Wednesday, 31 March 2010

How the spending has grown

Check out this table of how government spending has grown since they came to power in 1997.

Then ask yourself if your income has grown by the same proportion?

(Data is from the Institute for Fiscal Studies mainly.)

NHS spending up, output down

Lord Warner, a health minister from 2003 to 2006, has apparently claimed that New Labour have increased NHS spending by 60% but reduced its output by 4%. This is according to the ever-amusing Dr Theodore Dalrymple.

Of course most of us realised back in 2006 when the number of NHS managers passed the number of hospital beds that the service was being used as a make-work scheme for tame Labour voters.

Dr Dalrymple's article

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Zimbabwefication of South Africa

According to an article in the Sunday Times, South Africa's white farmers are being "wiped out". Three thousand have been killed so far, and many more have chosen to abandon their land rather than risk them and their families' lives.

The vulnerability felt by South Africa’s 40,000 remaining white farmers intensified earlier this month when Julius Malema, head of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) youth league, opened a public rally by singing Dubula Ibhunu, or Shoot the Boer, an apartheid-era anthem, that was banned by the high court last week.

Malema’s timing could hardly have been worse. Last weekend in the remote farming community of Colenso, in KwaZulu-Natal, Nigel Ralfe, 71, a dairy farmer, and his wife Lynette, 64, were gunned down as they milked their cows. He was critically injured; she died.

That same day a 46-year-old Afrikaner was shot through his bedroom window as he slept at his farm near Potchefstroom. A few days later a 61-year-old was stabbed to death in his bed at a farm in Limpopo. (Link)

Farmers are the easiest targets for anyone wanting to "shoot the boer". They live isolated in the country-side, far from any help. (The word "boer" actually means farmer by some roundabout etymological pathway.)

It looks like the ANC government, under President Jacob Zuma, actually wants the white farmers driven out. The killings are rarely condemned by ANC politicians of national stature, and the more junior ones actively endorse it. (At the bottom of this post is a link to a video of Nelson Mandela, after his release, singing "Kill the Whites." Bizarrely, he is accompanied by someone who appears to be white.)

There have been moves in the South African parliament to declare productive agricultural land a "national asset". This would presumably be a precursor to removing white farmers. So far there has been no forcible disenfranchisement, but the will is clearly there.

It's quite predictable that if the white farmers are driven off their land South Africa will go the same route as Zimbabwe and people will starve. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe prefers food to be donated via international aid rather than being grown locally because this means he controls the food supply and thus the country. South Africa is much bigger than Zimbabwe - the international community could not even begin to feed the country if they destroyed their own food production capability.

There is a further contradiction in the South African economy. The tax base comprises, almost exclusively, the 4 million white inhabitants but the spending is all targeted on the blacks. This is not a state of affairs white South Africans can be expected to tolerate forever. Several million have already voted with their feet and left the country. Meanwhile whites who have good jobs in South Africa are hanging on to them grimly. Preference for blacks with the Black Economic Empowerment (EE) and Affirmative Action (AA) programmes means a white has little chance of getting a well-paid job from scratch these days, regardless of qualifications.

Here's that video of Nelson Mandela that I mentioned...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Disenfranchising the army

Earlier this month Iraq held a general election. Twenty million Iraqis went to the polls, including nearly 2 million living overseas. The British government set up polling stations in the UK so that tens of thousands of Iraqis living here could vote. The government was diligent in making sure ex-pat Iraqis didn't lose their democratic rights.

In six weeks or so we will (probably) have a general election in the UK. We currently have 6,000 of our citizens serving in the armed forces in Afghanistan. The government is being considerably less diligent in making sure they can vote. The government has said it may not be possible to fly the ballot papers back to the UK in time for them to be counted.

There will be 16 days between close of nominations and polling day. During those two weeks or so the ballot papers have to be printed, flown to Camp Bastion, distributed, marked by voters, collected and flown back to the UK. Tight, but it seems do-able.

Is there another reason the government would want to drag its heels?

Well, yes. Rumour has it that the great majority of private soldiers would vote for the British National Party - and we can't have that, can we?

Iraqi election 2010

Budget 2010 - Graphic

So here's the government's revenue expectations and spending plans for the coming year. (You may need to click on the graphic to see a larger image.)

Look at the spending compared with last year's budget.

What leaps out at us?

It's got to be debt interest payments; the biggest single increase by far.

Source: Red book

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Budget 2010

Alistair Darling has just presented his third and possibly last budget. He spent his hour long peroration in self-congratulation, amazing himself at how masterfully he has mitigated the global recession – which was wilfully started by the Americans and absolutely nothing to do with Gordon Brown’s inept management of our economy since 1997.

The highlights of the budget are:

Stamp duty: Limit raised to £250,000 for first time buyers. This financed by increasing the duty on houses costing £1,000,000 to 5%. Cue much cheering from the Labour benches. In his response David Cameron pointed out that the government has previously claimed this would be illegal when the Tories had it as a policy.

ISAs: From next month the maximum annual contribution will be £10,200 of which £5,100 may be made in cash. The chancellor pledged to keep the limit rising with inflation.

Growth forecast: Revised downwards slightly, 2010 – 1.0% to 1.5%, 2010 – 3.0% to 3.5%.

Fuel duty: The impending April rise will be staged; 1p in April, 1p in October and 1p in January next year.

Borrowing: This year’s borrowing is expected to be £167bn (11.8% of GDP) rather than the £178bn he forecast this time last year. Borrowing for the coming years is expected to be:

So a few billion have been shaved off the numbers; about £10 billion each year.

Income tax: Notionally no rises, except that anyone earning over £100,000pa will have their personal allowances phased out. (AD forget to mention whether all personal allowances will be indexed for inflation – I’m not hopeful.)

Alcohol: Duty of beer, wine, spirits will rise by 2% over inflation; cider by 10% over inflation. AD thinks cider has been getting away with being undertaxed for years now.

Tax and spend: The tax burden generally will be rising by £19bn; spending will be going up by 2.2% in real terms.

War: £4bn is being allocated to fund the war in Afghanistan.

Housing benefit: This is being made less generous. The most expensive houses in each region will no longer be included in the calculation of how much it’s possible to claim. HB costs us £20bn a year and this measure will save £250m pa.

Asset sales: The government will be raising some cash by selling the Dartford crossing, the Tote and the Student Loans Company – or at least the loan book.

Bonuses for business: There were a few giveaways for business: business rates are being cut for one year, starting in October, SMEs only mind. The R&D tax allowance is being doubled to £100K and entrepreneurs will pay only 10% CGT on the first £2m – 18% on the rest.

University places: Increased by 20,000 from Autumn this year. This should help keep the unemployment numbers down a little. (Labour claimed it was “elitist” when the Conservatives proposed increasing the number of places by 10,000 a while back.) The new places will be for science, technology and mathematics.

Tax dodging: The UK will, in the next few days, sign tax information exchange agreements with three new countries: Dominica, Grenada and Belize. The last causing Labour cheers as Lord Ashcroft, Tory deputy chairman, is thought to be domiciled there for tax purposes.

David Cameron gave a barnstorming response focusing on Labour’s massive debt burden; Nick Clegg for the Lib Dems made a lacklustre speech.


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Employment statistics for Nov 09 to Jan 09 incl

We have some quarterly stats from the ONS.

By the end of the quarter the UK workforce consisted of...

Employed: 28.86 million people
Unemployed (but looking for work): 2.45 million
Economically inactive: 8.16 million

The total workforce is therefore around 40 million people. The remaining 20-odd million are either too old or too young to work.

Of the 28m employed people 7m are working for the government, so they're not wealth-producing as such.

So that's 22m workers supporting a population of over 60m

ONS news release

Monday, 15 March 2010

House Prices: Going up or down?

Citywire has a good opinion piece on house prices this morning. Will they go up, down or stagnate? Who can say? Not me, but the below article summarises the issues quite nicely.


And what it boils down to is: all depends on the government. They have to steer a narrow path between too lax monetary policy, in which case we'll get inflation, and too tight in which case half the home owners in the country will be bankrupted by their mortgage payments.

Of course, there's no guarantee that this narrow path is actually wide enough to walk along; it could be that there's no path there at all and that one of Scylla or Charybdis is destined to eat us.

Friday, 12 March 2010

BNP open for business

Thanks to a degree of craftiness by the British National Party leadership the BNP can once again accept new members. They have been forced to accept members who do not agree with the core aims of the party, but if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes...

Details: here

The BBC, in its coverage, somehow managed to report the complete reverse. Their article can be seen here

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The takeover of Tower Hamlets

According to the journalist Andrew Gilligan, he of dodgy dossier and Hutton enquiry fame, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, home of that medieval fortress and palace - the Tower of London, and the nation's Crown Jewels - has fallen to the enemy.

The enemy in this case being the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE).

Apparently the IFE has infiltrated the local Labour Party, doubled its membership in the last year, and placed its own people in all the top jobs. This gives the IFE control over the borough's £1bn per year budget. The IFE also appears to control the East London Mosque - the UK's most significant place of Islamic worship.

The IFE seems to be a offshoot of Jamaat-e-Islami, an organisation started in Lahore (now in Pakistan) in the 1940s. Its purpose is to spread a fundamentalist form of Islam which opposes women's equality and such sinful pleasures as TV, music and dancing.

Although the IFE have infiltrated the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets it seems they have no qualms about which mainstream parties they join and may well be in the process of infiltrating the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in areas where those parties are in the ascendant.

Islamic Forum Europe - response

Hear Patrick Condell on the trial of Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders is the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom and is known for his criticisms of Islam and what he describes as the Islamization of the Netherlands. He is being prosecuted on charges that on several occasions in 2007 and 2008 he insulted Muslims and fomented hate and discrimination against them because of their religion.

More Pat Condell here:

Monday, 1 March 2010

Which country has 2,362,231,414 voters?

Yes, 2.3 billion voters, which country has that many? India? No not quite - over a billion though. China? No, only half that many. USA? Nope, fewer than 300 million registered voters - just a tiddler in the democracy stakes.

Since you'll never guess, I'll tell you - it's the United Kingdom! That's because all Commonwealth and all European Union citizens can vote in the UK (subject to coming here and putting their names on the list.)

I guess that makes us the biggest democracy in the world. Unfortunately it means our government is far keener on pandering to foreigners than looking after the interests of the natives of these Islands.