Monday, 19 October 2009

An angry start to the day

Amidst the fluff (today it was meerkats), there's just enough 'real news' on BBC Breakfast to get one's blood pressure up:
  • There are proposals to make banks liable "if they lend to people who can't afford to pay them back"
  • We are asked: "should attacking someone for being fat be seen as a hate crime?"
  • It is apparently already illegal to replace striking workers
  • We learn that "the BBC could face legal action over British National Party leader Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time"
If I manage to find more substantive commentary on these issues, I'll post updates, and perhaps some follow-up posts. If not, take this as a sample of Britain in 2009.

Caveat Lender
BBC News reports that "self-certification mortgages will be banned under the proposals with lenders required to verify borrowers' incomes."

It apparently does not occur to the FSA that if irresponsible banks were allowed to fail, shareholders might hold them to account.

Fat and Proud
Tonight's edition of the BBC's Inside Out programme will apparently include a segment dedicated to 'fat and proud' London mum Kathryn Szrodecki, who "travels to San Francisco to see how fat people there have successfully fought for more civil rights, and asks whether Boris Johnson might follow their lead and protect the capital's fat people".

According to a related article on the BBC News website, campaigners want "so-called "fat-ism" to be made illegal on the same grounds as race, age and religious discrimination."

It is apparently not enough to have laws against violence; special punishment must be reserved for those who 'hate'. And it is seemingly inconceivable that companies who employ those best suited to the job would have a competitive advantage over those who hire based on ill-founded prejudices.

Postal Monopoly
Another article on BBC News provides further information on the proposal by TNT, "the UK's largest private mail firm", to ensure our post gets delivered. Only passing mention is given to the fact that strikes are encouraged and exacerbated by current UK law, which prevents the replacement of striking workers:
TNT has been lobbying the government to allow it to deploy its postal workers on the streets if the stoppage goes ahead

"We need the market and regulatory barriers moving before we can put orange postmen on the street," said Nick Wells, chief executive of TNT Mail UK.

"We have an alternative potentially for the future but not for the moment. Royal Mail has a de facto monopoly on the final mile delivery." ...

Employing extra people to do the work of staff who are on strike is illegal under employment law.
Some ideas are too dangerous for Question Time
Finally, there is an article considering whether the British National Party should be allowed to appear on Question Time:
A BBC spokesman said: "Our understanding is that, if there was an election tomorrow, the BNP would be able to stand.

"Our audiences, and the electorate, will make up their own minds about the different policies offered by elected politicians."

But while their colleague Jack Straw is prepared to tackle the BNP in open debate, New Labour stalwarts Peter Hain and Alan Johnson don't want to run the risk of viewers coming to the wrong conclusion.

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