Thursday, May 16, 2013

Time to storm ...

It is getting close to "Time to storm .." but I am not sure what exactly needs storming. Yet.
What has got my goat this morning is yet another Amazon UK story.
Last year (2012), they reported sales of £4.2 billion, which looks like this:
They also received a grant from the Scottish government to develop a warehouse in Glasgow, in the amount of £24 million (or £2,400,000).
And they paid tax of £2.3 million (or £2,300,000).
Didn't they do well?
Most people in this country pay around 20% tax on their incomes. £20 for each £100.
Amazon paid 0.1%. 10p for each £100.
Meanwhile, families in this country earning bugger all are being forced to pay £20 or £30 per month for having an "extra" bedroom which they have only because councils can not provide suitable housing to begin with.
It is wrong and must stop!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

IT, as the government sees it

Today marks the start of government's new panacea for ending all the arguments surrounding unemployment benefits (Universal Credit scheme).
There has been a lot of argument, pro and con, over this new plan (when everything around you is failing, get a new plan!). The scheme appears to build on the system of tax credits as introduced by the last government which is designed to ensure you don't end up with less money by taking up employment, compared to what you may have been receiving when unemployed.
Personally, while I can see some merit in that idea, I think it is really a sneaky system of rewarding employers who don't want to pay a decent living wage.
Whatever, the scheme comes into operation today in Ashton-Under-Lyne in the form of a pilot.
I have no idea of the financial aspects of this new scheme but one thing about it which sticks out like a sore thumb is the "Claim on-line only" rule.
Let's imagine someone who has been working on poverty level wages for some time and can not afford broadband costs etc. Are they now expected to borrow money in order to make a claim? No, says the government, use your local library who usually will have internet facilities.
Would that, by any chance, be one of these local governments who have had to suffer savage budget cuts and the same ones that, in order to accommodate these budget cuts, have been closing libraries left, right and sideways?
As the scheme is rolled out nationally over the next couple of years, will the whole unemployment/social security thing end up being on-line? If so, this would surely lead to the closure of what Job Centres that still exist?
Still, the government persists in this blind faith in their mismanaged IT systems.
Remember the National Identity Card IT fiasco? Cost billions in IT costs before the government admitted it was useless and abandoned it.

The NHS has a lot of faith in their IT systems, hoping eventually to join up the entire nation from your local GP to the leading specialist hospitals. The theory is that all the necessary data concerning your health will be available at the click of a mouse to whichever health care official needs it.
Well, here's an example of how well the NHS IT system works.
This week, I received a letter from the NHS offering me an appointment to go and get my Aorta scanned to see if I was hiding any aneurysms. A grand idea.
Except the introductory letter starts off by explaining that this screening is being offered to "all men in their 65th year". As maths currently works, my "65th year" would have been that period between my 64th & 65th birthdays. So my 65th year ended almost 1 year ago. Another publication included in the post was a note telling me how this is offered for men approaching the age of 65.
How did they decide they should send me this letter and arrange the appointment for me?
I would guess their IT system had run through a database, seeking all males born at a certain time. This would then spit out the names and addresses and generate the letters, appointments etc. Their IT system obviously wasn't smart enough to "do the maths". Maybe their boffins don't understand that a person is in their 1st year of life until their 1st birthday arrives. They then enter their 2nd year etc. etc.
Worrying isn't it?
It doesn't stop there though. I recently and reluctantly had to go and see a GP about a mysterious swelling in my leg. The swelling was in the calf but while talking to the GP, I pointed out, more than once, how I had had a mysterious skin discolouration and a a change in tecture of the skin on the shin of the same leg. When this discolouration had begin to fade (after 4 or 5 years), the swelling at the rear of the leg appeared. Did the GP take any notice? Nah!
He arranged for me to have blood tests and an X-Ray. Then he had a sudden change of mind, realising he wasn't sure what sort of blood tests were needed! Once he made up his mind on this, I went off for the tests. A couple of weeks later, I phoned the surgery to say I was concerned that I had  heard nothing from them. "Oh, we don't tell you, you have to contact us to find out the results".
I see. So I went back and saw a different GP who told me there was nothing in the blood test results. She came up with a new theory and sent me to the local hospital for a chest X-Ray. The lady who took the X-Ray told me the pictures would be scrutinised by a specialist who would pass on to my GP surgery any findings and the surgery would contact me to let me know when the results were back.
That was a couple of months ago and I have heard nothing. I know what the response would be if I contacted them; "Oh, you should have called us". How would I know when to call when the hospital themselves couldn't say when they would be done?
What has this to do with their IT systems? Simple really. Spending approximately £12 Billion a year on IT systems, they could simply send an email or electronically generate a form for transmission to my surgery etc. The IT system in the surgery would flag an inbound update relating to patient X and tell the lazy cow behind the desk to call this patient.
Too bloody simple! They expect patients to telephone on a daily basis to see if they have any information. And, when told "not yet", to telephone again and again. Unless, of course the patient doesn't have a phone. What happens then?
If they are unwell, are they to be expected to get a bus just to arrive at the surgery only to be told to try again tomorrow?
Or maybe they should get someone else to do the inquiring on their behalf? We know how that conversation would run; "I can't divulge that information. Data Protection ...blah blah".
Maybe the NHS should leave their IT systems to manage the huge salaries of their "managers" and allow people to manage patient data.
NHS, DfWP or Home Office, the government's record is tragic when it comes to IT.
Sort yourselves out and stop throwing away the taxpayers' hard earned money!

Sleepwalking to Syria

Well, here we go again.
First we had the great Iraq WMD hoodwink.
Remember that? "Eye Rack has thousands of WMD and they can hit the UK in 45 minutes" blah blah.
Followed, many months/years and thousands of deaths by "Well, perhaps the intelligence was wrong".
And then the "If we kick out the Taliban from Afghanistan, we can capture Bin Laden and all the word's problems will go away".
Followed years later by "We really ought to get out of Afghanistan (because we are not winning)".
Then, there was Tunisia. "Hoorah! Tunisia has had a free and fair vote and elected a democratically chosen government".
Followed by "What do you mean, they elected an Islamist government???"
And then there was Libya.
"Now that's an easy target. Let's send in the cruise missiles and finish this all off".
Some time later, we have total anarchy in that country with grateful Libyans showing their gratitude by desecrating the graves of British soldiers.
Egypt? Yep. Same old, same old.
"It is time to ditch our best friend, Mubarak, and pretend to support democracy in Egypt."
Followed by "Oh shit! They have put the Muslim Brotherhood in power. Now what?"
(As I write, I hear Cameron offering weasel words on Radio 4 about having "learned lessons from Iraq...."
Total bullshit!

So, what about Syria?
A quick look at the history of that country will show how it was a fragmented, disorganised collection of  tribal and religious factions, all too intent on fighting each other, rather than trying to make a go of their new country.
In the end, Bashar Al Assad decided enough was enough and pulled the country together, using a mixture of sensible political decisions and some ear thumping. He ended up with a country that seemed to manage OK; some factions accepted that what he was doing was for the greater goo and there were a few who didn't like what he was doing, generally because he was preventing them from dipping their sticky fingers into the till.
Nevertheless, he did manage to achieve some sort of peace and stability.
When he died, his son took over and he began to ease up on some of the stricter aspects of his father's government. With typical Arab perverse logic, this caused people to kick over the traces and he was obliged to bring back some of the draconian measures he had been hoping to relax.
So, as could be expected, other factions protested this action.
Well, you can't please all the people all the time... etc
And so we arrive at the situation today. The many factions who want the largest slice of the pie for themselves began an armed insurrection, financed and armed by "friendly" governments in that part of the world. They are doing this for purely religious reasons; Assad's Alawi sect is a sort of watered down Shia sect, while those governments supporting the insurgents are Sunni. They are not brave enough to take on their larger Shia neighbours in Iraq & Iran so they are using proxies (suckers) to do their work in Syria.

And we come eventually to the governments of the Western powers.
They have been beating an anti Assad drum for many months now. Today, they have increased the stakes, accusing Syria of using Sarin gas against its own citizens.
Personally, I think this is complete twaddle; from what I have seen of the "victims" on an on-line video, they do not appear to be suffering from this or any other nerve gas. They were allegedly frothing at the mouth. And that was it. Well, if you are afflicted by nerve gas, you begin to lose control of bodily functions one by one. Muscular movement becomes uncontrolled, the victim becomes incontinent, losing control of bladder and bowel functions. This is quickly followed by a loss of control of the involuntary functions such as breathing and heart beat. Once you lose control of these, death soon follows.
From what I can gather from the news, in the recent alleged attack, one person was killed but this was hardly surprising as an artillery shell had dropped on this person's house. I could not find any reports of people dying in the clinics following the frothing at the mouth.
So, this no doubt explains the reticence of the US government when it comes to allegations of nerve gas use by the Syrian government. Basically, they don't know. But this is not stopping them from ramping up the propaganda war, either in Washington or in London.
I would suggest that the frothing at the mouth occurs more frequently in Washington and London!
Our 'leaders' are positively straining at the leash to have a go at Syria but are being held back by their own history over the Iraq fiasco, when they were caught red-handed using bogus evidence to start a protracted campaign of killing as many Iraqis as possible. So why is the US so keen to have a go at Syria? What did the Syrians do to upset them? Well, nothing really, other than being allied with Russia and Iran, oh, and standing up to Israel. In typical bully fashion, the Americans are saying "OK, I won't hit you because I am scared you will hit me back. So I will smack your mate instead".
And they also really should develop a better long term memory; Iraq was only the most recent war started on the basis of trumped up charges. Who remembers the invasion of Grenada or the Gulf of Tonkin incident?
During my time in Aden, despite the UK government having agreed a timetable for independence for that colony, the US government was the biggest  cheerleader for the anti-British terrorist groups in the region, maintaining a constant clamour at the U.N. against British 'Imperialism' (soon to be replaced by American imperialism).

Anyway, back to Syria and the uncertain future of that nation. This week, I heard an interview on the BBC with a person from the Al Nusra at a terrorist training camp in Jordan. During the interview, he was quite clear about his ambitions for Syria; he wants to take over the country and turn it into a rigidly Islamist state, operating totally under Sharia law.
Smashing! Just the job! Just what the world needs is another loony tunes nation.
This group is openly pro-Al Qaeda and could be seen as their proxy in the region. They are also gathering in Lebanon, presumably to continue their mischief in that unfortunate country.
Is that what the west needs? More uproar, killing and misery in that region? No. I don't think so, but that is exactly the recipe the Washington & London idiots are facing. The problem is; they either do not understand this or they are hell bent on maintaining instability and strife around the Middle East.
How long, I wonder, before we discover that the US and perhaps the UK, have been secretly arming (directly or indirectly) Al Qaeda's surrogates in the region? Remember, they have form here, having armed Bin Laden and his oppos in Afghanistan before it all went wrong.
As I said at the start, "Here we go again"!

Monday, April 08, 2013


It isn't their day, is it?
Minutes after having a rant about the adolescent idiot "working" for Kent Police, I was re-reading the news about the WPC with Norfolk Police who is suing a burglary victim because she tripped over a kerb, and discovered the following:
The same WPC has previously sued her own police force because she hurt a leg when a Panda car in which she was a passenger, left the road and rolled. Why not sue the plod that was driving the car? After all, it was he who was responsible for keeping the car on the road.
Possible answer; He doesn't have any money but Norfolk Police do.
But, it gets worse:

A detective inspector in Northumberland sued sued his force for £7,000 because "cannabis fumes caused him to start snoring, causing problems in his marriage". And he won!

An inspector in Sussex sued a landowner after he was butted and suffered broken ribs when a herd of cows had a go at him. He claimed the landowner hadn't done enough to protect walkers. What about the fact the whole thing arose from his walking his dog which pissed off the cows? If he was attacked by a herd of cows, it is reasonable to assume he must have been in a field. I wonder of he ever figured out that most fields, well probably all of them, have a fence. A fence is a device that ensures cows stay on one side and people stay on the other. Still, he got £10,000!

A PC with Grampian police sued for sore wrists! He claimed that handcuffs, used during a training course, caused extreme pain and red weals on his wrists. Suing for "extreme pain and subsequent depression", he won £108,000!

A WPC sued her employer, Lothian and Borders Police for £500,000 (yes, that's half a million quid!). What was her problem, you may wonder. Well, she claimed a riot training exercise left her with "a fear of sirens".
A copper afraid of sirens?

Looking at the last case, I can predict it won't be long before we get soldiers suing the MoD because those rifles make a big bang, or fire fighters claiming that excessive use of water has caused them to develop hydrophobia!

Finally, referring back to the Norfolk WPC and the kerb incident, think of this:
She tripped and fell over a kerb. Given that she claims she was injured and had difficulty walking, would she have had to crawl back to her car? And, if so, doesn't that make her a kerb crawler?

I'm off now to Basingstoke police station to see if there isn't a discarded crisp packet I can trip over to help supplement my pension.

Police Yoof Commissioner

A few days back I was amazed to hear an interview on Radio 4 with some 16 year old girl who had just been appointed Britain's first Youth Police & Crime Commissioner.
Amazed and annoyed!
I know I could be accused of being a grumpy old codger but I can not see how or why Kent Police need a young person to advise them on how to police. I am guessing here but I would reckon Kent Police have hundreds of thousands man hours of experience in dealing with wrong doing by both old and young in their county, yet some bird brained idiot saw fit to hire a yob to advise the police on their dealings with youth.
And I mean "hire", by the way. This schoolgirl is to be paid £15,000 a year to "advise" the police!
I think someone ought to report to Kent Police a case of a missing plot! Get a crime reference number and get the bobbies out on the streets to search for it because it has definitely gone missing.
While being annoyed during this interview on Radio 4, I couldn't help but allow another of my prejudices to creep in; what kind of parent would name their brat "Paris"? Having made my own assumptions (rightly or wrongly), I then went on to form an opinion of what kind of brat the parents may raise.
Well, it turns out the old codger's prejudices were not far off the mark after all.
It has been revealed by the Mail on Sunday that, prior to her being employed by the gullible electorate of Kent, she used Twitter a lot. Quite a lot, in fact. They discovered entries made by her going back a few years and they were not pretty.
The most recent tweet appears to have been one she made 3 weeks before accepting this non-job in which she said "I don't condone violence but I'm so pleased that my brother thumped the the fat little ****". I suppose, using the number of asterisks, we can guess what was the missing word!

A description of herself that she added said "I'm either fun, friendly & inclusive when I'm drunk or I'm an anti-social, racist, sexist embarrassing arsehole often it's the latter". (She would be a good fit for the police then).
I am not going to list all the homophobic and pro-drugs messages they uncovered but it is a pretty sickening read.

At the time of her appointment, the silly cow responsible, Ann Barnes, Kent PCC, said "I'm delighted Paris will be working alongside me to build a bridge between the world of young people and policing" plus a few other bits of drivel.
Bet you're feeling a bit silly now then?

Yesterday, in a sort of re-run of last week's broadcast, I was gratified to hear the stupid girl crying her eyes out while trying to plead her case that she really isn't racist, homophobic etc etc.
Now shut up and go and when you leave this new non-job, hopefully very soon, you will take the stupid cow who thought it a wonderful idea to hire you, along with the Chief Inspector from Kent Police who had a hand in the interviewing and hiring process.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Say that again??

This morning, there are reports that a WPC in Norfolk is suing a garage owner for damages after she tripped on a kerb.
She alleges she tripped on the kerb and injured her leg (or her pride, maybe?).
She had been called to the garage after a report of a burglary at the premises.
It seems to me that someone should take her aside and have a (loud) chat with her:
"They are your bloody legs! Take charge of them and make sure they point your feet in the right direction! The public seem able to manage kerbs, why can't you?"
If your feet and legs won't behave themselves and go where you want them to go, what makes you think Joe Public will go in any direction you may order?
Sort yourself out and return to planet Earth!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Even more proof we are mental, part 2

Last week, the met office were predicting up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains of, among others, North Wales.
As forecast, the wind blew and the snow snowed and it was pretty horrible.
In today's news (26 March), it is reported that 3 dip sticks from Northumberland had to be rescued from Snowdon and 3 more from Warwick had to be rescued from nearby Tryfan having found the wind and snow were just too much for them.
No doubt these were allegedly intelligent people who decided that, in spite of the dire forecasts, a walk up the mountains in umpteen feet of snow, accompanied by raging blizzards and temperatures well below 0 would be a jolly good wheeze.
Well, if there was any justice at all in this country, these pillocks would be landed with a bloody big bill for the cost of their rescues!
And this on the day the government tells us that their new contract for rescue services will cost £1.6 Billion over 10 years. Doesn't that equate to £160 Million per annum?
Are they seriously trying to tell us that this is considerably less than the current costs? Remember, the units currently operating these services also have other day to day roles, particularly training etc. so their costs will be rolled up into the amount it costs to maintain and operate helicopter squadrons anyway.
The new contractor, Bristows, was originally a UK based company and retains strong links with the UK. I think it is time for a review of directors, shareholders etc in this company. Who knows what may turn up?

And a bit more; this week saw the last boiler at Didcot A power station being taken off line. Didcot, along with Fawley and a couple of others, is being scrapped because of the emissions resulting from their burning coal.
All over the UK, there is an unseemly scramble to whack up new power stations that burn LNG. Smashing, with only half the CO2 output of a coal fired power station, that must be good. Right?
Well, where does this gas come from? Not a lot coming form the North Sea at the moment so it is mainly imported.
In fact, in today's news it is reported that a big gas tanker, the Zarga, has just arrived in Milford Haven carrying 266,000 cubic metres of gas. And another arrived in Kent a few days ago.
hurrah! Just what we need; massive deliveries of LNG.
And between them, they carry enough gas to heat the UK for . . . . 12 hours!
12 bloody hours! Fast forward a little to a time when we need more of these shipments and there will be a solid, slowly moving line of gas tankers, stretching from Qatar to Pembroke.
Oh, and these tankers burn oil. What does burning oil mean? Co2 pumped into the atmosphere!
What is the point? Am I the only one apparently missing it?

Want proof the entire country is mental?

Well, I can offer some.
In today's news, we learn that a school in Essex (it had to be Essex, didn't it?) has banned the provision of triangular flapjacks to the inmates.
This follows an incident when "during a food fight", a pupil was hit by a flapjack thrown by a fellow moron.
Now this school is run by a headmaster who, presumably, had to demonstrate possession of more than a couple of neurons when being interviewed for his high salary job.
Well it seems even they have deserted him (or her). Think on this, idiot:
The incident arose when the inmates were throwing food about.
Get a grip of yourself! Sort out the discipline problems your school is obviously beset with.
Punch a few of the inmates between the eyes the next time they think it is clever to throw food around.
That will fix your issues faster than banning traingular flapjacks!
Oh yes, you should perhaps make a note to self; "should attend geometry classes".
While banning triangular shaped food items, he (she (I don't know)) has approved the serving of square or rectangular flapjacks.
Jones Minor thinking "Whoa! If I take a knife and cut the flapjack from this corner to the opposite corner, what have I got? A pair of triangular flapjacks. Shit hot!"
To use the term "thick" to describe the head of this school does a great dis-service to the word "thick"!

Want some more proof?
The government is about to dump some of the finest services this country has; the helicopter borne air/sea rescue service currently operated by HM Coastguard, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The Coastguard is currently being eviscerated anyway with stations being closed, staff being sacked etc.
Don't worry, the services will not just disappear. They are being given to an American company, Bristows, to operate. They are based in Houston. The current operators of the service, mentioned above are based in the United Kingdom. For now, anyway. Who knows when the government will privatise the Navy? Oh. Hang on. The previous lunatics had already begun that process with the Royal Navy operating 3 River class offshore patrol boats leased from BAE systems. That lease arrangement ran from 2003 to 2013 when the government bought the ships from BAE for £39 Million. Given that they cost an average of £20 Million per year in running costs, they seem a tad expensive at a minimum of £239 million.

And how about the railways? The government announced today they are hell bent on the rail privatisation plan they recently screwed up (West Coast lines?) and their first priority is to get the East Coast line back into private hands. 4 years after National Express walked away from it, leaving the tax payer to pick up the tab.

I am going for lie down in a dark room.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Chris Huhne:
Remember him?
"It wasn't me honest... It wasn't me honest... It wasn't me honest... It wasn't me honest..."
"OK fair cop, it was me. I was only kidding" (or looking for another sap to share the dock with).

Well, I don't know about you but I have noticed over the course of the last couple of weeks a number of prominent people such as politicians, limp wristed luvvies and so-called celebrities saying they thought the sentence was too harsh.
Too harsh? Hmmm.
Forget the speeding offence, he was in court and sent down for perverting the course of justice. If he had a half decent lawyer, he would have pointed out the maximum sentence for this is life. That is life as in many years, lots of years in fact. Never mind 8 months!

Anyway, he has recently been moved to a nice comfy lodging at HMP Leyhill; a nice country estate style open prison where he can expect to live in relative comfort, with a few minor irritations.
Other people have served years for the same offence.
Remember Ali Dizaei? The scourge of the Met. He got 4 years for the same offence.
So shut up, all you tree huggers, yogurt knitters and fellow travellers.
Huhne got what was coming to him.
Now let's see how episode 2 works out when the CPS apply for some massive costs.

Yet more government ignorance

Today's news says that David Cameron will announce tomorrow that local councils will be told to keep immigrants off housing lists for 2 years in order to stop them getting immediate access to 'social' housing.
Immigrants are people who have been granted the right to come and live here. Essentially, they have been told the government are happy for them to come and live, work, pay taxes here etc. So, they should go to the bottom of any council housing lists in exactly the same manner as would a British citizen moving from one council's area to another.
Maybe in his Bullingdon club induced trance, he is confusing 'immigrants' with 'illegal immigrants' and 'asylum seekers'.
It is an easy mistake to make if your are racist, elitist and xenphobic into the bargain.
A bit more difficult to explain when you are supposed to be the leader of the government!

Having mentioned the Bullingdon Club, I have to say, I have just found an allegation in the Daily Mirror that as part of a new member's initiation, they have to burn a £50 note in front of a beggar.
Thoroughly good chaps, what!

BBC Reaches New Levels of Silliness

Every day, one of the first things I do is check the BBC News website. Often, I find myself tutting and shaking my head at some of the silly headlines but it seems today, the BBC has reached a new level of silliness.
Reporting this morning on the death of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky yesterday in the "England" section, the headline is "Berezovsky found at Berkshire Home".
No kidding!
That's a bit like saying "Occupant found in his house".

And how is this for an unfortunate choice of language:
Reporting on an ordeal a British woman suffered in her hotel in Agra recently, when she was terrified that the hotel manager was intent on assaulting her sexually, their headline is "Agra hotel jump woman recalls ordeal".
Think about the use of the word "Jump", BBC!

Today's award for clumsy use of the English language is perhaps "Body of man found in snow by farmer".
How about "Man's body found ...etc"?

Maybe they employ ex Premiership footballers as headline writers ("We gave it 120%....We displayed a lot of grit & determination (after losing 10-0)".

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tax and how it hurts (part 1)

A constant source of irritation in this country is tax, whether it be income tax, corporation tax, council tax or maybe the reviled bedroom tax.
This week, in the Chancellor's budget speech we heard "blah blah blah" (or words to that effect) on the subject of tax.
For example; Corporation tax is to be reduced to 20%. Nice! If you have a company earning you a few millions or whatever, you will pay 20% tax on the profits. Of course, the profits will be managed shrewdly and, dare I say, minimised.
So, 20% tax rate. That is the same as you will be taxed on your hard earned wages.
Never mind, let's ignore the rate for now because, in the case of many companies, it will be irrelevant anyway. Look at the record of Starbucks, Google, Amazon et al.
I know tax avoidance is legal; if the government can't frame a set of rules that cover all the loopholes, rather than create them, then they have no business running an enterprise as large as the United Kingdom.
And to think, most of the numties in Westminster went to expensive schools and colleges, graduating with degrees in the likes of Economics, Law, etc. And they can't come up with a set of taxation rules that stop billions of pounds leaking out of the country annually?
To be fair, we shouldn't put 100% of the blame on the inept government. A large share of the blame should be apportioned to those robbers that once were trumpeted as the "Captains of Industry". It seems to me that their collective record borders on the stupid. They run a company for so long, until their incompetence overtakes them and they find themselves staring at declining balance sheets.
"Hmmm. What can we do to continue giving the shareholders a nice return? I know! Flog the company and distribute the winnings as a dividend".
So the company is flogged off, usually to a foreign investor, the board take a handsome salary/payoff and the government clap hands at the "inward foreign investment".
The new foreign owner immediately takes steps to re-locate to somewhere else and the taxes that had previously been going to the Exchequer now disappear.
Now go to Part 2...

Tax and how it hurts (part 2)

Continued .....

So, how about the very public individuals with less than public tax arrangements?

Well, let's start with Tony Blair, that well known multimillionaire 'socialist' (Socialist my arse!). In 2011, his company (or one of them), Windrush Ventures declared an income of something around £12 Million. In their accounts, they listed all the usual expenses such as rents, salaries etc. along with £8 Million "administrative expenses".
The net profit then was just over £1 Million and tax was paid on this at £315,000. Nobody (as far as I can discover) has been able to explain these "administrative costs". If they had been included in the profits, the tax bill would have been an awful lot higher.

Now; pay attention, this could get tedious: Mr Blair is involved in (owns, perhaps?) a series of companies, chief among which appears to be Windrush Ventures No 3 LP. "LP" means Limited Partnership. Limited Partnerships are not required to publish their accounts.

Still with me? Good!
Windrush Ventures No 3 LP is linked to Windrush Ventures No 2 LP and BDBCO no 819 who in turn are linked to BDBCO No 822. Both of these companies are listed as Dormant so let's ignore them for now.
Windrush Ventures No 2 LP is yet another Limited Partnership so forget about any public accounts there!
Next in the chain are Windrush Ventures Ltd and Windrush Ventures No 1 Ltd.

Would you believe it? Windrush Ventures is trading under the name "The Office of Tony Blair". Now I could link this to the relevant website but it is stated on the Terms & Conditions page of that website that I can include links to the site only with their (his?) permission. So bugger them! Just Google the name.
Windrush, in their 2011 accounts, say they are paying £500,000 rent for their premises in Grosvenor Square. I'll bet you a quid you can't figure out who is the owner of that property., Doh! You got me! Of course it is Tony Blair. His own company is paying him to rent his own premises. (Mind you, I did see evidence a couple of years ago that David Cameron was doing the same with his house. Probably the whole rotten crew are doing something similar).

Oh hang on; there's another company named Firerush Ventures. No prizes for guessing who owns that lot (ACL Blair) and how the company fits into a structure including Firerush Ventures No 2 LP and Firerush Ventures No 1 LP.

If you are still awake, the whole saga can be summed up"What a complex web, allegedly set up to manage Mr Blair's charitable affairs"!
Let's go to Part 3 ...

Tax and how it hurts (part 3)

If we think the affairs of Mr Blair are a tad confusing, how about another individual whose affairs are a lot clearer but less savoury?
Let's look at Sir Philip Green. Never mind his early years, they are all available elsewhere.
Let's look a bit nearer to today and a quote from him during the 2010 election run-up:
"Cameron and Osborne understand what needs to be done by giving more tax breaks to dodgers like me They get it."
Yep! Says it all really, doesn't it? "more tax breaks to dodgers like me" indeed!
His various companies seem to be above board, paying the tax due on their operations. Good for them!
However, back in 2005, he declared a dividend in one of his companies, Arcadia, which meant that as the owner of 92% of the shares in that company, he & his family had a £1.2 Billion pay day. How many!
£1.2 Billion, that's how many!
Of course, Sir Philip pays tax on his salary in the UK. So what's the problem?
Well, the company Arcadia is in his wife's name. She lives in Monaco and pays no tax. So the £1.2 Billion went to her account in Monaco and attracted zero tax in this country.
If tax had been paid in the UK on this amount, it is calculated it would have paid for the salaries of 20,000 nurses.
Not to worry though; there is no suggestion that anything he did was illegal.
Under the current 11,000 page tax code now in force, all he did was legal, even if distasteful. He is not alone though; it is reported that there are many rich buggers doing this in the UK; using "legal" tax loopholes.
Luckily for us, the new government in 2010 commissioned a review and report on how to improve government efficiency, including stuff like maximising revenue (tax) and minimising expenditure.
Don't forget, the government drones on day in and day out about the "deficit". This is the difference between government expenditure and income (or taxes). So, one would assume this review would encompass things like tax avoidance loopholes. Bet you it won't. The man appointed to carry out the review was Sir Philip Green!
Nope! I just read the review and tax doesn't get a mention. It is all about how the government spend lots of money on office premises, telephones etc. All depressing reading but not going anywhere near the real issue; a massive hole in the government's tax take.
Back to the corporate robbers; Cadburys was taken over some time ago by the American conglomerate, Kraft. What did Kraft do? Implemented a series of restructuring moves to channel Cadburys profits through Switzerland. According to Uk Uncut, a loss of £60 Million to the revenue.
Diageo is a company better known for its Johnny Walker scotch whiskey brand. Have a look at this report into yet another complex web of comanies here and companies there:
The article reckons that, if the company didn't ponce about and re-route profits etc to offshore operations, the difference in taxes would be the equivalent of the annual tax take from 20,000 households in the UK.
And here is a link (albeit an old one) that gives a clue to the tax arrangements of Tesco:
Isn't it high time we (the silly buggers who foot all the bills) got off our backsides and did something about this? How can we tolerate a government telling us we are a nation of spongers because their tax take is down, while they are going for cocktails, freebie holidays etc with the very people who could make a huge difference to the lives of ordinary, hard working people?

Honest gov, we've got no money!

Well, I have to start somewhere so how about a topical item; the deal allowing West Ham to take over the Olympic Stadium in London's East End.
Now, first get into your head the recent government pronouncements that they have no money.
Skint, broke, nothing hidden under the mattress or in the old biscuit tin.
Got it?
Now, look at this for a government that keeps telling us we are all idle wasters, sponging off the state, spending money we don't have etc:
The cost of building and developing the Olympic Stadium finished up at around £600 Million. Now that is a lot of money but at least it had been budgeted for when plans were drawn up before the games.
Now, it has been announced that West Ham football club will take over the stadium for their new home from 2016.
Before they take up residence, there will need to be modifications and improvements to make it suitable for use as a football stadium; stuff like sliding rows of seats to cover the athletics track, new roof to cover a larger portion of the seating area etc.

The deal announced yesterday includes these costs, expected to be around £150M, possibly (probably?) rising to £190M, the funding of which breaks down roughly as follows:

Contribution from HM Government (aka taxpayers) £60  Million
Contribution from Newham Council (aka taxpayers) £40 Million (a sum that the council has had to borrow)
LLDC (aka taxpayers) £20 Million
West Ham F.C.  £15 Million plus £2M per year rent.
Notice how these sums do not total the guesstimated £150 Million?
They seem to add up to £135 Million but that is using old fashioned arithmetic. Under this government's version of arithmetic they do indeed add up. Honest!
Well, that is what they want us to believe. I am not a betting man but in this case, I will make an exception; the taxpayer will cough up more than £150 Million by the time the dust has settled.
Oh yes, and nobody has factored in the huge expense of maintaining the stadium. I wonder how much Mr & Mrs Taxpayer will be stumping up for that!
So; HM Government repeatedly tell us they have no money to spend on hospitals, the disabled, the unemployed etc.
But they obviously feel quite comfortable about bank rolling a couple of millionaire pornographers, probably worth close to £1 Billion between them.

So there we are; to paraphrase the useless cabinet "Honest gov, we've got no money!".

Back Again!

It is high time I renewed my blogging. There was a hiatus caused by my working abroad in a place where blogging is not necessarily encouraged.
And, since my return to these shores last November, I find the country is in such a bloody state, it is difficult to know where to begin!
What do we have?
Well, government "manipulating" of employment statistics. (Some may call it lying but I am being generous).
Then the attempts to dismantle the National Health Service.
Or how about Tony Blair and his continued war mongering? 10 years after the catastrophe that befell Iraq, he is still advocating war with someone, anyone!
The economy perhaps? Or education maybe? Defence of the Realm?
How about the great British whingeing public? Christ, they can moan! About nothing!
I know! The government plan to create and encourage more misery in the Near East (I was brought up when the Middle East was a long way from the Mediterranean).
I thin kI shall make another cup of coffee and let the blogging begin...