Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Tomorrow vote UKIP

The promises are all in and we are now in a position to decide who to vote for in tomorrow's general election.

The Tories have pledged to freeze income tax, national insurance and VAT and to reduce the deficit to zero over the next five years. They will also raise the inheritance tax threashold to one million pounds and the tax free personal allowance to £12,500.   They have also promised a referendum on EU membership by 2017. Also a vote-swayer is their plan to allow housing association tenants to have the same rights to buy as council house tenants. There are more than a million HA tenants - that's got to be an attractive policy for them.

Both the Tories and the Lib Dems have promised £8bn more for the NHS - without saying quite where that money will come from.

The Lib Dems would put a "mansion tax" on houses worth more than two million pounds.

Labour have made a similar promise on tax freezes but not on IHT or the personal allowance and will raise the minimum wage to £8 per hour. The Greens would make it £10 per hour. Labour would cut University fees to £6,000 per years; the Greens would make Universities free.

Miliband has pledged no deal with the SNP. The SNP has pledged no deal with the Tories. The Lib Dems will deal with anyone.

In 2010 this blog endorsed the British National Party. However the BNP has effectively imploded after the expulsion of former leader Nick Griffin. They are only standing 8 candidates nationally, compared to 339 back in 2010. So as a force they are now spent. UKIP is now occupying their ground and Nigel Farrage is on record as saying that UKIP is the "same as the BNP only without the racism." (The BNP is not actually racist though.) So, for being sound on what matters - not the ephemera of taxing and spending, but the existential matters of Europe and immigration - this blog recommends its readers to vote UKIP.

That said, it's quite likely UKIP will get ten to fifteen percent of the vote but only return two or three MPs to Westminster, while the SNP will get 4% and return 50 MPs. But even if there is no chance of UKIP winning in your area you should still vote UKIP because 1) it encourages the candidates when they get support and makes them likely to stand again in the future, and 2) a large percentage of the overall vote gives UKIP moral authority and affects how other parties will behave in government.

And you never know, UKIP may wildly exceed expectation and get a landslide of MPs.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Tories promise not to raise taxes

All parties are bleeding out election promises at the moment, trying to control the news agenda and maintain momentum until the general election next week. Perhaps it's desperation, but suddenly some rather serious promises are being made. The Tories have just pledged not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT for the life of the next parliament, and to enact a law which ties their own hands so they cannot break their promise.

This is quite a generous promise. Of course they can still raise taxes on banks and oil companies but with that pledge in place its gets quite difficult to scalp the ordinary citizen harder. They would be reduced to inflating the minor taxes such as duty on cigarettes, and alcohol and car tax.

Ironically, they have to promise to enact this promise in law because otherwise everyone will assume they'll just break it in office; let's not forget five years ago they promised to abolish national insurance and it's still there. Which leaves the wanna-be Tory MPs telling interviewers that this a special promise they are not going to break while at the same not admitting they've ever broken any promise.

Still, it's a pretty good promise. Over to you Labour, let's see you raise that!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Hound of Hounslow and legal domain

Navinder Singh Sarao is thought by the Americans to have triggered the 2010 "flash crash" in the US stock markets wiping more than half a trillion dollars off share prices, albeit only for a few minutes. The Americans previously investigated the flash crash and claimed it was just a glitch in the system. Now though, they have fingered "Nav" and want to extradite him.

There is an issue here of legal domain. If Nav broke the law did he break UK law or US law. If he broke US law then that is not an issue because US law does not apply in the UK. If he broke UK law then he should be charged and tried in the UK. Either way there is no substance to a request for extradition to America.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Tower Hamlets mayor deposed

This chancer....

...mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, has had his election declared void by the High Court. The court found he used corrupt and illegal practices to seize power. The post has been declared vacant and Rahman has been hit with £250,000 costs, although seemingly no actual punishment.

Rahman played the Islam card and the Black card but all to no avail. The judge said, "Even in the multicultural society which is 21st century Britain, the law must be applied fairly and equally to everyone. Otherwise we are lost."

Sadly the Bangladesh-born Rahman will probably not be deported.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Things we won't say about race that are true

Trevor Philips, ex-CEHR chairman and boogey man of nationalists, has come out with his Channel 4 programme in which he thinks he breaks all the taboos and says all the unsayable things.

Pakistani muslims groom and rape under-aged girls; Turks import heroin; Colombians import cocaine; blacks commit violent crime and Jews are rich and powerful - he says it all, backs it up with stats, and says we should stare these facts in the face and it's not racist or politically incorrect to say them.

New immigrant, new danger

Philips seems to have overlooked the nationalist awakening of the last decade and thinks he is saying something new and bold (although he does, near the end, attend a UKIP meeting where hundreds of people who saw the light years before him were congregated.) We get to see the infamous interview with Nigel Farrage which exercised the media so much a few days ago but the killer "race discrimination" question was cut out. Nigel is left saying British jobs for British workers is UKIP policy and the Party is otherwise colour blind, which is fairly innocuous.

Philips also has a rare-these-days interview with Tony Blair who had nothing interesting to say and just stuck to the "immigration is good" line. He would. He's hardly likely to say: Sorry I wrecked the country.

After acknowledging that racial stereotypes are basically true you might think Philips would go on to draw the obvious conclusion that immigration is a bad thing and we have clasped vipers to our bosom. But no, once he has said what he considers unsayable but would be commonplace in any whites-only conversation, he does not recommend a solution along the lines of when in a hole stop digging. Instead he goes off to find some immigrant success stories to mitigate the whole situation.

He finds a school where 40+ ethnicities are represented and is delighted to hear from the headmistress that the ethnics are more successful that the native English. The head (who is native English, naturally) says she has devoted years to each of the ethnic groups, focusing on one then the next, raising their standards, and now she actually needs to put some effort into the English who have fallen behind.

Both she and Philips seem quite smug that the English are behind the others. Philips seems oblivious to the fact that if we had not had mass immigration the under-performing Brits would have had all the attention all the time, and judging by the fact the school seemed to be 90% ethnic, a much more favourable pupil/teacher ratio.

In short Philips seems unable to move from the facts he acknowledges: immigrants commit proportionately vastly more crime and absorb more resources in schools, to the conclusion that we should not therefore have immigration. He seems to think that some immigrants being successful justifies all of them being here; whereas in fact even successful immigrants are bad for Britain because they still take jobs, occupy houses and congest the roads.

And that is even if we disregard the predatory nature of immigrant crime and the occasional country-wide rioting and a few bombings and beheadings. Trevor didn't mention riots or beheading, although the London bombings did get a look in.

In the conclusion to his programme Trevor Philips should have said: If the native British had any sense they would get rid of the  lot of us - we either prey on them criminally or outcompete them.

He didn't say that. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

But Christmas comes anyway.

Budget 2015

Yesterday George Osborne delivered his last budget of the parliament, and if he got it wrong his last ever. It was widely touted as the give-away budget to buy our votes in the coming election, just 48 days off now.

He started by recapping how wonderfully he had managed the economy in the last year; noting that he had finally paid off the South Sea Bubble and the First World War and was putting Lloyds Bank, Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley back in the private sector, or at least their mortgages books in the case of B&B which is long dead and buried (zero compensation given to the shareholders after the "good" part of the bank was sold off.) He also revealed that the national debt was at last going down, but only as a share of GDP, not in real numbers, and not quite yet, but this year for sure.

The new forecast to eliminate the deficit and stop Britain living on borrowed money is 2019/20. (In his first budget in 2010 he promised to have that done by now.) It seems 2019/20 is the year everything turns good: the deficit is gone, there's a budget surplus and austerity ends (which means departmental spending starts getting upgraded in line with inflation.)

So the goods times were five years ahead when this government came to power five years ago and they are still five years ahead now.

But it must be admitted the give-aways were quite good. Corporation tax is being cut to 20%; north sea oil taxes are being cut to compensate the industry for falls in oil prices; a new help-to-buy (your first house) ISA is being introduced to which the government will add £50 for every £200 the saver puts in - up to a maximum of £3000 of government contributions. This 25% uplift is equivalent to saving your house deposit from gross income rather than taxed income.

This new ISA will be introduced in the autumn, which means it may never happen.

The chancellor is also making the first £1000 of savings interest tax free (only £500 for higher rate tax payers). This sounds pretty good since with the tiny savings rates on offer these days most people will never even earn £1000 of savings interest. However it could be difficult to administer. Tax is deducted from interest at source. So either the banks will have to start paying gross interest, or every saver will have to claim back their tax, which would be awkward because George has just abolished the annual tax return.

Osborne also took a few side swipes at Ed Miliband personally. He made reference to the "two kitchens" it turns out he has; the deed of variation he used to avoid tax when he inherited his parents' house, and his falling out with his brother.

"Two kitchens" may even stick as a nickname; it's sufficiently gauche, like Milipede himeself.

Bizarrely the junior coalition member, the Lib Dems, have produced their own "counter-budget" today; transported to parliament by Chief Secy to the Treasury Danny Alexander (aka ginger-haired muppet, if that helps place him for you) who stood at the government dispatch box and used government parliamentry time to present a party political broadcast - which is a serious breach of the rules.

It looks like the Lib Dem MPs are going to vote for the government's budget despite having a different one of their own. Lib Dem creditbility will not be affected because it is already on zero.

Of course, with the general election looming in six weeks' time the whole budget may be a non-starter. A new government would certainly present a new budget soon after being elected. And now that we have fixed five year parliaments we are doomed to have one of these fake budgets every election year.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Farage puts foot in it

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has done a minor boo-boo. In an interview with former CEHR (Commision for Equality and Human Rights) boss and big-headed git Trevor Philips Nige said words to the effect of: British jobs for British workers (something Gordon Brown also said but never legislated for) and of course Trev immediately started on about skin colour and race and managed to get Nige to say that discrimination on the grounds of race would be allowed by a UKIP government. This is almost certainly not what Nigel meant but journalists trip up Our Nige and his merry band quite easily.

Current "equality" law in the UK is a compete mess. The 2010 Equalities Act makes it illegal to "discriminate" in employment or the provision of a public service on the grounds of nine protected characteristics: race, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, religion, pregnancy and gender reassignment. "Discriminate" means provide less advantageous conditions on the grounds of a protected characteristic. The Act goes on for a hundred pages of turgid and impenetrable prose. It works on the kitchen sink principle of just keep writing and eventually you will cover everything.

Prima facie it doesn't look like nationality is in there. But it is. The definition of race includes racial group, ethnicity and nationality. The fact that nationality has nothing to do with race seems to have eluded the people who wrote the law.

However if you want to discriminate on the grounds of red-headedness or left-handedness that's fine; they forgot about those things. You can also discriminate against short people, unless of course they are so short they could be deemed disabled.

The law does allow a certain amount of discrimination against white people; not in jobs directly, but in giving places on training courses leading to jobs. You are allowed to reserve training course places for ethnic minorities and of course the ones who have done the course are more likely to get the job at the end.

Nigel rightly wants the whole dog's breakfast torn up and started over. Listing the grounds on which you are not allowed to discriminate is a never ending task. There will always be more to add. Better would be a more generalised don't discriminate on any irrelevant grounds. For example when hiring a worker you would be expected to discriminate by education, experience, ability etc, but not hair colour.

The issue of nationality is a bit more contentious. Nationality is not something that would directly affect a person's ability to do a job, but the concept of a nation state is inherently discriminatory. If you are a citizen of a country you have the right to live/work/vote there and other people do not. Other people do of course have their own countries where they can live/work/vote. The UK is our country, run and paid for by us the British citizenry for our own benefit. Discrimination on the grounds of nationality is therefore reasonable.