Friday, March 14, 2008

Our mistake, soz God

Politicians will rarely, if ever admit, to making a mistake therefore it should come as no surprise that when a mistake on the scale of that made when Messrs Bush and Blair took the decision to invade Iraq both will continue to deny any wrong doing, after all it will affect their earning potential after office should they ever do so.

Even now Bush continues, as no doubt Blair will, to defend their catastrophic blunder into war as can be seen in this video posted on the Guardian website, or this cartoon from the same paper.

If neither of these two men can be bought to account for their decision then perhaps we could be allowed to ‘water-board’ them until they admit to the error of their ways.

Failing that, perhaps a rendition flight into Iran? No, I am too humane for either of these options so perhaps bring them before some of the best interrogators this country has to offer, as in serious journalists, in order for them to be continuously grilled, metaphorically, until they are backed so far into a corner they cannot possibly use their evasive skills, or just plain stupid answers in the case of Bush, to wheedle their way out and admit to the truth.

They should have nothing to fear because both admit to having God on their side and I would not mind either of them using him in their defence, provided he made a personal appearance that is.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

MPs claims could prove expensive

I cannot wait to read back dated expense claims for MPs going back to 2004 as is being predicted.

Under the freedom of information act I believe that everyone who claims expenses should have the details of their claims made public. I would love to see the people I work with who claim expenses as a matter of course trying to cover their tracks for some of the claims they have submitted and how much money they have earned in doing so.

I have heard of people who earn nearly as much as their annual salary just by carrying a company mobile phone around with them outside of their regular working hours. I have also heard that the same mobile phone is probably used once or twice in a month.

If MPs are going to be forced into having their claims made subject then it should be good enough for everyone else.

What have I claimed in expenses? Nothing I am ashamed to have made public.

Here is a link to just some of the items MPs are already permitted to make claims for their second home in London from a list known as the ‘John Lewis List’.

Items include the following:

Bed - £1,000.00
Scandalous, you can get a bed decent bed to sleep in for less than £500
Bedside cabinet - £100.00
Ikea do some really nice ones for a fraction of the price
Dishwasher - £375.00
How much cooking will an MP do in his second home? Very little with all the meals they have on expenses
Food mixer - £200.00
Watch ebay for a influx of food mixer, unused
Freestanding mirror - £300.00
Have you seen how some MPs dress? They never look in a mirror
Recordable DVD - £270.00
So they can watch themselves on Newsnight
Rugs (each) - £300.00
To roll around on with their secretary
Shredder - £50.00
To hide all their dodgy expense receipts and hotel bills

If MPs wages go up as a result of them eventually no longer submitting claims then it just goes to prove that what they are doing is wrong.

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Budget, coughing up

You would think, if you were a UK resident, that I would have plenty to moan about with the New Chancellor delivering his first budget but alas I have not. I have just completed an online calculator as to how much better or worse off I will be under the new budget and low and behold I will be better off to the tune of £342.92 next year according to indications.

I doubt if I will feel that much better off but I will still spend it non the less.

On the other hand I was expecting much more in the way of help for making households greener through paying less taxes on fuel efficiency and aid towards insulation and the likes.

The tax changes at the higher and lower ranges of fuel efficiency will not go any where in helping with climate change, you only have to look at China, or what our athletes can expect when they get there. I am sure this picture will outrage the 4x4 drivers in this country that are being penalized.

Then there is the usual increase in tobacco and alcohol. The government believes that the smoking ban in public places has been a success, which I do not agree with. If it is such a success then why bother to put up the tax on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. They wish to tackle the ‘binge’ drinking culture amongst the young and only increase the tax on cider, the favored drink of the off license yob, by a fraction. Non of it adds up, especially if this government were trying to create the same drinking culture that exists in France and Spain [unless we Brits are over there still drinking cheaper lager with the same effect as it has over here]

I have given up smoking cigars, reluctantly through ill health, and I drink very little so I have not been hit too much by these tax increases but the poor sods that work all week and like a tipple and a smoke must feel really hard done to once again knowing that their relaxation aids are propping up the economy once again.
[Image - BBC Day in Pictures 12 March 2008: People standing on the roof of the Beijing Olympic stadium can barely be seen through the smog. China has issued assurances that the air will be safe for the Games.]

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Opening old wounds, good

At long last a debate into the War in Iraq has begun, albeit it on BBC Newsnight. These debates follow short dramas based around the some of the main protagonists in the UK in the build up to war, 10 days to war. Unfortunately it is much too late to reverse the decision to go to war but perhaps it will open the wounds enough to bring those involved, namely T. Blair to account.

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For what it is worth...

If there is one group of people that can be even more annoying than politicians it is car salesman.
We have been looking into replacing our family car and as a result we have visited one or two second hand car sales outlets. We were going to have the weekend off from cars when we passed a huge car sales showroom whilst on the way to visit friends. Naturally we could not resist so we turned the car around and went in to have browse. Unsurprisingly we were greeted by a salesman wearing a corporate racing jacket and a big cheesy grin.
We told him our requirements and how much we could afford on top of the trade-in value we expected for our car [estimated on several quotes we had received previously].
He was very optimistic that he could work out some favourable figures based on the screen price of a car he showed us that we had until now not even considered. The car was very clean, low mileage and was big enough for our requirements, we were naively optimistic.
Having spent a good ten minutes in a side office consulting his books and discussing a deal with his business manager he retuned to the desk where he had left us drinking coffee and began to tell us how much of a good deal he had managed to secure for us. He began by telling us that with all the extras, included a key-fob that could be used in a shopping trolley, we would be looking at a figure £1200 pounds more than the screen price!
I took his pen from him and began to scribble over his figures and, starting with the original screen price, I wrote beneath it the price we told him we could afford and then explained that it was usual to negotiate a price somewhere, preferably, between the two, not to add more to the value and then negotiate back down to the advertised price.
He was somewhat bewildered as we thanked him for the coffee and walked out of the showroom, this time with smiles all over our faces due to sheer audacity of the man.

He did do us one big favour though, the following day we secured a deal on the same type of car for less than the screen price of the one he showed us and it was 18 months newer as well.
We pick it Friday. This time the salesman was unlike any of those we had encountered before, he was affable, amiable, patient and dare I say it, honest.

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