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Archive for April, 2008

What on earth does Gordon Brown think he’s about? Today on the BBC Radio4 Today programme, after he had blocked plans to give prisoners a 37.5% pay rise, (there couldn’t be any local elections tomorrow could there?), he was burbling on about how important it is that any pay rise must be based on a new prisoner ‘contract’, which would, (and get this), reward prisoners for good behaviour.

Well pardon me Gordon, but I suspect most of us expect good behaviour in prisons to be the standard default setting for prisoners. You don’t, or certainly shouldn’t, reward people for what’s the norm. Take away privileges for bad behaviour, and I suspect most of the country would be behind you, but don’t start treating us all as stupid and think that this is any way to run a prison service.

 

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I find it quite a strange coincidence that the very first act of Gordon Brown as Chancellor was to strip occupational pension funds of their tax dividend relief. It is commonly acknowledged that this was the trip-wire for the rapid subsequent closure of final salary pension schemes. Thus affecting millions of people who found their pension planning was seriously compromised. (And I draw a parallel here and contrast this with the pensions of MPs that have received significant public funding increases in the last couple of years).

His final act (as Chancellor) was to cut the 10% tax band, thus making five million of our lower paid citizens worse off.

To paraphrase Neil Kinnock from his famous Liverpool militant speech, 

“I’ll tell you what happens when you treat the voters with contempt. You start with a stealth tax like abolishing pension dividend relief, this is then compounded into a series of taxes hitting those on middle incomes, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Conservative opposition,  – a Conservative opposition having to lecture a Labour Government and explaining why hitting five million lower paid is both unjust, unfair and contemptuous.”

Thanks Gordon.

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