300k and can’t afford childcare

March 18th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

David Cameron and his fag Nick Clegg want to do something nice to help hard working families with their childcare costs. The problem is, some hard working families need more help than others.

Cameron and Clegg have decided that it’d be a good idea to pay 20% of childcare costs, up to a maximum of £2,000 a year. I have to agree that that is indeed a nice idea. As usual with these two clowns, the implementation leaves a bit to be desired.

The maximum benefit under these new plans is 20% of your childcare costs, or £2,000 at the most, per child. £2,000 is 20% of £10,0000. The upper earning limit for being able to take advantage of this scheme is £300,000, or to put it another way £150,000 per parent.

Can anyone, except a fucking politician, seriously think that anyone earning £150k or a couple earning jointly earning £300k need fucking help paying for childcare?

Sure, childcare is expensive but c’mon, seriously? The wealthy, and anyone earning that kind of money is wealthy, might have an empty wallet at the end of every month just like someone on the minimum wage, but the difference is that the family on the minimum wage have to choose between eating or heating when their bank is empty.

What marks this out as the work of imbeciles is the inconsistencies with other policies, namely the changes to child benefit. Anyone earning more than £50k gets penalised with the stopping of child benefit, currently £20.30 a week for the first child. Again, if the family has two parents and they both earn, as long as neither earn more than £50k, the can still receive child benefit.

Just like the new childcare credit, a family with a single earner can earn half as much as the two income family before benefits are stopped. It doesn’t make sense, penalising the lower income household.

You’ve probably spotted the inconsistency. You earn too much to receive child benefit, but need to earn a fuck load more before the government think you’re able to pay all your own childcare costs.

Clegg has stated that they didn’t introduce various cut-off points as families told them they wanted the system to be done as simply as possible. I think Clegg misunderstood. People want the system to be as simple as possible to use. They don’t give a shit how complex it is behind the scenes, as long as it’s simple to access, and to help make things a little simpler, the cut-off should’ve been £50k, just like child benefit.

If the upper threshold for receiving this benefit was lower, the people who really need it could’ve received a bigger percentage of help.

But then, that wouldn’t have pleased their voters, would it?

The SNP are starting to shit themselves

February 13th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I don’t really give a shit about Scottish independence one way or another. I don’t really know enough to know whether it’s a going to be a good or a bad thing for either Scotland or the rest of the UK, never mind how we’re going to divvy up the armed forces, the national debt and all that sort of thing.

What I do know though, is that it sounds like the SNP, who really, really, really want to move out of their parents house and live on their own.

I can tell that because they say they want independence, but then they say they want a fiscal union with the entity they’re wanting to extricate themselves from.

That is not independence. Scotland could have the same as independence with a fiscal union if they got more devolution. What sort of twats would call for complete independence and then when it’s within reach start back-pedalling and want to keep themselves tied to the very state they want to leave?

Previously it’s all been about how Scotland will be fine on their own. They can cope, flourish even. Now, for some reason, it’s not about how Scotland will do, it’s about the rest of the UK, how the rest of the UK needs Scotland.

The rest of the UK, as far as I can tell (and I am well prepared to be told I am wrong, and in fact expect it), couldn’t give a fuck and think if Scotland are to go it along then do it properly. All of a sudden though, the SNP sound rather desperate not to completely cut ties from the rest of the Union.

If the SNP aren’t careful, they’re going to fuck up their own campaign and scare the Scottish population into voting no to independence.

‘Husband’? ‘Wife’? How about just ‘Spouse’?

June 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Am I missing something here? The Telegraph is getting it’s gender-specific underwear in a twist over nothing, isn’t it?

The first part of this, frankly, piss poor piece starts of invoking Orwell, by claiming the government is changing the meaning of the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to make them interchangeable…

Civil servants have overruled the Oxford English Dictionary and hundreds years of common usage effectively abolishing the traditional meaning of the words for spouses.


It comes as part of a Government initiative to “clarify” what words will mean when gay marriage becomes law.
But critics described it as the vocabulary of “cloud cuckoo land”.

It follows claims by opponents of the redefinition of marriage that universally understood terms such as father and mother might be simply deleted by bureaucrats on official forms.

That would be fucking mad, wouldn’t it? How can the government just get rid of words? That’s just downright, er, erm, Orwellian!

Fear not, dear reader. We now move into the second part of the article where some sense is spoken, but not very clearly, if anyone got that far past the outrage just gushing out from the page.

Instead officials have decided to allow the words for the spouses to be used interchangeably for people of either gender in some contexts.

You see? “Some contexts”. The Telegraph gives an example…

The guidance gives the example of some early health and safety legislation drafted in 1963 which includes a range of exemptions for family businesses where the terms husbands and wives will mean people of either gender.
“This means that ‘husband’ here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman,” it says.
“In a similar way, ‘wife’ will include a woman married to another woman or
a man married to a man.
“The result is that this section is to be construed as including both male and female same sex marriage.”

Yet it then goes on to say that in future legislation the traditional male-only meaning of husband and female-only understanding of wife could make a comeback – but not in all cases.
“The term ‘husband’ will in future legislation include a man who is married to another man (but not a woman in a marriage with another woman),” it adds, confusingly.
“And ‘wife’ will include a woman who is married to another woman (but not a man married to another man) unless specific alternative provision is made.”

Er, yeah. That is confusing. It would be much easier to say in existing legislation, ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ can be interchangeable depending on the circumstances, and the people the legislation applies to, which will not be a problem to devine

In future legislation a ‘husband’ is a married man and a ‘wife’ is a married woman, irrespective of what gender their spouse is.

See? That’s not so hard is it? It doesn’t quite fit the agenda of needlessly restricting who can marry who to fit some outdated bigotry, though.

Dorries cuts off nose to spite her face

June 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Get your violins out, folks. Nadine Dorries is after some sympathy

Nadine Dorries is to stop claiming personal parliamentary expenses to avoid being further ‘targeted’ by investigations.

Speaking exclusively to the Times & Citizen, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire revealed that she will forego around £3,040 a month in expenses including cash for Westminster accommodation, council tax, travel costs and meals.

She said: “For me the problem is the moment I put my head above the parapet and campaigned to have the abortion limit reduced from 24 weeks to 20 I became a target.”

Well, yes wanting to be more restrictive on abortion is one of the reasons Dorries gets a load of shit, and it’s not just the time limit that she want’s introduced that’s got peoples hackles up, but her proposed restriction on who can give counselling that would see many non-religious, pro-choice organisations excluded and the only choice many women would have would be to receive counselling by anti-abortion organisations.

But the reason Dorries keeps getting her expenses investigated is not because of her views on abortion, it’s her attitude to claiming them. See Ministy of Truth here or really just enter into the search box of the site “nadine dorries“.

She added: “Even though I’m completely innocent it’s tough for my office staff because they are the ones who are responsible for compliance.

“Every time there is an investigation it goes on for months and I can’t keep putting them through it.

We shall have to see if Dorries is completely innocent or not, but an appeal for everyone to stop reporting her not-so-straight-forward-expenses reporting would be a nice touch, if she didn’t keep giving IPSA reason to investigate her.

The only person able to stop the ivestigations if Dorries herself.

“I’ve had to take this decision it’s been horrible to see how stressed they have been, even though the investigations always fully cleared me.”

Hahahaha! Really?

She said: “I feel that the best thing to do is to remove all claims and I’m lucky because I’ve got personal support and can do that. I’ve got a great partner.”

She added: “I’m going to work for free, I have to live in Bedfordshire because it’s what my constituents expect from me, but as I sit on and chair committees I have to have accommodation in Westminster.”

Another, fairly major sleight of hand there, as she won’t be working for free, being paid nothing. She will still get the £65k-ish salary. But not claiming expenses is not the thing to do. Dorries here, knows she’s going to get her knuckles rapped. She may not get a proper bollocking, but she knows it looks bad and so instead of looking at why her expenses look so bad and trying to organise things better, she’s trying to make herself a matyr.

Fair enough. If she doesn’t want her expenses, fine. She’ll be the one to lose out.

While we’re talking about Dorries’ salary, she did promise to donate to charity her salary for the time she spent in the jungle on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!. She was on it for 12 days which works out at about £2,100 -ish.

Has she? Hasn’t she?…

Can’t work? Appealing ESA? Claim JSA instead say DWP

June 11th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I don’t think I need to add anything more to the following from Johnny Void (although it is my emphasis)…

From October this year [Employment Support Allowance] claimants will not be able to appeal against a ‘fit for work’ decision until they have first requested a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ by a DWP decision maker. Only if the claimant disagrees with this decision will they be able to take an appeal to a benefit tribunal. This process is likely to take months.

A recent response to an FOI request (PDF) confirms that claimants will not be able to claim ESA whilst waiting for this process to be completed. The DWP say that claimants will instead have the: “option of applying for alternative benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, however they must meet the conditions of entitlement”.

One of the key conditions of entitlement for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) – the benefit for those unemployed not unwell – is that the claimants is able to work.

This will mean that those appealing an ESA decision and claiming Jobseekers Allowance will be placed in a potentially fraudulent position. They will be appealing an ESA decision based on the fact they do not believe themselves able to work, and will be claiming JSA based on a claim that they are able to work.

said to be of muslim appearance

May 22nd, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

The news is all about the killing in Woolwich, as you’d expect.

The reports are all very similar, but there is one line in The Sun that caught my eye as really rather odd.

The men were said to have been of Muslim appearance.

Said by who? Witnesses? The police? Or is it the opinion of Kay Morrison, Harry Haydon and Jo Sayer whose by line is on the article? It’s not in part of the copy quoting witnesses, it dumped twix a Whitehall statement and a sentence about Theresa May convening Cobra (Cobra ffs. They know nothing of these two guys and one man is dead. They had a gun and knives. That is hardly a national emergency). No other major paper carries a statement like it.

How can anyone tell these guys are muslims? They’re certainly hiding their beards well, and those turban things muslims wear have had a major redesign lately.

Thank you The Sun, for helping me identify dangerous muslims. I must remember then, ordinary everyday clothes, equals muslim.

Freezepage of the article here.

The RSPCA, the judge and *that* hunting court case

December 22nd, 2012 § 5 comments § permalink

(I’m doing this on my phone so you don’t get any links and spelling/names might be slightly out.)

The RSPCA prosecuted the Heythorpe Hunt, David Camerons’ local hunt, for deliberately hunting with dogs. The hunt admitted their guilt and it cost the RSOCA approx £330,000 as they brought their own prosecution rather than leave it to the CPS.

The judge in the case made comment along the lines of the RSPCA being a bit silly and that amount of money could’ve been spent better elsewhere. Presumably stopping poor people killing animals for fun in council estates rather than stopping rich people killing animals for fun in the countywide.

The defendants also made claim that this prosecution was politically motivated because the prime minister has ridden with them a few times.

Two things here.

1. I’m pretty sure if the RSPCA had evidence of other hunts hunting dogs on purpose and not just losing control of the dogs, then they’d prosecute. To gather evidence to a standard where one can prove a hunt is deliberately going after foxes is notoriously difficult. Which is partly the second point.

2. For the judge to comment in his closing speech (or whatever it’s called) on the cost and what the prosecutors should do with their money instead is completely outrageous.

The court case is for someone to defend themselves against specific allegations of law breaking. The accuser is not on trial, if the accuser is bringing a private prosecution it is not up to the judge to tell them they should be spending their money elsewhere. The judge should deal with the case and that’s it.

The judge though, by bringing up how much the RSPCA had to spend to get this case to court, raises an important point – the cost of the law. Ask anyone that has has serious dealings with the law and they will agree. The law is not for the poor man but how much it costs is not a debate for a court case.

The RSPCA said they brought the case because they had no faith in the CPS, and they’re probably right. To get the evidence of deliberately hunting with dogs is extremely time consuming and I guess to get a successful prosecution a prosecutor actually needs to be there at the time. It’s probably quite hard to prove the ‘deliberate’ part after the event, and the police etc cannot be there at every hunt meeting just in case, that really would cause an outrage.

Private or public prosecution, it is not up to the judge to decide whether it is a waste of money or not. His job is to preside over the court and ensure justice is done. This judge should be seriously reprimanded.

Terms and Conditions

December 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Instagram has taken some shit over the last couple of days for it’s new terms and conditions.

You don’t fuck up, especially when you have the sort of money Instagram have, via their owners Facebook, when writing you’re T’s & C’s.

I hesitate to raise the Instagram topic on here. The controversial terms and conditions and subsequent ‘clarification’ have already received wall-to-wall coverage elsewhere.

But there’s a writing angle to the whole thing that needs some airing. The whole story is already being co-opted as a case study in the importance of clear communication and getting the tone right. This worries me, because that’s exactly what it isn’t, at least not in the way that’s being suggested.

This was the main offending paragraph in the terms and conditions:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

There is nothing wrong with the tone of this paragraph. It scores highly on clarity, using plain language, active verbs, personal pronouns (us and you) – all the things writers go on about every day.

There is a lot wrong with the content of the paragraph, at least according to thousands of Instagram users. But that’s not a language issue – it’s a policy issue. Any writers trying to use this as an example of the importance of ‘tone of voice’ are misinterpreting the problem. To an expert in tone of voice, every problem looks like a tone of voice issue.

The situation isn’t helped by Instagram’s disingenuous ‘clarification’, which tries to imply that this was all a miscommunication caused by ‘confusing’ language.

Again, this statement from Instagram has been hailed in various places as a good example of crisis communication – clear and helpful in the way the Ts and Cs weren’t.

But again, this is completely wrong. The Ts and Cs were absolutely clear, even if their content was controversial.

By contrast, the ‘clarification’ is slippery, mealy-mouthed and contradictory.

Read the rest.

Catch my whimsical, non-filtered images here.

via @MooseAllain

Patterns’ need to re-affirm the BBC’s independence

October 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I know i’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so forgive me if I’ve missed something here

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has sought to reaffirm the corporation’s independence from government, in a letter to the Culture Secretary.

Why is the BBC’s independence even in question and who has questioned it?

This all relates to the BBC’s condust over the dropped Newsnight report on Jimmy Savile, and the culture that allowed his appalling conduct and others to go unchallenged for so long, and various enquiries and investigations and statements (false or inaccurate or otherwise) that have or will be set up or published.

But who has said or implied, the BBC is not, or at risk of, not being independent from government?

NZ Police reveal how they harass people

September 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

New Zealand Police Association

A North Island police station received this question from a resident through the feedback section of a local Police website:

“I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?”

In response, a sergeant posted this reply:

First of all, let me tell you this … it’s not easy. In the Palmerston North and rural area we average one cop for every 505 people. Only about 60 per cent of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “general patrols”) where we do most of our harassing.
The rest are in non-harassing units that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. At any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60 per cent of general patrols are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So, roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 6000 residents.
When you toss in the commercial business and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 15,000 or more people a day.
Now, your average eight-hour shift runs 28,800 seconds long. This gives a cop two-thirds of a second to harass a person, and then only another third of a second to drink a Massey iced coffee AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to the challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilise some tools to help us narrow down those people we can realistically harass.

Read the rest.

via the excellent Scaryduck

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