Saturday, 31 March 2012

Disproportionate Stacey Ruling

21 year old student Liam Stacey got drunk on the day Fabrice Muamba collapsed and posted 'LOL. Fuck Muamba. He's dead!!!' on his Twitter account followed by vile racist comments as other tweeters hit back at him and has now been sent to jail for 56 days. Something feels excessive about this.
Now i don't condone Stacey conduct, it was reprehensible and appalling to publicly mock someone who was widely believed to be dying and he fully deserved punishment, but a custodial sentence seems too harsh when there was other options available to the judge.
A tough community sentence or even a suspended sentence with the judge ordering him to apologise to Muamba would probably have sufficed but now he has a criminal record, has been thrown off his University course and has had his life ruined all for being an offensive idiot.
Maybe i am in the minority and most people share the view of ex-footballer Stan Collymore who said that 'Seems to be a few who think that calling someone a W*g, ni***r or c**n and being arrested for it is an infringement of Freedom of Speech. Soppy liberal tree huggers. Don’t have a clue.'
Now i'm not trying to defend Stacey's freedom of speech, i think too many people hide behind that in order to cause offence, i'm saying that Stacey may have been a distasteful, odious moron after a few drinks but should his life have been ruined for it?
Stan Collymore of all people should know all about a few seconds of madness, that was his excuse when he punched and kicked his girlfriend in the head in a Paris Bar a few years ago. He also suggested that having had too much to drink may have been partly responsible for his shameful behaviour for which he escaped any jail time.
Not to excuse Stacey but fining the racist idiot, which he clearly is, should have been enough but jailing the student is disproportionate unless all Tweeters like this are now going to be pursued, then I would look back at this ruling as a first and very welcome step towards removing hatred from the internet.
At the moment, though, the sentence seems to be more of a knee jerk aimed to please those with the harsh views of Collymore than out of any strategy to fight online bigotry and maybe there should be some cause for concern because it isn't the soppy liberal tree huggers that are most likely to write racist abuse, it's idiots with right wing, bang 'em up views like the woman beating Collymore who perhaps should show some empathy for someone else's few seconds of drunken madness.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Biggest Lottery Win In History

The largest lottery jackpot in history, $640m, or £400m, has been won in the US by either a single a ticket holder or by three ticket holders depending on who you are reading, but whether it is $640m to one person or $213m to three, congratulations.
Even after buying the flash car, big house, going on holiday and looking after their family, the lucky winner(s) will still have more money than they will know what to do with which is an enviable position to be in.
Obviously in an ideal world it would have been better to see 640 people winning a million dollars each and changing their lives but of course that isn't how these things work.
What i can't stand are those people who complain about how a big win has ruined their lives. Simple solution, give it away to charity, to family members or even just divvy it out into envelopes and post it through random doors in your neighbourhood, don't just leave it in your bank account and whinge about it because nobody on the planet will give you any sympathy.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Fun Filled Napoleon

When times are tough, what the public most need to distract them is a new theme park and the French have decided that the theme should be Napoleon Bonaparte so he can bring as much joy as he did when he was alive.
Oh, how the Haitians must have partied when he reintroduced slavery and how the 100,000 Haitians slaves who rebelled must have cheered as they were bundled into makeshift gas chambers in the hull of ships and executed with poisonous gas.
Behold the joy of the 6 million left dead across Europe after 17 years of Napoleons continual wars which took in Italy, Austria, Egypt, Malta, Syria, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Prussia, Poland and Germany.
The 3000 men who surrendering in Jaffa, Syria, probably couldn't believe their luck when Napoleon decided rather than take them back to France, the preferable way to deal with them was to hack them to death with bayonets to save bullets.
How the world booed and hissed at the spoilsport Duke of Wellington as he ruined their fun by giving the tiny Frenchie a damn good licking at Waterloo and banished him to an island in the Atlantic Ocean.
'The theme park is a fantastic way to teach young people about history' so said France's tourism minister Frederic Lefebvre so other countries should exploit their murderous tyrants and dictators with a fun filled day out.
Just imagine how much fun there is to be had at Stalinland or Genghis Khan Towers where the kids can thrill at the wholesale massacre of civilian populations.
Alternatively, we can just not re-invent tyrants and dictators who are responsible for wars and the killing of millions as somehow worthy of celebration. Just a thought.

Monday, 26 March 2012


I don't know what it is that attracts me to them, but i do seem to be a regular target for the Chuggers, or Charity Muggers, that hang around shopping centres these days.
Usually wearing bright coloured t-shirts with the name of the chosen Charity who have employed them today specifically to harass me with their over the top patter, it is becoming harder and harder to avoid them, especially when they physically block your path like the one who tried to stop me today and asked me if i wanted a hug.
The reply to my polite but firm 'no thank you' was that he was collecting for Cancer Research and did i not care that thousands of children die each year from Cancer when for just £5 a month i could...his plea fell on deaf ears as i just carried on walking and pretended to be interested in the contents of Sports Direct's window display.
I know tomorrow it will be another charity and a new, fresh faced chugger who will some smile and invite me to sign over my direct-debit details so my £5 a month donation can help fund Cancer research or Save Children which it probably will, after the money paid to the Chuggers agency has been paid off that is.
Charities pay between £100-£140 to private contractors for every direct debit secured by the High Street fundraisers so my £5 will only go to the Charity that i signed up for after approximately 20 months so if i cancel my direct debit before that time, the Charity loses out.
The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association admit that Chuggers are paid and are not volunteers and even compares them to call centre staff which will be worth remembering the next time one of them asks you to fund a homeless shelter or give money to the Heart Foundation because they will get your money. Once the Chugger has been paid and their employer has taken their commission that is.
If you do feel the urge to give to Charity and you want them to receive your money immediately and not in 18 months time, do it through the Charities website and cut out the middleman. If enough people do it then hopefully we won't be faced with trying to pick our way around the overly enthusiastic Chuggers wanting to give out hugs before they get you to pay their wages.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wasn't Prayers That Saved Muamba

So is there a God looking after us or not? That's one of those subjects that always acts as a red button to those on either side of the argument and i was readying myself to test my recently discovered tolerance of religion, but it never came.
What i thought would be the ignition was the case of Fabrice Muamba, the 23 year old Bolton footballer who collapsed with a heart attack during last weeks game. It is reported that he wasn't breathing for 60 minutes and doctors had to shocked his heart fifteen times before it started beating on its own again.
Thankfully, although still in intensive care, he is now conscious and talking again but while his life was in the balance, we were being urged to pray for the footballer. His family were in the media urging the country to pray for him, as was his teammates, several wearing 'Pray 4 Muamba' t-shirts.
Now i agree it is a nice sentiment but phrases like 'It is all in God's hands' and 'God will decide' as i have heard from those of a religious standpoint during those first days do not sit very easily with me.
It is a terrible thing that has happened to the young player and i wish Muamba a full and speedy recovery but if he fully recovers, thinking that it was the 'power of prayer' is a massive insult to the dedicated surgeons and nurses that fought so hard to save him and will be the only people who saved the poor man's life.
It drives me to distraction when people credit God instead of modern medicine in these cases and leads to the unanswerable question of why, if God is willing and able to save the poor victim, did he do his damnedest to kill him with a massive heart attack in the first place and would have succeeded if it hadn't been for the quick actions of the medical team?
Have faith if you want, praying for victims can do no harm, but let's not get carried away with who is responsible for keeping him alive because Muamba is still with us because he was taken to a highly trained medical team at a hospital, not a Bible clutching priest at a Church.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Granny Tax

Age UK called it 'disappointing' and warned that it would leave pensioners hundreds of pounds worse off and the TUC general secretary said that the decision to raise more than £1 billion extra in tax from pensioners by freezing age allowances will haunt the Chancellor. Even the Treasury acknowledged that 4.5 million pensioners would lose out by today's announcement.
Already dubbed the Granny Tax, the Government have done such a hatchet job that they have not even had the comfort of a few days grace before people start shouting just what a steaming pile today's Budget has been.
It did try to spin the Granny Tax plan by weakly explaining that 'many pensioners don't understand the Tax System so this will simplify their tax' but the smokescreen was blown away before it even had chance to cover their tracks.
Instead, the cry went up immediately and grew louder when it became apparent that the elderly are being asked to pay more while the rich earning over £150,000 a year have their tax liability reduced.
The Tories did have a dilemma though, whether to tax wealthy individuals who donate a lot of money to the Tory party which could pay for the pensioners or cut money to pensioners. Of course they went for the latter and reduced the amount the the rich pay by 5% and they couldn't even spin that right.
The Chancellor said a study by HM Revenue and Customs found that the '50p rate had raised just a third of the £3 billion predicted'. So he scrapped it but £1 billion is not a trifling amount and is almost how much he was looking to save by slashing Disability Living Allowance to the disabled.
So £1 billion taken from the disabled is a significant amount but £1 billion from the rich is not significant enough to collect?
The Labour Party should already be formulating the line that the millionaires in the Government are handing their millionaire backers a tax rebate by snatching it from disabled children and pensioners.
At least the uproar over the nasty parties latest piece of wrecking-ball politics will allow the fact that they passed the bill last night which opens the doors to privatisation of the NHS to slide by unnoticed.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Cobain Today

I'm not sure where it came from but for the last few days i have had the opening bass line from Nirvana's 'Come As You Are' running through my head. As with most ear worms, i find actually digging out the song and listening to it is the best way to remedy the constant repeats inside your mind so that's what i did and as Krist Novoselic did his thing, i found myself looking through the inside of the album cover and at the picture of the three young men but especially the blonde haired figure in the middle flipping the finger to the camera.
Only 27 when he died, i began to wonder just what Kobain would be doing today if he hadn't taken that self-imposed exit that April morning in 1994.
Looking at what he left behind, Nevermind was Nirvana's highspot, what followed never lived up to that first album so they may have just faded away as the 90s rolled on and we would be suffering today through a lacklustre Nirvana reunion tour like Guns n Roses or they may have continued making album after album of sub standard pap like U2 or The Rolling Stones.
They could easily have sold out and be on our television screens hawking beer like Lemmy from motorhead or flogging car insurance like Iggy Pop.
In my mind, Cobain will always be the shaggy haired blonde dude in the out of shape cardigan, belting out those fast-slow-loud-quiet songs that epitomised the Grunge sound.
I can’t imagine him being 45 and can't believe Nevermind was over 20 years ago and its probably very selfish that there is a side of me that is content that he will be forever that brash, angry, handsome 27 year old sticking up a finger to the camera and not a balding, overweight, washed up has been living on former glories.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Don't Waste Sympathy On Sergeant Bales

The case of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who killed 16 people, mostly women and children, in Afghanistan cannot be that baffling to even to most amateur psychiatrist. The man obviously has a short circuit somewhere in his brain and went on a murder spree. Because he had access to weapons like an automatic machine gun, his murder spree was all the more devastating.
So that's the explanation, and his defence is likely to be post-traumatic stress disorder caused by Bales being unhappy about being returned to combat after being wounded in Iraq and having seen a comrade's leg blown off the day before he armed himself and headed towards those civilian houses that day in Kandahar.
Obviously it's tough in Afghanistan but it is beyond belief that there seems to be the start of a public relations campaign on behalf of Sergeant Bales.
All our sympathies should be with the 16 dead and their families, not the man who flipped out and murdered them in their beds. The authorities wouldn't accept this as a reasonable excuse if anyone of the kids who shoot up a school or Anders Behring Breivik made it, so why is it deemed acceptable by some if a member of the military says it after going on a murderous rampage?
It was wrong that the Americans quickly spirited him away and plan to give him a Court Martial hearing in America, he should have been tried in the country where his offence took place as was called for by the Afghan parliament.
If an Afghan national went on a killing spree in New York, the Americans would not allow the killer to be taken back to Kabul to face trial so why was Bale allowed to be whisked back to Kansas?
No sympathy should be wasted on Sergeant Bales who should be as vilified as those soldiers filmed urinating on dead Afghans, the ones who chopped off fingers to keep as trophies, the ones the Pentagon discovered had formed a death squad aimed at civilians and the military members filming themselves laughing and dancing as they burned copies of the Koran.
It's worth recalling these incidents to those who still scream support for this war, and did for the one in Iraq and Libya, and are now screaming that we should do the same in Iran and Syria.

Friday, 16 March 2012

End Of The World As We Know It

We do like a good old the-end-is-nigh story and we are sure to be hearing a lot more of our demise as we get closer to December 21 this year which is the date the ancient Mayan calendar stops and the war Deity Bolon Yokte is timed to descend upon us with great vengeance and furious anger.
Scary stuff but he could be hard pressed to find anybody left down here when he arrives because there is a stack of other things poised to wipe us out first.
Things like super volcanoes whose eruption is not just larger than normal but its scientific name is 'supermassive' and according to the Geological Society of London, 'would devastate an area the size of North America' and 'deteriorate the climate to such an extent that the very fabric of civilization would be threatened'.
One such super volcano sits beneath Yellowstone National park and the U.S. Geological Survey reassure us that such a supermassive explosion occurs about every 600,000 years. Less reassuringly they go on to say that it's been about 620,000 years since the last one.
If a super volcano doesn't do for us, it could be an asteroid. NASA catalogues all Near Earth Objects that are at least 1 kilometer wide as the impact of such an object would be expected to produce catastrophic effects for life on earth and so far 7,954 NEOs have been discovered with 1,215 classified as potentially hazardous and 992 of them greater than the catastrophic 1km in size.
In 1989 we came within 6 hours of devastation when the 300 meter wide asteroid 4581 Asclepius (1989 FC) missed the Earth by 700,000 kilometers, passing through the exact position where the Earth was only 6 hours before.
Throw in the long threatened global pandemic from mutating avian flu, the creeping devastation of Global Warming or even the Large Hadron Collider which is not running at full power but has already created tiny black holes and the scientists are are set to ramp up the power, and we have done well to reach this far.
My money for the end of life as we know it would be on the LHC warping space time so our world collapses into a gravitational singularity where not even light can escape and all matter is crushed to infinite density.
Sleep tight and don't let the chicken wielding Mayan Deity bite.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


There is something quite awe inspiring about astronomy. Standing there beneath all those billions of stars can give you a great perspective on matters.
It is the distances and sheer size of everything up there that always makes me pause and i have spent hours this week staring up at the dazzling spectacle of Jupiter and Venus side by side in the night sky.
We seem to take for granted the night sky without actually stopping to consider that there is this thing in the sky tonight, approximately 400 million miles away, and we can see it beside something else approximately 26 million miles away.
That's staggering but then the second thing that strikes me is that what i am looking at at this moment out of my window as i type this, can be seen by every other single person on the planet. All 7 billion of us can turn up our faces and see the same moon that I am looking at right now and was seen by every human that has ever lived.
The very first cavemen, if they looked up, saw the same stars and planets that we are looking at today in 2012 and there is something beautiful about that thought. Everybody in our history books, famous and infamous, would
have seen those same constellations, stars, planets and nebula's that are above us tonight and everyone from this day until the earth dies in billions of years time will see them also.
You can't help but feel very small and insignificant yet awestruck by it all.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

UK & US Special Relationship

British and American relations have come a long way since the days when they wanted to see if our tea floated and we decided to see if their White House would burn. Such are the good relationship we hold together now that we can send them people like Piers Morgan and Dave Cameron they don't retaliate with a declaration of war.
For any Americans wondering who that slimy looking toad with the large forehead was stood next to your President for the last couple of days, that's David Cameron, our Prime Minister.
Obama really piled on the pomp and circumstance for Dave with a 19-gun salute, a ride on the Presidential plane to a basketball game and an over the top speech where the American declared: 'Through the grand sweep of history, through all its twists and turns, there is one constant: the rock-solid alliance behind the US and the UK. The reason is simple. We stand together and we work together and we bleed together and we fall together in good times and bad, because when we feel our nations are secure, the world is a safer and better and more just place.'
Allow me to park to one side the idea of just how much safer and just the World is because of what us Brits and those Americans have been up to lately, and lets ask ourselves just why Obama is being so nice to us? The same man whose first job as President was to return the bust of Winston Churchill to Blighty is suddenly a massive fan of Britain?
I remember the last time the American President and the British Prime Minister got together for a long weekend, it ended up with Iraq having its population reduced by over a million courtesy of cruise missiles and B52 bombers.
It seems that with American Presidents, the grinning usually comes with a pretty steep price tag and with Iran being maneuvered into the gun sights, we could be bleeding and falling together again soon.
Should of just turned up with a box of matches Dave.

Friday, 9 March 2012

An Alternative To Nationalisation

Here we go again. In the past 12 months, we've had significant hikes in our gas, water and electricity bills and now we face above-inflation increases in train fares which are already the most expensive in Europe.
To many on the left, the obvious solution is to renationalise them which is a fair point. I have long argued that such vital utilities like gas, water and electricity are too important to be trusted to private companies who by definition are there to make as much profit as possible with the result being the customers are forced to pay ever rising rates or go without.
The utility companies especially, collude to raise prices together so the two positives on which privatisation is sold to us are made redundant. It doesn't give competition because they all cost the same and it hasn't kept the price down, a glance at your utility bill will painfully show that.
So renationalising seems a no-brainer, only i don't think our current fiscal position will allow for that even if we pay the companies what they paid for them originally but there is an alternative to outright nationalisation. Instead of dismantling privatisation, take it on at it's own game and start up our own utility companies.
The Government toyed with the idea of creating a National Bank when all the other privately owned banks were falling over, so why not a National Gas, Electric and Water company?
When it comes to your utilities, the only considerations you have are price and reliability and the Government wouldn't need to pay shareholders dividends or obscene salaries to the bosses so they could vastly undercut the profit driven companies currently ripping us off. They would have to cut their own prices to compete or face a massive loss of customers to the new Government run utility.
After the most important aspects are up and running, we can begin looking at things like the railways which have been shamefully ripping us off ever since Thatcher gave them the green light to do so back in the 90's or push on with the idea of that National Bank which seems to have been kicked into the long grass.
There is a ready made market just waiting for these things to happen because unless the Government does something, the utility, railway and finance companies will carry on happily fleecing us and why let their shareholders make billions out of us when we can be the ones benefiting from it?

Where's The Risk Register Dave?

15 months ago the Government made an assessment of risks involved in their plans for the NHS shakeup.
When Campaigners such as the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing asked for a copy, the Department of Health refused to show it to them.
Off they went to a legal tribunal to force the DoH to publish their findings with the final decision being that the DoH must release their findings.
Still the DoH refused and made an appeal against the first ruling citing to release the findings would 'set a precedent that would undermine government departments' ability to assess the risks of pursuing particular policies' only to be told after a two day hearing that it must stop keeping the document secret.
Cheers all around and just in time as in a fortnight the House of Commons and House of Lords debate the bill to reform the National Health Service before it gains parliamentary approval which rubber stamps the reforms.
Cheers cut short because the Department of Health have 28 days to decide whether to appeal again or not and they don't seem to be in any rush, saying: 'Once we have been able to examine the judgment we will work with colleagues across government and decide our next steps', but of course the debate is in 12 days!! After that it won't matter what happens because it will already be rubber stamped as an Act of Parliament!!
There will be uproar so you think, how can they debate anything if they only have half the story so the former shadow Health Minister John Healey has urged the Government to 'respect the law and release the risk register in full and let people make up their own minds on the NHS changes'.
It's scarcely believable that MPs and Lords are even considering voting on a bill of this importance when such a pertinent document is being withheld from public scrutiny.
It also seems incomprehensible that the risk assessment could be anything other than hugely awful because were it otherwise, the government would have released it and slapped all of us against the reforms around the face with it.
So the Government seem to be backed into a corner with everyone waiting to see if they will try to drag their heels until after the vote or just flatly refuse to publish it and we are left wondering just what the risk register contains that they are so desperate to not let us see it.
We can just hope that the MP's supposedly acting on our behalf feel the same way.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Nice Name

I never thought for a moment that somebody would come along with a name more likely to induce childish giggling than the former US ambassador to Denmark, Dick Swett, but Dicky has been relegated to second most ludicrous name in the World with the emergence of the man sent by the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the Russian elections.

Ladies and gentleman, meet Tiny Kox.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Quackers Bibi

Benjamin Netanyahu has changed tact in his foolhardy race to drop large bombs on the Iranian population.
With support waning for yet another Israeli strike on a neighbour, he has began comparing Iran to ducks.
'If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then it's a duck but this duck is a nuclear duck. It's time the world started calling a duck a duck' the comb-over Prime Minister of the Middle Easts biggest duck arsenal said but Bibi has a history of trying to get America to wipe Iran off the map for him.
In 1992 he said that Iran was 3 to 5 years from being having nuclear weapons and that the threat had to be 'uprooted by an international front headed by the US'.
So the renown warmonger and nanny abuser has been peddling the Iran nuclear bomb warning for the past 20 years but even Obama isn't buying it. During the 2011 G-20 summit, French president Nicholas Sarkozy was overheard saying to Obama, 'I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar' to which Obama responded, 'You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day.'
With an election coming up and with influential Americans Christian voters having this strange ritual of only backing prospective leaders that promise to defend another country, Obama can't just tell Bibi to duck off and stop being such a warmonger but the much mooted idea is that the Israeli will launch an attack on Iran some time before the election which Obama will have to support or risk losing his second term.
If it looks like a warmonger, walks like a warmonger, quacks like a warmonger..etc etc

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Breaking News...

News coming from the Kremlin is that Vladimir Putin has won the Russian election and to save time and effort, he has been declared the winner of the next elections too.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Just As You Thought It Couldn't Get Worse

It was two and a half years ago that the Conservative Party came to power and the 74% of the public that didn't want the Tories in power comforted themselves that at least as part of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the nasty party that spewed out Margaret Thatcher would have their wings clipped.
Fast forward to today and the Tories have not only bumped up unemployment to 3 million, decimated the Public Sector and tripled student fees, but they have also tried to sell off the forests and are presently deep into plans to sell the NHS to the highest bidder.
None of these things were in the manifesto but just when you think that they couldn't be anymore brazen and breathtakingly shameless, the latest wheeze from the Tories is to privatise the police force.
The home secretary, Theresa May, has said 'front line policing can be protected by using the private sector to transform services provided to the public' and that she hoped the 'business partnership programme would be in place next spring.'
Private companies providing police services for profit? We are expected to swallow a business that makes money from arresting and incarcerating people because giving the private sector free rein to run things in the UK has been such a whopping success already. Now we are going to let them loose on protecting us and let them turn a profit doing it?
So on and on they go, finishing off what Margaret Thatcher started and selling off the country so in the future your ability to receive health care or have your burglary investigated will come down to your ability to pay.
I'm baffled why we are not out on the streets and burning effigies of David Cameron and the rest of the Conservative half-wits.

The Whinging Rich

A group of those who pay the top rate of tax today said: 'Given the current state of the UK economy, we urge the Chancellor to urgently consider scrapping the top rate of tax in his forthcoming budget'.
They have described the 50% tax rate as 'damaging', 'unfair' and 'unjustified' and bleated that it was holding back the UK's recovery.
Obviously those who pay the top rate of tax don't particularly like paying the top rate of tax but the flip side of their argument is that if they don't want to pay to help keep our society going, who do they want to do it?
The fact that they are earning in excess of £150,000 per year to qualify to pay tax at 50% in the first place means that they are still better off then the vast majority of the people who work for them.
If you ask anyone who drives, they will say the huge petrol duties are unfair and if you ask anyone who owns a shop they will say that the VAT rise is damaging to the recovery.
Any public servant who is lucky enough to still be employed and have had their pay frozen for the past 3 years will say that is unjustified as will the disabled who have had their benefits cut, anyone who has recently joined the unemployment line and students who have had their £30 EMA grants snatched away from them.
Those paying the 50p tax rate do not have to choose between heating their house or eating, it does not mean they are having to sell their jewelery to pay the electric bill or face having their houses repossessed because they have fallen behind with their mortgage.
Those who are complaining about having to pay a bit more tax to make up the shortfall should take a long hard look at themselves and compare their situation with the real losers in this government's savage austerity drive.
We didn't hear such concern from the rich when the Government were slashing away at the pensions and benefits of the poorest in the country so they should keep their greedy, obnoxious mouths shut and realise that they are in a hugely privileged position and realise that paying a 50p tax rate is the least they can do to help cut the deficit because if it was up to the rest of us, they would be paying a damn sight more than 50p in the pound.