Monday, December 15, 2014

That evil Benefits Cap

Driving to the train station this morning, I listened to the denunciation of the Benefits Cap on the Today programme. Typical for the metro-socialist tendency of al-Beeb.

Key amongst the points made was that, against a climate of rising Housing Benefit, the saving from the Benefits Cap was neglible.

This, of course, missed the point. The Benefits Cap was not, fundamentally, introduced to provide significant savings to the Exchequer. It was introduced because it was felt that it was wrong, improper, or even immoral, that some people were earning more in benefits than the average earnings - hence the £26000 figure. Barring some people with significant disability costs (such as live-in carers, which almost certainly could be dealt with outwith the benefits system, or even just excluded from the Cap - which, of course, they currently are), it does take a particularly statist mindset to see this as unreasonable (albeit that the London-centric media will quibble about the specific level being unfit to keep a family in Fairtrade organic quinoa.)

However, specifically, there was a note that most of the families hit by the cap had seen a reduction in Housing Benefit by over £100 per week. This was interesting - I don't live in a tiny house, nor in a particularly cheap housing area, although I don't live anywhere near London. £100 per week, £440 per month, is just under half of my mortgage (and the mortgage was for pretty much the entire purchase price, since I hadn't sold the previous property at the time, and had been subsequently extended for a central heating replacement.)

So the _cut_ in Housing Benefit, not the full amount they had previously been getting, would have paid half the mortgage on a mid-Victorian farmhouse.

Is it any wonder normal working people found this appalling?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The "rule of law" should be suspended for people we dislike

Here:

Responding to the ruling NSPCC Wales head of service Des Mannion said: "It is extremely frightening that a child rapist described as 'very dangerous' and unrepentant has been released back in to the community due to what seems like a legal technicality surrounding the timing of the offence."

This is increasingly common, not least amongst the Richard Murphy tendency.

Discuss.

As a starter, in my opinion, it is bad enough that the law is as complex as it is. The average punter has nothing expect the increasingly vague moral framework we inherit from our environment (and, of course, mandatory testing on the Road Traffic Act) to determine what is actually legal. Professionally, I have corrected senior counsel on their interpretation of the law (albeit it in a field of professional and personal interest) - and I have had fewer law lectures than I have had stats ones. And, to their credit, they admitted (after lunch) that I was correct.

If we require people to obey the law as it might be framed in the future?

This has nothing to do with whether the appropriate sentence for a specific (or any) rapist should be less than the statutory maximum - which is life.
 
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