Posts Tagged ‘business’

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

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Whither The Battered Economy

November 17, 2008

Because I have some financial and business background in my early life I have been increasingly astonished, not to say angered, by all the devices that are being uncovered in what has been a casino [still is, I fear]called the financial sector.

The various government supports in response to that industry’s yells of ‘Feed Me!’ have shown the truth of the old saying ‘Owe a million and get an honour, owe a thousand and get put in prison.’ Except these days no respectable honoree owes less than a billion!

You know the film, don’t you? ‘Feed Me!’ gets fed by all those who owe it nothing, and it gradually takes over and destroys everything. This seems a good analogy for the financial sector – certainly since the early 1980s.

Now it seems, through government action, we, our children, our granchildren and on are going to be paying off the gambling debts. Indeed that sector appears fully in the tradition of the rake who, on inheriting the family fortune proceeds to gamble it away, as well as the lands, the building and possibly his own grandmother.

I am not encouraged either by the G20 meeting or its statement. In brief it seemed to say ‘our answer is more of the same even though we know it isn’t working… …And we are putting off the hard decisions until another generation of politicians comes along’.

And no, I do not think President-Elect Barak Obama is that new generation in this sense. If you look at his advisors who have been drawing up his plans you will see how heavily finance and business oriented they are.

By ‘new generation’ I think I mean of economic thinkers. My personal view is very revolutionary – and for someone who tends to be small ‘c’ conservative that is saying something!

I believe the fault lies with the structure of the company. It lies far outside democratic process, yet it is so easy for the larger ones and the corporations to affect our lives in the most personal ways. Our jobs, our communities, our very environment and our world. Oh yes, and our finances.

Plan as we might, understand the dangers to the future of mankind as much as we will, all protest is frustrated by the big business power to buy influence and to drown out protest. It is not the format of George Orwell’s 1984 but it is most certainly his concept of Big Brother!

Can you go anywhere without being on CCTV? As things are shaping even your iris will be on a database – ready to be accidentally ‘lost’ and for sale. Or even accessible to so many that it can be easily hacked.

The foundation of the company lies 400 years ago, with the first Queen Elizabeth. Four worlds ago and for a completely different purpose.

Do we, this time, just want to patch things up again for a third Depression in 80 years time?

Joseph Harris

Debt Control Man