RAC Urges Government Crackdown On Untaxed Foreign Vehicles

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28260599

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/foreign-car-tax-crackdown-urged-30426059.html

Now this is a subject I actually know something about.

Having attempted to register a road-legal British Ford Focus in France and a road legal French registered Fiat in the UK I have been through those hoops.

And as such I have to say I hold the EU responsible.

The two systems for registering a UK car abroad and an EU registered car in the UK are very similar.

You can find all of these hoops here.

The Department of Transport have helpfully issued a 12 page booklet on how to do it.

A few of them are pretty straightforward but if you’re trying to register a car that’s MOT age or more you end up in a hamster’s wheel of form filling; you can’t get such and such a form until you’ve submitted this one and you can’t get this one cos you haven’t got that one.

DVLA will happily supply you with an epic pack of forms to serve as a ‘kit’ for registering your vehicle here, but each Form you have to get from the manufacturer etc is likely to cost in excess of £100 each, just to prove that you’re Ford Focus, or whatever, is indeed a Ford Focus.

Headlights are less of a problem with modern generation cars as a lot of them just point straight ahead now and not to the left, but if you’re unfortunate enough to have an oldish banger, look at £300 or so to change the headlamps and align them.

Reversing Lights and Rear Fog Lamps are on the wrong side, an MOT failure till you get them swapped over.

Every time I thought I had the system cracked and turned up with my car and its paperwork I was presented with another piece of paper that I had to buy.

In both countries I gave up and bought a local car, and that by itself caused me immense problems in France.  When I turned up ay t my bank asking to pay the proceeds of the sale of my UK Ford Focus into my bank account I was then accused of Money Laundering, and had to endure all that grief in a foreign country.

I completely accept that’s it’s wrong, no argument, but I absolutely get why foreign registered cars are not reregistered here or elsewhere in EU.  If I had been less law-abiding I know what I would have done.

Next time you fly into into an airport in southern France or Spain just take a look at the number of British registered cars that are parked in the airport car parks, and that will give you an idea of the scale of the problem for ex-pat Brits.  Exactly the same problem exists for ex-pats returning to the UK.

The problem is relatively simple, just make the system for registering more simple, easier to understand and less bureaucratic, and I’m sure the majority of people will then comply with it.

Here endeth Saturday’s rant.

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My Old Friend IDS Has Done It Again

Iain Duncan Smith, IDS, (or IBS to his friends) has excelled himself once more.  His Department is completely and utterly incompetent and he should fall on his Biro, that he’s probably claimed on expenses anyway.  just as an aside he claimed (and was paid) almost £91 for some Banner Pens. He must write a lot.

You don’t need me to remind you what a shit-storm there has been lately about a  certain organisation seemingly fudging its official figures, and how they have had their ‘kitemark’ revoked as they cannot currently be relied upon.

You would think, would you not, that in the light of that any Government Department releasing some official figures would double check them for accuracy. Wouldn’t you? Or is it just me?

Then I found this headline;

Universal credit claimants not counted in jobless figures, says Labour

It would appear to an old duffer like me that the government have made fudging their figures so bloody complicated that they don’t even understand how to do it themselves.

For as long as I can remember there has been a seemingly endless see-saw of figures between Unemployed and Incapacitated.  Depending upon the government of the day, their colour and this week’s message people have been swapped between lists in order to get one or the other looking better. Am I being too cynical, because that’s EXACTLY how it looks to me in Angry Towers.

Errors by the Department for Work and Pensions have meant claimants are being excluded from official unemployment figures.  The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which publishes unemployment figures, said the DWP had not been able to supply it with information in a way that has allowed Universal Credit claimants to be counted.

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves said “If David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith can’t ensure UC claimants are included on official unemployment figures, how can we have any confidence in their ability to deliver this flagship project?  There are now serious questions about whether the government even knows how many people are being left off official unemployment figures.”

The fact that some Universal Credit claimants are working is neither here nor there. The DWP clearly doesn’t have a database which is capable of separating them out, schoolboy error.

In a period when HMG has severely criticised the Police and its Stats you really would think they would get it right. Stat Fudging on an Imperial Scale.

Roll on 2015.

Iain-Duncan-Smith-3002319

Iain Duncan Smith DWP

Iain Duncan Smith

Why We Fight – Police Choice

Below is a website that was brought to my attention recently.  It is a little bit different from to the norm. It’s author is a retired Police Inspector. I make no comment or specific recommendation but it might be worth a look. Challenging times sometimes call for something just a little bit different

Why We Fight – Police Choice.

We believe that Policing is NOT a ‘Blue collar job’ that is overpaid.
Policing is NOT a ‘job for life’ for malingering malcontents.
Policing is a vocation that should attract the best of our citizens. They understand the realities of life in our country. Police Officers deal with the demands of a Public who, through misinformation, do not understand the impact of the savage cuts on the Service.
The ‘Unholy Alliance’ of Government, private security firms like G4S, plus the Association of Chief Police Officers [ACPO] continually tell the public that ‘it is business as usual’!
They allege that the ‘Front Line’ is being protected, and that ‘inefficient’ back offices functions are being ‘sorted’. The reality is so different.
In our view, this is either disingenuous or daft, as NO ONE HAS EVER DEFINED THE ‘FRONT LINE’!!

It’s Been A Funny Old Week

Not that I’m laughing, it’s just that I can’t quite compare it to any other week, some good, some bad.

It started off on Monday with the promise that someone from the Dyfed Powys PCC’s office would phone me to discuss my disappointment at being ineligible to apply for a voluntary role with their force.  Well I waited and I waited, no phone call, so I gave up. Late on Tuesday afternoon my mobile sprang into life and lo and behold it was said PCC’s office.  I had previously voiced my disappointment at not being eligible to apply for a voluntary job as an Animal Lay Visitor (Police Dogs and Horses) on the grounds that I was a retired Police Officer.  After about 5 minutes of talking to this lady it became apparent that she was talking about a position on the Residents Panel. As I’m not a resident of Dyfed Powys it was sort of irrelevant to me, so I pointed out that she’s got the wrong job.  I pointed out to her that the job application pack stated that serving (understandable) and former Police Officers were not eligible to apply, and would not be appointed.  She explained to me that this was in order to assure the public of total Independence on the part of the Lay Visitor.  I then pointed out to her that the two Application packs for Residents Panel, and Lay Custody Visitor only excluded serving Police Officers (again understandable) and NOT former Police Officers. Surely Independence was as important re Custody Lay Visitors if not more so.  She assured me that this appeared to be a mistake and the Job Application Packs would have to be ‘tweaked’ to include former Police Officers as ineligible as well.  Needless to say by the time I got off the phone I was mighty peeved. I was actually quite offended that without seeing my CV, without the benefit of an interview, I had been stereotyped as someone who would not be seen as Independent, and presumably as being incapable of being Independent. Utilising the ancient art of rubbing salt into the wound they later recirculated the same job vacancies emphasising that they would like applications from Solicitors.  I gave up at that point and made a brew.

Then we had Mrs Theresa May’s decision/agreement not to introduce Compulsory Severance “for now“.  “I have decided to accept the Tribunal’s recommendation not to implement measures to introduce compulsory severance at this time.

“However, this remains a reform that I believe government and the police should continue to consider. I have written to the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) to explain my decision in further detail.”

Then she went on to kick the officers on Restricted Duties; the Tribunal accepted a varied definition on Winsor’s Recommendation 39 from the Official Side of the PNB. This means that officers who are unable to undertake “the full range of duties of a police officer” will be regarded as being on restricted duty.

As a result, officers on restricted duties who are not fully deployable after one year should face a pay cut of around £2,922.

But the good news is that it has been alleged that she has told Tom Winsor NOT to wear his ridiculous fancy dress outfit at the National Police Memorial Day events ever again. It remains to be seen if he he dusts it off and brings it out again for any other occasion.

Fast Forward to Friday night and a discussion about Advanced Drivers and Fast Cars.  I cannot believe what I was being told about what some Forces are doing in cutting back the number of Advanced Drivers (and cars) from their strengths.  One officer even told me that some Forces even have “No Pursuit Capability”.  What kind of nonsense is this?  I thought the Front Line was being Protected?  Is being an active Advanced Driver not Front Line Policing?  Skills will be lost, officers will be demotivated and the public will suffer. As somebody said to me last night, “it’s not about the toys, it’s about retaining skills” and hence the service to the public.  I intend to do some digging around numbers of Advanced Drivers and see what pops up.

Finally (mind you the week isn’t over yet) as I was trying to block out the noise of the wind and the rain and get some sleep, news came in that Mental Health Cop’s twitter account and Blog had been suspended, seemingly as part of an investigation by West Midlands Police about their use.  I haven’t seen every single Tweet or Blog he wrote so I can’t really comment with any authority, but the feedback coming in last night and this morning was that this was one of THE most informative and well-used Twitter accounts and blogs of them all. Serving Police Officers and Members of the Public alike hold them in high esteem, and he seems to be the “Go To Guy” for any Police related Mental Health issues.

Well, let’s see what next week holds shall we?

ADDENDUM

And I haven’t forgotten the topsy turvy world of PC James Patrick.  He was told this week that he no longer faces a charge of Gross Misconduct, ‘merely’ a charge of ‘simple’ Misconduct now.   In one way that’s good news, but it is a bit of a double-edged sword, and if you go right back to the very beginnings there remain some unanswered legal questions that make me doubt whether the Met DPS has lost its collective marbles. James knows my views and I won’t repeat them here, but it’s added to a really ‘odd’ week for us all.

A Complete Military History Of France

Right you lot, time for some humour, I’ve been miserable long enough, and what better target than those pesky Frenchies?

This was not my research, it is that of someone else (an American I believe), I do hope that I haven’t breached any copyright (no infringement intended), but in light of yesterday’s defeat in the 6 Nations match between England & France it’s way too good to be ignored. Those of you who know me personally will know that this fits entirely with my sense of humour, and as I did live in France for a while I’m using that as a justification for reproducing it.

The French are such a valiant nation that it seems only right and proper somehow to celebrate their achievements over the years, so I began with a quick Google search

French Military Victories

French Military Victories

So here they are, I know that I have a reader in France, I hope he/she enjoys my celebration of France’s achievements across time, and I’m quite convinced that my Belgian reader will smile a little too;

Gallic Wars
– Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian. [Or at this time in history, a Roman ]

Hundred Years War
– Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; “France’s armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman.” Sainted.

Italian Wars
– Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

Wars of Religion
– France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

Thirty Years War
– France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

War of Revolution
– Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

The Dutch War
– Tied

War of the Augsburg League/King William’s War/French and Indian War
– Lost, but claimed it as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

War of the Spanish Succession
– Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved ever since.

American Revolution
– In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as “de Gaulle Syndrome”, and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; “France only wins when America does most of the fighting.”

French Revolution
– Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

The Napoleonic Wars
– Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

The Franco-Prussian War
– Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France’s ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

World War I
– Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States [Entering the war late]. Thousands of French women find out what it’s like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn’t call her “Fraulein.” Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

World War II
– Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

War in Indochina
– Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

Algerian Rebellion
– Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; “We can always beat the French.” This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

War on Terrorism
– France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald’s.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be “Can we count on the French?”, but rather “How long until France collapses?”

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage.”

Or, better still, the quote from Wall Street Journal: “They’re there when they need you.”

With only an hour and a half of research, Jonathan Duczkowski provided the following losses:

Norse invasions, 841-911.
After having their way with the French for 70 years, the Norse are bribed by a French King named Charles the Simple (really!) who gave them Normandy in return for peace. Normans proceed to become just about the only positive military bonus in France’s [favour] for next 500 years.

Andrew Ouellette posts this in response:

1066 A.D. William The Conquerer Duke and Ruler of France Launches the Largest Invasion in the history of the world no other was as large until the same trip was taken in reverse on June 6th 1944 William Fights Harold for the Throne of England Which old king Edward rightfully left to William but Harold Usurped the throne Will fights the Saxons (English)wins and the French Rule England for the Next 80 Years. then the French start the largest building and economic infrastructure since the fall of the Roman Empire the Norman Economy skyrockets and the Normans inadvertently start England to become a major world Power Vive La France-

Matt Davis posts this in response to Andrew Ouellette above:

Oh dear. We seem to have overlooked some basic facts. Firstly, Philip the First (1060 – 1108) was King of France at the time of the Norman invasion of 1066 – William was Duke of Normandy and, incidentally, directly descended from the Vikings. William was, therefore, as alien to France as the experience of victory. Since Philip did not invade England, the victory at Hastings was Norman – not French. Normandy may be a part of France now but it most certainly wasn’t in 1066. Therefore, William’s coronation as King of England had nothing whatsoever to do with the French. As usual, they were nowhere near the place when the fighting was going on. The mistaken belief that 1066 was a French victory leads to the Third Rule of French Warfare; “When incapable of any victory whatsoever – claim someone else’s”.

Mexico, 1863-1864.
France attempts to take advantage of Mexico’s weakness following its thorough thrashing by the U.S. 20 years earlier (“Halls of Montezuma”). Not surprisingly, the only unit to distinguish itself is the French Foreign Legion (consisting of, by definition, non-Frenchmen). Booted out of the country a little over a year after arrival.

Panama jungles 1881-1890.
No one but nature to fight, France still loses; canal is eventually built by the U.S. 1904-1914.

Napoleonic Wars.
Should be noted that the Grand Armee was largely (~%50) composed of non-Frenchmen after 1804 or so. Mainly disgruntled minorities and anti-monarchists. Not surprisingly, these performed better than the French on many occasions.

Haiti, 1791-1804.
French defeated by rebellion after sacrificing 4,000 Poles to yellow fever. Shows another rule of French warfare; when in doubt, send an ally.

India, 1673-1813.
British were far more charming than French, ended up victors. Therefore the British are well known for their tea, and the French for their whine (er, wine…). Ensures 200 years of bad teeth in England.

Barbary Wars, middle ages-1830.
Pirates in North Africa continually harass European shipping in Meditteranean. France’s solution: pay them to leave us alone. America’s solution: kick their asses (“the Shores of Tripoli”). [America’s] first overseas victories, won 1801-1815.

1798-1801, Quasi-War with U.S.
French privateers (semi-legal pirates) attack U.S. shipping. U.S. fights France at sea for 3 years; French eventually cave; sets precedent for next 200 years of Franco-American relations.

Moors in Spain, late 700s-early 800s.
Even with Charlemagne leading them against an enemy living in a hostile land, French are unable to make much progress. Hide behind Pyrennees until the modern day.

French-on-French losses (probably should be counted as victories too, just to be fair):

1208: Albigenses Crusade, French massacred by French.
When asked how to differentiate a heretic from the faithful, response was “Kill them all. God will know His own.” Lesson: French are badasses when fighting unarmed men, women and children.

St. Bartholomew Day Massacre, August 24, 1572.
Once again, French-on-French slaughter.

Third Crusade.
Philip Augustus of France throws hissy-fit, leaves Crusade for Richard the Lion Heart to finish.

Seventh Crusade.
St. Louis of France leads Crusade to Egypt. Resoundingly crushed.

[Eighth] Crusade.
St. Louis back in action, this time in Tunis. See Seventh Crusade.

Also should be noted that France attempted to hide behind the Maginot line, sticking their head in the sand and pretending that the Germans would enter France that way. By doing so, the Germans would have been breaking with their traditional route of invading France, entering through Belgium (Napoleonic Wars, Franco-Prussian War, World War I, etc.). French ignored this though, and put all their effort into these defences.

Thomas Whiteley has submitted this addition to me:

Seven year War 1756-1763
Lost: after getting hammered by Frederick the Great of Prussia (yep, the Germans again) at Rossbach, the French were held off for the remainder of the War by Frederick of Brunswick and a hodge-podge army including some Brits. War also saw France kicked out of Canada (Wolfe at Quebec) and India (Clive at Plassey).

Richard Mann, an American in France wants to add the following:

The French consider the departure of the French from Algeria in 1962-63, after 130 years on colonialism, as a French victory and especially consider C. de Gaulle as a hero for ‘leading’ said victory over the unwilling French public who were very much against the departure. This ended their colonialism. About 2 million ungrateful Algerians lost their lives in this shoddy affair.

So there you have it, if they want to beat us at rugby, then they should expect some stick in reply.

The Crucifixion Cycle (Revisited)

Apologies, I first posted this on another site about 6 months ago, but with the fallout from #Plebgate and the really dodgy and unfortunately timed ‘leaking’ of the Operation Tiberius report (a 2002 report that has no business being in the hands of the media, hopefully an investigation into its leaking will follow)  it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit it. If you’ve read it before, there’s nothing new. If you haven’t read it before you might find it of some interest.

And so it has started.

In truth it probably started a year or two ago, but various distractions have kept our blinkers in place.

The Crucifixion Cycle

Stage 1

Slash Resources

Government slashes the resources of the public body in question.  Be it NHS, Armed Forces, Police, Education, Coastguard, Fire Service, Probation…..the list just goes on and on.  They have all had their resources slashed to the bone (and possibly deeper) by this failing coalition government in the name of Austerity. Be under NO illusions, more cuts are coming, Gideon says so.

Stage 2

Highlight The Failings

Next Step is to commission a report highlighting the failings of said public body. Policy Exchange (other Think Tanks are widely available) are normally good at issuing reports that seem to support government’s plan of action.

Stage 3

Get the Press to Crucify the Public Body for Their Failings

Certain sectors of the British Press seem only too willing to publish articles, splashed across their front pages, or 1st item on the 10 o’clock news etc, crucifying the public body for their failings. They never seem to mention slashed resources at this stage, just how serious and awful the failings have been, whip up some public backlash, and launch a “heads should roll” theme to move it forward.

Police and NHS are currently suffering at the hands of Stage 3.  Whose turn next?

Stage 4

Privatisation.

These public bodies can’t be trusted to organise a beer-drinking event in a brewery.  Just look at the headlines at Stage 3. I know how to sort this out, we’ll privatise them.  We’ve got some Lords with interests in suitable private companies, let’s give them a shot at sorting it all out, perfect solution.

Am I wrong?

Is this NOT how it happens?

Where are you on the Wheel of Fortune?

Have you been crucified yet?

Got an iPhone 4S?

Well I don’t, I don’t own any  of their products, but I know a man who does.

About a year ago a new ios upgrade was released for the iPhone 4S.  His was on the Vodafone network but I don’t suppose that matters very much.  Having installed the ios upgrade he noted that the little radio button for turning wifi on and off was greyed out so it had become impossible to connect to a wifi network as it couldn’t be turned on

He spent ages googling the problem, discovering all sorts of ‘fixes’ suggested by folk, none of which worked for him. Then he spent hours on the phone to Apple trying to find a solution and was told “Oh we know about that, your wifi antenna has come dislodged, take it into an Apple store and we can fix that for you for £100”

Needless to say he didn’t because a) It coincided with the release of the new ios and b) it coincided with the release of the iPhone 5.

So, he reluctantly threw the phone in its box in the corner and bought an iPhone 5.

He recently had the idea of selling his old phone on eBay, and realised it would be worth more if the wifi was fixed, so off-a-googling he went again and found something on YouTube.  Not only did this fix work, but allegedly it has been posted on Apple’s website several times but they keep deleting it.

The fix is simply this;

  1. Borrow Mum’s hairdryer (honestly)
  2. Use the hairdryer to heat up your iPhone until the overheating warning appears in the screen
  3. Turn off the hairdryer and allow the phone to cool
  4. Reboot the Phone
  5. Voila, the wifi radio button now works again and wifi can be turned on and off.

This is apparently some technical issue concerning the chip, heating it up forces the phone to recognise the chip again, and all is well.  A certain hard-fruit company is aware of this (allegedly) but seemingly don’t want you to know.

If you have this problem it’s worth a try, not much too lose really.  I know it works, I watched it happen.

Happy Hairdrying.