EU pays jobless migrants to come to Britain

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Unemployed migrants are being given thousands of pounds to find work in Britain under an EU scheme, The Telegraph can disclose.

It has emerged that the UK has taken a third of the young migrants involved in the “Your First EURES Job” programme.

Some 1,178 unemployed young people from the Continent have been found jobs, training or apprenticeships in Britain under the “jobs mobility” programme since it was set up in 2012.

That accounted for 34.7 per cent of the 3,387 jobs handed out so far, much higher than second place Germany, which has provided 659 placements. At the same time, just 25 Britons under 30 have found work under the scheme, less than 1 per cent of the total.

The scheme offers up to €5,000 (£3,500) in relocation expenses and course fees per participant. The average cost per head of the scheme was €1,818, according to official figures.

A report into the scheme acknowledged that it was moving people from economies of high unemployment to Britain.

“The high number of placements in the UK could be due to the dynamics of the UK labour market,” it said. “A high share of outgoing job finders in certain countries (Italy and Spain) mirrors the situation of the EU labour market, as these countries have high youth unemployment rates.

“Similarly to previous quarters, the UK remains the main country of destination.”

EU sources said British public bodies did not take part in the scheme, meaning there was a low uptake among the unemployed in this country.

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Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, claimed that the Government “has a grip” on the migration crisis in Calais. Downing Street defended David Cameron, who is on holiday within the UK, saying that he was due back at his desk on Thursday.

Mr Hammond said 100 additional guards would be on duty at the terminal in Calais while UK Border Force officials were due to start working inside theEurotunnel control room Monday night. “I think we have got a grip on the crisis. We saw a peak last week, since when the number of illegal migrants has tailed off,” he said.

“We have taken a number of measures in collaboration with the French authorities and Eurotunnel which are already having an effect and over the next day or two I would expect to have an even greater effect.”

The EU work scheme contains a generous programme of grants and reimbursements to encourage people to move.

They include travel allowances of up to €350 for distances of more than 500 miles, plus subsistence funds of up to €50 a day while undergoing interviews.

Participants can also claim up to €1,060 in relocation expenses to move to the UK, €1,270 for language training and €1,000 to have their qualifications recognised in a new country.

Jobseekers with special “socio-economic” or “geographical” needs can claim a further €500 in reimbursements.

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British businesses that employ people through the scheme can claim up to €1,060 in training and language allowances. In total, it means a single jobseeker could, in theory, cost the taxpayer more than €5,000 in handouts.

Jane Collins, the Ukip MEP who uncovered the figures, said the scheme was a poor deal for Britain. “It is a slap in the face to the young people all over the UK who are looking for work and whose taxes have been spent making their chances of employment less likely.”

Britain is facing increasing pressure from Brussels to take more immigrants and show “solidarity” with the rest of the EU.

Mina Andreeva, a European Commission spokesman, said the Calais crisis underlines why all EU member states should take part in a scheme that sought to resettle 40,000 migrants across the continent to ease the pressure on Italy and Greece. Britain has so far opted out of the scheme.

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Phil Woolas, a Labour immigration minister between 2008 and 2010, said the “mess” in Calais was “down to years of soft-minded liberalism and utter naivety”. He said that when in office, he was “frustrated” by how the Human Rights Act, introduced by his party, made it difficult to remove migrants to came to the UK.

Mr Woolas also blamed similar liberalism within the coalition government and by the French and said a detention centre should replace the camps at Calais to “send a signal”.

“If migrants knew they’d be locked up and deported when they got to Calais, they wouldn’t go,” he said.

The Government announced a series of measures over the weekend to tackle the problem, including tougher penalties for landlords who fail to check the immigration status of tenants.

John Keefe, public affairs director for Eurotunnel, welcomed the efforts by the Government to make the UK less attractive for migrants, but warned that they would not solve the immediate issue. He said there was a “major problem” now with the “5,000 or so migrants living and moving around the Calais area at will”.

New powers will also be made available to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants if they are in the country illegally, following a successful trial in the West Midlands.

But the effectiveness of the Government’s proposals was immediately disputed after Greg Clark, the Communities Secretary, could not say how many evicted illegal immigrants had been deported.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, said the policy could lead to illegal immigrants “barricading themselves in” and “defending themselves with all the force they can muster”.

“It could put people in potential danger. We need to think through the consequences of the kind of systems we are putting in to place,” he said.

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Calais crisis: Screw British holidaymakers. What about the real victims?

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Frazzled British holidaymakers “desperately” trying to reach France for your annual sojourn, have no fear! Café Rouge in Canterbury is here. The chain is offering those stuck in Operation Stack on the M20 a free tea and slice of cake if they happen to be diverted towards Canterbury – you know because of all that unfortunate nonsense going on at Calais. Little ones eat free! And if the family phone still has battery after hours of “hell” on the motorway, you can tweet about the experience using the special hashtag #RouteRouge.

Pass the sick bucket.

I’m not making this up. And while I do have sympathy for anyone stuck in the traffic jam that’s cost UK industry millions, I’m reserving my compassion for a group who really could murder a slice of cake.

Just 21 miles from Britain there is a jungle. Or to give it its full name: Jungle Camp. This is where hundreds of displaced people from all over the world live in some of the most wretched conditions. Stuck in a no-man’s land in Calais, they are living in temporary cardboard structures and surviving on porridge made out of milk and soggy bread. Not that you will probably have paid them much attention over the last week.

calaisqueue The “Calais crisis” as it’s being referred to, is mostly being reported as a transport or business story. Actually, it’s a humanitarian timebomb. On Tuesday, one man died trying to get through the Channel Tunnel. We don’t know his name. He is the ninth this summer.

Among all the discussion of “secure fencing” and “delayed journeys”, our human compassion has deserted us. We have it in spades when we are reminded of suffering that doesn’t interfere with our holidays or freight:remember the collective horror earlier this year when desperate migrants had to be saved by gunboats in the Mediterranean? Where is it now?

Even the language that’s being used to describe the mostly male Eritreans, Ethiopians, Afghans and Sudanese trying to live in Europe is mechanical at best, and dehumanising at worst. Emergency government meetings are being held to ensure there is “upstream management of illegal migratory flows”. Excuse me? These are real people, with hearts, families and lest we forget it, human rights. What if they were children instead of young men? Would we feel differently?

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Moreover, we have very little idea if they are asylum seekers or economic migrants – because guess what? No one is engaging with them. Even a brilliant and emotional BBC Newsnight film filmed inside Jungle Campfailed to achieve full clarity when speaking to inmates.

We must also face the facts. The UK isn’t a soft touch when it comes to “letting everyone and anyone in”. According to the UN Refugee Agency, at the end of 2014, the population of refugees, pending asylum cases and stateless people made up just 0.24 per cent of the UK population. That’s 117,161 refugees, 36,383 pending asylum cases and 16 stateless people.We take fewer asylum seekers than many other countries. Turkey has the highest number at 1.6m, followed by Pakistan at 1.5m.

This country has a proud history when it comes to taking in the needy. Let’s not let ourselves down because we’re impatient for a holiday or a booze cruise. It’s time to see the bigger picture and stop the lamentable narrowing of our horizons. An island nation we might be, but that doesn’t have to mean our mentality must follow suit.

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Peter Sutherland – former chairman of corporate giant Goldman Sachs International, thinks the government’s reaction to Calais migrants is wrong

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Peter Sutherland, the UN Secretary General’s special representative on international migration and occasional strategic adviser to Goldman Sachs International (also former chairman he retired in June 2015), said the British reaction to the Calais crisis was “grossly excessive”.

In 2013, University College Dublin law school was renamed the Sutherland School of Law in his honour, following his financial contribution to the newly completed law teaching facility, the gentleman is clearly as respected as he is esteemed.

The great majority of migrants heading to Europe are genuine refugees, he said, and Britain receives far fewer applications for sanctuary than other European countries.

He said calls to stop economic migrants entering the UK are “a xenophobic response to the issue of free movement”.

He told the BBC: “In my opinion, the debate in the UK is grossly excessive in terms of Calais. We are talking here about a number of people – a relatively small number in the context of what other countries are having to do – who are in terrible conditions and have to be dealt with by France and/or Britain.”

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Thousands making the perilous boat voyage across the Mediterranean to reach southern Europe are “in the main” genuine refugees fleeing violence and persecution, he said.

Britain also receives far fewer asylum applications that other European countries, he said.

“Germany last year received 175,000 asylum applications. Britain received 24,000,” said Mr Sutherland.

David Cameron has faced criticism for referring to the thousands of migrants who are camped in Calais trying to get across the Channel as a “swarm”.

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Mr Sutherland said: “I think it is most unfortunate to create an image of hordes of people, when in reality the highest figure I have seen for the actual numbers in the so-called ‘jungle’ around Calais – the place where these unfortunate people are living – is 10,000.”

Kevin Hurley, police and crime commissioner for Surrey, earlier this week called for the 2nd Bn Royal Gurkha Rifles based just outside Hythe, Kent, to be deployed to make sure Britain’s border is secure.

Mr Sutherland said: “The first thing we have to do collectively is to deal with their conditions. Instead of talking about sending Gurkhas or building fences, we should be thinking of the humanitarian crisis.”

Mr Sutherland urged the UK to join the common European approach to the migrant issue, warning: “Anybody who thinks that by erecting borders or fences in some way a particular state can be protected from alleged ‘floods’ – which are anything but floods – of migrants is living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Mr Sutherland delivered his thoughts on this subject with an astounding gentleness, considering the decidedly aggressive approach he adopted, when establishing the World Trade Organisation in 1993.

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Perhaps his approach has softened with age, the gentleman who elevated the role of the World Trade Organisation, so that it dealt personally with presidents and prime ministers as opposed to just ministers, now chooses to walk gently over eggshells when discussing the subject of migration with those same presidents and prime ministers.

The same gentleman was also a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland, until he was kindly ask to leave the board by the British government, who took over the bank as it teetered on the verge of bankruptcy.

Peter Sutherland is also on the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group and was a vice-chairman of the European Round Table of Industrialists ( an organisation highly focused on improving considerably, business competitiveness within Europe).

He would appear to be a gentleman whose concerns centre (in the main) around the more intimate co-operation of nations across the world, on matters economic and political. He is a creature of the coporatocracy, one who also heads the International Catholic Migration Commission, which has been active in Afghanistan, Indonesia (after the Tsunami in 2004 and is now hard at work in Syria.

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One wonders what has motivated him to comment on England’s xenophobia in relation to the Calais migrants. Mercy & compassion? Or cold blooded, clear eyed business sense?

In the words of Pietro Reichlin, economics professor at Rome’s Luiss university,

“When wages go down, there is more incentive to move towards the black economy (an economy fuelled by illegal migrant labour). It is almost a form of insurance, a way out” and he went on to say “Without the shadow economy, some economies would collapse. It’s the only part of the economy that keeps the economy thriving”. A black economy fuelled by migrant labour, as has become the case in parts of Italy (see Prato ) and Spain. Xenophobia aside, this doesn’t bode well for the migrants. 

 

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt calls for action on World Refugee Day

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UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt has been commemorating World Refugee Day with Syrian refugees in Turkey, which has overtaken Pakistan to become the world’s largest refugee-hosting nation with more than 1.77 million in urban areas and government-run camps.

The Special Envoy and UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres also met Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to thank him and his people for the country’s generosity towards Syrian and Iraqis refugees and to discuss the challenges that Turkey and other host nations face, and their need for support.

In her capacity as co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, Jolie Pitt also raised her work on women’s rights and the global campaign against sexual violence in conflict. Later, while visiting the Midyat Refugee Camp in Mardin, south-eastern Turkey, she made a powerful World Refugee Day call for more action to prevent conflict and support refugees. Her statement follows:

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“We are here for a simple reason: This region is at the epicentre of a global crisis. Nearly 60 million people are displaced from their homes. That is one in every 122 people on our planet. Our world has never been richer or healthier or more advanced. Yet never before have so many people been dispossessed and stripped of their basic human rights. We should call this what it is: not just a “refugee crisis,” but a crisis of global security and governance, that is manifesting itself in the worst refugee crisis ever recorded and a time of mass displacement.

“The greatest single source of these massive refugee flows is Syria. In the space of four years, Turkey has become the country with the largest number of refugees anywhere in the world, with 1.8 million displaced Syrian and Iraqis. Lebanon, where I was yesterday, is hosting an even greater density of displaced people: every fourth person in Lebanon is now a Syrian refugee. People are running out of places to run to. If you are an Iraqi or a Syrian fleeing violence, where do you go? Every border country is being pushed beyond its limits.

“That is why we see so many dying at sea. It is not a “new trend,” it is a result of those fleeing country after country and finding no safe place. These are not economic migrants looking for a better life, these are desperate refugees who are fleeing war and persecution. The average stay in a refugee camp is 17 years. Think of your own life. Think of what that would mean. For many, it is their entire childhood. During displacement you might be able to get an education, or continue your education. But very likely, you will not.

“As a refugee, you cannot legally work in a host country. So your skills and education will dull over those long years and your much-needed contribution will be lost. As a refugee you learn how the world feels about you. You know if your suffering causes outrage and compassion or if it is mostly ignored. Familes like the six young people I met yesterday, living in Lebanon without parents, on half food rations and paying US$100 a month to live in a tent because UNHCR does not have the funds or capability to take full care of everyone they know.

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“We should see this time in displacement as the time where we should take the most care, and give the most support. Not because they are vulnerable, but because in fact they are the future stability of all the countries we say we are so concerned about. So my first message is that it is due time for people to respect the plight of refugees and see their value. We must protect them, and invest in them. They are not a problem, they are part of the solution to this global crisis. They are the potential for the rebuilding and restabilization of countries.

“But second, even more than this, I plead to the international community and leaders of the world to recognize what this moment in mass human displacement means. This is not just another day. This World Refugee Day marks some frightening truths about our inability to manage international crisis about our inability to broker peace and find lasting solutions.

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Today as happened every day on average last year over 40,000 people will be forced from their homes. And it will be the same tomorrow. And the next day. And every day after that, if this political inertia continues.

“It is hard to point to a single instance where as an international community we are decisively addressing the root causes of refugee flows. Displacement is multiplying because the wars don’t end, and countries emerging from conflict don’t get the support they need. We handle crises by discussing either boots on the ground or aid relief. The global crisis is showing us that this narrow view of dealing with conflict is wrong and ineffective. UNHCR, along with other UN and NGO agencies, cannot be expected to manage the chaos of a population the size of France displaced.

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“I have spent the last 14 years among the UNHCR staff. I know their dedication. Even love for refugees. I have also seen them overwhelmed and emotional over the last few years. They and other UN agencies and NGOs are filling a gap left by the international community. We are past the breaking point. The answer to a world crisis like this is not how many financial appeals can be met. Or in truth, by what percentage they can be met. I am of course grateful for the funds countries have contributed even if they are not enough to meet all the needs.

But I say to those countries, your job is not to fund displacement but to prevent it. To end it.

“Displacement at 60 million is a sign of our inability to work together as a community, to apply all our laws and uses our collective institutions effectively. To live by our standards and keep our word. There is an explosion of human suffering and displacement on a level that has never been seen before, and it cannot be manage by aid relief, it must be managed by diplomacy and law. This is a central problem. We cannot pick and choose which human rights violations we will and won’t tolerate.

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“We have the tools we need the resolutions, the doctrines, the conventions, the courts. But if these tools are misused, inconsistently applied or applied in a self-serving way, we will continue on this trend of displacement and it will grow and grow. It is inhumane to expect all of these families to tolerate this kind of life. We all know what needs to be done, we must do better. And it is self-evident that we have to start with Syria.

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“I call, again, on the United Nations Security Council: Send your ministers and ambassadors here. Witness this crisis for yourself. See that it simply cannot go on. And that it is past time for a credible plan to reach a political solution to end the conflict. I thank the people of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan for their generosity, and all host countries. To all the families here, and around our world, marking this Holy Month, I say, “Ramadan Kareem.” And I pay tribute to refugees themselves the people we rightly celebrate today, not only here in Turkey but around the world. Thank you.”

Press Releases, 20 June 2015

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The Magna Carta…Still Impacting People’s Constitutions All Around the World

 

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Magna Carta (Latin for “the Great Charter“), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties“), is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III . In other words the Magna Carta was all about protecting the King & his elite, ring any bells anyone? No?

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After John’s death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta. 

The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling English Parliament passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance. At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. 

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Although this historical account was badly flawed, the political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted. Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the ruling elite. Nothing new there then, we’ve had the Queen’s Speech haven’t we? Stuffed full of goodies like further library cuts, police cuts, benefit cuts and public service cuts (l’or guv! We still have a public service?).

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Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot” go figure….

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In the 21st century, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, held by the British Library and the cathedrals of Lincoln and Salisbury. There are also a handful of the subsequent charters in public and private ownership, including copies of the 1297 charter in both the United States and Australia. The original charters were written on vellum sheets using quill pens, in a particular style of abbreviated Latin. So there we have it boys & girls! The history of the Magna Carta! At some point in time I feel certain I’ll get around to the history of ‘extraordinary rendition’ (see below),

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Which I shall in turn be following up with an analytical explanation of the practice of waterboarding, something which its victims and Britain’s esteemable government agents would know all about, apparently…..

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The Magna Carta, a very british tradition betokening the greatness of…..british tradition…unlike say, the introduction of closed material proceedings…………

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Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Corruption in Space! (apologies, getting carried away there)….

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Shocking isn’t it? David Cameron is preparing to warn fellow world leaders at the two-day G7 summit that starts in Germany on Sunday, that the Fifa bribery scandal must be a trigger for international action against corruption.The prime minister will criticise what he will call a widespread “taboo” in pointing the finger at corrupt institutions, and will say the Fifa scandal has shown how focusing on an organisation can provide the impetus for cleaning-up operations. I’m so glad our prime minister has decided to speak up about the sharp practices of Fifa, now that the Americans have beaten us to it.

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I hear that Nicky Morgan has even gone so far as to supply him with a ‘Smartboard’ to display his Powerpoint Presentation on, so that as he lectures Europe on ‘transparency’ ‘moral probity’ and ‘business ethics’ he can look every bit as convincing as he sounds (joke!). Seriously though, 

“In the last fortnight we have seen the stark truth about Fifa. The body governing football has faced appalling allegations that suggests it is absolutely riddled with corruption. And Blatter’s resignation this week presents an opportunity to clean up the game we love. It is also an opportunity to learn a broader lesson about tackling corruption,” he (the Prime Minister) will say.

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The stark truth about Fifa? Kind of like the rancid underskirts of the dark truth about HSBC that we were all exposed to so recently? Now, can anybody remember what that particular truth pertained to? Because I assure you the French authorities can, in March of this year they requested that HSBC’s Swiss private bank be sent to criminal trial over a suspected tax-dodging scheme for wealthy customers.The recommendation followed a lengthy investigation by local magistrates into alleged tax fraud involving 3,000 French taxpayers.

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HSBC’s Swiss arm also helped 8,844 wealthy Britons avoid millions of pounds in tax.These allegations of ‘historic’ tax avoidance at the bank related to files leaked by a less than sane whistleblower (he had to be less than sane to have torpedoed his career in this way) dating from 2005 to 2007. France prepped itself to prosecute these fraudsters and our Prime Ministers response was? “The period in question – 2005 to 2007 was not under our watch,the party opposite (Labour) was in Government”.

This ‘truth’ was later proven to have been sort of, kind of a lie. What is more Conservative MPs blocked a parliamentary committee’s attempt to scrutinise the former HSBC boss & (then) trade minister (now, Peer) Lord Stephen Green over the tax scandal at Britain’s largest bank. And what was America’s response to all this patent dishonesty? The US Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against the bank and its clients.

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Well, maybe that case was just a glitch on the corruption front so lets examine another more exemplary example of Prime Minister Cameron’s moral probity. Lets look at, ooh, I don’t know…..tax avoidance, tax havens…..and Tory Party Donors!

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Now…let’s see, on the top ten list (courtesy of political scrapbook) we have…

#1 Michael Farmer (£818,000) — See our story from yesterday. And bring sunscreen.

#2 Michael Davis (£509,000) — “Mick the miner” trousered £75m when his Xstrata mining company was sold this year. While the company’s registered office is in London, it is headquartered in the Swiss tax haven of Zug. The business which bought out Xstrata, Glencore, is not only based in Zug but also faces allegations of using suspect insurance practices to avoid tax.

#4 David Rowland (£438,000) — A former Conservative Party treasurer, David moved from the tax haven of Guernsey to the UK specifically so he could donate to the Tories.

#6 James Lupton (£255,000) — The current Tory co-treasurer works for Greenhill, through which he is a partner in Greenhill & Co. International LLP alongside the company’s vehicle based in the Cayman Islands. Lupton also holds a stake in Vestra Wealth, which offers its clients advice on “tax-planning vehicles”.

#7 Andrew Law (£247,000) — The chairman and CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Caxton Associates. One of its main investment vehicles is Caxton International, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

#8 Stanley Fink (£228,000) — The “godfather of the UK hedge fund industry”, whose Man Group has two principal subsidiaries in Switzerland. The majority of its subsidiaries operate from tax havens.

#9 JCB Research (£187,500) — JCB is owned by digger magnate Anthony Bamford (who had a peerage blocked in 2010 after the taxman raised apparent concerns). This most British of manufacturers is actually controlled by a holding company based in the HagueTransmissions & Engineering Services Netherlands Bv.

#10 Flowidea Ltd (£144,950) — Controlled by Henry Angest, a critic of the UK’s“punitive tax system”, which may have something to do with the fact that its parent companies seem to be based in Jersey and the Bahamas.

All these guys have donated generously to the Tory Party & all of them are registered in tax havens & are therefore avoiding paying their very United Kingdom taxes. If that doesn’t wreak of corruption it should send up a whiff of dishonesty at least.

The Prime Minister’s response? Well, there hasn’t been one, though I suppose that there will eventually be a peerage or two.

PIC SHOWS: Sabina Interpol is searching for two Austrian teenaged girls who they believe have been tricked into going to Syria to fight on the side of Islamic rebels. The teenagers vanished last week. The first their parents knew was when they started getting messages posted on social media networks saying that they had gone to fight the

Meanwhile on his next visit to the world stage (G7 Summit), our esteemed Prime Minister will also be discussing England’s role in the the fight with ISIS in Iraq & Syria. Ever the ‘reluctant interventionist’ David Cameron will (apparently) assure President Obama that England intends to remain fully engaged on the global terror front. ISIS will I’m sure be awaiting his first statesman-like foray onto Iraqi soil (even as I await his eventual admission that England has wound up being pulled into the Syrian conflict) with bated breath…..I can’t wait.

Whisky Is For Drinking, Water Is For Fighting Over

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The author Mark Twain once remarked that “whisky is for drinking; water is for fighting over” and a series of reports from intelligence agencies and research groups indicate the prospect of a water war is becoming increasingly likely. 

In March, a report from the office of the US Director of National Intelligence said the risk of conflict would grow as water demand is set to outstrip sustainable current supplies by 40 per cent by 2030.

“These threats are real and they do raise serious national security concerns,” Hilary Clinton the former US secretary of state, said after the report’s release.

By 2030, 47 per cent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Environmental Outlook to 2030 report. Some analysts worry that wars of the future will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.  

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Dangerous warnings

Governments and military planners around the world are aware of the impending problem; with the US senate issuing reports with names like Avoiding Water Wars: Water Scarcity and Central Asia’s growing Importance for Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan

With rapid population growth, and increased industrial demand, water withdrawls have tripled over the last 50 years, according to UN figures.

“Water scarcity is an issue exacerbated by demographic pressures, climate change and pollution,” said Ignacio Saiz, director of Centre for Economic and Social Rights, a social justice group. “The world’s water supplies should guarantee every member of the population to cover their personal and domestic needs.”

“Fundamentally, these are issues of poverty and inequality, man-made problems,” he said.

Of all the water on earth, 97 percent is salt water and the remaining three per cent is fresh, with less than one per cent of the planet’s drinkable water readily accessible for direct human uses. Scarcity is defined as each person in an area having access to less than 1,000 cubic meters of water a year.

The areas where water scarcity is the biggest problem are some of the same places where political conflicts are rife, leading to potentially explosive situations.

As recently as 1989 Senegal and Mauritania fought a war over grazing rights on the River Senegal. And Syria and Iraq have fought minor skirmishes over the Euphrates River. UN studies project that 30 nations will be water scarce in 2025, up from 20 in 1990. Eighteen of them are in the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Israel, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. 

keep-calm-tuesday-is-soylent-green-day-1Contents courtesy of Al-Jazeera