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murpaul

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About murpaul

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  1. Wasn't it the case that when the ascension countries joing the EU every country except the UK and ROI put exceptions in place to prevent mass migration from East to West for a number of years? I imagine it would be to allow funds from West to East to bring living standards up to a comparable level and prevent the denuding of their skilled labour who would go West to clean toilets and serve coffee? Does that make the French/Italians/Dutch/Danes/Spanish a bunch of bigots too?
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/26/housing-policy-crisis The comments say it all. It being the Guardian, of course it can't last a whole article without mentioning the unmentionables.
  3. I started reading 'The State we're in' recently. Didn't even finish the first chapter. Everything he slagged off the Tories for, GB has done the same. Too much speculation, the city allowed to get too big, etc., etc. Now I see him on TV defending the sh!t he disagreed with then. Obviously Tory boom/bust is worse than Labour boom/bust - tw@t. I can't stand party politics - if you want to follow a colour, support a football team and leave the politics to the grown-ups.
  4. Is that recent? When I worked in pharmacy software (Nexphase if you're interested) we had a facility for making extemps on the application. Pointlessly wasteful, unless that the whole point? Deskill the workforce so you only need half qualified dispensers on site.
  5. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/anatole_kaletsky/article6943418.ece Big bank bonuses make failure more likely If the Royal Bank of Scotland’s board have genuinely threatened to resign over the right to pay £1.5 billion of bonuses, they should be asked to do so immediately. Their mass resignation would offer the Government a golden opportunity to correct all the managerial mistakes it made when it took over RBS and the other banks in the heat of last year’s crisis. The first mistake was to pack their boards with traditional City types who were intellectual clones of the people who had caused these institutions to collapse. In the case of RBS, all seven of the new directors appointed by the Government in late 2008 and early 2009 were either former bankers or insurance executives. The remaining five members of today’s board are all hangovers from the previous regime, amazingly left in place by the Government despite their presence as directors at the time when Sir Fred Goodwin destroyed the bank. If these people threaten to resign, the Government should jump at the opportunity to clear them off the board, with no need for compensation payments of any kind. Who could run RBS if all these luminaries removed themselves? The answer is people with a sense of public service who have done well enough in other careers not to worry too much about the modest remuneration on offer — the sort of people who run public bodies such as the Royal Opera House or lead public inquiries into the reform of the health service. Such directors could be drawn from small-business lobbies, hedge funds that had made money by speculating against bank stocks and maybe even a few trade unionists and consumer lobbyists. A new RBS board could then start to correct the more serious managerial mistakes perpetuated by the Government after it took the banks over. The first was the idea that RBS or other state-owned banks have to pay competitive salaries to succeed in global financial markets and thereby eventually repay the Government’s investment. In fact, the opposite is true. The higher the salaries paid by RBS or any other bank, the more likely it is to fail, taking taxpayers’ money with it. The obvious and much discussed reason is that high salaries in finance generally reflect high-risk trading strategies. If strategies fail, the losses fall on shareholders of the bank or taxpayers who must ultimately guarantee all banks, as the world discovered after Lehman — not on their highly-paid and supposedly talented employees. To maximise the chances of recouping its investment in RBS, therefore, the Government should ensure that the bank is run in the dullest, most risk-averse manner. This is especially true in the present economic environment, when banks can borrow money for nothing from the Bank of England and then lend it out extremely profitably to homeowners, businesses and even, through the gilt-edged market, to the Government itself. Under these conditions, the simplest banking operations should be quite profitable enough to recoup taxpayers’ money. Replacing every £1 million bond trader with ten local branch managers earning £100,000 would certainly make RBS safer and probably, in the present economic environment, more profitable as well. If limiting the size of the bonus pool encouraged the traders and investment bankers at RBS to move elsewhere, their departure should be a cause for celebration, not concern. What would then happen to the huge trading and investment banking businesses at RBS run by these highly paid and talented employees? RBS, even more than Lloyds or Northern Rock, is a vast conglomerate handling every aspect of finance from car insurance to derivatives trading. The idea that the combined value of all these activities was greater than the sum of the parts was just another of Sir Fred Goodwin’s costly illusions. Now that global stock markets are on the road to recovery, selling off the higher-risk and more complex parts of RBS piecemeal would probably be more profitable than trying to keep the group together. For example, if the private bankers at Coutts need to earn more than the branch manager in Bootle, and they almost certainly do, then the sensible course of action would be to sell Coutts to another bank or float it on the stock market as an independent business, rather than to allow the strategy of RBS as a whole to revolve around the needs of this highly profitable but specialised business. The same could apply to the specialised capital markets, trading and corporate finance operations. These are the parts of RBS that pay really high salaries. Which leads to the question of why bankers earn so much more than other similarly qualified workers. Is it really because they are so uniquely talented? Or is it because they have access to pools of capital, backed up by explicit or implied government guarantees? The answer is obvious and it means that most of the money that banks earn should be seen as a return on shareholders’ capital, not a reward for the efforts of the bank’s employees. Any other revenues they generate belong to the shareholders, not to the employees. This is as true for oil company geologists and nuclear engineers as for street-sweepers or navvies. Yet bankers believe that they belong essentially to them and should go into a bonus pool, rather than being paid to shareholders as dividends or retained as extra capital to build up the financial strength of the bank. This “eat what you kill” mentality, as the director of one leading US bank describes it, was a root cause of last year’s crisis. The solution is clear. Rather than try to limit pay and bonuses directly, governments and regulators should simply insist that banks use all the revenues that they generate to increase their capital strength. In the case of RBS, a simple demand that the bank add a further £1.5 billion to its capital would drain the bonus pool and solve the problem.
  6. I dont think you quite get my point. Maybe its because the cost of living is too high in the UK, but its just seems insane to tax people and then give them that tax back because their wages don't cover the expense of providing a home for ones family, putting food on the table etc. Raise tax threshholds and do away with tax credits. It needs to be part of a general change in the tax/benefits system. The gap between living on benefits and low paid work should be large enough to encourage people to work. Work should pay for itself and not require taxpayer subsidy. Apart from saving admin costs, it will encourage people to get off benefits and become taxpayers and thereby make savings and raise revenue. Only problem is that Labours vote depends on those admin costs.....
  7. Agreed. Stopping tax credits would have to be part of a wider set of changes including raising the tax threshhold to compensate. I think it should be tax neutral, but would save huge amounts of admin and if properly done would create a gap between benefits and low paid work. As you say, at present it really is not worth working for lots of people - they would be better off on benefits.
  8. +1 Why should my taxes subsidise employers who dont pay a proper wage?
  9. Surely as the oil runs out, we should be encouraging people to go ( and stopping people entering the UK regardless whether they are qualified or not ). Food/energy security (they're the same thing) will become increasingly important over the next few decades. We cannot feed a population of 60 million. 40 mil seems about right.
  10. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/find.html?locationIdentifier=REGION%5E93324&insId=2&sortByPriceDescending=false&minPrice=150000&maxPrice=170000&minBedrooms=3&maxBedrooms=3 "I’ve said to him if you can find a three-bed, detached property in Park Farm for £160,000, as they’re claiming, then I’ll give them a £5,000 finder’s fee." Ok Fergus, this one is on at 162k, but I'm sure you could get it for 160k. Where my 5k?
  11. What about the other classic he said - " I will not allow house prices to get out of control"!!!!!
  12. Dont know about China turning to Smith, but you're wrong about communism sweeping west. IMO there is now no alternative to capitalism, hence the capitalists dont need the support of the masses anymore. NO-one will start a revolution. Consequently, all the gains made during the post war period - pensions, free education, healthcare, social housing and the rest are all being rolled back. While you could be right about personal liberty and equality of poverty but thats not a marxist plot, its because they ( the capitalists ) want you in your place - exploitable.
  13. March isn't soon enough! 1 condition I would add is that they leave their passports at the border. If they want it back - £100 million per passport. Same goes for anyone who leaves the country for tax reasons.
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