Archive for July 19th, 2010

Banning the Burqa

I have been reading a lot of blogs writing about whether we should ban the burqa, together with a lot of frenzied comments taking either side of the argument. It has given me enough food for thought and I have sat down and slowly considered the arguments on both sides.

Finally, as a libertarian, I have decided that this is not something that should concern the Government, the Judges, or the Civil Service.

I have studied the arguments that this is something insisted upon by husbands to subject their women folk, as is their custom to make the women wear black clothing that absorbs the heat of the sun, thus making them unbearably hot in the summer, whereas the men wear lighter clothing that deflects the heat of the sun’s rays.

It is nothing to do with government if there are evil men about making the lives of their womenfolk unbearable. If the women really hate it they have means in Britain to divorce and if they fear their husbands and fathers, they will be given protection. Also decent people could bring pressure to bear by not employing men who force their women to wear black and wear the burqa. And neighbours can also let these people know exactly where they stand in society.

As for wearing the burqa in public, I can see no harm if a bank, building society or any shop or store bans people wearing the burqa as long as they also ban people wearing crash helmets or hoods.

However, passports and driving licences are a special case as these documents are used to identify the holder. With our present system, five woman in the same household could share one driving licence and if they get banned, then the next woman can use her licence so you could have four banning orders and still all woman would be able to drive. So a good deal of thought needs to be given here.

If the final decision is to allow a person wearing a burqa to be photographed for these documents with their faces totally covered then, for British Justice to be fair and to be seen to be fair, other non-Muslims should be allowed to be photographed for their passports or driving licenses wearing ski masks, balaclavas or a ladies stocking over their faces.

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Should I buy a mobile phone on contract?

I hate paying out anything on a regular contract. I hate borrowing money, and I hate incurring interest of any sort. All my credit cards are paid off each month by direct debit so that, if there is any error, it is the error of the credit card company.

So, as you can imagine, I always paid cash for my mobile phones and pay as I go.

But this time around, I decided to look into the figures. As I have been with Virgin from the beginning, I decided to check them out and as my previous phone was the HTC Hero, and I didn’t like the iPhone, I decided on the faster HTC Desire..

First of all, a 24 month contract cost £840 (payable at £35 a month for two years). For this I get 1,000 free minutes (£200 at PAYG rate), 3,000 free texts (£300 at PAYG rates) and one Gigabyte of Internet (£9 at PAYG rates).

However, I wanted to pay £25 a month and found I could pay £149.99 up front and get the monthly tariff lowered to £25 a month, but my free calls came down to 600 a month, and everything else stayed the same. This was OK with me as there is no way I can make 600 calls a month and over the months have never even reached half way, and I use it all the time! 3,000 texts is just ridiculous! And a gigabyte of Internet is more than generous. Virgin had evidently made an error with the up-front payment as they have since raised it to £199.99.

Looking at this another way. The phone was £460 at Amazon when it came out – and when I got mine. Although it is under £400 now. I am paying 24 x £25 plus the one off payment of £149.99. So over two years I will have paid out £749.99. If we deduct the Amazon price for the new phone from this figure we are left with £289.99, or £12.08 a month.

So, in real terms, in buying under contract, I am saving 2.5% interest on my £460 – reducing with each month, but still a saving. (Tesco Bank pay 2.5%)

And, I am getting 600 minutes to any cellphone or land-line, 3,000 texts, and a Gigabyte of Internet, all for £12.08 a month.

Or around 20 minutes talk, 100 texts and 33 Megabytes of Internet a day.

It was only after I worked all this out that I decided to bite the bullet and take out the contract.

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