Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Another Day In Paradise

I was heartened to see that several people who listened in to BBC Radio's Today Program were offended by John Humphry's badgering of 'Two-Home' Secretary, Jaqui Smith. Some thought that the whole issue was just about claiming for two £7 films erroneously while others sought to blame her 'employee' husband who managed the administration of her expenses.

I was more despondent that people don't seem to think this issue is about the fact she designated her primary residence as a back bedroom in her sister's house and therefore claimed her second residence, and all the £116,000 of allowances, to pay for her 'secondary', but family, home.

If we don't get that then we may as well assume that all MPs are claiming exactly the right amounts and not worry about the conning, fraud and wastage. After all, we are paying for it so if we like it - fine. I, personally, have a problem with the rotten lot of them from Conway downwards - the word 'crooks' is too good for them. How we could allow such people to have power in this country is beyond me - we may as well ask benefit fraudsters to run the country, it is the same issue.

RBS Shame Continues

Today, RBS, that wonderful investment of ours, announced the shedding of 9,000 jobs all in the back room 'Group Manufacturing' function. These are the medium waged workers who have been at the heart of the cost cutting regime that made RBS one of the most 'profitable' banks in its heyday. And I am talking real profits here as these are the people who squeezed suppliers, looked for operating efficiencies and harmonised contracts for all subsidiaries to get the best savings. The sort of people who actually were the backbone of RBS' expansion strategy that made it all work, in true 'Fred the Shred' fashion.

It is noticeable that none of the people who made false profits and then massive losses, whose salaries are each worth several of the backroom people's costs without including the bonuses they so avidly pursue even when they have broken the bank, were included in the job losses.

The £16m top up to Sir Fred's pension would have gone some way to saving a lot of those jobs but that was never on the minds of the likes of McKillip, Scott, Lord Myners or UKFI.

Gaps in the Numbers

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) told us that the Government are around £39bn out on their calculations on the budget deficit. This is not quite our what good mate, Alistair Darling, has admitted to but we are getting a little punch drunk on big numbers right now. We see so many huge numbers pass by our eyes each day that we have all long lost the ability to tot up just how much we will owe in the future on taxes. The IFS warned that national debt would hit 73.5% of national income by 2015/16 or 82.4% if the bail outs were fully accounted for.

It was a day to give you just a few more reasons to question why you pay your taxes and why we suffer living in a country like this.

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