Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Autumn statement, 2015

This afternoon George Osborne delivered his Spending Review, generally known as the Autumn Statement. His tone was triumphal: growth is higher than expected; tax receipts are therefore up and the Chancellor was able to don a long white beard and hand out early Christmas presents. Invited to sit on his lap were: national infrastructure; museums, culture and sport, the armed forces and the police - all of whom got their spending increased or at least maintained.

Osborne: We are the builders

Osborne went on to unveil some rather radical changes. He sounded low key but there could be dramatic effect if they stick: local councils to keep business rate receipts with the power to vary the rate; consequential abolition of the central government grant to councils so they become entirely self-funding. Also all schools to become "academies" and so taken out of local education authority control; a new 2% "levy" on council tax for adult social care (ie, putting up council tax by 2%) and retirement age to rise in line with increased life expectancy - some people might never see a pension at that rate.

There were several casual mentions of some quite extreme austerity. HMRC is to be 18% "more efficient", which presumably means 18% of staff made redundant. Osborne is introducing a "digital tax account" for all taxpayers and businesses and it looks like he expects all tax transactions to take place online. Once this has happened taxes such as CGT will become payable within 30 days of the transaction rather than at the end of the year as now. Nice, for HM Treasury.

He seems to have adopted "We are the builders" as his catchphrase. He's going to build 400,000 new houses before 2020 and they will be affordable to buy, not just rent. To achieve this he will throw money at the building firms and knock down nine prisons, including Holloway, and sell the land. New prisons will be built but one imagines not in London. The land value of London's big old Victorian prisons must be enormous and George could not keep his hands out of this cookie jar. Actually it's amazing he has resisted for the past five years.

He is also increasing stamp duty by 3% (of the total sale price, one assumes) on buy-to-let and bought-by-foreigners houses. There will be devil in the detail of this provision but it needed to happen. We cannot have our national housing stock bought up by the Chinese and be paying them rent forever more. He should probably have gone further.

Councils will be "encouraged" to sell assets - he didn't say how.

Income tax and Corporation tax will be devolved to the devolved nations (Wales, Scotland) with special legislation passed so the Welsh and Scots will not be entitled to a referendum before that happens. Presumably this is a poisoned chalice they would not willingly drink from.

There were a slew of cuts in other departments: Department of Transport 37% cut; "biz budget" halved, and others. Most departments are getting cuts.

His big rabbit out of the hat was the abolition of the tax credit cuts which haven't actually happened yet. SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie later noted wryly that the Tories cheered just as much for the abolition as they did for the introduction a few months ago.

After an hour and six minutes he sat down and shadow Chancellor John McDonnell rose to reply for the opposition.
McDonnell: I have a little red book

For his first twenty minutes McDonnell was lackluster and dull. He wittered on about the Chancellor not abolishing the deficit like he promised five years ago - a speech that could have been made anytime in the last year. MPs in the benches behind him started filing out of the chamber. But then, in a stroke of genius, he pulled out Mao's little red book (his personal autographed copy it seems) and started quoting the late Chairman of the Chinese Communist party. Labour MPs perked up no end and he even woke up the Tory side.

So he ended on a high.

As always the effects of this Spending Review are difficult to predict. A lot was made of the give-aways but the percentages of cuts muttered sotto voce were high. The procedural changes have the potential to be significant over the long term. Ultimately it was a job application by Osborne to become Prime Minister, and it must be said, the Tory MPs seemed quite happy.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Monday, 16 November 2015

The problem is Islam

The media and our governments try very hard to confuse us with terms like "radicalised", "extremist" and "fundamentalist" just like they prefer to use the term "refugee" when "immigrant" would be more apt. They also like to focus on very specific group names such as Al Qaeda, ISIS or the Muslim Brotherhood. The aim is to persuade us that muslims can be divided into good and bad and most are good. Only the bad ones rape, behead and immolate themselves and others.

After the Charlie Hebdo murders the BBC commissioned a poll in an attempt to prove that most muslims are good. They were successful in that they discovered that only 27% of muslims supported the killings. This number is a tad over the more usual intel metric that 15% to 25% of muslims worldwide generally support the use of violence to impose sharia but in the same ballpark so probably accurate.

So the craven politically-correct news benders at the Beeb are right when they aver that only a minority of muslims want to kill us. Unfortunately it is still a large number.

Islam is clearly a self-fueling meme. The more muslims you put in a room the more hard-line they will all be. A solitary muslim may be quite the nice guy, but add more nice guy muslims to the mix and they start getting serious about their religion. This applies as much in a local street demo as in the national population. A tipping point is reached and then we are all in trouble. 

Critical mass seems to have been achieved in, of all places, Belgium, where young men most people considered to be basically OK turned bad and went on a killing spree in Paris. This is really no different from the London bombings when four lads from Leeds, who most people considered OK guys, tried to murder as many Londoners as possible.

There is only one realistic solution to this problem. Islam needs to be banned. There needs to be a dissolution of the mosques and muslims need to go and live in muslim countries where their infectious madness can do no harm because everyone else already has the condition. 

Islam is completely incompatible with democracy. The most fundamental tenet of Islam is that only God makes the law. Man-made law (eg law made in parliament) is anathema to them. If a group of people genuinely believe that they are not bound by laws made by man then we cannot live with them since man-made law is the foundation of our society.

The other unacceptable faces of Islam: the genital mutilations, the amputations, the beheadings, the treatment of women as cattle and the injunction to fight the infidel wherever you find him are actually lesser problems than the most fundamental problem of man-made law. They might be persuaded to moderation on the other points but they will never give up the Koran as their only source of law; they will never accept a re-write of the Koran and so will never be just another ethnic group we can integrate into our society.

So they must all be expelled to make our country safe.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Jailed for exercising free speech

"Reality star" Ursual Presgrave faces jail after being charged with an offence under the Malicious Communications Act. The communication in question being:

One could agree or disagree with the sentiment, and for what it is worth this blog reckons many Down's suffers actually lead happy lives, but discussion of serious subjects such as euthanasia is a legitimate exercise in free speech. The Lancet website currently has 690 "hits" on the subject, including articles on immediate post-natal euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia of severely disabled patients.

Ms Presgrave's real crime is not her message. No, a quick butcher's at her picture shows her real crime.

Ursula Presgrave: Guilty of chav

Her problem is the bleached hair, "Croydon face lift", tattoos and piercings, including a "flesh tunnel" in one ear. People like her are not allowed to discuss serious or controversial subjects; they are restricted to talking about trashy TV programmes and football; not de juris but de facto.

Does anyone think that doctors discussing euthanasia using long words in learned publications would have any trouble from the law? Of course not, see the Lancet for proof positive.

This blog has no qualms about repeating the "malicious" communication, because some Latin was used above which grants complete exemption from all chav restrictions.