Posts Tagged 'Theft'

The cheapest unit of energy is always the one that isn’t used

It may be a cliche, but it’s true.  The cheapest unit of energy is always the one that isn’t used.

Those are the words of RWE npower’s Chief Executive, Paul Massara (on the video below).

Once again we see reinforced and overtly articulated, the implementation of the global sustainability agenda, which is seeking to force consumers to use less energy by driving up prices.  It is staring us in the face, yet still it is shrouded in deception and dishonesty – even with the price comparison sites pretending better deals can be had, so they cash in each time some desperate customer switches supplier to postpone the inevitable hike of more than 10% when their ‘fix’ deal ends.

All the comments from David Cameron, Michael Fallon and the cast of bare faced liars at the heart of government, including Ed ‘justify your price increase as I load on the levies’ Davey, about shopping around for a better deal, is nothing more than theatre.  It’s all an act.  There is no plan, no impetus and no desire to increase energy supply to meet demand.  The politicians know the agenda they are working to.  They know they are pricing people out of the ability to afford energy to heat their homes and cook their food, all for the corrupted ideal of environmentalism.

Only the most deceitful or utterly incompetent and deluded fool could possibly argue that almost doubling the wholesale cost of electricity from nuclear power, in 10 years time, could result in cheaper energy bills.  But that was David Cameron, speaking about the plans for the construction of Hinkley Point C.  Only a moron like him could suggest that getting a French company to build the power station with oodles of Chinese money equates to kick starting the UK’s nuclear industry.

It is an outrageous lie.

If all this does not provide sufficient evidence that our rulers – who are supposed to be our servants – are serving interests other than ours, then nothing will.

Talking out of his Barnet

The Leader of Barnet Council, Richard Cornelius, is another example of a politician who resorts to weasel words and refuses to acknowledge or accept when his council has exceeded its authority and broken the law.

Speaking after Barnet Council was found to have illegally driven up the charges for controlled parking zones in the borough in order to raise revenue, rather than simply maintain the scheme, Cllr Cornelius tried to play down the seriousness of the issue by saying:

It is fairly clear that the council raised the price of parking permits, after five years of a price freeze, too abruptly and rather charmlessly. I will make sure that doesn’t happen again.

With the council considering spending more taxpayers’ money to pursue an appeal, Cllr Cornelius then attempted to play the ‘everyone else is doing it’ card:

Both our pricing and spending are very much in line with other London boroughs.

That of course doesn’t make it right.  Cornelius is whining like a spoiled child at the unfairness of being pulled up for his council’s illegal behaviour.

This matter is yet another case of councils doing what they think they can get away with.  It is also a splendid example of the importance of residents taking an interest in what goes on in Town Halls and challenging councils who think they can bully people into compliance through threats and using taxpayers’ money to fund legal action.

The lesson from residents is not only that you can take on local authorities when they are in the wrong and win, but that we all have a duty to do so.  The forget they are supposed to be our servants and we need to correct the unacceptable imbalance in the relationship.

Defeated Council to spend yet more taxpayers money in attempt to rob residents blind

The local government resident-robbing machine is hard at work in the London Borough of Barnet.

The Evening Standard reports that a Judge in the High Court has ruled Barnet council acted unlawfully when it increased the cost of residents’ parking permits and visitor vouchers in controlled parking zones (CPZs) in order to raise revenue.

From the Standard’s piece there is a familiar story here.  Residents in part of the borough are frustrated at parking problems in their streets caused by commuters trying to park close to the local London Underground station.  So they get the council to agree to create a controlled parking zone in certain roads where residents and their visitors will have permits to park and everyone else gets a ticket or towed away – even though they also pay for a road fund licence and were entitled to park there.

To meet the administration costs, the council imposes an annual charge, which in this case back in 2001 was £20 per year for the first vehicle in each household and 35p for each visitor permit.  After several years the council puts up the administration charge, in this case in 2006 to £40 for the first vehicle in each household and £1 for visitor permits.  Doubtless Barnet feels the amount of administration of the CPZ scheme warranted such an increase.

But then, in the way councils do because they feel they can do what the hell they like, Barnet sought to turn these residents into official cash cows to subsidise other transport related matters the council wanted to spend money on.  So in 2011 Barnet donned its balaclava mask, put on its black and white hooped sweatshirt, and took it upon its collective self to charge residents in the CPZ £100 for the first car in each household and £4 per visitor permit.  As one resident, who unhelpfully for Barnet is a solicitor who does know a bit about the law, pointed out:

Simply holding a summer BBQ or a children’s party could cost £40 in parking charges. An elderly person enjoying regular visits from a relative could face an annual cost of £800.

Extrapolate that across the whole CPZ and you can see there is serious money being taken from residents for the council to spend as it sees fit.

However, it would seem Barnet Council’s solicitor is underused (not consulted) or overpaid (incompetent in the law), because the council did not have the power under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes!  And that is what was held by Mrs Justice Lang in a rare example of the judiciary upholding residents’ complaints about the illegal behaviour of councils and their agents.

But, not content with having their kleptomaniac tendencies reined in by the High Court, Barnet is udderly determined to milk its unwitting cash cows and now intends to spend a significant sum of taxpayers’ money to appeal the case – so desperate are they to suck every drop they can from the taxpayers’ teat.

For the moment it seems at least one council that acts as a law unto itself has come unstuck.  But this is just one example of what councils up and down the country are doing, blatantly ripping off and pressuring residents to part with ever larger sums in fees and charges to service its own agenda, without any consideration of the legality or the probity of their actions.  We will watch with interest how the case pans out.

STOR scandal: Putting the scale of the theft from us into context

Following on from our previous post about the emerging STOR scandal, it would be helpful for people to understand just some of what this means in monetary terms.  To what extent are energy consumers and taxpayers being ripped off to make expensive diesel powered electricity generation worthwhile for ‘investors’ and big businesses to provide to the grid?

So lets put it into context, in the words of an energy company:

National Grid (2011b) sets out reserve tender outcomes and RWE npower has estimated that the price paid when stand-by generation capacity is called for by the short-term operating reserve market mechanism was £180-280/MWh in 2010. There is also a payment of around £7-10/MWh.

This is worth around £30,000-45,000/MW per annum to an owner of stand-by generation (RWE npower, personal communication).

That is roughly eight times the industrial tariff for power. As demand for operating reserve increases, shown in Figure 8, the price will rise and the incentive to participate will grow stronger.

Indeed, by 2015, National Grid (2011b) estimates that the utilisation payment will have risen to £544/MWh, and by 2020 the figure is £685/MWh, all in real terms in 2010/11 money. That is an increase of 96 per cent in ten years providing a strong incentive for new owners of generation to participate. Across the whole market, the total payments for being available and for generating could reach £945 million per annum by 2020, up from £205 million in 2010. That is an increase of 350 per cent in ten years.

There are profitable opportunities to be seized and they are open to existing generation assets which have already been paid for and sometimes even depreciated.

While the firms benefit, society does too. The mechanism allows the market to find the cheapest way to maintain an uninterrupted power supply whichever scenario the UK finds itself in. It will be to the benefit of all consumers if stand-by generation is put to its best possible use.

Source: nPower

It is interesting to note that over on the Bishop Hill blog, Andrew Montford points to a conclusion that no fossil fuels are subsidised in the UK, in rebuttal to the imbecilic climate alarmist mouthpiece, Bob Ward.  However, STOR clearly shows there is subsidy being made available for diesel powered electricity generation at peak times – albeit to back up virtually useless wind power.

Extortion class cashes in after demands for money with menaces

The political class has done its job well.  So brainwashed are the lumpen masses they believe a great victory has been achieved with the news Starbucks has handed over £5m to the Exchequer as a corporation tax payment, with another £5m to follow later in the year – regardless of whether Starbucks makes sufficient profit to incur that liability.

The Daily Wail also does its bit to sow confusion by conflating global earnings with UK tax liability, in a deliberate effort to make Starbucks’ operation here look more profitable than it is so the £5m payment looks much smaller than it should have been.

It is only after eight paragraphs that the detail is shared with readers, some of whom before that had taken to the comment thread to hurl abuse and invective at the coffee chain.  What the detail reveals is that (my emphasis in bold):

This year however the European arm of the company has turned a profit. In its most recent trading update Starbucks said operating profit in Europe was $5.2million (£3.4million) for the three months to 25 April, up $12.2million (£7.9million) on an operating loss of $7million (£4.5million) for the same period a year earlier.

Making a liberal assumption that Starbucks’ European (not UK) sales stay consistent for the remainder of the year, the company would be on course to make a profit across the whole of Europe of £13.6m.  However, the UK Exchequer will be getting £10m from the company following the campaign of demonisation and public opprobrium led by millionaire politicians like Margaret Hodge, who avail themselves of measures to reduce their own taxes without any shame for their hypocritical behaviour.

That means Starbucks in Europe could end up paying 36.7% of all of its European profits in tax to the UK Exchequer alone.

But reading some of the comments that have been elicited by the Wail’s deliberate effort to obfuscate the facts, it seems that isn’t anywhere near enough!  No doubt that is a view held by the extortionists in Westminster, who remain unchallenged about just why they take so much money in tax from this country’s productive sectors.

That there would be consequences was always a given.  So the extortion class and the brainless morons, who see businesses as a cash cow to subsidise government bribes, waste and inefficiency, can now take responsibility for the actions Starbucks is now taking to mitigate some of the financial costs of paying grossly excessive sums of money that are not even owed, in order to end the witch hunt:

We are also undertaking measures to make Starbucks profitable in the UK, such as relocating unprofitable stores to more cost effective locations, closing them where that is not possible and placing greater reliance on franchised and licensed stores.

Take a bow, hypocritical, political class rent seekers.  Demonising Starbucks will now result in people – typically younger people early in their working lives who already struggle to find employment opportunities – losing their jobs as stores are moved or closed to reduce costs to subsidise this state engineered robbery.  Some of those who work directly for the chain with the benefits that go with working for a large employer, will now find themselves working for franchises that typically offer lesser terms and conditions.

These actions could now see tax take from the affected employees reduce and possibly see benefits required to support those who will lose their jobs.  Where the state has grown too large, too overbearing and too powerful, these are the things that happen.

I will savour the squeals of protest from those myopic comment thread outrage mongers over at the Wail, when the beast they have helped feed starts to take more from them in the not too distant future.  We will doubtless see a very different tune being played when they are on the receiving end of the kleptocracy that refuses to just deliver essential services and infrastructure well, and insists on inserting itself into areas where it has no business, using our money to service its own interests rather than ours.

Whatever happened to the selfless commitment to public service?

There was a time when people who went into local government did so because the rewards were fair, the role they would perform would be stable, it would be valuable to the community, and often they saw it as a way to use their abilities to serve people.

Local government today is less about serving the needs of a local population.  It is now a localised monopoly business.  It is seen as a tool for people who haven’t got the talent to make it big in business to earn huge sums of money off the back of compulsory ‘distress payments’ in return for delivering ever less, while demanding ever more money in taxes and ‘charges and fees’.

That is why, up and down this country, we taxpayers are being increasingly ripped off in short order by councillors with dreams of Westminster or Brussels careers, deluding themselves they are in charge of a mega corporation with bottomless reserves of cash and handing out our money like confetti to grubbing little upstarts like this.

In a democracy, where the people would have the power rather than the servants, we could do something about it.  Of course, the good people of Surrey could simply vote out the current lot and replace them with another lot.  But as we have seen for so long, the only thing that changes is the face attached to the suit.  When it comes to issues the political class and bureaucracy have their issues, which they pour money and resources into, and we ordinary people outside the bubble have ours which remain neglected and treated with contempt.

An economic storm is gathering

Quite recently, and rather belatedly, I started to take a more serious interest in the economy.  In January I read an article that laid bare the real extent of this country’s debt burden and what history shows us happens when such a situation arises.  The rest of the world fares no better and compounds the parlous nature of the economy globally.

Having gone on to spend the last few months researching, then starting to invest in gold and silver, and writing an almost complete short guide about how to do that most effectively as a small investor, a piece on Bloomberg about billionaire investor, John Paulson, losing more than $300 million of his personal wealth as gold fell to its lowest price in almost two years, caught my eye.

Anyone who has an interest in precious metals will be accutely aware that their cost has fallen rapidly in recent weeks.  A lot of people are falling for the establishment propaganda that has seen comments and actions by George Soros presented as a rationale to abandon gold and silver and pour money into the dangerously inflating stock market bubble.  Goldman Sachs has joined in this week, urging its clients to sell out of gold.  That was the cue for large scale selling by individuals and organisations that has sent gold below £1000 per ounce and silver below £17 per ounce.

Yet the backdrop to this is the likes of Soros maintaining a huge position in gold, Goldman Sachs looking to buy physical metal on the cheap as their clients dump their paper options for unallocated metal which largely doesn’t exist, and governments/central banks dramatically increasing their gold reserves while telling everyone else that they need to be in equities where their monetary investments can be taxed and depositors can be given ‘haircuts’.  As always it is a matter of the establishment saying one thing and doing another.

The fact is the health of gold and silver is anything but poor.  Demand for physical metal is soaring and has even resulted in mints rationing sales of bullion coins and dealers finding it difficult to acquire stock – and with the sudden price change on Friday now taking the decision to suspend sales, knowing they would be overwhelmed by demand for the cheaper gold and silver and would not achieve the mark up over the price they paid.  For ordinary people the price of gold and silver only matters if you need to sell it to liquidise assets.  While the price may fluctuate, the physical metals still have intrinsic value that makes them more valuable than devalued currency that is being eroded by inflation.  John Reade, a partner and gold strategist at Paulson & Co, is one who is refusing to be taken in like the sheeple:

“Federal governments have been printing money at an unprecedented rate.  We expect the strengthening of the economy and stock market to cause money supply to rise more than real growth and eventually lead to inflation. It is this expectation of paper currency debasement which makes gold an attractive long-term investment for us.”

Goldman Sachs and the central banks know this all too well and are simply encouraging people to sell assets, worthless or valuable, to drive down the price so assets can be picked up on the cheap to make the long term investment even more valuable to them.  People who listen to them will be left high and dry as the investment vehicles being recommended fall apart as part of the monetary crash that will come.  ZeroHedge calls is right when in response to the Paulson story Tyler observes:

As for gold as an inflation hedge, here Paulson is certainly correct. The only question is when will the price suppression scheme of gold as an alternative currency finally end. Since various official organizations (such as the Troika) are currently doing all they can to buy the sovereign gold of insolvent nations at firesale prices, it is likely that the period of artificially suppressed prices may continue.

Which, incidentally, for all those who lament the recent price drop in gold, is a good thing: for those who see gold as an alternative currency to fiat, all the recent sell off (as well as alleged or real downward price manipulation) does is provide a lower cost basis for accumulating hard monetary assets. Which is something to be welcomed and not mourned, especially if one plans on holding on to said gold (or silver) as a currency, instead of merely converting it back into fiat at a higher price point, and thus as an asset (something all those who bought BitCoin at $260 and sold at $50 appear to have completely forgotten).

Dr Paul Craig Roberts was the US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and an associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He knows how the system works.  Just over a week ago on his website he put some context around what we are currently seeing in a piece that everyone should read.  He can see the writing on the wall.  The video below builds on the article (h/t Silver Doctors):

However, the establishment’s effort to prop up western currencies by encouraging people to act in a way that drives down the price of gold and silver to make these devalued currencies look more appealing, shows that the economy is in dire shape – and is a huge opportunity for ordinary people.  Pushing the price down to prop up the dollar in particular, has made it cheaper for ordinary people to acquire gold and silver before the price takes off upwards.

This week I have taken the opportunity to add another 2oz of gold bullion and 3kg of physical .999 fine silver bullion to my vaulted assets, along with some more 22ct Gold Sovereigns, and silver bullion coins in the shape of .999 1oz American Eagles, 1oz Canadian Maple Leafs, 1oz Austrian Philharmonicas and 1oz Britannias, all purchased legally without having to pay VAT and now safely stored in a secure, non-bank facility that I can access 7 days a week if I choose.  The more that government and the likes of Goldman Sachs try to get me to part with my assets, the more I am convinced to hold on to it.

When the economic storm eventually hits, the value of fiat money plummets, government raids bank account deposits a la Cyprus, at least I will have the comfort that I have no debt, bar what’s left to pay on my mortgage, and that a good proportion of my assets will not lose their value – indeed they will almost certainly be significantly more valuable than today.  Best of all, the government and their banker agents won’t be able to get their hands on it as it is kept outside of their system.

Danny Alexander wears confiscation of our money like a badge of honour

What kind of world has this become where a government minister, Danny Alexander, tries to out-do his (current) political opponents by declaring the rich have paid more in tax under the coalition than at any time under Labour?

This is just the latest example of the wrongheaded thinking that infests the political bubble, boasting that under this profligate, social democratic coagulation the all-powerful and unrepresentative state is managing to strip from the population more money than the other lot of incompetents, as if it’s something to be proud of.

Taxation would not be an issue if the government took the bare minimum necessary to maintain essential services and infrastructure, ensuring the protection of the population and support of the vulnerable in society.  But that isn’t what happens.  Despite public spending continuing to spiral out of control, fuelled by increased state theft and unaffordable borrowing, the necessary services the British people have paid handsomely for are actually being run down. Yet the lumpen masses who, to use their corruption of language, ‘celebrate’ ever rising taxation as ‘fairness’.

Many actively endorse and demand the kind of tax inequality that see local authorities charge a household of six people in one street the same amount of council tax for services as their single next door neighbour, who, if lucky, might be forgiven a mere 20% of the charge.  In the event that person is paying more for the services than the family next door.  But suggest that the charges should be applied based on the number of people in a household rather than the arbitrarily derived property value banding, and rioters take to the streets.  So much for fairness.  What we have is envy and jealousy where people who don’t earn as much as some others resent that good fortune and want to see those individuals punished for being better off, by government taking more of their wealth from them.  Redistribution sounds great until all the barriers are removed and it happens to you.

Government’s attitude is to take as much as they think they can get away with, then allocate large portions of the money to propping up the organs of our supreme government in the UN and the EU, while squandering billions more on vanity projects and ideologically driven idiocy that benefit special interests rather than ordinary people as a whole.  It is the warped spending priorities of successive governments that have driven this.  It will not change until the day when people are asked to approve the government budgets and ministers are forced to justify their spending priorities.  Until that day people are perfectly justified in doing all they can to legally minimise the amount of money seized from them.

Hypocritical ICIJ stooges lead an assault on privacy to aid state theft of assets

Cyprus was just a stepping stone on a far bigger and more disturbing journey.

Over on EU Referendum, Richard draws attention to another – an ‘investigation’ into offshore tax havens that is leading the headlines in certain publications.  As he explains:

For the last few days in certain newspapers, the dominant story has been a collaborative affair, running under the general title of “Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze“.

Styled as “one of the largest and most complex cross border investigative projects in journalism history”, it is co-ordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), working with more than 86 journalists in 46 countries in “an attempt to strip away the biggest mystery associated with tax havens: the owners of anonymous companies”.

He questions the motivation of those involved in this inquiry, and with very good reason.  For the ICIJ is an organisation with an unsavoury history – as this blog discussed last year – which is working to a particular ‘big state’ agenda.  For while the investigation ostensibly seeks to shine a light on the business of ‘dirty money’ and shady nominee companies, something it would be hard for anyone to take exception to, its real motivation is demonise tax havens and close down legal avenues for people to shield their wealth from taxation and confiscation by the wasteful, unrepresentative and self serving political class.

These are people for whom the concept of paying a ‘fair share’ is to say ‘you have money so we are taking it’.  It is a spiteful and devisive approach that feeds on the envy and resentment of people who are not as well off.

Whenever tax havens are discussed they are deliberately associated with ‘dirty money’, quasi criminality and tax evasion.  Yet as the paucity of identified wrongdoing demonstrates that it is mainly hard working, law abiding and successful people who use tax havens to legally avoid and minimise tax liability, and who are having their privacy assaulted as part of this effort to demonise the offshoring of assets.  Note with care the fact that the offshore arrangements of the paymasters of these ICIJ stooges, such as the owners of the Guardian, are strictly off limits.  Orwell’s pigs are taking control.

With its Marxist roots the ICIJ despises the concept of individuals taking steps to prevent government simply helping itself to the rewards other people have earned for hard work, entrepreneurship and personal risk.  This is why the ICIJ is devoting so much energy and resource to this campaign and in the absence of widespread wrongdoing is content to muddy the waters and talks of perfectly legal tax avoidance as if it is something criminal and shameful.  The sole aim is to close tax havens, further the goal of harmonising taxation policy around the globe, and enabling governments to attain the unfettered power to take from citizens, at will, anything they want when they want.  This is the global governance agenda writ large and occasioned by the continuing erosion of liberty, private ownership and personal freedom.

The only shame in all this is that so many people have been brainwashed by a succession of parasitical governments into believing the confiscation of wealth is a socially responsible activity – despite the fact taxpayers have no say in how the revenues seized from them are used and abused by the political class to buy votes at election time with bribes to net consumers, funded with money taken from net producers and irresponsibly borrowed by the billion without realistic means of repayment.

Instead of cheering this nefarious campaign, people should be opening their eyes and understanding this represents the dismantling of what stands between limited government, barely held at bay by the people, and total domination of the citizenry by the real criminals – the undemocratic, unaccountable and unelected elite and their minions in the political class.

Organised crime is the excuse being offered up to justify this campaign.  But it’s not about criminality, it’s about removing the last barriers to total domination of people by unaccountable governments and the vested interests that direct them from behind the scenes – individuals who will benefit from state sanctioned theft by the real organised criminals who are destroying the economies of the world and with them undermining the wealth and prospects of ordinary people.

A happy outcome in Cyprus!

For the ‘colleagues’…  The Cyprus Mail reports that:

EU funds co-financing Cyprus-based development and growth projects will be exempt from the deposit haircut, communications minister Tasos Mitsopoulos said yesterday.

Mitsopoulos said that the 37.5 per cent haircut on deposits larger than €100,000 held in the Bank of Cyprus would not impact EU funds.

“This development secures the smooth flow of resources from EU funds to Cyprus, and the continuation of any projects underway,” Mitsopoulos said.  He said that the happy outcome was the result of coordinated efforts by the government of Cyprus.

I’m sure every Cypriot depositor, whether an individual or small business owner, who has seen a large chunk of the money they have worked hard to accumulate stolen by the decree of the Cypriot government, European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, will be delighted to see that government saw to it deposits in the banks belonging to the favoured few were exempt from confiscation.  A happy outcome indeed.

But then, why should the EU not benefit from the same shady deals that have been quietly arranged for political parties, politicians and their families, senior civil servants and corporate businessmen?  One rule for the elite, penury for the rest.

The moment you put your money in a bank it becomes theirs for the taking.  You’re only a creditor.  Now they’ve established the principle of the game, the only question is one of scale. There is nothing to stop them deciding to hoover up the deposits of those with less than €100,000 on deposit if they call it a tax and confiscate the money before a bank goes under.

Having damaged our economy the politicians ramp up their cash grab extortion racket

First we had that doyenne of rank hypocrisy, Margaret Hodge, given a free ride on BBC Radio 4 Today to label companies looking to minimise their tax liabilities as ‘immoral’. She’s a fine one to talk.

Now we have Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, signalling the government’s plan to demand more than their legal share of tax money with menaces. The Lib Dem minister, who says he has been boycotting Starbucks over its low tax bill, is now promising to “get under the skin” of those who do not pay their fair share.  The  Cosa Nostra are positively benign in comparison to this lot.

Alexander said on the Today programme that “public pressure” is an important tool in getting companies to change their behaviour.  He went on to say there is evidence people are already taking their custom away from companies that do pay little or no UK tax, such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google.  That is exactly what the government’s money with menaces campaign has been striving to achieve and it’s having the desired effect.

We are witnessing an extortion racket in action aided and abetted by the media, where the envy and resentment of less well off people who are trapped in PAYE is a well being tapped to help bring about what the government wants, despite the fact the government is not legally entitled to any extra money.   The consequences of not sacrificing exemptions and deductions and handing over additional money is that the state, and its establishment lackies, will do what Hodge and Alexander are already doing and work to destroy the reputation of those businesses by encouraging consumers through example to boycott them.  And this from a government that describes itself as pro-business, in a c0untry it describes as open for business.

‘We know no spectacle so ridiculous,’ wrote Thomas Macaulay some 175 years ago, ‘as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.’  The government and parts of the media have successfully whipped up one such huge scale fit and are running a racket to pressure companies to voluntarily pay more in tax than they are legally obligated to.  It’s an outrageous campaign that too many people are too blind to see for what it is.

The result that all too few people are considering is that prices will rise to offset the increased cost of doing business in this country.  Many of the very people who are clamouring loudest for ‘fairness’ and more taxation will unwittingly be disproportionately affected by this because the higher costs will ultimately be footed by the consumer.  Who will they demonise then?

The government won’t care for it will have more money to squander on non essential spending like the hundreds of billions that have been pissed up the wall for no public benefit before it.  Perhaps people would do well to remember that a government big enough to give you what you want is a government big enough to take from you all you have.

The latest band of wind turbine rebels

In Cleveland, North East England, a group of residents from Marske, New Marske and Saltburn have joined forces to oppose the installation of eight wind turbines across several local sites, according to a story covered in the Evening Gazette.

This story stands out from many others because underlines the dash for cash that keeps the uneconomic wind industry on life support.  Firstly it tells readers the agent acting on behalf of the developer, Empirica Investments Ltd, is working for the West Midland Metropolitan Authority Pension Fund – a body committed to making a lot of money for members.  Secondly it also carries a nail-on-head quote from a local councillor, Dr Tristan Learoyd, that defines this money train for what it is:

Local people are united in their opposition to the proposal. I am a lifelong environmentalist, but these projects aren’t about climate change. They’re about a few people making fast cash from government grants.

The Gazette story, which has attracted a handful of comments that are universally hostile to the collection of turbine planning applications, also mentions that a leaflet circulated in the area by EDF Energy has left residents questioning the need for the eight turbines given that a previously approved 29-turbine offshore Redcar wind farm was pitched as catering for all Marske and Saltburn energy needs.

The money train is used as a hook in the marketing material published by Empirica Investments.  It is of course a staggering coincidence that at the exact time this story makes  headlines in the area, Empirica are in the process of redeveloping their website.  But Google’s graphic cache of the pages of Empirica’s website, pre redevelopment, enables us to see how they lure landowners into having turbines sited on their land, so both they and the parasitical Empirica can make money from our taxes and energy bills.

For those who cannot make out the text it reads:

Offering to the landowner

The attraction of the Empirica Investments offering is for the landowner to receive income from their land at no cost to them.

As Empirica receive the tariff from the Government backed Feed in Tariffs, the income is underwritten by Government policy and is not subject to the volatility of the wholesale energy markets.

The landowner will share in the total income received from the electricity generated from the wind turbine in exchange for leasing their land, without the risks attached with developing the project.

Typically we are seeking sites for the installation of a single turbine, however in certain circumstances we can look at multiple installations and possibly the installation of a different size or model of turbine.

We adopt a bespoke approach to any deal with landowners, however our standard terms offered for suitable site criteria are based upon the following […]

These are government facilitated parasites, hoovering up money from our pockets via our taxes and energy bills for the installation of an unreliable technology that we have shown contributes a negligible percentage of our energy when the energy is needed most.  But the target of our ire must be the bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels and Westminster who have imposed this corporatist scam on us.  It is legalised theft, a forced redistribution of wealth from those who often can least afford it, to those who already have significant resources.

Out of control and above the law – Local Government in 2011

For people to become angry enough and energised enough to campaign or take a stand against something usually takes a realisation that their money is being taken from them wrongly, or that an injustice is being committed against them and others.

So one wonders what might happen when more people realise money is being taken from them wrongly, and they are being treated unjustly because the law is not protecting them from unlawful behaviour, and in both cases the perpetrator is the same entity – Local Government.

Recently this blog argued that to take back power we need to change focus.  In that post we explained that local politics is the least scrutinised area of public life, but it is also the most vulnerable to people power. We also covered the root of the problem:

Control should and supposedly does reside with elected local Councillors.  However it is the Council Officers who pull the strings.  They write the reports, they formulate the recommendations and all too often they seek to neuter any elected members who challenge them.  All too often the Council Officers help the Councillors to feather their nests, thus keeping them compliant and unwilling to rock the boat.

And it is this that needs to be the focus of our attention – the restoration of democratic control, transparency and accountability to stop the Officer tail wagging the Councillor dog.  It can be done, for it is far easier to create a non-party political local campaign, build up support in a ward or wards, and then run independent candidates who can win local elections than it is to get a non aligned candidate into Parliament.  Candidates who will not play the game, and who when elected will wrest control back from the bureaucrats and put it back in the hands of those who are directly accountable to the electorate, are a nightmare scenario for the powers that be.

In response some people argued that the idea is flawed because Councils are small fry due to the percentage of income they raise themselves.  However it is all relative.  Too much of what Councils do raise without mandate or consent is wholly unjustified.  Tackling that behaviour and getting visible results can help spawn a genuine grassroots movement and establish a powerbase that sees people power take root and grow and spread.  And the scope for action is huge.

All that is needed is for awareness to be raised of a genuine and unacceptable state of affairs and good people might finally stand up against the racketeering going on in our Town Halls.  And the evidence of that unacceptable state of affairs is now rising to the surface to be shared and cited across the country.

As readers of EU Referendum will have seen in recent weeks, a challenge to the unlawful behaviour of Bailiffs operating to enforce a debt to a local authority – and enforce illegal charges even after the debt has been paid – has led to Richard North lifting the hood to see what else is going on beneath the surface.  What he has already found is the evidence that has been completely hidden away from most people, or only partially uncovered by some.  And there is yet more to be uncovered.

Now Christopher Booker is on the case, carrying the message to his huge audience via his column in the Telegraph.  And this has been spurred by Richard North showing how Councils that are supposed to exist to provide public services to local communities have transformed themselves into businesses that seek to extract ever more money from us in the form of “sales, fees, charges” and “other income”.

This is not about serving the interests of residents in our cities and boroughs.  This is about maximising the amount of money taken from them to be spent on lavish pension schemes, salaries that outstrip comparable responsibility in the private sector, the creation of non-jobs such as a ‘Street Football Coordinator’, ‘Cheerleading Development Officer’ and ‘Bouncy Castle Attendant’; and schemes that derive yet more revenue – such as the formation of businesses to provide services to Councils instead of getting best value by having private sector firms competing with each other to deliver the best deal.

Then there is the plain and simple theft of residents’ money carried out by local authorities because there is insufficient oversight by feckless and incompetent Councillors who have their noses buried in the trough:

This is the Summonses and Liability Orders scam, where under the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, councils are only permitted to impose “costs reasonably incurred” for the issuing of these orders, which must also under the law be charged for separately.

Booker picks up on one council admitting that the cost of issuing a Reminder Notice, which precedes them, can be as little as £1.22. Yet, as we know, Bradford council charges £80 for issuing the two further documents, which, using the same computerised process, involve no more work than sending out the Reminder.

Many other councils, quite illegally, impose a combined charge of up to £100 for issuing both documents – even though, if the debtor pays in full on receiving the Summons, the Liability Order is not necessary.

Achieving political control over the spending of local authorities is not only possible, it is necessary.  Look at the figures below (taken from the Dept of Communities and Local Government’s Local Government Financial Statistics England 2011) and you realise the extent of the control that should be in the hands of ordinary people, but is in fact in the hands of people who view us as an unwitting source of income that exists to fund their plans and wishes, not members of the public to be respected and served:

People often say it is a scandal that Council Tax continues to rise when we get ever less for our money.  But this table lays bare the reality that Council Tax is only little more than 50% of what local authorities take from our hard pressed pockets and the pockets of small local businesses.

When the 30-40% of people who voted in local elections cast their ballot, did their Council candidate ever try to account for this extortion or pledge to tackle it? Did they for one moment promise to do anything about reducing the sum we taxpayers are forced to pay under threat of fine, theft by bailiff, bankruptcy or imprisonment? If not, why on earth vote for them to feather their own nest and facilitate this multi-billion pound scam?  This has been allowed to happen in Town Halls up and down the country under the party political system.  All of them share the blame and it is time to radically change things.

This sets the scene.

We will shortly build on this to outline how we can start to campaign to raise awareness and then how we can start to challenge it and bring about real change through people power.

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