09 August 2010

09/08/10

Alpine marmot, Austria - uncredited

I think that God, in creating Man, somewhat overestimated his ability.
-Oscar Wilde

196 comments:

  1. Jen - sadly I won’t be in my new home for my birthday. I’ll be at my daughters as new flat isn’t vacant yet. I agreed to complete on my sale and put my stuff in store to make sure I got the sale! But at least I’ll have a rest before unpacking the boxes again!

    Habib - As I said single issue campaigns do help to educate people politically but they do not actually change society. Not an argument against them as such obviously they can do a lot of good.

    But, for example the widening of the franchise has eventually lead us to the situation we are now in where the franchise is no longer worth anything. So to get real democracy something else is needed.

    In the 50’s and 60’s we won trade union rights – we didn’t defend them and as a result lost them.

    In short, while we have a class society any gains made by the exploited class can be taken away again. So single issue campaigns can be successful but the gains may not be permanent while the economy is run for the benefit of the minority.

    Chekhov – the debate I want is with the working class not the rich. The debate is about who really has economic power us or them. Its about convincing people that they have the power to change things. Convince enough people and the rich wont matter spit.

    The trouble is too many people think its impossible – it isn’t, just needs enough of us to fight. They can’t survive without us we can survive without them, in fact we could do more than survive – we could flourish! These people are a block on human progress!

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  2. I absolutely agree Anne, I am one of those people who have somehow internalised the message that there is nothing we can do, and individually there probably is nothing I can do.

    It goes deeper than that though it is like an overwhelming apathy that runs through every aspect of your life and it is so difficult to shake off.

    And it isn't just me, I hear it all the time 'Well what can you do' 'What's the point' etc

    There is a real feeling among people I know that you can just never get ahead, those with jobs feel like they are working like dogs to stay in the same place and those on benefits, including me, are almost resigned to staying on them, call it laziness if you like but I don't believe it is.

    For me it is bone deep pessimism and it is a shitty way to live your life.

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  3. @ annetan, (and I suspect this might chime a little bit at least with Hank)there's an interesting-ish piece up by Francis Beckett. he's bollocking on about baby-boomers again, and I always think these generational generalisations are very iffy, taking the actions of a few vociferous/famous/usually self-serving prominent figures instead of considering the 99.9% of folk that age, who y'know, just did regular stuff like jobs etc).
    Anyhow, putting that bit aside there's a good angle for investigation alluded to, but not explored:
    Bryn Jones and Mike O'Donnell write about how swaths of 60s radicals "joined and energised the radical labour movement campaigns to defend and advance the welfare state during the 70s and 80s". But they didn't. They brought their 60s student politics into the unions in those two decades, and it was their intolerance, sectarianism and self-righteousness that brought the unions to their knees by the mid 80s. The new left then morphed into New Labour and finished the job.
    Has there been a wholesale reduction of mainstream politics to JCR debates, with participants removed from the realities upon which they superciliously pronounce, and where pettiness, ambition and 'identity' trump both principles and practicalities? Is politics stripped now of any notions about effecting meaningful change by and for the masses, concentrated instead on getting oneself and one's clique onto a platform, a shot in the spotlights and the attendant personal privilege and power?

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  4. #Beg to differ with you, there. The abolition of slavery, the expansion of enfranchisement, which resulted in the 1832 Reform Act, the repeal of the Corn Laws, the enfranchisement of women, the abolition of the Poll Tax - all single issue campaigns that succeeded.#

    Single Issue Politics?...pure fuckin fantasy..an oxymoron.

    You been reading Alan Rushbridger's 'Child's History of England' Habib?...how bourgeois interventionism emancipated the working Class? I'll tell you what, I'll even grant you Slavery although to try and recast Abolitionism as a 'single issue' campaign is wildly disingenuous and inaccurate and, I'm assuming, probably only made your list to give it a bit of substance and moral authority. The rest is pure 'Manchester Guardian revisionism'.

    I think you've gotta keep in mind the shifting sense of the word bourgeois Habib. When you look back at all that fuckin overblown bollocks about Manchester being a centre of radical bourgeois reform, it was referring to bourgeois capitalists. Most of the 'reforming' that went on was a shift of power from aristocratic landed interests to the new industrialists culminating in the Reform act that gave the burgeoning capitalist class some political representation..it did fuck all for the working class.

    Likewise the Corn Laws. The impetus here was tied entirely to a desire to expose agriculture to full-blown capitalist conditions, hopefully reducing the cost of living as a result. I haven't got the figures on me but I seem to recall reading that the average wage for a mill worker in Bolton was roughly 33s in 1795, 14s in 1815 and 5s 6d in 1830 (such was the age of bourgeois reform). The only remaining barrier to further wage cuts once full mechanisation was realised (500000 handloom weavers being thrown into destitution along the way) was physiological...'enlightened' industrialists realised that they couldn't actually continue to make such huge profits if production was affected by mass starvation among their workforce..solution: food prices had to come down..agriculture needed advanced capitalism..repeal of the Corn Laws. Stop believing the Guardian editorial version of History Habib..it was all about profit and power.

    As for women's enfranchisement..that was inevitable and the poll tax was going anyway... it was only Thatcher's bloody mindedness that kept it as long as it did..internal Tory politics had far more to do with its repeal than anything else..much as the riots were a laugh, are you seriously suggesting that given the Tory predilection for violent confrontation at the time, they wouldn't have stuck it out if necessary..the poll tax was a fuckin albatross by then anyway.

    Maybe you'll be interested in a new work coming out in the Autumn: 'The Guardian Guide to Progressive Advances'. It's got a great section on how Polly Toynbee brought down Thatcher and some in-depth analysis on how a latent racist and misogynistic working class was 'civilised' by some great campaigning writers. There are interviews with the likes of Joseph Harker, Julie Bindel, Bidisha and Matt Seaton on their sacrifices and struggles in healing our broken and dysfunctional society. It's only £19.99.. a real page turner..as Jessica Read says: "a source of comfort and solace to useful fantasist idiots everywhere".

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  5. Well said Alisdair. This disconnect is what allows them to push thru draconian policies, because those affected are 'the other' and usuly beyond contempt. What effect did the millions who marched against the Iraq war or the Make Poverty History demo have? SFA.

    How can key players make a difference before heads are cracked, or economic sanctions be brought to bear?

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  6. The rich can avoid tax and pay in advance for the best rates, when I contact the sherif's officers to avoid more punative surcharges it's on a 10p a min line minimum charge £2.50, the debt has a 2.5% handling fee to any repayments even online.

    The boot is going in and it's the poorest and most vunerable who will pay, with money, soon with blood, already with some lives. I just fear that nothing is going to change for the better.

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  7. annetan

    ''In the 50’s and 60’s we won trade union rights – we didn’t defend them and as a result lost them.''

    But what more could have been done to defend trade union rights in the 80,s? With unemployment rising at over 100,000 per month in the early 80,s and most people only being a pay check away from finanicial distress.People fought back where they could but against the forces of the state ,a largely hostile media and an increasingly frightened,indifferent or even unsympathetic populace what do you think should have been done differently to protect union rights? And of course the riots that were often spearheaded by Black communities in the 80,s weren,t about trade union rights although unemployment was an issue.And a high propotion of the working Black population were in unionised public sector jobs.

    From my understanding of how dire things were for working class people in early 80,s Britain i,m not sure what more could have been done at the time.

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  8. Is the Duke stalking Steve Hill?

    If so, good on him, the odious little shit deserves it, he makes me so angry.

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  9. annetan

    Just so where we know where we stand with each other i think more can be achieved if there were to be greater national solidarity in the working classes.But i,m not sure of the best way of achieving that bearing in mind the working class fault lines that existed in the 80,s and are probably even more entrenched today.

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  10. annetan

    Sorry that should have read national as well as local solidarity-need coffee.

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  11. Morning all,

    a more considered response to annetan, alisdair, monkeyfish and Hank's posts later, I'm a bit strapped for time.

    However, I have to share with you this humdinger. The latest report and recommendations from the CBI:

    Making Britain the place to work

    Recommendations include:

    - Shorten the statutory consultation period for more than 100 redundancies from 90 days to 30 days. (Making Britain the place to work....)

    - 40% quorum for strike action on balloted workforce.

    - Get rid of TUPE (Protection of employment) which protects employees working rights if a company is sold. New employers will not have to keep the same terms and conditions as previous employer.

    - Introduce the American system of Union 'recognition' or in non-Orwellian terms-'non recognition' if manangement want.

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  12. Jennifer,

    Is the Duke stalking Steve Hill?

    I'm not stalking him as such(!), it's just that he talks so much shit I can't help retorting.

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  13. I have a lot on today so can't join as fully as I would like in a discussion following from Alasdair's note above.

    That said..

    "...In those decades, fierce, divisive campaigns were waged for even minor union positions, and for the soul of each union...." this was true.

    but there were also a lot of continuing and unresolved divisions that had naff all to do with us boomers.

    One might argue that they were around (in embryo form) when Eleanor Marx was supporting the Bryant and May match girls and organizing the gas workers.....and Mrs Pankhurst started organising..................

    (...truth is the bastards have been dividing and ruling for a long long time - after hundreds of years they are practiced at promoting division they do it effortlessly and seamlessly)

    Could be an interesting discussion here - hope Hank/MF/Scherf add their pennyworth I'll be interested to see and read all later.

    PS - The Henry Moore exhibition was well worth a visit for me - but a rip off for many. So many people admitted that there was insufficient physical space in which to admire some fucking breathtaking pieces. More about the visit later.

    I took your advice BW and took the bus into town - an eye opener that gave me lots of food for thought. Ain't been down the roads of N London for 30+ years (Usually get in by train or tube which is like traveling through a corridor in which little of local life is seen)

    From Brents Cross to Oxford Circus - not one passenger who sat within earshot of me spoke English as a preferred language... London is truly a 24/7 globalised metropolis town these days. (FFS what need is there for a Memorial Consultant to be open on Sunday?)

    An attractive and lively diversity but a frenetic pace and frightening signs of people so focused on themselves (and special friends/interests) that they seem to fail to see what they are swimming in or their feet sometimes step into...

    Brents Cross and a lot of the 'London from the window' looked like a zoo. Any UT's who feel "trapped" there have my deepest sympathies.

    As ever lots of interesting things to do in London and some sound people to meet - had some help and support from a few admirable women who sought to protect me from the jobsworths who sought to stop me taking a photo in the Tate Britain....

    Hey WTF would this Northern tramp know about life in contemporary London.... - only that I wouldn't want to be there if the food or water runs short, it could be very ugly.






    Mungo was not best pleased at having his wild camping trip cut short to return North. and thus not getting to see the Queen or piss on a Palace wall or in a Royal Park....

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  14. "...From my understanding of how dire things were for working class people in early 80,s Britain i,m not sure what more could have been done at the time..."

    More of the people might have stopped to think and to have recognised.............. that no matter what they thought of Scargill personally or of his timing/method of calling the dispute ..................one thing was for sure . If the miners were left to stand alone and they were going to get royally shafted then it wouldn't be long before everyone else found something uncomfortable up their arses.

    Folk had twelve months to think about it....and now they may have decades to rue their inaction

    It's not just an old battle revisited Paul its about the ability to learn from experience..

    It starts with a recognition that there are only two divisions in life: them and us

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  15. My beloved mam went to her grave knowing every bastard for ten mile around who worked in the 1926 strike and she would never hesiate to tell anyone who asked.........and quite a few who didn't.

    She wasn't unique there many of both sexes like her

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  16. anyone interested

    On R4 now - how fair and accurate is the new 'fit for work' test? - the 'work capability assessment'

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  17. #It starts with a recognition that there are only two divisions in life: them and us#

    ..and then the further recognition that 'them' include all those posturing liberal voices who want their cake and eat it; they sure as fuck aren't goin without the second car or pension...only they're still progressives at heart..just feel their empathy..and their single issue passion.

    Fuckin wallpaper, the lot of them...woodchip in most cases.

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  18. Monkeyfish

    ''..and then the further recognition that 'them' include all those posturing liberal voices who want their cake and eat it; they sure as fuck aren't goin without the second car or pension...only they're still progressives at heart..just feel their empathy..and their single issue passion.

    Fuckin wallpaper, the lot of them...woodchip in most cases.''


    Dead right there !

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  19. Glad you recognise the description Paul

    ...although I've never considered you wallpaper as such..had you down in a sorta supporting or straight-man role...more of an Athena poster..something pretentious and pseudo-profound but ultimately vacuous and contrived.

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  20. monkeyfish

    Aw you can be so cruel :-)

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  21. So, just away 'n 'Flock yourself' is it?

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  22. BTW Montana - It was good to see an apology from Hank to Habib for recently calling him with a soft and crass insult.

    I journey in the hope that he will one day think it appropriate to offer one to you too. It is always unwise to be careles with, or attempt to degrade, those one once had a special friendly relationship with. At least I think Bonhoeffer would have so said...

    Which is my way of giving you a link to some quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer which you may wish to add to the library from which you select our daily diet.

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  23. Many/Most of you will know Bonhoeffer's...

    “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

    He paid with his life for his opposition/ plotting against Hitler...so I never did see him as just another theologian.

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  24. @deano:

    You’ve been down in the Smoke? Shame I was on hols, I’d have bought you a pie and a pint, I work about ten minutes walk from Tate Britain.

    I’ve really no excuse for never having been there.

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  25. Thanks, deano. I'll keep Bonhöffer in mind. Very heroic man and one of whose life and views made it hard for me to come to a point of saying that I just don't believe that there's a god.

    Forgive me for a little bit of pedantry/giving credit where it's due, however. A lot of people are under the impression that the "first they came for" quote was Bonhöffer, but he didn't survive the war and the quote was clearly said by someone who was reflecting on the times. It was actually said by Pastor Martin Niemöller -- another very admirable man.

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  26. @MW:

    "It was actually said by Pastor Martin Niemöller -- another very admirable man."

    Martin Niemöller was, if you’ll pardon the pun, a bit of a curate’s egg. Decorated for bravery in WWI, ardent opponent of communism and the Weimar Republic, Freikorps member, initially a supporter of Hitler (he even met him), fiercely Protestant, anti-semitic etc etc… not alone in that, of course, there were millions of Germans of his generation who felt like he did.

    And all that being said, he did come to regret his earlier views, as did millions of Germans of his generation. Which I guess is admirable enough.

    FWIW, Hermann Maas, one of Niemöller’s confreres in the Confessing Church and Pfarrernotbund (and sadly these days much less well-remembered than Niemöller), did more for the Jews in Nazi Germany at the time than Niemöller ever did.

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  27. Duke

    Can imagine what you may have to say. I'm just not taken with the modern liberal take on past liberalism. I can't find it but I remember a particularly nauseating piece by some professional luvvie Northerner celebrating the wonders of the industrial revolution. Bypassing the inhumanity, starvation and suffering, he focused on the birth of the Manchester Guardian and the architectural splendour of Bolton Town Hall...how it was all really radicalism, philanthropy and glorious achievement and glossing over the glaring fact that for the huge majority, life was short, brutal and hopeless.

    Found this though...from Eric Hobsbawm..on the new industrial bourgeoisie

    #Their wives began to turn into ‘ladies’, instructed by the handbooks of etiquette which multiplied about this period, their chapels began to be rebuilt in ample and expensive styles, and they even began to celebrate their collective glories by constructing those shocking town halls and other civic amenities in Gothic and Renaissance imitations, whose exact and Napoleonic costs their municipal historians recorded with pride.
    Again, a modern socialist or welfare society would no doubt have distributed some of these vast accumulations for social purposes. In our period nothing was less likely. Virtually untaxed, the middle class therefore continued to accumulate among the hungry population, whose hunger was the counterpart of their accumulation.#

    Replace the 'handbooks of etiquette' with lifestyle supplements and Guardian op-ed pieces instructing the middle-class how to 'do progressive';the 'civil amenities' with bullshit schemes which feature 'green', 'sustainable' or 'community' in the title and we're on pretty familiar ground.

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  28. Just noticed Tony Judt's dead while looking around. Had plenty of time for a lot of his stuff but never really understood his 'standing' with many liberals. Here's a cracking little passage of his..on identity..

    #In academic life, the word has comparably mischievous uses. Undergraduates today can select from a swathe of identity studies: “gender studies,” “women’s studies,” “Asian-Pacific-American studies,” and dozens of others. The shortcoming of all these para-academic programs is not that they concentrate on a given ethnic or geographical minority; it is that they encourage members of that minority to study themselves —thereby simultaneously negating the goals of a liberal education and reinforcing the sectarian and ghetto mentalities they purport to undermine. All too frequently, such programs are job-creation schemes for their incumbents, and outside interest is actively discouraged. Blacks study blacks, gays study gays, and so forth.#

    I wonder if the Guardian might need a quick reappraisal of his icon status?

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  29. @monkeyfish:

    ”Again, a modern socialist or welfare society would no doubt have distributed some of these vast accumulations for social purposes…”

    It’s an interesting thought experiment of Hobsbawm’s, but frankly you couldn’t have had the Industrial Revolution, and our world would be very different today, if you hadn’t had the huge exploited legions of the Great Unwashed to stoke the fires, tunnel through the hills, dig the ditches, raise the navvies, cut the corn, man the ships, serve the pampered, and die in the wars.

    It occurs to me quite often as I get the train to work of a morning that men died building the railway lines I travel in on, and that their passing is entirely unrecorded in history.

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  30. monkeyfish,

    Bypassing the inhumanity, starvation and suffering, he focused on the birth of the Manchester Guardian and the architectural splendour of Bolton Town Hall...how it was all really radicalism, philanthropy and glorious achievement and glossing over the glaring fact that for the huge majority, life was short, brutal and hopeless.

    In my job, I have access to an innumerable amount of internet journals and databases which I need for my work. Anyway, I've been doing some poking around regarding the great 'Guardian radical tradition' of the 19th Century. You're going to love this.

    John Taylor, the founder of the Manchester Guardian covered the 1819 Peterloo massacre for the Manchester Gazette. Here's what he had to say about the protesters leaders:

    "they have appealed not to the reason but the passions and the suffering of their abused and credulous fellow-countrymen, from whose ill-requited industry they extort for themselves the means of a plentiful and comfortable existence. They do not toil, nether do they spin but they live better than those that do." Manchester Gazette 7th August 1819

    Fight the power eh?

    The Manchester Guardian's unique selling point was to "Promote the just principles of political economy" and the targeted readership was:

    amongst the classes to whom, more especially, Advertisements are generally addressed’. Such people would value ‘the commercial connections and knowledge of the conductors of the Guardian.'

    In other words the bourgeois and mill owners making riches from misery!

    The Manchester and Salford Advertiser called the Manchester Guardian in May 1838:

    "the foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners"

    !!

    It can all be found in this book The Manchester Guardian- Biography of an newspaper

    More updates as I scan through it.

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  31. Just got in and sat down with a cuppa and TV, there is a new program on ITV called 3 at 3 which has got Kelvin McKenzie, Fiona Phillips and some posh bloke talking about the 'news' of the day.

    After the break they have got Jeremy Kyle on discussing how to mend broken Britain, it might well be the worst program ever broadcast!

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  32. And once this country had established itself as the 'Workshop of the World' it had the raw materials of its Empire to help keep the wheels in motion.Plus of course the colonised peoples of it,s Empire who were a captured market and therefore had no choice but to receive the finished products from the 'Mother Country'.Sadly the passing of all the people from the former colonies who died keeping this country the world power it once was are generally unrecorded in history.

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  33. @Paul:

    "Sadly the passing of all the people from the former colonies who died keeping this country the world power it once was are generally unrecorded in history."

    Oh yeah, I forgot about them.

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  34. >>..is entirely unrecorded in history.

    But adequately mentioned in song : )

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  35. Montana/Swifty - always happy to be corrected and to have me knowledge challenged/extended that's what the University of the UT is good at.

    I'll take you up on that pint/pie one day Swifty, there's a few UT's down London way that I look forward to meeting.....

    Got to dash - have a wall in me sons new place to knock about. As with many young men these days he, at 33+, ain't got a clue how to use a hammer. He's not even sure which end is which.

    Sheff fingers crossed dear young miss..

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  36. #"the foul prostitute and dirty parasite of the worst portion of the mill-owners"#

    sublime

    far more resonant than 'comment is free'

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  37. Fucking hell 30 seconds into the Jeremy Kyle interview and Kelvin McKenzie has said that 'certain' types of people have to be stopped from breeding.

    I think I will watch CBBC instead.

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  38. Swiftboy

    Nice that you,ve remembered:-)

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  39. Within 2 years Jenn you'll have that shit on CBBC.

    "You've never seen a muslim Tarquin? Come children, I have pictures, this is the Arab Muslim, see his horns? The Indian Muslim has a forked tail, here do you see?"

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  40. Little piece on the UKBA in the groan today

    UKBA cleared of racism but told to change

    Whistleblower accuses asylum case workers of breaching professional standards and expressing anti-immigration views. Cue investigation by the agencies professional standards unit.

    Advice of PCS to staff - do not cooperate with the investigation. Talk about double bloody standards - fight tooth and nail for members employment rights - but refuse to cooperate when a number of said members are accused of racism and totally inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour towards those whose applications they are employed to evaluate objectively and impartially.

    OK, so the job of a union is to protect it's members interests but If we can't rely on our unions to uphold decent standards for all what can we hope for? Will see what more i can find out when I get back to work tomorrow and if they don't have an acceptable answer I think I'll resign.

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  41. turminder

    ''But adequately mentioned in song : )''

    True that.I think all the major retailers are currently promoting a special compilation CD of all the old favourites of them there songs.

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  42. @turminder:

    Actually, Cbeebies is painfully right on, although admittedly not quite to the tick-box standard of US kids’ programming just yet – in any group of four, there will be 1. a white person; 2. a Hispanic person; 3. an African-American; and 4. a person of Oriental lineage.

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  43. Jennifer,

    how about this.

    Katy Clark, Labour MP asked in Parliamentary questions a couple of months ago how much the Government had spent on fighting tax invasion. Here's the exchange:

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much HM Revenue and Customs has spent on advertising for the purposes of preventing tax evasion in each of the last three years. [3776]

    Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs spent £633,284 (excluding VAT) on advertising for the purposes of preventing tax evasion last year. There was no expenditure in the previous two years.

    Now the estimated tax gap just from tax evasion is £70 billion.

    Compare this with "benefit fraud and error" which cost the exchequer £3.1 billion.

    Over the three previous years,the Government spent in total £17.5 million chasing benefit fraud and error (cost to us- £3.1 billion) as opposed to just over £600k chasing tax evasion (cost to us- £70 billion) and that is before legal tax avoidance.

    It can all be found found here.

    Prosecuting the 'little people' is more important than prosecuting the real villains.

    We are all in this together.

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  44. Of course the first paragraph should be 'tax evasion', not 'tax invasion'. It would be a cold day in hell before the uk sees an invasion of tax.....

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  45. Duke

    I am suprised by £633,284 I thought it would be a lot less. ;)

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  46. @jennifera30:

    "I am suprised by £633,284 I thought it would be a lot less..."

    It soon will be. COI is slashing its advertising budget by at least 40%, at the behest of the nasty Coalition.

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  47. Did anyone see the post by Magnacarta66 bragging about how even though he and his wife earned £100,000 each (I think he might be lying about that to be honest) they paid only £2,000 in tax by using legal tax evasion loopholes.

    He actually bragged about paying less tax than a binman, I despair sometimes.

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  48. Duke

    I knew there were differentials but i honestly didn,t know they were that great.So whilst the government are spending chickenshit going after the tax evaders they are spending a fortune going after not only the benefit fraudsters but also-via ATOS-huge numbers of people who are genuinely sick.A really sickening warped twisted set of priorities that is largely supported by a compliant media and an unthinking populace.

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  49. "Over the three previous years,the Government spent in total £17.5 million chasing benefit fraud and error (cost to us- £3.1 billion) as opposed to just over £600k chasing tax evasion (cost to us- £70 billion) and that is before legal tax avoidance."

    so, on a basic target calc (amount spent / amount targeted), that's about 0.6% for the benefit fraud.

    not sure what the tax evasion one is as the spreadsheet gives me "8.57143E-06", which I think means is too small to be seen with the human eye...

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  50. For any UTers into AfroJazz a track from the great Tania Maria.

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  51. on the discrepancy, what would be most interesting to see would be a rate of return calc - am guessing that it is way higher for benefit fraud, thus the concentration there.

    after all, if you were tasked with bringing in some money, would you go after:
    a) poor and unemployed person caught having not declared live-in partner (also poor and unemployed and using parents' address so you can nab them too) whose only recourse to legal advice is the knackered paralegal from the CAB
    b) a rich git with a title, party connections, and a team of lawyers each paid more per hour than you're paid per week, and who can tie up your entire in-house legal team for the next ten years when you've been told you can't outsource the additional caseload?

    makes perfect sense. malthusian, criminal sense, but sense nonetheless...

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  52. Very interesting info on tax evasion v benefit fraud Yr Grace. If the gov is prepared to spend so much more than we're actually losing in ben fraud searching it out and virtually zilch on tax evasion you can clearly see where priorities lie.

    Why oh why do we let them get away with this kind of shit and all the propaganda that goes with it?

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  53. Paul,

    appaling isn't it?

    Philippa,

    and of course choosing a) shows the tabloids you're doing something because the tabloids have already told the population that it's that bloke you know down the pub that does 'cash in hand' that is the cause of the macroeconomic meltdown.

    Meanwhile, the oligarchs who own the tabloids make eye watering tax savings through the loopholes allowed by Govt after Govt.

    It's a corporatocracy whichever way you look at it where Govt looks after Big Business and vice versa. Check out all the juicy board positions given to ex-ministers.

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  54. quite, your grace - add the 'PR' angle to the basic maths, and I'm just surprised they don't just nick everyone who walks into a job centre, just on the off-chance...

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  55. It's a fucking disgrace, is what it is.

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  56. Here's something that seems to have slipped by without much attention - evidence of fraud at A4E, which I'm sure is no surprise to anyone here.

    Wonder when ATOS will get an investigation.

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  57. That's odd ... where'd Peter's post go?

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  58. @Thauma

    Yes, that is a bit odd... Let's try again; evidence of fraud at A4E, that seems to have slipped by almost unnoticed. Wonder when ATOS will find its collar being tentatively felt?

    ReplyDelete
  59. I've seen people complain about disappearing posts but that is the first time I have seen it happen, very weird.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Ooh. The second attempt's gone as well. I'm getting paranoid now.

    ReplyDelete
  61. They're onto you Peter, run while you still can. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  62. It is a bit weird today...when I reload the page I get a quick flash of Deano's last photo of Mungo...

    ReplyDelete
  63. Here's your link Peter.

    It disappeared the first time I put it up - so lets hope it works tis time.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Bugger - I put your link up twice Peter and both times it's disappeared. Anyone else having probs?

    ReplyDelete
  65. ooh,errr...looks like we've been rumbled!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Since we can't get Peter's link up here's the text:

    Fraud inquiry into government jobs scheme

    Rajeev Syal and Toby Helm
    The Observer, Sunday 28 June 2009

    Recruitment companies getting tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to find jobs for the unemployed are at the centre of a fraud probe after staff made false claims of getting people into work.

    The Observer found that A4e, one of the government's biggest private contractors, is at the centre of the Department for Work and Pensions inquiries. It is understood that at least two other recruitment companies have been probed by the DWP. Last night Yvette Cooper, the work and pensions secretary, confirmed that investigations were under way and said she could cancel multimillion-pound contracts if widespread fraud was uncovered.

    The revelation comes weeks after A4e was earmarked for £100m of contracts for the government's Flexible New Deal, in which private companies will be paid for each person they place in a job.

    One of A4e's consultants is David Blunkett, a former work and pensions secretary who advocated private involvement in welfare reform. Blunkett, now a backbench MP, is paid up to £30,000 a year by A4e, which is based in his Sheffield constituency. There is no suggestion of impropriety by Blunkett, but he may be embarrassed by the probe as details of MPs' earnings outside parliament are published this week.

    The DWP started its investigation into A4e's Hull office in May 2008, after discrepancies emerged in "confirmation of employment" forms submitted by the company. Two recruiters filled in forms meant for employers who agreed to take on workers. In some cases, employers' signatures were falsified.

    One of the recruiters had also entered into a fraudulent deal with a local temp agency. In January, the recruiter was sacked, while the other resigned. "It had the smell of a conspiracy," a source close to the company said.

    An A4e spokesman said it had found only 20 fraudulent claims. It remained unclear last night why the DWP investigation has been going for 13 months, when A4e was a bidding for major government contracts. A4e is expected to repay £15,000. Another recruitment company has been asked to repay £48,000 following a DWP inquiry.

    The controversy has echoes of the 2001 crisis that forced the government to abandon individual learning accounts, under which training providers were paid for each person given vocational training. The £268m initiative initially fell prey to small-time fraud, but later it was proved that the providers invented phantom claimants to get a "starter fee", costing the government hundreds of millions.

    A DWP spokeswoman named no companies in the welfare probe, but said: "Specialist employment organisations help 200,000 people back to work every year. Unfortunately our audit processes have uncovered some specific cases of fraud involving particular individuals who have since been sacked and money paid back. Our investigations found no evidence of systematic abuse."

    A4e, with a turnover of £145m, claims on its website to have helped 19,725 people into work. Its spokesman said it had begun its own investigation and was co-operating with the DWP. "While we tackled these matters swiftly and transparently, and have strengthened our anti-fraud proc

    • This article was altered on Wednesday 1 July 2009 because the DWP investigation is into the former New Deal Scheme not the Flexible New Deal Scheme.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Jeez, Monkeyfish, all I said was that single issue campaigns can have some effect. I didn't moralise about the examples I gave.

    Of course, you are right in some respects and I know that history can't be read as simply as "x" happened because of "y". The point I was making was that single issue campaigns can unite people who are otherwise divided. Perhaps I made it badly.

    I would love to have a debate about any historical issue with you, monkeyfish, I think it would very enlightening (for me at least), but after your somewhat caustic comments, I would be unable to do so without giggling. I'd just be reminded of Baddiel and Newman "That's you that is".

    ReplyDelete
  68. Erm...linkys don't seem to be working at all, so just parking this for safe keeping before it gets "modded"

    from Cif;posted by PalookavilePlayboy.



    At £30 billion per year, fraud in the UK is more than twice as high as thought, with tax evasion costing the public purse over £15 billion per year and benefit fraud just over £1 billion.

    Based predominantly on 2008 data, the National Fraud Authority’s first ever Annual Fraud Indicator found fraud against the public sector accounts for 58% of the total fraud in the UK per year.

    Tax evasion is around 3% of total tax liabilities, while benefit fraud accounts for 0.8% of total benefit expenditure.

    DaveBlokefromUKPlc said:

    It could even be worse.

    The old figures were about £670 million lost to benefit fraud and £25 billion lost to tax avoidance.

    The £670 million was from the government's own "shop your neighbour" site and the £25 billion was from a study commissioned by Brendan Barber of the TUC.

    Then we have this from those crazy commie chaps at Tax Research UK:

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/07/01/benefit-fraud-is-624-times-more-serious-than-tax-evasion/

    The tax gap from evasion is, give or take the odd billion or so, £70 billion at present. The total tax gap is about £120 billion.

    Benefit fraud and official error combined cost £3.1 billion last year.

    There is the usual commenting after the article, with people pointing out that tax evasion is naughty, but tax avoidance is just a harmless jolly jape.

    Then the author of the article, Richard Murphy, says:

    First, let me be clear - the headline is of course attention seeking. It’s worked - thousands of people have read this blog entry as a result.

    Second - more worryingly - Katy Clark raised this issue I am sure, and I raise it as well, precisely because the difference in spending is indicative of the attitude of HM Revenue & Customs to these two issues.

    For example - benefit debt is chased when £200 is owing - tax debt sometimes not until £10,000 is owing.

    HMRC can advertise on benefit fraud - but is frightened to do so on tax fraud because of the reaction of the right wing business lobby - although all in HMRC know the problem is massive — and vastly bigger than benefit fraud
    So of course the ratio I quote is totemic and in itself meaningless - but the underlying point is far from irrelevant.

    Tax evasion costs £70 billion a year - enough to close the government’s deficit - and little or nothing is being done about it.

    Benefit fraud is a mere rounding error in the government’s accounts and yet is targeted.

    There is underlying this fact a very, very wrong headed approach to policy that is costing us all dear.

    So, will The Guardian start investigating why the poor are being made to shoulder the financial burden of the bankers sending the world into financial meltdown at the same time that those who have enough money to be able to afford to chip in are allowed to get away scot-free?

    Is it enough to simply say that the rich are so used to never having to pay their way that the government feels it would be rude to ask now?

    Is The Guardian still so head-over-heels in love with the LibDem contingent of the ConDems (having decided at the last minute to ditch the loser and at last back a winner) that it feels itself to be muzzled into silence for fear of offending its paramour?

    Didn't Nick Clegg and Dave Cameron make big claims about wanting a fairer society and saying that they wanted a participatory democracy in which people took power?

    If they meant it, surely they would be grateful if The Guardian pointed out that they are sowing the seeds of social unrest and chasing the wrong targets.

    Or is the basis of this government simply one rule for the rich and another for the poor, as usual, in which they can confidently predict that they will be aided and abetted by the media?

    Will you start investigating this?

    A straight yes or no will do nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I'm frankly spooked by the posts linking to the A4E fraud disappearing.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I've read that A4E and/or ATOS are Yank companies that have been prosecuted successfully for fraud in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Another one has disappeared after Habib's, hasn't it?

    *waaaah!*

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hey where's my post gone?

    I smell a rat.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thauma

    it was the one chekhov parked about the same issues.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Evening all

    Don't talk to me about that smug magnacarta creature. He delights in only paying £2k a year in tax on a £100k a year salary, while sending his kids to State school - Grammar school, mind, none of your Comp rubbish - and generally leeching off anyone else who does pay their taxes properly and honestly i.e. ME!

    And then he has the fucking cheek to complain about people on JSA being "scroungers".

    What a complete arsehole.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Who or what is zapping posts....all bit worrying really.
    Anyway I'll have another go at parking this before it gets "modded"
    Posted by PalookavillePlayboy on "wadya"



    "At £30 billion per year, fraud in the UK is more than twice as high as thought, with tax evasion costing the public purse over £15 billion per year and benefit fraud just over £1 billion.

    Based predominantly on 2008 data, the National Fraud Authority’s first ever Annual Fraud Indicator found fraud against the public sector accounts for 58% of the total fraud in the UK per year.

    Tax evasion is around 3% of total tax liabilities, while benefit fraud accounts for 0.8% of total benefit expenditure.

    DaveBlokefromUKPlc said:

    It could even be worse.

    The old figures were about £670 million lost to benefit fraud and £25 billion lost to tax avoidance.

    The £670 million was from the government's own "shop your neighbour" site and the £25 billion was from a study commissioned by Brendan Barber of the TUC.

    Then we have this from those crazy commie chaps at Tax Research UK:

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/07/01/benefit-fraud-is-624-times-more-serious-than-tax-evasion/

    The tax gap from evasion is, give or take the odd billion or so, £70 billion at present. The total tax gap is about £120 billion.

    Benefit fraud and official error combined cost £3.1 billion last year.

    There is the usual commenting after the article, with people pointing out that tax evasion is naughty, but tax avoidance is just a harmless jolly jape.

    Then the author of the article, Richard Murphy, says:

    First, let me be clear - the headline is of course attention seeking. It’s worked - thousands of people have read this blog entry as a result.

    Second - more worryingly - Katy Clark raised this issue I am sure, and I raise it as well, precisely because the difference in spending is indicative of the attitude of HM Revenue & Customs to these two issues.

    For example - benefit debt is chased when £200 is owing - tax debt sometimes not until £10,000 is owing.

    HMRC can advertise on benefit fraud - but is frightened to do so on tax fraud because of the reaction of the right wing business lobby - although all in HMRC know the problem is massive — and vastly bigger than benefit fraud
    So of course the ratio I quote is totemic and in itself meaningless - but the underlying point is far from irrelevant.

    Tax evasion costs £70 billion a year - enough to close the government’s deficit - and little or nothing is being done about it.

    Benefit fraud is a mere rounding error in the government’s accounts and yet is targeted.

    There is underlying this fact a very, very wrong headed approach to policy that is costing us all dear.

    So, will The Guardian start investigating why the poor are being made to shoulder the financial burden of the bankers sending the world into financial meltdown at the same time that those who have enough money to be able to afford to chip in are allowed to get away scot-free?

    Is it enough to simply say that the rich are so used to never having to pay their way that the government feels it would be rude to ask now?

    Is The Guardian still so head-over-heels in love with the LibDem contingent of the ConDems (having decided at the last minute to ditch the loser and at last back a winner) that it feels itself to be muzzled into silence for fear of offending its paramour?

    Didn't Nick Clegg and Dave Cameron make big claims about wanting a fairer society and saying that they wanted a participatory democracy in which people took power?

    If they meant it, surely they would be grateful if The Guardian pointed out that they are sowing the seeds of social unrest and chasing the wrong targets.

    Or is the basis of this government simply one rule for the rich and another for the poor, as usual, in which they can confidently predict that they will be aided and abetted by the media?

    Will you start investigating this?

    A straight yes or no will do nicely."

    ReplyDelete
  75. Well, I can see the post Sheff did on A4e, so hopefully that will not be memory-holed...

    * hums theme to Twilight Zone *

    ReplyDelete
  76. Either someone on here with admin rights is in the pay of A4E (which is so unlikely as to not be worth mentioning), or *someone* has a netcrawler looking for references and deleting them.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Everytime i close my eyes and think of A4E i see a strident sales person with a fetish for neck scarves looking incredulous when a group of demotivated long term unemployed people she,s supposed to be helping won,t show any enthusiasm when she offers them the 'opportunity' of a day,s casual work in a local bakery.And the same said strident sales person with a fetish for neck scarves coming over all emotional when the 'gushingly friendly' owner of A4E turns up for a supposedly unexpected visit just when the C4 cameras happened to be filming.And the same said gushingly friendly boss unable to answer the reporter when she asked her how she can justify her staff pressurising the long term unemployed into accepting zero hour contracts from prospective employers.Something even the Tories banned JobCentre staff doing in the early 90,s.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Evening folks.

    thauma

    Netcrawler? Sounds scary .. please explain for the non-techies among us.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Could it just be that comments with links are disappearing?

    Someone post an unrelated link and see if it goes as well.

    ReplyDelete
  80. That's two disappeared now.
    What the fuck is going on?

    ReplyDelete
  81. MsChin - well, Google uses a netcrawler to find its search hits. It's basically an algorithm that trawls the web for one purpose or another, looking for info.

    I now have a report that a user of this blog is unable to log in!

    ReplyDelete
  82. Right ... am going to test logging in from a different browser.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Thaum


    Eww... netcrawlers.

    I have a picture in my mind of those bug-like things in Minority Report that come and scan your retinas...

    ReplyDelete
  84. Well that link seems ok so I'll try Peter's link again

    Peter's link to the groan article

    ReplyDelete
  85. Dunno about this Minority Report thing, BB, but they sound nasty.

    Successful log-in on Mozilla.

    Can I post a link?

    Secret Agent Man.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Bugger it - seems I can't post links. I just posted one up to a random netcrawler site which went up then disappeared. Tried posting Peter's link up again - it went up that has now vanished too.

    Can someone else have a go?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Is it gremlins or is someone having a bit of fun with us?

    ReplyDelete
  88. OK, logged in successfully from Firefox, posted a comment with a link, which I saw go up ... and now it's not there.

    Perhaps it's just a Blogger issue with posts with links.

    ReplyDelete
  89. I,m really not with it at the moment.I should have mentioned i was referring to C4,s,programme
    Benefit Busters which introduced us to A4E and the strident sales person with the fetish for neck scarves.Relish the way she tries to motivate a group of unemployed lone mums.

    You may need to double click the triangle at the bottom left hand corner to get the clip going.

    ReplyDelete
  90. thauma

    Your post with link has vanished. The page just refreshed (without me clicking on anything - hands otherwise engaged) & it was gone.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Will try posting Chekhov's copy of this post:

    Will not let the first link be added ? Google Chrome comes back with : 'Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters'

    which begins:

    At £30 billion per year, fraud in the UK is more than twice as high as thought, with tax evasion costing the public purse over £15 billion per year and benefit fraud just over £1 billion.

    Based predominantly on 2008 data, the National Fraud Authority’s first ever Annual Fraud Indicator found fraud against the public sector accounts for 58% of the total fraud in the UK per year.

    Tax evasion is around 3% of total tax liabilities, while benefit fraud accounts for 0.8% of total benefit expenditure.

    DaveBlokefromUKPlc said:

    It could even be worse.

    The old figures were about £670 million lost to benefit fraud and £25 billion lost to tax avoidance.

    The £670 million was from the government's own "shop your neighbour" site and the £25 billion was from a study commissioned by Brendan Barber of the TUC.

    Then we have this from those crazy commie chaps at Tax Research UK:

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/07/01/benefit-fraud-is-624-times-more-serious-than-tax-evasion/

    The tax gap from evasion is, give or take the odd billion or so, £70 billion at present. The total tax gap is about £120 billion.

    Benefit fraud and official error combined cost £3.1 billion last year.

    There is the usual commenting after the article, with people pointing out that tax evasion is naughty, but tax avoidance is just a harmless jolly jape.

    Then the author of the article, Richard Murphy, says:

    First, let me be clear - the headline is of course attention seeking. It’s worked - thousands of people have read this blog entry as a result.

    Second - more worryingly - Katy Clark raised this issue I am sure, and I raise it as well, precisely because the difference in spending is indicative of the attitude of HM Revenue & Customs to these two issues.

    For example - benefit debt is chased when £200 is owing - tax debt sometimes not until £10,000 is owing.

    HMRC can advertise on benefit fraud - but is frightened to do so on tax fraud because of the reaction of the right wing business lobby - although all in HMRC know the problem is massive — and vastly bigger than benefit fraud
    So of course the ratio I quote is totemic and in itself meaningless - but the underlying point is far from irrelevant.

    Tax evasion costs £70 billion a year - enough to close the government’s deficit - and little or nothing is being done about it.

    Benefit fraud is a mere rounding error in the government’s accounts and yet is targeted.

    There is underlying this fact a very, very wrong headed approach to policy that is costing us all dear.

    So, will The Guardian start investigating why the poor are being made to shoulder the financial burden of the bankers sending the world into financial meltdown at the same time that those who have enough money to be able to afford to chip in are allowed to get away scot-free?

    Is it enough to simply say that the rich are so used to never having to pay their way that the government feels it would be rude to ask now?

    Is The Guardian still so head-over-heels in love with the LibDem contingent of the ConDems (having decided at the last minute to ditch the loser and at last back a winner) that it feels itself to be muzzled into silence for fear of offending its paramour?

    Didn't Nick Clegg and Dave Cameron make big claims about wanting a fairer society and saying that they wanted a participatory democracy in which people took power?

    If they meant it, surely they would be grateful if The Guardian pointed out that they are sowing the seeds of social unrest and chasing the wrong targets.

    Or is the basis of this government simply one rule for the rich and another for the poor, as usual, in which they can confidently predict that they will be aided and abetted by the media?

    Will you start investigating this?

    A straight yes or no will do nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I'll be well pissed off if all our previous music nights are eviscerated.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Habib

    caustic?

    Just part of my ongoing mission to put Manchester back its box...some of the claims made about the place are fuckin outrageous. Not all mind, I still accept Tony Wilson was one of the 20th century's great philosophical figures; I'd put my last penny on the fact that Barca or Bayern shit themselves if they draw Man U; and I know Bernard Manning was a brilliant satirist who undermined the societal and comedic conventions of the day with his savage irony...but I'm not having the Manchester Guardian being a champion of anything other than middle-class liberals..whatever kudos it's attracted from its revisionist PR reworking etc.

    ..well that..and that I think single issue politics is a contradiction in terms.

    ReplyDelete
  94. I just posted a link to go with my post on C4,s Benefit Busters looking at the 'delightful' way A4E 'help' the long term unemployed.I,ts just vanished as well.Obviously a duppy in the system at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Your post disappeared Paul but not before I had a chance to go and look at the Benefits busters program.

    If anyone has any idea where that woman can be found please let me know, I am not a violent person I don't think I have hit anyone since school fights but for her I am willing to make an exception to deliver the smack round the chops she richly deserves.

    ReplyDelete
  96. I've logged in but am trying to post with links (a copy of Chekhov's from PalookavillePlayboy).

    Let's see if this works with no links.

    ReplyDelete
  97. A link from me posted above at 13.08 was still there and working at 20.45....??

    ReplyDelete
  98. So it is, Deano ... must only be new posts!

    Hello tascia!

    ReplyDelete
  99. What if we don't do proper links? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iaR3WO71j4

    ReplyDelete
  100. Jen

    I know where you,re coming from.And that sadly is just a taster of the reality of privatised welfare provision.Target driven men and women like her bullying the unemployed into taking any crap job going so they get their commission.:-)

    ReplyDelete
  101. Mythical kings & iguanas ... hehe ... bet it'll be gone when I refresh.

    Tascia - morning??!? It's just about bedtime!

    ReplyDelete
  102. Previn worked for me Shaz!

    Dog walking takes me for a while

    ReplyDelete
  103. I didn't post a link. Just copied and pasted some text from the "wadya" thread.
    Third time lucky:
    Posted by PalookavillePlayboy


    "At £30 billion per year, fraud in the UK is more than twice as high as thought, with tax evasion costing the public purse over £15 billion per year and benefit fraud just over £1 billion.

    Based predominantly on 2008 data, the National Fraud Authority’s first ever Annual Fraud Indicator found fraud against the public sector accounts for 58% of the total fraud in the UK per year.

    Tax evasion is around 3% of total tax liabilities, while benefit fraud accounts for 0.8% of total benefit expenditure.

    DaveBlokefromUKPlc said:

    It could even be worse.

    The old figures were about £670 million lost to benefit fraud and £25 billion lost to tax avoidance.

    The £670 million was from the government's own "shop your neighbour" site and the £25 billion was from a study commissioned by Brendan Barber of the TUC.

    Then we have this from those crazy commie chaps at Tax Research UK:

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/07/01/benefit-fraud-is-624-times-more-serious-than-tax-evasion/

    The tax gap from evasion is, give or take the odd billion or so, £70 billion at present. The total tax gap is about £120 billion.

    Benefit fraud and official error combined cost £3.1 billion last year.

    There is the usual commenting after the article, with people pointing out that tax evasion is naughty, but tax avoidance is just a harmless jolly jape.

    Then the author of the article, Richard Murphy, says:

    First, let me be clear - the headline is of course attention seeking. It’s worked - thousands of people have read this blog entry as a result.

    Second - more worryingly - Katy Clark raised this issue I am sure, and I raise it as well, precisely because the difference in spending is indicative of the attitude of HM Revenue & Customs to these two issues.

    For example - benefit debt is chased when £200 is owing - tax debt sometimes not until £10,000 is owing.

    HMRC can advertise on benefit fraud - but is frightened to do so on tax fraud because of the reaction of the right wing business lobby - although all in HMRC know the problem is massive — and vastly bigger than benefit fraud
    So of course the ratio I quote is totemic and in itself meaningless - but the underlying point is far from irrelevant.

    Tax evasion costs £70 billion a year - enough to close the government’s deficit - and little or nothing is being done about it.

    Benefit fraud is a mere rounding error in the government’s accounts and yet is targeted.

    There is underlying this fact a very, very wrong headed approach to policy that is costing us all dear.

    So, will The Guardian start investigating why the poor are being made to shoulder the financial burden of the bankers sending the world into financial meltdown at the same time that those who have enough money to be able to afford to chip in are allowed to get away scot-free?

    Is it enough to simply say that the rich are so used to never having to pay their way that the government feels it would be rude to ask now?

    Is The Guardian still so head-over-heels in love with the LibDem contingent of the ConDems (having decided at the last minute to ditch the loser and at last back a winner) that it feels itself to be muzzled into silence for fear of offending its paramour?

    Didn't Nick Clegg and Dave Cameron make big claims about wanting a fairer society and saying that they wanted a participatory democracy in which people took power?

    If they meant it, surely they would be grateful if The Guardian pointed out that they are sowing the seeds of social unrest and chasing the wrong targets.

    Or is the basis of this government simply one rule for the rich and another for the poor, as usual, in which they can confidently predict that they will be aided and abetted by the media?

    Will you start investigating this?

    A straight yes or no will do nicely."

    ReplyDelete
  104. OK ... so my post with a non-live link has disappeared ... but Shaz's live link is still here.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Shaz, what's your secret? Yours is still up, but Chekhov's has disappeared again!

    ReplyDelete
  106. All the posts will mysteriously be restored in the middle of the night and anyone reading this thread will think we're all mad.

    ReplyDelete
  107. I can still see Shaz's link/post.

    Taxi duty calls - joys of being a parent. Back later.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Definately something dodgy going on here tonight.
    That's four posts vanished into the ether from me.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Please tell me there isn't a TV show called benefit busters, please.

    Me and my better half have been indulging in Wainwrights coast to coast on iplayer, I'm all settled and now this.

    Fuck sake I could weep. Fucking media making money out of what they see as 'scum' whilst promoting the notion that it's the unemployed that have caused the economic mess.

    Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  110. I don't know, Thaumaturge... but if Chekhov's post was the excellent PalookavillePlayboy's post from Waddya at 6.57pm, it's well worth reading - couldn't copy & paste it, it's too long...

    ReplyDelete
  111. Duke if you have seen The League of Gentlemens Pauline in action you have no need to watch the show. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  112. Shaz - I reckon that was it - but as it keeps disappearing it's hard to tell!

    Paul's latest link still up for a few minutes.

    Will try another in next post.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Duke - not only a TV programme, but a website.

    ReplyDelete
  114. I'll try posting 'PalookavillePlayboy' post and see what happens.

    It won't let me post the first link, but I can get away with this:

    which begins:

    At £30 billion per year, fraud in the UK is more than twice as high as thought, with tax evasion costing the public purse over £15 billion per year and benefit fraud just over £1 billion.

    Based predominantly on 2008 data, the National Fraud Authority’s first ever Annual Fraud Indicator found fraud against the public sector accounts for 58% of the total fraud in the UK per year.

    Tax evasion is around 3% of total tax liabilities, while benefit fraud accounts for 0.8% of total benefit expenditure.

    DaveBlokefromUKPlc said:

    It could even be worse.

    The old figures were about £670 million lost to benefit fraud and £25 billion lost to tax avoidance.

    The £670 million was from the government's own "shop your neighbour" site and the £25 billion was from a study commissioned by Brendan Barber of the TUC.

    Then we have this from those crazy commie chaps at Tax Research UK:

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/07/01/benefit-fraud-is-624-times-more-serious-than-tax-evasion/

    The tax gap from evasion is, give or take the odd billion or so, £70 billion at present. The total tax gap is about £120 billion.

    Benefit fraud and official error combined cost £3.1 billion last year.

    There is the usual commenting after the article, with people pointing out that tax evasion is naughty, but tax avoidance is just a harmless jolly jape.

    Then the author of the article, Richard Murphy, says:

    First, let me be clear - the headline is of course attention seeking. It’s worked - thousands of people have read this blog entry as a result.

    Second - more worryingly - Katy Clark raised this issue I am sure, and I raise it as well, precisely because the difference in spending is indicative of the attitude of HM Revenue & Customs to these two issues.

    For example - benefit debt is chased when £200 is owing - tax debt sometimes not until £10,000 is owing.

    HMRC can advertise on benefit fraud - but is frightened to do so on tax fraud because of the reaction of the right wing business lobby - although all in HMRC know the problem is massive — and vastly bigger than benefit fraud
    So of course the ratio I quote is totemic and in itself meaningless - but the underlying point is far from irrelevant.

    Tax evasion costs £70 billion a year - enough to close the government’s deficit - and little or nothing is being done about it.

    Benefit fraud is a mere rounding error in the government’s accounts and yet is targeted.

    There is underlying this fact a very, very wrong headed approach to policy that is costing us all dear.

    So, will The Guardian start investigating why the poor are being made to shoulder the financial burden of the bankers sending the world into financial meltdown at the same time that those who have enough money to be able to afford to chip in are allowed to get away scot-free?

    Is it enough to simply say that the rich are so used to never having to pay their way that the government feels it would be rude to ask now?

    Is The Guardian still so head-over-heels in love with the LibDem contingent of the ConDems (having decided at the last minute to ditch the loser and at last back a winner) that it feels itself to be muzzled into silence for fear of offending its paramour?

    Didn't Nick Clegg and Dave Cameron make big claims about wanting a fairer society and saying that they wanted a participatory democracy in which people took power?

    If they meant it, surely they would be grateful if The Guardian pointed out that they are sowing the seeds of social unrest and chasing the wrong targets.

    Or is the basis of this government simply one rule for the rich and another for the poor, as usual, in which they can confidently predict that they will be aided and abetted by the media?

    Will you start investigating this?

    A straight yes or no will do nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Hmm ... Shaz's link still up, but Paul's vanished....

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  116. Thaumaturge... your link's still there...

    ReplyDelete
  117. Oops, no, it's gone - wtf is going on?

    ReplyDelete
  118. And another few down....

    But both of Shaz's still up!

    Are you doing a c&p from Cif by any chance? What browser are you using?

    ReplyDelete
  119. Google Chrome will now not let me post the thread from CiF by 'PalookavillePlayboy'. Originally it was on about too many characters (4096 (or 4Kb in my terms)), now it just says it's too big !

    Strange.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Back again - spared from cab duty / being tapped for cash, by the other half ..

    Paul's link/post has vanished, yes - saw it before I signed out a few minutes ago.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Only IE. No, not c&p from CiF - can't explain it. Tascia, I couldn't post it either - too many characters

    ReplyDelete
  122. They hate us for our musical freedoms.

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  123. shazthewombat:

    Palookaville's post is a bag of regurgitated shite.

    It's not the fraud that's at issue; it's the appeal he makes to some wrongdoing by government to target benefit cheats that most certainly is.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Prove it with a link, Bracken.

    ReplyDelete
  125. PeterB - it's a question of perspective. Yours is quite clearly different to mine.

    ReplyDelete
  126. The Public Face of A4E

    Double click triangle in bottom left hand corner to get it to start.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Hmm ... MsChin's post was apparently not so safe.

    Shaz's two earlier ones have now disappeared, but they took a f00k of a lot longer to go than the rest of ours.

    I reckon Shaz has hijacked the site and only deleted them later to cover her tracks.

    ReplyDelete
  128. The post is 3,910 in character set with spaces.

    Don't understand why it thinks it is over 4,096 character's in length, unless it doing a wide approximation of 'rounding up', or it has an issue with the links in the post.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Mwah hahaha. The UT will be MINE...!

    ReplyDelete
  130. MsChin's Sex Pistols still up ... and Paul's A4E post ... Shaz must be getting carpal tunnel from the deletions.

    Me off to bed. Will dream of world internet domination.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Nope, they've gone now!

    Ah well. Zzzz.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Paul's link to A4E still there, and that link is in the public domain, for all to see how their operations, are conducted.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Time for bed - Night Thauma !

    ReplyDelete
  134. thauma

    First MI5 and now the Sex Pistols c&p from CiF? They have no sense of humour, these netcrawlers!

    ReplyDelete
  135. 13th Duke - have also been watching the Wainwright coast to coast.

    Used to do a bit of fell walking knees won't let me now :-(

    Nice to have the memories though - loved the series they did on the Lakeland fells - memories.

    Never got to do the coast to coast - an enjoyable watch though.

    ReplyDelete
  136. UTWatcher

    What are your demands? I've got the helicopter on standby and the M&Ms have been sorted..for the love of God man..what more can you want?

    ReplyDelete
  137. I remember not so long ago a threat to shut down CiF, which did !

    ReplyDelete
  138. Or is it just co-incidence.

    Today's threads have once again been enlightening, and have given much to ponder over !

    ReplyDelete
  139. Bye the way, I don't give credence to UTWatchers (sort of) decisive ultimatum.

    It was never like that in the Bond movies !

    ReplyDelete
  140. Tascia

    FWIW i think UTW is more at the level of Captain Black from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.In fact everytime he posts here i expect to see two illuminated circles going across my screne.I,d post a link of said Captain Black to prove my point but i think it would disappear like all the others.Anyway tomorrow,s a new day!

    Nite all

    ReplyDelete
  141. Evening Tascia

    Been an odd day on UT. Watcher is a player of games.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Leni - You're right, but I think UTW is just taking advantage of a 'glitch' in the cyberworld, and making out it is of his/her doing.

    ReplyDelete
  143. We've had all this weirdness before. My guess is that Blogger is just changing something and it's causing weirdness. Seems like there have always been changes shortly after weirdness.

    ReplyDelete
  144. tascia

    In order to impress s/he will have to do even better next time . The on line world is an strange place I find. Lots of different realities come together in a way not so apparent in RL.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Hi Montana,
    You're probably right, but it certainly freaked out those who wanted to post link's earlier on.

    Whilst it's quiet, I would also like to thank you for this blog, and please don't give it up !

    ReplyDelete
  146. Well contrary to my expectations, PalookavillePlayboy,s posts haven't been "modded" on the "wadya" thread and are well worth a read for no other reason than Peter Bracken weighed in with his incisive wit,masquerading as critical analysis thus:

    "regurgitated shite"; which is just another version of "preposterous hyperbole" or "prissy principles" or "deluded left"...take your pick.

    Oh and for good measure, handed out a mini lecture on the ethics of fraud.

    The Monty Python team would have been hard pressed to make this up!

    ReplyDelete
  147. Gotta leave with this Montana:

    John Mayall

    Goodnight.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Hello chekhov

    PeterB does have a colourful if predictable turn of phrase . He obviously enjoys alliteration .

    I have tried to discuss things with him but he thnks I am 'obtuse' - beneath his consideration.

    Obtuse and nausea inducing apparently - I hope I can survive these harsh criticisms.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Montana: Gotta leave with this:

    John Mayall

    Goodnight all.

    ReplyDelete
  150. Link still there - Whew

    Just in case it disappears, (It did the 1st time):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5fUw1ZQz3c

    Goodnight.

    ReplyDelete
  151. "PalookavillePlayboy,s"?

    Now look what you have done Paul, you've got me at it!

    I hate to be pedantic about grammar and punctuation and spelling, not least because I could be called short for my own transgressions but let's try and "lift the bar" a bit, even if only to differentiate between a comma and an apostrophe!

    Does it really matter?

    I think it does but, as I always say, I could be wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  152. chekhov

    I see I will have to start proof reading before I post.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Hello Leni: nowt wrong with "obtuse"...I like obtuse...obtuse is good!

    ReplyDelete
  154. Leni: no need to proof read your posts. Your literacy is far beyond my reproach. I wouldn't dream of being stupid enough to call you on your mastership of language.
    Your syntax is exemplary and your prose style is, dare I say, seductive?

    You have it the wrong way around; it is you who should be teaching me about how to write!

    ReplyDelete
  155. Tried to post a link twice, and both times it has disappeared. Gremlins still at work. Anyway try again.

    This is for you Montana:
    John Mayall

    Goodnight all. (Leni & Chekhov)

    ReplyDelete
  156. Hi Leni and Chekhov

    Sleep is eluding me yet again.And browsing on the net is so much more enjoyable than counting sheep.

    Re my comma/apostrophe problem i can only apologize if it pisses you off chekhov.Really don,t know how and when i picked up that bad habit.However as someone with 3 A,Levels and a good degree i,m sure those teachers of mine of old who are no longer with us will be spinning in their graves at my sloppiness.

    Hope those who question or criticize you here don,t upset you Leni.From the beginning of my time posting with UT i,ve always thought you were special.And i,ve learned that those in life who continually criticize others are often unhappy souls who are unable to face up to their own 'issues'.

    Dunno if the duppy in the system here has cleared itself.Have been a bit link crazy recently and i see all of my last nights efforts have vanished.They,ll probably re-appear on a future thread at the most inopportune time.

    Am listening to a Joni Mitchell CD at the moment.I 'discovered' her quite recently and she,s joined my music to listen too in the early hours when i can,t sleep collection.Am discovering so much good music from the 70,s- a decade which people are so quick to dismiss as being a non-happening decade.But if you look beyond the glam rock,prog rock,punk rock and disco categories there was so much more musically going on then.

    Anyway i hope you,re both OK in these quiet early hours when the world often seems such a different place from the daytime world.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Monkeyfish,
    I fear you were a bit off form earlier.

    I've enjoyed watching you savage people with left jab, left jab, right jab, left upper cut and a knock out right hook. Sometimes I felt a bit of sympathy for your opponents, but ultimately I thought, fuck 'em, if they're stupid enough to get into the ring with you, they deserve what they get.

    What do I get? A post that begins "Habib caustic?" and then goes on to talk about stuff that has nothing to do with me or the point I was making. If you were trying to get a rise out out of me, your punches missed the mark by a long way. I'm scouser red, Mr Bluenose.

    If you want to upset me, try a more direct approach. I'm sure there are people you know who can tell you how.

    ReplyDelete
  158. @Paul: you seem to me to be an intelligent sort of chap with an intellect commensurate with a degree qualification.
    What bothers me is why graduates from whatever discipline can't work out the difference between a comma and an apostrophe.
    You don't do yourself any favours by ignoring that some people think your ignorance is significant.
    And further more Paul, it's a relatively small detail which with your common sense you could quite easily put right!

    ReplyDelete
  159. tascia

    Thanks for introducing me to j Mayall - I hadn't met him before.

    Chekhov

    Have been thinking about minority poltics on and off all today.

    I have said before that I too dislike identity politics and agree they have split the Wc . I regret more the necessity for them.

    If we go back and look at the 50s - women, gays and immigrants were sidelined poltically and socially. The movements for acceptance and equal rights started within these groups themselves - grassroots movement in the real sense; striving for equality and the right to self expression and freedom.

    Each of these movements attracted supporters and grew into poweful lobby groups. All attained a measure of success.

    I think it went wrong in 2 ways. The groups developed autonomy , were not fully integrated into the mainstream immediately but had to win further gains slowly, perpetuating their seperateness even while their rights slowly grew.

    Secondly there were those who made careers out of the struggle - it was in their interest to maintain it.

    The educated and sucessful in all these groups made common cause with their social' equals' andfor the most part grew away from their roots.

    The members of all these groups who were wc - the majority - are integrated into the majority in many ways but are used still by those pushing their own agenda. Over the last 60 years immigration has increased , creating seperate and distinct communities. A minority demand special concessions. The trouble now is that it has become the general habit to give a single identity to people.

    To say "She is xxx is to say she is no more than xxx". This is dehumanising. Single identity - that of Jew - allowed for the Holocaust by severing connections to the wider family of humanity.

    Gvt policies which act against and scapegoat immigrants for example are backed up by media stories which identify them as often as possible with a negative story - "Immigrant family given preferential treatment" type stories are common and serve to strengthen negative images.

    These serious divisins have to be repaired somehow. If we are to fight the coming cuts we have to be united. The majority will fail if they continue to be persuaded to scapegoat minorities be they the disabled or immigrants.

    How to do this ?

    The other small problem is -We are faced with the urgent need to revolutionise society in every way but thwarted by the apparent impossibility of so doing . What is our next move?.

    How do you change ideas into organisation and action?

    ReplyDelete
  160. Paul

    I knew you would be back.

    I don't get upset by criticism - anyone is free to disagree with me or call me names. I am free to be rude to people if I want to be. This site has become interesting if only for the number of insults traded on a daily basis.

    It does have advantages too of course.

    I feel a bit sorry for your slipped apostrophes - they look a bit helpless hanging beneath the line. I make so mant typos myself - tend to simply type and post. I have conversations with you all rather than compose a model composition.

    See - I shouldn't really use "compose" and "composition" together - should I?

    ReplyDelete
  161. Leni: a bit late to comment but I've no doubt your analysis is spot on.
    Too much "pop" tonight, I'll get back to you tommorrow if that's ok.
    Thanks for replying, your input is always valuable.
    Nite everyone from Chekhov who knows bugger all!

    ReplyDelete
  162. "[Human beings] will begin to recover the moment we take art as seriously as physics, chemistry or money." - Ernst Levy

    Something to ponder chekhov

    ReplyDelete
  163. Hi Leni/Chekhov/Habib

    I feel sorry for my slipped apostrophes as well but in the overall scheme of things there are far more important things to worry about.In the mean time what do you think about this ?

    ReplyDelete
  164. Paul

    How many apostrophes do you think you have left hanging helplessly and hopelessly , teetering on the edge of the abyss? Enough to form a lobby group?

    Your music is rubbish. I'm practising being rude - how am I doing?

    I do actually like JM.

    ReplyDelete
  165. @Leni: you can't do "rude"..it's not in your genes!
    You are not a "rude person"
    Anyway, enough already, I need to hit the sack.
    Thanks for the chat and look forward to a new day tommorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  166. Leni, you could be rude to me, if you like. I could do with the practice before the hardcore stuff comes in. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  167. Leni

    Of course the irony is that if you were to be really rude to me it would probably get to me in a way those known for their rudeness here could never get to me.Cos as Chekhov rightly said you,re just not that way inclined.Which is what makes you special:-)

    Nite all

    ReplyDelete
  168. Hi Habib

    Please tell me you haven,t let MF get to you :-)

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  169. Paul, you know me better than that. ;-)

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  170. Habib

    I could try - the problem is I find gratuitous insults on line funny - they make me giggle. Some of them are so laboured and contrived.

    Downright nastiness is different of course.

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  171. Habib

    I/m not given to using military lingo but have heard the expression "incoming"

    The first line of some posts make me inwardly say it. .

    ReplyDelete
  172. Habib

    Nice one! Problem with cyber is you never really know people in the true sense.Hopefully one day we,ll meet up and get to know each other better.

    ReplyDelete
  173. Definitely off now

    Nite all x

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  174. One day, Paul.

    Leni, I know... I know. Speak well of me when I am gone?

    ReplyDelete
  175. Rest assured Habib .
    Nightnight x

    ReplyDelete