Archive for May, 2009

Fit For The Twenty-First Century

May 23, 2009

 Can there any longer be any doubt that our political system in the UK is broke? Or that the world financial system is broke? Or our economy, or the way we allow companies to be our bosses? They say ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. But what we need to know now is what to do when it IS broke!

 One thing that is not broke, even if it is limping rather seriously, is our democracy here in the UK and those throughout the world. And in theory we run it all through democratic process. I mean, well, we DO – don’t we?

😉

OK, take out those that are seriously adrift, like Zimbabwe in the hands of the most evil of people: Mugabe. And be a little kindly to the emerging ones like China.

We are left, frankly, with an awful lot of dross! Here in the UK we have our daily feast of a Parliament in crisis, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph (fully justifying the freedom of the press); and the media’s status as the fourth estate.

In America as well as here the sights of incompetent bankers being rewarded for their reckless and criminal gambling and of businesses that should have folded decades ago being massaged back to life in intensive care leaves one wondering where our leaders minds are.

We cry for heads to be put on pikes in traditional style and for the tumbrels to roll again.

But we have an opportunity. An opportunity that comes rarely. A chance to bring our democracy – not to some golden past that never existed – but further towards a golden future that urges us on in hope.

And democracy is about DEMOS, the Greek word for people or populace and now to represent democracy itself. We are Demos and the democracy is ours; as always the Greeks really did have a word for it.

I have been seriously distracted for some time; there are many things that I wish to put before you, about debt matters, about this list above, about a new approach to a constitution, about the need to completely rethink company law.

Much of this must be essays, and I will put those on my website, Control Your Debt Crisis ; but I will run a long series here as an introduction to those ideas. For a real discussion of all this I will set up a forum which will be readable to all, but will ask people to register to contribute [spam makes that necessary] in which I hope we will find lay people and experts discussing how to get from where we are to somewhere a lot better.

To a place, in fact, fit for the 21st Century.

Joseph Harris

Debt Control Man

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Bailiffs get unreasonable powers

May 1, 2009

I had earlier had the view that bailiffs were well contained by sensible limits. Thanks to The Times online I find this is not now so.

You may at times have thought me unreasonably hostile to this government; however I further view this as a little snide piece from a business dominated group.

Thanks to the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust the new measures are being fought vigorously and Jack Straw has already taken some action to mitigate the legislation. However, some measures which need to be understood remain.

Councils are already making more use of bailiffs, says The Times, to collect Council Tax arrears. Our ‘People’s’ ministers were going to extend bailiffs’ powers so they can use force when to seize goods in cases of civil debts.

We are indebted to Zacchaeus and its new lawyer, Joanna Kennedy, for forcing a halt to this return to the bad old days. Kennedy’s and the trust’s aim remains to roll back the legislation – Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 – ‘ “…and although ministers have said that they will not enact them, they remain on the statute book. So the Government could change its mind at any time. We’d like the provision to allow the use of force and effect forcible entry removed entirely.” ‘

Here! Here! Bailiffs still have a right to use force over unpaid criminal fines under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, such as for non-payment of a TV licence or motoring offence. For the past 400 years until that Act, entry to a person’s home had to be peaceful.

What a disgusting piece of legislation from a disgusting Government.

Quite incredibly the details of MoJ guidance to bailiffs on forcible entry appears to have been made a state secret!. These have been withheld “for reasons of the health and safety of bailiffs”. How, trust chairman Reverend Paul Nicolson, asks, “can we or the magistrates’ courts tell if bailiffs are keeping the rules if the rules are kept secret?”

Under a Freedom of Information request, a version of the guidance was released, with 15 of 30 pages redacted. An appeal to the Information Commissioner led to reissued guidance last autumn with different redactions — including some parts previously seen.

To put it mildly this is a business government. And a total betrayal of the founding of the Labour Party. That party was formed to fight the very excesses by business that Brown and his band are bringing back onto the statute book. It makes the Tories look positively socialist!

Explaining her new role Kennedy explains: “I had been a lawyer for 30 years and I enjoyed it, but increasingly I found the amorality of the commercial legal process frustrating and I wanted to do something a bit more worthwhile. A lot of it,” she added, “was making the rich richer and, as lawyers, becoming rich yourself.”

Welcome to the world of defending the under-privileged Joanna; more strength to your elbow and those of Rev Nicholson and Zacchaeus. We certainly need you.

Joseph Harris
Debt Control Man