Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the month “November, 2008”

It Could Have Been Better

So the pre-Budget announcements are over and quite obviously the 2.5% reduction in VAT costing around £12.5billion will be largely wasted. It will do little if anything to stimulate the economy that’s even if traders pass it on and don’t simply raise their prices slightly to boost flagging profit margins.

It could have been better spent. We have around a million people who are homeless or living in sub standard housing. Freeing up Government owned land for social housing and giving local councils perhaps more compulsory purchase powers it would be possible to easily build a home for £100,000 which means that 125,000 additional houses could be built. The employment derived from this would be enormous and not just builders but all the manufacturing of materials, most of which would be British made. Add to this all the carpets, curtains, white goods, garden equipment etc purchased as people moved in and the stimulus to our economy would be huge.

The important part of the above is ‘social housing,’ houses for rent and permanently for rent thus replenishing the housing stock following the disastrous ‘Right to Buy’ policy of Thatcher and continued by successive governments. It would have the added bonus of helping house prices to stabilise at a more sensible level and help to prevent a future credit binge based on ever increasing property prices.

VAT Cut?

We only have to wait until tomorrow (Monday) to see how the Government will introduce measures in an attempt to boost the economy and help to take the edge off the recession. There is speculation that Alistair Darling will cut VAT from its current 17.5% to 15%. Now I am not an economist, I’m just a simple soul looking at the proposal in a simple sort of way. If I was thinking of buying an article currently costing £100 + VAT that’s £117.50 it would actually cost me. If I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t really afford it or perhaps I aught to wait a bit to see how things go, would making that price £2.50 cheaper persuade me? I think not!

I do think that this Government has handled the crisis rather well so far, although they should have seen it coming and prepared for it. However if what seems likely to be a VAT decrease in tomorrow’s statement, this will be a waste of of money in the order of £12bn doing little to stimulate our economy and if anything will benefit mainly foreign industry.

ID Cards

A week or so ago I heard Jackie Smith the Home Secretary say on Radio 4 that a majority of people in the UK are in favour of Identity Cards. I found this somewhat surprising and certainly interested in where this supposed ‘fact’ came from so I emailed the Home Office and asked for the evidence of this statement.

It transpires that a survey was carried out involving 2135 people randomly selected in various parts of the country. That means one here and one there and two thousand people can hardly be called representative of the entire country. The questions asked were, in my opinion, angled to get the result that was wanted i.e. in favour of a massive increase in Government surveillance and control. Indeed they got what they wanted if you add together those who said they are strongly in favour and those who are slightly in favour.

Click here to see the results for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

Read Watch & Get Angry

With the inevitable and regular statements that our soldiers in Afghanistan are being killed it is perhaps understandable that we fail to consider the injured. Not so surprising though as statistics or reports of injuries never seem to make it onto the news bulletins.

I came across this item on the BBC Web Site today showing the round the clock work of bringing back the injured from the conflict and of the dedication of the medical and flying teams. Nothing too gruesome of course to be seen if you discount some poor sod who has obviously had a leg amputation. Watching it made me so angry, what a disgusting waste of young lives and for what? Nothing! This so called war cannot be won, let’s face it, even the might of the old Soviet Union had to leave with it’s tail between it’s legs and they wouldn’t worry about winning hearts and minds.

For the period 1st Jan 06 – 31st Oct 08 according to the MoD web site, 508 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK Field Hospitals and categorised as Wounded in Action, including as a result of hostile action. 1,479 UK personnel were aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan on medical grounds, whatever the reason. No details of types of injuries are given or how many resulted in permanent disability which is of no surprise. If the public knew all the truth I wonder how complaicent they would remain.

What Price the Royal Booze UP

Charlie is about to have his 60th birthday and will be celebrating in typical Royal style with three birthday parties with huge numbers of guests that will include 75 of his European royal friends. Not bad eh for someone who’s never had a proper job.

The estimated cost (true figures are a secret) of just the security for the royal family is £90,000 per day. Put another way that’s the cost of an average family home every two days. It’s obvious that the additional security costs for the three upcoming royal booze ups are going to run into hundreds of thousands of Pounds if not millions, all from the taxpayers.

In these difficult financial times for the rest of us this extra drain on the exchequer is nothing les than a disgrace. Charlie should dig into his unearned millions and pay up for his own security at least for these events. Better still, do himself, his family and the rest of us, a favour and make plans to end this anachronism of an unelected head of State as soon as he inherits it.

Rememberance Day

Well another Remembrance Day has come and gone; the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month; armistice of the first world war. Remembering too all those who have died in war since that date. What though is the point in remembrance if we go on doing what we have always done before, sending young men (& now women) out to fight and some to die and even more to be horribly maimed?

The myth perpetuated is that they ‘gave’ their lives in battle. No they didn’t! Until fairly recent times they were forced to join the forces with the threat of imprisonment at best and being shot by firing squad if they didn’t at worst. Nowadays they are enticed with an escape from poverty or promises of sporting thrills and adventures, they do not expect to be killed or injured. They are sent by men in suits in warm comfortable offices to fight an unwinable war in Afghanistan for example, to secure that land for pipelines and investment, to increase the wealth of the men in suits and their friends in the City of London and Wall Street.

Wars Will Cease When Men (& Women now too, sadly) Refuse to Fight

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