Friday, 8 December 2017

Brexit: May Capitulates.

It seems that we are getting Brexit lite: out of the EU, paying the EU, subject to EU rules (regulatory convergence) but not actually in the EU to make those laws.

It's the worst of all worlds.

Not yet negotiated, but I suspect this will be the sticking point of the next phase:

If we have regulatory convergence, then we must abide by EU trade deals surely? i.e. we won't be able to go out and negotiate our own trade deals as was the plan to bring prosperity and cheap imports after Brexit.

For instance, if we keep the same regulatory framework, we can't import non CE-approved equipment from China. Because our border is effectively the EU border. We have to keep up the same standards. It would be impossible to have an open border on one side and be importing goods that comply to a different standard than in the rest of the EU on the other side. Because those non EU standard goods will be able to slip over the border into Europe unopposed.

So as far as I can see it, the version of Brexit we're getting has all the red tape and expense and non of the benefits of free trade.

I look forward to Jacob Rees-Mogg demolishing this agreement.

I'd email my MP to insist on a firm Brexit with no deal, but he's Alan Mak, a remainer. A remainer in a majority Leave constituency. A remainer who I'm sure will be happy to be effectively staying in the EU.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

I Hate Social Workers (2017 edition)

One of the most popular threads on my blog was one entitled "I Hate Social Workers"  I wrote a few years ago. It ended up with over 5000 replies espousing hatred for social workers. Some very serious and personal messages were posted. So much so I had to delete the thread.

Back then in 2009 I was fighting to get my Autistic son housed. He was homeless, sleeping on my couch after being let down by Oxford Social Services in regard to housing. After months of ups and downs their only solution to housing him was: a homeless shelter. Yeah, like that's an option. He moved South with us.

So we'd moved South, he wanted to stay but had been let down for housing. Annnnd guess what? Exactly the same scenario started to play out down South. Not our responsibility, blah blah, then even when they stepped up, they failed to attend his supported housing panel, etc. A whole litany of fuckups. Despite their incompetence he was found not entirely suitable housing lodging with a chap that houses youths that come out of prison, that sort of thing.

Well, fast forward a few years and he's being made homeless again. I guess the landlord after 8 years has decided my son should move on and give the landlord some space again.
My son has been given notice.

Soooo, back to Social Services. Went to the GP, he heard the issues with my Son Autiscic, withdrawn, no social skills, no outside intereaction, depression, etc. He fired off the referral to Social Services quick smart.

My son got a call from Social Services today, which he didn't understand, so they called me. What we needed (as we've been advised by various local charities) is to have my son's needs assessed so he can be offered suitable housing.

But wait: there is now a waiting list; not for housing, but to be assessed for housing. So he is now on the waiting list to be assessed to be able to go on another waiting list for housing.

You couldn't fucking make it up.

Oh, and there are no timescales as to when this assessment will take place, it's all based on need. My son's being kicked out in February, I think the need is pretty fucking obvious! So chances are he will not have had an assessment of his housing need before he becomes homeless.

I think some canny thinking needs to be done here: social services hate nothing more than publicity and having how shit they are exposed. I think a Twitter account may need to be set up detailling the failures in Social Health and Welfare coverage in the UK.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Coming Conservative Catastrophe.

It's pretty clear now that the Conservatives are quite a way away from planning that post-Brexit pissup in the local Brewery. A long, long way.

I've already said what I think are the failings of the Labour party, now it's time (in the spritit of fairness and balance) to have a pop at the Tories.

Straight away, there's theresa may, the leader. Not "A" leader, but "the" leader. Past experience with her in the Home Office and other jobs leads me to understand she's good at talking the talk, but not actually walking the walk. She fails on almost every key delivereable sent her way. She wouldn't last the first episode of the Apprentice. She's the most Shambolic of omnishambles, everything she touches turns to dust.

You get the idea.

So, you can imagine, I have a very little respect for the current Tory government.

The thing is, I have very little respect for their policies either. Time was, the Conservatives stood for hard work and high rewards. You worked hard, you got more money in the form of tax breaks. You went self employed, you got tax breaks again to help and reward you for taking the risk.

Now, what the fuck is all this "Gig Economy" shit? If you are self employed, you take the risk, have no employee rights, no paid holidays (you're self employed: you take your own holidays when you like and you pay for them).

Since Tony Blair's introduction of the IR35 rule, that classed certain self employed people as employed and started to sting them for full PAYE tax and the "employer" (actually the client) for employer's contributions

That the IR is doing this under a Tory government shows the government is not Conservative in the true sense. IR35 should have been abolished the day the Conservative government took office, to shake the self-employed sector up again, kill the politics of envy and start having self-employed independent contractors out there earning big wages as a result of taking big risks.

Instead, since the Tories got in, there has been mission creep by the Inland Revenue.  They are now going after workers in corporations and the public sector that by the normal definition would not be classed as employees but contractors instead.  i.e. risk having no employee rights for higher wages, lower taxes etc.

That's just one example. Back in Thatcher's day, there was another element to the social mobility strategy. Decent government-funded training schemes were launched in order to fill skills gaps. I know: I went on one of them. I learned I.T. skills and was paid £27 a week back in the early Eighties. I learned how to operate and program computers and as part of the course had placements in industry. With no qualifications, instead based on entrance exams to test aptitude, I got on the course.

That's the sort of thing missing today. The people at the bottom of the social ladder, disenfranchised and disqualified, stay at the bottom. There is no means for them to improve their life, earn more than they ever dreamed of and contribute to the economy.

From no qualifications, two decades after that course I was earning £70K as a self-employed I.T. contractor. Had IR35 not put an end to that, I would still be there, earning that money and contributing to society at a high level. the amount of money I paid in professional insurance, critical ilness cover and personal pension contributions, purchases of I.T. kit, etc. was almost as much as I'm earning now. All that gone.

Instead, I'm earning less that £20K in a low-risk job. Would I stick my neck out now? Not likely. I don't have the support of the Government, instead they want to keep me down. A Conservtive Government not providing social mobility and killing aspiration.... what a shame.

The Tories have just continued to determine that all your wages are theirs and want as much of it as they can get away with, just like Labour. Not that you control how you run your life and business: they know best and tell you how you run things.
And what to Tory voters do in the face of these "Red Tories"? i.e. the current mob with their socialist non-aspirational agenda? Do they abstain and let the Commie/Trot Labour party in?

Someone, somewhere deep in the Tory party needs to start sticking a rocket up the various MPs and higher-ups and start to bring the Tories back to what they were: a party for small-medium business, a party that rewards risk-takers, that is for aspiration irrespective of background, that understands that light regulation is necessary than no regulation or an overburden of it, that knows a light tax economy is a prosperous one, that recognises current house prices kills home ownership for the poor, and recognises that their early policies back in the eighties killed social housing and recognise that is a neccessity and strategic asset, not a dirty phrase to be ignored. It needs to be caring for those that need care, but tough on those that abuse the benefits system, not by setting arbitrary limits, but instead having fair rules that root out abusers.

Combine that lack of old-school Conservative firm-but fair compassion, a lack of aspiration and the impending Horlicks regarding Brexit, who the hell would vote for the Tories again?

I smell not just a single catastrophe ahead for the Tories, but Brexit is just the tip of mis-management iceberg. There will be more to follow after they deliver "Brexit-lite", the "almost-in/almost-out" fudge that no-one that voted in the referendum wanted.

No-one will vote for them for a very long time....

Sunday, 3 December 2017

No Confidence in May, in er, May.

My sources say the knives are out for Theresa May. I mean really out this time, not the idle speculation of previous months.

Her lack of ability to make significant progress on anything has created a problem for her. Not that it was any different at her other posts. Some tinkering around the edges, shuffling the papers, rearranging the furniture: call it what you will, but that's what she's good at. Making herself look busy whilst not doing much of any substance.

I believe she'll be out by May. The Corbyn threat will have reduced significantly by then as new information comes to light regarding the current Labour front benches.

The Tories will start to promote their May replacement in the New Year, Just watch the political TV programmes to see which Tory MP gets a lot of air time. :-)