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Financial tricks..

Once upon a time there was a building, a rather splendid and imposing building which was named The Custom House. It was a building paid for by the local taxpayers and it served the various sea borne custom which came in and out of the fairly large docks close to it. Over a long number of years the building served the purpose it had been designed for, but as it is with many things, times changed, the docks were much less busy and The Custom House was closed.

The building lay empty for some time and after a few possible uses were discussed and then rejected a temporary use was agreed. A public organisation was given leave to use the building for storage whist a larger new facility was being for them. It wasn’t in ideal building for storage and neither were the items being stored but at least it was in use.

Once the public organisation using it for storage they were them granted ownership of the building. Now that’s a bit odd. They were given ownership of a building which didn’t really suit the purpose they were using it for.

When the time was right for them to begin to seriously plan to move out they put the building up for sale. Now isn’t that a bit strange? It was a publicly funded building, which had been given to them free, and now they were selling it?

The local community council were shocked and a group was formed to take over The Custom House so it could be turned into a local museum. But they only had a month to find over £600,000 so they could buy it back for the local taxpayers.

The local City Councillors wanted to help and be the saviours as is their want. They found a way to save The Custom House. They decided that they could use the Common Good Fund to buy The Custom House back from the other public body. Everyone was happy with that. (Not the taxpayers though).

Now at this point you will be looking for the “living happily ever after” ending. Alas no. Within a few weeks the City Council had changed their plans for the building. Yes it would be a museum but a museum which had a foot print the size of a single tennis court.

The City Council were now going to sell most of the building to developers. Isn’t that clever? Money coming from the Common Good fund, which could only be used for supporting the local community council, was used for buying a building, which had belonged to the public in the first place.

And here is the wee sting. The developers would pay a much higher price for the building, less the small museum space. And where would the money that the developers paid end up? Well, the City Council of course. Isn’t that a surprise?

What a slick wee scheme is it not?

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Edinburgh, Justice, The Environment

 

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Edinburgh buses.

If you’ve been to Edinburgh you may have noticed that we have a lot of buses and I mean a lot. Their routes criss-cross the city and the outlying areas pretty significantly.  If you’ve been you may also have noticed that they take up a huge amount of the road with their bus lanes, prioritised traffic lights and other road restrictions, which car users have to abide by.

The buses used to belong to the old City Council and the current bus service is a separate legal entity although it is still really run by the council. The buses are very new and shiny, no rickety old crap for Edinburgh. We have some that are very environmentally friendly apparently, but more of that later.

We have various services which run every 5 minutes at certain times of the day and sometimes you see these buses running in a convoy of three. If you look along Princes Street you will see many, many buses. A riot of white, maroon and gold, which are the colours that the buses are painted in.

At some junctions it’s gets very interesting. A bus wants to come out and a bus is waiting to turn in, they juggle about, sometimes its more than two buses, and let each other out and in and so on. Meanwhile the rest of us in cars sit there with places to go using up our time, we the very and the majority second-class citizen car drivers paying through the nose for the privilege of driving our cars etc. The joys.

Don’t get me wrong the bus drivers are really good and they are considerate mostly. They are also the most patient drivers in the world. During the tourist season and the Festival in particular, a LOT of tourists use the buses. That doesn’t mean that they actually pay a fare and take a seat on an actual bus. The bus drivers are used to people getting on the buss and then asking for directions etc. The drivers go out of their way to help them get to where they are going.

I’ve also seen tourists get on a bus and give the driver the money to pay for their tickets. The trouble is that they don’t have the exact fare and the driver can’t give them change. The bus passengers then provide the correct money for the fares. Job done. Keep the tourists happy although it would be a good deal easier if they just stayed at home and sent us the money the would have spent if they’d come to Edinburgh.

Almost everyone who gets on a bus in Edinburgh thanks the driver when they get off. It’s all very polite. I often wonder if the jakeys who mug people that then and offer their apologies for taking up their time.

It’s just such a pity that the buses are given so much priority in traffic. They slow things down and cause jams and the bus lanes further reduce traffic flow and lengthen journeys.

Of course the recent report, which measured the pollution from vehicles in traffic, pointed to the greatest blame being that of diesel vehicle fumes. Given that some of the buses in Edinburgh have claims of operating at very low emissions levels and even claim to be carbon neutral (as if anything could be carbon neutral) it’s somewhat ironic that they are amongst the worst polluters.

Integrity? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Last thing. The bus fare has gone up from £1:20 to £1:50 in a very short timescale. Why? Well just one reason really. The extra money is being used to help pay for the trams, which were a complete steal at just £1 BILLION.

 

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health

 

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David Cameron, world statesman in waiting

Call me Dave is a pretty clever and talented man. He’s been demonstrating this recently as I’m sure you will have noticed.

Exhibit one.

Dave addressed a class of Liberian children. I don’t know if they could speak English but I doubt they would have understood one way or another. A photo opportunity more than anything else? World statesman in the making? Snigger.

Exhibit two.

Dave gives away more of the money that the UK doesn’t have to Libya this time. Good move Dave. How long will it be before some of the Libyan rebels who are now the government there construct a Muslim state with Sharia Law? Democracy? Equality?

Exhibit three.

Dave is upsetting his own party members at a tremendous rate. He must feel very proud of that. The main issue is the gay marriage legislation or the legislation to provide tax reductions for married couples. Dave feels that the gay marriage thing is more important.

Exhibit four.

Dave finally gave his EU speech. It’s all about the future. It’s not about now. Vote for Dave at the next election and he will deliver a YES/NO referendum. Wait a minute has he not promised something very similar two and bit years ago? Is this the canvassing started for the 2015 elections is it? Maybe a previous Dave?

Exhibit five.

Dave has had some of his chums tell us all about how horrible life would be if the UK left the EU. It’s remarkable that that the unionists say the same stuff to Scotland, doom and gloom, frighten people and keep the status quo.

Exhibit six.

I definitely heard Dave say that the Coalition had reduced the debt by 25%. It kind of looks like Dave doesn’t know the difference between the budget deficit and UK debt? Either he doesn’t and he’s a fool or he does and he’s misleading people?

Exhibit seven.

His good mate and one trick pony chancellor, the esteemed George Osbourne, says there will be no change in fiscal policy. Dave likes giving our hard earned cash away to “poor third world countries”. But we’ve been doing this for years and years and years Dave with little to show for it.

Exhibit eight.

Dave has an eye on the next election or I should say winning the next election. This seems pretty ludicrous right now. It looks increasingly like his own grass roots supporters are turning away in droves.

Exhibit nine.

Dave is increasing the number of troops heading to Mali. Just for training purposes of course. No combat missions will be carried out. How long will it be before the body bags start coming into Brize Norton to be sneaked out the back gate? Any chance that the insurgents might use the same tactics in Mali as they have been doing in Afghanistan? IEDs? Shootings by insurgents dressed as Mali trainees?

Exhibit ten.

Daves father in law works as an advisor to William Hague and is about to take up a post helping to sell Kuwaits oil for them? Cronyism writ large maybe?

Things wouldn’t be so bad if there was a viable alternative. There is you say? What that Labour chap Milliband? Get real. He’s actually managed to position him and his party to the right of the Conservatives. Not to mention that he seems to have little in the way of policies and not a lot of experience and skill within his party to draw on.

No matter. Dave can rely on Nick Clegg and his adhesive (like those labels that are so stubborn to come off something you bought and it takes ages, a lot of bad language and several attempts for you to scrap it off) members of the current coalition to support him. Nick said only last week that they are looking for ways for the coalition to remain following the next election. I don’t think Dave will be too excited about that although come the time they will do another deal to stay in power of they have to.

Power is all.

Yawn!

 
 

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Frying pan or fire?

I had an email from Wee Nippy (Nicola Surgeon) last night. Now she’s a busy woman and has serious stuff to think about and to do. Her diary will be full, she will be in demand and she will not have enough hours in her day, yet, she sent me an email.

She sent it to loads of people though and when I say sent I mean she will have agreed with the text that someone else wrote and “signed it off”. The emails will have poured out and landed in mailboxes all over Scotland and maybe even beyond.

She was just relaying the fact that she has started a new blog. I suggest that she may have been advised that a new blog with her name on it would be useful to the cause by the same people who wrote the email. The blog is about the “Yes” campaign. It’s here if you want to see what Wee Nippy is up to.

Like Captain Ranty – Lawful Rebel I also have reservations about how to vote come the Scottish Independence Referendum. I will definitely vote YES because it’s the best and only way forward.

However, I don’t agree with the biggest policies of the SNP and when I’m voting YES I won’t be voting for the SNP.

VOTING YES FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE IS NOT A VOTE FOR THE SNP!!!!!!

I don’t want a new and shiny independent Scotland to sign up to the EU. The clue for everyone is that we are voting for INDEPENDENCE. If we join the EU we won’t be independent now will we? Norway has the best way of dealing with the EU. No doubt they would be very keen to help Scotland find the true path, which can only be independence.

Then we have the environmental guff that the SNP are so excited about. Look Eck it’s guff. It isn’t helping anyone. Hydro is fine but needs to be situated without damaging our natural environment but wind power is just so much cold air. As for solar panels? Ask the Spanish and the Germans.

Then we have all this Scotland will lead the world guff. Yes more guff. We want to be Independent. It will take time for us to get over that and to be able to take part in the wider world. But… but… we do not want to lead the world. We should not be aiming to lead anyone far less world. The only driving force we should be acknowledging and aiming for is that Scotland should be a fabulous place to the Scots to live which is affluent, provides a truly wonderful education for our children and seeks positive progress which improves for generation upon generation.

The social justice stuff the SNP keep going on and on about has to be revisited and should be made to be fair on the basis that it is supportive where support is required but does no more. We don’t want sheeple we want strong, responsible citizens.

To achieve anything post a YES vote we need to cut the size and cost of all levels of government, regulation and taxation. Yes we even want our two big banks back The Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland and we also want to keep all the financial service companies we have. They have a part to play in a mixed economy. We will also want to use the shipbuilding and engineering skills we have and to expand them dramatically.

Universities will have to go back to being places where people go to gain an education which has a use in the wider economy and Colleges will have to go back to being places where vocations and apprenticeships are delivered and supported.

We also need to encourage art, literature, music, movies, architecture etc. etc. etc. so our built environment and our wider culture punches even higher.

What we also don’t want is Eck and Nippy and their mates telling us what to do. We will decide what is right for us and if that means we smoke, drink or eat as we please. We don’t have a problem with smoking, alcohol abuse is historically low and there isn’t and never was an obesity epidemic.

Politics and justice will have to change as instruments developed and delivered to support the Scottish people.

The message on Wee Nippys blog and the SNP in general should be two fold.

ONE.

VOTING YES FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENCE IS NOT A VOTE FOR THE SNP!!!!!!

TWO

Following a successful YES vote the sovereign people of Scotland will be consulted and asked to take part in shaping our country for the future.

Good places to start looking for working exemplars are Norway and Iceland.

 
 

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Statists and statistics.

It’s a fact that the number of smokers are falling but lung cancer is increasing.

It’s a fact that there has been no discernible warming of the climate for at least 15 years.

It’s a fact that obesity rates in the UK haven’t increased since 2007.

It’s a fact that Australia spent $500 million taking firearms from their population.

It’s a fact that in the first year (2012) when only the Australian police and the crims had guns gun related deaths, injury and armed robberies have risen with the latter rising an incredible 44%.

The number of people who died in car accidents in 2012 was way higher than 2011.

Edinburgh Council got their bin collection wrong again this Christmas, which saw mounds of full black rubbish bags along the roads of the affected areas in the city. They than had to bring in contractors at short notice and substantial cost to resolve the situation AGAIN!

I could go on. You get the picture.

What is government for? What is government good at?

Government is for protecting the people they represent in the most basic ways. Protecting us from aggressive attacks by foreign countries, dealing with foreign countries be they friend or foe, supporting a reasonable system of law which is impervious to wealth and emptying the bins etc.

What is government good at? Increasing the controls on our lives and taking more and more money from us in taxes. None of which is useful. None of which could ever be claimed as democratic.

Government actions do not work. Government don’t create jobs they just destroy them. Bailing out the banks destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs. Increasing fuel duty and VAT increased costs to us all on all purchases and the raised the costs of suppliers we buy from who then cut back on staff when we cut back our spending.

Would it not have made mores sense, even although there isn’t any sense in doing this in the first place, to give the money from the quantative easing programme to us? That’s you an me. That is everyone getting a share? Every one would have gone out and spend and/or save it? It would have filtered back to the banks and also to the government via VAT, duty etc.

How small could we make government?

Which country in the world has the smallest government?

One thing is for sure, there isn’t a level of UK government which is working as it should.

Yawn.

 
 

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Liberty…

Demonstrating a high degree of naivety has always been a particularly tedious trait of mine. I defend myself by suggesting that I am an optimist and as such I look for the good and best in most situations.

My libertarian views are of course wildly out of date and utopian but I’m not going to change, I still believe the world is capable of embracing small government and doing your own thing without infringing anyone else’s right to do theirs whilst they in turn don’t impinge on you.

Hope is always the answer and tomorrow is always going to be better than today.

What’s this about you ask? Why it’s Ron Paul that it’s about. I’m urging you to zip over to Ron Pauls site here and watch and listen to his latest video.

Make your own decision.

Thanks

TT

 

 
 

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Cheapest petrol in the area please.

If you need a demonstration of how duplicitous politicians can be then ask them about petrol prices. They will say they are too high, they will say the oil companies are greedy and they will say that whilst the prices are too high, it stops us destroying the planet.

The vehicles that government ministers have, run on the nectar of the gods and so have no cost, they do not contribute to oil company profits and have no emissions. Then they say things are going to change. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a government department without a minister, is looking at things and those who are guilty of profiteering will be brought to book. They will be fined heavily and the money for the fines will of course be passed on to those buying fuel. The fines, once paid will go to government will will spend it wisely (see last two paragraphs for definition of spending wisely).

They will say all of this whilst smiling and being sincere. The truth of course is somewhat different. The largest beneficiary of high petrol prices is the government. Whatever price you are paying at the pumps is 63% fuel duty and VAT. What a nice little earner, except of course there is nothing little about it, the money raised from fuel purchases by the government in a year for fuel (petrol, diesel and LPG) is around £30 BILLION!!!!!!

So when will the OFT announce they are going to investigate profiteering on fuel by the government? Not any time soon that’s for sure. I fact never since they are the government.

Without tax petrol would be 48p per litre. You could almost say that a pound of the cost to you of each litre of fuel goes straight to the government.

Was there a whisper that our MPs might get clothing allowances or have to wear a uniform? If they were required to wear a uniform it would be dark trousers of choice, a black and white hooped top, and a wee black mask to cover the eyes. They would also be issued with a sack with swag printed on it and of course a crowbar would complete the full ensemble.

I noted today that the amount of expenses paid out to MPs last year was £90 Million. There are 650 of them and if you divide £90 MILLION by 650 you get £138,461.50 as an average claim. How can that be? This is only slightly less than when the MPs expenses rip off was in full swing.

All is not well in the state of Denmark then. It’s positively rotten to the core here in Team GB, that’s us ALL not just the nattily turned out limpic and plimpic athletes.

Perhaps there should be a limpics, plimpics and ylipics (Youth Olympics) for governments or a glimpics if you prefer. They could medal in events such as highest fuel tax, highest reduction target for CO2, highest expense claim for a year, the shortest time to return to government following being dismissed for fraud, etc. etc.

Add your own there are loads of suitable events and sadly a lot of which Team GB (politicians) would be able to win easily.

 
 

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