The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

EU Gender Quotas?

Posted by rantingkraut on September 17, 2010

Viviane Reding, the EU ‘Justice’ commissioner threatens to require minimum quotas for the proportion of women in top business positions:

The target should be that by 2015 at least 30 percent of all supervisory board members should be women, and 40 percent by 2020 …” (source)

An odd target in a way, since English speaking countries, at least, tend not to have supervisory boards. It is also worth noting that supervisory boards have little to do with the day to day running of a business. They are an ideal target if you want to hand out favours without demanding competence.

Posted in discrimination, EU, In The News, misandry, Regulation, Socialism | Comments Off on EU Gender Quotas?

Vince Cable’s Brain Drain Subsidy

Posted by rantingkraut on July 15, 2010

Vince Cable’s proposal for a graduate tax is prominently discussed in the news. Cable proposes a graduate tax which would make repayments of student funding dependent on earnings. Partly, this is already the case: student loan repayments only start after a minimum earnings threshold has been reached. A graduate tax could vary more finely with the salary but, more importantly, it would probably not end after the original fees have been repaid.

This is the most important difference: the best and the brightest can easily skip repayment altogether by working abroad. If you owe the government a fixed amount of money any interest you have in clearing your debt does not vary with your place of residence. Your tax burden however does, hence there will be an added incentive for graduates Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in In The News, UK politics | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Vince Cable’s Brain Drain Subsidy

“Hate Crimes” and equality before the law

Posted by rantingkraut on July 3, 2010

English history is the chronicle, from Magna Carta onwards, of a slow progress towards equality under the law. By the 20th century it had been fully attained; then it was imbalanced again. Creating “aggravated” crimes is a reversion to the Middle Ages when assaulting a Norman baron meant death, while attacking a churl entailed a fine.” (Gerald Warner in the Telegraph)

Posted in Civil Liberties, discrimination, quotes, UK politics | Comments Off on “Hate Crimes” and equality before the law

Tories to keep equality act

Posted by rantingkraut on July 3, 2010

This item briefly made the online headlines: The Tories are planning to press ahead with Harriet Harman’s equality bill requiring, among other measures, ‘gender pay audits’.

CBI director Katja Hall is quoted as saying: “Forcing companies to publish average salary figures for men and women could mislead people into thinking that women are paid less than men in the same role, which is rightly illegal, when differences will actually reflect the proportions of men and women in higher-paid jobs” (source)

Also of interest: Should we mind the Gap? from the iea for download here: pdf.

Posted in discrimination, In The News, Regulation, UK politics | Comments Off on Tories to keep equality act

Tell them which laws to scrap

Posted by rantingkraut on July 2, 2010

Nick Clegg has acked us which laws we want repealed. There is a government website that asks for suggestions and allows ratings. All those concerned about freedom of speech and due process should probably endorse this one proposal:

Repeal all terrorism acts from 2001 onwards in their entirety

Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, In The News, Justice System, surveillance, UK politics | Comments Off on Tell them which laws to scrap

Another Case of Illiberal Democracy

Posted by rantingkraut on June 30, 2010

Thanks to the First Amendment, the US is the only country with non-trivial restrictions on government censorship. Ever wondered what the opposite of the First Amendment would look like? Look no further than France for a demonstration.

Posted in Civil Liberties, EU, Freedom of Speech, In The News | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The UK Budget is none of the EU’s Business

Posted by rantingkraut on June 8, 2010

The EU commission apparently plans to vet the UK’s budget before it is presented to the commons. Given that the UK is not part of the euro zone, it is not clear what the economic rationale for this measure is supposed to be. It is clear however, why such a gesture would be important to someone who ultimately wants to make the transition from a common market to a federal state.

The telegraph reports that “Mr Van Rompuy and the European Commission have tabled plans that will require all of Europe’s governments to discuss their budget plans with other EU finance ministers and officials before they [are] presented to national parliaments.” (source)

Mr Van Rompuy, by the way, was prime minister of Belgium from 2008-2009. We remember that Belgium’s public debt fell (!) to levels of around 84% of GDP when Van Rompuy was budget minister before rising again to over 90% while he was heading the government. He sure has experience of managing high levels of public debt. This leaves the wider question of whether Belgium’s political establishment is in a position to lecture Britain -or Spain for that matter- on fiscal prudence.

Posted in EU, In The News | Comments Off on The UK Budget is none of the EU’s Business

The Case for Scottish Independence

Posted by rantingkraut on May 9, 2010

Some of my best friends are Scottish, but … I still think they should be given their freedom -with all the financial responsibility that entails:

The Scots have two highly developed important cities and several great universities and medical schools; their intellectual and entrepreneurial tradition is second to none. They don’t need us.

Nor do we need them. Above all, we would be much better off without the notorious Barnett formula; it is obviously unfair that the Scots should receive more public money per head than the English, especially when their taxes and benefits are so different. Let them get on without us.” (source)

Posted in UK politics | Comments Off on The Case for Scottish Independence

Censorship in Action -Again

Posted by rantingkraut on May 3, 2010

Just in case anyone thought that New Labour’s various thought crime laws are of mere theoretical importance, consider the following two cases:

1. Atheist Harry Taylor has been given a suspended jail sentence and ASBO for distributing anti-religious material. (HT: Pub Philosopher)

2. Christian preacher Dale McAlpine was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” by a hobby bobby who overheard him publicly stating that homosexuality is considered sinful in Christianity.

What these cases illustrate in the first case is that suppression of free speech is now everyday reality in modern Britain. Not only do Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Atheism, Christianity, Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Religion | Comments Off on Censorship in Action -Again

Performance Targets and the Police

Posted by rantingkraut on May 3, 2010

The Scottish police seem to have noticed that target driven policing causes the police to focus on fulfilling targets rather than serving the public: “Speaking at the Scottish Police Federation annual conference last week she said the performance-related payment system was leading to a “car salesman” style of policing.

She said: “In Strathclyde Police we have senior officers refusing competency-related threshold payments and special payment applications as officers have not met the performance indicator targets set for anti-social behaviour fixed penalty notices, stop searches and other fixed penalty notices.” (source)

Apparently, things aren’t better in England either. One can only hope that the supposedly planned ‘bonfire of labour laws‘ will address this issue after a change in government.

Posted in Civil Liberties, In The News, Regulation, UK politics | Comments Off on Performance Targets and the Police