The next general election is years away but vital services in the UK are failing now.

Far from being ‘safe in his hands’, the NHS has been brought to the brink by David Cameron. His government has placed, already overworked, GPs in charge of hospital budgets, despite their lack of experience in the task. At the same time as reducing their availability as doctors, the government introduced a new 111 helpline that’s manned by unqualified staff, resulting in more patients being referred to hospital A&E departments. NHS Direct, which worked, has been dismantled and A&E departments have ambulances queuing around the country because there are insufficient beds to meet the demand. Staff shortages are becoming critical and GPs are now refusing to shore up the system. The ratio of nurses to patients has breached the professional standard and patient care is in free-fall. Forcing privatisation on the NHS and implementing changes against the advice of all the major health professionals, is far from keeping the NHS in safe hands. This is a broken manifesto promise.

Government borrowing hasn’t decreased in line with manifesto promises either. The government has failed to meet each if its targets and the lack of growth has left record numbers out of work. Claims that overall unemployment has decreased are deceitful when many have been forced to accept part time work leaving them with an income below the poverty line.

The so called austerity measures have been nothing more than a cloak for ideologically driven policies. Tax reductions for those earning in excess of £150,000 were unnecessary and provocative at a time when families in social housing were forced to vacate their homes or find extra money to stay. Miraculously finding billions of pounds for the unnecessary HS2 rail link and to shore up the aerospace industry, demonstrates that money could be spent on the NHS or welfare but this government is choosing to spend it on other things. Similarly, the millions being wasted on attempting to rejuvenate city centres is as flawed a concept as the millions they gave to start up businesses.

The government has also failed to execute existing privatisation policy. Further millions of tax payers money was wasted on the bungled West Coast Rail tender. Yet they seem hell bent on sacrificing more national assets. You can longer ring up a tax inspector. If you have an income tax query, you are connected to a call centre manned by polite operators who are completely untrained in tax matters. Even their managers are untrained and you can no longer call a tax inspector for help. The operators leave a message for an inspector to ring you back within 3 days. Presumably you are expected to wait by your phone for that to happen.

They are about to privatise Royal Mail, now that it’s finally in profit. Does anyone believe this will make it easier or less expensive to send a letter? Does anyone believe the introduction of multiple organisations will improve the reliability of the service?

Education is our investment in future generations and the outright lies told to the electorate about student tuition fees prior to the election should be sufficient for any right minded individual to lose faith in the coalition. Since then, we have seen the imposition of Academy Schools across the land and policy being pushed through by an Education Minister widely regarded by professionals as having lost the plot.

The list of failed initiatives and broken manifesto promises should be sufficient reason to call for a general election, but it’s the damage about to be reaped in the years ahead that should concern even the blue rinse brigade.

Once again Europe is at the heart of the debate and the right wing are determined to stem the loss of supporters to UKIP by insisting we leave the community. Whether or not they are right, the protracted debate on the UK membership of Club Europe will harm this country’s prospects for economic recovery. Inward investment will stall if foreign manufacturers believe the UK may no longer give them access to European markets.

Similarly, this government’s opposition to the financial services transaction tax, at a time when we are hosting the G8 with a ‘clean up the financial sector’ theme, is unsustainable and in the long term will isolate and reduce the credibility the City of London financial services sector. If we don’t play ball we could could be regarded as one of those uncooperative tax havens against which Cameron is currently waging war.

For the sake of our social infrastructure and the things that make our unique country what it is, and for the sake of our ailing economy and those who will be deeply affected by it, we need a change in Government now. 2015 is too late and too high a price to pay.

Of course, the big problem is what would replace this lot?

The opposition may be on its back, but one outcome could be another coalition, this time between three or even four parties. What is needed is a government where the destructive right wing agenda is reigned back. Such governments have worked well in Europe and it’s clear the LibDem partners to the present coalition lack either the bottle or the will to control the Tories.

Perhaps the time is now with us to implement proportional representation? Perhaps we have wasted enough time and money building, then tearing down, political and ideological infrastructures every time there is a change of government. However, uncertain the outcome may be, we have reached the point where almost anything is better than continuing with the present coalition. It is time to ring the changes.

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Posted by: Pete | May 2, 2013

Ignore the Politicians, Vote for Democracy

The right to vote is precious and was hard won by many brave individuals. But it is being undermined by politicians.

The credibility of democracy rests upon the idea that a person, or party, sets out a manifesto and the public vote for, or against it. But the system requires honour. What value has democracy if promises made in the manifesto are broken or a string of polices that weren’t included are implemented?

Over the years, politicians have come to realise that the public will just ‘grin and bear it’ if, once elected, they ignore the mandate given to them. Can anyone say the NHS is safe in Tory hands? What value can be placed on anything Clegg promises after he broke a solemn pledge on Tuition Fees? Were the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya democratically agreed by the electorate?

Of course, politicians want you to vote because by doing so you legitimise the system. They will tell you about the value of democracy and quote the voting turnout figures as evidence of public consent. They would rather you voted for the another party than not vote at all. The media will also encourage the notion of tactical voting but your own common sense, if not your conscience, should be guiding you only to vote for those you in whom you believe and trust.

If you genuinely have such faith in an individual or party, they deserve your vote. But look at their track record of honesty before deciding. This isn’t like supporting your favourite football team, loyalty to a political party irrespective of their ethical behaviour makes you as culpable as they are when they tell lies to the electorate, ignore manifest promises or exercise double standards as with the expenses and tax avoidance scandals.

Voting for any of the current major parties perpetuates the dishonesty that has been allowed to dominate the current system. If you value democracy, perhaps now us the time to vote for it by withholding your vote from those who will abuse it. Ignore the politicians and vote for democracy.

Posted by: Pete | March 26, 2013

Search & Rescue service needs our courage!

They’re already destroying the Coastguard, now they want to hand over our vital search and rescue service to a US company and pay billions for this ideological nonsense.

The move will devastate the local economy in Helston and cripple tourism at the intended new site in Newquay.

We’ve seen how previous privatisations have resulted in a dysfunctional rail network and basic local utilities being supplied by foreign companies miles away. We’ve seen prisoners escaping from privatised security and we’ve seen a raft of daft, nonsense from the vast majority of privatisation. Who has benefitted? Not taxpayers or service users, not employees, only the shareholders in these businesses.

The coalition is madder than Thatcher and more determined to push through their unproven ideology. They must be stopped and the nation must pull together and find some of the courage displayed by these brave service men and women who routinely put their lives on the block for us. We’ve already let down the Coastguards, let’s stop the rot!

Posted by: Pete | March 5, 2013

Downing Street Bedrooms a ‘Benefit in Kind’

10 Downing Street

Bedrooms at number 10 that are not occupied for at least 200 days per year should be  taxed as a benefit in kind, according to a controversial think tank.

“There is no reason why the Prime Minister and his or her family, should be subsidized by the taxpayer to live in luxury with more bedrooms than they can possibly utilise; they have another home when Number 10 isn’t required for State business.” Says the report.

Under the proposals, MPs living in London will only be allowed basic single bedroom accommodation at the taxpayers expense. Additional rooms will be treated as a benefit in kind and taxed at the current market rate for the appropriate area in London.

MPs, including the PM, will have the option to rent out spare bedrooms with the additional income going to HMRC if they wish to avoid the tax.

The think tank concludes; “In times of austerity, it is only right that the PM and other politicians should lead by example.”

 

Posted by: Pete | January 27, 2013

Do you trust the Reviews on Amazon?

Click the following link to see the full post and vote on the suggestions or give your view.

Click here —>  Do you trust the Reviews on Amazon?.

Thanks for dropping by!

Pete

 

Posted by: Pete | December 24, 2012

Free Kindle Books this Christmas from AB.c

Free Kindle Books this Christmas from AB.c.

Posted by: Pete | December 3, 2012

Tax Avoidance – what a surprise!

Let’s face it, nobody pays more tax than they have to; not the Prime Minister, the Chancellor or any of their business cronies. So why act surprised when corporations don’t either?

It’s up to Government to have robust tax laws that ensure everyone pays their due.

It’s up to corporations to maximise the return to shareholders and that includes legally minimising the tax bill. That’s their job and they would be failing if they didn’t do it.

If the laws aren’t tough enough, blame the Government not the dodgers. Of course, this is just a symptom of greedy capitalism and I would far rather we had a better system, but until we do; let’s not be surprised when it works as designed!

Posted by: Pete | August 17, 2012

Blackberry Cottage now Open!

The months of preparation are finally over and today was our first ‘changeover day’ as one set of guests departed, and another arrived.

Blackberry Cottage already has a good number of bookings, which is very reassuring!

We were also delighted to be awarded 5 Stars by English Country Cottages in recognition of the attention to detail we always hoped to achieve. Now that we’re up and running, I’ve created a website (of course!) which is primarily for the benefit of guests staying in the cottage.

The site includes information about the cottage and grounds, but also lots of details and links to websites on things to do in the vicinity. There’s even a twitter feed to provide regular updates on current events in the area.

You can find the site at the name of our tiny hamlet here in Cornwall; Trefursdon.com.

I hope you’ll drop by or perhaps visit the real thing very soon!

Posted by: Pete | March 31, 2012

Book or no Book? Free copy on Kindle this weekend.

Book is on Kindle free of charge this weekend.

As the ‘Douglas Adams’ style humour may not be to everyone’s taste, there’s a web-link on the final page and those who would like to read more about Book and his entourage of metaphysical beings can subscribe to be notified of the next release in the series.

Here is a brief description and, as mentioned above, you can download Book free this weekend.

A SIMPLE TALE OF SUBATOMIC PARTICLE METAPHYSICS

In the summer of 2008, a long awaited scientific experiment was started at the CERN particle accelerator near Geneva. The experiment involved the high-speed collision of subatomic particles and the objective was to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, more commonly known as ‘The God Particle’.

To the great disappointment of the worldwide scientific community and the relief of many people who were concerned that this experiment might trigger a reaction that would destroy our planet, a technical hitch caused the experiment to be abandoned at the crucial moment.

Book is the first episode in a humorous journey that began in the chaos of that failed experiment.

God Particles; both elusive and mysterious, contain properties we are only on the brink of understanding. So their ability to evolve into intelligent beings and dramatically affect our life on this planet should come as no surprise. That’s not quite how the humans in this story see it!

Links

Book on Amazon.co.uk (Free Kindle Version)

Book on Amazon.com (Free Kindle Version)

Posted by: Pete | March 14, 2012

FSA Guilty of Bad Practice

You might expect the organisation that polices the financial services sector to be a standard bearer of best practice in its own corporate governance.

Unfortunately, this is far from being the case. The FSA refuses to acknowledge complaints about its own operation and the only escalation is to a complaints commissioner who fails to investigate beyond asking the FSA if they feel they’ve behaved badly. In the unlikely event that they did admit bad practice, the commissioner has no power to instigate a remedy.

This bad practice came to light recently when the FSA decided to open a consultation on Life Settlement companies. Certain companies were strongly suspected of operating so called Ponzi schemes.

Before the announced consultation period concluded, the FSA issued a statement denouncing all Life Settlement companies, an action that directly resulted in the suspension of dealings in one of the largest schemes. As a retiree, I had no knowledge of any concerns relating to this class of investment and I believe the fund in which my retirement money was placed is operated both ethically and professionally. There has been absolutely no evidence to the contrary.

Bearing in mind that the principal objective of the FSA is to protect investors, their action resulted in access being denied to huge amounts of privately held funds. Their premature release of a statement during an ongoing consultation was, to say the least, unprofessional and the wording ill considered. The release gave a clear impression that the professional standards of every Life Settlement company are questionable and it made no attempt to explain that the market, in common with most, contained both poorly run and well run companies.

When I attempted to complain to the FSA about their unprofessional behaviour, I was informed they did not accept complaints of this nature and suggested my only escalation was to the complaints commissioner. He informed me that he was powerless to intervene and in any case did not have the mandate to properly investigate complaints against the FSA, a mandate you might think would be somewhat necessary for a complaints commissioner!

The net result of this incompetence is that I, and I suspect countless others, remain locked out of life savings because of action taken by an authority set up to protect me from precisely this kind of bad practice.

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