Tag Archives: Nick Clegg

#oneaday38: Alternative Votester

I am actually really gutted that I have not made the consistent effort to keep up with the #oneadayproject, there are loads of excuses but none of them really matter at all. It has been a really busy and rather interesting time between March 9th and today, April 19th. Forty one, yes forty one days of being lazy, however interesting things have been.

So here is my attempt at getting back on track, well sort of. I am attempting a daily blog about the Alternative Vote referendum that is set to take place on May 5th. Very much the battle of the  #Yes2AV or #No2AV camps. At this juncture, I will declare that I am instinctively supportive of the Yes2AV team, although that is based on my sometimes fanciful and romantic view of democracy.  But there are loads and loads of pros and cons for both arguments, not least that it seems that no one ACTUALLY really believes in the AV system! Even Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister who is a key figure in the #Yes2AV campaign referred to AV as ‘a miserable little compromise’ 2 weeks before last May’s General Election.

So, by way of the first short but sweet ‘things to consider about AV’  how about this one. If no one really believes in the AV system surely it is a shoe-in that the #No2AV campaign will walk the vote and few will actually turn up to vote in the first place?

So given that we should all use our vote, something that is our democratic right and our responsibility, it seems like we are turning up to vote on an issue and that is a waste of money, right?

Well wrong actually. The ConDem Coalition like to think that they know a thing or two about cost cutting and they cunningly agreed to run the Referendum on electoral reform which was a key cornerstone of the Coalition negotiations on the same day, May 5th,  as local elections will take place on in 279 English local authorities. Elections will also be held on the same day to the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly. In Northern Ireland, elections to the existing 26 local councils are also due to be held the same day. So at least extra cash has not be spent allowing us to cast our vote.

Any money spent will be spent by the respective campaigns on advertising literature both on and off line and broadcasts that attempt to sway the undecided. I am reliably informed the Government will not be paying for any of this.

So conclusion number 1 is:-

The Referendum on AV will not cost the country any extra cash. This feels right to me. A tick in the box and we are off to a flyer.

That is not to say that either side will not use economic arguments to get their point across though. More on Baroness Warsi’s ‘Election Counting Machines’ next 😉

Until tomorrow. Hopefully.

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#oneaday 8: Robbing Peter, lending to Paul?

So all the tough talk about ‘us all being in this together ‘ (sic) (for those non residents of the UK, this was the phrase introduced by David Cameron, now Prime Minister of the UK at the Conservative party conference in October 2009 and has been the rallying call in these tough times) has proved to be a little wide of the mark. As purchase tax, or value added tax (VAT) as it was rebranded some years back rose 14% to 20% on the 4th of January, and thousands of public and private jobs are slashed,  as deep and rapid cuts to the welfare state and the education system,  the majority of folk in the UK are now getting used to a time of austerity. And you know what, we have no choice. The economy of the UK has taken a major battering, why, well in truth there are so many factors it would be a long essay and stuff that I simply don’t understand. But basically we spent more than we earned and we have to do our financial porridge for some years.

One factor that does stand out amongst all the others however, is the fact that some of our banks became insolvent in 2008. Instead of ‘the bank calling the debt in’ as normally happens when businesses and institutions fail, this time the banks carried the debts and could not meet their commitments. There was no one bank to call all the other banks in so to speak. They really were ‘all in it together’. The decision was taken, we are told, in the national interest, by Prime Minster Gordon Brown to bail the banks out. Amazingly no one actually seems to know to what extent. Namely we don’t know the final number. Some sources quote upwards of £1 Trillion. in the case of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) we are told that the citizens of the UK now own 83% of the shares. In return for these share the nation poured £45Billion in cash, insured £280Billion of risky loans and set aside a further £8Billion in case things get really bad. So you’d have thought as majority shareholders in this company, we i.e our Government would have had a say in how that business should be run, in the national interest and all that.

But the Government insisted earlier today (when I wrote this anyway) it would not intervene to stop Royal Bank of Scotland’s chief executive, Stephen Hester, earning up to £9Million for last year’s work. Furthermore it will not seek to cap the bonus pool of more than £1Billion that the bank intends to pay it’s high earners. A spokesman for David Cameron said: “We’ve made a broad statement which is about the need to see some restraint and some responsibility from the banks, but we are not going to set bonus pools for individual banks.”

We know the sketch here. Money talks blah, blah. But for all the recent fighting political talk – see below – of those who govern us, those that our pickled voting system has thrust upon us, right or wrong, is always the same. It is just talk and talk, unlike property is cheap.  Indeed the extra tax rate/levy on bonuses from last year has been wiped out,  replaced by a lesser yielding tax on the banks’ balance sheets.

So if you are young and  live in London, or are trying to buy a house in London, or indeed in the countryside close to London – aka The Stock Broker Belt as it used to be called when VAT was purchase tax, one of the consequences of this indecent and bloated excess is that property prices will rise again, thus putting property even further off the radar of those starting out in their working life, those trying to bring up a family. The very same people, many of them pay as you earn (PAYE) tax payers (you know the ones who pay the correct amount of tax as they do not have access to fancy schemes for tax optimisation) are royally being shafted.

The youth should always be at the centre of any society’s future, yet they find themselves over taxed, if they are lucky enough to have a job, under served and utterly betrayed. And the bank band played on. Pfffff. I am not given to cheap prejudice, but I can tell you now, I have complete and utter contempt for these people.

So there you go and to keep it interesting, I have a meeting with our bank manager planned for next week to discuss our  ‘facility ‘for 2011. The name of that bank? I will give you 3 guesses. You should get it right first time. Wish me luck.

Footnote what our leaders said when in Government (courtesy of The Independent today)

‘It is wholly untenable to have millions of people making sacrifices in their living standards only to see the banks getting away scot-free – the banks should not be under any illusion: this Government cannot stand idly by.’ – NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister17 NOVEMBER 2010

‘I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than Bob Crow [the RMT union leader] could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer.’ – VINCE CABLE, 22 SEPTEMBER 2010

‘Every decision the banks make like that [paying large bonuses] makes it more difficult to keep a tax regime that they might favour.’ DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister 17 DECEMBER 2010

‘We will not allow money to flow unimpeded out of those banks into huge bonuses, if that means money is not flowing out in credit to the small businesses who did nothing to cause this crash and suffered most in it.’ – GEORGE OSBORNE, Chancellor of the Exchequer 4 OCTOBER 2010

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