Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Occasionally the House of Lords in the UK functions as a proper second line of defence against the excesses of government.

By the very nature of rejection the Article 50 Bill and sending it back to Parliament with an amendment to be debated for reasons that encompasses all that is decent and well meaning to others from all nations sends a strong message to many around the world.

In particular it sends a powerful message to the government’s and citizens of the European Union that there are many of us in the UK that are not the acronym of the word BREXIT I have arrived at.

Blindingly Rejoice Excessive Xenophobia Intolerant Thoughtlessness 

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Britain’s rail franchise model ‘unfit for purpose’ say MPs

In this article from the Guardian Newspaper (link below) the following has been attributed and quoted by Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators and Network Rail….

‘Passengers and taxpayers had benefited from the franchising system in which rail companies brought new ideas and innovation to Britain’s railways’

Plummer added: “Under franchising, the railway has gone from costing taxpayers £2bn a year in terms of day-to-day costs to now contributing £200m, money which helps to fund the major rail upgrades making journeys more comfortable and reliable.”

The above has to be regarded as an appraisal of a transport infrastructure which is staggering in its level of denial of what is happening in the real world of commuter travel.

It could be justified as assuming Mr Plummer travels so rarely on trains he obviously hasn’t noticed anything wrong … nor I presume looked up from the comfort of his 1st class seating at the commuters packed in tighter than it would be legal in live animal transportation.

No doubt he prefers the luxury of a car as opposed to the 35+ year old ex London underground/overground trains used on the Southern Rail coastal line where you have the joy of potentially two hour journey’s with no toilet facilities … and that’s assuming there are no extra delays!

How wonderful to know Mr Plummer lives in the bliss of ignorance where in the real commuter world people earning less than average wages are paying far in excess of 10℅ of their gross salary on rail fares.

What a joy to know he has a job that he hasn’t had his wages deducted every time he’s hasn’t been able to get to work due to the near year long industrial disputes with Southern Rail …. or indeed lost his job.

We must express our pleasure for Mr Plummer having not experienced the consequences of Network Rail infrastructure breakdowns … particularly more signal failures than an armless policeman directing traffic.

You carry on Mr Plummer with your propaganda and you never know, keep that up and perhaps you might get a job offer from President ‘Fart’  in the USA … the combination of your ‘Emporers New Clothes’ statement and what comes out from the Trump administration could then be classified as a ‘follow through’ 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/05/britain-rail-franchise-model-unfit-for-purpose-say-mps

Currently, this could be an improvement 

​It’s UK Brexit with attitude. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the US Presidential election results an individual feels, one cannot fail to recognise the the betrayal felt of US …. and in a UK Brexit sense …. the citizens who consider themselves unheard, ignored and the whipping posts of austerity. Coupled with the cost of the worst recent financial meltdown since the 1929 Wall Street Crash that all if us have paid a price, the ones least able to afford have endured a disproportionate burden of the austerity policies with at best were debatable … and at worst, an excuse for right wing dogma to be imposed on whom George Osborne when Chancellor has now been quoted as saying were worth being hit as they would never be property owners … and by definition, never Tory voters. 

In the USA the same has been felt on both sides of the political spectrum. Hence the dogged fight Hilary Clinton had against Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

President Elect Trump may have been bullet proof from the negative effects of his obnoxious character, views and alleged violations against women, but he spoke a language and struck a cord with enough of the electorate, however unpleasant that realisation may be.

In times of crisis, despair, implementation of policies and ignorance of their plight by the establishment … true or perceived … a leaning towards the far right or left is sometimes the reaction of those felt to be most acutely affected.

It’s happened here in the UK and now in the USA. On a historical point, it’s worth remembering, or looking up if you don’t know, the economic circumstances surrounding the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1930’s Germany. There are similarities in the context that is was the establishment of the Allied powers after WW1 to take revenge on Germany and make them pay vast sums in reparations. This in turn hindered that country’s ability to build its economic structure. 

This was further exasperated and the effect was more severe on Germany with the Wall Street Crash. 

Consequently when a politician rose with radical views … which by coincidence the the European elite and establishment also didn’t take seriously … the worst affected citizens rallied to his cause.

For Hitler it was the Jews. For Trump it’s the Mexicans and Arabs plus the trade deals he was able to convince were the reason for jobs leaving the US. This of course being the fault of big business striving to get the most profit at the expense of US workers, and an elite and government deaf to cries of their own people struggling to obtain and get by on the very basics for living.

What happens now is anybody’s guess but it’s a wake up call again of the social responsibility of governments and corporate business to ensure all sections of society benefit, whether that be in jobs and/or infrastructure/public service investment, irrespective if President Elect Trump or in our case Prime Minister May are or not the correct individuals to set this in motion

Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/30/apple-pay-back-taxes-eu-ruling-ireland-state-aid?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordP

We shouldn’t care about Apple bleating that it’s unfair and incorrect of the EU ruling they have effectively been subsidised via the back door by the Republic of Ireland’s successive governments. 

What is wrong and completely indefensible is apparently a massive corporation making vast profits from their hardware and social media empire paying a maximum of 1% corporation tax per year for the last 15 or so years. 
At least the EU are doing what British governments haven’t been, which is enforcing this type of legal tax manipulation, or with others outright evasion, with any political will because New Labour were a combination of scared plus ‘Pink Tories’ and the Conservatives reap the rewards in donations and support whilst at the same time inflicting ‘economic terrorism’ on those who can least afford it.

UK must pay for Brexit or EU is in ‘deep trouble’, says German minister

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/29/uk-must-pay-for-brexit-or-eu-is-in-deep-trouble-says-german-minister?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

On Wednesday (24 August 2016), Merkel said remaining member states must listen to each other carefully and avoid rushing into policy decisions.

“If you do it wrong from the beginning and you don’t listen – and act just for the sake of acting – then you can make many mistakes,” the conservative German leader said.

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Pity they didn’t have that ethos when concerns about the ERM and the effect of total complete free movement by member states, accountability of unelected officials, prevention of state intervention to high employment ailing industry, fundamental movement away from what the UK citizens voted for in the 1970’s and other areas the UK Government felt difficult to ‘sell’ to the influential anti EU ‘hawks’ in the Treaty of Rome negotiations. 

Although I voted to stay in because I believed the principle and benefits of doing so outweighed the negatives overall, the outcome of that treaty and the seismic effects of post 2008 financial collapse, plus the economic terrorism against the least who could afford it under Cameron led to Brexit 

#justathought

Former minister calls for new tax to save NHS and social care

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/27/uk-needs-new-tax-to-save-nhs-social-care-from-collapse?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

So once again citizens of the UK are there to be ‘milked’ because of the political establishment taking no action or investing properly since the general elections from 1945.

That old question “I’ve paid my taxes and National Insurance all my working life and I’ve got bugger all for it when I need it” produces rolled eyes and exasperation but it’s still valid.

The NHS and social care system has been a political football in control of the government of the day and it is we the population who have paid the price.

Funding for the NHS has been since the general election of 1951 according to what central government deems appropriate in conjunction with the political ethos of the party in control and offset by their other spending commitments. 

These other commitments have been partially due to circumstances but there are many borne from their own ideology of how Britain should be governed.

The revenue from National Insurance contributions goes into the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s coffers to be dealt out according to political doctrine. And the question is, does the amount obtained from from these contributions exceed what is actually given to the NHS.

The possibility of this being the case can be cited from another example, that of Vehicle Excise Duty, or ‘Road Tax, and tax on fuel. 

This is a considerable sum that goes to the government and should be used for the building and maintenance of the UK’s road system … and with some justification the whole transport infrastructure of the country. 

If this is the case then why is the UK one of the developed countries that uses the least percentage of this revenue for its directly related purpose?

Social care funding is even more cynical. Here central government place the responsibility onto local government, which in turn are funded by their central government paymasters. 

“No they don’t as I pay an exorbitant Council Tax charge” I hear you say. That’s true but the average income from this is approximately one third of what is needed by  local government. So if you’re standing outside with a placard or berating your local county council councillor about their decision to close a day care centre just remember the cuts from the two thirds of their budget to make them take such a decision comes from Westminster.

Just like the financial industry nearly bankrupting this country and placing the burden on those who can afford it the least, successive governments have patronised us about we as citizens having to pay our way and ‘cut our cloth’ accordingly to our circumstances.

We get lectured about getting into debt and buying on the ‘never never’ using loans, credit cards etc.  and inferring do we really need a lot of the gizmos, gadgets or material goods we purchase. 

Well! I’d like to ask the government do we really need a nuclear weapons system upgrade costing £100 billion over the next 10 years? 

Is it really necessary to pour billions subsidising private rail firms so their bosses can live like Lords and shareholders benefit from the rich pickings of high fares and the average £1.46 profit made for every £1.00 spent by rail companies? When I might add it has been proved to the contrary when an emergency nationalised section of a rail route in Kent was able to run more cost effectively and put £1 million back into the Treasury in one year.

Just like the financial institutions governments have spent what they have coming in, and more, on things we don’t need … just like the futures markets … and not put aside revenue obtained from us for what is was intended and now we’re expected to pay for their mistakes.