Just how long has the fiddling of NHS targets been going on?

Just been answering a post at a certain Facebook group about NHS A&E waiting times, and in the process looked up relavent articles to accompany it about NHS targets being fiddled under Labour to make things look better than they are (with the Conservatives doing their best to stop NHS trusts from pulling that stunt any more).

Here’s some I found……….

BBC News, 2002

Daily Express, 2009

E-Health Insider, January 2014

Europe said our unemployment benefit is crap – what to do about it?

Back at the end of January, there was news that Europe says we must DOUBLE the amount Britain pays out to the unemployed. The news story kinda got the amount wrong (no longer £67 a week, but actually £70.71 a week, rising to £72.40 a week for over-25’s from 8th of April 2014).

A review of of Britain’s compliance to the European Social Charter found the country’s level of jobseeker’s allowance, pensions and incapacity benefit falls below 40 per cent of the median income of European states.

To comply, Jobseeker’s Allowance would have to be hiked by £71, from £67 to £138 a week.

The Council of Europe said the UK was legally bound to meet the requirements in the same way they are by the European Convention on Human Rights.

What to do about this? (apart from leaving the EU, for which there are plenty of other reasons to do so long before this came up).

Around the time the story came out (and I first mean’t to get round to writing this thing) I came up with the idea of encouraging more people to take out private unemployment insurance while they have a job, so they can use that to start off with if/when they lose their job (then go onto to the government provided JSA that Europe says is crap once that has run out), and dabbled with a quote HERE, where I seem to recall getting a quote along the lines of £46 a week / month (can’t remember which now) for £1,000 a month cover.

I also found the Wikipedia article for how other countries deal with unemployment benefits, what d’ya think of the Canadian way of doing it?

In Canada, the system now known as Employment Insurance was formerly called Unemployment Insurance. The name was changed in 1996, in order to alleviate perceived negative connotations. In 2011, Canadian workers pay premiums of 1.78%[4] of insured earnings in return for benefits if they lose their jobs. Employers contribute 1.4 times the amount of employee premiums. Since 1990, there is no government contribution to this fund. The amount a person receives and how long they can stay on EI varies with their previous salary, how long they were working, and the unemployment rate in their area. The EI system is managed by Service Canada, a service delivery network reporting to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

A bit over half of EI benefits are paid in Ontario and the Western provinces but EI is especially important in the Atlantic provinces, which have higher rates of unemployment. Many Atlantic workers are also employed in seasonal work such as fishing, forestry or tourism and go on EI over the winter when there is no work. There are special rules for fishermen making it easier for them to collect EI. EI also pays for maternity and parental leave, compassionate care leave, and illness coverage. The programme also pays for retraining programmes (EI Part II) through labour market agreements with the Canadian provinces.

The Employment and Social Insurance Act was passed in 1935 during the Great Depression by the government of R.B. Bennett as an attempted Canadian unemployment insurance programme. It was, however, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada as unemployment was judged to be an insurance matter falling under provincial responsibility. After a constitutional amendment was agreed to by the provinces, a reference to “Unemployment Insurance” was added to the matters falling under federal authority under the Constitution Act, 1867, and the first Canadian system was adopted in 1940. Because of these problems Canada was the last major Western country to bring in an employment insurance system. It was extended dramatically by Pierre Trudeau in 1971 making it much easier to get. The system was sometimes called the 10/42, because one had to work for 10 weeks to get benefits for the other 42 weeks of the year. It was also in 1971 that the UI program was first opened up to maternity and sickness benefits, for 15 weeks in each case.

The generosity of the Canadian UI programme was progressively reduced after the adoption of the 1971 UI Act. At the same time, the federal government gradually reduced its financial contribution, eliminating it entirely by 1990. The EI system was again cut by the Progressive Conservatives in 1990 and 1993, then by the Liberals in 1994 and 1996. Amendments made it harder to qualify by increasing the time needed to be worked, although seasonal claimants (who work long hours over short periods) turned out to gain from the replacement, in 1996, of weeks by hours to qualify. The ratio of beneficiaries to unemployed, after having stood at around 40 percent for many years, rose somewhat during the 2009 recession but then fell back again to the low 40s.[5] Many unemployed persons are not covered for benefits (e.g. the self-employed), while others may have exhausted their benefits or did not work long enough to qualify. However, it is noted that about 80 percent of insured job-losers would initially qualify to receive EI benefits in Canada. The length of time one could take EI has also been cut repeatedly. The 1994 and 1996 changes contributed to a sharp fall in Liberal support in the Atlantic provinces in the 1997 election.

In 2001, the federal government increased parental leave from 10 to 35 weeks, which was added to preexisting maternity benefits of 15 weeks. In 2004, it allowed workers to take EI for compassionate care leave while caring for a dying relative, although the strict conditions imposed make this a little used benefit. In 2006, the Province of Quebec opted out of the federal EI scheme in respect of maternity, parental and adoption benefits, in order to provide more generous benefits for all workers in that province, including self-employed workers. Total EI spending was $19.677 billion for 2011-2012 (figures in Canadian dollars).[6]

A significant part of the federal fiscal surplus of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin years came from the EI system. Premiums were reduced much less than falling expenditures – producing, from 1994 onwards, EI surpluses of several billion dollars per year, which were added to general government revenue.[7] The cumulative EI surplus stood at $57 billion at March 31, 2008,[8] nearly four times the amount needed to cover the extra costs paid during a recession.[9] This drew criticism from Opposition parties and from business and labour groups, and has remained a recurring issue of the public debate. The Conservative Party, after voicing much the same criticism while in opposition,[10] chose not to recognize those EI surpluses after being elected in 2006. Instead, the Conservative government cancelled the EI surpluses entirely in 2010, and required EI contributors to make up the 2009, 2010 and 2011 annual deficits by increasing EI premiums. On December 11, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a court challenge launched against the federal government by two Quebec unions, who argued that EI funds had been misappropriated by the government.[11]

Anyone got any better ideas?

Leftard halfwits are still falling for & peddling Labour’s “it was an international crisis” distraction technique

Back in 2008 (5 or 6 years ago now) you may recall that Labour screwed-up the economy big-style, and used “it was an international crisis” + “it was Thatcher’s fault for de-regulating the banks” as an excuse to try and wriggle out of the blame. As their supporters are generally lazy bastards who seem to get their information (or lack of) via word of mouth, or only just bother to read the headline and not the whole thing (You may have noticed this if you’ve ever tried to convince them of the benefits of Flat Taxes, or bringing sanity to human rights laws)…. last week I noticed they are still peddalling the myth that their idols couldn’t possibly be to blame for the financial crash “because it was an international crisis” & “Thatcher de-regulated the evil banksters” via Social Media.

Us Conservative-types of course know better (or at least should do), because we can be bothered to read such excellent sources of information on this kind of thing as John Redwood’s Diary, ConservativeHome, Telegraph Blogs + Finance, The Spectator, The Commentator + many others… and therefore know that it was actually more kinda the shit hitting the fan from lots of different financial problem at roughly the same time to cause one humongous international crisis.

So let’s try give them a recap…….. (not that they’ll pay any notice I suppose)

British Financial screw-up
This WAS caused by Gormless Gordon changing the financial regulatory system, and is extremely well explained in a post on John Redwood’s blog entitled “How we got into this mess” (30th march 2009).

Gordon Brown did not make the Bank of England “independent”. He gutted and filleted it, taking away its duty to manage the government’s own debt, and removing the responsibility to supervise the banks.

He put his own people on the Monetary Policy Committee. He changed its target in 2003 so it kept interest rates down prior to the 2005 election. The MPC failed to hit the inflation target, allowing some prices to soar. It ignored the sharp rises in house and property prices, the fall in the pound and the commodity cycle.

It was NOT caused by Margaret Thatcher de-regulating the banks, as stated in a John Redwood blog from 7th May 2009:

The extreme extension of credit happened in the last decade under Labour and under Mr Brown’s very own design of regulations. When Margaret Thatcher left office the simpler and more efffective controls on cash and capital did not allow banks to overextend and create a big asset bubble.

Nor did the Economic Policy review’s critique of Labour’s over the top and totally ineffective mortgage regulation cause the crisis – it was part of a case to have effective regulation of what mattered as we did before Brown changed it all.

Eurozone Crisis………
This was basically caused by the Eurozone being a bloody stupid idea crafted for political reasons rather than economic ones, as well as letting the Greeks & Italians into the Eurozone despite them having shaky finances, and leaving countries such as Ireland being unable to tinker with interest rates to suit local economic circumstances.

American Crisis
This was apparently caused by political correctness: Leftards in the Clinton-era believing blacks & latino’s couldn’t get mortagages to buy their own home “because banks are racist institutions”, rather than the real reason being because these groups are generally in a too piss-poor personal finance situation to be able to pay back a mortgage… and thus was born the sub-prime mortgage (which also helped trigger the British financial crisis, with UK banks dabbling in them too).

Prior to starting this blog I also saw an article citing the Russians being involved in the crisis too, as a form of Economic-Terrorism.

Back in September of 2013, For The Record looked at the possibility that countries hostile to the U.S., like China and Russia, may have artificially driven up the price of oil and intentionally crashed the stocks of some financial institutions, escalating chaos prior to the 2008 economic crisis. Yesterday, a BBC report seemingly confirmed this investigation.

In a September article for TheBlaze.com, TheBlaze’s senior Washington correspondent Sara Carter explained the threat of economic terrorism to the United States.

Carter writes:

China, Russia and even Al Qaeda, among others, all have one thing in common: They believe that unconventional warfare against America’s economy is the best way to destroy our nation without actually ever having to fire a shot.
And our enemies almost made it happen in 2008.

[…]

[F]ormer senior U.S. officials disclose what the Pentagon and Washington establishment had been hoping to bury — that the near economic collapse of the United States in 2008 was not due to widespread failures in government regulations, but a planned attack to destroy our nation perpetrated by both China and Russia.

There’s more to it than what I’ve had the energy to track down for this blog post, but it pretty much sums it up… use the comments box below to chip-in with more if you want to.

Has Monty Python’s “Mr Hilter” Sketch now become a reality?

Remember the Mr Hilter Sketch in Monty Python? The one where John Cleese is dressed up as Hitler, but altered his name slightly to “Mr Hilter”?

Well in the last few months or so I’ve noticed the emergence on a certain Facebook group of a new minor British political party that instead of calling themselves the National Socialist Party (as in the German Nazi Party), are calling themselves the Patriotic Socialist Party.
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John Hutton
“In time, we will raise the Party’s banner in every village, town and city in Britain.

www.patriotic-socialist.org.uk

Join us today and fight for a true alternative in British politics.”
“In time, we will raise the Party’s banner in every village, town and city in Britain. www.patriotic-socialist.org.uk Join us today and fight for a true alternative in British politics.”
Like · · Share · 23 hours ago
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You may laugh at & ridicule them HERE.