United Kingdom

First it was the Japs, now it is the Poms, clamping down on welfare for migrants

Kiwis moan about their “entitlements” being eroded by Labour in Australia when Helen Clark sold them down the river.

But migrant welfare bludgers are causing problems all around the world and just a few weeks ago the Japanese moved to limit entitlement to welfare.

Now the Poms are doing it too…a signal perhaps for Paula Bennett to look at toughening up our welfare eligibility rules too.

Migrants will be banned from receiving any benefits until they have contributed to Britain, under government plans to limit access to handouts.

David Cameron today announced the period for which European migrants can claim benefits is to be halved and recruitment agencies are to be banned from advertising jobs exclusively overseas.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed plans to go even further to secure EU agreement to stop benefits being paid to people who have not contributed to to the state, raising the prospect of handouts being linked to tax payments.

The Conservatives are forcing through further measures to deter so-called ‘benefit tourists’.

In January, the Government introduced rules that meant European migrants had to wait three months before they could claim out-of-work benefits – and then could only claim for a maximum of six months.    Read more »

Stone Age religion takes offence at cute doggies

Seriously if you can be offended by a Scottie dog then Glasgow might not be the best place to visit if you are a sensitive wee Islamist fundamentalist who is deeply concerned about anything in life which you might get pleasure out of.

Suicide bomber blowing up innocent civilians…straight to paradise, walking a Scottie dog…60 lashes.

Of course losing an airplane entirely with the loss of everyone onboard and flying another one over a war zone with similar results isn’t at all shameful and offensive, but walking a freakin’ dog is.

Malaysian politicians and religious leaders have attacked the use of Scottie dogs during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, claiming it was disrespectful to Muslims.

Around 40 Scottie dogs were used in the opening ceremony in Glasgow last Wednesday to lead teams around Celtic Park.   Read more »

Face of the day

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Obama wants to stop female genital mutilation.

After my Face of the day yesterday about the man who had his genitals allegedly removed by a hospital in a circumcision gone wrong, I can only cross my legs in horror at the thought of my special bits being removed. Ask yourself what kind of mind set, what kind of attitude towards women does Genital mutilation reveal about a religion or race? Women are chattels much as they were more than a hundred years ago in European culture. Thank fully we have evolved but we are still dealing with religions and cultures that have not evolved. They control women and they mutilate women.

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Opposition to idiocy of plain packs laws is mounting

The evidence is building that Australia’s plain packaging law for tobacco is failing is now prompting other countries to learn from the Australian debacle and ditch plans for plain packaging.

New Zealand should be looking at ditching our ill conceived proposed law as well.

Ireland’s government recently took steps toward becoming the first EU country to require plain packaging for tobacco products, and the UK would like to follow its lead. In light of recent reports coming out of Australia, the only country to enact the measure, showing the law is not achieving its intended effects, it is paramount these governments reconsider.

Free market and taxpayer groups are concerned about the consequences of such extreme laws, not just in terms of health and safety of consumers, but their impact on national treasuries. As reported in the Sun newspaper the UK Government faces a potential compensation bill of between £9-11 billion if it proceeds with the removal of internationally protected trademarks and intellectual property.

Already Indonesia is threatening to introduce plain packaging for beers, wines and spirits. And if other countries followed their lead this could have a significant effect on the Britain’s £38 billion alcohol industry which directly employs around 650,000 people.

But the Ireland and the UK still have a chance to stop this bad policy.

The stated purpose of plain packaging is that once you take away tobacco companies’ branding, people will be less inclined to buy their products.  The results thus far appear to be the opposite.  More than a year after Australia enacted the policy, studies by London Economics and renowned professors at the Universities of Zurich and Saarland (Switzerland and Germany) concluded it’s not deterring adults nor adolescents from smoking.

In fact, according to the tobacco industry’s sales volume data, cigarette sales increased by 59 million sticks in Australia during the first year of plain packaging, offsetting a four year downward trend. The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores even reports that its members’ sales grew by 5.4 percent.

Why are more cigarettes being sold when the goal of plain packaging was to reduce smoking? As any elementary course in marketing will teach you, a product becomes commoditized when it is stripped of its branding. The industry is forced to compete on price and consumers buy cheaper cigarettes, less expensive loose tobacco or even turn to the black market.

This is exactly what The Australian, a leading newspaper Down Under, recently reported is happening: nearly half of the country’s cigarettes are now purchased from the lowest price segments, up from just a third before plain packaging was introduced.

As the leading taxpayer rights group in the United States, the number that is even more offensive is the AUD $1.1 billion that KPMG reports Australia’s Treasury lost last year due to the growth of the black market for tobacco products.

While these tax dollars should have been in the government’s coffers, they were not because a record number of Australians purchased one of the cheapest type of cigarettes: those manufactured in branded packs and smuggled into the country.  The market for these “illicit whites,” as they’re called, saw a shocking 151 percent rise during the year.

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Michael Gove attacks the vested interests in education in the UK

Michael Gove has attacked the vested interests in education in the UK. the same issues are facing us here in New Zealand, especially with teacher unions.

Education standards risk being undermined “by vested interests determined to hold back reform”, Michael Gove has said on the eve of a major national teachers’ strike.

In a swipe at classroom unions, the Education Secretary says attempts to reform schools have “not always been easy” because too many teachers believe “things must stay the same”.

Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Gove says large numbers of pupils across Europe – including England – are facing a bleak future unless extra effort is made to raise standards and create more equal access to good schools.

He says teaching standards must improve because too many children are still attending schools that “aren’t good enough”.

The comments are made in a joint article with education ministers from Spain and Portugal as a major international conference is staged in London on Wednesday – just a day before Britain’s biggest teaching union prepares for a national strike over Coalition education reforms.

Education ministers, teachers and school leaders from seven countries are expected to attend the summit co-hosted by the Department for Education.

It is expected to place renewed focus on a series of Government education policies including the creation of a new generation academies and free schools, more freedom for head teachers, an overhaul of the curriculum and a new-style league tables focusing on achievement in core subjects.

Mr Gove has also introduced a wave of reforms aimed at teachers including raising the bar on entry to the profession and a new system of performance-related pay.

The reforms have been met with furious opposition from classroom unions who claim Mr Gove has turned teaching into one of the worst jobs in the world.

On Thursday, the National Union of Teachers will stage a one-day strike across England and Wales in protest over performance-related pay and escalating workload.

It threatens to shut around a quarter of state schools and lead to the partial closure of many more – forcing millions of parents to take the day off work or seek emergency childcare.

But writing in the Telegraph, Mr Gove said the Coalition’s reforms were typical of those being pursued across Europe and the developed world. Read more »

Finally! A positive outcome from global warming, will lead to cure for gingervitis

With all the talk about global warming and the disasters that will befall the planet from it we finally get some good news, and yes it involved species extinction.

How can species extinction be good news? Easy…when it involved the extinction of day walkers and those without souls and a cure to gingervitis

Global warming could lead to the extinction of Scotland’s redheads, expects have claimed.

Experts believe that Scotland’s gloomy climate has led to a red hair emerging as a genetic adaptation to help exploit rare sunny days and boost Vitamin D production.

But as the world warms up, some predict that the change in climate will lead to more sunny days for the Scots – meaning they will no longer be so well adapted to their environment.

Only about 1-2 per cent of the world’s population has red hair but in Scotland the figure is much higher, with about 13 per cent, or 650,000 people, with flaming locks.

Alastair Moffat, managing director of genetic testing company ScotlandsDNA, said the country’s dull weather was responsible for a larger number of flame-haired men and women being born.   Read more »

Echoes from the UK that give insight on New Zealand

People are sitting and watching the debacle that is David Cunliffe unfold before their eyes. They wonder at how the Labour party could have got it so wrong, after the heady days of Helen Clark’s power.

Part of the problem lies with that legacy of Helen Clark. She turned the party into a cult of personality and then surrounded herself with people who lacked ability, colour or ideas…lest they rise up and challenge her. So focussed was she on neutralising threats from within that she didn’t see John Key sneak up on her.

The marks of Helen still pervade the party, and now they seek to purge anyone from the centre right in the party. This of course has already been foreshadowed in the UK where Labour suffers the same issues.

What is it with British political parties? Is there some masochistic tendency – a perverse self-destruct mechanism – which invariably makes them denounce the very thing that has provided them with unprecedented success? You must accept that there is an uncanny parallel between the Conservative modernisers’ renunciation of Thatcherism after a single electoral defeat which followed on 18 unbroken years of power, and the Labour party’s rejection of its New Labour incarnation after an unprecedented three terms in office.

Somehow the idea became received wisdom that winning three times in a row – and then losing – was a kind of moral catastrophe rather than being a simple (indeed, healthy) consequence of democratic life. Since when have politicians assumed that when they lose an election it must be a sign that everything they have been saying and doing is totally unworthy and repulsive to the people – who had, until that point, been voting for them consistently for nearly two decades?

But here we are again. Labour is roughly where the Tory party was around 2000: in full-on self-flagellation mode – renouncing the version of itself which had been its most stupendously effective election-winning formula in post-war history. Blairism has become the precise analogue of Thatcherism – the evil spectre that must be expunged before the party can regain trust and credibility. In the case of Tony Blair, there is a convenient – and fatally confused – issue which can be used to justify his disgrace. His foreign military ventures and his association with the Bush “war on terror” have given licence to his perennial enemies within Labour to cast his whole political programme into disrepute.

That he transformed the Labour message, so as to make it not only electorally attractive but consistent with modern British social attitudes, is deftly buried by the Neanderthal Left, which always hated his reforms and his attempts to break the party’s dependence on the trade unions.

This brings us to Ed Miliband, who was put into the leadership by those unions precisely for the purpose of driving out the last traces of the Blair heresy. So the lesson that Blairism learnt from Thatcherism – that contemporary British politics is now all about individual aspiration, self-determination and genuine fairness (which is to say, you get out of life pretty much what you put in), rather than the old Left dogmas of class hatred, passivity and state-run collectivism – must now be expunged from Labour’s message.    Read more »

Face of the day

Maori King's son

Maori King’s son

Everyone is very quick to be upset with the Maori Prince but how many others from Royalty have committed crimes? In the interest of fairness I have done some research. One of the aspects that stands out with the Maori Prince is the lack of consequences for his actions. Have other Royal criminals got off as lightly? My results are below.

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Rolf Harris may have fiddled with kids here too

Fairfax is reporting that Rolf Harris may well have fiddled with kids and groped women here in NZ.

Wherever he went, Rolf Harris groped. The irony is that he also gave public talks to raise awareness about sexual abuse.

Harris – who was found guilty by a British court yesterday of 12 counts of indecently assaulting four girls – was brought to New Zealand by Parentline in August 1986 as part of a child sex abuse awareness campaign. It was the same year he indecently assaulted a 14-year-old girl in England.

Harris, who performed in New Plymouth in the 1970s, visited New Zealand many times, and could face charges in this country after allegations that he sexually abused girls here as far back as 40 years ago.

Harris, 84, was found guilty in the Southwark Crown Court in England early yesterday on 12 charges of indecently assaulting four girls from 1968 to 1986,

Witnesses from New Zealand gave evidence at the trial, but Harris was not charged with offences against them, as the court did not have jurisdiction to prosecute incidents that took place outside Britain.  Read more »

Face of the day

Her real face

Her real face

Above is an actual non photo-shopped photo of a woman called Esther Honig.

She decided to do an experiment using Photo shop in order to

examine how the standards of unobtainable beauty vary across cultures on a global level.

-au.eonline.com

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder so she altered her face in a series of photos to reflect the beauty ideals of the following eight countries.

Can you match the photo to the country? ( Answers below )

Which photo do you think is the most beautiful?

My favourite was photo D. When I showed Cam and both my children they also chose D.

Philippines, Argentina, Bulgaria, Morocco, Pakistan, United States,United Kingdom, Bulgaria

 

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