The Dripping Tap Editorial……

29 Nov

‘There are a few things I’d like to get off my chest today, so here’s an editorial from the Dripping Tap’……

 

Uganda……

In early November the Department for International Development stopped all UK aid payment to Uganda due to allegations of fraud.  This comes as no surprise to most of us but there’s a bigger issue here.  Should we pay aid to any country with questionable human rights records?  We should give money to agencies charged with delivering services directly on the ground but not to corrupt governments.

Right now there’s a big human rights issue in Uganda and one which our government cannot ignore.  Homosexuality is still a criminal offence in Uganda and can carry a life sentence but in new legislation they are proposing the death penalty for homosexual acts and for transgender people.  Furthermore, the Ugandan Government’s rhetoric is driving ‘vigilante’ behaviour amongst the population.  Gay people are being murdered for their sexuality and very little is being done to take action against those committing the violence.  This is a serious issue and GLBT people should not have to live in fear of the state or their fellow countrymen.

What can you do to help?  Please sign the petition at change.org – and/or join the Amnesty International campaign and email the Ugandan authorities to make your feelings known.

Palestinian Request for Membership of the UN……

Israel has a permanent seat at the United Nations.  Palestine does not.  It is applying to be recognised by the UN as a state but the UK Government has refused to back their application unless they return to negotiations immediately.  Although, this may not sound like an unreasonable request, Israel is in breach of over 30 UN Resolutions for being in violation of International Law and the Geneva Conventions.  The Palestinians do want to negotiate a two state solution but are reluctant to do so whilst the Israelis are still illegally occupying Palestinian territory and blocking imports and aid to the Palestinian people.  As I have pointed out before, it is Israel who is the aggressor in this dispute and seems to act with impunity.  It is not unreasonable for the Palestinians to lay out terms for any negotiations to take place and the UK, US, and UN should accept that this is a perfectly reasonable position for the Palestinians to take and support their application.

What can you do to help?   Email the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and make you view known.  The power of numbers can only help.  Be careful to include your name and address in your email or they may not respond and ask questions that require a response to stop them from moving your email straight to the trash can.  Email:  haguew@parliament.uk……

Energy Bill Increases……

As previously reported in the Dripping Tap, the UK Government have passed legislation to add a percentage to your energy bills to cover the cost of ‘renewable energy’.  Today they announced that this will amount to £7.5 billion but to add insult to injury there is an exemption for high energy consumers such as the Steel industry, Cement industry and others who use disproportionately large amounts of power in the creation of their products.

Not only should the energy companies be paying for their own green power generation from the huge profits they have accumulated over the past 25 years or thereabouts, since green issues and global warming has been known about, but to give exemptions to the most prolific ‘offenders’ is unfair when the rest of us are being penalised to cover the cost of infrastructure investment.

Last year approximately 27,000 mostly older people died during cold periods for fear of putting on their heating.  In a first world country this is unacceptable and another yearly increase of around £120 is not going to help reduce this figure.

What can you do to help?   The Secretary of State for Energy is Edward Davey.  Why not send him an email asking why the utility companies have not made provision to pay for something they knew was going to happen.  Again include your name and address and ask a question which requires a response.  Contact Edward Davey:  daveye@parliament.uk……

Minimum Pricing on Alcohol……

Firstly, I disagree with the concept that minimum pricing on alcohol will have any effect on alcoholism.  There is no evidence that the price of a drug, albeit Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy or Cigarettes has every contributed to the reduction of addiction.  If anything it can be counterproductive in that an addict will commit more crimes to fund the addiction and cause more damage health through lack of money.  This of course is yet another tax on the poor as the MPs voting on it probably don’t by the cheapest wines on offer, they probably charge it to expenses for the ‘important’ lunches they have with other bigwigs.  As with the increases in tobacco taxes this is a cynical ploy to raise some more money for the treasury.  To the majority of casual drinkers it simply helps to make one of the few pleasures that are left in life more unattainable…….

Leveson……

The whole Leveson Enquiry was a diversion to put some time and distance between the Politicians, Police and the Media.  Phone hacking is a criminal offence and should have been dealt with by the police and there was no need for Leveson.  The publication of the report is due later today so I haven’t had a chance to read it but I get the feeling that the status quo will prevail and the press will have a new independent regulator without any statute to give it any real powers.  The corruption between the Politicians and the Police and the relationships between the Politicians and the Media will slip under the radar……

Atos Healthcare – Lord Harrington’s Final Review……

Lord Harrington is to step down from his position reviewing Atos, the Work Capability Assessments and the DWP.  In his last of three reports in which he said the system was ‘not fit for purpose’ and having made 48 recommendations to improve things, he leaves stating ‘there are still problems with every stage of the process’, ‘it is slightly better than it was’ and that the majority of his recommendations have yet to be fully resolved.

Meanwhile, up to October of 2011, 31 people declared ‘fit for work’ died before their appeals were even heard.  At least 10 people have committed suicide due to the financial pressure and stress placed upon them by Atos Healthcare.  Many of our Armed Forces who lost limbs and suffered trauma in Iraq and Afghanistan have been told that they too are ‘fit for work’ by Atos Healthcare.  Whether you agree with our Foreign Policy or not, our troops deserve better.

We have a Welfare State.  This is supposed to act as a security blanket for those who cannot work through ill health.  The DWP have only one objective and that is to reduce the budget by £10 billion regardless of who gets hurt along the way.  If we spent more time closing the loopholes which allow Anglian Water, Google, Amazon, eBay and Starbucks from avoiding paying corporation tax, the £10 billion would pale into insignificance.  This country has more than enough money to pay for the services we may all depend on at some point.  Instead they dedicate a huge amount of time giving the public the impression that there is a large majority of malingerers who live on benefits as a ‘life choice’.  Try telling that to people with terminal illnesses that are being denied benefits while they suffer, most of who will have paid their taxes for most of their working lives prior to diagnosis…….

And Finally……

After the expenses scandal a couple of years ago we were told ‘no longer will MPs be allowed to get away with making inflated claims at the tax payers expense and, in the future they will be expected to follow the principal as well as the letter of the law’.  Well surprisingly enough that hasn’t happened as MPs have found a way around claiming mortgage interest by claiming rent which they are paying to each other.  And I’m sure that’s not the only scam they’ve got going.  Time will tell.

What can you do to help?   Get in touch with the Parliamentary Standards Authority and ask what action they intend to take against those ‘bending’ the rules.  Contact:  compliance@parliamentarystandards.org.uk……

‘In our ‘democracy’ the four yearly vote is practically worthless as the party you vote for does not adhere to the promises made in their manifesto.  We are a democracy in name only.  We do, however, have the power of the internet (for now at least).  Make use of it, make your voice heard and always ask for answers to avoid being filed in the recycling bin’

 Regards….  The Dripping Tap…..

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