Labour wants you to pay up


8:52 am - December 23rd 2008

by Septicisle    


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This is an incredibly late April Fool, surely:

The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables. Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts, says the new powers would be overseen by a robust industry watchdog. However, the laws are being criticised as the latest erosion of the rights of the householder in his own home.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts. I can think of a few individuals and companies which have been known to evade their debts, or as they are sometimes also known, taxes. How about sending the bailiffs after the likes of that fucker Philip Green, who paid his wife £1bn into a Monaco account to avoid having to hand over any of his quite legitimately owned moolah? Why don’t we hire the goons when Rupert Murdoch is next in town to loot his office, all the while pinning him down so tightly that he can’t breathe?

Or perhaps we could set them on probably the biggest debtor in the country, or as he’s otherwise known, the prime minister. I can just imagine the burly bastards shoulder charging Number 10’s door, gathering all the Brown’s belongings, including his children’s toys, and putting them outside while the heavens open, Brown unfortunately being winded after getting obstreperous and asking them whether they know he is and then pleading with them that he will eventually be paying back that £645bn, honest. Fair is fair, after all.

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About the author
'Septicisle' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He mostly blogs, poorly, over at Septicisle.info on politics and general media mendacity.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime ,Labour party ,Westminster

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Reader comments


LC wishes a Merry Christmas to all the hired goons!

I hope the beatings are swift and the loot plentiful.

And readers remember: don’t forget to tip your local debt enforcement officers this holiday season. I know I’ll be round with a cup of hot tea and a bacon sandwich, as they force their way into my neighbour’s homes on Christmas morning.

Maybe they could give Richard Branson the first black eye…. I woke up this morning to find his little face on the homepage of BBC news, and Richard telling us that hospitals would solve the MRSA problem if they were run like the spectacular success that is Virgin trains… good grief.

Time for a pint already.

3. Alisdair Cameron

Don’t get me started on that beardy f*cker and the NHS :anyone read that blog Branson pickle, about Virgin’s underhand tactics trying to get NHS business. Basic business plan is to run polyclinics for young urban professionals, ignore/not serve the old, young or currently sick/disabled, and make loads on the side by cross-referring to Virgin’s private clinics. had to back down a bit on the last one as even Alan Johnson wouldn’t wear that (though the Dept of health was sanguine about Branson taking public money to cherry-pick punters and then give ’em the hard sell on his private practices). And Branson somehow makes out that because his daughter is a junior doctor (repeat, junior, just out of Uni) that he’s well placed to comment and profit from the NHS.
Where was I, bailiffs. Pace Govt assertions, they are not properly regulated, on a par with licensed bouncers. Main qualification seems to be a minimum of 5 years steroid abuse, a penchant for gangsterish dark clothing, and a lack of understanding of where their powers stop. Now it seems there will be no limits.
There will be some outcry when either
a) An upper-middle class type with media pals gets on the wrong end of this,
or
b) One an estate somewhere, some family fights back physically and a mini-riot ensues.
If a), then some back-tracking occurs. I fear b) may happen, with the inevitable scapegoating of those on sink estates, some further Govt crackdown on ‘anti-social’ behaviour (someone braks into my home to take stuff, I’d get anti-bloody-social) reducation on civ liberties etc.

Until a) or b) happens of course, the meek, voiceless and already suffering (from poverty) will be on the end of umpteen unreported horror stories perpetrated by those brave bailiff boys.

“I can think of a few individuals and companies which have been known to evade their debts, or as they are sometimes also known, taxes. ”

Except that avoiding taxes is legal and those who do so don’t sign an agreement saying that the government is entitled to send people round to take the money by force. Not really comparing like with like here, methinks emotion is clouding your judgement.

The fact is that if you buy stuff, it has to be paid for. You can’t expect to get it for free. If you don’t pay and then don’t give back the goods voluntarily it’s basically theft.

@Richard

Well yes, but I think there is a fine line between avoidance (which is legal) and evasion (which is not) in the cases mentioned.

6. Alisdair Cameron

@ Richard (4). Nobody’s saying that stuff shouldn’t be paid for, or debts repaid. It’s how those debts are enforced in a civil society that’s at issue (leaving aside the question that if you’re powerful and have huge debts, the Govt pays ’em off for you…). What is being proposed is, well, I was going to say medieval, but even in medieval times, householders had greater protection:

“bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.”

It ‘s few steps closer to police state. If this legislation is passed , companies working as bailiffs will attract the sort of violent person who previously worked as a gangland enforcer. With Labour charging 27% loans to the poor they are soon becoming a communist or fascist organisation.
The decline in our freedoms under Labour are happening at a incedibly fast rate.

What is more Richard when you have a political system and a government which actively encourages debt, then I thinkj there is a responsibility beyond the individual. This has been done even by going so far as to foster ideas which are simply untrue – try walking into your local pub and telling all the mortgage payers in there that they don’t actually “own” their houses, and that in fact the bank does. The myth of the “property-owning democracy” is one which all of the major political parties have bought into for a generation, and it is one that is responsible for a huge part of the crisis in which we now find ourselves. Add that to the easy availability of personal credit for the past 10-15 years and you have a recipe for disaster. The government owes these people more than a punch in the face from a bailiff.

And what Alasdair said about civil society.

Basic business plan is to run polyclinics for young urban professionals

Speaking as a young urban professional who currently gets minimal usage out of the NHS in terms of check-ups, screenings, etc, because *I’m at bloody work*, how the hell is this a bad thing? It’s currently geared solely to support the very young, old and disabled; using a small amount of the enormous spending that goes in to provide preemptive medicine for everyone else wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

And Virgin Trains is extremely fast, punctual and provides really good service. Seriously: it does. Travel on it, and you’ll see. Using it as shorthand for ‘ooooh, privatisation bad, beardyman bad’ is just as much ignorant bollocks as the old Tory jibes at British Rail sandwiches.

with Labour charging 27% loans to the poor they are soon becoming a communist or fascist organisation.

Here are some definitions for communism and fascism. You may find them useful. Also, 27% APR is a reasonable rate to charge *if* 25% of people don’t actually pay the loan back. This is why people who lend to the poor charge high rates: it’s not that they’re Pure Eeeeeeevil (the credit unions charging 27%ish that are being discussed in this proposal are goddamn mutuals, FFS) – it’s because the poor have a tendency to run away and not pay them back.

(but yes, the bailiffs plan is evil – and about as electorally stupid as an evil plan can be…)

This article has it completely arse about face. Tax is simply extortion with menaces. The response on a ‘liberal’ website to an utterly reprehensible new proposed law is to suggest turning the state’s force on a different set of individuals who you happen to have it in for.

But yes, terrible idea, though not wholly surprising considering it is increasingly the government that is also the nation’s creditor. One of the many dark sides of financial nationalisation?

Incidentally, I think generally (and with credit cards in particular), I think a policy of caveat emptor is the most just solution. In other words, if a creditor can’t get their money back, then it is obviously within their power to ruin the individual’s credit rating and choose not to lend again, but their ability to use force should be very limited.

Richard,
natural born servant.

13. Alisdair Cameron

@ john b (9), because their aim is to get money designated for universal provision, and then via cherry-picking just do the doss-easy stuff, employing fewer doctors and more ‘healthcare professionals’, who work by protocols. Fine if all is well, but incapable of spotting the rare symptoms, or the common ones which nonetheless might, just might be indicators of serious stuff.
By the way what’s with all of this “because *I’m at bloody work*” bollocks. Want to see your bank manager, lawyer,meet your kids’ teachers (outside of parents’ night) then you do it in working hours. Out-of-hours is for emergencies chiefly. You want a cholesterol check at 2 am, then you’ll have to pay a shedload more in tx or go private for it. Put plainly, there is a lot of money wasted in the NHS, mainly via contracting out to the private sector (ISTCs appalling value, and complications get shunted back to the NHS proper) and through PFI-ism BUT even with that eradicated there’s not enough money for dealing with the worried well, and doing routine screening stuff at all hours.
I have colleagues in my local PCT commissioning consortium who’ve dealt with Virgin in some of these negotiations and they are shocked at the callousness, mnoney-chasing approach (and if you’ve ever dealt with PCTs, you’ll find them pretty hard-nosed to start with).

Want to see your bank manager, lawyer,meet your kids’ teachers (outside of parents’ night) then you do it in working hours.

No – if I want to do anything connected to my bank account, then I phone or go online at any hour of the day or night. Lawyer – well, yeah, but it’s not comparable: if people get regular health checks, that will improve the population’s health and save the NHS money in the long term, whereas going to a lawyer isn’t necessary unless you’re being sued, prosecuted or in the middle of buying a house.

even with that eradicated there’s not enough money for dealing with the worried well, and doing routine screening stuff at all hours.

AIUI something like 50% of an individual’s healthcare costs are incurred in their final year of life. Perhaps reallocating resources to promote healthy livings and regular checkups would be a good idea if we can’t afford it at current levels?

I have colleagues in my local PCT commissioning consortium who’ve dealt with Virgin in some of these negotiations and they are shocked at the callousness, mnoney-chasing approach

So they’re more honest than the other businesses looking to get involved with the NHS? Cos let’s be clear – once you start using for-profit private to deliver government services, what you have is definitionally a callous, money-chasing approach. There might be all sorts of touchy-feelyness and CSR-ness when they’re pitching to the PCTs, but all private companies do healthcare solely to chase money.

The flat I lived in a couple of years ago had been previously occupied by someone who had run up a bunch of debts. Bailiff firms employed by his creditors attempted to break into my flat on at least two occasions.

Now they’ll be able to kick the door down legally and steal all my stuff.
Even though I’m not the one in debt… and the debtor is not even listed as living there any more…

I struggle to see how this is a good thing.

And no, “you’ll get compensation back eventually” is not how civilised societies should handle these matters.

The system is broken as it is. One company misallocated a debt collection to me (instead of the previous tenant) just this year. It cost me more to resolve the situation than it would have done to pay the debt, because the system is already designed in favour of the companies involved.

@john b – you can get medical advice from NHS Direct online at any time over the internet.

17. Alisdair Cameron

@john b, this is the constant argument that goes on between public health and the rest of the NHS. Ideally, yes, there’d be loads of preventative stuff and screening and education etc, but do you pay for it by taking away from chronic or acute care? This was something New labout buggered up royally with supposed investment in Health, ploughing the cash less into preventative/public health, thereby investing in the future properly and saving in the long run, and more, via PFIs etc and contracting out into the pockets of private consortia. That once in a generation chance was wasted.
Also problematical is determining value for money with public health: much is akin to advertising, costly and hard to quantify ts impact, while several screening programmes of late have come under scrutiny for actully being counter-productive.
It’s complicated, but when resources are finite, then the old triage principles apply, whereby you devote resources to the most urgent and neediest.

Anyhow, back to the bailiffs…these suggestions are abhorrent in a civilised society. It’s somehow okay to restrain or pin down an individual in their own home in order to recoup a debt? Can anyone defend such a notion?

“Speaking as a young urban professional who currently gets minimal usage out of the NHS in terms of check-ups, screenings, etc, because *I’m at bloody work*, ”

Yet, clearly, not doing much work.

There is an almost constant stream of restrictive and oppresive laws and regulations being brought in by this Government. I am horrified by the rate of change towards a privatised police state. It leaves me breathless when I remember that back in 1997 I and millions of other electors, voted, with hope in our hearts, for a ‘Labour’ Government. How dare they usurpe that title honed as it was by the oppressed workers of our land.

Happy New Year to all (said with many fingers crossed)

On the polyclinics issue – it’s not primarily young middle-class professionals that will benefit (after all, they’re likely to be able to get the time off work to see their doctor during the day), it’s working class people who work long hours, can’t easily get time off work and therefore can’t see their doctor during the day but would like to get something seen before it becomes serious enough that it’s an emergency.

Nick: This piece was not meant exactly entirely seriously, in case you didn’t notice, but the point was that this is of course going to target the poor who have been almost encouraged by political parties on both sides of the spectrum to get into debt. Why don’t we for once, instead of targeting the most vulnerable, demand that everyone pays what they are meant to pay, including some of our most successful businessmen, especially considering the fact that Philip Green is considered worthy of a knighthood but who seems to imagine it’s perfectly acceptable to then avoid tax when paying himself a sum which is, to put it mildly, obscene. Is that so unreasonable?

Not picking on whoever posted this here incidentally, but it seems only my semi-sarcastic posts are worthy of publication anyway.

also not sure why my description of Green as “fat and greasy” was excised either when “fucker” was deemed acceptable but hey ho

Also, 27% APR is a reasonable rate to charge *if* 25% of people don’t actually pay the loan back. This is why people who lend to the poor charge high rates: it’s not that they’re Pure Eeeeeeevil (the credit unions charging 27%ish that are being discussed in this proposal are goddamn mutuals, FFS) – it’s because the poor have a tendency to run away and not pay them back.

That logic is fine for commercial organsations or credit unions but we are talking about social fund loans here, even if the government wants them to be administered by credit unions. This is a government scheme – there is no requirement for a commercial return and anyway the repayments are automatically deducted from benefits so I would guess the default rate is rather low.

#22 – I suppose “fat and greasy” could be considered libellous. “Fucker” is clearly an opinion (although in this case it could be considered a statement of fact).

I provide proof that fat and greasy is an applicable description. Might not want to click these when you’re eating folks: http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/12_04/009GreenCowell_468x461.jpg
http://www.virginmedia.com/images/wma-philipgreen-300×400.jpg

Oh, and not to spam my own post or anything but Sim O’s post on this was far superior: http://www.sim-o.me.uk/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=735

Fair point, I suppose this post is in somewhat a light hearted festive tone (though perhaps more in the Eastenders Xmas special ‘whose in for it next’ sense). But I am not sure it is a good thing to encourage people (even rich people) to pay their fair share of taxes when plenty of that money will be spent on foreign wars of dubious justifiability, detaining immigrants/’terror suspects’ for longer and longer periods of time and interrogation centers for rolling out ID cards.

Surely it would be better for these rich individuals to hold back as much as possible from paying for these things and, ideally, contribute to society via charities that have no relationship with the government instead? Every penny withheld from the treasury makes those terrible projects look that bit more unaffordable. And it is well within the government’s power to cancel them tpp. I don’t see any moral obligation for Philip Green or anyone else to contribute to the state under these circumstances and, if anything, the opposite duty to contribute as little as possible!

28. Alisdair Cameron

By the way, Sunny, you have been paying the bills for the hosting of this site/dedicated servers and all of that, haven’t you?

“Yet, clearly, not doing much work.”

I was on annual leave on Tuesday. Also, fuck you.


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  1. Aaron Murin-Heath

    Remember the poorly paid hired goons this Christmas. http://is.gd/d6gs





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