An unexpected surprise No.2


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Profile Chris SProject donor
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Message 1341957 - Posted: 1 Mar 2013, 10:24:28 UTC

This won't mean too much over the pond, but it has certainly shaken UK politics up. The Lib Dems were always expected to win but not by that big a majority, and the UKIP performance was quite a surprise. Even the "Beer, Baccy, & Crumpet Party" polled 235 votes! And the Lib Dems won the Berrylands by-election as well on the same day!

Isn't life Grand?

Eastleigh

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Message 1341968 - Posted: 1 Mar 2013, 11:38:40 UTC

*tiptoes in wearing heavy armour*

Ok, I'll start us by reposting Winterknights kind summary:

Turnout was 52.7%, down from 69.3% at the 2010 general election.


Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) 13,342 (32.06%, -14.48%)

Diane James (UKIP) 11,571 (27.80%, +24.20%)

Maria Hutchings (Conservative) 10,559 (25.37%, -13.96%)

John O'Farrell (Labour) 4,088 (9.82%, +0.22%)

Danny Stupple (Independent) 768 (1.85%, +1.56%)

Dr Iain Maclennan (National Health Action Party) 392 (0.94%)

Ray Hall (Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party) 235 (0.56%)

Kevin Milburn (Christian Party) 163 (0.39%)

Howling Laud Hope (Monster Raving Loony Party) 136 (0.33%)

Jim Duggan (Peace Party) 128 (0.31%)

David Bishop (Elvis Loves Pets) 72 (0.17%)

Michael Walters (English Democrats) 70 (0.17%, -0.30%)

Daz Procter (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) 62 (0.15%)

Colin Bex (Wessex Regionalist) 30 (0.07%)

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Message 1341972 - Posted: 1 Mar 2013, 11:53:09 UTC

So, the LibDems retained their seat.

While I'm not particularly fond of the LibDems, vastly better than UKIP.

If UKIP voters make up 15% of the population, something is going massively wrong in the UK. Far right parties gaining that much support is always an alarm signal.

So the Conservatives came third, eh? Some people realised that Cameron maybe wasn't such a great idea?

And the massive loss for LibDem doesn't surprise me. They sold out too much of their ideals when they formed a coalition with the Conservatives.
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Message 1342000 - Posted: 1 Mar 2013, 13:22:56 UTC
Last modified: 1 Mar 2013, 13:24:27 UTC

You make some interesting comments William, I'll try to answer some of them.

If UKIP voters make up 15% of the population,

They don't I can assure you. Most observers are seeing this latest UKIP blip as simply the result of a protest vote. It's a message to Labour, you're not wanted back. To the Tories must do better. To the Lib Dems stop squabbling and get on running the Country.

So the Conservatives came third, eh? Some people realised that Cameron maybe wasn't such a great idea?

At the moment I think he is the best deal we can get. I might disagree with his politics, but no-one else comes close to his performances at the Dispatch Box. At PMQ he just slaughters Milliband, it's an artform in its own right. And he is standing up to Europe.

They sold out too much of their ideals when they formed a coalition with the Conservatives.

At the last General election we had a "hung" Parliament which meant that no single party had an overall majority. One option was to let the winner with the most votes, the Tories, form a minority Government. But they would never have got any legislation through Parliament because all the other parties would have joined together to defeat them each time. It would have meant another General election in a few months. They cost millions of pounds to hold and contest, and wasn't in anyones interests, the country or the parties. A coalition Government was the only sensible way forward.

The Lib Dems went to talk to the incumbent Government Labour, but they refused to do a deal, so they went to talk to the Tories. Cameron was desperate to be PM, and the Lib Dems were desperate to be in Government for the first time in 100 years. At that point both sides knew they simply had to thrash out a deal, there wasn't any other option, not just for them but for the country. Some of their Manifesto policies had to be abandoned, when they both agreed what would form the basis of the Coalition Government. There was already broad agreement on a number of issues which got rubber stamped, the rest were negotiated. Where agreement couldn't be reached, it was agreed that they would campaign separately and have a debate and vote in Parliament.

What has happened since is that Cameron has tried to run things like a Tory majority Government, when it 'aint! Choosing to cherry pick what he will or wont accept from the Coalition agreement, which isn't acceptable. That is why when he reneged on the agreement to Lords reform, the Lib Dems had no choice but to oppose the Boundary changes. It wont affect most Lib Dem MP's anyway, but it could have gained the Tories 20 seats in 2015!

After Eastleigh, Clegg can go back to Cabinet and say, look here, you can't ride roughshod over us any more, the country has spoken. It's too early yet to fully take in all the ramifications of recent events, but I feel it is exciting times for the countries politics. Most people alive haven't lived under a Coalition before, the last times was WWII for quite different reasons. We need to remember how to do it for the benfit of the Country.

I would like to bang a few heads together .....

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Message 1342009 - Posted: 1 Mar 2013, 13:42:06 UTC - in response to Message 1342000.

At the moment I think he is the best deal we can get. I might disagree with his politics, but no-one else comes close to his performances at the Dispatch Box. At PMQ he just slaughters Milliband, it's an artform in its own right.

I think that's one of the unplanned, and unhelpful, side effects of the media age on democracy. As we've just seen in Italy, the competent but drab technocrat lost out badly at the polls: the charismatic media tycoon, and the comedian, were big winners. What would UK PMQs be like if the protagonists were Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo? Great fun, and brilliant television - but I doubt the country would be better governed as a result.

I stayed up for the declaration last night, and one thing that struck me - but hasn't been mentioned in any of the commentaries I've heard - was the difference in personality between the two ladies - the UKIP candidate in second place, and the Conservative in third place. I suspect UKIP earned the protest vote - at least in part - because they fielded a plausible and personable candidate, and the tories didn't: at least, that's the impression I gained from those two brief TV speeches - they may come over differently when not dog-tired at the end of an intense campaign.

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Message 1342027 - Posted: 1 Mar 2013, 15:01:57 UTC
Last modified: 1 Mar 2013, 15:03:58 UTC

Richard, I really do not think that you can compare the UK with Italy!!! For a start off, they have had 39 Prime Ministers since 1940. Their politicians and Governments are controlled by the Mafia, their economy is shot, and they and Spain are just about to be bailed out to the tune of £600 Billion by the EU. Italy/Spain

Of course an attractive female candidate is going to attract the phoar vote, as indeed any charismatic candidate would do. But you cant judge someone by an acceptance/losing speech in the small hours if the morning, when they are dead on their feet after a month of 18 hour days canvassing, that is just not fair.

if the protagonists were Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo? Great fun, and brilliant television -


Berlusconi has been involved in a number of controversies and over 20 court cases during his political career, including a conviction for tax evasion in October 2012, though he was not jailed. He was criticised for his electoral coalitions with right wing populist parties (the Lega Nord and the neo-fascist National Alliance) and for apologetic remarks about Mussolini, though he also officially apologised for Italy's actions in Libya during colonial rule. While in power, Berlusconi maintained ownerhsip of Mediaset, the largest media company in Italy, and was criticised for his dominance of the Italian media. His leadership was also undermined by sex scandals.


Grillo is often criticized for his lifestyle. In particular, critics blame him for owning a motor yacht and a Ferrari sports car, both being in contradiction with his well known environmentalist stance. In his blog he admits that he did, in fact, acquire both but has since sold them.[16] Grillo recently defended himself from similar attacks from the leader of the Democratic Party on this subject pointing out he earned his pay over the years and paid his taxes on them while the Hon. Pier Luigi Bersani made his fortune from public tax free money.

Grillo is also criticized for taking advantage of the Condono Tombale, a fiscal amnesty granted by the first Berlusconi government in 2001, which Grillo publicly opposed. Grillo commented on this issue during the V‑Day demonstration. He said that he had personally benefitted by only €500.

Grillo has proposed that members of the Italian Parliament who have a criminal record should be barred from public office. As Grillo himself has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter caused by a car accident, his critics say he has no right to represent Italians either. Grillo has always stated that he is not interested in becoming a member of the Italian Parliament anyway. Despite this, in July 2009 he publicly expressed his intention to present himself as a candidate for the PD's primary elections, which, however, does not imply automatic presence in the Italian parliament.

You couldn't have picked two more typical crooks, con-men, and spivs if you tried! They wouldn't be allowed within 100 miles of the UK Parliament let alone standing in an election!! We enjoy PMQ because it is the Government reminding the opposition how they brought the country to its knees over 10 years, the mess they left behind, and the fact that they have no plans or policies of their own to tackle it.

but I doubt the country would be better governed as a result.

You only doubt? I know damn well it wouldn't be!! We need to wait a few days and let things die down, and then look at where we are. The Lib Dems have earned their right to enjoy their euphoria, and the other parties need to be given time to lick their wounds and come back out with a new strategy. The days have gone of the old two party system taking Buggins turn to run the country.

Welcome to our Brave New World, Aldous Huxley would be proud of us :-)

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Message 1342276 - Posted: 2 Mar 2013, 2:07:13 UTC

I think Clegg and the winning Lib Dem candidate deserved the win, and on local issues.

The By-election came from a scandal, and the papers kept Clegg running with different statements as if that scandal is important to the voters.

Despite all this local issues got them back, quite rightly. The rest is unimportant to that electorate, the country and only important to the players in each scandal.

I hope the Parliamentary bubble media shut up some time rather than continuously stirying to break new non-news.
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Message 1342333 - Posted: 2 Mar 2013, 8:16:54 UTC

After Eastleigh, Clegg can go back to Cabinet and say, look here, you can't ride roughshod over us any more, the country has spoken. It's too early yet to fully take in all the ramifications of recent events, but I feel it is exciting times for the countries politics. Most people alive haven't lived under a Coalition before, the last times was WWII for quite different reasons. We need to remember how to do it for the benfit of the Country.

Your beginning to sound like a "run of the mill politicians" here Chris!!
The country never speaks via bi-elections but only during general elections.
The swing away from the libs was greater than it was away from the cons. So
basically Cleg comes away from this election with no clout at all.


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Message 1342364 - Posted: 2 Mar 2013, 13:35:40 UTC
Last modified: 2 Mar 2013, 13:36:11 UTC

@John - You are quite correct in that it is being seen that the Lib Dem win was down to a good candidate, a strong & supportive local party, and a popular Council. Yes it was highly regrettable that the previous MP had to stand down for the reasons he did. But while in the job, he was a good and popular MP, who worked hard with the local party for the local people. The people wanted that local commitment to continue. The various allegations in the press were previously known about, but clearly the timing of the latest revelations was deliberate for obvious reasons. I doubt if the media will change much in the future. Certain newspapers want a change of government next election, and they will continue to attack the present one, hoping to influence peoples votes the next time round.

@Nick - Oh dear, sorry about that! I'm just an interested observer giving my own opinion, some of which is based on others views that I also agree with.

The country in the form of local by-elections does speak, always has done, it's like a half term school report.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Cameron said: "It is a disappointing result for the Conservative Party, but it is clear that, in mid-term by-elections, people want to register a protest

And 83% of UKIP voters said they wanted to send a message they were unhappy with the party they usually support nationally, compared with 35% of all voters.
Source BBC

I disagree with your swing figures though.

Liberal Democrat, Mike Thornton, 13,342, 32.06%, -14.44% swing
UKIP, Diane James 11,571, 27.80%, +24.20% swing
Conservative, Maria Hutchings, 10,559, 25.37%, -13.93%
Labour, John O'Farrell, 4,088, 9.82%, +0.22% swing

A -19% overall swing. Source Eastleigh. Lib Dem and Tory both had a nominal -14% swing away, a 1/2% difference is insignificant. But there are many different elections.

The General Election - Where you vote for the next government
The Council elections - where you vote for who runs your local council
The MEP elections - where you vote for your MEP

In between times there are local by-elections where it is necessary to elect a new MP or a new local Councillor, Eastleigh was for a new MP. However, all parties monitor these local ones carefully to determine any swing to a particular party that is being repeated over the country, and which might affect the next general election if not addressed. The Council elections are happening this year for England, and next year for London. If there was a discernible swing across the country in any one direction in change of Council leadership, that could be an indication of peoples intentions in 2015. If UKIP start getting 24% extra Council seats over the next two years, alarm bells will ring! But it is known that people quite often vote differently locally than nationally.

Eastleigh was a Lib Dem stronghold, and they were expected to win, but by what margin was not known. But it was being seen as a useful mid term dipping of the toe in the water, which is why all the main parties threw their full weight behind it. Knowing the likely result, of course some Labour & Tories used UKIP as the protest vote, which will be taken into account in that context. I wouldn't agree that Clegg has come away with no clout. If they had lost I would agree that his position would have been weakened, but they won, and handsomely, given all the odds. The interesting thing now is UKIP's future, I give them the same chance as the SNP, shades of Reginald Perrin, and one swallow does not a summer make!

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Message 1342431 - Posted: 2 Mar 2013, 17:53:57 UTC
Last modified: 2 Mar 2013, 18:05:59 UTC

The country in the form of local by-elections does speak, always has done, it's like a half term school report.

In keeping with half term school reports, many tended to end with the note, "Must
do better". This for the main stream political parties is nye on impossible. Hence
a swing away, by the electorate, towards a fourth party; call it a protest party
if one likes. No ones listening to the protesters and acting accordingly,
politics is finally getting exciting...for the right reasons or is it for the wrong reasons??
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Message 1342445 - Posted: 2 Mar 2013, 19:08:54 UTC

Hiyah Nick,

In keeping with half term school reports, many tended to end with the note, "Must do better".

Hehe there can't be any of us that didn't get one of those, it was typical teacher speak! Mostly true when you think back though.

Hence a swing away, by the electorate, towards a fourth party; call it a protest party if one likes.

You are on the right track. At the last General election in 2010 the mood of the public was quite clear, we don't want any more Labour, and we don't want the Tories back either. But there wasn't an alternative third party that was seen as capable of forming a government. Result, a 50/50 vote and a hung Parliament, leading to a coalition. Now can the UKKIP's overtake the Lib Dems to be the third party?

No ones listening to the protesters and acting accordingly

It is being seen as a traditional mid term protest vote, which is being taken notice of, but no one is panicking too much just yet.

politics is finally getting exciting...for the right reasons or is it for the wrong reasons??

In my opinion it is getting exciting for the right reasons! as I have already said, People are fed up with the old two party system taking Buggins turn to run the country. Finally we are seeing the beginnings of what could turn out to be a viable alternative, with a genuine three party system. Yes I do think it is exciting times.


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Message 1342525 - Posted: 2 Mar 2013, 23:06:51 UTC

This says it all....

"This isn't a crisis for a government but a crisis of governance. We're living in a country where politicians talk about fixing things... but they seem powerless to deal with it.

There is a real sense that the whole of the Westminster village is living in its own world talking in its own terms and has lost touch.

A small professional managerial class is running British politics and they have very little to do with the ordinary lives of ordinary people up and down the country.

If we're going to avoid an Italian situation where comedians start getting elected then the whole British political establishment has got to be forced to engage much more actively with what ordinary people are feeling."

Source: - Bernard Jenkin - Conservative MP for Harwich & North Essex.

Never a truer word spoken in jest!
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Message 1342619 - Posted: 3 Mar 2013, 8:11:56 UTC

Chris, I don't have any faith in the Libs being a genuine alternative to the
Cons & Labs. One thing we three here, You, me and Sirius have in common is that
we all recognised that "The system" is in desperate need of change. Less
politics, less politicians in our faces, less political interference, less Europe
hence allowing Great Britain to breath again. A Britain where the populous
decides on it's destiny but not a destiny decided on by politicians for the
latter has failed us miserably.

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Message 1342660 - Posted: 3 Mar 2013, 12:44:03 UTC
Last modified: 3 Mar 2013, 12:53:10 UTC

I'll try and answer points from both of the last two posts together.

I would agree that the Lib Dems are not seen as a party able to run a majority Government. Firstly they are a small party compared to the main two, secondly they are self funded, unlike the Tories backed by the upper classes, industrialists, and rich landowners, and Labour bankrolled by the trade unions. Thirdly they have no track record of being in government, the last time being in the early 1900's and the WWII coalition. However in terms of popularity and influence they are the official 3rd party. Apparently being chased by UKIP, but well, flavours of the month come to mind.

At the moment the Lib Dems are in government for the first time in 100 years, they have 5 Cabinet Ministers, and a further 20 other ministers and junior ministers. Across both sides of parliament those people are generally recognised as doing a good job. No, we will never see a majority Lib Dem government, but what I think they have demonstrated is that they can play a meaningful part in a coalition government, either with the Tories or Labour. That is I think their future role, if you like, being a parliamentary policeman, curbing the worst excesses of either main party. As things stand, no one is prepared to give either main party a free hand to do exactly what they want without some means of keeping them on a leash.

What has gone wrong is that no current politicians have any experience in what it means to run a coalition government. There is too much squabbling and tit for tat going on which causes the general public to lose faith with politicians. Cameron tries to run it as a Tory majority government relying on his clout to push things through, cherry picking what he wants and doesn't want. He forgets that if it hadn't been for the Coalition he wouldn't have been PM in the first place. Had he been forced to hold another general election a few months later in 2010, Labour could well have won.

But underlying it all is the clear wishes of the people that they want less Europe, less immigration, and less bailing out of other economies. They want the NHS sorted out, and big businesses to pay their fair share of taxes. Neither main party seems to have any plans to tackle those in the short term despite what might be said. No wonder people are turning off and not giving either one a clear mandate. OK, the existing basically two party system needs to be changed, to address that we had the AV referendum in 2011 with a national vote. Based on the coalition agreement, the referendum was a simple majority yes/no question as to whether to replace the current First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system used in general elections with the Alternative Vote (AV) system. On a turnout of 42 percent, 68 percent voted No and 32 percent voted Yes. The country was given a chance to change things but didn't. AV referendum

A Britain where the populous decides on it's destiny but not a destiny decided on by politicians

How do the people decide upon their destiny, if they don't elect people to represent them and make decisions on their behalf. That is what politicians are, elected representatives of the people. You cant have a national vote every time there is a new bill presented or major decision to be taken, the country would grind to a halt. But as has been highlighted, the public feel that those people they elected are out of touch with them, and are not listening. We constantly hear "lessons need to be learned from this ...." but we do not see any discernible change. That is the main problem which has to be addressed by all parties, before 2015.

Bernard Jenkin makes fair points and I cant disagree with very much of it, but I will comment on two points. "A small professional managerial class is running British politics" In some respects yes, you couldn't take the average man in the street and ask him to run the country. You have to have knowledge of local and national government workings and international affairs, so politicians have to be professionals, many have degrees in economics. We wont have an Italian situation as we don't have their economy and their Mafia.

At the next general election in 2015 there will likely be four possible outcomes
    1. A majority Tory win
    2. A majority Labour win
    3. Lib/Con coalition
    4. Lib/Lab coalition

1 is possible but with a very slim margin, 2 just won't happen. 3 means more of the same, 4 is possible. Labour wont make the same mistake twice by refusing to negotiate, and we did have the "Lib/Lab pact" back in 1977. But to be fair a Lib/Lab coalition in 2010 would have been almost unworkable anyway Lib/Lab pact I'm getting the impression that far too many people sit at home on their backside, reading too many newspapers, and saying tut tut that isn't right. The UK media in all its forms is politically driven, why do you think we have had the Levenson report? Levenson I spent 2 hours last Thursday night as an official teller outside my local polling station for a by-election, freezing my nuts off in the bitter cold. Why? Because I want to play a meaningful part in how this country is run, not just winging, moaning, and complaining about it. And yes my party did win, and I'll do more in the future.

But compare our political system with say France, you are not allowed to be President or a senior politician unless you have at least 3 mistresses. Take Italy, vote against the government you might not live to vote again. Take the USA, the Electoral College decides who will be President NOT the people. Take Europe generally, well actually don't bother, most of them are over here anyway. The rest of the world are virtually dictatorships in one form or another e.g. China, South America. Perhaps we should be grateful for what we have got.

A week is a long time in politics, 2 years is a lifetime ......

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Message 1342668 - Posted: 3 Mar 2013, 13:42:43 UTC - in response to Message 1342619.

Chris, I don't have any faith in the Libs being a genuine alternative to the
Cons & Labs. One thing we three here, You, me and Sirius have in common is that
we all recognised that "The system" is in desperate need of change. Less
politics, less politicians in our faces, less political interference, less Europe hence allowing Great Britain to breath again. A Britain where the populous decides on it's destiny but not a destiny decided on by politicians for the latter has failed us miserably.


Unfortunately Nick, while we have thieves in important departments doing deals under the table like HMR&C, the ordinary man in the street is screwed & will continue to be unless very serious changes are implemented from the top downwards.

Let's see: - Vodafone, Barclays, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Google etc, all doing deals or avoiding their share of tax.

Major banks making serious losses & yet continue to pay out big bonuses....

...AND from next month we see this......

Tax Cut Countdown

& don't forget December 31st 2013...... Another EU fiasco!

Great Britain breathe again? You must be joking! It suffered a serious cardiac arrest in 1979....

.... lost a lung in 1997 & it's remaining one is failing.
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Message 1343004 - Posted: 4 Mar 2013, 17:58:56 UTC
Last modified: 4 Mar 2013, 18:00:53 UTC

Vodafone, Barclays, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Google etc, all doing deals or avoiding their share of tax.

I completely agree, they are doing it because they were allowed to get away with it under 13 years of Labour rule. It is this government that has recognised that and is attempting to do something about it, rather than sweeping it under the carpet. What are the options? If they are forced to pay their fair share, most have said they will pull out of the UK and base their business elsewhere. So you either get no taxes at all, or levy as much as they will take and keep the pressure on, a something is better than nothing view. Of course it is all wrong, no-one denies that.

Major banks making serious losses & yet continue to pay out big bonuses....

Again, completely agreed. But if you have a brilliant futures or derivatives trader, that can make your bank £100 million profit a year, it doesn't seem much to ask to give him a contract to pay him a 2% bonus on whatever he makes. However if in general trading the bank makes an overall loss, then a £2M bonus seems obscene. It is not necessarily the traders that are at fault, more the banks general management.

Millionaires tax cuts.

This again is a repeat of the businesses response above. Of course it is wrong, but a large majority have threatened to take their money out of the UK if not given what "they" would call a fairer deal. So you have to balance the gains and losses of any strategy. I don't like what I see, and I don't have an answer to it. If I had I would be the next Chancellor.

But I did note that report came from an outfit called Zimbio, which are also responsible for this load of rubbish Labour. So I don't think we need take them too seriously.

Chris, I don't have any faith in the Libs being a genuine alternative to the Cons & Labs. One thing we three here, You, me and Sirius have in common is that we all recognised that "The system" is in desperate need of change.

Yes that is true, what we disagree about is how that is going to be achieved, as I have already said, I have my views and you have yours. We will have to agree to disagree.

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Message 1343019 - Posted: 4 Mar 2013, 18:45:30 UTC - in response to Message 1343004.

Vodafone, Barclays, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Google etc, all doing deals or avoiding their share of tax.

I completely agree, they are doing it because they were allowed to get away with it under 13 years of Labour rule.

During which, the then Conservative opposition were making incessant calls to "reduce the burden of regulation" on business.

Note that regulations are only a burden on badly run businesses, such as the crooks and spivs above. In twenty years of self-employment, I think I only came across three regulations: pay your taxes, pay your National Insurance, and register under the Data Protection Act (as it then was). None of them was a burden - I just got a letter from the tax office each year, saying "We are pleased to accept your calculations".

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Message 1343039 - Posted: 4 Mar 2013, 19:26:42 UTC

Hi Richard, what a welcome breath of fresh air :-)

reduce the burden of regulation on business.

This head to head scrap of businesses Vs the Chancellors taxes has been going on for years.

Note that regulations are only a burden on badly run businesses

It is also a burden on all public businesses, good, badly run, or just greedy. They are owned by shareholders, so if they don't make X profits and make Y dividends to them, they withdraw their investment and place it elsewhere. And we are talking pensions funds with many Billions of money here. Perhaps we should have a world government which outlaws tax havens .....

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Message 1343089 - Posted: 4 Mar 2013, 21:35:07 UTC - in response to Message 1343039.

Perhaps we should have a world government which outlaws tax havens .....

Or we could outlaw taxes on pieces of paper and only impose them on flesh and blood. I know it won't work, it wouldn't have enough loopholes to stand a chance of passing.

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Message 1343104 - Posted: 4 Mar 2013, 22:11:01 UTC

Rolls Royce

I'll post this before Sirius or Nick do, to demonstrate that I am always open to seeing both sides of the story. This does not seem right to me at all, that company of all people. And rather than giving immediate typical sarcastic comments, I want to know more facts about it before I can sensibly comment.

But I have to say that upon the face of it, it does not make good reading.

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