On Wednesday March 20 Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his spring budget to the people of Great Britain. It will detail the economy and predict future growth. What is omitted will be telling, as the budget will include a good deal of spin. Then Osborne will get down to business announcing proposed policy changes which could affect any number of citizens, mainly negatively.
Sat alongside Osborne, on the front-benches of the coalition will be a few multi-millionaires, such as David Cameron and Nick Clegg. This cabinet is full of politicians who play
at politics. That is a fair assumption when you consider they have no need to hold down such a job. There is of course the power and control aspect of holding a leading role in government.
In the past wealth has not always led to such assumptions. The UK, like most countries, had wealthy individuals seeking office for reasons of philanthropy or the good of the nation. These though are rare.
To consider what is wrong with the likes of UK PM David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson let us look at their schooldays. There is an old saying along the lines of “show me the child and I will show you the man” which rings true for these three men.
Educated at public school and then University, in the UK, they joined the exclusive Bullingdon Club when studying at Oxford. According to Wikipedia
the Bullingdon Club, founded in 1780, is an exclusive society at Oxford University, noted for its grand banquets and boisterous rituals, such as 'trashing' of restaurants and college rooms.
alone offers an insight into the behaviour and attitude of these men but there is more. Members of the club buy expensive tailor-made, blue and ivory suits, which they wear for functions. When they host or attend one of their functions any damage is paid for on the spot. Events are often rowdy, which has led to some local establishments opting not to host any.
Above all members must display an ostentatious disregard for money. The more money
wasted the better. A perfect background for a country’s Chancellor and its Prime Minster?
Historically a sporting club, these days the Bullingdon’s main feature is dining. Elections for club membership are held twice a year. Once accepted into the inner sanctum of the Bullingdon Club other members will arrive in your university rooms. You will have to eat a full tin of Coleman’s mustard and allow the men to trash
your room to complete your membership approval.
If you are not yet convinced that Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Johnson, as members of this club, are not fit for office read on.
There have been reports this year of one initiation which involved the prospective new member of the club burning a £50 in front of a tramp. Doubt has been cast over that allegation but there are others. Wikipedia
reports "some students had taken habitually to the drunken braying of ‘We are the Bullingdon’ at 3 a.m. from a house not far from the Phoenix Cinema. But the transcript of what they called the wife of the neighbour who went to ask them to be quiet was written in language that is not usually printed".
On Wednesday when Osborne gets to his feet in the House, to deliver his budget, cast your eyes over coalition front benchers. Their smug faces, as announcements about welfare reform, benefit cuts and more tough austerity measures are made, will betray their real feelings.
Osborne is set to deliver tax cuts to the wealthy in the UK and once again expect the poor and the vulnerable in the UK to pick up the tab. Why won’t he hit the wealthy in British society? Could it be because they are all old school chums and club members?
If you believe Tory propaganda that the coalition is sorting out the mess left by labour or addressing the country's deficit you are mistaken. That may or may not happen but it is not their priority. Their priority is shielding the elite from a financial hit.
The old school chums made years ago. Sources: Wikipedia Above Top Secret Osborne ploughs on with austerity-Guardian
In recent years Prime Minister's questions in Parliament has taken place on a Wednesday. Maybe it always did but it is only in recent years that we, the British public, have been able to watch or listen in on the fun. This bloggers says fun as although it should be serious business in the House each and every day Question time can be odd to say the least.
At times it has seemed more like kiddies half hour of naughtiness in a kindergarten. Each side will take a pop at the other and aim to score points. If we are lucky, depending upon your principles it can be highly amusing or a disgrace to watch.
Today, Wednesday April 18, 2012, is the first Question time in Parliament since George Osborne's Spring Budget. The honourable chaps and gals have been enjoying an Easter break. They may want to get rid of our meagre Bank Holiday entitlement but they certainly love their holiday privileges.
Leader of the opposition Ed Milband was of course wanting to gain a political advantage over the Condems or as they are also called the UK Coalition government. Ed had plenty of ammunition to hand kindly supplied by the Budget and a series of ill thought proposals by the Tories. Mr Cameron was accused of "presiding over a "shambles"" , by Mr Miliband, who went on to tell him to "get a grip" following a few dodgy weeks.
Amusingly it seems that "pasty Gate" is far from over. A veritable fiasco followed announcements that our ridiculously high VAT of 20% would be applied to Cornish Pasties. It did however appear that was only if they were bought hot. If taken home to heat up they would remain VAT free.
The changes to VAT on hot food, Mr Osborne had claimed, would make the system fairer. However it seems it is far from that. Today SkyNews reported that, "Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert then joined in the attack on Cameron as he pointed out that "there is no VAT chargeable on caviar yet the Government is proposing to put VAT on the Cornish pasty. Can he tell me why that is fair?"
Mr Cameron replied: "What I think is unfair is that products sold in a fish and chip shop wich are subject to VAT, those same products can be sold in supermarkets not subject to VAT. "I don't think that's fair and that's why it's right we redraw the boundaries."
Yes but what about the damn caviar which the government and its cronies enjoy eating? That of course remains unanswered.
Opinion: All of this may be highly amusing and a "good laugh". After all we need that especially these days, don't we? The problem is that whilst they are debating this trivia for our amusement the real issues are forgotten. The latest jobless figures may be slightly improved but with galloping inflation, pay cuts, granny taxes and pay freezes there are more serious fish to fry than Cod and Chips.
In case you need reminding Parliament we do not pay you to eat caviar, enjoy subsidised alcohol in the Parliament bar nor to act the fool on the world stage of the House of Commons. Isn't it about time you all behaved as adults, got on with the job in hand and led by example?
Tage: pastygate, cornish pasty, caviar, UK VAT, George Osborne, David Cameron, UK Spring budget, UK inflation
The UK is facing a government Spring budget in March 2012. Budgets can never please all of the people. If you are a one parent family what will suit you will hardly suit a multi millionaire business person. However budgets should be all about fairness. If we have to swallow some nasty medicine we should all join in. Asking the man, woman and child on the street to tighten their belt whilst those who can afford to continue to prosper is not good news. It is bad for families, those on low income. the unemployed, pensioners, the physically challenged, the country and more.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been pushing Chancellor George Osborne to alleviate the tax burden of the low paid. In the UK many workers have only secured part time jobs with a relatively small pay packet. These people though believe that it is better to work part time than to be unemployed.
Mr Clegg would like to raise the threshold before tax is paid to £10,000 a year. After this level of income is reached the basic tax rates would kick in. Osborne has said that he is considering the matter but will not be drawn on it. He is admant that he will not borrow more money to pay for it. This means that those who could receive a tax break in one hand will have it snacthed away by another.
As usual Osborne and his fellow Tories are full of lies and hypocrisy.
First it may be worth reiterating that, "The Lib Dems secured a coalition commitment from the Conservatives to increase the personal allowance to £10,000 before the end of this Parliament"
Time is moving on and if deals are to be honoured sooner or later this change will have to take place. Will it be yet one more broken Tory promise?
According to Sky news Osborne said, "I listen always - very seriously and carefully - to the Deputy Prime Minister and our coalition partners. We are a coalition and the Budget will be a coalition Budget. He knows, as I do, as the country knows, that any tax cut will have to be paid for. In other words, there would have to be a tax rise somewhere else or a spending reduction. What we are not going to do in this Budget is borrow more money to either increase spending or cut taxes."
Really Mr Osborne?
There are predictions that Mr Osborne will drop the 50p tax rate for the rich in the UK
. Revenues are lower than expected which has led to speculation that wealthy people's money is going elsewhere. It seems that Osborne will be happy to pander to his chums and ease their tax burden. Where will the money to fund this come from?
Traditional Tories are pushing George Osborne to reinstate the married couple's tax break. Although in the past this blogger has gained from that tax break the time to reinstate it is not now. It may never be the time to do so. Perhaps we should remember that it was a Conservative government that scrapped it in 2000.
There are many more pieces of the tax system that are unfair However, here is a way to fund the increase in personal allowances to £10,000.
- Currently the personal allowance is £7,475. It is due to rise to £8,105 for the years 2012,/2013. The cut off threshold for receiving that tax break is an income of a £100,000 a year. This could be reduced to those earning £90,000 for example. Any such change would barely hit the pockets of those higher earners but would alleviate a great deal of UK poverty. This would fund the £10,000 allowance.
- For 2012/ 2013 the 40p higher tax rate kicks in at £34,371-£150,000. Changing that to between £40,000 and £120,000 would be self funding and leave some money to spare.
- For 2012/2013 the 50p rate kicks in at over £150,000. That should be maintained as it is.
OK obviously there is more to it than that. I did not enjoy a public school education with all its trimmings but I do know common sense.
Part of the problem for George Osborne is having the will to help those who need help. The old saying that where there is a will there is a way is so very true. The problem is that Mr Osborne wants to "look after his own". You may see that as old fashioned rhetoric, however for George Osborne it is a way of life.
In 2012 Great Britain will push its spending out to the limit with the Olympics and The Royal Jubilee. Those will be fiunded come Hell or high water. Then again according to The Guardian Osborne h
as more money that he had planned for and can afford a budget giveaway!
There are reports that the UK embassy in Tehran, Iran, has been attacked. The reports claim that students stormed the embassy and burned the British flag.
Relations between Iran the UK have slumped recently. They may never have been what you could call buoyant but they are now worse than ever. Iran has faced condemnation from many countries, including the UK, after its ongoing nuclear development program seemed to be ominous. Iran continued to maintain that the program was to develop nuclear power not weapons but most countries did not believe this in the least.
It appears that a rally against the latest sanction imposed on Iran by the UK was underway. Groups of students stormed the embassy throwing stones, raising the Iranian flag and causing destruction.
The BBC reported that, "On Sunday, Iran's parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK after the UK Treasury imposed sanctions on Iranian banks the previous week, accusing them of facilitating the country's nuclear programme"
Updates to follow
Today Friday October 7, 2011, various UK banks have had their credit rating downgraded.
Yesterday the Bank Of England's Mervyn King painted a gloomy picture of the UK economy and its future prospects. He said that it had sunk to the depths of the last great depression of the nineteen-thirties.
Maybe his words and the Bank of England's reaction and action yesterday has played a part in today's downgrade. Certainlt the government's stance on bank bail-outs will not have helped.
UK Chancellor George Osborne continues to maintain that credit agency Moody's fears are unfounded. They it seems see the UK government as trying to move away from easing the debt crisis for banks, if and when it should become neceasasry. Osborne today said, "As I understand it, one of the reasons they are doing this, is because they think the British Government is actually moving in the direction of trying to get away from guaranteeing all the largest banks in Britain. I'm confident that British banks are well capitalised, they are liquid, they are not experiencing the kinds of problems that some of the banks in the Eurozone are experiencing at the moment." Maybe, but some did not so very long ago.
According to Moody's the UK Coalition government however has recently " withdrawn its backing for seven smaller institutions and scaled back its support for the five "larger, more systemically important financial institutions.""
Moody's does seem to still believe that the UK government would help out the larger banks but just not the smaller ones. However some of these smaller ones hold the investments, savings and mortgages of many UK householders. One of those downgraded, The Nationwide, has consistently performed well. It is one that many UK bank users, including myself, rely on. This downgrading should not affect Nationwide's trading but it might. Some people will soon run scared and move their financial portfolio elsewhere.
The Banks downgraded today include, regional Building Societies Newcastle, Norwich & Peterborough, Nottingham, Principality, Skipton, West Bromwich and Yorkshire; the UK arm of Spain's Santander, Co-Operative bank, Nationwide building society and several smaller UK banks; plus state-owned banks RBS Lloyds TSB. RBS faired worse than Lloyds TSB which they are not happy about.
Moody's also downgraded some Portuguese banks.
Opinion: When people such as those involved in Occupy Wall Street protest movement complain about corporate greed and the like, this is the sort of thing they mean. At one fell swoop such downgradings can affect a person's life savings and future. The "money men and women" will of course know exactly how and where to protect their wealth.
The Great Depression spiralled out of control rapidly when certain investors decided to pull the plug. Almost 80 years on little has changed, as far as the markets go, especially for the better.
Stock markets around the world reacted true to form and share values plunged again this morning.
Councils were partly funded by housing rates for many years. It was generally decided that the rates was an unfair system and a change was necessary.
Just what sort of changes come into force for such costs depends on the government at the time. It was Maggie Thatcher's right wing government which implemented a change creating the now infamous Poll Tax. This tax was to prove a thorn in the Tory party's side and after many protests it was changed again.
The council tax was thought to be fairer overall although again it will depend on your political leanings and your personal circumstances. Each year since its inception the Council Tax, in most regions of the UK, has risen. The UK Coalition government implemented a freeze on Council last year and George Osborne has confirmed this will be maintained next year.
Is this news as good as it sounds on face value and what about the huge cost of £805 million?
Chancellor Osborne has said that the government found the £805 million necessary from underspending across Whitehall departments. You have to wonder just how much underspending is happening and what more could be utilised. It is believed that Osborne wants to appease hard hit voters. He has said that this council tax freeze for 2012 - 2013 will help families. Well it will help any person who pays council tax. If you are a millionaire with a huge property you will in effect receive more help.
Although it is nice to have at east one bill not increasing it is not good news for the economy. The Unions have already blasted the council tax freeze saying it does nothing to help growth and employment. It may help small businesses.
UK voters must also remember that this same government increased VAT to 20% just before the first council tax freeze and further increases cannot be ruled out. With the cost of living in the UK rising all the time no person will feel the benefit of the freeze which for most people will put £72 a year back in their pockets. Almost enough to pay for one extra loaf of bread a week, at current prices. However of course we could have been facing huge council tax rises and more, so it has to be a glimmer of good news.
The Tory Party conference will continue in Manchester all this week and more vote pullers and vote losers will no doubt be announced.