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Saturday, March 15, 2014

10s of Thousands of Pensioners Taken Into "Care" - Just Likr the Bastards Do With 100,000 Kids

‘thousands, if not tens of thousands’ of old people have been  forcibly incarcerated in care homes or hospitals against their wishes and are being ‘de facto detained

At the heart of the scandal is the ultra-secretive Court of Protection, set up under the Act, which rules every year that thousands of people are deemed to ‘lack mental capacity’ — so that control of their lives and property can be handed over to social workers and other state officials.
The 2005 Mental Capacity Act, which rules every year that thousands of people are deemed to 'lack mental capacity' - so that control of their lives and property can be handed over to social workers and other state officials. File picture
The 2005 Mental Capacity Act, which rules every year that thousands of people are deemed to 'lack mental capacity' - so that control of their lives and property can be handed over to social workers and other state officials. File picture

Last year, the Mail lifted a corner of the veil of secrecy surrounding this little-known court’s workings when it reported the case of Wanda Maddocks, who was imprisoned by one of its judges for removing her 80-year-old father from a care home in Stoke-on-Trent where he was being abused.
Eventually, he was tracked down by social services, and forcibly returned to care, while his daughter was punished for ‘abducting’ him with a 12-month jail sentence.
The Mail was able to report the details of this story only after Miss Maddocks was released from prison, because in the meantime her father had died and his case was therefore ‘closed’.
  By Christopher Booker writing in the Daily Mail
So there still are some honest journalists and papers. But, as the fact that this is the only one reporting this obscenity shows, not many.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Scottish Government, Ruling Parties and Hangers On Confirm By Silence - 98% Of Your Electricity Bill Is Their Theft

    Recently (24th Feb) I did articles here and on ThinkScotland giving my calculations showing that electricity costs could be reduced to 97.92% (well call it 98%) of what it currently is.

    At the end I expressed a willingness to consider doubts:

I'm not standing by that exact figure though I would hold to each part as being either firm or a reasonable estimate. Nor does it matter much. If we can say at least 90% of electricity costs are state parasitism and can, over a number of years, be removed it doesn't immediately matter if another 80% reduction is ultimately possible. But if some supporter of windmillery feels the figures can be factually disputed I am sure they will do so.

If nobody in Scotland's political class feels able to point to any error, after it has been aired here on ThinkScotland, it would be difficult to conclude these figures are in error. I am sure the editor would be willing to publish a serious critical article (unlike, for example, the BBC, which virtually never allows a balancing of opinions on such subjects).

     At the same time I emailed Patrick Harvie, Green Party leader, the Green, SNP, Labour, Conservative & LibDem party organisations, Scottish Renewables, and the BBC, both as an organisation and their "environmental" expert, Roger Harrabin notifying them of this and asking if they, in any way, disputed that 49/50ths of every bill is governmental parasitism. That was pretty much belt and braces because politicians do take notice of the media if they have horse sense and it is inconceivable that those responsible for the government of Scotland in this field would not either have seen it or had it drawn to their attention.

   If one of them chose not to disagree it was because they could not produce a credible disagreement. If all of them chose not to disagree it is because all of them know it is true and that the most credible dispute they could make would simply prove my case.

    As I commented on the ThinkScotland article

 it is obvious none of them are able to dispute the math. So undisputed then that 98% of our electricity bills are indeed governmental parasitism. Nice to have it settled.

  Neil Craig

     All the fuel poverty and all of the recession. They know it proving they did it deliberately,

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

SNP Childcare Promises

    My new ThinkScotland article - another in Brian's series on the SNP "White Paper". Please put any comments there:

SNP child care costings shown as pure fantasy

by Neil Craig

THE BIG money promise the SNP made in its White Paper was that if the Scots voted for separation the SNP would immediately provide:
  • Thirty hours of childcare per week in term time for all three and four-year-olds, as well as vulnerable two-year-olds.
As I mentioned in a previous ThinkScotland article  this means 150,000 kids or 200,000 hours so at least another £1 billion in extra taxes. That's 3p on income tax or equivalent the SNP is promising.
This promise was always something like the "bedroom tax"  – which the SNP already had the power legislate over if it thought doing something more desirable than using the issue as a totem, which obviously requires not doing anything because if it fixed the problem it couldn't denounce it).

As a promise it is very carefully targeted. Child carer costs are a dreadful additional expense for parents of young children and a serious disincentive to those who don't yet have them. The promise to wave them away with a little economic magic if only people vote for separation was likely to be greeted with relief by a particularly desperate demographic group. Which is, of course, why the SNP, so cynically, made the promise.

The particular economic magic it promised was that its figures showed that if the state simply took on the job of paying for child carer costs it promised enough mothers would join the workforce to bring in matching extra taxes to pay for it all. But only with independence – because otherwise the extra tax money would go to Westminster, and Westminster, being the wicked uncles the SNP say, would never consent to return any of it (even though under the Barnett formula the wicked uncles have always given Alex more per capita than they reserve for the English).

The logic all depends on the SNP being able to say, with certainty, that the tax rise would match the cost rise. Fortunately for the SNP, as we have repeatedly seen, it has no difficulty saying, with certainty, things which simply aren't true.

Scottishpol, the personal blog of the Sunday Herald political editor Tom Gordon  takes up the story.
"I've received a response to a Freedom of Information request I submitted to the Scottish Government asking for "the full results of any modelling which has been done" on the specific childcare proposals in the White Paper.

It turns out the Scottish Government didn't do ANY modelling of its own flagship policy.

"It modelled the impact of more women in the workforce...  "rather than directly modelling the impact of improved childcare itself".

To be fair, better childcare might bring lots more women into the workforce, and might raise lots more tax, but to advance a totemic policy on the basis of crossed fingers rather than rigorous analysis – and to give the impression it would be self-funding – seems pretty extraordinary to me.

If that's the standard for White Paper policies, folk may wonder what else is wishful thinking."

So the SNP made it up. Its "estimate" of the extra money just came out of thin air.

It is actually worse than that because the current cost of child carers is not something set in stone about which the SNP can do nothing. It is the direct and deliberate cost of government policy.

Here is a list of childcare costs around the OECD countries, calibrated in % terms of average wages which I think is a good comparison because, with little technology required, that really should be what makes up childcare costs.

Switzerland 77.7
UK  40.9
Ireland 45.2
USA 38.1
New Zealand 28.6
Canada 29.5
Japan 28.1
Australia 22.5
Slovenia 19.9
OECD, all 18.
Austria 16.8
Germany 14.1
Israel 18.3
Norway 10.8
France 16.5
Netherlands 13.2
Denmark 11.2
Korea  8.5
Finland 12.2
Czech Republic 10.6
Luxembourg 8.7
Iceland  7.9
Portugal 7.7
Poland 7.1
Spain 8.2
Belgium 5.8
Sweden 7.1
Hungary 6.2
Slovak Republic 7.4
Estonia  6.6
Greece  4.9

That is what I call a wide disparity. Note that Sweden, Belgium, Iceland, Luxembourg and Finland are all countries as wealthy as us or slightly more and all countries with good welfare systems so it is not credible that they are keeping costs down by dropping standards – even if the state were not to notice the parents would.

Note also that all of the least expensive 13 except Iceland are EU members so, for once, the EU regulatory regime cannot be to blame.

The basic rule here is that if something is being done abroad at a certain price it is possible to do it at that price here, and if it isn't being done cheaper here it must, other things being equal, be that our government is more restrictive than abroad's. This applies with costs of nuclear plants, housing, building projects, tunnelling. It must also apply to childcare.

The cost of the last 13 averages 7.7% of average income. With Britain at 40.9%, that must mean the level of state parasitism is 81% of the total cost.

Obviously not only is this cruel to parents it produces a strong discouragement to the birth of children, particularly among the middle class, who are neither rich enough to afford it, nor poor enough to be due it for free. It is difficult to think of something more likely to, over generations, destroy our nation. And  keeping a significant proportion of parents out of the workforce has major economic effects.

Note that Estonia, with virtually the lowest costs (6.6%), is also a deeply libertarian state (largely because after decades of Soviet rule the people are unimpressed with the promises of statists). I do not seek separation from the rest of Britain but if we were to be governed by politicians like Estonia's I would not fear the outcome. Unfortunately it is difficult to conceive of politicians less akin to the entrepreneurial, libertarian free market Estonians than the current Holyrood Numptocracy.

How to solve it:

Rather than spend a lot of time fighting over each regulation and slowly hacking away at the bureaucracy, why not simply introduce a new class of child care? Say that anybody is allowed to set up as a "Childminder" (as opposed to Child carer) so long as all their advertising includes "not government regulated" and that such childminders are allowed to include any sort of liability waiver. I assume liability law is why the US costs are almost as high as Britain's. Any parents are free to choose.

Current law on everybody includes the need for public liability insurance and that would remain and might well become the basis of a free market, just as France avoids most of our housing regulation by requiring builder's insurance on all new housing.

Note also that in Scotland, almost all regulatory powers are held by Holyrood. Thus this reform could be carried out here without any interference from either Westminster or Brussels.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Russia, Ukraine, Population and Geometric Growth

      Jerry Pournelle recently published a comment from me. He had previously been discussing Russian population decline and said that Putin's aim in Crimea/Ukraine is a desperate search, not for territory but for more Russians. That is a reasonable position but I considered that there is a better way to get people.

Putin Needs Russians 
Presumably he doesn’t really understand how free enterprise works much better than Obama. He has plenty of money. all he has to do is put lots of it into child support, probably only of children who have at least 2 ethnic Russian grandparents though that would get a lot of western fingerwagging. 
If you tax something you will get less of it. if you subsidize it, enough, you will get more. 
That would be cheaper than wars. 
One of the lessons of wars since the industrial revolution is that a nation no longer gets powerful by grabbing the territory of unfriendly neighbors if you have to keep their recalcitrant population too. Britain learned this in Ireland and India & learned the opposite lesson about the strength of friends in Australia and Canada (& despite a little carelessness in 1776 in the US too). 
I once calculated that by 2050, at present rates of population growth <> [my article ] Yemen will have a larger population and a more aggressive population than Russia (more aggressive because poorer, more crowded and large families make young men more expendable). Not problems I wish on either.  
Best Wishes
Neil Craig
I am quite certain that Mr. Putin understands family incentives and tax breaks. And not wanting recalcitrant minorities is likely to look very high in his calculations. In the case of the Crimea the benefits of annexation outweigh the costs.  In the cast of the ‘stans’, it is better to lure the Russians to Russia; the land is not really wanted. With the Ukraine itself things get complicated.  I suspect Russians are quite capable of rational analysis on these issues.

      I like his gentle chiding of the possibility that Obama and his circle might have not an infinitely worse understanding of free markets than the ex-KGB colonel Putin has. Having read some speeches from both I have to accept he is probably right. Ditto on a whole range of other subjects.

      Jerry's site is one that should be read by anybody who is philosophically interested in politics rather than simply as a way of using tribalism to fleece the voters and by anybody who supports human progress. I am proud to say that his site and earlier writings are probably my primary political influence so you know who to blame.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ukraine And The EU/NATO Record On International Law - Metro Letter

        This letter of mine was in the Metro on Monday. The bit in italics was edited out but it remained well above the average length of a Metro letter so that is fair. The letter went out to all our major papers and this is not the first time I have found the Metro more willing to publish unapproved opinions than the "quality" press are.:

The Crimeans are holding a referendum to quit Ukraine and join Russia.
        The western powers are not so much opposed to this on democratic grounds, after all it will be done by referendum and Ukraine is currently without an elected government, but because it offends against international law and guarantees such as the Helsinki Treaty where all signatories agreed international borders in Europe were sacrosanct. This is a reasonable point even though it is weakened by the US admission that they have been interfering in Ukraine to the extent of spending $5 bn subverting Ukraine's elected government by funding "awareness raising" activities by, often Fascist, rioters.
      Perhaps therefore the NATO countries, who signed a temporary occupation agreement of Kosovo with the sovereign power, Yugoslavia, guaranteeing that sovereignty, as previously confirmed in that Helsinki Treaty and elsewhere should consider returning it.
      Perhaps they could make suitable recompense to the 350,000 people ethnically cleansed fromm Kosovo by NATO police (formerly NATO armed KLA & formerly to that Albanian gangsters, drug lords, sex slavers, organleggers and a few left over Nazis).
      Or for the 10s of thousands of girls (& boys) kidnapped by our police.
     Or for the 1,800 people arrested, on racial grounds, and dissected, while still alive, by NATO police, to provide organs for western hospitals.
     Then they will be in a position to complain whether Mr Putin has acted improperly and whether any of them have any right to moralise.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Big Engineering 62 A Lunar Space Elevator

   This idea reported by Next Big Future is rather neat. A conventional space elevator from the Moon suffers from the fact that it doesn't rotate (well OK only rotates in time with the orbit round Earth) so there just isn't the centripetal force to keep it up. Pity because the lunar gravity is so much lower that there is no real difficulty now in constructing strong enough cable.

   However if we place the station at the L  point just above the centre point facing Earth and lock it in place with a weight (ie small asteroid) we have a stable system.

         The proposers say this could be in place by 2019 and while I am sure they are technologically right (there seems to be nothing there not technologically possible today) it would require quite a lot of moving mass around and to have a market big enough to justify it would need a fair bit of space industrialisation. On current trends that means way beyond 2019 (on prsent trends, if we rely on NASA/ESA/etc it means never but lets not go there).

         But if some country decided it was going to put 1% of what was put into owning Afghanistan (ie about $40 bn)(£25bn - 1/3rd of HS2, 10 Forth bridges) into this project it could be done even by that early date. It would establish the builder as, if not owner of the Moon, the nation able to exploit it FAR more easily than anybody else because only they could easily land and take off virtually unlimited amounts of material.

        Couple of other gains:

1 - Lunar material is effectively unlimited in quantity. Moving it into orbit, where there is zero-G, means it can be processed (for example melted down using mirrors)  gives enormous opportunities for manufacturing in zero G - both small, materials with a molecular structure that can only be formed in zero-G, to vast orbital O'Neill colonies miles long.

2 -  The cable stretches beyond the stable point. Drop a spaceship off the end of that and it will fall towards the Earth. Earth being 250,000 miles away and 8,000 across is, so long as the ship produces a little lateral thrust, easy to miss. Indeed a ship launching from there will get a strong slingshot effect (building up speed by falling and then being pulled into a curve by gravity while passing Earth) which would give it enough extra speed to go (slowly) almost anywhere in the solar system.

     Not bad for 1% of Afghanistan.

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