Politics Uncategorized

HMRC could use Identity Register to enforce tax

Henry Porter of the Guardian writes that ID cards could grant the taxman access to your bank records

Secondary legislation laid before parliament last week reveals that the taxman will have access to the log of a person’s major transactions, hotel bookings, airline tickets, holidays, car payment plans etc. Naturally the subject of this inspection will have no idea that HM Revenue and Customs is examining their spending log or what deductions, false or otherwise, will be made.

It seems that the fears of opponents to the ID card system were in fact well-founded. The system isn’t even in place yet and there is already function creep.

Politics Terrorism Uncategorized

9-11, 7/7 UK Terror Laws May Be Scaled Back

UK Justice Minister Jack Straw today signaled that some of the terror laws enacted after 9/11 and 7/7 may be scaled back. The announcement is the first indication that Labour ministers want to scale back counterterrorism laws, amid growing consensus that recent powers have gone too far.

Politics Uncategorized

Dyson’s engineering academy rejected by government who favours spin

The Times reports that Sir James Dyson’s plans for a national engineering academy were thrown out by the government in favour of a rival scheme by a Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones saying that it would receive “more positive national publicity”.

The inventor, famous for his bagless vacuum cleaners, has separately accused John Denham, the skills secretary who announced Jones’s success, of neglecting Britain’s dire need for qualified engineers for reasons of spin.

Dyson, whose charitable foundation spent £3.5m preparing his bid for an engineering academy in Bath, was turned down last autumn for government funding in favour of Jones’s idea for an institution to teach entrepreneurship.

I agree with James Dyson’s assessment that Britain which had been at the forefront of innovation for centuries lost its way following World War II and marketing began to replace engineering as the foundation of the British economy.

It is style over substance.

That’s not to say that Peter Jones’s scheme is style over substance as entrepreneurship is a valuable skill-set to impart to young people. However we need a greater number engineers in this country and we need to value them more highly so that we have groundbreaking new inventions around which the newly minted entrepreneurs can build businesses.

Politics Surveillance Uncategorized

The abusive relationship that are we are stuck in with the British government.

Charlie Brooker vents in his inimitable fashion about the state of British politics. To politicians, we’re little more than meaningless blobs on a monitor.

My personal snapping point was reached last week, at the precise moment Jack Straw announced the government was vetoing the Information Tribunal’s order for the release of cabinet minutes relating to that whole invasion-of-Iraq thing

I agree that many of the British people will reach their own snapping point with regard to our government sometime soon and that perhaps the state of the economy will be the metaphorical straw that causes them to stop rolling over and accepting the ongoing series of government malfeasance.

Politics Uncategorized

British ‘careless’ with liberties

BBC News reports that former shadow home affairs minister David Davis believes that British people have been “careless” with their civil liberties, but that is beginning to change. Speaking at the Convention on Modern Liberty on Saturday, Mr Davis said people were growing increasingly angry at government intrusion in their lives.

Politics Security Uncategorized

Spy centre will track you on holiday

The Times reports that THE government is building a secret database to track and hold the international travel records of all 60m Britons.

The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250m passenger movements in and out of the UK each year.

The computerised pattern of every individual’s travel history will be stored for up to 10 years, the Home Office admits.

The government says the new database, to be housed in an industrial estate in Wythenshawe, near Manchester, is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. However, opposition MPs, privacy campaigners and some government officials fear it is a significant step towards a total surveillance society.

The Government have this mindset that damn the consequences that the more they know about its citizens then the safer we all will be even in the face of intelligent and reasoned opposition. [via]

Politics Uncategorized

Bush ‘Not Insulted’ by Thrown Shoes

President George W. Bush spoke with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Sunday following an incident in which an Iraqi reporter threw two shoes at the president.

Bush told Raddatz he wasn’t insulted by the shoe-throwing, and that stranger things have happened to him.

Is it still an insult if the person being insulted doesn’t consider it to be an insult?

Politics Uncategorized

Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States

The votes haven’t been counted but the states of California and Washington have been called for Obama and have put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the election.

Politics Uncategorized

Fox News calls Ohio for Obama

If even Fox News are declaring Obama has won in Ohio then it looks like it’s all over for McCain.

Also if the following really happens the irony is delicious. RNC Ready To Sue Over Computerized Voter Fraud?

Politics Uncategorized

I for one welcome our new Electronic Voting Machine overlord.

Well most of the results are in and in quite the upset it seems that voting machine DRE 700 has been elected the President of the United States. This came as a surprise to the pollsters who had been calling it to the Democratic party and had not considered any third party candidate as any kind of threat.

Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President