Thursday, 2 July 2009

Moving House

Well, we're moving house in the next fortnight. We have to, the landlord is selling the house we're in currently. Luckily the new house is £50 a month cheaper in rent.

We've come to a decision about my Autistic son too. We're not taking him with us to the new place. Time to make a stand and say enough is enough, no more prevaricating: they MUST house him. We have to be tough, because while he is in the house (even though technically he's homeless as we don't have a room for him here), because he gets ESA benefit in his own right, its that that means we don't qualify for housing and council tax benefits. The bailiffs letters are mounting up because we can't afford to pay the bills, so its a purely economic decision. We need to do it in order to get help with council tax and the rent. Well, thats what I keep telling myself, although it kills me that we have to take such drastic action, after years of fighting for his needs and supporting him. It does feel like I've failed.

But, its time to start playing the system and be hard-nosed about it. He needs to be in supported housing before I drop dead, otherwise his social issues will mean he'll end up homeless. He needs to be in supported housing for the rest of his life and if this is the only way to get it, so be it. So, short-term pain for long-term-gain is the way I see it.

We're actually moving about a mile across the border from Havant to Portsmouth. The social worker tasked with trying to house my son upon hearing the news had a moment of elation: "Aha!" He said, "As your son will be moving to Portsmouth, you need to get in contact with their social services to house him." (In a quite obvious attempt to move the problem to another department/local authority: a move which we've seen happen many times before). At which point we deflated his elation by pointing out that our son will NOT be moving with us.

They've got two weeks. Will he be left on the doorstep? Most probably. Will I be contacting local papers if that happens? Most definately.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Teachers: Licenced to Indoctrinate?

Old Holborn Has a thought on the scheme proposed by the government this week that teachers should have regular reviews and be issued a licence to teach. He thinks that its a mechanism to standardise indoctrination across our schools.

He might have a point, but let me take it further.

So far the government has only been able to ruin state schools. Schools outside the state sector have largely been untouched by the grim hand of government. Thats why children attending public schools fare so much better than those in the state sector.

Enter licences for teachers. Every teacher will be required to have a licence and I assume will be assessed in part on their adherence to the national curriculum. They would probably be marked down for any deviations from the curriculum. This will severely curtain the public schools, who excel in no-expense-spared wide-ranging education that doesn't necessarily adhere to dogmatic PC doctrine and a fixed, narrow curriculum.

Again, its all about control. Its a way to finally control public schools and limit the advantage they give over the state sector.

I should know, I'm a product of one of the crappiest schools in my area. It was so underfunded it was a joke. Metalwork class was hysterical: one lathe between 30 kids. I never actually got to have a go on it, because the term ran out before I had my chance in the queue! We had to buy our own textbooks or share between 2-3 kids because the school couldn't fund a book for every one of us. So I know how important education is. I fought tooth and nail to get my son specialist help. When he was consigned to a mainstream school thanks to Oxfordshire LEA's dogmatic "mainstream or nothing" approach, I fought again to get him statemented and supported in-class. In the end he got GCSE B and C grades, a testament to my initial support (which cost me my career) and the ongoing support of his LSA, who stuck by him all the way through school and only left once he'd finished his GCSE's. Thats the sort of commitment we need in every school in order to improve education. Not dragging the best down to make the lowest look better.

What galls me is that Labour are intent on dragging everyone down to the lowest level; the politics of jealousy, rather than looking at the top percentile and trying to emulate the processes and procedures that go into educating those kids. Nope: in Labours world, if the state can't fund a decent education, then those able to step away and pay for it should be penalised and consigned to banality too.

They are determined to ruin this country.

I just thought I'd add this:

I've since moved from Oxfordshire to Hampshire. I can quite honestly say that my daughter has come on leaps and bounds at her new school, not only educationally, but as a person. To me a convincing case that dogma loses out over a proper, rounded education.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

This Country is Fucked

I've been saying it for 18 months or so now, I could see it back then, so why couldn't all the "experts"? This country is already fucked, and is going to be even more fucked during the next 12 months. There will be no "green shoots", there will be no recovery.

Look at this report from the BBC: The economy shrank by the greatest margin for 51 years. That one sentence tells you all you need to know about how monumental a fuck-up this crisis and the government's response to it is. Look at the graph at the bottom of the page. Look closely at the cliff-like drop in growth. Does the trend look like it's slowing, or does it look like it's gaining momentum? Looks like the latter to me.

Now add on top of that drop in growth, the rise in national debt. Thats a huge burden on and already overburdened economy. But there's more. Add on top of that overburdened economy the cost of welfare: paying people not in work. Thats a huge unproductive cost. In fact the cost of welfare has just outstripped the amount of money raised by tax revenue. Might as well slap on top of that the cost of PFI and Public Sector pensions. Not to mention the cost of interest on top of the whole fetid pile.

Things can't go on as they are. Gordon Brown continues to borrow money like a crack addict, with no investment in wealth-creating projects. Instead its dead money: used to pay people to sit idle. Its used to fund pet projects that have no chance of creating wealth, only increasing regulatory burdens. Its used to fund public sector jobs that don't generate wealth.

The one-eyed twat can't see farther than his nose. Neither can his self-interested chums in finance, that spout a rosy picture in order to keep mugs investing money in a dead horse economy. All to fund their bonuses.

All the while the Bank of England, despite warnings from Mervyn King, authorises the creation of billions of pounds of funny money, created to prop up the economy and buy the next election. Zimbabwe politics in action. Why not have done with it and buy everyone a fucking toaster, or whatever the equivalent is over here eh Gordon?

Experts are predicting the Pound will be worth less than 1 Euro by the end of the year. I wonder if that will signify a rush by Politicians for us to join the Euro Zone? Will the EU let us join?

I said it last December: This country is spiralling into the abbyss. No-one at the top seems to care.

Its about time people stopped whinging and grew some.

I'm prepared to. Mainly because I have no choice. My council tax is going unpaid as we speak and the baliffs letters arrived last week. Can I materialise 1500 fucking quid out of thin air when I don't get benefits? No I fucking can't. So, looks like I'll be doing time for non-payment then. Far better than actually finance the spendthrift fuckers in government.

Mervyn King should stop whining and grow some too. If he thinks that quantative easing is bad for the country and is steering us on a dangerous course, he should stop authorising it. Its not a political decision, its economic. If we're bankrupt, fucking say it how it is.

Her Majesty the Queen needs to drag Gordo in and have a stern word about his mad plan too. I know shes got a set of solid-gold baubles. Its about time to say protocol be fucked, these are unprecedented historic times: its time something was said.

The 646 self-serving fuckers in the house of commons need to grow some, although I have no faith given they've proved only to be in Parliament to line their fucking pockets and pay for their property portfolios. Start taking the monotonous, monosylabic one-eyed moron to task about his plans. Where are his figures? Do they add up? Just how is a nation that produces fuck-all supposed to pay it all back?

The ermine-robed nobs in the Lords need to grow some too. Why hasn't Weaseley Mandleson been given a hard time there. Instead the smug fucker wafts shit and destruction all about the place. Will no-one sort the fucker out?

We all need to start to get organised to protest against the madness too. Start locally and then once you get a critical mass, link up nationally.

Its time we all channelled our anger towards the twats in government, where it rightly belongs.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Immigrants DO take all the Jobs.

Thanks to The Ranting Penguin for flagging up this interesting nugget revealed by a FOI request.

The statistics show that 106% of the private sector jobs created between 1997 and 2007 were taken by immigrants. So, not only did immigrants take all the new jobs, but some of the existing jobs too. I don't quite know how the figures work, but Fraser Nelson in his article promises to put all the data online. It will be interesting to scrutinise it in some detail.

Whether the 106% figure is credible, it does prove something that ordinary citizens at the bottom of the employment queue have known for some time: immigrants are taking a large majority of jobs, to the exclusion of UK-born workers.

Following on from this, needs to be some investigation of why employers prefer immigrant labour to home-grown. Is it that they are better educated, or is it something else? I know there is an element of the underclass that are considered feckless and workshy, but that's not the case with all UK workers. So just what is it that stops UK employers taking on a majority of UK workers?

I've seen the trend myself: I'm still unemployed after 18 months of looking for jobs. I've done a couple of very temporary jobs, but nothing substantial has materialised.

I'm beginning to wonder if this is isn't a reaction to the current job market trend. It seems pretty clear that the full-time, long-term job market has collapsed and that the majority of places out in the real world are short-term, temporary jobs. Those people on benefits would like to take up those jobs, especially if they pay more than jobseekers, or income support, but there's a trap: if you come off benefit, it takes weeks to get back onto it. So taking a one or two week temporary job means losing income for a further 6 weeks or so after that. With a raft of associated form filling as they re-apply to a succession of different agencies for jobseekers, council tax benefit, housing benefit, etc. People don't realise, but each benefit needs to be applied for seperately to a seperate government agency, each time necessitating the filling in of a 50-page booklet (thanks to New Labour's statist control-freakery needing to know everything about the applicant). Its no wonder that people are reluctant to take on such work if they are penalised for doing it: the risk involved in moving from benefit into work is too high. A phrase I used to hear when buying a house, or a car was "cost to change". Well, the cost to change from welfare to work for those in the system is currently way too high.

Enter the immigrant worker, who works outside of the benefit system. He lives in an overcrowded rented house, so that his living expenses are low. He will work for as short a period as necessary, for as low a wage as necessary, as he doesn't care about the minimum wage. He is outside the system, and is therefore flexible about working practices. Thats why he gets the job.

This is an area where the benefits system needs to move from the nineties into the new milennia. It needs to change in order to allow workers the flexibility to take on these temporary roles. It needs to allow them to keep that money they earn, and then go seamlessly straight back onto jobseekers, continue to receive tax credits, housing benefit, and council tax benefit without penalty. It also needs to acknowledge that it's a disgrace that people earning the minimum wage are taxed. People earning the legal minimum wage should not be taxed. The threshold for tax should be set at the minimum wage, plus a small amount, so that the amount of paperwork is minimal and there is no disincentive to drop in and out of work as required.

A seamless approach is the only way to incentivise people at the low-paid end of the spectrum back into work. The current system disincentivises people from getting back into work, because there is too much risk. The amount of risk and cost involved in changing from welfare to work needs to be significantly reduced as a priority in order to get people back into work.

This is where I am: fit, able and willing to work, but getting nowhere fast. I'm understanding rapidly that the minimum wage is a luxury, but is something I may get penalised for if I take on a role paying less and the authorities find out. I get no jobseekers, nor housing benefit, nor council tax benefit, because my wife and daughter work. Despite my wife not earning enough to pay the rent, let alone other bills. Despite my daughter moving back into the home because her debts piled up until she couldn't sustain their payment.
My life is constantly worrying about which bailiff's letter to acknowledge and pay first, paid by loans from parents that kill me every time I take them. I'm 46 and should be standing on my own 2 feet, but the system doesn't allow it, because I MUST comply with their rules and regulations. I'm regularly suicidal, because what's the point in living in this situation. I had pride, I had good jobs and a career, but New Labour's promises of help for those that needed it didn't materialise when it came to providing services for my autistic son. Now sometimes I think it'd be better if I went for a long swim and didn't come back.
I spit at those in authority and those that enforce it, because I know what the want: they want me to be dependant on them for everything and they want me to be beholden to them if I earn money.
Its a national disgrace and someone, somewhere should put a stop to it. But finding the who is an impossibility in a political system that doesn't give two shits to those like me at the bottom of the pile. We are statistics, to be pushed, progressed, oppressed, manipulated and promoted for political gain. I am the underclass.


Fraser Nelson puts more meat on the bones of his original article here.