Friday, 18 February 2011

Whats the Big Deal About Allowing Sex Offenders to Appeal?

The press is full of how nasty rapists and paedophiles will be allowed to appeal against their being on the sex offender's register and yes, I can understand that the option to be removed for serious and repeated sex offenders is a hot political potato.

But what about those who have been put on the register for minor sex offences?

Should the teenager who sends or receives naked pictures to their teenage partner be condemned to sign the register for life?

Should the man prosecuted for having a stash of hardcore porn be condemned likewise?

As with all things, there is a broad spectrum of people on the sex offender's register, some are a menace to society, some quite clearly not. Some should stay on the register for life (and really should face tougher sanctions), some should quite clearly not.

As in other areas, its the heavy hand of the Police, CPS and the criminal justice system that has brought about injustices and has now led to the ruling by the ECHR. Thats the problem with ill-thought-out "one-size-fits-all" legislation, literally a legal sledgehammer to crack the toughest of nuts: there is no proportionality.

Hopefully this will bring some common sense into a legal framework that has more to do with tabloid headlines than justice.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Inflation Jitters at BOE

It was noted today that inflation has ticked upwards significantly again.

The main reason put forward by news reports is the increase in VAT, but the real story is food price inflation. I reported last month that food prices have started to increase significantly more than the government's CPI measurement.

Food price inflation has had a major hand in the new wave of political unrest in the Middle East. The EU is now taking measures to abolish food import restrictions in the hope that food prices within the EU stay at current levels or drop thanks to the removal of supply restrictions in order to avert similar political unrest happening in Europe.

Food price inflation is a real concern in the world of politics: we've seen in the past couple of weeks that high food prices can have disastrous effects on the political status quo: Regimes have toppled.

Food is not a luxury, its a necessity for survival and humans will do anything (and I mean anything) in order to ensure continuity of their food supply.

There is real concern within the political establishment on how to keep food prices stable whilst at the same time allowing inflation to reduce the national debt.

What concerns me is our political and financial managers sound rattled and unsure what to do. Inflation isn't selective: you cannot prevent food price inflation while at the same time using inflation to shrink the national debt. Fuel price inflation influences food prices because it increases costs in the supply chain.
You cannot keep a lid on wage inflation while the costs of subsistence constantly increases. You cannot keep benefits fixed if the cost of basics like food outstrips them.

Currently the Bank of England is attempting to keep interest rates low in order to reduce the cost of lending and stimulate the economy. The problem is, the huge inflationary pressure quantative easing has on the economy has built up and is overtopping the dam and its about to burst.

The other problem is that fact that even with low interest rates, there has been a reluctance by the banks to lend and the increases in tax and the burden of red tape and bureaucracy that has built up over the years is preventing new businesses from forming and growing the economy.

Right now, we're on the verge of the second decline in the economy, along with rampant inflation: the "stagflation" that economists have feared for several months now.

I said a couple of years ago the course that had been set for this country was a disaster, that the plan of using inflation to shrink debt would have serious consequences.

What scares me most is that it appears no-one in charge of the economy has a clue what to do next...

Was today their "oh shit" moment?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Egyptian Democracy Doomed to Failure

I see Tony Blair has been sticking his nose in about the Egyptian situation on the news, blathering on about democracy when he himself in power couldn't care less about in.

If a World-class shit like Blair is getting involved, then you know the outcome for the Egyptian people is a bleak one.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Worlds Biggest Speed Hump Bid Successful.

It seems Valentine's Day was earmarked for Britain's bid to create the worlds biggest speed hump.

And it was done in style, the driver of the Tarmac lorry flipping it onto it's side and landing on top of a car whilst expertly delivering his load across all three lanes of the motorway.

Its yet to be confirmed as the Worlds Highest Speed Speed Hump as its uncertain whether anyone drove over it at motorway speed, health and safety refusing to allow further stunts as it was unclear if anyone would survive the subsequent landing.

Surrey commuters on the M3 commented they were happy that at long last some new tarmac had been laid on the road surface and they were hoping for a smoother ride in future.

Big Confusion Over Cameron's Big Society

I'm confused: just what is "Big Society"?

To me, the concept should be that society itself takes back some of the functions that local and national government has "mission crept" into during the last few decades.

For instance, if you're part of a small community newly arrived in the UK and you want a community centre dedicated to your culture, you shouldn't demand that the local council supply you with one funded by the taxpayer. Instead you all club together and make one yourself. That's what my local Polish and Ukrainian community did back when I was a kid.

In other words, the message should be a crisp and clear "do it yourself", government shouldn't be funding this sort of thing.

But instead, in order to cushion the blow, we have the Big Society Bank and other concepts, which muddy the water enough so that these same communities and their supporting quangos are as equally confused as I am.

The lack of a clear message is allowing those averse to being weaned off the state teat to cry and bleat and stamp their feet. They will not leave the state funded sector quietly.

Its such a shame. Done right, taxpayers could reclaim some of the billions squandered on projects that shouldn't be government funded, but instead its doomed to failure.