Politics UK

Warning: You are now entering a totalitarian state

You probably haven’t heard of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. Sounds boring doesn’t it? Far from it.

This bill, if passed, gives almost unlimited powers to Ministers to change the law without the involvement of parliament. And since the bill doesn’t exclude itself from this amazing power, whatever restrictions it contains could be removed by ministerial order. In other words, it would enable the government of the day to do anything, without any of that tedious business of democracy getting in the way.

When you consider it alongside the Mass Surveillance System* currently being set up, the curtailment of the right to protest, and the possibility of indefinite detention without trial on the basis of security service “intelligence” (despite the very obvious failure of such “intelligence” in Iraq), can you see what is happening here? Most people can’t. If you can, please help to spread the word before it’s too late.

This is not just about this government. It’s about whether you want every future government, elected or not, to have such far-reaching powers, which take automatic precedence over your freedom. Do they really need to create all the tools of a totalitarian state just to fight terrorism? It wasn’t necessary to do so in the days of the IRA bombing campaign. Why now?

* The Mass Surveillance System comprises, amongst other things, ID Cards and especially the National Identity Register; Childrens Act Register; CCTV on every street (but violent crime continues to rise); numberplate recognition systems that will track your vehicle everywhere in the name of “congestion charging”; unprecedented powers for the security services to spy on British citizens, including MPs. It is the repealment of human rights and justice safeguards that we have had for centuries, like the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead there is now a presumption that all citizens might be up to no good and must be kept under surveillance at all times.

Further Reading about the Bill:

Thanks to No2ID for alerting me to this.

Eco FamilyLife Mammon/Babylon UK

Credit Unions can offer CTFs

Thanks to a bit of synchronicity I just found this statement from the Inland Revenue:

The present regulations were laid on 24 March [2005]. These make changes to the CTF regulations to allow credit unions to offer their cash deposit accounts for the CTF.

I think this is good news and could well be the best place to put those pesky government cheques — get them invested in your local community. Sure, cash deposit is low return, but also low risk. Doesn’t seem to have been much publicity about this, perhaps unsurprisingly. Well, you know now. Spread the word!

FamilyLife Mammon/Babylon UK

Are Child Trust Fund accounts the best investment?

Having read through some information sent to me by The Childrens Mutual, and done some more digging, it looks to me like non-stakeholder CTF accounts (which are the only option for those wanting a truly ethical/eco investment), seem to offer very poor value for money — and even stakeholder accounts aren’t that great. If you intend to put aside a regular monthly payment for your children, you might be best to put it somewhere other than a CTF account.

Mammon/Babylon UK

Trading Nothing

Reading through lots of financial rubric in search of an ethical/eco Child Trust Fund, I am struck firstly by how the fund managers ensure that they make a profit whether or not the investment does, taking both an initial charge and an annual charge; and secondly by the extent to which a huge proportion of the financial industry is a house of cards on foundations of sand.

The complex instruments which the industry has created have no basis in existence — they are so many stages removed from anything tangible or truly important to humanity that they might as well be vacuum. The whole thing revolves around finding ever more inventive ways to re-package and re-sell money itself, with everyone taking a percentage at every opportunity. But money itself, divorced from the goods for which it might be exchanged, is ultimately worthless. Unfortunately, the people who usually find this out the hard way are the people at the bottom, the small investors, the impoverished pensioners etc. The system is designed to move wealth from poor to rich, as if by gravity.

So I somewhat despair at having to put a CTF into one of these dodgy investment vehicles in the first place… but since we have no choice about that part, it’s all the more important to choose one which does have a connection to the real world, so that if/when the markets collapse, perhaps it won’t be the end of the world.

Eco UK

Green Electricity suppliers

Which is the best supplier to choose if you want to encourage the development of renewable energy sources?

Eco FamilyLife Mammon/Babylon UK

Ethical and Ecological Investments for the Child Trust Fund

So, your youngster(s) have just got their cheque for £250 from that nice Mr Brown. Now, what to do with it?

Many people will want to put their child’s trust fund into ethical and environmentally sustainable investments. After all, there’s not a great deal of point in them having a pot of money in 18 years time if the planet has gone to hell by then. You want to invest in their future, right?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of CTF accounts do not assess any criteria of ethical, ecological or social responsibility. And, depressingly, most people probably won’t realise that their CTF is being invested in arms, tobacco, environmental destruction and oppression.

So… where are all the CTF funds to cater for our requirements?