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Front page of the Evening Standard today:

If you don't live in London or would like to read any UK newspaper then you could subscribe to pressdisplay Pressdisplay can provide you with an opportunity to read not only nearly all UK newspapers but many papers from all over the World.

Posted on 09 Jan 2009 by Geoff Edwards
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There has been a lot of criticism of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Chancellor Alasdair Darling's cut in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent. Whilst there have been quite significant reductions in the shops and by suppliers of,  for example building materials, this reduction is important.

Unfortunately, the Chancellor plans to not only remove the reduction from its present 15 per cent sometime in the future but also to claw back that loss in tax by increasing VAT to 20 per cent! 

I am pleased to have a reduction of two and half per cent on the cost of my purchases. This reduction, applies of course, to products that are possibly already reduced. So it is not to be sneezed at!

The future increase in VAT means that one fifth of most of what we buy will go to the Exchequer!  I personally resent paying this tax anyway. No matter what your income you have to pay a substantial amount of the purchase price of a product as a tax. For the effect of VAT on fuel see petrolprices.com

Are we just a load of mugs? The cartoon below is republished under a creative commons license from Matt Buck's Cartoon Diary. Matt's website

 

Creative Commons License


This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Posted on 18 Dec 2008 by Geoff Edwards
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I see it, not as an International issue but as a national issue. The BBC "auntie" Oh dear! What Jonathan Ross and Russell Brandt forgot was that Andrew Saxe is not Manuel and can't be pushed around like Basil did in Faulty Towers. Yes that's it they got stuck in a time warp -let's phone up Manuel, But:

Andrew Saxe is an elderly actor he is NOT Manuel. That's how I see what went so sadly wrong coupled with the complete lack of taste that so many British viewers seem to be amused by this drivel.

Whilst it is of interest to British viewers, there are implications for other nations and cultures. How do they think that we respect people? If you have gone through the educational system and achieved graduate or even post graduate qualifications or professional trade level City and Guilds qualifications but find that you need to work in some menial job because employment is not available at your level, then how would you feel when you read or hear about how much money these popular "****heads" earn at your expense -assuming that you pay your license fee.

The BBC produce wonderful programs. I have bought a few hundred DVD's of TV programs and I find that all yes all, perhaps I have made a mistake, are BBC productions or if not they are films. Let's put pressure on the BBC to cut their expenses by not paying these people millions of pounds a year.

So they will leave the BBC? They won't last for long with commercial TV as commercial TV depends on revenue that will not be maintained at the present level -as World supplies of energy sources run down- and the consumer society disappears. Why spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on advertising?

But the problem is not Jonathan Ross et al it is the BBC. The BBC thinks that they have to make sure that they have a decent share of the viewing population. This means that programs have to appeal to the lowest common denoninator, or so the BBC executives seem to think, at least at peak times. The BBC which, let's not forget is the British Broadcasting Corporation is our national television service.

To receive the TV service we must pay a license fee. as part of that fee we get the BBC and other TV companies broadcasts. In my opinion it would be nice, or would it? to be able to pay for:

1. BBC only

2. BBC and others

3. Others

This is hardly likely, but if it was, would the people prefer mainly to elect for option three? I have not been able to find any market research information on how people might opt  if given the opportunity. I would opt for two. At present there is no option - except don't renew your licence and only use your TV for playing DVD's. The option is not desirable anyway - see below.

The licence fee is obviously of vital importance. Why? because the televison service provides the means to communicate with the people. There must be a reliable unbiased TV service in a democratic society. This does NOT mean that the service needs to be entertaining. But if the service is not entertaining there is the danger that most of the people will not watch it. It is obvious that commercial TV must be subject to pressure from those companies who provide the revenue and this is the danger - who wants to be attacked by the service that one is spending money for to promote their company? Maybe this view is simplistic. But then maybe it is simplistic to consider the options in any other way.

My view is that the BBC should continue to develop, commission and broadcast high quality programs and avoid popular "c**p".  Money should be spent on worthwhile program development and broadcasting not what the lowest common denominator wants to view but what an educated viewer would like to view.

This might mean that in terms of statistics viewers of BBC broadcasts might be in the minority - they are most likely to be!  But the programs will at least maintain their quality

Posted on 21 Nov 2008 by Geoff Edwards
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How is it that our economy has been been affected more adversely - as reflected in the rate of exchange between the GB pound and the US dollar when this problem was created in the USA?

The American financial corporations created the problem by advancing money against nothing more than what US citizens may earn in future. And worse, some of these "bankers" advanced money to people without checking whether they would be capable of repaying that money. I suppose we have come off worse because the UK economy appeared to be in better shape.  No doubt we will find out, sooner or later whether we were in better shape.

Update, as I write: Baroness Vadera -the Business & Enterprise Minister - has revealed in the House of Lords debate today (Current Economic Situation Debate) that we, indeed did have a serious problem. . .

Posted on 27 Oct 2008 by Geoff Edwards
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I am sure I heard right! An Amercian Senator saying: " we'll have to borrow more money from China!
Posted on 06 Oct 2008 by Geoff Edwards

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