Archive for October, 2009

Change, what change?

October 29, 2009

I’ve been around a bit in my life.

If I haven’t travelled the world, I have certainly travelled the work and non-work experience, as well as areas that few have to. I have been in politics, and out of it. I have been in journalism, and out of it. I have seen the financial, management and economic world at work. I have learned from uncomfortable and continued experience how wonderful our NHS and its dedicated people are.

I have done jobs near the ‘top’ and jobs near the ‘bottom’. I have met, worked with and helped and been helped by people at every level of society; and not helped by some all over the place too!

In that time I have seen a world in flux; from a post-WWII to a post-credit-crunch. Frankly, for all its deprivation and shortages, I think it was better half a century ago.

“But,” you will be shouting at me, “we have made progress. the internet and computer, the airplane travel and the food supply. Why even the clothing and housing is better; our cars, our supermarkets.

“It is not good enough yet, but even dealing with one’s debt problems is better!”

Of course it is. But is – that extraordinarily difficult thing to describe – life better?

Alright, tell me: how much direct contact with people do you have? People that are not your family or work friends? I mean face to face contact, socially and of concern for one another? And of concern about where you live, and how?

If you are a younger person how much interest do you take in your parents? How often do you see them, or contact them to check how they are? And if you are an older one, how much do you seek to advise your children?

Families: how often do you gather round a table for a meal and a chat?

And when did you last feel contented. Not contented with any specific; not happy or sad; not triumphant. But just able to be still and enjoy the world?

Even a century ago William Henry Davies [the poet of the tramps] had this to say about the ‘progress’ of the industrial revolution:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to turn at beauty’s glance,

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Because of the pressures on me, partly over the debt issue, I have not been able to keep up this blog very well, far less stand and stare ;-). I am trying to rationalise how I do all this, so I am in the process of bringing the blog into my website and making the management of the whole far better.

Then I hope to write much more on the attempts to roll back all the advances made over treatment of debtors in recent years. Then, or at the same time, to prepare books of my poetry and write new poems. Then complete my book on how to create a better tomorrow. And then a few other things that I’d like to do.

Who knows, perhaps then I can just sit – or stand – and contemplate, well, just nothing; or at least nothing consequential.

Something to look forward to, anyway…

Joseph Harris

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Lending Code secrecy ‘is a disgrace’

October 12, 2009

I have just released this press release; as you see it is a matter of some seriousness

The new Lending Code, which replaces the credit and financial difficulties sections of the defunct Banking Code, is due to come into effect on November 1. Some nineteen short days away.

There is to be no public sight of these changes, nor any consultation process before these changes come into effect.

Specialist author Joseph Harris – Debt Control Man – has been trying to get sight of these changes since June. He has been told they will not be released until they are in effect on November 1 by Paul Ross, the man who is writing the new document for the British Bankers Association, in an email.

“This is a clear case of dictatorial behaviour,” declares Mr Harris. “It is a disgrace that no one concerned with the field, nor any debtor – whether defaulting or not – has any idea how the changes will affect them.

“Vince Cable was wrong when he said Gordon Brown had changed from Stalin to Mr Bean. On the basis of this secrecy and undemocratic behaviour he remains Stalin.”

Phone calls and emails to the FSA and the OFT result in classic Civil Service dropping the query into the new virtual filing bin.

“Even though there are many rules to help debtors negotiate the treacherous waters of finding the best way for their needs, too many creditors and debt collectors – including the biggest companies – do their best to sidestep them.

“Lack of a clear knowledge of what is happening among debtors and their advisors leaves these worst companies a window of opportunity to harass and bully particularly the poorest and most vulnerable debtors,” adds Mr Harris, author of Control Your Debt Crisis on Your Own Terms http://www.controlyourdebtcrisis.co.uk/book-cydc/cydc_Book_intro.shtml .,

“It is also a tragedy that the opportunity to include the requests of the Treasury Select Committee in 2005 and of the Money Advice Liaison Group has been lost.”

While most of the Banking Code is being operated as statutory Code of Practice directly by the FSA, the credit and financial difficulties sections move to the The Office of Fair Trading to sit beside the OFT’s duties controlling issue of Consumer and Business Credit Licences.

Joseph Harris, Debt Control Man