Swimming In Sewage

In Cornwall last week heavy rainfall forced the water company to pump raw sewage into the sea, to prevent it from backing up into people’s homes. It is an unusual event but not a rare event as the United Kingdom’s sewage infrastructure was designed for far fewer occupants of these islands and investment in sewage treatment is not a very high priority when it comes to government policy. Continue reading

Locked in By Fear

Fear is a political tool. It is used by politicians as a means of trying to control us. We are told to hang on desperately to the hand of nurse for fear of finding something worse because there are plenty of lions out there, waiting for an opportunity to eat us up. Chris made the point when commenting on a recent post. He wrote Continue reading

The Birkenhead Drill and Selfishness

Perhaps our world has become a more selfish place. There have always been very selfish people; why would anyone become or remain a billionaire except for selfishness? However, it seems that selfishness is increasing as more people aspire to the heights of selfishness. Continue reading

The Right Person for the Job?

The Environment Agency of the United Kingdom does an important job and some say that it does its job badly. If you live in the Somerset Levels you will be one of the people who say that the Environment Agency has done its job badly because it has not protected people from flooding in the way that the environment agency is supposed to protect people from flooding. Continue reading

Governments Waste Money

Governments waste money. When you work to earn your living and out of your work you pay your taxes, whether on the amount you have earned of whether from the things that you buy with the fruits of your work, you must accept that the share of your time – around 42% – that you pay to the government, will be used for the common good, but a significant part of it will be wasted. Continue reading

Celebrity Lobbying: Fry and Cameron

Celebrities and politicians can be witless fellows, no matter how entertaining they might be. Politicians have time to talk to celebrity actors who are lobbying for their own pet projects, but no time to talk to serious folk who wish to talk about matters in which they (the serious folk) have no financial advantage or behavioural interest. Continue reading

Politics Starts Up Again

The Olympic Games has ended, and the Para- Olympics will end soon, and we will now enter the Para-Normal events of politics. Elections for a new President of the United States will take place in November. Mr Obama has not fulfilled his promise or our expectations. he speaks a good speech but in terms of achievement has produced not great vision for the world. By his own measurement of the game, he has failed to come up to scratch. He will now try to convince Americans that he deserves another term of office while his opponent will try to convince them of exactly the opposite. the prize is leadership of the world’s most powerful nation, with power over the life an death of many people. Like Mr Fezziwig he has the power to make people happy or miserable, and uses his power of life and death when he arranges for drones to kill those he deems to be terrorists, which designation includes all people close to the person he deems terrorists.

I have no vote in the American elections; deciding how to exercise my vote in the United Kingdom is hard enough, as one has to usually make choices between the least incompetent, that that kind of choice is very hard to make rationally. perhaps it is better to make an irrational choice going by feelings prejudice and instinct.

There are no UK elections of any significance planned. The next German General Election will take place in 2013, the next UK General election is due to be held in two and a half years’ time.  General Elections may take place all over Europe much much sooner if the euro crisis deepens. The European Union leaders do not yet send out drones to kill people, but they have the power to make people rich or poor, happy or miserable by their actions and decisions and frequently exercise that power. Usually, whether consciously or not, they exercise that power in favour of those they know, those who are or who have become their friends, either because they believe that friendship with such people may help their political career.

A few years ago David Cameron was a big friend of Rebekah Brooks. Was such friendship based on anything but a mutual ability to use each other to help in their respective careers? I doubt it. This is and has become a normal part of the political process; manifestos no longer matter, arguments are not made out, principles are avoided as though they were as contagious and harmful as a plague, and instead politicians seek to acquire and retain office by the use of contacts and by sucking up to those with influence. This process goes at every level of politics. It has infected the civil service and the regulators.

It is of course a denial of democracy; votes no longer count because the question does not appear on the ballot box; only names appear and we do not really know what those names stand for. Democracy has been subverted by the lobbyists. We dance to their tune now.

If Only Paris Had Won the Bid…

Mr Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, posh chap who speaks in a nice accent, has said that the Olympic Games, which start in London tonight, will show the world that Britain can deliver, although quite what it can deliver remains unspecified and show the world what Britain is capable of. (Forgive the split infinitive). He was responding to Mitt Romney, who questioned the commitment of the British people to the Olympics. Continue reading

A Tale of Taxes – Laughing all the Way to the Tax Haven

Jimmy Carr is a successful comedian. He makes people laugh. His success enables him to earn a great deal of money, and people who earn a great deal of money are supposed to pay tax on what they earn as are people that earn modest amounts of money. In order to postpone or reduce the tax he paid Mr Carr entered into a tax scheme or device, under which he transferred his right to receive his salary to an offshore entity. However, Mr Carr still wanted to receive his salary and so as part of the deal, it seems, he borrowed money back from the entity. There would be no tax to pay on the loan, so he was in effect avoiding tax on a large income while still being able to spend it. Continue reading

Everyone makes mistakes

Sometimes governments get details wrong. A policy that they devise from the best of intentions may, when the rules are put together, have some flaw which renders the policy less effective. When the flaws are pointed out, if the government remedies them, the opposition will loudly proclaim that the government does not know what is doing, and seek to show the government as incompetence or worse, indecisive. However, most of us would rather have good rules that work, than bad rules that are flawed and we should congratulate a government when it get things right, rather than damn it. Continue reading