Things Can Only Get Worse

Things get worse by the day.

I heard this morning of a carer who was booked for parking while helping his disabled wife into a medical centre for treatment. Appeals to the local council involved and to the local (Blairite loyalist) MP brought the usual “we can’t help, rules are rules” responses. The offence of allowing the disabled badge to drop out of sight (easy enough on days when there is the slightest wind) was compounded it seems by the fact that the specially adapted vehicle had parked with a wheel on the yellow line of the bay.

On the same news bulletin I learned that police still haven’t a clue as to the wherabouts of the convicted murderer who walked out of an open prison a few days ago.

Its time we started the revolution brothers and sisters.


A kerfuffle across the pond

Quiet couple of days from Little Nicky, this is due to my alter ego Ian getting himself embroiled in a kerfuffle about 9/11 at a site across the pond.

You haven’t time to go to all the “rabid right” hate sites that led up to it but you can read the article that dragged Ian into a lot of heavy discussions either here (Gather) or here (authorsden) The first link is the best although the management have responded to pressure from other members and started removing the more lurid threats and denunciations. The second link is just to boost my traffic really, Authorsden used to be good but now has become the official website for the Disneyfication of everything campaign and so people do not look at anything that is not coated in pink sugar.

Look out for exciting news of Nicky’s plans for the future.

In the interests of debate

No post today, the hot topic has been comprehensively dealt with over at Boggart Blog where the question of the Labour succession had been treated with the gravitas it deserves.

You might enjoy the conservative view of the same topic expressed at Iain Dale’s Diary

I know that few of my readers are conservative but Iain is a good writer and he is funny. AND we must not follow America’s lead in reducing debate to merely flinging insults.


If India Will Have Us Mr Cameron.

Some people may have been cheered this week to find that Cameron of the Conservatives is advocating Britain’s foreign policy should focus on forging a special relationship with India.
While it is good to see any hint that a leading politician is thinking in terms of distancing our nation from the Burger – Chomping War Junkies of America regular readers of the Machiavelli blog may remember that Little Nicky was advocating just such a policy a couple of months ago when Blair was snuggling his nose in to the groove in George Bush’s bottom ready to pump up the hysteria for an invasion of Iran. (That of course was before Hizbullah bloodied the nose of Israel in the warm up event thus demonstrating that the Iranians might have both the hardware and the mindset to put up a fight.)
The American economy is in ruins, all it needs is for China and India to call in the debts and the good life is over in the U.S. of A, the myth of American military might has been exploded in Iraq and Afghanistan and the religious right have so tarnished America’s reputation in the world community all that’s left for them is to become an isolationist, inward looking “sleeping giant,” the role occupied by China for most of the last millennium.
It says a lot for the tolerance and generosity of spirit of the Indian people that the majority still respect Britain as a nation now that the true extent of our colonial atrocities has been revealed, but given that goodwill we can still lead Europe in forging closer ties with the east we can perhaps turn aside the rush to globalisation and build a world community that is not based on consumption and ever greater economic growth.
The America dream was never sustainable.


The Cuddly Side of Big Business

Richard Lambert, the new head of the chief of the CBI, made his first major speech today. He tyold his audience, “Business gets a raw deal from the public, the media and politicians, with even David Cameron, the Tory party leader, distancing himself from big business.”
The speech acknowledged that business has not done itself any favours through scandals such as Enron. He said lack of trust made it harder for the business community to make the argument for the free movement of people, capital and services – globalisation in effect – at a time when protectionist forces in the US and Europe are gathering strength.

Mr Lambert summed up by saying. “Too often, business is presented as a zero sum game. The impression is given that if an individual, or a company, is making lots of money, it must be at someone else’s expense.”
That ambivalence emerges most clearly when companies such as BP and HSBC report record profits. It does mean tax receipts for the government to spend on the NHS and other social services and healthy pension schemes as these funds invest in big companies, but at the same time many people wonder whether HSBC is making such huge profits through high banking charges. On the issue of “fat cat” pay he saidGlobalisation has helped to push up the pay of senior executives, while those lower down the food chain find themselves competing against workers in developing countries.
Most people expect top executives to be well-rewarded because of the heavy responsibilities they bear. But what sticks in people’s craws are the legal tax dodges of the ultra-rich. In July the Guardian traced more than 650 directors of British companies who give their current address as Monaco. This hardly encourages trust in business.

LITTLE NICKY SAYS It will be interesting to learn how these people plan to persuade us that wrecking the environment, destroying communities that have sustained our quality of life, spreading third world poverty to the second and first world and creating a fragmented and warring world all in the pursuit of short term profit is actually going to do any good to anyone unless they can afford a place on the orbiting synthetic planet Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are obviously planning to build?

When big business starts paying its fair whack of taxes I might start listening to their arguments. BUT I WILL NOT BE HOLDING MY BREATH.


Get The Strength of the Fraud Companies Around You

You don’t have to be as old as I am to remember the advertising slogan “get the strength of the insurance companies around you.” That ad campaign and the images it conjured up of dry, pallid people sitting in brown, dusty offices counting money and doing endless little calculations in huge ancient ledgers persisted well into the nineteen eighties. The accompanying image of an insurance policy rolled and folded to look like a castle keep protecting a happy family of carefree parents and their two point four children also reeked of prudence and probity. Surely these people could be trusted to protect us from the consequences should we ever be foolish enough to abandon conformity and try to think for ourselves.
I’m sure it was once all true and valid but somewhere along the line, probably soon after Maggie Thatcher deregulated the financial markets the insurance companies changed and their moralistic advertising was revealed as a hypocritical sham. Your money would have been safer if you had invested in the 2:30 at Newmarket.
Chances are if you had invested in a with profits endowment policy with any of the leading providers any time in the last twenty years you would be looking at a loss. Ms Dwenna Georges knows Little Nicky speaks true for she did just that and is now out of pocket.
Let’s get this straight, the case is not that the lady will not get back anything like the sum she was led to believe the policy would return but that she will not even get back what she has paid in. On paper the loss is only £298 which if you say it quickly sounds like peanuts on a £60,000 investment but when we allow for inflation over a decade it is really quite substantial. Had Ms. Georges put her cash, £500 per month in a fuddy-duddy old Post Office savings account at two and a half per cent interest, the kind of investment that was derided by the brave new financial advisors of Maggie’s Brave New World she would now be looking, according to my very quick calculation at a lump sum of £68,900 rather than £59,700. And yet the insurance company involved has traded for years on its reputation for honesty and prudence, not to mention some intriguing ads featuring the rather attractive daughter of 007 Roger Moore, effing hell why am I being coy, its Scottish Widows although the excuses and citation of vague clauses in the very small print offered by its smarmy spokesman might sound more typical of the Mutual And Friendly Insurance Association. “Investors should be aware that their investments can go down as well as up,” or “cashing in a policy can often lead to getting back less than has been paid in,” the usual bullshit. The thing is Ms Georges thought she was buying a ten year policy, the sales literature which she still has talks of a ten year policy yet she signed up for a twenty year policy. It was a worse deal for her but a better one for the salesman.
Scottish Widows, like Norwich Union, Prudential and most of the others would like us to believe that we are all to stupid to understand money so we should not forget the endowment mortgage scandal and the pensions scandal. While these thieving scum are advertising their “ethical trading policies” they are simultaneously encouraging sales people to go out and LIE to the punters. Why? Little Nicky, having been a victim of legalised insurance fraud himself in a previous incarnation, will tell you why. Because if government and regulators made them tell the truth about their “financial products” we would all be bunging our money in Post Office Savings accounts (which pay considerably more than two and a half percent these days.

Let’s remember folks that while it was Maggie’s neo-cons who deregulated the fraud industry, the People’s Party have had nine years to change things but have only piled fuel on the fire.