United Kingdom

Welfare reforms in UK encouraging entrepreurial spirit

Good news out of the UK as welfare reforms appear to be working well.

Benefit cuts are pushing more people into self-employment and helping to create a new generation of entrepreneurs, the Bank of England has suggested

The Bank announced that one of the most ‚Äústriking‚ÄĚ features of the economic recovery has been the record 4.5‚ÄČmillion Britons who are now self-employed.

According to official figures, the number of self-employed workers has risen by more than 600,000 since 2010, accounting for more than a third of the 1.5 million new jobs created since then.

The Bank said the trend was partly down to government welfare reforms, such as the ¬£26,000 benefits cap, pushing people back into work. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, claimed that the figures were evidence that the Coalition was reviving Britain‚Äôs ‚Äúentrepreneurial spirit‚ÄĚ.

He told The Telegraph: ‚ÄúEvery one of our welfare reforms has been about getting Britain working, so it‚Äôs encouraging to see the Bank of England explicitly linking our reforms with the strength of the UK labour market. ¬†¬† Read more »

The Stupidity of the Left’s “Finland” chant for Education

In terms of education no one on the left is offering anything this election – just more BANS – to go alongside truck bans, man bans, foreign investment bans, Nigella bans etc.

The Green/Labour/PPTA/NZEI block simply plan to ban National Standards, Charter Schools and the $359 million of government spending directed at improving leadership, teaching and learning in areas where schools are failing.

The only glimmer of a proposal they give is to say – we need to be like Finland. The funny thing is that those groups would go even more apoplectic if some of the things Finland does were put in place – plus – those working in Finland recognise that the conditions that make it work there do not work anywhere else.

“Compulsory schooling begins at the age of seven, with only a broadly-outlined national curriculum, and students wear their own clothes and call the teachers by their first names.”

Problem 1: Schooling begins at 7. In New Zealand the Left blame all school failure on poverty in the home. So they would want to leave children in that situation longer – so when those kids start school they are even further behind? When the children don’t own clothes of a quantity and quantity acceptable to going to school it just given them one more things to be socially distinct on – the Left would be happy with that?

Problem 2: That change would put a whole lot of NZEI employees out of work and out of the union. I can just see NZEI marching in favour of that.

Problem 3: One of the complaints with Charter Schools from the clueless Left has been that they may propose a curriculum apart from the national one. So they would suddenly be in favour of the much greater curriculum freedom offered to Finnish schools? Would they happy for schools to simply be leaving out portions benefiting the Left’s social agenda that are in our current curriculum?

“PISA results show that Finland was 12th best in the world for maths ‚Äď outside of Asia, only Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Netherlands and Estonia fared better. Britain was 14 places below Finland.”

Problem 4: Some of the Finland results are not that flash. The Left also complain vehemently about testing and whinge about PISA (especially when it calls into doubt their “world class” mantra). So – they want Finnish systems based on a testing system that shows quality but at the same time bag the testing system and don’t want it here? It must be confusing having to try and think this way.

“And a study by the Smithsonian Institution showed that the difference between Finland’s weakest and strongest students was the smallest in the world.”

Read more »

The BBC is smug, wasteful and unfair says Jeremy Paxman

James Delingpole examines Jeremy Paxman’s belief that the BBC is¬†smug, wasteful and unfair.

The BBC is a smug and wasteful “closed corporate culture” whose special, licence-fee-subsidised status “hugely distorts the marketplace.”

Well we knew all this already of course but it’s interesting to hear it from the mouth of one of the BBC’s starriest presenters, Jeremy Paxman.

Interviewed in the Guardian, he talks about his love-hate relationship with his employer.

‚ÄúIt is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and that‚Äôs a very odd state of affairs. When I see people being given ¬£1m merely for walking out of the door, when I see ¬£100m being blown on that DMI [digital media initiative] thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering: how much longer are we going to test the public‚Äôs patience?‚ÄĚ

He goes on: Read more »

Argie ratbags have a sook about Falklands military exercise

The Argentinians may as well give up, they are broke, march backwards and are never, ever going to get the Falklands back.

Argentina has accused Britain of provocative behaviour by planning to carry out military exercises in the Falkland Islands next week.

Deputy foreign minister Eduardo Zuain summoned the British Ambassador in Buenos Aires to protest over the “new show of military force”.

It is the latest diplomatic clash following heightened tensions over the territory since Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took power in Argentina.

A spokesman for the Embassy of Argentina in London said: “The Government of the United Kingdom will conduct military exercises on occupied Argentine territory between 14 and 27 April, including missile launchings from the Malvinas Islands.¬†¬† Read more »

Could this happen here?

David Cunliffe and the Labour party are in the control of the unions.

Without union funding Labour would be flat broke, but there is only so much patience the union movement will tolerate and if their chosen leader fails to deliver a victory in September then the same thing could happen to them that is happening to labour in the UK.

The unions are warning Labour the funding tap will be turned off.

Britain’s biggest union Unite could axe funding for Labour if the party loses the next election, its leader warned today.

And Len McCluskey said defeat at the polls was a distinct possibility unless Ed Miliband starts producing more left-wing policies and pledges a U-turn on hated Tory austerity measures.

If Unite did pull the plug on funding, that could mean they would start bankrolling other parties.

Mr McCluskey said he fears Labour is losing loyal voters because of the path Mr Miliband is taking it down.

He added: “Labour consistently has to demonstrate that it is our voice, we created it.

‚ÄúI fear for the future of Labour.‚Ä̬† Read more »

Top shot, six dead scumbags with a single shot

This has to be one for the record books.

Six dead taliban ratbags with a single shot.

A British sniper in Afghanistan killed six insurgents with a single bullet after hitting the trigger switch of a suicide bomber whose device then exploded, The Telegraph has learnt.

The 20-year-old marksman, a Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit his target from 930 yards (850 metres) away, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast.¬† Read more »

Greenie MPs claim mileage for riding their bikes

In the UK cycling advocate MPs have now been busted for claiming expenses for riding their bikes.

Perhaps this is why the Green party here wants to force everyone onto cycles.

MPs were at the centre of a new expenses row last night after The Mail on Sunday discovered they are claiming money for riding their bicycles.

Britain’s Cycling Minister, a millionaire backbench Labour MP and the shadow Transport Minister are among those who have claimed the 20p per mile allowance for pedalling to and from official engagements.

The cycling allowance has been used hundreds of times by eight MPs over the past four years. One of the politicians admitted he stopped claiming the allowance because it did not cost him anything to ride his bicycle ‚Äď but others defended their claims, insisting they were justified.

The expense claims, which have been logged with the Independent Parliament Standards Authority (IPSA), follow HMRC guidance. It states that the ‚Äėapproved mileage rate‚Äô for individuals cycling for business journeys ‚Äď not commuting travel ‚Äď is 20p per mile.

Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh has made six cycling claims, totalling ¬£11.60. One of her expenses, for which she claimed ¬£1.60, was incurred when she ‚Äėcycled from Westminster to Peckham for BBC filming and back‚Äô.¬† Read more »

Whoopsy!

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Oh dear how embarrassing.

A 45kg torpedo has been accidentally discharged at a nuclear dockyard during a training exercise, narrowly avoiding causing a serious accident.

Navy bosses have launched an investigation into the blunder, which took place during a training drill at Devonport naval base in Plymouth on Wednesday afternoon.

Workers watched as the projectile shot out of HMS Argyll and flew 200 yards through the air before blasting a hole in a security fence and slamming into a storage container.

The torpedo was an unarmed version used for training, so it did not explode and merely thudded into the metal container.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, which took place at the port where Britain’s Vanguard-class nuclear submarines are refuelled and repaired.

The Ministry of Defence refused to say whether or not any of the submarines were at Devonport at the time of the accident.¬† Read more »

Windpower sucks cash too

Windmills were abandoned in England over the late 1800s as the world progressed and developed better technologies, most windmills have been cleverly converted into the sort of homes you see on Grand Designs.

I wonder what they are going to do with all the obsolete bird slaughtering windmills when the taxpaying public finally put a halt to the massive subsidies the renewal industries receive.

Ironically the nasty stuff that is used to manufacture these noise polluting monstrosities are so toxic it means they will have to shipped for disassembly to a place with questionable labour standards.

Windflow Technology has posted a $2.8 million half-year loss.

This is almost 50 per cent higher than the previous half-year loss of $1.9m. ¬† Read more »

Bad luck for the Poms and Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys

It seems some flat worms are devastating France’s snail population.

Snails, one of France’s signature dishes, could be off the menu if the country fails to stem an invasion by a slimy worm from Southeast Asia, scientists warned on Tuesday.

The warning is being sounded over a voracious species called the New Guinea flatworm.

It is already on a list of the 100 most dangerous invasive species in the world as it has a relentless appetite for native snails and earthworms in places where it has been introduced.

Workers at a botanical gardens in Caen, Normandy, called in scientific help after they spotted a strange, dark, flat-as-a-pancake worm among their greenhouse plants.

Reporting in the journal PeerJ on Tuesday, a team of French experts said DNA tests had confirmed their worst fears: Platydemus manokwari has arrived in Europe.

“This species is extraordinarily invasive,” said Jean-Lou Justine of the National Museum of Natural History. “I really hope it can be stopped at the earliest stages.”¬† Read more »