Friday, 28 August 2009

Illegal immigrants to be asset stripped

Bystander is a magistrate, probably somewhere in London, who writes an anonymous blog about the cases he tries and other topical issues at the lower end of the criminal justice system. He's always an interesting read, although tends towards the Liberal.

Today he has reported something new to me. (See: A Bit Harsh.) An illegal immigrant was brought before him for a Confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime case. The crime in this case was working without having a valid visa, and the "proceeds" were the man's wages which he'd earned on various building sites, having paid tax and NI. A police raid on his home found his savings in cash and these were confiscated.

This is actually a civil case operating on a "balance of probability" level of proof. Additionally, since it's "civil" there is no legal aid - if you can't afford a lawyer you're on your own.

This raises a couple of serious concerns. First, how can it be right to apply a criminal sanction, in this case forfeiture of cash, when no criminal conviction has taken place. There used to be "checks and balances" - on one hand an accused person risked his property or liberty but on the other hand he was protected by a presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial, legal representation, and conviction could only be beyond reasonable doubt. Now much of the protection has been removed but the sanction remains.

Second, what exactly are the proceeds of a crime? In this case the illegal immigrant was paid for construction work; he wouldn't have been paid if he hadn't worked. He gave genuine value for the money he received. The money wasn't stolen or defrauded from the employer; it doesn't derive from the "victim" of the crime therefore I would argue it isn't actually a "proceed".

If a salesman drove around for a day in a car with an expired tax disc would his sales be the proceeds of crime? If an office worker jumped a railway ticket barrier would his day's salary be the proceed of a crime.

In Bystander's case if the illegal immigrant had not committed the crime of failing to obtain a work permit, ie he had obtained a work permit, he would have received the same remuneration for working. Generally I don't think anything can be the "proceed" of a crime if it would have been obtained without the crime being committed. The only "proceed" is the amount saved by committing the crime, ie, the price of a tax disk or rail fare.

One could argue of course that the illegal immigrant would never have qualified for a work permit and therefore all his earnings are the proceeds of a crime, however this is supposition. We cannot know for sure that he would never have obtained a permit therefore we cannot know how much of his earnings is the result of the crime.

We have seen before overweening governments attempting to extract money from citizens on the pretense of it being a criminal sanction. For this reason the 1689 Bill of Rights was enacted as part of the constitutional arrangements which brought William III (and Mary) to the throne.

Inter alia it says:

That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.

In other words, to apply a criminal penalty on a person first they must have a criminal trial.

True to form, our utterly corrupt New Labour government has kicked away all the protection in law offered by the Bill of Rights in its insatiable desire to get its hand on people's money

But it's debatable just how legal it is to ignore the Bill of Rights. It's a fundamental part of the United Kingdom's "unwritten" constitution. (It's called unwritten but this really means: not written in a single place.) The Bill of Rights is part of the structure from which Parliament and the monarch derive their authority and as such may not be abrogated by them. It's our equivalent of the US Declaration of Independence stating that governments derive their just powers only from the will of the people. As such it is not open to the government to change - it is one of the preconditions of their existence.

If it is ignored we effectively live in a dictatorship.

Funeral pyre gets higher

There are now 61 million people living in the United Kingdom. The UK population grew by 408,000 in 2008 - the biggest increase for almost 50 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

What's interesting is that the major population growth factor is not now immigration itself but rather immigrants breeding. We have moved onto the inevitable second phase of immigration: immigrants are attracted by a free health service and free education for their children and naturally start a family pretty much immediately they arrive. This puts enormous pressure on public services, transport, housing and even food supplies - we import an ever increasing proportion of the food we eat.

Once they have children only a tiny proportion of these immigrants will ever pay enough tax to pay for the services they consume; they are almost all economically parasitic off the existing native population.

And let us not forget we already have 6 million people of working age out of work and claiming benefits. Scroll down a bit for the details. When an immigrant gets a job that's another British person on the dole at the taxpayers' expense.

Link: BBC

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Cardiff soldier's mum refused service by Asian post office owner

This is Mrs Davis. A few days ago she tried to send her son, currently on active service in Afghanistan, a parcel and was turned away by the Asian Post Office owner. She was told she was banned because her son was serving with the British Army.



The Post Office owner has since left for India and is unavailable for comment.

Link: Derby Patriot

Monday, 24 August 2009

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Inflation waiting in the wings

Here are the CPI numbers for some of the world's major economies, ranked by increasing inflation:


So which country is most at risk from inflation? Norway? Nope! You forgot to add back in the UK's temporary VAT cut which expires at the end of the year at which point our +1.8% becomes +2.3%.

Deflation? What deflation?

Tory leader claims UK may default on debt

Well, that's what it says in these headlines...

Daily Telegraph
Guardian

What he actually said was the UK may be unable to raise new debt or even fail to meet its obligations.

David Cameron: Tory boy

Of course a real debt default cannot happen. HMG can print as many pounds as it wants - and gilt coupons are paid in sterling.

The real problem is selling more of them after you've debauched the currency by printing. There could be a flight from sterling, or less drastically it may be necessary to raise interest rates to attract gilt buyers. (At the moment the QE programme is buying back all the gilts issued so there's little risk to the buyer.)

So why is David Cameron banging this drum at this time? Well, the next general election is now on the horizon - May 6th 2010 seems to be the popular consensus, about seven and a half months away - and "Dave" is clearly worried that this government has sprayed so much borrowed money around that they've actually bought themselves some popularity. The Tories really need the inevitable sterling crash to happen this autumn.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

6 million on benefits in the UK

Here's how the benefits are handed out...


(Employment Support, in case you were wondering, is what used to be called Incapacity Benefit.)

These numbers only refer to people of working age. There are another 10 million pensioners.

60 Asians storm Luton family pub; 100 police attend

The story here is not that 60 Asians stormed a quiet family pub in Luton and that Bedfordshire constabulary had to send 100 officers to deal with the situation - no, the story is that the media have hushed it up... again!

All we have is this tiny back-page report from the Sun.

(Click to enlarge)


It seems "they" don't like the sale of alcohol in "their" areas.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Drift to Thrift

That's the new economic paradigm. Give people some money and all they'll do is save it, which doesn't help the economy - so there's no point giving them any money. Better to let the government spent it for you.

Well, that's New Labour's thinking anyway. Of course savings do enter the economy, but not in a flashy new car, bigger house, foreign holiday kind of a way. No, one man's savings are another man's investment capital, business loan, or equity purchase. So savings are good. But they are not good for a politician who wants to win an election within 12 months. Savings are long-term good. Politics is always short-term.

Good Morning, Vietnam!

In April 2006, John Reid, then defence secretary, visited Afghanistan, where Britain had more than 3,000 troops and was set to take charge of a Nato-led peacekeeping force. He is quoted as saying, he "would be perfectly happy [for them] to leave without firing a shot."

Yesterday the ministry of defence revealed that the 9,000 British soldiers in Afghanistan were firing 12,000 rounds of ammunition, per day.

Yesterday the the new head of the Army, Sir David Richards, expressed the opinion that British forces would be required in Afghanistan for the next 30 to 40 years.

So I guess we had better ship out 175,000,000 bullets for them to fire.

This would appear to be Britain's Vietnam.

Links:
Royal British Legion
Channel 4
Daily Mail

Thursday, 6 August 2009

A new word has entered the lexicon

And that word is: zimbabwefication

At the moment it lacks a precise definition, but roughly it seems to refer to what happens to a country when it prints too much of its currency.

Google finds 210 hits for it. I expect that to rise over time.

Bank of England ready to print the next £50bn

Today the BoE has announced that (i) it will be keeping the base rate at its record low of 0.5%, and (ii) it wants to print another £50bn for its quantitative easing programme. Alistair Darling authorised the £50bn by return of fax, amusingly referring to it as from "central bank reserves" as though the BoE really had fifty billion pounds in the vaults waiting to be spent on gilts. Maybe AD doesn't appreciate that Melvyn King (BoE governor) just prints new money whenever he's allowed.

So the total QE is £175bn, of which £125bn has already been spent.

The effects of QE so far have been a booming stock market, and even a slight rally in house prices - up 1.1% in July according to the Halifax.

The government seems determined to get a mini-boom going in time for the election. That fact that they are taking on debt that will require several generations to repay doesn't seem to concern them.

Needless to say, on news of the second QE tranche the FTSE100 jerked up but sterling fell sharply against the Euro, dollar and CHF. A sterling crisis is really the second shoe that everyone is waiting to drop.

Links:
BBC
Guardian, with comments
MKs letter to AD
AD's instantaneous reply to MK
BoE announcement

Californian IOUs: I'll be paying you back

There's an interesting new financial instrument in town. The state of California has issued registered warrants, usually referred to as IOUs, to some of its suppliers as payment for goods and services, and instead of cash when state tax refunds are due.

IOU: As good as money, on or after 2nd October

California has run out of money. It can't pay its bills. In this respect it's just like the Federal Government and plenty of municipalities. However, there's one big difference, the state, like almost all US states, is required to balance its budget - it can't just issue bonds and go into debt.

So they came up with these registered warrants. They started issuing in July, and plan to redeem them in October. The warrants carry a 3.75% per annum equivalent interest rate, provided you hold for the full term.

But, what was planned as a very short term measure to cover a cash shortfall has gained a momentum of its own. The IOUs are being traded on eBay, and the SEC is sniffing around to see if they count as a "security" and should be regulated. The state has issued instructions to eBay and Craigslist about how transactions should be processed.

And if the IOUs start becoming "money" there's another problem. The US Constitution says (Article 1, Section 10) "No state shall ... make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts." Oops! You can already pay your debts to the state using these IOUs.

So far there has been no great objection from on high to the IOUs. The Federal government hasn't tried to quash them. In fact it seems to have collaborated in making them work. Could we be seeing the earliest signs of California having its own currency?

Link: CA IOU FAQ

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Judge Trigger getting slapped down

Three or four posts back I reported on one Judge Trigger who spoke out against the government's total incompetence on immigration while handing down a sentence to a Jamaican illegal immigrant drug dealer.

Judge Ian Trigger: To be investigated


But the powers-that-be have taken exception to the good Judge's plain speaking and he's in hot water. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge (yes, really!) referred the judge's comments to the Office for Judicial Complaints which will consider whether his words "extended overtly into the political arena".

My take would be that since Judge Trigger was commenting on the failure to apply law and policy and not the rightness or wrongness of said policy he's in the clear - officially.

Of course we all know the government has an unofficial policy of flooding the country with immigrants, legal or otherwise, by fair means or foul, so they interpret Judge Trigger's remarks as opposing their policy. But since its their unstated, unofficial policy, they can hardly complain if the judiciary don't toe the line.

Link: BBC

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Harriet Harman, playing while the cat is away

The "cat" in question being Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, who is on his summer hols in Scotland - he doesn't seem to share Tony Blair's liking for Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt or an Italian villa borrowed off Berlusconi.

Harminator: Loose on the streets

Harriet Harcreature, deputy PM and "Equality" minister is standing in as leader and finding her master's firm grip briefly removed from her career has taken to touring television studios bleating about "women in power" and advancing the thesis that one of the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Labour Party should always be a woman.

I doubt anyone hearing her women-should-have-more-power refrain can miss the implication that the woman she is mainly concerned about is herself. Let's not forget: there must be a general election within 10 months; Labour will lose; Gordon Brown will resign the party leadership; that will leave a vacancy.