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Showing posts from June, 2011

Labour support 20% VAT

Yesterday's finance bill.

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): I have found it odd recently that some private health insurers will pay those whom they insure to use the NHS. If that is the habit of private health insurance, where does the hon. Gentleman think the saving to the taxpayer is in allowing this tax relief?

Michael Connarty: I did not want to cite that example, although it is a good example of what happens when people use private health care and take resources away

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John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): I have found it odd recently that some private health insurers will pay those whom they insure to use the NHS. If that is the habit of private health insurance, where does the hon. Gentleman think the saving to the taxpayer is in allowing this tax relief?

Jonathan Edwards: The hon. Gentleman will be aware that I am in a different party from those on the shadow Front Bench and we do not normally negotiate on the clauses we table. I can only assume that my staff are m…

Labour's alternative strategy - borrow more money

I have linked to the debate as to Labour's alternative. They proposed on Wednesday a "temporary cut" in VAT (which implies they have changed their policy on VAT such that the permanent rate is now 20%).

This would increase borrowing in the year.

I asked a number of Labour MPs who they would borrow the money from and how much interest they would pay. It shows a considerable ignorance of economic policy relating to those who spoke in this debate.

The link gives the debate:

John Hemming The hon. Gentleman’s party’s solution is to borrow more money. From whom is it going to borrow it and how much interest is it going to pay?

David Anderson My party’s policy is not to borrow more money—it is to increase taxes on bankers and make those people pay.

John Hemming
Does the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that Tony Blair said in his memoirs that it was the Labour Government who did it?

Chris Evans No, he did not. This debate would be far more honest if we said that it was the banks.

Tony Bla…

Albert the pensioner in the Irish Independent

This story is the details of the PIBS story. This is an interesting issue from the perspective of capital heirarchies and the voting against class interests (bondholder classes). However, the human story is quite real.

So, you want to burn all the bank bondholders? Read Albert the pensioner's story...
By Ciaran Byrne
Saturday June 18 2011
Meet Albert Kempster: he's 73, has a pension of just £56 a week and usually shops at night to buy the food supermarkets are about to throw out.

Financially, life isn't too easy. With the rising cost of food and utility bills, he enjoys no luxuries and rents a one-bed flat in the bleak high-rise suburb of Sighthill, Glasgow.

Albert is pretty much struggling to stay afloat. Now Bank of Ireland is about to sink him.

Thanks to an extraordinary move by the bank, adrift after years of disastrous lending and property speculation, Albert's lifetime savings of £24,000 (€27,294) invested in high- interest bonds are about to be snatched from him.

This…

Health - a result

I think the way in which the NHS reforms have been produced is a good example of how government should work. I was always concerned that we should keep the NHS as an essentially co-operative organism with European competition law being kept out.

What has happened through a process of consultation is that a set of proposals for reform that deal with most of the serious criticisms have been developed.

I personally think that a government that listens and sometimes changes is a good thing for the country. The examples on Forestry, EMA (£100m extra money for 6th formers), the NHS and student finance (higher payments by higher earners) are all cases where the initial policy has been changed in a positive way as a result of a conversation with citizens. We have failed to explain the student finance one, but people will find out how it works over time.

Bank of Ireland story

There is a story today in the Sunday Independent which includes the following text:

John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who used parliamentary privilege to reveal that Ryan Giggs was the footballer behind the recent superinjunction, is a leading Pibs-holder and part of the campaign. The group intends to write to the Irish government to condemn its "lack of common decency and fair play".

I would ask that people note that the quotation here is not quoted as something that I have said. My concern about the proposals from the Irish Government (aka Bank of Ireland) is that they are designed to protect the equity at the cost of the subordinated holders. This turns on its head the normal processes.

There is no need for the Irish government to put any more cash in than is proposed under the current scheme. In fact if the Sub holders were given a normal deal then the Irish government would put less money in.

However, the plan the Irish government has involves preferring one set of c…

Steven Neary - once a secret prisoner

The link is to Anna Raccoon's story about Steven Neary. Steven Neary was a victim of judicial secrecy. Happily he has been released from the clutches of the state and his case can now be talked about.

Sadly there are many others still trapped in the Kafkaesque world of secret imprisonment.

Twitter and Legal Issues

There is another post of alleged injunctions on Twitter. This time it is done by someone who associates themselves with "anonymous" - this is clear from the use of the anonymous mask image.

For the avoidance of doubt I don't support putting up lists of injunctions.

However, there are lots of issues with trying to stop this.

Firstly, it is very easy for anyone who intentionally wishes to put something up anonymously on the internet to do so. If someone is in England or Wales they can go to an internet cafe and establish an anonymous account with false details.

Secondly, if someone is out of the relevant jurisdiction (that is England and Wales) then they are not breaking the law if they do this.

I am not myself sure what the authorities can do to deal with this. The only people who are likely to be trapped by any legal action relating to twitter are the innocent people who have been making jokes and gossiping.

In the medium to long term it is, of course, possible to produce…