Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Rearranging Deckchairs ...

I have been watching with some amusement, the latest efforts by the Home Office to 'do something' about the 'flood' of immigrants they expect to get from Romania and Bulgaria. The Home Secretary has been making noises about 'capping' the number of immigrants from within the EU, which, as the Deputy PM has pointed out is illegal and discriminatory. It seems to have escaped the notice of the British Press however, that the Danish Interior Ministry, and the Danish EU Commissioner free movement of workers within the EU has nailed the flaw in Mrs May's arguments.

The problem is that Britain has become a magnet for those looking for handouts because it has the most generous 'benefit' system in Europe, the easiest to gain access to, and the easiest to defraud. As the Danish lady said - stop trying to restrict the numbers, and fix the system that draws them in!

That, unfortunately, isn't going to happen. I know there is a huge uproar at the moment about cuts to a wide range of benefits, but the reality is that, in real terms, it is the old pea under the cup trick. While some, often the most in need of help, are losing out, the money is simply being 'rearranged' and the cheats, the idle and the manipulative aren't losing out. The 'rights' lawyers are having a ball, and raking in cash left right and centre 'fighting' for the handouts to migrants from non-EU countries and 'vulnerable minorities' while the pensioners, disabled, and chronically sick who don't have the connections, bear the brunt of it.

Parliament can, in the meantime, award itself a pay rise, bigger pension benefits and expenses claims, but is afraid to tackle the root cause of much of the UK's financial woe - the out of control 'benefit' system. To pay for this the last government raided Pension Funds, destroying some, reducing others to near bankruptcy and accusing all pensioners of 'being a drain on the economy'. A bit rich from a bunch of professional parasites sitting on gold-plated pensions themselves, especially as 'Pensions' are not a 'Benefit'. Everyone in receipt of one has contributed toward it through their employer, through their tax and through direct contributions. In my own case an average throughout my working life of 5% of salary in direct contribution, an amount matched for most of that time by my employer. So called National Insurance is supposed to pay for 'Unemployment Benefit', pensions and, some think, the National Health Service. It currently runs at 11% of earnings, plus an employer's contribution, but most of it simply vanishes into the Whitehall Black Hole. It is not, and never has been, an 'insurance' in the same sense as a policy taken out with an insurance company, nor has a single penny of it been invested for the future.

So now we have the spectacle of politicians having set up systems to 'redistribute' wealth from some, to those they and their civil servant chums consider 'deserving' and blaming those who have paid toward pensions and security for their families, being blamed for it being unaffordable. So now they resort to fraud and deceit to find solutions. One is the move to change the Fire and Rescue Service Pension age to 60. There were, and still are, very sound medical grounds for the present maximum retirement age being 55. The Minister is being misinformed, or possibly disingenuous when he says that any fire fighter forced to leave the service before age 60 will still get a full pension. The fact is that they won't. In fact many may have to leave the service at 50 - and will lose 10 years value from it. This is in the 'Report' the relevant department cooked up - it actually admits that potentially 91% of fire fighters won't be able to meet the fitness standards at age 50 or lower!

The fire fighters are an easy target, they're high profile, and their pension scheme appears very generous, so it is easy to spread the lie it 'isn't earned'. I note the politicians aren't admitting that the fire fighters pay 11% of income into it over their 30 year careers - money that is not - again - invested, but spent by the Local Authority concerned to 'redistribute' wealth on pet projects. I was particularly angered to note on a forum I frequent, that a non-Fire fighting "Area Manager" (Old money equivalent of a Senior Divisional Officer/DO I) 'managing' that other great shibboleth "Human Resources" was arguing that fire fighters should accept that the service isn't a 'lifetime career' any longer, and the pension benefits were too generous. Rich, considering that she has parachuted into the service at the same pay as the fire fighter who used to manage that function, and is now likely to draw the pension she and others like her are trying to deny the 'resources' they are supposed to take care of.

As I said, the fire fighters, police, soldiers, ambulance workers and other 'service' personnel are easy targets. They are relatively small in numbers, so the politicians can afford to sacrifice their possible votes. Likewise the ill, the aged and the disabled. What they will NOT tackle is the massive handout culture they have created since 1909 when the 'universal pension' was first introduced. Since then we have seen 'benefit' after 'benefit' added to the list, and alongside of that we have seen the growth of industries to preserve them. So we have the 'human rights' lawyers, the Union Lobby, the Student lobby, the minorities lobby and so on - all of whom defend their particular interests with threats of disruption or mayhem if there is any attempt to address some of the imbalances that have arisen.

Pensioners are still painted as 'abusing' the system even though they have, in the main, paid for what they get. So do many of the younger folk now facing retiring (if they can) at 67, 69, 70 or later. The Danish Minister is right, Britain needs to tackle the culture of 'benefits' that are creating the unrealistic expectation of being able to live comfortably on these handouts for life without ever having to work. Only then will the 'migrancy' problem go away.

Unfortunately, that is the least likely course of action the present or any future government will take.


  1. Slim Jim says: Whilst I agree with the Monk that welfare needs to be tackled (as in a rugby tackle, with some broken limbs too!); the current measures being employed timidly are simply slowing down the rate of increase. The vested interests and shroud-wavers can squeal like stuck pigs all they like, but the snake is eating its own tail...Of course the number of immigrants needs to be reduced - after all, they need to live somewhere, require treatment when sick, and their offspring require an education. Are we prepared? Were we prepared when the previous bunch of criminal shysters decided to open the floodgates? Of course not! Now immigration is yet another shibboleth that needs robust prodding, and some honesty and guts to 'fix' it. Of course, the entire liblabcon political class have their heads stuck firmly up their well-padded arses, so don't expect any action soon. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - we're absolutely f#%ked...

  2. Slim Jim adds: Even if (and it's a big IF) the welfare problemette is addressed, then it won't necessarily reduce significantly the number of people coming here. If you live in a shit-poor country with a crap economy, then you would be quite happy to come here and work for the minimum wage, or lower. I don't blame the immigrants; it's the politicians who have dug this deep hole.

    Incidentally, the problem isn't confined to the UK. I was speaking to my Monster-in-law's carer recently. She's from the Czech Republic, and she says that work is hard to find there. Why? Because of the influx of Russian immigrants...

  3. What scares me is that if you change a few of the terms around on politics... you could be talking about the USA as well. We have the same issues. I wonder if we should make congress stop for a month and take a lesson on what happen to Rome and other countries when the government got to big for it's britches... sigh.

  4. Only two comments here as I agree entirely.

    1) You have not been reading the "small print" on my recent posts in another forum as the current fire-fighter;'s pension contribution is 14% and rising next year to 16%.

    2) Your use of "Sibboleth" is technically inaccurate, I recall (without giving away ant Masonic passwords, of course.) that it is not a construct but a test, taken from the following verses where Jeptha had fought and bested the Ephraimites in the valley of Jordan.

    "Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, 'Let me cross,' the men of Gilead would ask, 'Are you an Ephraimite?' If he said, 'No,' they then said, 'Very well, say "Shibboleth" (שבלת).' If anyone said, "Sibboleth" (סבלת), because he could not pronounce it, then they would seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell on this occasion."
    —Judges 12:5–6, NJB

    42,000 in a day... They sure knew about war crimes in the ancient West Bank.

    This would be the equivalent of a WWII Home Guard asking a person what colour a Welsh Rabbit was...