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    Stuff & nonesense
  1. I can definately relate to these three paragraphs of your post Spinner especially the part about talking about your experiences to keep things in perspective. khitajrah - that is an interesting read actually and I think there is some merit in the idea that because the expression of grief is becoming less & less acceptable in society (where we're all supposed to be happy all the time if certain strands of the media are to be believed!) leading to a rise in depressive symptoms. Although that's not to say that all depression is simply ordinary grief that has been bottled up.
  2. It would be interesting to hear suggestions from folk as to why this is, and what could be done to change it. Currently I'm south of the border rather than North of it, but I think there's 2 possible reasons why this is. Firstly, the current economic situation is putting a lot of stress on people - both those who have lost their jobs already & those who's jobs are in the firing line - so that could be causing a rise in depression/depressive symptoms. Secondly, on my side of the border, the NHS has withdrawn a lot of the funding for community mental health teams & mental health services. This has left a lot of those who are living in rural areas or away from big cities with no mental health services at all so GPs are often left with the choice of either prescribing anti-depressants or putting the person in question on a waiting list that can be anything from 2-5 years long for talking therapy. I would imagine, that it may well be a combination of both the above if the NHS in Scotland have faced similar funding decisions & pressures....and whilst living off prozac is far from ideal, it does at least mean people are admitting that they're have problems rather than trying to bottle them up & go it alone (which tends to have far worse consequences). Edit to add: oh and yes, I do suffer from depression and have done on & off for about the last decade or so. As much as there's no miracle cure for it, I do think that there is some truth in what Twerty (?) wrote about it often being unresolved issues that can be the underlying cause of it.
  3. ^^^ That is easily the most sensible thing I've heard in relation to the current economic situation in months! So how exactly do we go about getting you into David Cameron's job again?
  4. This is just a quick response (my brain is still fried from the post I wrote yesterday!). DamnSaxon - I agree with much of what you've said and I find it interesting that you've pulled out those 2 assumptions actually. Personally, I'm pro-Kenyesian but I know that the current mob won't go down that route for love nor money as it would break their ideology. As for the second, I agree that we shouldn't be cutting at the vulnerable.....but again, I know that's exactly what this government will do because they can plaster the red tops with photos of chavvy kids living the life of riley on the dole and claim that all benefit claimants (regardless of individual circumstance) are like them and that their plans will off the lot of them. It's what they've been doing since they lost the last time & it's what they're still doing because they know that if they stir up the mob enough, the majority will support anything they want without question. Let's face it, none of us like our money to be spent on those who deliberately choose not to contribute to society. The Tories know this and they also know all the stereotyping that goes with the benefits system these days. All it takes is a photo of one chavvy looking family in a council house with a big TV fronting a story about benefits and the mob start baying for blood and for the whole system to be killed off. I imagine that if they put a picture of someone with a disability or serious illness ast in a council house on the front page, the reaction might be a little different. Unfortunately, the majority don't think of the flipside of who does/doesn't claim benefits. They only see the people that they want to get rid off and hate. Amy - I think you make a good point about outsourcing actually. I think if more big contracts could be kept in the UK then it would help with rising unemployment. However, it would also require people to be willing to (potentially) pay higher prices for things and for CEOs to be willing to put a decent amount of investment into the UK rather than taking the easy road and outsourcing to somewhere cheaper.
  5. Eh? I think not. Have to agree with EM - engineers are usually classed as skilled labour as far as I know. Also I don't think I ever said that 30k was middle class, much as Lexander might want to put the words in my mouth. I did say that 30k was a good income and that it would put an individual/household in the middle income bracket rather than the low income bracket.
  6. I wonder what people think of this list leaked to the Telegraph today: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8021739/Quango-cuts-177-bodies-to-be-scrapped-under-coalition-plans.html I find it somewhat interesting that so many of those being culled are ones relating to disability, health, environment & food. I'd be interested to hear what any crofters on here think of the agricultural bodies that are being cut.
  7. Lexander, Before I really get into a response to your last post, let me absolutely crystal clear about one thing: I am not attacking high earners and do not think that being a high earner is any way a crime or unsavoury. If people have managed either through skill, entrepreunership, or a combination of both managed to get themselves into a position where they're earning a high wage, then good for them I say - no doubt the majority of them deserve it and have worked their arses off to get it too. However, that still doesn't answer/resolve the following issues that I have with your proposals: 1) Universal child benefit for all. You argue that a 30k cut off for this is too low and asked why I said this was a middle class salary. To answer the latter part of that, I stated it was a middle class salary because it is above the mean average salary in the UK (which is 26k) and also the median average salary (which is 22-25k). Your argument that 30k is too low a cut off leads directly into my next point, so I shall address it there. Given that we keep being told that we are in a time of severe financial hardship & debt, how can you justify the state giving money to households/individuals earning 30k or more? 2) With regard to child benefit you argue that 30k is too low a cut off point and that 30k is not enough money for a couple (or an individual) to raise a child with. However, at the same time as arguing this, you also state that you want to abolish housing benefit - a benefit which is only paid to those who earn 10k or less - because (and I quote): So how exactly do you reconcile these 2 lines of argument? Either you think that 30k is a low salary and thus everyone on 30k or less should be eligible for some sort of financial assistance from the state or you don't. You can't argue that those at the very bottom end of the income scale should have their housing benefit taken away from them - a benefit which could in very real terms make the difference between an individual/household being able to pay their rent & basic living costs & still be able to provide an adequate standard of care for their child - but at the same time argue that those who sit in the middle or above the middle of the income scale need extra assistance to meet their living costs. Either people earning 30k (or less) need extra help to have an above the poverty line standard of living or they don't. Personally I would argue that even if it's a household income of 30k or more you don't need (and that is the key word here after all) child benefit. I'm not saying that child benefit is of no value to these people, but there is a huge difference between need and something that is an added extra. What evidence do you have that households/individuals earning 30k or more need child benefit? 3) You've still not explained how you expect someone who has recently lost their job to raise £10k in savings in the space of 4 months. Nor have you explained how you expect someone who has been out of work for a prolonged period of time (whether through genuine circumstances or not) to raise £10k in savings in 4 months. As I stated originally, many of those who work and who have always worked would struggle to raise that sort of saving in 4 years, never mind 4 months. To use myself as an example here - I have been in work (to one degree or another) since the age of 16 and have been working full time since the age of 19, however if you were to turn around to me and tell me that I had until 24 January to raise £10k in savings I would think that you'd lost your mind! 4) You have not explained where the finance for the state housing bank will come from and nor have you addressed the issue of where the money to transform abandoned buildings into the co-ops you proposed will come from? How will you ensure that the funding for both these projects does not come from the public purse? You've also not explained how you would deal with the inevitable interim period where there will be more people than there are spaces in new-style co-ops available? What would you do with these groups of people? Where would you house them (given that you've already turfed them out of their existing homes)? 5) You've not really explained any of this: Or in fact how you would judge where this arbritary cut off would fall (if it weren't to be 4 months). Nor have you explained how this takes individual circumstances - such as illness with a 6 month plus treatment programme, disability or degenerative diseases - into account to ensure that people are not thrown out on to the street for things they have no control over. How would you deal with situations where someone may not be able to join the public works programme (which from the sounds of it will be manual labour, if you're basing it on Roosevelt's New Deal) because of disability or illness? 6) How will your proposals deal with the fact that in the not very distant future unemployment will rise faster than jobs will become available? How will your proposals deal with any of the following scenarios: Scenario A: N is in the final year of his biology degree and wishes to go on to do a Masters degree. He applies but does not get any funding to cover the £12k cost of the Masters. He knows that neither he nor his parents can afford this cost, so refuses his offer of a place and tries to find a graduate job instead. He is unlucky and does not find a graduate job, but continues to apply for science jobs as well as other work as and when it comes up. He still fails to get a science job because either he lacks the Masters/PhD required for them or because he does not have the work experience. He begins to apply for more and more minimum wage jobs, but finds himself competing against a huge number of other people doing the same and is viewed as a liability by employers because of his degree. They don't see him as a worthy investment because they think that he will leave as soon as something better comes along. N has now been out of education and without work for 3.5 months, he knows that 4 months is the cut off before the public works becomes his only option and he knows he has no other choices left to him now and he has also failed to save up the required £10k that may have been able to help him keep going. He takes a job on the public works, but every month he spends work there the more remote his chances of a science job become and now even the minimum wage jobs have gone because employers know that those on the public works are the ones who have been rejected from multiple jobs in the past. N becomes depressed and starts drinking to cope with it. What in your proposed system prevents this from happening? Scenario B: F is made redundant from his job as a middle manager in children's services at Xby council due to the spending cuts. He knows he cannot afford to be lazy about looking for work as he has a mortgage to pay and a family to care for. He also knows that even with his wife's wage & his benefits combined, they cannot save the required £10k in 4 months and still pay all their bills. F starts applying for jobs in the private sector, but finds that interviews are few & far between because of the influx in other candidates brought on by the council cuts. When he does get interviews, he is unsuccessful due to his lack of a commercial or sales background. F changes tactics and starts applying for lower paid jobs because any job is better than none. Again, he is unsuccessful because he is deemed as over qualified or too old for the lower paid job. Four months have passed - he knows that he cannot refuse a position on the public works, so takes one so that he can help to support his family. He also knows that in taking this position, his chances of getting back into a job on the same level of pay, responsibility & seniority as his old job is becoming more & more remote and the private sector won't even consider him now because they see him as a failure as an older former manager on the public works. How would your proposals help F? How would you ensure that there were enough jobs at all levels to cope with redundancies across the board (from low paid workers to managers)? How would you prevent stigma being attached to the public works? Scenario C: S is young and trying her best to climb the career ladder before she has a family. She currently works in a university as a research administrator, after 2 years in her job she starts to experience the first signs of MS and this makes it more and more difficult for her to continue with her work. Her MS symptoms are increasing in severity fast and 18months after the first symptoms, she finds that she is unable to continue working at the university. She starts applying for jobs and attends interviews as and when her symptoms are under control enough for her to do so.....but life is hard, and jobs that are flexible enough for her to do whilst she is ill are few and far between. Four months have almost passed and she has not been able to find a job that she can make work with her illness, she has also missed several interviews on days when her symptoms have been particularly bad and she is penalised for this. S knows that her symptoms prevent her from joining the public works and the cost of her hospital visits & medication on top of her living costs has stopped her saving the required 10k. She is stuck and the new welfare system (Lexander's ideas) means that she has 1 week until her benefits are stopped and she is evicted. Her family live 200 miles away and she can no longer drive. She has no where to go and next to no chance of finding a job in the next 7 days. What happens to S? Is she just abandoned to rot in the street? Is she shoved into a shelter for the homeless where she may be surrounded by drug addicts and where the chances that she will be able to get the extra assistance she needs to cope with her illness are very small indeed? Scenario D: L leaves school at 16 because she sees no point in continuing her education if she doesn't have to. Getting a degree didn't help her mum who graduated in 2011 without a graduate job and who failed to find a job within the governments new 4 month cut off period. L's mum has spent her whole life working on the public works and so has her dad - life has been hard and L still remembers when they were living in the homeless hostel when she was wee and the government were still building their new co-ops. L doesn't even bother applying for private sector jobs because she knows that they don't take people like her, not these days where even the bottom rung jobs ask for graduates. Instead she joins the first public works programme that she can and uses the money she earns to help her family move into a slightly better co-op in the city. L meets a nice young man who is also on the works programme and who has grown up similar to her. They marry & she moves in with his family in their co-op where they have a child, R. They decide to do all they can to encourage R into the public works so that he will never end up on the street like so many of their parent's friends did when they couldn't find private sector work and when R comes home from school age 12 excitedly talking about university and wanting to do a degree in History, they tell him not to bother because university isn't for people like them. How would your proposals stop this inevitable cycle of low aspirations from arising? How would your proposals enable social mobility? 6) How is a flat tax of 25% fairer on low earners when you cannot prove that their living costs are in proportion to their earnings? If anything it is unfair to them but fair to high earners because it gives high earners even more money to cover their living costs (which we can safely assume they're already able to cover adequately) and to pay for luxuries. It is unfair to low earners because it does not account for the fact that their living costs are not necessarily significantly lower than the high earners living costs, so they do not benefit at all from this shift. NB: When I say living costs I mean the basics - rent, council tax, gas, electric, water, basic food - rather than the extras (cars, holidays, television, mobile phones etc - and whilst I realise that in Shetland, a car may come under the former category, in the majority of the country it is an extra). Also, not everyone who is high earner is fiddling the system and I find it ironic that you're accusing me of attacking high earners when you seem to be assuming that all high earners are trying to swindle the tax man! Some do try and do this, there's no denying that, but it's quite hard to get away with and the HMRC (recent failings aside) do work bloody hard to prevent it and make those that do repay what they owe. 7) You seem to have ignored this: Finally, I only mentioned the Soviet states because they were the nearest reference point that I had some knowledge of - I know little about the Scandanavian system and will freely admit that. However, my point about the authoritarianism of your proposals still stands and I would not want to live in a place where my civil liberties have been removed in the way that you're suggesting. I'd venture a guess that many others feel the same way given the uproar that many of Labour's policies were met with because they impinged on people's freedom & civil liberties. I will be interested to come back later to read your answers to my questions - particularly in response the 4 scenarios that I've laid out in point six.
  8. Lexander - are you going to address the points I raised in response to your proposals then? I have to admit that whilst you may be left leaning in terms of your views on the state having control over businesses & development (much like the old Soviet system), it is rather undone by your overwhelming authoritarian stance and your overwhelming dislike of those who are poor or in need. I, as one of those hippy-dippy leftie liberal types, hope that the current administration certainly do not employ your suggestions otherwise there will be a lot of very poor people who are very very stuck for generations to come. You make quite a lot of good points here actually, unlinkedstudent, particularly with reference to the child benefit part and private landlords. As someone else who also isn't a Labour fan (or a Tory fan for that matter), I agree with much of what you've said and you raise an interesting question about efficiency measurse vs cuts.
  9. That works out to be roughly £1111 per year. or £3 per day. Wish my children were that cheap to 'run'. I did say standard(ish) and to be fair that was based on figures that I'd heard rather than personal experience.* Either way the current rate of child benefit isn't going to make any difference in those costs to middle class families and insisting on continuing at a universal level for all (including those families with over £30k) is still an unacceptable argument when everything else is being cut. *Which is a rather roundabout way of saying, thank you for the correction
  10. I'm sorry but if you're earning 30k as a family the miniscule amount that child benefit adds to that will make absolutely no difference to your ability to raise your child given that the standard(ish) cost of raising a child until the age of 18 is about £20k. £30k is a good wage where ever you live if you're living within your means and as far as I can see trying to plead that middle class parents need the same extra assistance as low income parents (or low income single parents) is ridiculous. Continuing universal child benefit really isn't acceptable in a time of severe cuts to everything else and screams of elitism rather than allocating public money to services/people based on need. Again, where is the money for this state run housing bank going to come from? The saving on housing benefit? Some it may be but what about the rest? What about the costs of transforming existing council housing or abandoned houses into these co-ops - who/what funds that? Also what about the interim period where there are more people than council houses/abandoned properties? Why 4 months? Why do you deem 4 months to be reasonable for someone who may have an illness that has lead to unemployment? What if their treatment takes longer than 4 months? What if they have a degenerative disease that worsens over time rather than improves? What do you mean by within reason re: housing/heating costs? How does this sort of individual assessment save the public any money with a rising number of people out of work (soon to rise even more when the cuts hit)? Also, how do you expect people to 'prove' they've been looking for work? Unless you're intent on stalking them or tagging them there's no real way to 100% know that person X has been looking for work. Can you explain the saving £10,000 bit please? How on earth do you expect someone who is out of work to save £10,000 in 4 months? Most of those who do work would struggle to come up with that in 4 years never mind 4 months! I'm intrigued as to where you envisage this sound rush of available jobs across all skill levels to come from? Given that in the coming months every man and his dog will be clinging desperately to their job (if they don't get cut that is) then I don't see where these extra jobs will come from. It also seems (to me) that you're working on the basis that everyone who needs JSA is of a similar skill level and thus everyone will have an equal playing field. That's simply not the case and it's unreasonable to expect that those of a lower skill level can successfully compete with those of a medium/high skill level for the same opportunities and means that it will be those with the lower skill level or the least experience who are left jobless at the end of your arbitrary 4 months. How does forcing graduates with skills but less experience into menial labour encourage people to aspire to higher education or give those graduates a chance to use their skills & knowledge to make something of themselves? In short, it doesn't - it leads to many graduates becoming stuck in minimum wage work and the SLC having to write off their debts (at public expense). Ultimately I think that your 4 month cut off is dependent on far too many uncontrolled factors to work and I think it penalises people at both the high and low end of the skills scale and those with minimal work experience (due to age). I also dislike the cheap labour idea as I think it has far too much potential to lead to a reduction in the minimum wage to reduce public spending in future times of bust. I'm sorry, what? Why shouldn't someone earning 50k or 100k or 200k pay more tax than someone earning 8k? How is that even vaguely fair to the person earning 8k who has far less take home pay than the person on 50k but not necessarily a proportional reduction in living costs? On 8k a year at 25% tax you would be taking home roughly £500 a month to cover all of your living costs. On 50k a year at 25% tax you would be taking home roughly £3k a month to cover your living costs - that's 6 times more, how on earth is that fair to the person with £500 when there's no way you can assume their living costs are 6 times less than the person with £3k (particularly not if they can't claim any benefits as you're proposing). That sort of thinking *only* favours those on middle-high incomes and yet again penalises those on low incomes. Disagree with this entirely - why should I be forced to do national service when I'm a pacifist? Why should anyone be forced to do so if they don't want to or believe in non-violence? What about their right to make the choice for themselves? Can you clarify this bit as I'm struggling a bit - as I'm currently reading it you seem to be suggesting that an authoritarian state be set up which controls all business & development and that it should be an insular one with no co-operation with European partners? I'm entirely against the idea of an authoritarian state in control of everything and there's 2 main reasons for that: 1) it doesn't work (as has been proved time & again) because there are always those who want more than their equal share of the power & the profits and 2) it completely removes the civil liberties of the individual to make choices for themself about a whole range of things from national service to who they get their electric from. Capitalism as it stands - is pretty much the best of a bad bunch of systems out there and I'd be very very reluctant to support any drastic moves toward mass state ownership & authoritarianism*. I'd much rather see the current system being regulated better and modified to follow something like the current German system which involves workers more to produce a fairer version of capitalism. *Although I do think the NHS should remain the public domain, as should education and I would support the re-nationalisation the rail & postal services. Beyond that I have no particular beef with properly regulated capitalism for other services/businesses.
  11. Quite! (And very well said too). Another thought occurs re: your comment about forcing all who claim housing benefit into hostels with bunkbeds, Lexander - how would this work with families who (if they have only 1 child but 2 adults) may not appreciate the idea of being kicked out of their home and into a situation where either their child or their partner is forced to share a set of bunk beds in a public dormitory with someone they don't know for Adam? In larger communities, the chances of people all knowning one another are slim at best, so what safeguarding measures would you be proposing to put in place to ensure that any children or vulnerable adults in these hostels are adequately protected? Again you seem to be assuming either that any children caught up in this situation would be taken into care (which has cost implications and whole raft of other issues all on it's own) or that no one with children would be in need of housing benefit. Similarly, you don't seem to be considering the case of vulnerable adults or adults with disabilities/medical conditions who may also be in receipt of housing benefit and how your proposed hostels could potentially affect them. Please could you expand on the hostels proposal you'd put forward, as I'm struggling to see how this would work in an efficent and cost effective manner - so I'd appreciate a bit more detail.
  12. Also, since when did the UK become a tax haven? Unless you were referring to Jersey/Guersney that is? The rules on tax on overseas income are fairly complex, depending on where you live. It depends if you are resident, ordinarily resident or domiciled. You can read them here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/LeavingOrComingIntoTheUK/DG_10027480 Thanks for the link, MuckleJoannie - I'll have a look at it later on before coming back to this.
  13. But how does creating more work for the post office help to cut back public spending? Also I'm not entirely sure how standing in a line in the post office to get your JSA is any more work than standing in line at the Job Centre to do the same thing? Unless you're proposing that the Post Office takes on the role of the Job Centre, which would of course mean a need for more staff and higher admin costs? My point was that not everyone who claims housing benefit does so to try and screw up the system. Some people need it because they're stuck (usually by circumstance) in a low paid job for a long period of time and in a lot of places there are limited council houses and next to nothing in the private market that (for example) a single mother working as a low paid cleaner can afford without it. Someone in that position isn't necessarily repeatedly claiming to try and abuse the benefits system, they may well be claiming because their pay does not cover the cost of renting privately and nor do they have enough spare cash to pay someone else to look after their child/children whilst they go out to a second job. To assume that all people who are repeated claimants are only doing it because they're some how lazy or after an easy ride pre-supposes that everyone is being paid enough to cover the cost of living where they are or that there is adequate council housing stock for those who aren't being paid enough or that those not being paid enough are able to take on a second (or third or even fourth) job to top up their wages. In the real world sometimes none of the above is the case and that is why some people may repeatedly claim housing benefit....and I'm not entirely sure what penalising them will achieve, other than either a) making them homeless or leading to an influx of children in care where their parent(s) have been made homeless because of this. I also note that you've not put forward any ideas as to how local councils can either build or convert existing abandoned buildings into the shelter/hostels you talked about without it adding an extra strain on to the public purse. Could you explain how you would create these hostels without using public money to create & maintain them? How limited is a limited time? Many of those who were made redundant due to the financial crisis last year are still out of work and not necessarily because they've not been trying to find it either. Many of those who lost their jobs under Thatcher spent years without work because there were no jobs for them to apply for and they had no capital to allow them to move to other areas where there were jobs. Again, how do you regulate this (without any extra costs to public spending) without penalising those who are genuinely in need? I didn't state that tax avoidance means we shouldn't deal with abuse of the benefits system - quite the opposite in fact, I was merely putting the problem into context. As for your anger, I think that most (if not all) of us who do work or have worked to earn our livings are angered by those who repeatedly abuse the system. However, those people are by no means the majority of those who claim benefits so I see little mileage in schemes that aim to persecute all those who need to claim benefits (either now or in the future) as that is unlikely to solve the problem. At best it will mean that the abusers get smarter and raise their game a bit to circumvent the new measures that are set up. At worst, it will mean more admin for the people who deal with benefit claims (and thus more cost to the public) and quite a lot of people either unable to or not bothering to claim money that they both need and are entitled to because of their circumstances. A far better way to deal with this is to look at the root cause of the problem - which is essentially an on-going cycle of poverty that leaves people with no aspirations, no motivation and no ability to move out of their current socio-economic position - removing their benefits to leave them further entreached in poverty will only further lower their aspirations (or destroy any that they had in the first place) and leave them more and more stuck in their current socio-economic position. How can you expect young people growing up on sink estates to ever think there's any point in working or achieving or setting their sights on a better life if you're either a) spending the whole time telling them that they & their families are scum because they claim benefits or when you take away the money that may well be the only thing keeping those children fed & clothed? Just to make things absolutely clear here - I do *not* support benefit fraud, nor will I ever support it. However, that does not mean that I want to use the actions of the minority to persecute the majority of claimants....nor does it mean that I want to use the actions of parents committing benefit fraud to penalise their children. There are better ways to deal with this, but they all begin with people getting off their middle class high horses and actually talking to and with the people who do claim benefits...including those who do so legitmately and through fraud. Find out why they're claiming, why they don't do more (or in some cases anything) to find work, what barriers (percieved or real) are there to them working or striving to escape their situation. I'd hazard a guess that more investment in tackling drug problems, alcoholism & domestic violence in areas of high deprivation would go a long way to helping people to both want to get back to work and actively look for work. It would certainly do more help than simply cutting people off and leaving them to rot, at any rate. Also, since when did the UK become a tax haven? Unless you were referring to Jersey/Guersney that is?
  14. As far as I'm aware you still need to sign for it every two weeks as you always have at your local JSA office. Also I'm not entirely sure how making people have to go to the post office to have it paid (which means more admin for post office workers and thus more costs) is more effective than a BACs transfer which can be set up once and then activated as and when the claimant signs for their JSA (which is just a case of clicking a button rather than an added admin faff). How would this work in areas where there are few council houses available? Where do you expect the councils in question to find suitable buildings to make these hostels? Even if they don't have to build them from scratch they are still likely to need to pay for conversion of existing buildings into hostels and for their maintenance - I don't see that as especially cost effective either. Also why this need to penalise low paid workers (who also can and do claim housing benefit)? What have they done to deserve to be penalised in such a way? Define emergency? As I said before, I do think that the benefits system as it stands is abused by some people, but overall I am in favour of it. If we decide that people can't claim any benefits until their completely without other options that won't help people to get back into work or rise out of poverty. What it will do is potentially lead to low paid workers (and their families) ending up homeless and on the streets because there are no council houses available and they cannot claim housing benefit (by your rules) and potentially starving. Or at best it will lead to the large numbers of people who have suffered redundancy since the banking crisis and those who will soon be suffering due to the spending cuts developing mental health issues as they try to struggle on with only their redundancy pay outs (if they even have one) to cover their rent/mortgage, food for their families and costs of getting to interviews etc. That isn't helpful either and in cases where people may be getting repeat rejections from jobs they're applying for it will most likely lead to a rise in social/health problems such as alcoholism, self harm or suicide as people seek out ways to try and cope with the fact that they have barely enough money to survive and can't get work despite their best efforts. Is that really what we want our society to become? A place where if you lose your job and have the misfortune to not immediately find another you're left until you're destitute before you can even consider asking for help? Thanks, but no thanks. Yes benefits get abused because there will always be some people who want to abuse the system (much like those billionaires that play the tax avoidance game that costs the UK £25billion a year vs benefit fraud which costs £3.1bn in 2009/10), but not all who claim benefits do so fraudently. I'd rather live in a society that tries to help those in need rather than one which harks back to a Victorian set up and waits until those in need are desparate, demoralised, homeless and potentially starving.
  15. The problem with GreenPeace (as I see it) is that much like any other fundamentalist group, they talk a large amount of bull and tend to go down the do as we say not as we do route. Hence their use of another ship (burning fossil fuels) to protest drilling near Shetland. Unfortunately, like many activists the world over they are more interested in PR than actually helping to propose alternative, sustainable energy solutions and they're run by attention seeking muppets It's a shame really that they don't use their PR capabilities (and funding) to help support the scientists who are doing the real work of finding and testing sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels...
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