be taking a commission and putting it in its bank in Germany.
This would count as an “invisible” import.
Since joining the EU, there has been a huge increase in these “invisible” imports.
German and French firms have contracts for bus services, ambulances, train services, water supply, gas and electricity supply.
Even the refitting of one of the Queen’s was contracted to a German firm.
Then there are the tangible imports such as railway carriages being built in Germany, whilst British firms close down.
How much of that 55% increase in trade is to our benefit?
If it’s mainly imports then this “increased trade” is an argument for “stronger out” and it’s the duty of The Media to prevent politicians trying to deceive us with such ambiguous terms.

suicide is a choice to have no choice

January 6, 2016

I watched BBC1’s “The Road” last night.
It was about a post-apocalypse collapse of Society and the effect of a Man, his wife and his son.

I spent the whole program trying to empathise with them and couldn’t.
The wife committed suicide, rather than face a life of mere survival.
The man was all about survival but survival by avoiding all risk, knowing it meant eventual death by attrition.
The lad survived, despite his tendency to attract the attention of predator’s, by being adopted into a more successful family group.
I concluded that the characterisation was by a Wuss, or a woman, because it seemed so lame.
The thing that struck me most was the willingness of the wife to blow her brains out just because she saw no return to her earlier life of ease.
I’ve faced the black dog, so I can understand the attraction of suicide but not how one can act on it.
If I knew I faced a painful exit through lingering illness TB, cancer etc., then, OK!, that would be an easy choice.
A loss of lifestyle is not enough to throw in the towel.
Once you’re dead, you surrender all your options.You don’t count any more.
If you choose to live, you experience things, you have choices. I think the film of Sobibor illustrates this best. They suffered degradation and humiliation. They eventually got a chance to make another choice. Some died, some survived and some returned to a normal comfortable life.

In a way, the survivor’s of Sobibor had a better, fuller life than any South Sea Islander, whose days rolled one into another without significant difference.
The phrase “while there’s life, there’s hope” is the key, for me, as to why suicide is the last choice.
A choice to have no choice is a bad choice.

Baby Boomers have a lot to answer for.

January 5, 2016

In 1967 I turned 20 years old and after a Summer on the buses I was down at Portsmouth Polytechnic doing my degree course.

The World was wonderful.

England had won the World Cup and their Manager knighted (nowadays he’d have got a peerage).

The Mersey Beat was everywhere. It seemed that anyone, who had a guitar was cutting No.1 records, even those who couldn’t play them (Graham Nash?). The Beatles were getting hippy and California was moving into “The Summer of Love” with Americans protesting their Government’s Colonialist war in Viet Nam.

Revolution was in the air, with some serious clashes with massed police in London. We hadn’t been widely aware of much of the Civil Rights movement in the USA, mainly because we had little real public contact with America. Telephone calls to the USA cost huge sums and radio was crackly.

This was the year of the first live global television link by satellite when 400 million people saw and heard the Beatles play “All you need is love”.

It wasn’t until the following year at the Olympics and the Black Power Salute, that we fully realised how much hotter it was in the USA.

Meantime UK was about to become rich, because the The first North Sea oil was being pumped ashore. It never occurred to us that politicians would find means to squander the new found wealth, e.g. the launch of the first Polaris Submarine.

(That was one nasty little political ploy, where we gave away our own successful rocket (Blue Streak, thereafter the Ariane) as a bribe to the French to let us join the Common Market. It didn’t work Charles de Gaulle vetoed British entry.

Parliament decriminalised male homosexuality with the Sexual Offences Act.

The British steel industry was nationalised

The Abortion Act, passed in Parliament, legalising abortion on a number of grounds (with effect from 1968).

Lots of other things happened in that year such as first broadcast of colour TV, opening Milton Keynes, first conviction under the Race Relations Act 1965.

By the time I was in my thirties, being absorbed into mainstream working life, my generation had undergone Social changes, normalising homosexuality and recognising a need for racial co-existence. The Dagenham girls had forced the equal pay act into draught. We were engaging in an economic alliance with our near neighbours (although I had, for one, had voted against it). We had North Sea Gas and Oil coming ashore in sufficient quantities to enable us to pay off our debts, fully fund our State pensions, build new hospitals etc.

It’s not the generation now deriding mine as being racist and homophobic, who created the world that they see around them. It’s my generation and those who remembered rationing and the aftermath of WWII, who created their world.

The world that the next generation will be living in is the one created by Thatcher’s children. The one where State Assets were destroyed to sell them into private hands, where income was frittered away on grandstanding displays such as the Eurotunnel and other E.U. projects. Where PFI’s, banking deregulation, creeping privatisation of State Assets was destroying The Welfare State built by my parents’ generation.

Next time some snotty stand-up comedian sneers at our homophobic, sexist and racist generation, just remind them that we were the generation who put a stop to it, while we were busy wiping their bums and teaching them to love one another.

we live in a world of meddler’s, complicating our lives to justify their parasitic existence.

January 2, 2016

Letter to the Daily Express (2/1/16)  in response to report that LGA has too much time on its hands.

I’m not sure if the Editor gets facetious, s,o if it is published, my intent will, likely, be subverted.

The Local Government Association has a lot on its plate at the moment with Local Councils all over the country desperately looking to implement budgetary cuts, demanded by the Chancellor’s austerity measures.
Local flooding must have also added to such problems.

It’s wonderful, therefore, that they have also found the time to concern themselves with the latest social issue of what has been called an obesity epidemic.
Their answer is for more food labelling. They want the calorific content of alcoholic drinks to be displayed.
I wonder, though, why only alcoholic drinks.
I would humbly suggest that it be extended to all drinks. I know that a fruit smoothie is more saintly than a pint of wine but how do the calories compare?
Of course, the real problem must lie with those who spend their week-ends on the lash.
Might I further suggest that they exploit their role as custodians of drink licensing laws and insist that pubs and clubs place relevant information on all till receipts, alongside itemised drinks?
This would be a great help for hen parties, ensuring that they don’t end their evening with more extra inches than they intended.
There seems greater scope here, than the L.G.A. has realised, for extending its writ. It may be necessary for its board to appoint an obesity epidemic control officer.
I look forward to hearing of more inspired suggestions from this body of high-minded men and women, as they seek to more closely shape the quality of our lives.


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