A Tale of Two Economies.

I was on a train recently, and got to hear a conversation which was
going on between two couples.

They were bemoaning the increase in student loans.

Some ten minutes later the two women in these couples were
engaged in a conversation upon what would be the right amount
of money they should give as a Christmas bonus to their cleaners.

Yes !  Really !

Some while later that day I came out of my local supermarket and
was confronted by someone begging on the streets.

How about that for something of a contrast for you to think upon.

Meanwhile I keep reading in the financial press that we are on
our way out of the recession.

As I wander along various high streets I keep noting just how
many more betting offices have opened within the last couple of

Now I not that this free Public transport on new years is being
sponsored by a company called Wonga, which is a money lender.

It seems to me that what with the forth coming cuts to both social
services, and public libraries,
that those who talk of there being an economic recovery should
just get out and use some public transport from time to time.


Just remember that the financial press is just as capable of
producing hype which is on the level as the gutter press.

Work Time – Study Time.

University education is not an automatic right,
but something which is a privilege.

In many parts of the world even the most rudimentary form of
education is something which a lot of people still strive for.

Those of us who are in our 60s & over can remember a time
when university was only available for those who came from a
wealthy background,
while the majority of the population started work at 15 or
earlier. Continue reading Work Time – Study Time.

Percentage Figures and Gross Effects.

Last week I saw an advertisement which claims that one in
eight of the people who use the tube are victims of identity

I just sat there and thought that equates to12.5% of the
which must also mean that 87.5% of the population do not
suffer from any form of identify theft.

The interesting difference between saying 1 in 8
and 87.5%
is that one of them sounds alarmingly high number,
while the other sounds like  a reasonably low percentage.

Perhaps that’s why I always like to see the raw statistics,
rather than any one else’s interpretation of just what they
might mean.

When it comes to any fiscal or population figures then it
makes a lot of sense to do so.

For even 1% of a population can equate to many thousands of
people, which in turn will equate to many thousands of
individual tragedies.

When it comes to percentage cuts in public finances it is not a
question of looking at the figures,
but just what this means to individuals,
and the social impact it will have upon the population as a

There is a very good argument that all social services should
be protected.

On the other hand there is a conservative argument that
people should not be encouraged to stay within a benefits
reliant culture,
but do something in order to help themselves.

The problem with this comes with a belief that this can be
solved with a totally unrealistic and totally unatonable
‘enterprise culture’.

There is an old socialist saying:
‘ From each according to his abilities
From each according to his means.’

I would agree with the conservatives that we do need to get
away from a benefit reliant culture,
but that must mean setting up more self help projects,
while also establishing more workers & consumer

Perhaps it is time to look at the figures again,
and see just what will work of the benefit of all.

Talk of cutting public expenditure by 25% may sound very
but cutting military expenditure be 100% would be most
welcome indeed.

It might also be worth while if we could all start to think of
public expenditure in terms of encouraging social cooperatives.

If cuts are on the way, then we are going to really need to
money in to those  projects which would benefits us all,
rather than just keep paying out money to the individual.

Failure to do so will mean a lot more poverty stricken
individuals that will need some sort of fiscal help.

It’s not the percentage figures which matter,
but just what those figures mean within the real world.

Pensions or Here’s The Deal….

For a lot of people on low salaries there is but one
compensation to be had,
and that is a reasonable pension,
or at least one which does not mean living in dire poverty
after retirement.

One of the consequences of low pay is never being able to
own ones own property,
and so having to pay rent until the day one dies.

Work in libraries and you will both earn far less that an
average salary,
and never be able to own the place you live in.

Now both the UK government,
and many financial bodies are claiming that all public sector
workers are receiving pensions which are
‘Too generous’.

Not a word do they say about how state pensions are so low
that they are below the poverty line.

Not a word about increasing the level of public worker
pensions to that which is enjoyed by finance workers.

Not a word about giving ‘key worker’ status to all low paid
library workers.

Not a word upon the need to increase the level of state

The self contradictions which result from all of the above
facts needs to be faced up to.

The choice is obvious in terms of preventing poverty in

Either: –

– Pay library workers more in order that we may be able to
both purchase their own properties,
and save enough for their old age.


– Keep the present public sector pensions at the same levels.

Failure to do so will mean that yet more people will not be
able to undertake working in public libraries,
and we will all suffer as a result!

More Cuts For Older People in the UK?

Having a nasty mind might is one thing,
but some times what one might be able to predict as a result of
having a nasty mind can be very dangerous.

Take for example some of the kind of underhand social cuts
which might be undertaken by the UK government as budget
but which are such that they just look like changes in the
dates of various eligibility rulings.

This is already happening from this year in terms of the
Freedom Pass,
which will be now kept in line with that of the new state
pension dates for women.

During the next 10 years the state retirement for women is
gradually being increased from 60 to that of men at 65.

My suspicion is that the next move will be a similar change in
the winter fuel allowance,
so that it also gradually moves to being the same as the state
retirement age for women.

Given that there are moves to change the state retirement
year to 67,
then such a change in all the allowances which now kick in a
60 could amount to a major cost saving for the British
and very few people would work out just what they have done.

Now if such savings might be redirected in to higher pensions,
or an increase in the winter fuel savings,
then great!

Such an increase might help to alleviate the problem of Fuel
poverty which many pensions suffer from.

Yet I doubt if this is currently on the political agenda.

If we didn’t all have to bail out the bankers,
and if military expenditure were to be slashed,
then there would be no fuel poverty,
but good pensions for us all.

It’s all a question of the right kind of spending.

A Warming to All Pensioners.

The True and Very Shocking History of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Ebebezer Scrooge was a hard working man.

An elderly gentleman who had to work well beyond what is now the state retirement age.

His only pleasure was to go home to his none centrally heated flat,
eat a simple but healthy meal,
and read a library book about economics.

He cared nothing for consumerism,
but was a strong supporter of
Buy Nothing Day.

He would pass the legalised beggars such as the UCKG* during the season of Gloom & Despondency, which some perverse individuals call Xmas,
and tell them that what they were selling was all humbug.

One night three con men turned up at his door,
and persuaded him to give away all of his money.

As a result of this he had no savings to live on,
and died in penury within a run down council flat.

Let this be a warning to all you pensioners.

Be very careful when your next asked to give your money away,
and always avoid being taken in by the
*Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Pensions & Library Workers.

Here is The Deal.

Library & Information workers get below average incomes,
but most will get a pension after years of service.

Such pensions are based upon years of hard work on low pay,
and the below average wage which they may be receiving at
the point of retirement.

The deal being that one will put up with such low pay in
exchange for a pension that will lift one above the penury
which is the state pension.

Now some clever investors are claiming that this is an
unreasonable deal for the tax-payer.

Well you can’t have it both ways!

Either you start to pay the real economic worth of library
workers during a working life,
you pay what is not an unreasonable pension.

Though it might also be remembered that:

– All pensions are paid for over a working life time by those
who receive these pensions.


– A pension is a form of savings during ones working life, which is withdrawn in stages after one retires.

So it is not the tax-payer who is funding these pensions,
but the workers themselves.

If anything does need to be done in terms of pension reform,
then it should be the ending the spouse or partners

Such an allowance is a form of Discrimination against single

This would also release a lot of money which could be better
used to make sure that everyone who has a pension might
continue to do so,
and increase the level of pension pay-outs for all.

Enough said …….. We are not all overpaid bankers.

A Walk In The Urban Wild Life Park.

There is something which I keep noticing:
a lot of areas of waste land within our city centres.

Areas that have been flattened after various buildings have
been pulled down, and which currently serve no socially
useful purpose.

These are places which are surrounded by fences, and that
are now starting to turn in to urban wildlife areas.

Such patches of waste land are very indicative of just what
has been happening to society over the last few years.

– How certain parts of the economy slowed down and came to a
complete standstill.

We now keep being told how the recession is on the turn,
yet I’ll not believe that the economy is starting to work again:

– Not until there are signs that all of these waste grounds are
being opened up and new buildings are being constructed.

Yet that is not the end of this story………

Continue reading A Walk In The Urban Wild Life Park.

An Inequitable Taxation.

Be it the window or Poll tax,
the question as to what is an equitable or a reasonable
taxation has always excited a lot of protest.

That is why the question of tax exceptions is one which should
concern us all.

We all think that we are over taxed,
but just how many of us think about how just the payment or
none payment of taxation may be.

At present within Britain all religious comminutes are except
from paying any council ( local authority ) tax.

While most of the churches or religious bodies are registered
as Charities,
and thus gain many tax advantages.

Yet Pacifist bodies, ecology action groups have to pay their
taxes in full.

Why should this be so?

Because under the present law Churches are deemed as being
charitable bodies,
while Pacifist and Eco action organisations are considered to
be ‘political’.

If a group of atheists were to establish a community or body to
combat the extremes of any religion, then they would not be
able to be registered as a charity,
or get all of the tax benefits which go with this.

That would be deemed to be a political activity.

Yet Religious bodies who campaign against good atheist values
do get these various tax benefits.

Now just tell me that this is not political?

This makes no sense at all,
as all religions involve themselves in politics,
even if they hide it with the expression:
‘ Spreading the word of god ‘.

Just to take two examples:
– They campaign against the rights of women to make their own
decisions upon contraception and abortion.
– Interfere upon just what may or may not be taught within our

Just look at the website for the
Charity Commission for England and Wales
and you will see just how many religious bodies are registered
as charities.

This includes such controversial bodies as the
Universal Church Kingdom of God.
A church whose activities has aroused a lot of concerns over
the last few years.

On the other hand we have the case of many pacifists who are
taken to court for refusing to pay any war taxes.

This is despite the fact that Pacifists have a legal right to
exercise a conscientious objection to conscription.

Clearly there is an urgent need to change this system,
and give one the right to exercise a conscientious objection to
all war taxes.

Though the long term aim should really be to abolish all
military organisations.

Equally importantly: –
The whole question as to the charitable status of all religious
bodies should be examined,

They should be made to take pay their share of the tax burden,
as it is inequitable that we should all be forced to subsidise
them this way.

What’s So Special About the Automotive Industry?

I keep hearing about how various western Governments wish
to pour money in to the Automotive industry.

They claim that this is in order to kick start the economy,
reduce the number of people on the dole,
and help in the manufacture of (sic) ‘Green Transport’.

I never noticed the same rush to help the bicycle
manufacturing industry when that went down the sink.

Surely if the object of the exercise to help build the economy, create jobs, and built an ecologically sound transport system, then it is not going to happen by throwing yet more money at the automotive industry.

It would be more productive if the money were to be used to
help build more trains, bicycles, trams, and light railways.

It shouldn’t take much imagination thinking in order to
understand this point,
but we are talking about politicians here.

Enough said …..