The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

18 September
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Those Free School Meals For Middle Class Kids…..

Millionaire Nick Clegg is going to use taxpayers money to pay for free school meals for all under sevens in state schools, all 1.5 million of them. Of course nearly 500,000 of them already get free meals as a benefit for low income families so this means that higher income parents will be getting a share of the gravy as well.

I bet those middle class mums at mumsnet will be delighted – an extra £400 to spend per child, all courtesy of £600m from  the hard pressed taxpayer

Naturally the teachers unions are delighted

The National Union of Teachers said pupils of all ages should qualify, adding: ‘Children do not stop being hungry at seven.’

Here’s an idea. Finance this boondoggle from money set aside for teachers salary increases. I’m sure they would be delighted to take one for the kids……

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22 January
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Why Nigel Farage And UKIP Are Making The UK’s Political And Media Elite Rather Uncomfortable

farage

UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage has a letter box mouth, eyes that look as if they will pop out on stalks at any moment and a face that seems to pull in different directions on the cusp of every grin. When he speaks he sounds very much like an on course bookmaker shouting the odds. His views are disdained by the media elite and the political class and you are unlikely to find him at any North London dinner party. He is a PR consultant’s nightmare….

….and yet he and the party he leads, long dismissed as a collection of nutcases, fruitloops and pub bores is edging near to 20% in opinion polls. When he appears on BBC Question Time, for years the graveyard of right wing pundits thanks to its chattering class chairman and an audience carefully selected to skew leftwards, he always goes down well. He also proves more than a match for the great and the good on the panel who discover much to their chagrin, that he is remarkably articulate and skilful in debate.

It’s not so much his euro sceptic views that win him support (though that must never be dismissed as a factor) but his very lack of smoothness, his everyman persona that immediately detaches him from our ruling class, the wealthy, soft figures like Cameron, Milliband and Clegg who have never really had long term experience of work outside politics and who began their rise to the top three quarters of the way up the ladder thanks to influential families and friends.

It is these characters and their cheerleaders in the media who paint Farage and his party as buffoons who could never be trusted to make tough decisions and run the country in an effective and efficient manner – as if their years of governing have not been years of failure consisting mainly of short term, short sighted and flashy “initiatives” threaded with lies and undelivered (and often undeliverable) promises.

Farage is an outsider, he is not of the political class and is not constrained by the conventions of that class. Have a look at this video – unlike many featuring Farage it is not a two minute sound bite designed to make public impact. Forget the cartoony face and the odd diction – just concentrate on what he is saying and then ask yourself if this man is speaking for you rather than speaking at you.

You might be surprised at your reaction.

This man may be political gold.

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07 January
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Cameron Thinks Stay At Home Mums Are Unimportant…….

Cameron is now bigging up childcare costs

Working mothers will be given thousands of pounds-worth of support for child care to help them to return to work, under plans being considered by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Stay at home mums will be given an additional tax allowance to help pay someone else to look after their kids to get them back to work. But if they decide to remain at home to look after their kids themselves they will get zilch – even though they are creating the most stable, family friendly environment for those key formative years.

In effect Cameron is saying to those mums who want to stay at home that they are of less significance than those mothers who get back into the workforce as soon as possible. He is essentially devaluing motherhood and the concept of the traditional family – a strange move for the leader of a so called “conservative” party.

Time was that parents of young children accepted the fact that they had to downsize their own expenditure because there was now just a single earner….usually dad. So you made do with the same car for a few more years, you had the odd family day out rather than an expensive foreign holiday, restaurants and pubs became a fond memory, you kept the old black & white TV when everyone else had colour.

School hours and term dates were geared for education not for child minding. You were expected to keep your children with you rather than dump them in a crèche. Nobody complained because that was just the way things were.

But many of today’s parents don’t seem willing to make those sacrifices. They want to maintain their childless lifestyle. So both of them need to be earning as soon as possible – then they can pay someone else to look after their kids.

Now Cameron is saying that dumping your young children so that you can have the plasma TV, the expensive foreign holiday and the new car(s) is not only OK but you’ll pay less tax to make it even easier – so the rest of us will have to pay more to make up for it.

And he thinks it’s UKIP members who are odd?

WTF…..

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14 December
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Aren’t You Glad To Be Paying For Those Regular BBC Flights To The USA?

Yes folks, aren’t you glad that the money taken out of your pocket via the BBC Poll Tax, enabled so many of the BBC elite to travel back and forth over the Atlantic?

The BBC spent more than £1 million on flights to America in the space of seven months this year, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act,
Executives including former director-general Mark Thompson clocked up the massive bill flying both business and economy class for meetings and to make programmes.

Yes, forget about the excessive use of fossil fuel and annoying the citizens who live under your flight path – is it absolutely essential to be physically present at those meetings? After all the BBC is television company…can’t they organise “virtual” conferences via skype?
Then what about making programmes – the BBC schedules are full of rubbish anyway so is it necessary to spend hundreds of thousands on sending “Top Gear” or Stephen Fry to the USA as a change of background from the usual crap?

Of course, the costs of these visits are even greater when you consider the hotel bills (doubt whether they stay in Motel 6) and cabs, hire cars, restaurants etc

Note that Mark Thompson travelled to the US a lot – did that include visits to his new employer, the New York Times? I think we should be told…
But do you know what, for me, is the most gut wrenching fact of all?

As the BBC is not legally obliged to reveal full details of how it spends the £3.7 billion it is given each year through the licence fee, it is not possible to name every staff member who flew to the U.S. between April and October.

Not good enough – it is this kind of “broad brush accounting” that helps to cover a multitude of sins. It’s time we were allowed to see these detailed accounts because, after all, IT IS OUR MONEY, YOU BBC FREELOADERS

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07 December
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….and they wonder why we have a low opinion of politicians….

MPs have hired a lawyer to challenge their own expenses watchdog in court to let them keep the profits from the sale of their taxpayer-funded second homes.

…..and I wonder who will eventually pay this lawyer’s fees?

h/t for pigs

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13 November
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“These overpaid incompetent people” funded out of taxpayers money…OUR MONEY!!!!

“Now we need to learn the lessons and move on. It’s going to be tough but we can do it.” says Alan Yentob, “Creative Director” of the BBC (£183,300 pa )

Meanwhile, in the real world, a comment here has a rather different take on this BBC farce..

All these overpaid troughers, whether Quango CEO’s, Council Chiefs, MP’s or BBC really do think they deserve shedfuls of money from us, the poor sods who have to pay for them.
It has to end, and end now. I am sick of hearing “we must learn from this” and “we must move on” endlessly.
These overpaid incompetent people must be thrown off the public payroll without huge sums of cash as a reward for their incompetence.

Nail…..meet head….

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18 September
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Time To Remove Some Of The Snouts From The Taxpayer Funded Foreign Aid Trough?

While he was leader of the opposition David Cameron promised that once in power a Conservative government would introduce a law pledging that 0.7% of all government spending would go each year to foreign aid. He also promised a referendum on membership of the EU. That one slipped quickly down the memory hole once he entered number 10 – but the foreign aid commitment remained solid. It hasn’t yet been passed into law but, alongside the NHS, the Department for International Development’s budget remained ring fenced while everything else was being sliced.

It really sums up the essence of Cameron and his friends in the metropolitan cabal who took over the party once he was elected. At heart, though they profess Tory “values”, they yearn for the approval of the UK’s cultural elite whose house magazine is The Guardian and whose chuch is the BBC.

Foreign aid paid for out of our taxes has never been particularly popular with most people. Private donations, however, have always been a different matter. Over the last few decades foreign aid charities like Oxfam & Save The Children have benefited enormously from the generosity of private individuals. As a result such institutions have experienced massive growth until we are now faced with a foreign aid industry handling billions of pounds and employing tens of thousands of people on an increasingly professional basis – and like any other industry they have an interest in constant expansion.

That was fine until, like everyone else, the charity industry was hit by the recession. Oxfam and company were now having to compete in a shrinking market. Thousands of managers and executives who were earning +50k salaries became very nervous and saw the Cameron commitment as their lifeline. Which is why they will be spinning furiously in the face of current concerns about the amount of taxpayers money being pumped into foreign aid and, much closer to the nerve, serious questioning of the raison d’etre for foreign aid in the first place.

After years of being Teflon the whole purpose of foreign aid is coming under the microscope – the six figure salaries, the grandiose offices, the bonuses and perks and, above all, the industry’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Far from helping the poorest, he said, ‘aid corrodes civil society and encourages corruption and conflict’ in poor countries. He added: ‘While we fund schools and hospitals, rulers can steal from state coffers or spend huge sums on arms, then win elections using bribery, coercion or violence.’
Developing countries wanted ‘tourism and trade, not dollops of aid’, he said, urging Miss Greening to scrap the ‘neo-colonial’ approach to the world.
He said: ‘You cannot build democracy on other people’s money … By doling out vast sums to often dubious foreign regimes, we ensure they have less need to respond to their citizens’ needs.

And with all that money being hosed into the trough there are plenty of snouts getting stuck in and greedy for more

With the huge aid monies swirling around, all those involved — politicians, consultants, charities, think-tanks, even many journalists — have a shared interest in hiding uncomfortable facts. As budgets have soared in recent years, the stakes have become higher. And the relationships between those feeding off the boom is looking increasingly tawdry.
This weekend it emerged that ‘poverty barons’ are making millions in consultancy fees, with half a billion pounds paid to consultants. Instead of alleviating poverty in the most hard-pressed corners of the world, money from British taxpayers is ending up in the pockets of fat cats paying themselves six-figure salaries and seven-figure bonuses

We know that the new minister, Justine Greening, saw her move from Transport to DfID as a demotion. We also know she is able and combative (she trod on quite a few bureaucratic toes at Transport) and not over keen on dishing out freebies to foreigners. Let us hope that she casts her accountant’s eye line by line over those DfID books – and spearheads a reassessment of the whole nature of DfID.

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20 July
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Someone Should Tell Public Sector Workers That They Are Employed By Me And My Fellow Taxpayers…

Mark Serwotka, leader of PCS, the trade union of Britain’s civil servants, is organising a strike of immigration officials at airports and seaports during the Olympics to highlight the the left’s campaign against the UK government’s austerity measures (or “cuts” as the BBC constantly characterises them)

To be fair he did organise a ballot of his members to endorse his actions and just over 50% supported him…..democracy in action, you might say, until you discover that only 20% of the membership actually voted.

Serwotka is one of the recognised leaders of British trade unionism in the 21st century – a movement which is virtually moribund in the private sector but highly organised, widely spread and extremely militant amongst public sector workers. Moreover these union men and women are no longer horny handed toilers in factories, workshops, docks and mines…..they are almost entirely white collar and they toil at filing cabinets, computer screens and photocopiers.

They regularly seed the audience at BBC Question Time, invariably railing against “cuts” and demanding more money, sharing, with Serotka, the quaint idea that you get out of recession by increasing the size of the public sector because this will then generate “growth” and help those private sector workers who have either lost their jobs or had their pensions devalued……a bit like infesting your dog with more fleas in an attempt to improve it’s health.

Faced with this 1960s sub Marxist nonsense the Great British Public appears surprisingly supine – so let me throw some petrol onto the barbecue.

public service unions would eventually create a new and powerful branch of local government presiding over fiscal matters. He warned that these unions would result in the loss of control of local budgets at the city, county and state levels of govern-ment. To support the ongoing commitments to these employees, other services provided by city, county and state governments would be severely curtailed or taxes would have to be raised.

No, that didn’t come from some hardnosed right wing blusterer but from Frank Zeidler that rarity amongst US politicians, an openly declared Socialist who was Mayor of Milwaukee during the 1950s.

When public sector workers go on strike who are they confronting, who are they fighting? Not some cigar smoking fatcat in an oaklined boardroom – they are striking against you and me, comrade, because the money that goes into their bank accounts comes from that perennial milch cow, the taxpayer. So when they say the government should pay them more they really mean that you and I need to dig deeper into our pockets to keep them at their desks shuffling paper.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the next time some whining public sector worker began to parrot their bleeding heart sob story from the union cribsheet the person next to them got up and in no uncertain terms told them that as a taxpayer and therefore their employer he expected them to cut the crap and do the job the rest of us were paying her to do….

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

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