Archive for the ‘Work’ 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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Currently, this could be an improvement 

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. 

Don’t try to be happy. We’re programmed to be dissatisfied

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/17/psychology-happiness-contentment-humans-aspire-goals-accomplish-evolution?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

A long time ago I was given by colleagues as a present a mug coaster with ‘Grumpy Old Git’ on it. I took it in the mickey take it was intended … and yes before you say, it was intended that way 😀

Anyway, I fully recognise my tendency to approach some … well alright! most things :D… in what many describe as in a ‘glass half empty’ context.
As many who know me, I prefer the alternative ‘realist’ and/or ‘pragmatic’ because I find trying to be totally upbeat and positive as not only a tiresome waste of energy but also in my humble opinion pretty much impossible to achieve. This is I might add is a lot different of convincing oneself you are happy and most things have a positive stance to it.
This is a personal attitude of this concept. I don’t look upon anyone else with, or trying to achieve, such a state of ‘self utopia’ as anything but just a person doing their best to get through life in a way that’s good for them … and if it spreads a bit of sunshine to others around them then that’s a bonus. 
It’s a bit like religion really in that if it works for you and you consider it makes you happy then I give my best wishes to you. 
My ‘realist’ attitude could be claimed as a self defence mechanism by some. If that’s the case, then in the example of a plane crash, I’d rather come down safely on the runway with no undercarriage and a controlled bellyflop than the less chance of survival of partial nosedive crash because the pilot was optimistic the wheels were down to connect to the tarmac.
So it appears my stance on this isn’t so negative as some others think as this article I have posted with this missive shows #justathought

Rail fare increases prompt call for part-time season tickets

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/16/rail-fare-rises-commuters-part-time-season-tickets-flexible-ticketing-?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

Even more reason for return to a nationalised rail network as franchises end. #RailRipOff 

I’d go even further and say with the digitisation of the tax system by HMRC it’s technologically possible to provide tax breaks for workers below a certain earning threshold who don’t own a car and exclusively use public transport to get to work.

Theresa May stresses importance of reducing north-south productivity gap

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/02/theresa-may-stresses-importance-of-reducing-north-south-productivity-gap?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

This report, as with many before it, beggars belief at what appears the total ignorance of the fact that deprivation, low wages, public services, housing and a whole raft of other issues are only being experienced north of Watford.

The south east IS NOT just London! It is also a collection of counties below the Thames where low wages, deprivation, chronic lack of affordable housing and decimated public services are rife.

The vision of the rolling green hills of the South Downs and Sussex/Kent Weald as one travels south to the promenades, piers and coastal countryside hide victims and consequences of austerity just as harshly affected as areas of northern England.

In southern costal towns there are areas that rank alongside anywhere else in the UK for all the wrong reasons in this country divided by a political system that sponsors the equivalent of economic terrorism on the low to middle income earners and ones needing social care assistance.

Maintenance grants scrapped for poorest students

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/01/maintenance-grants-scrapped-for-poorest-students?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPres

Of course! …. the privileged establishment don’t want people from poorer white and ethnically diverse backgrounds to gain higher education.

If one were to study the social history of the UK you will see a correlation between the imposition of social exclusion by various means. 

This was maintained in various ways, the obvious being draconian laws where not only at one time education was only for the privileged, but poor, destitute and hungry children could be hanged or deported to the colonies for stealing a loaf of bread. 

From the 20th century with the rise of left wing organisations and governments, coupled with the social changes enforced on the elite from the two world wars, they have had to adapt to ways of trying to maintain what they consider their rightful status as ‘above’ the populous of the country.

Throughout the 20th century and beyond this has been through elements such as education where barriers have been placed in the front of state educated students to go on to higher degree level learning. 

Someone from a less privileged background has either had to be incredibly determined to surmount those barriers, and/or of an intellectual ability far in excess of their higher establishment counterparts. 

Apart from the historical evidence a question is worth asking is why in modern Britain today with the undisputed fact of the increasing massive gap between the rich and less well off in society, and with fees into the many thousands for a term the well off can afford even easier… then why are public schools allowed to continue having the advantages of their establishments being classified as ‘charities’