Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

Wishful thinking on the Olympic clap-o-meter

Lots of activity on social networks tonight about current Chancellor & wannabe PM George Osborne getting booed before presenting a medal at the Paralympics, and ex Chancellor and ex PM Gordon Brown getting cheered.

Brilliant – sounds fantastic. Have a look at the videos and see what you think
Here’s George :

And here’s Gordon :

So what we’re seeing here, is (according to the twittersphere) George Osborne getting the most humiliating reception any politician anywhere has ever had. And Gordon Brown basking in the warm glow of the love that the nation has remembered that they have for him really and they want to have his babies.

Putting aside tribal loyalties though, Gordon’s applause is actually pretty much the polite Olympic/Paralympic cheer. Just about EVERYBODY gets one. If you want to know what a truly rapturous reception for a medal presenter (sorry flower presenter) is like, then the one that Sebastian Coe got before presenting Jessica Ennis’s Gold Medal bouquet took some beating (can’t find a decent Youtube video – guess you had to be there ! (I was !) )

Note that the guy who presents the flowers with Gordon Brown who no one has ever heard of, gets a cheer just as big as GB

Of course George Osborne did get booed. That in itself says something – no one else has been booed that I know of. But does it say much though ?

Booing the chancellor is a little bit like booing  Mr Punch – it’s a tradition – you could almost hear the giggles coming from the crowd.

I remember hearing bingo callers saying “Number 10 – Maggie’s Den” – and everyone in the room shouted back “Not for long !”

A few years later it was “Number 10 – Tony’s Den” – and guess what the response from the crowd was ?

This seems a lot like that to me – sure he’s unpopular – but most of the people booing there were just having a giggle.

This wasn’t a big deal. Not at all.

I sort of wish it had been though.

Meanwhile here’s Jessica Ennis getting her medal – I must have been so close to where this was filmed from, it’s surprising I’m not in the video. One of the best nights of my life

September 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Child Benefit – What are the Tories up to ?

George Osborne MP, pictured speaking in 2009

Chancellor George Osborne

I woke yesterday morning to see Chancellor George Osborne on Breakfast TV announcing his plans to scrap child benefit for Higher Rate tax payers from 2013 – as detailed here BBC News – Child benefit cuts ‘tough but necessary’ say ministers

There’s been a lot of talk already about this (as one would imagine) – much of it focused on the anomaly of married couples earning just below the higher rate tax threshold being able to earn a combined income of over 80,000 without losing the benefit.

Personally I think that this is one anomaly that will be smoothed out – and not really worth getting uptight over. However there are a number of things that really puzzle me about this announcement.

What hits me straight-away is that although Mr Osborne repeatedly said that this move has got to be done urgently because things are so desperately bad, and if they had any choice they wouldn’t do it, but what with the state that Labour have left things in, we can’t afford to waste time, and we’re all on this together and I’m sorry but tough times call for tough solutions, and we’re all in this together, and it’s all Labour’s fault, but it’s really urgent, and we’re all in this together, yada yada yada …   Despite all this it’s not going to be introduced for three years. Three years ? If it was really urgent they could do this next week.

So it’s not really urgent then – it’s something that can wait three years.

But what intrigues me more is exactly why the Tories are trailing a cut which will primarily hit families with a single wage earner in the lower reaches of the higher rate tax bracket. Just the kind of people by the way, who would be likely Conservative voters.

Now there are those towards the left of the political spectrum who’d rationalise this quite easily – don’t give money to relatively wealthy people – give it to the genuinely poor who need it more

There are those on the right wing who’d defend it as well – don’t nanny us, make the state smaller and allow people to make their own way in life, without contributing to the welfare of others unless they choose to, and without resorting to ‘big state’ support.

In Britain though my feeling is that we have rather more people who don’t go with either of those views. We have rather a lot of people who are somewhere in the middle. People who don’t think there’s anything wrong with turning a profit, doing well in their chosen profession or business and becoming relatively well off, but who equally don’t have a problem with the state being structured in such a way as to help ordinary people – whatever their earnings – during the times when they need it the most – not just when they’re in desperate need, but also at strategic points in their life where they are relatively more in need of a little help.

When we think of “National Insurance” – we tend to think of it as insurance against the disaster of unemployment or disability. Insurance can provide for other less drastic eventualities though – and can be a way of providing for the future benefit of our families – and the nation’s families.

This is put fairly well (by a Conservative mind) in this article on Conservative Home : George Osborne’s child benefit cut shouldn’t be permanent – thetorydiary by Paul Goodman (who I confess I have not come across before – I believe he’s the former Tory MP for Wycombe).

I don’t think this measure naturally appeals to many in any political party right now – though perhaps some of the more extreme libertarians in the Tory party like it. It could conceivably drive a lot of middle income voters towards Labour.

It could of course be justified as an “emergency measure” – except as I said at the beginning – it’s not ! – We’ll wait three years for this.

So I really don’t what the Conservatives are up to with this – I am suspicious of the Conservative tactics. I don’t think they’ll ever implement this cut in its current form, and I worry about what they will actually do instead. I usually go for ‘cock up’ over ‘conspiracy’ every time – but this time I’m not so sure.

Just a thought !

October 5, 2010 Posted by | Disability, economy, Family, politics | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just who would benefit from Cameron’s Tax cuts ?

The tragedy of a a person being hit by a train in the Harrow & Wealdstone area, thus suspending all trains in and out of Euston Station gives the unexpected silver lining of me being able to resurrect my much neglected blog.

I’m interested today by the Cameron Gift Calculator on the front page of the Labour Party website (the content will doubtless change in coming days). The little gadget there allows you to type in the value of your estate and find out how much you will benefit from the cuts in inheritance tax that David Cameron’s Conservative party are proposing.

Well my house, in South Bedfordshire is worth around £225,000 – I have a mortgage of around £100,000 but this would be more or less paid off with life insurance should I or my wife die.

So how much would – benefit ?  – Well I wouldn’t – nothing, zero – I’m not wealthy enough to get a present from Dave.

No surprise perhaps. After all according to the same Labour website neither would 96% of the population. It’s what I should expect no doubt.

But here’s the rub – I’m a Headteacher – a London Headteacher and I earn well above median earnings. In fact my salary of around £78,000 is (according to this July 2009 BBC article : Just what is a big salary? ) not just above average, but puts me in the top 5% of earners – comfortably in fact, with the cut off figure for the 95th centile being £58,917. Yet despite probably being in the top 4% of earners, I’m no where near the 4% of people who’d benefit from these Tory tax proposals.

So in case there’s anyone out there thinking the Tories’ tax cuts would benefit the high earners out there – forget it. It’s old money we’re talking out – people who had the money from the day they were born – or at least the promise of it when Mummy or Daddy popped their clogs.

Lest anyone’s in any doubt – the inheritance tax cuts would not affect anyone with estates of less than £700,000 – and then not massively. But if for example you had an estate worth £5, 000, 000 then you’d stand to benefit by £520,000  (or your heirs would). As if you’d need it !

As Gordon Brown observed in Parliament today, Cameron and Osborne “will know by name” almost all of the people who will benefit from these measures – and adding  “Is this what the Conservatives mean when they say ‘we’re all in this together?’

So before you go off and vote Conservative in the general election – ‘just for a change’ – remember what kind of people they are : They are really greedy people who just look out for themselves and their own kind !

UPDATE : PLEASE READ MY COMMENTS POLICY – MY BLOG MY RULES !

November 18, 2009 Posted by | blogs, news, politics | , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

   

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