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Brown’s Tax Con is Not a Tax Cut (aka Gordon Brown is Evil Part 2) 22 March 2007

Posted by David in Comment, Conservatives, Labour, Policy.
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I really want to get some journalists and slap them with a wet fish. No, really, I do. They may as well have handed the presses to Gulag Gordon himself. The Sun leads with “Reasons 2p Cheerful” while even the Daily Mail revels in the shock 2p cut in the basic rate of income tax, seemingly not bothering to realise he has grabbed this money elsewhere – mostly from low income earners.

He has cut the basic rate from 22p to 20p BUT doubled the lower rate from 10p to 20p. Low income earners will pay more, higher earners slightly less.

He has cut the basic rate of corporation tax from 30p to 28p BUT increased the lower rate paid by small businesses by 17% to 22p. As an example Tesco will pay an awful lot less, but small local independent shops pay considerably more.

Plus he has whacked up National Insurance and other taxes. The overall tax take is up, and the burden has been shifted from the wealthy to the less well off. What happened to the old leftist slogan “tax the rich, not the poor”? I’ve just come back from Nottingham, but it seems the Sheriff is now in Westminster.

The Conservatives also seemed ill prepared and unable to counter Brown successfully after his shock “2p income tax cut” announcement, which clearly threw them. At first Cameron seemed to support the budget as a tax cutting budget, talking of Brown “sharing the proceeds of growth”, missing the main tax grab from low income earners which could have been valuable electoral and sound bite gold dust for him.

The focus should have been the fact Brown has doubled the lower rate and raised tax on small businesses. Instead a clearly pre-scripted rehearsed rant about Labour being a “listing ship” was the main soundbite on the news. The upside was linking Brown to Blair through “the Blair-Brown years” quote, but a missed opportunity I feel.

Get Off My Mobile Phone You Market Rigging Nutters 15 March 2007

Posted by David in Comment, EU, Europe, European Union, Policy, World.
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Using your mobile phones abroad is going to be cheaper. But before you celebrate, guess what? Using your mobile phones at home is likely to be dearer. The EU has decided that it has the right to decide how much we pay to use our phones overseas and so told operators “cut your fees or we’ll force you to with regulation”. I call that blackmail myself.

Operators make a lot of money from overseas calling, and naturally will have to recoup this elsewhere – dearer domestic calls, less freebies such as new phones every year or worse service (if such a thing is at all possible) – or see fewer profits, lower dividends and reduced share prices. As a business this equals trouble.

But it is of course none of the EU’s business. We are all capable of deciding our own contract for a phone, if we have one, and using it ourselves. Those not reading the full contract in the past have had nasty surprises with bills when using mobiles overseas, but it’s not for government to regulate prices. We should be free to choose any phone contract we like, not told what we can and cannot have by the EU. If I want a contract that charges more when overseas but less when at home, and the phone company wants to offer it, why can’t I have it?

You’ve Ruined The House Of Lords 7 March 2007

Posted by David in Comment, Policy.
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Labour has ruined the House of Lords, they really have. Now the best attempts to salvage it will be the 80% elected chamber, but that is not perfect either.

Here’s the shock. The Lords are not meant to be the democratic chamber, that is the House of Commons. The Lords by contrast are meant to exist for pure deliberation – to improve laws, not propose them – and to be an awkward, slow and obstructive body to balance out short term electoral extremism of any colour.

Whatever loonies were elected to the Commons, the Lords would slow them, allowing the public time to take note of what was going on, for popular opposition to organise, and opponents fight back. The entirely undemocratic Lords thereby actually improved democracy. A strange mix of the Parliament Act and reverence for public opinion made them accept the Commons will, but only after tough scrutiny.

By getting rid of all but a few of the hereditary peers, Labour ruined the independent, deliberative and gently obstructive legislative calming side of the Lords. Now it is largely full of cronies, dodgy money lenders and other crooks.

So well done Labour for ruining a perfectly good system and leaving a shambles. Have they never heard the saying: “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” and its extension “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and don’t go jumping on it either”?

“Freedom of Choice a Nonsense,” Says Labour Commie 4 March 2007

Posted by David in Education, Labour, Policy, Public Services.
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“It is nonsense that everybody has the right to go to a school that they want,” said David Hawker, Brighton’s director of children, families and schools,” complete nonsense.”

Of course Mr Hawker, I mean, they only pay for them through their taxes… Surely you – their servant – should dictate where they go.

Labour has got to go. Article link.

Brighton Goes Bonkers With School Lottery 1 March 2007

Posted by David in Policy, Public Services.
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Labour run Brighton council might advertise its City to tourists with the slogan “Have a BrightOne”, but it’s latest idea better fits the slogan “Have a DuffOne” – allocate school places by lottery.

Lottery, they say, is fairer than any other method. It is also totally illogical and fundamentally evil.

There have generally been two options. Either everyone goes to their nearest school (good or bad, like it or lump it, at least its easy) – or the far superior freedom of choice (where standards are driven up by competition and schools are diverse in their specialism and ethos to suit different children’s needs).

The School Lottery has the benefits of neither. Children will be forced to travel past nearer schools, not because of parental choice or school selection based on that schools speciality, but because a computer lottery says so. As they say, “computer says no.”

Labour again decides to take life changing decisions for people and to trap children – likely for their entire lives – in the aim of mythical “fairness”. There is no such thing.

Academically gifted children will be forced into poor schools, whilst less academic children will be forced into more academic schools where they’ll feel inferior and get bored, maybe causing trouble. That’s if good schools can survive this system, chances are they won’t.

The only answer is to take the powers away from the evidently stupid councils, and let schools and parents decide things amongst themselves. People manage to organise their own shopping and  holiday choices, why not schools? Good schools will grow, bad ones get replaced. It’s children that matter, not the schools or council.

Next week, Tower Hamlets decides planning decisions based on Wheel of Fortune and Swansea rations hip replacements using Deal or No Deal.

University Applications Up, NUS Silent (Almost) 14 February 2007

Posted by David in Policy, Public Services.
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University applications are up despite the introduction of fees. Last years small drop in numbers – which the NUS ranted and raved about as a result of increased tuition fees – has proven to simply be a blip. Indeed it was probably NUS and other anti-fee scare mongering that put so many off.

But naturally, the loony left NUS can’t remain totally silent. Having no case what so ever, now they are complaining there aren’t enough figures and obsessing about the demographics of applicants. Being a socialist must be really awful, it must be like living in a constant state of depression, woe and obsessive heart on sleeve empathy. Are they ever happy?

There’s also fears from the BBC that students “are choosing courses more with their heads than their hearts” as “with the introduction of variable fees prospective students no longer see education as an end in itself but as an investment in the future.” Good. We shouldn’t encourage young people to waste 3 years on a pointless and value less degree, we certainly shouldn’t fund it.

And students finally selecting with heads rather than hearts is good news for civil engineering, economics, physics, chemistry, maths, history, English and biology – traditional subjects up between 6% and 13%. It seems when students realise they have to pay, they select something worth paying for. Quelle shock?

It’s all the more proof that we must privatise universities in the ‘All American’ style so hated by the NUS. The NUS demand greater public spending on universities, but provide no reason why we all should pay for their minority privilidge to 3+ years off work followed by higher salaries, because there isn’t one.

They say they pay more tax on their higher graduate salaries, but not more than a person earning the same wage who didn’t attend university. A graduate on £40k pays the same tax as a shon £40k, yet the graduate cost the taxpayer a fortune whilst the shopkeeper was working. And that assumes the student graduates and gets a graduate job, instead of moving abroad, staying at home, getting run over by a bus etc….

As a current student I should pay for what I get now (in the form of a loan). I should not pay for it in taxes, nor should anyone else. It’s my education, and should be my expense. I fill with disgust when students rant and rave that the taxpayer should be paying for them – why should the binman, window cleaner and taxi driver pay for someone’s media studies or archeology degree?

The Dependency Culture Takes Over The Nation 12 February 2007

Posted by David in Policy.
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Over a third of households owe half of their income to the state, according to new government research in the Telegraph. Labour has used the benign and successful economy – built by the tough but economically very wise Thatcher reforms – to create a huge block of state dependent voters. State dependent voters tend to vote for the party of the state, Labour. They are hardly going to bite the hand that feeds them. As a Civitas report stated: The Chancellor’s tax credits scheme was “only the most prominent example of welfare policies intended to create a grateful electorate rather than free-thinking citizens”.

The Sunday Times noted that “In the northeast of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, government spending exceeds 50% of their gross domestic product (GDP). In the northeast and Wales it accounts for almost 60% of the economy. In Northern Ireland it accounts for more than two-thirds of its GDP at 67%. In London and the southeast, in contrast, government spending accounts for just one-third of the economy.”

Whilst The Business took a similar line: “British public sector workers are now better paid than their counterparts in the private sector, enjoy better pensions and work fewer hours. So they have good reason to be grateful to Labour; and they repay it by voting for it. Welcome to the great buy-up of the British electorate: many of Labour’s safe seats are now as socialised as the old Soviet states of Eastern Europe. Of the 200 constituencies where public-sector employment is highest, just 20% are held by the Conservatives, 70% by Labour; by contrast, in the 200 seats where the private sector employs most people, 50% are Conservative.”

But all of this cuts back to something I have believed for a long time, namely that people being independent is not in Labour’s interest. All the time people are dependent on state welfare, they vote for pro-welfare state parties, Labour. When they become free and successful, attitudes change, and they tend to vote Conservative. So why would Labour want people to become free and successful. It’s simple, they won’t. Hence their almost obsessive opposition to right to buy council homes and grammar schools – these two policies were dependency destroyers, turning thousands of Labour voters into Conservatives.

But all of the state dependency has to be paid for by the productive private sector, which grows slower (and can shrink) under the burden of tax necessary to fund Labour’s great voter buy-up. Labour won’t mind though, the smaller the private sector, the more demand there is for the state.

Politicians Must Stop Playing Trains 19 December 2006

Posted by David in Policy.
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In the 1990s, Britain privatised the railways. Hooray! The nationalised BR was a joke, and anyone saying otherwise is looking back through rose tinted glasses. Remember the BR sandwich, the recipe for which actually stated how to cut the filling to reduce the amount used but still make the sandwich look full, or the orange interior paint scheme, or the terrible staff attitude? Nationalisation in 1948 was a nail in the coffin of our railways (grouping in 1923, WW2 and Dr Beeching being the main others).

But alas, privatisation was not what it was meant to be. At first the lines were to be splut into several big regional companies like they had been 1923-1948, and although the regions were too big, the idea was sound. One railway line, one company, doing everything (vertical integration). 

But idealism from the Adam Smith Institute and an EU Directive caused a different system to be adopted, known as vertical separation. One company owned the nation’s infrastructure, one set of companies owned the rolling stock, and another ran the trains (leasing rolling stock and bidding forfranchises to use the infrastructure). The idea was that new companies, mostly freight hauliers, could ‘book’ timeslots or paths on any line. Good idea, but it didn’t need this system. A clearing house could have sold unused timeslots to other companies with a vertically integrated system.

This system has let politicians play trains far too much. After the Hatfield accident, Labour put temporary speed limits on all lines, against the advice of their engineers, causing many services to be cancelled. Train operators lost millions, so sued Railtrack, which the government agreed to bale out (they had after all been the ones who imposed speed limits out of all proportion). Then they pulled out, bankrupting Railtrack, and nationalising it by stealth as Network Rail.

Now the government is again meddling with the railways. Demanding huge franchise fees from GNER, they have caused fares to soar and are now reopening bids for the franchise, determined to oust GNER. The state should stop playing trains and privatise the railways properly.

A Stupid Law Against Freedom 30 September 2006

Posted by David in Policy.
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Today the new anti-age discrimination laws come into force across the UK. I believe that it is ridiculous to not employ someone due to their age – young or old. However, that is my opinion. Others are entitled to their own views and, if they run a business, should be free to act upon them as they see fit. It is after all, their business, not mine, and not the governments.

The government states that a third of the workforce will soon be aged over 50, and that it’s crazy for them not to be in work. This law they say is designed to help them. But, if a third of the workforce will be over 50, employers will have to employ them – there will be a shortage of alternatives. Therefore no patronising law is needed.

This new legislation will instead make employing people even more of a minefield. Asking for a date of birth now risks costly legal disputes, as does recruiting largely at schools or university fairs, or even joking about someone being ‘past it’ or ‘still wet behind the ears’. Most hit will be the building trade, where suddenly employers will need to turn down applicants after proving them incapable. How do you do this, and how much will it cost?

Any decision of any employer can be challenged legally. Picked older but more experienced over young and more qualified – illegal. Picked young and keen over older and sour – illegal. Promoted who you think is best, but they and the court disagrees – illegal.

What about Saga which, for as long as it has existed, has had a policy of employing people over 50 to match its over 50 clients? Illegal.

Who people employ, promote, demote or sack is really no one else’s business but their own. The government should butt out – scrap these stupid ‘anti-discrimination’ laws and let people get on with their lives. Stop making us all into victim groups.