So what is new?

As we are just over through way through the party conference season here in the UK. So what has been the main policy announcements?

For the Liberal Democrat’s free school meals for all children in years 1 and 2 saving parents about £400 a year per child. The scheme will cost the tax payer around £600m per year. The announcement was welcomed by the Child Poverty Action Group, many parents, and the Chair of Local Caterers Association. It was seized upon by the opposition because not only those parents of the less well off would receive the benefit so would sons and daughters of rich bankers, footballers and millionaires. It sort of made the policy rather bananas! As one group stated “There is no such thing as free lunch, especially one doled out by a politician”. This announcement means taxing those on low and middle incomes to pay for hand-outs to affluent families. It’s incredible to see it proposed by Nick Clegg, who was, until very recently, rightly arguing against universal benefits for wealthy households.

Twenty months will tell if this is the right policy or if polls are correct and the Lib Dems seats in parliament as predicted will be halved.

The big announcement from Labour was a 20 month freeze of gas and electricity prize while reforming the power regulator. Tories and powers companies were quick to point out ‘Red Ed’ was back and Labour were taking us back to the 1970’s, with power cuts and black-outs. The big energy companies fail to mention they have been over charging business and domestic customers by manipulating the market by a tune of 125m per year for at least the last 5 years.

The Tories would ever admit to do such as thing because it would be an acknowledgement that privatising the energy market was a complete failure. Michael Portillo on this Thursday’s ‘This Week’ stated it made on economic sense to fix prices. So all those -like myself – who have been on a fixed pricing plan (in my case 2 years) don’t know about economics? The point is the policy may help those who pay day-to-day via meters. Many already have fixed term deals so I hardly think the lights will go out!

Buried within these announcements was a commitment to lower the voting age to 16.

Not wanting to be outdone the Conservative Party would like to take the country back to the 19th century by announcing tax breaks for married couples. The prime minister said four million couples would benefit from a £1,000 transferable tax allowance from 2015. Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the policy recognised the value of the institution of marriage.

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said: “David Cameron’s so-called marriage tax break won’t even help two-thirds of married couples, let alone millions of people who are separated, widowed or divorced.

“He’s so out of touch he thinks people will get married for £3.85 a week.”

The battle lines for the next general election have been drawn – only 20 months to go!

Sex, Porn and the Internet

This week vigilante anti-paedophile Letzgo Hunting claimed their first success with James Stone, 24 jailed at Nottingham Crown Court for sexual offences. Members of the group posed as a schoolgirl during web chats. Letzgo Hunting said they became involved after the 15-year-old girl’s mother came to them over grooming concerns.

What should we think of such groups? Are they providing the public a service the police does not? I can’t really say! I however will argue that they have a warped idea of a paedophile. The paedophile has a psychiatric disorder in which persons 16 years of age or older have an interest toward prepubescent children generally age 11 years or younger, not 15 year old girls. The media has bended this word ‘paedophile’ I think because it sounds dirtier, more evil, this in turn has given a false idea and mind set to groups such as Letzgo Hunting.

Parents maybe worried about sex and porn on the web, on smart phone and its effects on children. Parents and governments response is the say tech companies should act more responsible. I’m going to argue against this! In all the debate on this problem I never have heard that parents should take more responsibility. Why does your child need the latest iphone? Why do they need a TV in their room? Why, do they need a computer in their room? They don’t! The internet and your internet connection are not evil. People may them to do bad things, like people who use knives can also do bad things but you can’t legislate for evil internet connections!

Not everyone who watches porn on their computer is a paedophile, porn also does not make your internet connection evil. Your internet provider is only providing the connection so you can connect to the internet. What and how you use it is up to you! Technology brings more responsibility as a parent and this is the pay-off you pay for having technology.

Is Equalities killing feminism?

Comment: News today brings the resignation of Britain’s senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien after being accused of inappropriate conduct to other priests. At the same time police are looking into activity of former Liberal Democrat chief Lord Rennard following claims of sexual impropriety. This all comes after the Jimmy Savile sex scandal and the 300+ women making claims against the dead DJ’s estate.
There is a real problem however for the police to sort out what is genuine and what is not. Currently, the media and public don’t want to question any of the allegations these women bring to out attention. Are all the them true? Can we really understand or know what happened 20 or 30 years ago. Do people preceptions of the event change? Making such comments would be unpopular. Being a sceptic I listened to one such allegation concernign Mr Savile and it did not all add up.  This example, the women involved stated Mr Savile put his arms around her…yet nothing else happened.

I’m not saying Mr Savile, Lord Rennard’s or Cardinal Keith O’Brien are innocent but we should be a little slower to accepted with our 2013 values what was wrong in the 1970’s and 80’s. We all know that those in power abuse their power and position- so we should not be surprised by such stories involving celebrities and politicians.

Yet, the constant witch hunt by the media on such matters not only undermines equality as the general public and become sceptical and switch off as these stories are constantly in the media then the genuine women (and men) of sexual abuse will not be heard.

Update

Comment: It’s been some time since the last update – we have been too busy working our buts off and paying our tax! Unlike some we know! Lots happening in the poltical world. Our mate Mr George Osborne is under pressure after Moody’s cut  the  UK lending rate from triple A.

laura

This has moved the debate to the right for a group of Tory benchers who are now pushing for greater austerity to fund tax cuts (for the rich) while the Lib Dems want more spending. Really, there is no real answer – at the end of the current governemts 5 year reign the UK will have a larger debt and crumbling public services.

 

To cheer us up – The Mirror a few days ago published the story of psychology teacher Laura Butler (right) . I can’t really say she was leading a double life (as the Mirror did)  teacher by day and lingerie model by night because really… who cares? A teacher with two jobs, one as a model. Shocking ! Good luck Miss Butler you look great and I’m sure you are a great teacher. Brains and great looks – two great assests!

 

 

What happened to idealism?

Comment: I’m not a fan of Owen Jones as sometimes out of his mouth pops a load of rubbish however he raises some interesting points in his article in ‘i’.

He asks the question: what has happened to idealism? Where is the Nye Bevin or Clement Attlee of today’s politics?

Today’s politics, according to Jones is dominated by ‘professionalised political elite’ that would fail an image test down the pub. The Sutton Trust would seem to back up his conclusion:

  • Over a third of politicians elected in 2010 were educated in private schools
  • One in five new MP’s already worked in Westminster
  • Politicians are in the top 5% of earners.

Take David Milliband who according to Jones reading the Register of Member Interests would lead any mere moral convince he would have little time for his constituents.  Whatever, his political career has made him a rich man.

We can agree with Jones that modern politics is run on consensus policies , with the opposition doing little to challenge to the established power of the day.

No Booze we are British

It seems moves to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in the UK have run into trouble. Last week doctors’ leaders said a price of 50p per unit was needed to have any impact on people’s health.  David Cameron is championing the plans but others in the government are not so keen.

Comment: Latest reports involving 28 focus groups feel the measure will hit moderate drinkers and will do little to reduce binge-drinking. In-fact, some like the free-market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute believe any reduction in binge-drinking is based on ‘false assumptions and wild speculation’.

Time for America to make up its mind

Comment

The American election is around the corner and American’s will have to choose incumbent Barack Obama or his Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Whatever is the outcome the economy will hold both the key the Whitehouse and what happens beyond into 2017. Many would argue Obama’s presidency has been a rather lacklustre, starting off fine but not delivering its full potential. Under current economic circumstance would Romney do much better is the big question?

It’s going to be hard for any American President to deliver over the coming years as the economic power shifts from the West to the East. We yet may see in the coming years a decline in living standards both in the States and Europe. The outlook is not looking good!