JG's blog

How about ruining the economy and taxing the hell out of everyone?

Why don't the Tories just shut up about the environment? Probably because it was only thing that they haven't been absolutely panned for talking about so far. They have been falling apart at the mere suggestion of education and Europe is traditionally a sore spot for them; they have given health a shot but it didn't really make any difference. They tried taxation but then realised they didn't actually have a policy and as far as I can tell they don't have an energy or transport policy either. So back to green politics it is.

This is what they call research in the public sector...

What better way for our council workers to spend our council tax than to clock up 200,000 miles around the world to pick up tips on increasing bills for homeowners!  At least the trip will pay for itself - though I think I'd rather they'd just stayed at home.  The fact that they have visited Europe, North America, Asia and Australia not only suggest there are a disproportionate amount of bureaucrats with free suntans lying around our council buildings this summer but also that we should expect some pretty hefty and sneaky tax increasing in the coming months or years. 

Government target horror story

Government targets are often classic examples of picking losers.  The intentions are almost always spot on, but the result is aiming for a target for all the wrong incentives.  For example, crime is too high - set the police a target to get it down, the measure is often number of arrests; the result is a number of easy targets are hit while the real problem remains.  Or take this example - and this one is a depressingly good example.  The government had concerns over the lack of child care leading to adoption.  Therefore the government introduced policy for more children in care to be adopt

You have two choice: Tax & Spend or a another version of Tax & Spend

Conservative Home today reports an interview that David Cameron gave to the Yorkshire Post.  The interview is based on where Cameron will position his party at the next election.  He tells the Yorkshire Post that the next election will be fought on social issues as opposed to economic ones.  It seems the Tories have all but given up on the idea that genuine tax cuts

And the MTAS fiasco continues too...

Despite former secretary for Health, Patricia Hewitt, saying that while MTAS was about no doctor would be jobless, more than 10,000 trainee doctors could find themselves without posts within weeks. In order to hand out as many jobs as possible, the government shifted the deadline to fill the 22,000 NHS training posts until Oct 31, but with 33,000 applicants. A further 1000 posts will be created after the deadline for those who are particularly qualified, but that still leaves a massive shortfall.

Blundering on with HIPs...

The latest HIPs calamity is reported today.  It is becoming apparent that some mortgage lenders are refusing to accept a crucial part of the reports.  Solicitors, mortgage lenders and even some HIPs providers warned that many homebuyers would have to pay at least another £200 for their own local authority searches because those provided in the home sellers' pack cannot be trusted.  That is addition to the cost of getting the pack in the first place.  Now, obviously it is the seller that pays for the pack (CA.

Mickey Mouse degrees

How do you fancy an outdoor adventure with Philosophy?  How about some fashion buying?  Some Aromatherapy and Therapeutic Bodywork?  A bit of lifestyle management?  Not got a clue what I'm on about?  Believe it or not you can do all these things and get a degree at the end of it. The Tax Payers' Alliance and Burning Our Money have identified the most ridiculous "Mickey Mouse" degrees that you can do - all funded by the tax payer.  At £40m a year. 

Yet another NHS Workforce planning shambles

New NHS figures reveal that there are 5,000 newly qualified nurses who are unable to get a job.  It is also reported that more than 20,000 jobs have been cut in recent years as managers struggle to bring NHS finances back into balance.  Yet only a few years ago there was such a critical shortage of nurses, the NHS were flying them in from all over the world.  So what an earth has happened?  Well, a health department spokesman said yesterday: "Low vacancy rates confirm the NHS is no longer burdened by the staff shortages of the past."  But that hardly ans

HIPs - implementation judders on

The government has announced that HIPs will now apply to all three bedroom houses earlier than expected - September 10th.  This has meant that anyone who thought they had bit of time before any October deadline has, once again, been shafted by the government and actually only have 15 days to beat the pointless "tax" kicks in.  So it now seems the majority house sellers will be caught up in read tape and unnecessary financial pay out - it also seems the scheme will be extended to all home by October.  The saving grace for the government on this one is that the markets have been pre

What the..?!

From today's Times:

"Police are being sent skateboarding in an attempt to cultivate a “cooler” image to improve their relations with young people. Hampshire police are sending officers to workshops, attended by up to 30 youngsters aged from 12 to 16, to receive expert tuition."

I have nothing more to add to this that you aren't already thinking. 

The Government cop-out

We have, to a certain degree, an anti-social drinking problem in this country.  The solution?  Ban it.  But what are the real causes of this problem?  It doesn't matter - ban it.  We are told today that nearly 200 MPs now want the Government to stop supermarkets selling cut-price drink after a senior policeman appealed for action to tackle drunken youths.  There also reports that a "top cop" wants to ban drinking outdoors (that'll confuse the alcoholic smokers!).  Yes, there have been various drinking related problems recently - particularly with the young.  But I'm su

One in four is an A, but at what cost?

It's that time of year where we mock the students who have worked hard for the past 12 months for being handed A grades on plate.  Gradually over the years, there is more and more truth in the accusations that standards have slipped with the convenient spin for government that education standards are rising.  The problem is, no one believes the spin anymore.  It is being reported today that one in four grades at A level is now an A.  One in four?!  Not only that, but pass rates are now at 96.9%.  A-levels are now no longer a qualification in themselves, but rather another stepping stone

More un-needed "investment"

In another example of the government seemingly having more money to spend than sense, private nurseries are being forced out of business due to an oversupply of places created by state-funded nurseries and day care centres. The Government is opening hundreds of children's centres providing full day care. By 2010 there should be "one in every community".

Tax & Spend

It is being reported that in the first few weeks of government, Gordon Brown has announced a total of 40 government initiatives at a cost just shy of £40bn!  A pretty hefty sum in just a few weeks - confirming that his grip on government spending was tight even when Blair was in power given that he has so much to "spare" now.  It also goes to show what a meddling and micro managing PM he is going to be - just as he was as a chancellor. 

Government targets corrupt police work

While on the subject of government targets, there are according to police figures on-the-spot fines for crimes such as being drunk and disorderly, destroying property and shoplifting are being issued at a rate of one every three minutes!  What a violent country we live in.  Who would have thought that things are so bad that the police are forced to hand out these on the spot fines every three minutes.  Just as well they are so easy to hand out...

Shifting the goal posts

As has long been known, Britain is highly unlikely to meet its renewables targets of 20% set by the EU for 2020.  So how do our civil service advise ministers to sort it out?  "Wriggle out of it"!  A briefing leaked to the Guardian has said that getting to 9 per cent from the current level of 2 per cent would be challenging and that a figure of about 5 per cent was more realistic.  As a result, officials from the former DTI suggest “statistical interpretations” of the target be used so that Britain could sidestep its commitment.  "Statistical Interpretation" - that is Wh