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Comment Re:socialism (Score 1) 192

But how does this GBP250m investment constitute half your income, as you claimed? Do you mean that the *extra* expenditure pushes the tax take to half your income? If so, you need to read the article again - it's paid for by monies already collected by the BBC for digital switchover. There is no extra taxation for this proposal.

Celarnor suggested that people would have access to services that they would not otherwise, to which you replied " giving up half of your income?".

And yes, government gains income from non-voluntary taxation. That doesn't help in any way to establish the accuracy of your observation.

By the way, your use of somewhat juvenile perjoratives like "forcibly removes" and "extorts" makes me think I'm in discussion with a Randroid Libertoonian. And since that bores the living shit out of me, you're welcome to the last word.


Comment Re:socialism (Score 1) 192

How do you figure that? Are you referring to the 50% marginal tax rate introduced for next year? You do know that only applies to income over GBP150K (say $225,000), right? Scarcely half of most folks income.

Anyway, the lions share of this investment comes from money not spent by the BBC for switchover to digital TV, rather than direct taxation.

And no, the BBC licence fee is not 50% of anyone's income. It's about GBP 142.50 (~ $220) per annum. If most people where you live earn about $440 a year, you have my undying pity.


Comment Re:Not fun anymore (Score 4, Interesting) 337

I'm in Norway, noone here seems to have the balls to stand up to the EU, which has become the place to pass all the unpopular laws and for national politicans to just throw up their hands and say "we must"

You miss the point of the EU. It's one of the most successful policy laundering institutions in the world (WIPO is another).

The EU isn't punting the Orwellian crap: the national governments push it to the EU, knowing that it will be as popular as a rat sandwich to their domestic populations. So, once it gets bullied, cajoled and pushed through as an EU directive, those same governments turn around to their electorates and say "Oh, we have to do this now, it's an EU directive, and we ain't got no say in the matter".

The Data Retention Directive, for instance, is a creation of the UK government. When introducing the legislation to Parliament, they specifically said that it had to be done because it was an EU Directive. No mention that it was their EU directive.



Comment Re:Been following this for awhile. (Score 1) 1240

The school district does not contest that Ms. Redding had no disciplinary record, but says that is irrelevant.

"Her assertion should not be misread to infer that she never broke school rules," the district said of Ms. Redding in a brief, "only that she was never caught."

Wonderful. So, the absence of any conviction for paedophile rape by the school officers isn't grounds for suspecting that they are innocent of such a crime, merely that no-one has managed to make such a charge stick?

Are they fucking serious? They expect that shit to fly in a court? A real court? I'm in the UK, so I suspect that no school officer would try a strip search here without an army of lawyers, social workers, doctors, parents and the Queen for good measure, but if they did this to my kid, I swear to God the consequences for those responsible would be dire indeed.


Comment Re:so much for change... (Score 1) 186

It's true that most internal decisions are derived and implemented via Holyrood now, rather than Westminster.

Treaty negotiation, however, is not an internal matter, because Scotland is not (yet) a sovereign state. ACTA is being negotiated by the UK government, and will apply to Scotland as well, if the UK Parliament approves.

You can always vote SNP if you want this changed. Pity that the clown contingent is so strong in the SNP though - the basic independence policy suits me fine.


Comment Re:Too many loopholes (Score 1) 230

One of the tasks which the police has to solve, is to process the stupid criminals quickly, so that they have resources left for the more intelligent ones

I wish this were the case - I really do. Unfortunately, in all major democracies, the police are rated by the number of crimes solved, rather than the subjective seriousness of the crimes. A thief who steals $10 counts in the stats for the same as someone who stole $10000.

So large scale (and illiberal) attempts to dredge low-hanging fruit from the stupid sector is probably enough to give the cops the right sort of cleanup rates. The remaining 10% will be in the bucket of "no policing system is perfect".

And the clever crims? Well, we'll probably wait until their efforts are copied and replicated before some politico decides that Something Must Be Done. By which time the clever ones have moved onto some newer mechanism for crime.


Comment No evidence of £20 tax (Score 2, Informative) 309

As I posted in the £20 tax thread, I can't find any evidence that such a proposal even exists.

The UK government did propose, in the interim Digital Britain report, to explore the willingness of rightsholder organisations (eg, the equivalents of the RIAA and MPAA) to fund a Rights Agency [which is stupid idea, but still...] but there never was a "broadband tax" proposal.

I think that the Times article was simply wrong (did you see it quote anything or anyone? Thought not). However, if anyone can find some counter evidence, then I'd like to read it.

I hold no candle for the Labour government - bash away, but when you bash at a non-existent straw man, then you undermine all your legitimate arguments against the real world shit that the bastards try to pull (ID cards, Internet use database, DNA records, etc.)


Comment Re:Whisky (Score 2, Informative) 170

Ardbeg 10 year. It'll take the enamel off your teeth.

Not bad. Although the 25 year old Laphroaig is smoother than the other Islay malts I've tried (most of them - never tried Port Askaig). And now the Yanks know why British teeth are so awful - no enamel!

If you can find Ledaig, that's nice too - made in Mull, but the good stuff is rarer than rocking horse shit (the Whisky Shop in Edinburgh's Victoria Street is where I got mine).


Comment Re:UK context (Score 1) 262

A pox on the 20 quid tax to fund a copyright enforcement quango, though

You know, the only thing I can find in the Interim Report is this:

Before the final Digital Britain Report is published we will explore with both distributors and rights-holders their willingness to fund, through a modest and proportionate contribution, such a new approach to civil enforcement of copyright

So, the government seem to be saying that they want copyright holders (and those who distribute works, like record companies and film distributors) to stump up to fund the new Rights Agency. Not broadband subscribers. And that might be fair, since its rightsholders who would be the beneficiaries of the agency's activity.

Other than the Times articles, I just can't find where this idea of a broadband tax is coming from


Comment Re:Oh and before I forget. (Score 1) 262

Nothing in this report bar the idea of universal broadband access can help the UK's technology sector. Despite accepting that it's worth £50bn they've put what they also accepted was only worth about £3bn - the creative industries above it.

Yeah, but can the tech sector offer politicians the chances to play guitar on stage with Feargal Sharkey?

Of course, cynicism abounds, but celeb endorsements are worth serious votes in our current society. Sigh.

Incidentally, I will say that the Times article is pitifully short of real detail, or sources. "will announce", "could be as much as £20".

Nothing about a broadband levy in the interim report. Not saying it won't happen, but just don't see any evidence for it.

But - hey, this is /. - all we need is a rumour of a hint of a plan to make a forthcoming announcement, and it suddenly becomes established legislation, and has been for the last 10 years.


Comment Re:America, for one, welcomes... (Score 1) 734

Only CCTV cameras everywhere (currently estimated to be 14 per person in the UK),

Yeah, but come on - this is Britain. We all know the cameras don't even work. And even if they did, they've got such shit resolution that even NTSC looks good by comparison. And even if they did work, and had decent resolution, the coppers can't access the video. And when they get round to reviewing the video, they find it's about 3 years out of date.

What the Europeans count on is that their governments are so fucking incompetent that their security theatre is trivially bypassed for anyone with two neurons firing at the same time. As social calculations go, it's probably not a bad one.


Comment Re:America, for one, welcomes... (Score 1) 734

We only get to vote once every five years, and then they only need 35% of the vote to win power.

If a similar proportion had voted your favoured party into power, would you still complain? How often do you think general elections should be held? Too long, and the ruling party can ignore the population. Too short, and no government would be able to table a meaningful legislative programme.

I'm all for a more proportionate form of representation, but don't make the mistake of thinking that PR is nirvana. It can often end up handing disproportionate power to coalition partners, who have tiny percentages of the votes. More proportional yes, but is it fairer?

Two thirds of us voted Labour out in 2005 yet they're still here. You must have confused Britain with a democracy or something.

Everyone can agree on what they don't want. The reason Labour are still in power is because they represented the largest positive block vote.

What's the alternative? Having every decision ratified by popular plebiscite? Very laudable, but I just can't see it working.

It was the Labour government who reformed the House of Lords and filled it with their own friends and donors. Like I said, you're thinking of democracies. Even the Germans got to vote for Hitler.

Well, if they filled it with their supporters only, they did a fucking poor job! Labour is in a minority in the HoL, by a considerable margin (215 peers out of 735). Yeah, really stuffed the ballot there.

The real problem with the HoL is that, stripped of its permanent Tory majority (the hereditaries), no-one can now agree on what to do with it. Fully elected, partially elected, continue as is - what? Again - everyone can agree on what they don't want. Building a consensus (which is necessary for consitutional reform) is much, much harder.

You sound like you have some reform ideas. I, for one, would like to hear them.


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