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Showing posts from May 23, 2013

The politics of envy makes us ALL poorer

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Can you imagine tax inspectors rifling through your possessions to see if their value corresponds with the self-assessment you’ve made under a new ‘net worth tax’? We’re talking of items on which you already have paid tax. Or heirlooms for which your parents or their parents were taxed. You’ve heard of the special ‘mansion tax’ payable by anyone owning a property worth more than £2 million. Under the Lib Dem's proposed new scheme tax inspectors would get unprecedented new powers to go into homes and value rings, necklaces, paintings, furniture and other family treasures The so called 'jewellery tax' was drawn up by Tessa Munt (left) and David Laws (right) Now a Liberal Democrat policy document discusses a more extraordinary scheme – a special tax on those whose possessions and properties combined exceed £2 million in value. Drawn up by Lib Dem MPs Tessa Munt and David Laws – who are close to party leader and deputy premier Nick Clegg – this envisages:

'I didn¿t know enough' isn't an improvement on 'I didn't know'. It's a prompt to find out more, not a get-out-of-jail card

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A saintly Scotsman arriving at the Pearly Gates is asked by St Peter if he’s led a good life. ‘Och aye,’ he says, ‘I was a good husband, a good father and — as you know — I neither smoked nor drank.’  St Peter: ‘Aye, so ye say, but what about thon nip of brandy on yer deathbed?’ The Scotsman, embarrassed: ‘Och aye, but I didna ken that would keep me oot of Heaven.’ There’s a great crack of thunder, a blinding light and a mighty voice roars: ‘WELL, YE KEN NOO!’ There’s a lot of it about, isn’t there? Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg didna ken the party’s former Director of Campaigns and Elections, life peer Lord Rennard, 52, had been accused of groping a string of women colleagues. Rennard denies the allegations. Clegg didna ken the party's former Director of Campaigns and Elections, life peer Lord Rennard, 52, had been accused of groping a string of women colleagues. Rennard denies the allegations Former BBC Director-General Mark Thompson didna

The Queen a gay rights champion? I don't buy it

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The Queen signs a new Commonwealth Charter today, declaring: ‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.’  ‘Other grounds’ is interpreted to be a reference to gays and lesbians, whose sexual activities are punishable by death, life sentences or flogging in 41 of the 54 Commonwealth nations. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay and lesbian pressure group Stonewall, reacted by calling the Queen ‘a feminist icon’ who has taken ‘an historic step forward’ on gay rights. Icon: The Queen signs a new Commonwealth Charter today, declaring: 'We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds' But another gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, points out: ‘In truth, the Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation. This was vetoed

Is George 'too toxic' to survive the storm?

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Osborne's fans say that being in Coalition with the Lib Dems means he can't be a proper Tory Chancellor George Osborne said yesterday that the EU order to seize up to  £170  million from private bank accounts in Cyprus — including those of 60,000 UK expats — is a result of nations failing to deal with their debt crisis. It wouldn’t happen here, he said, because David Cameron had kept us out of eurozone bank bailouts. Then Osborne added that the Government would be compensating UK service personnel in Cyprus who lost 10 per cent of their money in the German-inspired, EU move. Meaning  we’ll be taking part in eurozone bank bailouts whether we like it or not. Just days before his latest Budget, the Chancellor looks a bit twitchy. As well he might. A ‘triple dip’ recession is threatened. It’s predicted that our economy  will grow at only 0.7 per cent this  year instead of the 1.2 per cent we were promised. Osborne’s name has become ‘toxic’ to voters, says a new poll. They mo

Now Dave's 'dog whistle' guru is calling the tunes

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Spin doctor: Cameron's message to immigrants this week 'is pure Lynton Crosby' (pictured), says a Tory MP of Peter McKay's acquaintance David Cameron’s message to immigrants this week — that they won’t get council houses for five years, and will have to pay to visit a GP — has a familiar ring. A Tory MP of my acquaintance says: ‘This is pure Lynton Crosby, Cameron’s political guru. ‘He’s the Australian spin doctor famous for insisting politicians need “dog whistle” messages to summon voters back to the fold. ‘You may remember that he gave our then leader, Michael Howard, the same advice about immigrants in 2005. He said it wasn’t racist to talk about immigration.  ‘It didn’t work then, but that might have had more to do with Michael Howard than the message. It did work when Crosby got the [former] Australian PM John Howard to talk about immigration. And it could work for Cameron this time.’ Only the most dogged Leftists think it right that recently arrived immigr

Labour's addiction to welfare hurts us all

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Iain Duncan Smith will announce this week that the news of his benefits cap - ensuring that families get no more than the national average income of £26,000 - has led to thousands of claimants finding jobs The droll American comic Jackie Gleason once confided to a theatre audience: ‘My family was poor — but poverty-stricken.’ Poor being a natural, if regrettable, condition and poverty-stricken one that attracts government concern and assistance. When the Coalition announced that disability claimants should undergo tests for their eligibility, the move was denounced as a cruel and pointless exercise by those campaigners who always seek to extend, not reduce, the welfare state. Now it is disclosed that more than a third of those welfare recipients decided to drop their claims rather than face the tests. Meanwhile, of the 1.44 million who submitted to assessments, 55 per cent were judged fit for immediate work. For his part, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will announ

Ed Miliband needs a dose of the old Tony Blair snake oil

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If a millionaire is someone whose net assets exceed £1 million, Miliband and Cruddas (pictured) are in the same category as 'the Cabinet of millionaires' Labour’s latest slogan is: ‘Who wants to bung a millionaire? Dave does.’ It’s a reference to the Coalition Government led by David Cameron bringing the top rate of tax down from 50 to 45 per cent. Labour’s new welfare campaign is launched by policy chief Jon Cruddas MP, who attacks ‘this Cabinet of millionaires’. But doesn’t Cruddas own three homes, together estimated to be worth over £1 million? Labour leader Ed Miliband owns one in London which is worth around £2 million. If a millionaire is someone whose net assets exceed £1 million (the usual definition) Miliband and Cruddas are in the same category as ‘the Cabinet of millionaires’. There isn’t anyone in the Cabinet earning £1 million a year, and Labour knows it. Suddenly, Ed Miliband looks vulnerable on the welfare question. And not just because of his hopeless eff

Margaret Thatcher: The Grocer's girl who 'got above herself'

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Why is Margaret Thatcher the object of puerile public hatred? Because she was ‘divisive’, we’re told. But her real crime was getting above herself — even in death. According to The Guardian, royal officials have expressed concern about her funeral. Specifically, ‘about whether it is appropriate for such a controversial figure to be escorted on her final journey by more than 700 military personnel’. Giving her such a send-off apparently trespasses on the privileges of monarchy who, by tradition, ‘are associated with ceremonial aspects of the military’. Getting above herself, in other words. Thatcher didn't appreciate the fact that, outside her bubble, those who resented her new airs and graces were plotting her downfall. She'd got above herself, poor girl When it was announced that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would attend Wednesday’s funeral, I thought this might be a sign that  the monarch wanted to lay to rest (forgive the pun) the notion that HM didn’t get on