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A Creeping Form Of Tax.
London authorities are accused of generating income via controlled parking zones, bus lanes, congestion charges, parking tickets and so on, in lieu of traditional business rates and council taxes, which are politically more unacceptable.
It is a creeping form of tax which is undemocratic, bears no relation to ability to pay and is one of the small things that is really undermining the quality of life in London.
Parking tickets and fines are intended to improve traffic flow, not to raise revenue or penalise people carrying out their legal business.

The Fewest British Soldiers Since The 1700s.
Almost 18,000 British soldiers are unfit for the frontline, figures reveal.
Many troops have been medically downgraded after suffering wounds and mental health issues such as PTSD from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But thousands more have chronic knee and back problems, or conditions including obesity and diabetes linked to stodgy cookhouse food such as fry-ups, chips and puds.

MoD figures show 7,890 soldiers are classed as ‘medically non-deployable’, meaning they cannot go to war.
And 9,971 are ‘medically limited’ and unlikely to be sent on operations.
Freedom of Information statistics also show the RAF and Royal Navy have 10,000 personnel between them who are not fit for combat duties.

Britain now has just 60,000 soldiers fit enough to serve on frontline operations – the fewest since the 1700s.
( Sean Rayment, 12.11.2017 )

864,000 Tons Of Bombs Dropped On North Vietnam And 922 Aircraft  Lost.
Rolling Thunder was the name given to the American bombing operation against North Vietnam, which lasted from March 2, 1965, until November 1, 1968.

It was intended to put psychological and material pressure on the North Vietnamese communist regime and persuade its leaders to come to the negotiating table.
The campaign – including carpet bombing by huge B-52s – escalated over the three years as the U.S. became increasingly frustrated with its failure either to subdue North Vietnamese forces or demoralise the population.
North Vietnam acquired surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery, and had about 100 Soviet-built MiG fighters.
The Americans lost 922 aircraft during a campaign in which 864,000 tons of bombs dropped on North Vietnam – more than during the whole of the Pacific War.
The combination of poor weather, North Vietnamese adaptability in the face of attack and uncertainty over the pattern of targeting demonstrated the difficulty of asymmetric warfare for technically sophisticated states.

Tories Treat Children As ‘Guinea Pigs’.
A Cabinet minister who thinks allowing some pupils to fail is fine has been condemned for treating children as ‘guinea pigs’.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has admitted she believes experiments that go wrong at free schools are a price worth paying.
Former Education Minister Ms Truss said, “With freedom there does come risk.
There are free schools that haven’t done as well, or there have been cases where pilots haven’t worked.
I believe in trying those things and seeing what impact they can have, rather than being risk averse and not trying them.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint chief of the National Education Union, said, “Liz Truss’s statement amounts to an admission the Government has put its pursuit of ideology above the interests of children’s education.
This approach is both reckless and wasteful, and has resulted in real harm being done to communities where schools have had to close.”

( Nicola Bartlett, 28.10.2017 )

Tory Council Leader Made To Pay Back £12.3Million After Housing Scandal.
A play about a notorious social housing scandal is to be staged in a new theatre close to the site of the Grenfell Tower block in June – a year on from the fire that killed 71 people.
Shirleymander, by Gregory Evans, will tell the story of Westminster City Council in the 1980s, when the Tory council leader Shirley Porter was found to have operated a deliberate policy of altering the makeup of marginal wards to protect her power base.
In 2004, she personally had to pay back £12.3million after her “gerrymandering” strategy was judged to have “forced homeless families to substandard housing in order to manipulate the borough’s voting demographic”.
Porter, who now lives mainly in Israel, was found to have sold council homes in marginal wards to prospective Tory voters and to have pushed 122 homeless families likely to vote Labour out of eight marginal seats.
They were moved to tower blocks the council knew were contaminated with asbestos.
( Vanessa Thorpe, 26.11.2017 )  ..

High Stake Gambling In UK.
Gamblers in the UK can stake more on machines than anywhere else in the world, outside Las Vegas.
A new study says Britain is the only country to allow £100 punts on fixed-odds betting terminals.

It adds that one in three problem gamblers earn £10,400 a year or less.
The report by think-tank ResPublica says Belgium allows the second-highest stakes – £21 – but most European countries limit them to under £1.
( Keir Mudie, 22.10.2017 )

The Tories Secretly Blow £3million.
The Tories have secretly blown £3million of taxpayers’ cash in a failed bid to privatise the NHS staffing agency.
Ministers spent the money on consultants in a desperate bid to sell the respected NHS Professionals Organisation which supplies doctors and nurses to hospitals.
But they were forced into a u-turn by angry MPs, medical chiefs and health unions.

( Andrew Gregory, 14.10.2017 )

Five Billionaires Own 80% Of UK Media.
Rupert Murdoch, Fred Barclay, David Barclay, Jonathan Harmsworth, Richard Desmond.
The five billionaires who own 80% of the UK media.

Their influence on elections is huge, yet they and their companies are registered abroad.
They pay no UK tax, and that’s how they want it to stay.

Which is why they back the Conservative Party.

Tories Have Always Put Themselves First.
If we truly lived in a country which works for everyone, the NHS would not be under-funded and parents would not be buying their children textbooks schools can no longer afford.
If we truly lived in a country which works for everyone, low-income families would not be paying for austerity while the better off get richer on low interest rates.

If we truly lived in a a country which works for everyone, workers would not be exploited by zero-hours contracts while bankers line their pockets with fat bonuses.
The Tories have always put themselves and their rich cronies first, and nothing Theresa May has done so far changes that view.
( Sunday Mirror, 23.04.2017 )

Failure Of ‘Big Society’ And ‘Shared Society’.
When over 100,000 children live in precarious housing such as other people’s living rooms, B&Bs or temporary shelters, where entire families kip on the floor, we have to admit that David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and now Theresa May’s ‘Shared Society’ is more than a failure, it’s a social catastrophe.

Afternoon Tea.
The concept of afternoon tea is attributed to Anna Maria, the Duchess of Bedford who in 1841 began to regularly partake of tea and a light snack during the late afternoon to sustain her during the long hours between breakfast and evening dinner.
It became a social occasion, with friends joining her at Woburn Abbey and also at her London residence.
The practise became widely copied and evolved into elaborate society affairs with crust-free sandwiches and slithers of cake and scones presented on delicate china.
Guests would receive formal invitations and were expected to conform to contemporary etiquette concerning everything from what to wear, to how to pour the tea.

( Best of British Magazine, January 2016 )

A Dangerous Amount Of Bull.
The more we learn about Boris Johnson the more we discover the Foreign Secretary talks a dangerous amount of bull.
His backing of the Spanish bloodsport, in which animals are cut and wounded then slaughtered for fun, is totally obnoxious.
Johnson paid as little attention to detail to what really happens in bullfighting rings as he did before opening his big mouth and potentially doubling by five years the jail sentence of a British woman in Iran.
The Foreign Secretary never knows what he’s talking about.
Killing animals for kicks is uncivilised and Johnson appears ignorant of the opposition in much of Spain.
If Johnson really thinks opposing bullfighting is political correctness gone mad, let him argue his case for animal cruelty in public.

( Daily mirror, 11.11.2017 )

The Increase In The Number Of Motor Vehicles.
In 1890, the average distance travelled by a UK citizen in a year was 13 miles.
A century later, many people would expect to cover the same distance every day.
The car had much to do with this.

By 1950, there were 2.26 million cars on British roads.
Some 20 years later, the number had increased five-fold, to 11.51 million.
By 2000, there were 26.5 million cars on our roads.
This equates to an increase in private motor vehicles of 1,200% within 50 years – in the same period road capacity rose by just 33%.

( Martin Handler, January 2016 )

Is Atheism A Religion?
Atheism, of course, is a ‘religion’.
Once you form a group and give yourself a label, and then promote your beliefs and condemn all others, whether it be a creator or an idol or a massive stroke of luck, then that becomes a ‘religion’.

Something is a religion if it has a position on a creator and/or the afterlife.
Atheism certainly does.‬
‪If they don’t have a position on the existence of a creator or the afterlife, they’re not religions.‬

‪You can believe in evolution without taking a position on a creator or the afterlife.
But evolution can take on a religious dimension if it is proposed as a reason to either reject or accept belief in a creator or the afterlife.‬

‪There is an Atheist ‘Church’ in London, and writer Alain De Botton unveiled a Manifesto for Atheists, listing ten virtues, or as the press dubbed them, ‘commandments’.
( Rose Winfold )

A Policy To Impoverish The Public Sector And Hurt The Poor.
David Cameron sings for his roast poodle supper in South Korea, by telling businessmen that Britain can’t spend money today it may need tomorrow, when such a concept has never had to cross the mind of the banker’s son with a tax-haven trust fund who married into aristocracy.
He tells emergency service workers who lay down their lives every day that to ask for their first effective pay rise in nine years is “selfish”.
As Cameron told the South Koreans, the policy he introduced which caused untold misery and death is “so-called austerity”.
A deliberate policy to impoverish the public sector and hurt the poor, all in the name of bailing out and enriching the banking class.

Not all public sector workers have felt the pinch though.
Were I a paramedic who came home after scraping bodies off the M6 to hear Tory MPs cheering the vote that stopped me getting a pay rise I’d be raging.
Because this is the seventh year my pay would have been capped at 1% or frozen, meaning a real-term cut of 9% since 2010.
Meanwhile, an MP’s basic pay has gone up £11,000 in that time (to £76,011) with inflation-proof rises and a 10% hike in 2015.
A hike Cameron called the “going rate” for a highly demanding job.
Yes, so demanding that his co-austerity architect George Osborne recently managed to do it while holding down five outside jobs.

( Brian Reade, 08.07.2017 )

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