News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shepway Lib Dems - Spinning Here!

This story on the Shepway Lib Dem website couldn't go without a brief mention. As you'd expect from Cllr "Pravda" Prater it's not exactly the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth. Shepway Conservatives called for a referendum on the EU Constitution masquerading as a Treaty. That's the position clearly supported by the Conservatives at all levels, from David Cameron to the vast majority of ordinary members like me.

What the Lib Dems proposed, was a referendum on continued membership of the EU, in an attempt to stifle debate about the EU Constitution which is currently being foisted upon all British and European Citizens without so much as a "by your leave" courtesy of an unholy alliance between Labour, the Lib Dems and the rest of the Liberal-Left leadership of Europe.

The Conservative position nationally and locally is entirely consistent. Nationally, the Lib Dems oppose a referendum on the EU Constitution, despite their election pledge to hold one, probably because they know they'd lose. Perhaps Cllr Prater would care to explain how, by voting for a referendum on the EU constitution locally but opposing it nationally, the Lib Dems are being consistent?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DVLA - another fine mess

I hate dealing with government departments. They seem to have turned incompetence into an art form. Sadly, following my recent marriage to Corissa, she is currently having to inform various government departments of her change of name, both in England and in her native Canada. Meanwhile, I'm having to inform them of my change of address.

So far, the DVLA have proved to be the most incompetent on that matter. The problems stretch back to 1997, when I was 17. The DVLA managed to mis-type my name on my provisional driving licence, and repeated the error on my full licence, despite my best efforts. They also had different details incorrect on both of my parents' licences, so it seemed unimportant at the time - I suspect that most driving licences are actually incorrect. However, in the meantime, they have introduced photo card licences, meaning that they need to link my licence to my passport, in which my name is spelled correctly.

I applied for my change of address online. Unfortunately, I could only do that by using the incorrect spelling of my name. That prevented them from matching my licence to my digital passport, meaning that I had to send some forms and a photograph through the post. The instructions were ambiguous as to whether I needed to send my passport as well, so I called for clarification to be reassured that no passport was needed.

Guess what. Yesterday, my application was returned with a request that I send my passport (through standard, unregistered mail, no less). Worse still, they also required proof of my change of name. Clearly, I don't have evidence, as I haven't changed my name. I'm just asking the DVLA to spell my name right.

Thankfully, I managed to speak to someone with some sense today, and she is going to process my application personally. Fingers well and truly crossed!

Revenue & Customs screw up - who's surprised?

Today, HM Revenue & Customs has revealed that confidential data about 7.5 million families in receipt of child benefits have been lost. That's in addition to the 15,000 Standard Life customers' details which had earlier been compromised. It follows a series of screw ups in administering Tax Credits, and the Head of HMRC has now resigned. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and his predecessor in charge, the Prime Minister, remain in post of course. Apparently they are not remotely responsible for the mess, nor that pertaining to the Northern Rock crisis. Just what does a minister have to do to be expected to resign these days?

One group of people is unlikely to be surprised. That's graduates repaying their student loans through PAYE, such as me. We're used to being messed around by cock-up after cock-up by HMRC. At the moment, I am still waiting for my 2004-2005 payments to be reflected in the outstanding balance of my loans. I'm yet to receive my 2006-2007 statement, for the year ending last April, 7 months on. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about potential identity theft as well, but that's not much consolation. Least of all when the government wants to hold all of the information a fraudster could ever hope for as part of the planned implementation of ID cards.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fan the Flames

Show your support for the Calgary Flames on Facebook by adding the Calgary Flames Fans app. At the moment, the Oilers are leading the Flames 60000 v 50000, so Calgary need all the help they can get!