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Showing posts from November, 2011

A difficult hand played well

The Autumn Statement was today. There are some innovative proposals in it (such as using QE for smaller businesses). I was concerned that we continued to protect the poorest in society. The cost of living has gone up substantially. I was concerned to ensure that the full inflation increase of 5.2% occurred for the poorest who find it hardest to make ends meet.

Life is getting harder for many people across the world. However, we need to always remember the effect on the least well off who find it hardest to protect themselves against economic shifts.

To that extent the government has been dealt a difficult hand, but is managing to play to well.

The best test of the economy is to compare it to other similar countries. We are now doing better than countries which suffered from a similar deficit (according to OECD predictions - Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain) and the Eurozone average.

There will always be international pressures on the country. Those are the major cause of our current …

Another radio programme in Belgium

This is another radio programme which looks at the wrongful abduction of children in England done by the state.

It is, however, mainly in French. (including one of my interviews talking about constitutional procedures). It does include a recording of an arrest with french translation.

Referendum campaign on issue of elected mayor

Last night's meeting on the issue of whether or not we have a directly elected mayor was an interesting experience.

In the week beforehand I had expressed concern that there were too many speakers and it was unbalanced. I thought that having equal numbers of speakers from each side of the argument was good practice.

The initial proposal was 7 speakers in favour (plus the chair also being a supporter) and 2 speakers against. I asked James Hutchings to come along, but initially the organisers didn't want him to speak.

Finally they agreed to allow him to speak although Miles Weaver's tweet about it was " I spent far too much time sorting out John Hemming MP tonight & his whims. He is so out of touch, I accommodated his needs but planet, diff?"

Personally I don't think it is a "whim" to ask for each side to have equal opportunities to speak. A balance of 7 (plus chair) against 2 is really nothing even close to equal. Even 7 (plus chair) against 3 is…

Two E-petitions Jersey and the Family Justice Review

People campaigning for the release of Stuart Syvret were having a problem getting an e-petition tabled in support of my Early Day Motion. I, therefore, tried to get a motion tabled. It has taken about 2 weeks (and being raised at two select committees), but we now have the e-petition.

That is here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22394

There is also one in support of my EDM calling for the scrapping of the family justice review report here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22695

The failure of Article 8

The failure of the UK's judiciary in interpreting Article 8 of ECHR can be expressed as:
"Joking about a footballer becomes a criminal offence, but the state is allowed to steal children from poor people at a whim."

Not good.

Secrecy, injunctions and the rule of law

Court secrecy and injunctions act to undermine the rule of law.

What is interesting in the courts at the moment is the revelation that many of the injunctions that were granted should not, in fact, been granted. A number of these were granted on the basis of allegations that were untrue and have not been substantiated.

One of the problems with secret hearings (and we have still been having some unlisted hearings - something that is not supposed to happen) is that the judge cannot him or herself have confidence that the judge has heard all the evidence that is relevant to the case.

One sided hearings (ex parte hearings) which are held in secret are perhaps the most unreliable forum in which decisions are made. One side puts their case. No-one else (other than the judge and the one side to the case) knows that it is happening. The judge then makes a decision.

It was the case for many interim injunctions that a one sided secret hearing was all that happened and things then stopped.

The o…

Fuel Prices

The link is to yesterday's debate on fuel prices. I raised my concern that we need to look at the issue of all energy prices in a scarce environment.

I think the idea of having a quota of cheap fossil hydrocarbon would be a sensible way forward as part of an international plan to manage demand and keep down capital transfers.

The Greek non-referendum

The cancellation of the Greek referendum is not surprising. It is, however, a good example of an issue where a government really has no choice.

The problem is that if the alternative route had been taken then at a point people would not have been paid and the problem would be much bigger. Many people would then regret having taken the action that they took (or moreso inaction).

This is the real problem with Labour's proposals for the UK. It is clear to me that they would be disastrous for the economy and would cause greater cuts. However, luckily, they are not being tried out.

Family Justice Review

Unsurprisingly, for a panel dominated by people who run the family justice system and without representation from those who go through it, the Family Justice Review has essentially defended the status quo with a few cost saving tweaks.

Cash is King - and Greece

The Greek referendum will be an interesting exercise. At some point the Greek government runs out of cash. After that point no-one gets paid. I suppose they can start by holding back on big payments, but after a point salaries are not paid, pensions are not paid, suppliers are not paid.

Cash becomes "king" because no-one will give the government any credit unless they are forced to.

The government could print a "new drachma", but I am not sure what that would be exchangeable into.

They cannot simply refuse to pay the outstanding debt because the other countries would not accept that and they cannot isolate themselves.

If they are going to hold a referendum they will need to do this quickly.

Press release on trauma centres

This is worth repeating for information:


High quality emergency trauma care moves one step closer
The introduction of a regional trauma care system that will see people who suffer major trauma injuries get access to the best possible emergency trauma care moved one step closer today, following the decision to approve the introduction of three designated major trauma centres for the West Midlands, by the West Midlands Strategic Commissioning Group (WMSCG).

The WMSCG, on behalf of the 17 West Midlands Primary Care Trusts, approved the recommendation for a new regional trauma care system to be introduced from March 2012, at its board meeting on Monday 31/10/11.

A regional trauma care system will see people who suffer major trauma get access to specialist medical teams, with all the necessary specialist services available on one hospital site. Patients will have access to high quality emergency trauma care 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Major trauma is the name given to severe injuries w…

The Robin Hood Tax (aka Stamp Duty)

Using the name "Robin Hood Tax" is misleading because it implies that it is a new tax.

The UK has had a Financial Transaction Tax for many years. It is called Stamp Duty. The logic is quite simple. For transactions in shares to have any merit then there has to be a legal system. People should pay on an ad valorem basis for this.

This happens in England and in Ireland. England charges 0.5% and Ireland 1%.

My view is a simple one which is that the tax havens piggyback on top of the global systems which are substantially maintained by the higher tax countries. It is, therefore, quite reasonable that such a transactional tax should be paid more widely.

Hence I am supporting the extension of this to a global system. I have, however, been quite clear that it cannot be done unilaterally. This would simply move trading around to locations without the transaction tax and actually would be likely to reduce the UK's Stamp Duty revenue.

The Tobin tax is a proposal to also tax cur…