Saturday, 17 July 2010

Fairness, Tax and Uni

This my first post in over a year, so sorry for the interruption, but I want to start to do this again more regularly.

The coalition has been interesting to watch in its first few months of government and the interactions between the parties as well as the new policy agendas have intrigued me. I was however initially opposed to the coalition and there are certain areas I disagree with.

As you can guess from the name of the post I will address one now:

Vince Cables proposed graduate tax.

As an old teacher once said,

"If your solution to a problem is to propose a tax, you do not understand the problem"

Now I must declare an interest here I am a graduate, therefore I have an interest in this topic, however I have already paid for my tuition through student fees I also currently have a student debt of around £13,500. If I am to pay a surcharge on to the 40% tax I already pay on my earnings (20% Income Tax, 11% NI, 9% student loan repayaments) it will be very difficult for me to live.

However I have already paid so the tax does not affect me. If I have to pay this tax as well, I would have to find some way of avoiding or evading it.

This tax does not solve the problem our university system faces - too many 18 years old believe it is there right to go to uni. Take this BBC headline

University "denied to thousands" BBC News 16th July

This headline sounds extreme to be as though people as being denied a right

Free Speech "denied to thousands" or Primary education "denied to thousands", is a sensible headline. University education is not a right

I am going to return to this topic over the next week adding my own proposals for higher education and my fundamental disagreements with the policy.

Fairness and Tax

I remember a quote from an old teacher.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Is there one answer?

I believe the definition of a difficulty questions is the ability to have two answer and believe in them both. This is not defining difficulty as double-think, but defining maturity as duality. There are very few situations which are black and white.

The story about the protest against the returning soldiers is an perfect illustration of this.

Is freedom of speech more important than a celebration of returing heroes.

As always there is a middle ground, there is a right to protest, but limits to free speech.

Freedom of speech does not extend to shouting fire in a crowded room.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


I am a great believer in coincidences having explanations which are not explainable.

There are some days when events make a decision the right one. Yesterday was one of them.

After deciding to blog again I had two conversations which I wanted to share.

The first was with the student loans company. They wanted some information about me on a paper form.

Me "That's not very secure, is there an Internet form or something?"
SLC "Are you worried about what we will do with the information?"
Me "No I am worried you will lose it"
SLC "Well, you don't have to put your NI number on the form"
Me "You've already printed it on there"
SLC "Fill in the form and send it in"

Secondly I went to Barclays to increase my overdraft. I was turned down. For the perplexing reason of

"You demonstratively do not need any more on your overdraft"

I promptly went home, went overdrawn and will return again in two weeks massively in debt to request again.

Promoting sensible banking my arse. In debt and loving it.

Monday, 9 March 2009

I'm Back

Been a busy few months, but starting next week I will begin to post again regularly.

I would like to thank the "Anonymous" for commenting on my last post, he made me see what ignorance and stupidity there is to combat out there on the web.

Thanks "Anonymous", your cowardly rantings made me want to start again.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Fisking John Prescott

Labourhome published an article by John Prescott berating Barclays Bank. I like John, he was always annoying, but you could sense he believed in what he said, but there was much empty rhetoric and flawed argument in his article, I decided to reply line by line to him.

This Christmas 340 people face losing their jobs in my Hull constituency. Whilst this sadly isn’t uncommon across the country at the moment, what’s made me very angry is that is was entirely preventable and the result of a bank’s greed.

Or it could be something to do with the massive recession caused by Labour's borrowing and spending.

Atlas Holiday Homes has a long and proud history – a successful firm that for 30 years had a credit facility with Barclays.
That was until the bank decided to take it away even though the company had a full order book way into March next year.

Order books mean nothing in the present climate. It is whether customers can pay or still intend to purchase. A bank will not remove credit unless it has a good reason. Barclays have increased lending as a whole to small businesses. I cannot comment on this particular case, but the whole sector is in a bad way. Only today BA slashed the prices of flights and Thomas Cook decreased places for next year's holidays.

Which is why I was furious to hear Barclays Chief Executive John Varley tell the BBC that firms and households will have to wait another two years before bank lending goes back to normal.

Great response anger at a man who tells the truth.

Well it's a damn good thing we didn't wait up to two years to bail out the banking sector to the tune of £37b, isn’t it?

Barclays did not accept a penny of that money. It is deliberately misleading to mention it.

That’s why I started my Facebook campaign ‘No Ifs No Buts – Pass on the Cut’ to pressure the banks to pass on the interest rate cuts in full for customers and businesses.
Many of these banks were bailed out by this Government but Barclays preferred to sort out their own refinancing package with Abu Dhabi and Qatari investors.
Mr Varley said at the time: “Our ability to do what our shareholders would expect of us would be compromised if Barclays was nationalized.”
Which means they wanted to carry on giving out healthy dividends and wallet-busting bonuses. Last year, they posted profits of £7 billion.

I am a Barclays shareholder and got a total dividend of £84 last year. Real fat cat territory. Dividends are small amounts of cash to people like me and enough money to the institutional investors to fund pensions.

But on 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6bn from the Bank of England sterling standby facility, which is made available as a last-resort when banks are unable to settle their debts to other banks at the end of daily trading.

This was caused by a technical error in the interbank computing system. When it was fixed at 11:30 that night Barclays had to react quickly. It was repaid the next day.

Yes we bailed out Barclays by giving them a credit facility! And what did Mr Varley get last year? A bonus of £1.45 million whilst Barclay’s President got ten times as much - £14.8m
Atlas Holiday Homes can’t wait two years for banks to recapitalize, Mr Varley. They’ll go under if you uphold this ridiculous and shortsighted decision.

This decision is not short sighted. We need to decrease our debt. Careless lending by banks helped caused this crisis. It would be ridiculous to be lending at that rate now!

And you wonder why banks are facing a PR crisis? It’s not a case of saying sorry and admitting to the sins of the past. It’s about doing what is morally and economically right and passing on the interest cuts in full and increasing lending.

No. It is about what is doing in the interest of their shareholders. PR means people are more likely to bank with them, which is in my interest. I cannot give a fig who they end to as long as they act in my interest. That is what is right and this misunderstanding is what is wrong with John Prescott and all the other Old Labourites who view the crisis as an excuse for nationalisation.

This Monday, Atlas will meet with the administrators and the council to see what can be done. All three Hull MPs have also written to Peter Mandelson to make him aware of the situation and ask him for help.
So in the spirit of Xmas I call on you Mr Varley and Barclays to do the decent thing and save Atlas, give them back their credit facility and make 340 Hull families very happy.
So No Ifs, No Buts – get lending!

You can join our No Ifs, No Buts, Pass on the Cut facebook group here -

Stop lending! That was the problem. You do not cure an addict by giving them unlimited access to their addiction. Until we as the populace accept we are in too much debt we will never get out of it. Acceptance is the first step to recovery.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Spotted While Shopping

I was able to finally finish my Christmas shopping yesterday. There were two items which caught my eye.

A Christmas Tree which you can stand upside down in Heelas.

A Christmas card for "My Son and his Boyfriend" in Clintons.

Brightens up the day doesn't it.