Friday, 4 April 2014

The “Your Thurrock” experiment

As regular readers will know, I used to write a blog for a local news website called Your Thurrock.  I decided that I would offer my article on Valenomics to Mr Casey to post, not because I am planning to return but because I wanted to see what kind of reaction my ideas would get.

One of the main criticisms of my blogs was that I pointed out problems in politics and society but never gave any solutions so it seemed a good idea to see how people would react given plenty of ideas to work on.  I was always faced with nothing but criticism from right-wing nutters and I actually hoped that, even if the people who responded were right-wingers, I might have gotten some ideas from their point of view to further the work on Valenomics.  Although there was one bright light in the whole debating process and one kind comment, I really shouldn’t have bothered my ass as you can see from the following debate.

Please note:  I have altered most of the names of the people involved because I don’t want to give them the oxygen of publicity.  I personally know Catching The Bus and it’s hard to shorten superman so they’ve been left.

keep on taking the pills myles.

My spare bedroom are not bedroom but arts and craft rooms, childrens play areas and storage rooms therefore I will be exempt from your ‘Bedroom Tax’.

Catching the Bus
Beter than your solution rocky

i have two spare bedrooms,i could always let a few chavs move in.

Valen (Myles) Cook
r1 – Your first comment is stupid and not worth responding to as you move the debate no further.

Your second comment I suppose you think is funny but I wouldn’t let you get away with moving anyone in – you’d be charged anyway.

I suppose your entire contribution is worthless because you can’t attack me for not proposing solutions which kind of takes the wind out of your sails, doesn’t it?

Valen (Myles) Cook
E – Actually the use you put your spare bedrooms to is irrelevant as there are people who currently use their ‘spare’ room as a medically necessary clean room for home dialysis and they are forced to pay the Bedroom Tax so it’s only fair that regardless of the pathetic use you make of your spare rooms you would have to pay the Excess Living Space Charge. I mean, arts and crafts is hardly a valid use of the space compared with a medically necessary clean room, is it? And if you have too much stuff that you need to store it in spare rooms, you should do what I was told by the council and sell your excess possessions.

Valen (Myles) Cook
By the way, I’m not back, this is simply a guest blog post. However, it seems to me that in the day I’ve been back commenting on news items things seem to have started jumping again. It’ll die off again soon.

Myles – I was using examples not specific to me to show how flawed your plan is. What is a bedroom? How would you define a bedroom in law? What would you charge per spare bedroom? How much would it cost to administer examining all 25 million residential properties in the country and then keeping detailed records of who moves in and out? What would you class as pathetic use of a bedroom? Would the bedroom tax be on top of the council tax? If the occupant was unemployed would you still charge them?

Valen (Myles) Cook
E – My plan is not flawed because it would be using the currently used definition of a bedroom, the same one being used to apply the Bedroom Tax. If you want to know how it is defined in law by the Tories, why not look it up on the Government’s website?

Currently, the Bedroom Tax is charged at a rate of a 14% reduction of Housing Benefit for one ‘spare’ bedroom, 25% reduction of Housing Benefit on two ‘spare’ bedrooms. I’m sure a fair and equitable charge could be derived from a similar method of using rental values that Housing Benefit is calculated with and those values are kept at a specified level according to the date chosen as the initial point in its valuation. Any fluctuations in price are ignored.

Whereas the current Bedroom Tax actually costs more than it saves, once the initial work has been done, the system of the Excess Living Space Charge will actually make money to start refilling the nation’s coffers. Yes, there are problems with administration but those problems also create jobs that take people out of unemployment and into work thus providing more revenue through Income Tax.

The Excess Living Space Charge would be added to the Council Tax bill and, therefore, the records of who moves in and out are covered by the Council Tax demand. The details of the appropriate charges to apply to the Council Tax bill according to the amount of spare rooms would already be a matter of record so would not pose an insurmountable problem.

You seem to have an obsession with singling out bedrooms where I have stated that all spare rooms (i.e. those deemed excess to basic living requirements) would be charged for. However, to answer your question – a bedroom is for sleeping in and for the associated everyday activities, the only other legitimate use of a spare bedroom would be if it was being used for medically necessary purposes and the storage of any associated living aids for those with disabilities or health conditions. No other uses would be acceptable as they are unnecessary for basic living.

Other unnecessary rooms such as dining rooms and reception rooms are not required for basic living standards. If you look at most social housing, the resident is given the least amount of living space possible so why should anyone be treated any different? In a country with a burgeoning population, no one has the right to more living space than they actually require. People who are subjected to the Bedroom Tax at the moment are being told that they have no right to even a single spare room. This is discriminatory and, therefore, in the name of equity, no one should be allowed more room than they absolutely need to live. You can see the living space restrictions that I have covered in the article more clearly on my personal blog as the table I made up did not translate into the posting on this site for some reason. There is also a problem with some of the other formatting that is solved on my personal blog.

The living space restrictions I have suggested in the article are based on the living space offered by current social housing so I can’t be blamed for such harsh restrictions although I have followed the lead of Thurrock Council’s administration circa 2002 and offered couples without children a second bedroom as that is the size of property I was told was standard for couples when we were offered our current council property.

At the moment people are being forced to pay the Bedroom Tax regardless of whether they are in work or not, whether the ‘spare’ bedroom is being used for a medically necessary purpose or not and whether there are sufficient smaller properties to move into or not so to answer your final question – yes, the Excess Living Space Charge would be applied to everyone. This is fairer than the Bedroom Tax which is targeted against the poor and the vulnerable because it is applied across the board. Those who live in large houses who wish to downsize will open up tracts of land upon which new, smaller, cheaper and ecologically sound properties can be built, creating more jobs in the construction and eco-tech industries and thus helping the economy. Those who do not wish to downsize will have to pay the charge which is exactly the same choice facing those currently hit by the Bedroom Tax. The people least affected by the Excess Living Space Charge will be those who live in social housing and are already living in highly restrictive amounts of living space; however, the charge will still be being applied to their property although the net affect will probably be little or no charge.

its a load of communist clap trap myles,in this country we are allowed to have private property which is nothing to do with the government.

“At the moment people are being forced to pay the Bedroom Tax regardless of whether they are in work or not,”

Only those working age Housing Benefit claimants have their Housing Benefit reduced by 14% or 25% if they have surplus bedrooms. Those who don’t claim don’t claim Housing Benefit don’t pay as they are paying their full rent anyway.

Perhaps we should rename your tax ideas the Myles Jealously Tax?

So those benefit claimants who currently pay the Bedroom Tax will be slapped with the double whammy of your Excess Living Space Charge as well? Or will they be exempt?

It’s the usual Myles rubbish. For a start, it’s not a tax and, for seconds, nobody ‘pays’ anything. Myles’ motivation is usually to take money from those that have it and give it to those that don’t and never mind the consequences. He spouts the same socialist dogma that’s been tested to destruction all around the world and has failed all around the world. I know he likes to pedantically argue each line of argument but, to be honest, it’s a waste of time because he will never listen to or agree with a point of view different to his own.

I like the bit about restarting Remploy
I completely agree about lowering VAT. It should not have been raised in the first place.
I like the point about scrapping VAT on essential grocieries
I also like the fact about helping British companies through subsidies (I think this already happens) and getting the UK manufacturing again.

I dislike the rest, especially the constant rich people bashing and a mansion tax. All the frontbench and opposition front bench would fall into it so it would never happen, but I am glad Myles is back.

Catching the Bus
Myles Though I dont agree with all your solutions to the problem. I do feel the financial crises is only at an early stage when interest rates go up and the uk cannot service its debt payments things will be interesting and people will have to think about how to solve it. I would like to see how those on the right of the political spectrum would solve it as they don’t post any ideas they just attack you for posting a view.

“I would like to see how those on the right of the political spectrum would solve it”

1) I would cut welfare a great deal more substantially than the current government are doing.
2) Food vouchers for those on the dole (not including the sick and disabled) rather than money.
3) I would stop all foreign aid payments but would continue to donate funds at a time of crisis (i.e earthquakes)
4) I would leave the EU and set up our own trade agreements with Europe but place more emphasis on trading with the USA, China and the Commonwealth.
5) I would dramatically cut the number of low skilled immigrants into the UK but would leave the door ajar for those with skills and those who want to set up businesses here.
6) I would cut VAT as Myles has suggested to help boost spending.
7) I would cut local government staff/depts, I find this sector too bloated
8) I would ban all nonsense operations from being paid by the NHS and I would charge foreign workers or visitors for any medical care before they receive any treatment. I would also charge all citizens for several missed appts in a row at GP surgeries and believe that those on benefit should contribute a small fee of £3 for a prescription
9)I would increase the pay for MPs and other civil servants but remove the ability to claim expenses other than travel and lodgings, the cheapest option only at that.
10) I would halve the salaries of NHS/Council/Education/Public Sector CEOs and other high positions. If they want to command high salaries they should try their hand in the private sector.
11) I would cut the budget of the BBC and reduce the TV License down to under £100
12) I would scrap certain government depts like International Development
13) I would tax European vehicles, especially lorries, for using British roads
14) I would cut the number of MPs, particularly in Scotland and Wales where they are over-represented

None of this would be easy, nor would it solve all of our problems but it would stop the constant money wasting that the UK seems to be trapped in since 1997.

Valen (Myles) Cook
r1 – It’s not Communist clap trap as I have not suggested that people cannot own private property, a fact you seem to ignore. It is simply a restriction on the size of property a person can have depending on the size of their family which is the same restriction that people in social housing are already under and that’s a GOVERNMENT decision.

Now why don’t you just walk away from this because you really can’t find anything sensible to say?

Valen (Myles) Cook
E – Yes, Housing Benefit claimants whether they are in owrk or not are being charged the Bedroom Tax. They are the ones in social housing who can least afford the extra outlay. The people in privately rented accommodation already have a living space restriction on Housing Benefit payments but then their rent is much higher than those in social housing and, therefore, it is only right that there is such a restriction on them.

Very funny, Myles Jealousy (please spell it correctly, your lack of education is showing) Tax. You make me laugh so hard that I almost cracked a smile.

At least I’m coming up with ideas, what are you doing other than picking holes in mine?

The Bedroom Tax would be replaced with the Excess Living Space Charge. I thought I made that quite clear. If I haven’t then that is your clarification. If I have then you really should read things through properly. Once I’ve re-read the piece, I’ll know which is correct.

Catching the Bus
B87 1) …..

Problem is a massive chunk is the pension.
The welfare state was doom from day one 100 years ago. back then people die at 45 so a pension at 65 didnt matter.

No of it will solve the prolbem of a crash when interest rates go up?

Valen (Myles) Cook
g64 – Oh, attacking me out of the gate I see! How typical of you. Haven’t you got any other strategies in your very thin playbook?

Tax, charge, thievery from the poor and disadvantaged. Call it what you will but it’s still money being paid out by the poor and disadvantaged. The Bedroom Tax is a reduction in Housing Benefit which then has to be paid for out of a claimant’s other income (many of which is extremely low pay for the job they’re in, just to point that out for you).

The Tories policy is to take money from people who haven’t got it so I think taking money from people who do is a step up because they can at least afford it.

I’m not Socialist. I do not follow any political ideology and that’s a mistake that you keep making. isn’t it? Also, Cuba is a successful Socialist country with a health service that rivals our NHS when it was in better days so your assertion that there isn’t a successful Socialist state is wrong. Sorry to burst your right-wing bubble. I’m not a fan of the Cuban Government but it is successful.

Actually, I listen to every point of view and will assimilate any good suggestions into my belief system including right-wing views because I’m not tied to a particular ideological position unlike you.

Perhaps you should stop criticising my ideas until you have some of your own but I won’t hold my breath because you like to criticise and destroy rather than compromise and build, don’t you?

Catching the Bus

You are right. Pensions would have to be curtailed. State pensions will soon be a thing of the past which is why there is now a drive towards enrolling employees into private pension schemes. To cut welfare further you would have to tackle the pensions crisis, epecially for those at the top of public sector bodies. We both know that touching pensions is a non starter as pensioners are more likely to vote.

I would imagine that a Britain with more money in the bank and a tighter controlled budget would be much more able to deal with a rise in rates than a country that is haemorrhaging money.

We also have to stop the flow of low skilled Labour which will gradually allow wages to rise and rents to drop. That way people would have more money and would be in a better position to put some money away. At present it just isnt possible for people to do so.

Unfortunately I see a 1990 situation whereby those people that overstretched themselves and bought large houses with equally large mortgages may lose those homes if rates were to rise hence the government warning people to not spend/live beyond their means. God help us when rates do rise.

Catching the Bus
I have an idea the right wingers will love SCRAP THE PENSION. we all work till we drop.

Catching the Bus
Problem is when rates do rise the government cannot service it’s debt 700 billion under Labour and 700 billion under the tories.

Sorry for my miss spelling on the above post I went to Eton. ;)

Catching the Bus
As a small business owner, very small business in fact. bollocks to a private pension for my workers. no businesses will be able to do it with the levels of corporate debt. I’ll get out of it sorry. Private pensions we will get out of.

Valen (Myles) Cook
B87 – At least we have some areas of agreement which is more than some of the other commenters are willing to accept.

Subsidies are, indeed, being paid but to ALL companies including multi-national companies who receive more in subsidies than they pay in Corporation Tax which is just plain wrong. I can’t remember exactly which company was in the media about that very issue but I have a feeling it was Amazon. In my plan, only UK companies would be given subsidies unless the multi-national company is willing to pay the proper amount of Corporation Tax. It seems only fair.

I am not constantly bashing rich people because all the proposals would be applied to everyone whereas, at the moment, the harsh treatment of people is limited to the poorest and most vulnerable which isn’t fair. Yes, the rich will pay more but there are carrots for the rich in the proposals too. Don’t forget – you can’t get blood out of a stone and you can’t get money out of people who have none. It’s time for the rich to live up to the social contract of living in a civilised society.

We live in a SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC state. This means that at some point in the past even the Tories realised that the poor and disadvantaged need to be supported and so adopted certain Socialist ideas around social security. No one agrees with the amount of fraud that goes on in the welfare system but that amount is tiny compared with the amount of unclaimed benefit (which people are, in fact, entitled to) and the amount of evaded tax.

You’re right, most of my ideas wouldn’t be taken forward by the current bunch of self-serving parasites we have in Parliament but at least my article shows that there are other ways to go.

Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not back, I’m just visiting.

Valen (Myles) Cook
Catching The Bus – I’m not after people agreeing with all my proposals. The point of the article was that I have forever been accused of pointing out the problems but not posing any solutions so this time I’m doing both which is something my right-wing critics can’t seem to handle. They certainly don’t have the guts to either post their own solutions rather than just attacking mine or to use their real name when they attack me so basically they are destructive cowards with no original thoughts in their heads. But what can you do?

Valen (Myles) Cook
B87 – Thanks for your suggestions.

1) Isn’t that a little on the nose to bash the poor and disadvantaged after you have accused me of bashing the rich? You can’t have one without the other I’m afraid.

2) I can see some merit in that except that that does not cut the amount of money spent and may restrict where an individual can buy their groceries. And what would you do about the sick and the disabled? You seem to need to work on that idea a bit more first.

3) Totally agree. I was going to include that in my list of ideas but I thought I might piss off too many bleeding hearts.

4) I think we need much more information before we left the EU so we can make a proper decision rather than a knee-jerk one but, if that was shown to be the way to go, I’d support leaving. I do, however, totally agree with building trade with the USA, China and especially the Commonwealth nations. We should never have turned our backs on our Commonwealth partners.

5) I have to agree with you here too. Although if they are coming here to set up businesses, they must be willing to pay the correct amount of Corporation Tax or no entry. And those with skills should only be let in if they fill a skills gap that we can’t fill with our own citizens.

6) We already agree on this.

7) Whilst I agree in principle with this idea, I think you’ll find it difficult to implement seeing as how Central Government are passing the buck on so many things they should be doing to now very under-funded and over-stretched local authorities.

8) I totally agree with banning nonsense operations. Only operations with a genuine medical necessity should be performed under the NHS. Charging foreign workers might be hard to do if they have taken up residence in the UK. You can’t really charge up-front for medical treatment as you never know how much treatment is needed but an initial charge paid up-front by foreign visitors is quite achievable and fair (with the balance to be paid upon completion of the treatment). Charging for several missed appointments sounds OK although account must be taken of things like missing appointments due to the side effects of medication, personal tragedies, etc. It may be too difficult to actually administrate such a scheme. Charging people on benefits £3 for a prescription smacks of poor and disadvantaged bashing to me but, if you were to accept that everyone who currently receives free prescriptions was charged, I’d go along with that.

9) I’d have to disagree with you on increasing pay for MPs and civil servants who already get paid more than they are worth but I agree with the claiming of cheapest option only travel and lodging expenses.

10) I’d have to have more information to make a decision but I’m not against the idea per se.

11) I’d go further than that and stop their funding altogether, forcing the BBC to start showing advertisements and using the profits from their business arm to fund themselves.

12) Again, I’d have to have more information to make an informed decision but I’m not against the idea per se. There are an awful lot of quangos that could be cut straightaway.

13) I’m not against the idea but it might prove too problematical to put into practice.

14) I’m not against cutting the number of parasite in Parliament but you’d have to have a damn good and equitable way of changing the constituency borders so that no party benefits from the changes.

I don’t totally agree with your final comment but I can’t deny that there is some truth to it either. Labour made a load of mistakes and always do when they get into power because they want to be fair to the working person and those who have fallen on hard times due to loss of work, illness or disability and so tend to spend money hand over fist. The trouble is the Tories don’t see the need to be fair to those upon whose shoulders the actual work is carried or those who have fallen on hard time either. The Tories only care about the rich. What we need is a compromise that takes us back to the true meaning of living in a socially democratic society – take care of everyone – and that’s not a Socialist point of view, that’s a humane point of view.

See, everyone, if you present me with more than just criticisms, you can see that I’m quite a reasonable chap who’s willing to compromise but only in the name of fairness and equity.

Myles, I could debate you point by point but, as you make such long winded arguments, frankly I have better things to do. Have you been to Cuba? It can be called many things but a successful state it isn’t, I don’t imagine there are too many Americans risking life and limb to get into Cuba. You can attempt to deny you are a socialist as much as you like but that’s what you are, nothing wrong with that at all I might add.
You make the lazy assumption that I am a Tory, you do that to anybody who doesn’t go along with your fleece the rich ideology.But I am not a Tory. Yes, my views come from what is known as the ‘right’ but I am not now, have never been nor ever will be, a member of the Conservative Party.

Catching the Bus
I view that private ownership of the means of production, property, goods and services. is great.

I have also come to the view that social inequality is bad.

So I do not fit a tory or socialist definition so what does that make me?

i still think its a load of communist clap trap myles,if someone wants to spend their hard earned money on having a spare bedroom thats their business,but if a person is receiving subsidised state accommodation they have to accept its a limited resource.

Valen (Myles) Cook
g64 – Why don’t you be honest for a change? Stop peddling the male bovine faeces. The reason you don’t debate is because you can’t not because you think I’m long-winded or because you want people to believe that “frankly I have better things to do”. All you like to do is criticise everybody and do so from the safety of your anonymity. You don’t try to build or suggest ways forward, all you do is try to destroy people and let the status quo of stagnation remain. Grow up and debate or go and peddle your destructive male bovine faeces elsewhere. I really do have better things to do than keep replying to your pathetic attempts to destroy my efforts.

I didn’t say that Cuba was perfect but it successfully looks after the healthcare of all its citizens. Yes, there is oppression and I never held it up as a model of democracy but it doesn’t stop it being rather successful at the things that really matter, things that this country once had and are being destroyed by the Tories.

It’s not a lazy assumption to call you a Tory when you make such a good job of acting like one. The only options for right-wing thinkers in this country are only slightly worse than the Cameronite Tories so I wouldn’t make that boast again.

You make the lazy assumption that I’m a Socialist but I’m not. I don’t support Labour and never have neither have I been a Communist. Try reading some of the replies I’ve given B87 and you’ll see that I hold right-wing views as well.

In conclusion – debate with me, give me your ideas or go and bother someone else because as much as you try to anger me all you actually do is make me pity your small-mindedness.

Valen (Myles) Cook
Catching The Bus – It makes you open-minded.

Valen (Myles) Cook
r1 – Living space is a limited resource FULL STOP. No one has the right in the current ecologically tragic times we live in to more living space than they actually need.

So, in conclusion, as I told g64 – debate with me, give me your ideas or go and bother someone else because as much as you try to anger me all you actually do is make me pity your small-mindedness.

living space is endless myles,what you want is someone else to pay your tab.

See Myles, you are at it again ‘male bovine faeces’! Just say bullshit, it’s what you mean. But you like to use too many words to make your point which is why I switch off. Concise isn’t your style.

True to form, because you don’t agree with what I have to say, you start with the insults. I don’t criticize everybody on here, I wouldn’t criticize you if there was nothing to criticize but, again, it’s easier for you to make that accusation than say anything sensible to somebody who thinks your ideas are whacko. However, good news! I will no longer comment on your posts because, as I might have mentioned, I really do have better things to do.

Valen (Myles) Cook
g64 – I didn’t use that word because this could be read by some youngster who mistakenly clicked on this link. It also shows that there are other ways to arrive at the same destination.

Brevity in politics is not an option as everything has to be worked out. Have you seen a White Paper or any other legislation? You switch off because I make people think, something of which you are incapable it seems.

You’re never satisfied are you? If I didn’t go into such depth you’d criticise that too.

It’s not an insult to say that you’re talking male bovine faeces because you add nothing proper to the debate (unlike B87 who at least proposed his own ideas). How can anyone agree with what you say when you say nothing? You criticise but don’t present your own ideas because you have no ideas of your own.

Thank God, you’re going away because you don’t contribute anything and all you do is criticise not only the initial article but every comment I make in response to your criticisms without putting your own ideas forward.

I can’t imagine you having better things to do, probably because you haven’t.

you are talking bullsh1t myles.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has apologised to MPs for her attitude towards an inquiry into her expenses.
The Commons Committee on Standards ordered her to repay £5,800 to cover over-claiming of mortgage expenses after she failed to cut her claims as interest rates fell.
This followed reports she had allowed her parents to live in a property on which she claimed £90,718 in second home allowances between 2005 and 2009.

And these leeches tell us what to do, Westminster is the first place that needs cleaning up if a member of the public was to falsely claim these expenses and been found out they feet would not have touched the ground on the way to the clink, these hypocrites who implement the bedroom tax and then claim £90,718 in second home allowances, what on earth is going on
Myles keep up the good work

Valen (Myles) Cook
r1 – I have only one response for you – mind your language, you foul-mouthed individual.

Valen (Myles) Cook
Superman – I don’t know about you but I think she should be apologising to the Great British public about her expenses rather than to MPs for her attitude to an inquiry into them.

She’s just one of several hundred corrupt politicians who are the real parasites in this country.

I totally agree with your assertion that Westminster need cleaning up. May I suggest with a machine gun?

Thank you. I must say, however, that this article is a one-off for Your Thurrock, a guest blog you might say. I’m now back off to write my own blog at

As you can see r1 was as helpful to the debate as an old wet sock, E did tease out some clarifications I needed to make but didn’t add anything to the debate himself and g64 criticised my ideas but didn’t present any suggestions of his own. 

Catching The Bus may not have agreed with my ideas but didn’t overly criticise them either, showing some respect for the thought I’d put in. 

B87 actually became the star of the debate (after being prompted by Catching The Bus) not because he agreed with everything I had proposed but because he actually proposed his ideas of his own thus contributing to the debate and showing that actually despite our differing views we could actually work together to tease out some extra workable ideas for Valenomics.

Superman’s comments were a little off topic dealing more with corruption in Parliament but at least showed respect for the work I’d put in.

I may get more responses but I won’t bother posting them here because, as far as I’m concerned, the Your Thurrock experiment is over.  I’m not even sure I’ll respond to any more replies on YT because it detracts from my work on this blog.

So, what have I learned from this little experiment?  That most commenters on blogs on YT are right-wingers who prefer to criticise other’s work anonymously rather than contribute ideas of their own (probably because they haven’t got any).  That my blogs still stir up more debate than any other blog posts on YT which is the hallmark of a good column but that even such popularity doesn’t cut much ice with people.  All in all, nothing I didn’t already know.

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