Having started a new job that has consumed my soul and time over the last 6 weeks I have a new years resolution to fill in the pension details and get myself a healthy pension plan going (as healthy as can be achieved in the current scheme of things anyway, what with the fire, brimstone, moon-as-blood scenarios playing out). 

Mike over at the BOM(b, for it is)  is posting (yet again) on the pension crisis-in-the-making that will engulf the "public sector" (read "your wallet and your childrens wallets, and maybe your grandchildrens...").

Now, my general stance on this is to think of all those hole-digging-consultants, the crevace-filling consultants and the general navel-gazing experts and think "bah, why should I be paying for their sorry ass pension anyway?".

It is at this point spitting over my evening reading that I realised that in addition to these people there are also doctors, nurses, police officers, soldiers and social workers (yes, there are some good ones, they must be in the majority otherwise the BBC and Daily Mail wouldn't get so worked up over the bad ones) who have done their job, grinned and born the incessant insane ramblings of every social engineering project that MP's have sprung upon them (let leave the messy question of those who actively encourage the insanity to another post) and have paid dutifully into their pension pot and expect a return.

The problem is, as the good Dr. Crippen points out, is that the bastards in Whitehall (all of them, since time immemorium) have been raiding this fund like a personal kitty for whatever insane scheme they want to push that week.

Now "investing" someones pension fund is what is supposed to happen; you hand over money to some clever dick, they put it towards something, train lines in Africa, etc. you recieve a return. This, for the slow-witted amongst you, is not what is happening here; they are spending the money on toys then expecting the taxpayer of tomorrow to pick up the tab; it is deferred taxation at its most insidious - forgot Browns billions he is "investing" in our banking industry and "public services"; there are entire multiples of this countries GDP that need paying in the next few years that is only increasing, unlike our relative GDP, which is rapidly decreasing.

Dr. Crippen rightly points out that the problem, in both private & public sectors, is a lack of respect for the individual money you are spending; he links to the following on private pension fund management:

"One of the most senior figures in the fund management industry has broken ranks and admitted that up to 40 per cent of private-sector pension pots are swallowed up in fees."

The Doc points out that the public sector fund (fat) controllers are much worse:

"This is worse than the city spivs. They only steal 40% of private sector pension contributions. The government has stolen 100% of the money contributed by doctors and nurses."

This negates one obvious and shocking addition; the money is just taken from tax payers in the form of either:

1. Higher taxation (very unpopular)

2. Turning the printing pressed on (less well understood, but arguably much more dangerous, i.e. fall of society dangerous).

Often (indeed today) we are seeing a combination of both; a devaluation of what you have in your wallet, matched only by the speed at which Gordo and the wonder-badger can take money out of it.

I have a simple solution to the private sector problem and it works around the following synthesis:

Pension fund managers are paid fees and bonuses on the basis of investing the money in some venture, which are paid up front with no link to the long term health of a pension fund.

In Short: Dude doesn't have to think long and hard with where or how to invest money, only that he invests it so he can get the fee for it.

The Answer: write into law that pension fund manager can only be rewarded for the long term health of a pension fund, i.e. My pension pot gains 5% of its value this year- you get 0.5% of it, my pot loses 20% of its value, the effective -2% loss is mitigated across the fund managers complete commission for all pension funds, i.e. the reward pot has both negative and positive feeds on it, and depending on how they invest changes their fee.

There's more; a percentage of the annuity is paid to the fund manager once it starts to be paid out; they get a defined % of the pot (something very small obviously).

Should be quite an incentive; you earn money when the fund earns money, not when you invest your clients money. You also earn money once a percentage of the annuity once it is realised so you are incentivised to get the best return possible in the safest manner.

As for the question of the public sector...it always comes down to one thing...


BB is Txting U

Reality has most certainly left the building; the creep towards totalitarianism seems to have stopped outright; but only to put on its running shoes for a much more rapid journey down the road to serfdom.

Plans are underway to protect us even more from the Eevil teworwists & dwug dealers by creating a compulsory national register for all unregistered Pay'n'Go phones:

"A compulsory national register for the owners of all 72m mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat terrorism and crime. Whitehall officials have raised the idea of a register containing the names and addresses of everyone who buys a phone in recent talks with Vodafone and other telephone companies, insiders say."

I'm not with Vodafone and if this goes ahead I will most certainly not consider them in the future; if the push in the future is to incorporate more mobile phone networksI will continually move away from that network; if all British networks are "incorporated" I will move to these guys.

Its been a few years since I had to change my sim card; as I recall I had to provide my details to my mobile service operator in order to get some of the better offers and other stuff; fine, I said - it was to both our benefits - they sell me more stuff which I want. If I were a terrorist the security services could, with some necessary difficulty, get a wiretap in order for them to monitor a potential criminal: You do not need this for any legitimate reason.

I am not a terrorist and I am not a thug. I am a normal guy who does normal things; I go to church, have a loving family and I help run a youth group (filled to the rafters with kids who's homelives have been given the once over with NuLabour's decade of social engineering) . I drink fancy beer in expensive irish themed bars, have the odd cigar over a poker game with friends and play way too much Wii; I will not be made to feel a criminal because the chimps in power feel a little insecure.

That said I offer a suggestion; this is the head of GCHQ, David Pepper:

He will be the one in charge of putting this database together. May I suggest you make his job a tiny bit harder by visiting a site like this, registering for as many free sim cards as is humanly possible then registering every last one. If every person in the UK did this with the 12+ sim cards they would pretty soon get the message that we dont like being unnecessarily monitored.

And in case anyone is curious I got the idea from a TV show...

For even greater emphasis why not take part in the following activity? Mines heading to this happy camper, John Battle, my local MP. You may not know him but like George Forman he puts his name to some interesting stuff...


Old Holborn's Walk

Master Holborn is going for a light constitutional. Its a good thing to stay healthy these days, what with a credit crunch looming, distracting us from the thinly veiled spectre of blogging censorship, amongst other, more outrageous things. (Ed note: If Turgid Bore knew about US squaddies torturing Iraqi's surely his erstwhile chancellor also knew? something to ponder at the next election).

Regrettably (especially having bought my ticket down to London) I am no longer able to join him on his route; that week will feature major upheavals on the employment front for me and I will have to focus on that.

I did a rough calculation based on the route OH is taking, the average UK BMI, walking speed and calories expended and have concluded he will burn a little less than 60cals for the duration of the walk - his attire may cause him to burn more though; looks a little stuffy. This is hardly likely to burn off the calories imbibed in the average UK pint (approx. 300-500 calories depending on type; drink one of these for me will you OH?). Being that may be the case I will most certainly be attending the next such episode. Until then I will exercising in my own unique way...*

Disclaimer: I am nowhere near the level of training these guys are - but give me a year...


The Daily Mash: Putting A Smile On The Credit Crunch

Always a source of joy; rudely taken away by my workplaces restrictive tintoweb filter software now :-(

Promise to do a proper post soon; mega busy with all kinds of stuff.




Tom's Economically Illiterate Guide to Poverty 1.0

Spurred on from this recent find whilst reading this LPUK article I feel I should try this tag also. I am married and the general plan each month is to drain one account and then the other; mine tends to empty fastest which is humbling to have to go to your wife for lunch money (but thank you so much sweety! X)

Here is the breakdown of my finances (as with Mutley this is all in English pounds, or lack of them):

My take home pay this month was (after tax) 1172.90

Loan (to pay for our bathroom which literally fell apart) 400.12

Gym £95 (a luxury I cannot stop till March. grrr)

Car insurance 56.23

Telephone/broadband 50 (variable)

Contact Lenses 18.00

Council tax 83.00

Bus/train pass 79.50 (and rising monthly, but it is still twice as cheap to get to work via bus/train than to fill my petrol tank)

Petrol 30 (for small journeys when buses cant be relied upon)

Which gives me on average £360 a month to buy food, drink and entertainment; my wife pays for the mortgage and utilities so between us we have approximately £600 a month. Once you get past the food bills and other outgoings it leaves sparingly little, but we are comfortable, and, more importantly, happy.

Like Mutley I too have to pay credit card bills monthly; these are mainly a result of unforeseen bills creeping up in addition to those that I pay (an example is our bathroom, which was refitted but the tiling materials weren't covered and I had to fit the flooring myself so we weren't walking on floor boards). I also live predominantly in my overdraft which I have never managed to claw my way out of.

I have paid 208.60 in income tax, 114.76 (which is effectively doubled by my employer) in NI contributions and, of course, I'm paying as our many others via many hidden stealth, dual and bastard taxes and VAT as is Mutley.

When I was a considerably younger man (in the interests of personal honesty I'll remove the "er" suffix to "younger" for now) I used to tell myself "I wouldn't mind pay MORE taxes if services covered the essentials". However, it was then that I discovered blogs like this and this that I realised that this was pure. wishful. thinking. (to Wat and Chris I owe a great debt on this matter. Kudos to you two).

Even though I have little money to spare I don't feel unhappy about this particularly, because I have this promised to live by:

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'
For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34

These are comforting words for Christians the world over, undergoing persecution or not. So I try, and fail frequently, not to worry about money.

However, I am not the primary casualty of NuLabour; I have a fairly decent degree and an ok job and some decent experience in many different field.

It is people like this who are its primary casualties, and their children who are collateral. In my spare time I volunteer for my church youth group that deals with children with exactly the same story as this poor girl and exactly the same parents; you pay for people to behave like scum, act subserviently and keep voting red, and you get precisely that.
NuLabour has single-handedly managed to accelerate this rot which is why we see scams like this, why we see feral gangs knifing each other and innocents and why we see no one batting an eyelid at politicians and MEPs fleecing hundreds of thousands in taxpayers money without batting an eyelid.
And I would give every penny I have to change this.


Spooks: Code 9...um BBC...I want my money and the last hour and a half back...

A new generation of BBC script-writers hard at work

Spooks: Code 9 is the latest show to be advertised by BBC-pravda; it is a spin-off from the other "hit" show they bandied about for years Spooks. It is also the biggest pile of arse-gravy I have seen this month (it just comes so thick and fast these days).

The basic premise, that a nuclear weapon has rendered London uninhabitable, engendering the need for a much more "robust" (i.e. the fuzz more willing to shove a baton up your bottom) approach to dealing with the threat of terrorism; inexplicably this means that they need to hire incredibly young, inexperienced agents who border on the retarded, using "hip" language and off-the-shelf TV cliches that have been beaten to death through overuse. Badly.

It is also filmed in Leeds, my hometown, which makes it even more cringeworthy as to be vomit-inducing.

This show is pure, unremitting, fart-in-a-jar farce which must have been written by a 12 year old child; what makes this dangerous though is the underlying current of illiberal scare-mongering - one of the "code-9" team in attempting to interogate a witness decides the best way to do this is to blow off his big toe; now I'm no interogation expert but I'm pretty certain I would be more than willing to tell him anything, admit to anything, or do anything that he told me - there is a reason why most people dont put much stock in torture.

Now where I an elitist, state-sponsored agency, hellbent on keeping its monopoly on the telly tax, proselytizing left-wing ideology and an all-encompassing belief in the infallilibility of the state machine, I would try to at least use decent writers, a half-decent cast and a better location than Leeds.

Avoid if you can people; this is an hour and a half of my life I will not be getting back.


Speed Camera Madness

Gordon Brown, Yesterday
This has been widely reported elsewhere and commented on by many bloggers but I would like to throw my view in too.
Now I drive, and I hate speed cameras; I feel I can travel safely and responsibly at a slightly elevated speed which enables me to get maximum performance from my car, the various emissions and from myself - not that I can drive my car much since it costs nearly £80 to fill up my tank nowadays (a Volve S40 by the way - a big, heavy car) which is money best spent keeping me from starving.
Now, having said I hate speed cameras my first reaction to the Metro article on my way to work earlier this week was "hurrah! rejoice! the revolution comes! watch as the public rise up against our state masters..etc..." then my cynic gland switched on and gave me a big, swift dose of reality - the following occured to me:
  • Had the money gone straight into the councils coffers, would they have readily wanted to close down this particular revenue pool?
  • Unlike the police, speed cameras catch people in the act of the particular crime they are being punished for, at the crime scene 100% of the time; the only arguement against speed cameras in this light is to increase the speed at which a ticket is issued to above the accepted speed limit slightly - someone being ticketed for going 34mph downhill in a 30mph zone when their speed reads in units of 10 is incredibly unfair and a recipe for criminalising and alienating law abiding citizens for what should penalise dangerous drivers.

The motive of Swindon Council should be addressed here; since they cannot get their hands in the cookie jar they've decided that their own source of biscuits should be cut off - this is not the beginnings of good policy and forgets that speed cameras are designed to curb the number of road deaths, not provide a revenue stream.

In Swindon Councils defence however, the blame really lies at Whitehalls door - consistent underfunding of the roads for years has meant that the monies raised by road tax, fuel duty and every other tax NuLabour wishes to milk our last remaining drop of money and human dignity for has been wasted on other nonsenses; now that the coffers are empty in the midst of an economic downturn NuLabour are viciously scrabbling around to find revenue sources for their insane projects, tax bungs and related guff. My guess is that those mythical "road safety grants" that Whitehall should've given Swindon to create safer roads have been spent on something pointless, ineffectual and completely unrelated.

Then again, its not unlike NuLabour to first take our money, lose it in storage, burn a little more, and then hand it back to some of us, perhaps getting some of it stolen or too much given by mistake...


Their Contempt For You Is Absolute

The BBC led a few days ago with a scheme being rolled out in Redruth, Cornwall to attempt to curb anti-social behaviour amongst children by introducing voluntary curfews; DK and Old Holborn have both registered their discust at this and the possibility that other councils may adopt this scheme.
I for one have several issues with this scheme, aside from the norm:

  • This does nothing to stop kids from being "anti-social", it merely makes their place they are behaving anti-socially more localised to their parents (hopefully).
  • Exactly where are the parents in these cases?
  • If these same parents are happy to let these children be on the streets after 8pm (for under-10s) and9pm (for under-16s) then are they really the type of adult we want influencing these same kids? I'm not suggesting taking the children off them by the way.

This is a snap shot from a quick google search of Redruth and some of its locals (i'm guessing enjoying a quiet drink in idylic :

A family enjoying a beverage and a chat

And here is a less-than-leafy suburb of Leeds known as Beeston:

...as well as some of its inhabitants enjoying a "beverage":

Kids enjoying a fun-filled day out in sunny Beeston

...and here is a cross-section of news articles taken from a quick search of google news on the area; you may remember that Beeston's fairly famous for introducing home-grown islamist terrorism in this country - there were some who commemorated 7/7 in altogether different ways too.

Now my point is thus; say that there are genuine excuses for infringing on hard-won liberties, such as curfews for unruly children, or 42-days or any of the other brilliantly hair-brained statist bunkum that is coming from our morally corrupt regime, where do you think it will have the most positive impact? Sunny Redruth? or not-so-sunny Beeston? and where do you think it is more likely, if you are perfectly honest, this scheme will be introduced, and more importantly, enforced?

I know the kids from this estate; most of the time it is the failings of the parents that has caused the near-feral nature of these kids - the stories bring me, a grown man, to tears at times - and yet somehow these kids endure.

And now we have Gordo's political-lackeys in the police and government telling us that, despite their failings to deal with a growing problem, despite their interference, despite them creating more dependants on the welfare state which has caused the burgeoning underclass to grow, they still think they've got it right.

Their contempt for you is absolute.


Violence, The Police & Justice

The Dude reported last Sunday about an incident in which he was punched for asking another less thoughtful individual to pick up some litter he had just deposited on the street; the incident took place in front of a police officer.

What is most striking about this entire set of circumstances - a very obvious assault with a definitively trustworthy witness (considering that at that time in the morning the majority are buying greasy kebabs to soak up the jagermeister chasers got at last orders), a victim willing to press charges and ancillary crime commited by the perpetrator (littering) - is the fact that the authorities decided not to press charges:

"After two and a half hours in the police station giving statements, I finally got to bed at about 4:30am. The next afternoon, I discover that the assailant had been released with just a police caution. Basically he had got away scott free with punching me to the ground in a despicably cowardly manner, in full view of a police officer. There is no doubt that had I retailiated, I would have been arrested too, and the porcine presence was the reason the drunken oik didn't receive a comprehensive beating.

What is the point of the police? They demand (under threat of the full violence of the law) that you cede total responsibility for your personal protection to them. Yet they do not prevent assaults, and even when they do get the bad guy, they are more interested in obtaining a "sanction detection" for their tractor production target than obtaining justice, which is too much like hard work."

I happen to share this view; that the police have moved from actual policing to bottom-line economics; the endemic pay-per-report system they endure has neutered them of almost all real policing power.

The reasons I mention Jackart's incident is because I believe that the north has a very different way of handling these things to the south; in particular "small" justice is fast becoming the reserve of the common man - an example if you will.

I live very close to my brother; approximately half a mile. We both live on ex-council estates where property is relatively cheap and create ideal starter homes; myself and my wife bought her parents old house and my brother bought a nice little 3-bed within walking distance to be close to the family (additionally my mother lives very close by). Adjacent to our estates there is a fully operational council estate; "operational" in the sense that the majority of crime committed in our areas comes from this areas inhabitants.

A few months ago my brother had left his bike in his back yard briefly whilst feeding his dog, only to return 5 minutes later to find his locked back gate broken and open and his bike gone.

Now this is where things got interesting; my brother is super fit and so deciding that police would be nothing short of useless decided to chase the perpetrator(s) himself. Crazy as this sounds it actually worked; within 20 minutes, and despite not seeing the idiots ride off he was directed to a house in the adjacent estate where a 15 year old had just sauntered into his house with a brand new bike. Being particularly ired by this my brother walked into the front living room asked the parents where he could find their son, told them what the boy had done and was directed to the back yard and told "do what you like to him - he deserves it"; the parents then went back to their sky-1 drivel, smoking and cider. 

(Regrettably?) My brother decided to just remove the bike from this oiks keeping - regrettable since a few weeks later it was stolen again and was not found. The second time round he did report it and was told to claim on his home-insurance, reducing the police to little more than providers of crime numbers.

My point to this is who is really to blame for this injustice to Jackart and my brother? My own bike was stolen from our bike shed, the lock broken - do I blame the parent of this individual who obviously doesn't care? Do I blame the authorities for allowing such incidents to build up and up? Whilst there are many critiques of the broken window theory I still think there is some stock in it, particularly when nothing is done to prevent the windows being broken at all.

DK's covered it here and there are some very informative comments from police officers who in many cases seem to be as irritated by what is going on as we are.


A curiousity? A slip? An admission?

A message I sent earlier today to Mr. Miliband; first to his constituency website (dont know and dont really care if thats okay) and then to his address in his capacity as secretary of state for commonwealth and foreign affairs. Personally I will be dubbing him "cleft of the left" from now on but thats here nor there.
- original transcript sourced from EU Referendum 2's indespensible blog.

"From: tomrat
Sent: 06 March 2008 13:20
To: 'msu.correspondence@fco.gov.uk'
Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 Wednesday

Good Afternoon Mr. Miliband,

Having read the transcripts to your radio 4 debate on the EU Referendum treaty yesterday I was just wondering if you wouldn’t mind elaborating on the following answer James Naughtie’s question:

Question from James Naughtie: David Miliband, why if Angla Merkel for one says that the fundamentals are the same, why do you insist that the constitution has been abandoned.

David Miliband: Well, I oppose a referendum on this treaty for the same reason that William Hague voted against a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, which is that neither of these treaties exercise a fundamental shift in the balance of power between the nation state and the European Union…”

In particular I am interested in the phrase “.., which is that neither of these treaties exercise a fundamental shift in the balance of power between the nation state and the European Union…”

Thank you for your time,

Kind regards,"

Now not being the cleverest chap I may be reading more into this than I first thought, but surely if "neither of these treaties exercise a fundamental shift in the balance of power between the nation state and the European Union" then their isn't much point to them in the first instance. However, the other side of the coin is that the fundamental shift in the balance of power has not altered; it has always been within the hands of our foreign government in Brussels, and this interview was an admission as such.

It will be interesting to hear his reply (if any), though silence tends to speak volumes.


Laura sings liver

A few weeks ago it was my sisters birthday - she is such a charismatic person that she managed to annex several other peoples birthday parties, combine them, host the party at one their houses and get 2 of her friends to play at it; my brother in law, being a dj at several local pubs, was asked to provide the equipment; a microphone, an amp and some other simple music apparatus.

I set up the equipment as best as I could; to hand I had a room that was 3 by 7m in area, to fit over 50 people in, get enough space for a one-(and wo)man and set up the means by which they could put a guitar and voice through a very primitive speaker set; it was tough but the impact was impressive (to me, primarily because I was pretty tipsy by the time I finished).

The main act was a friend of my sisters from her schools days, Laura Hocking, she reminded me of a very agitated Joni Mitchell; whether your a fan of folk or not (and I admit, I am not) she is truly worth listening to.

You've never seen a group of 50 pissed students, fitted into a confined space, more silent. That is unless you've been on a bus at 7am in the morning filled with Chemistry students.