Let’s cut the link between politicians and tax avoidance firms

Why are the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms – the companies at the heart of every major scheme for tax avoidance – being allowed to make the law on – guess what – tax avoidance? Could it be because our comedy Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his part-time Chancellor, Gideon George Osborne, are both either tax avoiders themselves, or have strong connections with tax avoidance? I think it could. Cameron’s family made their fortune by establishing a tax dodging empire after Margaret Thatcher abolished capital controls in 1979. And there was a major…

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An e-petition to tackle corruption amongst MPs

It wasn’t what I really wanted, but it’s a start – and it might help to identify some of the bad guys (and gals) in the House of Commons. I am referring to my new e-petition, which calls on the government to legislate against MPs speaking or voting in debates on matters which could lead to them, companies connected with them or donors to their political party, gaining money. You can find it at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44971 – got it? Good, now sign it, please. Done that? Now read on. Thanks! I…

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More home truths about social housing

Today I was going to follow up my Panorama preview with an analysis of what the show had to say. With apologies, that will have to wait. I was unable to view the episode on transmission because I was having to deal with the sudden flooding of my house by the efforts of workmen who were acting with the blessing of my landlord – and the effect of that on Mrs Mike, who returned from her wrist operation to find her possessions covered in water. All in all – and…

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Panorama’s ‘great disability scam’ – companies get fat while the disabled are punished

The BBC appears to have woken up and realised what people on the ground have been saying for more than a year: Government welfare policy is to starve the disabled while the companies they pay to judge them get fat on undeserved profits. Tonight’s Panorama (BBC1, 8.30pm) “reveals the private companies who are getting rich from the new reforms despite only being able to get a small fraction of disabled people back to work”. Great! About time. I hope it does a good job. The wording of the promotional page…

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The truth about social housing

Today I’m a little angry. More than a little, in fact. Here’s why: Long-term readers may be aware that I rent my house, from a Housing Association, with my partner – the famous Mrs Mike. She has long-term disability issues affecting both her physical and mental health. She is, in fact, due to go into hospital tomorrow for a carpal tunnel operation. This is an operation on her wrists, after which she will not be able to use her hand for 24 hours or so. It will be strapped to…

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Have the Tories stuck their heads in the sand – or somewhere else the sun doesn’t shine?

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you can always count on Tories to come up with an idea so hare-brained it makes you wonder whether they belong to the same species as the rest of us, or to some bizarre, inbred offshoot of humanity where evolution gave up on them after realising their logic runs backwards in comparison to everybody else. If you’re wondering what has provoked this rare torrent of invective from my normally mild-mannered keyboard, I’ll tell you: I was wandering through internet news coverage of…

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Why are you complaining? The economy is running exactly according to plan!

Confirmation has come through from the Office for National Statistics that the UK economy shrank in the last months of 2012. It’s no surprise – you only had to look at the shop sales figures for December to know that something was going wrong. The poor performance has negated the effects of the growth bump in the previous quarter, when the economy improved by 0.9 per cent, boosted by the London Olympics. The official Treasury line is: “While the economy is healing, it is a difficult road.” Healing? Total growth…

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Osborne or the IMF – who do you believe?

What a day. The International Monetary Fund has politely suggested that Gideon George Osborne should slow the pace of his austerity measures; in response, Osborne has politely suggested that the IMF should go and spin on it. You are watching ‘A Family At War’. The IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, told the BBC: “We said that if things look bad at the beginning of 2013 – which they do – then there should be a reassessment of fiscal policy… We think this would be a good time to take stock…

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Rejected! E-Petition is refused but none of the reasons match up

The e-petition calling for the office of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to be replaced has been rejected by the government website. According to the email I received this morning, “E-petitions cannot be used to request action on issues that are outside the responsibility of the government. This includes: “Party political material; “Commercial endorsements including the promotion of any product, service or publication; “Issues that are dealt with by devolved bodies, eg The Scottish Parliament; “Correspondence on personal issues.” It adds: “E-petitions cannot be used for freedom of information requests.” Help…

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