Tag Archives: Norfolk

As an election looms

Finally, we get some words on the Labour manifesto, the Guardian has been on top of it and whilst they are presenting a good part, I have a few issues as they went a little light on labour as I personally see it. Again, it is a personal side and as a conservative you should take into consideration that the flaw is on my side, and I would accept it, but let me give you the goods.

The entire review is at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/16/labour-manifesto-analysis-key-points-pledges, so you have the option to completely disagree and seek your own version of their vision. The first part “a short note on a new £250bn “national transformation fund” implies that these costs will be funded through capital borrowing” shows their intent on rail, which is a quarter of a trillion through borrowing. So off the bat we are considering electing someone who wants to add a quarter of a trillion to a debt that went off the handles due to the Labour party in two previous administrations. How is that ever a good idea? a chunk of all the other parts is supposedly coming by adding a new tax group of 50% for those earning above £123K. A marginal addition for the ‘fat cat’ group. So those making more than that will be charged for the amount above and I have a hard time accepting and believing that this will get them the ‘speculated‘ £6.4 billion. It reads more like wishful thinking in an age where rationalism will not ever get you that amount. Consider, as mentioned before, something that any excel user can check with the numbers the UK tax office (HMRC) offers, the super wealthy, those making well over a million is limited to less than 5000 people. So how is this billion pound extra achieved? Let’s not forget they only get the 5% extra over the amount over £123K, as such the income will not get close, yet after the election they will come with excuses, whilst we already knew that this was never realistic. In addition, how many are close to the threshold? In this those making £123K – £199K, they might feel safer setting apart certain investment reserves into retirement, if they get that done, the £6.4B will drop fast by a lot. In addition, the Guardian gives us: “But recent evidence from the imposition of a 50p rate in 2010 shows that the measure could spark mass avoidance by the individuals affected and raise no extra funds for the exchequer“, so there is that part too! Remember Jeremy Corbyn and his nurses? The 10,000 nurses pledge? When we consider the already announced part “Health and social care reform at a cost of £7.7bn, as part of a package that includes a guarantee of A&E treatment within four hours and the end of the NHS pay cap“, and the “Free lunches for pupils as part of £6.3bn school package“, that’s another 14 billion, where is that coming from? Remember the tax increase part? When we tally, we see that the NHS part is already leaving the tax increase at minus a billion, all the other multi billion pound parts are not even close to being addressed. This is simple tally stuff that many in their final year in primary school can achieve from their calculus lessons and Jeremy Corbyn and his ‘raunchettes’ cannot deliver, a mere exercise in lewd offensive spending. Choices without proper merit and ignoring the consequences of the deep debt they got the UK in in the first place. I am all for some level of social levy, yet any social act requires to consider the impact, something that UK Labour is clearly not doing. It is even more upsetting that simple calculus gets us to a place where this would never have been a reality to begin with. Are you seriously considering voting for such a failed attempt?

When we consider the added Cyber security, and the promise to the security agencies, we see items that are promised without any claim to the cost. Now we might accept that part, yet their own £11.2 NHS IT fiasco should clearly show that they haven’t got a clue on how to tackle it because the limitations they imposed through failed IT is part of the reason that NHS IT is not up to date in the most meagre of ways which is also exactly part of the reason that the NHS hacks were successful in the first place. In addition the entire pension part is flawed, that is a given not because of what it states, but when you compare it against the Australian need to already up the retirement point to 67, with a population of 20 million, that is a retirement change already needed now, the fact that the age wave will hit with almost 4 times the intensity in the UK and the retirement age will not significantly up for another 6 years is delusional and as I see it set so that the current Labour electorate can ignore the issue until the next election, at that point it will be way too late and they will offer some diluted solutions using capital borrowing adding another . I see it as we now need an estimated £75bn a year, it is anticipated a near doubling before 2025. You see, some of the statistics have been placing comparison of life expectancy and percentage of retirement, yet as I see it, the quality of life for those born in the 30’s and those born in the 60’s is vastly different. the difference of those two groups is that maximum life is more likely to be in excess of 20 years, so those born in the 60’s and onward have a much higher chance of requiring a pension for close to 20 years longer, on a population of millions, that would equate to an additional pile of billions that would be required. In this the setbacks that the financial meltdowns gave all the people and government institutions, it shows that the shortage will increase and the pension deficit will increase annually by a lot over the next 5 years alone, so not seeing any repair actions is just weird. So as labour proclaims to be ‘social‘ their social unawareness and unpreparedness is just a little too upsetting. Now, the Tories are not innocent either. There is a given shortage and getting rid of the debt is a first step in solving it, so as we see that Labour is now willing to add close to half a trillion to the total shortage and that is just the added shortage of what they want to do to look cool. The added deficit will go straight through the roof adding overall a lot more debt than anyone is willing to consider.

And it is Labour of all others who have no welfare support. they promise a future policy paper, but the overall issue is not that paper (it will be though), it is “There are no spare funds in Labour’s calculations for extra welfare spending. To counteract the effects of planned cuts, under Labour’s current plans it would need to increase borrowing“, so that implies even more borrowing, whilst they amount needed is already through the roof. I did voice a change, I offered a view where there might be some additional ‘fat cat’ costs, even though that is not what I call it, it was a need to increase the second tax tier by 2% and the third one by 1%, whilst increasing the 0% tax group. so basically the lowest people get £100 a month more and the highest (45% tier) loses about £150 a month (as they also have the higher 0% part, they lose a little in the end), around £100 for tier 2 and £50 on the tier 3 part which I saw as a very social thing to do. And all that without burdening towards extra debt. I am not stating that the lowest group did not deserve more, I was working from a 0 balance difference for taxation, so that the coffer would not be denied more coins to address the massive debts it has now. It was a simple exercise in Excel and perhaps my method is flawed, my intention was pure, that is a lot more than I can state for the McDonnell-Corbyn group who will happily max out the UK credit card and leave others to solve the matter after they leave office, just like the two previous labour governments did.

Yet in all this it is not just the Labour party that needs a look, the Lib Dems are also due a little concern. In that I actually like the entire ‘rent to buy‘ pledge. I cannot say if it would work because the ground materials are not a given at present. What homes would be offered? Consider what the foundation is. New houses, would b great, but when we see where, there will be an optional issue. It is of course a way to get the younger generation out of London and perhaps towards other places where a younger population would be a good thing. However, would they embrace life in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire or Kent? What happens when that is not an option, what if the social houses in London does not get resolved? Those elements make the Lib Dems an issue that might not come to pass, yet for every person accepting a place outside of the greater London area, the pressure will go down a little, enough little’s will make for a moment of relief, yet will it work, time will tell. In all this I personally found the second ‘referendum’ offensive. So, because people did not like the outcome, because some didn’t bother voting, the people in the UK get to vote again? I wonder how the Lib Dems will be seen when the EU gets the bill of what Wall Street does, when the UK gets the pounding because the US could not get their house in order, I wonder how those second referendum people will be seen. Even as the US is ‘suddenly’ doing great again, whilst their debt is increasing by trillions of dollars a year, as well as their inability of dealing with their deficit, how will that push others? The US now with almost 20 trillion in national debt, they stated the 1st half of 2016 a collected taxation of 1.48 trillion. now, if we do something not entirely valid, but what if we double it? (the second half is never as much as the first half, yet for argument sake), this now implies that the US would collect a maximum of $3 trillion for 2016, that whilst at present, federal spending is at almost $4 trillion and the deficit is now approaching $600 billion for this year. The deficit, no matter what they report is not getting properly addressed and has not been or over a decade. What do you think will happen when that well ends? Do you think that export to the US will continue? At that point, who would be the trade partner that remains? I do not proclaim to have then answer, yet when we see that at present US total Interest paid is set at $2.5 trillion, where do you think that goes? Who is paid interest on debts that seem to be mainly virtual? Do not think it is a simple picture, because this part is as complex as anything could ever get. Machiavelli could not design something this complex. Yet at the end of the day, the taxpayer is left with the invoice. As such lowering debt is the only safety net that would allow the people in general to have any life. I have always stated and truly believed that once it collapses, it will hit whomever is in debt. I still believe that Japan is the first domino to fall, yet that also means that the US dollar gets a hit that will be a terminal one and Wall Street will falter almost immediately after that, after which the Euro will go straight out of the window, its value less than the German Deutschmark in 1923. Japan has a debt that is close to 240% of GDP, a group of nations that includes the US, Japan, the UK and several other European nations have a budget deficit that is surpassing $9 trillion, how is that allowed to continue? This is not me, this comes from Martin Weiss, PhD. Although his PhD is in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, not in economics. Yet we can agree that at least he has a few degrees which includes degrees from Columbia and NYU, so he is not the most uneducated tool we know, unlike some in politics nowadays. The problem is not the total deficit or the total debt. It is the fact that some players like the Rothschild’s, Wall Street and even the IMF are wanting this game to continue. A push it forward game that benefits the political and financial engine operators and 0.1% of the population. Would it be fair to call this a legalised form of slavery? Is the one option allowed to have the same as a freedom of choice? That is what is more and more at stake. When the people in the UK were allowed this freedom, they chose Brexit, now we see all these players trying to undo that one part, because it is the fear of the players with too much to lose. We get more and more weighted information from the press and that engine is less and less reliable. So what remains? Well, the people in the UK are about to make their selection, whilst we see certain manifesto’s that are debatable to say the least. Some parts are just not realistic at all, yet the people must elect someone. I will not tell you who to vote for, I am merely wondering if the people will ever be properly informed.

This is mainly because there is an election looming and those not governing will make whatever promise they can just to get into office. So what will happen after that? Remember Emmanuel Macron? Making all those statements on how Europe must reform, or else there would be a referendum? Well, merely an hour ago we see: “Both pro-Europe leaders were keen to show solidarity concerning the Eurozone and have broken with previous statements by discussing potential changes to EU treaties. The move is seen by both nations as a way of healing ongoing EU upheaval, combating the rise of the far right and showing a united front in the wake of Brexit negotiations” healing whom? the ECB spending spree recipients? When we see “Visiting Berlin on Monday, Macron ‘did not push for major, ambitious reforms (of the EU) because he knows the chancellor cannot deliver until the elections in September’“, I merely see the fact that the French people have been lied to again, and those people voting have elected a new Wall Street tool (as I personally see it), and the fact that he was a former investment banker was pretty much a clear giveaway. I expect to see some kind of ‘compromise’ that gets no one anywhere any time soon around the end of August or early September, implying that the European gravy train will move along with full speed ahead for another 4-5 years. When you realise this, do you still think my Brexit support was weird? If someone had effectively muzzled Mario Draghi, that might have been a first piece of evidence that reform of the Eurozone would have been a far fetched optional reality, yet so far, that has not and is unlikely to happen.

 

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Legally and Criminally Insane?

There is an issue that had been on my mind for a long time. First of all, I do not have a car. I had a motorcycle for a while, but not at present. I never cared for cars that much. When you live in the big city, a car tends to be an expensive asset and it rarely gives you additional time. I learned that if one manages their time correctly you get heaps done without a car. It does not always work that way, I can admit that and for almost half a century, I have only desperately needed a car around 10 times. So, for me, a car is really not that needed.

You might wonder where this is going!

I just read an article, basically the second driver in a series of thoughts (at http://news.sky.com/story/1286644/brakes-slammed-on-over-zealous-spy-cars). The first one is a number of articles all pointing back to speed cameras (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/10613388/Motorway-speed-cameras-to-be-rolled-out-to-stop-those-driving-faster-than-70mph.html) and a third topic in this matter can be found at http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/trending-news/parking-fines-by-councils-reach-nearly-255-million-in-2013-with-tables-of-the-top-finers-by-local-authority/.

So, why these issues? We have traffic laws (UK, Australia and heaps of other nations). They are not like the three rules I got explained for driving a car in Egypt (in 1982), where it seemed that:

1. If you did not honk your horn, you are at fault.
2. The heaviest car has right of way.
3. A non-Egyptian is always at fault.

They seem simple and pretty much fit the bill.

In most Commonwealth countries we have set rules on speeding and parking. So, I do not get the problem when people start bitching over speeding tickets. Was there a speed limit? There always is and there is always a reason why it did not apply to that person. I reckon 1 out of 250 will have the actual honest defence that they missed the speed limit sign, which gives us 249 people who should keep quiet and just pay up, or should they?

Now, I will admit that I am slightly on the fence towards the topic with the title “Brakes Slammed On ‘Over-Zealous Spy Cars’“. Is that really a wrong approach?

Even though the heart of the matter quoted “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear“, which is fair enough. My issue is that these people parked illegally, so why is that an issue?

The quote “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls” remains funny as most town halls will never ever make profit, even if we fine roughly 87.2254% of the London motorists, London would still come up short by a sizeable amount.

It is in the area of the parking fines article we see this quote “The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a higher number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.” Here I wonder how to react. You see, if the council revokes a driver’s licence after 3-4 fines for no less than one year, it seems to me that the congestion problem will solve itself overnight. I agree that these transgressions are not in the league of Manslaughter or Grievous bodily harm, but laws are laws and are traffic laws any less? (Well, less than murder, yes!) There will always be excuses and some will remain valid.
L or P plates correctly displayed at start of journey‘, which in all honesty could happen. There is ‘on medical grounds‘, where the driver was helping a victim into a hospital. There will always be a grey area that we in all honesty must deal with. These are the parking fines and there are a few more valid reasons, but some are just out there. I felt a lot less lenient when it comes to speeding. You see, there is always that joker who thinks he is in control and when speeding goes wrong, he refuses to die for the sake of it, but will have killed someone else. When we read that: “X (name removed) was jailed for eight months for causing death by careless driving“, I wonder why that person is not spending life in jail for murder. the quote “Believing they were walking ‘deliberately slowly’, she engaged the clutch and revved the engine of her Honda Civic to scare them off the road while her car was still moving at around the 30mph speed limit” gives additional feelings of anger. These pedestrians were at a pedestrian crossing? 8 months jail and a two year ban is all she had to do, which in my book seems just wrong.

It is the quote “We are opposed to speed cameras in general. The evidence of their success in promoting safety is not good and in reality what is happening now is that the police are using speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed awareness courses.” by Roger Lawson, a spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) that gives additional concern. Perhaps these measures do not go far enough?

It is currently stated that if you are caught speeding then you will be handed an absolute minimum punishment of three penalty points and a fine of £100. How about making that four penalty points and a fine of £200? Also during special times, like Easter, Christmas and so on, the demerits double, making the driver extra careful. Next we see that ‘if you accrue 12 points on your licence within a three-year period‘, should then in honesty become ‘if you accrue 24 points on your licence within a two-year period‘ the driving ban should be no less than 24 months, no matter how essential your driving license is. If someone states that this is too draconian, then I personally agree as well, but many acts do not change the mind of the driver now, so why not give them something to fear. It seems that public transportation frightens them a lot.

What do we get from this?

That is indeed the question. It seems that a total disregard for parking and speeding rules is getting out of hand, and whilst it seems unfair to some, this is also a possible way to stop congestion. It also stops a little pollution, so we do get a double whammy on this front.

This all gets me to Law and Morality by John Gardner (at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/pdfs/lawmoralityedited.pdf). It should seem clear that my approach is ‘aim to serve the common good (Finnis 1980: 276)‘ and ‘aim to justify coercion (Dworkin 1986: 93)‘. There is no denial that this is about coercing the driver to abide by the rules. We should at that point also consider how unjust the laws of traffic are (if that is the raised issue). But is it?

How often could you not park because someone had taken the spot that was rightfully yours? How often have you or someone you directly known to be in almost direct danger because of someone speeding? When a population above a certain level states yes to both (as it currently seemed to be the case), should these laws not change to something more draconian?

Is it not so, that in my imaginary change, we are changing the premise that we all have a right to drive a car, into the premise that driving a car is becoming a privilege for those abiding by the set rules? Is this not deprivation of freedom? We are to some extent already imposing those rules to pilots, considering the lack of accidents there, should we not take the same approach with car drivers? Should we not pass a certain parameter to be considered a driver? We demand skills to many environments that are a lot less hazardous, so why not car drivers? You see, as I see it, the car industry had forever been an open field as it was so lucrative to sell to so many people. Now, with the saturation we see, cars are almost too available and gas prices go through the roof. What if it becomes a privilege? What if the car driving population goes down by 20%? Cars might not become cheaper, but gas certainly will as there is a 20% less need. Public transportation will suddenly get a massive boost and the chance that all this reflects on higher safety standards and less need for emergency aid is also a good thing. We will always need emergency services, but consider that they will have on the emergency services. Here is where I got surprised. When we consider the numbers (at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13040/acci-emer-focu-on-2013-rep-V2.pdf), we see that in the UK the response for ‘Road traffic accidents accounted for 1.4 per cent of type 1 department attendances in 2012/13‘. That was a number I did not expect to see, so am I looking in the wrong direction? When we look at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255125/road-accidents-and-safety-quarterly-estimates-q2-2013.pdf, we see a rolling statistic of 1785 killed and 23,530 regarded as killed or seriously injured, which makes the Accident and Emergency (A&E) data in England a slight question. Especially as we regard page 17 of that PDF and the spread of the traffic cases on page 22. Well, No! The numbers make perfect sense; it just shows that the 23,000 are well spread over the timeline; it is just that these 23,000 are in the end only 1.4%. Yes, in case you wonder, I did notice they are not all from the same frame, but we see only a few percent change over these time frames, so that overall the picture is still usable for the most, just that the relief for Accident & Emergency would be minimal (alas). I had hoped that the traffic changes would lessen their work a lot more.

So, am I just trying to add morality to a traffic case? Gardner explains that at times morality needs law, just as law is in need of morality at times. So we are still with the question, is adding draconian measures to traffic laws morally considerable, or will the act result in a lack of morality for the law? That issue is brought to light when Gardner gets to item 4. “Does law have an inner morality?” There we have a nice consideration. Is morality not a setting of norms, hence in reflection is it not a form of discrimination? I am doing that by discriminating against the transgressors, but am I doing this in an unbalanced way? If we accept that morality is seen as a system of values and principles of conduct, and the bulk of people break speed limits, is the morality of speeding not one that should change? If almost all break the speed limit, is the law not unjust to being with and as such is this law, draconian or not a transgression of accepted morality and therefor a law that should not exist?

The facts now fit the statement that Roger Lawson gave us, is this about funding, or about safety? That is not easily answered and without knowing the true and complete course of the 1785 killed. How many got killed through speeding? If we accept that the UK has roughly 34.8 million cars in use, should 0.00525% decide the consequence of the rest? When we look at the deaths, that is what we see; we get 0.0676% if we include the wounded. So, when looking at this, no matter how we twist or turn the data, well over 99% suffers because of a few. There is no question that none of this changes for the victims of these events, but it shines a harsh light on certain aspects of traffic safety and the approach it has. Should the laws change however? There is growing evidence at this point that my Draconian approach is just not the way to go, it shows an increasing tendency to be unjust. We can all agree that unjust laws should not be followed. But in the second degree, are the current laws too harsh?

Here we have several other factors to consider. If congestion is the cause of many evil, then my draconian approach survives the test as it solves part of the problem, yet will it solve the situation? There is no real way to tell. We should however question whether we want to take away the car as a basic freedom, because that is what a car embodies and revoking freedoms is as we can all agree highly immoral.

It seems like we took an opposition approach and through this we learned that people like Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have a clear case. The same could be said for Roger Lawson, which takes us to the question whether the UK should consider losing the speed limits all together. Would you believe that someone made that case? Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett did this and makes a good argument for it, which gives wonder on what to do next? He stated “If we are going to do anything about speed and villages we ought to take down all the signs and say all villages are 30mph [48km/h] and you drive on roads like they do in Germany and Italy, as road conditions say”. So if this works in Germany and Italy, why should the UK not go that same way? It cannot just be the weather as the weather in Germany can be even more treacherous as it is in the UK. Is it not also the case that the simpler any traffic issue is, the less confusion we are likely to face? The Egyptian example at the beginning is an extreme one, but does show the effectiveness of simplicity (except for rule three which can be scrapped in Common Law on grounds of discrimination).

Perhaps some changes the UK could get by learning from its neighbours, who knows, perhaps after this the French, Dutch and others will follow the Italians and we might get a reasonable equal traffic system (one can only hope). The end of the article comes down on Stephen Bett stating “UK motoring organisations have dismissed Bett’s comments, with the Guild of Experienced Motorists describing them as ‘just nonsense’“. But is that so? The numbers seem to be in his favour, the evidence of simplicity as generic evidence has been proven again and again, so is it all nonsense or is Stephen Bett onto something? Even though he stepped aside as PCC while an investigation is carried out into his expenses (since yesterday), the points he made should be seriously investigated, especially if proof can be given that simplicity drives down the number of accidents and transgressions, which is a win/win for all people.

So as I see it, the act to add Draconian laws seems almost criminally insane, which is actually what is happening in Spain, but we will get to that in due time when we see the results of Spain implementing such harsh rules.

 

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