United Against Terrorism

closed eyes

Yet another terror attack has taken lives in streets of the UK.

A small number of extremists have yet again murdered innocents.

My thoughts are with the injured and families who lost their loved ones.

Election is the last thing in my mind; this post is not an attempt to score points either.

Instead, here are my opinions, in no particular order, from the moment I came to know about the brutal attack last night near London Bridge.

  • Nuclear weapons are not the answer for all threats; in fact, they were least useful yesterday – in all senses.
  • We need more police, more nurses, more doctors and even more emergency facilities.  Reducing these positions and services will only weaken our responses.
  • “Strong” words have little impact on radicalised, vicious minds.  Publically defeating terrorist ideologies via thought provoking discussions will have much better impact than “strong” words of retaliations – which only fade away as victim’s angry words coming from hurting sentiments.
  • Public sector services respond to terror situations and need more attention and investments.  Businesses and private sector focus on profitability, not terrorism.  Let us not forget the learnings we had from G4S scandal during Olympics.

Major parties have done the right thing by suspending election campaign for a day.  Hope a day’s deviation will make our political leaders think about priorities and considerations. If it could stop terror related deaths and carnage from our streets, that will be the best outcome of the day.

 

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UK Elections Topic #3: Corporation Tax

Have you decided whom to vote in this General election?

Hope you were able to watch today’s TV debate.  It was a good eye-opener, which provided clear choice on whom to vote on 8th June.

On one side you have Labour that is standing for the many with a fully costed manifesto.  Its leader was democratically elected within the party with a very high grass-root majority, and also have a honest, sincere image.

On other side, you have the austerity party, which threatens the country with more cuts in all sectors including education, public services and NHS.  They also offer a leader who won the party leadership via walk-over, has been called a “weak and wobbly leader” who don’t even have the courage to meet common public on a national debate on serious issues.

This post is on Corporation Tax.

Here as well – there are clear choices between the main two parties.  Labour is asking for your vote to increase the corporate tax, while Tories promise to further reduce it.

Before proceeding, let me clarify:  I am not an economist and do not claim expertise on the subject.  I use the data available from government and independent organisations and apply common sense to arrive at conclusions.  If you have valid points to disagree with my deductions, let me know and I am happy to update this post.

 

So, what is this corporation tax?

To put in simple terms, it is the tax corporations pay on their profits.  That is, tax on real profit, AFTER all expenses (purchases, bills, salaries) have been paid, AFTER all tax credits have been consumed.

Let us compare this tax with income tax of an ordinary salaried person.  A salaried person pay tax on salary BEFORE his/her expenses.  I mean, the net salary they get in hand is after deducting tax at the source itself.  On top, they also pay VAT on purchases; in contrast, corporations pass on the VAT to consumers.

That is a real difference!

Now, let us compare the tax rates as well.  If you are lucky enough to be in the higher tax bracket (£45,000 – £150,000) in UK, you will pay 40% as income tax.  In contrast, current, single bracket, UK corporation tax is 19% – whatever be the profits!

Corporate (who enjoy other tax credits as well) pay flat 19% AFTER their profits (no limits), while you and me pay 40% tax on gross salary.

Do you think this is fair?

It is this rate that Tories want to reduce even further to 17%!

They justify that a reduced corporation tax rate will attract more investors.  Tories and their economists argue that if UK raises the corporation taxes, the businesses will look elsewhere to shift profit.

Is that argument true?  Is corporation tax the only way to attract businesses?

Independent, non-profit, World Economic Forum reported in Oct 2015 that the top 3 most attractive countries for investments were India, China and Brazil – with corporate taxes 34.61%, 25% and 34% respectively.

All of above mentioned countries have a higher corporate tax than UK’s 20% at 2015.

Here are the graphs on these statistics:

World Economic Forum report on world’s most attractive investment markets:

WEF-attractive investment markets

KPMG Corporate tax rates tool:

KPMG- corporate tax rates

In short, the statistics negate the Tory theory that by increasing corporate tax, businesses will leave the UK.

Instead, making UK a great place for investment is the key to attract corporations.

How can that be achieved?  By several factors, including by having:

  • talented workforce
  • educated youth
  • quality of life that educated and ambitious have come to expect
  • Attractive infrastructure investment
  • A strong industrial strategy

Labour manifesto have policies for each of above factors.

Will try to post on each of these topics in coming days.

Let me know your thoughts…..

 

 

 

UK Elections Topic #2: Free School meals for all pupils – is the policy justified?

Catching up with general election topics….

In early April, Labour had indicated that they want to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils in England, by charging VAT on private schools fees.

Though yet to evolve in its entirety, I think this is a policy in right direction.

Studies confirm that extending free meal to all will improve overall pupil performance; this IFS report says students made 4 – 8 weeks more progress over a two-year period.

The policy will help the students, teachers (with improved pupil performance) and parents (by not only saving money but also knowing that their child will get a healthy meal in school).

As for any policy, there are critical comments on this idea as well, the prominent one being “why feed rich kids?”

I would like to look at this topic not from a rich-parent’s viewpoint but from that of state, which has an obligation to offer the best care without any discrimination to its future citizens – whether the pupil is coming from rich or poor background.

One of the other benefits of primary-wide free meal is that it will stop the “supremacy” claims in classrooms, similar to “my family is feeding you free meal”.  Free school meal to all will bring an end to these class-based boasts – which of course do not originate in kid’s minds;  these feelings  are injected in a very few kids from somewhere else.

Another argument is why make private schools pay for public school free meal?

Private schools are ultimately business establishments – businesses with aim to make profit; it is only fair that they are taken out of the subsidies they now enjoy – to provide facilities including equestrian centres and recording studios in some cases.

Instead of subsidising private education, it will be much more beneficial for the state to create a more equal level playing field for all the students by strengthening main, public education system.

Let me end this post with a comparison of education with health.

Vast majority in UK support public, free health/NHS for all.  We overwhelmingly believe that a person’s bank balance should not dictate his/her eligibility for the best available health care.

Now, replace the word “health” with “education” in above line – what is your opinion now?

 

UK Elections Topic #1: Ensure your vote counts …

In coming days, I will post my thoughts on critical polices that are being actively debated.

Let me start the subject with a news clipping from BBC; hope you have already seen this.

Nurses, police, teachers, fire service.. professions that are backbone of any community; professions that face cuts under present government.

My kids were born in NHS hospitals; they study in local schools, and I am proud of these professionals.

If these professionals are not paid enough to live a decent life, then we should be very worried about the future of our society.

Ensure that your vote counts, for your community.
Ensure that your vote counts, for yourself.

Yet another US aggression….

US has taken military action against Syria.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39523654

​I don’t support Assad and strongly condemn chemical attack on Syrian citizens.  

That said, the missile attack on Syria is yet another unilateral military aggression by USA on a middle East sovereign state, without any agreement from U.N. General  Assembly or Security Council.  US still considers itself as world police but in reality it’s nothing but an aggressive bully.  When will rest of the world have the courage to control this rouge nation?  

Theresa May’s “full support” is nothing but meak submission to the bully in front;  “Love Actually” PM-with-spine is still a distant dream for UK.

Article 50 and Labour Viewpoint

tuiip-siddiq

As Article 50 bill is getting ready, media is again highlighting conflicts within Labour.

I think these discussions are vital signs of an active party with supporters from all walks of life.

Internal Labour discussions are not much different from a REMAIN voted (then MP) PM presenting the Article 50 bill.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn both supported REMAIN, but the country voted otherwise.

Being respectful of that decision, both leaders are asking their respective MPs to pass Article 50 bill so that the negotiations with EU and rest of the world could commence.

This being the case, why single out the internal difference within Labour?

The referendum was not discussed and voted based on party affiliations.  Instead, supporters from all parties (except UKIP of course) were intensively divided to support both sides of the argument.

One of the sides won.

Now leaders of both major parties are asking their MPs to vote to support invoking Article 50.

I do not see anything wrong with it.

If Tulip Siddiq cannot understand that democratic process, it is better for her to resign.

NATO – shouldn’t we veto?

“Nato is very important, Nato has been the bulwark of our security here in Europe and we work together in Nato.” – Theresa May, in Andrew Marr Show (22nd Jan 2017)

Wasn’t NATO irrelevant after culmination of cold war and Warsaw Pact?  It was.

Isn’t a military organisation the real threat to peaceful, diplomatic resolutions? It is.

Doesn’t NATO undermine and jeopardize the United Nations?  It does.

Then isn’t it time to disband Nato?  Yes, I think so.

 

 

 

 

 

Journalism or Biased Propaganda?

negative

I intended to write on Labour and upcoming vote by parliament on article 50.

Instead, I am writing again on biased-journalism, because of one-sided trash they call news these days.

Is it only me, or have you noticed it as well?

Read following links and you will know what I mean:

  • Corbyn office sabotaged EU remain Campaign, by BBC in-house Corbyn-hater and political fabricator Laura Kuenssberg – against who, incidentally, even the regulator BBC Trust ruled that she inaccurately represented Corbyn.
  • YouGov on “How badly is Jeremy Corbyn doing?”
  • The Telegraph header on Jeremy backs down on vow to force Labour MPs to vote in favour of Brexit.
  • BBC on Corbyn not changed his mind on immigration.

Do you hear the underlying tone?

In all cases, they use as many negative adjectives as possible with “Labour” and “Corbyn” in the same sentence.

Ignore the politics and political reasoning for time being; we can discuss it later.

Instead, let’s check the syntax and attitude.

Take for example “Corbyn sabotaged EU Remain”. Had they said either “Corbyn supports Brexit” or “Labour supports Remain” it would have given a clearer message.  Also, it would have brought readers on at least one side of the topic closer to Labour.

Read the other article on Corbyn not his changed mind on immigration.  Corbyn clearly states that immigration to the UK is not too high and migrants play a valuable role in the society.   In next statement BBC says “Labour was not wedded to freedom of movement”.

Why cannot Laura and BBC use their backbones, stand straight and say clearly that Corbyn supports controlled immigration?

Because their backbones were long ago surrendered to the grand-alliance of Corbyn haters.

Yet another article in Telegraph: Jeremy backs down on vow to force Labour MPs to vote in favour of Brexit.

Wow!  How many negatives in just one header!

Does it still clearly explain in which way Labour wants its MPs to vote?

No, that message is obscured.

This is what the pen-pushers and Labour-haters want to achieve.  Create utter confusion regarding the stands of Labour and Corbyn and murk the message.

By using “no”, “not”, “force” and other negative remarks, they purposefully alienate Labour and Corbyn from either side of the argument.

Let me try – “Media, political parties and their trash-writers use manipulative language in their venomous uttering against Corbyn”.

See, I too have learned that way of writing!

Blame the propagandists!

Lost the mood to write on the topic I intended to; will come back later on Labour and Article50.

Till then, have a read on an earlier post on journalism.

Is MP seat just another job?

careerStoke-on-Trent Labour MP Tristram Hunt has decided to quit his position to be the Director of V&A Museum.  A very nice career move – just look at the salary hike!  From £74,962 to a package worth at least £225,000-£230,000!

Well done, Director Hunt!

Apart from a hike in salary, I have also heard about other “positive” reasons, including “his parliamentary seat is about to be abolished, so Hunt will become jobless”.   Another one that the directorship of V&A is once-in-a-lifetime dream opportunity; why should someone not take it?

I agree, valid points from his personal view point.

But is an MP seat just a personal career position?  Is it just another job, a stepping-stone for one’s personal growth?  What about an MP’s commitments to his constituency and thousands of people who voted and elected her/him as their MP?

Let us take each of the viewpoints that are raised in support for Hunt.

His parliamentary seat is “about to be abolished” – not already abolished.  If one is in politics for the love of it, and was elected as an MP, they will continue the job they were elected for – till the time the post exists. That is what is least expected from an MP. Leaving a job half-done and running for another one – whether it is for publicity or money – is not what is expected from a politician.

Those who support Hunt’s personal growth are ignoring his constituency, its voters, the party he represented and the constraints Hunt put on the party due to his personal ambitions.

If one do not have commitment to their party and voters, then they should not take the pain to represent a constituency.

It is this “me-before-party” attitude that created current tension within Labour – and between Labour and its supporters.

From another angle, I feel it is better for Labour that those who destroyed its core values are getting out after all – along with their WMDs.  It is good that they are deserting, leaving Labour to its rightful owners.  It might take some time for Labour to make it ship-shape, but it’s worth the time.

Who knows how quickly Director Hunt will leave V&A for another lucrative position?

Let’s wait for the Linkedin update.

Brexit, Judiciary and ruling on Article 50

Article50_court_ruling.png

Court ruling on Article 50 invocation dominates UK press and media for last couple of days.

A number of newspapers had headlines similar to “court vs. people” and calling the judges “enemies of people”.

Is it really so?  I do not think so.

The judges in their ruling clearly mentioned that “the court is not concerned with and does not express any view about the merits of leaving the EU, which is a political issue”.

Then what is the ruling?

The court was requested to decide whether the UK Government is entitled to invoke Article 50 without a reference to parliament.  The judges ruled that the Government cannot overlook the parliament.  The ruling also mentions that “the most fundamental rule of the UK’s constitution is that Parliament is sovereign and can make and unmake any law it choose.”

This principle is critical.

Not only it is critical, but it is what the referendum voters voted for, in a larger context.  The referendum results established the fact that UK voters do not like rules imposed on them by an un-elected EU parliament – which was what the PM and her Government were trying to do.

From that perspective, I even dare to say that the judges were more biased towards the Brexit results!

So, the ruling should not be considered as a blow to referendum result.  It only says that Government should now present the terms – that it intend to discuss and debate with EU – first with the parliament, and then initiate the Article 50 discussions.

From this perspective, the ruling indeed is a defeat of the Prime Minister Theresa May and her Government.  The PM and her Tory party should not rush in to the Article 50 discussions directly with the EU; instead it should properly debate UK’s case within the parliament, reach cross-party agreements and then – then only – invoke Article 50.

From this perspective, the ruling indeed is a defeat of the Prime Minister Theresa May and her Government.  The PM and her Tory party should not rush in to the Article 50 discussions directly with the EU; instead it should properly debate UK’s case within the parliament, reach cross-party agreements and then – then only – invoke Article 50.

Resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips underlines this fact.

Stephen Phillips is not only a Tory, but also backed EU exit.  Still, the MP is critical of Conservative government’s actions and accuses the PM of “trying to ignore the views of parliament and avoiding scrutiny of the government’s negotiating position”.

This is in line with the court ruling as well.

I do not think UK MPs are not that unintelligent to overlook referendum result which was backed by 52% of the voters.  If they are, then they should resign – at least those ones whose constituencies voted to Leave – and then look for a fresh mandate, before they should vote against invocation of Article 50.

What is your opinion?