Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

VAT on foodstuffs

There has been much in the press over recent years about tax evasion by large multi-national Companies and individuals able to benefit from offshore havens. Now we learn that surprise-surprise, the new Age travellers due to move into their new multi-million pound trailer park in Devon are refusing to pay their Community Charge. At least they are being up-front with their intentions and Teignbridge District Council must have known that the travelling community works in a cash, tax-averse economy.
Is it not the case that the only people who pay the correct tax are those who are employed within a PAYE scheme, including all those who work in the public sector. For big Companies, we have to hope that Chancellor Osborne and his team operate in the National interest, not their own when chasing fair tax returns.

I believe that the Government must try to ensure that EVERYONE pays tax and the best way of  doing this is to introduce VAT on food. Spain levies VAT at 4% on basic foodstuffs, rising to 10% for other foodstuffs. To compensate, those who pay tax by PAYE should get a small rebate.

£6.3 billion per week is the value of food sales in the UK. A 4% VAT levy would raise £13,1 billion per annum or roughly the amount being raised in the latest round of cuts. People wouldn't really notice, paying £104 for a trolley load of food rather than £100.

Winter fuel allowance for expats

There is a call for the Chancellor to save money by cutting the winter fuel allowance for pensioners living in warmer climes than the UK.
I must admit at the start that I live abroad and will be affected by these changes.
Putting aside the fact that many pensioners are suffering in their foreign homes and cannot afford to return. Many are suffering loneliness having lost a husband or wife and no improvement in climate can compensate. Their health may have deteriorated and they wish to return to the land of their birth for treatment. Nor for those who have lost all their money to scandalous property deals and illegal land grabs. Putting aside all these considerations, there are other reasons for maintaining this allowance.

1. Expat pensioners have paid into the scheme all their working lives and are entitled to receive their pensions IN FULL and spend it how and where they like.
2. It is not true that they do not need a heating allowance. It gets very cold at night in Southern Spain, for instance, from December to March.
3. They make no call on the NHS overstretched resources and do not clog up the UK's congested roads with slow driving; something I would have thought that taxpayers and Ministers would applaud.
4. They act as unpaid overseas ambassadors, by their behaviour and deeds pressing their case for Spaniards and other nationalities to visit the UK.

The fuel allowance is not a lot of money but it is the principle and bearing in mind the cost of administration, punishing expats in this way may, in the end, be counter-productive.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Our current membership of the EU is stifling British dreams of free trade

This article holes the Ken Clarke argument for the UK to remain in the European Union below the waterline.

Our current membership of the EU is stifling British dreams of free trade

The demands for the UK to leave the EU and sign a free trade argreement, like Switzerland, will grow to become a clamour in the face of UKIP advances in the polls next year.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Socialism on the move again

In the development of human societies, or so it seems, there comes a time when the community, dissatisfied with life's lot, hunger for a fairer system of Government and turn to ideas of Socialism. In the US and the industrial northern Europe, the experiment persisted throughout the twentieth Century and it was found, in every instance, to have failed the very people it was meant to help, the working class.

Now, around the world, the new economies, such as Brazil, Turkey and China are going through the same growing pains and out of the woodwork emerge the Socialists with their calls for 'Peoples Assemblies' and calls for 'Workers of the World, unite'. It doesn't seem to matter how often their discredited system fails they seem incapable of giving up their quest for some sort of Utopia where the lion lies down with the sheep. They want to insist that somehow life can be fair and that, contrary to perceived wisdom, we are all, miraculously, the same. They are like boxers that after being knocked down keep getting up from the floor and insisting that they can carry on only to be knocked down again and again. It's as if that they can't abandon a family tradition for fear of betraying their Communist or Trotskyist heritage.

The problem for these countries is that the world has moved on and they are having to adapt more quickly than perhaps they should. We can see that China, for instance, has made the biggest leaps by ditching their former Communist ideals and embracing a more Capitalistic way of business allowing free enterprise a free rein. They have managed this by retaining a form of Government that may be a blueprint for western nations, tiring of the manifest problems of our Democracies. The difference between the Chinese system and those of the west is that they don't trust the people to elect the correct people. They don't trust the people to vote for a party that has the Nation's best interests at heart. They are absolutely right as proved by the British electorate being seduced by Blair's 'New' Labour and voting for a Party that almost bankrupted Britain. The Socialists have had their day and failed. They should all go home and shut up. What the working class need is better, more inspirational and above all, honest leaders.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Emotion in sport

yesterday, at Royal Ascot, those who watched experienced a day of such great emotion as two ladies made the headlines for winning a race in vastly differing circumstances. What was so wonderfully observed was the power of sport to engender such high feelings.

Firstly, the racegoers were delighted to applaud the success of Lady Cecil who saddled 'Riposte' to win the Ribblesdale Stakes, a week after the death of her husband, Sir Henry. Putting aside my impression that Sir Henry should have had more success than he did considering the quality of the horses he trained, it was entirely fitting that this interesting man was remembered and that his widow, now the license holder, was able to celebrate with a win. That the occasion meant so much to her was manifest to all who witnessed it.

Her Majesty the Queen's undisguised joy at winning the Gold Cup with her filly,'Estimate', gave everyone interested in horse racing such a thrill. Frankly, having seen her face at the finish of the race, it is difficult to imagine anything giving her more pleasure. The Queen devotes a lot of her limited free time studying horses and like her mother has been a great patron of the sport. On this her Jubilee year it is fitting that she should win the Group 1 race. It wasn't easy. The filly was challenged all the way up the straight and great credit must go to jockey, Ryan Moore, who piloted her to victory. Spectacular racing! spectacular emotions! Sport delivers!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Rape as a war crime!

World leaders are debating the use of sexual abuse in subjugating the vanquished.

A strange question to a conundrum that on the face of it is absurd but nevertheless points to the reality that without war, the Human Race might have suffered from crippling interbreeding and possible eradication.
There is some evidence for the process in stone age Human behaviour. The capture of women from one tribe for the express purpose on introducing new blood goes on today. I believe that some primitive tribes in Papua New Guinea, for instance, hold raids into neighbouring but independent valleys expressly for this purpose. Putting aside the question of how these people knew about the problems of interbreeding, it is not such a huge leap to suggest that war always results in the widening of the gene pool. The exploits of Genghis Khan, bedding thousands of conquered Asian woman has resulted in 10% of the population from that part of the world has his genes. Is war therefore essential for the well being of the race?
The sad reality, however, is that this process, so devastating for many vulnerable young women and children continues to this day in battlefields across the globe. It is beyond comprehension that the trauma faced by the vanquished in battle, The men slaughtered, the women raped and the children left to fend for themselves in the bleak realisation of 'winner takes all', is essential for cross breeding and the survival of the species. But, it may be true; it may have been the case in the past.
What was the alternative? Nations could agree to exchange women (or men) but who would volunteer to leave their community and family for the unknown. We already know that many Indian women resent being forced into marriages with men they don't know, let alone from a different culture. It would never happen voluntarily and therefore, war seems the only way. It is brutal but effective AND, surprisingly, it seems to be a perfectly natural process sparked by mankinds inability to live in harmony; a necessary function derived from the laws that govern the survival of the fittest; the requirement for food, potable water and shelter.

Today with widespread international travel the problem is to some extent neutralised but rape as a weapon of war continues.

This question ultimately holds an important pointer to the ultimate Truth. Does it holds the key to providing the answer to the question: is there a God or is EVERYTHING due to Nature and the laws of physics? Is or was war necessary for the survival of the Human Race? If the answer is yes, then it points to there being NO God. How could it be anything else when all the Abrahamic religions worship a loving, merciful God; surely incapable of such brutality.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Open Championship-the future.

This years British 'Open' Golf Championship, often referred to as 'The Open', will take place at Muirfield, near Edinborough. If Scotland secedes from the United Kingdom, what will happen to a tournament recognised throughout the world as one of the four classic golf  events. Since the game is administered by the Royal and Ancient from St. Andrews in Scotland, the Institution will, presumably, remain Scottish, but will the tournament retain its unique status. What of the other Associations? Will the English, Welsh and Northern Irish, unhappy that the revenue stream stops at the Scottish border, run a joint British or UK 'Open' in competition? Hoylake and Royal St George Golf Clubs would also be unhappy to lose their place in the rota of venues and I can see big money pouring into an alternative tournament, reducing the status of the northern event to no more than a 'Scottish' Open.
The issue of an independent Scotland effects many facets of life that are not immediately apparent and I suggest that the more the Scots realize how isolated they would become, the more I believe they will vote 'NO' to leave.

Friday, 14 June 2013

RBS: The peoples Bank?

Stephen Hester has gone; the banker and former trader has returned the RBS bank to respectability after five years but has now been dismissed for wanting to retain the investment arm against the Government's wishes. Hester reckoned that by retaining the 'casino' banking offshoot he would retain his big corporate customers.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, wants to return the bank to the public sector as soon as possible and feels that the public interest would be better served by further selling off of assets including the investment arm. Good! There are enough of these sorts of banks, hedge funds etc and the Country doesn't need more. What we do need, however, is a bank owned by the people for the people. RBS is 82% owned by the public, already. If it's making money, don't sell it, keep it and fill the treasury coffers not only in the short term but for ever. Introduce ethical banking, lend to small businesses as they've been advocating for the past three years, provide mortgages for a wide range of customers and thereby mould the housing market to better suit the nation's needs.
We have to recognise, in the new world, that the Capitalist way has probably run its course and new ways of running the economy which doesn't polarise wealth so dramatically is needed to avoid widespread public disorder. I believe the first step is to nationalise the banks because nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the industrial revolution, say, how huge and influential the big Banks have become. With profits greater than the GDP of some countries, they have to be reined in.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Dr. David Kelly. 10th Anniversary.

In about a month's time it will be the tenth anniversary of the death of Dr. David Kelly.
Despite numerous enquiries and reports, doubts still exist that the official verdict of suicide is correct.
The Government of the day suspiciously slapped a 100 year secrecy order on the papers of the case and to this day prefer to accept the official line rather than assertions from eminent doctors that the evidence does not fit this scenario. Nor do they accept enecdotal evidence which does not suggest a man about to take his own life. Indeed it is widely held that the Hutton enquiry selectively chose to interview those 'witnesses' who would support the official view . The whole situation stinks and the fact that the current coalition Government continues the smokescreen set up by the previous labour Government, suggests that either the Nation's security is seriously at stake or a cover up is essential to avoid widespread embarrassment to the ruling classes. Is it the case that the UK needs to keep the truth hidden because exposure will compromise the Country's secret service or perhaps that of a another country?
Either way, I believe that ten years on, the people of the UK need a statement that can be accepted by current sceptics such as Dr. Michael Powers QC.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Education reform

The education Secretary, Mr Goves, has announced a more 'rigorous' approach to examining our schoolchildren in a move that has brought the usual, antagonistic noises from the NUT, the teachers' union.

It strikes me that Mr Goves, in the face of much evidence that British schoolchildren are educationally falling behind other children in the world, is trying to return to standards last seen when the UK had Grammar schools. These Grammar schools were closed to appease those who, erroneously to my mind, thought that selection at eleven years seriously ruined the prospects of a youngster condemned to a secondary modern education. The truth is that the standard of teachers was in decline as the profession replaced university trained teachers with lesser qualified men and women, prepared in teacher training colleges. These new teachers, not imbued with the true ethos of their profession, were more malleable to the strictures of the politisised unions, who seemed to place the interests of children below their own and their members. In fact the very idea of creating an elite was anathema to this union who espoused mediocrity and appeared to embrace a policy of reducing academic ambition to match that of the dimmest pupils.

Of course, there are good teachers, but it seems to me that the Union is slow to weed out those who fail the children in their classes. that the Union recently passed a vote of no confidence in Mr Goves, is to my mind a clue that he is on the right track. His call for better teaching standards flies in the face of teachers'union demands for less rigour in teaching. It's no good the NUT whingeing; they have been instrumental in the decline of education standards in the UK for the last two generations, aided and abetted by the Labour Party, happy to take their shilling. Like Law, Teaching is another profession to adopt lower standards of behaviour whilst accepting more money from the public purse. Is it any wonder that the public no longer have the respect for these professions as they once did?

The nation needs better teachers but many must be put off by working conditions found in many secondary schools and colleges, with the lack of enforcible discipline amongst pupils and the threat of contravening the many aspects of the Human Rights legislation. Add on to this the possibility of male teachers being wrongly accused of indecent behaviour and you wonder why anyone would want to teach.

It will not be enough for the Education Secretary to introduce a better examination policy allied to a new curriculum that better serves the Nation's needs. He will also have to change the relationship between teacher and pupil to what it once was; where a child understands that he will receive knowledge and wisdom but in return MUST show respect to the Master in an atmosphere that is comfortable to all. Mr Gove must press for the abandonment of the European Human Rights Act and reintroduce appropriate discipline to the nation's schools.

Cricket-When to come off for rain.

How frustrating it is when play is suspended for rain during a game of cricket. People have payed for a game of cricket and that is what they should get.

I, therefore, propose a new law that states that play should continue until the first spectator opens an umbrella in the ground. That should ensure that umpires cannot interfere until conditions reach a critical state. Hopefully any spectator would be fearful, under threat of serious bodily harm, of opening an umbrella before conditions became ridiculous.

Obviously, the cynical or antagonistic action of spectators allied to one or other of the protagonists should be disallowed for the purposes of the law.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Ken Bilderberg Clarke

So! Ken Clarke was upset about being 'dragged' to the House of Commons to explain the agenda of the 'private' Bilderberg group meeting in Watford. True to his commitment of 'Omerta', he gave nothing away but took the opportunity to pooh pooh those who suspect sinister goings-on.
Well, Mr. Ken Clarke, let me tell you that the British people whilst appreciating the privacy of others, do not expect to foot the bill for policing, running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, so that world leaders can exercise their 'private' whims. Nor do they expect their political leaders to meet with leading politicians and financiers, in strange circumstances, without some report of their activities.
Let me also tell you, Mr. Ken Clarke, that come the next General Election the voting public might well remember your smug disrespect for the UK public, their fears amidst a world in turmoil and vote accordingly. Prepare to lose your seat to UKIP, the party of common Sense.

Monday, 10 June 2013

What is the point of Formula 1?

Sadly an official died at the Canadian Gran Prix last weekend; the first in Formula 1 for ten years. His family will, no doubt, take comfort from the fact that he perished doing what he liked best.
For many followers of this so called sport, the possibility of accidents and, dare I say it, death is part of the appeal. Most of the excitement of a race is to be found in the initial dash to the first bend, because this is the optimum time for crashes and disaster. How many people actually hope for a spot of rain to make the track slippery; to introduce an element of chance? Anything to heighten the possibility of a surprise and break the monotony of racing.

Frankly, once the first corner has been successfully navigated, Formula 1 has all the appeal of syncronised swimming with none of the excitement of the water sport.
This season will almost certainly be won by Vettel because he has the best car as demonstrated by the well observed practice sessions. Everyone knows it; it is a racing certainty. Why not award the race to the guy and car that achieves pole position in practice? what's the point of the subsequent hour and a half of watching cars repeatedly circumnavigate a track, the only break from the tedium coming from artificially introduced pit stops to change the competition contrived tyres?
What is the point of Monaco, where overtaking is vitually impossible, if it isn't to be seen on your executive yacht? What has car racing really got to do with a jolly good social occasion? Thousands of hours of television; pundits in the pit lane discussing tactics and tyre strategy. What for? To watch Vettel finish first, bar a breakdown, and either Alonso or Hamilton trail behind. Race after mind bogglingly boring race.

Formula 1 is very beneficial for the UK economy; at least I hope they are, with many teams based in the midlands. Millions of pounds are spent in designing vehicles that will cover a couple of miles in a time faster than the other cars by less than a tenth of a second. Bloody marvellous!! Yippee!! I welcome innovation and the advancement in science and I'm sure there must be technological spin-offs from semi automatic gear shifts, adverse turbulence dissipation etc but Wouldn't it be money better spent on trying to develop an energy source to replace, for example, petroleum spirit. It begs the question: what is this circus for if it isn't to fill the coffers of those who own the F1 franchise? Is this really what the followers of F1 want?
Come on guys! Give up this ridiculous so called sport and join me in the pool. Deep breath now!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Bilderberg world

The UK Prime Minister is to pay a visit to the secretive Bilderberg get together in watford over the weekend but will not be making public the names of those he meets or what is discussed. This is entirely consistent with a group of European and US 'movers and shakers' that have been convening each year since 1954, but is in direct contradiction of Cameron's stated wish for transparency in Government.
There is no fixed agenda nor are minutes taken but few people round the world now doubt that this gathering has wide implications for policies that stretch across the globe, not least in Europe where it is widely held that the European union and the Euro were spawned. The people of Europe have been hoodwinked into giving up the sovereignty of their own dispirate countries to join a body led by unelected officials following an agenda that seems to have nothing to do with the wellbeing of the people and more to do with the polarising of resources for those who really rule the World. When Europe is really subjugated to where will they turn their attention next. Asia? Africa? They will have their fingers in these particular pies already. They are softening up the Countries they see as being particularly vulnerable by fomenting unrest and war using whatever devices they can lay their hands on such as poverty or religious intolerance.
Those attending these meetings are not the top people in the Cartels, merely the 'chosen ones' who through their input define the current situation and through their insights show the way forward.
Who are the ultimate beneficionaries of all this information? You won't find their names amongst the invitees because they have nothing to say but much to hear. I can only surmise that they must be people of enormous wealth who are accountable to no particular nation. People who can move around the globe with impunity because they control so many world leaders. They must be the Bankers. You will know who I mean. They do.