Politicking

May. 6th, 2015 01:09 pm
jacey: (blue eyes)
For all my UK friends as the election draws near. This is my one and only political post. Skip it if the election is driving you nuts already.

I come from Barnsley, Labour heartland, so it's not surprising that I want the current Con-Dem government OUT! Their record is appalling, and their outright lies about Labour causing the economic collapse are simply shameful and their dismembering of the NHS is, frankly, terrifying.

I want:

  • A Britain that's humane, i.e. fairer for all, including the disadvantaged, the underfunded and the sick. (I want an end to the scroungers and the immigrants rhetoric! People on benefits and immigrants are not the problem, and never were.)

  • I want a strong, expanded NHS with all elements of profit for private companies removed from the equation.

  • I want education to return to child-centred-learning, not accountant-centred-learning or 'academies'.

  • I want an end to the kind of austerity that clips the wings of the poor and lets the rich fly high.

  • I want a re-nationalised railway system with fair, affordable ticket prices.

  • I want Generation Rent to be able to afford houses at a sensible price (whether rented or purchased)

  • I want a sensible, sustained approach to renewable energies with a 1 kilometre standoff from housing for wind turbines and subsidies that profit developers reduced and instead offered to householders to make home solutions affordable (ground source heat pumps and PV glass roofs for instance).

  • And I'd really like it if we didn't get involved in any wars for the next few hundred years, please.

OK, I'm not going to get that from any one political party (and, no, I'm not going to start my own), but I'm certainly not going to get it from the Conservatives. They've already proved that, and that particular leopard is unlikely to change its underpants spots. Since none of the other parties is likely to be in a position to form a government I'm voting Labour, even though they don't tick every box on my list. Labour SNP coaltion? Not a problem. Labour/Green? That's OK, too.

Whatever your choice, please, please, please use your vote on Thursday, otherwise you'll get the government you deserve, not the one you want.
jacey: (Default)
Is it just me?

The BBC news this morning said the Jimmy Carr had agreed to cease using LEGAL tax avoidance schemes to reduce his tax bill because HM government is saying that to LEGALLY avoid paying tax is morally reprehensible.

But surely the law is the law. When I was on a business course many years ago it was the accepted theory that you use every legal trick in the book to avoid paying taxes because - well - they're LEGAL. The mantra was that 'tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not'. People pay accountants to find legal ways of reducing their tax bill.

I'm sorry, but if there's a tax loophole the government doesn't like, they should plug it - legally.

I know Jimmy Carr is probably pretty wealthy, and that those of us who are not sometimes really like the idea of a wealthy person being forced to part with money, but if the law applies to one person, it applies to all.

I want to know how the government has the right to name and shame people who are not actually breaking the law. When has the government agreed to set aside the law of the land in order to take a decision which was morally right?

I'd like to see the government looking at a low income family and saying: "Ah, Mr and Mrs Smith, I see that we took £2,556.78 from you in tax last year and that having paid this your five children had to wear shoes that were too small for them because you couldn't afford new ones. We agree that we had the law on our side, but we feel it was morally wrong to take this money from you, so we're giving it back."

Yeah, right!
jacey: (Default)
Is it just me?

The BBC news this morning said the Jimmy Carr had agreed to cease using LEGAL tax avoidance schemes to reduce his tax bill because HM government is saying that to LEGALLY avoid paying tax is morally reprehensible.

But surely the law is the law. When I was on a business course many years ago it was the accepted theory that you use every legal trick in the book to avoid paying taxes because - well - they're LEGAL. The mantra was that 'tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not'. People pay accountants to find legal ways of reducing their tax bill.

I'm sorry, but if there's a tax loophole the government doesn't like, they should plug it - legally.

I know Jimmy Carr is probably pretty wealthy, and that those of us who are not sometimes really like the idea of a wealthy person being forced to part with money, but if the law applies to one person, it applies to all.

I want to know how the government has the right to name and shame people who are not actually breaking the law. When has the government agreed to set aside the law of the land in order to take a decision which was morally right?

I'd like to see the government looking at a low income family and saying: "Ah, Mr and Mrs Smith, I see that we took £2,556.78 from you in tax last year and that having paid this your five children had to wear shoes that were too small for them because you couldn't afford new ones. We agree that we had the law on our side, but we feel it was morally wrong to take this money from you, so we're giving it back."

Yeah, right!
jacey: (Default)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] mevennen  has written a clear and succinct post on the benefits of a national health care system in the light of the recent death of Melissa Mia Hall in the USA, who stayed at home and died of a heart attack because she feared huge medical bills if she sought help for her chest pain.

I could post about why a civilised country without an affordable system of health care for all its citizens in no civilised country at all, but Mevennen has said it already. If you are American and if you are confused about the lies some of your politicians are telling you about British National Health please read this.

http://mevennen.livejournal.com/828534.html?#cutid1

To Mevennen's excellent post I will just add that I have had private health cover in the days when I was younger and fitter and my business could afford the premiums. In all the time I paid the premiums I had a couple of eye consultations for which no treatment was required, a course of physiotherapy (after an accident) and one minor investigative (day) procedure in a very nice hospital with a private room.

Even though I had private health insurance I still continued with my excellent NHS GP at the local health centre as my primary care advisor and the initial go-to guy for any illness, infection, flu or accidental damage and also for regular well-woman screenings (which revealed my diabetes). The NHS also dealt with my medical emergencies because my private healthcare hospital didn't have A & E (ER) facilities. So the NHS saved my life when I had an anaphylactic reaction; fixed and strapped up my dislocated shoulder; x-rayed my leg when I tore a ligament and set my broken wrist and followed up with a course of physio.

When I turned fifty the private health care premiums rose beyond my ability to pay and so it was the NHS that continued to deal with my late onset diabetes and my hypothyroid condition with regular check-ups and daily drugs that come without even a prescription charge because without them I will die.

Along with the rest of the female population in my age group I also get regular breast cancer screening and (available for everybody at a certain age) a bowel cancer screen. I can also get basic dentistry on the NHS, and my husband still does, though I choose not to.

It was the NHS that dealt with the last stages of my father's bone cancer when the private medical insurance that his managerial job paid for said he was at the upper limit of his benefits and they wouldn't continue to pay for his treatment. The transition from private to public health care was seamless and he even continued with the same consultant onchologist - only now funded by the state (and his years of paying a small, regular amount of 'national insurance' into the system deducted at source from his wages).

The NHS has been good to me and mine and though I know the system isn't perfect I continue in good health while managing conditions that would have killed me twenty years ago had the care not been available at an affordable price.

The cost? A small percentage of income, which not only pays for health insurance, but also covers state pension contributions. As a self-employed person on a small income I pay less than ten pounds per month for all that. Even if I were unemployed or at home caring for a family or loved one and without income, I would still get all the health care benefits at no cost. I'm covered, cradle to grave. I will never have to choose between health and keeping a roof over my head.

Americans... ask your govenment why this system is not available to you.
jacey: (Default)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] mevennen  has written a clear and succinct post on the benefits of a national health care system in the light of the recent death of Melissa Mia Hall in the USA, who stayed at home and died of a heart attack because she feared huge medical bills if she sought help for her chest pain.

I could post about why a civilised country without an affordable system of health care for all its citizens in no civilised country at all, but Mevennen has said it already. If you are American and if you are confused about the lies some of your politicians are telling you about British National Health please read this.

http://mevennen.livejournal.com/828534.html?#cutid1

To Mevennen's excellent post I will just add that I have had private health cover in the days when I was younger and fitter and my business could afford the premiums. In all the time I paid the premiums I had a couple of eye consultations for which no treatment was required, a course of physiotherapy (after an accident) and one minor investigative (day) procedure in a very nice hospital with a private room.

Even though I had private health insurance I still continued with my excellent NHS GP at the local health centre as my primary care advisor and the initial go-to guy for any illness, infection, flu or accidental damage and also for regular well-woman screenings (which revealed my diabetes). The NHS also dealt with my medical emergencies because my private healthcare hospital didn't have A & E (ER) facilities. So the NHS saved my life when I had an anaphylactic reaction; fixed and strapped up my dislocated shoulder; x-rayed my leg when I tore a ligament and set my broken wrist and followed up with a course of physio.

When I turned fifty the private health care premiums rose beyond my ability to pay and so it was the NHS that continued to deal with my late onset diabetes and my hypothyroid condition with regular check-ups and daily drugs that come without even a prescription charge because without them I will die.

Along with the rest of the female population in my age group I also get regular breast cancer screening and (available for everybody at a certain age) a bowel cancer screen. I can also get basic dentistry on the NHS, and my husband still does, though I choose not to.

It was the NHS that dealt with the last stages of my father's bone cancer when the private medical insurance that his managerial job paid for said he was at the upper limit of his benefits and they wouldn't continue to pay for his treatment. The transition from private to public health care was seamless and he even continued with the same consultant onchologist - only now funded by the state (and his years of paying a small, regular amount of 'national insurance' into the system deducted at source from his wages).

The NHS has been good to me and mine and though I know the system isn't perfect I continue in good health while managing conditions that would have killed me twenty years ago had the care not been available at an affordable price.

The cost? A small percentage of income, which not only pays for health insurance, but also covers state pension contributions. As a self-employed person on a small income I pay less than ten pounds per month for all that. Even if I were unemployed or at home caring for a family or loved one and without income, I would still get all the health care benefits at no cost. I'm covered, cradle to grave. I will never have to choose between health and keeping a roof over my head.

Americans... ask your govenment why this system is not available to you.
jacey: (Default)
To Simon Reevell, MP

Dear Mr Reevell

I'm concerned to see that you voted to support the forest sell-off. I can't believe that any person with an interest in heritage and the countryside could possibly think that selling the future of the country is a great idea. It's so short-sighted. We may gain a few pounds now, but once it's gone it's gone.

I strongly urge you to vote to save our forests for the nation. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it, and so will mine.

I hope that you can write back to me and explain your reasons for supporting the sell-off, and that you will seriously reconsider your position.

Kind regards,

[me]

So did your MP vote for the big sell-off, too?
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/Save_Our_Forests_-_Your_MP_voted_to_sell_our_forests?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d4c43020b420a33%2C0
jacey: (Default)
To Simon Reevell, MP

Dear Mr Reevell

I'm concerned to see that you voted to support the forest sell-off. I can't believe that any person with an interest in heritage and the countryside could possibly think that selling the future of the country is a great idea. It's so short-sighted. We may gain a few pounds now, but once it's gone it's gone.

I strongly urge you to vote to save our forests for the nation. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it, and so will mine.

I hope that you can write back to me and explain your reasons for supporting the sell-off, and that you will seriously reconsider your position.

Kind regards,

[me]

So did your MP vote for the big sell-off, too?
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/Save_Our_Forests_-_Your_MP_voted_to_sell_our_forests?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d4c43020b420a33%2C0
jacey: (Default)
I don't often post party political stuff, My vote is my own and your vote is your own, but should you be a UK voter and considering voting BNP on Thursday could I please ask you to read this first. Thank you.
http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/showthread.php?31638-A-word-on-the-policies-of-the-BNP
jacey: (Default)
I don't often post party political stuff, My vote is my own and your vote is your own, but should you be a UK voter and considering voting BNP on Thursday could I please ask you to read this first. Thank you.
http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/showthread.php?31638-A-word-on-the-policies-of-the-BNP
jacey: (Default)
So this morning on Radio4 I hear that the population of the UK is soon to be at its highest ever. They predict 70 million mainly due to increased lifespan, so we're not just expecting a larger population, we're expecting a higher proportion of elderly. (The number of people reaching 100 multiplying by 7, apparently!)

At the same time I hear that they are intending to raise retirement age even higher. (Currently 65, though its still in the transition stage of rising from 60 to 65 for women.)

So say they raise the retirement age to 70, what happens then?

1) Yes, the government saves on pension payouts for all those people who have paid into the national system expecting to be able to reap the rewards at age 65... but...
2) The job market is flooded with 'elderly' people. (Bear in mind folks are often turned down for jobs in their 50s because employers consider them to be too old).
3) Unemployment rises so those governmental pension savings are drained by people on unemployment benefits. (Unless they intend to cut that too, in which case we see a sharp rise in the number of beggars on street corners.)
4) For every 65+ person still in a job there's a young person not only unemployed, but also losing the habit and expectation of employment and therefore losing the work ethic.
5) Elderly people in physically strenuous jobs (builders, farmers, steelworkers, coalminers etc.) are much more likely to be less effective at what they do and probably end up on extended sick leave if they can't keep up with younger workmates - still further adding to the benefits bill.

Is there something wrong with my logic? Doesn't it make sense that if there are not enough jobs to go round, you let the young people have them in order to get a good start in life and let the people who have paid their dues take a rest if they want to? Or - lest their expertise be lost - put them in mentoring roles if appropriate. They may not be as fit or as fast, but they have a wealth of knowledge and commonsense.

You see, I'm not saying people should be forcibly retired at 65 or at any age, but I do think we all deserve a choice. Let people work for as long as they can and as long as they wish to and as long as they are doing a good job for their employers, but if they want to retire at 65, or even 60, then let them do it.

Don't force the problem of a geriatric and ailing workforce on employers - especially on small businesses who can't afford to cover the cost of having people on extended sick leave or paying full rate for people who have slowed down and don't give such good value for money any more. Many people are still fit and active at 70, but many are not. Even those who are physically fit slow down at that age. It's OK for those folks who sit behind a desk, but what about labourers - especially those working outdoors through a British winter? I have a builder friend - a fabulous stonemason - now 65 and rarely ill, but he says he doesn't want to be working on roofs any more or lifting such heavy blocks of stone. He's lucky, he's self-employed and can turn down a job if it's not within his present physical capabilities, but if he had a boss it would be understandable if that boss was pissed off at any employee who refused to do the full spectrum of work, yet couldn't be sacked in favour of employing a younger man.

Lest this sound like an ageist rant, let me say that I do believe people of all ages add value to our society and that the over 65s have just as much right to their lifestyle of choice as anyone. I'm staring my 60s in the face - or will be pretty soon - and I don't intend to retire, but then, I'm also self-employed and sit behind a desk in the comfort of my own home.

How about using the expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm of the over 60s in more appropriate ways? Have a staged retirement plan. Don't force them, but allow people to retire at 60 or 65 if they wish, but with a part-time mentoring job or an enhanced pension for doing volunteer work in the community (anything from managerial to manual). Surely that would enrich lives as well as enriching communities.

If that prediction of 70 million is accurate, then were going to have to start reassessing the way we approach employment, unemployment, underemployment and retirement in this country. Raising the retirement age is going to cause more problems than it solves.
jacey: (Default)
So this morning on Radio4 I hear that the population of the UK is soon to be at its highest ever. They predict 70 million mainly due to increased lifespan, so we're not just expecting a larger population, we're expecting a higher proportion of elderly. (The number of people reaching 100 multiplying by 7, apparently!)

At the same time I hear that they are intending to raise retirement age even higher. (Currently 65, though its still in the transition stage of rising from 60 to 65 for women.)

So say they raise the retirement age to 70, what happens then?

1) Yes, the government saves on pension payouts for all those people who have paid into the national system expecting to be able to reap the rewards at age 65... but...
2) The job market is flooded with 'elderly' people. (Bear in mind folks are often turned down for jobs in their 50s because employers consider them to be too old).
3) Unemployment rises so those governmental pension savings are drained by people on unemployment benefits. (Unless they intend to cut that too, in which case we see a sharp rise in the number of beggars on street corners.)
4) For every 65+ person still in a job there's a young person not only unemployed, but also losing the habit and expectation of employment and therefore losing the work ethic.
5) Elderly people in physically strenuous jobs (builders, farmers, steelworkers, coalminers etc.) are much more likely to be less effective at what they do and probably end up on extended sick leave if they can't keep up with younger workmates - still further adding to the benefits bill.

Is there something wrong with my logic? Doesn't it make sense that if there are not enough jobs to go round, you let the young people have them in order to get a good start in life and let the people who have paid their dues take a rest if they want to? Or - lest their expertise be lost - put them in mentoring roles if appropriate. They may not be as fit or as fast, but they have a wealth of knowledge and commonsense.

You see, I'm not saying people should be forcibly retired at 65 or at any age, but I do think we all deserve a choice. Let people work for as long as they can and as long as they wish to and as long as they are doing a good job for their employers, but if they want to retire at 65, or even 60, then let them do it.

Don't force the problem of a geriatric and ailing workforce on employers - especially on small businesses who can't afford to cover the cost of having people on extended sick leave or paying full rate for people who have slowed down and don't give such good value for money any more. Many people are still fit and active at 70, but many are not. Even those who are physically fit slow down at that age. It's OK for those folks who sit behind a desk, but what about labourers - especially those working outdoors through a British winter? I have a builder friend - a fabulous stonemason - now 65 and rarely ill, but he says he doesn't want to be working on roofs any more or lifting such heavy blocks of stone. He's lucky, he's self-employed and can turn down a job if it's not within his present physical capabilities, but if he had a boss it would be understandable if that boss was pissed off at any employee who refused to do the full spectrum of work, yet couldn't be sacked in favour of employing a younger man.

Lest this sound like an ageist rant, let me say that I do believe people of all ages add value to our society and that the over 65s have just as much right to their lifestyle of choice as anyone. I'm staring my 60s in the face - or will be pretty soon - and I don't intend to retire, but then, I'm also self-employed and sit behind a desk in the comfort of my own home.

How about using the expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm of the over 60s in more appropriate ways? Have a staged retirement plan. Don't force them, but allow people to retire at 60 or 65 if they wish, but with a part-time mentoring job or an enhanced pension for doing volunteer work in the community (anything from managerial to manual). Surely that would enrich lives as well as enriching communities.

If that prediction of 70 million is accurate, then were going to have to start reassessing the way we approach employment, unemployment, underemployment and retirement in this country. Raising the retirement age is going to cause more problems than it solves.
jacey: (Default)
I know I'm preaching to the converted when I'm talking to folks on my flist, but what about the rest of America? Wake up, you buggers, and do something about this - for Crystal Lee and all the ones like her that it's NOT too late to save.

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/norma-rae-dead-68-after-two-year-stru

I am so relieved to be British at times like this. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that some British patients are sometimes not treated with expensive drugs for financial reasons, and that's appalling, but at least the decision is taken by a team of doctors who balance up cost against likely success. It's NOT taken by a freaking insurance company.
jacey: (Default)
I know I'm preaching to the converted when I'm talking to folks on my flist, but what about the rest of America? Wake up, you buggers, and do something about this - for Crystal Lee and all the ones like her that it's NOT too late to save.

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/norma-rae-dead-68-after-two-year-stru

I am so relieved to be British at times like this. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that some British patients are sometimes not treated with expensive drugs for financial reasons, and that's appalling, but at least the decision is taken by a team of doctors who balance up cost against likely success. It's NOT taken by a freaking insurance company.
jacey: (Default)
For electing Obama.

The world is a more optimistic place this morning.

Now comes the hard part... so good luck Mr. New President.
jacey: (Default)
For electing Obama.

The world is a more optimistic place this morning.

Now comes the hard part... so good luck Mr. New President.

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