Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Ken Clarke is proposing not locking up so many people because 'prison doesn't work'.
It is significant that the kind of low level offenders that Mr. Clarke intends to deal with without recourse to custodial sentencing are the relatively low level offender that are more likely to offend against residents of or visitors to poorer areas.
It is significant that in 2000 Mr. Clarke voted in accordance with a commons proposal "That this House condemns the Government's policy of giving prisoners special early release on the Home Detention Curfew scheme;"
I remember a time when assaulting a police officer would have meant a custodial sentence if found guilty, irrespective of mitigating circumstances or severity of the assault.
I remember when assaulting anybody would most likely attract a custodial sentence.
I remember there were far fewer assaults then. 
I accept this is anecdotal and there could be many other reasons why custodial sentencing gives the average man in the street the impression of fewer offences and makes him (or her) feel safer. But the point is it has an effect on the confidence of the public and this alone is good reason to lock up offenders. It also means that while he (or she) is behind bars, the only other people that he will assault are other criminals.
Lord Hewart CJ said:"...a long line of cases shows that it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done." 
That is to say, no matter how fairly, legally and equitably proper a decision is made IT MUST BE SEEN TO BE SO! This involves a principle of perception. If a decision is perceived to be unfair, unjust or improper, then that decision cannot be acceptable. 
And so this should extend to sentencing. If the public perceives that convicted criminals are free to continue to commit crimes and that locking them up stops them committing crime, then we should lock them up.


Hurrah for reversing the 10% tax hike on cider. The decision has been reversed because cider makers said it could harm business.

I have drunk cider almost exclusively for well over thirty years. So I think it is great! I am also pleased to have something good to write about!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Senior UK police officers today said the current range of cuts would mean fewer police officers.

On the Andrew Marr Show, May 2nd, just 4 days before the election David Cameron said he would not accept cuts to the NHS, international development or frontline services.

It would appear that ‘front line services’ has been re-defined. You don’t get much closer to the front line than a policeman or woman in the fight against crime and the work towards a better community for us all.

Or David Cameron either got it wrong or told a downright lie to win the election- in either case, should he be running the country?

But the Tories always do the same. Promise one thing while planning another. Meanwhile, the Tory pundits tell us ‘it was the Labour governments fault. They left a bigger mess than we thought’.

Don’t get me wrong. I class the New Labour administration as equally, if not more deceitful than the Tories. Both lied their way into power and continued to lie while advancing their own agenda rather than their election commitments.

This is where politics needs to be cleaned up. But with parliamentary privilege and rules that you can’t call a member a liar, it never will be.

These rules were introduced when a Member of Parliament was supposed to be trustworthy so wouldn’t tell lies but might [accidentally] get the facts wrong. So be polite, no calling him into disrepute for an [honest] mistake.

Nowadays we know what a thieving, lying bunch they are. So let’s do away with the niceties and start calling a spade a spade.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


According to a news report on BBC's Breakfast program, the pension age rise to 66 will mean that although you will lose one year's pension your pension at 66 will be 10% higher.

So, a pension of x at 65 will be a pension of x + 10% at age 66. This means living to 76 years the new retirement age will have no overall effect on the pension bill. Yes, that means no savings. 10 years of claiming pension from age 66 costs just the same as retiring at 65.

According to The Office for National Statistics, men will live to 76.4 years.

'Google' life expectancy UK and you will see other institutions give similar results.

Of course, this will mean fewer jobs for younger people. And if you are too ill to work until 66, it is likely the current incapacity/sickness benefits will be slashed so if you are lucky enough to be able to claim them, they won't be much.

The conclusions are several if men are to live until 76+, claiming their pension + 10% at age 66 with no overall reduction in costs-

  • That we are being deliberately mislead, once again politicians fooling us into believing they are 'doing something'.
  • That the problem will not be the current administrations problem.
  • That as the pensionable age is forced up we will be worked to death before we claim a pension.
  • That more draconian measures are planned.

It seems that old age, poverty, incapacity, inability and sickness is to be penalised so the banks can stay rich.

The 16 or so billion pound deficit is a drop in the ocean for the banks that caused the problems. Why are they not being made to pay?

Tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds ( of taxpayers money was used to bail out the banks, much more than the deficit. Make the banks repay the money and there will be no need for these draconian measures AND LOTS TO SPARE!

The problem is these measures are not about the deficit. They are about the traditional Tory values of making the poor pay for the luxuries and wealth of the rich.

Watching question time last night, Peter Hitchens, a noted traditionalist conservative said as much-

"it's all very well to say tax the rich, fine by me,  tax the rich but there aren't enough rich people to make a substantial difference. If you have the kind of economy we have…  you have to tax the poor, there isn't any other way you're going to afford it."

This is typical Tory policy. This is typical of Tory half-truths. Because while it may be arguable "there aren't enough rich people to make a substantial difference" the fact is that the dearth of rich people is more than compensated by the fact that currently 1% of the population hold 70% of the wealth.. I would argue that while there may not be enough rich people, they certainly hold enough of the wealth.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


VAT increased to 20%- thus reducing sales

Public sector wage and pension cuts- less spending power

Benefit cuts- again, less spending power

How do Messrs Cameron and Clegg suppose this will ease the deficit? These actions may in the short term leave some money spare to pay off the deficit. But long term, they will mean less jobs, less spending, less growth.

More unemployed, so the benefit cuts will be wiped out by more people claiming lower benefits.

History shows us that penalising the poor- no, let’s call it what it is- making poverty a crime- is not the answer and it does not work. It was tried with 17th and 18th century parish poor relief and 19th century workhouses. The early 20th century saw benefits, but only if you could prove you were poor and had to sell anything not absolutely essential to life before relief was given.

In other words, a workhouse in your own home! So what happened? People died or turned to crime. Perhaps that is why Ken Clarke is considering cutting £2bn from the legal aid bill. We all know who that effects. Not Ken.

David Cameron, accompanied by a distinctly uncomfortable looking Nick Clegg effectively said benefit cuts, both in amount and those entitled to them would encourage people into work.

So would removing anti-Trades Union legislation and allowing higher wages thus negotiated. As one would expect in the Thatcherite free market economy. The other nail in this particular coffin is the prevalence of a generation of young people who have never worked or known job security and are perfectly able to make a good living selling drugs. Does he believe this underclass will worry if their benefits are cut?


It has just been announced on BBC news Cameron has turned down his pension of around £66,000.

Now, does he mean he will never claim it? Or does he mean he won't claim it unless the deficit is dealt with?

Well I'd like to say I couldn't care less. This problem has been caused by private financial institutions. Yet all I have seen or heard so far are cuts to wages, cuts to benefits and cuts to public services. In other words, public services and the neediest paying for the mistakes of wealthy bankers who STILL receive their massive bonuses.

And Ken Clarke, another of Thatchers Thugs is talking of £2bn cuts to legal aid and closing 103 magistrates courts. So if you protest the cuts and get arrested, don't expect to be represented- unless, like Ken you can afford to retain legal representation.

Nick Clegg tried to soften the blow by saying that public servants wage cuts will start at the top. Quite simply they are the ones who are most able to bear the burden and as for Cameron's attempt at empathy by giving up his pension, well I wish to hell I was wealthy enough to turn down £66,000 a year.

This is just a return to Thatcherism. The global economic recession and the deficit must have Cameron and his cronies laughing all the way to the bank. What a perfect excuse for austere financial restraints on the poorest to maintain the rich.

The only small light I can see is that Nick Clegg, confronted by an audience of ordinary people with Cameron looked decidedly uncomfortable. Though he tried to give the impression of unity, I can only hope he has become disillusioned with the coalition and that it hastens my prediction that we will see it collapse before September this year, leading to a general election. And I hope the Labour Party seize the opportunity to return to grass roots socialism and win a massive landslide victory.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Amazingly, we have a man who worked on the BP rig and has the inside story suddenly appear. I wonder where he has been for the last few months?