Archive for June, 2009

an end to fixed fee taxes

June 17, 2009

Fees such as community charge and TV Licence (a tax by any other name is still legalised extortion) hit the poor harder than the rich.

If my income, after tax,  is £20 and my outgoings are £19 19s 6d, result happiness. Take another shilling off me and the result is my financial ruin and condemnation as a leech on Society.

If my income, after tax,  is £2,000 and my outgoings are £19 19s 6d, result laughing all the way to the bank. Take another shilling off me and the result is I’m still laughing.

dirigible containers

June 17, 2009

to get lorries off the road, I’d like to see container loads carried by dirigibles.

These could be hooked on to cables (like ski slope cable cars) running alongside main roads, defunct canals and railroads. They could be self driven short distances.

Having large surfaces, it might be possible that their skins could be made of the new photo-electric plastic, so that they could be powered by sunlight and/or driven by prevailing winds.

pneumatic umbrella

June 17, 2009

I’m not that tall but tall enough to have to dodge umbrella spokes in my eyes.

I’d like to see umbrella’s that use pneumatic tubes instead of metal ribs. they could be expanded by a simple bike pump (single stroke) handle and rolled up by rubber tendons.

If blown inside out they’d be repairable instead of being discarded like dead birds scattered by a storm.

new Standards for MP’s expenses

June 17, 2009
The fuss, about MP’s expenses, was not that we suddenly found out that MP’s were corrupt or immoral.
We had known that for decades.
The fuss was created because the door had been opened revealing the evidence.
MP’s were, for once, unable to deny the truth.
The present exercise, connived at by all three leaders of the main political parties, is an obvious attempt to close the door, so that matters can continue as before.
We have an independent(!) panel asking Harriet Harman to tell them what allowances she wants them to recommend and what justification can be used for giving them.
She was also asked for a response to be given to those who might challenge the validity of a second independent(!) quango that was to be set up to oversee the running of the
Fee’s Office. Her response was along the lines of: MP’s are graciously relinquishing control of a function that they have traditionally considered to be too important to be trusted to the riff-raff outside their Chamber.

Comparing the Fee’s Office to the Hardware, Harriet said that they were busy writing the software. i.e. the rushed legislation that would set up the new Standards Office, so
that it could be in place and appear to be operating to placate the public and get the pressure off MP’s.

This Standards Office would be “arm’s length”.
Of course, if you are holding something at arm’s length, that usually means that you have them firmly gripped by the scruff of their neck.
As your political Commentator commented, vis-a-vis the Iraq inquiry, you can not have a panel that is independent of those that selected it.
The only solution is to remove the need for expenses.
Buy up, or block book nearby Hotels and later construct purpose built accomodation.
Negotiate Group railcards etc. , with the attendant advantage of having MP’s suffer the same harmonious surrounds as their electors.
Arrange for a central research facility to be used by all MP’s. This facility would provide employment for a staff of professionals, rather than MP’s immediate family.
In the long term we need an alternative means of selecting candidates for office.
The present system relies almost entirely on patronage by party bosses.
Requiring an element of genuine public service might be a good starting point. E.g. Five years on the bottom rung of the Army, police, nursing, fireman or other uniformed public


widow’s mite

June 17, 2009
The Chairman of British Airways is, I suppose, acting quite nobly in offering to forego a month’s salary of £61,000. It does point up, however, the lack of reality of vision by those who “earn” such sums.
He might profit from reading and comprehending the parable of “The Widow’s Mite”.