Op-ed: Have you heard? The reward for getting sacked is an honour.
Since 2010 people in the UK have been expected to suck up austerity, tighten their belts as Social Security nets are weakened and in some cases removed and live in fear of "what next?" overseen until recently by Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Post the BRexit vote the Tory government began to implode, PM David Cameron quit and ran and George Osborne was sacked by our new unelected Tory PM Theresa May.
But if you foolishly believe Osborne et al live in the real world think again.
So what do you get when you are rubbish at your job and sacked?
In Mr Osborne's case "a prestigious honour recognising his political and public service!"
Osborne was awarded CH (Companion of Honour) and received the honour Friday.
There will of course also be whopping pension entitlements and more.
George does not need handouts but he will get them while others in desperate need are failed time and time again by an incompetent Tory government.
Take a look back at a few of our Osborne reports if you think that is harsh:
Osborne's country pile gets National Trust handout
George Osborne rebrands National Insurance
Rona Fairhead and George Osborne old pals
And Osborne and Cameron have prospered as voters have experienced financial pain.
Remember the now conveniently forgotten Panama Papers?
In July 2015 Channel 4 reported "Chancellor George Osborne’s family business made £6m in a property deal with a developer based in a tax haven, Paul McNamara and Guy Basnett investigate."
In October 2016 the Daily Mirror reported "George Osborne's family firm hasn't paid any corporation tax for the eighth year in a row."
George Osborne was honoured in Cameron's resignation honours list.
Yes, you may resign because you blew it and miscalculated, calling a costly EU referendum which blew up in your face, but you are still entitled to put together a resignation honour's list.
It is all about ENTITLEMENT for some.
A pat on the back of fat friends old and new?
Cameron and Osborne are old pals.
Many members of the traditional British establishment went to the same schools, networking and making connections that over time serve them well. That is as true as ever.
The British Honour's system has always been flawed but these days people see through its associated spin and hyperbole.
The system makes a mockery of us all.
Op-ed: Pensions in the UK have been protected by a triple lock but that looks set to be scrapped.
David Cameron's election promise was a committment to the triple-lock until 2020 at least.
BBC News claims "As a result of triple-lock policy, the state pension has risen by a relatively generous £1,100 since 2010, with an increase of 2.9% in April this year." Break that figure down and it is less than £200 a year; less in some cases. Much less than £3 a week.
But Cameron has gone and the government is now led by unelected PM Theresa May.
Younger people who may say "good" to news that the triple lock could end need to consider a few things not least that the state pension is a pittance in real terms and that for older retired people the pension is as good as it gets for the rest of their lives.
Getting old is a fact of life; the only alternative is dying young.
But when we are young it is hard to envisage yourself as an older person, frail, perhaps with no family, maybe still struggling to pay rent or doing OK financially until a long term husband, wife or partner dies or has to move into a residential care home.
It is all relative and many people will know at least a few older citizens who continue to work into very old age or seem to have an affluent lifestyle.
The reality is most pensioners are not wealthy.
The state pension is not a huge amount of money nor is it a state handout or a benefit.
Down many years people pay into the system, play by the unwritten rules, and toe the line hoping they are paying in for a little security in old age.
There are always some, like my parents who died aged 55, Dad, and 58, Mum, who are never able to claim their state pension.
Dad worked all his life, including military service during the second world war, but his pension entitlement ended with his death obviously, resulting in money going to the Treasury for use as they see fit.
Recent governments in the UK have made a complete hash of pensions; not the very generous pensions of politicians however.
It was decided to equalise retirement age and rather than bringing the age down for men, the age women can retire has been gradually increasing. Men also face a higher retirement age; how high depends on their age now.
Trust politicians to make it complicated and unfair
Check out WASPI women to understand the pension problems of women born in the 1950s. Check out the new flate rate pension to understand that it offers a two-tier pension system with people born before a certain date losing out.
The new flat rate pension is touted as a good thing and a fair system but it is not available to all.
The Pensions Reform Group
Frank Field, 74, is the veteran Labour MP who chairs the House of Commons work and pensions select committee.
Who is Frank Field?
In a report on immigration in 2006 the Guardian said "Devout Christian and fervent admirer of Lady Thatcher, the outspoken Labour MP has fanned further controversy, this time over immigration, but until his vision of a new Britain is achieved, he won't be silenced."
A strange sort of Labour politician.
Tony Blair also had an uncomfortable positive opinion about Maggie Thatcher.
That Guardian report had to this to say about Field back in 2006:
In his youth, he was a member of the Conservative party, but he was thrown out for opposing South Africa's apartheid system. Shortly after becoming the MP for Birkenhead in 1979, he took on Militant and threatened to stand as an independent if they attempted to deselect him. And then there are his views on the welfare state, which place him firmly in a category all of his own, certainly within Labour. Put most simply, he believes it degrades the very people it is meant to serve, that it creates a benefit-dependent, work-shy sub-class. 'It's our fault as politicians to have put temptation in front of people,' he has said. 'If the system pays people more on incapacity benefit [than jobseekers' allowance], it's human nature to claim the higher amount. We have to remove the incentive.' In short, Frank Field wants to sack the nanny from the nanny state.
From 1997 to 1998, Field served as the Minister of Welfare Reform, before leaving the Government, following differences with Prime Minister Tony Blair but in June 2015 Field was elected Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
Although this report is about pensions it seems fair to include information aout Mr Field who is chair of a committee recommending an end to the triple lock.
Percentage pay increases are always a mixed bag.
"State pension to rise 2.5% from April to £116 as 'triple lock' boosts pensioners' handout twice as fast as workers' pay. Pensioners will get a 2.5 per cent hike in their basic state pension from April to £115.95 a week - substantially more than either inflation or the average pay rises workers are getting.4 Dec 2014"
NOTE pensioners handout? NOTE increase to £116 a week!
Apparently such excessive pension rises are not sustainable.
But compare that to "Queen in line for £2.8m pay rise in 2017-18" a headline this week and one from February 2016 "MPs get pay rise of nearly £1,000 despite one per cent public sector wage caps." That increase took effect in April "nine months after they received a backdated 10 per cent pay rise from £67,060 to £74,000."
Should I trust Mr Field and his committee to sort out my pension?
According to Wikipedia:
Two nights before the Conservative Party leadership election in November 1990, he [Field] visited then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street. He advised her that her time as Prime Minister was drawing to a close and that she should back John Major to take over the role. His reason for doing so was that he felt that her Conservative colleagues would not tell her straight that she could not win a leadership contest. Following this meeting, he was smuggled out of Downing Street's back door. Two days later Margaret Thatcher supported John Major for the post, and Major went on to be Prime Minister
Maintaining the status quo and helping the establishment is unappealing especially in a Labour MP. But he started out as a Tory and some things never change.
Having touted austerity and tried to make poorer and vulnerable people pay for the mistakes and mismanagement of others is the government about to move on to pensioners?
Many pensioners traditionally vote Tory. Most pensioners bother to engage with politics and vote. But generalisations are sloppy.
Either way hitting the incomes of pensioners is more divide and conquer and will fail to address core issues.
Will this also be blamed on BRexit?
The judges have faced a series of attacks since the ruling, in one case citing one of the judge's sexuality.
Thursday the Daily Mail went with "The unelected 'activist' judges who mounted a 'power grab': High Court trio who blocked Brexit are led by one who founded group dedicated to furthering European integration."
In that report the Daily Mail says:
The bombshell court ruling which has bogged down Britain's exit from the EU in a legal quagmire has sparked a row over how UK judges are appointed.
In truth it has nothing to do with how judges are appointed but all to do with the judges making a ruling they do not like.
But the Bar Council has said that the "serious and unjustified" attacks on senior judges should be condemned by Tory Lord Chancellor Liz Truss.
Ms Truss has responded by saying an independent judiciary is the "foundation" of the law. That response was quickly condemned as insufficient and far from satisfactory.
There had been calls for PM Theresa May to make a statement but according to the Mail she is unavilable as "British PM heads to India with eye on post-Brexit ties."
The ill-thought out and badly handled EU in or out referendum was always going to lead to trouble. If a majority of voters had opted for BRemain perhaps it would have been plain sailing. That however would have depended on how close the result was.
But Pandora's Box is open and the UK will look a laughing stock on the world stage unless the government gets its act in order.
Unless the government win an appeal in the Supreme Court Parliament will have a final say and vote on when or perhaps if Article 50 is triggered so that the process of the UK actually leaving the EU can commence.
SNP MPs representing Scottish constituencies in Westminster are not expected to support the triggering of Article 50. In Scotland more than 60% of those who voted chose BRemain.
Whatever the outcome there will be a lot of disappointed people in the UK.
Op-ed: A High Court ruling Thursday highlights how shambolic BRexit and the Tory government overseeing the process is.
On June 23 a majority of voters chose BRexit.
Thursday "The high court has decided the government does not have the power to trigger article 50 without consulting parliament" throwing a spanner in the works.
Nothing much in real terms has happened on BRexit since June 23 but there has been a greal deal of procrastination, pontification, a plummeting pound, inflation and other serious economic woes.
Following the High Court ruling Thursday the value of the pound is up highlighting that it is all a sham.
Right-wing rag the Daily Mail reports:
Judges trigger major constitutional crisis as they deliver 'slap in the face' to Theresa May by ruling MPs MUST be given a vote on Brexit but ministers vow to overturn controversial decision.
The government will appeal the decision and unelected Prime Minister Theresa May insists the schedule for BRexit will be met.
But the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin the formal exit-negotiations with the EU without including parliament.
According to BBC News "A statement is to be made to MPs on Monday but the prime minister's official spokesman said the government had "no intention of letting" the judgement "derail Article 50 or the timetable we have set out. We are determined to continue with our plan"."
Political leaders are viewing today's news from different angles. Nigel Farage smells a rat and thinks the government may renege on BRexit. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn however urged the government "to bring its negotiating terms to Parliament without delay", adding that "there must be transparency and accountability to Parliament on the terms of Brexit".
Thursday's court ruling is a mixed bag.
If it is upheld it could be a positive or a negative.
Remember Theresa May is not an elected Prime Minister; she took over from David Cameron when he turned tail and ran following his disastrous handling of the EU referendum.
The electorate will be better represented during BRexit negotiations with cross party involvement.
The worry is that the Westminster hierarchy will work out a BRexit to suit their agenda rather than the will of the people.
This story is set to roll.
Read the full ruling here.
Or the official summary here.
Legal arguments against Brexit revealed for the first time, ahead of High Court battle.
Will MPs let the UK exit the EU?
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