The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'UK' Category

12 November
Comments Off on Tax Boss Really Shocked By Suggestion That Taxpayers Should Receive Good Customer Service

Tax Boss Really Shocked By Suggestion That Taxpayers Should Receive Good Customer Service


Lin Homer, Chief Executive of HMRC since 2012, is back in the news. It appears that we, her employers, are being unreasonable in expecting good customer service.

The boss of crisis-hit HMRC has urged taxpayers to contact them online rather than by phone to avoid huge waits.

Lin Homer apologised for her department’s ‘poor service’, but said she would respond failures by telling people to go online instead of boosting the number of call centre staff so people can get through by telephone.

It follows the admission that just half of calls to HM Revenue & Customs were answered between April and June, with some having to wait three quarters of an hour.

But then since 2005 Mrs Homer has frequently been accused of alleged incompetence in a variety of taxpayer funded roles

Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council 2002-2005

In 2005, Homer was criticised by the Election Commissioner for failings in her role as returning officer during a postal vote-rigging scandal in Birmingham in 2005

The petitioners also accused the city’s returning officer and chief executive Lin Homer of failing to discharge her duties in accordance with electoral law.

Judge Mawrey said that Ms Homer “threw the rule book out of the window” to deal with overwhelming numbers of postal vote application forms received.

He also  said fraud in the city ‘would have disgraced a banana republic’. He described Mrs Homer’s decision to allow postal ballot papers to be transported to the count in shopping bags as ‘the direst folly’.

Head of Immigration Service 2005-2011

She was then chosen by the Home Office to run what was then called the Immigration and Nationality Directorate – this time on £200,000, plus bonuses.

Already in chaos, it was on her watch in 2006 that we learned of the mistaken release of 1,000 foreign criminals. It later emerged some 450,000 asylum cases had not been dealt with but left in boxes at the Home Office. The new UKBA was meant to clear up the mess, and Mrs Homer became its first chief executive, on an astonishing £208,000 a year. But among a fresh run of scandals was the revelation that nearly 400 of the 1,000 foreign prisoners were told they could stay in Britain and dozens remained untraced.

2011 Chief of Dept for Transport

Mrs Homer was the Permanent Secretary at the DfT throughout 2011 when details of the new rail franchise business model were being thrashed out.

She was named by Sir Richard Branson last month as one of a handful of officials at the department whom his Virgin Rail team met during 2011 to voice concerns over the bid process.

Those concerns were ignored, said the rail boss whose warnings proved correct last week when the Government U-turned on its decision to award the lucrative franchise to his rival First Group due to an alleged catastrophic business model error.

The mistake is estimated to cost taxpayers £100million and the DfT has now been labelled “not fit for purpose”.

Her record of apparently gliding through disaster after disaster with immunity has not gone unobserved

Douglas Carswell MP (UKIP) “We seem to be governed by a clique of mandarins who bounce from one highly remunerated job in Whitehall to another and there doesn’t seem to be any proper democratic scrutiny as to whether they’ve done a good job in one role before they get the next one.”

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance  “The public bodies for which Lin Homer has worked all appear to have been plagued by problems and left taxpayers paying the price of failure.

You’ve missed the point, gentlemen. In 21st century Britain if you are in government or politics, unlike almost any other aspect of life, incompetence is rewarded.

After all, it’s only taxpayers money, isn’t it….and at the moment Lin Homer is collecting it….


Pic h/t: This Is Money

23 October
Comments Off on Those Chinese Chaps Need To Be Taught A Lesson – Coming Here And Offering Us Money, Indeed….

Those Chinese Chaps Need To Be Taught A Lesson – Coming Here And Offering Us Money, Indeed….



Well the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Britain certainly provided an opportunity for some stern finger wagging by a bunch of people who sometimes gave the impression that the sun has not yet set on the British Empire.  They were determined to imply that there were still one or two things that Johnny Foreigner could learn so that he could become a decent chap.

….for too many in the UK, our burgeoning relationship with China is not an economic opportunity. It’s a moralising opportunity, a chance to spruce up Britain’s long-faded sense of imperial superiority, a chance to puff their pigeon chests out and reprimand China with a ‘look here, old boy, this human-rights stuff is just not on’. The political and media focus has not been on the benefits – economic and, yes, non-economic – of China’s largesse; it’s been on Britain’s sense of itself, its role in the world, its do-gooding obligations.

Jeremy Corbyn got in on the act, of course, needing to tell the President, face to face, that things in China were still, simply not good enough. Rather strange for someone of Corbyn’s age and political lineage to follow that path, however, since it was his generation on the late 60s and 70s who were waving little red books and wearing Mao suits. They watched Felix Greene’s rosy hued documentaries describing a workers paradise and wanted the same thing here and now in Britain (conveniently ignoring the mass murders, the labour camps and engineered famines and the sheer bloody incompetence of the communist regime.)

So what changed to turn China into a pariah state for the left?


The party retained its political grip on government – but the economy was privatised. Wages rose, standards of living improved by leaps and bounds and China became…prosperous and therefore, in the eyes of the left, a bit dirty….

Hence the need for a few lectures to President Xi Jinping which seemed to me a tad tiresome. I was beginning to believe that I was the only one who thought that all this China bashing was just the standard moralising cant beloved of those who get a buzz from gesture politics. How dare the Chinese transform themselves from economic basket case to business super power in just one generation without the aid of Bob Geldof and a whole regiment of concerned bleeding heart NGOs.

But then I read this

 “But the problem with using a ‘distasteful foreign regime’, and endlessly citing China’s ‘appalling human-rights record’, in order to demonstrate and claw back some ersatz moral superiority, some specious sense of national, global purpose, is that it necessarily entails demonising China. It rests on the creation of an evil-doing other, a China that needs to be corrected by its moral betters. Today’s China-bashers pay lip service to the development that has dragged nearly half-a-billion Chinese out of poverty, that has transformed billions of lives, that has laid the foundations for an increasingly prosperous future. But it’s just that – lip service. Their main concern is to use China to boost Britain’s long-flagging sense of purpose, to affirm some vague moral role that Britain supposedly plays on the world stage.”

Good stuff indeed from Tim Black at Spiked! Yet there is something else about all this fuss which I find jarring. The more one thinks about it isn’t there a tinge of racism in all this… posturing? Fu Manchu. the “Yellow Peril” and all that? Anger that even the saintly Jeremy was forced to wear a white tie and hobnob with a bunch of “feudal relics” in order to pleasure a latter day Genghis Khan….and his wife!!!! For once the readers of the Telegraph and the Guardian were spluttering with rage into their porridge/muesli over this humiliation.

It’s as if the inscrutable Chinese have changed the script. Non Europeans have a place in the chattering class scheme of things. They must be seen as “victims” who showbiz celebs tell us we need to help by digging deep into our pockets. But the Chinese have turned the table. They are coming to us with money to invest.

They have made the biggest mistake of all.

They have become…..uppity….





















































18 June
Comments Off on “Never Mind The Kids – Go Out To Work” UK Govt Tells Mums

“Never Mind The Kids – Go Out To Work” UK Govt Tells Mums


Wow…something from an Anglican Bishop that would not go down too well at a North London dinner party? I kid you not…

Rt Rev Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, warned government policies promoting childcare were focused on the interests on parents returning to work and not what was best for children.

The Bishop was taking part in  a House of Lord debate about Samantha Cameron’s…whoops..David Cameron’s latest get-the-women-out-to-work-at taxpayers’-expense wheeze

David Cameron’s Childcare Bill offers to double free childcare for three and four-year-olds from 15 hours per week during term time to 30 hours. The Tories argue the measure will ‘help parents who want to work’.

The good bishop had the sheer audacity to imply that the so-called Conservative government’s plans were “putting pressure on parents and mothers in particular to be valued as economic units rather than having the most important role of parenting their children valued”.

He’s battling a lost cause, of course. We have been told that our rulers want another 500,000 more women in the workplace by 2016 and the new child care proposals will help the UK reach that target.


Who the hell said that? It’s a target we need to achieve and we need to achieve it, like, yesterday. Conveniently it’s a nice round number that can easily be remembered and constantky quoted, not like, say, 437,492. Whoever heard of a f###ing target like that?

OK – but why? What is the rationale behind that nice round plump quotable number?

It’s the EU, ennit….

According to the Treasury the target of getting nearly 500,000 women into work “would allow the UK to match the female employment rate in Germany and the second-highest overall employment rate in the G7 grouping of major economic powers.”2 The EU’s five year Gender Equality Strategy states that Europe has a target employment rate of 75% overall for women and men by 2020. 3 According to EU data4 the “UK was 1 of 10 countries to have reached the Barcelona targets for children aged 0-3yrs old. In the UK, 35% of children aged 0-3 were in formal childcare in 2011, although most (30%) of children were in part-time childcare”.

 …and those awkward mums who who don’t want to spend the pre-school years working but want to be at home caring full time for them are giving two fingers to the Barcelona target.

Trouble is that it’s not only the state that wants both parents working – there’s a whole raft of commercial interests that need parents to spend in order to increase profit. Spending is good and the advertising industry and its willing accomplices in the media exist to squeeze those extra pounds from our pockets and purses.

But ‘twas not ever the case. When we (both teachers) married in 1967 we knew we wanted a family but we were prepared to wait 3/4 years to put some money aside for the time when my wife would no longer be working. We had a mortgage for our modest suburban semi-detached that took a chunk of our income to repay but did not overstretch us (Building  Socieities in those days had very strict lending rules). During the four years before our firstborn we were very careful with our money. We went out to eat and/or drink very rarely. We did not take holidays but instead maybe went out on the odd day trip. Although we both liked to dress fashionably we were not slaves to style – and when the kids came along my wife gave up work to be a full time stay at home mum and we continued to be careful spenders.

Our only extravagance was a car. We’d seen mums struggling onto buses and trains with children and pushchairs and bags and  felt that a 1970s lower middle class family could do better than that. But it was not, of course, a new car. Like everyone else we began with a well worn second hand Ford Anglia. In other words (how old fashioned) we cut our coat according to our cloth. We “made do”…baked our own cakes, made our own squash, sewed a lot of our own clothes.

Eventually, once our second born started primary school my wife returned to a measure of part-time teaching and we were able to enjoy a few more creature comforts. But we never regretted the frugality of those early years. The love and interest and attention we (or rather my wife) was able to devote to our children could never be measured through quantifiable units – you cannot easily measure quality.

Today’s parents appear to be unwilling to make such sacrifices. A new car (or cars) seem to be de rigueur. Holidays abroad are simply a must-have. Restaurants and pubs now need to be children friendly so that meals can be eaten out and a lively social life maintained.

But this costs money – so both parents need to work to afford such goodies…which is why the government is pushing at an open door when, according to the bishop, it hints that a stay at home parent is…well…to put it bluntly a tad…unpatriotic…

 But debating the plan in the Lords, the Bishop of Durham warned the focus on childcare creates the impression ‘that a parent choosing not to work but to raise their child themselves is somehow not doing the best for the nation or the child’.

 Sorry, Bish old bean – you are just a voice in the wilderness…..(now where have I heard that phrase before?)


03 December
Comments Off on Libertarianism – Nice Idea But For UKIP A Bit Ivory Tower…

Libertarianism – Nice Idea But For UKIP A Bit Ivory Tower…


A confession.

My first political action was helping my dad, a working class Tory, put a poster in our window for the 1950 election. Since then, until 2013 I was often an active party member but always a loyal Tory voter…sometimes while holding my nose (Heath) other times almost ecstatic with enthusiasm (Thatcher)

Admittedly from 2006 I had my doubts about Cameron and developed an interest in UKIP but I only actually joined UKIP in 2013 because of Diane James and Eastleigh. Until then, outside of Farage, many other UKIP figures did appear to me to be oddballs. Diane James was no oddball and, more importantly, she almost won – and that was why I joined. UKIP was obviously appealing to a considerable number of ordinary voters.

But I have never been a libertarian.

After all, who in terms of practical politics could honestly see a “libertarian” government being elected and then proceeding to dismantle the apparatus of the state? Ron Paul won the devotion of a handful of bright young Ayn Rand groupies. He managed to win straw polls yet remained electorally irrelevant. The Tea Party was a genuine grassroots movement with a laser like focus on fiscal probity that fired the 2010 election and began the undermining of the Democrats and their hold on political power that had been handed to them on a plate by the beltway GOP in 2006 and 2008. After 2008 the GOP leadership and their media pundits were all for going with the flow and working with the Democrats. The Tea Party and their biggest fan, Sarah Palin, went for Obama, Pelosi & Co with knives and baseball bats. The beltway pundits rolled their eyes but the voters liked what they heard. Meanwhile Ron Paul stood aloof from the Tea Party and watched as politics passed him by.

Similarly while UKIP was a tiny fringe cult where libertarians could play all day it attracted few votes outside the meaningless Euros. Once it began to be perceived as a populist party resonating with a shift in public mood in 1913 it began winning local council seats and making an impact in parliamentary elections. This was accompanied by a dramatic increase in membership and the expansion of the branch structure which in some areas generated a lively and energetic core of local activists. The result? More local election gains in 2014 and UKIP’s first MPs’

Not all of the pre 2013 kippers have been impressed, particularly the libertarians. Policy shifts on the NHS, taxation and welfare have led to mutterings about “red UKIP” and perhaps one can understand their concerns. But I also feel that some of them are maybe subconsciously uncomfortable with the influx of new members and the prospects of electoral success. They were happier being perceived as the followers of a fringe cult baying helplessly at the moon because it helped to reinforce their own conviction that they were prophets crying in the wilderness, ignored by an ignorant majority who would suffer on the Day of Judgement.

I would guess that the vast majority of the post 2013 UKIP intake are, like me, inclined towards small government. But we also recognise that a modern nation state is a highly complex structure that needs a modicum of direction if only to guard its citizens from the designs of those who wish us harm through criminal activity within or without the realm.

Of course any political movement needs to be grounded with principles – yet it must also seek to gain power to put those principles into practice. There are only three ways of doing this – by taking over an existing party, by creating a separate party and start to win elections or by some sort of coup or insurrection .Either way means getting your hands dirty with political action….and I really can’t see any of our libertarian dream weavers leaving their ivory towers to do that….

08 November
Comments Off on Media Hacks Know Frack All About UKIP – So They Make It Up….

Media Hacks Know Frack All About UKIP – So They Make It Up….


Rod Liddle at the Speccie has gone all Dan Brown and reckons he’s cracked the UKIP code….it’s a London thing…

 I suspect that the real pull of Ukip in England is that the party, and Mr Farage particularly, are seen as a corrective to the vapid, flaccid, spineless, politically correct and wholly London-centric mitherings of what, until May next year, we must call the main three parties.

I do love it when media hacks and TV pundits who know frack all about UKIP and its 40,000+ members pontificate about the motives of its supporters and why it is rising in the polls. Fact is these scribblers and prattlers have long lists of contacts in the lobby and among the bright young things at party HQ (whose parents they know from their own Oxbridge days)…they are all constantly networking, sharing gossip and swapping nannies.

UKIP leadership cadres simply do not move in these circles and, until a couple of years ago, were, at best, politely ignored or, more often, treated with contempt by these hacks. Even today, like their political contacts in the three main parties they cannot bring themselves to contemplate the possibility that the tectonic plates have shifted. Come “real politics” next May they are convinced that UKIP will fade away and once again North London dinner parties will be where it’s all happening. – so why bother to cultivate any UKIP contacts?

Hence the tendency to treat the party in a similar way to those newly discovered tribes from the depths of the Amazonian forest. There are a few photos published in the Daily Mail alongside a report big on hype and short on facts, a brief flurry of media interest that peters out after six days – and then the whole story just..evaporates.

I suppose it was a bit like that in St Petersburg in the last few months of 1916….

18 September
Comments Off on Did The Telegraph Drive Andy Murray To Support “Yes”?

Did The Telegraph Drive Andy Murray To Support “Yes”?

I don’t usually have much time for Andy Murray’s views on anything outside tennis but I have to admit that his last minute tweet in favour of Scottish independence did resonate with me.

Huge day for Scotland today! no campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!

The Telegraph was naturally very sniffy about this – perhaps because the paper’s coverage of the referendum campaign over the last few weeks has been one never ending barrage of negativity against the Yes campaign

I do not deny the right of the DT to have an editorial stance – what I have found disturbing is their refusal to provide much in terms of column inches for supporters of independence. Instead hack after hack has been wheeled out to blather on and on about the evils of Salmond and the SNP. Any organ that aspires to be above the level of a tabloid ought to give some room to both sides of the argument. I don’t expect an even balance but it is clear that, at the very least, a substantial minority of Scots support independence. To demonise them as simpletons being manipulated by a sinister cult leadership which is distracting them from the benefits of this mystic “union” is hardly the stuff of quality “journalism”. There is a case for independence and any organ that has pretensions to intelligent analysis ought to treat it with a certain degree of respect.. Instead the Telegraph’s tone has been shrill, hysterical and as one sided as any series of articles in the Volkischer Beobachter…

Worst of all it is the voice of a particularly patronising element of the Home Counties middle class which still perceives Scotland through the lens of Walter Scott culminating in an endless parade of Burns night dinners where Reigate golfers and their wives pretend to be striding through some heather strewn glen, waxing lyrical about a place very few of them would ever visit.

But for me the clincher was the DT’s attempt to trump Murray’s declaration with a list of those “celebrities” who are campaigning for a No…..

More than 200 famous names, including rockers Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Mick Jagger; composer Andrew Lloyd Webber; comedian Eddie Izzard; model Stella Tenant; actresses Helena Bonham-Carter and Dame Judi Dench, Simon Cowell, and Stephen Hawking signed a letter urging Scotland to stay in the union.

I rest my case…..

03 July
Comments Off on Good Men Shed Blood For Our Freedoms In 1644…In 1973 We Spat On Their Sacrifice…

Good Men Shed Blood For Our Freedoms In 1644…In 1973 We Spat On Their Sacrifice…

A brave attempt once more by Daniel Hannan to remind us that, at a time when the monarchies of Europe were successfully suffocating their own nascent representative institutions, the attempts by Charles I and his cohorts to do the same to the English Parliament by invoking the divine right of kings was finally broken in Yorkshire in the summer of 1644. The Battle of Marston Moor did not end the English Civil War between King and Parliament but it fatally weakened the Royalist forces.

As Hannan points out, although there were bumps along the way, the sovereignty of Parliament as the source of authority remained unchallenged for well over three hundred years until 1973.

Parliament remained sovereign until 1 January 1973, when Sections 2 and 3 of the 1972 European Communities Act came into effect, giving EU law primacy over British law

For centuries the idea that our freedom was deeply embedded in our past was part of the warp and weft of the upbringing of each English generation

Some of the men who won the day at Marston Moor would have pointed at Henry VIII’s break with Rome, others at Magna Carta. Yet others would have gone back still further, to the folkright of Anglo-Saxon common law that had constrained kings before 1066.

Today that key aspect of our history is largely ignored. To his credit Hannan has vividly brought it back to life with his book “How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters”

The pity is, however, that he still feels that the shame of 1973 can be resolved by negotiation within the confines of the EU – which is why he stays within the Tory party and remains a loyal follower of David Cameron. Until he realises that the permanent surrender of national sovereignty is the very keystone of the EU edifice and its removal would render the whole enterprise worthless Hannan must be regarded as an interesting but essentially unreliable observer.

11 May
Comments Off on Left Wing Drone Tries To Hide Her Tweet About Ethnic Minorities Supporting UKIP

Left Wing Drone Tries To Hide Her Tweet About Ethnic Minorities Supporting UKIP

Meet Laura Wilkes

Laura Wilkes is Head of Policy and Research at the New Local Government Network. Laura joined NLGN in November 2013 after a number of years at the Local Government Information Unit, where she led policy programmes on Community Budgets, local government finance, economic development and citizen coproduction. Prior to this, Laura worked in local government and is a graduate from the National Graduate Development Programme.

Yeah yeah she’s a classic Think Tank Labour drone so was so astonished at seeing a Pakistani chap leafletting for UKIP that she forgot all protocols and tweeted about it because surely in her little world UKIP IS RAAAAAAAACISTTTTT.

Anyway she soon realised she had committed the cardinal leftist sin of humanising UKIP – so she deleted the tweet.

Unfortunately or her the eagle eyed scourge of all right on middle class liberal/left trolls LittleBlueDr had nailed her…

No wonder our ruling class just don’t get UKIP….


21 March
Comments Off on The Left Says People Are Stupid So Government Should Tell Then How to Spend Their Pension Pot

The Left Says People Are Stupid So Government Should Tell Then How to Spend Their Pension Pot

I have never been a great fan of George Osborne. Like Cameron he is comes from a background of extreme wealth, never really had a proper job and has the charisma of a roll of felt. I also cannot really forgive his omnishambles of a budget in 2012 when he deftly kicked the ball into his own net several times.

But I will give him credit for giving pensioners greater control of their own pension pot

The centrepiece of yesterday’s Budget was a plan to allow people to withdraw their pension pot as a cash lump sum instead of investing in a pension plan, which ministers claim will give people choice to spend their money how they wish.

Laughably an assortment of financial “experts” (you know, the ones who so failed to foresee the 2008 recession) and Labour politicians waxed lyrical about the dangers of allowing people to spend their savings how they want.

The BBC, which spends taxpayers money like a drunken sailor on steroids, naturally joined in the chorus of doom.

These people really do think they know what’s best for you and me – better than we do ourselves. They devote their lives to filching money from our pockets and purses in order to do us good – and their schemes almost always end up in failure. They do not know how to generate money – only how to spend other people’s money

Above all they think we are stupid and need to be told what to do.

Then they wonder why more and more people outside the media/political/cultural elite are turning to a party of outsiders like UKIP…..

18 March
Comments Off on That’s Enough Of Benn & Crow – Time To Dump Them Into The Dustbin Of History….

That’s Enough Of Benn & Crow – Time To Dump Them Into The Dustbin Of History….


The sycophantic twaddle being pumped out from all points of the political compass about Bob Crow and “Tony” Benn simply beggars belief. Fact is they were both disciples of  the writings of that old German charlatan Karl Marx – which is why, of course, the former student “revolutionaries at the BBC  went hyper over their deaths.

I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of all the weeping and wailing.  It really is time for it to stop and for them both to be consigned to the dustbin of history where they both belong….

18 visitors online now
5 guests, 13 bots, 0 members
Max visitors today: 20 at 11:34 am GMT
This month: 46 at 11-09-2015 11:58 pm GMT
This year: 67 at 03-09-2015 08:48 pm GMT
All time: 264 at 05-31-2011 04:37 pm BST

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: