Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Friday, 30 September 2011

Liberal Democrats

I've always wondered about the Liberal in Liberal Democrats.

Dictionaries offer the following meanings:
Believing in the concept of maximum individual freedom possible
Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes
Tending to give freely

Certainly these apply to two of our present Liberal Democrat MP in their personal lives.
First, of course we have Chris Huhne, whose wife and mistress both turned up at the LibDem Conference. He left his wife of 26 years and their children in favour of  his allegedly bisexual lover (who left her female partner) Very Liberal indeed!
Now we have John Hemming who has has a (cat stealing) wife and a long term mistress, and considers the present financial crisis far more worth of discussion than his liberal private life.

Of course it all started with 'Paddy Pantsdown' back in 1992, but considering the total number of LibDem MPs (57) in the present parliament compared with the Conservatives (306), they do appear to have more than their fair share of mistresses. But that presumably is what Liberalism is all about.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Legal Aid

Today, in the Daily Telegraph, I noticed that Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, (who happens to be my MP), is concerned that the reductions in legal aid will lead to more people representing themselves in court. The cynic would of course say that, as the leader of the Bar, he is concerned that lawyers might not be getting so much work. But without proper representation in court there must be real concern that people could be wrongfully convicted of criminal offences, which does of course include motoring offences.
Only the other day did I notice that the government had decided that it was no longer going to pay the defence costs of motorists who fight a motoring offence in court and are acquitted. This must be wrong; it has always been a principle of British Justice that if someone accuses you of something and that you are found innocent, you are able to recover your costs from the accuser.

Then continuing my reading of the Telegraph (I use an RSS feed) I found this!
"A convicted terrorist who aided the July 21 suicide bomb plotters is being given taxpayer-funded legal advice to fight deportation to Eritrea. "
Why on earth do we do this? I cannot see that we have any obligation, moral or otherwise, to provide legal aid in a case like this. He is a criminal, he is not a British Citizen, and he should have been taken straight from prison to an aircraft on completion of his sentence. This would happen in any other country, why not here?

So far he has apparently cost the taxpayers £30,000 as he is on bail receiving all the usual handouts..
But, even worse, he is not the only person in this position, it seems that there are quite a few more also fighting against deportation at our expense, and to the detriment of British Citizens who are being refused legal aid. I can think of no other country in the World which would provide free legal aid to non-citizens, along with free interpreters, and anything else necessary to meet their "Human Rights".

Surely Legal Aid should be restricted to British Citizens only, and should be available for all criminal cases. Whether it should be possible to get legal aid in other areas such as challenging the government and asking for judicial reviews is arguable, but such money as is available must be used to ensure that all British Citizens get justice in the Criminal Courts.

If the do-gooders think foreign terrorists should have legal advice, perhaps they should form a charity "Legal advice for Foreign Terrorists in the UK" and see how much money they can collect.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Falling Satellite

According to the Telegraph, a NASA satellite is due to fall to earth sometime within the next few days and up to 26 fragments of various sizes are likely to hit the earth. They quote NASA as stating that the odds of someone being hit by a fragment as one in 3,200!
This is a total ludicrous figure! If it were true it would be totally unacceptable.

If we look at the maths, the total surface are of the earth is about 198 million square miles and thus the chance of a piece falling in any particular square mile is 198,000,000 to one, or allowing for 26 pieces, about 7.6 million to one. But a square mile is still quite a big space and you'd have to be pretty unlucky to be hit by a bit even if you were in that particular square mile.

Looking at it another way, the earth's population is stated to be approximately 7 billion, and if 26 fragments all hit someone, the chances of being hit are around 270 million to one. But of course, as only 30% of the earth is land, the probability is that roughly 2 out of three of the falling bits will end up in the world's oceans, so only nine bits are likely to land on solid ground.
I wonder who put the decimal point in  the wrong place when quoting 3200 to one?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

2000 More Tax Inspectors

The LibDems have announced at their conference that we are to have 2000 more tax inspectors to crack down on tax evasion by the rich. Surely such an announcement should be made in Parliament where MPs would have the right to ask questions, or is this yet further confirmation that Parliament no longer serves any real purpose with Ministers now making important announcements via the media.

Two Thousand Tax Inspectors to catch the rich!
What are they likely to cost? I'm out of touch with current salaries, but if they are to get what is likely to be the lowest possible salary of, say, £25,000, their salaries alone will amount to a cool £50 million. I'm told that the overheads (accommodation, pension, National Insurance, computers, photocopiers, etc.) will at least be equal to the cost of there's another £50 million.
But these will not be ordinary Tax Inspectors, they will need to be highly qualified accountants and lawyers who are capable of understanding the (legal) tax avoidance schemes dreamed up by even more highly paid city tax lawyers and accountants. So it would seem, if they are to achieve anything, these tax inspectors will need to be of the calibre requiring salaries in excess of probably £100,000 plus bonuses, which of course would add up to some £200 million plus bonuses and overheads.

Do the LibDems seriously believe that they are going to recover this sort of money in taxation?

What the LibDems (and many others) fail to understand is that these rich "tax avoiders" work with their brains not with their hands. Whilst it is difficult to move, say, a factory abroad at short notice (although it has been done), it is quite easy for someone with money to move elsewhere within a few days and carry on with his work as normal. All that is required is a well equipped office with modern communications, it can be anywhere in the world using the latest satellite technology. We have seen dealing rooms on TV lately (because of the UBS fraud), but looking at them, they could be anywhere; just computer screens and telephones. The only reason they are in Britain is that our tax and regulation regime is more favourable, change this and they're gone!

If we add to this the LibDem proposal for a "Mansion Tax" on properties valued at over £2 million it becomes clear that their proposals are not intended to raise money, but are being introduced merely as part of the politics of jealousy which have become a LibDem speciality. Strangely Labour have been rather quiet on these matters, I wonder why?

What I don't understand is why Cameron is allowing the LibDems to behave in the way they are. He should insist that every LibDem in government supports the agreed coalition policy and if the don't they should be fired. If that means a General Election, so be it, but I very much doubt that the LibDems would force the situation with their present poll ratings.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 - It's a Muslim Protest, so it's OK

The Telegraph reports that
"Muslim protesters burn US flag outside embassy in London"
They add that the protesters from "Muslims Against Crusades" burnt the flag and shouted "USA terrorists" during the silence.
OK, this is to be expected, there are always extremists around, but when you read further on that  members of the English Defence League, who had gathered in response to the demonstration, were ordered to move on to accommodate the MAC supporters, you begin to wonder what the police are doing.
At one time there was an offence of "Action likely to lead to a Breach of the Peace", and the police would have moved on these Muslim Fanatics. Presumably, this law has been repealed, and changed to one requiring that the police assist those wishing to cause a breach of the peace.
In view of the fact that the police cleared a space adjacent to the ceremony so that the MAC could protest, can we assume that, in the interests of even-handedness, they will clear a space within loud-hailer range for when the EDL (or anyone else) decides that they wish to protest at a Muslim ceremony?