Archive for May, 2009

Warning to voters

Susan Boyle, the most popular talent star in the history of the Internet, was pipped at the post by a team of street dancers who were, admittedly, good. However, the real reason she lost is a salutary lesson to everyone – especially since the EU elections imminent (June 4th).

Susan lost because so many of her fans didn’t bother to vote. They were certain it would be a push-over for her to win.

Same with politics. Millions are thinking right now that the opinion polls are suggesting Labour and the Tories are going to get a good hiding, so they will not bother to vote. Forget the opinion polls, because people read them and think it’s a “done deal”, the voters will stay at home, and both Conservative and Labour will do well. Less action will then be taken by the politicians to put their house in order, and changes like “recall” and “more transparency” will not happen.

If you want to see changes in the structure of Government, you have to go and vote, and preferably vote for any party other than the three main parties. Make no mistake, The Liberal Democrats may not have dipped in as much as the other two, but they are too close to the seat of government not to have known what was going on. They should have warned the public rather than ‘cosying’ up to Labour.

People died so you would have the right to vote. Don’t betray their memories in such a sullied fashion.

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Google search tips (r)

Here are a few tips to make searching in Google more accurate and therefore, more enjoyable!

1. Capitals are ignored Capitals, capitals, CaPiTaLs are all treated the same way. There is only one exception here, see point 7 below.

2. Put in enough information. Putting London in to get information about City Airport will bring you in umpteen thousand items about London, If you put in London East airport you will get mainly information about City Airport. Naturally there are better ways to do this as you will see in point 3 below.

3. If you want information for a holiday and enter cape town you will get information about Cape Town, Cape Canaveral, Cape PLC, Cape Model Agency and lots of other subjects, but if you put those words in quotes “cape town” you will only get information about Cape Town! Use quotes wisely though. So, in point 2 above, “city airport” london would go straight there.

4. Google ignores single words and digits, if they are essential, add a + before the digit. i.e. Star Wars Episode +1 Google also ignores words like ‘where’ and ‘how’.

5. Google now uses stemming. It will search not only for your search terms, but also for words that are similar to some or all of those terms. If you search for pet lemur dietary needs, Google will also search for pet lemur diet needs, and other related variations of your terms.

6. If your search term has more than one meaning, for example, search for information about the fish bass, but don’t want music, search for bass -music in other words put a minus sign before the subject you don’t want included. Conversely, a + will make sure a word is included.

7. Google doesn’t need the AND operator as this is automatic. However, if you want to use the OR operator, make sure you put it in CAPITALS. For example, searching for Cheetahs OR pumas will produce pages of Cheetahs and Pumas.

8. ~ looks for synonyms. For example, beauty ~tips will also find beauty guide, Beauty help etc. * means every word, for example, looking for a recipe for apples and * are you? .. is when searching for a range of numbers. “2..20 apples” will find pages containing “I eat 3 apples a day” and “I’ll never eat more than 15 apples in a month”

9. Links, lists webpages that link to the given webpage. link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple will list webpages with links pointing to Wikipedia’s voice for Apple

10. Telephone numbers, If you have a telephone number but no other information, type it in the Google search box, you will be delighted at what is thrown up.

There are many more tips for searching in Google but these are a good start and if you didn’t know them, they may well help you to get a lot more out of the Internet.

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What is the Ruling Class?

An interesting paper given by Libertarian, Sean Gabb, on Sunday the 24th May 2009 to the Fourth Annual Conference of the Property and Freedom Society in the Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum, Turkey. He is a wordy “wordsmith” but underneath all his words he always has something interesting to say.

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In giving this paper, I make no pretence to originality of thought. Everything I am saying today has been said already – usually better, and always in greater detail – by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, by Roderick Long, by Kevin Carson, by Christian Michel, and by many others. If I can contribute anything to the libertarian analysis of class, it is brevity alone.

Libertarians often define a ruling class as that group of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, businessmen, therapists, educators and media people who derive income and position from the State. By definition, so far as such people operate as members of a ruling class, they are parasitic on the efforts of ordinary people. Their position comes from forcing others to act as they would not freely choose, or by excluding them from activities they might freely choose. Their income is based on forced transfers of wealth.

The size and activities of a ruling class will be determined by the physical resources it can extract from the people, by the amount of force it can use against them, and by the nature and acceptance of the ideology that legitimises its existence. None of these determinants by itself will be decisive, but each is a necessary factor. Change any one, and the working of the other two will be limited or wholly checked.

Of these determinants, the ideological are the most open to control and change. In the short term, resources are fixed in quantity. At any time, the amount of force available will be limited. What will always interest ruling classes, therefore, is the nature and acceptance of its legitimising ideology. This will vary according to circumstances that are not fully within the control of any ruling class. It may involve averting the Divine Wrath, or promoting acceptance of the True Faith, or protecting the nation from external or external enemies, or raising the condition of the poor, or making us healthier, or saving the planet from us. The claims of the ideology may, in other times and places, seem unfounded or insane. What they generally have in common is the need for an active state directed by the right sort of people.

Since the function of these ideologies is to justify theft or murder or both, they need to be promoted by endless repetition – which is a valid form of argument if truth is less important than winning – and by at least the discouragement of dissent. Efficient promotion will produce a discourse – this being the acceptance of a language and of habits of thought in which dissent cannot be expressed without also conceding its immorality. Efficient promotion will also produce a state of almost universal false consciousness – in which ordinary people are brought to accept ideological claims as true that are opposed to their own interests as these might be reasonably considered.

Now, to speak of ruling classes, and in these terms, will often produce a strongly hostile reaction from libertarians and from conservatives. In the first place, it sounds like Marxism. Indeed, in summarising my own beliefs about a ruling class, I have deliberately borrowed terms from the Marxist theory of class – “discourse”, “false consciousness”, “class consciousness”. This is sure to disturb many – and perhaps many in this room. For at least three generations, our movement was at ideological war with Marxism. We did all we could to refute its claims and to spread the truth about its consequences wherever it was tried. To use its language to express broadly similar concepts will appear to be making concessions
that amount to intellectual surrender.

In the second place, many libertarians deny that the concept of a ruling class has any meaning in our own world. In 1605, for example, Guy Fawks and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up Parliament while it was being opened by the King. If they had succeeded, they would have killed the King and the whole of the senior aristocracy and the leaders of the Established Church and – give or take a few nominees – the leading men of every shire and town in England. At one stroke, they would have killed around seven hundred men, and this would have snuffed out the whole of the English ruling class.

And this was a ruling class. Its members were largely there by virtue of birth. They were often related to each other. They shared a common education. They dressed differently and spoke differently from those over whom they ruled. Generally, they were cleaner. They were committed to the Protestant faith and to the land settlement of Henry VIII. Their class
consciousness was expressed in countless ways, and was reflected in their language. They spoke of “persons of quality” or “persons of gentle birth” or of “gentlemen”.

If you want to read the rest of Sean’s paper, it is all on his website here.

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Do you know how much…

Most gas (therms) and electricity (kilowatts) utility companies refuse to show you how many therms/kilowatts you use, and won’t show this on their invoices. This makes it difficult to change suppliers.

Why not put a reminder in your calendar to take a reading once a month of both gas and electricity. Although this needn’t stop you making a change of supplier before the first year, after the first year you will have the correct facts to be more accurate when you ask for quotes.

In addition, make a reading of your electricity and time when you go to bed, and then when you get up. Divide the usage by the hours you were asleep. Then multiply by 365 and you will see how much electricity your household uses when you are asleep.Is all this necessary?

If you are interested in saving money why not do the same the following night but before you take the figures, turn off everything except your fridge freezer. Deduct that figure from the previous figure and this is the amount of kilowatts your household wastes every year by not turning off everything (other than your fridge/freezer) before you go to bed. You may decide it is worth considering timed switches or the Intelliplug. The Intelliplug saves a lot of turning off switches and is worth its weight in gold! We paid £77 for three of these and now save £132 every year. We estimate the life of the plugs to be ten to fifteen years. Work it out.

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Don’t mess with seniors!

I was having a drink with George, a 76 year old friend who was complaining about the receptionist in his local surgery. He told me: “They always ask at the Doctor’s office why you are there, and you have to answer in front of others what’s wrong and sometimes it is embarrassing. There’s nothing worse than a Doctor’s Receptionist who insists you tell her what is wrong with you in a room full of other patients. I know most of us have experienced this, and I decided to teach the woman a lesson.”

He walked in and approached the Receptionist. The Receptionist said, “Yes sir, what are you seeing the Doctor for today?”

“There’s something wrong with my dick”, he replied.

The Receptionist became irritated and said, “You shouldn’t come into a crowded waiting room and say things like that.”

“Why not? You asked me what was wrong and I told you,” he said.

The Receptionist replied; “Now you’ve caused some embarrassment in this room full of people. You should have said there is something wrong with your ear or something and discussed the problem further with the Doctor in private.”

The man replied, “You shouldn’t ask people questions in a room full of strangers, if the answer could embarrass anyone.”

Anyway my friend walked out, waited several minutes and then re-entered.

The Receptionist smiled smugly and asked, “Yes?”

“There’s something wrong with my ear,” he stated.

The Receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice. “And what is wrong with your ear, Sir?”

“I can’t piss out of it,” he replied.

The waiting room erupted in laughter so I guess by then, everyone was listening intently.

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Vote X and let Labour in again!

I just had a conversation with a local in my area and I mentioned I would be voting for the Jury Team. WHAT??? He almost yelled! If you do that you will let Labour in. I used to be a member of UKIP and said: “So what? I hate the Conservatives as much as I hate Labour. The Conservatives took us into Europe and Labour kept us in. The Conservatives promised us a referendum recently and broke their promise – and they are guilty of some of the worse “expenses” robberies to boot! “

I am voting for The Jury Team. This is a party building up a ground force to support independent candidates. The objective is to destroy the corrupt and wicked Party Whip system. A system that corrupts young MPs right from the beginning of their political career.

Forget Labour, forget the Conservatives, and forget the Liberal Democrats. If you never vote for the smaller parties you will never destroy the strangle-hold the Two Party System holds over the British public.

I am right of centre but, in a way, I hope Labour get back in. People now are stirred up, and once they give their parties “bloody noses” on June 4th, they will have forgotten everything by next year when there must be a General Election. You can be sure Gordon Brown will hang on as long as possible.

If Labour get back in they will be back with their noses in the trough as soon as you can say “Michael Martin” and you can be sure it will get out into the public arena. Then after a repeat performance, Labour will be destroyed totally. This time round, if the Conservatives get in, there’ll be less troughing but things will steadily get worse, as they did the last time they were in.

Government under all three larger parties are Statist. This means that not only do they want to totally control the economy, but they want to control our lives as well. More regulations spew from its machinery, more rules, more laws, even the police are snowed under and cannot cope – as with nearly all other organisations that have control of our lives.

In fact, Douglas Carswell says in his book “The Plan”, “We are trapped in a cycle. Every time something goes wrong – a scandal in a care home, the revelation that school meals lack nutritional value – ministers feel the need to ‘do something’. That something usually involves a new task force or quango, which then has a vested interest in enlarging its remit and prolonging its existence. Accordingly it spools out new guidelines and regulations and recommendations and surveys, snarling up the system in more paperwork and almost invariably worsening the situation, which of course leads for calls for yet more intervention and standardisation.”

Until we all learn to have minds of our own, and vote for our own interests and the interests of our country, rather than a particular party because either our parents and grand parents voted for them or, we have such blind hatred for the “other party” that we will vote for an equally bad party because we don’t hate them so much, this country will continue along the same lines as it has since the war. This is steadily downhill, speeding up particularly in the last decade.

Many people will read this, nod their head sagely, agreeing with me, and then at the general election will vote Tory or Labour as they have always done.

The British people always get the government they deserve, including this one!

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Panasonic Vierra Cast

This is every man’s delight – and every woman’s nightmare! I want one, my wife doesn’t. And I am pretty sure this is one clash of wills that I will lose… totally!.

The video was taken at the CES show and is live so it leaves a little to be desired technically – but all the same well worth watching – if you are male! Enjoy!

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Keep plodding on

I read, today, of a comment by Sir Randolph Fiennes, the explorer who has travelled to the North and South Poles and now, at 65 years old, has climbed to the top of Mount Everest. He says: “Forget about thinking you are going to succeed, you’ve just got to keep plodding on.”

This reminds me of the saying: “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer being one bite at a time! In other words, if you concentrate on the big picture you may easily become overwhelmed. If you have a gigantic task ahead of you, plan your moves, one step at a time.

Changing your job? The first step to concentrate on could be to bring your CV up to date. The second step is to decide where you want to be when you retire, and what type of job would fit in with raising your expectancy for that “want”.

The next step would be how you were going to market yourself. If you are confident and competent during interviews, you would change your CV to hint at areas the interviewer would be interested in so he “wheels you in” to learn more. If you handle yourself badly at interviews, you may want to put everything into your CV.

Then you will need to discover where the sort of company you want to work for advertises for jobs. Take the bull by the horns and phone up their human resources and ask them where they advertise. They may be impressed enough to ask you to come and see them.

If you hate travel, investigate firms near your home, and write to them all. How different this approach is to thinking only that “I have to get a job” Such a mainline thought is totally disempowering.

How am I going to survive in this downturn? Don’t even think about it. Think along the lines of “What steps should I take to conserve resources?” Have a family meeting with the kids included. Ask each one what they could sacrifice if you lose your job. Ask what the family could do to conserve money so we could all save for that eventuality. Mention that the government expect another million or two may lose their jobs within a year. Implement the ideas the family suggest, but guide them towards toughing them up a little.

Suggest all working members bring their CVs up to date, and keep them up to date, just in case. Wonder out loud as to the possibilities of whether the household could run a little business from home whilst working.

In South Africa, the Afrikaners have a well-known saying, “’n Boer moet ‘n plan hê!” – A farmer must have a plan! The more successful people in life know that you should plan for every eventuality. Planning is all! Most top wage earners have written goals. And what is a goal other than a plan?

So are you going to start planning tomorrow? Yes? Well you are too late. You should have started yesterday! But better late than never!

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The Ghurkas are here – Aayo Gurkhali

Ever since I watched the “New Avengers” I have been madly and secretly in love with Joanna Lumley.

And, she has not disappointed me. First she has proved herself a good actress, then as a successful business woman, then for standing up for one of the three races of this world, all warriors, which I greatly admire, the Gurkhas. Not to mention dispatching Gordon Brown with his tail between his legs! I remember when we had some Gurkhas with us in training, we were forbidden to sell our guard duty for money as the Ghurkas were willing to pay ten shillings to impoverished National Servicemen for the chance of cutting an interloper.

The original word Gorkha came from the prakrit words “go rakkha” which originally loosely translated to “protector of cows”; it came from the name of Guru Gorakhnath, to describe his followers. Their war cry is “Jai Mahakali, Aayo Gurkhali” However, the first part is left out for Western ears and the meaning is “The Ghurkas are here!”

If Joanna stood for Parliament in my constituency there is no way I could refuse to vote for her! She has, I believe, been approached by the “Jury Team” but was adamant that she has no interest in politics. A shame as we need people who have the resolve to see an impossible task through to victory.

I once told a meeting of Labour politicians in Parliament that they should let all the Ghurkas in, and base fifty of them in every town centre in the UK. That would be the best answer to crime and hooliganism in our troubled country. They laughed and our conversation moved on. Do you know, I think they were under the impression I was joking!?

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Further reading; Wikipedia and Himilayan Imports.

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Jacob Zuma and Gordon Brown

Hi,

My regular readers know I hail from Sunny Seth Efrica. Everyone in South Africa was asking the question before the Presidential Elections whether Jacob Zuma was guilty or not guilty of corruption. Of course he was, he is African, and kick-backs are a way of life over there. We should accept this and ask a better question which is, will he be a good or bad president.

He won’t be a weak president like Mbeke but whether he will be good or bad for the country – only time will tell. I personally have a feeling he will be a good one.

However, We are in Britain, and expect a lot better from fellow Britains. A colleague from the Old Holborn blog has put the following together, and I think it is worthy of repeating.

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Gerry Adams and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though they refuse to attend Parliament
Adam Afriyle has not made any claims on his second home allowance
Douglas Alexander spent more than £30,000 doing up his constituency home – which then suffered damage in a house fire.
Michael Ancram put the cost of having his swimming pool boiler serviced on his parliamentary allowances. He has agreed to repay the money
James Arbuthnot claimed from the public finances for cleaning his swimming pool at a country residence. He has agreed to repay the money
Hilary Armstrong was told that allowing the Labour Party to pay for and run a computer at her taxpayer-funded home could make her “politically vulnerable”
Ian Austin split a claim for stamp duty on buying his second home in London into two payments and tried to claim it back over two financial years.
John Austin claimed more than £10,000 for redecorating his London flat, which was 11 miles from his main home, before selling it for a profit.
Vera Baird claimed the cost of Christmas tree decorations
Ed Balls and wife Yvette Cooper “flipped” the designation of their second home to three different properties within two years
Norman Baker asked if he could claim for a bicycle and a computer so he could listen to music and email family and friends
Greg Barker made a £320,000 profit selling a flat the taxpayer had helped pay for. He has agreed to repay £10,000.
Margaret Beckett made a £600 claim for hanging baskets and pot plants
Hilary Benn claimed only £42,113 on his second homes allowance in four years
Richard Benyon did not claim on his second homes allowance in 2007/08
Liz Blackman went on last-minute shopping sprees before the end of each financial year, in an apparent attempt to make sure she claimed as close to maximum expenses as possible
Tony Blair re-mortgaged his constituency home and claimed almost a third of the interest around the time he was buying another property in London
Hazel Blears did not pay capital gains tax on a property she sold despite having told the Commons authorities it was her second home. She has since agreed to paid the tax but denied any wrongdoing.
Crispin Blunt told to stop claiming Commons allowance on his home because his children live there
Tim Boswell claimed only £22,230 on his second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008
Ben Bradshaw used his allowance to pay the mortgage interest on a flat he owned jointly with his boyfriend
Tom Brake did not claim on his second home allowance between 2004-8
Kevin Brennan had a £450 television delivered to his family home in Cardiff even though he reclaimed the money back on his London second home allowance
James Brokenshire claimed just £368 on his second homes allowance in 2007/8 and nothing in the preceding three years
Gordon Brown’s house swap let the PM claim thousands
Nick Brown claimed £18,800, without receipts, in expenses for food over four years amid total expenses of £87,000
Chris Bryant changed second home twice in two years to claim £20,000
Andy Burnham had an eight-month battle with the fees office after making a single expenses claim for more than £16,500
Paul Burstow doesn’t claim for a second home although he his entitled to
Alistair Burt claimed £1,000 too much in expenses for his rent, but was allowed to keep the money.
Dawn Butler, the Labour whip, over-claimed £2,600 in rent on her constituency home.
Stephen Byers claimed more than £125,000 for repairs and maintenance at a London flat owned outright by his partner, where he lives rent-free
Vince Cable forgoes the second home allowance, but asked whether he could claim backdated payments of the London supplement instead
David Cameron limited his claims to mortgage interest payments and utility bills. He will repay the only maintenance bill he claimed – £600 for the removal of wisteria
Menzies Campbell hired a top interior designer to refurbish his small flat in central London at taxpayers’ expense. He will repay the £1,490.66 cost of an interior designer
Ronnie Campbell claimed a total of £87,729 for furniture for his London flat
Ben Chapman deliberately over-claimed for interest on the mortgage of his London house by about £15,000 with the approval of the fees office, documents seen by the Telegraph suggest. He is facing possible suspension from the PLP
David Chaytor admits claiming almost £13,000 in interest payments for a mortgage that he had already repaid. He has been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party
James Clappison owns 24 houses but billed more than £100,000, including thousands for gardening and redecoration
Kenneth Clarke managed to avoid paying the full rate of council tax on either of his two homes by effectively claiming that neither is his main residence. He has agreed to pay the full rate in future but defended his past behaviour.
Nick Clegg claimed the maximum allowed under his parliamentary second home allowance
David Clelland claimed for the cost of “buying out” his partner’s £45,000 stake in his London flat
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown “flipped” his second home designation from London to his Gloucestershire home, before buying a £2,750,000 house.
Harry Cohen claimed thousands of pounds for redecorating his second home before selling it and charging taxpayers £12,000 in stamp duty and fees on a new property
Michael Connarty sold some of the contents of his London home to Jim Devine, a close colleague, before charging the taxpayer thousands of pounds for goods delivered to addresses in Scotland.
Yvette Cooper and husband Ed Balls “flipped” the designation of their second home to three different properties within two years
Stephen Crabb claimed his “main home” was a room in another MP’s flat, after buying a new house for his family at taxpayers’ expense
Tam Dalyell attempted to claim £18,000 for bookcases two months before he retired as an MP
Alistair Darling‘s stamp duty was paid by the public
Ed Davey did not claim on his second home allowance between 2004-8
Ian Davidson paid £5,500 to a family friend to renovate his flat and then took him shooting with members of the House of Lords
David Davis spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on home improvements in four years, including a new £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire.
Jim Devine bought Michael Connarty’s furniture on expenses
Pat Doherty and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament
Alan Duncan spent thousands from his allowance on gardening, including repairs to his lawnmower. He has agreed to repay £5,000
Philip Dunne has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2005/06
Angela Eagle claimed just £155 a month mortgage interest on her second home for a period and even underclaimed for council tax
Maria Eagle claimed thousands of pounds on refurbishing a bathroom at one of her flats just months before switching her designated second home to a property with a higher mortgage
Natascha Engel went on a shopping spree within months of being elected, spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash
Lynne Featherstone did not claim on her second homes allowance in between 2004 and 2008
Frank Field claimed just £44,338 on his second home allowance between 2004-8
Caroline Flint claimed £14,000 for fees for new flat
Barbara Follett used £25,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for private security patrols at her home
Andrew George used parliamentary expenses for a London flat used by his student daughter. He also claimed hundreds of pounds for hotel stays with his wife. He has said he will repay £20 for a hotel breakfast
Michelle Gildernew and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament
Cheryl Gillan bought dog food using her allowance but agreed to pay it back after being contacted by the Telegraph
Julia Goldsworthy spent thousands of pounds on expensive furniture just days before the deadline for using up parliamentary allowances. She has promised to pay back £1,005 for a leather rocking chair
Helen Goodman claimed for a week’s stay in a cottage in her constituency over a bank holiday
Michael Gove spent thousands on his London home before “flipping” his Commons allowance to another address. He has agreed to repay £7,000
Chris Grayling claimed for a London flat even though his constituency home is only 17 miles from the House of Commons. He has agreed to stop doing so
James Gray successfully claimed £2,000 for the future redecoration of his “second home” on the day that he moved out.
John Gummer‘s gardening, including the removal of moles from his lawn, cost the taxpayer £9,000
Mike Hall claimed thousands of pounds in expenses for the cost of cleaners, cleaning products and laundry bills for his London home
Fabian Hamilton declared his mother’s London house as his main residence while over-charging the taxpayer by thousands of pounds for a mortgage on his family home in Leeds
Nick Harvey had to be reminded twice by parliamentary officials to submit receipts with his expenses claims
Alan Haselhurst charged the taxpayer almost £12,000 for gardening bills at his farmhouse in Essex, his expenses claims show.
David Heathcoat-Amory’s gardener used hundreds of sacks of horse manure and the MP submitted the receipts to Parliament
Nick Herbert charged taxpayers more than £10,000 for stamp duty and fees when he and his partner bought a home together in his constituency
Douglas Hogg included with his expenses claims the cost of having the moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He has agreed to repay £2,200 for the moat clearing
Geoff Hoon established a property empire worth £1.7 million after claiming taxpayer-funded expenses for at least two properties
Phil Hope spent more than £10,000 in one year refurbishing a small London flat. He has promised to pay back £41,000 to the taxpayer
Kelvin Hopkins claims just a fraction of the available second-home allowance by taking the train to Westminster from his home town
David Howarth has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05
Chris Huhne regularly submits receipts for bus tickets and groceries including pints of milk, fluffy dusters, lavatory rolls and chocolate HobNobs. He has promised to pay back £119 for a trouser press
Glenda Jackson did not claim on her second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008
Stewart Jackson claimed more than £66,000 for his family home, including hundreds of pounds on refurbishing his swimming pool. He has agreed to repay the costs associated with his pool
Brian Jenkins claims little or no mortgage interest for his property in London
Alan Johnson claimed just £43,596 for his second home in 2004-8
Diana Johnson claimed nearly £1,000 to cover the cost of hiring an architect for a decorating project at her second home
Helen Jones claimed £87,647 in second home allowances for her London flat between 2004 and 2008
Gerald Kaufman charged the taxpayer £1,851 for a rug he imported from a New York antiques centre and tried to claim £8,865 for a television
Alan and Ann Keen claimed almost £40,000 a year on a central London flat although their family home was less than 10 miles away
Ruth Kelly has claimed more than £31,000 to redecorate and furnish her designated second home in the past five years. She claimed thousands of pounds in expenses to pay for damage caused to her home by flooding, although at the time she had a building insurance policy.
Fraser Kemp made repeat purchases of household items over the space of several weeks.
Julie Kirkbride’s husband Andrew Mackay resigned as David Cameron’s aide after it emerged that the two MPs were making claims that meant they effectively had no main home but two second homes, both funded with public money.
Greg Knight, an MP with a collection of classic cars, claimed £2,600 in expenses for repair work on the driveway at his designated second home
Susan Kramer did not claim on her second home allowance between 2004-8
Andrew Lansley spent more than £4,000 of taxpayers’ money renovating his country home months before he sold it. He will repay £2,600 of decorating fees
Oliver Letwin repaired a pipe beneath his tennis court using taxpayers’ money. He has agreed to repay the money
Julian Lewis attempted to claim £6,000 in expenses for a wooden floor at his second home
Ian Lucas made £45,000 profit when he sold a London flat on which he had claimed second home expenses
Lord Mandelson faces questions over the timing of his house claim which came after he had announced he would step down
Andrew Mackay resigned as David Cameron’s aide after it emerged that he and his wife Julie Kirkbride were making claims that meant they effectively had no main home but two second homes, both funded with public money.
David Maclean spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money renovating a farmhouse before selling it for £750,000.
Angus MacNeil, the MP whose police complaint triggered the cash-for-peerages inquiry, tried to charge the taxpayer for his drinks bills, a chocolate bar and hundreds of pounds of “petty cash”.
Fiona MacTaggart claimed just £3,392 on her second homes allowance in 2007/08
Shahid Malik claimed £66,000 on his second property while paying less than £100 a week for his main house. He has resigned as justice minister pending an investigation
Judy Mallaber rarely claims for food
John Maples declared a private members’ club as his main home to the parliamentary authorities. He claimed the maximum second home allowance on his family house while apparently not having a “main” property to maintain
Bob Marshall-Andrews claimed £118,000 for expenses at his second home, including stereo equipment, extensive redecoration and a pair of Kenyan carpets.
Rob Marris claimed just £11,973 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08
Gordon Marsdon claimed just £9,739 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08
Michael Martin used taxpayers’ money to pay for chauffeur-driven cars to his local job centre and Celtic’s football ground
Francis Maude claimed almost £35,000 in two years for mortgage interest payments on a London flat when he owned a house just a few hundred yards away. He has agreed to stop claiming for a second home
Theresa May claimed just £4,288 on her second home allowance in 2007/08
Tommy McAvoy claimed £86,565 in second home allowances between 2004 and 2008 for his flat in Westminster
Steve McCabe over-claimed on his mortgage by £4,059 during the course of two years
Ian McCartney spent £16,000 furnishing and decorating his designated second home but paid the money back two years later
Martin McGuinness and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament
Patrick McLoughlin, the senior MP asked by David Cameron to scrutinise Tory expenses, claimed £3,000 for new windows at his second home.
Michael Meacher claimed just £32,825 on his second homes allowance between 2004-8
David Miliband’s spending was queried by his gardener
Ed Miliband claimed just £7,670 on his second home allowance in 2007/08
Ann Milton did not make any claims on her second home allowance in 2007/08
Austin Mitchell claimed for security shutters, ginger crinkle biscuits and the cost of reupholstering his sofa. He has offered to donate his old sofa coverings to make amends
Madeleine Moon spent thousands in furniture shops near her Welsh constituency house and claimed the money back on her London designated second home allowance
Margaret Moran switched the address of her second home, allowing her to claim £22,500 to fix a dry rot problem. She has agreed to repay the money while insisting she acted within the rules. She could face an investigation for allegedly using Commons stationery to keep neighbours away from her fourth property in Spain. She also billed the taxpayer for nearly £4,000 in legal fees in settling a dispute with one of her staff and faces a challenge at the next general election from Esther Rantzen .
Elliot Morley claimed parliamentary expenses of more than £16,000 for a mortgage which had already been paid off
George Mudie claimed £62,000 in expenses for his London flat in four years, while having a mortgage of just £26,000.
Chris Mullin, a former minister, watches a 30-year-old black and white television at his second home and claims the £45 cost of the licence on his expenses
Conor Murphy and four other Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament
Paul Murphy had a new plumbing system installed at taxpayers’ expense because the water in the old one was “too hot”
Lembit Opik had to pay £2,499 for a 42-inch plasma television after purchasing it while Parliament was dissolved
George Osborne was rebuked by the Commons authorities for using public money to fund his “political” website. He also claimed money for a chauffeur-driven car which he has agreed to repay
John Prescott claimed for two lavatory seats in two years
John Redwood has admitted being paid twice after submitting an identical £3,000 decorating bill on his second home allowance
Alan Reid claimed more than £1,500 on his parliamentary expenses for staying in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts near his home
John Reid used his allowance to pay for slotted spoons, an ironing board and a glittery loo seat
Angus Robertson successfully appealed to the fees office when they turned down his claim for a £400 home cinema system
Geoffrey Robinson has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05
Peter and Iris Robinson both claimed expenses based on the same £1,223 bill when they submitted their parliamentary claims in 2007
David Ruffley claimed for new furniture and fittings after “flipping” his second home from London to a new flat in his constituency
Joan Ryan spent thousands of pounds on repairs and decorations at her constituency home before switching her designated second home to a London property
Alex Salmond claimed £400 per month for food when the Commons was not even sitting
Martin Salter has not made any claims on his second home allowance since 2004/05
Grant Shapps claimed just £7,269 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08
Jim Sheridan used his allowances to reclaim the cost of a 42-inch plasma TV, leather bed and hundreds of pounds worth of furniture.
Clare Short claimed thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to which she was not entitled within months of standing down as a Cabinet minister
Michael Spicer claimed for work on his helipad and received thousands of pounds for gardening bills.
Anthony Steen claimed £87,000 on country mansion with 500 trees. He has announced he will step down at the next election
Jack Straw only paid half the amount of council tax that he claimed on his parliamentary allowances over four years but later rectified the over-claim
Jo Swinson included receipts for eyeliner, a “tooth flosser” and 29p dusters with her parliamentary expenses claims
Robert Syms claimed more than £2,000 worth of furniture on expenses for his designated second home in London, but had it all delivered to his parents’ address in Wiltshire
Sarah Teather did not claim on her second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008
Don Touhig spent thousands of pounds redecorating his constituency home before “flipping” his allowance to a flat in London
Kitty Ussher asked the Commons authorities to fund extensive refurbishment of her Victorian family home
Ed Vaizey had £2,000 worth of furniture delivered to his London home when he was claiming his Commons allowance on a second home in Oxfordshire.
Keith Vaz claimed £75,500 for a second flat near Parliament even though he already lived just 12 miles from Westminster
Sir Peter Viggers included with his expense claims the £1,645 cost of a floating duck house in the garden pond at his Hampshire home. He has announced he will step down at the next election
Theresa Villiers claimed almost £16,000 in stamp duty and professional fees on expenses when she bought a London flat, even though she already had a house in the capital. She has agreed to stop claiming the second home allowance
Claire Ward, the MP responsible for keeping the Queen informed about Parliament, submitted monthly expense claims for hundreds of pounds of “petty cash” while claiming maximum allowances
Tom Watson and Iain Wright spent £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on the London flat they once shared
Steve Webb sold his London flat and bought another nearby, while the taxpayer picked up an £8,400 bill for stamp duty
Shaun Woodward received £100,000 to help pay mortgage
Bill Wiggin claimed interest payments for a property which had no mortgage
David Willetts, the Conservatives’ choice for skills minister, needed help changing light bulbs. He has agreed to repay the bill
Alan Williams claimed just £5,221 on his second homes allowance in 2007/08
Phil Willis spent thousands of pounds of public funds on mortgage interest payments, redecoration and furnishings for a flat where his daughter now lives.
David Winnick claimed just £36,354 on his second homes allowance between 2004-8
Sir Nicholas Winterton and his wife Ann claimed more than £80,000 for a London flat owned by a trust controlled by their children
Ann Widdecombe claimed just £858 on her second home allowance in 2007/08
Rob Wilson did not claim on his second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008
Phil Woolas submitted receipts including comics, nappies and women’s clothing as part of his claims for food
Iain Wright and Tom Watson spent £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on the London flat they once shared
Derek Wyatt billed 75p for scotch eggs
Richard Younger-Ross spent £1,235 on four mirrors and bought ‘Don Juan’ bookcase

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Jury Team EU launch


Sky News getting ready to photograph the candidates

Sir Paul Judge took the meeting and in his opening speech told us that politicians are totally disconnected from the people and that, at present, less than 1% of the British people actually belong to a political party. In fact, Parliament has become an employment bureau for career politicians.

The Jury Team would like to see their representatives restricted to three terms of office. They would like to see a referendum called if requested by 5% of the people. At 60M people in Britain that would mean three million would need to request one. Not totally impossible through the Internet, but large enough to ensure that frivolous referendi would not be called.

Martin Bell told of the huge gap between the political class and the rest of the British citizenry and that the gap has to be closed if Parliament really wants to restore trust.

Philip Openheim spoke of the people’s anger, apparent everywhere he went, and that being a member of Parliament should be a vocation and not a career. Government and Opposition advisors had trebled since 1997 and did not help as our leaders lacked any depth of vision. He also said that having an unelected house of Lords just led to more and more corruption.

Eshter Ransom spoke next. She said she was not standing for the EU Parliament but was interested in standing for Luton South. She was horrified when she learned that Margaret Moran the sitting Labour MP took £23,000 of tax payers’ money to fix dry rot in her holiday home nowhere near Westminster or her constituency in Luton. In fact, it was on the coast near Southampton, and also when she learned that the Labour Party in Luton South are refusing to deselect her.

Esther is considering her position and will make an announcement next Tuesday. She says people deserve some home truths from their politicians but she had always been a floating voter and had never read a manifesto that she could totally agree with.

Another candidate, Rizi, was an ex Labour man but told us of his total disillusionment with the present system which he surmised was probably no different to the majority of the British public!

The last candidate, Nick, said that we needed more common sense and a breath of fresh air to cleanse the corridors of power. He believed, and so do I, that many MPs had never done a day’s “proper” work in their lives.

Richard Taylor MP, Independent Member of Parliament for Wye Forest, came out of a meeting a little later to talk to us and, when asked whether any of the talking in Parliament ever actually changed people’s minds, said that in the two terms he had served he only ever had one MP come up to him and say his argument on passive smoking did change his mind. Dr Taylor became an MP to save a hospital in his constituency from closure.

All in all, an interesting morning and I shall vote for any independent standing under the Jury Team‘s umbrella, no matter whether left or right of centre.

Ampers.

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Are the public gullible

The politicians think that if they apologise, and perhaps, and only perhaps, pay some, and only some, of the excess expense claims back, the public will get over it.

They are accepting the fact that they will do badly at the Euro elections, but these aren’t important anyway as none of the larger parties have any intention of pulling Britain out of the EU. They are pretty certain that, come the UK elections for Parliament, Joe Public will be pleased they gave the government and opposition a bloody nose in the European parliament, and things will be back to normal.

They could be right but personally, I am hoping that our great British public aren’t as gullible as politicians imagine they are.

I am hoping that once we get all MPs expenses listed in full with names, and each expense claims shown separately under each name, we can use this as a start to get councils to do the same, once councils are doing this we have to start on the BBC. When all their expenses are listed we should be looking at everybody, public or private, who receive the tax-payers money to do the same.

And we mustn’t stop there. We must force the government to insist that every organisation who claims funding from the National Lottery does the same. In this case, lists every penny of lottery funding should be accounted for.

By then, we will have got the bit between the teeth and can look into all other public areas where recipients of our hard earned money toe the line. For example, The Inland Revenue executives should not only list all their expenses, but issue quarterly accounts showing how much they have extorted from the public and exactly where it has gone.

Only then will the public be on the first rung of the ladder of taking control away from faceless bureaucrats.

Ampers

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Too old for the Internet.

I often come across people of my age group (65-75) who say they are too old to get involved with computers or the Internet. I find it very difficult to either understand them, or sympathise with them. Just because something is different doesn’t mean you have to give up on it. A recently deceased friend of mine bought his first computer at 79 and although a quiet and decent chap often got “computer rage” which would put the average angry motorist to shame!

I have read, today, of a dear old lady in a nursing home up in Bradford, called Ivy Bean. Her typical day starts with getting up for breakfast, chatting to the other “inmates” for a while, checking up on all who managed to survive the night, and then taking out her shiny laptop and starts surfing the Internet. She used to be heavily involved with Facebook and has 4,800 friends there. But she has got bored with this social networking site and now spends most of her time on Twitter where she has a huge following. Then it is lunch-time and after lunch she goes up to her room for a nap. However, the staff in the care home know only too well to wake her up to watch Noel Edmond’s Deal or No Deal which she watches without fail.

Before you write her off as a boring old fart, you should know she is one of those things, she is old at a hundred and four. But an old fart? Not in my book.

Ampers.

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A wolf in sheep’s clothing

I have just watched a video introducing me to a new search engine. Not an ordinary search engine as it doesn’t give you links. It gives you the information your are looking for directly. The name is Wolfram Alpla.

This is one of the most exciting Internet projects I have come across.

You can ask it any technical information, it has answers for most disciplines; or ask it how much fish is sold in France; or what was the weather link in Timbuktoo on 11/6/1987 – If you ask the question in Europe, it will take the date as June, or if in America, November. Type in Andrew and you will see how many Andrews are in the world. Type in Andrew England and you will see the answer for England. It will also show you how many babies were named Andrew each year for the last ten years. And a host of other useful information is available.

It comes live at 7pm USA Central time tonight so, if you are in Europe, it will be live when you wake up tomorrow morning. But you can link in now and watch the introductory video. In fact you should watch that even when it is live to get the best out of the search engine.

Not a replacement for Google but very, very exciting.

Ampers

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Enough of this sleaze… enjoy!

I watched a video on TV the other night with Jennifer Lopex, called “Angel Eyes”. Not a bad film at all, but there was one scene with one of the most beautiful blues tunes, played with a trumpet, I have ever heard.

It was “Nature Boy” by Jon Hassell. As for how good it is, let me put it this way. This is no longer sold but you can buy it second hand on Amazon.com.

Only one CD in the set and prices range up to just below eighty pounds! Needles to say, I couldn’t waste that much money on a single second hand CD.

Enjoy… it is less than three minutes.

Ampers

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Thought for the day

I do get rather tired of people bad-mouthing the political parties opposite to theirs: Socialists who sneer at successful Conservatives, and Conservatives who call Socialists scum.

As long as we continue to do this, people in politics will continue to look upon the voters as their enemy. But, please don’t take this as me making any excuses for the current thievery in Parliament

I am as guilty as the rest and I also have to stop. I think Conservatives who soak their customers for every penny they get their hands on are beneath contempt. I also think Socialists who earn huge salaries, have many houses, and refuse to give a large amount each year back to (according to soicalist principles) help others more unfortunate are worse than scum.

Let’s take Polly Toynbee, the very successful Guardian journalist. She also writes books and earns a fortune each year, she has many homes including a beautiful one in Tuscany. As far as I am concerned, good luck to her. She is entitled to every penny she makes. She would only become scum in my eyes if she refused to make large socialist contributions to charity to help her fellow man.

Ampers

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The Labour Mantra… "sleaze"!

What was it that Labour kept repeating like a Mantra during the last Tory Government? Wasn’t it “sleaze, sleaze, sleaze”? At the time I couldn’t help recall the old saying, “what goes around comes around”. Only now the Tories can’t take advantage of it as they are up to their necks in the shyte as well.

Now we are all beginning to see MPs for what they really are. It’s taken most of us rather a long time so I thought you might like to read the views of our more illustrious ancestors – they knew! … Read on:

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress… But then I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” – Winston Churchill

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” – James Bovard

“Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.” – Douglas Casey

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys.” – PJ O’Rourke

“Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavours to live at the expense of everybody else.” – Frederic Bastiat

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And i it stops moving, subsidise it.” -Ronald Reagan

“In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.” – Voltaire

“Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!” – Pericles (430 BC)

“No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislate’ is in session.” – Mark Twain

“The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.” – Ronald Reagan

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery“. – Winston Churchill

“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.” – Mark Twain

“What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.” – Edward Langley Hear! Hear! (Ampers)

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson

Ampers.

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Conspiracy to commit fraud

The following information is second-hand. I did not watch the programme but have no reason to doubt the claim:

“Portillo stated on ‘This Week’ that all new MPs were taken to one side and told to claim the maximum ‘allowed’ so as ‘not to let the side down’.”

Surely, if this is true, it boils down to the extremely serious charge of “Conspiracy to commit fraud”?

Ampers

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Luxury on the Taxpayer

The following article, part published here with a link to the full article, has been taken from today’s Electronic Telegraph. There is a link at the bottom to take you to the full article.

Keith Vaz: £75,000 for a flat 12 miles from home
Keith Vaz, the senior Labour backbencher, claimed more than £75,500 in expenses for a flat in Westminster despite his family home being a £1.15 million house just 12 miles from parliament.

By Jon Swaine
Last Updated: 3:39AM BST 09 May 2009

His living arrangements will leave him open to the same questions asked of Tony McNulty, the Home Office Minister, who claimed for a house about the same distance away lived in by his parents.

Mr Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, also switched his designated second home from the £545,000 flat to a house in his Leicester East constituency and back again in the space of a year. Mr Vaz’s main home is a house in Stanmore, north-west London, that he bought with his wife Maria for £1.15 million in November 2005. They live there with their two children. Before then they lived in another house in Stanmore.

Read the rest at The Electronic Telegraph…

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Who was responsible?

The following article has been taken from “The Lew Rockwell Column”, a Libertarian Forum in the USA which I subscribe to through RSS feeds.

Agreed, it is all about the USA but it equally applies to the UK, and probably many other countries in the Western World. I have highlighted the most important bit in red bold.

No, the Free Market Did Not Cause the Financial Crisis
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

In March 2007 then-Treasury secretary Henry Paulson told Americans that the global economy was “as strong as I’ve seen it in my business career.” “Our financial institutions are strong,” he added in March 2008. “Our investment banks are strong. Our banks are strong. They’re going to be strong for many, many years.”

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in May 2007, “We do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.” In August 2008, Paulson and Bernanke assured the country that other than perhaps $25 billion in bailout money for Fannie and Freddie, the fundamentals of the economy were sound.

Then, all of a sudden, things were so bad that without a $700 billion congressional appropriation, the whole thing would collapse.

In the wake of this change of heart on the part of our leaders, Americans found themselves bombarded with a predictable and relentless refrain: the free market economy has failed. The alleged remedies were equally predictable: more regulation, more government intervention, more spending, more money creation, and more debt.

To add insult to injury, the very people who had been responsible for the policies that created the mess were posing as the wise public servants who would show us the way out. And following a now-familiar pattern, government failure would not only be blamed on anyone and everyone but the government itself, but it would also be used to justify additional grants of government power.

The truth of the matter is that intervention in the market, rather than the market economy itself, was the driving factor behind the bust.

F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his work showing how the central bank’s intervention into the economy gives rise to the boom-bust cycle, making us feel prosperous until we suffer the inevitable crash.

Most Americans know nothing about Hayek’s theory (known as the Austrian theory of the business cycle), and are therefore easy prey for the quacks who blame the market for problems caused by the manipulation of money and credit.

The artificial booms the Fed provokes, wrote economist Henry Hazlitt decades ago, must end “in a crisis and a slump, and…worse than the slump itself may be the public delusion that the slump has been caused, not by the previous inflation, but by the inherent defects of ‘capitalism.’”

The full article may be read here.

May 8, 2009
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of nine books, including two New York Times bestsellers: The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and the just-released Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse. Visit his new website.

Ampers

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The Credit Crunch – French style

It is August. In a small town on the South Coast of France, the holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much business happening.

Everyone is heavily in debt.

Luckily, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of the small local hotel. He asks for a room and puts a Euro100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor.

The hotel owner takes the banknote in hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes E100.The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt. The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay E100 for pigs he purchased some time ago. The farmer triumphantly gives the E100 note to a local prostitute who gave him her services on credit.

The prostitute goes quickly to the hotel, as she owed the hotel for her hourly room use to entertain clients.

At that moment, the rich Russian is coming down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the proposed room is unsatisfactory and takes his E100 back and
departs.

There was no profit or income, but everyone no longer has any debt and the small townspeople look optimistically towards their future.

Could this be the answer to the Global Financial Crisis?

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Why I didn’t leave Facebook

At the moment I am drastically cutting back my involvement in several groups on the Internet. Facebook, is one of them, as I am getting involved with a major newspaper project.

I have removed all my contacts from my account, removed all my my groups so that it is just an empty shell. I then removed all my personal information except my email address and changed the security from closed (entry by invitation only) to open (anyone can come in and see my email address).

There is a simple reason for this. When I was active on Facebook half a dozen people I had lost contact with over the decades found me on Facebook. I thought by keeping it open I might still make contact with others from the past, this is the only reason why the account is kept open; so they can find my email address.

This got me thinking, (and it didn’t hurt – well, not too much). There are a lot of people out there who are worried about social networks being time consuming, or worry about the security. By opening an account, and just having an email address there, you are not giving much away, but you could make contact with friends from long ago.

So why not open an account, make sure you never join anything or add any friends to it, make it open, and just put an email address there. You never know, a long lost friend may turn up. Six of mine did.

I used to be on MySpace, and when I moved to Facebook I kept a shell account there as well. For the same reason!

Ampers

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Britains “Thought Police”

The following article appeared in “The Australian” and I offer it below without comment.

1 document matched your query .
Thought police muscle up in Britain

Click here to order a high-quality reprint of the page on which this article appeared
The Australian, 21-04-2009, Ed: 1 – All-round Country, Pg: 012, 1146 words , FEATURES

Almost daily there are cases of political correctness gone mad, laments Hal G. P. Colebatch BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use t…

As it will cost $1.75 Australian to download the archive, I reproduce the article from Old Holborn’s blog where it appeared in full.

Hal G. P. Colebatch April 21, 2009
Article from: The Australian

BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely.

There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.

Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution’s principal tasks was “to alter people’s actual psychology”. Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people’s psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.

The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years’ prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out.

It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the “global baggage of empire” was linked to soccer violence by “racist and xenophobic white males”. He claimed the English “propensity for violence” was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were “potentially very aggressive”.

In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.

Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government’s anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: “If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you.”

Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: “If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings.” It took him five years to clear his name.

Page was at least an adult. In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu.

The teacher’s first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: “It’s racist, you’re going to get done by the police!” Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed.

According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott.

Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: “An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form.”

A 10-year-old child was arrested and brought before a judge, for having allegedly called an 11-year-old boya “Paki” and “bin Laden” during a playground argument at a primary school (the other boy had called him a skunk and a Teletubby).

When it reached the court the case had cost taxpayers pound stg. 25,000. The accused was so distressed that he had stopped attending school. The judge, Jonathan Finestein, said: “Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? There are major crimes out there and the police don’t bother to prosecute. This is nonsense.”

Finestein was fiercely attacked by teaching union leaders, as in those witch-hunt trials where any who spoke in defence of an accused or pointed to defects in the prosecution were immediately targeted as witches and candidates for burning.

Hate-crime police investigated Basil Brush, a puppet fox on children’s television, who had made a joke about Gypsies. The BBC confessed that Brush had behaved inappropriately and assured police that the episode would be banned.

A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to “celebrate diversity”, the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.

Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.

There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities.

The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church.

A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.

Permissiveness as well as draconianism can be deployed to destroy socially accepted norms and values. The Royal Navy, for instance, has installed a satanist chapel in a warship to accommodate the proclivities of a satanist crew member. “What would Nelson have said?” is a British newspaper cliche about navy scandals, but in this case seems a legitimate question. Satanist paraphernalia is also supplied to prison inmates who need it.

This campaign seems to come from unelected or quasi-governmental bodies controlling various institutions, which are more or less unanswerable to electors, more than it does directly from the Government, although the Government helps drive it and condones it in a fudged and deniable manner.

Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together – and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day – they add up to a pretty clear picture.

Hal G. P. Colebatch’s Blair’s Britain was chosen as a book of the year by The Spectator in 1999.

Ampers

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Washing one’s hair.

This article in the Electronic Telegraph states that Prince Harry has not washed his hair for two years. Not entirely right as he has, no doubt, washed it daily in the shower.

However, what he is saying is, he hasn’t used shampoo for two years and that the hair is self-cleansing.

I know about this as I haven’t washed my hair for about the same period. Nobody has noticed this so the claim about self-cleansing must be true! I take issue on the statement that it takes a week to happen. My hair is short but it was two or three weeks before the breakthrough occurred. It was very greasy until then. Those with long hair can expect the initial period to take even longer.

But what this article shows is that you can save money by not buying expensive shampoo.

And take body deodorants as another example. How many of you put this on every day? When I was a teenager I thought this was a con and never used it. Because I never started using it in the first place, I never “ponged”. However, as I reached my forties I did find, in the hot summers, I would need it, but only very occasionally. Now and again I use a very small 50ml dry “smear-on” and one of these lasts me around five years. My wife would be the first to complain if I “pong” and she never needs to!

What I am trying to convey here is that there is a huge market of personal hygiene products which have been foistered on the public, items that really just waste our hard to come by money.

Mind you, having been brought up in South Africa probably does mean I am less likely to perspire in the English Climate than most.

Please note, however, that I am not suggesting you wash less!

Ampers

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