Op-Ed: Monday at the Tory party conference Chancellor George Osborne announced that the government will scrap the so-called death tax.
The Telegraph reports the news like this "Next April, a month before the election, the Chancellor will scrap the “punitive” 55 per cent rate on drawdown pension funds due when the holder dies. More than 400,000 people have drawdown pensions, which are invested in the stock market. When they retire, they draw an annual income. Drawdown pensions are seen as more attractive than annuities, which lock people into a fixed annual income".
You can read the full details at the Telegraph here but it is worth mentioning only those with good pension pots will benefit. For the low paid and poor of the UK it will not make a scrap of difference except that they may in part foot the bill of this reform.
Osborne is attempting to woo over what is termed the "grey" vote, but this dyed over grey haired woman is not falling for it.
Older citizens sometimes lean toward Conservative policies; even some voters who were Socialists in their youth. With a property, possessions and perhaps a decent income they may be fooled into thinking the UK Conservatives will look after their lifestyle but in truth they will not.
The UK Tories even as part of a coalition government have made sure they have looked after the top earners. They have tried to ensure that any attempt to reduce the deficit is paid for by the most vulnerable of the UK not high earners.
Again, more than four years later, they put the UKs fiscal woes at the door of the former Labour government carefully managing to forget about the global economic crisis of 2008.
To date the deficit is not shrinking. The 'easy' austerity cuts have been implemented and the tough ones will follow.
The Tories laid it on the line Monday announcing more cuts which is strange when you consider they are trying to win the 2015 election.
However it will all be part of the bigger plan drawn up by their overpaid Tory election campaigners.
It will be information used at a later date in political debates and to try to undermine Mr. Miliband's election chances.
So Cameron has cheerfully announced the cap on benefits will drop from £26,000 to £23,000 a year. The Prime Minister also confirmed that young people aged 18 to 21 will have to do community work or lose their benefits.
But tougher cuts are to follow. Yes we have money to commit to wars in the world, send aid abroad sometimes to countries that do not really need it, support a Royal Family and its hanger on but we do not have money for the British people only the wealthy. But it is never really about the deficit but more about tipping the balance in favour of the few.
The Tories announced that they will not hit pensions, at least not yet, calling them benefits but as a pensioner I dispute that. My pension was paid for over many years of work paying into the system. A system that begun the deal that I could retire at 60 and changed that to 62.
Younger people are less lucky. They face working up to 68 or older. With more older citizens in work there will be less real jobs for younger workers.
Apparently 95% of jobs in the USA are in the service industry and low paid and where the US leads we follow sooner or later. We already have zero hour contract jobs, agency work, part-time and temporary work and few real jobs.
Tory policy will not address any of this in real terms but simply allow the government to stumble on hitting the vulnerable of the UK while feathering their own nest. That is they will if we let them.
The Tories divide and conquer is now reaching the depths as the media highlights that pensioners have not faced an income cut or freeze. IT used to be the unemployed singled out but whichever group is highlighted it is never the select few who messed up the economy of the UK and continue to prosper.
Bankers and politicians are treat with cynicism and rightly so.
News that the Tories are saying they must cut the welfare budget as it is no costly is pathetic. Is that why changes to child benefit meant, "If you and your partner each has an income of less than £50,000 a year, you will receive the full amount of Child Benefit without having to pay any of it back. If either you or your partner has an income of between £50,000 and £60,000 a year each, you have to pay a proportion of your Child Benefit back in extra Income Tax".
Does that seem appropriate in times of austerity when people receiving much less are having their incoming money slashed?
What about Deputy PM Nick Clegg's idea on free school meals which went like this "Free school meals, even for kids with rich parents". The only criteria was the age of the child. If the welfare budget is so stretched why was that change brought in during early September as a free for all reform rather than as a means tested benefit?
The annual political conferences in 2014 will all be launch pads for their respective 2015 election campaigns.
But if one more over paid and over stuffed politician tells me my pension is a benefit he or she may just get a clout round the ear.
I paid for that over many years, had no children, so never claimed child benefit and the like, and earned that pension.
So while our dear politicians are making changes to help those in receipt of private pensions remember the state pension is no free ride – it is paid for.
Keep your hands of it. Anything less is theft.
Free school meals, even for kids with rich parents
Money advice service child benefit
Online there are many many parodies and some are just so funny. But the heat is one with regard to copyright infringements and users need to take a cautious approach.
The good news for those who create and post parody videos is that UK legislation changes, that is under EU laws, which are due to come into force later this week will allow parodies of copyright works.
Parody creators ran the risk of being sued if they used clips of films, TV shows or songs without first seeking consent.
That is set to change.
According to BBC News "the new European Copyright Directive will allow the use of the material so long as it is fair and does not compete with the original version."
It is not quite so simple though; is it ever?
If the parody is hateful or conveys you in a bad light you can still sue. It will then be up to a judge to "decide if the parody is funny."
I know - what if the judge has no sense of humour?
Still it is a fair compromise. Some parodies are used under the guise of comedy to take a stab at others. The best advice is always to ask first, but that is not always practical.
Parodies in the main simply provide fun entertainment, especially if you are not the butt of the joke.
The changes in law have been welcomed by many.
Remember though even simply downloading a readily available image online could get you into hot water. Established citizen journalism website Allvoices found itself in court over such an infringement; read "Failure to register a DMCA designated agent torpedoes safe harbor protection."
Changes happen October 1 - "The only, and essential, characteristics of parody are, on the one hand, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it and, on the other, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery," the EU rules state. "If a parody conveys a discriminatory message (for example, by replacing the original characters with people wearing veils and people of colour), the holders of the rights to the work parodied have, in principle, a legitimate interest in ensuring that their work is not associated with such a message."
Peter Nunn, 33, from Bristol, was sentenced to 18-weeks in jail Monday after retweeting "menacing" posts threatening to rape Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy and branding her a witch.
Nunn used more than one account on Twitter to hound Creasy and Caroline Criado-Perez who had launched a banknote campaign.
In July 2013 we reported "a 21-year-old man has been arrested in the UK in connection with rape and death threats sent to Caroline Criado-Perez on Twitter after she launched a campaign to get an image of a famous female on British banknotes. Caroline, a journalist and feminist, was successful in her campaign but although it proved successful Caroline paid a high price for her "activism".
At one point she reportedly received 50 rape threats in one hour.
Nunn, a father of one, was the man arrested in 2013.
Pathetic Twitter trolls targeted the women and she received a high-level of abuse. At one point she reportedly received 50 rape threats in one hour. Sadly social media abuse is rampant right now. A blogger at TEK experienced a great deal of abuse and many threats online in 2013 which only stopped after police intervention.
Supporters on Twitter launched a campaign and petition in support of Caroline which quickly garnered support. The Mail Online reported: "Writer Caitlin Moran tweeted: 'For those who say, "why complain - just block?' on a big troll day, it can be 50 violent/rape messages an hour. Exhausting and upsetting.' "
We all jibe each other from time to time and it is easy to go that step too far when you or the recipient are faceless. However in recent months the abuse has become personal. It leaves one wondering a couple of things. Firstly is this part of a cunning ploy by governments to allow us to give up Internet freedom and settle for strict censorship and online monitoring by the authorities? If it is then foolish minded individuals who also abuse users are playing into government and security official’s hands.
BBC News reports Monday "In response to the sentencing, Ms Criado-Perez wrote in her blog: "While what Nunn did was extremely menacing, I do not think that sending messages describes the essence of his campaign against me and Stella. I think that is better described with the term stalking."
Nunn's defence team told the court he regretted his actions but the court did not accept that. The Judge Elizabeth Roscoe found him guilty of sending indecent, obscene or menacing messages, also imposing a restraining order.
If you use Twitter for abuse take note.
At least one UK Tory MP was considering lodging a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) Sunday following the sex sting which caught out Brooks Newmark.
Monday Tory MP Mark Pritchard said he would contact Scotland Yard and make a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over accusations of entrapment.
The freelance reporter posed as a woman interested in sex and contacted a number of MPs. Newmark appears to be the only one caught in a trap.
We reported Sunday on the operation and did question whether or not it could be classed as entrapment but there is another issue. The freelance journalist who supplied the story to the Daily Mirror posed as a young Tory female and contacted a number of MPS. The problem is he used images, some from twitter, to bait his trap without permission. The women involved may have a case against him or the Daily Mirror which went on to publish.
The undercover reporter claimed to be an attractive “twentysomething Tory PR girl” and used the fictional name of “Sophie Wittams”. According to the Guardian:
Newmark, who owns the investment firm Telesis Management and whose wealth was estimated at £3.2m in 2009, was contacted by “Sophie”, before engaging in a series of flirtatious messages and photograph exchanges.
The MP for Braintree – who founded the Tory campaign “Women2Win” aimed at getting more women in parliament – invited “Sophie” to an event and told her to “feel free to drop by parliament anytime for a chat”. Having exchanged private numbers, he asked for a picture. In return he sent her a photograph of himself sitting on his bed wearing a T-shirt. He then sent a below-the-waist shot of himself in a pair of paisley pyjamas.
Opinion: A complicated matter. The media in the UK has been in hot water more than once in recent years. Days ago the Trinity Mirror group agreed to pay compensation to 10 phone hacking victims.
The Daily Mirror is a Labour supporting pub;ication which is also relevant. Tory rags behave equally unscrupulously when it suits.
While some Tories though want to turn the attention away from a party sex scandal into problems with the media there is no escaping that Newmark behave inappropriately.
He rightly resigned and fast. The timing of publication coinciding with the annual Tory Party conference forced his hand. It is just a shame others caught abusing their ministerial role cling on.