Monday, 30 January 2012

Sarkosy announces Tobin tax

The French president Nicholas Sarkosy has announced that he will introduce a 'Tobin' tax, also known as a Robin Hood tax, in August this year: all financial transactions in France will incur a 0.1% levy.

He's hoping that the other Eurozone countries will join him and bring in the same tax. He must be hoping quite fervently because if they don't he's going to look pretty stupid. He's putting a million euro overhead on the cost of transacting a billion euro deal. That may not sound like a lot, but it's enough to pay a bank chairman his annual bonus. Business could flee France if the other countries don't fall into line.

Just to be on the safe side Sarky has made sure this new tax won't cut in until after the French presidential elections in April. Sarky is up for re-election, although he hasn't 'announced' yet, and he isn't doing very well in the polls at the moment. Latest survey results are:

François Hollande, Socialist, 31%
Nicholas Sarkosy, Rightwinger, 25%
Marine Le Pen, Nationalist, 17%

The remaining 27% is shared between about 10 no-hopers.

So he's not slapping on the tax right now; he's waiting until he's safely re-ensconced in the Elysee Palace (for his last 5-year term) and as things stand it's looking like he won't make it. But since the threat is emerging from the left, sadly Mme. Le Pen not getting traction at the moment, it's time for a bit of banker-bashing.

And this blog has to agree. It's always time for some banker-bashing, and that goes double if they're foreign bankers.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

UK national debt hits one trillion

It's official, the national debt is one trillion pounds, or £1003.9 billion if you want to be more precise.

There's nothing much to say about this. It was inevitably going to happen. And in fact if you put back in items which HM Treasury likes to leave out, such as the PFI liabilities, Network Rail's debt and the like, then we actually hit the trillion a long time ago.

However today is the official "trillion" day. Maybe we should have a national holiday on this day every year to commemorate passing this milestone.

Friday, 20 January 2012

371,000 immigrants on the dole

The press, TV and radio are all over today's statistic: 371,000 immigrants have come to this country and are now out-of-work and living on benefits. Only the Guardian has ignored it.

That's 371,000 people out of a total of 5,500,000 people claiming out-of-work benefits. Not all are classed as unemployed, there are also the carers, and the disabled, but none of them has a paid job.

So that's 6.7% of our dole-dependents came here from abroad and now live off the taxpayer. This is likely to be costing us around seven billion pounds.

I'm sure if we gave each of them a bus ticket home it would cost less than seven billion pounds. Then they could claim the dole in their own countries.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Big Issue: richer than you

The first two words of English some immigrants learn when they arrive in the UK are "Big Issue". You might be tempted to feel sorry for them and buy their crap magazine. Well don't. The Daily Mail has exposed just how much money they get.

Romanian: Firuta Vasile

Firuta Vasile's weeky income breaks down as follows:
      Selling the Big Issue:          £100
      Tax credits:                    £326
      Child benefit:                  £60
      Disability living allowance:    £49
      Carer's allowance:              £55
      Housing benefit:                £50
Her housing benefit would normally be £160 per week, but it's reduced because of her other income.

This gives her a total annual income of £33,280

This is considerably in excess of the UK's average income for a person in full time employment of around £26,000.

Oh, and she's not homeless, she lives in a £130K three-bedroomed house.

So think about that next time you see a Big Issue seller.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Abu Qatada: We're stuck with him

Back in Februart 2009 I blogged about Abu Qatarda, saying how he was wanted all over the world but seems determined to stay where he is not wanted, that is here in the UK.

Well, the blighter has gone and won his case in the European Court of Human Rights (did the court actually check he is human?) and we are not allowed to deport him to his native Jordan; not because there's a risk he may be tortured there, no, merely because there's a risk that evidence already obtained through torture may be used against him in court.

However, in fact there is no risk of such evidence being used against him because the Jordanians have already tried him in absentia, found him guilty, and sentenced him to life in prison.

So soft-touch Britain is left hosting yet another undesirable. The government will appeal and AQ will remain in prison during the appeal process, but it looks like sooner or later he'll be a free man in the UK.

Then of course we'll give him free accommodation, money for food and other expenses, free medicine if he needs it, and he'll be free to trawl the mosques of Britain consorting with fellow muslims. He'll probably impregnate some of our women as well.

This blog would much rather see him in an Arab jail.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The new young people

A brand new PC term is being introduced in the UK. It has started cropping up on television and radio. It's young people.

But it doesn't mean young people. Nope, it's the new PC term for ethnic minorities. The French have been using the term les jeunes for many years. Translated literally les jeunes means young people, but actually it refers to their five million-strong North African invasion. In France a report saying, "Last night young people rioted and set fire to fifty cars," actually means African immigrants have been rioting again.

This neologism has now jumped the channel and it looks like henceforth young people are going to get the blame for immigrant misbehaviour.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Scottish independence

Let us recap: just over three hundred years ago the Scots looked at the success England was making of its colonies in North America and said to themselves, "We should do that."

So they started a colony on the isthmus of Panama in South America and sunk most of the Scottish nation's GDP into it. Just about every Scottish person with any cash bought shares. But it was a complete failure. The colonists suffered from disease and famine, and when their trading business failed they took to piracy of Spanish shipping, with the inevitable result that the Spanish navy came in and wiped them out.

Thus the then-independent Scottish nation was bankrupted and in the early eighteenth century a delegation from the Scottish government came south to London to negotiate with the English for the mother of all bail-outs. They got the prize they wanted: access to the English colonies (known as "the plantations" back then) and in return they gave up Scottish independence and England and Scotland became one nation - the United Kingdom - ruled from London.

Now, three centuries later, they want out. Or do they? The Scots have elected themselves an SNP government for their devolved administration. In theory the SNP wants Scottish independence. But that's just in theory. The realpolitik of the situation is that the SNP's raison d'ĂȘtre is to dangle the threat of Scottish independence to extract ever more concessions from the English. The Scots have loads of good things the English don't. They have free University education; free nursing home care for old people; free medical prescriptions; and a slew of small things such as much more free parking. This all comes thanks to the fact that the UK government spends about £5,000 a head on English people and £7,000 a head on Scots people.

The Scottish tactic is to continually threaten independence but never actually take the final step.

Of course, it's not really clear why the English should care if the Scots decide to leave the union. Anyway, UK PM Cameron has had enough and has decided to play hardball. He's going to make the Scots decide once and for all: in or out. And Cameron really has nothing to lose here. If the Scots say "out" (which they probably won't. Ironically far more English people favour Scottish independence than Scottish people) then Cameron gets shot of a big drain on the budget; and without the Scottish Labour MPs coming to Westminster the Conservatives will be in power pretty much permanently. Alternatively, if the Scots say "in" (the likely answer) the whole issue gets kicked far into the future and the SNP will be obliged to shut up for a generation and the fiscal blackmail will have to stop.

Of course the SNP is desperate to insert a third option into the in/out choice. They want a "more-devolution-but-not-complete-independence" option. Of course they do. They want the gravy train to roll on and on forever. They claim they won't themselves be supporting this third option, but privately they'll be praying for it.

Anyway, Cameron has brought the whole issue to a head. He's insisting on an in/out referendum by 2013 and to put it mildly, whatever the outcome, the future will be interesting.

British Nationalists do not favour Scottish independence. We believe the British Isles are naturally, based on geography, history and language, one nation. For that matter we support the Republic of Ireland rejoining the United Kingdom - not that that will happen anytime soon.

An independent Scottish nation doesn't make any kind of sense at the moment. What would they use for money? Join the euro? They wouldn't qualify to start with. Even the possibility of Scotland going it alone is damaging their business sector. Anyone planning a big investment, a new factory or power plant, is already choosing England - just in case. If Scotland actually declared independence its finance industry would evaporate since it's majorly dependent on English money. Not many English people would want to keep their savings or pensions in a foreign country with all the currency risk that could entail.

It's doubtful whether an independent Scotland could even afford to service their share of the UK's national debt. (Say £100 billion, annual cost around £3.5 billion. This would have to be found on top of making up for the lack of an English subsidy.) They could end up issuing new debt to service their old debt. That's a nasty place to be.

And an independent Scotland would still leech off the English. They would likely decide not to bother with much in the way of armed forces. Defence of the island would have to be assured by the English, with the added inconvenience that the Scots would probably deny English forces access to Scottish territorial waters and land bases.

So the ideal outcome of a referendum is certainly "in". Although the English do have quite a lot of gain by an "out".

Monday, 9 January 2012

Executive pay vote

Prime Minster Cameron is proving to be quite the little rebel. Today he is offering those insignificant peons known as shareholders a vote on how much they pay the people they employ to run the companies they own.

From here...
David Cameron has promised shareholders a binding vote on executive pay, in an effort to deal with excessive salaries.

The prime minister told the BBC there had been a "market failure", with some bosses getting huge rises despite firms not improving their performances.

He also pledged to tackle large payouts for executives dismissed because of poor performance.

But Labour accused ministers of failing to increase fairness and transparency from boardrooms and the City.

The City is not going to like this. The whole point of grafting your way up to CEO level in a big company is you can then quite legally help yourself to the contents of the company bank accounts - all justified by the "remuneration committee", which is a bunch of your friends you're paying to decide how much you should earn. Obviously you will return the favour by sitting on their remuneration committees and making sure they earn a fat wedge as well.

At the moment companies do not even have to declare how much all their directors earn (except collectively) and certainly do not have to get approval from the shareholders (the owners of the company remember) for their generous salaries and perks, and pension contributions.

Fred the Shred would be turning in his grave, if he were dead. Imagine putting his pension plan before the RBS shareholders for approval. He wouldn't even have dared ask.

So, another good one from Cameron.

Labour carping can be discounted. They didn't do anything about this the whole time they were in office so they should shut up now.