Thatcher – RIP or not RIP?

April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Opinions of Margaret Thatcher are obviously diverse.

There will be plenty of comments each way on various sites and blogs and, as usual, I strongly recommend the Scriptonite blog for researched, common sense comment.

Without doubt the country is more divided since her time in Government and large corporations have benefitted from the sell-off of State assets.

The sale of council houses was a perfect example of this – giving the impression that she was empowering ‘normal’ people but actually reducing the number of social housing available to those without the money to buy them while filling the pockets of private landlords.

She classed Nelson Mandela as a terrorist – guess she got that wrong too.

I lived in London when she was in power and having moved oop north fairly recently, to an ex-mining area, it has been a real eye opener for me hearing what went on at the time and how strongly people feel.

There are however two things that I feel need mentioning:

First – The final irony is that the woman who wanted to privatise everything owned by the state, will have her funeral paid for by the state. I can sympathise with her family on a personal level but they should be picking up the cost… or maybe it could be sponsored by one of the big corporations.

Second – Is no one else noticing that everything they are saying about Thatcher will be said about Cameron in years to come …. assuming we are still allowed to criticise politicians by then.

 

Git From Bar Grilled My Hamster

March 8, 2013
Animal Cruelty

Animal Cruelty

What punishment should you give to someone sick enough to cook a hamster?

James White, a 21 year old student was banned from keeping animals for 8 years, got ordered to pay £1000 costs and do 120 hours unpaid work.

He avoided prison because the animal was dead when he started to cook it. Trouble is he still caused it to have the heart attack that did kill it so that should be treated as an equivalent to manslaughter … animslaughter?

As a student I doubt he will have the £1000 to pay his fine and he doesn’t exactly seem an animal lover so being banned from keeping them probably won’t bother him – the ban won’t extend to his family or, presumably, anyone he lives with.

But surely the judge could have ordered that his unpaid work go toward helping animals?

White claimed that he was drunk at the time -  come on, we’ve all had a few too many and done stupid things but just how sick does your brain have to be to do something like that?

Jacintha Saldanha and The Royals

December 9, 2012
Jacintha Saldanha

Jacintha Saldanha

Is it just me, or has this whole hoax call thing got a bit out of hand?

Jacintha Saldanha, on the left, was the lady who answered the hoax call from two Australian DJ’s pretending to be Royals checking on the progress of Kate Middleton.

When it first made the headlines I don’t remember anyone saying it was a dangerous thing to do, the worst I heard was that it was in bad taste.

It’s extremely sad that Jacintha Saldanha felt the need to take her own life but she must have had underlying issues that the DJ’s couldn’t have known about – I’m sure they wouldn’t have made the call if that had been the case.

There is talk of prosecuting them but the only charge that might stick is recording a phone call without getting permisssion and whether that would include calls outside the country I would think is doubtful.

Instead of writing strong letters to Australia, maybe the bosses at the hospital should be asked to explain why they had no trained staff available on the night who could have handled the call correctly. If  I was paying the sort of money William and Kate are, I would be expecting better.

On a brighter note, it was good to see William cancelled one of his engagements to be with Kate. After all, we can all just choose not to go to work when our other halves don’t feel well ….. can’t we?

MP’s: Are They Still At It?

November 20, 2012
MPs: Are They Still at It?

MPs: Are They Still at It?

Just seen another excellent documentary from Channel 4′s Dispatches.

I say seen, I just turned off half way through because I’m so disgusted.

It’s the same old story of MP’s thinking they have a right to claim as much of our money as possible within the rules they wrote themselves.

Renting out existing property then claiming back the rent on a new one seems to be this theme.

FFS, it’s a job. Anyone else who had to travel a long way or work from home would get a reasonably priced B & B or even a hotel that involved a commute.

The Government recently said that people looking for a job should be willing to travel up to 90 minutes – so why shouldn’t MP’s do the same.

Nothing has changed – money grabbing, self serving gits the lot of them.

Click on the image above to see the documentary – but I wouldn’t recommend doing so after a large meal, you just might feel sick.

PCC Elections

November 16, 2012
PCC Elections

PCC Elections

Unsurprisingly there has been a really low turnout for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Why unsurprisingly?

Well, I take an interest in politics and the first I knew of it was about 2-3 weeks ago from Twitter, then soon after when a polling card came through the letterbox. I’m sure the polling card would have been the first most people saw and there was precious little information easily available.

But aside from that I do have a major issue with the whole thing.

We’re often hearing, last night on Question Time was another example, that the politicians and the judiciary need to be kept seperate. This makes sense, so why were these elections based around political candidates.

I don’t want a Labour/Tory/Lib Dem/UKIP Police Commissioner, I want one who is independent.

One who is answerable to the public, not his political masters.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

November 8, 2012
Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield may have revealed the names of senior tories – accidently or not – on TV this morning.

Cameron warns against a witch-hunt and MP Rob Wilson writes a letter to ITV complaining.

What they haven’t done is seem concerned about what happened and give any reassurance that there will be any sort of public enquiry.

Because there needs to be an open, honest, transparent (remember that word Dave) enquiry with a guarantee that whoever is involved will be brought to justice. Not just made to resign but prosecuted and imprisoned.

That includes celebrities and politicians, in fact specially in the case of politicians.

It Asda be like this?

November 8, 2012
Asda - Stuffing Dads This Christmas

Asda – Stuffing Dads

Asda have a new TV ad for Christmas. It shows a hard pushed mum doing all the work getting stuff ready, making dinner etc while dad doesn’t do anything – the latest in a trend of media depictions of lazy, useless men.

The tag line is “Behind every great Christmas there’s a Mum” which totally removes Dads from the family Christmas picture. In a lot of cases of course, thanks to the unfairness in Family Courts, Dads do miss out on the joys of the Festive Season with their kids but mostly this isn’t by choice.

They responded to criticism by saying 80% of their customers are mums, so they probably thought they were only alienating 20%. The problem is a lot of feminists have also criticised the ad for promoting outdated gender stereotypes, aligning themselves in this case with Fathers 4 Justice.

The whole premise of the campaign is so 1950′s – mum does the housework and looks after the kids, dad goes to work and comes home to a pipe and slippers – that I can’t believe they approved it but their response gives an inkling of why they did – it’s all about the Mummy money!

It does beg the question though, why is it ok to denegrate men, fathers in particular? If this was an ad for a car for instance, showing the man as the only one able to drive or for a piece of tech that only a man could use properly, there would be an outcry.

It cuts both ways, or at least it should.

Comet Crashing to Earth

November 1, 2012
Comet crashing

Comet crashing

Sad news that yet another well known brand will probably be disappearing from our High Streets.

I don’t say that for any sentimental reason, I don’t have any feelings for the company itself one way or the other.

But I do feel sorry for the staff who are likely to lose their jobs through no fault of their own and what I would like to know is how much did the investors who paid just £2 for the struggling business walk away with.

I’m guessing the individuals in charge will have paid themselves a decent whack while they have owned it.

There’s also the question of the lack of competition this leaves on our High Streets – only Currys/PC World that I can think of if you exclude the likes of Tesco.

Yes retail is changing, with more people shopping online. The trouble is those who are unwilling or unable to do so will be left with little choice and end up paying more.

Shop Tax Avoiders

October 31, 2012
Star*ucks

Star*ucks

Excellent article from The Guardian HERE explaining how “The scale of unpaid tax now outstrips the entire deficit”.

With most of us suffering austerity measures and cuts biting hard it’s disgusting that the Government continues to protect big business – not just physically, as in the picture on the left when mere mortals dared to voice their anger – but financially.

And worst of all it’s totally unnecessary.

I’m using Starbucks as my example but the article also mentions Asda, Vodafone and Ikea as tax avoiders.

An arguement used for not being harder on companies like these is that if we pushed too far they would move away which would be bad for the country but I disagree.

The money they bring in, the jobs and even the fact that our towns would die without these businesses are the usual arguements but when you think about it this is rubbish.

Starbucks are not going to shut their UK branches and cut a revenue stream and as they don’t pay us tax money, so what if they do.

As for the jobs arguement, lets assume Starbucks close down. This would actually leave a gap in the market for small coffee shops to open who would probably employ as many if not more than Starbucks.

When it comes to our towns, surely it would be better to have a number of different independent coffee shops rather than the sterile plastic sameness that Starbucks have brought – you never know, you might not have to take out a loan just to buy a round of coffees.

So the Government’s message shouldn’t be that they will look at ways of changing the system, (while HMRC come to secretive deals over expensive lunches)  they should work out what tax these companies should have paid and simply say “Pay Up or Push Off” … or words to that effect.

Fair Property Tax

October 21, 2012
Property Tax

Property Tax

There’s been talk recently of a new “bedroom tax” on anyone in a Council house that has more bedrooms than they need.

On the face of it this makes sense – unless of course you’re a divorced dad who needs the extra room for visiting kids and would be additionally penalised for having that, despite the fact that this is sometimes a requirement for overnight contact.

But now it appears that greedy MP’s have been renting out their property in London to other MP’s in a cosy arrangement that allows them to trouser even more taxpayers money. They are, of course, working within the rules but I don’t hear them talking about changing these rules any time soon.

The Speaker even tried to have publication of the details blocked – deja vu from last time this happened.

And now it’s emerging that they have even been using our money to pay for personal accountancy fees [HERE].

How can we believe ‘we’re all in this together’ when it’s one rule for them and another for us?

[Thanks to Occupy the London Stock Exchange for the pic]


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