Is there anything more pointless than the Council Tax Liability Order? If you’ve failed to pay your Council Tax for whatever reason, your local authority will threaten to apply to the court for a Liability Order. The reason, they claim, is to ascertain liability for the tax. Well, duh, so I’m liable to pay Council Tax but liability and the ability to pay are two separate things and, as far as local authorities are concerned, if you can’t pay, that’s just tough. In fact, local authorities don’t care if you starve. They just want their money, so they will either demand payment in full or lock you into an arrangement that you cannot possibly meet. So that takes you back to square one.
The Liability Order is simply another way to dump more debt onto those people who are least likely to be able to pay full Council Tax in the first place. It’s well past time to abolish Council Tax, but government ministers are simply too lazy to implement a much fairer system of local taxation. We need an Axe the Tax campaign like we had with the Poll Tax. In fact, I would argue that there is very little difference between the Council Tax and the Poll Tax. Both are based on the notion that everyone’s circumstances are the same. Theoretically, if someone on an income of £16, 000 pa is living next door to someone on £60,000 and they are in similar banded properties; they pay the same in Council Tax. Is that fair? No. But then, the Tories’ idea of fairness can be seen everywhere from the homeless that sleep on our streets to the working poor, who have their benefits cut and are forced to go to foodbanks.
Welcome to Cruel Britannia. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
I think I’ve heard most of the arguments put forward by the advocates of bloodsports and none of them stand up to scrutiny. Here are some of my favourites.
- Hunting foxes with a pack of hounds is an efficient method of pest control. This is perhaps the least convincing of the hunt lobby’s arguments because the numbers say otherwise. There will be any number of people on horseback, supported by dozens of hounds, all of which are chasing a single fox. Surely a single marksman with a rifle is a more efficient way to deal with the alleged problem. The fox hunters don’t seem to think so. The element of pest control is a convenient excuse that masks the true cost of the hunt and the cruelty exhibited towards the fox, which is torn to pieces by the pack of hounds. I would argue that the pest control defence has only been introduced to deflect attention away from the over-riding blood lust of the participants.
- People of all social backgrounds take part in hunting. To this point I would ask, “How many working class people can afford to own, stable and feed a horse and buy the clothing to participate in a hunt”? None, I would argue. The role of the working class in the hunts is limited to the support activities (blacksmithing, mucking out and so on). Traditional working class bloodsports like cock-fighting and badger-baiting were outlawed long ago. Fox hunting was allowed to continue until relatively recently.
- Fox hunting is an integral part of rural life. But then so are a great many other things like having to put up with poor public transport and isolation. Such things are of little concern to the Countryside Alliance, whose main objective is to campaign for a repeal of the Hunting with Dogs Act.
- Fox hunting is popular in the countryside. Urban dwellers don’t understand the ways of the country. Many people who live in the towns and cities used to live in the country and we understand the countryside better than you think. I grew up in the country and I saw hunting as cruel and barbaric and joined the Hunt Sabs as soon as I could. In the past, many hunts have trespassed onto land that does not belong to them. Those farmers on whose land the hunts have trespassed do not find fox hunting endearing in any way shape or form.
- The ban on fox hunting is an example of the tyranny of the majority being imposed on the minority. The paedophile would doubtless make the same argument. The majority of us find child sexual abuse abhorrent. That isn’t “tyranny”, that’s a concern for the welfare of children. Indeed many farmers don’t see foxes as pests but as allies that, for example, keep rabbit numbers in check.
Here’s Julian Cope’s Reynard the Fox
The Honorable Tobes does his best to defend the US from the charge made by Mr Armoured Dinner Jacket that the US is hypocritical for accusing Iran of barbarism. He cites the examples of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani,the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and the recent execution of Teresa Lewis in Virginia who had an alleged IQ of 72 who ordered a hit on her ex-husband. What Hon Tobes doesn’t explain is the fact that the two hitmen were given life sentences while Lewis was executed.
What Hon Tobes fails (or refuses) to understand in his haste to ratchet up the pre-war rhetoric is the fact that minors and those with learning difficulties were once executed in states such as Texas until fairly recently. However Tobes falls back on the allegations made by the prosecution which are, in any case, flawed.
One thing that often gets overlooked by critics of capital punishment in America is just how robust the legal process is. I’m not denying that innocent people have been executed in the past – and the possibility of that happening is a powerful argument against capital punishment – but Teresa Lewis wasn’t innocent and the chances of anyone innocent being executed in contemporary America are slight.
On the one hand, Hon Tobes says that the US legal system is “robust” and then admits that innocents have been executed. You can’t have it both ways, Tobes. But let’s be clear, miscarriages of justice in the US are as common as they are in Iran and indeed Britain.
He finishes with this,
This is the key difference between the United States and Iran. It’s not the fact that the two countries have different laws – though, God knows, making adultery a capital crime is barbaric. Rather, it’s that America is characterised by the rule of law, whereas Iran is a tyrannical theocracy, riddled with corruption, ruled by a religious maniac who can throw anyone he likes into a dungeon where they are then subjected to rape and torture before being stoned to death.
Yes and if you have the money, you can quite literally buy justice in the US. Just ask OJ Simpson and William Kennedy Smith. Tobes’ argument smacks of moral relativism. I am not defending the Iranian state or its legal system but what Hon Tobes is trying to do is make the spurious argument that the US is morally superior to Iran because of its adherence to the ‘rule of law’. By the same token, the rule of law exists in Iran but it is alien to our understanding of that phrase. Stoning a woman for alleged adultery is barbaric but the execution of minors and those with learning difficulties is equally as barbaric.